03 July 2011


I often envy friends of mine who chose careers as teachers. They were smart and chose professions that mandate Spring Break, Christmas Break, snow days and, the most envied break, summer. While I never envy the lesson planning, the grading of papers or the parent-teacher conferences, I do envy a job that gives employees vacation time without eating their own personal vacation time. My friend, Anna Marie, always has plans for her summer break, starting with planting her garden. The rest of the summer, she drinks some beer and some wine while watching her garden grow. Perfect! Of course, she also goes to concerts and does some travelling and, yes, even cleans under her couch.

I think regularly-scheduled breaks lead to better job performance and higher job satisfaction levels. These types of breaks should be mandatory at all places of employment. Imagine how it would feel to work your butt off for six weeks and then have a four-day weekend. Think about working 10 weeks and then taking two weeks off to relax and find your sanity once again. Nice, right?

My first job application was submitted last week, making it ever so clear that my retirement/summer break could be coming to a close. This whole job thing is bittersweet. I like having lazy days and I like being able to meet friends for coffee, lunch and a trip to the museum in the middle of the week. Now that I am finally making some friends, I am also making plans and not just hanging around the East Coast like I did before. I am learning my way around the island as I have done some exploring and am happy living day to day. But, having a job that helps me gain more experience and having a paycheck that helps me gain more spending money is a big plus, especially when that spending money goes toward coffee and lunch and trips to the museum.

This evening Paul and I took a bus, two trains and then a shuttle bus to visit the north part of the island and a place called, all joking aside, the Terror Club, where the American Association was hosting a Fourth of July celebration. We passed the TSA checkpoints where our items went through an X-ray machine and we walked through metal detectors as if we were getting ready to board a plane – why, I have no idea – and then we headed inside the gates to something that could have been a baseball field. There were tents set up all around the perimeter and a stage at home plate featured a band playing country music while other tunes like Play That Funky Music played during the breaks.

We arrived about 20 minutes before the fireworks were scheduled to begin and immediately saw some friends inside the gate. We paid just more than S$40 for two BBQ pork sandwiches, two margaritas and a water and then sat on our blanket with our friends. I was about halfway through my sandwich when the fireworks started just over our heads, so I stopped eating, put my plate aside and then laid down on my back for the... Worst. Fireworks. Ever.

The entire show lasted two minutes (I am not kidding – I checked the clock; it was 8:02 when they stopped). Half of the fireworks were too low for anyone to really see because there were trees and the food tent in front of the display. The fireworks that were high enough either came in singles or in threes and they were not that impressive. When the fireworks suddenly stopped, we were perplexed and waited in awkward silence to see if more would appear after a few seconds, but they did not. It was so disappointing.

We did, however, get to see a new part of the island, and we did have a great time with friends. If we had gone by ourselves, I think the evening could have been a bust. To all of you who saw my favorite show in Columbus this weekend, I am truly jealous. After seeing fireworks displays in Boston, Chicago, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., none can compare to those of Red, White and Boom. Happy 4th!

No comments: