Our trip is going so incredibly fast (as trips always seem to do) as we have already moved on from Ho Chi Minh city… but the last days were wonderful! Our last teaching topic focused on Basic Anatomy. We taught about the major organ systems in our body and touched on basic physiology. After the lesson, we let them listen to their own hearts with our stethoscopes… they were all really excited to participate in the activity and the looks on their faces when they heard their heart for the first time were priceless! Our time at Maison Chance went very quickly but we all had a really good time and we really enjoyed working with the children. Of course grade 1 was always a hand-full as they have far too much energy for their own good! But for the most part, the children were really well behaved, participated in the lessons, and I think (and hope) that they learned something in the process! Because none of us know Vietnamese, we had a translator (named Tram) who worked with us during our time at Maison Chance. Tram was our age and absolutely beyond wonderful… it was a joy getting to know her over the few days that we were there and it was certainly hard saying goodbye to her!
On my final night in Ho Chi Minh city, I met up with my friend named Thanh. Thanh and I were in the same study abroad program in Cape Town three years ago… we spent a lot of time together exploring all of Cape Town! She is originally from Ho Chi Minh city but did her undergrad in New York. Ironically, we both happened to be in Ho Chi Minh city at the same time and it worked to meet up! Thanh showed me around a bit of the city and we enjoyed some of her favorite Vietnamese food at the night market… the food was delicious! Of course we stopped for some dessert and Vietnamese coffee afterwards! It was so much fun getting to catch up with an old friend and getting a personal tour of some of the city! The two of us have now spent time together in Africa and Asia… but of course not North America because that would be far too easy! We joked that next time we see each other, we should meet a bit closer to home… in South America or Europe… ha!
We left Ho Chi Minh city this morning and flew just about an hour to Phu Quoc, the largest island in Vietnam (although the island is just 12 km south of the Cambodian). This is our “vacation” part of the month as we are spending three days in between volunteer programs on the island to relax! When we got to our bungalow on the beach, we all immediately headed towards the ocean. Of course the air temp was similar to what it has been during the duration of our trip (upper 90s and very humid) so we were all ready to cool off a bit… but the ocean temperature seemed to be just about as warm… its quite similar to a hot tub… but with waves! After the initial shock, we adjusted to the temperature and enjoyed swimming all afternoon. I stayed on the beach for the sunset (how can you not!) which was absolutely stunning! I’m looking forward to a bit of relaxation and exploration over the next few days before we make our way to Cambodia!
Many more adventures to come–but first a little bit of beach time!