Thursday, July 27, 2006

Takeoffs and Landings.
At 11:45am on Monday June 26, 2006, I sat down in the last row of Thai Airways flight 973, the only direct route flown from JFK to Bangkok.

It is now Thursday, July 27. If you don't count the 11 hours I lost somewhere over the North Pole, today marks the one-month anniversary of my departure. That is, if you go by the calender- but it can hardly be trusted in this case. The second lifetime born on the heatsoaked runway of Bangkok International Airport could never contort itself into a mere July and some leftovers of a June.

Somehow, Time lost track of me during the flight. I bet he tripped and fell hurdling over one of the time zones. He always was more of a distance runner. I know he'll catch up to me eventually... he'll come hobling up, spout something about slow and steady winning the race, and then start complaining about the International Date Line like he always does.

But for now, Time is nowhere in sight, and it's a good thing because it means he can't see how much I'm getting away with. Each day is saturated and bursting with more sights and sounds, more smells and tastes than normally are spread over a year. The people are wonderful, the food is AMAZING, and the few dollars I managed to bring go a long, long way. It's also never cold. Ever.

And, for some strange reason, the girls here seem to find me exotic.

On June 6th, less than three weeks earlier, I had no idea any of this would happen. I thought I was staying in Ithaca for the summer. Summers are "gorges" there, and working for Kaplan was paying the bills (if not much more). Plus, I was about to start teaching the LSAT, which I thought was pretty cool since there is the slightest possibility that maybe someday I'll want to take a real one and I would be getting paid to become an expert at it (although I already scored 174 on the practice test I took to qualify to teach...). I also had some research lined up with Professor Weiss, the WWII prof. who made me rethink academics and conceed that maybe some professors do actually care about their students. Obviously I wasn't thrilled about another summer in Ithaca, but I was quite content with it all.

Until, that is, my boss at Kaplan and I started chatting. He asked me what I wanted to do now that I have graduated, and when I started to answer in terms of the summer, he was like, "No, I mean what do you want to do now that you are done with school? What's next?" So I mentioned the idea of teaching (which I would be doing if TFA hadn't inexplicably turned me down... but I suppose at this point I should thank them!), and then we go off on a tangent about living and working abroad somewhere. I'd always thought this would be amazing to do, but only in an abstract way. He mentioned having seen an ad on the internal Kaplan site for a full-time teaching position in Bangkok, and said he'd send me the link. Sure, ok... really I didn't think much of it.

The link came the next day, Wednesday the 7th, and I decided to send an email and a resume. Within 24 hours I had a VERY interested response, and after a few emails were rapidly exchanged (around midnight for me, noon for them) I agreed to a phone interview, which the center director said she would like to do THE NEXT NIGHT. So, 11pm on Friday I had a phone interview, and around 11:30 I had an unofficial job offer. The real contract arrived in my email box on Sunday morning.

So... I went from no plans to the definite chance to go live literally halfway around the world for a year. And they wanted me to start by July 1st! Yes, in 20 days from the day I go the offer, which would mean leaving in around two weeks. TWO WEEKS! Two weeks to move out of Ithaca (a hard enough task in itself), visit family, sell two cars, and otherwise tie up or neatly pack away every loose end of my American life. Plus, I had to go to NYC for my visa and passport, which are things that cannot be acquired in a single day. Not to mention I still had work commitments in Ithaca until June 21st.

It seemed impossible.
But here I am.


Blogger greenmtn said...


We all just saw your blog. It's a chilly 86 in Burlington this afternoon (July 27, 2PM). We will call you soon. Love, Dad

1:37 AM  

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