Okay, straight off the bat I’ll admit that this isn’t a very well thought-out post. In fact it’s not even thought out in the slightest. Even the bit I’m writing right now. So if it doesn’t exactly read like Dostoevsky I don’t give much of a hoop.
The last few days have been a bit stressful for a variety of reasons – actual work i.e. students failing exams, issues surrounding work which I won’t go into on a public blog, issues surrounding my attempts to sell a flat in Edinburgh from a base in southern Thailand – and it’s got me to thinking about one of the aspects of this job which contributes hugely to its appeal but can also be a kick in the sack when you’re not at your best. That’s the ‘revolving doors’ nature of working an ESL job overseas.
Staff retention on these jobs is pretty low on the priority list and this means a constant influx of new faces. This is typically concentrated around the beginnings and ends of terms but more and more it seems to be happening at a steady pace throughout the year. Every pub quiz sees at least two or three newbies turning up and that’s cool with me. To be perfectly honest I’m not that bothered about getting to know new people any more. When I first arrived I filled up my phonebook within the first few days and it took me weeks to recognise all my newfound comrades without the benefit or beer goggles. Now I’m a little more chilled; I’ve found my feet, got settled in, realise my contract’s up in five months (and I have no intention of renewing it) so by and large the recent crop of immigrants has passed me by.
It’s the people leaving that’s starting to piss me off.
One of my best friends here just headed off on her travels, having cut her contract short after arriving in town just a day after me. Aside from the fact that she’s an awesome person, she’s also the most knowledgeable horror fan in town and has the ballerina from the cover of Suspiria tattooed onto her side. Pretty irreplaceable really.
Next weekend one of my flatmates leaves after a record-breaking short stay. My other, who is yet another best friend in town and who has been sharing this flat with me for about 9 months, has handed in her notice and is departing these shores as soon as they can find a replacement. Who the fuck am I going to rip to shreds about liking gay vampires now? Fuck.
Most importantly, Em leaves next month. Her contract has expired and it’s time for her to go home and see the family again. I’m not going to dwell on how many balls this sucks on how many levels of hell, suffice to say I’m not happy about it. (Fortunately, all things going to plan, we’ll be meeting up for Christmas then heading to Korea for a year, so yay!)
Oh, and Dave and Sarah. I miss them. Lots.
It’s an inevitable part of the job and it means life never gets boring. Wherever you turn there’s a new face who might, just might, turn out to be one of the 5% or so of humans who isn’t incredibly fucking annoying. There’s enough variety in the kind of people attracted to this kind of work that you’ll always find someone you can at least get along with, or hopefully even form a solid friendship with.
Sometime though, and I hate to admit it, I just want a little stability, a touch of permanence in this ethereal existence.
I’ve thought about calling it quits early myself over the past few days but I doubt it’ll come to that. If various problems rectify themselves I’ll just knuckle down to work, hit the gym a little harder and construct abstract fantasies wherein Em, Kelsey, Michelle et al are still around 🙂 I know in my heart I’m in it for the long haul, I’ll just have to get used to all the comings and goings.
Postscript – Hold on, you know I said I didn’t really plan this post? Something just came to me. I think part of the reason for the way I’m feeling is that I just really miss my friends back home. They were the stability in my life before I met Em after all. Hmm. Anyway, time to mark more papers for tests which kids aren’t allowed to fail, no matter how much they happen to resemble bricks in their intellectual capacity. Onwards Alan, we’ll tackle this one together…
Postpostscript – Alan’s my new friend. He’s orange, purple, green, blue and yellow and he’s squishy. And he’s named after Alan “Wash from Firefly/Steve The Pirate from Dodgeball” Tudyk. Shut up. Get your own Alan.