Sunday, September 30, 2007
It’s been a very busy six weeks for us. C had just finished a 6 week school prac at the primary section of my school, a compulsory segment of her Dip.Ed. She finished well, with good reports and an invitation to go back for 8 weeks in November to cover for an expat teacher who is taking maternity leave! She was also offered a job for another maternity leave at a small international school for up to 6 months but the dates just didn’t work with my school and as we felt beholden to the school for giving her so much time and effort over the past few months she decided to do it instead.
She finishes in early November with final exams then that should be that. A tough year for her, it’s been little sleep, lots of study, assignments piling up over the months and she still isn’t out of the woods with a few more to go.
We haven’t hired a new nanny so it been a case of coming home with LilD at 4pm (he has preschool from 8 to 11am, day care from 11 till 4pm), organising the kids, getting dinner ready, putting them to bed, then collapsing at our desks to get the nights study and school work done. Most nights saw us go to bed near 12 midnight then up at 5am to start the day. So, a tough few weeks hence the lack of posts on here.
This is the final week before holidays and we are looking forward to it! We get 2.5 weeks, and not planning on going anywhere. Much easier to stay at home with all the facilities, club nearby etc. Work wise it’s been a tough term as it has been a long one and everyone is tired. The staff need the break, it’ll do them good to get away and relax. 13 week terms can be hard, particularly when you are working from 7am till 4pm, then doing more at home. I think all of us are looking forward to the break; a number of staff are going overseas, some are going to Bali, and the rest are planning on hanging around
LilD has been a lot of effort these past months, he is really testing the boundaries every which way. Sleeping has suddenly become a hassle, as has dinner, as has all the little rules we thought were well established.
Mum used to tell me that out of the 6 kids I was the most difficult, frequently reducing her to a wreck by the end of the day. She said with a tinge of pained memory that I used to do just about everything to annoy everyone around me. A sweet little boy you were she would hastily add, but I could see in her eyes that it was a tough time for her. Well, what goes round comes round. Now I’m paying for my childhood! I have to keep reminding myself that in the end I think I turned out okay so it’s just a matter of waiting or LilD to do the same! Have tried to figure out what is going on and for awhile thought it was the loss of Patsy which had unsettled him, but he never mentions her now seems to pine after her so we think it could be just the age. God, I hope so. Roll on age 4.
LilC is sweet and cheerful as ever, enjoying school and really starting to grow up. Her reading has improved a hundredfold recently, and she is taking a greater interest in her school work. At home with us she enjoys nothing more than cuddling up for long chats or hearing a book read to her or pottering about the house finding new ways and games to amuse herself.
We have agreed that given C is going to work we do need another pair of hands around the house. We’ll start looking after Ramadan and hopefully find someone who is both experienced with children and working around the house. Shouldn’t be too hard though we have to find someone we think can fit in with the family and cook!
Just spent four days in
My school was generous, they didn’t have to send me on the workshop, usually they only send you on one per contract and I had already been to
It was interesting being in
However, on the last night I did go with two other teachers to the “bamboo bar” which had a live band, a few pool tables and a rocking crowd. It was fun, and wandered home in the early hours to get up a few hours later for the trip home. Didn’t get to see much of the city apart from the area I was in, which was a shame but just couldn’t be bothered given the long day. I’d like to go back for a few days and have a good look around, as I think it would be a fascinating city to explore.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
I saw this everywhere, people on bikes laden with wheat freshly harvested. It's that time of the year, and there are large woven bamboo mats lying right up to the side of the road, every inch used to dry the wheat.
We went to Baluran, the largest national park in East Java. Its 25000 hectares of protected land, comprising of savannah (which made me think of Africa complete with the typical trees of spread out canopies), rainforest, dry forest, beaches, mangroves and mountains. About 2000 head of deer, 100 or so buffalo, a few hundred wild cows, wolves, panthers, monitor lizards, snakes of all description, monkeys (a band came in while we were out one day and raided our dormitory, leaving quite a cheerful mess behind), birds of all descriptions and so on. I saw honeybirds, woodpeckers, and many other types.
The first thing that strikes you as you enter into the park is the silence. Everywhere you go in Java there is noise, providing an eternal backdrop of sound. Here there was just...silence. Beautiful luxurious silence.
We had a good trip, the kids enjoyed it, with some grumbles at the living conditions which were rudimentary to say the least, but they got to go trekking, bushwalking, bird watching, snorkelling over clear coral reefs, canoeing, fishing, had a go at archery, practised putting out spot fires with water nozzles which were connected to backpacks, and every night had a bonfire where they had to put on performances (drama, music, fashion show using newspaper).
These students were out of their element, way out of their element, but they got along, did the right thing, and generally had fun. We came home after five days, tired and glad to be back. However, I hope that they will remember the passion and idealism of the Park rangers who spoke at length to them about the importance of saving the land and animals. These guys live in the middle of nowhere, constantly out patrolling, dealing with village disputes that ring the park, trying to educate them as well as providing assistance in micro industry so that they wont be tempted to invade the park for wood and meat.
Their leader, a softspoken man in his late forties had been there for 22 years, yet his love for the land and his job was palpable. He and I sat up one night for a few hours while he explained what he was doing and why, giving me an insiders view into the trials and tribulations of protecting this vast area with a couple of vehicles and a small taskforce. He spoke of his desire to make the park into a jewel of ecotourism without compromising the park, allowing small groups in for guided tours, raising awareness both home and abroad of what he and his men were trying to accomplish. He was impressive in his idealism and love for the environment.
A roadside warung, a place to take a breather and have a snack, a drink and pass the time of day. Note the levee for the mud in the background. Not sure if the radio station promoting a phonein show is aware its banner has been put to good use...one needs shade during the day...
At any place where traffic jams occur, you will find sellers wandering along trying to make a sale. At least the guy in the last picture is thinking of his health breathing in the exhaust of thousands of cars all day..well, he is trying...
The tollway is down, and the bridge that used to carry traffic onto it. Instead, cars and trucks and all other forms of transport are squeezed onto a narrow dusty road that eventually becomes one lane which runs all the way to the port of Banyuwangi and further.
The other two pictures show a factory long since abandoned and half buried in mud, and a field of mud with houses in the distance also abandoned.