Exasperated

I've just spent more than 45 minutes typing up a few pages worth of vocabulary words to help my poor students when they face their mock exams tomorrow and on Thursday. I'm exasperated because 1) there are too many damn words that need to be explained, 2) this is supposed to be a MOCK exam, not a lesson where you introduce new words. Yes some of my students are geniuses, but the remaining 98% of them are struggling to tell the difference between 'enthusiasiastically' and 'enthusiastically'. They do not needed to be overwhelmed by vocabulary words like "adherents", "pensions" and "mildewed". Keep in mind that these are P4 and P5 students we're talking about - no wonder they're stressed! GRRRRR.

Last week while conducting oral examinations with my current P5 students, I ran into a bunch of my old P5 students who were having their class next door. They seemed really happy to see me, and one of the girls (a Sarah) told the student I was with that I was a "great and funny teacher" and I felt myself turn all warm and happy inside. Things like that remind me why I'm in this job I guess, despite everything I disagree with.

I realised today that I haven't been doing much at all. Right at the start of this month I went off to Ipoh with my Mama, Yeh Yeh, Kaugong, Aunty Sao Ping and my Sam Suk Kong for 4 days. We did the whole Qing Ming thing, visited Cameron Highlands and ate like pigs. I realised how pathetic it was that out of a carload of 75+ year olds, I was the only one that couldn't drive. Other than that, I went out for Mookata BBQ with Tiff, Andrew and HM one Saturday evening, and visited The Cider Pit with my colleagues after work last Thursday. I'm so happening I amaze myself. 

24

Hello hello hello, I am 24. Well technically 23 years, 364 days and 17 hours old (because I was born around 7:30 am in the morning), but for brevity's (and sanity's?) sake I am 24. Hello world, happy birthday to me.

Today after work I bought two slices of cake from Awfully Chocolate. Around 10:10pm I pulled both slices out from the fridge and started to eat them by myself because my Dad was upstairs and didn't want to come down, my Brother was dead asleep and my Mum was absorbed in trying to book flights on the SIA website while sitting next to me. So I sang a birthday song to myself and started eating the chocolately cake while watching a Channel 5 documentary about landmines in Cambodia.

Singing the birthday song to myself caught the attention of my Mum, so she stopped trying to book flights for a moment and started digging into the cake with me. About 10 minutes later my Dad came to holler at us to go upstairs and we lured him down instead with cake. He shoved half a slice of cake into his mouth and then switched the TV and lights off on us before heading up again. That left 1 slice left for my Mum and I to polish off in the dark. I started on the remaining slice and ate it till about half way before giving the rest to my Mum. So that meant my Mum and I ate about 3/4 of a slice of cake, so 75gms of chocolately sinfulness and my dad had 50gms.

After my Mum finished the cake I got her a cup of water in my Penguin P.G. Wodehouse mug. She was still absorbed in trying to figure out the best possible way to utilise the family's frequent flyer miles on the SIA website.

So anyway, Happy Birthday to me.

Doldrums

Been feeling increasingly burnt out from my job lately. Part of it is because since late November last year, I was given an assignment I not only did not want, but have increasingly felt incapable of properly coping with. I was given two classes of P4s. I now have a newfound extreme distaste and short temper with children, and have decided that I don't like anyone around that age that is not related to me. Even before I step into the classroom on Wednesdays I feel all riled up and upset, like some terrible pavlovian response. I feel more agitated, get angrier more easily, feel depressed and a sense of hopelessness.

Safe to say I think I can safely conclude from this that I do not like young children because they're these terrible creatures who reek of WTF because manners, boundaries and common sense haven't yet been pounded into them by society and I have ZERO patience for that. I can be nurturing in an intellectual and emotional sense BUT HELL NO I AIN'T BRINGING UP YOUR DAMN KID. Why didn't YOU, dear EGG and SPERM DONOR, teach your kid that it's rude/inappropriate/stupid to ask the teacher "Why are you dressed like a man?"/"Why does your lipstick match your jacket?"/"Why is your makeup so ugly today?" YES THERE ARE STUPID QUESTIONS, AND YOUR KID JUST ASKED THEM. As an aside, I think I'll be the type of parent that spanks their kid, because I want to do that to my idiot students often.

For all of this I can only say I blame M/s L because I told them explicitly before that I did not want to teach young students, and they ignored me anyway. They're utterly charming like that, which also explains why they have so much trouble retaining long term staff. As if the job wasn't emotionally draining enough, they stick teachers with assignments that we do not want nor are able to handle well. This just results in teachers (ergo, ME) getting frustrated and burning out at the speed of light. DAMNIT. I like my job most of the time, just that now I feel exceptionally unhappy and strung out like a piece of drying spaghetti.

In other more joyful news I've been offered a place by Teacher's College, Columbia. On one hand it makes me feel happy cause I've finally made it from all the wishing and hoping I did before, on the other hand it's opened a whole new can of worms. I am now forced to think of the future which is nice but extremely scary on the other hand (then again I've always been scared of the future) and worrying about money problems because living in Manhattan to attend Teacher's College is extremely expensive, and I'm still not sure how long the whole programme lasts/how the damn American college system functions.

So in short my job makes me feel shitty now, but thinking about the future makes me feel shitty too. No wonder I'm feeling down in the doldrums. 

The EMF Book Store at Holland Village is Closing Down

On Friday I ran into Jia Min at work briefly before she disappeared off to some mysterious place. Later when I asked Gail if she knew where JM had went, Gail told me that she and some of the other curriculum planning girls had gone to the EMF Book Store in Holland Village to buy books because the store was closing down and they were having a sale. Today, finding myself with extra time after going for a manicure (yes I enjoy bimbotic things), I decided to go there and check it out. The store was crowded with old regulars and I ended up sitting on the floor of the fiction section and poring over all the book titles. Although I was never a regular at the store, I did buy things from them from time to time. Sitting on the floor I thought about how sad it was that the one book place that was closest to my house was closing. Though of course that being said, the place I bought the most books from nowadays was bookdepository.com, exactly the sort of place that was contributing to the demise of brick and mortar shops. That and landlords who raise rents to $8,000.

I ended up buying quite a few books, some books that I honestly would not have considered if it wasn't for the sheer sentimentality of the place closing. It's almost as if I got into some sort of irrational frenzy and tried to make up for the business I had never quite given them all at one go. Still all in all, it was a bargain with 50% off used books and 20% off new books.

I bought:
I Don't Know How She Does It - Allison Pearson (I figure my Mum will like reading it, and I can read it if I want something light and fluffy)
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver (something my Dad might be interested in)
An Object of Beauty - Steve Martin (on the Art World, maybe for Jia and/or HM)
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet - David Mitchell
The Middlesteins - Jami Attenberg
The Burden - Agatha Christie
A Daughter's a Daughter - Agatha Christie
The Rose and the Yew Tree - Agatha Christie
Archie Comics
Trashy Romance Novels

All for $83!

On the way home I also saw a poster for the Eric Clapton concert. I almost forgot that it's just a week away + I took leave for that occasion too. Looking forward to it :)

As an aside, I'm reading Winter's Tale now by Mark Helprin. It is quite a peculiar and fat book. Still I'm reading it much faster than For Whom The Bell Tolls. Later, I'll be going for my first driving lesson. Feeling kind of apprehensive and excited about even turning the key in the ignition. I wonder if I'll even be allowed to make the car move. 

3 Movies

Today, purely by accident, I ended up watching 3 movies. The first was August: Osage County which I watched in the morning with my Mum at Orchard Cineleisure, the next was some daft movie called How She Move, and the last Princess Mononoke. I had intended to watch August for some time cause I saw the trailers of the star-studded cast and read all the movie reviews/Meryl Steep's nominations. Friends like Jia who had seen it had loved it too, and recommended it strongly. I really liked, and left the cinema feeling happy.

The next movie, How She Move, however, was unintentional. I had bought a groupon for a manicure and a pedicure, and when I entered, one of the nail girls started playing it on the TV. It was an incredibly daft movie, but hey I had nothing else to do and had time to kill, and expected to not finish watching it. Man oh man was I wrong. Mainly cause they assigned a trainee to me. A normal manicure and pedicure takes 1 hour. I ended up sitting in that chair and not moving for 2 and a half hours. That's 2.5x the time a mani and pedi takes normally. OH MY GOD. Needless to say I finished the movie (they win the dance contest, surprise) and after I walked out I was left feeling incredibly frustrated and irritated from not being able to move around for over two hours. I'm not the kind that can sit still unless I am mentally occupied.

The last movie I watched today was Princess Mononoke. Why? 'Cause when I got home, I realised all that sitting had been in vain. The nail polish that had been painstakingly applied by the trainee to my toes (and she did put a lot of care into things) had smudged on the way home. ARGHHHHH. I had to remove it and as I re-did my toes again, I had to occupy myself with something, so I watched Princess Mononoke, which was OK. Definitely not my favourite Studio Ghibli movie.

Even though by all means I had a fairly successful and productive day - watched a good movie in the cinema, had lunch with my Mum, bought gifts and a new pillow, did my nails - I am left feeling annoyed with today. Not that things can get much better though, cause tomorrow it's back to work with even more Situational Writing pieces to mark. Ye gads. Well, maybe I'll feel better about tomorrow. 

The Centre of Attention

When I go out with my family, we are usually sadly, the centre of attention. Today we went to the new Holland Close hawker centre for lunch, and Ryan was exceptionally hyper and noisy. Before, things were bad but not too bad, mainly because he was smaller and most people nearby would just think it was a kid acting out. Now however 'cause he's so much bigger and louder (hello voice breaking) everyone looks at us when Ryan is making 'Eee Eee Eee' noises and/or jumping up and down while flapping his hands. Hell, I'd look at us if I was a random passerby, haha.

Anyway today, my parents went off to buy food first while I stayed with Ryan. Ryan kept Eee-ing away while trying to grab my hands and use them to smack his ears (I'm not sure what that achieves but he seems to like it as he'll repeated use my hands to smack his ears until my hands hurt). I felt everyone looking at us, especially since we were seated next to a popular vegetarian store which had a long queue. When I felt the eyes of everyone on us, as Ryan still held onto my hands, I remember thinking "oh thank God I have some makeup on." At least if the son is crazy, I reasoned, the daughter should look all the more sane and polished to compensate against the judging looks.

Which as just as well since I've gone of another intense obsession binge, this time on makeup. I keep reading makeup blogs and reviews, looking at swatches online, and perusing online makeup stores. Last time I felt this intensely about something was when I went crazy over washi tape and deco rush tapes. Yes, I know, I lead a terribly terribly sad life. I need to find something better to do with myself. 

Feet and Feat

I've recently noticed that nowadays when I get back from work and sit down straight away, I can feel my feet throb. I'm sure they throb at work, or that they even throbbed before, but I never noticed how significant it was till recently. As a result when I sit down I don't feel like getting up even to shower till I can feel my feet stop throbbing. It doesn't matter that I do sit down even in class during lull periods, my feet are still tired anyway. The best feeling was on a Saturday recently when the first thing I did when I came home was lie on my bed. The feeling of my feet being on the same horizontal level with the rest of my body was amazing. Which of course brings me to wonder how some teachers can teach with super high stiletto shoes. Their special talent I suppose.

In other news I've finally finished all my Masters applications, which was no small feat. It felt much easier writing a personal statement for my Undergrad because I was so much more idealistic and could waffle on lots more. Writing the personal statement this time stressed me out a great deal, but now I am left with a sense of emptiness inside. Mainly because I suppose 1) I no longer have anything BIG to spur me on/aim to accomplish 2) There is nothing I can do to change my immediate fate now and 3) I am just a naturally gloomy person.

Feel ill earlier this week with the Flu. Felt it coming on Sunday when I was out with Tiff, especially when we were watching American Hustle in the Lido cinema. I guess it's cause the cinema was cold, which only exacerbated the situation. Monday ended up being a total washout cause I was in bed practically the whole day, and when I was out of bed I was barely cognisant. I did go to work on Tuesday because I felt better, but ended up regretting my decision when I started to feel sick and dizzy. Today however when I woke up, I felt quite alright, save the runny nose, so I went to work as per normal. Oh my frail immune system.

Am currently reading Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls and I am taking forever. Have been reading it in bits since 5th Jan. For some reason I can't really get into the whole flow of things, which is strange because I got really intrigued while reading Othello and I expected to be utterly put off by the Shakespearean language and entranced by Hemingway's plain-speaking sort of prose. Oh irony. Am at page 160 now, so 330 pages left to go. 

Hyper

For the first time in ages I feel really hyper. I think it's a combination of having woken up early and done something (and it's only 3:26pm!) and the teh I drank. I woke up around 9:30am which is early by my slothful standards and went to meet Tiff at Serangoon to get our nails done. Reason why I went all the way to Serangoon to get my nails done was because Tiffany had bought a package at a nail parlour there for really cheap. The trip there was really fast, took me about 35 minutes in total. That's the time it takes for me to get to Dhoby Ghaut normally, and that's a far nearer location.

We walked about, went to NTUC and I bought lactose free skim milk, had lunch at Sushi Tei and then went to get our nails done. Was fun I must say, especially since I hadn't gone for anything of the sort in close to a year. I chose this colour changing shade (teal when cold, white when warm) which in hindsight is still cool but silly since Singapore is so warm all the time. As a result now my nails seem to be permanently white. Like I dropped too much correction liquid on them and just kept going.

Finished reading How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu on Saturday night. His writing style reminds me of Kazuo Ishiguro's style. Very subtle. Show-not-tell. But so well done and vividly described that you can feel, empathise, understand exactly the flaws of his characters. Reading the book felt slightly stressful because I understood and remember every little bit of the tension that comes from a relationship not-quite-being-functional. Of loving someone but still being unable to live with them. Reading the book has made me feel even more UGH about relationships in general, reminds me of how tired I am of all the subtle strife and tensions of things-not-quite-articulated.

In other news I am now reading Othello. I'm not a fan of Shakespeare at all, but the storyline of Othello always appealed to me. The idea of jealously completely taking hold of someone and destroying them. I also realised that it seems no one studies Othello in Singapore for Lit. I personally had to study Romeo and Juliet, King Lear and Twelfth Night. I was NOT a fan of Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night and studying King Lear was a chore (for IOC! Gosh that was ages ago). Am reading Othello now because I feel I should at least have some Shakespearean knowledge as an English teacher, even if it's not a title that my students are studying. Plus I can talk about it and sound smart, haha.

So far the only thing I must note about Othello is that I find the ribald lines very very appalling. Sort of surprised me how smutty some of Shakespeare's lines could be:

"Iago: Even now, now, very now, an old black ram 
Is tupping your white ewe" (Act I Scene I) 

"Iago: You'll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse" (Act I Scene I) 

"Iago: I am one sir, that comes to tell you, your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs." (Act I Scene I)

In retrospect they're all lines said solely by Iago to provoke Brabantio. While reading it I thought Roderigo said at least some of them but I guess I was wrong. I guess using such coarse language fits with Iago's character in knowing how to provoke the worst in people. 

4:04am



4:04am on Boxing Day and I am still up because I am now throughly stressed out (but also feeling very tired) because I have neglected to TOUCH! DO ANYTHING! LOOK AT! my Masters apps for over a week (before I went to Krabi!) even though I already started working on it pretty late. I wanted to concentrate on my GREs first, and even then after I was done I was still dragging my feet, telling myself it was alright to rest a bit. Bad idea.

On one hand I'm OK with waiting one more year and earning more money. On the other hand I think the expiry date of my current OK/PRETTY OK satisfaction with my job will run out in a few months time so I need to HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY. Especially since they pull nonsense like FIDDLING WITH MY FAFFING WORKING HOURS (like this upcoming Friday) WITHOUT ASKING ME BEFOREHAND. Hello, that is not OK. Neither is making me teaching 4 classes in one day. I can already predict how I'll feel on Friday and Saturday: like shit. My colleagues will have to scape me off the damn floor. Grwarghhh.

Being exhausted makes me TYPING IN CAPS HAPPY. I think I need to cancel my gym visit tomorrow to sleep zzzz. 

Krabiiiii

Came back from Krabi on Tuesday and today I finally wandered in to work only to find out that I was still on leave. I ended up finishing up my lunch and doing a tiny bit of marking before heading off to go cut my hair. Now my head feels much more lighter and my hair is much more shorter. I kind of forgot what having short(er) hair felt like!

Krabi was fun, and definitely memorable. For starters I think I have learned to be less cavalier about going out in the sun because I got terribly sunburned on the first full day of our trip there when Ianthe and I went island hopping. I've never gotten so badly burned in my life, urgh. Still the beaches were lovely and the sea was oh-so-clear-and-blue. The next day we went white water rafting, elephant trekking and waterfall a-swimming. The third day we walked to Nopparat Thara from Aonang, stepped on crabs and got scared, and went to watch a cabaret show. On our last day we walked along Aonang beach once more and I found a really nice conical shell in the knee-high shallows of the sea.

Today when I (accidentally) went back to work I realised how weary and strained every one looked. In contrast I felt spritely and energetic for once, un-worn. It was a lovely, lovely trip.


 

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