It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon, one of those restless afternoons when your mind is buzzing with a million unrelated things; each one settled in a different corner, gnawing away at your peace bit by bit. Having given up of my nap to set up my new printer, I am now sitting on my desk, printing random stuff, and suddenly feeling very, very guilty about not being able to write for a long time.
It’s not like life hasn’t been “happening”. Quite the contrary. I took up running again (and then gave it up again, sadly) and would run five kilometers every morning: to the beach and back. On days when I wouldn’t feel like running, I’d walk instead, carrying my yoga mat along, and do my surya namaskar with the sun shining orange on my face. I started taking swimming lessons (haven’t given THAT up yet, so yay!) and can finally swim on shallow water, coming up to breath now and then. It was in my swimming class that I met some lovely women from my condo, who then moved on to become my darling friends. Some of them are decades wiser than me, mind you, and yet we talk like bosom buddies. We “chill” by the pool, share our daily rants and vents, make silly jokes and laugh a lot. For someone who spent half her life cursing the lack of meaningful friendships in her life, I sure have been blessed by amazing ones. It’s almost as if the powers above are making up for all the shitty friendships I’d had to suffer through.
I’ve started working again, if you count my “few months here and few months there” before as work. Even as I was trying to make the seemingly impossible choice between teaching and writing or editing, the choice was made for me by an unexpected call one random Thursday night, asking me to appear for an interview the next day. The call was from an international school out here, and although I was barely prepared, I went in for the interview, thinking that the worst that could happen was that I would not be selected. I was then asked to give a demo lesson with an hour’s preparation, and well, being my mother’s daughter, having inherited her “Why not?!” attitude, I went in. I was appointed that day itself, with less than a week for me to start.
The first thing I did on reaching home was bawl my eyes out. The thought of leaving Miss Munchkin behind for the whole day was overwhelming, and I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that I wouldn’t be the one preparing her meals, or putting her to sleep during nap time, or giving her a bath. For almost three years, I had identified with myself as a mother first, and everything else had come second. Having to relinquish that inherent part of me that was the stay-at-home Mom was way more heart-wrenching than I would have thought. I’ve given her my everything and then some more, I consoled myself. It was time for me to focus on my career after all, I reasoned with myself. And yet the tears wouldn’t stop.
The husband had planned an impulsive weekend getaway to Bintan to celebrate our fifth anniversary, and after my appointment, it seemed like just the thing to prepare me for what I was starting to think of as an ordeal. It was nice and relaxing, and for the first time ever, Miss Munchkin and we ventured out to the beach to do “beachy” stuff, building elaborate sand castles, and fetching pail after pail of water from the sea.
My first day at work, like all first days usually go I think, was grueling. I cried on my way to work, but was so swamped with work that I forgot about it within the first few hours anyway. Three weeks since that first day, and life isn’t much easier because despite what others think, being a teacher is exhausting, but the kids at school make it all worth it. The younger ones are chatty, and sometimes cheeky, but sometimes come up with things like, “Did you know, Ma’am Sam, that you are the kindest teacher we’ve ever had?” and it melts my heart. The older ones are great conversationalists, and when I walk into class I feel like a cooler version of myself. On the way to work I share a van with a few other kids, and we play songs on my iPod and sing along to them. I’m learning at work every single day, and cherishing every bit, because like my Mamma always says, the day you stop learning is the day you stop growing.
We recently celebrated Diwali at school, and teachers decked up in saris to make the day special. Because I had stupidly left most of my saris and mekhela sadors back home, I turned to one of my friends from the condo for help. She rose to the occasion, opening her heart and her entire wardrobe to me, sending me back with three beautiful saris and matching accessories, leaving me spellbound at just how easily she’d let me into her life. I ended up wearing a mekhela sador to school, and proudly paraded around the staff room, showing off the designs and the swish of the silk.
As for my book, I’m bursting at my seams waiting to yell out some news I might have but I am being whimsically superstitious about it. Hopefully things will be concrete soon, and I will be able to share more with you. Until then, I will happily hum to myself and look at the world through yellow-tinted glasses; the ones that make everything look sunny and happy even though it’s pouring all day long (seriously, what’s with the weather Singapore?)
So yeah. That’s about it for now. Must remind myself to not let the words accumulate to the extent where they come out tumbling one over the other, without waiting for reason or rhyme. It would not do to neglect my first love after all. So here’s hoping that one of these days I will find enough strength to balance all that is on my plate. Cheerio!