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Hello, friends. It’s been a while. I’ve been meaning to write this post for months. A-man gently reminds me from time to time, but I think he’s given up hope. So, surprise, A-man!
I have loved blogging at Dagblog. It was a privilege to be one of the first bloggers outside of the core DAG and it was a privilege to take part in such interesting and meaningful discussions about wide-ranging topics--and I always loved the snark. Maybe it took me so long to say good-bye because don’t really want to say good-bye. Perhaps I’ll turn up occasionally with something to say.
The problem is I’ve never been very good at writing when I’m happy. When I started blogging at TPM in the spring of 2008, I was as unhappy as I’d ever been. My mom was dying, I hated my job, I hated where I lived, I didn’t have many friends who weren’t hundreds or thousands of miles away, and I felt trapped and powerless to do anything to change my circumstances because I wasn't going to leave my mom.
Then, in the summer of 2009, she died and I was free. That sounds incredibly callous, I know. My mom was an wonderful person and an exceptional mother. The person that she was left her brain somewhere around the year 2000 and we were left to watch her lose control of her body—speech, motor function, bladder control, etc. It sucked. So when she died, I was sad, but also glad. I’d given up the guilt of wishing it over long before it actually was. Very soon after she died, I started making my plan. I knew I wanted to teach and I knew I wanted to live outside of the US. I thought I was headed to Taiwan when at the last minute I was offered a job in Indonesia. Winter was approaching--making the ultimate decision pretty damn easy.
I think about my mom when I’m doing something particularly unsafe or when I’m in an astonishingly beautiful location. These things happen a lot in Southeast Asia, so she’s often on my mind. I miss her and sometimes I feel bad for being so stupidly happy when I remember that she’s dead. But we’re supposed to go on when we lose important people. It’s just plain stupid not to.
And so here I am, stupidly happy and absolutely unproductive, from a writing standpoint. I’ve been living in Malaysia since early 2011, still teaching, still loving it, and still traveling whenever I get the chance, which is often. I’m off to Thailand in five weeks, snorkelling in the Perhentians 10 weeks after that, and there just might be a trip to Australia in the cards for me this year. Oh, and I’ll be in India for about six weeks around Christmas.
So, you see, my life doesn’t suck. I work with local teachers and children between 6 and 9 and I’m not exaggerating when I say that it is a joy every day to go to work and see their smiling faces. I have friends again who are close by and I stay in touch with my family through the magic of the internet.
I’ve missed Dagblog. This is a quality group of people here. So, as I mentioned, I hope to stop by, especially as the elections approach, to check up on the conventional wisdom and be entertained. But it’s long past time to leave the masthead and leave the heavy lifting to my friends.
Jumpa lagi, kawan-kawan saya.