Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Eat, Shit, Die

Wrote this last Wednesday in Amsterdam:

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I'm aware that there's a popular book and film called "Eat, Pray, Love" about a spoiled white woman who gives up her spoiled affluent white-woman life so she can abroad and find herself by boning some foreign dudes. (I assume she lives affluently while this happens.) Travel broadens the mind, right?

Horseshit, some of the most closed-minded, selfish, and stubborn people I've ever met are the most well-travelled.

Does this woman get accused of sex tourism, or running away from her problems?

I'm sitting in Amsterdam's Schipol airport as I write this, feeling exhausted and greasy and more than a little bloated from all the beer and fast food I consumed in the last few days. Amsterdam is a much nicer city in September than in August; still enough tourists to give it a festive atmostphere, but everything's not quite so slammed. Weather was cool and sunny, so I enjoyed walking around.

I've gained such a hatred of airports and planes. I'm not exactly afraid of flying, but I hate the crowds, the lines, the expensive food, and of course the security restrictions which prevent you from bringing your own beverages and cause endless hassels with baggage.

So my 2.5 month holiday is over; it never particualrly seemed relaxing, probably relating to my hatred of airports and a lot of worries over visas and hotels and accomodation and such. And of course my relationship. . .

But there were some things learned; I definitely feel the truth of a couple things now:

1) I'm middle-aged and my body can't take as much punishment as it used to
2) La Vie Boheme in Vodkaberg and Russia in general is completely and finally over, for me defintely and probably for most English teachers
3) Soaring global inflation means I was wise to get a high-paying job and try to sock a lot of money away. (I spent enough money in the last 2.5 months to buy a good used car, and didn't have more than a couple of Big Nights Out.)

So I'm going back to my monastic life of work, TV, books, sunshine, Internet and exercise.

I can't say I'm not looking forward to it.

* * *

And I came back to Saudi Arabia to find that the ceiling of my bathroom had collapsed, due to a slow leak from the water heater, and the walls were all covered with mold and mildew.


Eve Lopez said...

one of the most depressing posts i've read from you, english teacher x. growing up is hard.

Anonymous said...

Damn, I really liked your 'silent observer' view of the world but I can see that your are transitioning just like everyone else.

Could you give some advice? I'm a 26 year old graduate and about to start ESL and I have a lot in common with the guy you were 10 years ago. If you could step into a time machine and go back 10 years, what advice would you give yourself?

English Teacher X said...

Well, the thing is, the developing world where most of the English teaching is has changed completely in the last 10 years -- the difference between Russia 2000 and Russia 2010 is night and day, and I assume it's also true in China, Brazil, etc. Those countries are economic powerhouses now, not cheap spots for backpacking.

I'm not sure what advice I can offer now, beyond get a CELTA and do a lot of reasearch about your destination. And consider going to engineering school. . . they drink as much and make 10 times the salary.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the advice. CELTA it is!