25 August 2017

Big news: I quit my job two days ago.

And I realised one thing about myself: I make major decisions pretty quickly.

The decision to go part-time was made over the course of one evening, and this one was too, well overnight if you count the time I spent in bed calculating how much I can earn from only translating subtitles.

Here’s how the decision came about.

On the afternoon of the 22nd, I was at home working on my subtitles (a Turkish historical series that’s a right b*tch to translate). Then I started having a conversation with my subtitles supervisor at my new company (I’m officially freelancing for two media providers now, yey!)

We were negotiating my monthly workload, and it became blindingly clear during the intense discussion that it’s just not going to work. I’m starting my CELTA teacher training course on 3rd October, which is going to be 13 and a half hours per week, then there’s homework on top of that. Then there’s the ten hours of show that my supervisor and I agreed on, then there’s my teaching (I got 3 new students hooray!). And then I still want to continue working for my first subtitles company. The shows are varied and interesting. I get to translate Korean content (from an English source though). Plus, the new project coordinator is super nice and I don’t want to disappear from her radar.

And that with 20 hours at Wall Street English on top? I might die, or go crazy, which is entirely possible.

So on the morning of the 23rd, I called my manager and informed him that I am resigning at the end of September. I’ve filled in the resignation form and will tender it first thing when I see him today.

Life without Wall Street English will be strange. It’s become a big part of my life in the past year and a half – the people, the place, the atmosphere. But life must go forward, and something’s gotta give.

Hello freelancer life! May the Gods be kind.

Love,

Val

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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

12 September 2014

I’m taking it slow today; I felt like it.

I am supposed to have dinner with a friend in two and a half hours. And for the past (*check time on phone*) hour (wow, time flies) I have been sitting in the dressing room of my sports club, waiting for my hair to dry.

I don’t think I’ve ever sat and waited for my hair to dry. I’m usually in a hurry to get somewhere, and the services of my trusted hairdryer are usually called on.

It feels good to take it slow. Really good. I didn’t realise how good it would feel, but it does.

Taking it slow also happens to be my philosophy of the day. It has been 3 months since I graduated, and I’m still unemployed. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Why rush into a phase of your life that will last for well over 30 years? What’s the hurry?

I have no urgent financial need for a job; if I’m careful with my money, I can stay unemployed for the better part of a year. I don’t plan to; but if I happen to, it’s not the end of the world. Far from it.

So yes, I’m taking my time. Am I looking for a job? I keep my eyes open. But am I in a hurry to get one? No. For the first time in seven years, I have no immediate obligations; I literally have all the time in the world. And I plan to take advantage of it.

So if you ask me what I’ve been up to since I graduated, don’t be surprised if my answer is “mostly reading and blogging”. That’s exactly what I plan to spend most of my time doing. Because once I do get a job, I won’t have as much time for it anymore.

Maybe you’ll disapprove of my slow approach to graduate life. But I’m currently quite happy with it.

We never know what’s going to happen, though. We’ll see how long this phase lasts; I have no idea.

But I guess that’s the beauty of it.

Love,

Val

11 April 2014

My left knee hurts.

I don’t remember when it began hurting. Or rather, I don’t know. One day I was fine. Then the pain was there and I could no longer stretch my left leg.

For a person who likes stretching, this is bad. And things only get worse considering that, in exactly two days, I will be deprived of the only sports I can do that supposedly won’t add insult to an injured knee.

I’m talking about swimming. I’ve been meaning to go swimming. I don’t remember the last time I went swimming. Most likely some time in December. Maybe November. More likely December.

That’s a long time ago.

*pause so everyone can reflect on how fast time flies, and how little time we all have on this earth*

I really like swimming. It’s such a… delicate and thorough sport, for lack of better descriptive adjectives. Delicate as opposed to running, which many (including myself) would agree is one of the worst sports one could possibly practise on a regular basis given how high-impact it is, especially on the knees. (Hmm…) And thorough because you can really feel each muscle contract, and control it.

It’s an amazing feeling, tracing your movements to the contraction of your muscles, down to every exertion. I had a Eureka moment some time last year, when I’d just re-taken up swimming, where suddenly everything made sense: I realised my body was under my control.

A fact that goes too often unobserved amidst the chaos of daily life. And one worth making an effort to remember.

I would get back to moaning about my knee, but there’s one thing I must mention now that I’m on the topic of the human body: Koerperwelten.

If you’re not afraid of blood and/or corpses and/or bones, and you can only go to one exhibition in your entire life, this is the one I want you to be going to. It’s annual. I think it actually happens several times per year. But you’re going to have to check (information to follow).

It’s a travelling exhibition. Origin (you guessed it): Germany. I went in September 2012, during my most productive vacation yet in Germany (first day of Oktoberfest – check; Koerperwelten – check, check!). My German friend and host was insistent that we go (because he wanted to), and I went along with him.

And wow. Ain’t I glad I did.

It’s the most beautiful, mind-blowing ensemble of ‘things’ I have ever seen. Koerperwelten (Bodyworlds in English) is, as the website proudly announces, “the original exhibition of real human bodies”. And that’s exactly what it is.

I don’t want to say too much. I went relatively uninformed, and I think there’s a strong case to be made for seeing the exhibition with a blank mental canvas. The imprint will be that much stronger.

Here, though, is information on current exhibitions. (I didn’t know they did simultaneous exhibitions. Well now I do. One does learn a thing or two every day!) Feel free to browse. I wouldn’t Google image it if I were you (and afraid of blood, corpses, and/or bones).

*pause so you can go Google image: Koerperwelten*

#doublereversepsychology
#forwardpsychology?

Now, about that hurting knee. Possibly a result of Sunday’s morning run (6.6k) on concrete. I did go to a park, but the park was so small that the runners (myself included) elected to run on the concrete path that goes around it.

Running on concrete – not a good idea. I don’t think I stretched properly after either.

Could that be why my knee’s hurting? Maybe. Possibly.

But now, what do I do about it? Today’s Friday. I’m at the sports club. I planned to go to my Battle Beat class this evening to use up my last class coupon. Should I go to the class?

But it’s only one coupon. Surely, my knee must take precedence over 125 THB.

Maybe one hour on the elliptical… I did that yesterday. The knee didn’t hurt during, and it didn’t appear to hurt more after. So it should be fine?

So little I know about the workings of my own body. Where did all those hours of high school anatomy lessons go?

I’ll see how I feel.

I’ll see how the knee feels.

Now I’m hungry.

Time for breakfast date with grandpa.

#howcute

Until tomorrow, or maybe this evening,

Have a good day,

Val

 

 

 

28 March 2014

Oops. Someone forgot to write a post yesterday.

Well, I did and I didn’t.

Allow me to explain.

As you may know, I write these posts at the end of the day. Usually after 5pm. Often much later.

Yesterday, I had a work appointment at 5pm.

Arises the question: do I blog before? Or do I blog after?

(Two questions?)

In my blissful ignorance of what the evening held in store, I decided to leave it until after. After all, I didn’t have many hours to spare before my 5 o’clock. And if there are two things I don’t like, they’re 1) writing a post in a hurry and 2) going to a meeting in a hurry.

So it was settled. I would come back and write the post in perfect tranquillity. Free from worries and time constraints.

I went to my meeting. By 5.30pm everything was done. Then, realising how much time there was left, I decided on a little detour. I went to a department store to run some personal errands and do some off-location revision.

So far, my revision has taken place a) at home and b) at my sports club. I thought a little change of locale would spice it up a little.

So I happily installed myself in a café in the department store. Having walked around the floor twice to make sure I didn’t miss a hidden spot (I can be neurotic like that. Especially with cafés. Don’t ask.)

And started on my French exercise.

Then I thought I’d check in with the outside world. (Thought always occurs while revising. Hmm. Interesting.) So I went on my messaging app. And realised that some of my friends were headed to the very same department store.

I think you know where this is going.

No regrets though. Do you know what’s better than a meal with friends? An unplanned meal with friends.

I had the best time.

So, that’s why I didn’t forget to write the post. I simply misallocated time due to an unforeseen event – an information asymmetry, if you will.

The dinner lasted a good long while. By the time I got back to my sports club (my base for yesterday), it was late and all the facilities were closed.

I thought to myself: ah well, I can always write it at home.

So I drove home, with the intention of getting down to blogging before I go to bed.

I got home. And forgot.

Turns out my brain isn’t perfect after all. *exaggerated gasp*

Anyways, here I am today. Using today’s allotment of post to explain my failure to produce yesterday’s post.

I call that creative substitution.

(Yes, I’m throwing Economic vocab in here and there for no good reason. I’ve been reading so much dry Economics stuff today. I am adamant that I be allowed this indulgence.)

Creative and convenient, given that I haven’t done much worthy of reporting today. Unless you find European unemployment and protective labour market institutions particularly sexy.

Not a fan of Economics? How about hierarchical and political incommensurability of values? (My studies do take me to weird and random places…)

Nope. Didn’t think so.

I can actually feel a slight vibration in my eyeballs. I take that as a sign that I should stop staring at the laptop. (I’ve been reading on Mendeley all day.)

So I shall retire to my comfy bed.

Have a good evening,

Val