Christmas time started here at 05.30am Christmas Eve.
We all had to work the usual torturous Saturday shift, four 2 hour lessons, starting at 07.30am. Although you have to get into work at about 06.30am to stand any chance of getting a decent board pen before they’re all taken or to grab some crayons for the uhohtwentyminutesofthelessonleftwhatshallIdotowastetime colouring activity. Usually I would finish at about 7pm on weekends but as it was Christmas Eve the school closed at 5pm. We had grand plans to go roller skating, get ice cream and then go out, but these were disrupted by indecisiveness and sheer exhaustion.
Come 8pm, we had ended up lying on a mattress on our living room floor (still no sofa!) watching a horror film called ‘Orphan’ whilst lazily dithering about what to do. Amidst this indecision there was a knock at the door. This confused us as the only people we know in the area all live in the house we were sat in, who would knock on our door?! It turned out to be our neighbour/estate agent whose office is next door. He was extremely excited and instructed us that we were to come immediately to his house. This was all a bit odd. He stressed that we really did have to come immediately. Feeling slightly amused and inquisitive we grabbed our flipflops and followed the enthusiastic Vietnamese estate agent into his abode.
Turns out, most Vietnamese people think the 24th of Dec is Christmas day and so they were throwing a party. We were the only westerners there and consequently REALLY TALL as usual. There was a seafood barbecue with giant shrimps the size of my head (only a slight exaggeration) and an impressive buffet. There was also music, karaoke and a tonne of presents. Apparently you’re supposed to bring a present, put it on the table, then everyone picks a random present. We felt pretty bad because they gave us presents and we didn’t bring anything! I was given a delightful wooden horse which will definitely come in handy at some point in my life (cough). Another thing we learnt, Vietnamese people say Christmas with ‘ch’ as in church, so it’s more like ‘tristmas’. This is understandable, who am I to criticise their grasp of English phonetics when I can’t say half of theirs! We adopted this new pronunciation and did a beautiful karaoke rendition of ‘last tristmas’ by Wham.
After the party we went out to some bars and saw in Christmas day with a Philippino motown cover band and lots of fake snow/probably just shaving foam.
I will continue the rest of our Christmas journey tomorrow. Right now I am so tired I need to sleep for a very long time, I have stupidly agreed to go to the gym very early in the morning to do circuits with an enthusiastic personal trainer who I think may very well destroy my ability to move for a few days.