For the sake of mine and Mr Pork's sanity I need to find myself a long-term project given that it is very unlikely that I'm going to get anything like decent paid work in this country. Although I teach a little English I cannot do too many hours because of a combination of tedious government bureaucracy and the slave-owner attitude of the language schools. Essentially, self-employment in this country is rather tricky unless you know that you are going to earn above a certain amount that will at least cover your health insurance. High unemployment is a feature of where we live and we also have an enormous student population who tend to take the unskilled, part-time posts that I might think of applying for. It would be impossible for me to work within my own occupation in this country because of a number of reasons: it is largely language (and to some extent culturally) dependent; I haven't worked in my own field for five years and have thus dropped off one of the registers and would need to do a considerable amount of work to bring myself back to a state where I would be fit to practice.
At the moment I do some voluntary work for a charity that provides food to poor people and I quite enjoy it but I don't enjoy it enough to do any more of it than I do already which is one day per week. It's physically hard work as well as being mentally stimulating but it can be enormously stressful. I am considering looking at some extra, different voluntary work that would allow me to widen my social network and also further improve my language skills. In some areas my language skills are excellent – all the food words, for instance – but there is a set routine to what I do which means that I'm extremely proficient in some situations but still pretty bad in others. I try to vary what I say but in the end there are only so many ways to say 'what type of bread do you want?' or 'would you like some lettuce?'
Someone suggested to me that I should write a book about how to cope as a trailing spouse (I didn't invent that term, by the way) and Mr Pork agreed. My reaction to that is that it would be interesting and I'd quite like to but I'm not sure that I'm necessarily the Poster Girl for trailing spouses given that my own experiences haven't been particularly positive and that I'm sitting here five years down the line asking for help from my imaginary chums on t'internet. I also don't know how to go about it – I mean, how to market myself to agents/publishers. I don't see myself as having marketable skills in this area because I haven't got a body of written work behind me to say that I can do this. (I've only tried my hand at fiction and not got particularly far) So, dear internet chums – is this even worth thinking about? Does anyone have any advice or suggestions? I promise to read everything and take it on board and not dismiss anything without giving it some consideration. I won't say 'yes, but' or put up arguments as to why things wouldn't work. I don't want people to be polite and say that I could do this when they don't think that I can. Please drop any ideas as to what I could do into the box and also any advice, information or anything about the book idea.