Blowing My Own Trumpet

18.11.11 Blowing my own trumpet

Almost a year in our new home and I can’t believe how quickly that time has gone. There was a period, early on, when time seemed to have slowed to a standstill but after the first three months I think it accelerated and here we are, a month away from moving over to Thailand for the birth of our new baby. Time to reflect on what I’ve done so far…
I joined the International Friendship Group in February and by March was their Secretary. With over 80 Myanmar and expatriate members we were responsible for doling out several million kyat’s worth of charidee, not to mention a few thousand dollars too. Plus I got to meet the Lady, Aung Sang Suu Kyi (September) and the Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson (October) as a result. A good group to belong to!

Also in February I did some drama teaching at the International School Yangon, as a result of a chance meeting with the principal. This led to me getting involved with the school’s fantastic production of Aladdin in May, so the months before were spent attending rehearsals, keeping me quite busy. I did manage to fit in a quick beach holiday in Thailand with my brother and his family in March too, though it was sadly cut short because of visa issues meaning we got to see my mum for a whole afternoon.

In April my friend Jen and I got together over coffee at the aptly named Coffee Circles and cobbled together our googlegroup: Yangon Expat Connection. Six months later we have attracted over 400 members and I meet people every week who say they’ve sold their cats/bikes/contents of their entire house within hours after posting an ad on the site. Hurrah! It’s actually got to the point where people don’t advertise their events on there, for fear of being inundated, which I take as a very good sign indeed.

June was a busy month, what with our first overseas visitor as Pete’s mum Doreen came to visit. Although it was hot and wet we managed a modest itinerary. Doreen stepped up to run some quilting workshops at Helping Hands and even donated a much needed sewing machine to increase production (going home later to raise the money from her quilting group in Cyprus). We also fitted in a dive holiday in Indonesia plus a gorgeous couple of days shopping in Kuala Lumpur. You can’t beat an IKEA lunch!

Alfie and I disappeared for most of August, taking a much needed break back with friends and family in the UK, whilst Pete got on with several intrepid field trips.

We were back in September in time for Alfie’s birthday, and a lovely chaotic and busy party with lots of people and children running around our compound. October I started my CELTA course at the British Council which I LOVED, though the teaching practice towards the end in December did prove quite trying, especially as by then I was heavily pregnant and the British Council does not have lifts! Suffice it to say I completed the course and passed with flying colours; I’m looking forward to doing a bit of teaching when I feel ready to get back to work after baby.
Not content with that I organised a singing group with my friend Rob. In lieu of a full blown am dram production I thought I’d start with gauging interest in some carol singing at the various Christmas fairs that spring up. Again, an untapped market as loads of people expressed an interest and our weekly rehearsals attracted 10 – 15 singers every time. And, thankfully, some very talented folk joined too! (I’m an enthusiastic if uninspiring singer). Unfortunately it was a busy time of year to get started so we didn’t actually get round to the carol singing but it was lovely to hear the enthusiasm for not only taking part in the group but also for us to perform, as everyone we approached was delightfully welcoming.

Of course we had our own Christmas/Farewell party which Pete single handedly organised with tonnes of home-made mince pies, ham and mulled wine. As Alfie would say; deeeeeeeeeeee-licious!

There was plenty of other stuff going on too, not least toing and froing to Bangkok for antenatal checks and various health issues chronicled here already. Alfie and I were averaging 4 playgroups a week at one point and I started our own playgroup too, every Tuesday morning, which was great fun, he did so love the kids coming round to his house! He started nursery in October, three days a week, and it has proved a great success, he was definitely ready and will be going full time once we get back from Bangkok.

So, 2012 may not be so busy, what with having a new baby and all, but there again… it just might! Oh and amidst all that, I kept blogging too, although huge apologies for the gaps between posts. Sometimes that is due to the terrible connection and the site itself being blocked periodically (which makes access not impossible but very time-consuming and difficult) and sometimes it’s simply due to a hectic life! Thanks for bearing with me this year.

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