lishesquex: (xena - comic)
So nearly a month on from my second interview at Ruyton, the school has finally let me know they'll be appointing someone else for 2017 - someone with experience teaching Year 12 English.

There was the initial surge of hurt from the feeling of rejection, though it wasn't really a shock to me. I've been wanting this outcome anyway, as I've increasingly grown frustrated with the structures within Ruyton. So the upset-feeling that lodged inside me and made it difficult to speak was surprising and confusing. But now I've worked through that and I'm fine. There was a lot of support from Jason and Tim, the other newbies this year (who are also leaving next year). They know how hard I've worked, and they know it's bullshit that the school will let me teach Year 12 Classics with no prior experience but not Year 12 English. The amount of rage I feel about this is considerable. I try not to think too deeply about it.

Anyway, mostly I'm just glad to know what's happening with my life now. I can finally start looking forward instead of being forced to dwell in the rather miserable present.

The thing about Ruyton I'll miss most are my students. I've developed a really good rapport with my form class in particular and it will be sad to leave them.

Spring has done wonders for my brain. I started feeling better around the time the cherry blossoms appeared. I'm still exhausted because it's the end of Term 3 but the exhaustion is no longer tinged with hopelessness. Today the sky is blue and vast and it reminds me of all the possibilities out there.

Next Monday I'm going to Thailand to meet up with Ruth and Nora. I booked the trip two days ago in a kind of 'fuck it' mood and I'm really glad I did. There will be loads of marking waiting for me upon my return, and the job hunt will have to begin in earnest after that. But I'm looking forward to leaving Melbourne/Ruyton/winter/real life behind for a while and connecting with the world again.
lishesquex: (xena - comic)
Just saw this on a friend's Facebook page. Ridiculously accurate. Bolding/underlining things that currently apply.

INFJ – The Counselor

What stresses out an INFJ:
– Having to focus too much on sensory/concrete details
– An overload of sensory stimulation or noise
– Interruptions
– Distress within a close relationship
– Having their values violated
– Not enough alone time. Too much extraverting.
– Working with closed-minded people
– Lack of appreciation or understanding

– Unfamiliar environments with overwhelming amounts of details
– Having plans disrupted
– Not having a clear direction
– Lack of harmony
– Criticism and conflict
– Not being able to use their intuition or envision the future
– Having to focus too much on the present

When under stress, the INFJ feels fragmented or lost. They feel like they can’t be themselves, and feel an urge to act a part to “survive” or fit in. This disassociation can cause physical symptoms for the INFJ, like headaches, IBS, or nausea. The repressed feelings they’re holding onto can cause them to become immobilized. If they are under chronic extreme stress, they may fall into the grip of their inferior function, extraverted sensing. When this happens, they may engage in indulgent, self-destructive habits like binge-eating, cutting, over-exercising, alcoholism, or excessive pornography use. This often feels like an out-of-body experience to them. What they do provides no pleasure, but feels somewhat robotic and out of control. After this occurs, they dwell in self-hatred, falling even more into guilt over what they’ve done. They may become uncharacteristically angry and quick-tempered, unreasonable, and irrational. They may become obsessed with details in their outer world; obsessively cleaning or doing housework. They stumble over their words, and their intense feelings eventually lead them to a state of complete exhaustion.


Link here: http://psychologyjunkie.com/2015/08/02/how-each-mbti-type-reacts-to-stress-and-how-to-help/

lishesquex: (Default)
So I've been at RGS for a week now and here are my first impressions:

- Whoa the principal is kind of hot
- Whoa the students are really keen!
- The students say "thank you" after every lesson which is really sweet <3
- The students just do the work. Like... you tell them to do X and they just DO IT. How is this even a real place?
- It was easier than expected to slip back into my super-confident-and-charismatic work persona
- The school has anti-homophobia posters up around the senior school YAY
- When a kid comes across an Anton Chekhov quote in a magazine article, they're not like "Whodat", instead they're like "Oh didn't he write the play we performed with Scotch last year?"

You may already be picking up a snob element and you would be right. Here are some more negative observations:

- There are students here who will look up your LinkedIn profile and turn their noses up at you if your CV isn't impressive enough
- If your first lesson is not academically rigorous, kids here will complain to their parents, and you will be called into the principal's office to attend a meeting with the parents, the principal and the Dean of English (this did not happen to me but it happened to someone else)
- There is a system called SEQTA on which you have to upload your basic lesson outlines and any resources you give the kids/homework after EVERY LESSON. The parents check. The school principals check. This is time-consuming af.
- I got moved out of my normal room for Year 12 Classics which was really devastating for various reasons both logistical and curriculum-related. So I emailed and phoned the Director of Studies (person in charge of timetables, rooms, extras and yard duties - you do not want to piss her off) to try and keep our room but she was like "I can't help you". So then I had a meeting with the VP in charge of curriculum and she said she'd either try to get our original room back or install an Apple TV in the new room we've been moved to. I hope I haven't pissed off the Director of Studies.
- There's a lot of meetings. A lot.
- PRESSURE. SO MUCH PRESSURE. I get the very strong feeling that if you don't bring your A-game 24/7, people will notice.

The good thing is that because I'm a conscientious little perfectionist, people have been noticing good things. I've gotten random praise/good feedback from the Year Level Coordinator and the Vice Principal already. Of course, the VP's comment was like "I talked to some of your Year 12 girls and asked them how they were going and they were really positive... raving about how you're a real expert and how enthusiastic you are." I was like "hah, I'm not an expert by any means" and she said "of course, but as long as the girls think you are..." Anyway, the point is, the school asks your students about how you're doing. That is kind of terrifying.

So for the forseeable future it's going to be 12-hour days and working on Saturday afternoons.

On the bright side, The 100 Season 3 Episode 3 was fucking amazing and the Supercat fandom is still wonderful and heart-warming. Life is pretty good.

SUPERCAT

Jan. 6th, 2016 12:31 pm
lishesquex: (supercat)
Yesterday I took Kitteh to the vet for her annual injections and check up. Her weight is good; her teeth are good. I am happy. The vet fee lightened my wallet somewhat but at least I'm getting a decent income from tutoring at the moment. My new job starts on January 25th and I am very conscious of the time passing. Other than tutoring, I've just been trying to stay fit and do all my Classics reading. I finished The Odyssey yesterday. Surprisingly, I found I liked The Iliad a LOT more, despite the fact that it took me only three days to read the The Odyssey (compared to three weeks for the latter.) Sure Achilles is kind of whiny, but Odysseus is a douchey hypocrite. Anyway. Next up is Apology in 'The Last Days of Socrates' by Plato.

So what else is new with me? SUPERCAT, THAT'S WHAT.

In the new lingo of the fangirls on Tumblr, I am 'trash' for Supercat. What is Supercat, you may ask? It's a femslash ship pairing Kara Danvers (Supergirl) and Cat Grant (her boss and the Queen of All Media). I haven't shipped a pairing this hard since... I don't know, maybe even T/7 back in the day, with Star Trek: Voyager. In the last week, I've gone and read every single half-way decent fic on AO3 and followed half a dozen new tumblrs. And last night, I finally started writing my first fan-fiction since 2003. Jesus Christ I'm old.

Guys, I'm really, really, REALLY excited about this ship and this show.

Seriously, just look how gay this gifset is
lishesquex: (voyager - only slightly lost)
Looks I'm going to be updating my LJ a bit more regularly, thanks to Habitica (Your Life the Role Playing Game).  One of my dailies is to either practise guitar or write in my journal. And today I didn't practise guitar...

It's a Sunday evening, three weeks since I left London.  Today I went for a 5km run and finished under 40 minutes.  I thought it was my best time but apparently Runkeeper says it's my 8th fastest run. I felt good the whole time though.

What I feel less good about is the uncertainty in my life right now.  I don't feel in control of my own destiny.  I should just relax and play some video games since my life is pretty easy right now (living at home, no need to do shopping/cooking etc), but I feel guilty when I'm not actively doing something productive.

So far, I've applied for two jobs.  Korowa hasn't called me back so I guess they're not interested. I might have a better chance with Ruyton since Danielle (my first ever Head of English who left Yarra only a year later) recommended me.

I should be looking for more but it's easy to sit back now that I'm pretty sure I've secured an interview and just pin all my hopes on that. Bad idea though.  Thing is, I'm not certain where I'll be living until Wednesday night, which is when I'm going to meet Ben, the third house mate in the Potentially Moving to Brunswick situation.

Today was Father's Day - we were going to take Dad out for yum cha but he decided we should go next week instead when all the restaurants are less busy.  Instead, he invited a whole bunch of guests over and cooked a big feast.  I babysat an 11 year old kid by (kind of) showing her how to play Hearthstone. I also beat her soundly at chess.  (I don't believe in coddling little children and making them feel smart by deliberately losing everything.)  Mum is currently in China sorting out financial things since the Australian dollar is so weak currently.

Also, it's Spring!  You know it's really spring when Kitteh starts bringing home dead things.
lishesquex: (voyager - only slightly lost)
I guess it's time for an update. It's been so long and my feed is so empty these days I keep feeling like there's not much point.

So I went on my big Eurotrip 2014 and now I'm back. But I'm leaving for London in a week and a half, and that's kinda scary.

The big things to have happened recently:

1) I resigned from YVG (where I worked the last 5 years - my first real job)
2) I got a job at a school in London. It's just a one term contract but that suits me fine because I want to do supply teaching after that so I can travel more. The school is a Charedi Jewish Girls' School in Stamford Hill.

I'm about 7 books behind in my "Read 50 books this year" Goodreads challenge and I don't think living in London is going to leave me much time for reading. Then again, there will be long commutes to work, so I guess there is hope yet. I finished reading Neil Gaiman's Sandman series which I borrowed from Jackie and they were amazing. I named my Warlock deck on Hearthstone "Morpheus" as a tribute.

Just finished watching Orange Is The New Black S2 and I loved the ending. Can't wait for Season 3.

I've been feeling kind of flat for a while now, and I'm not sure what it is. Could still be travel tiredness, or winter blues, or just the fact that I'm in this weird in-between space right now, waiting to move to a new country but not there yet. It may be covering up a whole lot of anticipation and fear, but I'm just not feeling all that much.
lishesquex: (voyager - only slightly lost)
I'll be leaving for Europe in exactly a month. Here's my itinerary in brief:

8 June Flying
9 June - 14 June Prague
14 June - 18 June Berlin
18 June - 24 June Lyon
24 June - 26 June Paris
26 June - 4th July London
4th July - 7th July Rome
7th July - 10th July Florence
10th July - 12th July Venice
13th July Dubrovnik
14th July Corfu
15th July Katakolon
16th July Santorini
17th July Ephesus
18th July - 24th July Istanbul
25th July - Flying

All the connections, hostels/hotels and such have been booked now so it's all very real.  I found that as I planned each section of the trip, I got super excited about that part.  I'm excited about Prague because I'll be by myself in a brand new city, and the hostel I booked seems really cool/interesting and I look forward to meeting fellow travellers and being brave and spontaneous and outgoing for a while.  I'm excited about Berlin because it'll be nice to see Daria again and I've booked an apartment, so, in a way, it'll be a little experiment in living by myself in a foreign city for a few days.  I'm excited about Lyon because I'll get to hang out with Ingrid and we'll enjoy each other's company regardless of what we do. I'm excited about Paris because it'll be Rianna's first time in a European city and I'll enjoy her amazement, and we'll both enjoy the pastries. I'm excited about London because I remember falling in love with the city when I was there all too briefly two years ago; it felt like the centre of the world. And I'm doubly excited because I'll get to see Ruth and Xin again, two of my favourite people. Italy - I won't lie - right now I'm mainly excited about Italy because I'm dreaming of all the food, especially the gelato, that I'm going to eat. And I'm excited about the cruise because it'll be nice to relax after all the overland travelling, and mum will be there and I want to share in her amazement because it'll be her first time in Europe too. And I'm excited about Istanbul because it's Constantinople and it's Byzantine and it'll be spectacularly different from any other city I've been to, I think.

After all of this, I'll be coming back home for a month and then, in late August, I will very likely be heading back to Europe - this time to stay for a year.  ANZUK contacted me after I sent them my CV and they're very keen for me to work in London as either a Supply Teacher (British-speak for Casual Relief Teacher) or in a long term position. Apparently my five years experience is rare and in high demand over there.  I'm still not 100% certain what I want to do.  A part of me still wants to go with the original plan of teaching in a language centre in a non-English speaking European country like Berlin, which has the benefit of being fairly cheap and central.  But I feel like London would be a much less lonely experience because I already have friends there, and I can make more because I'll speak the language, and there's so much of the UK I haven't been to that would be easy to get to on weekends.

I suppose if I hate CRTing in London schools, I can always try to find work at a language centre there instead, or make the move to Berlin or Prague.  I'll earn a lot less CRTing than I would in a long term position, but it gives me the flexibility to travel as much as I want. I suppose the only way a school could tempt me with a long term position like a 1 year contract would be if the salary could at least match what I'm getting at YVG, which would have to make it close to £45K. I'm not sure many schools can offer that much, unless they were an independent school, and then there would be a lot of pressure.  Another option is to take one of those CRT positions which are for a term - this would give me the initial stability of working in a single place while I get set up in London, and after that I could take it week by week or day by day. So many options. Charlotte (the ANZUK rep) is calling me back on Monday so I'll have to read over all the forms and documents she's sent me and make some kind of decision. 

I started writing this entry without knowing what I'd decide, but I think it's helped clear up a few things in my head. I will probably head for London in September and CRT in the schools.  If I like it, great. If I don't like it, I can always do something different/go somewhere else.  A year-long position isn't worth it because I'd get paid more here anyway, and the whole point is to travel and experience new things. I'll just have to be brave.

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.

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. 

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: (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: (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: (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.

Fun things

Jun. 10th, 2013 09:08 pm
lishesquex: (xena - comic)

Just once a year I'm a staunch royalist, i.e. every year on the Queen's Birthday holiday. God, I love long weekends.

Things I did this long weekend:

On Saturday, I rode my bike to the city and caught up with [livejournal.com profile] themongoose.  Had Irish pub fare for lunch at PJ O'Brien's.  Started reading the Scandinavia and the World comic, which is cute. 

On Sunday, I went for a 5km run and beat my personal record for distance and time.  Unf.  Then I watched one episode of Bomb Girls.  Can defs see the femslash potential there.  Then I went on a date with Robin, a high school acquaintance who has recently started Facebook messaging me and asking me out.  We watched Iron Man 3, which I enjoyed.  Anyone else shipping Pepper Potts and Maya Hansen (the botanist)?  Also, yes, Robin is a boy.  I'm indulging my sekrit bisexual side, shhh.  I have 0 feelings for him because I never have feelings for guys, but he's fairly attractive and fun to hang out with.  So that's going on.

Today I went on another bike ride with [livejournal.com profile] junet_ and bought an amazing Vegie Brekkie wrap for brunch from Trios.  Then I came home and played some Civ V.  I'm in the middle of my first game on Emperor difficulty and it's going quite well.  Inca was overtaking me on the scoreboard but then they made the mistake of waging war against me.  The war lasted from like 1100 AD to 1600 AD but I eventually captured two of their cities and put them back in their place. 

I'm also currently reading Moving Target by Melissa Good for the first time.  I've read all her other fics but somehow got a bit bored with the Dar and Kerry series after Terror of the High seas and never ended up reading the later ones.  So I'm giving this one a go and it's enjoyable in a light, fluffy kind of way but damn is it hard to be dieting and reading Melissa Good fanfic at the same time.  There is a description of delicious food every three pages I AM NOT KIDDING.  *twitch*

lishesquex: (Gro - defeat)

Life is all about distractions at the moment.

Here are my current distractions.

Gaming: Civilization V (92 hours logged already)

TV: Just finished catching up on Lost Girl, Spartacus: War of the Damned, Bones and Merlin. Now onto Vikings!  Also watching Game of Thrones weekly as it airs.

Books:
High-brow: Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World (Series of interviews with Noam Chomsky)
Super-low-brow: Blood Hunt by L.L. Rand (basically lesbian paranormal romance)

Podcasts:
Today I listened to the In Our Time podcasts on "Heart of Darkness" and "Inspiration and Genius" both of which were pretty interesting. Zomg, I just went to the site to link you guys and saw that the next one scheduled is on Icelandic Sagas YES.  Other ones that I've listened to recently on the drive to and from work:

- The Odyssey (4 stars)
- The Oresteia (5 stars)
- The Romantics (3 stars)
- The Sonnet (5 stars)
- Goethe (4 stars)
- Gothic (2 stars)
- Heart of Darkness (3 stars)
- Inspiration and Genius (4 stars)

(My star ratings are based on how good it is at making me completely forget about the traffic and focus on what they're talking about.)

No musical distractions because there are too many ~feelings~ involved in music.  Guitar practice has completely stalled because I can't bring myself to play anything.

Have also fallen off the exercise bandwagon temporarily becuase I'm sick with some flu thing and it's just not been getting better.  I know.  Excuses, excuses.

tldr; I have gone into complete Hermit Mode.  See you on the other side.

lishesquex: (buffy - faith this is life)
There are good days and bad days. Today was a good day despite only getting four hours sleep.

A student came into my office this morning to give me a present - a Noam Chomsky book that he came across while in the city. That was really nice. Then, all my classes went unexpectedly well, despite minimal planning. I think it's the lack of sleep - lets me cut loose or something. Things flow.

I practised guitar and piano, and the songs I'm currently learning are on the verge of being performance-ready, so I felt accomplished.

Tomorrow I'm teaching the Year 7s how to write poetry analyses. I made up some good worksheets for it today that I'm rather proud of. I shared them around with grateful colleagues. That felt nice.

Tomorrow I also have a meeting with the Deputy Principal and Head of English about last year's Year 12 results. Once upon a time I would have been nervous, but I find that I no longer am.

Tomorrow night I also have another meeting for all involved in the China Exchange program. There are too many meetings in my life. I still feel very disconnected from the fact that I'm taking 12 kids on exchange very very soon. I feel like I should be nervous about that as well, but I'm not.

I've been reading "Selected Poems 1965-1990" of Marilyn Hacker. I am envious of the way she can string words together effortlessly, almost casually, and still come up with these simple and piercing phrases every now and again.
lishesquex: (teaching)

Things are much better.  I think the emo from the last entry was mostly just stress.  I had a mountain of work to do this week and, now that I have gotten through it all, I feel lighter.

Today a really cool thing happened while I was teaching Period 5 Year 7 English.  I've always wanted to be the kind of teacher that randomly takes the kids on a walk somewhere to write poetry or something.  In reality, I tend to be more "stick to the plan, STICK TO THE PLAN" than that, but occasionally I let loose a little bit.  Such as today!  We were reading a poem called Rain by Hone Tuwhare because our topic for the lesson was about creating atmosphere based on the senses.  Then, as we were studying it, thunder started rolling and rain started spattering down lightly the way it does before a thunderstorm.  So I took the kids outside to the basketball courts and I had them stand there in silence for a bit just feeling the storm grow around them.  Then we went back inside and they wrote a poem about it.  Right around the end of the period, it started to really pour down. Wonderful timing, weather gods.

To add to the yay of that last lesson, it was the last period I have to teach for the next ten days.  Tomorrow I have a conference, and then the week after that I'll be on camp with the Year 7s.  It'll still be work, but it's a different sort of work.

The weekend is looking up too.  On Friday night, I'll be having one last dinner with Jackie and Xin before Xin goes back to England.  On Saturday, I'm going to the ANSA concert at my school with Shelley the Mermaid.  And on Sunday, McKinley.

lishesquex: (iconomicon - choices)

I really like reading Ann's blog entries.  Every time I follow a piece of advice that she gives, good things happen. For example, last year I used her post about the The 80/20 Principle to work on my own weight loss, and it worked.  Then she posted about boldness, and I made it my personal goal to Be Bold in 2013.  So far that has been most excellent advice because I probably wouldn't have emailed McKinley so confidently back in December, and I probably wouldn't have continued to pursue her through her silences, ignoring all the doubts and nagging voices in my head. And now, here is a post about being vulnerable

Here, have a quote:

"At the moment I'm trying to decide how vulnerable to be. Can you tell? I know being vulnerable is helpful to people. I think it can make us bigger in the world - the more open we are the more there is of us out there. But vulnerability takes strength and for someone who is up and down its frightening some days to think that people may think you weird. "

I know that, personally, being vulnerable is something I really have to work on.  It goes against all my natural instincts, to put myself out there, to show people my true desires.  I am too good at hiding what I really want - so good that I often miss out on things because nobody knows that it's what I want.

So far, I think I have been pretty good at being vulnerable with McKinley in that I've been quite honest with how I feel - such as telling her that I like her, and asking if our first date was a date, and letting her know that I would wait for her to resolve her feelings for her ex.  All of those exercises in honesty had an element of risk - of being rejected, of showing myself to be a lovesick fool. 

Now, there are two new paths before me and I don't know which one to take. One path involves waiting patiently for her to resolve her feelings for her ex. And I know from personal experience that the only thing that erases fixes? soothes? that kind of love is time. But waiting patiently feels too much like a cop out. Obviously I should give her a bit of time, but what if it's too much?  Timing has ever been my greatest enemy. If I wait too long, she may find someone else.

The second path involves being bold and vulnerable and crazy. It involves calling her out of the blue and asking if she wants to hang out on a weeknight, the fact that I have work the next day be damned. It involves bringing her an avocado as a gift. It involves the risk of being rejected, of being too forward, of perhaps placing her in the awkward position of declining my various overtures.  The second path is what I want, but I am afraid.

And yet, just because the second path is the one I fear and want, and just because I wish to challenge myself to be more vulnerable, doesn't mean it's the right path. Throwing myself at her isn't going to do anything if she's just not ready. But all my life I've been good at waiting, and I don't want to risk letting this hope, this opportunity, this passion die the slow death that I am far too familiar with.

What should I do?



[Edit: Making this entry public as an exercise in vulnerability.]

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