I had my first Vietnamese lesson today. I learned how to write out the alphabet and I also learned several new words, not bad for a first lesson I think. Christmas is approaching and I see on the televisions in the cafes that a blizzard is hitting the midwest rather hard. That seems so far away from me right now. This is one year where I have no hope whatsoever for a white Christmas. Oh well, absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

Although I keep the AC off in my main room, the shower with its sun-warmed water still has the capacity to take my breath away. My feet are cases in recovering, as they still bear the well-scratched scars from my first few days here. They also happen to be the dirtiest part of me, and the water turns brown when I wash them.

Jon’s dog, Jota, is gradually becoming more accustomed to being around me, and now he even has a bed in my room. Sometimes he even plays with me and we jump and prance around the room while dodging furniture.

The other evening, Jon took me out to the spot where he and Jota run. Jon drove, and I sat behind him holding Jota. He squirmed when he saw other dogs running around, but otherwise he sat nicely and enjoyed the wind. When we got out to the spot, Jon gave me a few pointers and then ran off with Jota on his leash. Then I drove. I drove a motorbike for the first time in my life. I’ve spent enough time on the back of them, but this was the first time I was in control. It was dusk and I never pushed it too fast for a couple reasons: first, this was my first time driving one of these things and wasn’t completely comfortable. And secondly, the faster I drove the more bugs I felt hitting my face and shirt. It felt wonderful to cruise the wide and nearly empty roads, but when I eventually get to traffic, it’ll be a whole new scenario. That day will be some time off.

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