Yes, I’m still in Phuket, Thailand. Still teaching English. Still collecting stamps and postcards. Still reading as much as I have time for. Still healthy. Still single. It my be a new year, but life continues at the same relaxing and stress-free pace that keeps me rooted in the “Land of Smiles.”
I turn 50 years old in just a few days. I had planned to do a few things in order to celebrate my first half-century on Earth — a “50 things about me” blog series for one thing, putting together an article picturing “my life in stamps” for another. I thought about “issuing” a series of birthday stamps for my personal local post but, aside from some preliminary designs done back in July, I shelved that commemoration as well. I could blame my increased workload and general lack of free time — November was brutal — or I could blame my complete laziness in the time that I do have away from work. The truth be known, I’m just too tired to do anything beyond a watching a bit of television and reading for an hour or so each evening.
October was one of my more active months in recent memory despite the fact that I didn’t work at all during the majority of the month. I’ve been an hourly employee for my teaching agency the past three-and-a-half years so I don’t earn any income if I don’t work. Luckily, my savings cover those rare lean months of the between-term school breaks but that tenuous existence is about to change in a big way. More on that in a bit. As my “forced” holiday coincided with the annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival, I took full advantage of the time off and participated as much as I could. Both during and following the festival, I finally started exploring the many interesting cafes and restaurants that have been sprouting up all around the Old Town area.
The past month has been one where my ENTIRE focus has been on work with very little leisure time. But today marks the first day of an indefinite period of no income (AKA, a holiday”) as the school term finally finished yesterday. How am I spending this first day of vacation? By traveling to my company in order to turn in grades and time sheets and to try and install computer updates while connected to reliable wi-fi. I am also trying to write this month’s edition of “Monthly Meanderings” completely from scratch; usually, I compile notes for each section during the last week or so of the month. I’ve just been too busy with testing, etc.
August saw my return to high school and I’m still trying to adjust. My leisure time went from “perfect” to “will I ever have free-time again”? September will be even busier but I should be able to take a lengthy holiday starting the second week of October. At least the weather has largely cooperated; the mornings and evenings have been relatively cool with only the rare thunderstorm.
In the past, I’ve blogged about the lost art of writing letters but never really put it to the test. Inspired partly by last spring’s BBC article I’ve decided to take up the challenge of writing and mailing at least one item during each day in February. This is the fourth annual Month of Letters but my first year of participation; I’ve decided that my first missive will be directed to the event’s founder, Mary Robinette Kowal.
Participants are committed to mailing just twenty-three items during the month, due to there being four Sundays and one U.S. holiday during February. Writing back to people who write to you counts. Either letters or cards are okay. I’ve decided that I’ll send a mix of postcards and real letters (the former because postage costs are more economical and not because I don’t think I’ll have enough to say in a longer letter – well, not entirely). Letters will include some cool little nick-knacks.
If you would like me to send you something during A Month Of Letters, you can click here in order to give me your mailing address. My address is below, should you wish to mail anything to me (you don’t have to be a LetterMo participant to do so!).
8/1 Suthas Soi 2
T. Talat Yai
A. Muang Phuket
The beginning of a New Year brings the traditional “year in review” post on blogs all over the world. Thus far, I’ve managed to avoid such an annual wrap-up as I’m not certain it serves much of a purpose. Now that I’m blogging much more, and am on the verge of several major changes in my life, I feel that I should finally make an attempt to look back on the year past before moving forward.
The year just begun – 2015 – promises to be a significant one for many reasons. Not only does it mark the tenth year anniversary of my arrival in Thailand but also the fiftieth anniversary of my birth. In Southeast Asia, there has been a battle cry of sorts – “Are you ready for 2015?” — for several years now as the Asian Economic Community comes into full affect with English as its official language. Am I ready, indeed…