Friday, July 11, 2008

I'm an Aunt!!!!!!

He's big, he's beautiful. He's Baby Moody!!!! My sister, Kirsten, and her husband, Mark, had their baby on July 9!!!! Yeah! He's sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cute! I can't wait to go home! I miss him already!


I went to Vietnam! That makes me cool! Holy moly! Okay, so first we went to Ha Noi. The layout is really neat. As we flew in it looked like a bunch of dark green islands in a sea of rice fields. The dark green islands are small hamlets with green trees and roads. They are each about one to two square miles. When the Vietnam war was going on Ho Chi Mihn decentralized the city because the Americans kept bombing it. Now Ha Noi is more centralized than before, but a lot of the prior city structure remains. The architecture is gorgeous. Super colorful town houses. Everyone eats dinner outside in front of their town houses. They point their chairs toward the sidewalk so they can talk to people who pass by. I love it. We went to a water puppet show, and then went to Ho Chi Mihn's mausoleum. I saw the embalmed body of Ho Chi Mihn encased in glass. After Ha Noi we flew to Ho Chi Mihn City (Saigon). Traffic is crazy!!!! We went to a rubber tree plantation, the Cu chi tunnels and then to the Vietnam war museum. It was a physically and emotionally taxing day. I came away with the convicition that if people go to war they'd better have a DANG good reason for it because it effects millions of innocent people for years and years after the fact. War is disgusting. Yuck, yuck, yuck. All I could think about was the last chapters of the book of Mormon. Luckily there are tons of people who are helping the victims and veterans from that war and the current tragedies now facing the earth. We haven't lost our humanity.

Monday, July 7, 2008


I'm in Luang Prabang right now...that's in Laos. I couldn't point to Laos on a map before I got here, but now I have spent two days floating down the Mekong river across Laos, and touring around a Laotian village and town. In Luang Prabang there is quite a bit of French influence because of the French occupation last century. But it's interesting because it's mixed with Asian culture as well. So what you get is the most amazing baguettes ever, quaint French architecture embedded into Southeast Asian radiance. Yesterday I had the opportunity to offer alms to the monks who walk the streets early, early in the morning collecting sticky rice. The streets were covered in bright orange and yellow as hundreds of monks made their way through the streets. We visited a gorgeous Buddhist shrine located in a cave at the base of a huge limestone cliff. The food is really good; they use a lot of fish, however, I finally got the dreaded Southeast Asian food sickness. That wasn't fun. Today we went to a huge waterfall. Beautiful! It's pretty amazing here and tomorrow I fly to Vietnam! Wahoo!

Last Days at Soppoengwitta School

It's hard to believe, but I am finished teaching. Even though it was only a one and half month thing and I am really happy it's over because I was running out of lesson plan ideas, I was quite sad to say goodbye to the children. On the last day Pa-ah (director) formally said goodbye to us during morning announcements and thanked us for our modesty and politeness (cause apparently the Austrailian who had come to teach before had questionable teaching habits) and then later that day served us a special lunch of Pad Thai (our favorite) with all the teachers, in the special teachers' room. It was a great honor. During lunch some of the 6th graders had Jessica and I come out to the candy store and there waiting was a group of about 20 students including one student who had a colorful box over his head that said "teacher!" All in unison the kids yelled, "We love teacher!" and then they dramatically pulled back a blue cloth off a desk to reveal a beautiful piece of artwork made out of Popsicles sticks, glue, and paper. They gave me my favorite chocolate treat and ice cream because I had bought it a lot while I was there. We were touched. The things I'm going to miss the most is Kru Daretts laugh when she told us about the 'bird hotel', Gong's happy chatter in the mornings, the little girl who everyday, without fail, ran up to me and exclaimed, "Aree! Beautiful," the other little girl who insisted on giving me a hug every time she saw me and because of her height her hands always wrapped right around my bum, the teachers who always told us we were getting fat, and heck, even the rambunctious first grade boys who rolled around on the floor wrestling each other through our entire lesson. Good times. So here's my tribute to the Soppoengwitta School. To all the teachers who drove miles to teach the low income children, to Pa-ah who sacrificed all his time and money for the betterment of the students and their educations, and especially to all the children who are fighting against the poverty cycle and helping to bring their families and their culture a better future. I will miss you all!