Smiles from Summer

Summer was so good to me.

Right before I left to China and Janeemebe left to Korea, we sent a package off to Chua La (Leaf Temple), where we taught English and played with the monks while we were in Vietnam volunteering. Chua La is probably one of my most favorite places in the entire world right now. I have pictures of them on my wall and everytime I think of them, I can’t help but smile.

When we got back to the United States after our Vietnam trip, we all sent them emails and the few of them who could email or knew how, replied =D it REALLY made our days..but as the days progressed, emails gradually slowed down..but that didn’t stop us from missing them. In the package we sent, we each wrote out 18 or so individual letters to the monks! We didn’t get to know everyone, but of the ones we did, we wrote letters for. Not only that, but I had to translate them! and holy smokes..that had to take me at least 25-30hrs…..(my Vietnamese is REALLY bad). Along with that, we wrote a overall group letter that I translated and then photocopied, so that each of them got a copy! Janeemebe printed photos for them; she printed photos that had them in it, and also a photo of her, Emili, and me to make sure that they wouldn’t forget us =D It didn’t end there though! Janeemebe also made them individual bracelets with their names on them.

Since then, a bunch more of the monks have been emailing us and much more often =) Each of their letters are SOOO cute. One boy even told me about the day the letter arrived! It arrived on September 14th, 2008, which isn’t just my birthday, but was Tet Trung Thu (Mid-Autumn Moon Festival)! They told me that receiving the package on that specific day just made the everything even more the merrier, and how grateful they were to have people from so far away care about them =) Oh! and it’s not convenient for these boys to have internet access either, so I am so grateful to them for trying to stay in touch. (Most don’t know how to email..and when they do..they only write in the “subject” line instead of in the actually box part below lol)

Here is an example of one of the recent emails that they wrote us =) It is from Phuc Duc. Oh and when you see “Chi” it actually means “older sister.” Basically, it’s a polite way to address a girl who is older then them. My translations are SUPER rough btw…


chi jennifer oi? o ben mi bay gio lanh lam ha ?chi nho ban ao am nhe ” chi nho bao trong suc khoe nhe “neu khong thi se benh day ”

Chi Jennifer oi. In American right now, it’s really cold huh? Chi remember to wear warm clothes ok? Chi remember to worry about your health ok? If not, you’ll get sick.

“em viet khong dau chi co doc duoc khong ?thoi em chuc chi manh khoe o!

Can you understand what I write? I wish for you healthiness!

quen nua chi nho luc chi den ngaycui khong?luc do em o trong nha em con viet mot buc thu cho chi nhung ma em khong dam dua em rat ngai.

I almost forgot. Chi remember the last day you came? At that time I was in the house/temple writing a letter for you, but I was too hesitant to give it.

em se tom tat la thu do.

( I don’t really know how to translate this…)

em cam on 3 chi da den day em trong nhung ngay qua . khi ngoi viet thu em da khong ngan noi nuoc mat cua minh.

I want to thank the 3 of you for coming. I look back on the days that have passed, and while sitting there writing the letter, I couldn’t hold my tears back.

trong khi hop em da khong lang nge mada lay thoi gian do viet thu cho chi do .

(I dea…something to do with meeting us..and writing the letter. I asked my mom about this line and she has no idea because of the spelling errors. lol)

em xin loi vi khong dua la thu do cho chi .thoi baygio em khong co thoi gianchuc chi nhieu suc khoe va thanh cong trong cuoc song.

I am sorry that I did not give you the letter. Right now I don’t have any free time, so I wish you a lot of healthiness and richness in your life.


So I know it sounds a bit rough translated..but it’s actually really nice sounding if you can understand the language =) but this gives you a rough idea right?


6 thoughts on “Smiles from Summer

  1. It had me crying like a peanut.
    What you did for them is pure awesomeness (I’m more of the selfish kind, but reading your articles make me want to get out there and help).

  2. janeemebe: yay, I seriously look forward to seeing them again. I’m already trying to think of what to bring them as a little present from here

    flyingcrispi: lol, I’ve never heard that phrase before haha. but thank you! you should def go out there and do something! It’ll probably be one of the best experiences you’ll ever have =)

  3. “em se tom tat la thu do.”

    he said “i am going to summarize the letter.”
    (tom tat = summarize)

    “trong khi hop em da khong lang nge mada lay thoi gian do viet thu cho chi do”

    he said “when we met with each other, i didnt listen to (i think he meant nghe instead of nge) ____ (mada = ?? i think hes referring to someone) to bring it out, so i will outline (gian do = outline / diagram) and write a letter for Chi to review. (do = review / compare / go over)

    of course i dont know for sure if this is accurate since there are errors and no symbols.. but hope it helps a bit!

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