Not Alan Anymore

I’m blogging from my mobile phone because I’m a busy, 21st century woman for whom time is most definitely money, but really because one of the cockroach teens broke the screen on my laptop so I can’t use it at the moment.

It (the cockroach teen) ran out at me as I was sitting on the floor with my laptop on my on my knees. I yelped, of course, simultaneously jumping half out of my skin, as any sane person would in that situation. The momentum of my out-of-skin jump sent my laptop soaring in a graceful arc from my lap to the floor. And now the screen is broken. Because of the cocks. The roaches. The croaches.

The croaches continue to taunt me in other ways. A few days ago I killed three of the fuckers. BOOM! Dead. Done.

Well. Almost. That’s leaving out the part where I got in the shower only to notice one staring at me from the ledge at the top of the tiles. Little pervert, I thought. Luckily there was a bottle of bleach nearby so I grabbed it and COATED the bastard. It froze, shuddered. A split-second passed in which I fully expected it to melt into non-existence like the Wicked Witch of the West, Oh what a world, what a worrrrrld!

NO. It (the cockroach) – and I swear this is almost entirely without embellishment – LAUNCHED itself at me! It (the cockroach) had bleach bubbling through its skin, and instead of just having a bit of dignity and DYING, it SPRUNG TOWARDS me in what I can only presume was a final attempt to take me down with it. I almost laid an egg in my pants. For realz. I was so taken aback, so revolted, so bloody SCARED that I’d have croachy legs scuttling all over my shoulders, that I let out a WHINNY OF FEAR. A WHINNY! I didn’t even know humans could make that kind of a noise. Who knows what the guy next door thinks – as soon as I processed the noise I’d just made, I errupted into hysterical-yet-horrified laughter. The croach was on the floor at this point, prone. I nudged it with the end of my broom (*shudder*). It was dead. Thank hell.

Later that night I used Michael Swan’s irreplacable ELT tome, Practical English Usage, to kill the shit out of two croaches hanging out on my walls. I wonder if the great man knew when he was writing it that he was in the process of creating one of the most efficient weapons in the perpetual war against roaches? Probably did, right?

Aside from Nature, loads has been happening in the old Kok. Attendance at roller derby sessions has fallen to an all-time low but we’ve got a visit from a BKK-based magazine next week which I HOPE will boost numbers. As a favour, and because I’m a fookin’ idiot, I’ve allowed myself to be entered into a speed slalom tournament in a couple of weeks. I am dreading it – TOTAL humiliation awaits. I genuinely cannot do slalom, let alone do it quickly. I die inside every time I think about it. However, I DO get to go to Vietnam. This will balance out the shame. PROBABLY

Finally, here’s a dull image of the anti Amnesty Bill protests outside where I work. It fails magnificantly to capture the energy and power of the moment, but this is only a 5mpx camera, yeah, and I’m totes using that as my excuse.

image

Well, that’s all from me. I’ve been some dullard who continually goes on about insects instead of all the NORMAL stuff you’re supposed to write when you’ve moved to a new continent to start a new life as an ELT teacher and set up the first roller derby team in your new country of residence and there’s a backdrop of absorbing political unrest, and you’ve been my very tenacious, patient, probably brain-dead by now audience.

Thank you and goodnight ♥

Day 87: I went to Laos

You know what it’s like. One minute you’re overcome with joy and sweet, sweet relief because you finished your CELTA and definitely didn’t fail and have TIME on your hands and are FREE godamnit! and can swim guilt-free in the pool at the prison/resort you’ve been confined to for the previous month… then the next you’ve had a real-life job offer and are facing the prospect of living in BANGKOK for an entire year doing ACTUAL work like a real human being.
It’s a toughie. I did what anyone would do in that situation: I went to Laos.

Laos is, naturally, chock full of people who have finished a CELTA course and are now contemplating an ELT career that, until scant days ago, seemed to be a million miles away. The reason it seems this way is possibly because I am travelling with 4 of my CELTA compadres, survivors all, and because when there are 5 of you travelling together you really seem to fill up a place. I suppose there are SOME people out there who haven’t just finished a CELTA. There’s a gulf between us, though. You start to feel that these non-CELTA types are just fakers, the easy chilled-out movers and shakers. They don’t know what the rest of us have been though. How can they ever understand? Don’t they feel the urge to translate things into phonetic script at 2am, just for fun? Where is there inclination to split Life into the structure of a skills-based lesson: where’s their gist task, their scanning task, their detail task? What about freer practice? Most importantly, why don’t they understand – I mean really understand – the breadth and depth of that most sacred of questions: HAS IT BEEN RAINING?

I say it like one thing led inexorably to the other. It didn’t, obvs. That’s not how life works.

We finished our CELTA and had a day and a half to relax. There was a party on the balcony outside our resources room, and we presented certificates to our students, then went out drinking with our trainers. There was a relaxed Final Friday and an exceptional evening in which we watched an old Christopher Lee Dracula movie in one of the classrooms and made tremendously, appallingly, DELICIOUSLY geeky cards for our trainers. Saturday was celebration day – we left Vadara, had dinner with aforementioned trainers, drank, danced.

We, the CELTA survivors, went back to the hostel I’d been in before the whole mad thing had even started, hung out on the balcony at JJs for a few days. There was a glorious trip to Pai – a beautiful, arty, hippy town in rolling hills. There was a pedicure massacre. There was a LOT of applying-for-jobs. Individuals left for new lives, elsewhere. A month is a long time to live cheek-by-jowl with others, highly stressed, coping/not-coping, encouraging, persuading, helping. Strangers become family and it’s as if they’ve ALWAYS been there, coming to your room at night with food offerings to pep you up, tide you over, getting you to laugh yourself silly when you’re wound tight with tomorrow’s lesson planning. Sad to say goodbye.

But the next thing you know a bunch of you are on the night train to Bangkok, I bunk-beds rocking and rattling along the tracks towards the bright lights and INTERVIEWS of the hottest city in the world (appazza). Then you’ve had an interview, a job offer – what’s a girl to do?! It hasn’t been a week since your course yet; you don’t even have your grades, surely you’re not prepared? You’re professional façade clearly works a treat, though. Show no fear.

Then it’s Khao San Road for another goodbye, and you’re all on a train again, in bunks, fan-cooled and sticky, hurtling towards Laos with job offers and consequences all up in the air. You don’t know where you’ll be in two weeks, let alone two months. Commit or don’t commit?

Right now I’m in the bottom bunk in the Wizard dorm of Sihome hostel in Vientiane, capital city of Laos, tapping this tripe out on Libby’s Macbook Air – an incredible machine that my PC instincts can’t quite compute. Libby, Emma and Johnny are in their beds, chatting. Rosa’s on the floor preparing her bag for tomorrow when we head to Vang Vieng. I don’t know if that’s how you spell it but we’re going there anyway, balls to the spelling. Then in just over 2 weeks I’ll be back in Bangkok, about to start work with a reputable language company, signing a contract that’ll last a year. No idea where I’ll live or who I’ll be friends with. All I know is that I’ll be working my little socks off and using the qualification I worked so damn hard for.

It’s been 87 days since I left Leeds, and I’m in Laos. I’m pretty damn happy about that.

Day 73ish: CELTA. WK 3

Most intense and stressful week so far. Most of us spent the week with huge bags under our eyes, necking coffee, groaning, being unable to cope with usual amounts of stress.

Didn’t fail 2 TPs. Wrote audio script for TP6 overnight during lesson planning time. Still managed a ‘to standard’. Had PANCAAAAKES! Wrote assignment 3. Didn’t fail assignment 2. Sleep deprived. Fell into hysterics FREQUENTLY. Harmer’s hand technique. Lol. Did some classroom dancing. Learnt how to draw a dragon. Co-created incredible literary gem about dragons and mermaids. Drew comic strip about the adventures of the Enigmatic Electric Eel man and his sidekick Mr. Crabs, the sworn enemies of evil Sponge Bob Square Pants. Copyright’s mine. Back off, kids.

Had nightmare that CELTA trainer was hiding under my bed and standing in my room JUDGING me. Had to get up, turn light on, check, lock door. Hilair. Slept until 9am twice this weekend. Stayed up working until 2am regularly throughout the week. Weekend jaunt to Fuckin’-Awesome C. Midweek trip to 7/11. Ate roti. Was amaze. Pool is algae-filled but no-one’s had much time to use it.

Only 1 week to go then we get shoved off the edge of the known world into whatever comes next. Bit scared. Feels weird that in a couple of weeks there’ll be other trainees here, taking our place, using our classrooms, messing up our resources room, swimming in our pool, writing on our whiteboards, learning from our trainers. Stressing. Getting hysterical. Bonding. Poor, lucky bastards – they don’t know what they’re getting themselves into.

2 lessons and 1 assignment to go (plus possible revisions for assignment 3).

Wish me luck.

Dragon story pic