March 2021: Rapid Wrap-up

This last day of March feels a lot more optimistic than the same period just one year ago. Effective tomorrow, visitors to Phuket no longer need to quarantine for 14 days, seven being deemed sufficient. The first local vaccinations are set to arrive this month with a goal of having 70 percent of the island jabbed for a planned reopening on 1 July as a guinea pig for the rest of Thailand. However, many of the targeted tourists are still not allowed to leave their home countries so we will have to wait and see how all of these grand plans play out.

Today is also the first day of final exams at my school. I did one-on-one student interviews in the five classes I saw on Monday and Tuesday, rewarding good answers with candy. The students were generally well-behaved but I remain surprised at how few of the M3 kids are planning to return next school year for M4. Most of them are transferring to technical schools to learn motorbike repair, cooking, or hotel room cleaning. Even those with a better grasp of English than the masses are jumping ship. I really cannot blame them.

Since I kept this blog updated throughout March, there isn’t too much left to put into this end-of-the-month wrap-up. It was raining most of my walk to school this morning but I snapped the featured photo as I arrived — the new soccer pitch is nearly complete and should be in use when we return in May. I suppose the only thing remaining are a couple of statistics:

I listened to 591 songs during March in my music player, MusicBee, which is somewhat down from the 851 tracks played in February. This month, I mostly stayed within single-artist playlists (usually on shuffle-play) so the albums’ count is abnormally high (I generally listen to full albums rather than random tracks). As you can see, the past few days have largely been focused on American indie artist St. Vincent.

I finished reading three books this month, including my first published in 2021 — The Kaiser’s Web by Steve Berry. Alan Furst’s Under Occupation was chosen because I wanted to follow-up the Berry novel with another concerning Germans during World War II. I may read a non-fiction account on the subject in April as I have long been interested in German stamps of the period but have not delved that deep into the history. The philatelic atlas is a reference work listing all stamp-issuing entities, past and present, with brief accounts of their postal history. I read it straight through over the course of several weekends.

And that is it for March — the fastest I have ever put together a monthly summary. I do not know what April will bring, other than marking final exams and submitting the grades. The Songkran holiday will occur from the 13th through the 15th although water-play is once again banned and traditional activities encouraged. The foreign teachers at my school are planning a short get-away during an upcoming weekend. I also hope to return to my other blogs as I have gotten out of the habit due equally to the amount of work recently and our unrelenting heatwave (although this morning had some thundershowers that didn’t really cool things down). As I am running out of things to photograph around town, I think that my “Daily Phuket” feature may become more occasional than regular.

I will leave you with one last photo of our school’s new soccer pitch in the hopes that their next expenditure will be to fix the holes in the classroom ceilings and replace the falling-apart whiteboards in the M3 rooms.

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