Shirt Shopping

Time seems to be really flying at the moment. I can’t believe the March will be here this week-I always used to think that March started the slippery slope into summer vacation and I guess that is still true. It’s a bit different here though, as March in London meant the very beginnings of some good weather and sunny days and here it is the start of the super hot season. 45 degree days are around the corner, although we have been enjoying such lovely and mild weather since we returned I can’t even complain. Our bougainvillea (above) seems to also be enjoying the temps.

As Gavin mentioned last week, Covid is marching its way through our school. It has been mild for nearly everyone but we are having a lot of cases, especially in the student population. We are running a hybrid program where essentially parents can choose to either send their kids to school physically or join via zoom. When we first started back nearly all the students were in the classroom, but between sick students, students who need to quarantine because they are close contacts and student who just don’t want to come in, I am having very small numbers of students actually in my classroom. One day a few weeks ago I only had one! Poor kid. He didn’t seem to mind at all but it’s not ideal. I am back up to three regulars and I think a few more will come back this week.

Having a large number of your students join via zoom can be challenging. We have a classroom agreement that everyone keeps their cameras on, but I have a few students who seem to only want to show their foreheads. Unless I am actually speaking directly with a student I have decided this is not my hill to die on but it can make knowing if a student has actually heard you or understood directions challenging. I now find myself saying things like “Give me a thumbs up if you will be ready in 3 minutes. Ok, I am seeing a lot of thumbs….Chris?? Chris?? Can you please put your thumb on your forehead if you will be ready, I can’t see it….” or “Yes, Amy’s Hair, you have something to add?” It is a good thing that my in-class students are very engaged and funny so that I have someone to keep me company in the room. Although these three gentlemen did manage to find the word “pussy” (about a cat of course) in one of their book group books on Friday. Chaos ensued and I just had to ride it out and remain nonplussed. I’m just glad it wasn’t me being inappropriate this time.

There is not much going on in Yangon at the moment, but one of the big markets downtown (Bogyok market) has a few shops open. This is a famous colonial-era market that used to be full of tourists but now obviously is only frequented by locals. It’s a good place to go to get fabric, which is fortunate for us as Gav is in desperate need of some new shirts. He did try to rectify this over the summer in London where he bought a few nice dress shirts for work. We had a little mishap in Thailand though, and the shirts never made it back to Yangon.

Before we left Phuket to travel around a bit in December, we packed box with one of our carry on bags and mailed it to our friends in Bangkok. It was full of things that we had purchased to bring back here, so we felt like there was no need to haul it around with us, we would just collect it before we left for KL. When we packed the box at the post office, the woman who worked there told us that she would seal it up and send it off for us. We did kind of think…hmmmm not sure we are ever going to see that box again BUT 4 days later our friends let us know the box had arrived! We just collected the box and decided to check it in as-is at the airport so we didn’t unpack it until we arrived back at our house. Where we discovered that the nice post office lady had riffled through our box/bag and helped herself to a few things, including Gav’s new shirts but much more annoyingly all my new bras that I had bought! Those are NOT replaceable here and I was very annoyed, but Gav claims it is my fault for having Thai-woman sized boobs.

Anyway, it is very easy to have men’s shirts made here. In fact, if you have the fabric you can just bring it to Ms. Wah Wah at school (of turkey procurement fame) and she will take it to a tailor and then bring it back to you when they are finished! So we ventured out to the market to choose some fabric for new shirts. Left on his own, Gav would have 10 identical pairs of blue shirts, so I go along to try to broaden his horizons. There are two main fabric shops, Man Shirt and Lady Fashion. Once while shopping at Lady Fashion, our friend overheard someone asking the women who worked there if they carried fabric for men’s shirts. She laughed and said no, please go to Man Shirt. Our friend just pointed to the shirt he was wearing and then to the exact fabric right there in Lady Fashion and more laughing ensued. Let’s just say Lady Fashion has much more interesting options.

Gav’s Man Shirt selections on the left, Lady Fashion on the right. The giraffes are pretty cool though. Actually, while at Man Shirt I found something for myself! I am going to try to convince Gav to be twins with me.

Come on, this is fun!

One very funny thing is that every fabric store has multiple permutations of the fabric below. I don’t know what people think it is a print of….Japanese Maple? Just a pretty botanical print? To be fair, Gav did pull a blue version out and said “I like this one” in a completely un-ironic way.

When all the shirts are completed I will have Gav do a fashion show. After braving the market we like to treat ourselves to lunch at a nice restaurant downtown. It has the best balcony in the city as long as you don’t mind playing “dodge the sunlight” the whole time so you don’t melt.

Finally scored the coveted “Instagram spot” after watching 3 other photo shoots happening from here!

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