Marie Antoinette bath

Settling in at School and at the Hotel

So now I'm at the start of week 4! Hello everyone!

So what has been the low down so far?

I have a filing cabinet. Not a desk though. Apparently that'll be coming soon. Who knows how long "soon" is. But I have a place to chuck my stuff that I can lock. I was pretty happy about that. I have been pulling some kids out to do work with them. So far I'm totally just making it up as a go along, trying to get a feel for what they can do/what I can do with them. So far a typical session looks like this:
1. Read a book with them
2. Get them to identify sight words
3. Ask if they know [this] word (a repeated word in the text, or one that's easy to sound out)
4. Read the book, this time with them reading aloud the sight words and couple of extra words we've identified and me reading all the other words.
5. Repeat step 3.
OR!! If they have trouble sounding out a word, get into the phonics of it. What sound does "th" make? What words can we find that in? Let's say those words together! Oh look, it makes 2 different sounds. One sounds like "v/z" and the other sounds like "s/f"! Fancy that!

My diary and filing cabinet is very colour coordinated with retroactive notes in it to record the work I've been doing, rather than comprehensive lesson plans (who can plan when the kid might not even be there!?) So I've been settling into that kind of role so far. There's more professional development for me to come and I'm looking forward to getting my head around the ATAS role even more when that comes. I'm pretty happy with how I've been working so far.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow we have a Kagan PD, so we missed out on the morning service at church and have a couple of student free days. It's a pretty cool thing, this Kagan thingo. I rather like it, except more of it is suited to whole-class set ups and cooperative learning (a kind of group work with important, distinctive differences). Anyway, this led to us going to the evening service at the people's church on Sunday. There were definitely less people and it was WAY more casual, but it was really good and I super enjoy going! I couldn't really understand the talk at all, as the speaker was speaking with a very thick Aboriginal accent, and mostly in a kind of creole. But what I could understand was good, and the music was sung with loads of gumption by everyone. All the songs were done in a kind of country-style due to the guitar playing. But it was very encouraging to be a part of this church that is otherwise so foreign to me!

I've also volunteered for the kid's church and hopefully will be starting that up next week. I hope to get a few Indigenous volunteers to help each Sunday that can be trained to help leader too. Then we might even be able to run 2 groups to cater to age differences. There's about 20 kids from 1-12yrs old, so that'd be really good.

As far as friendships go, I think I'm super sensitive to everything that goes on. On one hand, Bible study last week was REALLY good and encouraging!! I felt a lot better about those relationships. On the other hand, that didn't lead to the leaps and bounds in close friendships like I was secretly hoping for, and that feels discouraging. Which I think is a problem with my own expectations. There was a geek themed party on Friday night we were invited to, so James went as greek and I went as Sikh (both of us playing on the theme). It was good fun at first, but as the night went on I felt a little on the outer. I felt I was outputting a lot of energy, but didn't feel much of a reciprocated input. Which, again, I'm new, I don't have a long-term-friendship-foundation with most of these people and they're still getting to know me. I understand. I get it. But I was still discouraged.

But then today, I feel fine about it all. My emotions are swinging a lot around that issue and again, I'm very sensitive to what's going on. People are very friendly at times, and then not friendly at other times. And it's hard when we're all in this same small town together. My work collegues are also my friends and there's no one else. We see each other 5 days a week and more when we all want to be social on the weekend (or have PDs scheduled). I'm still adjusting.

Finally, we moved some furniture around the room on Saturday. We also gave some of out junk "homes" around the unit. So now I feel that this space is more "ours" than it was before. We've taken some ownership over it and have made it a little into a home. And that feels good. The tv-table is now a desk, it's now in the corner and the lamps on it provide warm lighting for the lounge-area, instead of the cool, white down lights in the ceiling. Our fridge magnets cover the fridge, as do old letters, cards and wedding invitations that somehow didn't get packed in the removalist's truck. I covered a bedroom lamp with a patterned sarong we bought in Bali on our honeymoon last year, and that makes the room warm and orange. Dim lights are the go for me at the moment. But all of this helps me to feel more settled in this space. Even though I don't have all my STUFF, it feel like MY space, not just a hotel I'm staying at for 3 months. So yay for that. :)
kitty little and lonely

Half Way Through Week 2

Half way through week 2! It's going pretty well, I reckon.

On Monday and Tuesday I tested a bunch of middle primary students, who hadn't been tested last year. It was a good start as I get great opportunities to meet students and start forming relationships. A lot of what we were told on the PD last week was that these kids are "beautiful" and I have mixed experience with that. On one hand, they're little rats and horrible scoundrels. On the other hand, the exact same student can also be cute and sweet and even, beautiful. I wish I could download a work ethic into them. But I can't. And when they're being cheeky, or when they're humbly pleased with themselves for achieving a task, they're beautiful. And I love being 1-on-1 with them. It'd be too much if I had a whole class.

I was helping out in a class all day today and the teacher was AMAZING!! He had high energy and enthusiasm and patience ALL DAY and he was bloody fantastic. He has stuff to learn still and he is still wrangling behaviour management practices in, and he's still figuring out how to actually get to the teaching part of being a teacher (because they don't sit still or listen). But he's fantastic at building rapport and a positive classroom environment.

I don't think I could do that. And I'm happy to say I'm quite happy doing ATAS and, boy did I dodge a bullet!

Bible study was last night and it was encouraging. But I have an unfortunate discerning homunculus that cannot be gagged. Which meant I was questioning pretty much everything everyone said all the time (including myself). Being discerning is good and I'm pleased to say I agreed with 99% of what was shared. The 1% was not important stuff AT ALL. But it was exhausting and got in the way of actually engaging properly with the people, relationally. And I'm missing my bosom buddies back home. Though I actually don't think about it, because when I do I get sad. So I just never think about my friends back home.

I hope you friends back home understand. I love you. Yes, you.

I hope that over time, my discernment homunculus will quiet down, and that shared experiences and conversations mean that friendships can grow a bit. I'm very thankful to have made a couple of friends that I would call close friends. And that's a real encouragement. But I feel a bit on the outer of the Bible study group still, and that's always a hard feeling. I hate feeling this way! I've felt this way back in Perth too. So it isn't a new feeling, just new people. And there are less people to feel on the outer with.

But anyway, this is a lot of typing. Given that that's my only problem, I would call myself blessed. Things are looking up and life is going pretty good. Except for my prayer life, which is flagging. And I'm feeling a little down. Which might have something to do with the aforementioned friendship problems. Making friends is hard! WAH! Anyway. The end :)
Buffy counselor

Week 1 of school

A whole week since updating! Woah!

So on Monday we moved into our apartment at the hotel. We have a bedroom, living room, kitchen and dinning room now. There's a washing machine in the bathroom and a dryer that does a great job of heating, but not so great job at drying. It tries though, poor dryer! We also have a dish washer, which is cool! We had some friends over for dinner on our second night to celebrate, and we ate not-pub-food! Yay! It's nice to cook again and eat our own food the way we like it. I don't have my cook books yet, so I'm just sticking to easy stuff I know well, instead of getting adventurous like I'm kinda used to. But then, it's not as though I have a billion different food shops in a 20min driving radius in order to get obscure items, so it's just as well.

For Monday-Wednesday, we had PD, and that was alright. A lot of being talked at and a few interactive things for our Stronger Smarter thing. It's aimed at Indigeous kids, to help give them self respect and pride in their education, hoping to boost attendance and results and generally put them in a better position to succeed when they eventually leave school. Most people at the school are super committed and optimistic about helping these kids, so I'm pretty happy to be working in this big team. There was also stuff about talking positively and constructively, rather than complaining in the staff room all the time. I was a bit confused at first, because the way they mentioned itm sounded like we were expected to bury our heads in the sand whenever something negative came up. But it's not that, it's about making those conversations constructive.

So school officially started on Thursday. ATAS won't start till this week (and even then, not in an official sense), so last week I was making resources for most of the day. I kid you not, I got mild RSI in my arms from the repetative actions on the guillotine and stapler! It was kinda funny till I got home and couldn't do other things, like out a pot of rice in the microwave because it hurt A LOT to lift slightly-heavy things. Lame!

My desk is in a wet area. It's a bit open and probably busy, but I have a desk!! Apparently I'll also get a computer! The principal has told me that he's ordered in new colourful desks and filing cabinets to go in that space, for my use with the kids. Cool beans!! I'm pretty excited about that. But knowing Halls Creek, these things won't come in for a while.

Things are definitely going well things week. Moving into the apartment has helped, starting at the school and getting assistance has helped, buying things online has helped, receiving our first paycheck has helped! But I think mostly time has helped me get used to change.

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

buffy smile

Feeling better



I was a bit teary previously with the housing situation. And it still is sucky. But it's much better now. Things that have helped include; buying clothes on the internet (necessary clothes like underwear), finding out that other people are in similar boats (misery loves company), and a little bit of time. I was more teary about it than I expected to be. We visited a couple's house this arvo. Their stuff hasn't arrived, but they've got the keys to their place and it's ready for them to move in. I was happy for them, and they've got sweet digs, but I was a little sad for me. But I'm doing OK for the most part.


Other things that make me sad include not having a class of my very own. Most student teachers are just hanging out for the day when they get their very own class. But alas, not for me *sadface*. I'll be doing this Aboriginal Tutorial Assistance Strategy (ATAS) instead. That means I'll have a small number of kids I'll work with to boost their literacy and numeracy. I think it'll probably be more rewarding and I'll enjoy it more, but it's not my very own class of my very own damnit! Expectations are nothing like I expected! If I think about it too much, I feel quite jaded about it all!!


Good news!!! Church this morning was great! Most people stuck around for ages to chat, an Indigenous man led the service and I agreed and was edified by pretty much everything he said, we did communion and sang OLD songs with gusto! The talk left a little to be desired, but it was from the Bible and was generally encouraging. On the whole, it felt a little bit like home and family, which is such a great feeling to have! Most of the white, Christian teachers go there too, which is cool!


After church we were invited to lunch at someone's house, so we went along for that. I felt a bit on the outer, as many of them had gotten back from the holidays and were catching up/had established friendships. But they were mindful of including us and I hope to be close friends with these women in time. I guess I was envious of their friendships more than anything and was super aware of my efforts to fit in :P. oh well. On the whole it was nice and I have positive expectations.


Good news, but not as awesome as the above good news: I figure out how to wirelessly connect the internet to the laptop via the tablet. Photos will be flooding here soon! Yay!


To sum up: God is preparing us to bear with unfavourable change. By the time we're 80, I ought to be quite used to this ;). But God also provides for us where it matters. And I am very thankful for that!

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buffy sad

No house, no class, no trusted friends

We met with the principal today. I still don't know what class I'll be teaching! But more significant is the news that our house won't be available to move into until the end of term 1/start of term 2. We had the option of being moved from our hotel room to a suite. We had a look at one of the suites and it's much more spacious. It contains a small kitchen, dinning area, lounge and a little patio with an outdoor setting. We decided to take up that offer and will hopefully switch in the next couple of days.


It's hard though. We have pots and pans provided, but there not MY pots and pans. It's not MY bed, MY couch, MY bedroom, MY lounge. It isn't my space with my stuff in it. I had a little cry about it and I still feel a bit sad. I don't blame the curent occupant for not moving out. She has a dog and you can't keep pets at the hotel. She also moved in quite late last year, so it'd be suck to move out again so soon. But I'm sad right now for not having our own space and stuff.


I'm sad I can't call anyone. I'm sad that I don't have a friend to trust yet to tell. I'm sad that there's only been one comment on my LJ since we moved a week ago and I'm sad to admit that because it feels pathetic. I feel quite isolated and I don't have a place to be settled and grounded.


Please comment, dear friends. Please tell me that I'm not far from your thoughts and I'm not isolated, despite the distance.

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

willow sad

Travelling to Halls Creek - Halls Creek

Yesterday we arrived in Halls Creek. It's small and red. The stores are old-looking, stained by the dirt. But in the school and hotel, there are lush plants. We checked in at the same time as another teacher, then we met other teachers staying next to us and some teachers opposite from us. To be fair, I'm exaggerating a little. There were 7 of us, but only 5 are teachers. We got settled in, then sat around for a bit until it was time to head to the local sports bar for dinner. We were the first to get there, but then the other teachers arrived and we all sat together. There's quite a range of people. Two of the blokes are going into teaching for the very first time after having established families (they're way older than us). But it's really nice to be making friends with these people.

Today we went for a little explore of the school. No one was able to tell me what I'm teaching yet :( and we do have a house, but we have to wait for the current occupant to get back from holiday and move out :(

I admit that these two things are making me a bit down. So far I've been on holiday, but now we're HERE, ready to get started and into it! But we're not into it. We have to wait. Up till now I've been rolling with the punches: we don't have a house? Fine! Don't know what I'm teaching yet? Cool! Except for now. Now that I'm here, I want to get settled! More than anything else, I want to be settled! But we're in a hotel room, at least for the next week. There's nothing for me to unpacked, plan, clean, go, whatever. We're just waiting to find out information and sitting tight. *sigh*

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

Kat sketching

Travelling to Halls Creek - Broome

firstly, I apologise for bad spelling and grammar in recent entries. I'm typically pretty picky about it, but I'm using an app on my android tablet/typing with the on-screen keyboard and generally getting used to it all. Combined that with no easy way to edit my entries after publishing them. I try to pick up as much as I can as I go along, but a few mistakes get missed. Sorry about that.

We're in Broome! We arrived at 3:30, which was super earlier than we'd hoped. We went through another HEAVY storm on the way. There were floodway signs as we were driving through, which increased my apprehension, but we made it safely to the other side despite that.

We are staying at McAlpine Lodge and I super recommend it!! It used to be an old bungalow for a wealthy pearler, but has been extended and converted to a boutique hotel. The grounds here are spectacular!! Lots of lush greenery and paths to walk and seats to chill out on. There aren't a lot of rooms available, but they are classy and quirky, each with its own bit of history. And air-conditioned. I'm not getting paid to say any of this, but I don't think I'd stay anywhere else when visiting Broome. I'm sitting on a deckchair by the pool side right now, listening to classical music playing over the stereo and parrots from the aviary squawk to each other. Very peaceful, very beautiful.

We went to the people's church last night and it was very cool. I found the language very interesting. The Bible was read in English and Kriol. Kriol is an Aboriginal language that combines English words with some words from different Aboriginal language and Aboriginal grammar. Some ways things were translated was interesting and mildly amusing from our perspective, as we understand the way words are used in English. I was a bit sad that people didn't hang around quite so much after church finished, but I'm white, so maybe it was that. I dunno.

This morning we visited a laundromat to get our washing done. Then we had lunch on Cable Beach and a bit of a paddle. Apparently there are a lot of dangerous jellyfish in the water this time of year, so we didn't swim long or far out. The beach was beautiful though. The water was FLAT and so so blue. There were no boats out on the water, or many people on the beach (with the jellyfish warning, I'm not surprised people stayed away).

This afternoon we're catching up with the Anglican minister in town so he can give us the skinny on the Christian scene in Halls Creek. Then we're going on the iconic camel ride at sunset, which is cheaper because it's off-season, yay! Then tomorrow we're driving to Halls Creek!!!

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buffy smile

Traveling to Halls Creek - Karratha

Last night we spent at Carnarvon, staying with Mum and Dad. It was also Laura's 19th! It's amazing that she's 19 already!! So happy Birthday to my little sis!


We left Atticus with my parents, which is both sad and happy. He was getting pretty annoying. Especially at 3am-ish each and every night! But he's also super cute, and it's sad that he's gone. We've taken lots of photos, but I cannot upload them as the internet connection is only on my tablet, not my laptop. He coed pretty well with being free to roam on the backseat. For the most part, he was pretty good about it, I think he liked being able to see where we were going and what was happening and then have the option of sitting in his cat carrier (which he did for a lot of the time).


The drive from Perth to Geraldton is quite nice with lovely scenery. We took the Ocean road, meaning we often saw the ocean and these amazing, pure white, spotless sand dunes, rising up from the scrub. It was quite spectacular! Between Geraldton and Carnarvon, the drive is a bit dull. Scrun, bushes, red, yellow. But past Carnarvon, everything starts getting a bit more green. We drove just under 650km and the last 200km was really something! It starts getting a bit more tropical, which means summer is now also the wet season. Which means everything is getting more green. there was so much wild green grass, some green trees, a tiny number of wild flowers and it was beautifully contrasted with the vivid red dirt. Lots of photos were taken.


The most exciting bit of the trip was went we went through a storm. It came on quite suddenly! We saw the storm clouds from way off, but the transition from dry to wet was like BAM! And it wasn't pitter-patter either. It was OMG I'm doing 110km/h and I can only see 10-20m ahead of me!! It was thick and fast. A car going the opposite direction had wisely stopped, but I had just passed a couple of road trains and didn't want them careening into me from behind.


Anyway, we're now in Karratha. Tomorrow we hope to get to Broome in time for an evening service at the local people's church (predominantly Indigenous) held at the Anglican church building. We're going to stay 2 nights in Broome for 2 reasons; 1, it's a nice place to holiday, 2, it's the place in between our 2 biggest legs (800km from Karratha and 700km to Halls Creek).


Dinnertime soon, yay!

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dr horrible shiny new Australia

Moving and Traveling - Kalbarri

Alrighty, we're moving!
Lots of stuff has happened, so I'll fill you in to now.

We're currently in Kalbarri, our first stop on the way to Halls Creek. Our stuff was packed last week on Thursday/Friday. We did a 4WD course the Monday and Tuesday before that, and this Monday-Wednesday, we had some professional development days specific to remote teaching. Atticus isn't doing too badly, but he's really hating travelling in the car, which lead me to a story:

Atticus is in the cat carrier on the backseat. He's meowing and meowing a LOT!! We make it to Geraldron by ignoring him, we even put a towel over the carrier as I'd heard that calms the kitties down. But alas, not respite for him. After Geralton, we only have another 150ish kms until Kalbarri, so I decide to let him out. He's wearing a harness and leash, so I attach the free end of the leash to the head rest on the back seat. He's now free to move around the back, but still restrained somewhat. For 10mins of driving, he's sitting on the seat, staring at the sky outside. Then he decides he wants a better look, so he puts his front paws on the centre console to look around. Then he retreats to the cat carrier and starts meowing again!! James and I laugh and laugh. We just can't pease him sometimes!

In other news, we've made some friends who are also teaching at Halls Creek. Some of them are even Christian, which was a big answer to prayer. Today we're driving to Carnarvon and spending a night there, then to Karratha, then one to Broome. Check out google-maps to see what I'm talking about. We're spending 2 nights in Broome to catch up with some Christian friends, then we're arriving in Halls Creek on Tuesday if there are no delays!

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Buffy counselor

Halls Creek and Self-Perception Introspection

So on Tuesday last week I received a call from Halls Creek for an informal phone interview. It went pretty well, though it was obvious I was a bit nervous. 10 mins after hanging up, James received a call from the high school in Denmark.

You may notice from visiting the wikipedia sites linked that they're on OPPOSITE ends of the state! There are HUGE financial and experiential pros in Halls Creek, but it'd be more comfy and cushy working in Denmark. James was in favour of Denmark because of his not-confidence with classroom management. Anyway, 10 mins after hanging up with Denmark, James received a call from the Education Department asking him to DECIDE NOW! We I was freaking out a fair bit until James called Halls Creek for his informal phone interview. The principal assured him that he'd get loads of support and there's this graduate training thing and all sorts. Once James got off the phone, he'd pretty much made a decision on Halls Creek. He'd also spoken with the principal about the pressure we were under from the Education Department and how we needed to know if he was going to offer us the job.

So that was that really. This week we got our official letters officially offering us official jobs in Halls Creek. I started the process of applying for housing and transporting our stuff there today. We officially have 6 weeks left in Perth until we're in Halls Creek for at least a year! It's pretty exciting, but also a little scary.

In other news, here's some introspection!

So I'm relying on phone calls from schools asking me to come in for the day because someone's sick. This week I've only worked Monday (so far), so I've spent a lot of time at home a bit bored. I could be doing housework if I wanted, so part of me being bored is definitely laziness. But being bored has made me a little lonely. James is heavily into studying theology and Ancient Greek during the holidays, which is a pretty solo task. And like most Christians, I have times of up and down in being mindful of God.

WAH!! I'm so lonely! No one wants to be my friend! I'm clearly not cool enough! WAH!!

How am I trying to define myself? Do I really think my friends sit around thinking about how they fit a certain subculture and how I don't, therefore, how much they're not wanting to hang out with me? Do I really care so much that I'd be willing to change myself? What should I be caring about? What should shape my identity?
Oh, that's right, Jesus! Like, duh! Maybe if I used this time to read my Bible/Christian books/praying instead of soaking up pop/sub cultures, ideologies, philosophies and the like, I wouldn't feel so insecure about myself. *sigh*

It's a good thing I'm saved by grace and not by works or sincerity!