Sunday, March 25, 2012

Arriving

I suppose it’s about time for an update over here. Especially because I’ve been all cryptic and acting like I’ve got secret agents from various Asian countries after me. No, I tend to be melodramatic; it’s really nothing more than what you’d have to worry about putting online and having a US employer get upset about. It’s just that there are different definitions of what causes people to become upset, and I’m constantly guessing here. And since my employment is directly tied to my visa, well, I was rather anxious.

It’s hard to believe that in less than one month I will be starting my first job as a lead art teacher in a school. Yes, I went through student teaching, yes, I did art outreach work in the summer of 2010. But this will be my first, full time job in my own classroom. And that’s a really, really big deal to me.

Looking back, I thought to myself, this is something I’ve been striving for since graduation in May 2009. But thinking further, really, I was striving for it those full five years at Purdue. And really, though I hadn’t made up my mind to pursue art education yet, even when I was planning my future in middle and high school, it was always ‘well, I’ll get a science job like my parents want so I can build a really cool art studio.’ That lasted to about October of freshman year of college. I still remember the trembling phone call home to my mother about changing majors, if she would still support me, if she would not tell Dad yet. And the people who supported me in that decision then, though many are no longer in my life. They served a very important role at a pivotal time.

It seems surreal, that I will be walking into my own art class. That I will have a proper health care plan. That I will have a real school calendar, with set vacation days that I can actually take instead of sit, play, work…
And I’m not completely na├»ve. I know that I’m not entering Nirvana. Though my new school did not flood in the Great 2011 flood, during a rainstorm the nearby Khlong overflowed and THAT caused a slight flood in the school. You can see the water marks on the wall. Note to self: Most important art supplies do not go on the bottom shelf. Perhaps nothing goes on the bottom shelf if possible, I doubt that’s possible.

I am going to miss my current English students. I was so touched by the hugs, photos and notes they gave me. And now I’m glad I caved in and created a teacher’s facebook account, separate from my personal space, because I will be able to see what they do after this. Probably 10 students jumped up and shouted you should be our art teacher, we’ll go ask the head mistress when I told them I was leaving to teach art. I told them it cannot be, the school charter dictates that a Thai will teach art. And I really have no desire to take a job from a Thai art teacher in their home country. Though in some ways, that is exactly what I’ve done at my new school, though they were looking for someone with a better command of English, and that’s exactly the skill I can bring. I’m very conflicted about the stratification I see here. But this post is not about that.

This post is about what I’ve overcome, my excitement for the future, a dream 8+ years in the making coming to pass. I know I put too much expectation, too much pressure, too much grief onto this dream. But that’s exactly why I refused to give it up. I’ll move half way around the world before I’ll give up.

I don’t always rub everyone the right way. I’m outspoken, I’m opinionated, I’m ‘easy to anger’ as my current boss notes with chagrin. I have views that other people don’t agree with, don’t know when to keep my mouth shut and hate being politically correct. But that’s why I get along with my closest friends, even from literally the other side of the planet, and that’s what has allowed me to keep up this relentless pursuit. Next month, I will arrive.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Time For Another Ramble

Those of you on the email updates list will have just received some very exciting news. I’ll make that public on the blog in about a month.

In the meantime, I believe I have enough to ramble about that is worthy of a blog post as opposed to 15 rambling facebook status updates. So without further ado in no particular order:

When one is craving a sandwich, it is best to remember what part of the globe one is in. I’ve had good sandwiches in Bangkok, but not many. BLEK. Dinner was a poor choice. Whoever’s tastes they are catering to with that one, they are not mine.

The prevalence of American pop music in Bangkok astounds me. Well, it used to. But you know what’s really unfortunate? The Bossa Novafication of contemporary North American pop. As if Bossa Nova Avril Lavigne wasn’t bad enough, today I heard Bossa Nova Black-Eyed-Peas. Seriously? Who on Earth thought this was a good idea?

One of the changes for me in the next six weeks includes moving to another apartment. I haven’t found the new digs yet. But, I will miss certain small things. Here’s a break down:

My personal motosai entourage that know all my regular haunts. Sure, I may still be able to ride with a few of them once in awhile; but my routes will all be changing, and especially the ones that take me to school and the doctor, I will not see often. I truly mean it when I say I will write a dystopian fiction novel that includes motosai superheroes. And no, not like Akira. At all.
An aside on motorcycles, I believe Bangkok must be cracking down on helmet safety somewhat, because the prevalence of motosai drivers who hand me a helmet to wear has greatly increased the past month or two. That or since they know me now they want to protect my skull as a repeat customer. Maybe both.

Being across the way from Mai Kai Dee’s vegetarian restaurant.

My soi’s massage parlors and the people that greet me every time I walk past, and know exactly where the tension hides in my right shoulder blade. I like them enough to stop by occasionally if I’ve got friends visiting the city.

Ming, the alley cat, and some of the neighbors I’ve gotten to know, both English and non-English speaking.

My landlords who rescue my laundry from the rain.

Being able to see the Golden Mount Temple from the roof, especially lit up at night.

Possibly, being called Teacher Jenny. Like ‘Miss Corazon,’ I will adjust and cherish it.