27 February 2017

Today is a very special day.

It’s Oscars day.

Image result for oscars 2017

The 89th Academy Awards is being held at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre as I write.

For the first time in years, I am up at the early(ish) hours of the morning, watching the festivities. This used to be my yearly ritual. I’d be glued to the screen from the red carpet arrivals to the giving of the last award, sleepy yet starry-eyed.

I realised just now that I’ve blogged about the Oscars before here. Please allow me a few minutes to read it. (I recommend you do the same.)

Done!

Wow. I haven’t read much of my previous writing, but whatever state of flow I was in, I like what I produced.

Reading the entry, I am struck by three things:

First, my coffee habit. There is no cafétière for me today. I do have it in the cabinet, but I rarely use it these days. It’s not that I don’t appreciate good coffee anymore, but the one I’d stocked up on at home just doesn’t taste as good as I remember (note to reader: not a good idea to stock up on coffee). These days, I content myself with Moccona instant coffee. Not all instant coffee is good (I have yet to reach that stage; Nescafé in particular I find undrinkable), but this one is – it’s smooth. But today I am sitting with a 3-in-1 coffee; I was in the mood for something sweet. Also Moccona. This brand seems to suit my taste buds. Later I’ll have my instant coffee. Or maybe not. I’m trying to cut down on my coffee intake. But yes, my coffee habits have changed. I’m not sure what that says about myself or whether that’s a good thing. Change is change, I guess.

The second thing that stood out: my prediction about having to get up early once I start working until my retirement. I had no idea back then that I’d be working so close to home. Before I got this job, I did work in the city and getting up at 5 to avoid the morning traffic was every horror I imagined it to be. I wouldn’t get home until late (10-11pm) and after two months I was so burnt out I almost fell asleep behind the wheel on the expressway one night. That was the last straw for me. When I was looking for work in 2015, location was a key criterion. And I was lucky enough to find my current job. It’s a mere 15-minute drive from home, so I am no longer up at 5am every morning except the odd day when I have a meeting in town (and today for the Oscars!). I never imagined I’d be able to leave the house 40 minutes before work and get there with plenty of time to chill and prepare for the day ahead. It’s wonderful.

The last thing is, I had no inkling back then that I’d come to want to live a life away from home, which is what I decided to do earlier this year (I started to document my journey on this blog). And reading the old post I am imagining myself from that day, thinking of a life as an event organiser and what-not. I did mention writing for a living (it’s a career that’s always been on my mind), but I had not thought of being a writer abroad at all. I would never have imagined that being on a 6-day holiday in Vietnam would lead to me making such a momentous decision. It’s funny how the smallest things lead to the biggest changes. In any case, I’m happy I made the decision. I certainly feel more direction in my life now that I’ve decided to work toward a life abroad.

I’ve been tuning in and out of the red carpet and now I look up to see Viggo Mortensen being interviewed. It’s unbelievable how much he has aged. Seeing him is making me nostalgic again; I was so small, so young when I saw Lord of the Rings for the first time. How I have grown. How things have changed.

Like the last time I saw it, I won’t be only watching the live broadcast today. I’ve got things to do. First, I am writing this. Then I’ll be planning my writing lesson for later today, at 1pm to be exact. I’m giving lessons to a university professor. It sounds impressive when I put it that way, but really he’s just a guy who went to the same university (Cambridge) as a scholar friend of mine. I’m looking forward to it. I enjoy writing and I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to work with him to make his writing better.

Last of all, and most daunting, I have to plan a conversation lesson I’m giving tomorrow morning. The student is an acquaintance of a friend, someone she met through work. It’s daunting because, unlike writing lessons which I’ve done, I’ve never given conversation lessons before. I have an idea of what should work from what I’ve learnt at Wall Street English (my current workplace). But I’ve never planned a conversation lesson before and the first time is always the hardest. The student has also placed a lot of trust in me; she really wants results as speaking English is crucial to her advancing in her work (true for a lot of people). She mentioned as much and thanked me several times for taking her on (my friend must have talked me up a lot – bless her) when we spoke on the phone. So I want to put into this everything I’ve got.

OK. Time to go look at the professor’s writing. I set him a homework piece that we’ll look at together in class. Then I’ll finish planning the lesson, take a break, and start working on the conversation lesson. Who knows, it may not be as difficult as I’m expecting it to be. Fingers crossed.

It’s been a pleasure writing to you. I hope you’re enjoying your morning, as I am mine.

Love,

Val

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