Finally, we seem to be past the huge number of holidays and other activities that served as disruptions in the school schedule, starting in early December with Thai National Day and Constitution Day, continuing through Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, Mid-Term exams, and culminating with Thai Children’s Day and National Teacher’s Day nearly two weeks ago. I believe last week was the first in more than a month and a half where I worked a full week. My students were quite attentive and productive during most of the week so I rewarded both high school classes with a rare “Games Day” on Friday which was as much fun for their teacher as for them. It was a very long week, indeed.
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.
Following more than a month of working at a school on an small island just to the east of Phuket Town, I am finally able to pursue a few of my favorite free-time activities. One of those is writing for this blog (which suffered greatly with student assessments and a week-long English camp at the end of the school term). Another is, of course, working on my stamp collection..
This past month has (probably) been my most philatelic of the past decade, possibly the past two decades. The reason for my uncertainty is that any records of my pre-Thailand life are long gone and my memory isn’t that keen either. While living in New Mexico, I did attend a few first day of issue ceremonies held within the state – the most memorable of which was a journey to Chama in the northern mountains when the ceremony for a set of train stamps was held aboard a narrow-gauge steam train!
Today I enjoyed the second of two straight days off due to student cancellations. I was able to spend some rare time off relaxing and even did a bit of Christmas shopping for myself. I’ve been extremely busy with various projects over the past few weeks and the rest of the ten days remaining until Christmas will be just as busy if not more so. In fact, my next day off will be the 26th of December (yes, I will be working both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). I cancelled my lessons for Boxing Day because it is the 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami and I intend to mark the day in a couple of different ways.
I just finished writing four postcards to fellow Postcrossing users. Amazingly enough, these are my first cards of 2014! My last batch – mailed on 12 December 2013 – broke records for slowness with one card to Russia taking 56 days to reach it’s destination. These are the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st postcards I’ve written since rejoining Postcrossing at the end of last July. I’m not exactly a heavy user!
I always find myself working on my stamp collections more during the last part of the year than at any other time. 2014 has continued that trend. I don’t know if it’s because I look forward to seeing new Christmas stamps (one of my thematic collecting interests) or if it’s because I always feel relieved once I pay for my annual visa extension and work permit renewal and want to buy something special for myself. Whatever it is, my mind has been philatelicly filled to such a degree recently that I feel the time is right to launch a new blog series summarizing my current collecting activities. Welcome to the first installment of “Philatelic Pursuits.”