Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mandalay, Here I Come!

Sunset view of the moat around the palace in Mandalay
Everyone at Camellian Hospital was so nice to me.  They were empathetic, professional and friendly.  It was nice to go in and have everyone know my name.  Having said all that, I hope I never see any of them again unless we happen to run into each other on the street in Bangkok.

I spent several hours at the hospital this morning before getting the good news from Dr. P.  I'll take oral antibiotics for the next couple of weeks and he told me to spend more time prone than upright to keep the pain and swelling down.  Whatever, I'm free and I'm heading home to Mandalay.

I've been touched with the number of messages I've been getting every day from my fellow teachers at the school.  We all live in a new apartment building on the school compound.  It's a congenial group and while we each have our own apartments, it feels a bit like living in a dorm.  The good news is that people are sensitive to let others have their own space or socialize, as they choose.

After a school day that starts at 6:30 a.m. and ends at 4 or 5 p.m. and is filled with very energetic (and loud) first graders, I tend to prefer evenings of solitude and silence.  After almost three weeks of solitude and silence I'm ready for some conversation.

One of the challenges of our living situation is that we live together and work together.  On a daily basis there's not a lot of new stuff to talk about.  That will be different when I get home, since most of us were on vacation at the same time and went to a variety of places.  I can't wait to hear stories of trips to Bagan, Angkor Wat, the USA and others.

My flight leaves at 10:50 a.m. tomorrow and arrives in Mandalay at 12:15 p.m. (with a 30 minute time difference).  For practical reasons, I'm hoping that the driver will be willing to stop at the grocery store so I can pick up fresh bread, veggies, etc.  But on the other hand, if we head straight back to school, I should get there in time to pop in and surprise my kids.  I can't wait to see them.

I'm planning not to teach again until next Monday.  After the travel tomorrow, I suspect my leg is going to be ready for some "up" time on Friday.  Plus, I have report cards to finish (overdue) and lesson plans for next week, after I figure out what the assistant teachers covered in my absence.

I'm taking back some things I bought here.  I didn't shop much my first couple of days and then was bed bound so was thrilled that my last hotel is right next door to the Villa market.  It has American prices (or higher) and imported food geared toward foreign tastes.  I'm taking home taco seasoning, Italian seasoning, cumin, several cans of green chiles (at about $4 for a small can) and a couple boxes of Kraft Mac and Cheese for those moments when only over-processed food from my poor college days will soothe the homesickness.

I'm also taking back gifts for my assistant teachers.  They work very hard.  They make my life so much easier.  They are smart, sweet and caring.  And, not on purpose, I dumped the class on them for two weeks.  The gifts are small but I hope they enjoy them.

What is amazing to me is how I've felt about this whole experience.  I didn't want to go to the doctor in the first place but sucked it up and went.  Then I had several very difficult hours after he broke the news that I needed immediate treatment while I tried to get my hands on money to pay for my care.

Once I had the money in hand, I wasn't worried, scared or sad.  I just felt relieved that I could turn myself over to someone to take care of me and help me feel better.  The doctor, nurses, priests and other staff at Camellian did that perfectly.  For the six days in the hospital, I just relaxed and went with the routine.  Once out, I didn't like having to change hotels three times but got into the routine of IV treatment in the morning followed by bed, television and internet for the rest of the day.  I was amazed at how content I was to be a slug.

Having said that, I'm ready to go back to my school and life routine in Mandalay.  I promise to take more photos and upload them regularly.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Haircut in Bangkok

I've been very good about following doctor's orders.  It's in my own best interest to do whatever it takes to get better and get back to Mandalay.  I was very excited when he told me yesterday that I could walk a bit, as long as it didn't increase swelling or pain.

I didn't want to overdo but am getting a bit stir crazy.  Plus, after just lying around for almost two weeks, I need to get moving to get my energy back.

Luckily for me, I'm staying at the Dubliner Place on Sukhumvit, which is close to everything I need.  Yesterday I walked the 50 yards or so to a Chinese restaurant.  I was extremely happy with the quality of the food.  On my way back, I noticed a small beauty salon advertising full hair services.

Today, I decided to stop by and see if they could fit me in.  No problem, it was just me and two charming young stylists.  They seemed a bit surprised that I wanted a cut but were up for it.  The treatment started with a lovely shampoo.  About 15 minutes of head massaging.  Lovely.

Next I moved to the chair for the cut.  We started to discuss what I was hoping for.  I told them I wanted them to make me "look like her - young and beautiful" and I pointed to the woman holding the scissors.  Both ladies burst out laughing.  Seems they don't do magic.

She did do a fabulous cut, though, followed by almost 20 minutes of blow drying.  I love to have my hair blow dried.  Actually, I enjoy it almost as much as a good massage.  On the rare occasions that I can't get to sleep, I'd love to have someone on call to blow dry my hair.  Puts me out, every time.

It wasn't the biggest outing, but I enjoyed being off my back and out of my hotel room for an hour.  It was nice to have someone other than a doctor or nurse touch me, plus it didn't involve needles.  And, I look beautiful.  I hope that doesn't make my doctor want to keep me longer in Bangkok.  I'm really, really hoping he'll clear me to fly to Mandalay on Thursday.