Almost every Saturday we go to Kad Suan Kaew after work and (after a Starbucks latte) get a foot massage. Dom was an addict from the very first massage and can’t bear to go a week without a fix. I don’t know how he will manage when we move away from massage land. I am more ambivalent. It bothers me that someone is able to put me soundly to sleep by pressing the ‘soul’ of my foot. I hate feeling like I am waking from the dead as I rouse myself at the end of the massage. I also don’t know what good it is doing. But it feels powerful, in a strange way. It is one of those things I enjoy, but mostly I do it for Dom because for whatever reason – I suspect he just likes attention from women (even old ones) and takes a wolf-like pleasure in being petted – he loves it.
When we feel we have obscenely over-patronised Starbucks we come to Wawee. We love coffee, well Dom loves coffee and I have a love/hate relationship with it – at least in its fresh incarnation. In this picture Dom is hiding behind his coffee cup because we have had an argument. We do this a lot of two people who are self-proclaimed soul mates. The reasons are legion and I won’t go into them in this post but it is worth noting. We are in love but we don’t have the idyllic relationship some people assume (possibly in response to our projection). We tend to keep our dirty laundry private – but it does exist.
So the previous picture was taken from the first (US second floor) just beyond that corner room (which is Jon, my boss’s, office). I do feel privileged to work in such a gorgeous environment but then again I think that the beauty makes up for the fact that I can only derive moderate enjoyment out of my job. Nothing to do with the organisation or the usual moans and groans about TEFL. But I am a manager of a group of people who want nothing more than to be left alone. The are great people who can and do wonderfully well without me, but they are happy where they are. They are in such harmony with this building. They want a manager who is willing to do what they want when they want it done, but who otherwise minds their own managerial business. Whereas I really need to work with people, or more importantly situations where change is needed – I loved managing start ups for Bell and have never really recovered from the exhilaration. It is a daily conflict of interests in the loveliest of surroundings.
This is the view from my desk, looking down the long thin length of the teachers’ room. The British Council in Chiang Mai is in an old Thai style house. Creaky wooden floors and shutters. But is it as empty as it looks? About a month ago, I was walking across that very piece of floor you see in the picture when a ‘ghost’ moved through me – just at the point of passing the chair on the right. I am not Dom, I don’t ‘do’ dead people… but that was unmistakable – the sense that someone walked through my very space. I felt where they began and where they ended. I sensed their puzzlement as they turned and looked for their ghost as I looked for mine. No malice, no sadness, no haunting “but I don’t want to be dead”ness of the cliched restless spirit. Just someone going about the business in another plane or time, but sharing our space.
Spike conned us.
We were walking past a pet-shop in the car park of Kad Suan Kaew shopping mall when he produced a flourish of attitude. He woofed and stomped in his food bowl (possibly it was dinner time) and stood there all energy and focus. We were smitten.We went into the mall and sat in Pizza Company, amidst cheese and slice, listing the variety of reasons why we shouldn’t have a dog, before returning downstairs and buying him.
For weeks Dom couldn’t say the word Chihuahua. Spike (who spent about 24 hours named Viking but it wouldn’t stick) was ‘a mixed breed’ to anyone who enquired (and many did). But he patiently taught us to be proud of him regardless of size – and now we are happy to declare to anyone who will listen: we have a Chihuahua!
Apologies for the cramped image; large house + small soi = not enough space to take a photo. I think this is the largest space I have ever lived in: three bedrooms, three bathrooms (four if you count the maid’s room which is full of dismantled bed as we don’t have a live in maid), large living room, kitchen and laundry room. It is detached with a small but florabundant garden.
In truth, Dom’s shocked face wasn’t a reaction to the cost of my new phone (Sony Ericsson S500i, 7,990 baht plus an extra 1,500 for a 2 gig memory upgrade). He fully supports my spendthrift urges especially when it comes to gadget aquisition. He has been “encouraging” me to buy a new phone for months and in fact it was he who made the actual purchase this time, while I was at work.So this image has an element of poetic license (see quote/unquote) as it enabled me to introduce the new phone + photo-blog theme.