Friday, January 29, 2010

It is very hot today by my standard....37 degrees celsius, but if you are near the ocean there is a lovely breeze that cools it down a few degrees. I'm definitely not complaining. Went for dinner last night to Jill's brothers house (Jill and Ian are at my house in T. Bay) along with a few other friends of theirs and had a great time. Everyone has been very hospitable and most are planning future get togethers. This is the "city of festivals" and there are many. March madness is coming up, called that because so much is going on at the same time. There is a music festival (similar to the Winnipeg folk festival) with about 60 groups from around the world (perhaps 1/2 from Oz) and a huge fringe festival with 100's of acts, which covers a few weeks. On top of that there are many other things happening.
Yesterday the end of the school day, the teacher's gathered in the teacher's lounge for thier regular Friday food and drink! We all had either wine or beer (I actually had champagne!) from a fridge in the staff's the regular Friday routine at most schools I hear!
Just got back from Adelaide Central Market (largest food market in Southern Hemisphere) where I bought the most wonderful peaches, cherries, grapes, all locally grown, along with a Kangaroo steak and a crocodile burger (and some boring chicken legs). Am heading off for a swim and BBQ at Jill's other siblings house this arvo (afternoon to you folk)- Ann, Jeff and children. which wine should I bring......
Cheers mates!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kelly the Canuck downunder

Have made it through my first two days of teaching with a glazed "dear in the headlights" look, I'm sure. I am still quite tired, though it is much better, and there is much to soak up that is different as far as scheduling, curriculum, etc. Still enjoying the weather though...I will get back to that (it's in the mid 30's today).
The school that I am teaching at has about 900 students from over 40 different cultural backgrounds, so very different than Churchill. I have students in my classes from Scotland, Ireland, Somalia, Bosnia, Kenya, Burundi, Japan, China, Burma, New Zealand, India, etc, etc. I had a student ask me today if I was from Scotland (they thought I sounded Scottish). Some of the students are newly arrived (within last few months) and some sound very Australian and have been here for years. They are all interested in learning about Canada and how the school system works there....."Is it more strict in Canada Miss??" "Is it snowing in Canada right now Miss?" Very polite students, and quite curious. I am really enjoying them and all they add to the classes.
The staff has been very friendly, but to be honest, I have been too busy at work to really speak with anyone, other than a few in my department office. Today I taught 6/6 classes, and it was full-on! Some days you don't have a section of time off except for lunch, which I have been working through. Very helpful staff though, with some offering to share resources or unit plans. The school is undergoing a huge transition at the moment, and is having 11 million dollars being put into it (it has some specialized programs such as music, aboriginal programming, etc.) so about 1/3 of the school is under construction, and is closed off at this time. Portables have been set up to deal with this, and they are air conditioned, thank goodness. I teach 2 of my classes in different portables. The area of the school is quite large, and I am running from class to class not really sure of where I am going yet!!! There is much outdoor space and that is really nice. Presently there are bulldozers, workers, chain link fences, etc. on site, which will most likely be there until I is a big undertaking. This makes it hard to teach as some rooms don't have boards or anything in them (the resources have been packed up in some cases), but I am managing and things are starting to reappear, as if by magic.
I still have lots on the go socially, with invites from co-workers, friends of the family, family, the exchange foundation in Adelaide and others that know previous exchangees! I'm sure this will start to fall off once the novelty of the "Canadian" wears off. I will just have to keep surprising them so it doesn't get stale!

Off to take a stroll on the beach...have to figure out how to add photos from this computer...hmmmm...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

socializing, no time to work

Well, first class travel was all that I expected and more!! Luxury from start to finish, expecially the flight from Vancouver to Auckland, where I had my own "pod" to sleep in(with a lay down bed and my own duvet!) and what seemed like limitless french champagne and wonderful food! The service was phenomenal...if you really want a good experience, go with Air NZ, the staff and services are unbelievable - even in the cattle car.
Well, after my great experience, it was hard to settle into my last leg of the journey in economy, from Auckland to Adelaide, but I managed. Because I know someone who works at Air NZ, they arranged to have some champagne and desserts delivered to me by the percer on the flight...a nice touch - thanks Andy!
Upon landing, I was whisked through customs without one question and came out to be greeted by Ann (Jill's sister) her husband Jeff and their 2 lovely children (Holly and Rowen) holding up handmade cards with my name and Canada on them! It was a great introduction to Australia! They let me get my bearings and a quick shower at my home away from home before taking me to the city centre to watch the "Tour de Adelaide" with Lance Armstrong. It was a great day with a picnic, wandering in parks and watching some of the best cyclists on the planet, all the while enjoying 27 degree temperatures.
I was dropped off around 5 pm, whereupon I rested for an hour, then went for an hour and 1/2 wander down the beach (only 3-5 minutes walk away) and enjoyed the setting sun and the colour and sounds of the ocean, and all those enjoying it. A great day! I went to bed around 11 pm, very satisfied and tired.
Monday, I was up bright and early arranging to pick up my new car and open up my bank account. Both were done by around 1 pm and I was soon scaring everyone on the roads! I did a bit of shopping (groceries and such) before arriving at home in time to meet the neighbor across the way from India, who has befriended the Jenkinson's (and hence myself) and I was invited over for some wonderful Chai tea. I had to turn down offers of food, as I had already eaten, but was assured that we would be eating together soon, because her husband is a chef at a nearby Indian restaurant and they want to have me to their house for dinner soon! Who am I to say no?!?
Finally, home to bed around 11pm, exhausted, after making arrangement to go boogie-boarding tomorrow followed by a pool party! It's a hard life, but somebody has to do it.
I awoke Tuesday morning, Australia day, to glorious sunshine (seems to be the norm here) and went for a run along the esplanade, taking all the sights and sounds of many people already enjoying a "day at the beach" to celebrate Australia day! I saw at least 200 bikers, many runners, kayakers, boaters, swimmers, etc. on my little 1/2 hour jaunt, and realized that I am surrounded by those who like to keep in shape, so I better try to do so myself. Shouldn't be to hard here (it's not like I'm going to slip on the ice or anything!). Returned home to have a quick shower, chat with mom and dad, then was picked up at 10 am to go "boogie boarding" with Ann, Jeff and children...we drove about 1/2 hour south of the city and had a blast in the waves for about 2 hours! Lots of fun.
They then drove me to my next destination, Corina's , a woman who had invited me to a pool party today at a teacher's house - she knows Mike and Elaine Oades who were on exchange here 4 years ago. It was a very relaxed get together with a few teachers, so I learned a lot about how the school system works here, and how different it is from ours. Very nice people, and I'm sure I will see them all again, as Corina already has me in the loop for a few things that she and her friends are doing together. Came home to a message from a friend of the Jenkinson's, who is going to pick me up for dinner on Thursday night! All of this socializing is exhausting - I don't know how I will have time to fit in work! Oh well, you gotta do what you gotta do!

Cheers for now! My first day of school is tomorrow, so I do need to rest up a bit and put the socializing on the backburner for a day or two....then it's the weekend again, and much to do! Will keep you posted on my downunder adventures!


Friday, January 22, 2010

Auckland and Adelaide via Vancouver

Well, here I sit, blogging at Vancouver airport...a first for me! The wonders of modern technology. I am 16 hours into my trip since getting up this morning, and running on one hour of sleep! EXHAUSTED!! This first class business is pretty swanky, I must say. Nibbling on Canada's finest cheesemakers delicacies and have a cheeky little glass of Pinot Gris with it (without even having to pay the nasty $6 for it, and as many refills as you please) is quite lovely...hanging out in the Air Canada lounges on my Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver leg of the trip. I think I could get used to travelling like this! I am now waiting for the Auckland flight and looking forward to a fantastic Air New Zealand dinner accompanied by some amazing New Zealand wine. They have become my favourite airline....great service, food, drink and gotta love those accents. Plus they have the best "air safety" videos that I encourage you all to look up on youtube (you won't regret it, I promise). Finally, I am looking forward to my "pod" which I can supposedly lay down in with a duvet. We will could I possibly get that lucky?!? Oh, what I wouldn't give for a good nights sleep on the plane!
I still am having a hard time believing that I am actually doing this....but I guess I am! The exchange I mean (though I know you all think the blogging, because I am a self-professed technological illiterate!) I will try to figure this all out so future posts have photos, etc.
Well, G'day mates! I will be in touch!