Five minutes after I close the laptop, I get a ping and look down at my phone. "VIPKID here you cooooome!" says a first email in bold, followed by "Mock Class Passed!" in a second email. That's all I have a chance to read before I'm jumping up and down like a frat boy on coke, smiling wide. I run down and tell my friend's landlord's four-month-old puppy, "I did it!" and dance around with him, his paws in my hands, his smile enthusiastic as my own (this was the case before and after my mock class). The mock class was a one-hour online interview in which I taught English to an interviewer in Michigan pretending to be a Chinese kid who didn't know English. I prepped hard the week before and felt like I was in Berkeley again with the amount of time I prepped. I watched many mock classes on Youtube and practiced in front of the mirror. I was anxious because the alternative to getting this job was that I would have to apply for a physical teaching job. This would mean I would once again spend most of my hours in a conventional teaching environment, trapped in one location yet again in the good old 9-5. But I did it! I passed Mock 1 without having to do Mock 2 which is the common route for most applicants, and I managed this despite being late about one minute to the interview and pissing off my interviewer. My past years as a behavior therapist paid off. I've spent two years practicing calm and patience in the midst of temper tantrums while working with clients with autism. Hence, even when my interviewer was pissed, I was able to mask my stress and behave friendly and apologetic enough to win her over to my side. I don't recommend being late though; my lateness was due to a tech issue which I will make sure to resolve for next time. Wi-Fi in Vietnam sucks. Yay, my first online job! Tomorrow I print materials and start working on getting bookings. Since I'm considered an independent contractor, I'm responsible for building a client base and opening up my available hours. One hurdle passed. Stay tuned in the life of Princess Chicken, Conqueror of Chicken-Eaters. I'm going back to Europe next month.
Light floods through the etchings of the decorative panels above the doors. It's quiet here compared to the Dark Cave that didn't let me in because the cave was so full of people. There were counters for visitors' information, ticket sellers, men guarding the motorbike lot, loud groups of Vietnamese, young ladies applying sunblock, men on phones, groups of Westerners on tour.
The church is empty. There the light again glints through the chipped cracks of the dark doors. All I hear is the wind and the creaking of wood. Yet I feel peace in this place that costs nothing. I love empty churches. Even though I'm a bit of a fallen angel, as I sit backwards on the pew with my feet on the bench, I feel safe.
With no Catholics around to judge me for my scanty clothing and disrespectful sitting stance, my tattoo and my dreams of lavender hair, I actually love being in houses of worship. Even if people judge me, God doesn't. And I do feel something here. If not the presence of a heavenly dude who sent his son down to Earth to die for my sins, then some sense of tranquility. This place reminds me that people, who are for the most part assholes, do have a sense and need for spirituality.
And what spirit this place has. Rosettes of wall etchings glow a-golden in the humid July afternoon, bordered by teal-green vines a shade darker than the pastel sea-green walls. The burnished wood softly shines. This alternating soundtrack of wind, silence, and creaking wood. How sublime I feel writing here, while sweat trickles down my chest between my boobs. Am I a stream of consciousness in a series of mountains and valleys, a part of this country? I'm wearing the dope jean jacket I found in the middle of the jungle. It keeps out 90% of the wind and sun when I am motorbiking and gives me 100% style. Thanks "Mr. Ken". He probably did die from a tiger mauling. I couldn't wash out the blood stains. RIP.