So it was fine. Other years, exam period has not been fine. I really have not been able to calm down the entire day in the past. Today, I went outside in the rain (the reason I was trapped) and stared at nothing in particular for about 10 minutes. Then I went into the room where my Class 3 students were taking their exam. I realized it was peaceful. I realized I felt fine again.

I might have come back in the staff room and read for a while.

It turns out that I didn’t like being trapped. That’s kind of all it was. Once I wasn’t trapped, I felt okay again. Also, I have realized, it is 3 people in my staff room of 10 people who trigger me. One is simply loud, and it scares me. She is my friend’s cousin, and she likes me and we have a fine relationship, but she is loud. Her laugh is too loud. Her speech is frequently too loud. She scares me. One man constantly makes noise and talks to no one in particular. I have a theory about him that he needs to know he is still there. He attended Jesuit boarding school. I assume this fucked him up good. The third man is just arrogant. If he feels like listening to music, he plays it. If he wants to walk slowly (and, believe me, he does). He is the type of person who stands in the doorway when people are visibly wanting to walk in or out. He’s young and arrogant and that is really all. If they trigger me, everything else does too. And I think the main thing about it is feeling that I am supposed to like what they are doing, and I don’t. It’s that feeling of not being able to conform to the group, because no one else seems to mind.

But it’s those three. Everyone else upsets me only if I am already triggered. It is not Country X that is the problem. It is three people out of ten—one third of them, which might be a higher proportion of loud, scary, inconsiderate people than average. Or not.

The other thing is that I have an assumption that there ought to be an “inside” voice that is different from “outside” voice. Country X-ers don’t have this concept. I keep expecting them to conform to my idea of “inside” voice and they don’t. They have an idea, “we are being loud and obnoxious,” but not that there is a time and place for obnoxiousness. It’s more like we won’t get caught.

I also have an idea of professionalism that they don’t have either. I have a sense that work and play have some degree of separation. You can be relaxed at work, but there ought to be a veneer of professionalism, a distance, and a politeness, because this is work. And they don’t have that either. So that’s the bit that has to do with Country X. I have these expectations they don’t meet, and they probably don’t have those ideas because they don’t have a culture in which there has been a large number of near-strangers crowded into a place all trying to do different things and trying to get along. It’s a village-based culture. The population density is low. Professions are a fairly new concept, and mostly people are doing the same things.

But it crossed my mind that it is my expectations about work that are causing problems for me, because I go to C’s hostel and at dinner time they yell and run around and play, and I think, “What delightful, spirited girls.” Time and place. I don’t think they should be using inside voices, and it’s too loud, and I don’t feel scared. They aren’t breaking my rules, nor breaking the rules of society in my mind. (Frequently, people who break the rules of society will not be considerate of me either. They are generally not free-thinkers, although they may claim that. They just don’t like to consider how their actions affect other people.)

Later I went and helped my friend in her garden, had lunch, and spent some more time in the garden. (Mostly carrying stones to build a wall.)

It was a lovely day. Then I came home and cried and felt worthless again.

TW came to my house and I helped her write an essay and made pancakes simultaneously. And now I’m writing this.