Half-way (I/III)

About a month ago, my Fulbright cohort convened for two days in Đà Lạt where we shared updates and stories of successes and failures teaching in gifted high schools, colleges, and universities across Việt Nam. After hearing from everyone, I felt a renewed sense of inspiration to get back into the classroom, to return to my students, to revamp my curriculum, to resume teaching. I felt excited and motivated again, remembering my purpose for coming to this country, because since arriving in my province, I’ve experienced a gradual decline in actually wanting to be here. This mid-year meeting has been, in many ways, refreshing.

It’s been a little over five months since I left home to move around the world to teach English. I look back now and am astounded at how fast time has flown, how much I’ve grown, and how much I’ve learned (more) about myself. I knew coming here I’d expose myself to many learning opportunities and challenges, whether they were laid out in the open or disguised and hidden in the dark.

Being half-way through my Fulbright fellowship, I thought I’d take the opportunity to reflect on three key experiences so far: my classroom, my community, and myself. I’ll be splitting my mid-year reflection into three parts, beginning first with my classroom.

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Weekend in Đà Nẵng


I spent the weekend with some friends from Fulbright. I wasn’t really expecting much except for beach days, good food, and great company—and that’s what I got. It was great catching up with friends and hearing about their experiences teaching while also having the opportunity to share how I’ve been doing.

On top of that, though, I really valued being surrounded by familiar faces whose voices didn’t make me feel…alone anymore. I’m looking forward to seeing these goons again.

So with that being said, I didn’t really take on the role of ~tourist (hence the lack of scenic photos). In fact, I slept in Saturday morning; everyone else (except for Danielle!) woke up early to hike the Marble Mountains. (Obviously, no regrets there!) I knew I would be coming back to Đà Nẵng in a few months for a separate trip. I decided that it would be then that I’d tour the area (+Hội An).

I just wanted a weekend to relax, sit by the beach, watch the waves, have good conversations, watch a movie, eat seafood, laugh.

Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. And check.

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Núi Bà Đen

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I spent my Saturday morning enjoying the views from Núi Bà Đen (or “Ba Den Mountain”).

I hopped on a cable car that took me about a third of the way up the 1000 meter mountain. After getting off, I hiked briefly up some pretty steep steps and rocks before calling it quits. I perused through some pagodas and temples, covering my nose from the fiercely burning incense. Despite the rain clouds looming over the city, the air remained crisp and fresh.

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