Thursday, October 2, 2014

Back to Work in the Sunshine

There's something kinda depressing about waking up on the first morning back from a long, satisfying vacation. You should be happy and content with a whole portfolio of new and wonderful memories, but at the same time, there's an underlying realization that you're never further away from your next vacation than you are at the end of your last one. That's how I felt when opening my eyes today, awoken by the melodic chant of the Buddhist monastery next door. It took me some time and a cup of coffee to shake off the funk. For a long time, I've understood something about life that was first expressed by the Buddha some 2600 years ago: suffering is inherent in life, but it is desire that's at the root of that suffering. It's not the not having that brings us down, it's the wanting.

I was able to throw off these post-holiday blues, and now I'm actually a bit excited to get back to teaching....

****30 some hours later****

I'm writing today from the office, waiting for my Myanmar language class to begin. I've taught a few classes now over the last couple days, and I'm feeling a lot more comfortable. Just this morning, I did something I've rarely done before: I tried to observe myself doing something (teaching) while I was doing it, taking a little bit of my consciousness and separating it from the activity underway and putting in the observer role. I liked what I saw. I was doing a good job; being engaging, comprehensible and interesting. It kinda speaks to how comfortable and natural I've become in my role in my new career. Consequently, I feel a lot better about my job today as compared to yesterday where I had absolutely no enthusiasm for coming into work.

Do what you do and do it well. If you do it well, you'll like it more.

So, back to the story of the vacation. Video Two shares more of my first day in Medan and then begins the journey to Bukit Lawang, a village at the base of the hills (Bukit Lawang literally means 'gateway to the hills') from which I would be venturing out in search of orangutans. Couple of bad things happened along the way. First, I got ripped off by a tout for the cost of the ticket up there. I was trying to be thrifty, so I took a city bus out to the bus station on the outskirts of town. Just before the station, a guy jumped on, asked me where I was going, and then got off at the station with me because he just so happened to be the agent for the bus company that went there. How convenient. I knew he was quoting me a price that was well padded to include his commission. Well, I was kinda stuck there, and I tried shaking the tout off by rushing the bus driver when he arrived and asking the fare. He wouldn't answer and just looked to the tout, who wanted $15. I managed to talk him down to $12... The actual fare should have been about $6. Not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but given than not only do I speak the language, but when I used to live here, I was myself working in the taking-advantage-of-the-tourists industry, I'm the last person who should
have fell for this ploy.

The, to top it off, I pretty sure the bus driver stole my phone out of backpack while moving the luggage around.

Still, despite the setbacks, I still felt like I was walking on sunshine...

1 comment:

  1. IPerhaps that is why we are loving our endless vacation. I try to pinch every penny and make it last for the rest of our lives.


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