Thoughts all seem to stray to places far away, I need a change of scenery – 12th January 2020

Last Sunday Amy and I, along with Mum and Dad, had to attend a funeral in Chiang Mai. It’s a three plus hour drive and meant a 5am start for us. I know we’re getting older and getting up earlier is kinda normal but damn, 5am!

I was hoping to be able to spend some time listening to podcasts but when we arrived at Mum and Dad’s and found Dad asleep in the passenger seat it was obvious that I would be driving. It was still dark as we left the city and approached the mountains. The air turned grey and dusty as the sun rose slowly somewhere in the sky and it was entrancing to watch the changes to the colours of the mountains that I was driving towards and soon driving through.

Dad’s big truck made easy time as we settled into the long valley and then through the twisting second set of mountains where a never-ending road work slows things down somewhat. I had to ease off once into the Chiang Mai valley though as, eager after the road works, I was starting to hit 140 km/h without even realising it.

This funeral was for cousin Ting’s mum. Ting had taken the time to travel an hour or so to my own mother’s funeral in the UK so it was only appropriate that we attend her mum’s and it was good to catch up with her despite the circumstances.

Monks did their thing and relatives did their thing and I followed where and when I was told. I noted the ‘No women allowed’ sign outside one of the buildings and wondered when Thailand will discover its enlightenment. Is it my place to judge and do I need to care about how people following certain religions behave? Well, if it feels like injustice it feels ok to care. Just know that progress of this sort often takes more than a single lifetime but we can hope that the progress is made before the world burns.

Having left Chiang Rai before the sun came up, we returned after the sun had set again. Chiang Rai missed us for the day and still the Earth turned without care.

And so it was we arrive at Friday and this time I’m on a solo adventure in my own car, again to Chiang Mai. This time it was for my UK passport renewal and I had allowed myself an overnight stay so as to split up the driving.

I had challenged myself since the Sunday journey to drive more conservatively and having that extra time I planned to enjoy the drive and take a few extra seconds to check out the views. It also meant I could listen to music uninterrupted for 3 or 4 hours.

For some reason I enjoy driving; I’m not sure why. This trip towards Chiang Mai was especially entrancing and I arrived in a very good mood. In fact I was a little annoyed that the first half of the travelling was complete!

The first port of call was back to International House, where I had studied for my CELTA certificate, almost two years previously. I bumped into my favourite tutor there and was pleased to have a quick chat and also to see a few other staff members that I still recognised, though had forgotten their names.

The environment here on the mini campus still amazes me, it’s so beautiful and not what you would expect. Like a holiday resort but with not much to do except study. I somewhat envied the students who would be arriving after the weekend but then I remembered the feeling in the first week when I was questioning myself whether I could do it or not.

I had hoped that they still had copies of my work for the course in the office there but unfortunately, they only hold on to them for six months. Never mind. It was nice to drive through those familiar small lanes where nothing has changed too much. The city is sprawling out that direction but has only had minimal impact so far.

Back into the middle of the city and everything went well with my passport application, though I had some difficulty making my signature similar to what it was 10 years previous. The staff laughed with me and I’m guessing it’s not that an unusual problem as they had paper prepared for applicants to practice.

Quickly out of there and across town to a book shop that had been recommended. An hour and 1000 baht later it was time to find some food and I treated myself to a tiny pizza and salad. Woohoo! Holiday time!

Dark by now, I waited at the Mohawk Bar to catch up with Facebook friend John Murrie. The bars opening time is 8pm and it was only 7pm so I sat in the car reading some more Anna Karenina, taking the opportunity to cross off one of my daily challenges. By 8.30pm the bar was still closed and Tolstoy was taking a sleep-inducing hold of me and I had to quit and head out south to my overnight lodging with one of Amy’s old school friends.

I wuz ‘ere. No one else wuz.

Tired and sleepy I was somewhat energised by meeting the two puppies of the house, once I was accepted as a welcome enough intruder. I was warned to keep my shoes away from them so placed them in my room and shut the door. Not long after, I placed myself in the room and fell asleep but reminding myself I must make an effort to talk more with my hosts Oh and Namtan when I was in a more lucid state in the morning.

In a flash it was morning and after getting my reading challenge completed before 8am, I did 40 squats, took a shower and planned a breakfast coffee for my hosts. Unfortunately, I had left the bedroom door open and hadn’t noticed the dogs sneak in looking for some bounty.

Everyone showered and set I went to get my shoes but they had disappeared. Obviously, the dogs had got them but no problem, whatever, let’s just go on a hunt for them. One under the car, another at the back of the garden. Unfortunately, they hadn’t just been deposited but chewed on and spat out! Ah well, farewell my shoes. Luckily they were just about wearable as I had no other shoes with me. The girls were very apologetic for their pups’ behaviour but I just thought it was funny. I’d had the shoes for a few years so they’d done me pretty well. Maybe an excuse to go shop for some others soon.

An excellent coffee later it was time to get back on the road and my mind was filled with wonder as I listened to good music and again enjoyed the twisting roads round rolling mountains. I counted off the landmarks backwards, breaking the 3 hours down; mountains, valley, mountains, home. The return journey never as exciting as the outset, slight melancholy following the setting afternoon sun.

However, once home I was awed by the feeling of comfort. Looking across our garden I gave Amy a big hug and declared ‘I love it here. I love this life and I love being with you.’

The local rock group down the street
Is trying hard to learn their song
They serenade the weekend squire
Who just came out to mow his lawn
Another pleasant valley Sunday
Charcoal burning everywhere
Rows of houses that are all the same
And no one seems to care

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to have the energy and motivation to get up and do things. Today I took time to water the garden and clean the car.

Let’s talk about luck, right? Let’s talk about it – 27th May 2018

The words contained in the title are not particularly related to the content of this post beyond the fact they are words I couldn’t get out of my head for these 4 weeks of study.

After my last post, some people on the course asked me what I was going to write in this one.  Which made me curious about what I would actually write and what people would think.  When a group of 30 or more people are shoved together for 4 weeks there’s going to be some drama.  In fact, there wasn’t really that much, to be honest.  We were – mostly – adults.

As new faces started appearing on the weekend, our peaceful processing of all things grammar quickly faded to distant regions of the brain.  By Sunday evening the place was abuzz with faces from across the globe.  It was quick to see that there was one Muslim group and another Chinese group of people.  They were all split across separate smaller groups on the first day, though that didn’t mean they didn’t stick together at most other times.  This caused some minor divides but about two-thirds of us were from other places and we all mixed together well enough.  It became apparent to me fairly quickly that it was good to talk to as many people as possible to get different points of view and different ideas – this made the idea of sticking in your little clique seem slightly self-defeating though it was an obvious comfort.

The Muslim group introduced themselves early on.  They were a group of teachers from Pakistan, seemingly lead by one, who we found out later was more a department head rather than teacher herself.  She asked if we like Thailand, to which we confirmed, only to be told that Pakistan is better.  As they walked off, she called back “Don’t mind me, I’m a jolly one!” which I thought rather odd and cute.

It worried me that there was a high percentage of teachers on this course.  Surely they would have a real advantage over those of us with no experience at all.  Thankfully they were given the task of teaching before the rest of us, which at least gave us an extra day preparation.  I also gave us a view of how other teachers go about their work.

So it was that on the second evening of the course we would watch the experienced teachers perform.  Whilst having nothing to compare with, I was mostly just concentrating on things that I saw that I thought I could use myself.  The following evening would be my turn and as I prepared during the night time and that morning I soon found the templates we could use to plan our lessons.  Although not needed at this stage it was obvious to me that they were useful guidance even not knowing how to fill them correctly.  I also made good use of the internet to see how previous students had done things and found valuable resources that would help with the assignments too.  Most of these were posted without comment so there was no clue as to whether they were good/correct or not but they at least provided ideas for the way to do things.  The CELTA folks are also pretty on the ball about plagiarism so straight copying would have been no benefit anyway.

During the daytime we were attended our own classes to learn all about the processes and skills needed to perform to meet the course requirements.  This is where I think that having no previous teaching experience was a benefit as starting with a clean slate was easier to deal with.  Experienced teachers were being asked to unlearn their methods and also they could see that the methods they were being taught may not be useful in their own environments, hindering their motivations somewhat.

So I opened my brain and let everything in and quickly adjusted to the tempo of the course.  The third evening was my turn to teach and despite sweaty palms and stuttering heart rate I went really well considering it was the first time I had ever done such a thing.  I could see that a well prepared plan made for a successful lesson so knew that this was where I should be concentrating my energies.  From here on out I enjoyed the planning and thinking about ways to improve my lessons based on what we were being taught each day.  And we were being taught a lot.

Again, I quickly surmised that there was no way we could learn, remember and incorporate everything we were being taught.  Based on feedback after each lesson you were advised what needed to be improved so it made sense to concentrate on that.

But then came the assignments. Each week a new assignment with ever decreasing deadlines.  They really interfered with lesson preparations, especially if you had to resubmit them as I had to on two of the four.  But again, it was apparent that there was no penalty for resubmission so it made sense to do your best for the first submission and follow the advice provided for the second.  This at least gave an extra few days here and there.

Everyone was warned at the beginning of the course that they would have to deal with critical feedback during the four weeks and some didn’t handle it so well.  I think I had a somewhat blasé attitude to the course after the first week.  After the initial stresses, reassurances from Amy to just do my best, and fairly positive feedback from my colleagues as well as our tutors I ended up concentrating on the end date and when it would all be completed and I would have my CELTA certificate.  This enabled me to cope with criticism of my teaching in a positive way.  After all, we were being told these things so that we could improve and ultimately so that we could pass the course.  Our teachers were obviously trying to help us, without spoon feeding us.

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At one point, one of the teachers from Pakistan complained to me that they weren’t being taught anything and that they were just being given advice on where to look to go and find out things for themselves.  Their background shows this method of teaching where someone stands at the front of class and tells the students A is A and B is B.  This is how they were taught (pretty much how I was taught too) and this is how they teach.

What was particularly surprising about the comment was that just 10 minutes before, everyone had agreed that this method wasn’t the best way for students to learn.  Being guided to discover the solutions for yourselves is generally a better way to retain learning.  At this point I realised that I could be a teacher.  If some of the people I met on the course were already teachers with years of experience I found myself thinking I could easily do a better job than them.  Whether I actually can or not in the future remains to be seen.  At least all these things put me at ease.

I was dealing with the stress of everything well enough, even as experienced teachers started coming to me for assistance with their plans and assignments.  The 50m swimming pool outside my window often begged my attendance but I rarely got chance to use it again.  I also found the best folks amongst my colleagues to ask for advice and guidance when needed.  One in particular, Iranian, London girl, Hedie stood out with her calm and methodical approach to everything, even as everyone around was in a spiral stress ball.  I was also lucky that she was teaching the same subjects as myself so we could understand and advise each other about approaches and develop ideas, whilst not just copying them directly.  Our own teachers were also very supportive with this and at one point our teacher jokingly challenged us to teach a lesson without speaking at all.  Fortuitously my next lesson seemed to fit the bill and when I told that I planned to have 0% speaking time she pulled me up and said she was only joking and that it would be really weird to not talk at all!  My hopes for the challenge slightly dashed I did however manage to keep my talking time around 10% and the class was brilliant.  I was really starting to get into the groove by this point and continued to push myself constantly, rising to the teachers challenges for the final lesson of the course, which unfortunately saw me come undone.  It was a slight bummer to end the 4 weeks on a less than positive lesson but again, I didn’t want to take the easy option and was just trying to push myself further.  All good learning experience.

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So it was, by the last day, everyone was now more relaxed and looking forward to their next adventures, whether continuing traveling or returning to teaching.  We headed into the city to partake in some alcohol, something I had purposely been avoiding this 4 weeks, but for me I couldn’t shake the sudden lack of stresses which resulted in a tired lethargy that saw me bow out earlier than the rest.

The final morning as a few of us walked up the road for a big breakfast I got a sudden feeling of Stockholm Syndrome.  I didn’t want to leave.  This place had been my life, fully consumed, for 4 weeks and now it was a return to reality.  That reality was now uncertain.  My head still spinning with 3rd conditionals and how to make a good reading lesson I would be thrust back into the world of gardening and job hunting.

There were many more stories, much more gossip and a whole host of feelings skipped over in this writing.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to approach this post and with time marching ever onward I wanted to get these words down before the memories fade further.

And the title of the post?  Some folks worked their way through their stress with meditation, relaxing music and yoga, some with alcohol.  I don’t know why, but the abrasive noise of Circus Lupus and Chris Thompson’s screaming put me right in the frame for writing lesson plans into the early hours.  Their two albums will now and forever be associated with this time.

“We’re all good people, all my people, just sitting around, drowned in sound,                        Open your eyes………                                                                                                                              Ennnnnnnd.”

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I stand before you, a simple man, a sly dog, a politician – 30th March-2nd April 2018

Thailand reminds me of the free festivals I attended occasionally in the UK in the mid to late 80s.  There’s a chaotic order and unspoken civility but one that borders on the edge of disintegration at all times.  Whilst everything goes well for everyone concerned things go on as usual.  But things don’t always remain that way and then will be the true test of one’s mettle.  Sometimes the rush of blood from my head, as I stand up too quick, reminds me of that wafer-thin barrier between reality and insanity.

At the moment, Thailand is far more beautiful at night, when the rough edges are hidden in darkness.  The smoky haze of the day’s white skies now unseen, along with the mosquitoes that suck on your sweaty ankles.

The days are full of dust and dirt.  Individual abodes may gleam and glitter powered by personal responsibility but the bits in between are left to rot and ruin.  Construction is everywhere, as in all developing countries, ignorant of the political decisions made in far-off lands.  I try not to keep up with the news of the world but the stupidity of the American presidency is hard to ignore, like a train wreck in super slow motion.  I know enough about Thai politics to not talk about it.  I am the stranger in the strange land and that suits me fine.

 

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Politics…..

 

We avoided any house stresses by taking a quick trip to Chiang Mai.  This was its own small test of my driving skills.  Whilst puttering around the city of Chiang Rai is a pleasant enough affair, the open road, full of its mountainous twists and turns, is a different beast altogether.

Tail-gaters desperately seek advantage and pull out at any opportunity and decide they will ‘go for it’ if there is even an inch of space.  All this at high speeds that even had me bemused at how fast I was going.  Amy and I whooped and hollered at one particular basket case who we hoped to see crash in a fiery ball of petrol and oil but instead, everyone acquiesced and moved aside and let the danger advance to be somebody else’s problem.

Settling into the drive, it is quite a pleasant trip through some nice forest and jungle, offering some nice views when you may afford a brief glance away from the road.  After three hours though I was happy at the approach of Chiang Mai.

The city has grown considerably since my first visit and I must confess my dislike of it now.  It sprawls and crawls, taking its dusty entrails out into the paddy fields, eating up new villages as it goes.  We were lucky enough to be heading out into those edges though, to meet our friends from Sydney past.

Jess is one of Amy’s best friends and she was staying with her aunt and cousin.  It took us a long while to find the location but once there it was an oasis of frangipanis and beautifully cut grass.  A big main house and steps leading to what was until recently a small and very popular restaurant.  So popular in fact that Jess’s aunt was on TV just a few days previously talking about the construction and design.

Two dogs, one in its autumn years, the other a bouncy teenager, sniffed at us and the younger one was warned not to get too excited.  Aunt Siripan advised that sometimes he can get aggressive for no reason as I would discover several times through the evening.  Though he never bit he would snarl and bark, teethed bared and scarily so.  But a few seconds later he would be calm and look up at me with a sorrowful face.  It was shocking and amazing to see.  One second I was expecting a bleeding arm and the next I’m in love with this pup’s dopey eyes and soon after scratching his belly again, prompted by a paw offering.

Auntie’s food was amazing as expected.  She had spent a fair amount of time in different parts of the world, including England, even speaking with a stronger English accent than myself.  She spoke a very deliberate and thoughtful Queen’s English which was impossible not to like.  We were regaled with stories of her life and past times, though saddened by the sudden death of her husband last year, which eventually saw her overwhelmed with the task of running a successful restaurant solo.

She was now reviewing her plans for the future but still in obvious mourning for that close comfort and steady hand of guidance of a partner.  She commented that if she died now she would die happy with her life as it was but I encouraged her to consider that if she lives until she is 100 she still has another third of her life ahead of her.

Our evening was enjoyed with other Sydney friends, all now scattered worldwide, Lekky and Steve and Lena. We were so happy with our time there that inevitably Jess was asking us to leave as she was tired and wanted to go to bed.  Jess is the bright shiny smile as she awaits food, but once filled just wants to slip away and retire.

We cheered everyone off as Amy and I headed over a suburb or two to stay with her old high school friend Oh, around midnight.  Amy wasn’t quite done for the night though and got Oh to ride to the 7-11 to get more alcohol.  So it was at 2am we finally go to bed with plans for a late meet up with Jess and her dad the following morning.

That done, we headed back over the mountains for the quick return journey.  Exhausted I was by the day’s end but finished off nicely with a full and fancy dinner with an ice cold beer.

So it was for the next couple of days, us totally escaping the realities of our house build, a mini-holiday, a quick trip via a tea plantation into Myanmar, to get me a new leave-by-date in my passport and to score ridiculously cheap malt whisky that I just hope is real when I get to open it in our new house…..one day!

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Try to relax me now but then again, Oh no! Isn’t it good? – 23rd-29th March 2018

Damn, I’m running out of energy.  Early mornings of digging earth, shovelling stones, wheelbarrowing stones through wet clay, moving concrete blocks from one end of the garden to the other, these things are catching up with me.  Amy jokes that it’s like an everyday episode of the Biggest Loser and I hope that it can at least result in some weight loss.  We generally only work until about 10am when the sun breaks through the cloudy haze and starts to sear flesh.  If we are not running around on errands or furniture shopping we can get a couple of hours in from about 5pm when heat tends to dissipate somewhat.

I’m trying to keep my promise to never complain about the heat here and, in fact, most of the time it doesn’t bother me too much, certainly not to complain or moan about.  But it is energy sapping.  I’m at 3-4 showers a day at the moment.  Any effort in the garden is almost instantly rewarded with wet clothes and it’s important to cover up as much skin as possible.  The biggest pain is when bending down to pick out weeds and sweat pours over my glasses, which I’ve also managed to drop on concrete and scratch the supposedly scratch proof lenses.  The next biggest pain is standing upright again and feeling dizzy for a few seconds.

We arrived at our house at about 8.30am this morning, with Amy’s parents driving up too.  We had a small hornet’s nest to get rid of and Dad was going to show me the correct way to use the metal bladed strimmer, which appeared to be just not to use near anything that might smash the blades, which is unfortunately not that many places on our land but at least he got some long grass and weeds cut.  However, as soon as we arrived I was so exhausted I fell asleep for 3 hours, despite all the noise going on around the house and garden.

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We’ve started buying various bits of furniture that we need now that we are close to the end of the house build.  We won’t get them delivered until we’re absolutely sure everything that needs fixing is fixed and that seems to be delaying us a bit and it looks like I may not even get to live here before I head off for my course in Chiang Mai.

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I’m supposed to be doing a pre-course task before attending but I’ve just been too tired and time consumed with everything else.  This weekend we are driving to Chiang Mai to meet Sydney friends Lekky, Steve and Lena, along with Jessica and her dad.  We’ll drive back to Chiang Rai with Jessica and her dad the following day and then drive up to the Myanmar border the day after and see what goodies we can buy there.  I’ll be driving mostly though I hope I can get Amy to drive on Sunday so I can watch the AFL on my phone.

I’ve had to pay for the AFL app access along with VPN subscription to be able to watch the games but in the end, it seemed to be the easiest option.  There are a couple of Aussie bars in the city that screen the games but they don’t open until 5pm and the early games are already halfway through by then.  Plus I like to have a beer and relax when watching and don’t want to have to drive the 20kms or so home afterwards.  Damn, I can’t wait to sit down on our new lounge with a beer from our new fridge, watching football, overlooking the sun setting over the mountains out the back window, the smell of Amy’s delicious cooking wafting from our kitchen.  It can happen one day, right?

I have more to write but it’s going to have to wait. There are no more 1994 entries scheduled to post either, not until I get more free time to write them up which might not be until the end of May.

What a lovely place to be, what a lovely place to be.

 

 

 

There’s straw for the donkeys – 7th February 2018

Happily, I was successfully accepted for the CELTA course in Chiang Mai, though I need to brush up on my grammar skills considerably!  The interviewer made me feel very comfortable despite my lack of knowledge and I actually felt that, yes, I could do this!

Also got word of a position available at the university close to our house (Mae Fah Luang) which I will apply for, though the timing may not be right as applications close at the end of March and I won’t have a certificate (assuming I pass) until the end of May.  Will apply anyway, it is Amy’s old University colleague who manages the English department there so that may be a benefit at least.  He said if it doesn’t work out he will direct students to me for private tuition in the meantime.

Last night my housemates took me out for a farewell dinner.  Bram drove the Volvo and Katrina and I made fun of him because he couldn’t hear his brakes screeching because he has lost hearing in that range.  I thought he was just pulling our leg at first but seems he was telling the truth.  I hope my hearing holds out a while longer – there’s still too much music in the world to enjoy.

We went to a dinky Chinese diner in Chinatown and ordered a big stack of food, including my favourite fish in boiling chilli oil with Sichuan pepper.  Not quite enough chilli and pepper for my taste but still a fantastic eat and half the price of some other places.

I noticed the staff putting flowers in the bags for Uber Eats deliveries so at the end of the meal I asked one of the staff if we could have one and I gave it to Katrina who was suitably embarrassed and happy to receive.  Bram laughed too and said I was showing him up.  I like this couple and hope they can achieve their dreams for the future.

For Bram that involves a 3-month motorcycle trip through India (and possibly Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore – though it’s looking like he may not be able to afford that now).  For Katrina, it means getting her permanent residency in Australia and then saving to build a couple of container style apartments on her grandmother’s land near Shengzhou (with Bram’s help).  Apparently famous for it bamboo forests, as seen in popular Chinese dramatic cinema in the west, pictures look especially magical when it snows in winter.

We both invited each other to visit what will be our new homes.

After a few days lull, our house is going gangbusters today with the perimeter fence going in, the electricity being hooked up, ceilings being primed and pond being finished off concreted.  Things seem to be coming together very well.

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Today, though, I woke up in a slight funk.  Possibly from the two beers I had with dinner last night, the first since the end of September last year.  Last night’s chilli has also assisted in processing the last few days codeine constipation.  Codeine is nice – I can see why it becomes addictive.

After today updates will become a little less often though I’ll still try for daily.  I’ve lined up a few entries from 1994 (until the end of March) and want to try and get ahead with those if I can – they are a pain in the ass to re-write and it was a perfect situation to be able to do that at my job.

It’s stinking hot here in Adelaide and super dry today.  Tomorrow I fly to Brisbane to meet with my son.  His mum has booked us an apartment in Fortitude Valley for the weekend for which we are both very thankful.  It’s been about six months since I’ve seen Hayden and probably will be another six before I see him again, assuming he’ll have time to come visit me in Thailand.

I’ll go and finish off that big book that will be too heavy to take with me.  Already threw out jeans and dinner jacket and some other stuff I wanted to take.  So maybe, just maybe, I can squeeze in a box of Australian wine to bring to Amy.

Nervous, I’m nervous, so nervous – 18th January 2018

Don’t complain about the weather.  Don’t complain about the weather.  Don’t complain about the weather.  It’s boring!

Faaaaark it’s hot!

It was 42 degrees today here in Adelaide.  Luckily I slept through it and it was only 41 degrees when I woke up at 5pm.  Dropped down nicely to 31 degrees when I went out for my walk at 10.30pm.

Yes, it’s boring to talk about the weather.  But when you live in Australia and plan to move to Thailand it’s quite a relevant topic.  I didn’t own a jacket for the first 7 years of living in Australia, and I only had one after that because it was a present from a girlfriend.  I do appreciate some warmer clothes during the winter here these days though, these old bones are getting creakier. I have seen frost in Sydney once too – about 12 years ago.

Amy has suffered through the Thai winter where there is a regular annual news item about how could it is each year.  This year the lowest overnight temperature was around 8 degrees.  Looks like I might still need a jacket then.  For the two weeks that it lasts anyway.  Kind of the reverse to an English summer.

I’m promising myself not to ever complain about hot it is in Thailand.  Let’s see how long that lasts.

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Amy has gone from bored-to-stressed in 24 hours, as she has been running around dealing with the people who will build our kitchen and walk-in wardrobe.  Figuring out who will build our bed base design and special wardrobe in the second bedroom.  Expanding the outdoor kitchen area and deciding to put the washing machine out there and renaming the laundry to Amy’s craft room.  Choosing the wall paints and figuring the guys building our fence deserve a bottle of rice whisky when they finish – to keep in their good books if we need any other help in the future.

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Hopefully, the paint goes on in the next few days so Amy can see how everything will look and change anything before it’s too late if she decides.  It’s still so weird for me to be here just looking at photos and only being able to visualise living in a finished house, rather than be involved with its development so closely.  I hope I like it!

Fence

I emailed off my application for the CELTA course in Chiang Mai, starting in April, after Songkran.  They wrote back quickly and I’ll need to do an interview with them sometime soon.  I want to do a video interview but need to make sure the internet is stable enough.  I also need to be on top form and with only have a day and a half break between shift changes again this week I can pretty safely assume I won’t be up for it.  As well as this, I’ll be moving house on Tuesday evening and there won’t be any internet connectivity for a week or so.  I guess by then though I should have a long enough break to be alert enough to what I already know will be a difficult interview.

I’m just a little petrified about my ability to do this course – it’s been so long since I’ve been in a study situation where I’ve had to actually care about what I’ll be learning.  I was sent on so many useless courses in my old job that I never really paid much attention. I know my focus and concentration is not as good as it used to be too.

But hopefully, with a more meaningful result and benefit at the end of the course as the reward, I will be motivated enough to push on through and do my best.  I really want to learn to do something that has more meaning, to myself and to others.  I hope that I can be a good English teacher, and a great mentor to those I will end up teaching.

Once done I’ll start investigating opportunities to work in schools and also to do some private tuition, which I think will be what I might end up doing longer term, once I’ve done a couple of years to get a good grounding on the best way to do things.

I’m still nervous though.  If I can’t pass the course, what will I end up doing?  I do take comfort in the knowledge that other of friends have passed so if they can do it, so can I!