Saturday, 14 April 2007

Do you miss anything from home?

IF you are an ex-pat reading this or are thinking about becoming one what do you miss or what do you think you will miss about your home country?

Here's what I don't miss:

British weather; getting up at 6 or 7am to struggle into work; fog; rain; hail; sleet; 40 or 50 hour weeks; overtime; cold, dank, dark evenings and mornings; speed cameras; petrol that costs the earth; beer at £2 or £3 a pint; pubs that serve food only at certain hours; boil-in-the-bag pub/restaurant food; fruit that tastes of nothing.

Here's what I do miss:

Errrrr... Still thinking about this one...

Here's what I enjoy about Hanoi:

The weather, although it is occasionally rainy and sometimes windy and cold, the climate seems generally favourable, much cooler than Ho Chi Minh or Bangkok. Although I haven't seen the wet/hot season yet, having arrived in September. I like working short hours and being paid enough to live on; I like being able to rent a motorbike for $40 a month and a great 4 bed house for $500 a month; I enjoyed living in a hotel for $9 a night inc free internet in the room; I love Bia Hoi, which is fresh rice beer from a local brewery and costs 8p or 15 cents a glass; the food, especially cheap local food is often delicious (although the more expensive restaurants are not always). It often seems the more you pay in Hanoi the worse the experience. At the top of our alleyway there is a snail soup restaurant! which we tried the first night we moved in, not knowing what it was before we sat down. It was actually surprisingly delicious. My students (well most of them!) they are hard-working and really want to learn English, which makes my job a pleasure.

Coursebook: New English File, Elementary, which has everything in it an elementary class needs, it reintroduces language over and over again, has games, exercises, all four skills are covered and it is paced exactly right for new learners (although it is a little UKcentric) like so many coursebooks. I did my dissertation/thesis on coursebooks being too Western, and pushing our culture onto the rest of the world, so it is something I care about and would love to change.

Being able to get on my motorbike without a crash helmet, ride off into some of the busiest roads on the planet without a nanny government making sure I am safe and sound. I love the unruliness of the roads here and as a foreigner I am never stopped by the police (although I see local people getting stopped every day) I can break the law with impunity, as does virtually everyone else, and never have to worry about government trying to tax me with speed cameras.

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