Browsing Category Vietnam

The Coffee Lady

coffeelady

I shared this story on my tumblr page, but it’s so awesome that I wanted to share it with all of you.

I love my apartment building. It’s conveniently located,  it’s safe, there’s a taxi stand for easy access around the city, and there’s always a multitude of street vendors selling everything from snacks to coffees right outside.

For the past three weeks, I’ve had the same routine every morning. I wake up at 7, shower, makeup, eat breakfast, check e-mails, yadda yadda. Everyday around 8:15 I head out for work. And every morning, without fail, for the past 3 weeks, there’s been a woman outside with her drink cart on her bicycle, selling drinks to all of the commuters. She always wears leopard print, and a huge floppy hat. Every morning, I order a ca phe sua da from her (a traditional Vietnamese iced coffee). She’s always smiling, and always super friendly. After I grab my coffee, the taxi lady calls me a cab, and bam. I’m off to work.

A few mornings ago, I strolled out of my apartment, eagerly anticipating my morning coffee (totally addicted to Vietnamese coffees, and I’m not ashamed). But much to my surprise, the coffee lady wasn’t there! The taxi lady saw the panic come over my face and rushed over to me.

“Ca phe?! Ca phe?!” She asked, while making the phone call gesture.

Before I could even answer, she was on her phone. And in less than a minute, the coffee lady sped up to my apartment, hopped off her bike, made me a coffee, and pushed me in the cab. As I tried to pay her, she shooed me away, laughing and smiling, and saying something in Vietnamese.

It was just the kindest gesture! From the taxi lady actually calling the coffee lady, to the coffee lady giving me the coffee for free….I’ve just been smiling about the situation all week. The people in Vietnam are so genuinely kind. It makes me happy to live here.

 

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Mui Ne

beach
This past weekend, Johnny and I took a little trip to Mui Ne. It’s the closest beach town to Ho Chi Minh City, and trust, we definitely needed the break. After work on Friday, we hopped on a bus, and in about 6 hours (was supposed to be 5 but traffic was crazy), we were in beach heaven. Mui Ne is also an extremely popular tourist spot for Russians, so in a few of my pictures you’ll see a lot of Russian written on the signs and stuff.

Per Lauren’s recommendation, we stayed at the Ananda Resort, which was AMAZING. We rented one of the beach bungalows, and from our door to the ocean was about a 30 second walk. Best of all, it was only $50 bucks a night! A light breakfast was also included, and the staff and service was phenomenal. If you go to Mui Ne, you definitely need to check them out.

We were only there 2 days, so we didn’t have much time to explore. We basically just ate and lounged around on the beach. Perfection. We both came back with tans and a little more pep in our step. Well….we did have one minor mishap. Our bus on the way back broke down, so for about 2 hours we were stuck in some roadside restaurant in the middle of nowhere. It wasn’t pleasant, but I’m thankful Johnny was with me to keep me sane.

And while I was there, I had the chance to pull out my trusty ol’ camera. I’ve really been neglecting taking photos here in Vietnam, and that’s gotta change. But for now, I have about 20 photos from our little weekend getaway. Hope you enjoy!

bus sunrise breakfast crocs rainandrussia beach foodmuine playinggames sheryllbeach seashells johnny stormybeach beachbungalow cosmeticsmuine store gangnamstyle beachchairs beeflunch fruitstandsleep ocean

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Busy, Busy, Busy

pool

This week has been crazy. It’s not even because I’m working a lot as far as time goes (even with the 2 jobs I’m still only working about 30 hours a week, not even full time).

BUT.

It’s the amount of preparation I have to do for these 30 hours of work that I have. Summer school was somewhat challenging this week because I’m getting used to the super high level students, but it uses the same book for the entire 6 weeks and I have the same students everyday who are lovely and listen and aren’t crazy children (thank god). But at my first job at the English center….PSSSSSSSSSSH. Let’s all just take a look at my crazy ass schedule shall we?

I teach 8 classes per week. No biggie. Three of them are 3 hours long, and the rest are 2 hours long. Still okay. The issue is this:

Wednesday: 17-27 year olds (mostly college students)
Thursday: 40-50 year old men (all work for the military and are like….JUST learning English)
Friday: 10-12 year olds (they are my worst class and I actually somewhat dread teaching them. sigh)
Saturday: 1st class – 6-7 year olds, 2nd class – 4 to 5 year olds
Sunday: 1st class: BARELY 4 year olds (like I swear some of them are 3), 2nd class: 8-10 year olds, 3rd class: 5-6 year olds.

Each of these classes uses a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BOOK. Each of these classes is a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT LEVEL. Each of these classes is a freaking COMPLETELY DIFFERENT AGE group. How do I go from teaching 50 year old men in the military to 4 year olds? I don’t know. But my brain hurts. I feel like all I do is plan lessons. Everyday. All day. Forever. It’s taking a toll on me, mentally. I’ve had to cut my yoga time to only 4 days a week because my schedule doesn’t allow me to go Wednesday-Friday. It really sucks because yoga is the one thing that’s been keeping me pretty level headed and calm. Sigh. I’ve been still making to-do lists every night, but most of the time it looks like this:

1. find a game for ____ class
2. find an activity sheet for ____ class
3. plan lesson on writing a topic sentence and find appropriate worksheets
4. plan TOEFL prep course

and on and on and on.

I’ve been neglecting both the blog and Glamtrotting, and I can’t let that happen, so I’m trying to figure some shit out this weekend to try and make better use of my time. I’m thinking that I’ll have to do lesson plans for the week on one or two days only, that way I have the rest of the week to work on MY things. Part of me wonders why I spend so much time working on lessons when a lot of people literally come in, open the book, print a worksheet, and that’s it. But I want to be a good teacher and have a good influence on my students and make it seem like I care. So…yeah.

I know going into next week the summer school job will be a bit easier because I know all of the kids, and the book is incredibly fun and easy to teach. It’s probably one of the few ESL books in the entire world that isn’t a steaming pile of crap. It’s a National Geographic one, so all of the topics are really interesting, the topics are relevant and modern (examples: longevity and happiness, start-ups and Silicon Valley, climate change, etc.), and the bookwork is challenging and stimulating. I’m actually learning from the book too!

So enough about work. I’m tired of talking about it, but I just had to get it all out there. I was supposed to receive a package from w2beauty.com a while ago, but I still haven’t received it. I’ve heard that people often get their packages stolen here, so I’m hoping that’s not the case. SIGH. It was a very expensive su:m37 serum, so I’m a bit pissed. I need to go to the post office on Monday and get it all sorted out.

This weekend, I think Johnny and I are finally going to have some quality time together. I want to go exploring! There are a few restaurants I’ve been dying to try, and maybe we’ll get a couple of drinks too. Lord knows I need one (or a few).  Sunday, I have a lunch date with a friend. And next weekend, we’re going to the BEAAACCCCHHHH! YASSSS! It’s going to be our first mini vacation since coming here. We wanted to go to Singapore, but I think we’re going to wait until we both have more time to take off.

And before I go… what are some of your favorite toners? After what seems like FOREVER, I am all out of my Benton toner. I’m looking for something that provides a chemical exfoliation as well. Bonus points if I can actually find it in Vietnam, as I’ve lost all faith in the mail system here.

How have you been? Tell me some happy stories about puppies or traveling or something fun. Have a good weekend!

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Life Lately – Teaching, Yoga, and Glamtrotting

lunchdate

Hi everyone!

I wanted to write a quick update on my super interesting (or not) life here in Vietnam. I’ve officially been in Vietnam for 3 months TODAY! YAAAAAY! I can’t believe time is passing so quickly though. Johnny and I initially planned to be here only 6 months, but now that I’m already 3 months in, I don’t know how I’m going to leave in just a few short months. We’ll see.

I’ve been teaching for a month now, and I can finally say with confidence I have the hang of things. I have my own classes now, and I teach about 16 hours a week. Sadly, most of these hours fall on the weekend. Word of advice, if you are planning on coming to teach in Vietnam and you work at one of the Vietnamese language schools, be prepared to most definitely work on the weekends. Thankfully, I have most of the week off. But Johnny works during the week, and since I work mostly on the weekends, we don’t see each other as often as we’d like. We’ve been carving out mid-day lunch dates, so we can actually sit and talk and not worry about one of us having to plan lessons or go to work. It’s nice!

I’m finally getting the hang of teaching the wee ones, and they are definitely becoming my favorite classes to teach. They are just so adorable! They aren’t moody or temperamental. They love EVERYTHING. And when they see me in the school outside of class, they all run up to me and grab my legs and say, “HELLO MISS SHERYLL!”. It’s so cute I could scream. I still have to take a nap after teaching Saturday and Sunday morning, but it’s worth it.

I also picked up a short 6 week summer school job at an international school! I’m super excited! It pays really well, and the school is gorgeous. They have a pool, a full 350 seat theatre, a gym, a soccer field, a huge library, a computer lab, the works. I start on Monday, so for 6 weeks I won’t have any days off, but thankfully the summer school job is just 3 hours in the morning so it’s not *too* bad. I’m definitely looking forward to the extra $$$ though. Dolla dolla bills ya’ll!

I started taking yoga classes 2 weeks ago and I am officially obsessed. I don’t know why I never practiced yoga before. Not only is it GREAT exercise, it’s improved my mood 30497234986230562357634x. I feel like I’m walking on clouds, especially right after a class. My mood has definitely improved tons since moving to Vietnam, but of course, I would still get into weird slumps. Not so much anymore. I feel like I can do anything! I’ve always wanted to work on my flexibility, since it’s basically non-existent, and I’m already making huge improvements. I’ve been going 6 days a week, and still going to the gym about 4 days a week now, and I can see myself slimming down. WOOP WOOP! And for some reason, yoga has really helped my appetite and cravings. I no longer want fatty fried foods, and instead find myself fixing a salad for lunch instead of something cheap and quick.

And yea, I know the K-beauty posts have been lacking, but my skin is just…really a mess and I’m not sure what to do. I keep getting these weird jawline/chin breakouts, and despite me going back to my failsafe products, it’s not clearing up. The same exact thing happened in the same exact spot last summer, so I’m not sure what the deal is. It’s like a weird summer breakout. I’m also probably exaggerating because most people are like, “what breakout?”, but it’s making me so self-conscious. Ugh.

Glamtrotting is coming along smoothly, and we’ve gathered an amazing team of writers and editors. I’m learning so many things as I go. It’s rewarding to teach myself about running a magazine, setting up guidelines, pitching it to people, setting up interviews. I feel like a professional! It’s still not too late to pitch your articles for our August launch, so if you want more information on how you can be a part of our team, send an email to submissions@glamtrotting.com!

 

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A Banker’s Secret – Homemade Beauty in Vietnam

abankerssecret A Banker’s Secret – How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

It’s sort of funny how I ended up finding out about A Banker’s Secret, a small, independent homemade beauty business located in Ho Chi Minh City. I had read Kerry’s post on how she eliminated her acne and decreased her skin sensitivity, and got on twitter to rant a little about how getting pure oils shipped to Vietnam is a hassle and a half. She suggested that I try to find rosehip seed oil, and I decided to Google “rosehip seed oil Vietnam”, and what do you know…A Banker’s Secret popped up.

One look at their website and I knew it would be a match made in heaven. Featuring whimsical prints, gorgeous photos, and local cash on delivery in Ho Chi Minh City, I was obsessed from the start. For my first order, I purchased the Sweet Ginger Shine Scrub, rosehip seed oil, Anti-Blemish Oil, the Top-to Toe Oil, the Oatmeal soap and a vanilla ylang ylang lip balm. I loved everything SO much I recently made another purchase, this time buying the Sea Salt and Tumeric scrub (which smells like HEAVEN), a green tea lip balm, the xuan soap, the super lovely hand cream, and some more rosehip seed oil.

What I love about A Banker’s Secret is that everything is not only homemade, but you can tell that it was made with the upmost care and love. The packaging is gorgeous and the scents are heavenly. It’s like the boutique version of Lush.

I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve purchased so far, but the standouts have been the hand cream, the rosehip seed oil, the ginger shine scrub, the lip balms, and the soaps. I am also beyond obsessed with the Top-to-Toe oil. It’s a blend of almond oil, rice bran oil, and argan oil with sandalwood, white champaka, rose, lavender, and kaffir lime. It smells like an incredibly sexy hug. I didn’t photograph it because the label is all wonky from me spilling a little of the oil all over the bottle. The Ginger Shine scrub is perfect for shaving days, as it leaves your legs super silky smooth and incredibly hydrated. I have extremely dry skin and whenever I shave my legs, they are itchy and uncomfortable for a few hours afterwards. Not so much with the scrub. I don’t even have to put on lotion afterwards! I feel like some people might find it a bit too oily, but for me, it’s just perfect.

The hand cream is made from sweet almond oil, avocado butter, wheat germ, dried chamomile and lavender petals, beeswax, and aloe vera gel. It’s lovely. It sinks into the hands quickly and the scent is heavenly as well. The lip balm is also fantastic, made with beeswax, jojoba and rosehip seed oil, avocado, shea, and mango butter. It glides onto the lips and leaves them soft and supple for hours. I hate lip balms that you have to reapply over and over again, but this isn’t one of them.

If you live in HCMC, or are here traveling, I definitely recommend that you support A Banker’s Secret for some homemade beauty goods.  The packaging is pretty, and the products are really, really lovely.

Do you like natural beauty products? What are your favorites?

**I wasn’t paid to write this, I just really like their products!!

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