I woke up around 2:30 am this morning and could not be persuaded to sleep. I finished a book, organized a suitcase of clothes well enough to get dressed a few more days, I filled out some paperwork, I Facetimed the family, etc. I knew I should sleep, but I figured productivity might be a second best option.
Once I dressed, I ran downstairs to catch the bus to the hospital for my work physical which was interesting. At least I had to leave the quiet bubble of District 7. We drove over a bridge and through Districts 4 and 1 and maybe 3? They were much more crowded and had way crazier traffic. That scene was what I expected of HCMC, so I think that I am glad I had a day to ease into it. Then my group of 6 new teachers was shepherded into the hospital by our school nurse. She was very dear and very helpful, and she helped us successfully navigate the well organized chaos within the hospital. We went to a special wing on the 4th floor where all that staff does is process work permit documents all day, every day. There were about 8 stations in the hallway including blood work, a urine sample, an eye test, a dental exam, an ENT exam, height and weight, blood pressure, etc. Then we had to go downstairs for a chest ex-ray before returning to our hallway to have an internal medicine doc look our ex-rays and blood work for us. There was absolutely no privacy in this process. Well, I guess we did get our own bathroom stalls for peeing in the cup, and there was a luxurious changing room for the 4 girls from my school before we took our ex-rays.
All of this was bearable, except that we of course couldn’t eat prior to the blood test and then because we hadn’t packed food, we ended up not eating anything until about noon. Because I ate dinner with the girls prior to 8pm the night before, I was famished and inhaled this crab and noodle bowl for lunch. I mean literally inhaled. It was so good. I also had my first Vietnamese iced coffee. Move over lattes, there is a new love in my life. Hunger really is the best spice, but lunch was perfection.
Then our realtors came and took us each out on our own tours. Sort of. I think they were all working from the same list because I passed Alison, Ricki, Mark & Gael all in the search. I guess because so many of us have the same price range and desires, it makes competition a little tight. I saw 9 more apartments today (up to 25 total). I could maybe live in about 3 of the 25, but each has its weaknesses and advantages. I am feeling torn. The only one that I really like is about $50 above my price range excluding utilities. So is one of the others, and the other barely skates under. I am going to look again tomorrow and just see what stays available. I really wanted to live within my housing allowance, but I am realizing that may be easier said than done in District 7. I am hopeful that the decision becomes clear, and I guess if I have to fork over some of my own money each month, it won’t be the end of the world. I guess I will have to take one less vacation. Boo.
After I dejectedly gave up the search for the day and decided to make it an early-ish night, I met Ricki and Alison for some sushi. Another semi splurge meal. I think we are eating our feelings. And drinking them too! We each had our first drink in Vietnam, and even with drinks and 4 plates of sushi, our individual totals were about $15. Extravagant for this town, but cheap for sushi – and good sushi at that. All in all, it was still a good day, and tomorrow will include lovely events such as staff breakfast and more apartment shopping.