Welcome to Sunday Summary, the meme in which I attempt to summarize the week that came before.
I am sad to say that this edition of Sunday Summary will have to wait until tomorrow (Monday Missive? Memorandum?) as I just cannot bring myself to do it.
I am actually in Bangkok at the moment, having flown here this afternoon to surprise my lovely lady Kanchana at her new restaurant where she is kind of a Jack of all Trades — co-owner, greeter, on-floor manager and occasional sous-chef. She prepared my meal — Italian in the Florentine style. Quite a change from the Subway of last fall….
It is only temporary and the current plan is for her to finish up here in late March, journey over to Buriram to visit Mum and other family members, and then return to Phuket in time for the Thai New Year and her birthday celebration in mid-April.
She is still at work and I am awaiting her return in about an hour at which time we will head to the airport. If there are no delays, I will arrive back in Kata Beach in time for a shower and change of clothes before heading off to work at 6:30. At least Mondays are a light teaching day for me with my last class ending just before lunchtime. I will be groggy in the afternoon but finishing this Sunday Summary will prevent me from falling asleep at my desk.
So, see you tomorrow…
Working & Routines
Well, I am at work now. Rather than start a new article (What do I name it? How do I number it?), I am just going to add to the original throughout the day.
It is Monday morning; I arrived in Phuket just after three a.m. and by the time I arrived at my apartment, I was able to lay down for an hour before having to jump in the shower. I should have done something rather than lay in the dark for that hour as now I am even sleepier than I would have been.
I arrived at the temple school just after 6:30 and found one of the cats waiting for me as it always does. Climbing to my office on the third floor, I spent 40 minutes organizing my materials for the four 30-minute lessons I teach today. The first of these starts at 9:00 and all are back-to-back, each in a different level (K1/1, K2/1, Nursery 1, and K3/3), so I need to have all of my flashcard sets at the ready and try to remember which one I am using in which class. There have been times when I forget and have taught, for example, K1’s topic to K2 or vice versa.
At 7:30, I descend to ground level and take up my Gate Duty position at the top of the steps leading into our building. I will spend the next thirty minutes greeting each student, parent, and Thai teacher with the Thai wai, saying “Good morning” (and hoping to get a response). I add the occasional “How are you?” or ask the child a different question. I am joined by a Thai teacher who greets the arrivals with “Sawasdee Ka” (or “Krap”, but we only have one male Thai teacher and he rarely does the Gate Duty) and the Chinese teacher “Nii hao“.
The flag ceremony/morning assembly starts at 8:00. The Thai National Anthem is played while a chosen boy and girl raise the flag up the pole. The goal is for the flag to be at the top as the kids sing “Chai yo!” (Cheers!) at the end of the song. Sometimes it arrives at the top too early, sometimes the teacher in charge will give it a last-second yank. That is followed by two Buddhist prayers, the word of the day presentation (English on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Chinese on Wednesdays and Fridays), a vocabulary presentation in Thai with an associated dance routine (complete with funny hats — this has been a daily occurrence lately), a whole-school dance (either “Up and Down” or “Wash Your Hands), a meditation song, and the kids finally file back inside around 8:30 where they receive a snack and a packet of milk. Most of the kids decline the snacks and the lunchroom ladies will send me back upstairs with the trays of snacks. I usually pack those into a container to take home.
After all of that, I have roughly thirty minutes before my first class. This is usually when I will start one of my “Stamps of 2023” articles by choosing a country to cover and creating the featured image and header dividers, I am not really a good graphic artist but I do enjoy piecing these together in PhotoScape X. I will continue working on these articles at lunchtime (generally 11 or 11:30 until 13:50 but I do not have afternoon classes on Mondays or Wednesdays). All that time allows me to finish at least one full article and do some behind-the-scene tasks as well.
We are free to head for home at 15:00; my apartment is about a four-minute walk from my office at school. I usually spend a couple of hours on a variety of tasks (sometimes more blogging, sometimes working on teaching materials, sometimes just getting caught up on social media). By five or six p.m., I am starting to think about getting something to eat but often I will not go out until closer to eight or later. Doing so entails a nerve-racking walk along the chaotic highway through town; I have never seen so many absolutely crazy motorists concentrated in one place before. The traffic never slows down either, not even late at night since the road is the main thoroughfare between the party town of Patong and the residences located elsewhere on the southern half of the island with the core up the center spine of the island. I have had many close calls just walking up to 7-Eleven or the two or three local restaurants that I frequent.
If I bring food back to the apartment, I will either read an ebook on my computer or watch a video while I eat. Either activity might be extended a bit. Increasingly, I might take a nap at some point or do something really boring such as laundry or sweeping/mopping.
With LL up north for the next couple of months, I will often have music blaring when I hear the ringtone indicating that she is video-calling. It’s then a mad dash for the laptop or the phone to answer the call while I am trying to remember where the volume controls are to shut down the music. It’s always a pleasant occurrence when we talk but there is no predicting when she will have time to do so at work. Most of the time, she will be called away to some task so we usually do not get into deep conversations. Several times, she tried calling two or three times in the same evening for a brief chat each time.
Her schedule is from two in the afternoon until after midnight — the restaurant closes at that time but she is involved in supervising cleaning and doing end-of-day paperwork such as inventory and putting together the bank deposit. It’s often close to two a.m. by the time she gets back to her apartment there; she might spend some time chatting with her sister in England but usually heads straight to bed, waking up about mid-morning to begin her day anew. There are no weekly days off so this is now her daily life until the end of March or start of April.
Blogging & Social Media
Latest Posts on MarkJosephJochim.com:
- Sunday Summary #31
- Sunday Summary #30
- Sunday Summary #29
- Sunday Summary #28
- Sunday Summary #27
- Sunday Summary #26
I began writing new Stamps of 2023 content over on Philatelic Pursuits early last week and will eventually move all of the previously-published January articles from this site over to that one, adding new items and/or images as needed. It is a bit more time-consuming to reformat the older articles to the new theme than I had anticipated and I am trying to maintain the one new article each day that I did all through January. Yesterday (Sunday) was the first day that I missed all year but I did publish three on Saturday so I cannot be too bothered by that.
Latest Posts on Philatelic Pursuits:
Most of the recent articles have been for entities that only have one or two stamps to include so they have not been very difficult to put together. I need to tackle a few of the more labor-intensive countries/issues such as Great Britain with their huge Iron Maiden set before I get too far behind (Royal Mail announced the images for the next issue — X-Men — late last week). At the same time, I have been trying to keep the Stamp Schedule pages up to date which means almost daily checks with several different sources. As a result, the Google Calendar has not been updated for the past couple of weeks. I will try to get to that soon.
I started a new Facebook group for Philatelic Pursuits over the weekend. While there has been a companion group since late 2019 or early 2020, it was switched to “Private” status quite some time ago and the only way to have it “Public” was to create a new group. There are advantages to having the group private (protecting the privacy of members chief amongst these) but a public group promotes more discussion and it is easier to share posts and articles to and from the group. I ported over some of the design of the website and am trying to make it a bit more varied rather than just include shares of my Stamps of 2023 articles. Come and join us if you are so inclined.
I finished reading my FOURTH book of the year — Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days and started to read a biography about Queen Elizabeth II. I don’t think it will be too long before I dive into another Verne adventure. I never read any while growing up — in high school I read a lot of H.G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson and the entire official Sherlock Holmes canon as well as a significant amount of Russian literature. I don’t know why Verne wasn’t on my booklist because I remember seeing many of the classic film adaptations.
I listened to a fair amount of music throughout the week — mostly Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band circa 1976-1977 and some of the live Springsteen compilations originally streamed by Nugs.net particularly the two volumes of cover tunes. I am looking forward to hearing recordings of the new tour, which began on Wednesday in Tampa, Florida. I watched a few YouTube videos filmed by fans in the audience and those were pretty much the only items I viewed all week. I downloaded the 1956 version of Around the World in 80 Days, starring David Niven, but have yet to watch it. Perhaps tonight’s the night.
My Kansas City Chiefs won the AFC Championship game this week. In Thailand, the game began just as I arrived at school Monday morning. All the English-language broadcasts are blocked in Thailand (even if you attempt to buy Game Pass) but I found a radio broadcast in Spanish and listened to that when I wasn’t teaching or performing other duties. I also kept track of the plays using the official team app on my phone. I downloaded a video version of the full game but Kan and I didn’t watch it as we were occupied with getting her ready to move up north. I believe I can find the Super Bowl broadcast on one of the European sports channels but it will still be a matter of being at school (hard to cheer loudly when the Chiefs make a touchdown).
Their win gave me an opportunity to wear the t-shirt I made in 2020. I would like to make another shirt if they win the Super Bowl again but the company I used last time (Cultees) has since gone out of business. A shame because they were based in Thailand (fast delivery of custom orders), they didn’t have a minimum order requirement, the prices were very reasonable, and the printing was first-rate. I have not yet found a suitable replacement for my occasional single-item print orders (they also made a number of custom facemasks for me). Should any of you have a suggestion (must ship to Thailand if not based here), please let me know in the comments.
Let’s go, Chiefs!! (Win or Lose, I will remain a lifetime fan. Of course, I am hoping for a win!)
And that is my Sunday Summary for January 30-February 5, 2023 (finally finished with everything including writing and photos at 14:40 Monday afternoon!). I hope the week to come is just how you want it to be. Cheers!