Woke up refreshed at 4:30 – normal for me. Trotted down to breakfast at 6:30. Didn’t expect much. Surprise !!! Four hot dishes – rice seasoned with smoked green tea, noodles, stir fried vegetable, and pakora – papaya, bananas, and watermelon, plus eggs to order and all the usual – toast, tea and coffee etc. It kept me going all day. When I’m working I get lunch at school, and the headmistress says I can give the chef special orders. In a month I’ll look like a whale.
The bathroom is a trip. As in Argentina, the shower just empties on to the floor and there is a drain by the toilet – so put toilet paper etc up on a shelf before taking a shower. The sink drains into a pipe in the wall which empties out over the drain by the toilet also. For a bidet there is a hose.
Had no luck on my first day contacting my liaison at the school, so I called Aaron and he said he’d pick me up at noon. After brekker I went out on the street to look around. Wandered for about an hour and accidentally stumbled on my school. A woman was standing at the gate so I went up and introduced myself. It was Mya, my liaison. Is she psychic? No explanation as to why she did not answer my calls yesterday. She took me in and introduced me to my teacher assistants. Gave me my timetable also. Surprise. Mondays I teach pre-school science at a different school across town. All the same age, but 5 different classes. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays I have 3 classes in the morning and can have lunch or go home. I’ll have lunch first day, then decide. Fridays I teach 7 classes, that is, all day. So . . . we’ll see. I asked to be shown around. It’s an old mansion converted to a school. There are 3 floors plus spacious play areas.
Then Mya gave me a helmet and told me we’d visit the pre-school. So hopped on the back of a motorbike and weaved through traffic for 20 minutes. No idea where I was going. Got there and met the headmistress, Su, my boss. Very sweet woman, but apparently has a no-nonsense side. She fired the guy I am replacing after 2 days. We had an exceptionally pleasant chat. It was evident she knew I was experienced and would be fine. We talked a little about the school, teaching methods etc. and said I would have a driver to take me home (car not motorbike). She said I can also use the driver on weekends if I want to see around.
We also talked about my contract and visa. My contract goes until October. Then we’ll take stock. If Su is unhappy with me (fat chance) I’ll be let go. If she’s happy she’ll extend my contract to February. June to October is one term, November to February is the second – then summer vacation. Also . . . I can quit in October if I am not happy. We’ll see. If the job is interesting I will stay. If not, I will leave and go to Korea to see my son and daughter-in-law. No idea at this moment.
The driver took me home, but had to ask directions when we were close. Very reassuring. We made it, though, and I went to my room for a siesta. Slept about 2 hours. When I woke it was 40C (100F) outside. Decided it would be a good idea to make sure I knew the way to school. I had stumbled on it by accident in the morning, and was driven home from the other school, so I needed to get my bearings. Could I find the school? Not a chance. Walked for over an hour. Nothing. I did find a convenience store, though, and stocked up on water, after shave, glass cleaner (for my computers), and some snacks. By now my shirt was wringing wet and I was slightly worried that I had stumbled, like Alice, through the looking glass – looking for the school only made it recede farther away. So I went back to the hotel by a side road and tried again. Aaron had said, “from the hotel it’s right, right, left, left.” By trial and error I translated as, “turn right out the front door of the hotel, take a right on a back alley, then left at the end, and the school is on your left.” Piece of cake. 3 minute walk from the hotel.
Went back to the hotel via the main road to take photos of the public buses – trucks with men hanging off the sides. One guy yelled at me asking if I wanted a ride. Waved him off. Maybe later. Went back to the hotel, did some online stuff and had dinner – Myanmar version of tom yum with fish and rice. Deeeeeeeeeeeeelicious.
Planned my lessons for the morning over the soup. Nothing special – classroom rules plus how to observe (REALLY OBSERVE) plus how to keep a book on experiments plus question time. The latter is the key. Are the kids curious? If so, it’ll be plain sailing. If not, I’ll quit in October. I expect they will be.
Back in the room my girlfriend from Mantova, Emanuela, texted me to see if I wanted to Skype. So, we chatted for about an hour. What a surprise – she misses me. Gave me the Italian version of “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” She was always too busy to see me in Mantova (which to be fair is true – she’s overworked at school). But she could have made time. Didn’t. Now regrets it. I told her that there is a possibility I could be back in Italy at Christmas – ONLY a possibility. Smiles.
And so to bed.