A Hanoi Blog!

Our first two days in Hanoi were focused on teaching. Day 1 was spent at the Vietnam University of Traditional Medicine (VUTM) where 50-100 nursing students were instructed in Diabetes and Cardiac Care. I was struck by how studious and appreciative the students were to receive our instruction but also by the absolute universality of their youth. They giggled and whispered to each other, checked their cell phones frequently, shyly whispered about the cute boys in class, wanted lots of photos of us, and tried for surreptitious naps mid-afternoon! Even with the heat and humidity (80+ degrees F and lots of humidity), their enthusiasm was contagious.
The second day was my presentation day at the Ahn Kahn School of Nursing. Dr. Greg DeBourgh and I presented on Trauma in the morning and Critical Care in the afternoon. In the months previous, we had geared our presentation toward nursing students but found out when we arrived at the school that we would be teaching nursing instructors and modeling teaching techniques so a quick mental shift had to occur. At every class an interpreter is present as the majority of those present are not English speakers. Unfortunately, our interpreter had a difficult time of it which slowed us down and required that we cut many, many of the powerpoint slides. Now, these slides were created over the course of 2+ months and were bathed in my blood, sweat, and tears so cutting them out felt like an actual amputation. Flexibility was definitely the word for the day. I melted a bit in the class due to the heat and their really was no need for me to use the curling iron in the morning, but I loved the experience, my unsuccessful attempts at appearing chic and put-together notwithstanding. As many of you know due to my continuous whining over the last two months, this was my first-ever powerpoint presentation and I worked hard on it. I often asked myself why I was sacrificing so much time and energy on this task when there was no tangible reward: no school credit, no remuneration. I found out yesterday why I made the effort to do this. When a student smiles directly at you with appreciation and understanding and you can almost see the lightbulb go off over his or her head, there is nothing like it. I could become addicted to that feeling…
It was worth it just to experience that.
Heading to Halong Bay for the weekend. Hope I’m getting the hang of this blogging stuff. Love to you…

P. S. Yes, I ate that “little hen” – but I left the claws and head!