Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ahh, work . . .

. . . well, not really lol.

I've just had my first two shifts at Subway (8 hours today and yesterday), and my feet are killing me. But on the upside, I'm enjoying working there. It's a pleasant relief to be doing something where I just follow instructions and don't have to be in charge or make decisions! There's been far too many tricky, laden decisions in my life lately, as my poor overloaded blog will attest.

The good news is that it's a fun place to work, the other girls are nice and one in particular is likely to be a good friend.

The prospective share house is looking more and more positive - the other girl who lives there and I are now exchanging emails more like friends than prospective housemates, including exchanging pictures of our cats :-D We also discovered that her friend and my cousin both teach in the same small town. That’s Western Australia for you! Two degrees of separation in every direction lol.

So in general my mood is up. Things are sorting themselves out, the rough ride is levelling out, and it'll all be calm again fairly soon. And I’ve got so much to be grateful for – continuing friendships with old friends, the steadfast love of my wonderful family, a great new job, a wonderful new course of study, and of course all these new friends. This is going to be a great year.

I do feel very sad for one person though - the person who keeps trolling my blog with false, negative comments designed only to hurt me and drag me down. No doubt this person (and I have a fair idea who it is, but no names . . .) has seen my online persona on a bad day, or days, and is extrapolating that experience into my real life and real personality. Like most generalisations and assumptions, their comments are laughably inaccurate, and I can therefore take them philosophically. But I feel so bad for this person. They must be in a terrible place in their life if they feel that they can only see value in their own existence when they attempt to hurt me. Thankfully, I know it’s no one I know in real life, just someone off the internet who obviously thinks they’re vastly more knowledgeable about me than they really are.

I’ve got tomorrow off then it’s Monday and I’m back to classes again. It’s going to take a few weeks to get used to this study-work-rest-study-work-rest rhythm again. I thought I’d left that behind many years ago! But you never can tell where life is going to take you.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bits and pieces

Today was an okay sort of day, quite nice in places. Enter rambling reflections . . .

I don't know if this applies only to Aspergers & other neuro-atypical people, but I find that it's very rare to find friends that I can be 100% myself around, with all my quirks and oddities laid bare. Some friends come very, very close, but still there's the odd moment when their body language - the quirk of a lip or a wrinkling of a nose - gives away the fact that they think I'm strange. Of course, I forgive them immediately because they're my friends and I love them, but it can still hurt.

Over the last three weeks I've been lucky enough to make a friend around whom I really can be 100% myself. This may be because he's also neuro-atypical, I haven't quite decided yet lol. He's also in the Grad Dip Ed course, but in the high school stream, so we only share one class. We were on prac together for two weeks, however, and got to know each other really well, plus we keep running in to each other on the bus or on campus. Every time we meet we start talking, about everything and anything, and we're both quirky as hell so nothing that either of us does fazes the other in the least. We probably both sound as mad as hatters to an outsider, but it's wonderful. Just wonderful.

And before you get started, no, I have no romantic designs on Matthew. I'm giddy over the friendship but that's all it is. For a start, he's 3 years younger than me and I would have to get over my own psychological aversion to going out with someone my younger brother's age. He's a good-looking guy but I don't feel particularly attracted to him (not that I'm repulsed by him either - it's just a neutral, platonic feeling). I'm not ruling out the possibility that something could develop, but I'm not expecting it to. The friendship is uplifting enough! So you can expect a lot of babble about What Matthew Said in the near future. I'm definitely not letting him see my blog :-D


Speaking of neuro-atypical minds, mine got a nice airing in my Mathematics Curriculum workshop yesterday. We were being taught about subitising - that is, recognising the number of objects in a group without counting them, by recognising the patterns that certain sets of numbers make. Most people can subitise up to about 4, maybe 5 depending on how the items are arranged. To demonstrate, the workshop tutor was flashing up sets of dots on the screen and getting us to call out how many there were as soon as we were sure. After doing a few easy ones - 3, 4, 5 - she flashed up 9. It took a second before we all got it, and then we talked about how people had got to the answer (which was by subitising sets within the whole set, for example I saw three sets of three). Then she flashed up one covered with dots, there was a second's pause, then I said "sixteen". And everyone stared at me. No one else was close to getting it, but my pattern-obsessed brain saw five sets of three, plus one extra, and gave me the answer. The workshop tutor was a bit shocked, especially as I'd told her a few minutes earlier that I wasn't feeling well! I went and explained to her afterwards that there's a reason why I'm a pattern-recognising freak :-D But the rest of the class will just have to deal lol.


I got my first assignment back today, my reflective journal from the first two weeks of the course. I got 70%, which is a distinction and my average mark for almost everything I've ever done lol. I'm happy with it, although I know why I lost marks: I didn't reflect on the readings enough (as opposed to my experiences). I knew I was going to lose marks for that when I handed it in, but that assignment went in during the worst of the horror weeks so I knew I wouldn't be able to do my best for it. And a distinction is not something to be disappointed about!


The prospective share house I wrote about yesterday is looking very, very promising. Rent is $110/week including broadband internet, and the housemate only lives there part-time so I'd have a fair degree of autonomy. It'll be a bit lonely that way, but I'll have constant contact with people at uni so I should be able to cope. Jemima is allowed to live there and the room sounds big enough. I can't get to see it until next weekend, and it's not available until late March, but that's fine. I'm very hopeful, it sounds really really good! Funnily enough, the other girl who lives there (who is the daughter of the owners) is also an education student, but at a different university. Teachers everywhere!


I had that appointment with the uni counsellor today. They do a sort of 'triage' for people wanting counselling services - a 15-minute appointment to assess their needs to see whether they need anything ongoing. The counsellor is a nice young guy who I found really easy to talk to. We've agreed that what I really need first off is a session in which to talk over all of the changes in my life and try to come to grips with them, so I'm booked in for that. Although I'm not sure one 50-minute session will be long enough to cover all those changes lol. But we'll see how we go. I'm feeling better today anyway, since life has pretty much already thrown at me everything it's got for the time being, so I can breathe for a bit.


Without a doubt, my hardest class this semester is going to be Maths Curriculum. The good old mental block, installed by a Year 2 teacher who told me that I was bad at maths, is still there apparently. It's going to be an uphill battle to stay engaged and not lose heart. I can teach maths, I will teach maths . . . I just need to remember that!


That's all for today, I think. First shift at Subway tomorrow - wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Small giggle . . .

A sticker, spotted on the rear window of a fairly expensive ute:

But you can't race a house

That tickled me :-D I like jokes where the context isn't obvious and has to be constructed by the reader/viewer. I think that's why I like Terry Pratchett's books so much - a lot of the jokes are very subtle plays on words or cultural references, and you have to be switched on all of the time so that you don't miss them.

I've been reading and re-reading Discworld books for the last 10 years, and there's still the odd joke I discover for the first time.

I just got an email from someone who has a room I might be interested in - it's about halfway between work and uni, and in a fairly nice area, but that's all I know so far (the girl was hesitant about whether I'd be interested as I'd specified Northern Suburbs and 
this place is in the Inner South). Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Head all turned about

Last night I had the worst episode of depression I've had in a long time, which seems most unfair as my life is more sorted out than it's been in a long time!

The cause, as far as I can pinpoint it, is too much change in too short a time. I'm staying in this house, then I'm not; I have a boyfriend, then I don't; I have a job, then I have two, then I don't have either, then I have one again (oh, yeah, I got a job at Subway btw); I'm studying full-time-external -> part-time-external -> full-time-internal -> part-time-internal -> full-time internal; plus I've lost a housemate to the wonderful world of country teaching, and left a web community I've been a part of for over three years. And joined two new web communities and an IRC channel. And since uni has gone back for everyone now (I was on a pre-semester course before), I'm having to deal with huge crowds of people and that's never been my forte!

So my head is all full of chaos. It's like trying to keep dancing the same dance when the music keeps changing speed and the floor keeps changing texture. I can't keep track of it all and my brain wants to fall in a heap.

I'm going to see one of the uni counsellors on Thursday, just to have someone to talk to (they're probably used to this kind of thing!). It was hard to make the appointment as I generally feel that there's no point as I'll feel better by the time the appointment comes along, and besides my problems aren't really important, but I somehow tricked myself into going through with it.

Hopefully telling someone about all these changes will help me to get my feet under me again. Of course, if my world would stop #@%$*&!ing changing on me, that would help too!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Oh wow . . .

I can't believe the news I'm about to impart. It's amazing.

You all remember that I had to drop to part-time at uni because I was going to be working or studying every second of every day? Right? Good.

Well, my mother worked out a way that I can study full-time and only have to work 2 days a week. The rest of the money I need will be available. It's perfectly legal lol, I just don't particularly want to give the details, but while it'll mean a debt to pay off in my first two years of teaching, it's manageable and it means I'll be finished at the end of the year! This time next year I'll be teaching!

It comes with the stipulation that I take whatever teaching is offered to me by DET at the start of next year - no matter what the location is - but I'm prepared to do that. I *want* to go country, for the experience, and since I'm currently not attached I don't have to worry about the whole boyfriend-can't-go-too thing! So that's fine.

I'm breathless and half-hysterical with the joy of it. I've re-enrolled in all of the units I'd withdrawn from, and I'm back on course. I'll have to take one unit externally next semester in order to make this semester work, but I can do that easily enough, second semester is relatively light in regular coursework anyway.

Oh wow . . . I haven't felt this amazing since the day I knew I was definitely leaving Sydney for good. All of my other worries were small in comparison to the money worry, and that's just evaporated as I can survive on my weekly allocation of this money for a week or so while a job comes through. Finding a house? No worries. Boy trouble? No worries. It's all better.

Time for a celebratory glass of something, methinks. Mmmm, Bailey's.


Saturday, February 10, 2007


I've waited a day with one of the bits of news below, and a week with the other, because I didn't want to make an emotional, torrid post. So here is my news, calmly and softly.

The first, which happened yesterday, is that Daniel broke up with me. Our relationship was still very good, but I'd been picking up hints for a couple of weeks that he was pulling away. His reason was basically that while he cares for me, he doesn't love me, and can't be content with me. And he knew I wouldn't want to keep dating if he had no intention of it getting any more serious. I'm sad and sorry that he feels that way (and doesn't think his feelings could grow with time), but at least it's a reason I can respect.

I'm hurting over the loss of the relationship and the companionship, but I'm not inconsolable and since a couple of hours' crying last night, I've been calm about it. There have been a lot of doubts about the relationship I've never voiced, and a lot of problems I couldn't face. We enjoyed each others' company greatly, but there was something there in the first two dates that was missing thereafter, apart from the odd 'flash'.

So I don't know how or why, but I'm calm and accepting about the breakup, and just grateful that it's only been three months, not many years, before it ended.

The second major event, from a week ago, is that it's become plain that I'll have to move house. I've looked at one 'room to let' already, but it was too small; and I have another offer that I have to follow up on. I've got two months to move so I have no doubt I'll find something within that time. But I hate moving and have done it far too many times (11 times in the past 10 years, and two of those were interstate!) It's heart-wrenching to have to move after only 6-7 months when I thought I might be able to live here for 18-30 months!

Adding to these woes is the fact that one of my waitressing jobs have officially dropped me from their roster - they wanted me to work every Saturday and Sunday, which would mean never, ever seeing my family, and I won't do that - and the other job just hasn't been rostering me on at all. I've been on prac and at uni and unable to do anything about it, I've already borrowed as much as Mum can afford to get me through this full-time period, and that money is running out. So I have to find a job urgently, while I finish my last week of prac and try to eke out the remaining money without going broke (or borrow money from Dad, which I'd rather not do).

My life right now is complicated and stressful and unsettling and unstable, and I'm not enjoying it very much :-( The great prac result is a pleasant consolation. At least one thing is going right!

The other things will come good - I'll recover my cheerfulness, get a job, find a place, and be back on a level again - but I'll be pretty low-spirited for the time being.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Unabashed Bragging

In an unashamed foray into self-promotion, I want to share some of the comments from the reports on the two lessons I taught this week. Bear in mind that these are my first classes EVER, after only two weeks of coursework.

From the report from the regular teacher of the class I taught (~25 kids aged 10-12):

"Christine has made a very successful introduction to teaching. A confident manner and engaging personality are positive qualities in good teachers and is clearly evident in her presentation."

From the report by my university superviser, who observed me teaching a group of 6 kids:

"Christine showed a genuine interest in her practicum. She was well prepared and involved herself in the ongoings of the classroom - well suited for the teaching profession".

The classroom teacher's report again, on the 40-minute lesson I took:

"A very effective soc-environ lesson, planned and presented confidently and competently".

Supervisor again, her private letter to me about the small lesson:

"Christine you were well prepared and at ease with the students. You were polite and interested and acknowledged their answers. You use lots of eye contact and positive encouragement which is great to see. The students really enjoyed the small group session. I wish you all the best for this year."

And finally from the classroom teacher's report:

"Related very well to children in this age group. A positive engagement with both students and teacher."

And best of all . . . there were no negative comments anywhere on either of the reports. The classroom teacher even said that while there were plenty of things he could have suggested, they were only other ways to do things, not corrections to the way I had done them. Overall, the opinion was pretty much that while I still need to learn the curriculum stuff, my actual teaching ability leaves nothing to be desired.

I'm overjoyed . . . I've been waiting to do teaching for so long. Even when I'd decided not to do teaching and was doing archaeology instead I still thought regularly about being a teacher and never really gave up thinking that I would be one oneday. Finding out that I'm really good at it is such a wonderful vindication of my decision that I feel like laughing outloud and crying all at once.

Although, as Mum (a former teacher and current uni lecturer) pointed out, I learned the 'teacher voice' from her when I was a small child, and used it expertly on my dolls . . . and my brother . . . from about age 5. So I've really been building up to this my whole life :-D

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

So, how am I going?

Whoops, I forgot to update for over two weeks. Sorry guys!

It's the third day of my first prac, which I'm undertaking in a year 6/7 classroom at a local primary school. The kids are aged 10-12 and come from a diverse range of ethnic backgrounds. They're a great bunch of kids and I'm really enjoying my prac so far. I had my two assessments today (I had to teach one group of 6 kids for 20 minutes while being observed by my uni supervisor, and one 40-minute lesson with the whole class while being observed by the classroom teacher). I got nothing but rave reviews from both my supervisor and the teacher, and I'm absolutely over the moon about both assessments. I'm so happy :-D

Jemima has grown a huge amount since I last put a picture of her up - I must snap another one and post it. She's almost cat-sized now, and has even started to settle down a little (but only a little!). She still chases her tail occasionally.

Daniel and I have our 3-month anniversary right after St Valentine's Day, and I'm wracking my brains to think of something good to do that day which is a little bit original, interesting, and suited to our local climate (ie hot weather)! Any suggestions?


Addendum: I just tried to phone my Mum, and my 11-year-old sister picked up the phone and said "come in . . . oops, I mean hello?", then burst into giggles. It was rather cute!