Despite the last entry's triumphant hurrah at having completed marking, the fact that I didn't have the time to compose a coherent entry until right now tells you something about the ups and downs of my life. None of it was unexpected; none of it was horrendous. It was just busy-busy-busy, with little reprieves and most certainly not enough sleep.

Firstly, after I finished the torrential marking, I had to sit down and write my book review assignment for my Monday night IR class. The required length was 5-8 pages (not much at all), and I'd already read the book the previous weekend (thank goodness I'd had the foresight and discipline to do that), so it wasn't a formidable task for an entire weekend. It helped that my Saturday appointment was cancelled, leaving me absolutely free all day Saturday and Sunday to concentrate on the thing.

The first paragraph was okay, but after a while, I started to remember why I'm so awful at writing essays. It's not the language, it's not the ideas --- it's the concentration power. For a start, those of you who know me well know that I pick at my nails --- incessantly --- to the point where I've been called on it as a student (i.e. the teacher said, "If your nails are more fascinating than my lesson, get out of the classroom.") and my classmates always thought I was bored and I'm pretty sure my colleagues sometimes think that when I'm diligently picking away at the bits of skin on my fingertips amidst a serious staff meeting.

But this finger-picking thing is just me. Terz is trying to cure me of the habit --- the teacher-like way, by growling at me when he catches me at it --- but I'm not sure how much success he's going to have. That's why I like wearing nail polish: I pick at my nails less then because I don't want to mar the neat layer of color.

All of which is a long way of saying that it's hard for me to write any paper because I pick, pick, pick while I think --- and then I have a good thought, but I'm just about to get that teeny bit of skin flake off, and then by the time I get round to typing the though, it's taken me twice as long to write the assignment as it should.

It was a relief to finish the paper on Sunday night --- I always proofread things till the absolute last minute and I even e-mailed a copy to my web account so I'd have it handy if it struck me to rewrite something while I was at work. But as the work day turned out, I barely had time to breathe between class and ad hoc student consultations, and the next thing I knew, it was 5:30 pm and thank goodness my lovely colleague Mel drove me to the university (even though it really wasn't on her way) or I'd've been all the more stressed. See, I not only had to turn in the book review assignment but also make a 10-15 minute presentation on it. I'd done all the thinking, but the presentation part was really not together because I obviously couldn't just read aloud my paper, yet there was so much interesting stuff I wanted to say. I also didn't want to be late because the first couple of times we had book reviews (the professor scheduled us so that there's 2-3 of us presenting a book each per lesson), people were always "sick", and the prof would get this dubious look on his face, and as a teacher I can totally appreciate that expression, and I didn't want even want to be late for this class, even though we don't start on the dot at six pm.

Which just goes to show what a manic student I am. No wonder I chalked up all those As when I was younger.

Post-book review, I thought I could rest, but of course in my ecstasy at having completed the marking, I'd forgotten about all the other administrative details that I had to complete before I bid farewell to my graduating classes at the end of this week. On Monday, there were grades to double-check before they were entered into the college database --- oh, and students coming to see me to review their examination essays or ask me to write recommendations for their applications to various US universities. On Tuesday, there were grades to be checked by the students, grades to be modified and as the civics tutor (US translation: homeroom teacher) for my class, I had to enter brief remarks into the database, so that it would be printed out on their progress reports for Friday --- and I had more students concerned about their work and about university applications to counsel. On Wednesday, I realized I had to finish my work review form (a summary of everything I did this year, how well I met last year's targets, and target-setting for next year, the latter of which is daft for me because I will probably be in a different job next year, but that's the government for you) by this week and sit down with the head of English to go over it, because all the school staff will be ranked (another Singaporean government favorite) in a giant meeting on Saturday, and all our forms need to be tidied and turned in by then.

Oh, and we had a staff meeting on Wednesday too.

Today I thought I could work on the aforementioned work review form. I should've known better. I parked myself at my desk, typing diligently at my laptop and trying to copy-paste as much stuff as possible from last year's form --- and then all these kids started showing up, one after the other, in a constant flow for about three hours. Some wanted to ask me about their university choices, others needed a more in-depth consultation on their career options and university choices, and others still wanted to review examination essays. I swear, I talked practically non-stop for three hours. By the end of that, I was so pooped that I cancelled the very last official literature lesson of the year that I was going to teach; I just couldn't do it. I'd already missed lunch, my work review form was nowhere near being completed, and this silly database (TRAISI, for you MOE types out there) was being all fucked-up and slow, and I just couldn't get that done either. (Fortunately, that's not critical to complete my work review form.)

And finally, at two pm, when I thought I had achieved some peace and quiet at last, a former student showed up to say hello and I couldn't just send her away, even though I don't know her very well and I really wanted to finish my form so I could go home --- so we chatted for about half an hour. She's studying psychology at the University of York in England on a government scholarship, so we have a lot in common, really. (My best friend read psych at York too, though her parents paid for her education, and I went to Northwestern on a similar government scholarship.)

Blah blah blah --- I finished the silly form at three-ish, and finally left school. Whew. And still pooped.

Oh, and for those of you that care, in between all that, I tidied up a dragon for the hatching that happened this morning my time (I was logged on and hoping to help while I was ostensibly doing work stuff, as illicit as it might be, but as things turned out, I was too distracted by students and things to glance at the appropriate screen more than a couple of times every hour anyway). So the hatching is over, everything is peachy-keen, and the entire Search Crew is so glad they get some vacation time now.

Oh, and today I realized that there's only one more episode of Gilmore Girls which rounds up the local TV station's broadcast of the first season, so I'll be sadly without femme focus until Buffy returns on October 30. I'm a bit hesitant about the new Buffy season (season five, with Dracula and knights and Dawn and things), but I suppose it can't hurt to watch it.

Hey, I finished this really rambling account and it's not even eleven pm yet! I'm going to take myself to bed now and hopefully resume a semblance of more regular journal-keeping henceforth. Terz received his first round of marking on Wednesday, so he's red-pen-man for the next few weeks. I'll be sure to be quiet and keep to the corners until he's done, although we'll have to emerge occasionally to have dinner with family and things --- my mom's birthday and Terz's brother's birthday are both in mid-October. Anyone in Singapore want to recommend a place for high tea? We went to the Shangri-La last year and I'd like to try some place new this year.


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