Vietnam Trip 2013


After around 7 months later, I am finally posting this Vietnam Trip I went last September with my school. Was thinking if I should post cause I know it will be lengthy (due to the number of photos I've) but since I am free right now, I shall do this post.

Few weeks before the trip
Some background info before I proceed haha,
This is not my first overseas trip with the school but I think it's my first overseas community service trip. I totally forgotten that I have signed up for it until the teacher in charge texted me. Unlike those who went with me, I didn't go through any interview (which explains why I have forgotten that I signed up for it). And I really thank God for allowing me to go despite not being called up for an interview. And I have no idea I signed up for Vietnam (I kept thinking I signed up for Thailand instead).

One week before the trip
I was told to take jabs (which I don't think it is necessary but can claim so ya). I delayed in taking my jab because I wasn't sure what jabs to take and I have camp and stuff. So I only got to take my jab like a week before or even later. WORST MISTAKE EVER. I had fever 2 days before flying off and the jab actually needed like a week to be effective? I had a terrible stomach ache which lasted all the way till I reached Vietnam. I can't describe how painful the experience was. It' was an on off stomach ache and it felt like someone was twisting my stomach 360 degrees. I just wanna end this quick.

On the day of flying off
Yes I had terrible stomach ache but since it was on off, I was somehow a little bit better, but I just wanna lie down. I told no one about this because I wasn't sure if it's the jab or is it the food I had in camp. Woke up at 3am to get ready as G's dad is coming over to fetch TW and I. #thankful Because initially my plan was to sleepover at the airport since we needed to report at 5am. Ha, but that means no sleep for me and I will be tired the next day. On the airplane I slept in pain for 2 hours.

Day 1 in Vietnam
This was where/when we first met our Vietnamese friends. Anyway my stomach ache got better along the way and it lasted till like around the 4th day in Vietnam (so happy it stopped thus I can fully enjoy this trip).
Team B at Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City) Airport missing Jac because she was the photographer for the trip. P/S I have no idea why was I so tan.
Welcome meal by YMCA Vietnam. I was actually scared I couldn't adapt to the Vietnam food thus I actually went to vivo city and had pho to see if I can take it. Haha obviously I can because it is nice. And back then, when I stared at those dishes, I told myself it actually looks like normal Chinese dishes.
Stayed at Hoang Ngan Hotel for the first 2 days of Vietnam trip. 2 beds (1 single bed, 1 queen size bed) for 2 pax. So good Emoji And their hotel lobby aren't too bad too except for the part with people smoking there. We were supposed to wake up early for breakfast the next day but look who overslept and missed the alarm clock.
Day IDK what in Vietnam
So glad this trip has given us some days to relax and enjoy ourselves. First time sitting this little boat and I was so scared it will just break haha. Btw we did some shopping and due to my horrible stomach ache, I didn't enjoyed myself. I wanted go back to hotel so badly but everyone around me seems to be enjoying themselves, what's more I felt like fainting (maybe it was due to the stuffy environment at shopping place) but I have to endure. It was the worst shopping experience for me and I even got asked why was my lips so white.EmojiEmojiEmoji
I miss having coconuts every single day for breakfast. EmojiEmojiEmoji


FINALLY HAD PHO IN VIETNAM (THE LAND OF BEEF). 
Was so different from the one I had in Singapore. And they will threw in raw veggies inside which obviously I didn't cause I don't like the taste. 
 House visiting in Vietnam
Went to a villager's house and oh gosh, they cooked a wonderful meal for us (and cheers to coconut again). This time we got to cut open our own coconut but looking at how they opened it, it will take me forever to open and drink it haha. I went to help in cooking the omelette lookalike, which was so simple yet delicious. EmojiEmojiEmoji  That's basically how we spent half a day being a Vietnamese, and I survived. So I can marry a Vietnamese guy now hahaha.
School days in Vietnam
This is the start of our real community service (YEP) program. This place is so different from the city and the bus that drove us around couldn't drive in due to the narrow roads (of course we have other forms of transport, we didn't walk in). 
We were divided into 4 teams so first day there, team A and B were in charge of the classrooms (cleaning of the wall with sandpapers so that it will be easier to paint on it later). I wore the wrong outfit haha I didn't meant to dirty this outfit but ohhh well luckily they have laundry service in the hotel (and it's cheap too). I spoiled my sunglasses along the way, which left me with no sunglasses.
 I have never and I guess I won't have a chance to do this job in the future. And I am glad I got to experience this. Besides the darkness (cause I am wearing sunglasses indoor) and tiredness, the sense of achievement when you clear the dirty marks on the wall and making the wall so much smoother is priceless. Emoji
Jac and I decided to have a run opposite the hotel. 
Haha and I should share a very stupid experience of the both of us. Which is, we didn't know the water inside our hotel room is meant for us to drink. We both knew the small bottles are, but we didn't know the big bottle is also for us to drink. We kept thinking that we are supposed to pay for it, thus none of us open it. And we were always running out of water. I almost died running because of the heat + my body is lacking of water. I just wanna go back hotel and grab something to drink ASAP. But the hotel only gave us 2 bottles per room in a day thus we went to CY and G's room and took their water EmojiEmojiEmoji That's not all, every morning when we reached school, we will rush to refill water (okay I did cause I was so thirsty). 

AND THE BEST PART WAS? WE ONLY REALISED THAT THE WATER WAS MEANT FOR US TO DRINK ON THE LAST DAY.

Thanks to Mat, V and YH for coming over and realised that there were actually 2 idiots who didn't know.EmojiEmojiEmoji

The second awkward/retarded thing (only idiot like me will be like this)
I called the front desk staff for the wifi password. 
And here's how it went...

Me: "Can I have the hotel wifi password?"
Her: "Nine 9" (or is it eight 8, can't remember but is either one of the numbers)
Me: "Oh okay thanks."

I went to type 9 9 as the password which obviously didn't work because from what I know it requires at least 8 letters? So I decided to try typing 'ninenine' and I got so annoyed (thinking that she's trying to fool me or something). So I called again thinking she didn't understand me at first.

Me: "May I know what's the wifi password again?"
Her: (definitely anger/more annoyed): "Nine 9"
Me: "But I tried and it didn't work, okay never mind I try again..."

Obviously it didn't work AGAIN. So I have no choice but went all the way down (luckily I stayed on the 2nd floor) to asked. 
And just what's it actually.

"999999999"

9 times of 9.
EmojiEmojiEmojiEmojiEmojiEmoji

 My group of happy pills. After that day, I was assigned to teaching instead. Maybe God knows that my sunglasses broke and no one had extra to lend me. This was the first group of kids that I have taught in the school. Subsequently I went to other classes to teach also, but I just love this group so damn much. They are around 10 years old (primary 5 in their school) but they are so adorable.EmojiEmojiEmoji

Their enthusiasm in learning made me even more motivated to teach them although it was during their playing time (and I wanted play too haha). They will pull out a book to ask you how to pronounce those words in English. I know it was difficult for them to get those words right and I was so happy when they can actually remember what you taught. Each of them hold a special memory in my heart and I wished someday we will all meet again EmojiEmojiEmoji But it was difficult communicating with them because of the language barrier.
My favorite group of boys.
And we got tired pretty often (which explains this photo). We slept almost everyday during lunch break while waiting for them to come back. Although there will be some who chose to stay in school :')

Last day in school
We went to supermarket to buy sweets for them the day before as a farewell gift. And this group of girls welcomed me at the school gate with flowers. It was nice receiving them and knowing that they actually waited for us EmojiEmojiEmoji
The aftermath of receiving too many flowers. Haha kidding. I guess they like to put flowers onto my head and turning it to a garden. And I realised not much flowers were left in the garden oops.
My favourite boy Emoji he was the first to give me flowers and he started to give me like almost everyday haha, that's so cute of him. And others will follow which explains why the school is running out of flowers. He was so shy when I first met him. I find him pretty handsome because he looks a bit mixed blood, thus I said he's handsome in Vietnamese (đẹp trai) and he was soooo shy hahaa. But then he opened up and started talking to me, teaching me Vietnamese, protecting me when others wanna snatch my name tag land yard etc and also giving me flowers. Wa like boyfriend material, haha I bet many girls will fall in love with him (just like how I love him too).
And I taught this group of kids for only a day (I forgot what was the reason) but they are so nice to me. Gosh. They dragged me to their class when they saw me and asked me to teach them (they dragged me to the teacher's table and gave me the chalk). It was pretty confusing at start cause I have no idea what they want (due to language barrier) and I was hopelessly alone (LOL). No one to translate for me and I didn't know what they wanted to learn. So I just taught them some simple fruits and their teacher appeared from nowhere which means I have to go EmojiEmojiEmoji but it was a good short 10 mins with them.
 My 2 lovely kids from that class made this for me because they know it was my last day there with them and I will be flying off to Singapore soon. However, I forgot to take and left it in school EmojiEmojiEmoji I've no idea how did I managed to tell them in English with them replying in Vietnamese but somehow somewhat we managed to understand each other (or what I infer that we somehow managed to understand one another). It was purely amazing.
Not forgetting there's another group of kids from another class (I've no idea why did I kept jumping from classes to classes but it was indeed fun to know more kids) and a girl from that class gave me 2 huge coconuts as farewell gift?! #touched. I barely talk to each individual in the class and she actually remembered me and gave me gift.EmojiEmojiEmoji
My most adorable kids that I've taught the longest (others were just a day or two).EmojiEmojiEmojiEmoji
Well, of course I didn't teach alone. Here are the 5 that were with me to teach those kids and thanks Chang for constantly translating for us and teaching us simple Vietnamese along the way. 
Also to the other 3, thank you for helping and please come Singapore soon Emoji
Last day of Vietnam
Actually the last few nights were the best and we got a chance to bond even more EmojiEmojiEmoji
Found a poem online that speaks so much of how I am feeling right now (some parts are not relevant but ya you get me).

We started out as strangers scared to say hello, 
But now the weekend is over, and we are begging not to go. 
Friends have been made, stories have been shared, 
Lessons have been learned, and for our futures, we are more prepared. 
But what will you take with you when you leave this place today? 
Will you hide behind the curtain in a scared and timid way? 
Don’t turn your back on those who want and people who are in need. 
Build on the skills that you have made because you were born to lead! 
We are the leaders, the role models who people choose to admire, 
So let’s set goals and when they are achieved, let’s shoot even higher. 
Make a difference; don’t be afraid to be the change you wish to see 
With enough focus and determination, that change will come to be. 
So be thankful for this weekend and the memories we have made 
Because the time and energy that we have sacrificed will surely be repaid 
Through the people that we help and the hours that we serve 
And the lives that we will touch through all of our selfless work. 
As we reflect on this past weekend, look deep into your heart 
And ask yourself will you be the drive for which change and service will start. 
(Source: x)

In conclusion, I am just so freaking glad that I went for this trip.

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