Friday, September 6, 2013

Rolling with the Punches

It’s been quite a week over here. Students with 4 or 5 study halls in their schedules for days on end; schedules changing in the middle of the day without teachers being notified and missed teaching. The terror when I thought half of my yearbook staff was going to drop, including the one student with a camera, a sentiment that has visited most of the staff in some way or another this week. I don’t even think I’ve seen the half of it. Things have settled, some.

I figured out how to wire money home to North America as dollars!!!! I don’t have to just stuff cash in my bra on the rare occasions I fly back! I know people are staring at me again with that comment.

There is a new Chinese visa regulation, as of September 1st, affecting at least half a dozen newly hired teachers, when we attempted visa extension on September 4th. So thankful to be single – the married teachers and those with dependents are those affected. There is more to the story than that, likely. Not particularly kosher of me to elaborate on our theories. A fistful of baht? Would that do it? Wrong country again? Only slightly.

I took a second shot at standup comedy. No colleagues along for the ride this time. Just as well, this is my thing. I got up and filled my time with a slightly more PG (as opposed to last week) variation on my rollerblading fiasco. Oh and for the record – lesbian experiences and ladyboys in Thailand – I will own you if you try that as a pick up line on me.

I’m still striking a balance between holding up my professional masks, personal masks and so forth. One thing I’ve noticed – not that it’s necessarily a new observation – but I’ve noticed the burdens others carry showing through this week as the scheduling and visa nonsense wears us down. And in some ways – it’s nice to realize I am not the only one that needs to let my guard down and be real. That perhaps, there is more opportunity to be real than I sometimes think. Even if I still sit back and take in my surroundings a little more carefully first.
Especially as so many have listened to me, these past few weeks a great deal, but really, always, when I’ve needed it. And oh boy, have I needed it. It’s nice to feel I can pay that forward in my own right after so long feeling I was just always taking.

I ate Chinese BBQ street food three nights in a row this week. I hardly batted an eyelash. I didn’t really mean to do that. Aside from my MSG intake I’m really not particularly sorry.

Two others walked with me to watch some ballroom dancing in the park last night. It was a nice, peaceful, an actually Chinese element to our evening as opposed to oh my gosh we’re back in North America mall cruising. There was some fan dancing aerobics taking place as well.

We ate Muslim noodles, and the toddler had Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance playing on a Samsung Smart Phone. Now there is culture shock, right there. None of the rest is surprising, but Lady Gaga in the Muslim Noodles joint. I have visions of visiting Mongolia someday and Gangnam Style busting out of nowhere. I mean really, it’s not that far fetched if you think about it.

The Chinese government has my passport for the next three weeks to process my residence permit. Or something like that. But they were quite efficient about it while we were there actually. Having spent full days in Thai Immigration, it was hard not to scoff at people asking how long is this going to take for a process lasting under an hour, but I tried. I’ll get it back just in time for my October holiday. So, now is definitely not a good time to get arrested. That was totally on my list for next week. I’m just glad I don’t need to notarize any certificates with one or more embassies, nor is my application held up by health check irregularities. No Thai tapeworms – no Dr. House shout outs. Damn. That would be the perfect disgusting facebook status.

There is so much swimming through my head, as per usual. There’s a brief snapshot.

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