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Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Nun's Story

When I'm in town on Sundays, I go to a Buddhist pagoda for an informal English study group. My pagoda friends are eager to learn English & excited to be able to talk with a foreigner. In return, I get to spend the afternoon at a beautiful spiritual place & talk with a great group of people.

One member of our group is a nun who lives at the pagoda (seated in the middle wearing grey). She doesn't speak much English, so I could only get part of her story.

Trang 16 years old & has been living at the pagoda for two years. She's one of six children from the central part of Vietnam. She said that she wanted to study as a nun so badly that she ran away from home. Her family doesn't know where she is. The rest of the story is unfortunately lost in the language barrier.

Another young nun once told me that she came to live at the pagoda because it offered her a better life than she would have if she stayed in her hometown. The nuns receive food, clothing & shelter, as well as an education & spiritual practice. For many, it's an alternative more appealing than poverty.


Hyp0xia said...

I noticed the Langenscheidt language dictionary. It's by far the most useful book you can have in this country. No other dictionary makes the cut.

Nancy Lewis said...

I brought that dictionary from the US. It's been quite helpful indeed. Whenever I start to study a new language, the first thing I do is get a dictionary. I'm amazed at how many of my English students don't have one, even after studying English for years.

Hyp0xia said...

I know you brought it from the U.S. I've never seen it for sale here. That particular dictionary makes a great gift for Vietnamese learners of English, I've found. I've given away two or three copies of it over the past three years because Vietnamese language dictionaries tend to be of a very low quality. I also really like that it makes a clear distinction between what people say in the north and what people say in the south so I don't make a fool of myself when I try out a new word.