Down to the lasts

Well, I made it down to the list of the lasts of my life as a resident of Sumbawa. We’ll still be around here on an occasional basis as we have two plots of land and two houses here that we haven’t sold yet – we’re still working out how that will look.

The other day was the last Saturday that I drove the kids to school on my motorbike. It was cold and the day still had that early morning feel that days have here as motorbikes, cars, and large vans transport kids to school and adults to the mining town just to the south of here. There was a chill in the morning air that Sumbawa gets during the dry season. I’ve been struggling over the last week with dizzy spells brought on by an unyet diagnosed illness, so I just drove the kids to school and came back home to sleep some more.

The last weekend just passed by so quick that I wasn’t sure it was real. I did a little writing, but spent most of my time in bed or taking meds. Somewhat anti-climatic for the end of a personal era. It wasn’t exactly what I had planned, but then, really, what is.

Today starts the end of my teaching career (although the bets are that I’ll be back teaching somewhere by next year if not sooner). No more Monday wake-ups at 5:15. I’ve been doing the overseas teaching gig (as a former boss used to call it) for nineteen years now. Add the time in from the States and I’ve taught at one level or another for 25 years.

The Nokia woke me at 5:15; I checked the battery, woke my wife, and started the daily routine. As I left my bathroom, my son entered (the girls use the kids bathroom for their morning mandi). Two pieces of toast, a bowl of cereal, a glass of juice, a cup of Balinese coffee, and two cigarettes (back smoking once again). Sam finished his mandi and came to the table to eat, while I retreated to my bedroom to collect my gear for school.

The four dogs barged in the door when we opened it to leave for school. Nothing new there. Sam and I took off in the weak early morning light. I nodded to neighbors as we passed them on the way to SD1 Sekongkang Bawah. I dropped Sam off at school and received the usual kiss on the hand (actually more of a sniff but kiss sounds better).

Made the gate to Buin Batu (the Newmont mining town here in Sumbawa) in 13 minutes and parked my bike in the little caged motorbike area. Pulled my badge for the scanner and chatted with the security while they did the cursory search of my backpack. Nothing but books and computer cables as usual. The badge scanned true (the company still hasn’t pulled my badge even though I’m down to my last five days here). I start the mile and a half walk to school looking around occasionally to see if the school driver was going to be on time to pick me up. Pur doesn’t show and I make the walk in 15 minutes even though I’m still having dizzy spells. Unlock the back door to the school, open my office, switch on my computer and check out the mess that I left on my desk Friday when I left early because of this damned dizziness. Most of this sprawl of papers can be thrown out, I do need to finish grading my 8th Grade Social Studies projects because the girls put the work in and I should acknowledge that.

Check the email address for the land in Sumbawa. No new offers. Apparently the Belgian decided the price was too high even though it’s only 34,000 Euros. Try building a house these days this size for that price. Cement alone is up to 60,000 a sack here and we must have used at least 1,000 sacks of cement on this place including the wall that surrounds 40 are of the 61 are that we own. Well, if the house doesn’t sell, it will give me an excuse to come out here occasionally and hang out.

I take one of the term papers and finish the grading that I started last week. One down and two to go. As usual, excellent work. My final three students are bright and motivated. A great threesome to end up my career with.

I find a few new emails asking for advice about moving to Bali. I write quick replies giving a few basics and tell them that I have a book for sale next month that covers everything. I’ve got that guilty feeling about selling a book; I’m not sure why. As Robert says, I’m a terrible businessman. My friends say, it’s nineteen years of experience and hundreds of hours putting it down in a digital format. get over it and just do it.

The non-teaching staff arrive and give me the assalam alaikum greeting that Muslims use. I get a cup of tea, take my meds, and banter with the teaching assistants. We do a day count of time remaining. I photocopy the algebra work for the day, and go back to my office to prepare for the last Monday.

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~ by drbrucepk on June 9, 2008.

2 Responses to “Down to the lasts”

  1. Congratulations on ending one phase and beginning a new one. You seem to have so many plans– you’ll be just as busy as when you were working. All the Best.

  2. Thanks Susan. It should be interesting!

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