Monday, August 3, 2015

Back Home in Mandalay

This is going to be a quick update.  It's 4:57 a.m. on Tuesday, August 4, 2015.  My body is still trying to adjust to an 11 1/2 hour time change (and I used to complain about DST!) and arriving with a nasty cold.  I'm getting there but still dozing off at 8:00 p.m. and waking up too early.

Instead of lying in bed thinking about all I have to do before the littles arrive for the first day of school next Monday, I decided to get up and moving.  But first, a quick update.

School staff were waiting at the airport and as usual, immigration was no problem.  Driving through Mandalay to the school felt both so familiar and different.  Dusty, scruffy, crowded and so different from Lake Mary, a planned community with manicured road medians, gated communities and homeowner associations who rule with iron fists.

My apartment had been cleaned and reorganized a bit.  It took me less than an hour to unpack and get things sorted out.  That was Thursday.  Friday I woke up early and went to school to check on my classroom.  Oh, so much to be done and I was feeling puny and tired.  I went to the market and grocery store to stock my fridge then gave in to the cold and spent Sat. and Sunday in bed, feeling pathetic and sorry for myself.

Sunday I ventured out to buy a new kitchen cabinet which is perfect.  $25, which included free delivery.  Yes, this 4 1/2 foot tall cabinet was delivered by a guy on a motorbike.  Then carried up 3 flights of stairs with the help of one of the school staff.  No tip expected.  (I'll add a photo later, when technology cuts me a break.)

Yesterday was my first day of work.  Orientation, getting to know my new assistant teacher, Susie, and organizing the chaos in my classroom.  So much to do - decorating, organizing, lesson plans, assessment materials, etc, etc, etc.  If you're a teacher you know.  And since we have orientation meetings most of the week the work needs to be done around the meetings.  Happily, we had most of Monday afternoon free to get started.

Lots of new teachers have joined the staff.  We have a total of 70 foreign teachers.  Over 300 local teachers.  Almost 800 students.  We'll be undergoing the WASC accreditation visit/assessment this winter.  It's going to be an interesting year.

The new teachers seem enthusiastic and energetic.  Apparently jet leg doesn't impact 22 year olds as much as those of us who are a bit older.  The vast majority of new teachers are fresh out of university and many have had either limited or no experience in living abroad.  So far, though, they're taking it in stride.  Like last year, some made decorated name tags for outside our apartments.  Handy for those of us creeping up on our golden years in case we (ok, I) forget my name as I walk out my door.

I need to hop in the shower now and get moving.  I plan to get in very early and make some real progress before meetings start at 9:00 a.m.  Please send me positive energy so I don't doze off while leading my WASC committee meeting this afternoon.

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