An update

May. 5th, 2014 10:05 pm
lishesquex: (xena - big sword fandom)
Went back to YVG to do a day of Casual Relief Teaching today and really enjoyed it. After a long holiday, it's nice to go out, be energized, have the chance to be tired again which means it's all the sweeter to come home and kick my feet up at the end of the day. No doubt I'll enjoy tomorrow's sleep-in more as well. Man, I never thought I'd say that I'd miss being tired. But it's true. It's nice to be tired sometimes. But I'm glad there's no day-after-day bone-crushing exhaustion which makes you want to cancel all social engagements because you just don't have the energy.

It was actually really nice to be able to work one-on-one with some students today. Usually as the classroom teacher you have to monitor EVERYTHING and EVERYONE and TEACH STUFF and that doesn't leave a lot of time for individual help. But two of my periods today were part of the Individual Learning Department and so I was able to help some kids with remedial English stuff.

It was also really nice to see people again and be part of a community. I was almost mobbed by a few of my former Year 8 girls who shrieked and got totes excited when they saw me, and a former Year 8 boy gave me a very respectful high five. So that was really sweet. It makes you feel all confident and idk, Captain Janeway-like.

The difference between Casual Relief Teaching and Actual Teaching is amaaazing. It was SO nice to finish at the end of the day with no worries about marking or lesson planning for the next day or emails to write to parents or meetings to go to. Of course it's a lot less intellectually stimulating but that also frees up your mind to think about and plan other things which there is so little time for in normal teaching.

I'll be going in again on Friday which I'm looking forward to. This is pretty perfect actually. Working two days a week on my own terms. Plenty of other things to occupy me when I'm not CRTing too - I need to finish planning Eurotrip 2014 and I'm still completing my Certificate IV in Training and Assessing.

And of course there's the fun things like:

Social Things
Ephie and Tara's boardgames birthday party
Swordcraft with Kerryn
Supanova with Jackie and Kerryn
Regular bike rides with Jeanette

TV Things
Vikings Season 2 - Loved it, especially the early episodes of the season. Felt like it kind of dragged towards the end. Until the finale, that is. I want a shieldmaiden gf like Lagertha.
Lost Girl Season 3 - Huge disappointment. Barely worth watching. Wanderer storyline sucked. In fact, whole plot was suck.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Have lately begun to enjoy it a lot more, especially after the Big Spoilery Events which occurred during Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Game of Thrones S3 - Still guiltily enjoying this show despite all the things that are problematic.
HIMYM finale - Did not hate it unlike 99% of viewers.
Bones S9 - Still one of my favs. Glad it got renewed for another season.

Book Things
Finished reading Vol. 1 to 5 of The Sandman series. Need to get the rest off Jackie soon.
Also read an old Rosemary Sutcliff novel called "The Lantern Bearers" which is the 1959 idea of a YA novel. LOVED IT. I read it in one sitting. It's so my type of book - basically melancholic/nostalgia-filled longing for a lost past/an elegy for Roman Britain. Historical fiction with a whiff of Arthurian legend. Solid character building too.
Now reading Adijan and Her Genie by LJ Baker which Ingrid recommended to me ages ago. Finding the writing a bit juvenile compared to the very dense style of Sutcliff that I've just been reading, but the plot has intrigued me enough for me to not abandon it.
With all this reading I am now only 2 books behind schedule in my goal to read 50 books this year.

Game Things
Been playing Hearthstone on the iPad which is perfect for giving me my WoW fix, but does not suck up my life. Thanks, Blizz!!
On the PC, I've been enjoying Expeditions: Conquistador which is a great little indie game which is not 'little' at all. Have clocked up almost 30 hours on it and there's plenty more to do.
lishesquex: (Default)
So tired today after the House Swimming Carnival.  It's been a day of too much sunshine, bright colours of red, blue, gold and green, and the constant weave of people. 

My face is slightly sun burnt, due to the fact that there was very little shade at the venue.  I finally managed to find a small patch of shade under a tree along with Simon and George (the heads of English and Humanities respectively).  I had a really good talk with them.  I think that what I'll miss most about teaching is the wonderful, quirky, idealistic people who make up the teaching profession.  I respect both of them enormously and will genuinely miss them when I leave.

I have volunteered to help out at the school's Open Day in March.  Somehow, knowing that I'm leaving soon makes me put more effort into my work. I think it's the feeling that it's not endless now, and there is rest in sight. 

Triolet

Jan. 17th, 2014 09:14 am
lishesquex: (voyager - canadian borg)
I would curse you with love
To see your nights swallowed up by longing
And have you focused to a beam and burning
I would curse you with love
To hear your heartsong restless and churning
Steal a year of your mind with wanting
I would curse you with love
To see your nights swallowed up by longing

///

I'm experimenting with different poetic forms at the moment.  As usual, an idea for a poem usually begins with a line - in this case: "I would curse you with love" - but  it often doesn't really take shape beyond a couple of lines.  A triolet is useful because all it is is a couple of lines but shaped into a particular form.  It's nice to have some time to experiment and tease out an idea.

Less than two more weeks of summer holidays and then it's back to work.  But only for a term.  And then freedom.  Terrifying freedom.

It's been over 40 degrees here in Melbourne for the last week. The only time I can use my computer is from about 6am to 9am in the morning, and then the heat becomes unbearable. The rest of the day, I spend in the living room where there is (thankfully) air con, and I either watch TV or read.  The Australian Open is on so Rianna usually commandeers the TV.  Yesterday, she had to go into uni, so I got to watch a bunch of episodes of Star Trek: DS9.  After a couple of years trying to watch this series, I've finally arrived at Season 3 and things are starting to get interesting with the Cardassians and the Dominion. 

Yesterday was the 18th anniversary since Star Trek: Voyager first aired (back in 1995).  Almost 20 years!  I know I came to the fandom late, after the show had ended, but it still makes me feel old. 
lishesquex: (Default)

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?
There were quite a few new things I did this year.  Here they are in no particular order:
- I became an assessor for English Language (for VCAA) for the first time
- I did some private tutoring
- I cycled 40km+, which I've never done before
- I briefly had abs, which I've never had before
- I drank myself into unconsciousness at one point, which I haven't done before and don't plan on doing again
- I went to NZ and visited Hobbiton amongst other places, and met Lucy Lawless after seeing Chicago
-
I took students on exchange to China

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions and will you make more for next year?
Resolutions from 2013:
#1 Be bold. Good things happen when you do. (Yes, though going by this philosophy resulted in rather a lot of heartache.)
#2 Keep practising guitar regularly. Especially the boring stuff you avoid like the 1 minute chord changes because that's what actually helps you get better. Master the F chord. (I was really good at doing this at the start of the year but it got put by the wayside when I got busy.  I did get a lot better at the F chord though.)
#3 Level self up physically (by continuing to do daily jogs or situps) and mentally (by reading at least 30 new books in 2013). (Done. Though I've been slack on the jogging.)

New resolutions for 2014:
#1 Stay happy, busy and focused after I quit working full time. Do not slide into emo uselessness.
#2 Move overseas for at least a year. No chickening out!
#3 Stay active and fit.
#4 Learn and become familiar with at least 10 family recipes before moving overseas.

Rest of the survey under the cut )



lishesquex: (xena - looking down)
I kind of just want to spend the evening reading rather than reflecting (which can descend into emo-brooding) but this "Year in Review" thing has become a bit of an LJ tradition for me.  Also, I think this year is actually a good year to reflect on since I feel like I've made some important decisions and accomplished some good things, so it would be a shame to let the year slip past without some kind of acknowledgment.

January: I spent January absolutely pining for McKinley. I became super fit and played guitar everyday and subsequently got a lot better at it. I also wrote a lot of poetry and painted some things, which helped release some of the ~*~feelings~*~. I started bike riding regularly after taking out my old bike from the garage.  I also started tutoring a private student.  Finally finished reading the Lord of the Rings books after starting and giving up many times over about two years. Towards the end of January, I went to a Missy Higgins concert at the zoo with KF, who, sadly, I was no longer crushing on by that time.  Robin, an old high school acquaintance, tried to set me up with one of his friends but that didn't work out. Oh, and I did a First Aid course which work paid for in preparation for the school exchange trip. Also, I bought a chakram off eBay (actually two chakrams, but I've left chakram v2 in its box figuring I'll sell it one day).

February: February was basically a rollercoaster of feelings.  So many feelings.  I started off the month absolutely determined to let nothing stop me from wooing McKinley and, throughout the month, it seemed that I was succeeding in increments.  That resulted me in feeling like I was walking on clouds most of the time.  I felt invincible. Xin came back from the UK briefly and it was wonderful to see her again. I had several more dates with McKinley. I dreamed up the Avocado Plan and it worked. We kissed. I had even more feelings.  We walked around the city for hours on White Night holding hands, and the night and the city and everything felt surreal and impossible. Basically, ALL the feels.  Then I went away for a week on Year 7 camp.

March: On the last day of camp, and the first day of March, McKinley "broke up" with me - not that we were ever really dating, but there doesn't really exist any other vocabulary for it. Basically, she terminated (or attempted to) any hope of a romantic entanglement.  Obviously, traitorous heart that I have, I continued to pine and hope but with zero communication or anything to feed my delusional hopes beyond, well, delusions. I tried to cope through various means. Writing poetry. Getting on with life. Drinking myself to unconsciousness. Reading and writing more poetry. Alternating between desperately wanting to let her go and being completely unable to. I said goodbye to what was left of my pride and emailed her again. She emailed back, briefly. Towards the end of March, I flew off to China for the school exchange trip, which was probably a mercy.

April: The first few days of being in China, I was glad to be in another country and responsible for a bunch of students so that I would be sufficiently distracted.  By the second week, I was exhausted and feeling intensely lonely. The loneliness was mainly due to spending all my time with a bunch of adolescent "gui lao" (I mean this in a non-derogatory sense; it's the most accurate term I have for it) who were seeing China through a Western perspective, and it was constant reminder that I am not an Australian in the way that they are Australian. But I was also surrounded by Chinese language and culture and people who were, mostly, not my kind of Chinese. I realised again that I belong only in the liminal space between cultures. A child of Chinese immigrants almost thirty years out of date with mainland Chinese culture, able to speak a pidgin language that nobody else but my immediate family understands, and seen as an outsider by both cultures alike. Cultural loneliness aside, it was also rather lonely to be in a foreign country with a bunch of kids/teenagers with no adults other than the other exchange teacher to talk to.  At least there was one other adult. Anyway, I came back to Australia much less fit after all the feasting that went on, courtesy of our host school in China. I resumed work and went into Term 2 thoroughly exhausted from the trip and still not 100% over McKinley. This may aslo have been the month that Shanghai Mahjong Club formed - i.e., the very informal mahjong club which consists of me, [livejournal.com profile] tangledtale, Juliana and Alice.  We meet monthly to eat food and play mahjong.  Increasingly just food though. This club was a perfect remedy for my cultural loneliness because it's made up of Children of Shanghainese Immigrants, just like me.

May: I spent May alternating between intense Hermit Mode (basically trying to escape the world through video games, books and TV shows) and Buried In Work Mode, the latter being not by choice. Term 2 is a super crap term at the best of times, and this year the pressure was on because of my two rather demanding Year 12 classes. I was also A) exhausted from the exchange trip which had eaten up my Easter break and B) hating the world because of aforementioned reasons. So naturally, this turned out to be the month that I made the conscious decision to quit my job. My paper journal contains the following line: "It's been a hellish month. I've found no joy in my work and little solace in my distractions."

June: Life continued. I think I finally started coming out of Hermit Mode. Caught up with a few friends, including Robin, who asked me out on some dates, and because I had recently been all like "no fucks left to give ahahaha whatevs" I agreed and we actually had some acceptable times together. I also clocked up some 217 hours playing Civilisation V and taking over the world multiple times.

July: More life. I attempted to be more social and less emo. I held my second Table Top Game Night which was a success. I also had dinner at KF's along with coworker!Chris. I felt somewhat better about my job, having made the decision to quit.  Actually, that was also probably because half of July was school holidays.

August: I don't remember anything about this month except a lot of work.  I do remember being quite frustrated with annoying/demanding/unreasonable parents.  It merely affirmed my decision to quit, and to make sure that if I ever returned to teaching, it would be in the public sector. I returned the  "Teaching Intentions for 2014" form and indicated that I wouldn't be returning. In life aside from teaching, I discovered that Lucy Lawless would be performing in Chicago and I equivocated on whether or not I should take a short trip to NZ to see her. Oh wait, one cool thing that happened - I went to The Doors L.A. Woman Liner Notes with Jackie. It was mostly to see Missy Higgins, and I did see her (only two tables away!!! also she read out a poem about her first lesbian experience so that was great), but the other acts were also well worth seeing. 

September: I saw McKinley again in the September holidays. We went to Captains of Industry in the city for lunch. We talked, as friends do. She loaned me a book. I came home and wrote another poem. I got some more closure. About 75% closure'd.  [livejournal.com profile] tangledtale came over and she gave me an amazing set of Icelandic Sagas which I haven't had a chance to read yet but they make me happy every time I see them prettily sitting on my bookshelf. <3  Also hung out with Miriam and went to see [livejournal.com profile] warrior_cat's play, Shining Armour.  Also during the holidays, I cycled to the city for lunch with Lucia. Oh, and I had a lovely brunch with [livejournal.com profile] augustuscaesar. All in all, quite a productive month for catching up with friends.  I went on a rather flat date with a girl on OKCupid who, about five minutes after meeting her, I realised I wasn't into at all. We had lunch at Hofbrauhaus which was a poor, poor shadow of what I remember from my trip to Germany.  All in all, a dismal failure of a date, but that was okay too because I was pleased at myself for making the effort to meet new people. I bought a new bike after reaching my goal of cycling 1000km this year.

October: I don't remember October very well because I was too busy to keep much of a journal either here on LJ or in my paper journal.  I think I was mostly working a lot, in preparation for the Year 12 final exams. Oh, and I know that I wanted to get ahead with my report writing and whatnot in preparation for my sneaky side trip to NZ in the middle of exam season. I probably spent most of the month planning/booking for that holiday as well as solidifying my plans for what to do with my life next year.  I started letting various people at work know that I wouldn't be around next year and they were all super nice and wonderful about it, which made me simultaneously grateful for having such nice colleagues and sad that I would be leaving them.

November: Hands down the best month of the year, if also the most busy. I went to NZ with Robin. We went to Hobbiton, enjoyed the geothermal vistas and amazing food in Rotorua, saw Chicago which was a truly spectacular and thoroughly entertaining show, and to top it all off, I got to meet and have a real conversation with Lucy Lawless, who's only been, you know, the embodiment of my childhood hero for oh the last 17 years. I spent the rest of November working my butt off because I had applied to be a VCAA assessor for English Language (srs bsns, yo).  This involved marking 150 two hour exam papers in approximately 9 days outside of normal work hours. It was totally worth it for the experience though.  The extra money was also  not unwelcome. Nevertheless, I had a lovely birthday amidst all the exam marking carnage, mainly due to a wonderful coworker who "stitched me up" by getting the entire Year 7 cohort (about 153 odd students) to sing happy birthday to me.  The day was all the more special because it was Ancient Civilisations day so everyone was dressed up.  My class also won the Roman Military Drills and performed absolutely brilliantly in front of the principal and other head honchos of the school and generally did me proud.

December: The month of winding down. I enjoyed the last week or so of work because it was mainly just department and year level meetings. I had my last days in the crazy Year 7 office where I've been for the last four years. I'm going to miss the Year 7 team who, although loud and generally too outgoing and wild if you want to get any work done, has always been the most positive and fun people/office in perhaps the whole school. On our last day, we played downball/foursquare/handball on the court outside our building, like the students do, and I was rather pleased to hold the 'king' position for quite some time, having not fully lost my high school school handball skills.  The day after the staff Christmas lunch (the last day) all the Year 12 staff went back into work to pick up their classes' Year 12 results because the VCAA results were released then. I was stunned to find out that one of my students had achieved a perfect score of 50.  As far as I know, this is the first time it's been achieved in the history of the subject at our school.  I also had a number of other students achieve terrific results, no doubt "pulled up" by the top score due to VCAA's weird ranking system.  Anyway, it's very, very gratifying to know that one of my students has achieved a 50.  Whilst I had good results last year, and a 50 is nigh impossible to get, you always wonder at the back of your mind if it's something you're doing (or not doing) that is preventing students from achieving that kind of score.  Now I don't have to wonder anymore.  Also, I can probably hike up my tutoring fees.  :-D


So that's the year!  It was an interesting activity to type up the monthly summaries and remember what I was feeling back at the time  It had started out with so much promise, then became a total hell for a while before abruptly getting a whole lot better again.  I never would have thought back in March that I could be reflecting on the year in December and actual feel like it's been a successful one.

Priorities

Dec. 12th, 2013 08:21 pm
lishesquex: (buffy - faith this is life)
I'm at a really interesting time in my life right now.  I had originally planned on resigning but one of my coworkers said that I should apply for leave since the school would almost certainly keep me on.  So I did.  And yesterday I got a letter from the principal saying that I was granted leave until Jan 2015 but they would like to know by August next year if I intend on coming back.  So, yay, I have the flexibility of an open road that I currently need with the added bonus of knowing I can come back if I want to.

Pathways open to me currently:

- Travelling and then returning to Yarra to teach in 2015.
- Travelling and then returning to teach at a different school.
- Travelling and then leaving teaching altogether to do something different.
- Travelling and then staying in Europe somewhere to teach.
- Travelling and then coming back to study speech pathology.
- Travelling and then MOAR travelling.  (I have enough savings to do that if I really wanted)

Basically, I can do whatever the hell I want.  It's an amazing and terrifying feeling.

So. Interesting times. Which is why I think it's important to stop for a moment and think about what I really value in life. 

I'm borrowing this activity from [livejournal.com profile] augustuscaesar.

Values activity under the cut )

tl;dr, I need to work less and spend more time meeting new people, reconnecting with people I haven't spent much time with, and doing things that make me happy.

Good thing I've got a large portion of next year free to work on that. I think it's important that, after I finish travelling, I do go back to somewhere in Europe to live for a while because it will push me out of my comfort zone and make me meet new people. Hopefully I'll be able to find a job which lets me achieve a fairly balanced life too. I just realised, too, that my number one value/priority (Family) is such a strong number one that it tends to eclipse the other things on my list.  By getting away for a year, I might be able to focus more on the other ones on my list that sorely need attending to.
lishesquex: (xena - xena on argo)

Wow, this month has been intense.

The highlights of this month included:

- Going to NZ and meeting Lucy Lawless (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
- VCAA exam marking
- Turning 27

I haven't yet really written much about NZ on here and I don't think I'll have time to go into heaps of detail.  But here's an album of pictures for those interested.  For those who want the short version: I decided to take a day off work and go to NZ for a long weekend to see Michael Hurst's Chicago. It is, perhaps, the only trip I've ever had in which everything has gone 100% right and there was absolutely zero disappointment or disaster in anything that happened. The longer version is as follows:

Our first destination after touching down in Auckland at approximately 5:30 am on Saturday morning was a long drive to Hobbiton.  It was pretty awesome as a first stop because it's just like phraawwrr LOTR scenery! The food at the cafe was great too.  My only gripe was that Hobbiton itself was a little too packed and touristy at times.  It would have been amazing if there were fewer people and we could just take our time wander about, but there was always a rushed feel to it. 

The Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland was our second stop. It wasn't as fangirl!excitement as Hobbiton but probably better value overall because the views were stunning and, by the time we went in the afternoon, there were very few other people there.  So we got to walk the trails at our own pace and just enjoy the beautiful New Zealand landscape.  I was lucky because Robin did all the driving so I didn't even have to worry too much about finding these places.  I'd planned out our stops beforehand, printed out a bunch of maps, brought along my GPS which has maps of NZ as well as Australia, and left it to Robin to get us to our destination. 

We stayed overnight at Rotorua, ate dinner at a gorgeous cafe/restaurant called Capers Epicurean where the waitresses had rainbow flags pinned on their apron things and were incredibly friendly. The next morning, we did the Rotorua Canopy Tour which, for me, topped both Hobbiton and Wai-o-Tapu.  Zip lining across the top of hundred year old trees and all that. It was the most expensive out of the three activities though.  I think what pushed it from a great experience to an amazing experience was the friendliness of the guides. At that point, Robin and I basically decided that Kiwis are just plain nicer than Australians.

After the Canopy Tour, we stopped by a Wendy's for a mandarin orange salad which I had fond memories of from the last time I was in NZ, but it wasn't quite the same.  Then we drove back to Auckland, checked into our hotel, and got ready to see Chicago.

I can't even begin to describe how amazing Chicago was.  First of all, the venue was incredible.  It was quite a small stage with four sides to it.  We were seated right in the middle of the front row on one side.  So I basically got to see all the action (including Lucy Lawless action!) from about 1 metre away.  There was one part of the show where Lucy (who was playing Velma) was swinging around a red whip and it almost hit me.  Oh man, it would have been kind awesome if it HAD hit me.  But anyway.  During the interval I asked one of the seat-pointer-outers (ushers?) if I could take a picture of the stage, and she was like "sorry, nope".  And I figured maybe she misunderstood me and though I wanted a pic of the actual performance when I just wanted a picture of the empty stage, so I asked another guy, and he was like "Sorry nope, no pictures at all.  But if you want a picture with the performers, they'll head out to the bar after the show" and I was like O.O  *HEAD EXPLODES KABOOM*  Because up until that point, I hadn't even entertained the thought that there would be even a minuscule chance that I could meet Lucy. Robin had said a couple of times on the drive there that our quest was to get me to meet Lucy, but I was like NO. WE ARE NOT MEETING LUCY. DON'T EVEN TRY TO GET MY HOPES UP.  So yeah. That's when everything changed.

After the show, I grabbed Robin and bolted for the bar and then asked the bar wench there really intensely EXCUSEME, CANYOUTELLMEWHERETHEPERFORMERSUSUALLYCOMEOUTFROMANDWHERESHOULDIWAIT? and she as like >.> uhh.... if you just hang around, they MIGHT show up. I mean, on all the nights I've worked here, I've only seen them come out maybe twice?  And I was like OH MAN IF LUCY DOESN'T COME OUT, I AM GOING TO BE THE SADDEST PERSON IN THE WORLD.  A few minutes passed. Hope diminished. I pulled out fifty bucks and was about to buy a margarita.  Stood in line. Then some random stranger who had obviously overheard my crazy fangirl stalking discussion earlier was like whispering loudly "she's right in front of you!" and I totally didn't even register that because I guess my head was in some weird dreamy place.  But then Robin was like "Dude, SHE'S RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU", and I turned slightly to the right and saw that Lucy had just purchased two glasses of wine about 2m away from me. But she was talking to someone else.  So I waited until she finished talking to the other person and was like UM EXCUSE ME HI COULD I BOTHER YOU FOR A MOMENT

Actually, I typed up the conversation for Ruth when I messaged her all about this right after the event, so I'm just gonna paste that conversation here:

Conversation with LL under the cut )



I'm sure there were other bits that I've forgotten because toomanyfeels, but that was the gist of it.  Basically, my overall impression of the meeting confirmed my suspicions that Lucy is the nicest person ever who is just amazing and wonderful to her fans. I really appreciate that she took the time to actually have a conversation with me.  It never felt for a moment, while I was talking to her, that she felt bothered or bored or wanting to go do something else. 

I still sometimes feel all weird thinking "wow, I've actually met her".  It was so indescribably strange to meet her and to watch her perform live, because it all seemed so familiar.  Because I've watched so many hours of Xena. Seen so many images and screensavers and wallpapers and icons of Xena. Read and written fanfiction describing how she looks, detailing all her idiosyncratic mannerisms and body language. Since I was 8 or 9, the image of a blue-eyed, brass-clad warrior woman has been engraved in my mind. And that night, I met the woman who holds her likeness.  It was utterly, utterly surreal.  I walked out of that bar feeling like anything in the world was possible.

Monday was also pretty amazing for reasons I won't go into here, but we ended up spending the last few hours of the trip in Auckland Museum (coincidentally fitting since it was the 11th of November). And then it was an uneventful flight back home and back to work.

***

Oh man, work. Yesterday was basically my first day off since getting back from NZ.  The weekend after, I had to attend a Training Day at the VCAA centre in Coburg from whence I brought home 150 English Language exams.  Every moment since then has been either working at school during the day or marking at home during the evening. Despite the fact that choosing to be an Assessor this year has meant that I've lost two weeks of my life to nothing but marking, it's been a pretty good experience. I enjoyed the Training Day because it confirmed that I was doing a lot of things right and all my marks were about on par with the Chief Assessor. Reading the first 30-40 exams was even quite fun because I had some hilarious essays and interesting examples in my batch.  It started to drag a bit after the first 40 though.  I now have 13 left, so two or three hours more of solid marking tomorrow and I will be done.

***

Last Friday I turned 27. This year, my birthday happened to fall on Ancient Civilisations Day which was awesome because I always love dressing up for that day. My co-worker, Andrew, stitched me up by unexpectedly asking the entire Year 7 cohort to sing me Happy Birthday. So I had about 150 Ancient Romans, Egyptians, Greeks, a couple of medieval footmen in the wrong era, and a lone conquistador all singing happy birthday to me.  I don't think I'll ever get another birthday experience quite like that.  To make it even better, my class performed brilliantly when we went out onto the oval to do the military drills and formations.  The Principal, the Head of both Middle and Senior Schools, the head of Humanities and a whole bunch of other people were there to witness my class completely own all the others in terms of cohesion, discipline and celerity. Good job, kids.

Here's a picture:



I also had heaps of compliments for my costume, which I enjoyed.  It was a pretty great day.

***

Yesterday I had an impromptu gathering of a couple of friends who came over to watch some Xena and play Hobbit Scrabble.  But we ended up only peripherally watching Xena and instead played Munchkin (a new card game Rianna bought me) instead.  Miriam baked me a cake which I am going to go eat more of now.

Oh, and I also watched Thor 2 yesterday after wandering around Chadstone with Rianna picking up free things (Nando's, Boost, Baskins and Robbins ice cream) because it was my birthday and people give you free things. I really loved Thor 2, and I can fully understand why all of Tumblr basically loves Loki.

So that's been November this year.  Much more hectic than previous Novembers.  I think I like it that way.
lishesquex: (Default)

This is just a quick post to say that

I MET LUCY LAWLESS OH YEAHHH

Pic here )



I will post all the details later once I get some sleep.  I basically got back home at midnight last night, got to bed at 1am and got up 5 hours later for a rather hectic day at work.

It's been a day full of secret smiles though.

Once this current exam busy period is over (in late November), I am going to indulge myself in rewatching ALL the Xena episodes again. Who wants to join me?

Memory

Oct. 9th, 2013 09:17 pm
lishesquex: (voyager - only slightly lost)
Wrote this a while ago in 2008 as a prose piece. Rewrote it today to become poetry so that I can submit it to a place. What the hell, right?

///

Tell me, can the yearning for something

ever become so heavy, so dense, that

                it crystallises

and makes the wished for

the longed for

the ached for

exist again?

And you say:

Imagine the vacuum of eternity;

Far too empty and far too cold.

It is held in the physics of yearning,

Cradled in space, stretched across time.

And in that universe,

The wishing is hydrogen

The wanting, helium,

And longing

Is the fusion that fuels the stars.

The hard iron ache

Will never leave.

Supernova breakdowns pepper

The vast expanses with platinum shrapnel.

And in all the many worlds,

Carbon recollection leaves its mark:

Filling your mouth with ashes;

Blinding your eyes with diamonds.

 

And what if it never was? I say.

 

The neurons travelled the path

Of that narration so many times

That imagination is made

A memory.


///




lishesquex: (iconomicon - dancing R2)
I had a chat with McKinley today on Facebook and she gave me more information on Prague.

So today I am leaning more towards teaching in Prague because A) it will be an ~adventure~, B) it's a fairly central place so it's not like I couldn't visit Germany, Norway or the UK (which were my other options), C) the cost of living there is much lower than the aforementioned places and therefore I could spend less time working and more time exploring, D) Public transport is good and also very cheap

What do you think, guys?

Obviously, it will come down to what jobs are available and which place is easier to find a job for/get a residency permit/working visa for. But in terms of where I should direct my energies, what do you think I should do?

[Poll #1937391]

///

In other news, I am now marking ALL the SACs because, of course, I left them to the last minute again. I will never learn. I actually need to get up for work in like 6 hours and there are 6 SACs left (about 2 hours worth of marking). Urk.

///

Oh, and lastly, Jeanette found me this interesting LARPing group in Melbourne which I want to join. The thing is, I'm actually approaching my super busy season with work. The next month is going to be insane, and I won't have time to be making armour and learning archery and designing my character. I also found a group for elves. Apparently they meet every couple of months to do things like read poetry in starlight and learn to tan hides and make fires and sail ships and learn Elvish. This also sounds like a thing I want to do. Anyone want to join me (when I have time to LARP and be an elf, that is)?
lishesquex: (iconomicon - choices)

So I've spent all evening researching overseas teaching jobs.  I started off in Norway, discovered that Norway only wants engineers, moved onto Prague and a few other places in Eastern Europe, then looked at a whole bunch of British international schools, found a jobs forum for TEFL and even looked at a few jobs in Asia (China and Japan).

This is what I discovered:

- Thanks to European bureaucracy, it is hard to get a job teaching English in a European country unless you already live there and/or have an EU passport.
- I could just move to a place like Prague or something and try to make it doing private tutoring and randomly trying to find a language school etc, but that feels very risky.
- The price of hostels in Prague is more expensive than Istanbul.
- To share an apartment in Prague is something like 7,500-11,000 CRK.  The cheapest I found, 7,500 per month works out to be $420 AUD.  Not too bad, but don't know what other living expenses will be.  Teaching in a language school in Prague only gets me something like 250 CRK per hour ($14 AUD, ouch). 
- Teaching at a British international school looks a lot like teaching at Yarra Valley Grammar. Do I really want to lengthen my current experience in another country?  (Not really, unless it's Norway or elsewhere in Scandinavia - I bookmarked all the international schools in Norway, about 6 of them, including one in Trondheim.  Will keep an eye out for job postings next year.)
- A lot of jobs in China and a few in Japan.  Do not really want to move to China.  Certainly not for the measly 15000 Yuan they're offering. Would consider moving to Japan for a year but the salary is just too low - only half of what I'm making now.  I would take a 50% salary loss for a move to a country I'd love to live in, but those are all in Europe.
- Would actually considering working in Prague for $14 and just break even for the year, except that Czech is not actually a language I'm interested in learning.  Much more interested in a German or Russian.
- There are actually a few listings for teaching English in Russia.  Rather tempted and then wonder if I'm insane for even considering it given the current level of bad-things-happening-to-gays there. Also the one I looked at only offered about $1300 AUD a month which is again too paltry a sum for me to consider seriously.
- I am now looking at NGOs because I can't handle a 50% reduction in salary but I can handle doing something for free - I'm weird like that.



Edit: Finally found a useful article in an expat forum about how to go about getting a proper teaching job (as opposed to a shitty one for high school graduates with a TESOL certificate but no actual teaching experience or degree) in Germany.  Will bookmark this and seriously consider it for next year!



[Edit 2: Ack, just looked at the date and it's an article from 2003. Hmm, wonder if the same situation still applies 10 years later.]

[Edit 3: Just randomly applied to a job for an Arabic translation/TEFL company in the UK. The job called for 3 years experience as a teacher. Obvs I'm not ready to move overseas yet as I'll be working until April next year, but I'm just seeing if I'll get a response with my current resume and there is always negotiationz to be had.]
lishesquex: (Default)

Miriam's Wedges

Use red rascal potatoes

Peel and cut into wedges
Chuck into big bowl
Add olive oil to coat
Add paprika, curry powder and cumin
Add salt and mix
Stir until all potato wedges are coated
Sprinkle with dried parsley flakes
Spread out on tray
Put in oven for 25-30 min at 230 degree







Untitled

Sep. 27th, 2013 02:32 am
lishesquex: (iconomicon - love is a snap)
I'll feast my eyes if not my lips
And take from today what I may.
I'll learn to follow the script.

And I have what six months equips
Me with, on this windy September day;
I'll feast my eyes if not my lips.

I think I might finally come to grips
With this levelheaded way.
I'll learn to follow the script.

What absence bloomed can now be fixed;
We still have much to say.
I'll feast my eyes if not my lips.

This wildweed dream I'll trim with snips
Till longing is whittled away
By learning to follow the script.

Though slow I rise from this eclipse,
I was glad to see you today.
I'll feast my eyes if not my lips
And I'll learn to follow the script.


~///~


Took the structure from a Marilyn Hacker poem, "Villanelle: Late Summer".  And now that this poem is out of my head, I can finally go to sleep.

PS I know the constant repetition of "And I'll learn to follow the script" kind of it makes it seem like I'm just trying to convince myself and I'm not /actually/ over her, but it's all right guys, poetry is always usually an overblown magnification of a single germ of feeling/idea.  I think I'm safely recovered.  But I didn't want to let the feels go to waste when I could wrangle a good poem out of it.
lishesquex: (Default)

I saw McKinley again today.  We had lunch and then talked for about five hours before she suddenly realised she was late to work and had to rush off.

Ah man.  She is still so, so beautiful.  I still love spending time with her and just watching her talk and laugh.  But I think I have some closure.  And that is a very good thing.

She remembered to bring the book that she told me about and which I said I wanted to borrow like six months ago.  I was happy that she remembered, because I was beginning to write that book off as something I'd never get to read (it's out of print and rather hard to find).  So yay book. 

It turns out that she is now back together with the ex, Oliver, who she had been pining over when we first met and started dating.  I said congratulations.  I think I mostly mean it.  I am certainly happy for her, if not for Oliver.

I think I've also finally accepted that she is probably too free spirited for me, as a long term relationship option.  It's a quality that I find incredibly attractive, because it's so much the opposite of how I normally operate.  I am a planner, and an organiser, and I like stability.  She is someone who is not bound by responsibility or the material things of the world, who is happy to go where life takes her, and finds freedom in poverty.  I want to own my own home one day and do the whole family thing, if possible.  She finds a mortgage to be too much like a prison.  It would never work.  But, given the chance, I think I would still like to drift with her a while, if I could.  I know, I'm dreaming.

Anyway.  She is back together with her ex.  We had good friendship!talks.  Her parting words, as she ran for her tram, was that we should catch up again soon.  I also told her at some point today that cycling to Collingwood/Abbotsford is not an overly difficult thing to do.  So maybe I will cycle there one day and we can have smashed avocado at the breakfast place near her house that has the best smashed avocado in Melbourne.  We have been playing Words With Friends and Facebook messaging each other about Hemingway and cats. 

This is a better place than before.

Mostly... mostly I'm just glad to see her again.

lishesquex: (iconomicon - dancing R2)
It has been a busy but good weekend.  On Saturday I went for a bike ride with Jeanette, then spent the evening playing clicky browser games on Kongregate and watching The Tudors. 

Today I took my dad (and the rest of the family) out for yum cha because it was Father's Day.  I then went for an easy jog/walk (a jwalk?) because the weather was a perfect sunny 25 degrees for the first day of Spring. After helping to paint our new window frame (mmm paint fumes), I drove to Alice's place for our monthly Shanghai Mahjong Club mahjong.  She cooked us steak and perfect mashed potatoes.

Alice's Mashed Potato recipe:

1. Peel potatoes
2. Boil potatoes until the water is mostly evaporated
3. Mash the potatoes with a fork or some other proper mashing implement
4. Warm/heat the milk in the microwave
5. Add milk (or cream) and butter
6. Serve with truffle oil

We also had a perfume sniffing orgy (a snorgy?).  My wrist smells really good right now, although not as good as Jackie's.  Note to self: Buy a bottle of Arquiste's Aleksandr fragrance when you feel like splurging on yourself.
lishesquex: (Default)
"I think it's an experience we've all had.  You say, "Oh, yes, I did something terrible, I lament it.  I'm not going to do anything about it.  I've now expressed my guilt.  The end." That happens all the time.  But the crime isn't over when you express your guilt.  You did something wrong, it had consequences.  What are you going to do about it?  Guilt can be a way of preventing action.  You comfort yourself by saying, "Look how noble I am.  I confessed that I did something wrong, and now I'm free."  -- Noam Chomsky
lishesquex: (iconomicon - mirrors lie to cats)
The last few days I've been mulling over the general feeling that, as I get older, everything becomes more faded and bland.  I don't feel half so strongly as I used to about people, ideals... everything.  It's been a while since I felt that fangirl "squee" feeling, definitely.  And as for people that I care about, I feel like that group is shrinking.  I wish it weren't, but I just feel so disconnected from everyone.  I don't even really confide in my LJ anymore.

This is an attempt to reconnect a little, even if it's just with LJ.

Today I had a student teacher teach one of my classes for the first time.  It was interesting, and slightly uncomfortable to watch.  She was good.  Probably better than 80% of student teachers out there.  But it was still kind of awkward, because she hasn't yet learned how to project her own authority and kept looking to me to affirm what she was saying and doing.  The kids can smell that from a mile away.  She also went at a much slower pace than I usually do and I watched a couple of stronger students start to get bored and restless.  My Year 7s are generally very well behaved, and they still were for this lesson, but the two strongest personalities were away today as well as about 6 other students, so it'll be more challenging when there's a full compliment.  It was weird, too, because it made me realise how confident I've grown as a teacher, and made me recognise skills I have in classroom management that come so naturally now I take them for granted.

Whilst I was on yard duty today, I had a random girl come up to me and ask if I was the Year 12 English Language teacher.  I said yes and she introduced herself and said I'd probably teach her next year, and that English Language was her favourite subject.  The whole thing made me really sad that I'm leaving.  I hope they get a good replacement.

I bought two tickets to a Melbourne Writers Festival event today, and ended up emailing McKinley. I offered her the other ticket, because I know it's the kind of thing she'd be interested in.  Anyway, I wrote a short email and hit send before I could think too much about it.  She replied quickly, to her credit, but could not make it due to prior plans.  At least we are sort of back in email communication. I declined her invitation to see her friend's bands after my MWF thing, but asked if she wanted to catch up for coffee at some point in the future. 

Some of you are probably going NO LISH, NOOOO.  In fact, Rianna was in my room as I was composing the email and she was like NO too. But it makes no difference.  Without emailing her, or being in any kind of contact with her, I was still stuck.  I have been stuck here in this emotional space for six months.  It can't get any worse than where I've already been.
lishesquex: (alias - close my eyes bw)
Today was a semi-frustrating day at work, again due to unnecessary meetings with parents.  I don't even want to go into it.

But there was a cool thing.  The cool thing was that I had lunch with the library staff and the visiting author, Myke Bartlett.  In the session he had with my class, he talked about "The Hero's Journey", which was interesting.  In my head, I was applying it to my forever-unwritten Viking story.  One day, I will write it.  In the mean time, here is a diagram:



He used lots of pop culture references like Star Wars and LOTR and Harry Potter to explain it to the kids.  They were young enough for Harry Potter but I think I was the only one who was geeking out about the other stuff.

Anyway, I enjoyed lunch with Myke and the librarians.  They're my kind of people.  It was nice to step into a different world for a while and take a breather.
lishesquex: (voyager - resistance is futile)
Super quick update to say that I love Orange Is the New Black.  If you haven't watched it already, GO WATCH IT.
lishesquex: (Gro hammerseng - victory fist)
Yay game night was a success.  [livejournal.com profile] junet_, [livejournal.com profile] tangledtale, [livejournal.com profile] warrior_cat and Miriam (I forget her LJ name since she so rarely uses it) came over for table top gaming funs.  We played Small World.  Other games had been planned but sadly we didn't get onto them because taking over the world, albeit a small one, took rather a long time.  I had a lot of fun mocking Jackie's Diplomatic Orcs and running around with my Seafaring Elves.  The Spirited Rats and the Dragon Master Amazons were the two other highlight combinations of the evening.

Jeanette won of course - that was pretty clear from the beginning.  But I snuck in with a close second place after everyone underestimated me with my forgotten dwarves and down-trodden halflings.  Muahahaha.

I also managed to fit in grocery shopping, a 27km bike ride, and some frenzied house cleaning today so I feel rather accomplished.  Holidays are almost over though, which is rather depressing.  Back to work on Monday for another long slog.  *sigh*  Well, to look on the bright side, at least Term 3 is only 9 weeks long.  And then it's the home stretch from there.

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