It’s been forever since I updated. My parents have come and gone after what seemed like a smooth visit and it was wonderful to see them. However, Christmas and New Years doesn’t mean much to us here in the university. The schedule is strange with different classes nearly overlapping. What it all equals out to is we don’t have much of a break in teaching, that is, not until the Lunar New Year at the end of this month.
Christmas was an actual holiday here this year! Last year it was mainly just Jon, Duc and I here, but this year there were people here and lots of fun and little presents on Christmas morning and a viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life, complete with tears. Then, a few days before New Years Eve, I had to take mom and dad back to Ho Chi Minh City and once again people disappeared into the vacuum of the international airport.
New Years Eve also happened to be the 6th anniversary of the founding of An Giang University, so there was a little reunion of people who worked at An Giang in the past, when it was a teacher’s training college. There was the traditional cake usually eaten on the Lunar New Year, and one friend of mine kept telling me: “A merging!”
However, because of the business surrounding the holiday, we waiting until the evening of the 2nd to do a little traditional cooking. One the many treats that my parents brought me happened to be two cans of sauerkraut. A teacher who works here, but studied in Bluffton when I was there had developed a taste for the wonderfully sour and salty cabbage and wanted to have a meal. Unfortunately, she was busy until around 7 p.m. While we waited, we went around to buy potatoes, milk, butter, pork, and of course salt and pepper. Finally, 6 of us were in the kitchen, peeling potatoes, washing pork, opening cans of sauerkraut, etc. The potatoes were prepared under the watchful eye of Steven, while Huyen and I discussed whether we were cooking the pork right. Finally, everything looked ready and we ate. It didn’t seem like there was that much, but it filled us completely. The pork could have been a little more tender, but for improvising, it turned out wonderful. Now that I’ve had my pork and sauerkraut to start the year, I have reason to think that I’ll have better luck than last year. But I’m not sure if that superstition holds true over here…