Friday, February 6, 2009

I think I'll go for a walk...

I'm feeling much better today. In fact today I'm famished. Understandable considering I'd barely eaten more than a handful of crackers and a little chicken & rice since lunchtime Tuesday (it's Friday night). I don't know what it was, I ate the same thing I always do for breakfast, and then Bunny and I split a "pizza" (It really wasn't pizza, I can't describe it, the bile starts coming to my throat just thinking about it) and she was fine. Who the hell knows why I keep getting sick. And yes, I need to pick up some of that whatever it is that people keep recommending to me. Someone recommend it again and I promise I will write it down and go to the pharmacy at lunchtime tomorrow and buy some.

Today I ate a bunch of crackers for breakfast, and was starving by noon. For lunch I had a big ol' plate of garlic fried pork & rice, and then for dinner, about two hours ago I went to McDonalds for a double cheeseburger, fries and a sprite.... supersized - DON'T JUDGE ME - YOU DON'T KNOW!!! And I'm already hungry again. I should probably eat an actual vegetable at some point. Hmmm.

I had a mini-meltdown at work last Saturday. Saturday is, as you may recall, the day of my dreaded kid classes... and I'd gone head-to-head with my manager again about how inappropriate the book was for that level and how if I could just go to a different book at a different level I might actually be able to teach them something. Alas, no dice... the course was ending but I'd be have to use a different, but equally inappropriate book. I was not happy.

In addition, I'd gotten my February schedule on Friday and noticed that for once I didn't have a Monday morning class. I'd been keeping my eye out for another opportunity to go to Ko Samet and jumped on it. I thought about heading out immediately after my Saturday class to try to make two nights and a full day of it, but decided I'd rather go out to dinner with B & B and head out first thing in the morning. So I was hanging out in the teacher's room planning for the three afternoon/evening classes that were scheduled on Monday and waiting for Bunny to finish up class so we could eat. One of the staff came in, and told me "problem with your schedule" and proceded to tell me that one of my students had to cancel their Wednesday class so she rescheduled them for Monday morning.

I didn't exactly *yell* at her, but as the English say, I was "quite cross" about it. I mean, I already had three classes scheduled, and was desperately in need of a day away. The additional class would have had me going from 9am to 8:30pm, and I'm sorry, but I'm just not a machine. On another day, in a better mood, I might have just sucked it up and said fine, but after yet another hellish Saturday, there was no way and I told her so. And proving, that here in the land of smiles you actually do get more flies with vinegar than with honey, she agreed to ask the manager if someone else could fill in for me. Which they did, and I got to go to Ko Samet.*

I absolutely hate that I had to throw a hissy fit in order to get something to go my way, and I feel bad for ducking out of a class on a day that is my scheduled work day. The staff only get one day off a week, and there are several days when I only have one or two classes; leaving the bulk of my day free. I felt like a spoiled brat. I hate feeling like that. I felt amazing at the beach though... so I can't quite regret my tantrum. Especially since it made me do some real thinking and I figured out the source of some of my unhappiness here. The problem is two-fold... well three-fold, the overarching issue is not having a two day weekend. But I think I could adjust to that were it not for the other two problems.

One - transportation. I don't have a car or a motorbike here. I've pretty much given up on the motorbike idea as too expensive and too much of a hassle. During the day, I have no problem getting where I want to go, between the songthaews and motorbike taxis I can get around Rayong quickly and easily, and there are also reasonably cheap & convenient buses & minivans to Bangkok. But once evening falls, it's much more of a challenge. The taxis run until 11pm or later on the main bar street... but that's it. The songthaew to & from the beach stops running at around 5pm, as does the ferry to Ko Samet. Which means I could only even attempt a run to Ko Samet on a Saturday if my 5-7pm class cancels, and I thought ahead to pack up all my beach stuff on Friday night, and I miraculously caught a songthaew between about 4:00 and 4:15 in order to get to the dock on time. In other words... never gonna happen.

Bunny and Bobby encountered a similar problem today. They had the day off and wanted to go to Pattaya - which is only about 45 minutes away by car. But the bus schedule leaves something to be desired. The first bus is at 5am (which requires waking at about 4am to walk to the bus station - no motorbike taxis available at that hour)... and the next is at 1:30 in the afternoon. Coming home, the last bus is at about 6pm. They have an entire day free, but unless they want to wake up pre-dawn, (either coming or going) they won't be able to spend more than an afternoon there. And you don't go to Pattaya for it's "afternoon-life". =/

The second problem, which might not bother me at all if the transportation & scheduling allowed for more exploration, is that my home is not cozy. I don't have a couch, or a TV, or a DVR, or a kitchen, or a sewing machine, or any of those things that kept me pleasingly occupied for many rainy day in Portland. Seriously, back in my dinky little apartment (giant & luxurious compared to my current studio) I had everything I needed to keep me entertained for days.

Sorting this out is good, because it's putting a finer point on what I do want. I'd like a little more coziness in my living space, because downtime is inevitable, and do enjoy sitting on a couch... or even a comfy chair, and knitting. I can do without a TV as long as I have my computer and some DVDs. I don't need a kitchen, in fact not having a kitchen, although hard, has helped me lose quite a bit of weight.

So the real issue is transportation... if I'm going to continue to live in Rayong, I'm either going to need a motorbike, or a two-day weekend. If I'm going to have a schedule with only one day off each week, I'm going to need to live somewhere with better public transport... or more to do in town. I've already been toying with the idea of moving to Bangkok when the rainy season gets here... but until then, maybe I do need to re-evaluate the motor-bike plan. The expensive, complicated motor-bike plan. =/

Ok... in other news, I do actually get two days off together this week, there's a holiday of some sort on Monday. So I'll be going to Ko Samet on Sunday on my own, and a bunch of other people will come on Sunday night. Should be fun. I know it seems whiney to complain that I only get to go to an island resort twice in one month instead of every weekend. But seriously, I'm giving up a lot to be here, and the giving up was so that I could do things like that. I don't know... I'm afraid I've become whiney and entitled. But then, I spent about 5 un-paid hours today writing up progress reports... and have a couple more un-paid hours of lesson planning to do tonight... so maybe I'm not so whiney and entitled afterall.

*Getting back in time for my 2pm class was a bit tricky as I missed the 11am ferry and couldn't actually leave the island until noon. It's a 45-50 min ferry ride back to Ban Phe, and a 40 min songthew ride back to Rayong, and a good 10 min. walk back home. But an expensive (200 baht) and absolutely terrifying motorbike taxi ride later ("go fast" is a recent addition to my Thai vocabulary) I managed to get home, showered, changed & back to school right on time.


Cate said...

I'm really torn on the transportation issue. Songthaews are ok and they run late here, but it would be nice to have my own. Except everyone I've met has been in a motorbike accident and that TERRIFIES me.
I'm totally jealous of your proximity to the beach - that's the big downside of Chaing Mai.
And get yourself some Cipro, girl! It's not cheap but my husband got some horrible stomach but and it took care of it pretty quickly!

Bezzie said...

I think pickles count as veggies right? far of distances are you travelling? Maybe a motorized scooter?

d said...

i'm glad you're feeling better, but man, your stomach problems make me never want to visit a foreign country. ever.

how 'bout just a regular ol' bicycle? exercise plus planet friendly. ftw!

Libby said...

Living in a foreign country is definitely stressful enough as it is. I think it is perfectly legitimate to want and need the things that help you cope with that stress. I hope you get some of them figured out. Having just come from a situation that was similar in some ways, I can definitely relate.

Rebel said...

ok... I swear I commented to all of these comments, but it didn't show up for some reason. =/

Cate - one of the teachers saw a motorbike fatality in Bangkok just the other day... making me once again rethink the motorbike plan

Bezzie - scooter, motorbike - same same

d- they're making me never want to visit a foreign country too. =/

Libby -thanks for the empathy, am having a tough time right now.

goodworks1 said...

Rebel, I started reading your blog a few months ago when I saw a link somewhere (maybe Wanda Hanson's blog?) and checked it out because my ds works in Bangkok teaching English. Email me if you are interested in more info about the school - they use Callan method for adults (way lower stress level for the teacher!), but do private lessons/tutoring mostly for younger students.

Jeannette said...

Your situation reminds me of when I first moved to Japan over a year ago. I lived in Kudamatsu, worked 8 hour days (before the company went bankrupt), and really couldnt go anywhere after 9 because of lack of transportation. It was a boring time filled with watching rented VHS's (yes, I have a TV) and stealing plants from neighbors.

Having realized what you have, that a cozy home environment is important, I bought American and Japanese DVDs players, found a free coffee table, couch, coffee maker, pay for internet, got a pet rabbit, have a big basket of yarn in my living room, sent away for paints and brushes in the mail, put art up on my walls, found a cute boy, switched jobs and now work 4 hours a day and live downtown behind the train station. But all that comfort means I have to stay a little longer.