14 September, 2006

Jessica Vs. Saigon

Guess who found herself in a pre-school classroom, singing "The Wheels on the Bus" with a bunch of fidgety toddlers?

That's right- me!

The school I interviewed with yesterday called during Tennille's birthday lunch this morning (fish burgers, quite good) and asked if I could go to one of their branches to observe a class. It seems that the hiring process is as follows: funny little interview, observe a class, be observed while attempting to teach a class, land the job. I observed today, I'm teaching tomorrow, and if we like each other, I call over the weekend and I start on Monday. I figure, why not? Kenny's not going to be here for three more weeks, and I don't move into my new house for two more weeks... what's that you say? You didn't know I found a house? Oh, well, let me tell you all about it!

It turns out that Saigon can be a pretty small world when you're running in the foreign-born circles (and I'm going to stop saying "westerners" or "white people" because there's plenty of new friends that I'm making that are just as new and sore-thumby as me and they are not all from the West, and certainly not all white-- though with Vietnam's skin-bleaching fad, the lines are blurred). So it goes like this: before I move I find Nicky and Minh on the internet. I go to class, they're my first friends. I go to the kids' school, I meet Lindsay the Canadian nanny and through her I meet Tennille and Kristy, the Other Canadian Nannies. I go to a bar, I meet Michael and Corey, more Canadians. We all become friends. I lose my job, Nicky says call Joe, who turns out is from Vermont, but his mom is from Arden, NC (very much like Canton, but closer to Gwynn Valley) and his girlfriend is from Canada. So last night I go to check out Joe's place and basically woo him into letting me be his next tenant, cause the place rocks-- more on that in a sec-- and while I am there I get a call from Michael, who I am going to meet at a bar. So Joe says the room isn't available for two more weeks, I say "that's ok, I'm going to stay with my friend Corey." Joe says, hey that wouldn't happen to be Corey who works for the Consulate? And I'm like yup. And Joe's like, oh our intern is staying at Corey's place right now. And I'm like Michael? Cause that's who I was just talking to on the phone. Crazy!

So the house is right smack dab in the middle of D1, the main district. I basically will be living inside the artery of the heart of Saigon. But Saigon is so big, let's say I'll be living in a blood cell in the artery of the heart of Saigon. For those of you who like to read Lonely Planet guidebooks, it's right on the Sushi Bar corner of Le Thanh Ton, near Q Bar and Carmen. Our room is the littlest (but anyone who saw our place in Schafer knows that nothing could ever be 'too small' again) and the quietest and the cheapest, but it has what we need: location, fast internet, a shared kitchen, our own bathroom, a window, and most importantly wonderful people to share the house with who know stuff about the city and are really cool and smart. There's safe motorbike/bicycle parking, too, and it's on a quiet sidestreet with a dead end, so not too much traffic at all. Yup, this place has got it all (plus it seems like a lot of people know where "Joe's place" is, so we already have a reference point for new friends). With all the utilities, extra costs, and services (yep we have a maid) the price tag is right under $300 total each month. And for all you math wizzes out there, correct me if I'm wrong, but that's $150 each if Kenny and I split it all right up the middle. Is that a sweet deal or what?

So as of Saturday morning (or Friday night for those of y'all in the States) I will be moved out of this house and into Corey's spare bedroom. The sad thing is that he doesn't have internet as of yet, so if you don't hear from me as often, just know I'm probably working my ass off, trying to come up with the first month's rent. Pictures soon to come, job certainty not long thereafter.

So Jess versus Saigon? I think I'm definitely winning.
Oh yeah, for all you moneybags (read: grownups) out there, if you are feeling like you might want to make a "Jess and Kenny's first room in Saigon" donation, you can contact my Mama at smklay@yahoo.com, and she'll help you help us. Cause after all, just 63 cents a day gets us a hot steaming beefy breakfast (can't you see the posters now?). And for those of you in similar financial situations (read: young adults), emails help a lot, too. Thanks for all the support thus far!

Xin Chao!


Anonymous said...

O my gosh! This sounds like such a superior set-up to nannying. Good for you for keeping your head up & eyes and ears open - and for being your sweet, sociable self. Good things!



Joe said...

While i wish my finances could be stretched further to reach you dearest, i will unfortunately have to rely on option two and send my good wishes via this blog.

Just quietly, did we not all collectively tell you that things would work out for the best? I think we did! Woo Hoo! Now when are you coming to visit?

I'm on Flickr a lot.

Jessica K.. Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr