Friday, October 15, 2010

Silence vs. Noise

I don't mind quiet. But it seems like other than the traffic outside it is always quiet in the house I live in, almost silent. I don't mind that sometimes but it seems like lately it has just been too quiet for me and I just think, think, think. Not that thinking is bad, but sometimes I over think about things. I brought my Ipod, but I left the little speakers at home. I really wish I had brought them because so far I haven't found any in the stores. One store did have this huge speaker system with it, but I didn't want to spend that much for use for a few years, plus I can't be too loud here. I have my headphones of course, but then I can't hear if a servant knocks on the door, or my phone rings (not that it rings much). Plus, then I am kind of attached to the Ipod and have to watch out for the headphone wires. I am trying to be better about playing the few songs that are in my Itunes on my computer. Even as I started typing this I finally realized that yet again I was sitting in silence. (Music is now on) I have been trying to remember to have music on when I wake up in the morning and when I am working or studying after school. It can be very noisy at school because since we share classrooms and rotate then some of the classes in the room where I have a computer are loud, very loud, and so then I do crave quiet so I can get work done. Sometimes I will listen to my Ipod while working during my planning period so I can block out the yelling and screaming. I think this week I am just really missing my friends and family and being able to visit with them. I do e-mail my parents and friends, and there is Facebook, and I have Skyped a few times with my parents, but it is not the same.  I am used to staying after school and visiting with my fellow teachers, but here the other teachers don't really visit with me even when I try to start a conversation. They pretty much keep to themselves. I do visit with the housekeeper and bus driver, but they both speak limited English so the conversations are a struggle ( not that I mind but it takes a long time to get a simple thing across).  This next week is book club. I am really looking forward to as I can talk with other people. It will pretty much be about books, and one lady the last time did most of the talking (it was the first time), hopefully we can all talk more this time. I keep hoping that we can start more planning of doing things. I am a member of the website for ex-pats and have posted things I would like to do if others would like to join me but I have not gotten any responses. Most of the ladies do things together during the day since they stay at home and then in the evenings and weekends they are taking care of their families.

I do listen to the radio on the bus to school and back. It is growing on me. It is always like the same five songs with every once in a great while a different song. In the morning they have their morning show with a GOTCHA call where they trick people over the phone. That has grown on me, and I am finding some of them amusing. Then they have Richard Reed, and his Hollywood Hook-up, so I always have the latest scoop on Hollywood, but that is getting old. I tried listening to my Ipod on the bus a few times but the radio is too loud. Oh well. The music is ok.

I got satellite radio last year, and I really miss having that and being able to pick the music that I was in the mood for, and it had a much bigger selection than I could ever have in my Ipod. 

Since the landlord has been gone this week the servants also have had a radio or something on in their room with the door open in the morning so there is some music/talking in the morning when I am eating my breakfast which is nice.

I didn't have T.V. (cable, dish, etc) back home, but I did have my four favorite tv shows on DVD that I watched over and over again. Sometimes I would turn it on more for sound than actually watching it if I didn't feel like music. I don't have that here, and I miss that.

Update-10/19/10 This last few days there has been a new bird around. It cries all day long and the cry is so annoying. To me I think it sounds like a female moaning when she is having sex. It starts out slow and a low tone and then as it gets faster and faster the the pitch gets higher and higher. Until it gets so high and fast that it is like the bird has an orgasm and then the bird stops for a minute or two and starts all over. This has been going on for the last three days. The last two days when I have been waiting for the bus one of the servants is crying back at it, so then they are two voices moaning.  I am now to the point of I hear the bird start up then I immediately put on my headphones so I can't hear it because I think I would go insane otherwise.  You will probably think I am crazy, but if you heard it you would agree with me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Ok, so I am not a real touchy feely person. I don't go around touching people all the time, and I don't even hug or kiss people much. But when I move to a new place that is what one of the hard things. When I have a bad day and really need a hug, I can't just randomly go up to some co-worker and hug them. Especially not in today's society. I would probably be looked at as trying to hit on them. Even though I am 30 years old and still boy crazy and talk about how much I love James Bond and wish I could marry a man like him, they would probably be suspicious of a hug. Plus, it would be awkward to just randomly go up to them and be like, I need a hug. I struggled with this in college (before I got to know people and made friends), Jackson Hole, and Idaho, and now Malaysia. In all of these places I also don't have my cats that I can snuggle with or pet to get some touch. I would even take a pat on the back. I don't hug my parents much or my brother, but back home it was nice because if I had a bad day I could just go to my parent's work or house and just give them a hug. I always felt better. If they weren't available I could put a cat on my lap and pet her, and the purring made me feel better.  I have slept with cats most of my life. Whenever I don't have a cat to sleep with then I sleep with a teddy bear so I have something to cuddle with at night. When I sleep I feel that presence but I don't register that it is not my cat, so I sleep well. It is also the release of the good endorphins that I am not getting when I don't get hugs, or pats, or get to pet an animal occasionally. There is the cat at school but it is semi wild and they don't take cats to the vet like we do, so who knows if it has like fleas or some disease or something. I try not to pet it that much. If I do I wash my hands right away. This another thing that one doesn't notice until it is not available to them.

Massages do help though. They release all the toxins in the body and relieve stress. I think it is a combination of working on the knots and touch. So, I always feel better after a massage, but it still isn't quite the same.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Heat and Humidity

I am tired of the heat and humidity. I think if I could get rid of that everything would be perfect here. I am tired of being hot all the time. I am tired of getting super sweaty without having to do much physically. I am tired the humidity and having my clothes stick to me. I wear makeup most days but it is almost pointless since I get sweaty in the morning while eating breakfast and waiting for the bus, so that my face already looks greasy by the time I get to school. Although it looks greasy with no make up too. I was hoping I could do lots of exercising and lose weight, but it is always too hot in the afternoon and evening to do it. I haven't worked out a schedule to do it in the morning before I get ready for school since I am not a morning person. It is cooler then but still humid.  I am not very hungry because of the heat and don't eat as much, but I feel like with the lack of physical activity I am not going to lose much weight. On the other hand this is a tropical climate, and it is what provides the area with all the lush green plants and gorgeous flowers. It is what allows there to be a beach and not a prairie. I was watching the housekeeper at the school the other day. She also takes care of the plants and the grounds. I wondered if she ever gets tired of taking care of the plants everyday. They are all outside and some days it is really hot and humid, and I feel bad for her.  It made me not mind too much that I have had winter where I am from so that the plants and grass die and then I can take a break from taking care of it. I think it makes me appreciate the plants and flowers more. At first I noticed all the different vegetation, but not so much anymore. I still have not seen a Plumeria flower up close though. I see them in the morning when I am riding the bus. There seems to be several different colors. I wish I could have the bus stop at each one so I could take pictures.  I wonder how it will be like at Christmas, if it will even feel like Christmas. I was in the Caribbean islands once for Christmas and as fun as it was it didn't really feel like Christmas with no cold, and snow. Plus, even though the Christmas carols were very cool with the steel drums, they felt different. It will be interesting to see how Christmas is celebrated here with the cultural and religious differences.

American Food

Ok I will admit that I am now missing American food a little bit. I actually look forwards to McDonald's food every other Tuesday. I mean I like McDonald's, but I was going to always bring my own food on Tuesdays so I wouldn't be eating American food. I am tired of eating chicken and rice everyday. I get the quarter pounder with cheese so I can get beef. I still love Thosai which I have on Saturday mornings before I do laundry, but it is also special since it is only once a week. I have a craving for Pizza Hut pizza. They do have a pizza hut here. I may have to get their phone number and order it one of these days. I also miss Papa Murphy's Pizza, Quizno's, Subway, Dairy Queen. I mean I didn't eat there that often, but when I really have a craving for it now I can't satisfy it.

This is not American food, but it is food. I love chocolate, especially dark chocolate. They have lots of chocolate here. I picked up my best friend's habit of nibbling my chocolate to eat it slowly and savor it. That does not work here because it is too hot and starts melting. So I just have to pop the whole piece in my mouth and let it melt without chewing. M&M's also melt in my hands. Even when they are in the bag they start to get soft. The same is true for Oreo's. I had some that I had opened, and I had them in a plastic bag in a tupperware to keep the ants away. When I took them out and ate some more the cookie kind of fell apart because the frosting was so soft.

Servants Part 3

So my landlord is gone now back to his town or whatever. I noticed last night again that the one servant seemed buddy, buddy with the one guy. But maybe they are just friends. He did haul something heavy down the stairs for her last night. She was up in his room visiting until he hauled it down. The door was open, and I was eating down the the dining room that looks up into his room. I eventually left since I finished and couldn't sit there forever so I don't know how it ended. I also noticed today when I got home at 5:30ish that both servants were in their pjs. I wonder if now that the landlord is gone if they don't clean as much. I wonder if they do some cleaning and take care of the grandma of course, but maybe they relax and watch more tv or whatever.  It will be interesting over the next few months what also develops.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I know some people are super excited and have something special planned for today. I am not one of those people. I have no idea what I was doing on 1-1-1, or 2-2-2- or 7-7-7 etc. But I like the number 10. Plus 10-10-10 equals 30. I think for me it is more special the age I am. 30. I still don't feel 30 or what I think I should feel like based on what other people have said about turning 30. I am still almost always the youngest person out of any group of people I hang out with on a regular basis. There are many times I am more mature than some of those people. So while on the one hand I feel younger than them since I have no husband or children; on the other hand I feel older since some of them are still really immature. I don't know that I really feel like I am one age. I think I feel young or old depending on the situation I find myself in.
Being here for over a month now it still amazes me sometimes that I am living in a foreign country. When I am in my room working I almost forget that I am not in the United States. I don't forget that I am not living in my house, but it feels much like a dorm room that it really does not feel that odd. I read some other blog recently that says it takes at least 3 months to get settled. I think I have made lots of progress for being here a little over a month now. I kept waiting for it to turn out like when I moved to Idaho and got really sick from the stress. But I haven't. I think some of it is that I didn't feel stressed when I moved to Idaho, which was something new to me. My body obviously was stressed, and it manifested that in my getting so sick. Here I have felt stressed and so I think that has helped me to realize when I need to take a break and relax, take a deep breath and tell myself I can do this.  I know I am older, and I think I am wiser. I know now that everything does not have to be graded every night and handed back the next day. I know that it is ok to do some things outside of working and not work all the time. I know that people make mistakes and people forget things, and I don't have to be a perfect teacher. I know it is ok to admit that I have faults to my students, and they will be ok with that.

I know that as much as I like this and am enjoying it I don't think I want to live here forever. Part of me would like to return home after a few years, but part of me want to keep teaching overseas. I used to love to travel but then after September 11th I was afraid to travel overseas any more. Now that I have done it I know that it is ok. There are countries that are still great to travel too. I can be cautious and hope that nothing happens. Part of me was also afraid of getting some disease and being sick. But on the other hand I could stay at home forever and get cancer or something and still get horribly sick and die. So, I have decided I want to go back to traveling. It is so hard to figure out where I want to go first. I wish that I had someone to travel with though. I think that would be more fun to have someone along to talk with right there and experience the same things I am.

When I was in high school I was asked where I saw myself in ten years.  My answer was something along the lines of being an Elementary teacher, with a husband and two kids by the time I hit my 10 year reunion.  When I was in Europe back in high school I thought that I would like to teach overseas but I didn't think it would ever happen. It is kind of like I always dreamed of being a professional ballerina, but that was not meant to be.

I don't know where I see myself in ten years when I am 40. My dreams don't seem to line up with my life's purpose, so I decided instead of being the planner that I am I will just be a fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal-to some extent. I know now that I can do it. I hoped all summer that I would get a job where I had plenty of notice to pack up my house and move and unpack and get settled and get lesson plans done and then start teaching. Instead I had less than two weeks to pack up my house and move to another country (not another state) and then another week before I started teaching and trying to get settled and unpacked and do lesson planning. But I survived with no major crisis or anything, so I know if I had to do it again I am strong enough to do it. Maybe with my next job I will get it right at the end of my contract and have to move and start teaching in less than a week, who knows.  Not that I really want that to happen, but I know now I could handle it.

I know I joked on Facebook once my passport arrived that maybe before my birthday I was going to run away to some country and not come back until my passport expires in 10 years, 2020. Maybe that will really happen. I said I was going to run away to the place of my favorite movie. I never specified where that was and whose to say that I might not end up there eventually.

I had one of my students on that last day of class tell me that he hoped I ended up moving to some place warm. If only he knew that I did move to some place warm.

It is funny now looking back at all the little signs I was given that were pointing the way here, while I was looking for some gigantic neon sign in the sky with an arrow saying "BB, go here". (That is what I kept wishing for anyway.)

This summer when I was applying for jobs some of the ones I applied to I didn't have any actual teaching experience in. When I get done with this job I will have experience in every single one of those grades and areas.

It is funny too. I am a home body, but I have yet to settle down in one place for longer than two years. I enjoyed growing up and not really moving around like my Dad did when he was a child and some of my friends. I always thought I would find a teaching job in one place and be there for the rest of my life. Recently I was worried that would look bad on my resume and keep me from getting a job, but from what I am learning about teaching overseas that actually seems to be the norm. Many of the contracts are only a year or two, and they seem to expect that after that people will be moving on.  One of my professors back in college was from Belgium and taught in Europe before teaching a couple places in South Dakota. I kind of looked up to her thinking how cool would all of those experiences be.  Maybe I will be a gypsy instead and wander around the world for the rest of my life. Eventually I will have to return to the US for a period of time to figure out what to do with my possessions. My kittens have become super attached to my parents so there is no problem there.

Not that I want to rush to the end of my life but it will be interesting to see how it all turns out in the end. Where I will go from here.