The last time I took a break from writing was because of a particularly boring dry patch and I remember wishing I had a more exciting reason not to write. Well guess what, my wish did come true. For the very first time in my life I can say I was too busy to write. Not lazy. Not procrastinating. But just plain busy. Boy do I love how important it makes me sound.
A month ago I was just a housewife, blessed with an overactive imagination and hours of nothing to do. Oh, and a wordpress account and an innate ability to make stories out of nothing. Make no assumptions. I am still the same housewife with the same overactive imagination. The only thing that has changed is that now I am qualified to be an English teacher (whoop whoop!) and all it took for me to be able to say this was a whole month of doing nothing but eating CELTA, drinking CELTA, walking CELTA and talking CELTA. There was just no sleeping CELTA because there was no sleeping. I know everybody says this but I will say this yet again. I had known how intensive CELTA would be but I had no idea just how intensive until I actually took the course.
For people going “Whaaaaat?” here’s the thing: CELTA stands for Cambridge Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults, and it is a month long course which includes (I paraphrase) “collaborative planning, peer observation and shared evaluation and feedback”. I had to complete 6 hours of teaching and 6 hours of observing experienced teachers to be able to get this certificate. But enough of the jargon. Just understand that it was grueling and nerve-wracking and yet at the end of it, I feel fully equipped and confident to take the EFL world by storm. *menacing laughter*
Most importantly, the course introduced me to fellow sufferers who are now indispensable friends. I have now amazing friends from countries I have never been to, and the more I think of it the more I am convinced that my life before this course must have been some one-dimensional drab. I mean, to think this time last year I had never once talked to anyone outside my country! It is amazing how going through a rigorous course can bring people together, accent no bar, country no bar. And really, before CELTA I had never cooked Indian food for a Kiwi girl, and nor had I joked with a British guy about how we still celebrate the day they left our country. I had never before thought that having a thousand people in your wedding invited awe and surprise (bordering on shock, perhaps) and that having 15 different languages on a currency note was something special. And most of all, I had never known that despite coming from an arbitrary town tucked in some obscure corner of a country famous for its spicy curries more than for anything, I have it in me to befriend people from other parts of the world. Makes me respect my upbringing all the more, I tell you.
Speaking of which, the people responsible for my spectacular upbringing (a lady has to boast sometimes, y’all) aka my parents were here!! And for the whole of a week we did all the tourist-y things together (barring the cyclo ride, but no regrets). We cruised along the Halong Bay, and watched the brilliant water puppet theater. We ate every fruit we could get our hands on (including exotic stuff like the rambutan, the dragon fruit, the longan and even teeny tiny mangoes smaller than a fist), and tasted stuff we hadn’t before (palm sized clams anyone?) We shopped and bargained and shopped some more, and to top it all, I fought with a taxi driver. In Vietnamese. Amazing how in just five months this place has taught me to blend in it and yet marvel in its simplest things, all at the same time. More fascinating is how in just a week of seeing this place through my parents’ eyes, I feel so much closer to it. I mean I crib and I cry and I complain about it most of the times, and yet, there are times when I can’t help but fall in love with it all over again. Like the time when school kids visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum saw my Mamma’s sari and went “Anh Do! Anh Do!” (Indian!) and actually did a “Namaste” with their hands. Or that time when a tiny little thing came running to my mother, said “Hello!” and pointed at my mother’s bindi and sindoor with innocent concern (she thought it was blood and concluded my mother must be hurt).
The month is over, and so is the last week of pure family bliss. What remains now is loads of time and hours of online job hunting and (hopefully) pages of writing. Here’s to sleep-ins and regular meals and long Skype calls and waiting for another six months until I see my parents.
And just because I am feeling a little bleh, here’s to feeling bleh.