Intercultural Adjustments: Hanoi Experience part 2

After a month of discovering many things of how my life would look like for the next remaining 8 and a half months I got quite acquainted. I decided that no matter how different and difficult it may be I was gonna learn how to live with it. I'm gonna try to enjoy each discovery despite the pain it may also bring me. I had it in my mind that I will fight till the end of this commitment no matter how challenging it may be. I knew it in my heart that the differences I saw weren't the only ones that will make it difficult for me.

I'm glad that despite the drive to give up and go home I continued and it is because of God's grace. Many times I have asked the question "Why?", "Why me?", "Why here?", "Why now?" but as the months progressed I begin to see the big picture of it all. I began to meet people who changed my perspective. I began to have encouragements and mentors who are willing to listen whenever I need to unwind at the end of the week. Though it was not right away that I was able to build relationships with these people.

I started with the motivation my director gave me, "There's no such thing as there's nothing to do. If you do not have something to do at the school, go out there and make friends." I am not much of a people person. I hardly approach new people to introduce myself. Especially when I don't know their language. The next question is "How do I establish rapport with these people?". Seeing I do not have anything to do that afternoon I decided to take a walk around the streets and see if I can meet new people. I was praying hard to God to help me meet people in His way because I don't know how I'll start. I was walking not too far down towards the main road when the lady at the laundry shop my friends wash their clothes at greeted me. So I said hello back and tried to continue walking when it dawned on me that they were the new friends I was praying for. They invited me to sit down, eat some fruits, and have a cup of tea. The tea was not very good but I didn't mind because I never thought they'd become my friends. They lady practiced her English and taught me some Vietnamese with the dictionary she has and by showing me different things and naming them. I had spent the time I needed to do something with and I am very blessed to have spent it meeting two new friends. I decided I'll start with them as my new friends.

The next few weeks I had a chance of meeting more friends from the Vietnamese church and from an English class for University students in Hanoi. We were asked to teach them for free. There was quite a few of them in the beginning and we were really trying to find out how to teach them. We started teaching them vocabulary words from the different stories we were reading. Then we began to invite some other students to join us. We became friends with these students who were desperate learners. We tried thinking of new things we could teach them and new ways to improve their English language.  We had conversational times and we invited them for a street dessert once. I also started joining the international church which is quite awesome. I was refreshed of finally understanding the messages and the songs of worship. I realized that I needed some place I could relate to outside my Vietnamese experience. I needed a place where I can find strength, support, encouragements, and new friends who share the same values and belief as I do. I met friends who came from different parts of the world who were very welcoming. I had a constant friend for some time until I met some other Filipinos like myself whom I got to meet with regularly.