WHAT AM I DOING?

It’s 2022 and after two long years, Covid is still with us and reaping havoc around the world. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had their life and plans disrupted by this virus. My plans have certainly changed over the last couple of years, but I’m not complaining. I’m living a new adventure in Australia while my life in Bali awaits my return.

Where am I?

I’m still teaching at Badu Island in the Torres Strait, Queensland. In mid-December, Queensland opened its borders and went from being relatively Covid free, to a huge Omicron hot spot. I thought I was safe on Badu Island, sitting remotely between the tip of Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea, but in early January, 2022, the first case was detected here. Daily more cases were diagnosed. Each case isolated, but the cat was already out of the bag.

With numbers of infections growing daily, our school staff returned to work for the pupil free days on the 19th January and we participated in professional development and planning activities for the next 12 working days. School opening for Queensland students was delayed until 7th February, because of widespread Covid. Day by day, staff members were diagnosed with Omicron and went into isolation. Close contacts of Covid positive people went into isolation as well. At one stage, 7 of our staff were isolating at home. The number of Covid positive cases on Badu grew and was up to 80 by the time school started.

On the 7th February, I was at work ready to welcome my class of nineteen children. Only nine rolled up on the first day, but two days later we were up to 15, as families came out of isolation. I wear a mask most of the time while teaching, but when reading or teaching phonics, children need to see my mouth, so after the children move back 1.5 metres, I remove my mask for the teaching session. On Thursday, some of our school children were diagnosed with Covid and went home from school and into isolation. We’re now waiting to see the domino effect.

Omicron is highly contagious, but on Badu it has not resulted in a single hospitalization. Those who have had it describe it as similar to a bad cold. So life goes on. I’m teaching and currently Covid free. Maybe the masks, hand washing, social distancing or the vaccines work. Maybe I am just lucky. Let’s see what next week brings.

How long am I here?

I have a contract to teach at Badu Island from the 19th January to the 24th June, 2022. I’ve advised that I will accept an extension to this contract and now expect to be here until the 4th December. I’m loving the challenge of teaching a class of Year One and Two children, but I know a life in Bali awaits me at the end of this rainbow. At least I’ll eventually return to Bali with a bit more cash in my pocket.

Meanwhile back in Bali…

I ring home at least twice a day, checking on Bayu, the dogs and business; Private Ubud Villas. My team is managing well , but there is always something to be done. Bookings for later in 2022 and 2023 are trickling in, so I have staff enter these and update calendars. Villas need inspecting via video calls and I remind people of tasks to be done or schedule maintenance work. And of course I need to be updated on our dogs.

Meisun has been in the wars for the last fortnight. He stopped eating and became lethargic. Now 13 years old, we wondered if his time had come. Bayu took him to the vet where they did blood tests, diagnosed a virus, anemia, teeth plaque and mouth ulcers. After a five day stay, he was fully recovered and ready to go again. Video chatting kept me involved every step of the way. Technology is wonderful. It’s not as good as being there and offering a hug and a pat, but it’s the best thing available to me while I’m here in Australia.

So that’s my life and I’m enjoying the variety and challenges it presents me. I hope to remain Covid free, and will let you know how that’s going in my next blog. I hope you all stay safe and well too.

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7 thoughts on “WHAT AM I DOING?”

  1. The tightrope you’re walking as a teacher of small children with Omicron rampant is precarious at best. But it sounds like you’re doing all you can. Do you wear the heavy-duty N95 type masks? I’m told those are the only ones that are able to keep the Omicron virus out.

    It sounds like Bali life awaits – ready for you to step back in as soon as you can❤

    1. I’ve ordered the N95 masks and they are on their way, but nothing arrives quickly. Should be here tomorrow, all going well. Life is never dull. Hope you are recovering. Hugs. Steve

  2. Sounds like you’re devouring some of the challenges of your new life and surviving others. Good to hear your news Steve ??

    1. Thanks heaps Chara. I’m making the best of it, but can’t wait to return to Bayu, Bali and the dogs. But in the meantime, I’ll make a little money. Let me assure you, I’m too bloody old to be teaching, but somehow I manage. I hope all travels well for you. From your posts you seem busy and doing what you love. Hugs. Steve

  3. Hi Steve, Steve & Emma here. We have moved back to London to look after Emmas parents. We were very very afraid of coming back because of covid. With over 100k new cases per day. But we are now finding that it’s just a way of life here, wear a mask if you want at the supermarket or doctors, but generally life is now just going on as normal. Still heaps of traffic and people everywhere. Most people we know has had covid and thankfully only one was slightly sicker than normal. Hope things are well with you. One day we hope to get back to Bali and obviously back to Australia too xx

  4. Hi there, Steve. Di & Greg Hall here. Ex-BISS teachers of Year 6 & P.E. respectively. Pls say, ‘Hi,’ to all our old contacts. So lovely to come across your post in SPAM. Eek! Fixed that. Met Kate Ahmat a couple of months ago & caught up on island gossip. Sorry to hear Omicron is there, but a relief it’s result is a milder version. Good Luck yourself with that. We’ll be back to Bali ASAP. We’ve been for the last 2 yrs giving $’s family assistance to Made’s family of 4 & kept them in their home & safe. Looking forward to catching up!

  5. Hi Steve,
    Greg told me you were in Australia, but I wondered what happened to your dogs. I am so pleased to know they are being looked after. Is Bayu’s kitchen still operating?

    Wow! Teaching year one and twos – are you crazy, ha! I don’t think I could go back teaching! You are brave! Have you thought of tutoring at a University? You only have to teach f-2-f for two hours! Or, teach online? Even that was too crazy for me so I’ve retired from it all. I’m finally writing my own Island story (of the Abrolhos).

    Love that you are still on an Island. It must be in your blood! Anyway, love n hugs and hope to see you in Bali in 2023! XxJenny & Greg

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