My Biggest Worry

Many people keep asking me how I feel about going to Vietnam. I interpret this question to mean something like, “Well, obviously your husband wants to go since he’s the one who applied for the Fulbright, but is he dragging you there or are you really excited to go, too?” For the record I am very excited – probably even more than Michael. I get to leave one of the cloudiest, coldest, snowiest cities in the dead of winter and take an extended vacation in a warm climate with fabulous food. Who could complain about that?

On the other hand, I do have a few worries. One of the biggest is how I will get the kids to continue their music studies while we are in Hanoi. We’ve put so much effort into their work that I don’t want to even consider giving things up for a few months. I am determined to figure out a way to make it work. This issue has a number of tricky questions, like do we bring their instruments, have them shipped or try to find child sized instruments in Vietnam? I tracked down a store called Musicland Vietnam and had to email them to get information as the site is only in Vietnamese. I got this email from them about renting instruments:

We no have violin/ cello for rent.
If you buy Cello 1/4 and an 1/8th, you need order for about 2-3 weeks.

Some Violin instruction now Suzuki method.

Best Regards
166 Hào Nam, Hanoi
Hotline: 0933 180 166

Next on my music related worry list is will we find teachers who know the Suzuki method? Will the girls be able to participate in orchestra when we get back to Cleveland? I keep telling myself it’s all part of the adventure and we’ll work it out. We have such great teachers here at the Cleveland Institute of Music that I do regret having to leave that comfort zone behind.

Tonight Kate’s teacher, Kimberly Meier-Sims, allayed my fears a great deal by 1) telling me that Kate would definitely get right back into her studio next fall, and 2) that she would try helping us via Skype while we are away! She also suggested we try having the instruments shipped to Vietnam by Cleveland Violins. After all, they are imported from China and they probably have a way to do this easily.

I am sure if other people went they would have different worries. Not music lessons. I imagine my family members fretting about things like:
Dad: what if you get sick?
Michael: don’t pack too much (oh right he is going and already worrying me about my overstuffed suitcases)
Mom: you’d never catch me on a plane outside US borders and why would you ever go there anyway?
Chuck: can you ride a moped there and can your entire family ride it at once to get to school?


Kids, We’re Moving to Vietnam. Pass the Edamame, Please.

A few months ago Michael and I broke the news to the kids about our big family adventure while eating dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant.  Michael printed out information for each child from the internet about our new country and tried to make them guess where we were going to live.  Matthew got a picture of the Vietnamese soccer team.  Anna got a picture of a street vendor with a huge basket of French bread.  Kate got a picture of the temperature differential between our new city and Cleveland, OH.  We thought she’d be excited that our new home would be much warmer than this frigid city since, of all the family members, she despises and complains about the Cleveland cold the most. There was also a picture of an ox pulling a cart in the city.  No one guessed Hanoi and I don’t think they had ever heard of it before.  We finally had to tell them where it was.

There were a lot of questions about when we were going and for how long.  The girls started calculating what they would be missing while we were away.  They figured we’d be celebrating Matthew’s birthday in Vietnam, but they were thankful to be at home for Halloween.  How could we have Passover in Hanoi and can you get matzoh there? We predicted that Anna would be most upset, but she surprised us and seemed excited and just wanted to call her friends and tell them the news right away. Matthew was happy about the prospect of being able to buy things there and bring them home for himself and his friends (he probably thinks it’s going to be an extended shopping trip and that’s it). Kate was the only one who cried.  Her little face crumpled up and we gave her a big hug.  She declared that she wanted to go for 1 month, but not the entire second half of the school year.  She was very upset about leaving her friends behind, no matter how warm the temperatures. And she has reminded us several times since that we HAVE to be back in July for her birthday.  Feeling guilty, I told her maybe we would get a new pet for her when we got back, like a hamster or guinea pig.  Anna asked for a bird.  I told them maybe.  There has been no end to the discussion about the new pets for weeks now.  They are adjusted to the idea and have not complained at all.

Just a few more months to go… they are enrolled in Concordia International School and are registered for a Saturday soccer league.  We went to Target and bought uniform clothes as they will have to wear blue and khaki pants and skirts when they attend school there. The preparations for our journey are underway!