I'm an American expat who has lived and taught English in Phuket, Thailand, since December 2004. I like to read, write, take photographs, as well as collect stamps and postcards. You can read about all of these things and more on my four blogs:
Asian Meanderings, https://jochim.wordpress.com
Postcards To Phuket, https://markspostcards.wordpress.com
Philatelic Pursuits, https://philatelicpursuits.com, and
A Stamp A Day, https://stampaday.wordpress.com.
Hmm. Eight months since my last entry on this blog. I haven’t been lazy in those eight months. In fact, I have been busier this year than any in recent memory. At least I have had more happen to me. And so, on the occasion of my 54th birthday, it is time to bring those who visit here an update. I usually become quite nostalgic around this time of the year anyway…
The year of 2019 followed the same basic routine as most of the last three or four years that I have held the position of Deputy Head Teacher for the Phuket branch of Thailand’s largest agency of English teachers. My routine remained largely the same as differences abounded all around me. Chief amongst these was the retirement of our Head Teacher (NO! I have never aspired to do THAT job — mine is far more interesting, stress-free and rewarding) who remained fairly sane through his nearly seven years in the position. That change came early in the year.
It has been a fairly uneventful week-and-a-bit during which I have been going to work in a semi-holiday state of mind. April is definitely the slow period as far as education in Thailand is concerned as it is the summer vacation between school years. As the Thai New Year — Songkran — comes mid-month, most businesses close up shop as the entire country attempts to relax. I still have a few lessons each week with individual students as well as a business course on Saturdays but it is a very relaxing atmosphere at the moment. My agency will actually close down completely from this Saturday (April 13 is “official” Songkran Day) and will reopen next Wednesday. My student has already cancelled his Friday evening lesson (which happens to coincide with our payday), so I will start holiday festivities early. I do have some tentative plans for the long weekend but I will report on those in next week’s update, hopefully with some photos and video.
Greetings, readers! I’m (almost) back to “regular” blogging.
No, I didn’t fall off the edge of the Earth. I am just trying to recover from what was simple exhaustion. My 53-year-old body essentially rebelled against my unrelenting schedule.
For weeks, I had been looking forward to taking a bit of a vacation/holiday break at the end of the school year. That came at the end of the first week of March. However, on Wednesday of that week I was asked to plan for and run a two-week Summer Camp due to start the following week at a Buddhist temple school on the opposite side of the island. While we are normally given much more advanced notice for even the one- or three-day camps, I told my boss, “Sure, no problem!”
Wow! Last week was extremely busy and the week to come looks to be even busier. As I start to write this, it is early Sunday morning and I need to depart soon on a “reconnaissance mission” to the unknown reaches of western Phuket. I need to find the location of an obscure temple where I will be starting a 10-day English camp tomorrow; supposedly, it is on the route of a songteaw (local bus service) and I want to ascertain the travel time and observe local landmarks so I know when to tell the driver to stop.
I only took a few photos since my last update (and absolutely no video), including several of my two classes at Phuket Town’s oldest and largest school…
This is actually the second version of this particular installment of my “weekly” update column. I only needed to add a few images in order to finish one I wrote earlier in the week. However, I got busy and forgot about it. I decided to scrap it and start fresh.
Yes, this weekly update is a couple of days late. It is also the shortest one yet (although it is also the longest in one aspect).
While last week was mostly one of fun and games — the Old Phuket Town Festival taking up Sunday, Monday and Tuesday plus Valentine’s Day on Thursday — this week (and the next two or three) are going to find me struggling to get things done. Today was one of the biggest Buddhist holidays of the year and most schools were closed (mine was open but I don’t have any classes scheduled on Tuesdays); I spent most of it doing assessment-related tasks at my agency’s office — a taste of the huge amount of paperwork that comes with the end of a school year.