We leave Utah on Tuesday the 7th and arrive in Cambodia (via Hong Kong! YAY!) on Wednesday the 9th, so we will pretty much miss my birthday while in transit. We will spend an hour of it in the airport in LA and an unknown number of hours on the plane before we cross the international dateline and my birthday ends early, but I am okay with that. I think it's really fun actually. The Cambodian elders have been charged with making sure I get to try some really good new fruit once we get to Cambodia if we can't find a Vietnamese-speaking fruit seller, and my companions gave me a really nice 0.20 mm pen as an early birthday present (because I like to write tiny and I hate it when my pens can't handle it). This is an awesome birthday already. I don't care if I'm basically skipping over it; I'm going to Cambodia!
Our teacher situation is continuing to switch around on us. It's been really good though. Co Huong and Thay Chung are both really fun. A while ago we told Co Huong about one time when Thay Kiet told us he could carry out an entire conversation in Vietnamese while brushing his teeth, so she decided to try to one up him and say she could speak Vietnamese without even opening her mouth. Then she did it. Her vowels were hard to distinguish, but Thay Kiet apparently can't use the letter 'm' in his conversation, so I'm not sure who wins. Thay Chung has picked up some Vietnamese, and his favorite term is 'khong sao' which means something along the lines of 'it's okay' or 'nevermind' but he uses it for everything. Now it's one of our favorites too because when he first heard us say it he started laughing and asked what it meant in Vietnamese because in Cambodian it means 'don't be tired' but only in Siem Riep. Anywhere else in Cambodia it's nonsense, but in Siem Riep it's 'don't be tired.' We all think it's hilarious, so now whenever we use it we say, "Khong sao. Don't be tired."
Yesterday at the beginning of class, a teacher we didn't know joined us. Thay Chung told us it was our new teacher who had served in Cambodia Vietnamese-speaking. I knew he was lying. I knew this because I had tried to speak Vietnamese to this teacher in the hallway when he came in while I was waiting for one of my companions. He did not respond to Vietnamese, plus he walked right past the Vietnamese flag and apparently didn't realize that was the classroom he was looking for. He did respond to Korean, however, and thus Thay Chung was caught in his lie. Chi Dao told him that if he ever wants a Korean teacher to pass as a Vietnamese teacher, he had better first make sure that no one in the class knows Korean.
We really did get a new teacher though. Towards the end of class another teacher we didn't recognize joined our class, so we had three teachers in the room last night. I knew we were getting a new one at some point because Co Huong had told me, so I tested him by asking him in Vietnamese what his name was. He answered in Vietnamese, so I knew that this one was in fact our new teacher. His name is Thay Quan and he served in Houston, but that's pretty much all I know.
We're going to Cambodia!