Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Space required.

I'm finding myself more and more overwhelmed by almost everything right now, and really, I kind of just want some space.

Last week I wrote a long list of everything I was involved in or planned to be, and I am kind of grateful that I have been able to cross items off my list as things that aren't viable for me right now. It's sad, but there is only so much I can do. To be honest, my priorities have changed dramatically since moving back to Adelaide. This is a surprise to me, as I thought I would come back and be out almost every night of the week, like I used to do while I was at uni. I don't necessarily consider myself a homebody, by my weird working hours have contributed to the simple fact that I cannot really do everything I thought I could to begin with. 

Great quotes suggest that you should only proritise people who proritise you are all lies. I can deal with lateness, I can deal with cancellations, I can deal with stupid friendly competition. The thing is, I don't want to deal anymore. One thing I know from teaching is that you can't control someone's behaviour, but you can help create some change by setting boundaries. All that aside, I'm not going to (as I so often put it) teacher people I like into submission to my standards,. It doesn't work anyway.

Last but not least.
Negativity can only get you so far. If I have awesome news, don't tell me stories about all the things that can go wrong, how my life is going to be ruined, etc etc. the only exception to this rule is probably the people who actually know and love you the best, which probably equate to a really small handful of people. Life is already tough. Being a woman is tough. Why are we always tearing one another down?

That's it from me. I promise more positivity in the next post, but, honestly, today I would be quite happy to sit in a corner and eat chcolate. If I felt like chcolate, which I don't.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Last but not least. (Tender heartedness, and getting over it.)

There's just one more little thing I want to write about.

I'm always so grateful when people are kind to me!

I know that's crazy because as someone who is generally a nice person (basically, I need a good reason to dislike someone), most people would think I believe that essentially other people are also generally nice like my good self.

The tricky thing is, kindness is confusing. I have a old and dear friend (who isn't actually old, I've just known them for a while), who thinks they know what I like and what's best for me. And they get it wrong all of the time. The tricky thing is that my oldest, nearest and dearest don't always get how sensitive and tender hearted I am. And, here is how tender-heartedness works, for me.

Stage One
The friendship honeymoon stage. This is sometimes the best part of friendship. Everyone is nice to everyone is nice to each other, even though they aren't always genuine about it.

Stage Two
The stage in which Person A is revealed to be tender hearted and sensitive and Person B is revealed to not be so inclined. This is okay, because being Person A means you need a lot of Person B's in your life to stand up for you, dish out some tough love and help shove you along in the Game of Life.

Sometimes you get some variations. There can be two Person As, which works out for everyone in that triangle. Sometimes Person B pretends to be Person A for awhile because they want something from you. Sometimes a hybrid of Person A and Person B arrives. Hybrid, is, in some ways, preferable.

All the same, in Stage Two, you decide if you like Person A, B or Hybrid enough to make them part of your life. Sometimes you come back to Stage Two after firstly saying no. Sometimes you come back time and time again, after you have said yes.

The trouble with Person B's is that sometimes you don't need their tough love or overthinking or assumptions, and you just wish they would bugger off. This leads to one very frustrating fact - Person Bs hardly ever go away, even if you want them to.

Stage Three
In this stage, as Person A has some kind of conflict, usually internally about Person B, though in my case, most Person As and Bs know about the issues arising with the certain Person B causing grief.

Some really bad ways to deal with this kind of conflict include ignoring them, saying what you actually think, giving them some kind of ice queen treatment or anything else that will make them more defensive than usual.

Some really good ways to deal with Person Bs is just to be choosy about what you do and say with them. Because Person Bs almost always have your best intentions at heart, they can just get really annoying about it.

Ultimately, the goal is to get back to Stage One. For me, this happens, but only the right circumstances. It's worth it, most of the time. I think.

Being tenderhearted is tough. I hate being told negative anything about myself, even if I know it is true. For example, if I have done a bad job sweeping the floor, I probably know that and don't need someone to remind me. It can take me ages to fit in. And, honestly, sometimes it is so much better for me to be at home and recharging my batteries than being out with people, even if I like them a lot.

Sometimes this means that I might not look like I enjoy taking charge. Wrong wrong wrong. As the oldest sibling and only girl, I have been The Boss my whole life, so I actually just hate being told what to do! I don't like having plans made for me, and that's almost how I feel right now. I have enough of my own things happening, I don't need any more being shoved at me as potential options.

The tough thing is that Person Bs can quickly turn into Person As, and not as a hybrid, but because they are genuinely hurt. That sucks because as a tenderhearted girl, I try so hard to look after my friends of the same nature.

Other tough things that can happen.
Sometimes what I see as conflict or anger, someone else has not even recognised or cares about enough to deal with or address. I have had plenty of one sided fights.

I hang on to things people have said, for years and years and years. I'm not overly discerning either, but not letting go can be tough. No, is always tough.

Person Bs and Hybrids can get some crazy mad on your behalf. Sometimes a certain Person B has brought up issues from a few years ago that I had completely forgotten about and reminds me of all the things I could have done. This isn't helpful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! On the other hand, having someone actually get annoyed for you is good. Because, justification.

Sometimes people see tenderhearted people as weak, which is not always the case. It's easy to walk away, but Person As are the least likely to do it. I like to think Person As are most likely to choose fight over flight.

Person Bs can sometimes get annoying and unsympathetic, especially when dealing with tough stuff. If someone is sick, they will know someone who is sicker. If someone is being mean, well, that's probably justified. If you make a mistake, Person Bs expect you to own it. Person Bs re great to have on your side but terrible when they are on one of their high horses about something that really only applies to you and not them.

Person Bs often know that they are sometimes painful and annoying and ask you to tell them if you need them to back off or stop doing whatever it is that;s upsetting you. The problem is that tenderhearted types don't work like that, and Person Bs don't like being told such things, even if they give you permission to do so.

The problem really is being a Person A in a Person B world.

A few of my friends are Person As. I like them a lot because you can relate to them. But mostly my family and friends are made up of Person Bs and Hybrids. This is where the world gets difficult. To actually deliver tough love, in all it's forms, you need to have the respect of Person A. This can be hard to obtain.

What makes me like Person Bs though?
I think about this a lot. I like people who speak their mind and I also like people who aren't caught up in the game of people pleasing. And really, we live in a Person B world, and being that person is often rewarded.

I find it hard to like people who don't like me. People not liking me, is that possible?! When I moved to Balak I thought I had met some kindred spirits who were just hybrids disguised as Person As. I am not really used to people being nice to me, then stabbing me in the back, and it's taken time and distance to recover. So in some ways, I like Person Bs better because most if the time they either like you or they don't.

I have also found that I am almost instantly drawn to Person Bs, rather than As. And I don't really know why. I know that As usually make terrible boyfriends, As can be your best friend at tafe until your course finishes and you literally never see them again, As don't tend to swear so much but they do have tempers. I have a massive temper! As a Person A, I still feel bad at totally going crazy at people who didn't deserve my ranting and raving and shouting, but to drive someone to that point takes a lot of input, and a lot of patience from a tenderhearted person.

In addition to all of these things, I am incredibly sensitive when it comes to hearing and touch (for example, I hate irregular noises, uncomfortable clothing, shoes that don't fit right)... And I know other people don't like these things either, but it feels like I cope worse than other people. I feel the cold very easily. I am very easily hyped up emotionally, just dim some lights and I'll be ready to commit to an altar call, confess my sins to the masses or get teary and apologise for things that happened ages ago that no one else cares about except for me.

In some ways though, I don't want to get over it. I like who I am, and I don't really want to change, even though being a Person A can be really frustrating for everyone else. So... #sorrynotsorry

Positiion Description for Girl Guide Leaders: Happy World Thinking Day!

A little piece about Guide Leaders for World Thinking Day. This was about parents initially, but someone kindly adapted it for Leaders.

POSITION: Girl Guide Leader

JOB DESCRIPTION: Long-term team players needed for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and sometimes 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy and/or snowy weekends. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.

RESPONSIBILITIES: Must be willing to be hated at least temporarily, until the next fun activity. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the other end of the room are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable until the time comes to move on. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million "things" made from fun foam, wood, string, wiggly eyes, feathers, glue and such like. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

HOURS OF WORK: Variable - ranges from 1.5 hours per week to every available waking moment.

POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT AND PROMOTION: Virtually none. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, dealing with individuals of different ages at different times, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required. On-the-job training offered on a continually exciting basis. Training sessions also available, to be taken with a wide variety of people in exactly the same position you are.

OTHER QUALIFICATIONS - must have a dining room table to give to Guiding, as well as bookcases, space for boxes, craft supplies, camp supplies, and other paraphernalia.

WAGES AND COMPENSATION: Money-wise - none. This is offset by smiles, hugs and tears, either your own or those of the people in your charge.

BENEFITS: While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life if you play your cards right.

Some more thoughts on Tully.

I remember everything about the first time I read one of my all time favourite books, Tully by Paulina Simons. It was about this time in 2000. In fact, I may have skipped school on Sports Day to read it. (I skipped Sports Day often though, so no biggie.) I have written about Tully before - warning, spoillies, but what I really wanted to talk about was the impact this book has had on my life. No one I know has read Tully, well not to my knowledge although I have recommended it a lot, and fans of PS's writing have pooh-poohed this one until the cows come home.

So, I have written more, with massive spoliers, because otherwise I will keep thinking about Tully and won't be able to sleep.

First up, I will say this: this novel is incredibly overwritten.
The main characters suffer from a case of alliteration (Jen, Julie and Jack - high school friends; Henry, Hedda and Hank - family) and general stereotypical behaviour. It is probably at least 150 pages too long. It doesn't need to span the 20 years this novel does. No one needs to see Tully's terrible poetry, and I am just a little bit scarred from reading the pregnancy and birth bits. Also, why is Tully naked all the time? And always having the sexy time?

That aside, here is what Tully has brought into my life.

When I first read this I was only 14 - I had never been in love (although when you're 14 you're in love all the time, but you know) and I had never had to choose anything other than which school I would go to.  When I read and reread these books... every time I felt Tully had chosen the wrong guy. And the wrong guys changed every time I had read it.

"Can't or don't want to?"
"Don't want to."
Almost every time that scene broke my heart.

The tricky thing is that even as a teenager I could see that Tully wasn't really making decisions, she was just doing what came easiest to her. She didn't have to do much to have money and good men come her way, other than just be there. As I grew up and thought through every decision and discussed my choices often, I felt I was drifting away from Tully's Model of Life. I could relate to her, but I also felt deeply sorry for all the really shitty things she went through. It was a little bit too Gothic romance/horror for me sometimes, and my eyes would glaze over.

Now though, there are things that resonate with me, that really didn't before. When Tully starts counting down days until she sees Jack and thinks about making him spaghetti (amongst other things). How she talked Jeremy into leaving Kansas and didn't go with him. How she talks about how they had all these plans and now she doesn't even remember what he looks like. Yes, all of that has been me at one point or another.

Like most things, Tully's relationship with her husband, who she really won by default, baffles me the most. They don't talk which suits both of them quite well to begin with, but, honestly, Robin is a bit of a jerk. As a teenager, and probably well into my twenties, I was Team Jack. Some reasons why:

1. Jack is much hotter than Robin, even if he does creepily say 'why don't you see any blonde middle aged men?' *shudders*

2. Jack and Tully share Jen. Now I think whoop-de-fucking-doo (sorry, that was Tully speaking). Jack was actually a complete tosser to Jen for so many reasons, and this is not a good reason to be team Jack. Things Jack did to Jen include leading her on for years, sleeping with her for no good reason (and something weird about a mirror so they can watch... uhhhh), ignoring her and not actually caring a lot about her friendship, and then despite this, carrying around a note from her in his wallet after she dies. It sounds like Jack and Jen were friends for a short while and then he tried to end it when she got serious about it, but it all went unresolved for a long time. I don't think Jack is responsible for her death, as poor Jen had a whole heap of mental issues on top of her autism, but we are led to conclude that he and Tully believe he is somewhat responsible. Personally I don't accept this in real life and won't accept it in fiction.

3. Jack and Tully talk and do romantic things like dancing on Tully's birthday, rowing boats on secluded lakes and plant rose bushes. And that's when they are just friends. Who hasn't had a friend like that? Yeah, it never ends well. Or it does. And that's why I wanted it to end well for those two.

4. Jack was around when Robin was not. Robin worked all week and played sport all weekend. But this doesn't mean that Robin was a bad guy, he just didn't have the luxury that Jack did - of coming and going whenever he pleased. It's Two Princes all over again, and I always preferred the prince with rockets.

But then I decided I was Team Robin. Who wouldn't love Robin? He had the cool car, he had a temper (but only with good reason), he buys Tully her dream house and owns a successful business. Most of all though, Robin gets that Tully is a completely flawed person and still loves her even though she doesn't love him in return. Of course, Robin does some stupid things too. But be is certainly not Jack, and that is a very good thing.

For me, the logical thing to have done would to be for Tully to make peace with Jack and move on. Jack has some incredibly interesting morals, and it isn't so much that I disapprove of his playboy lifestyle, more that it's not a consistent choice for his character. It seems he has never really cared for any of his girls or girlfriends and, for some reason, is still hung up on a drunk Tully dancing with him while he was also drunk at 16. No no no. Okay, I get it, but for someone who treats people so badly, why would he really care about a lustful minute interlude with someone he didn't remember clearly for a long time? Yes, poetic license, but still.

The tricky thing about all of this is that is Jen didn't die, Tully would have zero interest in Jack and not look at replacing her with him. This is, of course, what happens, and it happens in real life too. I still believe that Tully was a little bit in love with Jen all the same, despite the fact that throughout the book she's portrayed as a raving made hetero babe who dances seductively because no one ever told her it was wrong (the hell?). Of course, argument could be made that Tully sees Jen's life as what she should have had, and wants Jen to take the pleasure she would out of the experience of having doting parents and everything you want in the world.

In some of the worst and best times of my life, I have picked up Tully and read it like a sacred text. For me, aspects and events in Tully's life have, on occasion, mirrored my own with some massive exceptions, namely having crazy parents who are horrible throughout my life. In other ways, Tully has been a constant friend for me and a guide post to show me sometimes things just aren't always what they seem. When I read it for the first time, I felt incredibly exposed to a brand new adult world where the rules only applied if you made them up yourself. And now I know that Tully never wrote any of the rules, she just pretended she did.

I'm going to leave it there because I have assignment work to do, and a sudden an urge to reread Tully again.

Friday, 13 February 2015

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... some defense of Valentine's Day.

I am not someone St Valentine has been very kind to, so you have to understand that this post is coming from someone who has had some of the worst Valentine's Days ever.

My introduction to the red and pink world, highly promoted by Girlfriend and Dolly (my stack of Bibles until I was 16 and realised they were full of stupid advice and advertising) as someone who had a shot with VD began like this. I had a 'serious boyfriend', in fact we had been together for almost two months which is like forever in high school. I was so excited about finally having a Valentine and one of my friends asked him what he was going to get for me. Yay! Exciting, except he broke up with me the next day.

Seriously St V?

Other dumb VDs continued. In Year 12 I worked on Valentine's, Easter long weekend, Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve (until midnight!!!) and during all the stupid social events my friends and I never went to (oh, except formal). My boyfriend that year said he ordered roses for me and they never arrived. He was lying, but that kind of tainted that year. A lot.

One year, just before I was meant to be getting married to someone else, he was mad at me for something and won't speak to me during our double date, other than accuse me of things, like buying him a chocolate at the bar with drinks because I felt bad about something I said. Then we went back to my place, had a rip-roaring fight and probably should have broken up then and there, BUT my Girlfriend and Dolly days held me back and reminded me that VD was probably not ideal for break ups.

There have been a whole heap of other things which went horribly wrong and I just won't go into those. For the most part, Valentine's Day has been royally painful to me.

I have had some nice days though. A few years in a row uni began on VD and we would usually do something as single girls. When I first most to Balaklava I bought peppermint chocolate, chips and watched 500 Days of Summer. I was dating someone who gave me a lovely day, completely drama free for a change.

Being single on VD means you are sometimes holding out hope that someone will have an oppportunity to approach you, or at least do something nice. This hasn't happened, unless you include the time this creepy guy gave me a piece of lavender from our friend's mum's potpourri bowl, which I don't because he made no effort. And yet I can remember a lot of my male friends doing and giving things on VD to girls they liked, even though sometimes it didn't go down too well. Will I ever forget the time Dale gave Cassie a teddy bear on VD when we were in year 6 and she politely turned it down and he threw it across the room in anger? No, probably not.

But, of course I get to write about how awesome 'Love Day' (as one of my Year 3 students called it) because I'm married. Not really. Being married or with someone doesn't make the day better, in fact it sets you up for all sorts of disappointments, which is why communication really is the key in all relationships. Plenty of my friends don't do anything for the commercial cash grab, and believe me, I understand it. Yeah, you shouldn't need a special day to tell someone they you love them, especially as you do that on a very regular basis. My grandparents never celebrated Valentine's Day but they were the most devoted couple who had all sorts of lovely habits, like saying 'I love you' every day, even if they were mad at each other (which wasn't very often). Honestly though, it is a fun reason to do stuff together. This year will be our fourth 'Love Day' together, and will be very different as usually we go out to dinner at Wallaroo or Port Hughes and this year we are doing movies and San Churros. Om nom nom. And there are corny cards, etc, and hopefully it all comes together smoothly.

I have no easy answers for the naysayers and scoffers, other than please let us loved up and or incredibly hopefuls have a day for tacky cards and a reason to say 'I like you a little bit'.

 At the end of the day, I just really love love.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

YITS: Reflections 10 years on

It seems a little early... but it's time for some reflection of Year in the Son seeing as it's been ten years since I started the course, and ten years of having some of the best friend ever.

I have done a few YITS reflection posts, but I haven't reread any because that will sway my current thoughts. Who know, I might do another one of these in 20 years. Then again, maybe not..

Year in the Son was a year long course ran by Tabor Adelaide as a gear year style program. The students in the course learnt life skills, some basic theology, some performance skills and a whole bunch of useless ice breaker games. The thing that I loved most about YITS was community. The awesome thing about moving to Adelaide and doing a program like this meant that I would start my time off in town with some soon-to-be friends and a pretty decent social calendar. The course was only three days a week, but Thursday sessions were extra long because they included Community Time (a whole group gathering of games, excursions and such) and Small Group.

Now, onto the fun stuff - reflection!

I have made life long friends because of YITS. I didn't necessarily choose my friends, but we were meant to be. I also have best friends because of YITS! Life long friends is one thing, but best friends are really the best.

Having said that, I have lost touch with some people I did YITS with, and people I thought I would stay close to haven't really followed though. Most of my close friends have said similar things. On the other hand, a ready made community does have problems. There is almost always going to be someone you don't agree with or get frustrated by. At the end of YITS, this was almost everybody - I was sick of doing everything together all of the time! I got over that pretty quickly though.

Community was obviously a really important thing about YITS. The leaders tried so hard to make us a community, but it was hard to come unstuck at the end. For a whole year I had 50ish someones to rely on for social occasions, Thursday night fun and pancakes.... And then, there was nothing. One of the downfalls of the program has to this community break up. It is part of the reason I chose Tabor as my uni of choice for studying Education, and I was probably a little misinformed about this. No regrets because I also met an amazing bunch of people through Education and it was worth most of the wasted minutes in lecture.

There were lots of expectations of YITS Couples - this is dumb! I was briefly one of these, and it's even worse than getting the old dumperoo when you're in high school because everyone knows and wants to help you reflect on where things went wrong.

In YITS there were plenty of weird and sometimes unspoken rules about sex. It is totally not okay to be having it, and sexual orientation was assumed to be us heteros only. Apparently there were some Seinfeld The Contest contests happening (ew) and keeping each other accountable was just something we had to do. One thing which grounded me was a really frank panel on sex during second term, but again, I'm sure that fast forward to now, things would be a lot different.

One interesting thing I found about YITS was that a lot of people knew each other (I think myself and Rozzy were about the only people who knew no one at all), and this added to the bizarre group dynamics a bit. Also, people going off for things outside of YITS, such as church camps, did phase me a little... but not too much. There is only so much you want to do with people you see most days of the week!

A lot of people said things like 'So you moved to Adelaide just do this?', as if I was some crazy person. Yes, YITS was totally my adventure, and one I wanted for a long time. I feel I was called to do it and be part of it.

They said to us at the start that people would leave our YITS community, and at the time I didn't really believe it. I was a bit heartbroken when one of the most dynamic and funny guys left the course and he was the first one to go. Others left too, but the first one was always the hardest. To some, doing YITS wasn't a priority in their life, and while I understand it, I also think, 'well, why not just leave properly?' About half of us graduated. Our course wasn't overly difficult, with one exception: Biblical Studies. This was my favourite lecture because our lecturer was awesome and made studying the Bible incredibly interesting, but I really struggled with presenting my assignments with enough knowledge that wasn't just in my head.

By time the last month or so of YITS arrived, I left ready to leave. I felt a little stifled by my community, and was very much in the middle of a love/hate moment with always doing everything together all of the time. I was sick of being forced to do another ice breaker game or write letters to myself, and all of those things on offer. When it was over a bunch of us went to the Schoolies Festival to serve with Encounter Youth (now much more affectionately known as the Green Team). On top of all the abrasive clashes and frustrations, more drama was happening in my own life, and there were a few times I left my dorm and slept under my blanket in the car, just to get away from it all for a bit.

Having said all of that, I did dearly love my friends, and if the Schoolies trip was just filled with friends and ultra supportive people (ugh, save me from the 'fun' people), I probably wouldn't have found myself crashed out on a couch in the vollies tent after a moment in which I ranted and raved (normal) and someone said some pretty unhelpful things (hey, I'm sensitive). That's how my YITS journey ended, really, and I was kind of happy.

In some ways, this isn't a great way to end my reflection... because I really loved the entire year full of experience I had at Bible College. I remember so many good times, like pancakes, performing at Family and Friends Night, the boys putting on a formal dinner for the girls, plotting leaf surprises for everyone, nights out with friends, a sleepover at Denessa's house, a special note from Steve while we were working (Steve is the best), Spiritual Growth, hiding other people's shoes, hanging out on the Torrens River for an afternoon, late night messages and Jon's jokes.

The year outside of YITS was tough for me, with  moving, moving again, living in a youth hostel, getting over the car accident and all the associated physio by myself, feeling incredibly lonely, a depressive episode and just really confusing things happening around me. I am eternally grateful to my Mum for coming to stay with me for six weeks, as well as an extra two or three every now and then, to help me get through some tough times. She stayed with me during my last term of YITS, which I don't have a lot of memories of, with the exception of Mum fussing about the house, making me yummy dinners and going out for lots of coffee. Why don't I remember that time? It's almost as if I closed down for a little bit, and reopened shop when everything was okay again.

Over all, I am really grateful for everything I did during YITS. I discovered a lot about God, about myself, and about friendship. My advice is this - if you ever get a chance to do a gap year course, like Big Year Out (offered by Uniting College, check them out) - do it! It is totally worth it.

Two years of Guiding... it's pretty much the best thing since sliced bread.

I have been a Girl Guide (as an adult) for two years now! It has gone by incredibly quickly.  I was a Guide when I was younger, for about two years, but I have always maintained a keen interest in Guiding, especially eating biscuits.

I have been working with Guides now for about the same time as I have been married. Admittedly, I am a bit of a Guide Geek and do as much as is on offer... I don't do things by halves too often. I am so blessed to have a husband who is quite okay with this and helps me out when he can, even if he won't help me get rid of mice.

Here is a bit of a list of some things the Movement has brought into my life.

- constant challenges - from bike hikes, to kayaking lessons, submerging myself on purpose into the Port River to lighting fires with ten pairs of eager eyes watching, to relearning how to tie reef knots (several times!)... I have been beyond challenged.

-working towards a qualification for Leadership which doesn't mean too much in the outside world, but to me, will be totally invaluable

-retreats, sleepovers, sharing with snorers and people having to put up with my terrible stinky feet

-milos and marshmellows

-cooking with whatever basics the girls find in the cooking cupboard and making it taste somewhat edible

-travelling alone to India to visit one of our World Centres: Sangam in Pune. Meeting amazing women from all around the world who taught me so much about Guiding and life in such a short amount of time.

-being dreadfully scared together in all sorts of situations, and singing under all difficulties

-emptying a bin with a couple of friendly mice living in it (and someone not letting Stephen help!)

-selling incredible amounts of Girl Guide biscuits and delivering them across the State and even posting a whole heap to Queensland

-travelling to Cook Islands to run some training events with the amazing GOLD Team

-having a home wherever there is a Guide Hall, a Brownie Ring, a World Flag or just a giggle of girls

-shelling out tough love and plenty of hugs

-loving other Guides unconditionally (and sometimes so much your heart can bust!)

-being brave in uniform, even if that means walking around in the dark looking for a Guide Hall by yourself

-collecting and earning badges for the all important Camp Blanket

-re-embracing Guiding traditions

 -creating and planning Guiding dreams - I hope to visit all of the World Centres, attend an International Jamboree in another country and serve at a National level. BIG goals, but not unachievable

-the sisterhood of Guiding!

It's been a great two years, and as I often say, Guides is one of the best things I have ever done, with notable exceptions such as getting married, moving to Adelaide or actually graduating. It's given me the opportunity to know and network with some of the most amazing people who inspire me, as well as the ability to travel and see more of the world. Now I am in Adelaide, my Guiding journey is changing a lot, but after having a wonderful day at Let's Shine on Sunday, I feel grounded and connected again.

All is well,
Safely rest,
God is nigh.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

2014: the year in review!

 I'm a bit late but.... 2014: the year of travel!

This year has been good and challenging. In some ways I feel like I'm kind of back where I started at the beginning of the year, but that's okay. A reset button is always a good thing. Time to review the year that was.

This year I worked in admin for a RTO for about six months. I'm not very good at admin at the best of times, but it was an interesting experience. The RTO, who shall remain nameless, is operated from a farm, and in my short time there I made a great new friend, had my office relocated and decided that this job really wasn't for me. Part of this was to do with my time away at Sangam, but a lot of of it was because I wasn't enjoying the work.

So I came back to teaching in a relief capacity. I enjoyed my TRT days and early mornings driving to Pirie. I loved spending more time with "my kids" (my students from 2012) as well. My time in TRT hasn't reignited the passion I once had for teaching, but that's okay. Part of my time at the RTO helped me decide that while I wasn't loving my job, I wasn't missing teaching too much either. 

This year I have travelled way too much for one person who only works part of the year! Over summer I spent a few days at Marion Bay and Melbourne. I also went on a week long cruise to the Whitsundays with my parents and Trent. It was nice to spend such a long time with my family and I'm grateful we got to do a lot of fun things together.
In March I travelled to India for the first time for my week long visit to Sangam. As one of my Guiding sisters said, "It's not you changing India, but India changing you". Every day felt incredibly long, and although I'd been away for a week, it felt like a month or more! My time in India was probably the happiest I had had for a long time because I spent all day with new friends and I was constantly learning about a culture completely different to my own. On the way home I had a stop over in Kuala Lumpur and spent a day doing some exploring. I really enjoyed this, but I was also completely exhausted by time I made it back to Australia. While in KL I visited Little India which was way too much like actual India. I had the best massage of my life and purchased some lovely goodies at their Central Market.

In August I had a weekend in Launceston to prepare for my trip to the Cook Islands. It was absolutely amazing! Burger Junkie (one of the food trucks on Eat Street) does an amazing Kentucky Bourbon burger. Yum yum yum. Other than food, I had a couple of visits to the glorious Cataract Gorge. Incredible!

September-October was our GOLD trip to the Cook Islands. We stayed on Rarotonga (affectionately known as Raro). I loved Cooks and hope to visit again some day. Island Time is a legit thing. After a crazy day of flying home I had a few days in Port Elliot with Stephen's family (but honestly, I was a bit too jet lagged to notice that I was even there in the first place).

During 2014 I did some wheelin' and dealin' on eBay (not a lot but), and also had a stall at Round She Goes, which I enjoyed. My stall has made a profit both times I have been there, but the real fun is often just thrifting and finding amazing things at bargain basement prices to sell on to other fashion junkies. Will I do Round She Goes again? Not during 2015, well probably not, but maybe 2016... unless I have other interests to pursue. Honestly though... I probably make more money selling from eBay, but I find having a stall a lot more rewarding.

Roller Derby
My derby life has been put on hold for reasons I won't disclose for now. I loved a lot of my derby journey and found I was really succeeding in different areas. I was devastated when I didn't make the cut to be a roller girl... then I was filled with the hope of being a ref.... then they decided they didn't want refs who didn't have awesome skillz. It's a tough one. To be honest... I don't know if the league I chose is right for me. I am hoping to join the same league as my amazing friend Jeni because she is such an encouragment and makes me laugh. Anyway. Fresh Meat begins again next November and I don't know if it's doable yet. Time will tell.

This year I went overseas twice for Guides, as well as joining the State Olave Committee and making some new Guiding sisters around the world (oh, and in my own backyard). I am so close to finishing my leadership qualification I can almost taste it. My Unit in Kadina won the Ann Lee Perpetual Membership Award for increasing Unit numbers (based on percentage). I didn't really realise what I was getting into when I rejoined the Movement again.... but this has certainly been one of the most important things I have had the opportunity to be part of.

Moving house
After a few false starts and throwing in some towels, we finally rejoined the ranks of the Adelaidians! Our little house is pretty big considering it is two bedrooms. It isn't in great shape, but we have made a lot of improvements in the short time we have been here, especially in the garden. It was part to leave our life in Kadina, but also really nice to come back home. Our new addition to the family is Cedric (aka Black Cat), who has stayed and helped keep the mice population down.

Life in general
Life has been pretty sweet to us during 2014. We both got breaks we probably didn't always deserve. Being married is a totally awesome 'it's an adventure' moment (this is what we say when we are lost in the car or if things go wrong).

I feel as if I have dealt with issues which had been bothering me for a long time, especially surrounding careers and conflict, even if that conflict was sometimes one sided. I have blogged a lot and achieved some new goals. I am proud of myself, which is not always something I can say.

The future holds lots of challenges, and I am glad we are in Adelaide with a great support network and people who care about us being close by, or just a road trip away. I am just so happy and grateful, there aren't enough ways to describe it

Breakaway - reflections on living one life in two places.

 I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly
I'll do what it takes til' I touch the sky
And I'll make a wish
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway...

In a lot of ways, I have been a lucky one. I moved out of home at nineteen to study in Adelaide with my parents' unconditional support. I did all the right things - I came home for every holiday, long weekend and weeks in between. I had two homes. I had two lives. But, eventually, the time came, and I just needed to have one life.

Being silly on YITS Retreat.( I am wearing an old man's hat.)
I had planned to go to Adelaide and study Year in the Son at Tabor Adelaide since I was sixteen, and after my gap year, that's what I did. I live with a friend for six months, then lived in my own flat for a few years, lived with my brother for a year, then by myself for another two, and finally finished my uni days living at a friend's house. I moved a lot, which was not the plan at all. Best laid plans, yeah, whatever.

To say I grew a lot during this time would be a massive understatement. I embraced, eventually, who I was, what I liked, what I didn't, how I wanted to live. Most of all, I loved living by myself, in my own space, though living with Matt was pretty good too because no one gets you like your own family. I made a lot of friends in Adelaide, and I was so grateful to have the opportunity to do Year in the Son, as well as making new friends at uni. The majority of my close Adelaide friends from my early days here are still in my life today. That means an awful lot.

What I
discovered about coming home to see my friends and family... you could write a book about it.

At first it was really hard being away from my family because we are really close. If I had a choice, I would have lived with them until I was married or had to move out because they asked me to. We talked, wrote and emailed a lot during my first two years of being an Adelaide girl, but once I'd been established in Adelaide and no longer crazy homesick, I didn't need so much varied and constant contact... although I would call my Mum and Gran every day (and still do). While I was away my brothers grew up and changed a whole lot, and it was a bit of a pain that I would come back and expect things would be the same when they really weren't. Sometimes I outstayed my welcome, although no one ever said that. I felt guilty not being able to come home, but when I was home I would be restless too.

My friends. Oh, good grief.
I learnt a lot about friendship while I was away. Growing up I always had a best friend and a couple of close friends, but during my gap year (between high school and leaving for Adelaide) my very best and favourite friend left for Western Australia. I had a few friends leave for interstate, a few lose complete interest in socialising, and lost contact with a lot of friends from school (who I really only saw at school anyway). The main group of people I saw a lot of were people from church, especially the youthies who were all a few years younger than me. I think a lot of people had good intentions of staying in touch when I left, but it just didn't really happen the way I hoped, and I really did have a bit of a mass exodus of friends when I left.
Being a youthie on a Friday night!

My closest friend from home was certainly not someone I would have thought would be my closest, not by a long shot. We used to go out a lot of Saturday nights, along with other friends from school, but I was tired of this eventually and after an incident with a cheeseburger, we haven't been out on the town since. I was invited to plenty of 21st parties, all of which I attended and made special trips home for, which I may not have done had I known I wouldn't see a lot of those people after their parties!

I have to say, with some notable exceptions, that I don't really miss people who I had in my life then. I often felt a bit used, and even when I was living in Adelaide, I still found that I was paying for someone else's lunch even though they could afford it (really, I just wanted company). I got to the point that unless I ran into someone, I just stopped making lunch and coffee dates with people because a lot of times it would be me chasing them, or them asking 'when will you be down next, I miss you,' followed by not actually seeing them.

After my first year away, I stopped doing the chasing, and found that I was a lot happier just hanging out with my family, rather than having those constant 'remember when' or 'you know so and so' chats. I wanted something that wasn't based on the past, and that can be hard to come by when you don't share experiences with someone. After spending a year or three with people with similar interests to my own, doing stuff we all enjoyed, unfair comparisons were made, and I just didn't want what social life my home town had to offer.

I didn't really like the idea of hanging around Adelaide over school holidays, especially as I only worked during the school term and I could save a lot of money by not living in my flat for a couple of weeks. In some ways this was a false commodity (I still needed to get home after all), but it was a notion everyone approved of.

And when it all started to change.

Coming home, although I really loved it, was always a little bit of a chore. I would catch a bus after Friday lectures and come back on Sunday nights. I would never drive, except in emergencies, and probably saved a lot by just doing the bus thing.

Road trip to Robe with Mr Photogenic.
By time I was almost out of uni and working on my final two subjects, I was working part time on weekends and holidays, so going home on the bus was no longer a priority, or even an option. The longest time I had been 'stuck in Adelaide' was ten weeks, and by time those ten weeks were up I was so excited about going home that I couldn't actually sleep that night! I found I was wanting more with quality time and actually planning weekends around when Mum had time off work or there was something special on. On a few occasions I would come home and only let my parents know the day before because I had only just made my mind up, or had a few days off work. And now... I think I enjoy my trips home a lot better. My time there is more of a novelty factor rather than 'oh, Lisa's back again', which no body actually ever said, but that's sometimes how I felt about my trips home.

I wouldn't change how I did it though for a few reasons. Firstly, during my first two years at uni, my grandparents would come over most weekends I was coming home so they could see me. I am so grateful for this extra time I was given with Pa. I spent a few weeks in Warrnambool with Pa and Gran while he was sick and this really helped me in a lot of ways, especially through the grieving process, and I felt that I had been the most supportive I could have possibly been during that time.

Secondly, I feel like I gave myself a chance to transition. I am a really emotional person at the best of times, and knowing I would be home every two or three weeks actually did help me settle. There are a few times when this wasn't good, especially regarding placement for uni, and not giving myself enough time to prepare. By time I was in my third year of study, I had worked this out though, and didn't go home until my placements were well and truly over.

Finally, I was glad I was able to have two homes, especially when I didn't know if I wanted Adelaide to be my home or not. For the first eighteen months or so I was almost resentful that I had chosen the road I had happily put myself on. I got to a point when I realised that I didn't really know if I wanted to move back to Mount Gambier, and after I accepted that I wouldn't move there (or Warrnambool for that matter), I felt a whole lot better.

Being dorky nerds at the drive in.

I wrote this because I've been away from home for ten years now (!!!), which is a sign that I'm aging far too quickly. I have also been thinking about this a lot, having heard plenty of stories of people who lived in Adelaide during the week, but would commute to their hometowns for the weekends... and vice versa. Mine was a longer commute, but worth it in the end.

I admire people who can pack up their lives and move on and away. I am not one of those people.

It has been hard saying goodbye at Balaklava, at Pirie and Laura, and especially Kadina. Like I feel about Adelaide, a lot of people included me as part of their families, urban or otherwise, for a short while, and I am so happy for their kindness and generosity. On the other hand... I am happy just to be back in my adopted home. This is, really, the life I chose. It's taken me on some pretty whacked out adventures. But I wouldn't change it. Not at all.

Out of the darkness and into the sun
But I won't forget all the ones that I love
I'll take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway.
- Breakaway - Kelly Clarkson