I would really like it if my posts were witty. I am not sure whether I am an engaging writer at all, actually. Anyway, I will try to make this post as exciting as possible. Whoop.
Firstly, Olive is pretty much there with the walking this week, which is really exciting. Granny and Grandpa popped in for about 36 hours earlier in the week to see us before their trip to Vietnam. Olive wasn’t walking then – what a treat for Christmas when they return from Hanoi!
I am making some job applications. I hate this. I do genuinely believe that I am not just good at my job, but very good, and that I am an asset to a school. But I am not getting any interviews (it is VERY early in the recruitment cycle, but I can’t help but feel discouraged. Who else is applying? people who have won the Nobel Prize for education?), and I have to confirm on Jan 10th that I am DEFINITELY leaving my totally cushy package here in Bangkok.
Part of me thinks, “Stay!!! Nowhere else will you have a free home with a pool downstairs, and possibly, you never will again, as now applying for these jobs you have three non-teachers to lug with you!” That is very possibly true. I would like to think my current school would reemploy me if things in the EU/ UK don’t work out for us – they do seem to really like me (especially the head honcho), but it is hard to know what they really think. Certainly those on the ground are very happy; my class and their (difficult to please) parents… but when they employed me, I was just me; now I am married and have two babies, they have to agree to four beginning and end contract flights, instead of one; two school places etc etc.
But a cushy package isn’t everything, and I don’t want these girls to grow up Chinese/Thai and not English at all. I miss my own culture, I want them to know it, at least for a bit. And I miss my friends. MAN, how I miss them. I am like a square peg in a round hole here:
1) I am not Thai, and never will be. I have embraced the culture, and my in-laws; I have learned the language to a level which is quite proficient; I have married a Thai woman, but I am still a FARANG. The law here is quite prohibitive and I cannot (even if they were to accept same-sex partnerships) buy property /land or inherit it.
2) I am not really an ex-pat. I mean, I am, but I don’t really fit. I don’t really like the lack of engagement of the ex-pat lifestyle. After a while, if you make no effort to learn any Thai, or have any contact with anyone Thai except your maid or cleaner, you start to internalise an ‘us and them’ mentality. You assume a mutual lack of understanding. That frustrates me, and frustrates Thai people too.
3) We are gay in a country which covers its eyes and pretends it has no idea what you are talking about.
In addition to these things, we don’t have the resources to take advantage of the amazing places to travel and are stuck almost all of the time in Bangkok. Sometimes, when I do get out and about in the city, I can see why I loved it when I first arrived, but mostly now I see grime, concrete and a cacophony of vulgar noise and colour. I don’t enjoy shopping malls and the hot uneven streets are no place for pedestrians, let alone pedestrians with buggies.
I want to maintain a long-term association with this crazy, and sometimes-wonderful city, but my time living here is done. I don’t wish to risk losing my own cultural identity and losing old friendships. I know that life in the UK has turned pretty nasty while I have been gone – our government are shamelessly and despicably elitist and the UK press are equally shameless and despicable in the lies they pedal to sell papers through scandal. But it can’t be that bad, can it? I have the person I love, who has supported me like no other – she will be by my side in this cold new world. We make each other stronger and have a positive outlook.
Things will be ok, won’t they?