Archive for the ‘Stuff’ Category

Daytrip to Colombo – Part 5 – Getting Home

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Home time. We got the bus to Kaduwella. Quite crowded but not nearly as bad as in the morning. We waited in Kaduwella for ages for a bus home. Standing at bus stops after dark in Sri Lanka is much more fun when there are three of you. We were at a fairly busy bus stop outside a fairly busy shop so there were lots of people around.

We decided against a Badulla bus that was very full (probably a bad idea). There just didn’t seem to be any Ratnapura buses. We ended up deciding that we’d get the next Avissawella bus and change there. Which wasn’t ideal, but at least from there we could get a three wheeler if all else failed.

Standing.

We got to Avissawella and walked from the bus stand to the roadside stop for the buses going through Eheliyagoda. We didn’t have to wait as a Badulla bus (not the same one) arrived just as we got there. We did get seats on this one which was nice. It was rather late (about 9pm) and it was nice to be on the home stretch.

We got off at Eheliyagoda. I’m glad we had Isuri, I hate that bit when you’re looking out for the right stop and it’s dark and the bus is crowded and you’re in an aisle seat and you have almost no view out the window. Anyway, Isuri (unsurprisingly) had no problem finding the place. 🙂

And, serendipity was on our side once again. The bus stop is outside Food City. Also outside Food City was a local English teacher, his wife was inside shopping and he was waiting and chatting to some friends. We explained that we were going to get a three wheeler home and he said that he’d give us a lift. So he dashed inside to tell his wife what he was doing and then drove us home. Wonderful.

So we had a very long day. A very full day. A very relaxing day. A very enjoyable day.

Thank you very much to Jean and Isuri for such a great trip!

The Sacrifices of My Lifestyle

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

I love my current lifestyle. I am very happy to be able to do the travelling that I do. I’m happy to have the freedom, independence and mobility to visit different countries for extended periods. At the moment, this is exactly what I want my life to be. I love the uncertainty of my future. I have lots of plans. They change every few months but they are all amazing adventures. 🙂

However, I am aware that my life is not without sacrifices. The choices I make preclude other choices. Sometimes I feel slightly wistful about some of the things that I’m not able to do. But on the whole I’m extremely happy with the way things are balancing out for me. Plus, I’m all too aware of my own fickleness, so I may well have changed my life completely in another couple of years.

I’m pretty much resigned to the idea that I will probably never own a house. Well, that’s ok. I don’t particularly want a house. I’m happy renting and staying with friends (assuming they’re happy to have me).

I don’t imagine I’ll ever be particularly settled (at least not in the normal sense of the word). I think the closest I may come to settling down might be to have a place in Australia/UK and one in Sri Lanka/India and to spend 6 months of the year in each. These would have to be rented/shared since I think it is incredibly unlikely I’d ever be able to afford two houses plus annual airfares between them.

I don’t see my future containing children. Again, this is fine because I don’t want to have children.

While it would be nice to have a partner, my current lifestyle does make it more difficult for me to find, form and maintain a relationship. I don’t think my current lifestyle precludes a partner, just that it makes it a little less easy. This is ok at the moment. It might happen, it might not.

Sometimes I see things in shops here that I think are very nice. But in order to have a funky Thai teapot, I’d need a kitchen and a kettle and a cupboard etc. I could get nice coconut spoons, or a beautiful Buddha statue, or some incredible books, or some lovely paintings or tapestries, or some carvings, or masks, or all sorts of things. But I’d need somewhere to put them. And I’m not ready for that yet. And besides, if I started spending money on these things I’d have far less money for actually coming out and visiting these places.

So yes, my lifestyle has sacrifices. I am giving up some things in order to live the way I am currently living. I know these sacrifices are not for everyone (nor should they be – the sacrifices other people make are not for me). I am very happy with the choices I’ve made and the lifestyle I have.

We’ll see what happens in the future.

A Paperless PGDE

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

I would like to be able to do my PGDE electronically. And to a large extent I can.

I take my laptop with me to lectures and classes to type up my notes. I am getting pdfs of the readings whenever I can (ejournals are awesome) and am typing my reading notes up too.

I even have a cool spreadsheet (yes, I’m a geek, I know) that helps me keep track of all the reading I need to do for the different components and links to my notes as well. It helps me see what is due when and what I’ve read already, etc.

I’m doing lesson preparation electronically too. I have downloaded the Notebook software that works with Smart Boards.

But, sometimes we are being given handouts in class. So I need to take them home and scan them. Sometimes we have to print things off to hand them in (group lesson plans etc).

And perhaps most irritatingly, one of the most important pieces of assessment for this year is my Professional Development Portfolio (PDP). This is basically a lever arch file of everything: lesson plans, observation notes, reflections, handouts, reading notes, everything. And because of the way this will be assessed (my supervising teacher at the school will look through it periodically, my tutor from Edinburgh will look through it when she comes to school to observe me), it is something that does need to be done as a hard copy. Ah well.

So I’m trying to be paperless. And I’m doing a reasonable job so far. But it would be nice if I was able to be entirely paperless. I don’t see that there is any reason to kill trees in order to create a massive pile of paperwork that I’m just going to want to get rid of at the end of the year. The information I will keep, but having it electronically is more practical anyway, I can search it more easily and I don’t need to carry a big, heavy folder with me.

Some people are worried about what will happen if I lose my laptop. But all of my information is backed up online. Which, in my mind, makes it more secure than theirs. A house fire could wipe out all of their work. For me to lose everything would require losing my laptop and my online backup. Though I’m certainly hoping that none of us lose anything. 🙂

Anyway, back to the scanning and the typing. 🙂

Laptop

Friday, December 17th, 2010

I bought a laptop.

It’s a small one with an 11 inch screen. It’s a Singer branded machine.

But it’s small, light, runs Windows. And it lets me get lots of work done. I was planning on getting one when I get back to the UK anyway. Getting it now allows me to be more productive while I’m here.

So I can now write blog posts and journal entries more easily. I can do work on the Teaching Activities booklet and the grammar booklet that I’m working on. It’s nice to be able to be so productive.

And, when I’m staying with friends, I can get it out while they’re watching the evening teledramas (more about Sinhalese teledramas in a future post), I can type stuff up and still talk to them. They’re translating some of the important bits from the important teledramas so I can keep track of exactly what horrible thing Sansala has said to Danuka this time to make him all mopey. And what really nasty thing her evil cousin has said to her to make her miserable. And all the while I’m ticking things off my to do list. Sociable and productive at the same time. I love it. 🙂

Plus, I have a dongle. (One of the strangest words in the English language.) Which is a mobile broadband modem thing. It’s a USB stick that has a SIM card in it and lets me connect to the net whenever I have sufficient signal. It’s a fixed price that I pay per month and I calculated that that amount plus the cost of the dongle itself work out cheaper over the next few months than me using internet cafes. And it’s far more convenient. So you should see more blog posts from me. More emails and I should be on Skype and Facebook more often as well. 🙂

Umbrellas

Friday, December 17th, 2010

I bought an umbrella.

I don’t like umbrellas.

I’ve never liked umbrellas.

I still don’t like umbrellas.

But I bought one.

It turns out they are actually useful. For times when you have a short dash to make and putting a raincoat on is too much of a hassle. For times when there isn’t much rain. For times when you really want to keep your head dry and don’t much care about the rest of you.

And for waving at stray dogs so that they will be less inclined to bite you.

But I still don’t like them. They keep only your head dry, the rest of you gets quite wet. They are something you have to hold in a hand meaning you don’t have both hands free. They have the bloody pole in the middle right where you really should have your head (why isn’t the pole at the side?). They are too wide to fit through doorways, gates etc. They are really annoying on crowded streets. They are dangerous to tall people when held by short people (like me). Generally, not nearly as practical as I would like.

Ah well, given the rain here, the umbrella plus the two raincoats and the waterproof trousers do give me a fairly decent protection against the wet stuff. 🙂

Shewee

Friday, December 17th, 2010

There is a contraption that one can buy called a shewee. It’s basically a funnel. It allows girls to pee standing up. Useful for festivals and camping and disgusting train toilets.

So I decided (having encountered some disgusting train toilets) to invest in one. So my UK support contingent (thank you Mark) dutifully obtained one for me and posted it to me (with a load of England-branded tat I picked up cheap just after the World Cup – small rubber balls with the England flag on them are great for teaching, keyrings are great presents).

So I tried it out (the shewee that is, not the teaching) a few times in the privacy, safety and cleanliness of the shower before trying it out in the privacy and safety of the bathroom and it works. It takes a bit of getting used to but it works. So I now have it safely stowed in my bag for those times when the toilet facilities really make me wish I was a boy. 🙂