On Wednesday I went out to a province where MCC is helping to sponsor a project. I happened to be there on the day when a workshop was being held concerning rice farming with a new kind of hybrid seed which had a higher yield, but required different planting, slightly more care, and more fertilizer than what was being used presently. It was all in Vietnamese and luckily the MCCer who took me was sitting next to me and translating the major points. Looking back at the day now, I think that I was mainly just frustrated a lot of the time. There were so many people who wanted to communicate with me and tell me stories and joke (I could see it in their eyes and faces), but all I could do was smile back and feel like an idiot. I need to begin some real study of this language.

Yesterday I had two rather impromptu Vietnamese lessons, one with the maintenance/security person at the MCC office and the other with the cook at Ruth and Lowell’s house. With the cook I even had the aid of a Vietnamese-English (or Viet-Anh) dictionary, yet I misunderstood her question and answered completely wrong–this mistake was pointed out by Ruth right when she was finished with her Vietnamese language lesson.

Dinner was nice last evening as Tra came over to Ruth and Lowell’s. Tra was at Bluffton for a semester, but she also traveled with our group the first time I came to Vietnam in 2003. After dinner we sat around the table and laughed and ate little tangerines.

I hear that this afternoon the staff here at the MCC office are having some little thing to say goodbye to me. I find this interesting. I’ve only been here a week, yet these people want to acknowledge my presence by getting some food and drink together in the afternoon.

Oh well, despite all that, I’m looking forward to heading down south to Long Xuyen on Sunday. I’ll be able to unpack my suitcase, finally. I’ve been living out of it since October 25 or so.

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