The weather’s changing. It’s January and it’s already heating up. There were a few weeks of comparative cool. There were a couple of nights when it was cool enough to use a thin blanket without melting into a sweatpuddle. But all that’s over now – the Mercury’s rising and all is getting sweatsome again.
The nature in my flat is also changing. The ants haven’t been biting for a while – I sorted them out by spraying a fairy ring of insect repellent around my bed (no really, I’m not kidding). The roaches come out now and then – often a baby with a teenager for protection – but I just swear repeatedly and murder them and it’s all OK again. They’ve started following me to work – the other day I made a coffee without checking the mug beforehand. When I went to take a drink there were 5 roach corpses bobbing about. They’re obsessed with me, I think, because I possess a certain cockroachy allure that they’ve never seen in a human before and don’t fully understand.
The new bits of nature that live in my flat are spiders. They stick to the corners so I don’t really mind them. They make webs and hang out and collect red ants and idon’tknowwhatelse. Maybe they eat baby cockroaches? I’m not sure. Either way, I’m unwilling to get rid of them as yet. As long as they’re not jumping out at me from ledges in the bathroom like the bastard roaches, or trying to snuggle me in bed with their teeth like the ants then they can stay. But this leaves me with a problem: if I want them to stay, what do I do about the cobwebs? If I leave them then eventually my room’s going to start looking like that scene in the second Hobbit movie, but if I brush them away then maybe they’ll move out and the rest of nature will move back in? But if they stay, maybe it’ll encourage the geckos to come back, but then the geckos will eat them all which’ll leave it free for the ants and the roaches to take over again. Fucking nature – why is it so complicated? And INSIDE MY APARTMENT?
When not obsessing over my little insect guests I mostly live a slightly dull normal life over here in the Big Kok. I get my water from the water machines outside my building because you can’t drink the tapwater (you can’t drink the tapwater but you CAN go to a high-so shopping mall with a cinema and an ice rink and buy a Louie Vuitton bag. OBVS. Life doesn’t make sense) and I wash my clothes using the 30 baht laundry machines. On weekends I often sit about wasting time on the internet, or go skating at the park, or read books, or go for a horrible jog, eat dinner with people, sometimes go for drinks, or see films because the cinema here is cheap and they are everywhere. At the moment the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra puts on a concert in the park every Sunday, and I like to go when I’m not skating – the evenings are warm and it’s nice to listen to classical music as the sun goes down, especially on the grass and especially with people you like to hang out with. One bad thing is that I’m often not skating right now because my foot – which isn’t broken, I’ve just ripped the tendonligament thingy – still hasn’t fully healed. I’ve done a lot of sitting on my balcony (from which there’s a captivating view of the wall of the building next door, who’d want to live anywhere else?) and reading books (Dracula is hilairmazin) and internetting (thank you, Pinterest).
On work days my morning routine is shit hot. Alarm goes off at 6.30. I surface from sleep hating my life, hating the world, lamenting the fast-passing weekend days and resenting the selfish intrusion of WORK into my social life. Then I pause my alarm and promptly go back to sleep. It goes off again 5 minutes later, at which point all curses are repeated but with slightly less venom. I pause my alarm again. The third time my alarm goes off, I get up. Resentfully. Agonisingly. I shower. Dress. All in a state of semi-consciousness. I get the BTS to work – it’s only 2 stops so no real need to change from autopilot to manual. Get to the office at about 7.50am, turn the computer on, the hot water machine, the printer. I clock in. Breakfast can be rice soup picked up from my BTS stop, or unsweetened yoghurt and banana and sunflower seeds, or KFC, or banana or taro in sweet sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves, or any of a bunch of other options from the street. I have my morning coffee, and that’s me for hours. Clocked in and working. I plan my lessons, then teach, then plan and teach some more. Teaching is sometimes depressing, sometimes hilarious, sometimes exhausting and sometimes it hypes me up. It depends on the lesson, how it goes, on the students… all kinds of things. I love role plays, teaching intonation, functional language, imaginative drama-style stuff, and even just chatting, if the student’s interesting and talkative.
Once my day’s teaching is done, I generally stay a few hours and plan for the next day. Afterwards I go home, or for food with friends, or for cake/ice cream, or to the cinema, or for a wander around the city or the malls or just hang out. I buy fruit from the fruit guys along my road. 3 green mangos for a quid, cut papaya or pineapple or watermelon for 40p. Not bad. Rambutan don’t seem to be in season at the moment but surely it won’t be long now – I miss those crazy, hairy little guys. If I’m not eating with friends then I often get food off the street. Not scraping it off the pavement, OBVS, but eating at a little streetside place: soups or spicy meat with rice, an omlette, occasionally some pad thai. If not, I can cook at home. Kinda. I can make Mama noodles and popcorn, and what more could a girl possibly want in life? Not much, let me tell ya. And that’s it, really. Except that it’s not it at all, it’s just that it’s getting dark and I’m getting peckish so I’m off to scout out something to eat, and maybe get a haircut or a tattoo while I’m at it.
How long will it last is a question people ask me, like I’m some kind of grown-up who plans for the future or who has any clue what I want out of life or how I should go about getting it. All the fives. Here is a truth: Bangkok Roller Derby is here. I made it. It is my child. Here is another truth: my contract at IH is up in June. And one more: I will be trekking in Nepal the day I turn 31. In between those things, some decisions need to be made.