It’s Day 4 of my three-week Vietnam tour during the September holidays — just one of the four term-break holidays during the school year in Australia.
Although there is plenty to visit every holiday within Australia, I have been “keen” (Aussie, for ‘excited’) to see Asia since so many of my ESL students are from this continent.
I currently don’t teach any Vietnamese students, but in our language class, we are always sharing the words we know in other languages, so I’m excited to return and show the kids my ability to count to 10 and to ask for the bill!
Learning a new language is a big “plus” on my list when you travel.
The Vietnamese that I have met so far are great language teachers, and everytime I try out a few words from my Lonely Planet Vietnamese phrase book (an awesome purchase!) I get huge smiles. Of course, I learned yesterday that it’s probably because everytime I try to say “hello” (“sin jao”) we are saying “rice wine”–sort of an odd greeting…!
I’m stll working on the whole “6 tones thing”, but I love the way my phrase book sorts out the pronunciation…I just get a bit confused because of how Aussies would say some vowel combinations vs. my inner Canadian self.
Of course, my phrasebook fits in my pocket, so I can keep checking where the tone marker is meant to happen. I was first sold on the phrasebook when we travelled around Italy for 5 weeks. We met a girl who kept it on her constantly, and by the end of her trip, her Italian had become so good, we didn’t know how we would survive without her language ability (in the south).
Like Italian, Vietnamese “makes sense” as a language. Once you work out a few rules, you can have great success. And as I’ve already said, the locals are realy appreciative and patient so you can get plenty of practice speaking.
The other reason I really wanted to see Vietnam, was the photos my sister-in-law showed after her trip. The colours on the streets, let along the ocean are way better than even the National Geographic cliche will hold.
We’ve just come back from the Mekong River. Tonight we head to Mui Ne for some ocean resort love.
Better run to catch my bus! I love being a teacher today!!!