The thermometres in Hanoi showed 41 degrees a few days ago. That was a record in the last sixteen years. The steam was so dense that you could cut it, the asphalt temperature reached 61 degrees, some houses were even burned down.
For Westerners, who are not used to such temperatures, the air conditioning is almost necessary, but here in the kindergarten where we have a room, we did not have air conditioning at that time. Now we have it.
From the table to the table
Despite the weather conditions, here in Soc Son, we have a great opportunity to learn about Vietnamese culture, people and work with children.
In the previous article, I mentioned the unforgettable reception we had at our arrival. The reception lasted over the first week of stay at the Capitola Preschool.
We were invited to family dinners almost every night: at Victoria’s parents staying nearby, with her sister, who also lives not far away, in a restaurant near the nursery run by Victoria’s Uncle and known for the best ‘Hot Pot’ in the neighbourhood…
Food in Vietnam is really something special and relationships among people are usually established during the meals.
A large table and there is a plate full of various vegetables (raw and cooked), Vietnamese noodles, soups, meat, spring rolls and refreshing hanoi beers.
Food is so delicious. Once I asked Hai (Victoria’s husband) if he knows the recipe, how to stop eating such good food, after you’d been full.
‘The only way is to go to the end,’ he replied.
And the food is healthy. There is a large garden with vegetables in the courtyard and next to it there is a henhouse. I will never forget how Victoria’s father grabbed the cock by its feet and took it home on a motorcycle so that he could dine us decently in the evening.
When it comes to celebrations or family gatherings (usually once a month), the traditional rice spirits must not be missing on the table, where people can eat and make friendships. This is really interesting.
The spice is most often poured into a large bowl, from where the guests take the brandy out with little glasses.
When someone chooses to have a toast, one comes to the person with whom he wants to confirm his friendship, they exchange a few words, propose a toast, drink and shake hands.
When there are too many friends
Everyone at the table usually toasts with each one, especially with the one who he does not know well or he wants to show a special respect.
Now you can imagine us having such dinner with more than twenty Vietnamese, each of them (absolutely everyone!) wanted to make friends with us. Silva could get away with a coke but I had no excuse. If I shorten, I spent the night with my head in a toilet bowl.
The Path out of Poverty …
Victoria’s family has an interesting story. It is one of the wealthiest families in the Hanoi area. Her father has a large factory with building materials and quite a few properties. But the beginnings were difficult and modest.
“At a time when my mom was pregnant with me, we were so poor that we could not even afford rice every day,” says Victoria.
At that time, the father, together with his family friend, decided to act. He began to grow tobacco and sell it to larger tobacco companies.
The business was successful and the family financially recovered. But after a few years, the company got into trouble because her father’s business partner came into conflict with the law for fraud. The family lost its company, income and all the savings.
… towards financial prosperity
But her father did not give up. He started again, from scratch. He started with the metal fabrication company for construction companies. He succeeded in providing the family with security and well-being. But he was not just providing the abundance for his spouse and his daughters, he also helped all his relatives to create their own businesses and today they are successful in doing their own business.
Thus, one has a restaurant, another one a brick factory, the third one a successful taxi service. Victoria runs two kindergartens, one in the city of Soc Son, the other in Song Cong, an hour away from the first.
A man is never condemned to fail if he only has the courage and the desire to accomplish his dream. Isn’t it inspiring that a rich man is willing to share his possessions with others and help them fulfill their dreams?
Life in Capitole
We have been waking up In Capitole’s nursery for three weeks. The first thing we hear in the morning is the Vietnamese anthem and children’s music from the big speakers in the yard. Music that accompanies children when they say good bye to their parents.
A hundred children are classified into five different departments, depending on their age. Only about thirty of them attend English lessons regularly.
Parents of other children are convinced that learning two languages simultaneously (Vietnamese and English) is not good at their age or that learning a second language can have a bad influence on mother tongue skills.
Learning with music, singing and games
Whether it’s true or not should be left to the side. We have a lot of work already with those thirty. Language learning takes place in two different groups. At half past nine we have first half-hour lessons for children aged between two and four years.
This part is always the most demanding, as such little children do not have much concentration and it is necessary to include a lot of music, singing and games in ‘lessons’.
We divide the work so that I manage teaching and learning, and she prepares the program and helps with animation. Without it, everything would be more clueless.
The second group consists of slightly older children, from four to six years. Some of them go to school this year.
The lesson with them lasts for one hour, and learning is much more pleasant and manageable, although we also had to get a sense of when it is the time for the accumulated learning of words and the writing of letters and when it is time to play and sing. Now, this is going to be a lot better than at the beginning, and we are always looking forward to hanging out with them.
Thank you for the opportunity
There is one particular feeling if you think that you are contributing your share of learning and raising a child. The idea that a child will take something today with him, and use it in his life and it gives us joy. We are grateful for this opportunity!