Thursday, May 28, 2015

Year Two Begins

If I live to be 90, today is the half-way point in my life. Today is my 45th birthday. It's the beginning of a personal new year in more ways than one. Although I arrived here in Myanmar in March of '14, this last week has felt like it's the start of year two for me. Professionally, I've gone and got some training and a certification that are affecting how I teach. Structurally, we're coming off the month long Spring break. As I've had to renew my teaching contract for 18 months, I've committed myself to improving my living space and have done so tremendously, so my home has way more amenities. In March I had a fling that's not worth detailing but yet renewed my confidence that I can actually have a love life here in Myanmar. In many ways, punctuated by my birthday, this last week has been a demarcation line. It's the beginning of Year Two for me in Burma and I couldn't be more excited.

NOT the fling I referred to. Another thing about this being
YEAR TWO is saying goodbye to old friends, like John
Lidbetter here in this pic.

We've been having some pre-season storms coming in off the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal. It's not quite the monsoon proper yet, but it's been raining. Hard. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you may remember I had significant problems with leaks here in my Yangon penthouse apartment during the last monsoon. While I was away, I insisted that my landlord and his crew work on the roof. I wasn't going into another rainy season with this leak problem. It was a verbal condition of me re-signing my lease for another year. Would they come through?

When I came back from my 6 weeks away, my apartment was spotless. They'd cleaned it up. It rained quite a but in my absence, and who knows how that flooded my place, but it all looked when I came back. First night back, the rain came and all the other leaks in the roof seemed to be fixed except one: the one directly above my bed!

Nothing to do with this blog. Seems that everywhere I turn in
my neighborhood, they're repaving and improving the
drainage of the roads. This is good! Development!
Buckets and towels were enough to deal with the issue, but its almost like I've forgotten what it's like to have a leak-proof roof over your head. I've become resigned to the fact that heavy rain means putting out stuff to catch the leaks. Thats not right. I shouldn't have to do that.

Last night, after the latest round of roof patching, it rained really hard. 20 minutes into this, the landlord came for a visit to see how the ceiling was holding up. He doesn't speak English. My Burmese is regrettably still very elementary. When he arrived, the repairs seemed to be holding; there were some minor leaks seeping down the walls (which are actually more annoying because you can't catch them in a bucket), but nothing major.

The landlord got enticed by one of the recent purchases I've made to make this place more liveable for the long term. I got myself a microwave oven, and I'm guessing this is the first time anyone has ever owned one in this building. I'm not sure what the landlord was asking, but it sounded like he was saying “you can cook chicken in this thing?” over and over. I know the Burmese word for 'cook'. I don't know the word for 're-heat' which is what a microwave is good for. He seemed so fascinated by the device that I ended up heating up a glass of water just to show him that the thing actually worked. He was amazed by this piece of 50 year-old modern technology.

As we dallied in the kitchen, the rainwater built up in the attic and suddenly began pouring through to demonstrate to the landlord the need for effective repairs. The landlord told me he felt a na (embarrassed, ashamed) by the whole thing and said the handyman didn't know what he was doing. I refused offhandedly my landlord's suggestion that I just move my bed. We'll see what happens next.

As for what I did for my birthday, well, I've invited people over to my place tonight as I've just upgraded my room. I bought a new sound system for the computer as the wires gave out on the old one. This one is powered and has a subwoofer (seen lower left of the pic). Plus I got myself a real bed frame with headboard and everything. Go ahead and leek, roof! I got one of the basics of human living now: a raised platform on which to sleep. 

Lots of new videos on my YouTube page from the recent Chiang Mai adventure. I also got new video creation software, with new background music to play with... which I did with Chiang Mai 7. 


  1. Happy Birthday. Have a fantastic wonderful day and your body appreciates the new bed frame.

  2. Happy Birthday Gil. Maybe you need to put up wall to wall plastic sheeting above the bed. Or at least get a big tarp to cover it while you are gone. Getting soaked can't be good for it.

  3. Wishing you Happy Birthday! I pray you had a wonderful day! May God bless you, now... and always!


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