30 April 2013


When it rains in Malaysia, it rains hard. And just now, like the alarm had been sent to go off, the rain starts.

Signs of settling and progression again, despite the lack of changes in the weather, the incessant heat. The last month I was in the UK, I bought new shoes that didn't fit properly, and threw away my old ones the week we moved. My feet swollen, I could not get the new shoes on after our plane ride here — I went through immigration, out to the baggage claim, in my socks. But, a sign — the shoes now fit well: perfectly, in fact.

I finished my first semester of teaching last week, only to begin again on Monday morning: my part-time hours for the summer to help top up my income. The new class went off with no trouble — some version of me is an English language teacher and he, if you ask politely, will appear on demand. He also, surprisingly, has a wealth of knowledge about it, gained in the EFL salt mines of Japan. Ten weeks of English for Academic Purposes? That knowledge is stored in a dusty shoebox in the back of my mind.

Slow progress articles too. One coming out in May, one almost through review, another to be sent in at the end of this week, and another 'in preparation'. And the book proposal: almost through review.

This progression doesn't, however, stop the almost daily discussion of leaving. No one here talks about staying, just trying to get out. I make and then immediately break my promise to not complain about finances, but it is the natural arc of so many conversations.

Building your career is such an imperceptible thing: money in the bank is not. I think of the 75 year-old version looking back at me, praising this decision and I want to curse at him for being so selfish, why won't he let me give up. Let me go, old man.

So another day. My weight goes up and down. The house is always the same, every night. What does progression look like in the heat. Yoko's eczema flairs up and I wake in the middle of the night, night after night, to move to the sofa. The call to prayer, the sun comes up, another morning.