Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Newsy Update from Hanoi

We've been in Hanoi four weeks already and it's fair to say that the dust has settled (and been swept up, and settled again, and been swept up again). While we still do not have a predictable daily routine, we have moved past the "eating out and setting up" phase to the "eating in and settling down" phase of transition. We still do not have our belongings from Singapore, but we did get our things from storage in Saigon. After five years in a semi-open room, everything was covered in dust and grime and rat urine. We had to sort out what was still useful, hose it down, and then clean it with soapy, bleachy water. It's a job I hope to never do again.

The good news is that our tabletop oven from storage still works. After one charred cake, I've recalled how to actually bake in it. Unfortunately, our boys (and their appetites) are much bigger than they were five years ago. Now I'm puzzling over how to cook enough volume with a glorified toaster oven and a two-burner stove. I'm resigning myself to not having leftovers for lunch.

Daniel has had a student here for the past two weeks so he has been happily plugging away at some projects that were basically shelved during our stay in Singapore. The second edition of the Handbook for Theological Terms (a Vietnamese/English theological dictionary) is nearly ready to go to press and a couple translation projects are progressing. Daniel was feeling a pressure to start preparing for his fall classes, but as it turns out he may not be teaching the courses he was initially assigned. He's decided it's generally best to know what he will be teaching before making the syllabus.

The boys are already thick with the neighborhood kids in spite of the fact that they have no clue what anyone is saying. They attended a birthday party last night complete with cuttlefish snacks and firework candles. Both boys have been doing remarkably well navigating without knowing Vietnamese, but I'm hoping to get them started on lessons this week. Hopefully, in time, I will be called in less and less frequently as translator and referee.

Partly because I'm busy helping our boys negotiate life and relationships in a new place, I've been thinking about values, and virtues, and parenting in a cross-cultural context. These thoughts are still percolating so I won't start pontificating yet. I'll sign off on this newsy update and save that for another post.


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