One of Gav’s duties as the acting director this year was to get all of the new staff into Yangon and get them settled into their lives here. In the past, new faculty have all flown to Bangkok where we had about 4 days to meet everyone, have a few meetings and get our visas to enter Myanmar. The school has since decided to do away with that first step and just have everyone get their visas in their home countries and then arrive here and have a bit more time to settle in before the craziness of school starts. I think this is a great change but it was all up to Gav (and me!) to organize the intro week.
We had a mixture of meetings and dinners throughout the week and everything went pretty smoothly. One of the evenings we wanted to take people for Burmese food to introduce everyone to the most famous dishes. This was a little dicey as we have a favorite restaurant for this kind of food, but it is a little rustic (no AC for example) and we didn’t know if it would be a little too much of a shock to the system. The evening turned out great, the food was fantastic and we were glad we took the gamble! To wind up the week we had an (optional) visit to the Shwedagon at sunrise. This nearly was a disaster as someone (GAV) neglected to actually book a driver to take everyone there. So, there we were at school with the whole new person group at 5am on a Sunday with no one to drive the school bus! Gav took matters into his own hands, found the keys to a large van and piled everyone in. There were not quite enough seats, so I had to drive our car with 3 people in it which was a little bit of a trial by fire as I had not ever driven in Yangon before! I had only had my driver’s license for about 4 days. It was completely fine as I knew the route quite well and got to the parking lot no problem. The 4 of us in my car piled out to wait for the big van with Gav at the helm. We waited and waited and finally I called someone in the van to ask where the heck they were. Turns out Gav started chatting to everyone, missed a turn and then got completely lost. To add to the problem, he couldn’t figure out the controls for the AC in the van so the front window fogged up completely and he couldn’t see out. He had to roll down the window and hang his head out of the van to see where he was going. Eventually he made it. Nice one all around Gav. We had a beautiful morning and got so lucky that there was no rain.
After that week was over it was back to normality. We did have one other nice “Welcome to Yangon” event that was organized on the same boat that Gav and I took July of 2020 between Bagan and Mandalay. It is parked at a jetty downtown and you can go have drinks on it. The owners decided to throw an event for all teachers at all the international schools in Yangon where they actually set sail for three hours and serves snacks and drinks. The boat had clearly not left port in a while because it took like 45 minutes to get the anchor up properly but finally we got underway and a little later got treated to a beautiful sunset!
Other than that it is kind of life back to normal. Remember last year when Gavin went fabric shopping and I picked up a little fun alligator fabric as well? Last Friday I had an accidental twins day with one of the art teachers at school who also appreciates a fun pattern.
Remember the kindergarten class last year who used to send me notes to ask for the books they wanted read to them? One of the students decided to carry on the tradition. I love it.
Restaurants and things are definitely getting busier. Last night we went out to dinner with some friends at a cute Italian restaurant. We were done pretty early so we decided to carry on with some people watching and cheap beer at a BBQ restaurant around the corner. Their system of keeping track of your tab is to pile up your empty glasses until you get to more than 5. Then they take 5 glasses away and replace it with a paddle. Genius!
We love that place, the beer is very cold, and a few resident street dogs who like to wander in and see if you have any leftovers that you would like to feed them. They are much friendlier and more willing to be petted than normal street dogs. We almost left with a new family member.
Good thing we knew we had this waiting for us at home!