Tuesday, 29 July 2008

a classroom with a skylight!

...and here you have the first glimpses of the space that will eventually be my classroom. i am completely in love with the skylight in my class. it is the most amazing thing ever and especially that lovely space inbetween that i can see as the perfect little nook for taking your book into and having your own little quiet reading space! and the fact that the class looks like a beautiful thatched circus tent. it feels like a very creative and inspiring place to learn in. the garden still looks a bit barren, i know, but we'll get there eventually and when we do it should be a beautiful space with a herb garden, shady spots, weaving paths, climbing spaces and playful pits with sand and water. i cannot wait until it is ready and full of the children that will make up my class, of which there are 12 already. it is exciting to be so involved in creating a space that is full of wonder and joy and that will be a warm, nurturing environment for my young students.
watch this space because it certainly won't be staying like this for much longer!

Saturday, 26 July 2008

home, sweet bamboo, home

welcome to my new home! this is where i will be for the next year at least...or maybe longer...who knows? when i arrived on saturday morning and brought here...i couldn't believe my luck...my own perfectly-sized little house complete with kitchen, bathroom with rain shower, chill out area and upstairs sleeping area. love it! it's surrounded by beautiful plants, trees and the best part...it's made completely of bamboo! incredible! what an amazing structure! i'm into my third day here and loving every minute of it. it's so great to be in a place so close to the outdoors and surrounded by growth and the natural environment. the school is amazing...in the next few days i'll be taking photos of some of the many amazing elements within the school and telling you all about them...especially the vortex pool, which is truly mesmerising! meanwhile i am still enjoying settling in and getting to know all my new colleagues and many people who make up the project here that is Green School...

Monday, 21 July 2008

the purpose of a journey...

as i am on the verge of setting off on my journey i think about the many journeys that each and everyone of us make throughout our lives - physical journeys, spiritual journeys, emotional journeys.

jour·ney /ˈdʒɜrni/ [jur-nee]
1. a traveling from one place to another, usually taking a rather long time; trip: a six-day journey across the desert.
2. a distance, course, or area traveled or suitable for traveling: a desert journey.
3. a period of travel: a week's journey.
4. passage or progress from one stage to another: the journey to success.
–verb (used without object)
5. to make a journey; travel.

without these journeys, we will never truly know who we are, because it is only when we face the fear inside - all the things that hold us back - that we can move on in the great journey of life.

i am so often saddened, especially here in Ireland, by people that are held back by their fears, who find themselves in a situation that makes them deeply unhappy, but yet are so stuck and blinded by their own fears that they do nothing. they sit and wallow in the misery that is their life and rather than being active, sailors of their own ship, take the passive route and blame others for what they cannot do. i for one, refuse to take a back seat in the great journey of life...i have promised myself to always live my life standing at the helm, wind flapping in my hair, the great open horizon ahead with so many possibilities. we are only held back by what we perceive to be our own limitations, but we are capable of anything. we only have to put our minds to it.

i am setting off on a journey that probably encompasses all of the above - a physical, emotional and spiritual journey. i look forward to all it will bring - to the new people that will come into my life, to the wonders i will learn, the joys i will experience, the challenges i will face. i gather it all up and hold on tight to it and take the first step into the unknown...and yes, i feel the fear but i do it anyway because i will not be defined by the things that i didn't do, but by the things i did.

Friday, 18 July 2008

on quinoa...keen what? keen-wah!

i discovered the wonders of quinoa (said keen-wah) mid last year and have ever since extolled its' benefits. it is an amazing tiny seed that packs a powerful punch when included in your diet. so what does wikipedia said about it...

quinoa has come to be highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthy choice for vegetarians and vegans. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source.[5] It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten free and considered easy to digest.

what is even better is that it is super easy to cook...you can either do this in a rice cooker or a saucepan and just ensure you use the ratio of 1:2 - 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water. it takes about 15 minutes to cook. it should come out fluffy and light and when you eat it will have a slightly nutty texture...i love the way the little germ separates from the seed and they're like these little curls (it's the simple things in life that appeal to me!)

so then what do you do? my favourite way to eat it, is as a salad. i chop up tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions, then as many fresh herbs as i can get my hands on - mint, basil and coriander usually does the trick. add some soya sauce and freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper and that's it! it's so good...with all those herbs. there are lots of other ways too that i have seen and generally i think most people replace it for rice...as it is so much more nutritional.

so if you haven't managed to taste some of this powerful little seed then go get your hands on a bag of quinoa...keen what? you heard me...

an everyday survival kit...

  • toothpick

  • rubber band

  • band aid

  • pencil

  • eraser

  • chewing gum

  • mint

  • candy kiss

  • tea bag

toothpick to remind you to pick out the good qualities in others

rubber band to remind you to be flexible, things might not always go the way you want, but it will work out

band-aid to remind you to heal hurt feelings, yours or someone else's

pencil to remind you to list your blessings everyday

eraser to remind you that everyone makes mistakes, and it's okay

chewing gum to remind you to stick with it and you can accomplish anything

mint to remind you that you are worth a mint to your family and friends

candy kiss to remind you that everyone needs a kiss or a hug everyday

tea bag to remind you to relax daily and go over that list of your blessings

someone sent me this a long time ago and i just found it again...and although yes, it's corny and cheesey and what not it did make me smile...i can't help but thinking that if i could just get by with these few things in my bag...wow! what a perfect existence! it would certainly bring travelling light to a whole new level! wishful thinking though...

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

that which will be missed...

with all the talk of doom and gloom in dublin, you are probably wondering how i managed to stay as long as i did (a meagre 8 months!). well if the truth be told, there are many wondrous things about the Emerald Isle and for many of them i don't have to stray very far from the front door. the photos above taken a mere 10 minutes walk from where i live. and it's some of the most stunning scenery around. THIS i will miss, those long, luxurious walks (especially with you, Gav) of one who has been gainfully unemployed these past few months, for you can truly lose yourself on these walks and have the incredible luck of not meeting another soul along the way. i walked for 2 hours yesterday and met 2 people the entire walk...it's amazing. unfortunately though i could not live the rest of my existence in Ireland aimlessly (well, not to me, of course!) roaming the hills but i would have had to face the city and all the negative vibes, undertones and viciousness that it seems to bring with it these days. hence my journey to Bali, where at Green School, i really can connect with mother earth again and live close to nature and in close proximity to the environment all the time.
however, i will think often of those long luxurious walks...

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

almost blooming there...

a week to go...yikes! and suddenly it seems like i am grossly under-prepared and on the verge of running around like a headless chicken...but no! what do i do instead...just sit around, contemplate life, go for walks and basically all the things i shouldn't be doing. such is my way of dealing with things!

the way i look at it, as long as i have a bag to throw my stuff into come next week, then so be it! that's really what it comes down to. i like to think that i'm going back to being a creature of fewer comforts and sorting out the real necessities from the the mindless clutter that we all sometimes gather round us in our life. i'm so ready to just let go of things, things, things! travelling light...such a fabulous concept. i've never understood how people can fill their lives with so many things. i must admit i have never been like that. i've always enjoyed a good spring clean to rid myself of the accumulation. when i was living in Singapore not so long ago, i used to pass this house sometimes when i was out walking and usually it would be at night. when you looked in the window (it was close to the road, ok, i'm NOT a peeping tom!) all you could see were stacks upon stacks of newspapers and this elderly man just sitting in the midst of them all. it used to terrify me. i'm not sure if you've ever read the book 1984 by George Orwell but in it, the guy is put into a room - Room 101 - which is a torture chamber and it always contains your biggest fear. well for me, my room would be full of useless clutter!

ok, so the things i still have to do...
1. send box of teaching materials via DHL to Bali
2. pack things maybe this should read as SORT out and pack useful clutter
3. print e-ticket
4. say goodbyes
5. get on airplane

can it really be so simple?

Thursday, 10 July 2008

just a little bit further along...

so i feel as if i have slowly meandered a little further up the river these past two weeks in my preparation for departure...just a little bit. there's still some things to do but i feel like i am getting that bit closer to being ready to go. finally sorted out the teaching materials i want to bring with me and have them in a box. sorted out my flights all the way to Bali (that one was kinda important, huh?) and have managed to almost stay within budget...mainly thanks to the discovery of a new budget airline flying between Singapore and Denpasar called Lion Air. Again, one hopes that with the special offer airfare, it is not at the greater risk of our safety...i have visions of bits of airplane dropping off along the way but naturally am trying to put all those thoughts out of mind! at least i'm flying Singapore Airlines to Singapore...so the majority of the trip will be in a fair amount of comfort. i have to stop in Singapore to pick up my visa but will only be there fleetingly...so will not really have time to catch up with friends...i'll save that for the next trip.

the hideousness of the irish summer has done nothing to endear me to this country and make me want to stay...i mean come on, we grumble and groan through a dark winter in the small hope that we will be rewarded with a few months of sunshine to stock up on that all important vitamin D and instead what are we given...? more winter! as i gaze forlornly out my window - it is streaked with raindrops...AGAIN! there really is no sunlight at the end of the tunnel!

so now, with less than two weeks to go, my thoughts turn very firmly to Bali, those blue skies, those green rice fields and a new start...

Friday, 4 July 2008

a beginning seedaholic!

so, one of the projects i am REALLY looking forward to starting when i get to Green School is planting a herb garden. i have developed a real love of herbs these past couple of months and more so with fresh herbs which just have such a wonderful flavour and are so great in a variety of dishes from savoury to even sweet ones. you can see some of those experiments over at my baking blog ~airy fairy cupcakes~ where i have been enjoying the effects of herbs in cupcakes to great results!

the herb garden will be located in the garden of my classroom and i have been thinking that rather than creating just one space to grow the herbs in, i will plant them all over the space so that the whole outdoor area itself will become a herb garden with scents wafting all over the place. a real stimulation to the olfactory sense! and hopefully from there, will encourage my prospective students to explore and learn about all those amazing herbs out there - we can dry them, create collage pictures with them, cook with them, oh it will be so exciting - i can't wait!

hopefully with all those seeds i can also set up a little window box herb garden in the bamboo cottage that i will soon be calling home and be able to experiment more in my own baking adventures.

just a word about where i got the seeds from...i was so excited to discover the website for Seedaholic - a site selling such an array of seeds and with so much information on each seed telling you about the medicinal properties, culinary uses...as well as how to grow them. and when the seeds arrived each packet had that information sheet attached to them which will really help me in the 'herb garden project'. the best part is that when i mentioned to the owner of the company that i was bringing the seeds to a school, she offered to send me surplus seeds at the end of the season. so i will definitely be turning into a seedaholic!

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

the great irish summer continues...

ok it's 4pm here in Dublin, Ireland and this is the view of the sky...and yes, we are supposed to be in the midst of summer. then people wonder why i am packing my bags and heading down south closer to the equator...i mean with a 'summer sky' like that and two to three months of such summery skies to potentially look 'forward' to, why, oh, why would you subject yourself to this and stay?

the sad thing is that Dublin might actually be a more bearable place to live if we were guaranteed at least two to three months of decent sunshine and temperatures. you could really get out and about and make the most of the long days. however, the past two to three weeks have been nothing but misery. grey skies, rain, wind and general doom and gloom.

now i've been watching Wimbledon all last week and this and it's unbelievable. i mean they have had so many days of blazing sun and beautiful blue skies...and London is a one hour flight away! and generally when the weather moves on from Dublin it should make its way over to England right? but does it? no! how does that happen? i believe there is some king of negative-weather-mojo permanently hanging over Ireland...there must be...i mean what else could possible explain such crummy weather here and such fine weather one hour away.

anyway...i shall not spend much more of my energy moaning about this as in three weeks, i shall be soaking up fabulous sunshine and hopefully getting in some trips to the beach and goodness knows where else...but i shall spare a thought for those suffering under the negative-weather-mojo back here and shall send all good thoughts for a few rays of sunshine!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

wake up and smell the flowers!

ok, so with a little over 3 weeks before i depart for Bali, it really is time for me to wake up and smell the flowers and hopefully they'll give me some aromatic kick up the proverbial because i really need to sort out my things and decide what i am going to bring with me...i hate those decisions. i'm always one of those "get to where i'm going and realise i've left behind something i really want" kinda people and it annoys me when that happens so this time i want to be a bit more organised. of course the reason i am putting it off so much is it involves rooting through a garage load of boxes that came back here from Singapore and it also means really being picky about what i want to bring. the airlines limit to 20 kilos...maybe 25 on a push and a flutter of the eyelids if it's a male check-in attendant but that's it...and that's not a lot. over the years i have always firmly believed that those of us traversing the planet to start a new existence should be given some special dispensation from the baggage allowance limit because, hey, we genuinely need the stuff (this as opposed to people coming back from holidays with a bagful of crappy, dodgy souvenirs!) ok i'm being mean, i know, but it's been so long since i had to limit my stuff and now i'm all outta whack with the system.

ultimately though, the things that one needs in Bali are actually very minimal...when i lived there 10 years ago, i survived as a volunteer, living in the kampung of the headmistress of the school where i worked and had a bag of belongings. that was it! so if i've done it before, i can do it again. i know i can, i know i can. ok, ok enough procrastinating...it's off to the garage...