Written by Kira.
Xin chao, everybody! (Hi, everybody!) It has officially been a week in Vietnam for us, and it's a bit difficult to articulate how time passes in this trip, at least for me. Over the past week, we have been adjusting to and absorbing the Vietnamese culture, observing and appreciating the myriad of differences between the ways of life in Vietnam and those we have back at home. Without a doubt, the first few days in this country went by slowly, as we were somewhat jetlagged and exhausted from the plane ride. However, now, I can easily say that each day in Vietnam seems to fly by as we continue to have new and intriguing experiences that we will surely remember well in the future.
Yesterday was a full day of treats for us. It wasn't a work day, so we got to relax more and engage in the daily life here. After lunch in the buffet and walking around the Vietnamese Ethnilogical Museum, Cheri, Carter and Teresa offered to take those who wanted to a large and famous indoor market, just a few minutes down the street from our hotel. Of course, being the shopping addict that I am, I couldn't refuse this opportunity to see what Vietnamese buying, selling and bargaining was really like. When I took a step into the market, all I could see were rows and aisles of shops and stands, carrying any goods you could possibly think of, from blingy hairclips to travel luggage to shoes and baseball caps. They even had a stand for little toy cars, which actually turned out to be cell phones. I had a great time in the market, and by the end of the time in there, I had gotten pretty accustomed to bargaining with the vendors. It's actually kind of fun after a while, and the great thing is, the vendors actually enjoy adjusting prices to meet an agreement. There were definitely great deals in that market!
After we were all shoppe out, the leaders of our trip treated us again, taking us to eat sushi after we all voiced unanimously that sushi was what we were craving. There were some difficulties after we got to the restaurant, "Soshu 123." Turns out, that restaurant in particular didn't serve the sushi we were hoping for; instead, it served barbecue and hot-pot. After we figured this out, we walked out of the place, and ended up a short distance away to an actual sushi restaurant. There, we ate like kings and queens. The food was delicious, and there was so much, that we had to take some home. Cheri offered it to us for breakfast! The rest we took to the orphanage for the staff.
We travelled to the Bac Ninh Orphanage this morning, the place where Cheri adopted Jordan and Xavier. We had the chance to visit a few children awaiting adoption, babies specifically. The were so cute and one of the babies had crazy hair, while another stared out the window. For our work assignment, we were to sand the metal rails of the balconies of the orphanage. Right then, rain crashed down but it only lasted about ten minutes. When I was working on the rails, the cutest little girl, 2 years old, came up to me and persisted on conversing with me. Unfortunately, I couldn't understand her, but I could tell by the spark in her eyes and the music in her voice that she was a sweet and loving girl. Later, I found out that she was waiting to be adopted, and all I could think was why no one had adopted her yet - a sad fact, but she didn't seem to take any notice, as there were no signs of negativity in her persona.
Vietnam, to me, is such a wonderful place, mainly for its people. We all know they've had quite a history, and a hard one, too. However, the people are so open and generous, that if one didn't know of their past, he or she would never expect such a scar in their life. I'm excited to continue our journey in Vietnam and undoubtedly, there is so much more to discover.