I’m mostly packed and my anticipation is building. I’ll be settling down in Ho Chi Minh City tomorrow to begin my language study. It seems that I have a problem staying in one place for very long.

I’m also pretty exhausted from moving all my stuff upstairs to Jon’s old room today. There was much extraneous cleaning to be done, in addition to signing for exams and short meetings and forms to be filled out in some of the offices here on campus. However, it’s not that I won’t be visiting Long Xuyen for an extended period, I’ll be back in a little over 2 weeks to attend a friends wedding.

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Jon disappeared into the airport today, wheeling a dog cage containing Jota, and is currently en route to Los Angeles. He, along with Jack and Julie, have been the names that I have always associated with Long Xuyen. They have always been here when I’ve been here, and now Jon is the first to fly away, and Jack and Julie will follow later this summer.

After Jon left, Jack and I went back to the hotel to relax a little. When we turned on the TV, we found a baseball game. It was nothing compared to the excitement of the playoffs last fall, but it was still nice to see. The Detroit Tigers were visiting the Yankees and of course the Yankees won, while Jack and I discussed our mutual hatred of the team and the way they acquire talent (and of course they won the game too).

Baseball has been a big part of my upbringing. This is the first summer that I’ll not be playing catch with my family or selected friends that enjoy it as well. It seems that during the summer, if the weather is nice and my whole family is having a cookout or celebrating something, the gloves come out of the garage where they are kept most of the year, and we start playing. Usually it’s just catch, but sometimes dad gets out a bat that I was given when I was 13, and we take turns hitting to each other. I had a few stints in little league in Canada and South Dakota, but nothing really organized for an extended period. Playing catch on the lawn is a great excuse to run around and act young and be out in the fresh air, and the more I think about it the more I miss it. And people here only have a very general knowledge of the game, sometimes not more than the name. However, I think I’ll be teaching an American culture class next semester, and perhaps I could work something in about the beautiful game of baseball…

We went to a soccer game yesterday evening. It was a tense match between the An Giang team and the national post office. An Giang played well in the first half, and was leading 2-1 at halftime. However, at halftime an An Giang fan tried to climb over a fence in the stands to where the supporters of the opposite team were sitting. This led to more tension in an already tense game. The police went running around in the stands and then escorted a man out.

In the second half the An Giang players were getting tired, and the score was eventually tied at 2-2. A player from An Giang was nearing the goal of the opposing team and the opposing player hit the An Giang player, from what I saw and heard people say. Then the benches cleared. All of the players on the bench, all of the coaches, and refs went charging out to where the players were fighting. Then the police went running out on the field. However, when the police were out trying break up the fight, people from the crow started throwing things at the opposing team’s bench. The police had to run back to the stands to get people to calm down. But it still wasn’t the end. A foreign player from the other team gave the crow the one finger salute, which is not a gesture used here, but people figured out what it meant. The fans were pretty much outraged at this point. The refs blew the whistle to end the game, but no one was leaving. We decided to make a quick exit. As we were riding away, we could still hear the yelling of the crowd, and we saw a jeep piled with more policemen headed to the stadium.

I still don’t know the end result of it all, but some friends told me that An Giang would have to pay a big fine for not being able to control its fans.

Last night was the final hurrah for the big group of foreigners in this town. We stayed out late and arrived en masse at the locked school gate about an hour after it was locked. Jon will leave Long Xuyen on Tuesday and Tom and Danielle will leave about a week after that. The old crowd will gradually drift away from this town over the course of the summer, like sand blowing in a desert. Maybe I could be included in that as well, as I hope to be headed up to Ho Chi Minh City soon.

I finally finished up my last class this morning around 7:40. It really is a load off of my shoulders. I came back to my room and collapsed with exhaustion. There seems to be little stability here: I am supposed to move to another room in the guesthouse soon, Jon’s room actually. The slightly homey feel that I’ve given room 104 will be swept away soon and I’ll be up on the second floor, which is more private and less likely to flood in the rain, which is nice.

Something that I haven’t mentioned on here because of my level of insanity is that the rainy season had begun. It’s so nice to go outside right after a rain and feel the cool air and dodge the puddles which form everywhere. However, if it doesn’t rain during the day, the sun shines and there is more humidity which adds to the heat. But there is always the anticipation and hope that a cool rain will fall and then people will retreat to their ponchos and role up their pant legs to deal with it all.

I apologize for not writing in so long. However, I think that I have a semi-reasonable excuse as to why I haven’t for the past week or so. First of all, Jon and I went to Ho Chi Minh City early last week to prepare for the group of teachers and students who would be arriving from EMU. Now all that is past and we are in the midst of a workshop where everyone together is tweaking this new English curriculum. It has been madness to say the least. And in the midst of all this chaos, back in Ohio, my parents celebrated their anniversary, my mom had a birthday, and mother’s day just pasted.

Things feel as though they are over the top in terms of stress and life being hectic. I’m still not sure if I’ll be able to go to language school this summer, and next week I have to finish up my classes yet here at AGU. And my computer stopped working as a little cherry on top of everything.

What I just wrote sounds very bleak and cynical, but things are actually quite well, I’m just a little strung out. Having the EMU students here is great, because I’ve been in their position before and I like showing them around and explaining certain things of the culture that I understand (It’s not much, but I’m learning).