Someday I’ll be living in a big old city / And all you’re ever gonna be is mean

Woke up this morning to Skype with Mum and the boys. Teddy, our adorable five-pound apricot toy poodle, joined them and when he heard my voice over the computer, flew off the couch, past the computer and went bolting to the door. Cute but not too smart. He’s getting old and can’t triangulate sounds very well which makes for an entertaining Skype experience. He’s adorable as ever though and I miss him so much I could just squeeze his little head.

This past week of work was great! I got Monday, November 26 off while Bagheera went to teach her beginner teen class. I hung around the flat, had a power snooze, did a workout (something I’ve been neglecting since arriving), admired my body marks that then decorated our white flooring, then pulled myself together and washed the floors. That is something that both Bagheera and I are getting used to – the sheer amount of cleaning that must be done to keep from trekking black silt all over our flat.

We’ve been told, however, that the cost of hiring a maid who most times will clean, do our laundry and cook a few meals is around 20,000D an hour (which amounts to $1 Canadian). So we’ll be looking into hiring one of the ladies who take such good care of us at Vee You Ess in the new year.

We’ve always known that wages are insanely low here but what we didn’t realise is that even our Vietnamese co-workers, those teachers who teach the grammar portions of our courses, get paid less than us for doing the exact same (if not more) work. I don’t even want to think about how little our amazing TAs get paid.

Mum asked a good question this morning. She asked if the Vietnamese teachers resent us for the inequities. One would think that they would (and probably should) but in fact they are so warm and friendly towards us native English-speakers. Most Vietnamese revere us even though some of the foreigners (none of my friends) can be total dickwads and complete social rejects in their own countries. They have found a place to be “normal” if not better-than-normal in Vietnam.

I watched some drunk foreigner at a restaurant in the backpacker district last night take a ring of bracelets one of the female vendors was trying to sell him and throw it into the street to get her away from him. I was awestruck and even more saddened by the lack of reaction from the vendor.

I think she’s had this happen more times than I care to imagine. I wanted to punch him but I knew that would have been unfair. He was so loaded he looked like one of those classic Bozo the Clown Bop Bags – he would have just ricocheted back looking like nothing happened waiting for the next punch.


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