Wow, the middle of the month already!
There is one disadvantage I’ve noticed for a while now, in working 7 days a week. Even though some of the days are shorter than others, I still have classes. Once in a while, I get that break where I have no classes on Sunday, but that is very few and far between, indeed.
Just in case you’ve forgotten, this is what’s happened, to some if not all of us, in the past 4 months: New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, St. Patrick’s Day, April Fool’s Day, Easter Day/weekend, and the myriad of birthdays, weddings, and passings of friends and loved ones.
And it’s only the middle of April. The month is not even over yet!
There is an old saying that goes, “Time flies when you’re having fun!” Well, if this is true, then I’ve been having one hell of good time, because time is just zipping by. I’m not sure whether it’s because of having approximately equal hours of daylight and nighttime in Taiwan, the fact that I do work every day of the week, or because of, well, to say again, age, but the time just seems to be going faster.
Like the proverbial pot that never boils while being watched. If you watch the clock tick away the minutes, such as when doing homework, or housework, and thinking that the task will never end, it never seems to end. Take your mind off the time factor, do the work, and suddenly you realize that everything is done! And a few more hours have ticked silently by.
When I look back at my time in Taiwan, again, the time just seems to have vanished. I have no idea where it went – maybe I mailed it, I’m not sure. I’ll give a couple of examples.
When I moved to Tainan, I was working for a wonderful woman named Ms Tsai – or, Isabelle. She owned, at the time, a kindergarten called “Herban” or in English, “Hope”. She was the first person who suggested to me, that if I wanted to stay and teach in Taiwan, and was willing to drop my agent, she would pay me the same rate that she was paying him. I, obviously, was receiving less than the agent was getting. So, I did. Probably one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. I still work for her now, but not as much. Times have changed. She no longer has a kindergarten, but an Anginban. A few years ago, she asked if she could call it “William’s English Center”. Why not! I still teach a couple of classes a week. Most of the students are the same ones I taught at the kindergarten.
Now, back in those early years, there were two little students I taught. One, a girl named Jill, was there only until the summer, and then went to elementary school. A year later, her little brother, Sam, started coming to the kindergarten. It wasn’t until recently, I kind of figured something out. Jill, is now in grade 7 – junior high school. She just so happens to be in one of my classes. Ms Tsai mentioned this to me, but I didn’t make the connection.
As you may or may not be aware, I’ve been uploading pictures of my students to my Facebook albums. I’m on Part II of students, due to the fact that I see so many kids each week. Nonetheless, as I was looking at her picture, suddenly the name Sam came to mind. Then, the connection happened. I saw her today, and before class began, asked her if her brother’s name was Sam. Yes, it was. And did she remember me teaching at Ms Tsai’s kindergarten. Yes, she did. What grade is Sam in now? Grade 4 – OMG! When I first met this little guy, he was 4 years old… now’s he’s at least 9 or 10! I’ve asked her to bring in a picture of him so I can see it. It will be interesting to see him after all these years!
So, I got to thinking about some of my other students. One boy, from last semester, Benny, was also a former student at a bushiban that I no longer work for. I presently have a girl at Giraffe who used to go to that former bushiban and was in Benny’s class there. Benny, I hadn’t seen in 4 or 5 years, so when I saw him for the first time last semester at junior high, it took a few classes before I made the connection.
Eight years has gone by rather quickly. I was telling one class today about my first two days in Taiwan, back in 2002. I was telling them my impressions and what I saw, etc., and it seemed like it had just happened yesterday. I find myself, every Friday, shaking my head when I walk into my classes at Ms Tsai’s. It seems like I just left their class the day before. There are some days, like Wednesdays and Saturdays in particular, where I kind of dread the day. Not because of the work or the students, but the shear number of classes I have those days.
Then, I begin the first class, and before I know it, I’m going to get my dinner, wondering what just happened! I think this is why I enjoy this work so much. Not just because the time seems to fly, but that each class is different. It’s not like my previous employs, where you go in, do exactly the same thing you did the day before, and the day before that, and what you will do tomorrow, and the day after, etc., etc. Doing these previous jobs seemed like slow, monotonous jobs. The days dragged out, they never seemed to end, but finally, the weekend!
Okay, so I don’t really have a weekend. And I don’t really have a ‘9-5’ job. Each day has it’s start time, and varied finishing times. It keeps me on my toes as to what day of the week it is! When I do get confused by the days, it’s because they go by so quickly.
It was somewhat inconceivable when I was younger and just beginning my working life, that I would ever work for the same employer all my life. I saw people like my father who had worked at Bell Canada for as long as I can remember. I’ve never known my father to do anything BUT work for Ma Bell. I’m proud of the fact, and anyone who has worked for the same employer for a number years, should also be proud, that I’ve worked for a number of employers over the years, for several years at a time. I know, there are times when you wish it would just end, and you could retire! I get those feelings all the time, and realize that those years are closer than I really want them to be!
I worked for the federal government of Canada for just over 18 years total. I worked for Consumers Distributing for over 7 years total. I worked for Diamond Gaming Services for over 5 years. And now, I’ve been working in Taiwan, for two particular employers, for over 8 years! It’s hard to believe.
“Time flies when you’re having fun!” Have I had fun? I guess, if I look at it in a positive sense, yes, it has been fun. There are the days though, that you as I mentioned, I just wish it was over – waking up when I feel like, sit around in my bathrobe all day, do nothing or anything – my choice, but I think I’d go ‘doolally’. Although I do my fair share of bitching and complaining, as does EVERYONE ELSE, when I look back at the things I’ve done, the accomplishments, the awards, the recognition, the respect – yes, it has been fun.
Would I want to change anything? Sure, there could always be improvements, something to do different, other choices to make. Would I do it all again? You damn right!