- Que sera, sera -

17th February '17

We're now entering the final weekend of the first term for a while, that I can say I was genuinely relaxed and happy.

And I'd love to tell you that this was because I had amazing, hard-working students this term.

I didn't. There was the same bullshit as in previous terms; in fact if anything, it might have been worse. This term I had two testing levels who seemingly didn't give a shit. The difference this term, was that it just didn't bother me.

What previously would have angered me and increased my blood pressure, this term couldn't even force the smile from my face, and I don't think that was just coincidence.

My life is tracked nowadays; there are lists for everything.

Most are completely pointless and serve no real fuction, but they're there anyway. It's the just the world that we live in.

For example, if I want to see all of the workouts that I've done, I simply have to go into my phone, and Apple Health has stored a list of all of them. Or if I want to see a list of the TV shows and movies that I've watched, I simply have to click onto Trakt, which is an optional service linked to Infuse, the app that I use to play most of my media on my Apple TV.

Trakt keeps a public record of the shows that I watch, when I watch them, and even how I rate them.

I genuinely don't see the purpose of that. At no point in my life have I thought 'I wonder what [so-and-so] has watched this week'. I don't see why anyone would care for another person's viewing habits, but I also don't see any harm in it either, so you can go on there and see what I've been watching, if you're so inclined.

It is of mild interest to me though, to see exactly how much time I spend watching TV. As I often say, you can trick yourself into believing that something happens more or less than it really does, but the numbers don't lie.

And what I can tell you from these lists, is that this term, I've had the time to workout significantly more than in previous terms. I've had some kind of workout, however small, on almost everyday.

I also finished the fourth season of House of Cards, and am an episode shy of watching through both seasons of 'Better Call Saul'.

These are things that... I simply didn't have the time for in previous terms.

When you exercise more, you're more relaxed. You have less pent-up energy to expend, and when you run in the midday Bangkok heat like I do, you're also pretty much giving yourself heat exhaustion.

You try finding the energy to get angry after running 10km in 35°c sunlight.

And watching more TV is just a sign that I've had the time to relax more. I've given myself an hour or two everyday to unwind, and to immerse myself into mostly fictional worlds.

That's genuinely why I think that this term has been better. This is the first term for the better part of a year that I've had the time to do things like this.

In previous terms, if I did find the time to exercise, or to watch TV, it was almost an inconvenience because it was getting in the way of other things.

Everything that I had to do or that I wanted to do, overlapped with something else. So to do one thing, there was the stress of knowing that it was at the expense of doing something else.

You can probably see where I'm going with this, but I know that it's been the better part of a year since I've had the time to be happy, because it's the first term for the better part of a year that I haven't been studying Thai in some form.

Like last term, when I went to 43 hours of observation classes at my school. This term I've had those 43 hours to myself to exercise and to relax.

Or the term before, when I would try to meet my ever-unreliable tutor.

The time that we actually met wouldn't be too significant, but I was investing huge time into turning what we went over into flash cards, and then studying them.

Now all that time... relaxing. Exercising.

I would love to be able to study Thai still. But as I'm realising, with my current schedule, it's just not really a feasible thing if I also want to be a relaxed, happy human being.

This term has basically been stress-free, and it's not been because of dealing with less bullshit, I can tell you. It's been because the bullshit hasn't got to me.

When you're relaxed, you're a lot more accepting of less-desirable outcomes, and are able to have the attitude of what will be will be.

I guess that my real hope is that my preference of an easier schedule is honoured next term, then I can perhaps get back to studying Thai again as well as being this relaxed, but who knows? I genuinely struggle to understand the status of my school at the moment.

There's never really any communication about it, so how dire are our falling student numbers? Are they going to be offset by the teacher that's leaving? Is the future of the school as a whole in doubt?

I'm genuinely not sure about any of those. It's still a time of uncertainty, for sure. I mean, regardless of the student numbers, we've got a manager who's still only getting his feet wet. I get the feeling that he wanted to take a term here before making any big changes, but I think starting next term, he's going to start implementing some.

I actually like him though. He seems a nice guy with his head screwed-on his shoulders, but he's certainly opinionated.

I'm quite good at putting my foot in my mouth, but I realised quickly that this guy has some strong views, so I've realised to let him express his own opinion on matters, before giving my own.

The retarded Netanyahu had been in the back of my mind throughout the term, just because I knew that his mentally retarded girlfriend was going to fail the test, and then he was going to complain.

In this school, they basically leave you to get on with your job unless people complain. So knowing all through the term that this guy was at the end of it, going to cause problems, kind of floated at the back of my mind.

He did me a huge favour though, by going to the academic office with his girlfriend about a week before her failed test results came back. I wasn't in there at the time, so I don't know exactly what was said. But after this little meeting, both the new manager and one of the admin girls came to me independently of each other to ask my views on the two them, both expressing that they seem kind of crazy.

From that point on, their opinions seemed worthless, and my manager told me that he was encouraging them not to even come to this school anymore, something that I believe they're not going to adhere to, although we'll see next term. But being labelled as crazy, it got me largely off the hook for any complaints, however unfounded they were going to be anyway.

He's very business-like in that regard though, this manager. He sees a problem, he fixes it. There's very little dancing around things. Which is certainly good. I think.

It's very hard for me to gage exactly how he sees me. Does he like me? Does he think I'm a retard? I genuinely don't know. But we seem to get along when we talk, so hopefully everything's good.

I am always mindful that despite being here for almost a year and a half now, I am still one of the newest teachers, and it's unclear how low student numbers are.

If there did have to be a forced reduction in teachers, then I'd imagine that my name would be one of the first ones on the list so... well if I am making a good impression, it can't be a bad thing.

It's also hard to know how requesting time-off and an easy schedule is being received.

On the one hand, I'm making it easier for them to deal with low student numbers by requesting that I have less classes. On the other hand, he seems like the kind of guy who respects hard-work. So what does he think of me requesting an easy life?

Don't know.

I guess what will be will be, so I shouldn't think about it too much. To the best of my knowledge though, I still have a job next term, which means that come Monday, I have another week off. And for this week off, I will be doing...

Don't know.

I spent copious hours over the last week or ten days trying to find somewhere within Thailand to go that excited me. I've been staring at maps, looking at hotels, looking up things to do. There was just nothing that I could find that appealed to me more than staying at home for the week. So eventually I decided that I'd just fly up to Chiang Mai for a few days.

Only it took me so long to decide that, that when I got around to booking flights, they were double the price that they had been when I started looking.

Well I'm not paying £24 for a flight that was £12 a couple of days ago. So as things stand now, three days before the start of this vacation, I have zero plans.

Kind of sounds like me, doesn't it?

Don't get me wrong, I still intend to go on vacation. I just don't know where or how. Or even in which direction.

I want to be back in Bangkok by Saturday next week, so it's really only a six-day vacation. So what I've kind of got in my head right now, is to just travel in one direction, and see how far I can get in six days, before catching a plane/train/bus straight back.

For example, I could catch a train down to Huahin on Monday. I've been there before, so would only want a day or two there, so could go a bit further south the next day, likely to somewhere new, because I haven't seen much of the south. A day or two there, and then maybe I could go over to one of the islands.

I'm pretty sure that from Koh Tao, you can get a high-speed ferry back to Bangkok for about £20, so could take that on the Saturday.

Or maybe I could go north; finally make it to Ayuthaya. That's been on my list for years, and it's almost embarrassing that I've never been there, because I've had students that come down from Ayuthaya just to come to my classes. I could go there for a day, then maybe onto Lopburi or somewhere else. Then maybe one more stop before getting a plane/train/bus straight back.

Or I could possibly head west; I haven't seen much of the west of the country.

I genuinely haven't got any further than I plan on going on vacation somewhere. Which probably means that I won't end up going anywhere, but I probably should. I've spent way too much time in Bangkok recently.

For someone that used to take vacations for years at a time though, a week-off work is a very hard sell. It just doesn't really excite me. And then next term... well as always, next term is going to be determined by my schedule.

As much as I want to learn more Thai, this term has been eye-opening, in how much doing so was indirectly affecting my mood.

Not that learning Thai itself is stressful. Rather, it just takes up the time of other things like exercising, relaxing and eating well; all integral to your mood and your health. And I'm certainly not dedicated enough to studying Thai to do so at the expense of my health.

If I do get the easy schedule that I've requested though, especially if it only includes classes that I've taught before, then I might be able to add study back into my routine, so it's all in the hands of my new and unpredictable manager.

The way that I feel now though... fuck it, what will be will be.

If I get more work then I get more money, and I can't complain about that. If not, then I get what I've actually requested and I can't complain about that.

That's been my reaction to things all term, and more importantly than anything else, I just hope that I'm able to carry-over this mindset into next term.

Existing is just a whole lot more enjoyable when you're able to be positive about everything.