I consider this to be a typical story about the ups and downs of life here at AGU, in Long Xuyen, and in Vietnam. Yesterday I cam home from class around 5 p.m. The weather was extremely hot and sticky, and I was looking forward to cranking up the A/C and listening to some music and just chilling/mellowing out. So I wearily climbed up the stairs to my room, and opened it, to an eerie silence. There was no power. I uttered some curse words under my breath and put my bag down, changed into some shorts and laid down on the sofa. It was too hot and sticky. There was no air movement whatsoever. I opened my door to try and get a breeze. But it was only hotter outside. Tyler and I bummed around and ate some unhealthy dinner, and the power was still out. I was sweating. A lot. And I was meeting students with Lillian in a few minutes. I decided on a quick shower. It was cold, and I’m used to using my electric water heater. When I came back later that evening, the power was on and I turned on the A/C to cool down.

Also, a few months ago we had internet problems at the guesthouse. Hendrik and I fixed it one night after scrounging around for parts in the kitchen and my closet, but it worked, and has continued to work all this time (it was held to the wall with tape). The disadvantage of our new system is that it limited the number of rooms with internet access to seven. Then we got a new volunteer here, and of course, her room had no internet for at least a week or so. We were waiting and waiting for someone to buy and/or install some equipment to get the internet service back up to normal standards. Then this morning, out of the blue, someone installed wireless internet in the guesthouse, and our new volunteer now has internet now. As we were celebrating this success of both wired and wireless internet, the internet suddenly stopped working…

Things are on, then they’re off. Things work, then they don’t. Things get done, followed by no progress at all. A typical story of Vietnam.

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