Saturday, May 28, 2011

Binh Thanh

Yesterday was my last day at Leroy Drive. It was bittersweet for sure. I still hate goodbyes - I used to loath having to say goodbye to relatives at our family parties (it may be a bit of an exaggeration but I kind of remember actually hiding so that I wouldn't have to make the rounds of goodbyes... I wouldn't put it past me haha). I'm so glad that Koura was with me at school yesterday because driving away from that school for the last time was hard and it helped to have Koura smiling up at me from the backseat.

AIS (American International School) is located in the Binh Thanh District of Ho Chi Minh City. Below is a picture from Wikipedia that shows where the Binh Thanh District is within the city. I like that the Saigon River runs along the district!
My paperwork came back from the Embassy of Vietnam in DC this past week! Lenny picked it up for me from the post office... When I called him from school to see if it was complete or if there was a letter saying I was missing things, Lenny opened it and said, "I can't read a word of it... it's all in Vietnamese!" haha. I do think I'm all set though - it looks just like the samples that the HR lady from AIS sent me. Whew!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ROCK Vietnam!

Below is TJ, a kindergartner, singing my "theme song" that he made up for me! He said that I can play it whenever I miss him and Leroy Drive. "Awwwwww!" ...There's a dance that goes with it too but he was too shy.  :P

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rice Noodle Bowl!

I went out for Vietnamese tonight with two librarians in my district - Saigon Bowl on Federal and Alameda. One of them - Jenn - is the one that tipped me off to the position in Vietnam. I ordered a Rice Noodle Bowl with egg rolls and chicken... deeee-lish! I love Asian food but am also looking forward to the French influence in Ho Chi Minh. People that I've talked to that have visited Vietnam say that HCMC's food is spectacular. ....umm ....ok! I L-O-V-E food.  :D

AND (I don't want to say for sure until it's gone and the $ is in my bank account... but) I think I've sold my car already! Craziness. I will miss her. I never realized how darn cute my car was until Lenny took pictures of her to put on Craigslist. Nice job Len - because the car sold itself in less than a day! (And to Mom and Dad - thanks for hardly driving her... I think the low mileage was the 'key' to the sale.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy Birthday HCM!

Happy Ho Chi Minh Day!

My mom is the BEST and most thoughtful person... she got me a Ho Chi Minh Day present (and she knew just what to get for me too! ...Pimsleur's Vietnamese CDs to begin learning). THANKS MOM!  :)  XOXO

I mailed my packet of notarized and authenticated documents to the Embassy of Vietnam today! I hope they make it there, are just what they need, and make it back to me before my flights on July 12th.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mmmm books!

The books that I've been waiting for came yesterday! Here are the two pocket-sized lifesavers that I bought:

AND while I was working at Broomfield's public library I picked up this gem for Andy and I to practice with...

And more library materials that I picked up to begin learning Viatnamese:
...The librarian at my little Ross Broadway branch helped me to find these. She asked if I was visiting Vietnam and I said, "Well... I'm moving there."  MOVING!!!  To VIETNAM!!! Oh my, oh my, oh my.   :D

Friday, May 13, 2011

Aaaand it's booked!

I booked my flight to HCMC (Ho Chi Minh City) this afternoon! That was big... both emotionally and financially :P least I'll be reimbursed for the financial part - and the emotional part is so worth it.

I leave Denver on Tuesday, July 12th and will arrive in HCMC that Thursday morning. AIS (American International School) will arrange for me to be picked up from the airport and for a hotel the first week. ...Then let the apartment hunting begin! I've already looked around a bit online and did find one apartment that I'm L-O-V-E with! I've contacted the realtor but haven't heard back yet ... and I want to see it in person first, so we'll see.

Other than the flight, I've kept busy with other to-do's... such as having my MA diploma notarized (I learned that one of our 3rd grade teachers is a Notary Public - who knew?!). Once the notarized police report arrives, I'll take both to the Secretary of State... I'm not sure what they will do but I printed a form, it will cost me $25 and they seem to know what needs to be done. From there, I send everything to the Vietnam Consulate in DC. Whew. After all of that - I hope it makes it back to me before my flight!

I've scheduled 3 different doctor appointments... and I suppose I still need to set up immunizations buuuut I am still pumping myself up for that one! Getting blood taken this morning was a big enough hurdle for a bit. (Uggghhhhh.)

Now, looking at my pre-departure checklist... I'm almost done! ...Although there is still much to do in the next two months, I'm getting there and I have a feeling that Vietnam will not only let me into their country... but love me (and my crazy frizzy humidity-filled hair)!

FUN NEWS: I wrote back and forth a couple of times last night with a variety of staff at AIS! That was exciting... they all seem very friendly and their apparent love for Vietnam makes me more and more excited. The high school and elementary librarians seem great and I know I will look forward to our monthly planning times together.

Oh - and on Barb Stuart's recommendation, I'm including a picture of the HCMC city map and travel guide that I have gotten so far. I love this version of Fodor's guide because it has pictures and maps throughout! It's interesting and user-friendly - yes, please! I'm waiting on a phrasebook, English-Vietnamese dictionary, and fiction book: Cracker: The Best Dog in Vietnam. (I have 3 copies of this book in my library at school but have not read it yet - it was a Colorado Children's Book Award nominee this past year!)

Oh... and there's the cutest travel alarm clock ever in the middle... but it does not seem to want to work.  :(  I think I will need to exchange it for a different one instead of hoping the alarm actually goes off when needed.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Overwhelmed... but mapping it out

Two days ago I received an email from the HR lady at AIS in Ho Chi Minh... including SEVEN attachments of things that I need to read through and get done before leaving. After spending 3 hours reading through it all on the couch, I felt overwhelmed and stressed... buuuut then I just became excited again!

Being (overly) organized helps me to calm down (weird librarian lady) so I made a binder of everything Vietnam and plan to take it one step at a time.

Yesterday I got 24 passport photos of myself (24?!?! ...seriously - they said to bring 2 dozen) and requested a notarized police report. Apparently, if there is a warrant out under my name, I'll be called in to the police department instead of receiving the query letter in the mail.  :P  Then... beyond scheduling multiple doctor appointments, I am attempting to complete a form that is in Vietnamenglish and where the form asks what I am requesting ... I have yet to figure out.

FUN NEWS: my friend Andy and I found where my school is located on my Ho Chi Minh City map!! I've taken some screen-shots from Google Maps so you can get an idea:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Well... I'm off!

Since finding out that I was losing my position in our district's budget cuts for next school year, I have been focusing on options abroad. I have wanted to teach abroad for some time now and this is the perfect situation / time to just go for it!

I have accepted a position as the middle school librarian at the American International School in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam!

I plan to leave sometime near mid-July... and it is a two-year contract. 

Let an adventure of a lifetime begin!

I plan to update this blog regularly during my time in Vietnam and travels to nearby countries.

In the words of my Poppy - "YAHOOOOOOO!"