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I'm having a very restless night on the eve of my first real teaching session.  We were assigned our first lessons last week; somehow, I ended up with seemingly the most difficult subject — I need to teach an intermediate class on the differences between Wh- direct questions and indirect question forms.  I spent around six hours last night trying to put together a suitable lesson plan, covering the necessary points within the 55-minute time limit.  Trying to do this amidst numerous unexpected interruptions got me fairly stressed-out.  Adding to the stress is the fact that, for some unknown reason, the water doesn't work at all (water and electrical outages are somewhat common here, but the water's never been off for this long before).

A couple of hours ago, I checked my e-mail finding a news item stating that Thai Immigration is beginning their crackdown on visa rules.  Simply put, those who enter the Kingdom on tourist visas can now only stay a maximum of 90 days before they must leave the country for 90 days before re-entering.  This new rule goes into effect October 1st and, coupled with the now-enforced requirement that you must have a degree in order to get a work permit, will affect thousands of foreigners here in Thailand.  Judging from the responses I've just read on the Thai Visa Forum, many are confused and downright angry about these changes.  We can all thank John Mark Karr for the Thai government's knee-jerk response.  Although the scrutinizing of teachers is indeed a good thing, it's interesting to note that Karr would still have gotten in based on his qualifications alone (still no requirement for criminal background checks).

My particular tourist visa (which gave me almost six months of cover) actually expires on October 1st.  I had planned to convert it to a Non-Immigrant B (Business) Visa but that now isn't possible because of the degree requirement (although I attended college off-and-on for many years, I never graduated as I devoted more time to managing restaurants than to studying).  My only realistic option now is to obtain a Non-Immigrant O (Other) Visa For the Purpose of Supporting a Thai Spouse.  The main requirement (other than producing supporting documents such as my marriage certificate and proof of residency) is I need to show 400,000 baht in a Thai bank account.  Those funds need to come from overseas and the paperwork has to show an overseas transfer.  My bank in New Mexico wants me to sign the transfer form in person but I can't return to the States right now in order to do this.  I'll have to investigate other options to transfer funds (and moving more than USD $10,000 from a high-interest account into one that doesn't pay any interest at all is not a very attractive prospect, but it's something I will need to do).

All of these worries come early the morning I need to present myself to the school looking like a teacher.  In Thailand, this means nice slacks and shirt with tie, plus dress shoes.  If the water isn't turned on in the next several hours, I'll have to shave and wash my hair using bottled water.  I had planned to have Tim cut my hair last night but then I wouldn't have been able to wash it afterwards.  All we need now is a heavy downpour during the drive into Patong.

I suppose I was due for a heavy dose of stress as I've been living virtually stress-free for months.  I know (hope) it all will work out in the end but I'd rather concentrate on my studies and teaching practice without having to worry about how to legally stay in my adopted country.