Sunday, March 22, 2009

Week 9 - Sun. 15 March - Sat. 21 March

Well this week has been a little different - while Wendy is back in New Zealand I'm staying at a day student's parents' guest house, so it's really quite! Have had to run another Thinking Skills workshop with another group of Hebron Staff on Thursday with the possibility of another session in the next two or three weeks - there's only two more weeks of official classes then it's parents week where the boarding students parents come and visit school then on the Thursday school is out for about ten days - by the time all the students have returned to Hebron I'll be back almost back in New Zealand. Sorry there isn't much to write home about this week but will keep you posted.

Week 8 – Sun.8 March to Sat. 14 March

As Monday was all the IGs day off and it had been Lucy’s birthday on Saturday we had a bit of a party for her – we had dinner at Selbourne (Girls Dorm Campus) then we watched ‘The Sound Of Music’ – Lucy’s choice. Had all the trimmings with birthday cake, slice, sweets and popcorn with the odd person bursting out in song – was a great laugh!
This week I’ve run another Thinking Skills workshop for the Junior School Staff Meeting on the ‘Habits of the Mind’ – didn’t realize that I would be doing PD for the teaching staff here but it’s great to be able to share some of my own knowledge and training with others that rarely receive any professional development in the area of where teaching is in the 21st Century.
Junior School Sports Day was on Friday, unfortunately I only got to see 40 minutes when I wasn’t working with Middle School students – here Sports Day and Swimming Gala are big events in this term’s calendar. Saturday it was Sports Day for the whole school, which is held at the local sports stadium/arena just down the road from school. I didn’t actually attend this event as I ran away to Mysore for 24 hours with Jennifer (Senior Volunteer). We hired a taxi and drove 3 hours down the Ghat (actually 36 hairpins) through the National Parks to Mysore – had an eventful trip down and saw heaps of wildlife. As we were driving along saw 5 elephants that were only about 150-200 metres from the road grazing, also saw two or three different kinds of monkeys, three mongoose (first time I’ve seen them this trip!), wild boar and several spotted deer. Also saw the tame elephants from the elephant camp being washed in the river which we’d missed out seeing when we went to Jungle Retreat. Once we’d arrived in Mysore and booked into our hotel we went to the local market and learnt how they make incense sticks and how they make the expensive fragrances that some of us like to dab on ourselves to smell nice! Got ripped off and highly frustrated by the first auto rickshaw driver that we went in but the next two or three restored our faith in tutt-tutt drivers. In the evening we went to Maharaja’s Palace to see the palace be illuminated by 97000 light bulbs – it’s an amazing sight! It usually is only on a Sunday night but they have just started putting them on a Saturday for half an hour also so we just managed to see them. Afterwards had a wander around Mysore by night as we walked back to the hotel, stopping of at a rooftop restaurant for dinner. The next day we meet Wendy, Andrew (Ian’s Dad) and Prakash for lunch at the Regaalis then dropped Wendy and Andrew off at the railway station headed for Bangalore and then the rest of us headed back up the Ghat. It was a great 24 hour trip to one of my favourite Indian cities.

Week 7 – Sun. 1 March to Sat. 7 March

This week has been kinda of uneventful apart but we’ve had a couple of comical events at home – one of the kids cats Maddie has a habit of climbing up the chimneys and making a mess everywhere – she’s white so you can imagine the state of her – there’s a bucket of water outside the back door and if Wendy manages to catch her she’s often dumped in the bucket so that she goes off and cleans herself. Anyways the other day Wendy was at the line hanging out washing and Maddie was at the bucket having a drink, it was funny watching her as she was carefully keeping an eye on Wendy and where she was, when she was sure it was safe to take a big drink only then did she relax and continue to drink. Then on Saturday we had the Sunshine Girls dorm over for a BBQ lunch then we went out for dinner to Sidewalk CafĂ© – on the way home Andrew and Lauren had Wendy and I in stitches. Andrew had seen the nude statutes that are apart of the fountain display down at Charring Cross and being 5 years old saw them as being gross – this lead Lauren to give a great big run down on the Greeks and the first Olympics (she’s studying them at school) and how the first Olympics were just for the men as they ran in the nude, Andrew pipes up ‘Why did the Greeks run naked in the Olympics?’ Lauren responds ‘Well cos they didn’t have PE kits back then did they!’ – that reponse just topped the whole conversation and had Wendy and I in stitches!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sun.22 Feb to Sat.28 Feb – Week 6

This week has been a week of socializing at my place – Sunday after church we had Glen and Bek and their kids over for lunch and then in the evening I went out to King’s Cliff Restaurant for a staff members birthday dinner with about 14 others – had a bit of an off road drive getting there. The road that Ian thought would be a good shortcut was a bit of a goat track by New Zealand standards and Ian doesn’t drive slow no matter what state the road is – did manage to spot a deer darting across the road. Had an amazing Palak Kofta for dinner! Then Tuesday evening had HG here after dinner. Had a go at making Gumboot Cake (Marshmallow Slice) for supper, it was a bit of a disaster, forgot that egg whites and high altitude don’t mix – it was fine on Monday night but by Tuesday night when I needed it, it had gone kinda of flat! Still tasted good though!
Wednesday evening we had a Staff family here for dinner and then first thing Friday morning all the IGs headed down the Ghat, includes 32 hairpin corners to Jungle Retreat, Mudamalai Wildlife Sanctuary for a four day weekend. It was awesome – the weather, accommodation, food and company was great. It was lovely to be able to relax by the pool, read a book and explore a bit of the local wildlife! On Sunday morning we all headed out on a Flat Walk Trek into the Wildlife Park and found a small herd of elephants (6 or 7 plus a baby elephant) grazing in amongst the trees. Then a little later on we saw a mother elephant and her baby. It was amazing to see them in the wild! Also saw some Common Langurs (monkeys), spotted deer and buffalo roaming out on the range! Then later on in the late afternoon we set off to watch elephants been washed in the local river – unfortunately due to a festival that held up traffic we didn’t manage to see it and because of the dry season the place for elephant rides was closed, but we did see the elephant at the Elephant Camp being feed and got to pat a baby elephant that’s about two years old that was orphaned! She was so cute! It was an amazing place to go and stay with superb sunsets and sunrises – I’d recommend the place to anyone who wants to get anyone from it all! Hope to go back there before I leave.