Before I dive right in I have a few side notes about Vietnam
1. the elevator buttons here are amazing. you can unpress a floor and when you hit "close" it closes immediately
2. I am no longer surprised if i run into a monkey in the street.
3 I got my first letter today from my mother and the Hansen's. The rest of you are slacking. I want letters and care packages
4. I got wireless finally and I am in heaven. HEAVEN!
Yesterday, while sitting in the teachers lounge, it was OBVIOUS that they were all talking about me. I'm not paranoid, but when they say my name and all laugh and keep talking and laughing and refuse to make eye contact, it's pretty obvious.
I worried that they were talking about me as a teacher, that I was bad, the kids hated me, I am useless etc. of course I would care about that, because that's why I am here and being honest with myself, I have good lessons and bad lessons so it's feasible that they think I am a bad teacher.
I was determined to find out. Obsessed.
I made my move. I cornered one teacher that I am friendly with after school demanding to know what was being said. I, as many of you know, can be really annoying and persistent. She didn't want to tell me. She said it would make me sad. That just added fuel to the fire. I relentlessly harassed the poor sweet kind girl until she let it slip...they are talking about my appearance.
Do I not dress nicely enough, I wondered? If only.
More like, I am a tall, big freak, with a HUGE nose, and CAT LIKE eyes that they don't like.
I actually laughed when I heard this out of relief that it wasn't for my shoddy teaching style that I was being gossiped about, but in fact, the way I look. I find it so interesting that people are the same wherever you are in the world. They may have different cultures and lifestyles but there are fundamental elements that are constant. The need to gossip. The desire for love. Insecurities. These will be a part of anyone's life regardless of who they are and where they are from. Human nature is fascinating.
back to me being ugly. GREAT. I thought I had gotten past this hurdle in middle school. No one likes to be called ugly, I don't care what the circumstance is, it's a blow to the self esteem. But I thought about it and here is what I came up with
1. I strive to have cat eyes in the US. Everyone thinks cat eyes are exotic and sexy. So despite it being an insult, it's actually a compliment to me.
2. I am tall. I can't change that.
3. My nose IS big. It is. It also has a bump from when the football smashed in three years ago. I had already made the decision to "get that bump fixed" when i get back to the US, but in the meantime, I've accepted my beak so I guess in time maybe they will too.
4. The standards of beauty here are so different. Women pile on whitening moisturizers and cream to make them more white. White and pale equates to beauty and wealth. In America, we wear bronzers to get a perfect sunkissed look. Being heavier here isn't bad, it is also a sign of wealth and esteem.
Bottom line is, our standards of beauty are different, and that is ok. the only thing that matters is if I live up to my personal standard of beauty and I believe that I do.
PS-Thanks everyone for the emails and the notes and letting me know that you're reading and enjoying this blog. I love hearing from you all too so please keep it coming.