Actually.... Here's a picture that represents Saigon a bit better....
( It's just that the lotus flower is the national symbol of Vietnam... hehe)
This was taken on the roof top patio of my school.
It really didn't take long until I got the hang of the lifestyle. I should thank my CELTA course (English teaching certification) for that. I arrived on a Friday night, and it started on the following Monday... Having a real routine, a place you must attend daily, really has an impact on how much of the culture you experience and how fast you experience it (I realized that when I lived in Paris 2 years ago). By the next school day, I hopped on my own motorbike (rental) and started to learn my way around town. Before I left Canada, my cousin told me that I won't experience the full Vietnamese culture unless I ride a motorbike like everyone else. He was right, and I never doubted it! Of course, you can always ride with a Xe Om (motorbike taxi), but you won't have the same freedom; the freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want, to take how many stops you want and the freedom to get lost and try to find your way around.
I had been to Saigon once before, on a family trip back in 2007, so I had a descent level of expectations in regards to the culture difference. However, with time, I observed more concrete cultural behaviours that I don't think I could ever get used to, which really showed me how "Canadian" I actually am ... On the flip side, I also realized how much unconditional love I have for my native land and its people.
Ok, I feel like I'm giving a closing speech, and we have barely begun, so let me steer in a different direction...
By the end of May (that just passed), I had completed my certification, survived a horrific period of food poisoning, travelled to other South East Asian countries with my family who flew from Canada, and landed a job at ILA, a well known English language school. Oh and I experimented with all sorts of foods, drinks and desserts... not that I don't anymore! Experimenting with food here, is a never-ending task!
In fact, there are too many choices, that very often, I have anxiety when meal time is approaching, I kid you not.
Check out this video I made!! "My first days in Saigon".
My younger sister Sofia, who has been living in Saigon for 2 years now, and her partner Mike, were showing me around the city.
First day in Saigon
My little sis sure knows how to be a real Vietnamese!
Teaching an adult class was part of our certification program. These students were so keen on learning and really made my first teaching experience a blast. That peace sign is THE thing to do around here, especially when taking a picture. I'm so used to it, that now, I'm the one who initiates it.
Just coming home from school and bumped into my sister. (who took this picture)
"Thanks for Teaching" cake.
Goodbye and "certification" party
Teachers and students hover around the party table.
WOW moments in other South East Asian countries I have visited