It's been exactly a month after that slightly spur-of-the-moment trip to Hanoi in Vietnam. Slight because I was half hoping that I'd get that opportunity to study for at least a week overseas. But yeah, kept my expectations at the minimum because the universe usually plays tricks on me. Hehehe. Anyway, Paulo Coelho was right. When you want something, the universe conspires for it to happen. Two weeks before the scheduled start of the short course, I received an email congratulating and inviting me to participate. Quite like manna from heaven. Hahaha. When the organisation I work with agreed to finance the course registration fee and half of the airfare, I was ecstatic. Bonus blessing indeed!
Of course, the trip wasn't all bed of roses. The weeks before it, I had to work overtime to meet all of the requirements and preparations for the project entrusted to me plus school stuff that I had to submit before I leave. It
wasn't easy. I can't get too excited lest I botch the work I'm doing as of that moment. At one point, I thought: should I just not go and prioritise work and academics? But on the other, I felt I cannot let this opportunity pass me by. Again. I already had a chance last time to present a paper in an international conference in Davao but I ditched it for work. I cannot let that happen again this time. So yeah, I pushed through with the trip.
When I got there, I was quite nervous. I dunno if I'd make friends during the whole course or if I'd be able to participate during the discussions. I mean, I'm confident with my command of the English language but I'm not really the talkative type so yeah, not sure how the whole thing will go about. But thank God for adding a dose of courage, I was able to muster enough to speak, participate and meet new people. It also helped that my classmates were quite intrigued about the Philippines. Their usual assumptions bordered okay to downright funny:
- They thought English is our national language. Told them no. The Thomasite teachers brought by American imperialists taught early Filipinos in English. Most Filipinos also grew up with Hollywood culture and are in love with anything Western or American. The same love for American culture remains. The results of a certain survey saying we love US more than anyone else proves just that. Hahaha
- Filipinos are mostly chubby. Whuuuut. Ok. Because we love to eat, that is why. Most of our gatherings serve food for everyone, usually with two to three hour intervals. But but but, I have a slimmer frame according to my Vietnamese friends. Naxxxx.
- Filipinos are great singers. Usual examples include Charice, Christian Bautista and Lea Salonga. Told them Filipinos love to sing. We have karaokes everywhere and singing has become a favorite past time for most. But not all are can belt out those notes perfectly. Like me. Hahaha! I tried you know. Hahaha!
Anyway, as I have said, it was a great and awesome experience for me to gain new friends from different parts of the globe. It was also enriching to learn about their culture and the work that they do. I have a classmate who is a Vietnamese-American working at a large development group. She took a leave and travelled halfway across the globe to see her hometown for the first time. The peace workshop we had happened just in time for her month-long visit which was good for her. There's also this unassuming man who happened to be the leading poet in Bangladesh. He even gave us copies of his book and signed it. Waaaw. Hahaha. And then, some of them teach at the university-- two are from Nepal, the other's from Thailand and then there's also from Hawaii and South Korea. Others have also equally interesting backgrounds and stories that might overwhelm this post. Hahaha. But seriously, this is something I want to experience and participate in again.
More about the lessons on other blog entries. For now, enjoy the photos posted in my Flickr account. Did a bit of street photography. Some of them are here:
|Everyone's dancing during the cultural night. I'm taking pictures and hopping in between. Hahaha!|
|Oreo milkshake. Viet style.|
|This is the poet from Bangladesh. We call him Mr. Language, I dunno why. Giang gave him that name.|
|Giang (in green) tried to test if the cow dung was hard enough for her to stand on. It was not. Fail.|
|Bike! Still lacking the biking abilities. Pffft.|
|A teapot's inside this basket to preserve heat. |
|Well, well, well.|
|This is some sort of a snack made of clear, glutinous rice and diced mushrooms wrapped in |
mint leaves then dipped in vinegar. Yum!
|Here's the fish our classmates caught. Grilled and served on a banana leaf. :D|
|Traditional Vietnamese head gear. Even motorists use this. Hahaha!|
|Everyone's tired from touring the museum. |
|Traditional Vietnamese house. That's me trying to get down the steep stairs. Scaredy cat.|
|I love these hand painted necklaces! They're a bit expensive but still worth taking home as souvenir. |
Got two necklaces, mine's painted with a fish, the other which I gave to the self-help guru friend is painted with a cat.
|Bargain finds at the Old Market.|
|That's Erkin buying his bargain backpack. |
|Hanoi traffic at night.|
I promise I'll go back. :D
Labels: 2014, 2015, 23, acad stuff, advocacy, asia, blessings, Hanoi, peace, school, southeast asia, Vietnam