This Sunday evening was movie night. I was showing a movie from Iran and on the way there it was starting to rain. Rain here usually takes a heavy toll on attendance for anything, but it really hits on a Sunday evening. For once we started nearly on time. However, I was disappointed as I looked around and only saw seven students from my class of 38. During the movie people kept walking into the room, and I saw more of my students coming in. Then, with about 5-10 minutes left in the movie, the power went out. The power came back on, and in the process of restarting the LCD projector I talked to the monitor of my class and he told me that 30 students where there, which made me feel much better. Then the power came back on and we restarted, and got a little further before the power went off again. We were so close to the end that I just told people that they could go home. I thought the movie was a little artsy, and I was worried that most people watching it wouldn’t care for it, but afterwards a student came up to me and said “Thay oi!” (this phrase literally means “hey teacher,” and I’ve asked this student before why she addresses me in Vietnamese, and she just responded: “I like to.”). I asked her what she wanted and she asked for more information about the movie. Then a man I’d never seen came up and asked about the title in very good English and then wrote it on his hand (I later learned that he works in a company nearby).
Finally, me and three other teachers made it out of the room and decided that we were going to Quy’s Speaking Club. Quy is the name of a man who runs a small sidewalk restaurant which serves good grilled beef rolled up in leaves. One weekend, we decided that it would be a good idea to go there after English Speaking Club (which we abbreviate as E.S.C.), and we gone there a couple times on Sunday evenings after activities with students. Our little pun is to call this get together Quy S.C., because Quy sounds the same as the word “we” in English, so the whole thing sounds like E.S.C.
After eating beef for some time with a light drizzle falling on the awning above where we were sitting, we decided that it was time to head home. As we were leaving the owner/cook of the place grabbed my hand and said: “Thank you, teacher.” On the way home a group of kids yelled “hello!” in a friendly way, a way that made me think that they’d only seen a few foreigners in their lives. And to top everything off, when I was almost home a student said “Hi, Eric” as I drove to campus. These things may seem superficial, to an observer, but they just made me feel so appreciated, not only by the students and teachers at AGU, but by the people in the community as well. When these things happen it makes me never want to leave this place.