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Sunday, 10 June 2007

Of this and that. Saigon. Vietnam

And so life went on. My sister left on her travels. A friend had joined her, Elisabeth. At one time I counted up to ten bodies sleeping in various parts of my house. How it all functioned, how anybody ever ate, got washed etc. I don't know. Strangely everything went marvellously well.

My sister had done some travelling around the country but seemed jumpy at the sound of artillery fire. Something we had long been accustomed to. Otherwise she quite took to the country and her nephew. But then he took to any pretty girl but dumped her as soon as a prettier one came along.

My relations with my students were generally good. Once I had itching powder on my chair. Embarrassing. Some gave me a tie one day which I didn't want to wear. Ghastly taste. They were very offended. One threw her arms around me when the others had left the classroom. Clinging like a maniac I couldn't get her off me. She wasn't to my taste. I didn't usually wear a wedding ring, but one day I did so after some family lunch. A rather lovely girl glanced at my hand as I came in the classroom, and then cried all through the lesson.

A group gave me the nickname 'Rozier' which I still keep in fond memory.

Such were the trials and tribulations of teaching in Saigon.

I read in the newspaper that two young girls, having passed their Baccalauréat, went off on their Honda scooter to visit friends with the good news. One must have driven, the other sitting side saddle behind. Always a lovely sight. A South Vietnamese army two and a half ton truck, a deuce and a half as they were known, ran over them and killed them both.

A rocket fell on a school and killed a number of pupils.

The students were generally happy, polite, well dressed, well behaved. There was a great respect for education and life was sometimes too short in Vietnam to be miserable.

I always received the most beautiful cards at Christmas or Tet.

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