“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Beautiful friends!!! Hello to all you lovely people. 

Seasons Greetings!!! 

I hope you have having a wonderfully festive holiday season and that 2007 has gone well. Things with me are as hectic as ever... I do so love being busy! When I started writing this, I was about to take the soccer team that a friend and I coached to Chiang Mai, Thailand, for a tournament, and then a week later I also was preparing to take a group of students to Korea to see snow for the first time in their lives and go skiing. Now, of course, weeks have passed and all that has happened!!! If that isn't enough, this weekend, my brother and parents arrive for a two week sojourn here in Myanmar. We're going up north to the fabulous Bagan temples, the gorgously mystical Inle lake, and then have a beach relaxation session at Ngapali beach. 

The nights have gotten cooler--can you believe I actually need a blanket in the tropics? However, with the cooler season have also come power cuts--we're currently losing power for 6 hours every day. So I've had a lot of bucket showers, because of course, when we lose power, our electric water pump also stops working. But it's not the hot season yet... then I'll really feel the pain of it, but I suppose I'll be just like everyone else in Yangon, then. 

I truly love my peaceful, non-technology dominated, life in Yangon, and I live in a big house with a gorgeous garden full of beautiful birds calling out day and night, which I share with another teacher who works at the British Council here. However, despite all it's luxuries and wonders, I've decided that this will be my last year in Yangon, so will commence the exhausting search for jobs in January. Currently I'm thinking that somewhere in the former Yugoslavia, the Baltic, or Eastern Europe would be nice, but I'm not ruling out Yemen, Libya, Iran, Turkey or other places. Incidently, did you hear about the British Kindergarten teacher in Sudan who was sentenced to 40 lashes for calling her classroom teddy bear Mohamed? If you're thinking of visiting Myanmar (I know that won't include most of you!), you've only got 6 more months, but otherwise, you may want to consider my exciting new destination, whatever it is! 

Anyway, I must end here--apologies for being so short, but it's 2am and tomorrow I'm running errands around town, so need to be up early! Also sorry that it's a group email, but the internet here has made that task difficult enough. I just hope I didn't miss anyone out, though I'm sure I did. Still, if I don't send this now, it won't be sent at all! I will put a list of highlights for this year, though! I've been terrible about communicating this year... no doubt many of you are surprised to hear from me at all! 

Important and rewarding things I did this year: 
Spent New Year 2007 on a plane (again) on my way to New Zealand 
Witnessed monks protesting in Myanmar and experienced with the related wave of ramifications 
Backpacked through Colombia 
Completed my Graduate Diploma in Education from UNE in Australia --I'm now a certified teacher! Also spent a lovely week in Australia because of this!! :) 
Was bridesmaid for the first time ever - yay Amanda and Nick!! 
Joined facebook -- the best and most addictive site ever! (Do join and then you'll see all my photos, because of course, my other site, flickr, has been blocked here since the protests) 
Took 35 students to Beijing on Week Without Walls--more stress than rewards, but a great learning curve 
Spent a week with my parents in Dubai and Oman 
Taught another Model United Nations and Advanced Geography summer school for JHU CTY 
Attempted to start the AP Psychology course at my school, but have had to deal with no textbooks whatsoever (they only arrived last week!) 
Grew, changed, matured, aged, survived, lived, learned and all the rest! And I'm sure there's lots more, but really can't think of it! 
Best wishes for December and of course, 2008 as well! 
Hope you're healthy and happy. LOVE, LIGHT and LAUGHTER to your day!!! 

Thursday, December 06, 2007

In Chiang Mai

Just a quick note from a little internet cafe in the middle of the Airport Mall in Chiang Mai--gosh it is exhausting following teenagers. It's the trust factor... are they leaving and going to a bar? I'm glad I'm not on night duty!! We just had a tragedy amongst the group, so we're also dealing with that as well! All sorts of complications!!

Chiang Mai is interesting... a wee dinky city. I think it's quite pleasant as it's not a boom town like Bangkok, but has all the amenities needed. We were discussing over lunch though, how Thailand isn't really living abroad... too much is too easy!! :) Will explore the city some more and the night market tomorrow and will report back!