Transitioning back into "work mode" after six weeks of frolicking around is no simple task, especially when having to adjust to a different culture as well. The process was two fold but I survived my first week back at work but not without a few bumps along the way but I survived my first week back at work )however not without a few bumps along the way.)
My first day back, I woke up feeling fresh and relatively ready to go...but it wasn't long before my first mishap occurred. Early into my thirty five minute drive to school, I discovered the front wheel of my bike was flat. I had thought the bike was driving oddly but thought maybe because it was a bike I'm not used to(I'm borrowing my friend since he isn't using it)
Upon making the discovery, I realized that I had very limited options. I could ditch the bike somewhere and take a xe om but feared that it wouldn't be there when I returned for it. I was going to drop it at a friends house along the way and retrieve it later in the afternoon but his gate was locked. So I did the only thing I could...I drove on it...all the way to My Dinh. It was bumpy and shaky and slow and every three seconds a Vietnamese person would shout at me about my flat tire. I kept pushing myself forward in my head..."Ok Alice, almost at the Daewoo...ok Alice at the roundabout....ok Alice at the bridge." I had concluded that I'd drop the bike off at the gas station near work and then just walk from there, which I did. I arrived at work at a reasonable time considering...but gross and drenched in sweat with the thought that this MUST be a bad omen.
In terms of work, I think I managed to forge through without too many blunders but, per usual, I was subjected to an inexplicable act of assault from one of my students who thought that my shin looked like a good target for kicking practice. I wish i could say this was an isolated incident but unfortunately, it occurs on an almost weekly basis. for a disciplinary standpoint, I'm not allowed to do anything other than reason with the student which, as you can imagine is wildly unsuccessful.
Apart from that, everything is seeming to fall back into place. I've embraced my way of life that includes twelve hour work days leaving me almost comatose with exhaustion upon arriving home each evening. I should be used to this pace of life having lived and worked in NYC for as long as I did, but this is a completely different level of draining. One that I am learning a lot form but don't think I could keep up in the long term.
Before I left Hanoi this summer, I'd established quite the work-life balance (aka burning the candle at both ends) which i haven't been able to adopt just yet. I'm still working on that. I can't express how wonderful it is to know that my official "work week" is over on Thursday and that I can use the weekend to recharge, relax and restore whatever sanity I have left.