Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Day 180

Sorry for the lack of posts, but I haven’t had all that much to share lately and to be honest, just haven’t been in the mood to try and make my day-to-day life sound interesting.  Let’s just call it writer’s block and leave it at that.  Today was my 180th day away from home and also my little brother’s birthday.  Stopping to think about the age of younger siblings makes me feel a bit old sometimes.  So yesterday, (Tuesday) I was able to finally meet up with my friend Christa before she left town again.  She was the friend that I did the Skyrail tour with about a month ago (she’s from the Netherlands).  She had moved to Mt. Surprise (west and a bit south of Cairns) and was back for just a few days; but, because of my work schedule changing we hadn’t been able to meet up.  She texted to ask if I wanted to visit the Cairns Regional Gallery with her before I went to work and I, of course, said yes.  I had walked past the gallery, but had never ventured inside so it was a perfect opportunity.  We had a coffee beforehand and were able to catch up on all the happenings since we’d last seen each other.  Sometimes it’s strange how well you get along with someone, and the ease of conversation, even though you haven’t known each other very long.  Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by the art they had on display, I enjoyed nearly every piece!  The bottom floor was an exhibit of lithographs of the flora & fauna of Australia; they were incredibly detailed and Christa and I were only disappointed that they didn’t have an explanation of the lithograph process.  Neither of us was entirely certain of how the many pieces were created, but at least it gave us something to discuss.  My favorite was the exhibit of the works of a Torres Strait Islander “Segar Passi: Bakei – 1960’s to the Present”.  Here’s a quick blurb from the brochure:
Passi, who lives and works on Mer (Murray Island), has been painting and drawing the flora and fauna of his beautiful island home, and subjects that tell of island life and the cultural traditions of the Meriam people, for over sixty years.  Passi’s art possesses a unique character that defies categorization.  His paintings have always revealed his deep engagement with the traditions of his people, and his recent works have been attracting enthusiastic critical recognition as important works of contemporary art.
Unfortunately, you’re not supposed to take photos of his work, but below are some photos I found online.  The colors he uses in his paintings are incredibly vibrant and I think that’s what first attracted me to them.  I’m going to have to go back to the gift shop and buy the postcards of my favorite works since I couldn’t take any photos of them in the gallery.
Source - Source
Source - Source
*Respectfully advising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that the site links may include images, or intellectual property, that may be of a sensitive nature.

      Today (Wednesday), was my first official day teaching English at Nova.  On one hand it was more difficult than I had anticipated, but on the other hand, it wasn’t all the hard.  I feel as if I would have been better prepared had I been trained to teach the adult program.  While the programs aren’t completely different (they do share a similar pattern), the adult program is much more advanced.  I started off teaching useful phrases for buying items in a convenience store (easy enough), but then the second part of the day was the stress in words.  Do you stress the first syllable or the second?  If there are more than 2 syllables do you stress only the middle syllable or the ones on both ends?  It’s just something that as a native speaker you never think about.  Plus, I had forgotten how difficult it is to explain a hard concept in super simple words.  For instance, in their journal entries one girl had written that she had gotten home “for oneself”.  I corrected it to by writing “by myself”.  Explaining the difference between “oneself” and “myself” wasn’t too difficult, but explaining when (and why) she should use for/by was much harder.  I’m honestly not sure if she understands, but I did my best.  The lessons went pretty well and Shoko and I took them to the Wildlife Dome for their activity.  The guy who had coerced me into doing the PowerJump last time remembered me and jokingly asked if I wanted to do it again, since these students had never seen me do it.  I politely declined.  I work again next Wednesday and we’ll be visiting the Botanic Gardens, so that will be neat, I haven’t done that before.  Sadly, I’m only getting 3, maybe 4, days of work this month.  With that being said, I’ve started applying for jobs again in the hopes that I can find something part time, possibly in the evenings (although I hate to miss out on volleyball).  All that to say, keep praying for more Nova students.  More students equals more work days for me!!

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