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Volunteer Retreat

Date:   August 20 - 23, 1999
Time:  Check in 4pm Friday 8/20/99
            Check out 10am Monday 8/23/99
Place:  Tropicana Beach House
Ticket: $20/person with meals and lodging

Hello all;

We all had a wonderful time at the Tropicana Beach House Retreat last weekend (August 20-22, 1999) in Freeport, Texas. The weather was perfect and only started producing some strong wind with high waves (signal of the Bret hurricane) by the time we left the beach house on Sunday afternoon. We had about 55 people altogether (including the kids) attending this Beach House Retreat, some of them came and went but all of us did have lots of fun, relaxing moments whether be the jogging on the beach at sunrise or swimming in the peaceful water early Saturday morning, or just sitting on the deck and reading books, or playing volleyball with other folks, etc.

Friday night started with mo'n ba'nh mi` bo` kho offered by our super chef cook, anh Nguyen Van But and lots of group singing, we only had a small group on Friday night since many people showed up on Saturday morning or afternoon.

Saturday was a super nice day both in term of weather and in term of the food we had... Special thanks to the emergency cooking team to assist anh Bu't when he got hurt on his back and could no longer be available to cook for us. A'i Chi, Phu*o*ng A'nh, Tra^`n Hu*o*ng, Huye^`n Thanh, Hoa`ng Ddu*'c (Spaghetti chef), Anhlan, Tu*o*`ng Vu~ (for the BBQ chicken) and later in the day was chi Minh Tan (with ca` pha'o and canh rau dday na^'u vo*'i mo^`ng to*i), all did lend a hand to prepare tasty lunch and dinners and late supper for everyone. Some hightlights of the group games during the day was the water game played pretty violently (luckily none got hurt, :-) with group competition on water, and the volleyball competition in the afternoon.

However, the most memorable experience of all participants in the beach house retreat would be the Saturday night with the Open Discussion session with lots of heated discussions on the issues (again) of chu*~ Hie^'u and some ethic questions posed by anh Truong; and everyone had such a good laugh with the two games: Dating Games for the bachelors and bachelorettes and the "Best couple" game for the seven couples attending the retreat: anh chi. Ba?o & Ta^n, Hoa`ng Du*'c and Ngo.c Tra^m, Duy Tru*o*`ng and Anh Lan, Dr. & Mrs. Tra^`n Va(n Thua^`n, Hoa La.c & Nguye^.t Minh, Elena Thu`y and Tu`ng, Phu*o*ng A'nh & DDa(ng Tua^'n. The Dating game concluded with the two pair of winners: Thie^.n and Uye^n, and A'i Chi and Cha'nh (each of the pair had a free dinner together at Kim Son restaurant and Duy Nguyen or Tha'i Hoa`i will pick up the tab, BRAVO!).

The couple with perfect score (which means that they understand each other perfectly) was Elena Thu`y and Tu`ng. We had so much fun and good laughs with these games, especially with the game reserved for the seven couples. The gathering ended around 2:00am but there was still another open discussion session lasted until 4:30am on the morning for a smaller group who were still interested. Everyone had such a good time that they just did not want to go to sleep.

The weather on Sunday morning was not as peaceful as on Saturday and we noticed that high waves already started with strong wind... We had a light breakfast, a huge lunch to clean up all the food, dishes that left over and clean up and get ready to head back home before the storm hitting the land. We got some news about the Bret hurricane and hence everyone decided to leave early in the afternoon to avoid the hit and we did.

My arms and my body was still so sored when I left for my business trip to Virginia Beach Sunday afternoon and the sore did not dissapear until two days later... Just like everyone else, I probably have enjoyed swimming and playing too much. It was a great short vacation that everyone in our group is well deserved for.

Please join me to give a round of applause for our Coordination Team this time led by A'i Chi, Hoa`ng Ddu*'c, Ngo.c Tra^m and Kha'nh Thu. I hope that our photographer: Ngo^ Hoa La.c will share with us more than 200 digital pictures that he took during our Retreat and we will definitely share some best pictures on our web site. Another applause for our super chef cook: anh Nguyen But (we all wish you well and get over with the pain in your back) and his cooking team assisting him to provide us with delicious meals during our stay and last but not least to everyone who lent a hand in cleaning up the beach house before we left. You all did a good job and deserved this vacation.

We overestimate a bit the food and as a result my freezer and Tram&Duc's freezer now are loaded with food enough for another party for our group. Let's shoot it for sometime during September. We will keep you posted.

Also please join me to welcome our brand new members: Bu`i Kha'nh Linh (from the Literature class) and Pha.m Kim Hu*o*ng (from Len Duong'99). We also have some other new members joining the retreat like: Tina Nguyen and her mom (only a short visit), Le Quang Danh. We also had a special guest from German - chi Ngo^ Ha` (chi Phuong Nga's daughter).

Best regards,

Beach House Reporter

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Last modified: September 11, 1999