When I described the scene where Nam gives Katherine his poncho, none of you pictured him walking up behind us and yelling "Marjorie!" did you? I know he can walk, because he has taken two steps away from the bike to get my Number One breakfast, but his bike is part of him. I am aware that I take this detail for granted; I need to remember that you all have broken necks and blank minds regarding Vietnam, right? (from my 6th GRADE! post). All of the mototaxi guys are that way~their bikes are their legs. All of them have designated spots on the street where they lounge around on their bikes waiting for customers. I bet Nam has had his legs since 1959 (age of his Honda SuperCub).
Today he is supposed to pick me up at 6 pm at the gym. Usually, he gets there about twenty minutes early and waits outside the gate. Tonight I get there early and he's not there. At 5:59 I begin to dread having to hire another driver when he comes speeding up the street. He never speeds. When he reaches me, he lets out this big belly laugh and points to a clock in a nearby store. "6 o'clock!" and then something like "I made it by six o'clock!"
Instead of dropping me off at the door, I ask him to drop me off at my wonton soup stand. Another belly laugh. Now I have heard it twice in one day (I've never heard it before). He thinks it's so funny that I am eating at this stand. I ask, "Is it OK with you if I eat here?"
He shrugs and nods yes, but I know there is more to the story; after all, this dialogue is with Nam and it's about food and it's a stand I have chosen on my own. When I am done eating, I decide to go straight to the Bum Bum for a massage (I didn't actually work out at the gym, another story...but didn't want you to think I would go all sweaty for a massage with Tran). Remember that Nam's extended family lives a few doors down. I am out in front of the salon when I hear, "YO!" (I swear, his call sounds like "YO!") and "Marjorie!" He has found me again. This time, he has his poor nephew in tow for translation purposes. The version I am going to tell you is about one tenth of the length of the real version, because Nam repeats everything he says at least three times. Here it is:
"My uncle want to know, did you think the soup good or bad?"
"Good!" I answer. Here we go.
"He says he knows a place much cheaper and better. Between here and his village. Next time tell him you want soup. He take you there."
("He want to know, was the soup good or bad?...etc, etc.)
You know you will be getting the Nam's Village Soup review very soon.
Other news: today I sent an email to Mark, my principal, suggesting that -in the spirit of American 6th grade camp tradition- we take the entire 6th grade class to Angkor Wat in Cambodia as part of the ancient history curriculum. He wrote an email back saying that he thought it was an interesting idea, but that he worried about child kidnapping and a possible war between Thailand and Cambodia. I told him I didn't remember child kidnapping or war being a part of my sixth grade camp at Fort Casey. He suggested we go to Hoi An in Vietnam...it's supposed to be amazing.
And...I go to the office girls' room today and ask if I can buy a t-shirt and track pant uniform combo. The girl looks simply horrified. "For students, not for teachers!" She doesn't understand when I say "It's for Halloween." I must go and get another girl I know who speaks English. She comes to the office and tells the girl and they both giggle over the idea. I'm sure she assumed that I planned to wear the uniform to teach in, which, actually, sounds pretty good!
And...everyone got word of 6E's decorating extravaganza. Now 6E is very upset because "Everyone is copying us" and "6C destroyed some of our decorations while you were gone. We hate 6C!" and more drama, drama, drama. We aren't learning anything this week, but thank goodness there are still some places in the world where you can find Halloween in its pure form!