41 Degrees (Celsius) on my 25th Birthday!

I think everyone in Melbourne melted just a bit yesterday! Just a bit!

Wednesday I got my Driver’s Licence so I was ready for my birthday! I can’t imagine how things would have been if I hadn’t achieved this… but I think that’s why I planned it that way. No excuses this time!

Yesterday, was a very big day for me. I awoke with a pain in my stomach at 5:30am. I wasn’t sure why my tummy was bothering me because I hadn’t felt like this for a long time. I thought that figuring things out with my Gluten Free diet would mean that I wouldn’t suffer anymore… but maybe it was just stress. This time of the year can be stressful for most anyone. Anyone that is an adult that is. For the kids, it’s fun, full of gifts and extra family time. Children love this time time of the year. With the thought of Santa Claus bringing them presents and decorating a Christmas tree… how can it not be anything but joyful!

It has become a bit of a commercial time of the year and a bit of a job. For those of us who have to be the organisers.  Through my childhood I remember all the excitement. I remember putting snacks out for Santa… being scared of him and when I discovered he wasn’t really real. I then remember putting on the fecade so I would still get Santa presents. Then the Christmas came when the wrapping paper that I saw Mum buy was the same one used for our Santa presents and that was when they stopped… the cat was out of the bag so to speak…

I think that most Christmas’ from the age of 3 right up until 19 I loved Christmas. I was a child amongst the rest who got excited, who gave cards to all my friends, who loved decorating our Christmas tree. From about the age of 20 things started to change. I don’t think my Christmas spirit has completely gone but I think until I have children of my own it will feel slightly different.

Not only have I been growing up in this time but I have had a lot to deal with. I have learnt that Christmas can mean both joy and sadness for some. For a while it was hard to accept. How can something that was once so special change so dramatically? I remember seeing this in adults when I was a child and thought it wouldn’t happen to me because that was how much I loved it. But it’s ok now because I feel so much different.

I can still see the great things about Christmas and my Birthday.

My day finished yesterday with my creative writing class. They sang me Happy Birthday and we had a great time laughing, chatting and working on our writing. I climbed into bed… trying very hard to wait up for my Mum who was driving back from my grandparent’s farm… she didn’t make it until 11:30pm. With half an hour left of my Birthday. I got to see her and have a hug! I am not too old to want a hug from my Mum or at least on my Birthday!

It was a big long HOT day and I would have preferred for it to be a lot cooler. But it was still a good day. Filled with lovely people, lots of smiles, laughter and best wishes for turning 25!

Yay for getting another year older! I hope that all of Melbourne didn’t melt away yesterday and are enjoying a much cooler day today.

If I don’t get a chance to pop by my blog on the 25th of December – then I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2014!

More about Mary Poppins

I have given myself a project… to find out as much as I can about Mary Poppins and her creator P.L.Travers. There is now a movie coming out called “Saving Mr.Banks” which is about how Walt Disney fought with P.L.Travers over making the books into a film. Mr Disney is played by Tom Hanks and Mrs Travers is played by Emma Thompson. I love Emma Thompson and I believe that she fits the role perfectly!! I am so excited! 

So far from the trailer they have depicted Mrs Travers as though she is very much like Mary Poppins – which a lot of people thought. Mrs Travers is a mystery to most. From what I can see of the trailer this film will demonstrate that. As well how these two people had many conflicts over the making of the film… 

Here is the trailer… 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvKcwNyOnWo 

It looks so bloody brilliant. I must, I must see it!!! 

It has also sparked my interest in reading more of Mrs Travers’ books as well as more about herself. I will of course share what I find out through here… 

I hope you enjoy it. 🙂 

The bizarre world of Mary Poppins… the book! By P.L.Travers

mary poppins

I love Mary Poppins! I have seen the movie probably a million times and watched the stage show… but never have I ever read the books. Up until now that is! I read the first Mary Poppins book by P. L. Travers just recently. Because lets face it, if I were to be a fan I had to read the books too. But let me tell you… The movie version is almost nothing like the book.

It is written by P. L. Travers who although was born in Australia but considers herself to be British. You can understand the British tone to the story and the fact that a family would live they way they did in this story even though they aren’t terribly well off – a very British tradition. But the world that she writes… is very bizarre, very strange and most definitely influenced by drugs – that’s for sure! It is more like a series of short stories that one story as there isn’t much of a flow or a link between chapters.

It is very enjoyable and I can see why Disney wanted to make a film of it… but I can also see why they chose to tone it down a bit. There are just a bit too many unusual things happening… having said that, it is Disney and they liked presenting a more innocent picture of the world to their young audiences. Which I guess does make sense.

The main changes to the books are the fact that the story isn’t told through song, the Banks family have four children Jane and Micheal who appear in the movie as well as two babies John and Barbara… Mary sleeps with the babies in the book instead of having a room adjacent to the children in their nursery, that there are more household staff in their house and that Mary herself isn’t as likable.

That was probably the crushing part of the book and being a huge fan of Julie Andrews and her version in the movie… that the book version although the children liked and eventually loved her was sometimes quite rude even towards the parents, held a few secrets close to her and could seem a little harsh towards the children. Plus she taught the children ‘lessons’ in odd ways. She is also described as not being that pretty.

But I guess Julie Andrews just couldn’t act in the way the book describes Mary Poppins… it just wouldn’t happen. It’s Julie Andrews after all – plus she is really pretty…

I am curious to read other Mary Poppins books just to see where the story goes and to figure out where other parts of the movie come from as well as the stage show.

If you are like me and wanted to know more about the world of Mary Poppins this is something you should read – it is indeed a great story even if a bit odd.

If however you don’t want the Julie Andrews image of Mary Poppins to be in some way tainted… then I would stay away because it will change!

For anyone else who hasn’t actually seen or read Mary Poppins then well – what are you waiting for??

Signing off… hope everyone is having a good week!

Children are simply great!

A child at school told me I had a fancy haircut. I decided to cut my hair back to a really short hair-do. I could not bare to wait for it to grow out anymore. That same child over-heard me singing – told me I should be famous when I grew up… When a different child pointed out I was already grown. She said that she meant when I was a mummy. When I decide to not wear make-up she says I look tired. When I do wear it she says I look nice.

Children are great. They can be honest and don’t hold back on what they think. My little sister would tell me my hair cut makes me look a boy. 

Some children are very sweet – they bring you handmade presents. They can brighten up your day or even your week. I had a child bring me something she made, it looked like she had put in so much effort. She brought it to me after only being in aftercare for a day. As she gave it to me she said “this is because I had such a great time in aftercare”. I gave her a big thank-you and told her she made my week – truthfuly told as that week hadn’t been very good for me … I think that I have enough homemade presents from kids that I could make a collage out of them.

Sometimes I believe they are in their own bubble.

In observing how they play I see them become animals of all sorts, mothers, fathers, babies, fairies, kings, queens, knights, pirates, etc. They give themselves funny names, they live in all sorts of places. A pile of leaves can be a carrot stew for their bunny (soft toy). That same pile of pile of leaves can be biscuits for their puppy. 🙂

The playground becomes a fortress, a castle, a home or an obstacle course. They can predict people’s future in a game of “MASH”. A game like many that has changed and evolved since I was a kid… that’s for sure. I love how they all think they invented the games too. They were the first ones to play them and they know all the rules.

I have children at my school who try and tell me how to do my job. Some who even start doing for it me.

It is an odd place to be – before and after school care. 5-12 year olds mixed together for either a morning or an afternoon.They may not be friends at school. But here they come toegether, play together and eat together.

Children are just wonderful! Living in their own worlds. I sometimes wish we didn’t lose that as we grow up.

What about you? Is there something you miss from your childhood?

Signing off…to clean my room… I still haven’t grown out some old habits.

 

 

Me and Emma by Elizabeth Flock

With the travel time I have for work on trams I am blessed with actually having time to read. I think most people would agree that once they start their working life they lose time for reading… if it doesn’t happen then, then by the time they become parents if they chose to take that path… they lose that time then. For me though I’m reading a book roughly every two weeks. I’m pretty fortunate I would say.

However, because of this I have had to make the effort to go the library… can’t really afford buying all the books I want to read anyway but especially if I get through as many as I do.

Last week as I had just finished reading Harry Potter for the second time, I thought to myself… what am I going to read? When reading a series as long as seven books you don’t really have to think much about the next book for a while.

With the convenience of everything online I had the comfort of looking up the library catalogue from home. I started with of course familiar authors or authors I wanted to read for longest of times but for some reason never did. One of them was Jodi Picoult as I have never read any of her books (why??) and  as I read “Any Human Heart” I had to read some more William Boyd…

Once at the library I quickly found the books I was looking for and decided to have a “random” search… In doing so I stumbled across “Me and Emma” by Elizabeth Flock. Of course I picked it up, it did have my name on it after all. I didn’t know anything about this author, the book or anything but simply based on what I read on the cover and the testimonies on the back I decided to borrow it. I didn’t even read the blurb.

I’m now only a few chapters to the end of the book and I am very happy I picked it up from the library. In the way that it’s written I was instantly reminded of Scout from “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. Carrie is eight years old (Me) and her sister Emma is six years old. It’s the tale of the two girls and their lives together. Carrie narrates the story.

It is both a beautiful and harrowing. Carrie is there to protect Emma from their abusive step-father Richard, their mother is blind to his abuse and powerless to stop it and we shown flash-backs to their past life when their Daddy was alive.

If you decide to read this and love children there may be times where you feel sick…You’ll want to cry too from the lives the girls might have had if their father was still alive. However, this all depends on how sensitive you are! I don’t want to go into too much detail and as I haven’t finished yet I can’t write a review.

But if you are looking for something to read then turn to Elizabeth Flock… I will be picking up another of her books again that is for sure…

With all this reading I do hope it makes me a better writer!

Signing off – hope you are having a good weekend and getting some reading done!

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7:30am is my new sleep in time!?!?

7:30am on a Saturday morning and I am awake? I never would have thought that I would wake up at this time without an alarm clock on a weekday let alone a Saturday. During the week I have to leave the house before 6am to get to work on time. My alarm is set at 4:45am and I’m usually up by about 5:20. There are still some normal me things that I do of a morning.

I know that my body clock has changed… but it still seems odd to me. During the school holidays slowly and slowly I was able to sleep in later. But these days as it gets closer to 9pm you’ll see me nodding off. My latest night on the school holidays would have been 11pm. Not very late by my standards…

It’s interesting how my job as changed my lifestyle and what I would consider quite dramatically. I sometimes dream back to last year and the years before. The days that I was part of the education system as a student. I had days off that I could claim as “study days”.  I felt my life to be very busy. I have only been a part of the working world for what? two months? And yet I am already noticing the dramatic shift.

I remember back to when I finished high-school and was moving on to uni. I had this feeling, as though I was in a grieving period where I was at a loss. I decided to take a year off. To this day I would say that, that was one of the best decisions I have ever made. However, during that year I wasn’t really transitioning. I didn’t have that “phase” as some might say. I was almost in limbo. I was missing school and did not know what was to come of me.

At the start of this year I worked in a factory. That taught me not to get a job in a factory. In the middle of year I travelled with my mother. That taught me to see the world, just maybe not with my mother… although surprisingly enough I would go overseas with her again. But that’s another story for another time. By the end of the year I was working at a general store. I loved that job. It taught me more about the confidence I had inside that there was there all along but that I had never believed existed. Once that year was over however, I was ready for my course to begin.

I started uni and in some ways it felt as though I was back at school again. The change was not that different. I was still missing school but for different reasons. I was missing my friends not school itself. It felt good to be in a place where I worked out a good routine, a good way to study and to enjoy my placements at schools. I can’t believe I am already reflecting back upon my uni life. It’s too soon.

It feels too soon for a lot of new changes. But I guess in working in before and after school I get to experience another year “off” so to speak. Everyday I am learning new things. About me, the children, the school and the parents. I am certainly seeing myself grow as a person. I have this kind of confidence that similarly to my job at the general store was always there but I never believed existed. 

Learning from life and our experiences is great. If it means waking up earlier to do so. Then I’m happy. I’m happy because I’m working, not everyone is these days. If life were as simple as putting all the pieces of the puzzle exactly where they were meant to go. We would all be bored. That would be sad.

I’m happy that I haven’t had things happen in my life just as they “should” be because I have learnt so much. I believe to be a much stronger person because of it.

Awake at 7:30am on a Saturday? I shouldn’t really complain and question it. I will choose to enjoy it. Enjoy listening to the birds outside my window. Enjoy relaxing in bed. Enjoy the fact that I’m awake earlier enough to go down to a gluten-free cafe and buy their amazing gf bread. Plus I have still had a two hour sleep in. So I think I’m doing pretty well. 🙂

Signing off – I need to get up, feed the cat and get me some (gf) bread!!

If we didn’t have to work for a living…

I am asking the question – if we didn’t have to work for a living what would we do with our time? Do we work because we need the income or do we also do it because it’s fulfilling, it gives us a sense of purpose etc? It’s probably a bit of both but would we still work if we didn’t have to?

I am in the transition phase of life from just finishing my degree and starting my career. There are some days where life just feels like a series of steps, a series of things people need to complete in order to get through life.

Once we are born we come into a world that is completely unknown, we are taken care of by our parents, family members, friends and even strangers. When I look back to my child-hood although my Mother was the one I would say raised me, brought me up and did most of the work. There were other people there that came into my life and looked after me.

As I got older and in particular when my parents separated and later got divorced I learnt more about how to look after myself – for me the process of looking after myself started at about 6 or 7 years old. I still had other people around who I could depend upon but with my mother now being single I had to do more for myself.

It started with simple things like tieing my hair in a pony-tail but eventually I learnt to cook, do my washing and take myself to school.

I came out of school and was soon living in student accommodation and once again I was doing more myself and learning more about what I wanted for me.

By now I had completed both Primary and Secondary School and was about to start my degree.

The point that I’m trying to get at is that if you think about it once we are born we have a series of life lessons that need to be done before another lesson can begin. To the point where they are never-ending right up until we are no longer here.

I’m not saying that life is predictable or clear. Life does get in the way, we are presented with challenges and sometimes those “steps” have to be altered and changed in order to still get to where we want to go.

But where exactly are we going? If we can’t live forever is there is point? What would happen if we all decided to live on benefits?
Is that even possible?

For me being a teacher isn’t because of the money because lets face it I’m not going to earn a huge sum of money by doing my job. I’m doing it because I want to make a difference in the world. Plus I know that even if I didn’t need money for food, rent and bills I’d still do it. I can honestly say that I have enough love for what I got my degree in to do regardless of the money.

If I had more time just for me I would probably do more art, baking, writing, reading, watching of movies, etc. Not every day would be jam-packed and I probably wouldn’t get up early and decide that 9ish would be the earliest I’d wake up and I’d love to live in my trackies/pjs and not have to really worry about how I looked. But would I love my life? Honestly no, I don’t think I would. I can’t imagine not working with children in any way shape or form. As a nanny/babysitter, teacher or with what I’m doing now with before and after school care.

Everyday I feel so lucky to be a part of the lives that I’m a part of. Some of these kids are at school each day from 7:15am to 6pm at night, they have homework, extra-curricular activities/sport, parties, weekends away, etc. Their childhood isn’t exactly what I’d call easy. It’s pretty full-on.

The weekends and school holidays are for me time. If another person comes into my life some day then he will be included. But for now I can enjoy my spare time. I can enjoy my work and my hobbies. I think I’m pretty fortunate. My job to me isn’t simply a job and I cherish the time I have for myself.

I would rather be blissfully happy earning little than miserable earning a lot.

Signing off – Happy Saturday!!

 

My new job!!

I started a new job on Monday! I work in before and after school which means that every day Monday to Friday I get to go to one school and provide care for children aged 5-12 in both the morning and afternoon. The split shift is a hard adjustment. The job itself is wonderful.

The morning starts with setting up the kitchen with breakfast for the children, wiping down the tables and discussing the days activities with my co-ordinator.

As the children arrive with their parents what they do varies. Some decide to go straight into playing a game, doing arts and crafts or their homework. The kids I work with are diligent with their schoolwork, polite and very fun to be around.

As they settle into the morning some ask for milo, cereal or toast. While others have already had their breakfast. There are only a few kids who come in the mornings with the most being about 10.

One of the kids insists I don’t give her enough milo. I laugh to myself as I used to be a lover of milo and would enjoy much more than she gets given. This is one of the great things about working with children. When you realise how similar you are or once were.

The afternoons are a much busier affair. We can have 20+ children. I know as a teacher that, that is normal. However, it’s very different in this job. Although there are activties planned it can be quite unstructured.

We do ball games, arts and crafts, colouring competitions, cooking, etc. It can be very busy!

The kids are all different too as some don’t really want to participate. As someone who experienced going to both before and after school care I can really appreciate where they’re coming from. They want to be at home.

With a bit of encouragement to have them join in there is a fine line between wanting them to participate and be a part of the group and not pushing them in doing something they don’t want to do.

In drips and drabs the children leave until eventually there is no one left and it’s time to go home. As the assistant I’m not always there for this depending on ratios and on a Friday it’s a most common occurance… which is good because by then I’m ready to go home early.

So far everyday I’ve been thinking to myself “am I seriously getting paid for this?” “I’m having too much fun!”

I think that’s a sign that I pretty much love my new job.

Teaching is still on the cards but for now I’m pretty happy!!

Siging off – I need a nap! 😉

Film Review: “Mother and Child”

Sorry for being out of communication for a while I was working hard on finishing my degree!! Completeling my last assignment, handing it in and presenting it in front of a panel of peers and a lecturer/my assessor – scary, scary, scary!! However I can now safely say that I’m that much closer to being a teacher! I don’t have much to say at about it at the moment as it’s still sinking in so I thought I’d write a film review instead. Here goes:

This film really took me by surprise. It is a film that resonated with me not because I’m a mother – which I’m not but because I’m human.

Although as the title suggests it is centred around the relationship between mother and child to me it is more about the realities of human life.

In one person’s lifetime they can experience a myriad of change. Change can be seen as a blessing or a burden.

The changes that I’ve endured through-out my life have seen me smile, cry, fall in a heap, conquering challenges, see a new outlook on life and ultimately grow as a person. I believe that all people have more similarities than differences and that this film captures this brilliantly.

The best part about this film is watching how these people face what life presents us and in a raw and humanistic style. There is no denying how people really are. It is through these people’s emotions, needs and thoughts that we see ourselves. We see how we want to be perceived, how society views people and how we truly are.

At the heart of it of course is that relationship between mother and child. We watch the lives of three women and their ‘journey’ A woman who gave up her daughter for adoption, a woman who is that daughter and a woman who desperately wants to have her first child.  Their lives intersect like you wouldn’t believe.  I can tell you it’s so much more than just a simple story about three different women. It’s a story about the complexities of life and all it has to behold for us.  It also in my eyes about the strength that a person can have when they are faced with it what in turn makes us who we are.

On a side note…

The song “Little One” by Lucy Schwartz is a song that compliments the film beautifully and now gets played on replay through my ipod…

Hard to find the words but if you watch this film – I’m sure you’ll get what I mean…

Signing off! All my best…

Regaining my imagination…

I want to write a story that is based on the home/house that I grew up in and possibly then have it extend to other areas of Australia that I’ve been…

I’m about to go to the Northern Territory!! I will be living and working in Pigeon Hole for six weeks and will get to be amongst the people of that community… This trip is part of what is called SWIRL or Story-writing in rural locations and is run by my uni and also happens to be my last ever teaching placement.

I am so excited, scared, and simply just awaiting all the possibilities of what will come from this experience.

When asked “what do you wish to bring?” I thought and thought for an appropriate response and came up with – an open mind. I think in this case instead of being the teacher I will be very much the learner. I don’t really know what I’m getting into, about where I’m going, what to expect or how I’ll cope living in such a remote area.

Some people might think I’m mad and I’m happy to accept that, maybe I’m mad and maybe we’re all mad. But what good would it be if all we did was sit at home and did not take on adventures like this? I don’t think I’m any less mad than someone deciding to go to Europe by themselves, am I? 

I feel very much inspired by this and I think it might have something to with always wanting to be a story-teller. For some reason creative writing to me as always been something that even though I have had to work at (a lot!!) I have still very much enjoyed…Some of this comes through with reasons as to why I wanted to be a teacher as well so equally it’s both just great!

I want to write about home because no matter how I far I am from it I’m always thinking about it, it’s always there in the back of my mind, I have such a love for the place that I grew up in that I think wherever I go it will be with me… People have often said that home is where the heart is amongst other sayings of similar ilk but to me – home is where the cat sits on your lap and where you find fairies hiding in the garden.  For me I wasn’t the one who moved – it was my mum… I have lived in other places since she moved out and am now back here but without her… It’s a long story!!!

The idea behind my ‘home is…’ is that I have a cat (last year I had two cats 😦 ) and wherever he goes I feel at home because he is comforting. The fairies though are because when I was a child I very much believed in them and I think even as an adult if you look at a garden very closely you can see that somehow they are there – they take you wherever you need to go and I think that comes back to them being ‘make believe’ or ‘magic’ – they create the colours, the leaves, the petals, the branches, the soil, etc of what makes the garden so beautiful and warm. Because they can fly – they fly with you…and it doesn’t matter where you are or who you live with…

{I think that our mind can very much be in a ‘real’ world and in a ‘fantasy’ world… ‘real’ = cat ‘fantasy’ = fairies…}

 

I am very lucky to live in an old terrace house… The floor boards creek under feet, there are cracks in the walls, there is a door with an old-fashioned key that allows you to enter a part of the garden…

My imagination as a child would be racing with stories… Stories of a made up past; I used to think of so many past lives that this house had and so many fantasy style lives that this house had…

They were intertwined with other people’s imaginations but my favourite stories were those that were merged with the author of the Secret Garden, the Little Princess and Little Lord Fauntleroy — I remember creating my own secret garden and pretending that I lived in boarding school. The funny thing was that I took these imaginings with me…

There was an old brick building as big as big could be… It had tennis courts you see… I used to walk past dreaming of whom lived there and dreaming of all they could have had… What was this place so grand and strange…? I wonder? Who lives there?

Little did I know that red brick building that I used to imagine as a grand house was the school that I attended… I laugh now when I think back to that child who was me but in the same light I also wish I had that same imagination.

Imagination is lost somehow and that loss begins when we go to school… Is it possible to harness it and not drag it down? I don’t it’s primary school, I think it comes more once we reach secondary school…

Hopefully I can allow the very real stories of the children in the NT to open my mind to a whole new world of stories, stories that have been passed down from generation to generation and stories that will keep being passed on. I’m writing this now with anxious butterflies in my stomach just thinking of what is ahead of me…

Goodness!!!

Signing off to get some rest. 🙂 


 

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