14 July 2017

I’ve been really busy lately.

Not constantly busy. Cyclically busy. 

There would be days when I’m going from task to task, others when I’m just watching Korean dramas and napping.

Not sure if that’s healthy, but that’s how things are at the moment.

The past week has been one of those lazy weeks – no subtitles work, no writing, no teaching. Plus, my dad was off for four days, which makes it feel like a holiday and exponentially adds to the laziness. 

Things took a dramatic turn a few days ago. I got a writing assignment, which on its own is very little work. Then a surprise student (well actually two that I’m teaching together) whose parents want me to fit in as many lessons for as possible in two weeks (they don’t live in Bangkok and are only in town for that amount of time), so I’ve allocated five lessons (two hours each, plus prepping time) to them.

Then yesterday I got my new subtitles assignment: a Korean variety show. It’s a little over one hour but being a variety show there are a gazillion lines to translate (it’s basically 69 minutes of non-stop talking). The really awesome thing about this is that since there’s so much effort needed the company has decided to give a rate increase of 30% per programme minute, which makes the sum nice and, well, nice.

I started doing it yesterday. If the first two minutes are any indicator, it’s going to be heaps of fun. Short retorts and jokes, which means a playful translation, which is more relaxing than one with a serious tone. But it’s also going to be a headache pronoun-wise. The hosts are of varying ages and I have to be careful to use formal and informal language accordingly. It’s not difficult, just time-consuming and sometimes requires guesswork when the Korean (of which I know enough to be able to distinguish between formal and informal speech) isn’t indicative of age.

So yes, after lazing around for many days, I’m suddenly having to buckle up and get down to work. I’m a little stressed actually because of the subtitles work. It’s going to take a really long time and for the first time I’m not sure if I actually have enough hours to finish the work. There might be some 4-5am mornings in the next few days.

We’ll see. In any case, yes work is better than no work.

As always, I’ll do my best.

Please wish me luck!

Love,

Val 

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21 June 2017

My work star is on the rise.

I recently got my first writing gig (articles on psychology for a foundation based in Chiang Mai), and subtitles work is flowing in. I’m on the fourth episode of my first Korean drama, and I was asked today whether I’d be interested in editing other translators’ work (Surely that must mean my translation isn’t too bad, right?).

I’m slightly concerned what it’ll be like come 3rd October when I begin my CELTA course. I’ve finished my application but have yet to submit it. I’ll do it soon. Now I’m wondering how it’ll be like time-management-wise. I’ll be working four days a week, studying three days a week. Granted, most of those are half-days. But there’ll be homework from CELTA. On top of that there’s the writing and the subtitles. And teaching my one private student. It’s going to be a tough 10 weeks.

I’m preparing for it though. I’ve started cutting down my sleeping hours to a maximum of 8 (from 9-10). I want my body to get used to sleeping less, and I think 8 hours is a pretty solid amount. I’ve also cut down on my nap time. No more long naps, 30 minutes maximum.

I’m also trying to not be lazy and get on the treadmill. I want my body to be in better condition. Plus, my weight has been creeping up these past months. So it’s a win-win situation.

Overall, I’m pretty happy though. I’m doing something that I really like. The subtitles job has truly been a blessing. And I’m enjoying it even more now that it’s a Korean drama. For some reason, it’s much easier to translate. The first time I watch the video, I already have a running commentary in Thai in my head. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched so many of them that I know how they work. Plus, this drama is really fun. It’s a medical investigative drama. The production and acting is solid, and the storyline imaginative.

So yes, I’ve been doing well. Slightly iffy about the future, but you never know until you try, and I’ve been pretty easy on myself these past few years. Time to buckle up and push forward.

Hope you’re all doing well!

Love,

Val

 

15 May 2017

I went to visit my grandfather at the hospital yesterday.

He had checked himself in the day before due to chest pains. He was having difficulty breathing. And given how many times he had had heart surgery he wasn’t going to take any chances.

My mother called him yesterday morning and established what floor he was on, then we set off for the hospital.

Arriving in the spacious room with about thirty beds, I saw him. He was sitting on the bed, hunched over a few pieces of paper. He had not seen us.

The image struck me. He looked so vulnerable and alone. And the thing is, he is vulnerable and alone. He has a live-in helper, but that’s nothing compared to family.

He looked up, saw us, and put his papers away. My dad brought stools, and my mom and I sat down next to the bed. We sat with him for two hours, talking about this and that. My dad sat some distance away on the visitor’s bench, playing a game on his phone.

I was the one who suggested leaving. It was getting late afternoon and I wanted to sort through our DVD collection when I got home.

My grandpa was sad that we were leaving. He didn’t say anything, but you could feel it. As we walked away I looked back, and wished I hadn’t.

He looked dejected. There was no better word to describe the image that I saw. He was sitting alone on the bed, and loneliness weighed down around him.

The whole episode reminded me of the fact that I still have my grandpa, that he is alone in his house, far away from us, and that he could leave us at a moment’s notice.

I’ll call him today to check up on him. I’ll also make time to go visit him on my days off. There’s a bus I can take that goes straight to his house.

I hope for the sake of me and him that the image stays with me. So I never forget that I have one very important person I need to spend time with.

I will try my best not to forget. I really will. This is my promise to myself.

Let’s not forget our elderly relatives. Let’s love them and be with them as freely as we do our friends and colleagues.

Until next time,

A thoughtful Val

9 May 2017

Today has been a super productive day so far.

I woke up at 5:20, got up around 5:30, drank coffee and chilled for half an hour, then did subtitles work for 2 hours straight.

And translated exactly 425 lines. You may not know how much that is, but it’s a massive amount. I usually average just above 100 lines per hour.

In minute terms, I was taking 4 minutes to translate each programme minute. That’s like a million light years away from my speed (as of Saturday) of 1 programme minute every 7 minutes.

That’s like… WOAH.

Then after that I prepped my class for tomorrow; I’m teaching two students at 7:30 and 10am. I finished prepping the first and outlined the steps for the second. Then I got tired of working so I stopped. It was about 10:47am. (Ok fine, it was exactly 10:47am.)

So I did one-third of my current subtitles project and finished more than 60% of my class planning in less than five hours, with a half-an-hour break in the middle watching Hannibal.

That’s an incredible improvement on the 4th of May, which I wrote about here. I blame George Lucas. The Dark Side must have been at work.

So yes, I had an amazingly productive morning, which I’m super happy with. Then I got ready and left for town.

I decided to take the bus the whole way today rather than the usually bus-purple line-MRT-BTS combination, and lo and behold, it was faster! At a fraction of the cost! I’m only taking the bus from now on outside rush hour.

And here I am now, one hour away from my “Amazing Service at Reception” training, blogging in a café. I wonder what they’ll train us today. I’m prepared to be amazed.

After the training my friends from school are having dinner to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I haven’t seen them in many months, so that should be nice too.

Today’s set to be a good day!

Time for me to go work on my second short story. It’s called “One Seventy-Two” courtesy of my friend.

Love,

Val

7 May 2017

We had a blast last night.

We had the center kick-off meeting, after which there was a team-building exercise in the form of beer pong.

It was a massive success.

Turns out beer pong is a bloody tricky game. And I was sober. I can’t imagine playing it drunk – oh deary.

The others left after the first game but the teachers stayed behind for 2 more games. I participated poorly. God bless the soul of my team mates for keeping giving me balls when I was throwing them everywhere but at the table.

Everyone had a fantastic time. The teachers had a heart-to-heart, which was very nice to see, but which I not so subtly interrupted because the security guard wanted us out of the mall.

I wonder why… it was only 1am. (The mall closed at 10pm.)

Didn’t have much sleep last night so I’m feeling the aftermath. Plus I drove for four hours today to go to a famous 100-year market in Suphanburi. It was a struggle to stay alert.

Anyways, it’s dinner time.

Speak later.

Love,

Val 

5 May 2017

I was up at 4:30am yesterday. To do – you guessed it (or maybe not) – subtitles work.

My work coordinator wrote me earlier this week to ask if I’m now available to take on assignments, to which I happily replied with an affirmative. So she gave me a project to work on, a Korean variety show which is being aired by Netflix. (I didn’t know Netflix does Korean programmes.)

It’s fun. It’s different. There’s a lot of on-screen text – you’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve watched Korean variety shows. And the style of translating is different from the American shows I’ve worked on, though I can’t describe exactly how. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched many more Korean shows with Thai subtitles; that’s why I have a clearer idea how the mood and tone should be for this kind of show.

I woke up at 6am today to continue working on it. 6am is now considered late for me, which I think is a good thing. I’m generally an early bird when my laziness isn’t preventing me from getting up. I feel fresh and work best in the mornings. So by getting up earlier my productivity should go up.

I had my first part-time day at work yesterday. Damn 4 hours is short. I arrived and left before I got bored. Today I’m working the whole 8 hours though so we’ll see how I feel towards the end of the day. I’m not looking forward to doing the full day, though I’m looking forward to picking up my old duties and seeing how much I remember. This Coaching job is primarily about execution. Not much creativity and planning go into it. Bad in some ways, but good for me to work on my recently lacking discipline.

One alarming thing I want to mention though, is that although I woke up at 4:30am yesterday and only left for work around 3:30pm, I managed to get in only 3 hours of subtitles work. Yes, I did have a class to teach, but it was a one-hour class and I only spent one and a half hour preparing for it. Let’s say I spent 30 minutes eating and another 15-30 getting dressed. I would still have had 4 and a half hours, which I managed to spend doing God-knows-what.

I need to be more careful with my time if going part-time (and cutting my salary by more than half) isn’t going to go to waste.

Talking about time, I should get back to my programme now. I was working on it for a little over an hour and wanted to take a break. I figured writing a blog entry is a much more productive use of my time than scrolling through Facebook, so here I am.

Here’s to productivity and Korean shows! *raise invisible glass*

Val

p.s. I had the talk with my boss by the way. It went well. I don’t think he grasped the gravity of the situation from my point of view, but I was straightforward and I think we both gained something from it.

p.p.s. I was teaching in the Speaking Center yesterday and it was great. I hadn’t ‘taught’ so much at work for a long time, and I really did feel that I was making infinitely more impact helping students in the Speaking Center than sitting in my room planning students’ studies and giving advice on how to practice using English. I used to hate being in the Speaking Center but I’m seeing it with new eyes now. I hope I can keep up the enthusiasm as the months roll by.

p.p.p.s. I’m really struggling with my beanbag. I was sitting on it for many many hours yesterday, with the result that I woke up today with an ache in my back. My dad and I had gone to pick out a desk and chair. The problem is though that the desk in the colour that I want (black) was out of stock; they had only white ones which didn’t look nearly as good. We’ve been waiting on the black for over a week (maybe two) now. I have no idea when they’ll be re-stocked but I’m not about to cop out and go for an inferior model. If I’m going to spend 3k on something, it’d better be something I can’t take my eyes off!

28 April 2017

Yesterday was a momentous day.

Something happened which made me extremely upset. Angry upset, not sad upset.

I didn’t write about it yesterday. I didn’t think of it. I’m glad I didn’t. I was too emotional and would have written something extremely accusatory. That’s not cool. Not even when you’re angry upset.

I learnt yesterday that I had been excluded from discussions concerning the future of my soon-to-be-vacant position at work.

A little background: I decided to go part-time starting in May, which means one of two things – either someone takes my position or it is scrapped entirely.

When I had talked briefly to the big boss after making my decision known, he had mentioned that my immediate supervisors would discuss what to do with the position.

I hadn’t brought up the topic with either of my two immediate bosses, because it’s the end of the month and there’s pressure to reach service and sales targets. I thought better to wait until the beginning of May to sit down and plan what to do together.

Until I learnt yesterday that all had pretty much been decided, without my knowledge nor involvement in any form. I heard it mention in passing from a few other staff that someone is going to take my role, so I went to one of my immediate supervisors and asked her. She confirmed the news.

My reaction at the beginning was muted. The news made me feel down, but I didn’t quite know how I felt about it. After a short while though I realised I was really upset about it, and while chatting to a friend I figured out why I was so upset: I felt that by not seeking my input, I was being unceremoniously cast aside.

Not asking the person who piloted the role and worked at it for five months what she thought should happen to it after she left? Uncool. It shows how little I am valued by the team. And I am – as my friends and even parents agree I should be – extremely hurt.

So I asked to leave work early yesterday. I started crying a little bit in my supervisor’s office. She was concerned, but I didn’t tell her anything. I didn’t feel the time was right.

Cried with two of my friends at work in the supermarket after while waiting for my dad. They were supportive of my rage.

Then having got to a different mall (I couldn’t leave the mall I was working at fast enough. I wanted to get away so badly I went to sit and wait for my dad in the parking lot), I decided I wanted a day off work. So I called my supervisor and asked if it would impact the sales team too much if I didn’t come in the next day. Her answer made me even angrier than I already was.

She mentioned that they had meant to have the colleague who’s replacing me start calling the next day anyways. So I calmly told her what list to call, expressed my relief (genuine relief) that someone was helping finish my work, and thanked her for letting me take the day off (bless her she never asked me why – she probably knew).

The reason I got angrier was that her answer showed the decision to keep the position and replace me was pretty solid. If it weren’t, they wouldn’t have made plans for my colleague to start calling. And when were they going to tell me? On the day? Not at all?

So I didn’t go in to work today. I went and watched a movie, a very fun movie (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) with my dad. Had a generally good day. Inevitably thought about the situation at work from time to time. OK, fine – a lot of times. But I’ve cooled down.

Still upset. Still angry. But no longer emotional.

I hope I can find half an hour, fifteen minutes even, tomorrow to sit down with one of the bosses who were in the decision-making process. I want to officially let him know how pissed off I am. Calmly, politely, firmly.

I don’t know how that talk will go, but I really hope I can have it tomorrow. He knows something’s up. He said this morning that he was worried about me. Maybe he has an idea why I’ve asked to take the day off, what I’m upset about.

Anyways, I’m not feeling any surge of emotion (positive or negative) writing this, which is a good sign that I’ve overcome my feelings. If anything I feel determination to make my stance known.

All is good. All is good.

Hope this doesn’t happen to you guys, because in the event it does make one feel like shit.

Love,

Val

UPDATE: As it turns out, today is also a momentous day. I finished revising my short story about a dragon and a boy, “Cara”, just now. MY VERY FIRST SHORT STORY. Yey. Now it’s time to get feedback from my immediate circle. Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping they like it…