First Impressions

by Tyler Dao

Many of us were still jet lag but anxious and excited to finally see the school which we will be working the next couple weeks.  The short 1-hr drive bus ride started early Tuesday morning around 7:30 am from Muong Thanh hotel — I am a notoriously late riser but found I awoke and on time for roll call.  As I sat and admired the beautiful landscape of Da Lat while playing the “20 Questions” game with the group, I was drawn to the diverse types of flowers along the dirt roads and the vivid famous red soil famous for this region.  The drive was over paved highways but for the last few kilometers which were over rocky, hilly, dirt roads which sometimes gives you the feeling of being on a slow roller coaster ride.  

As the bus slowly passed the hydroelectric power plant and a few small houses that dotted the area the school came into view.  It was a very impressive looking 5 classrooms school and playground.  After spending a few minutes to take in the site and instructions from the team leads we got to work painting the walls in the classrooms. Although we were supposed to paint the walls of the classrooms, my father painted the floor and his shoes with a bucket of yellow paint which was quite a sight to see. I didn’t know how quickly time flew by until the announcement was made to break for lunch.  I enjoyed the soupy “bun” but don’t know the name of the dish and played an intense game of ERS with some of the group.

At the end of the first workday, some of the local school children stopped by to see what we were doing.  We started a friendly game of keep away and everyone was laughing and giggling — I was in awe how quickly we all bonded and interacted when I suddenly remembered the theme for Pearland High School marching band this past year was about how the closing of one door could open many other doors for your future.