Category Archives: Vietnam

#3: Kids Around the World

Now, as a self-admitted “own child-a-phobe” I am actually quite enamored of children. Especially other people’s children. I was raised to respect little people as just that…deserving respect and to be heard as much as any adult.

Some people pointed out that I did not blog about some places. Vietnam was one of those. For a few reasons I just didn’t get the chance to share my love of Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon with the world. The main one being that I did my service visits in this port. I spent one day at a School for the Disabled (I’m not sure how I feel about that term, is it right? I mean they taught ME how to tell them my name using American Sign Language (ASL)) and another at a Day School which had kids from all socio-economic brackets.

Those kids and we loved every minute of it. Kids everywhere are the same, unbiased, affectionate, curious, kind-hearted, hard headed, desiring to give and receive love. I still don’t want any of my own, but I had a great time playing with kids from Brazil to China. Peek-a-boo, the Hokey Pokey…magic, no matter what language barriers separate you. And little boys….all of them, I spent literally about an hour “playing” karate with these two. Thank God for my very own 10 year old nephew. I knew exactly what to do.

We loaded them up with stickers, pens, pencils, bubble gum, toothbrushes and one professor did magic tricks! the funny thing was that most of these kids have NOTHING, school isn’t free so their families are scraping together the $35 US/year it takes to send these guys and girls to school. Makes you appreciate our (admittedly) flawed but free and compulsory system here in the US huh? Anyway, I think that cheesey Whitney Houston song has it right…”I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way….”  Plus, they’re just so darn cute, it makes you feel like your heart will burst out of your chest.

#4: Cooking Class: Vietnam

This was hands down my favorite cooking class. Possibly the best one I’ve ever taken, and as you know, I’ve taken one or two 😉

First, the class was all of $36 including our crazy taxi ride way out to the facility. If you are EVER in Vietnam and you like to cook (or eat) head out to the Vietnam Cookery Center.

Second, I arranged it myself and ended up w/ 7 of my SAS students who wanted to go…so we did. And they LOVED it. That’s Isaiah aka “Zeke” pictured, Shaan got into it and here’s a couple pics of the remaining 5 students I took.

Third, the chef and his assistants were hella-funny, great humor, phenomenal facility, great menu and all the little touches that most places don’t do. The let us take pictures w/ the head chef, gave us each a “diploma” and each of us had our own individual work station and we followed along and made our own meals to our tastes as the chef led.

The cooking class in China was a favorite in terms of being in a top notch international facility w/ real chefs in training. India was great because of the outdoor facility and evening of relaxation and Capetown’s class was great for the info on spices and the spices that I shipped back home. In fact, I just made a Chicken Braai for my family w/ some of those spices…and it was goooooood!