Minh’s Notes

Human-readable chicken scratch

Minh Nguyễn
June 16th, 2004
Pilsen 2004


Day Two

This mission trip strikes me as so much more serious than the SMILE trips could ever be. For of all, we hadn’t been in Chicago for 24 hours, and we all had already fallen flat on our faces tired. (No, not literally.)

I’ll describe my experiences chronologically this time. I basically began the day at Poder Learning Center. I meat so many people honestly trying to make the best of the classes. I think through tutoring and through my previous mission trip, I had gained an appreciation for teaching youngsters – and I loved it!

But teaching these adults was so much more… engaging (for lack of a better word). It didn’t require babysitting, for one thing. And I only had to slip in a little personal chit-chat to completely enrich the lesson, allowing me to learn as well.

But I’m getting too theoretical. The first woman I met woanted so much to talk to me. Sure, she reviewed half fthe textbook with me, but she set the standard for all the other conversations. It was all about asking questions.

I got a glimpse into what my parents’ first years in America were probably like.

I never thought that I’d get to say this, but I actually helped cook! Everyone had already done the major work: Ryan figured out how to start (and did about everything else), Miss Doyle did the chicken, and Steven did the Kool-Aid.

I did the problem solving and helped shop for food, but that’s not the point. I might just be willing to direct the cooking some night. We’ll see…

Everything reminds me of Cincinnati – and of home – the smell of Ryan’s dish (like phở), the shops and stuff (like the various Vietnamese markets that never survived that long), and the devotion to the Virgin Mary that my family shares. And, of course, the computers at Poder. :^)

I speak on everyone’s behalf: I feel like calling it a day – no, I’ll call it a trip.

But first, I want to go back to Poder.