We ended our time in Vietnam taking a quick trip back over to Hoi An for a weekend. I got a few more dresses made at Alice's Tailor Shop inside the fabric market. 5 dresses for around 140 US dollars. Amazing!
Konstantin went on a bike tour around the area and got to spend time with a water buffalo among other amazing activities. The next day the guide let us meet up with him at the water buffalo spot so I could get up close with it. As I said previously my dad's longest lasting memory from his time in Vietnam is watching them use a water buffalo to plow the fields. Being so close to one and listening to it chirp (its like a bird sound), seeing it plow, and seeing it's battle wounds from fighting for a girlfriend was special for me.
Then it was time to finish packing and head back to America. We said goodbye to our friends from our apartment building and neighborhood. We promised to stay in touch and come back to Vietnam again. We made a quick stop at the casino and left behind $20...then made our last trip to Dirty Fingers for Pastrami. And I found out I am presenting 3 sessions at ISTE!
We had a 4.5 hour flight to Korea, then a 15 hour flight to Atlanta, then another 2 hours to Miami. I am not a plane sleeper, but I did watch about 7 movies. I got home and did a little unpack/repack, slept a bit, then hopped a plane to Asheville to meet up with my parents. I am always thankful for my cousin Tammie who happily picks me up at the airport just about every time I come home.
I got to spend time with my mom and dad, my sister's family, and lots of cousins and Aunt Jackie out at the farm. I was worried about freezing...it dropped down to 7 degrees at one point, but we made it okay. I was very excited to see all my cousins, and spend time getting to know what they are learning and lvoing these days. Ki is still loving Lego and Tula wants to learn it all. Isaiah and Hadassah are the cutest and sweetest kids. I loved listening to Ember and Haven play and problem solve at their brother Everest birthday party. I missed seeing Willow, Katie, and Jackson, but for a very good reason...their mom is still cooking baby 4 and has to stay home on bedrest. I got to see Ellie for the 2nd time. the first she was just hatched so I was not very excited but now she is alert and can growl at me and is too funny. I didn;t get to see our new Khalani because of the cold and Evie because she was super busy, but hopefully this summer. Bryson and Addie were back in Texas but I got to video call them and hear about Addie's horse ride. The Duncan kiddos are growing up way too fast. I love seeing how creative they all are! Em, Jamie (who was born on our wedding day), Sky, and Ysa are so fun and their dad Darrell may get Macie to like Santa after all...he does look a bit like the jolly old man. And of course my Michaela was home foe a quick trip. She went back to Kansas and picked out her wedding dress. It doesnt seem like she should be old enough... My mom, dad, sister Robin, and I kept our Christmas Day tradition alive. Normally we see a movie and then eat Japanese food. This year the movies were not that great so we did lunch together.
The best part of course was spoiling my great niece Macie. She is always excited to see me and loved all her Vietnam outfits and books. I love watching her and laughing at her huge personality. She loves looking at pictures on my phone and even enjoyed a video of Buffalo Chocolate (buffalo pooping). Her and my mom watched it over and over and then she had to go show everyone else in the house. It was hilarious.
I am happy to be back home with our cat Kiko, but I do miss Vietnam as well. I miss the walkability of our An Thuong community and the ease of getting aorund. I miss the smiles and welcoming of the Vietnamese people we met through our apartment, school, our tours, and just living life.
I am finishing up my project part of the Fulbright award. I have my Flip group set up and more people are joining still. We are at 90 members now which is amazing. I am putting the final touches on my website. I have shared my research on the SAMR model of tech integration, the thoughtful tech flip group topics, and my observations in Vietnam. I am still considering adding a few more things, but it has been published and is ready for you to check it out: www.thoughtfulteachertech.org/home
Let me know what you think!