Saturday, October 23, 2010

Daily Report: Miscellaneous Thoughts

When I go back to America, I'm either going to quickly lose 50 pounds because of being distrait and having no appetite... or I'm going to quickly gain 50 pounds as I find solace in my long-missed, now-available comfort foods and American culinary treats such as a ham and swiss sandwich, things loaded with with ricotta cheese, proper beef and burgers... the list is endless.

Life in practice will not change much here: From 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., the bottom two floors of this house will be unaffected. I'll still be just a quick electronically-transmitted message away. From 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., this house will be unaffected, except for the empty space next to Epril as she sleeps.

I'm going to go back to America and work just as I am doing now. I'll leave my bank card here with Epril. The bills will get paid, Tyson will get walked, clothes will be washed, TV will be watched. Life will go on.

No, I'm not willing to sneak back to The Philippines and start transcribing without my company knowing where I am... like I did back in 2002 in Thailand. Back then, I was perfectly willing to either (a) go back to New York should I get caught, or (b) get fired and then go back to New York should I get caught.

Now, losing my job means Epril losing my support. I have more responsibilities, and I am not allowed to tinker and toy and take risks with my ability to take care of her. I won't be back until I have a new way to earn a living here.

Obviously, I have no shortage of ideas on how to make that happen. Epril will be here and she and I will be working together over the internet on Jil's "Joint Operation Home Now System Of Online Networking", otherwise known as Jil's JOHNSON. It will be a long and hard bit of work... but obviously getting me back here is all that Epril and I are thinking about now.

Nine days left.


Anonymous said...

be sure to stop by the american embassy in manila and let them know of your marriage status, etc. and begin the ir-1 visa process. (even if your intent is to go back someday).

see the website:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jill

I have also read your wonderful blogs every day and I feel so sorry for you and Epril. Your news came as a real shock to me and I have never met you.

I have been at the mercy of working for foreign companies for over twenty years now and know hard it can be.

The importance of family can never be overstated and you must make a new life in the US and bring Epril over as soon as its practical to do so. Despite all the short term hardships it is the only logical long term solution.

I really hope you continue to blog. You are the most wonderful writer and a hugely compassionate human being. You are very lucky to have Epril and she is exceptionally lucky to have you.

With your obvious intelligence you will have a great and very happy future ahead of you and plenty more stories to tell.

Wishing you and Epril and her family loads and loads and loads of good luck.

Best regards,
Auckland New Zealand

Anonymous said...

...except for the empty space next to Epril as she sleeps...

Optimist, *lol*

Mom said...

Anonymous - that was unkind. Even if it had the lol with it.

Jil - glad you are beginning to have a more optimistic look at your future. This characteristic of your personality cannot be underestimated. It will keep you "where you need to be" in these uncertain times.

Anonymous said...

hi jil, sorry to hear about your bad news. when i went to the phills to meet my future wife i bought a magic jack and took to her. it cost about 40 dollars at cvs. and that included the first year of service. i di not know if they had them there or not, but as it turned out they do sell them in the phills. i was in davao. monthy service is 1.99, but you pay it yearly. if you are interested you can check into it more. the important thing to remember is that it is best to have your wife install it on here lap top in the phills. then you can call each other free. if you have it in america there is a charge for you to call her. just one option that will allow you to communicate. hope you will be back there soon. take care.

Anonymous said...

hey Jill, get into teaching man, what's wrong with you? you are so smart, why not teaching? you can start teaching in NY with a provisional license. good money, long vacations, pension, sick days, etc.
it's easy. continue your studies. graduate studies are the easiest in education. go for it bro! don't sell yourself short!
hope to hear good news from you!

Pete, Los Angeles

Jungle Jil said...

Anon 2:47: Thanks for the info. The Embassy already knows Epril and I are married.

Adrian: Thanks for the kind comments. I would rather live in The Philippines than in America, but right now the entire future is an open book and what unfolds in the next few months will determine a lot.

Anon 6:40: See below at 10:37.

Mom: I'm optimistic because I have you and Paul there to back me up. If you weren't around, I'd be lost.

Anon 10:37: Thanks for that. Actually, Epril and I tested out Skype today. The video conferencing works so well... and is free between two computers that have Skype on them. Epril had heard about this separated couple who actually sleep with their computers on next to their beds at night with Skype broadcasting their sleeping images to each other, so that even while apart, the first thing last thing they see before they go to sleep and the first thing they see in the morning when they wake up is each other. Epril and I are going to do that.

Pete: I'm really not interested in a career in America right now. Perhaps in a few months as new opportunities present themselves, I might change my mind. I come from a family of teachers (3 MEd (mother, aunt, and uncle) and 1 PhD Ed (aunt) and my sister who is a PhD professor), so it wouldn't be completely unrealistic. But it's not something I'm thinking about right now.

Roger said...

I think his point might have been that if you have a teaching license, you'd be able to work in an international school in the Philipines at a quite lucrative salary.

Anonymous said...

everyone knows about skype,but alot of people do not know that yahoo messenger is actually better in alot of places where signals are hard to come by.the video calls on yahoo messenger are clearer,and YM has a better,IMHO,attached IM set-up if the audio goes down on the video call.You can call with a video call,have IM set-up for you in case the audio goes down on the video call LARGE AND IN CHARGE.Skype has it too,but the box is tiny in comparison.Also,Skype is $.023/minute(nothing really!)but in the states YM is available for $.01,if you can get it.Some areas do not have it.Both skype and YAHOO Messenger are free PC to PC.You will see that both services are essentially the same,but,YM has the edge in all areas of service,signals is a good idea to get both installed on all pc's involved b4 you leave and use either service and have the other as a back up/stand-by.I have had to do this while in the states and works out well when "private moments"are desired,and they will be!

Jungle Jil said...

Hi Roger,

I'm sorry that I didn't mention, but didn't think it necessary: I have looked into teaching positions and (especially in the Philippines) they are anything but lucrative. Quite the extreme opposite in fact: About half of what I am making now for the better-paying positions... perhaps $1,000 per month to start, going as high as $1,500 for people with years of experience working at the better schools.

Perhaps a Bacholer's degree in English or Education would double that salary... leading to a job at a prestigious private school or university someplace, but (a) those schools certainly don't exist around here, and (b) those jobs aren't open on a regular basis and require experience, and (c) even doubling my salary would just put me back to where I am right now.

One really would have to get up into the realm of "Professor of English Studies" at a proper high-end university in The Philippines to come close to earning what the average high school teacher earns in America.

China or Korea or Japan would be better paying for the lower ranked English teachers, but being separated from my wife by only a fraction of the number of hours as I will be in America doesn't put her any closer to being in the same room with me on a daily basis.

Roger said...

Interesting. Here in Thailand, the top international schools recruit from abroad and pay western-like salaries. Too bad things are different in the Philippines.

Anyway, best of luck to you on all your plans. I, too, am investigating ways to get out of the rat race--perhaps starting a business here in Pattaya. I will be following your progress with interest.

Jungle Jil said...


I'm not sure what schools you are referring to. To the best of my knowledge, the most an imported private school teacher in Thailand could hope to make would be 60,000 baht per month... and that's with tons of experience.

Coming from a family of teachers, I can tell you that most low-end, bachelor-degree-holding, just-out-of-college teachers starting salaries are approximately double that.

Roger said...

Google is your friend, Jil. ;)

Jungle Jil said...

That is much better than I would have expected.

But, also keep in mind that ISB is the school in Thailand where you'll be standing up to teach in front of Thai royalty, the children of senators, generals, ambassadors, CEOs, et cetera.

They don't hire just anybody. That is literally the Exeter or Eton of Thailand. You need to be a real somebody if you want to work there.

Roger said...

I agree with all of what you say, but that was my original statement: the top international schools (not just ISB--there are several others) pay very handsome salaries. People who get into the 'international school circuit' can travel all over the world and make very good money living in various places--I've met people like that.

The huge downside to me is that you're working with *entitled* youngsters and their parents, which can be a huge pain in the ass.

Jungle Jil said...

Yup. I understand that. I agree that the salaries are substantially higher than I would have expected... and I do not doubt that ISB is competitive with its competition, salary wise.

But, again what you are describing is very similar to the hierarchy of musicians: If one plays piano, just as if one teaches, it could mean just playing on Sundays at the local Episcopal Church or giving piano lessons in the living room, or playing for tips in a bar... or it could mean playing concerts at Lincoln Center.

Getting to such an exalted level is not a sure thing by any stretch, and it most cetainly doesn't happen overnight, and it certainly doesn't happen just because one happens to have a certification or diploma in ones hand.

One has to be the cream of the crop to teach at schools like that. For the rest of the mere mortal teachers, the numbers that I originally postulated ($1,500 to $2,000 per month) are probably closer to reality.

Roger said...

You need to think of it more as a spectrum. A person with your obvious knack for academia would most likely be able to rise to a relatively high level.

However, having said that I doubt it's the right choice for you. If you felt a calling, I'd go for it. If not and you are put off by the thought of all the administrative garbage and conferences with unreasonable parents and classes full of kids more interested in poking each other than learning about literature, than it's most likely best to take a pass.

The rewards are, however obvious. Every once in a while a former student puts up an appreciative post on his blog and you can bask in the glow for a few hours.

Jungle Jil said...

Quite true, Roger... all of it. Like I said above, I come from a very extensive family of teachers and I certainly had exposure to the ins and outs of the job from an early age, watching my mother sit at home and grade papers.

It isn't my thing. I'm an academic, and like to learn... but am really only interested in the knowledge for myself, not to try to pass it along (especially, as you said, to those who are not generally receptive).

The truth is, I have thought about being a teacher... for all of the obvious benefits. But I just wouldn't be comfortable in front of a crowd... especially a crowd of kids. I certainly don't have the patience for dealing with idiots and would probably get canned in short order when I reached my threshold with whatever class retard I was forced to deal with.