I went to bed before 10pm last night but couldn't sleep. Beer-induced insomnia this time I think. Eventually I took some benedryl to help knock me out. It doesn't help that my mattress is hard as a rock. It's like a gym mat like they use in wrestling I think. Just soft enough to qualify as "not actually a rock" but not at all soft or comfy. I am happy to report however that I now have a blanket. I was bemoaning the fact that I was still sleeping under a towel the other day and Short Aussie offered to bring one in for me. It's perfect, just a lightweight woven blanket - not so much for warmth as for comfort.
I got up and went grocery shopping- picked up some herbal sleep medicine to help with the insomnia and just dorked around for a bit. I have two full assignments to do this weekend and needed some reference materials to get started so I went to the school. In addition to teaching the CELTA course, the actually teach English, Mandarin, and computer classes, so it's open on the weekends. The ladies from the admin office were all on their break when I came in. They are super friendly and offered me some of the fruit they'd gotten from the stand across the street. The first one I couldn't identify at first, I thought maybe it was some kind of bamboo thing but it was SWEET... turns out it was straight chunks of sugar cane! Talk about a sweet tooth. And then they offered me another one which they said was 'sour' - a green olive! It didn't look *quite* the same as the olives I'm used to... a little tougher skin. But it was yummy. The office gals are really great... but try as I might I still butcher their names when I try to say them. I'm afraid I might have offended one of them with whatever it was I ended up saying... but you know they all just laugh it off (and I laugh too - stupid American doesn't know the difference between "Suzy" and "Shithead." ha ha ha).
I grabbed my books, chatted with some of the other students, then went home to 'work'. Except I've done precious little actual work. Still cogitating on everything that came up last night, pondering karma and the path my life has taken.
I still know precious little about karma and reincarnation... if that's really what happens, I'm pretty sure this is my first go 'round as a person. You know, there are just so many things in life that I don't understand. As intelligent as I feel in classes with facts & theories... when it comes to life lessons - I still feel completely clueless. I mean, I know I've grown as a person. I've gone from being governed by "should's" and "shouldn'ts" to caring a bit less what other people do in their lives, to even being a bit less hard on myself about what I should & shouldn't do in life. I'm starting to govern myself a bit more by how I feel. But most of the time I don't even really know how I feel. It's all new to me.
Like last night when the Brit and I were going to get dinner he said "we could go over there, or we could hop on my bike and go into the city if you'd like" and I had to think a bit before coming up with "I really really would." And I did. I hitched up my skirt in a most unladylike fashion and climbed on behind him. It was awesome to be zipping along in and amongst the rest of the traffic, actually seeing the city as we drove through it (in a Songthaew visibility is nil.) We weren't even going very fast but it was fun to feel the wind in my face... and no I wasn't wearing a helmet - it felt great!!!
It feels really good to not let the shoulda/woulda/couldas keep me from having fun. The Brit's philosophy is that everything is perfect, everything that's happening is meant to happen. I don't know how much I buy into that. I mean, sometimes shitty things happen for no reason. But it is a refreshing point of view. And I like getting to express myself more or less openly to him. Peeling back the onion as they say.
I'm really beginning to enjoy myself here... there's an openness and approachability to the city that I find refreshing. I've already mentioned that most stores & restaurants don't have doors... it's all just open to the breeze. So I can look across the street and have a completely unfiltered view into the people in another bar. And as we were sitting there, one of the other trainees came by (on his way to a real bar) and wandered up from the sidewalk to say hi. No waving from the other side of a pane of glass - he was right there.
I've been told that the counterpoint to this physical openness of Thailand is a form of personal privacy where you don't ask, don't tell about other people's business. I've yet to experience that... not having any Thai friends yet. But it's an interesting concept, one I've been thinking a lot about. This course is intensive both intellectually and emotionally. We're spending a LOT of time with each other, talking to each other, sharing each other, observing each other and critiquing/supporting each other. Far more personal interaction than I'm used to. It's kind of an automatic intimacy. It's something I haven't experienced since college. But I'm not spending the next four years with these people... just the next three weeks. Cogitate, cogitate, cogitate, ponder ponder ponder.
And with that I'm going to walk next door to the mall and have a $20 hour long massage!