English Lesson


While watching locals play volleyball, do push-ups, and attend aerobics in a park, we were confronted by some university students who wanted to practice their English. The next thing we knew, a dozen young adults were sitting around us, anxious to converse and improve their skills. Having just walked out of the War Museum, we were astonished at their welcoming spirits and their earnest desire to learn about US culture. It was a humbling and enjoyable experience.

We talked about all sorts of things; they were most interested in marriage customs, birthday parties, global warming, how many kids we were going to have, and how they could afford to travel to the US or Europe. They couldn’t understand the concept of nursing homes and explained that when their parents were elderly, it was their duty to care for them, just as their parents had provided for them. They also wanted to know the meaning of “boob job”.

When they asked us if there was anything we wanted to know about Vietnam I said that I wanted to know about Communism because it was the first Communist country I’d been to. For whatever reason, they physically squirmed, shared glances with each other, and replied that they really didn’t know what to share about Communism and that I should find someone who studied it in school. Interesting…

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