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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Tough week this week. Mostly in my head but isn’t that always the case?

It all accumulated to this morning I guess when I went to run my usually route. Half-way through it felt a bit funny, then I realised: Oh no, hungry! Those who know me well, know that hungry is not good. Hungry means grumpiness, tunnel-vision, erratic driving and potential shaking. Though not this severe, this morning just past half-way point my legs just said: no. I stood still and could only walk the rest home. Game over.  I was annoyed with myself because my diet this week has been less than ideal. Nothing terrible, just nog ideal when you are running or walking a lot like I’ve been doing. Too much sugar, not enough carbs, I know this. But like I said, it’s been a tough week ok so give us a break.

I must have looked a state though because an elderly man walked past me, kindly encouraging: Come on! Don’t give up, you can do it! I smiled because I know I can do it. Just not today thank you very much. Today I need to eat more and take a brain break.

Break is exactly what I’m getting this weekend as I’m flying home for flying visit: Amsterdam, home, Friesland all in the space of 2 days. It might not involve a lot of sleeping but that is ok: I don’t think that sleep is what my body and mind need. Perhaps a change of scenery will do and food of course. Luckily, I know that food won’t ever be lacking at home.

Happy Friday everyone.

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Life’s been busy lately and the days seem to fly by: all of a sudden it is Wednesday again. More importantly, we are now half way through the year so let’s review the challenges that are left:

– Learn to shoot a gun
– Learn to sing the Ave Maria
– Learn to play the mouth harmonica
– Spending a day with my 13 year old cousin
– Going on a short silent retreat
– Run a half marathon with my sister
– Write courage on Ipanema beach.

Learn to shoot a gun, will have to involve booking a clay pigeon shooting day. Real guns are hard to get by and you have to get through too many checks for just a bit of blog malarkey. Does it matter I only have one eye perfectly working? The other one I read with…

Ave Maria

Ave Maria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Singing the Ave Maria, this needs some co-ordination with Maya who was interested in helping me, but then we never got around the details. It will be nothing like the picture  of Beyonce, not sure what the concept behind the dress choice was…

Learn to play the mouth harmonica: so this one is a bitch. It needs patience, something I lack profoundly. Anyway, that’s the point of a challenge I guess.

In two weeks time I’m hopping over to Neverneverland for family business so will speak to cousin then and try to arrange meeting up – if she is still interested of course.

Running is on track, found a new route today: hoping to hit 10K in two weeks. Have also found out that the race is sponsored by another energy drink than I trained with two years ago. Hopefully it will taste better, though I fear it won’t. #firstworldproblems

Brazil… well that is going to be the real challenge: time and money required. Usually you have one or the other. Have to think about how to make that work.

Anything left? Ah yes the silent retreat…Options galore, be it in convents or buddhist tribes, but the real question is: what do I want from it? And why am I so reluctant to think about that question…

*to be continued – no doubt.

It’s a bit of an in-joke between me and my friend Rachel G: if things don’t work out for me in London, I can always move to Stroud. Stroud, for the record, is very small – yet the town lies in the beautiful Cotswolds and the views around are pretty marvellous.

As a challenge, Rachel G had invited me to spend a day at St Joseph’s; the post-16 program of St Rose’s school where she works. St Rose’s is a special needs school founded by the Dominican Sisters of St Rose Convent and has provided special education and support for a century. Rachel works as a TA and assists a group of teenagers with a variety of needs: different levels of cerebral palsy, learning difficulties and wheel chair users. She also learned British Sign language to communicate with a student who is deaf. This has always sounded like hard work to me, but Rachel genuinely loves her job invited me for a personal experience.

As the school year is nearly at an end, there were no regular lessons and therapy: the day was spent rehearsing the school play Peter Pan. It is a great example of the extraordinary support St Rose’s staff give to their students: they push wheelchairs on stage, help with recorded lines on voice machines for those with trouble speaking and support the singing. The whole school is involved with students ranging from the ickle ones in the nursery, a mix of mainstream and special needs students,  to primary and the Post-16 group.

I hung out with The PIrates and one student who was the crocodile as he enthusiastically signed to me. ( Yes, I now know the sign for ‘crocodile’, which will no doubt come in handy one day.) I’ll be honest, when I was introduced I was daunted: every student has an individual way of communicating and sometimes it takes time to decipher. Luckily they were kind and patient with my ineptness, unlike other teenagers might be. Still, boys will be boys indeed: as an attractive female member of staff left after conversation with two boys, the two (one who is deaf and the other strapped to his wheelchair) exchanged looks, communicated in noise and then gave each other a knowing fist-bump. Oh, Purrrlease!

The staff’s day is a logistical puzzle as everyone has to be helped from A to B, and assisted with toilet breaks and specific snack/drink needs. I also spent half an hour playing Amy Pond on a Dr Who adventure through the gardens of the school with one of the students, during his one-on-one time. Life at St Rose’s school feels like being part of ‘the ideal family’ whose love and time gives students the care they need to flourish. The fruit is the students’ confidence, not only oozing from the pictures of the many community field trips and educational excursions, proudly displayed on the schoolwalls, but in daily life.  St Rose’s gives students skills for life, and as much as Rachel claims her job doesn’t feel like a job, one day exhausted me: so excuse my gushing admiration for all the staff whose hard work makes the students very happy.

PS: I spoke to one of the students who asked me what I did, so I told him I write. His face lit up: “Are you a blogger?”  Well Ryan, I am – and I just wanted to thank you and your mates for letting me hang out with you. I really enjoyed my day and I hope that the play will go well. Have fun being Pirate Alan, oh and sing loudly because I can’t wait to see the DVD footage of that sea shanty! 😉