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The days of our lives

November 19, 2010

For being unemployed/retired, this has been a pretty busy week.

On Tuesday, Jonathan and I spent the entire day thoroughly cleaning and rearranging our apartment. The bed in the master bedroom is very low to the ground with a foot-shelf all around it. Because of this, ankles were being damaged, and it was difficult to make the bed. The one in the guest room is normal height, drawers underneath, and no ankle-biting ledge. The only problem was, they both weigh a ton, and are solidly put together. We were determined though. With the help of my mini Swiss Army knife, a butter knife, and a lot of sweat, we took them both apart and swapped rooms. Of course, before we could put them back together in their new rooms, we had to mop up several years worth of popcorn kernels, hair, dirt, and bugs that we found underneath. Such fun!

Since Jonathan was working very early the day of his birthday, Tuesday night we met up with a bunch of friends at the local pizzeria, Sarpino’s, to celebrate a few days. I don’t know why, after knowing him for five years, I’m surprised when he chooses pizza over all the fine food in this city.

Wednesday morning, I tagged along with a lady from church and went to an introduction class for the Bible Study Fellowship. It was interesting being around such a huge variety of ladies. I met a Cambodian, Filipino, Singaporean, American, and Vietnamese (and that was only a small part of the group.) The study was interesting, if rather in depth, but I need to do something like this.

To show how much I still think like I live in America, the lady I went with told me she had a big van and would pick me up, yet I was surprised when her driver picked me up, and she was in the back. She asked if I had a driver. It doesn’t seem that any ex-pats drive here. They either take taxis everywhere (like we do,) get a motorbike (like we probably will eventually,) or get a driver. She said taxis are too difficult when you have children and you live back in a neighborhood.

In the afternoon, I slogged over to District 3 for a Vietnamese lesson. Several of the pilots have been taking private lessons, and one offered for me to join him. Though I don’t remember much of what we learned, I did feel a lot better about my future prospects of making myself understood in Vietnamese. The tonality is extremely difficult, but we had a great teacher (a typical Vietnamese girl – cute and tiny with long hair, snug pants, and high heels.) After we practiced basic conversation, she taught us words that we see every day or that are culturally relevant – pho, Cho Ben Thanh (Ben Thanh Market,) nuoc (water,) ao dai (the traditional dress.) Just hearing her say the alphabet a few times was helpful to me. I look forward to continuing the lessons.

Thursday, I spent a long morning searching for a pair of house slippers for Jonathan. He is difficult enough to shop for in the States, so here it’s nearly impossible. In most homes, your shoes come off at the door, and then you change into slippers to keep from tracking dirt around. Wearing slippers also makes the hard, tile floors a little more bearable. The problem is, the biggest size slippers we’ve found are 43-44, and that’s at least an inch too short. I finally decided I would see what it took to have some made. (Another mental adjustment I have to make here is that it is affordable to have things tailor-made.)

But I couldn’t find someone who made men’s shoes. Every time I walked into a shoe shop and pulled Jonathan’s flip-flop out of my bag they just shook their heads. I was starting to think Jonathan would just have to go barefoot when someone told me to go to Ben Thanh Market. The first place I stopped at had slippers and purses. I asked her for the biggest size she had. After digging through piles of packaged slippers, she offered me a 47-48. “This is biggest size you will find.” It was still a little shorter than the flip-flop, but I figured she was probably right.

 

 

She was very friendly, and I bought a little square purse from her as well. While at the market, I also bought some coasters and silk pillow covers. The seller originally quoted 80,000VND for each pillow cover, but I got her down to two for 100,000VND (about $5.) I could write so much about this market (and will some day soon.)

 

 

For Jonathan’s birthday, we both got massages at the spa in our building. They were relaxing (no funny business,) and they gave us both a free eye treatment since it was his birthday. The spa is more expensive than some places you will go in this city, but knowing it is reputable and having it downstairs make it worth it. Plus, it was still only $62 for 2 hour and a half massages. Not bad in my opinion.

After that, we somehow summoned enough energy to go eat dinner. He took me to a Mediterranean place called Skewers, which, so far, is his favorite nice restaurant in the city. We had Prosecco, fried feta, black bean hummus, a Coppola cab, asparagus salad, some amazing chicken, and they surprised us with a death by chocolate soufflé and chocolate ice cream. I’m loving the birthday treatment you get in this city.

We joked about this before we came here, but sometimes I really do feel like we’re on a year long honeymoon. I have a wonderful husband that I have so much fun with, and he just keeps getting better with age. He did have the brilliant idea of having all the Saigon pilots grow mustaches in November (long before he knew Movember existed,) so that is keeping us amused (and making him look significantly more, um, mature.) Every time the guys get together they compare the progress they’ve made, whose are coming in better, and the problems – itchiness, curling, white hairs, etc… – they are encountering. We’re all counting down the days until December first.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Tanya permalink
    November 19, 2010 13:51

    I love that you are so good at haggling! Nice job and the silk pillow is beautiful. It also makes me happy to hear how happy you are with your married life.

    By the way, I need Jonathan to convince Joe that spas are not terrible places of embarrassment and torture when we get over there 😀

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