Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Teachers Day!

National Teachers Day is November 21st every year. Yes this blog post is about a month late. Opps.

Its really cool that they celebrate teachers here- our school threw a HUGE party at The Intercontinental Saigon and gave us new book bags. Sweet. My roommate Brayden, and some friends from school took part in the extravagant dance performance. Andy and I had just gotten back from Phu Quoc that morning and were able to rush over to see the performance....but unfortunately not be in it.

Our students gave us cards, and flowers! So cute. One of my teenagers actually drew me a beautiful picture, it was obvious that she spent some time on it and it is now hanging on our wall of fun pictures :)


These are only MY books- Andy has just as many if not more........ thank god for wicker magazine holders.


Teacher Lauren

Zoo Time in Ho Chi Minh City!

Last week Andy and I went to the Zoo. Located in the heart of downtown, it was a very relaxing and shady place to spend the afternoon. For 8,000 VND each (or $.50) we could wander around the zoo all afternoon taking pictures and.........TOUCHING THE ANIMALS! The rules of what you can do at the zoo are very lax and it was a whole new experience being so close and open to the animals. 
(The above picture is the trashcans placed all cute! If only they could place these around the city????) 

At the giraffe section of the zoo there was a raised platform so that people could walk up and be eye to eye with giraffes! At first Andy an I went up and they were far away. But after only a few moments of standing there this guy came up and was so close I could pet it. Getting ready for a photo opp quick I turned to smile at the camera. Andy was able to get a cute picture RIGHT before the giraffe then swung its neck and head butted my arm. Ow. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Who knew giraffes were so angry. Andy yelled at me to come back over towards him quick while I was still in shock from being hit from this cute animal. Andy and I watched from afar while other people came up and tried to pet it. Finally one older man came up and when the giraffe started to headbutt- he just grabbed its horn things and started roughly rubbing them. This giraffe whisperer told us "THEY just like their horns rubbed." Well maybe thats what he wanted but did he have to HEADBUTT ME!???? (and ps how did this guy know that? ) 

Here is Andy a safe distance from the BEAST! He told me about this video on youtube that showed Giraffes fighting with their large powerful necks- check it out:

No they did not let you touch the snakes :) 

HOWEVER- they did let you feed the Elephants from a safe distance. Next time I will be sure to bring some kind of food to give them :) 

So at this zoo, the lions and tigers were behind iron gates so it was not the best photo opportunity. 
BUT the white tiger was in a glass or plastic cage. It was just going to lay down when I approached the cage to get a picture. The instant I came in sight of the glass it ran towards me and jumped up to show me its large teeth! IT was the craziest experience, being at the zoo people always try to get a rise out of the animals to get them to do more than just lay around. But this time all I did was walk up towards it! More people ran over to take a picture and to get it to growl at them...but the entire time it was clear that the tiger just wanted to eat me. 
Maybe it doesn't like red heads.


I am now trying a new thing where I will put the pictures Andy and I take on PHOTOBUCKET and that way you can see all the pictures we take. There are a lot.  Here is the zoo album,  I will be sure to post more in the near future!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Phu Quoc!

Andy and I finally took some time off work and jumped on a flight down to Phu Quoc Island Vietnam. The flight only took 40 minutes to get there and the take off from Ho Chi Minh City was the best part.

We have been living here for almost 5 months now and know it is a large city, but seeing it from the air really helped to put into perspective of how vast the city is.

After landing and taking a cab to our beach bungalow destination we were in the ocean before 4pm.

The trip was exactly what I needed- we spent the week relaxing on the beach, exploring the island via motorbike (we found a cool waterfall and almost deserted beach) and one day we even did a tour and went snorkeling and fishing. My favorite part of the trip was the fabulous massage ladies on the beach that charged $5 dollars for an hour long massage.

The place was very lad back and chill- it would be fun to go with a group of people and just have your own party on the beach. So friends and family come visit us!

Here is the video- 6 mins long! (music by Mackintosh Braun)
(Click on youtube down in the right hand corner to have a large view on your computer) 

Miss you all,


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Parks and Recreation

Andy and I have been living here for more than 3 months already! Where has the time gone? We are about to embark on our first vacation! *Yes it seems like my life is a vacation. BUT I work 6 days a week and my only night off is spent thinking about students because I have a class at 745am the next day. SO this is our first time taking time off work and we will be spending 5 nights on the fabulous PHU QUOC~ an island south of Vietnam that is so close to Cambodia people with normal vision can see it! (another story to come later about my failed eye test at the medical check) 

We leave tomorrow right after class and will be staying on the beach!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Too bad the forecast is thunderstorms with a chance of unrelenting downpour. Here are some pictures from the other day, we went to a park near one of my campuses that has lots of pretty trees and people doing recreational Communist things. 

Cute Elephants! 

The park was filled with recreational dancers maybe I should join a group- Hodgie Joe would be proud. 

You cannot sit on the grass. Walk on the grass. Or be near the grass in these parks. But the pigeons have really nice bird houses. Blows my mind. 

Hey cute Caterpillar! 

Next blog will be featuring a new fun place! Get excited.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Happy Halloween!

They don't really celebrate Halloween out here like they do at home sadly.......

But we made the best of it and got dressed up at pretended that we were back home.

Andy- Pirate
Me- The black Swan (stephanie it was more difficult to find a costume here but I still thought of the Idea first :) 

Missing Home, Halloween Candy and our friends and family,

Lauren and Andy

Teacher! TEACHER!

THIS Is the School that we work for - well one of the MANY campuses. you can check them out at this website. Andy and I unfortunately work at different schools, but we teach the same material and age groups (adults at night during the week and all day and night on the weekends teaching children from the ages of 4 to 15) 


This was my first class ever! Young Learners- Teens on Saturday morning at 8am cute group :) 

This class was my Tuesday night adults :) 

Wednesday night adults 

Halloween! I let the kids do MUMMY WRAP which they loved. 

Sunday Morning BEENO Class! Awwwwww 

They are adorable right? Cute but hard to teach English to. One of Andy's students around this age pooped his pants in class the other day hahahaha they had to evacuate class :) 

Such angels :) Sometimes. 

Teacher Lauren

Happy wOmAns Day!

 Here in this fabulous country they have an entire day dedicated to women! Not just moms- WOMEN! My perfect boyfriend even bought me flowers that said Happy Women's Day :) My class went out to a cafe on break and all the men bought the women's coffee :) Good Job Vietnam.

........To bad in the country I come from everyday is my day.

I love this picture because Andy hates coffee so much and when I asked him to hold mine for a second so I could get out the camera he took a sip of it and made the most disgusted face like he had never tried it before.

This is right behind Notre Dame Cathedral right when the light turned green. Yes it looks like a race- because it is :)

This is a cool park we found where people take a break from the city and sit on the water and have snacks :)

It's also a very couple-y thing to do.

I would hate to have this guys job directing TRAFFIC!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dinner At Jackie's (Our Tour Guide)

This is Adam with "10 DOLLA" man- who sells only one item on Bui Vien. Once he's sold that he appears with a new pair of sunglasses or a watch. This time he didn't have anything and I know that he's just "selling" these items as a front and he really just gets drunk all day long. 

SOoOo- As I said during our tour of the CU Chi tunnels, JACKIE our tour guide asked us to come to dinner. He got his name during the War when Americans told him he looked like Jackie Chan. During our tour he said that he would be telling us about the war because we were on a tour that was in fact about the war, but he never talked to his wife about the war. When he invited us to go to his house for dinner I assumed that his wife would be making some kind of Vietnamese food and he mentioned singing Karaoke. Andy had to work so Adam Annette and I went to Jackie's house for a nice night of karaoke. 

It turns out, Jackie is divorced and lives with his mother. He build a room on top of their house and it's actually a really cool get up.

 He only listens to Johnny Cash and Michael Jackson.  

He also invited his closest friends and all of his brothers. 

Thanks Jackie!
I am so happy that your Karaoke Machine only played Vietnamese songs so I didn't have to sing :)


During our day off we took a bus to the Mekong Delta and did a little day trip. We did see some of the mekong when we were in Cambodia, but this was our first experience actually spending time there. I think it would be soooo cool to take a boat up to Lao or to Cambodia again and actually get to travel on it :)

 EWWW Large Snake. Andy and Adam were manly enough to hold this baby. I tried to get next to Andy for a picture and ran away like a little girl. Im sad I didn't get a picture with it and do a "Brittany Spears" pose holding it......


We got to try alot of exotic fruit, I know ive mentioned this before, but I LOVE the fun fruit here :)

 It was really neat riding a canoe under the coconut trees. It was really relaxing just hanging out while these two little Vietnamese women did all the work. Adam and Andy expressed regret not being able to help or do it themselves. And I was just thinking how happy I was to not have to figure out how to paddle. (Brittany I had a flashback to our Panama Canal Canoe experience..........god we were awful!)

I asked this old man for life advice. He didn't speak any English but I'm pretty sure what he said was that I was going to have a long wonderful life :)