Our first day in Ha Noi, Vietnam , Team 1 visited the U.S. Embassy. While there we were debriefed by multiple FSO/ Army officers regarding behavior and expectations during our stay in Vietnam. Afterward we left to enjoy our first meal in-country. We ordered a local specialty called Buhn Pao Sao, it included rice noodles, fried meat and tree nuts.
Afterwards we traveled to the Buddhist One Pillar Pagoda, with a history that dates back a full millennium. The iconic landmark was badly defaced by French troops in 1954 but was rebuilt decades later. When we were there we did run into a problem, the team was dressed for more casual wear. When we arrived we discovered that there was a dress code for being there and that wearing pants that came below the knee was required to enter the temple itself. So, the team looked around the outside of the temple.
We enjoyed dinner at the Highway 4 , which was an idea that came from the TV show of Man vs. Food. Though many of us were still affected by the jet lag, it was a great meal. One of our Cadets was so bold as to eat boiled pigeon head, even to the workers of a restaurant that was not common among the locals.
All in all our first week in Vietnam was an enjoyable one. We started teaching on Friday and taught through to the next Thursday. Challenges we met during class ranged from students who had no idea how to speak English to students who were so advanced we were not prepared to teach them at their level. Some Cadets said that they have discovered a new respect for their teachers at their universities, finally seeing the time and patience it takes to write lessons for students. Our Defense Language Instructor, Mr. Shaver, has expressed his happiness and excitement with the first team. He has said that our excitement and enthusiasm with the students every morning is amazing and excites him.