New cars, creatures and careers

Ooh, I like a good bit of alliteration in a blog post title. Of course, this is all a bit contrived. There isn’t really much to say on the cars and critters front. I thought we would be getting the same car back as we had when we left but it seems the global car shortage and affects on the second hand car market is just as apparent in Myanmar as it is everywhere else. Instead we’ve ended up with a Suzuki Swift which is essentially a cheap mini. I like a high seating position and a good space for Nell in the back so didn’t think I’d like it but it’s actually quite a bit newer and higher spec than the other car. When you put your foot on the accelerator something actually happens which is a nice novelty and Nell actually fits in quite nicely in the small area at the back. Also, Lindsey got her Myanmar driving licence!

On the critters front we have seen more than the usual number of both scorpions and snails of late. We almost stepped on a scorpion the other day but thankfully saw it at the last minute. I then took a long video of it moving around only to discover that I wasn’t actually recording – doh. Then we saw, what I took to be a scorpion and did get a good photo. It turns out that it is in fact a Whipscorpion of some kind which is similar to but not the same as a regular scorpion. I’d never heard of them before but always like to find something new like that. I haven’t really done much birding of late but did get some great shots of an Olive-backed Sunbird on our passion flowers the other day which was nice. The only other critter news is that we have definitely been host to a house guest of the muroid (new word) variety (remember Ei Mau Mau?). This one wasn’t too destructive but we did notice that it had a certain penchant for bananas. Not wanting to use a sticky trap again we set up the live trap with banana as bait and hey presto we caught it on the first attempt! Lindsey then had to take it to the nearby trash corner and it obligingly ran over her foot upon being released.

So ‘C’ for careers. This is a bit misleading but I have had a temporary role as Acting Director also known as the ‘Directors Delegate’ of late. This came about as the actual Director attempted to canoe the entire Mississippi river with his son to raise money for charity. As he’d be doing that he wasn’t really able to be in constant contact so needed someone else to be the nominal head of the school. Normally, this would be the COO who is basically the deputy head of the school and this person did take over until June 30th. As it happens, he happened to be leaving this year so this only went up to the 30th June. After that time and until then end of August when the Director returned, I was in charge. This is the third time in my career that I have ended up being the ‘acting someone or other’. It’s practically a specialism of mine.

In the end, the Mississippi trip got cut short, so the Director was available to make the big decisions. This was pretty handy as even though I was nominally in charge there was a lot less pressure. Spoiler alert – I did NOT give Lindsey a massive pay rise in my brief period at the helm. The main responsibility during this time was getting all the staff back to Yangon which was by no means easy as there were a number of hoops to jump through to do that. Secondly, I had to organise and lead the orientation of new staff into Yangon and the school. In the end it all went pretty well and I was glad to hand back the reigns at the end of August.

The other point to mention on the careers front is that we have now officially resigned our jobs. This year will be our last year in Myanmar. Next stop we hope is Africa but who knows. Watch this space…

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