It’s been a tough few weeks. For the past month(-ish) I’ve been working extra hours to develop a new curriculum at Suratpittaya, writing and grading exams at both schools, trying desperately hard to save money in preparation for an impending three-month bout of unemployment spanning three countries and, on top of all that, cutting down drastically on booze intake and trying to regain some semblance of my pre-Thailand fitness levels. All in all it’s been a success – my budget is on track (more or less), I’m running 5k’s with minimal effort despite the constant heat and humidity and my kids have almost all performed admirably on the last set of assessments I’ll be grading for them. The curriculum is another story altogether, an organisational clusterfuck of Labour party proportions, but it’s slowly taking shape and making my CV look very attractive indeed.

All this comes at a price though.

Time was my phone would constantly be abuzz with messages – parties, meals, beach outings, poker nights – all kinds of festivities, and an invitation to every one. It’s remarkable how quickly things change once you drop off the social radar for a short while though. People who’d once been regular fixtures in my life are just vague shadows in the background. Even solicitations for an evening’s entertainment go unanswered, Friday nights spent working, cleaning then collapsing in bed after a quick beer at a deserted Coolin’ Out.

It feels a little like living in limbo – another sub-universe of all-night hedonism and cameraderie existing in some impenetrable bubble next to mine. There’s a door into this dimension but the bouncer’s a hard-ass and I seem to have misplaced my membership card.

Not that I’m really complaining though, the reality of my new situation has forced me to suddenly take stock of my life, where I am and where I want to be. If this social seclusion and exclusion is the price I pay for securing a more entertaining and fulfilling future, then so be it. My days of partying every night purely for the sake of being out and getting stupid are thankfully behind me, and the prospect of house parties, drunken twister and countless potheads couldn’t hold less allure. I can take pleasure in my relaxation, in work, in study and in solitude. The company I thought I was missing is simply part of the transient nature of this job – people come and people go, that’s just the  way things are. My true friends are back home and, apart from a few with whom I’ll stay in touch, most of these fellow travellers are little more than the cliched boats passing in the night.

Aah, the cathartic power of writing. I was worrying about this last night but talking to Em this morning and battering the keyboard for five minutes puts it all in perspective. Look forward, that’s what Alex said. Forward to three months which will encompass fun and games in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Scotland, Canada and America, all in the company of people I truly care about.

Mmm, gonna celebrate this newfound relaxed state with some Suede, Edgar Allan Poe and a little 18-year old Singleton…


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