So we are totes leaving Bkk.
We have had quite the saga with getting my contract drafted up. Firstly, when they offered me the job it was the first night of my half term, so my reference (I am the referee, right?) was not in school all of that week. He was also in the UK until about half way through the following one. Then I continued to wait patiently until it transpired that all my references claimed not to have been asked for a reference by my school-to-be. For two out of three of them, this was indeed the case. But the third person had been asked for several all at once and most atypically sent only two out of three, one of them to the wrong school. So it took quite a lot of to-ing and fro-ing to correct that mistake – that was stressful as I had declined other interviews for a job which was still not secure… and still not secure… and STILL not secure… It’s hard when your head is already building itself into that country and city, not to be sure that that’s the place you’ll be going to. I didn’t receive even a glimmer of an apology from the persons responsible either. In the meantime I had an interview for a nice school in Budapest, and a bilingual school in Barcelona, both of which went really well (I got offered the Budapest job) and Barcelona told me they would be in touch in a few weeks. Anyway, after the zillionth email treading a fine line between the conveyance of urgency and the conveyance of annoyance, the reference finally went off on Tuesday, so the process is off the starting blocks.
I am with contract* in hand!
Where are we going? Well, to Prague in the Czech Republic. In almost all respects, I’m really happy about this, and AW, with characteristic industriousness, has already been looking up organic foodie contacts, and I have been trying my hand at some Czech basics. Talk about unusual languages to collect; Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and a bit of French -very run of the mill – but Thai… And now Czech…? I think that’s pretty eclectic (and not as useful as German, mandarin, etc).
I have some reservations- 1. that AW will be isolated (but we are both of the mindset that we have to make the most of the experience, including actively making friends); and 2. What happens if we want to stay and the girls need schooling? We can’t afford the astronomical fees for English-speaking nurseries. In other EU countries, I’d be happy for them to attend state schools, but I don’t want their learning language to be primarily Czech. So it’s two years’ max, or we strike some kind of affordable deal if (once!) the school decides it wants to keep me!
I was thinking of starting a Prague Lesbian Blog / website, but there is a good gay scene in the city already, with gay civil unions and even a recent exhibition of photographs of two-mummy families. It’s all in Czech, but for we have google translate ;). When we get there and settle in, we can check out the extent of the English-speaking lesbian scene.
We are really looking forward to a liberal, legally protected European context for our “rainbow” family. It has been generally such a… struggle? challenge..? identifying as lesbian in Bangkok. There is no coherent scene; Tom-dees and lesbians don’t seem to identify as the same group; there is a surface acceptance which masks incredibly old-fashioned attitudes, which no one challenges. Well, they do, but the mind boggles. LGBT are such a visible social group here, often clearly signalled by dress – but those who want to speak out about protecting the rights of this group are but a tiny fraction. The preferred action seems to be to bury their heads in the sand.
Pride parades have been a massive failure, and in Chiangmai I believe had to be cancelled due to violence. The whole notion of ‘pride’ in this context is a total (western) anathema here. It’s a shame, coz pride is fun in the UK, where all the rights it was originally seeking are already won. Here, where the campaign still needs fighting, and loudly, pride doesn’t exist. Campaigners are still largely underground, and my feeling is that campaigners here are seen as anything but equals . The system here rather views any concessions to LGBT people as an enormous favour being granted to some pesky freaks who won’t back down. Our friend is one of the campaigners I write about, and when presenting draft legislation, the authorities flatly refused to consider same-sex parental protection; she was told “you people are lucky to get ANY concessions” and not to push her luck. It is odd, as I think if a poll were taken on which country was more pro-LGBT out of Thailand and the Czech Republic, people would tick the wrong box! Still, I know my friend has been working tirelessly for LGBT rights here for more than 20 years, and I don’t see her giving up any time soon!
Got to get going with a Bangkok bucket list because July is going to come around VERY quickly. My biggest bucket list item
can’t happen now as it’s seasonal: diving in the Similans WITH AW. Season is over for this year, and the next year we won’t be here! :O
The girls are doing well. They are regularly outrunning me around the garden now. It is a
badly designed lovely place with beautiful foliage and water features no clear lines of vision and several drowning hazards. There are loads of other kids who share fight your babies for their toys and play cycle and rollerblade into your toddler with the girls. There are lots of other adults around with whom I have a total culture clash to keep an eye on them tell me my girls should not be here, there or that whatever I’m doing is terribly dangerous. Yesterday I was NOT alone with them (usually I am), but they had their first scary accident. It turned out to be very superficial, but there was a big audience (if aforementioned women who already of the opinion I’m irresponsible), a lot of baby screaming, and a lot of blood (Ivy hit her mouth on a concrete step 😦 ). It was really scary for a bit, bit the bleeding and crying stopped really quickly. It has to happen, right? Toddlers topple.
We think Ivy is beginning to talk (in Thai), and says the Thai word for peekaboo when playing. Sometimes. I think she’s starting to say “mummum” (Thai for eat when addressing babies) when she is hungry.
They also blew whistles last week, and yesterday Olive had a good go at blowing bubbles. They’re growing up so fast.
My job is manic at the moment- it’s the big performance of our year-group show tomorrow: Goldilocks, Innocent or Guilty. My class are in it, but I also put the concept together for our school I.e. For 5 scenes each using 20 children. We could only use a few of the (great) songs from the script we bought in. My kids did me so proud at the dress rehearsal today. We have b-boying chefs. What could go wrong?!