Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Richard is nagging me to do a post, and I have an hour until I have to be at a friend's for dinner, and it's the holidays so I'll indulge with a bunch of thoughts. Firstly, I feel a little intimidated here, as my fellow bloggers have either ceased to post, or turned very elite and dedicated.
Now, a little song:
This is from the cool little documentary called 'Searching for Sugarman'. We saw it a the film festival and I think it comes out on general release in a fortnight at the Lighthouse in Petone. All you need to know about it is this: back in the 1970s a record called Cold Fact by Detroit artist Roderiuez somehow came to South Africa and it became a hit, an anthem for young liberal white South Africans who supported the end of apartheid, selling nearly over half a million albums (where as only half a dozen sold in the US). But no one knew anything about him, except that he had committed suicide on stage, so two South African music fans set out to find the truth.
If you must look at a trailer, look at this one, but stop it after one minute. Then go and see the film. Then tell me what you thought of it.
It's holidays, always a good time. But also a waiting game this time. We put in the visa application last week and now we must hold tight for an answers. I could run through all the masses of things we have had to do for this application, but I'm not ready too yet, it has been incredibly invasive of our relationship.
One term back teaching in NZ complete and I feel most of my frustration directed more at politicians than any student in my classroom. It has been comforting and challenging to be back in a classroom in New Zealand in ways I can't expand on now as I'm expected at a friends for dinner in fifteen minutes. Have a good evening.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
After weeks travelling Europe with my beloved sister, Rach, we're spending a day on the beach. It's her birthday and we're 'chillaxing'. I'm looking forward to getting back to England and Mr B in two days.
June 13th 2012: 5:40pm Gatwick Airport, London
I know the time exactly, because that's the time on a form I have, telling me of my detainment. My working visa had run out while we were in Europe, I was wanting to get back in on a tourist visa for the summer. After five hours being held with abuse ("I'm sick of you people, you all think you can just swan in here whenever you like"),patches of politeness, and a stack of manipulation (Mr B was phoned and the answers he gave became twisted truths on my official forms). They took my passport and gave me seven days to leave.
June 20th 2012: midday Heathrow Airport, London
My flight takes off. A week is a short time to unexpectedly pack up and say goodbye to a life built up over nearly two years. After getting over the shock we looked on the bright side and threw a Deportation Party (how many of those have you been to?) and managed a day in London for a few parting gestures.
June 24th 2012 Auckland, NZ
Glad to be back, but busy getting over jet lag (my body believes 2am is the best time to be alert at the moment), looking for a job/flat/car and trying to catch up with NCEA changes. Mr B should be out in a few weeks for a visit.
At this point, if I am honest, I am not sure how much much I will keep up the momentum of this blog, we'll see.
Monday, June 18, 2012
Mr B, the Englishman with whom I am shacked up with, is following me out in a month or two.
It seemed as good an excuse as any to do two things.
1) hold a Deportation Party (done)
2) re-start this here blog about coming back to New Zealand (doing)
But it will start with this brief post as there are boxes to pack, friends to see, CVs to tweak, and bank accounts to shut down.
It will be nice to be back.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Firstly, love is in the air. Well it is for my lovely flatmate who is falling head over heels for a Frenchman down the road. His mother is a cooking teacher who taught Princess Diana and Delia Smith, by the way. He is lovely, even if he talks about himself a lot. Which means I get the house to myself more, meaning my music choice gets played 100 percent of the time, although I have no one to blame but myself if the loo roll runs out and hasn't been replaced by one from the cupboard.
Secondly, this blog/tumblr thing. Nick Clegg is the leader of the Liberal Democrats, a party that had a conscience until they went into coalition with the Conservatives after last years elections- a sort of pact with the devil if I was honest. This is a nice little parody, and quite clever.
I love a good mix of pop culture and high culture- so Feminist Ryan Gosling fits the bill nicely.
And finally. This still makes me laugh after perhaps the tenth viewing. It's a parody of the BBC's political correspondent. It's not embedding, so I have doubts that it won't play outside of the UK, but here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDyf6UgGtYw
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Today was the second to last day of term, before school breaks up for four weeks over Christmas. Those poor folk in the state schools must trudge on for another week and accept a mere two weeks' break.
This afternoon was the annual, traditional Christmas Lunch where about 380 staff and students sit down to roast turkey and brussel sprouts (still the least favoured vegetable of children the world over). My duty at this point was to oversee the cracker pulling, party popping and balloon blowing of the pupils under my charge at Table 22. Before then escorting four students off to get the roast turkey and trimmings platters, clearing the plates and collecting desert.
Then came the building anticipation as the tables were cleared of dishes, plastic and threateningly hard paper. What followed was the traditional school sanctioned Paper Fight. There were rounds (blondes vs brunettes; Under 16s vs Over 16s) but in truth it was a free for all, and a good opportunity for me to throw things at teenagers. Things calmed down relatively quickly as everyone settled into the singing of several Christmas tunes before some were dismissed off to class and others remained behind to clean up.
Since my class seemed to be all far too heavily involved in the clean up to come to class so I went to the staffroom and helped sort the collection of christmas cards from students to teachers. When the final bell went I took my bag and caught the train home.
And that is what I got paid to do today.
Tomorrow I am helping to escort the whole school to the church across the road for the carol service (we're deep in the heart of the Church of England here folks).
Some day I am going to have a really awful job as the karma balance to this one.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Sorry. I've been a bit shit at blogging lately. Not that I have an excuse. I just haven't been turning thoughts into posts.
And what have I been doing?
After a couple of months going through a "full time work commitments are for losers, I'm going to try being an artist" phase I realised that (a) I am not a creative genius in any way; (b)I do not have the self-discipline to turn myself into a creative genius; and (c) I like money more than I like to think I do, or at least regular doses of it.
For half the week I now work in a cafe and make coffee and such. This makes me contented in three ways. Firstly, you should know that it is very hard to find a decent cup of coffee in England. Very Hard. So when I make a flat white I get complimented on making the best coffee in the whole of Hastings, which flatters me for a second until I realise that my coffee would be pretty average compared to anything on Cuba Street or in Newtown. But my ego does appreciate it. Secondly, at the end of the day when the dishes have been done, the coffee machine cleaned and the tables wiped, I go home with no more baggage than a leftover muffin or quiche slice. The evening is mine. There is a certain satisfaction to that. Lastly, people are very polite and appreciative when they have just had a dose of sugar and caffeine. They drop coins in the tip jar and say thank-you as they leave. It is nice.
For the other half of the week, I teach GCSE English in an independent school about 15 minutes train ride north. I teach in a building that is a 700 year old abbey, right next to a 945 year old battlefield. On the days I am there, I am fed a hearty lunch. There are always biscuits in the jar, next to the tea and coffee in the staffroom. On the chairs always sits the latest copy of The Times newspaper. On Monday mornings there are assemblies where hymns are sung by the choir. I try to not say that my shoes cost £2 at the charity shop. I walk to classrooms through stone archways and narrow wooden staircases. My students thank me at the end of every lesson, listen to everything I say and I have to remind myself that they would learn just as much if I were not there at all.
Well, now look what's happened. This post was meant to be about the election and I got side tracked.
My vote is still being counted at this point. Last Sunday I downloaded my voting forms and sent them into the High Commission in London. My electorate is the one that voted Anne Tolley back in. And yes, you can blame them for that. I was going to allow myself 24 hours of political venting after the election result was announced, but I think it might turn into three years' worth.
But we can at least be heartened that John Key's presence has seen a rise in political satire... at least to me, from this distance it has. A lot of it has come through this facebook page.
Comedians are doing very well here in the UK. It's due to the recession apparently, in the same way that satire did so well in Margaret Thatcher's day.
I don't quite know why, but this impression of the BBC's political correspondent Nick Robinson had me in giggles.
But anyway, I have come to the opinion that David Cameron, the PM over here, is, well, a bit of a dick. He was asked in Saturday's Guardian a whole range of questions by well known Britons. Some people asked questions like "Do you wish you were less posh?" and "Did you go clubbing when you were in Ibiza?" which seemed like a waste of a question. Until I realised that those who asked more indepth questions usually got an insult in return: " Richard Dawkins just doesn't really get it", " I won't give a number, Michael, I'm afraid. It's not like one of your restaurant reviews." But there was this, from the artist I talked about here:
Eine, graffiti artist whose work Cameron gave to Obama as an official gift in 2010 Imagine it's your stag weekend, which is being organised by Silvio Berlusconi. There are five places spare on the coach. Based solely on their ability to have a good time, which world leaders would you invite (past or present, but they have to be living)? If you don't choose Bill Clinton, why not? "That is so difficult. I don't know that many past world leaders. I think you probably would choose Bill Clinton because he'd be fascinating to talk to. But God, that's difficult. I like Obama – I always enjoy chatting to him. My new best friend is the president of the Maldives. He's great. That's a weird mixture, isn't it? I like Sarkozy, we'd have fun. And I like John Key, the prime minister of New Zealand."
It's going to be a long three years.