Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Life in the Microwave-less Fast Lane

The past two weeks have been really tiring and busy and FUN!  I'm two days away from completing this block of teaching rounds and I have loved every minute.  You know what though?  Prep children (first year of school) are really hard work!  Especially when you teach them in the afternoon of the day before their mid-week break. 

One of the things I love about my practicum school is that the teacher does home visits on the students' day off.  Many schools have a policy where Prep children have Wednesday off to rest and regroup for the rest of the week.  I tagged along today, with permission from each of the parents, and got to visit the children in their homes.  We got to see bedrooms, favourite toys, outdoor swing sets, cubby houses and trampolines.  And pets.  One Mum had laid out a beautiful light lunch, which was a lovely surprise.  It has been such a special day to visit with each little person and their younger siblings and parents.  I can't wait to go back in May and spend some more time with this bunch of precious little people and their amazing teacher.

In the meantime dinner has been pretty late and fairly light.  It's just too warm to be excited by hot meals.  Until today.  It's finally cool.  It has been a bit of a challenge to be organised for dinners due to the recent death of yet another microwave oven.  Fortunately it is under warranty and we'll have it repaired.  I don't normally think about getting meat out of the freezer in the morning because our microwave is really good with defrosting meat, but I'm having to get my head into that routine at the moment.  I'm not sure if I miss the microwave or not...I do miss the ability to be a little more flexible though.  Yeah...perhaps I do need it after all.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Weekend Catch Up

Wow is hot here.  Only in the low 30's (celsius) really, but still so warm.  Especially when you head away from the hills and down to where the heat radiates of buildings and roads. 

Much has been going on around here.  I have officially finished up my summer semester of Uni by submitting my final assignment late this afternoon.  Oh the release!  I will get together for a second time with a fellow student who lives nearby.  We met a week or two back and spent a wonderful evening together working on this assignment and getting her up to speed with the ePortfolio we had to use.  She'll come back this week and we'll get hers submitted - and then we'll celebrate!  Tomorrow I'm off to a thing for Uni so I'm looking forward to seeing some familiar faces in real life again.

I begin my first block of teaching rounds on Monday.  I am SO looking forward to it.  I'll be with the Prep class so I know I'll have plenty of fun.  I love Prep's.  They're so little.  And cute.  And their problems match their size and are usually simple to solve.  Very unlike the 16yo problems I encounter at home that take far more negotiating and emotional investment to resolve.  The flipside of the excitement of teaching rounds is leaving my own students to the care of relief aides.  They are fantastic women and both the ladies coming in for me have done integration work elsewhere before now.  But I can't transfer my relationships with these students and so much of what I do is about that.  It's always when I'm away that I am most keenly aware of how much I love my students.  They'll all be fine but I will look forward to getting back to them....even if it means I can't be the one teaching!

Given the hot weather forecast for the coming week and my very different hours and extra travelling time I've planned lots of salads for our evening meals.  Salad with feta, mango and avocado in the mix is always popular here so there will be a little of that.  I made ice cream again the other day so we're having that tonight when it's a little softer.  The microwave died so we just have to wait a bit.  That no-churn coffee ice-cream of Nigella's is magnificent.  Works well as mousse too - DH and I had that for dessert on Valentine's Day.  600ml of cream, a tin of sweetened condensed milk and 5 tablespoons of cocoa power (for the chocolate version I make) whipped in a the mixer til soft peaks form.  Yuuuuuummmmm.  And so easy.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Celebrating Others Through Food

Over this summer I've done two more units for my degree - both finish up this week.  One of the units has been about cultural awareness with a focus on indigenous Australians.  I've often found the lectures long and rambly.  Even boring at times.  Yet I have learnt so much about myself, what I believe and feel about people difference from myself and where my beliefs come from.  I am feeling incredibly blessed to have experienced living overseas as a white minority.  It's an unusual circumstances and much of who I am today is because of that experience.  This week seems to be a celebration of other cultures, as if everything over my summer has all come together at the end of it all.

Sunday was Chinese New Year.  We had Yum Cha bits and pieces along with an Asian noodle soup (pictured above).  It was really good, considering it was more of an idea than a recipe.  I've had leftovers for lunch for two days.  Yum.  Today, of course, is Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day).  Although this is not a practice of a particular racial group, it is something done by people whose religious practices differ a little from mine.  So tonight we're having cannelloni made from crepes.  I hate stuffing those silly pasta tubes so I always make crepes to make this dish.  It's cooking right now and a salad is all that will accompany it.

This afternoon the Prep's made pancakes too.  Every child got to put something into the bowl, or mix the batter.  A parent did the cooking for us.  And then we got to eat.  Yum!  What a great way to end the day.

Salad preparation awaits......what's on your plate for dinner tonight?

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

In the Media - Childcare germies

We awoke this morning to the most ridiculous news story I have heard in a little while.  Well, since poor ol' Kochie stuck his foot in it with breastfeeding mums - I plan to post about that soon.  Today it was childcare centres and germs.

Apparently some researchers have put out a report suggesting that children (even those who are healthy) should not blow out candles if they're sharing the cake with others at the childcare centre.  Really?  Really????  This is what we're putting money into researching these days?  There isn't anything more pressing that we could focus on?

Like many issues there are two sides to this.  Overwhelmingly I am erring on the side of the notion that this is completely ridiculous.  We have an ever increasing number of children who have allergies and who get sick at the drop of a hat.  There are people (like our first aid instructor lady at school) who say this is because our world is too sanitised.  Children need to play and get dirty and experience their world.  They need to build up a strong, healthy immune system so that they can fight off illnesses.  Using disinfectants and sanitisers at the rate we do these days is actually making our kids sick, according to those with some common sense.  They need to be exposed to germs and get sick sometimes in order to build immunity.  Did you know there are hundreds of different cold and flu viruses?  You know that exposure to a virus builds immunity to that bug, right?  So if you put off getting sick until you're in adulthood you'll end up spending a lot of time unwell....and it feels worse when you're a grown up!  Let the kids have their birthday cake and the germs as well.  Within reason.

The flip side of the argument is the obviously snotty, sick children that spread those germs everywhere and make other people sick.  Even I would draw the line there.  I had a student with lots of snot sneeze on me two years ago.  I got sick.  I knew I would - you can't get sneezed on in the face by someone who has snot like that and not get sick.  You know what?  I won't get that version of the virus again!  But if that student had blown out candles I would have avoided the cake.  Or at least scraped off the top.

What can I say - once you've lived in a third world country Aussie germs seem pretty 'clean'.  It really doesn't pay to be a germophobe!