Woke up early, feeling just a little bit nervous. Had a meeting organised today with the Maldives Autism Association to discuss my PhD proposal. Picked through both of our backpacks to find a. an item of clothing that actually fitted me properly and b. something suitable for a professional meeting. Ended up going with Jayne’s hiking dress with leggings, weirdly knowing that I’d worn the exact same outfit recently to go night fishing… Ate breakfast and then left Jayne to wash clothes as I walked to their office. The office is actually the school – set over two floors on the busy main street which accommodates 90 children and 30 teaching staff. Had a quick tour (the children are on holidays) before sitting down with the managing director. Turns out, they are opening a new school in Hulhumalé (the man-made island created to ease the strain on the capital) in January 2017 and she offered me a job!! I would be the first international teacher that she has ever employed and it seems like an amazing opportunity to be part of shaping the education for children with autism as it will be the first school in the country of its kind. Went back to the hotel to fill Jayne in on the details before heading over to the island of Hulhumalé itself to see if we could see ourselves living and working there full time. Got the ferry over and started wandering away from the ferry terminal in no direction in particular (although we headed towards the guy flying around on his aqua pack thing – it looked amazing!!). Jayne says I can have one if I take the teaching job but I know she really just wants it for herself!! Spent time walking around the perimeter of the island, seeing where it is going to be expanded in the future and looking at the number of guesthouses and block of flats being constructed (as well as deciding which ones we’d want to live in… Not getting ahead of ourselves at all!!). Popped into a few dive shops to see if there was potential for Jayne to find work – one wasn’t interested at all, one seemed to specialise in wedding dresses more than scuba diving (we didn’t get it either…) and one that was really interested in having her work there! Sat on the beach for ages weighing up all the options – obviously the thought of living out here with the white sandy beaches and crystal clear blue water needs serious consideration – let’s face it, who would bother visiting us and could I really live in flip flops 24/7?! As we sat by the sea, we saw a massive porcupine fish swim right up to the shore line – beautifully camouflaged against the rocks and sand, we got a few good photos before he got scared and swam off. Headed back to Male’ just as the sun was setting and headed out for dinner. Went to a slightly posh restaurant (for us!) and ate our last proper Maldivian meal (for a few months 😉). Suitably stuffed, we wandered down to the only cinema on the island and watched the new Divergent film. Completely different from the book, I didn’t really enjoy it. Jayne was in an air conditioned cinema – she was the human equivalent of a dog with its head out of the window in a moving car!!
Monday 21st March 2016