4 February 2018

2018! One month in and it no longer feels weird to write “2018” in dates. I no longer live in the past! Weeeeee

I hope the beginning of 2018 has been good to you. It certainly has been to me. I made a lot of positive changes, of which I’ll mention the most important: I subscribed to the gym!

To be accurate, it’s not really a gym, but a cardio gym with only classes. I’ve been struggling for (and I checked my dates) a month now to get back into exercising. Though my condo (which now feels like a home away from home) has a gym and a pool, the number of times I’ve been to use both (gym: 2; pool: 1) is abysmal. What happens is that when I get home, I feel all sweaty and have an irresistible urge to shower. And once you’ve showered and had dinner and feel all full and sleepy, then… you know the story.

So after many weeks of raking my brains for a solution to this self-created problem, the solution presented itself in the form of a brochure by the coffee machine in the office which two weeks ago caught my attention. It’s the brochure for said cardio gym. The price (though not low) is reasonable. And it solves the “get home feel tired shower then sleep” issue because I can go straight after I get off work! I went to visit the premises. All is new and clean, so I signed up.

And I’ve been twice (one BodyCombat class, which was a bit boring but good nonetheless, and a BodyJam class, which is basically a dance class and was amazing). The classes were practically empty (I was the only one in the BodyJam class), which I like, and the instructors were good. So I’ve sorted out my exercise issue and am optimistic going forward. I plan to go twice a week (which is how often I need to go to use up all my classes before my package expires), and at least once if I have a particularly busy week. My only fear now is that the gym, empty as it is, will close down before my 4 months are up. Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen!

My next issue to solve now is that I’m completely useless after dinner. That’s problematic because I have to teach some nights and (starting tomorrow) will take Korean classes myself on Mondays. Because I have dinner as soon as I get home and am showered, the rest of the evening (a good two hours) is completely wasted in a haze of sleepiness. I mentioned this to my dad this morning and he suggested going downstairs for a walk by the canal to digest, which is a pretty awesome idea. I’ll implement that starting Monday and see how it goes. Another issue solved!

Last time I checked in with you guys, I talked about my concern about not being able to manage time effectively. I don’t think that’s going to be a problem anymore. In January, I had (if I remember correctly) six big subtitles projects for the two companies and though the stress level was high in some weeks, I survived fine. Going forward the workload will actually be less because one of my subtitles company changed its policy and will no longer be giving work to freelancers, which works in my favour. So now I can focus my efforts on the one company and can take more projects from them. A slight issue now concerning that is that my project coordinator changed (this is the third person now), and he still hasn’t assigned me any projects. I’ll give it a few more days then write him on Wednesday to see what’s going on. With my high expenses (rent and living in the city and social taxes and all that), I do need the subtitles if I’m to save up for the future.

So yes, 2018 has been good to me. I hope you are also having a wonderful start to the year.

Until next time!

Love,

Val

 

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12 October 2017

Today is my fifth day on the CELTA course, and I’m surprised how much I’m enjoying it.

I went into it not knowing much about what it would entail, except that there will be a lot of lesson planning and assignments and that I’ll be working late into the night.

There has been no burning of the midnight oil yet, thankfully. And I’m thoroughly enjoying myself.

I’ve taught one get-to-know-students class. It was twenty minutes of setting up and playing a game. Then this past Tuesday I had my first 45-minute assessed teaching practice – TP in CELTA lingo. I think it went really well. Barring that I couldn’t do all of the activities (I had to shelve two), I felt I achieved most of my lesson aims. The students learnt something, and most of all they seemed to enjoy themselves.

That’s how I’ve always assessed my classes: the laughter. Maybe I shouldn’t do that, but the classes I’ve felt have gone better at Wall Street English were all classes where the students were relaxed and laughing. It’s especially satisfying when we can share jokes as a class.

I’ll be teaching one class a week from now until the end of the course – 8 TP in total. Lesson plans are provided for the first two, but after next week I’ll be on my own (ahem, “free to explore”). I’ve looked at my lesson plan for next week. And already the guidelines are less specific and leave much room for imagination, which is a good thing I guess?

One annoying thing about doing the course though is having to lug my laptop around. I’ve requisitioned my dad’s laptop backpack, thank God for that. But it’s still a pain to carry. I’d buy a lighter laptop but that’s not really a necessity no matter how I look at it. As for the commute, I don’t actually mind it. It takes about an hour and a half, which for me is bearable; I’m sitting down for the whole journey and it’s air-conditioned.

Now that I’ve tackled my first TP, the next thing on the agenda is the assignments. I’ve got four in total, and the first one is due in a little over a week. It’s a language analysis task. I’ve looked at it twice. Today before class I’ll have another scrutiny of the examples and that will probably give me a much better idea of how much work I have ahead of me. But from what I’ve seen it’s nothing unmanageable.

If there’s one thing in my life that’s semi going out of control (apart from my eating), it would be my subtitles work – I’m having a hard time keeping the hours down. I do really like doing it but most of the time I wonder whether I’m taking on too much. I don’t want to rush through my assignments and have my quality drop. I just finished a series of documentaries on the wonders of the flesh (yes, I’m talking about sex), and was promptly assigned Season 1 of Asia’s Next Top Model. I’ve done Season 3 so I’m used to the style and sequencing and vocabulary, so it will be easy work, but 13 episodes are still a lot to get through. Also, I want to keep some time free on the side for another provider. I’ve asked to solely translate a Japanese show for them and new episodes come out every week.

But I’m not complaining. It’s something I really enjoy doing. I’m learning loads. And I’m getting paid for it! *Mini fireworks erupting*

Anyways, back to the CELTA, I’m learning so much. It’s awesome. I’ve met some really cool people on the course – trainer, trainees, students. I hope over the course of ten (nine now) I’ll get to know them better as people. We don’t really get much time to socialise but we get a few words in here and there. And I’ve been trying to go in early so I can speak with the others before class. That’ll change next month though because I’ll have to work until 5pm and it’ll take me some time (hopefully not more than 40 minutes) to get from the office (in Bangchak) to the school (in Silom). We’ll see. If it doesn’t work out I’ll change one of my working days to Wednesday.

That was quite a long post wasn’t it? I began writing this when I got on the MRT train and now I’m only 3 stations away from my stop. Seeing that yesterday I was busy texting my dad and missed my stop, I should probably put down my virtual pen here.

I hope you’re all doing swell. Until next time.

Love,

Val

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

 

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

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 a famous online content provider. (I didn’t know they do 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!

8 April 2016

Guess where I am right now.

Answer: hospital.

That seems to be the only place where I get some writing done these days. Which is not a bad thing.

I didn’t come to the hospital last month because the time clashed with training for my new job. Yes… new job! *applause*

But here I am, over two months after my last visit. And apart from the new blood pressure measuring machines everything is pretty much the same – the stale air, the smell of unwashed clothes and sweat, the interminable wait.

Good news is my doctor is coming on time these days. So in approximately thirty minutes I should be seeing my doctor. Note to self: ask doctor if I can drink decaf coffee (oh may the answer be yes…)

So about this new job, I am now working as a Coach (Educational Service Coach to be precise) at Wall Street English. It’s an English language school and it just opened a branch near where I live. And that’s why I applied. Happily I got the job and I’ve been working at the centre for almost a month now – that’s half the time I spent at my old job already.

So far so good. A lot of things to learn. A lot of students to meet and get to know. It’s nice going around and having students saying hi to you. The centre is in the mall so we bump into them everywhere.

The centre being in a mall is one thing I like about the job: coming to work feels like going shopping. Not that I particularly like shopping but you get the idea. It’s full of happy people, and being around happy people is uplifting.

Another thing I like is the working hours. We start at noon (finish at 9pm) which gives me a whole morning to enjoy/slave away doing translation work for an extra bit (big bit) of cash.

So yes, new job. New opportunities. Life seems to be looking up at last. We’ll see how this one goes!

Love, as always,

Val

2 January 2016

I can’t sleep.

I went (came?) to bed eight hours ago, and I am now more awake than ever. I tossed and turned. I counted sheep. I lost count of sheep. Nothing worked.

Why can’t I sleep? That’s the question I’m asking myself. And I have a pretty good idea what the answer is.

The blended Thai milky tea I had at half past six yesterday evening, is why. I knew I was asking for trouble, but I went for it anyways. I have nothing but my gluttony and lack of self control to blame.

Talking about those two things, this holiday season is going to be the death of my weight loss progress. I’ve been stuffing myself silly using the holidays as an excuse. And I’ve gained so many kilos (well, two, to be exact – might not sound like a lot but takes hell to lose). Monday will be a rude awakening. No more carbs. No more sugar. At least until the next weigh-in at the monthly hospital visit.

Oh why oh why do I live in extremes. Moderation is certainly not my strong suit.

Now let’s move on to better and brighter things…

It’s 2016 babeh!

Two good things are happening already in 2016. (Three if you count intaking a lot of cakes and cookies and various other forms of calories.)

One: I have my first French student. How is the teaching going, you ask? It is slowly taking shape. I am learning to branch out, try different techniques, and set the right prices. Price setting has been the biggest challenge so far. But hopefully the latest adjustment has solved that issue for the time being.

So yes, first French student. And an online one at that. Exciting days! I can envisage how the lesson is going to unfold, and I can’t wait for next Saturday to see the class through. Fingers crossed all goes well and the student is happy with how I handle distance teaching.

Two: I reached out to the people I wronged in the past year, specifically during my mania in December 2014/January 2015. Apologies were made, sincerely if somewhat awkwardly. I feel like a school kid trying to make up in the playground after knocking over another student’s lunch. It’s weird apologising for what you only vaguely remember you did. But blaming it all on brain chemicals didn’t seem like the right way to go. So yes, I said sorry to a number of people. And I hope that they will forgive me. If not, then there is nothing I can do but graciously accept that that’s how things are going to be.

Oh I do hope that at least some of them will be understanding. None of them have read my message yet. I am most certainly going to be reduced to a pile of nerves when I check in on the messages later today. Thankfully it’s still the holidays and my parents are both home. So we’re going into the city and exploring the new mall. That would take my mind off the dreaded responses a little. Imagine that this time tomorrow I will have found out whether I’ve alienated some of my closest friends for good. That is a terrifying prospect.

Better not think about it now. As Scarlett said, “I’ll think about it to-morrow”.

It’s a quarter to six. The sky outside is still dark. I am waiting for the first light to go downstairs and officially start living my Saturday. I will be operating on zero sleep, but there’s nothing I can do about that now. Also there’s nothing much left to do. In the eight hours that I’ve been in bed, I have been so productive that I finished most of the tasks I had to do before Monday.

I guess the productivity spike is one good thing about sleepless nights. If only I could sleep properly and spread the productivity throughout the week though… Life would be so much better. I would certainly feel much better about myself.

2016. It’s an arbitrary new start. A fresh page to write my story. I think I know what I have to deal with first: no more mid-day naps and putting off my learning and teaching tasks. More productive days will do wonders for my recovery, and it’s about time I fully recover from my mental setback. I can’t be a floor potato (new word!) forever.

Side note: sleeping on a cold hard floor is strangely very satisfying. Don’t ask me why. It just is.

2016! I hope it turns out to be a wonderful year for all of us. As wonderful as the last, and the one before, and the one before, so on and so forth. One’s life can never be too full of wonder.

It may seem like my life has been on standby, but I’ve come a long way in 2015. Mentally. If not yet physically (diet goes on…).

Let’s continue to move forward in 2016.

Love,

Pig-bellied Val