Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Humongous Beehive

We came back to the guest house after the summer only to find this humongous beehive nested on the internet cable strung near the ceiling outside our rooms on the porch.

Before and After

The one wardrobe that the university provided in our guest house had only one functional knob for the two doors. For two years, we stuck a piece of cardboard paper to the door as a handle. This year, I finally decided to get a real knob! Here is the before and after.

Whitening Lotion

In America, most women want to get a tan. In Vietnam, every woman wants to get whiter. I have yet to find a lotion here that does not have the word "whitening" in the label. I hesitated getting any, not knowing what "whitening" means and what is in the lotion that makes one whiter and what actually will happen to my skin, until I realized I had no other choice...

New Cooking Partner

For the past three years of living in Vietnam, my faithful cooking helper has been this two-burner gas stove. For three years, we struggled with the decision of whether we needed a microwave. This past summer, friends have blessed us with the gift of one to use in Vietnam! We still hesitated as to whether we should use the funds in something else instead. Well, we finally took the plunge yesterday when Andy brought home a new cooking partner for me! One of our students saw it and asked what it was and how it works. She was amazed when we told her that it can get the food hot in seconds but not the bowl. I still couldn't believe we lived three years without it. And am also thankful that we do have one now. It saves us some time and we are able to reheat things like leftover rice easily. I am one happy mom.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Pepper-Spray Attack

We came back to our university yesterday after a week-long retreat in Hanoi with our fellow teachers. We then had dinner with our teammate and a student at a local joint for "cha ram bap" (fried corn spring roll) near the university. Half way through dinner, a person with a helmet and mask still on came through the entrance holding up a can and started spraying something in the air and then ran away. While I was still trying to figure out what it was, people from the first table already started screaming, covering their mouth, and calling out "run!" We were sitting at the second table from the entrance and our student also started yelling, "run outside!" I was trying to process all that was happening in that split second and the next few minutes were all chaos and panic. Everyone started running out the door, and by that time, Andy started telling us to get up and run outside. As I was helping Caleb get outside during all that commotion, I too began to feel the sting and irritation in my eyes, nose, and throat by whatever that was sprayed in the air. It got worse as we ran past the doorway, and all I was thinking about was helping to shield Caleb from that substance. We finally got out of the alley way and into the big street. Our student told us it was probably some sort of a pepper spray that police usually uses to suppress a crowd. We never figured out who that person was, the reason for the attack, and what that substance was. But it sure shook us up a bit especially Caleb since he never witnessed anything quite like that. Our student asked us to get a drink at the store to help wash down the chemical. So I got Caleb some milk hoping the alkaline would neutralize whatever that went in his system. We felt fine after a few minutes and Andy went back with Jenny and our student to pay for our meal. The owner was very grateful for that. Caleb didn't want to go back and just wanted to go home. So we walked back first on our own and had the chance to process a bit of what went on. I was at first concerned most about Caleb, and doubts came into my mind about being in Vietnam and exposing Caleb to possible dangers etc. But Caleb and I both came to the conclusion that our heavenly Father is sovereign over all. We could be in the "safest" place on earth or the most "dangerous" but He is the one who determines what befalls us. He does whatever He pleases. And He causes all things to work for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. At the end of the evening, Caleb said he wanted to pray for the attacker. As we were running out of the restaurant, he said he kept praying for protection over himself from the chemicals. Later after he drank the milk, he commented that it was worse when JC died on the cross and started tearing up. And he offered thanksgiving afterwards for he remembers we are to give thanks in all circumstances. I am so thankful that we were protected and unharmed, and that Caleb was able to apply what he believes in real life situations. It is good to know we are in His hand of providence.