Day nine of NaBloPoMo has arrived, so I thought it would be appropriate to share nine things on my mind. Most of these things are simple and random, but some of them are more complex. Read on for my list of nine, in no particular order.
- Writing challenges. A teacher at my school is doing NaNoWriMo, and she’s loving it! She’s becoming addicted to the increasing word count, and turning into a writing machine. She knows I’m doing a writing challenge as well, and she asked me about this blogging thing, that’s hard to pronounce. We commiserated about Writer’s block today, and she suggested I write about life at the school. To that I replied, “I’d rather leave work here, and keep my writing random.” And to that, she gave a knowing nod. For my sanity, I need to keep my work life and my outside life separate.
- Laundry. As I was walking home tonight, I was thinking about laundry, the laundry I had to do tonight. And then I started thinking about the fresh smell of the laundromat on an American military base in South Korea, and afternoons spent hand-washing clothes in Thailand. We take washers and dryers for granted here. They save us time and manual labour, and nothing beats the smell of a blanket fresh out of the dryer, but there is something to be said for the meditative satisfaction that one gets from washing clothes by hand and hanging them to dry. My Sunday afternoons used to be reserved for laundry and somtam (spicy papaya salad).
- Patience. Not everyone has it, and I don’t have it all the time, but I think I have more of it than the average person. Funny thing is, I have more patience for others than I have for myself. Today, my boss was losing his patience, so I left five minutes early.
- Gratitude. Lately, I’ve seem so much gratitude around me. Last week, there were two flower deliveries at my office; one with a thank-you note, and the other with a happy-anniversary note. It is my colleague’s last day on Friday and I want to do something special to express my gratitude for all she has done for me and our students. I’m still working on my gratitude plan.
- Tipping — Not tipping the scale, but tipping your barista. Three weeks ago, my friend from Boston came to town to give me a reality check. After she left, I realized my thirty-five is just fine, and I should start tipping coffee baristas. You see, her boyfriend is a barista, and she told me about some of their ‘extra’ jobs, like cleaning up shit. You may choose to take this literally or figuratively. So, if I am ordering a fancy coffee, I always tip now.
- Skinny legs and boots. I envy skinny legs and slim calves. Buying high boots is an absolute nightmare, if you have calves and little boxes for feet. On Friday, I tried on a dozen boots and shoes, and ended up walking away with boot shoes. I took them back today, because they just weren’t me. I really wanted boots.
- Separate spaces. As I was wandering down the hall to do my laundry, I was thinking it would be so nice if I lived in a women-only building. If that was the case, I could simply wear my pyjamas, while I did my laundry. And I wouldn’t have to worry about one of the tenants asking me out. When I was working in Thailand, I lived in an apartment building that had separate floors for men and women. It was perfect for students; it provided a safe and distraction-free home. These separate spaces for men and women provide comfort, and a place for camaraderie. On Sunday, the Arabic school is organized by women; when they are not in the classroom with the students, they are lounging on the sofas, in their slippers, chatting. However, this past Sunday, my boss made an appearance, and the headscarves flew on. Today, I told him not to come to work on Sundays. The Arabic school is for the women to run the show; it’s their space.
- Bridging the gap. I love watching the unexpected friendships that grow at my school. I love being able to offer gratitude in a language that is not my own. I love seeing our students take their learning beyond the English classroom. I love listening to all the different accents and stories around me. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, South Korea, Brazil, Morocco, Japan, China, Thailand, Mexico…..my school is a little UN.
- Netflix. I’ve started watching a new show – Master of None. It’s Aziz Ansari’s little baby, and there are so many things I love about it — its diverse cast, its take on social media in our everyday lives, its look at the immigrant experience and racism, and its relatability. If you’re a twenty or thirty something navigating your life, you’ll get a laugh out of it, and probably a whole lot more.