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Five Little Monkeys

I’m back to teaching English, but only part-time. VERY part-time.  As in 4.5 hrs/week.  I teach 3 preschool classes 3 times a week.  I did this same gig a couple months last year, and that’s when I discovered how much I LOVE teaching the little ones.  Up until that point, I had declined any classes with young children with the philosophy that I have enough at home to deal with.  😉

One of the best parts of teaching English to preschoolers is being able to introduce them to new songs and games.  One of their favorites is “Where is Thumbkin.”  I love watching their amazement as we sing “Here I am.”  My mom gave me a set of books with a sing-a-long CD by Dr. Jean that I decided would work awesomely in the classroom.  So, I used “Five Little Monkeys.”  These are not the jumping on the bed monkeys.  They are the swinging from a tree kind.

Five little monkeys swinging from a tree, Teasing Mr. Alligator, Can’t catch me!  Along came Mr. Alligator, quiet as can be and snatched a monkey right out of the tree!

The first two classes I used it in were the youngest & they just loved the whole snatched part where I clap my hands like an alligator’s mouth.  But then, I got to the older class.  Their Vietnamese teacher was in there that day & decided to help them understand better with a little translating.  As we’re reading along, she translates that the alligator eats the monkeys.  The kids’ eyes all grow with fear.  Totally a priceless moment.  These kids didn’t look like they wanted to continue.  We turn the page…she asks how many monkeys are left…the kids answer…she tells them again that the alligator ate a monkey.  And this just continues throughout the whole song.  Oh, man…it was just hilarious.  Once we finished reading, I started the CD & snapped my alligator mouth at a few of the students & that’s when they finally relaxed and started enjoying the song.


Vietnam 2006


Typical sandwich stand found along the streets

Chickens on the back of a truck on trip from airport to Hanoi

Typical Vietnamese power lines 😀

Street in Hanoi...I'm sure the horn was honked a few times

I wish this was clearer---it's the back of a chip package--"Please watch television and have snack at the same time"

Beautiful Ha Long Bay

That's me in a cave in the middle of Ha Long Bay 2006

Not sure why these are so popular...maybe to make putting your trash where it belongs fun??

Plants for sale on a bike

So, what exactly is considered "old"?

somewhere in Hue

from Hue

Mot, Hai, Ba......

Our Daily Commute

Every day on the way to school, we drive past this open-air meat market that makes me want to turn into a strict vegetarian….

Fresh meat marinated in exhaust fumes

Some days we beat the traffic…..

What we normally see to the right of us while stopped at a traffic light during rush hour
view looking out the back

another look out the back

Sometimes rain comes along…usually on the way home after school…..

You can't see very clearly, since this was taken with my BB, but the street is flooded. This is near my oldest's school.

On the drive back to my house, I usually see clothes for sale.  I’m not really sure of their origin.  There seems to be a lot of clothes, but just one of each item.  My guess is that these could possibly be donations from somewhere that they decided to make a buck off of OR randomly taken from factories here.

They bring all of these clothes to this location on motorbike almost every day

There are always animals for sale roadside.  Birds, mice, rabbits…but my favorite is fish….aren’t they a little hot in their plastic bags?

no refunds on these fish 😉

Surprises out the back door

The rainy season has started early this year.  I was gone all day Friday, and when I came home in the afternoon, it started raining.  Due to my experience from last year with drains getting clogged outside & rooms getting flooded inside, I did my rounds to be sure there was none of that going on.  So, I look out the backdoor that leads to a small covered area we use for storage (no backyard here!).  No water, so that was nice, but instead found a small, LIVE chicken.  I immediately giggled.  A year ago, I would’ve been slightly shocked to say the least, but now I only find it funny.

Come to find out, our neighbor had given this to us as a thank-you for something amazing my husband did (which I’m super proud of him for, but I’m sure he doesn’t want me to discuss here).  In the US, we might thank someone by taking them out to dinner…where everything we eat is already dead.  Over here, it’s just the same, but different….hence the phrase:  Same same but different.  LOL.  Instead of taking us out to dinner, he brought dinner home to us, alive.  My husband wasn’t home when I made the discovery of “chicken” but from what little Vietnamese I know, my maid was telling me we would eat it on Monday.  Poor Minh Minh loved that chicken all weekend…going to the backdoor, “Hi, chicken!!  CHICKEN!!!  Hi, chicken!”  It was fun to explain to her that we were EATING that very same chicken at supper last night.  She didn’t believe me at first, running to the backdoor & telling me the chicken was right there, until she really looked & saw he was gone.  She took the news well, though.  😉

Ouchies & Faith

The morning started off pretty good. O-man went 8 hrs without a feeding overnight & I even got a shower in! But then Smith Magenis Syndrome hit in full force before we even left the house. I was drying my hair & that’s NOT what Scarlet wanted me to do. I continued anyways. I can’t let SMS completely rule our lives. I finished, we all got in the car to go to school, and the rage continued—kicking, screaming, hitting, etc, etc, etc, on and on and on for a good 20 minutes give or take (this is a long time for her). Oh, and I forgot to mention the biting. I took a good one from my nearly-four-year-old “special” little girl. OUCH!

After school wasn’t much better for her (she’s probably not feeling the best, maybe getting sick?)…a fit about the TV was redirected to making snakes with play-doh (which I hope is helping her sensory-wise to not feel the need to stick her hands in her dirty diapers, but that’s another story…). But then out of nowhere came a bite to her baby brother—6 weeks old, I might add. 😦 Poor baby did the silent-open-mouthed-face-gets-red-before-screaming bit. And this is the third time it has happened, all with me sitting right there beside him. This time, I cried, too. How can I protect my children from the wrath of SMS?

And then I thought about something that happened yesterday. After church, almost all of the attendees went out to eat at a shopping center food court. As he was leaving, our pastor asked about Scarlet since she didn’t come with us. I told him that she was having a hard time & he replied that we’ve got to pray and God can heal her. And I thought to myself, “Oh, he hasn’t heard about her syndrome…” and I wanted to tell him, but it wasn’t the time. But then I thought some more & realized that I’ve never prayed for her behavior. I’ve just accepted that this is the way it is & the way it’s going to be.

Friday, Japan was hit with a major earthquake & tsunami. As I watched the footage that night, all I could think about was God’s power. “Savior, He can move the mountains.” Saturday’s small group & Sunday’s sermon was on John 8:1-11—Jesus forgave the woman who was caught in adultery. “He is mighty to save.” This all reminded me that God can do anything and just because I don’t think He will ‘cure’ Scarlet doesn’t mean He can’t. And it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t even pray for her at all.

Since I’ve come to terms with her diagnosis, then that’s just it—I’ve come to terms with the fact that we will have days like today where her behavior is out of control. We will have numerous trips to various doctors. We will have a much different approach to her education than her siblings. But the least I can do is pray for her. Pray that she will skip some of the SMS inevitables. Pray that she will do many of the “normal” things that I’ve just accepted she won’t do. I’m actually quite ashamed that I haven’t yet prayed for her in this way. Fortunately, it’s not too late. “So take me as you find me, all my fears and failures.  Fill my life again.”



The Slumber Party

Vietnamese people can sleep anywhere.  I’ll be walking down the street in Phu My Hung, and people are sleeping in random places along the sidewalk.  Driving through town, you are bound to see somebody passed out riding on a motorcycle…usually a kid, arms & legs hanging over the side of the bike.  It’s so loud, with horns blaring & the constant hum of the engines, I don’t see how they can actually be sleeping.  But I think they just start ’em young here…if a kid can fall asleep on a motorcycle, they will be able to sleep anywhere when they are older… this guy we found one night at about 9:30 pm in District 1.

I can't do this myself

We had to drive around the block & come back to get a good shot of him.  The guy must’ve been pretty tired.

You never know

So, about a month ago, we took the kids (minus O—he was still baking) to an indoor play place at Thien Son plaza in Phu My Hung.  It was about 7 or 8 when we finished & we hadn’t had supper, so we debated whether we should just go home or brave it & eat out.  We decided we were up for it (“it” being the unpredictability of a special needs 3 yo and a “normal” 2 yo who were both hungry & tired).   We decided we’d try out Pho Bien, a restaurant specializing in seafood.  I hate seafood, but the menu had a few non-seafood items, which is where I found this:

wasn't expecting R10

Was a little curious to see how it was served, so we ordered it.  Ends up to be fried eggs with porK.  Slight typo there, guys!  But then again, glad that’s what it was…we had the kids with us & all…….LOL.