Vinh Bao Saturdays

Once again this morning we had the 6.25am bus out to Vinh Bao for Saturday morning classes. Classes start around 8am but Vinh Bao is a solid hour and a bit drive away so off we trek bright and early. Well, not so bright, but definitely early.

I only teach two classes on a Saturday morning while the other 4 teacher have 4 classes each. This means that I teach my two lessons and then have about an hour and a half to wait before everyone else finishes and we can all go home. Because we’re so far out, the bus only does the one trip each way. While this is not my ideal Saturday morning, it does mean that I get to see some things that not many other people have had a chance to see.

Last time we came out and I had to wait around, the bus driver and my TA took me to a really famous pagoda (I need to find out the proper name and will update).

It’s also the perfect place to get pictures of the iconic scenes of people working in the fields with the conical Vietnamese hats on. Last time we came out I tried to get a pic of two women in a field with their hats on but they insisted on taking them off to pose for the pic!

This morning I spotted a couple of people down the road from the school so I took a wander and got a few more photos.

It is so incredibly green once you get out of town! And I also snapped this lady who was selling treats to the kids as they came out of class.

The countdown

In just 6 weeks today I’ll be climbing onto that plane to head across to Vietnam to start a new adventure as a teacher. No, I haven’t actually booked a spot on “that” plane that I’ll be climbing onto yet. I should really get on that shouldn’t I?

6 weeks and I still have most of my to do list un- crossed out. And not only that but it’s grown a whole hell of a lot longer too. Having found out about extra things that are required in order for visas to be approved, dress codes that are still uncertain (and might require a serious re-look at my wardrobe), vaccinations that had to be done and paid for and weren’t in my original budget (and were not cheap) and so on, it’s been an interesting week.

I’m a little stressed but now that I’ve started listing things I’ve realized how much I need to get done in a very short space of time. I think it’s time I start panicking!

The Happy Planet Index

So I came across this website the other day (I can’t remember how but I can only assume that someone shared it on Twitter) and was excited to discover that Vietnam ranks 5th happiest on the Happy Planet Index.

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South Africa, where I currently live, ranks 128th, out of 140 and is in the most unhappy portion of the planet. Life expectancy is low while inequality is really high. And aside from the things they measure the Happy Planet Index on, the quality of driving is getting worse and worse on a daily basis.

Anyway, the point of this post is not to rant about South Africa but rather to celebrate that I’m soon going to be somewhere really happy!

Hurry Up and Wait

So after having a mild panic a couple of weeks ago about how little time I had left before my internship begins I finally got my butt into gear to get sorted with my application. When I jumped onto the site to check that everything was still in order and that there were spots available on the internship I noticed that the special deal that was on in September has ended.  Sad face. So I popped an email off to the consultant who I’ve been communicating with, on and off, since February 2016. Honestly. I’m sure the guy had lost any hope of me actually signing up. Anyway, he gave me a call back from their London based offices and let me in on a little secret that they’ll be having another special on the package in November so if I’m prepared to wait till then, it’ll cost me a whole bunch less. I also discovered in that call, when I worried about how long visas would take, as well as all the other things I need to do, that visa assistance is included in the price paid for the internship. All I’ll need to do is fill out a form apparently, which is a bit of a weight off my mind, I’m not going to lie.

So I guess I probably should have gotten moving last month so that I had a bit of extra time to wrap my head around everything once I’m registered and signed on, however, I’m happy to wait if it means saving a couple of grand.

I should probably keep an eye on flight prices, considering that’s going to be my next biggest expense. I’m thinking I should probably get an open return ticket as the internship ends on the 31st of May and I’m really keen to do some travelling from there – preferably Europe in June, but if not Europe, then there’s a plethora options near Vietnam that are also on my ever-extending bucket list. I assume I need to go through a travel agent in order to do that as I’ve never seen that option on any online booking sites, not that I’ve ever looked particularly hard. I’ll find out about that though and keep you posted.

Flight bookings, here I come!

Time’s moving hella fast

I can’t believe we’re already more than half way through September. This means that I only have 3 and a half months before I head off on the beginning of my epic adventure. It feels like it was just the other day that I’d decided to do this and gone ahead and paid for the course. It was actually about 10 months ago already.

Things I need to do before I go:

  1. Make a things to do list
  2. Pay for my orientation week, 20 hours practical and accommodation etc
  3. Decide where exactly I want to go – Hanoi, Hai Phong or Hué??
  4. Book flights
  5. Organise a work visa
  6. Organise travel insurance (any suggestions?)
  7. Get my police clearance document
  8. Sort out my finances
  9. Cancel things like cell phone and gym contracts and insurance polices
  10. Figure out what I’m going to do with my car
  11. Buy a laptop and a new phone
  12. Book a gynae appointment
  13. Sort out my house (plumber, painter, curtains, security etc)
  14. to be updated as more things come to me…

There’s a metric crap ton of things that I need to do in very short space of time, while I’m also working 8 – 5 as well as taking on freelance projects (I don’t know why I’m doing this to myself to be honest) so I really need to get my butt into gear. Come this payday (25 September) things will need to start moving at a rapid pace!

Hold thumbs 🙂

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My last trip to Vietnam – we had a pyjama party on a junk boat in the middle of Halong Bay. As you do…