Birthday musings.

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Lately, my writing has taken a back seat.  Don’t for a minute think there is nothing to say…  Stories aplenty after experiencing a whole year (two weeks left to go!!) of teaching English in Vietnam and managing to eke out a few precious spells to explore the country’s shores, mountains, hills and a few cities.  But some truths and yarns are better kept under wraps and preserved until the time is ripe for them to be uncovered…  And I hope in posts to come, to shed a little light on my ‘adventures’ here..

I like writing on the hoof, though.  Off the cuff.  In the moment when experiences are fresh and vibrant.  Frustration bubbling and brewing just under the surface.  Or indeed, joy…  Or dare I say, expose the days when the world caves in and there does not seem any point in tomorrows.  But raw emotions obscure the bigger picture and the perspective afforded by the sweep of time.  I know, it’s just that in the heat of the moment, I tend to forget that a little patience goes a long way.

Lack of time and working long, tiring hours entertaining little kids leaves me without energy to pick up my pen – figuratively speaking as I tap away furiously at my keyboard!! – and sometimes in my free time, I just want to be free, relaxed, engrossed in mindless things such as catching up on series on Netflix – series that the rest of world watched ages ago – and reading books, travel blogs…  Of course, there are the inevitable, numerous and exhausting gym visits coaxing my body into shape for the impending uphill struggle to Base Camp Everest, but they have a purpose and do not count as relaxation…

Last week I celebrated my birthday, an event that usually slips past entirely unnoticed (my family members and a few friends excepted).  I don’t advertise the date on Facebook, and every year hope that I can gently ease from one year into another, from one day into the next without a ripple or a stir.  My one concession to the annual milestone? I avoid working on the auspicious day at all cost and manage to do so most years.  As a teacher, it helps that my birthday falls during the summer holidays, so little chance of being in the classroom.  Not so in Vietnam though.  Being employed in a Language Centre, rather than a normal school, means that summer holidays are busy.  Extra classes for idle minds and idle hands keeps boredom at bay and childcare affordable.  By the mercy of the gods, I have been granted Mondays off since June, and could rest assured that I would not be amusing students on my birthday…

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Instead, I spent the morning and early afternoon visiting friends in a nearby town.  Unaware of the importance of the day, they still managed to surprise me with home baked banana bread and a large scoop of ice cream.  At my age… who needs or wants candles anyway…? The sheer puff of breath needed to extinguish them all in one impressive go would be enough to send me over the edge and into the great beyond…  And as in the last few years has become a tradition on my birthday, in the evening I dropped by the massage parlour and for once, my pleas for a soft, gentle massage resulted in a soporific to the body and soul.  A birthday as it should be!!

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Still, birthday secrets cannot be kept forever and have a tendency of sneaking out… So in the end I submitted to a proper celebration last night…  Cake, candles, and Happy Birthday songs in the park.  With no plates or knife to cut the cake, we dug in with spoons and gusto …. and devoured most of the delicious gateau in a matter of minutes.  And then, some fun to complete the evening: a motorbike race in the park.

At last I mastered riding a motorbike in Vietnam.  Another box ticked!!

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