Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Monday, March 31, 2008


I'm about to do something really stupid. I'm driving 2 hours to Perth to see S because we had a serious disagreement just before he left this morning and as we said goodbye at work I couldn't even hug him to help make it right. So I'm going down tonight and driving back tomorrow.

Why is this stupid? Because there's a severe rainstorm and isolated thunderstorms out there, and a dust storm has kicked up underneath the rainclouds so there's really poor visibility and it's blowing a gale.

And I DON'T CARE. I'm going regardless. Even though it's a totally numbskulled thing to do.

I'll post tomorrow to let everyone know I'm alright.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Friday was much, MUCH better at school, things settled down a lot, and yesterday and today have been lovely - S is here and we've just had a gorgeous time being together.

But . . . I found out today that my brother (aged 24) and his girlfriend (aged 20) just got engaged.

I'm not going to even get started about how I feel, because I've only got a short time and besides I think you all know me well enough to imagine the conflicting feelings I have right now. Sure I’m happy for them – but . . . . .

Thursday, March 27, 2008


That doesn't even begin to describe the sound, but it'll do.

For most of this term I've had a beautiful class of 12 students, all good kids who would usually stop any silly behaviour with a mere glance and never really needed any consequences. And I knew that I'd never have such a wonderful, delightful, smooth-running, peaceful, gorgeous class ever again.

Today the class was totally shattered. Two transient students who've been away for 5 weeks returned, and we also received a new student, and the harmonious class I’ve built just went to pieces.

The older transient child (girl aged 11) thinks she's got special privileges and is always trying to tell me what the class should do next, in a chatty I'm-not-really-a-student sort of way. She’s also a known thief and has to be watched constantly.

The younger transient child (boy aged 10) is the only child in the class who really is a complete brat. He'll blow raspberries when I try to speak, mutter "why don't YOU do it" loudly when I ask the class to do something, won’t do any work, refuses to complete set consequences like sitting on the bench at recess, and is just an all-round pain in the butt. And he sets off the other kids too.

The new girl seems okay, but is somewhat messed up - her then 12-year-old brother died in a car accident this time last year and she's clearly full of anger and bitterness and sadness, and I heard reports that she was being both rude to and too rough with other kids in the playground. So although I hope to fully integrate her in time, she was still a wrong note in the classroom today.

I ended up having to send the boy to the principal by the end of the day, because I was going to start screaming at him if I didn’t get him out of my space. AAAARGH.

I know I’ve been privileged, and three somewhat difficult kids is absolutely nothing to complain about. But although I knew it was coming today, I really wasn’t ready for it, and I’m just worn out in mind, body and soul. I’m seriously considering settling in with a soppy movie and having a good howl. What a day!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter! *sigh of relief*

At Easter last year (which was a month later, mind you) I was stressed to my limit, trying to get all of my assignments done and thinking about moving to England without freaking my Mum out too much.

Oh, how far I’ve come!

I’m really tired after a long week – I had my graduation on Monday night which was fun but exhausting as I had to drive back to Little Country Town from Perth at 6:30am Tuesday morning so that I could teach on Tuesday. Graduation was great though!

Me (middle) with my friends Justyna and Sonia before the ceremony.

On Wednesday I went to Perth with my class for hip-hop lessons, and today we had our annual swimming carnival against two other schools (the Catholic school in our town and the public primary from a neighbouring town). We won – kicked butt, in fact – and it was a gorgeous day. The kids’ school spirit was amazing; the kind of school spirit I remember from my own school days, before we reached upper primary and spirit became uncool. Our school captain (one of only 3 year 7s) led the school in chants and cheers with unreserved glee, and the townsfolk came out to watch as we marched with our flag from the school down to the pool, and it was all just adorable and wholesome and old-fashioned and great. Squee!

And I’ve written nearly 2000 words of the Rosalie story – 1954 words, to be precise. Most of it last weekend, after the previous blog post, when I sat in my desk chair and just made myself write. It’s coming along rather nicely and chapter two is just beginning. I think it’s still working, too!

I’m finally meeting S’s parents on Sunday after many delays, which is fantastic but very daunting. I do hope they like me! 

That's all my news, I think . . .

Thursday, March 13, 2008

*Opens eyes*

Today I was reading the blog of my fellow writer and namesnerd Jess, who I know online, and some of her comments felt highly relevant to me. She was talking about how we (writers and women, specifically) tend to put our need for me-time last before the needs of everyone and everything (housework?) else.

She also posted a link to a rant by highly respected fantasy author Robin Hobb. The rant was concerned with the fact that too many potential writers waste time and words on blogs (theirs and other peoples’) and thus never get any actual writing done.

These two comments together had me rattled.

It’s absolutely true that I spend valuable writing time playing on message boards and blogs and other interthingies. But it’s not because I think they have some value to me as a writer, as discussed in Hobb’s post. It’s something quite simple, something we studied in my education degree: avoidance. I’m so scared that I’m no good as a writer, so disbelieving that I could ever produce anything of quality, that I just don’t start. I sink my time into fun but frivolous communications, and then miraculously find that I’ve run out of time and can put off the frightening writing until another day.

[Ironic really – as a teenager I used writing to avoid homework in the same way I now use the internet to avoid writing. Oh, for the inventiveness and naïveté of sixteen!]

I think that, since the 20,000 words of Sorcerim had to be abandoned due to fatal plot flaws in 2005, I’ve quite simply lost my nerve. It’s easier to dream of writing and avoid doing it than to face down another disaster like that. I carry on avoiding so I don’t have to face my own inadequacy. But I can’t just stop writing, because it’s an inalienable part of me.

Which dovetails nicely with Jess’ point about devaluing me-time and denigrating our writing to allow ourselves to sacrifice it for others’ needs. I don’t devalue my writing for that reason, but the hat still fits. I don’t value it, and I don’t value other needs either. Recently I’ve felt a few times that I could benefit from some emotional or spiritual support from someone trained to provide it, but I’ve held back because my problems aren’t “important” enough compared to the problems some people face.

Well, sure, they’re not, when you look at it that way. What do I need help with? I’m learning a new and challenging job, I’m missing my boyfriend, I have premature wedding fever, and I’m clucky. Big deal. Peanuts next to the problems some people face.

But . . . they’re still problems, and they’re still hurting me, even if they’re low on the scale of human suffering. Why should I be ashamed to seek a wee bit of help when I’m feeling sad or distressed, just because my reasons aren’t earth-shattering?

I need to stop fearing that my writing ability will let me down. I need to face down that fear and try it. I need to spend less time avoiding it and more time proving that I can do it. And I need to spend less time dwelling on and more time dealing with problems. Blogging doesn’t make anything go away. Except time which could be spent living dreams instead of avoiding nightmares.

[I realise that spending 20 minutes writing a blog post on this subject was a wildly and ironically inappropriate way to process this. Go, me. But with any luck organizing my thoughts like this will help somehow.]


I was back in the classroom today, after three days of training courses, and I'm rather delighted to say that I missed teaching and missed the kids, and was glad to be back. I was scared I’d discover I actually hated it lol. Silly!

As always in my life, I’m struggling with impatience today. A friend who I was very close to during my undergrad (and for whom I harboured a secret crush for YEARS) was married recently and I just finished looking at his wedding photos on Facebook. And of course it’s made me want to stamp my feet and wail that it’s MY TURN DAMNIT!!!!!

I know it’ll happen and I know it’ll probably be within the next two calendar years, but although time is flying I’m having trouble reconciling myself to the wait. It’s not like I can make it happen any faster, nor would I want to because I’m an old-fashioned gal and I want S to do the work :-D But it’s so hard to squelch that impatience and frustration. Inner calm and patience just aren’t happening for me at the moment.

Basically I’m just a silly jealous girl who wants what everyone else has, right now, and is willing to whine about it to anyone who will listen. Forgive me?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Last night at midnight it was too hot to sleep, and I was too tired and sticky and uncomfortable to read anything challenging. So I grabbed two of my old “Little House” books and read them both cover-to-cover over two and a half hours, by which time it was cool enough to sleep.

The second of the two books was “These Happy Golden Years”, in which Laura leaves home for the first time to teach school. And while I read, my busy brain was processing a few things.

As a child, and before I read “Lord of the Rings” aged 9, my great literature loves were the “Laura” (“Little House”) books and the “Anne of Green Gables” books. I read them again and again, dressed up and pretended to be the characters, and made up my own stories about them. I also identified strongly with the main characters – Laura for her quick temper, stubbornness and objection to her brown hair; and Anne (and later in the series, her daughter Nan) for her daydreaminess and her need to pretend about everything.

Two girls who grew up to be teachers. Two girls whose mothers had also been teachers. Two girls who were my childhood idols.

My mother was a high school teacher until I was about 9, then proceeded to teach at a business college and then at university. Apart from when she was on maternity leave, there’s only been two years of my life in which my mother was not an educator of some sort (a brief stint in the private computing sector, never to be repeated lol). And even when I’d formally renounced any intention to ever become a teacher by launching in to my archaeology career, it was somehow embedded in my psyche that I would be a teacher someday. I’d even catch myself thinking “when I’m a teacher” and would have to remind myself that I’d turned from that path. In the end, it was ridiculously simple to turn back again, and I know I’m where I’m supposed to be at last.

But I can’t help but wonder whether these two characters – one fictional, one semi-autobiographical – programmed that desire to teach into my mind at that early age (I know I read all of the “Laura” books that were in the school library when I was six and seven). I adored Laura and Anne and made them a part of me, and they grew up to be teachers. Did my impressionable mind take that on, and build my self-image around the idea that because I was like them in so many other ways, I too would grow up to be a teacher?

It’s worth a good few hours’ musing, at any rate!

Edited to add: gratuitous but rather cute pic of me in about 1989, dressed in "pioneer" (synonymous with mid-to-late 1800s in my childhood lexicon) clothes. I think on this occasion I was supposed to be Mary Lennox from “The Secret Garden” but I could just as easily have been Laura Ingalls or Nan Blythe in the same outfit, and frequently was, too. I had no reason to be dressing up, it was just for fun!


Sunday, March 9, 2008


I, er, broke one of the school's photocopiers. Whoops.

It's Sunday, but I'd just popped over to the school to copy some stuff for the relief teacher who is taking my class for the next three days, while I'm on training courses. I was copying grid paper onto overheads (so the kids can estimate area using 1cm squares) and one of the overheads melted inside the machine. They were supposed to be copier-safe according to the aide who gave them to me, but apparently not.

I managed to get all of the plastic out (getting several small burns in the process!) but I think it had already done some damage and now the copier won't work at all. Bother?

I've left notes for people explaining what happened and marked up all of the copying that was still to be done so that the relief can do it on the other copier (which I can't get to with my set of keys). That's all I can do. But it was NOT a pleasant feeling, especially as I'd decided to go do the copying before dinner and got progressively hungrier as the disaster continued. Blech!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Rain, blessed rain!

For the last few weeks we've had nothing but very hot, humid days, nothing under 30 C / 86 F, and most close to or even over 40 C / 104 F. The weather was starting to get to everyone, tired of being constantly exhausted and sticky and too hot.

But a little while ago I was watching TV and heard a strange noise outside, and it was RAIN. Huge high-speed drops pounding down on the parched red earth. I went a little bit mad, put my glasses down and went outside and just let it rain on me for a little while. Now it's simply pelting down and it's started to thunder. Oh, the glory! And that heavenly scent of rain on hot earth! *loves*

Getting off the computer now because of the lightning, but feeling sooo much better.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Defining home

I hate Catch-22 situations.

I'm doing my absolute best to fit into Little Country Town right now. Making friends, using the town facilities, getting to know the locals, etc. And as I'm finding my place here, the town is getting in under my skin too. I've started to think of it as home, to know its streets, to recognise its quirks, and to feel a deep sense of satisfaction as I drive up the final 5km into town and catch the first glimpse of the huge wheat bins from the crest of a hill. It's settling in on me as I'm settling in, and it's great to feel so at home and so satisfied in a place I've adopted.

BUT. This is a problem. There's not the slightest guarantee that I'll be able to stay here next year. My position here is permanent and I have the job as long as I want, but if S can't get a job in one of the surrounding towns I'll have to apply for a transfer and it'll be time to move on. And I don't want to. I could happily stay here, it has everything I need, and if life was simple I'd just say to the world, "done, this is my place now, I'll stop here thanks". But I know that in the long run that's not going to happen anyway - once there's kids involved S and I will want to be within an easier drive of both our parents' houses (and in fact we've already picked out the one place that is equidistant between our parents' homes and acceptable to both of us, and that's where we'll try to live in a few years' time). Until then, though, I'd really like to stay here, and I know it won't happen, unless we're spectacularly lucky.

So I'm walking a fine line between getting involved and attached enough that my experience here is meaningful and fulfilling, but remaining just distant enough that I won't be breaking my heart when I leave the town. And that's a very fine line indeed.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I found my TV remote finally!

Disclaimer: it's after 1am. I shouldn't even be awake. But there's a public holiday tomorrow so I'm not trying to fight the insomnia. Every time I got to bed I get upset because S isn't there with me, so I'm just not going to try until I'm too tired to care. Wonderful weekends together equal sucky feelings of loss afterwards :-(

Anyways, this insomnia has had one good side-effect: the remote for my large hired TV has been missing since I moved in - I last used it back in April when I was living at my friend's house, and after two haphazard house moves and many intervening months, I'd wound up with not the faintest idea which box it was in. And a thorough scouring of every box had failed to turn it up, so I was starting to feel thoroughly clueless about it.

A little while ago, I was in the spare room cuddling Jemima, who has her food and bed and so forth in there and was enjoying my company. Then she got cheeky and took a swipe at my hand, so I decied to amuse myself by looking through some of the odd collections of stuff in my "random storage" boxes - some of the bags in these boxes haven't actually been sorted since I left Sydney in December 2005, so there's some stuff in there that I've forgotten I ever bought or acquired.

As I was attacking a box, I noticed on top of it a green bag which I'd seen many times before. It had half a dozen fiction books on top, so I'd pretty much dismissed it as "bag of books" and ignored it. But as I moved it aside I noticed that there was a medicine spray and a toiletries bag underneath the books, and I thought “wait, what else might be in there?”. With the remote in mind, I lifted the books out and . . . there was the remote! I couldn’t believe it, after all this time, that finding it was that simple. *headdesk*

PS: Awww. When I came online I vaguely hoped that S might be online - he's not working until tomorrow afternoon/evening and sometimes he stays up quite late so there was just a slight chance. I don't know if he picked up vibes from me or what, but he logged in to MSN about 10 minutes after I did, and of course immediately checked that I was okay because he was so surprised to see me online this late. He reminded me that he gave me a teddy bear to cuddle when I miss him, and told me he misses me too, and generally made me feel loved and warm and better. I'll try sleeping again soon.