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BY Terry

09/01 Direct Link
With my visit to Adelaide now behind me and the prospect of moving into the apartment in the next few days, not to mention a couple of trial days in my new role at my old school, there is a sense of things beginning to come together. Unlike in past years, I知 not about to fly back to London any time soon. September will be my first full month here for nigh on ten years, and while I don稚 yet have a sense of actually living here, once I知 back living in back in the apartment I知 guessing I will.
09/02 Direct Link
I had a meeting today at school with Eleni, the teacher whom I will be replacing next term. It was good to finally put a name to a face. I also met some of the girls I値l be teaching, albeit briefly. Eleni and I have agreed she値l spend the first hour with me next Monday; thereafter I値l be flying solo. I致e been given free reign to do whatever I choose a series of 堵etting to know you activities perhaps. I would have preferred to have spent the first day observing the class but perhaps it痴 best to jump right in.
09/03 Direct Link
I received a text today from a friend and colleague in London. 哲o prizes for guessing which number bus I知 waiting for. Seems really strange that I知 not going to see you.

I had to smile. We壇 meet most mornings at Greenwich North Station and more often than not catch the same bus back again at the end of the day, trading stories about work and our lives in general. I remember her telling me last September that time would fly and before I knew it I壇 be jetting off back home.

And so it did.

And here I am.
09/04 Direct Link
The first hints of spring are slowly but surely beginning to emerge. After the coldest and wettest winter for many years there痴 a palpable sense of nature waiting to burst forth. Trees are starting to blossom, gardens are damp and green and the market is filled with a dazzling profusion of early spring blooms. The sunshine, when it appears, bathes everything with a luminosity and warmth and puts a smile on everyone痴 face. Here in Melbourne we get to experience all four seasons, and while that痴 not to everyone痴 liking, it痴 one of the reasons I choose to live here.
09/05 Direct Link
I知 a little taken aback at how nervous I am about going in to school tomorrow. You壇 think after working with some of the toughest kids imaginable for so many years, the prospect of working with a class full of eager Year 6 girls would seem like a walk in the park. In terms of behaviour, no doubt it is, but it痴 been a long time since I worked with children who actually want to learn! And to say that I知 a little on the rusty side when it comes to teaching numeracy and literacy is something of an understatement.
09/06 Direct Link
I had a strange but delicious feeling of d駛-vu as I disembarked from the train at Mooney Ponds this morning and walked the last ten minutes to work. So much of what I remember remains the same, though of course many things are different. The girls themselves are wonderful warm, friendly and eager to please. And they池e all so bright! To be in such a keen and focused learning environment once again is positively intoxicating, while meeting up with some of my old colleagues who are still teaching at the school served to make the whole experience a really enjoyable one.
09/07 Direct Link
I can see I致e got my work cut out for me. Teaching a group of highly capable and eager 11 year old girls is a very different experience to working with highly disaffected teenage boys. The 渡iceness factor alone is going to take some readjustment. What I am sure of however is I知 going to enjoy the change. What impresses me more than anything is how incredibly good natured the school is. How could you not want to go to work each day? And who knows, after a term of this I might even decide primary teaching is for me.
09/08 Direct Link
I moved back into our Melbourne apartment last night. I collected the keys from the agent by the entrance downstairs. We came up and did a final inventory and condition check, after which she left and, for the first time in many years, I had the place to myself.

What痴 remarkable is hw little has changed. I open a cupboard and there痴 our dinner set. I open another and there are our coffee mugs. Traces of our former life here are all around, and all this while you are in London packing the boxes of our now former life there.
09/09 Direct Link
I barely stepped out of the apartment today, luxuriating in the novelty of being in a place where I知 actively involved in the process of reengagement rather than disengagement. It痴 a pleasure tempered only by the knowledge that you are on the other side of the world immersed in the process of tying up all the loose ends and ensuring that the handover of our London home to its new owners goes according to plan. On the phone you sound so stressed. For me, the next chapter has already begun. For you, the unsettling period of transition is just beginning.
09/10 Direct Link
I壇 forgotten all about it, the kitsch ceramic teapot in the shape of an owl that I accidentally dropped and then in panic hid behind the bed in the spare room. I had every intention of telling you about it. Honestly I did. But so many other things were on my mind at the time, what with the day of departure looming large on the horizon, and it simply slipped my mind.

nd when you quizzed me about it on the phone today all I could do was offer up a lame apology, your disappointment matched only by my regret.
09/11 Direct Link
All day I致e been surreally aware of the passing of an era. All our London belongings have now either been packed and sent off for shipping or dispersed amongst friends. We致e done this before, but I致e not done it long distance before. I致e hated not being there to help you. It痴 not the kind of thing one enjoys dong alone. Now all that痴 left to do is for you to hand over the keys and that will be that.

No more London flat.

No more Spicy World curries.

No more strolls down to Battersea Park.

No more calling London home.
09/12 Direct Link
So that痴 that. The deal is done, the keys have been exchanged and you致e now moved into temporary accommodation. Another chapter of our lives has drawn to a close. When we speak on the phone there is sadness in your voice. For me, the transition has already occurred. For you, it痴 just beginning. It痴 not that I don稚 feel a sense of loss; I do, but I致e also let go. The disengagement, while not necessarily complete, is certainly well advanced. I know that once you get here you値l be fine. It痴 just hard for you to see that right now.
09/13 Direct Link
When I hurriedly answered the phone this evening I couldn稚 place the voice. You were clearly amused by this and enjoyed stringing me along. Finally the penny dropped and thereafter the floodgates opened. For the next hour or more we barely paused for breath.

It wasn稚 so long ago that I feared I壇 lost you for good. These things happen. As it turned out you were simply going through a tough time. You needed solitude, distance and space. That痴 all water under the bridge now. In its place is the inherent pleasure of friendship and the calmness and joy therein.
09/14 Direct Link
Living in the heart of Melbourne is not so different from living in the heart of London. All I have to do is go downstairs and I have the whole city at my doorstep. The river is only metres away, there痴 a tram stop in front of the building and I知 equidistance between Flinders Street and Southern Cross train stations. To the left is Collins Street and Melbourne痴 premiere shopping precinct. Then there are the alleyways, the restaurants, the bookshops, the coffee shops, the bars, the galleries, the river and dockland frontage, the parklands, just like I had in London.
09/15 Direct Link
Being near water has always been important to me. In Adelaide I could hop in the car and be by the sea within 15 minutes, in London I was a ten minute stroll from the Thames while here in Melbourne I have the Yarra just metres away, the docklands just around the corner, a variety of local beaches close by and for something a little different I can cross the river and hop on a ferry to Williamstown. Sydney Harbour is certainly isn稚, but for me there are enough options to satisfy that part of me that loves the water.
09/16 Direct Link
Melbourne is a city of trams. They may not be the fastest mode of transport and they can be frustrating if you get stuck behind one in traffic but they are a quintessential part of the city痴 identity and character. Unlike buses, the newer trams are close to ground level. They have tall, broad windows that connect you with the street. They池e also conducive to conversation and it痴 this sociability factor that interests me the most, because unlike in London where commuters tend to hide behind their newspapers, commuters here actually talk to each other.

And I really like that.
09/17 Direct Link
I wonder what sort of day I壇 be having if I was still in London?

As I write it痴 lunchtime where I used to work. We壇 all be in the dining hall throwing down food while keeping an watchful eye on the lads stealing out for their midday smoke. A couple of afternoon students would be wandering in. We壇 all be hanging out for home time and keeping our fingers crossed that things didn稚 go pear-shaped in the afternoon. If I was lucky I might even have time for a loo break.

Hmn. I think we致e made the right move.
09/18 Direct Link
It痴 been more than a month since I arrived back here and ten days since I moved back into the apartment. I知 beginning to have a sense of being a resident here again rather than a visitor. With each passing day my attachment to London diminishes while my sense of connection to Melbourne grows. It痴 a gradual process and one that takes place slowly in small incremental stages.

This was once our home and in time it will be again. But the process cannot be complete until that yet to be determined date when you walk back through that door.
09/19 Direct Link
When we first bought this place there wasn稚 much of a view, save for the roof of the Immigration Museum directly in front of us and a few low scattered buildings across the river. What a difference a decade makes. Now we gaze out at skyscrapers, each one tall and gleaming with the changing colours of the day. During the afternoon the apartment is filled with their reflected light from the sun while at night they provide a dramatic backdrop of twinkling lights that are close enough to make the experience interesting while being distant enough not to be intrusive.
09/20 Direct Link
Keeping an ever watchful eye of the exchange rate between British sterling and the Australian dollar can be a depressing pastime. While the rest of the world struggles to cope with the worst economic downturn in decades, Australia continues to defy the odds and forge ahead as one of the few countries to escape relatively unscathed. Consequently, while sterling struggles in the doldrums amidst grim economic projections for the UK, the Aussie dollar is surging to evermore historical highs, which is great news for Aussies travelling abroad but less so for those of us bringing money the other way, sigh!
09/21 Direct Link
I知 spending a lot of time in the apartment. Money is tight and I知 trying wherever possible not to spend it. Instead I致e been making use of the excellent phone and internet deal I致e secured which allows me to phone any landline or mobile in the country for free. It痴 enabled me to re-connect with family and friends all over this vast continent as well as make copious phone calls to builders, heating and air conditioning specialists, lighting consultants and many others in an effort to come to grips with the building project we are soon to be embarking upon.
09/22 Direct Link
I was curious to see if there was a way of accessing the BBC streaming news service here in Melbourne, and there is. So this evening I was watching live news from London. I was rapt! Australian TV is average at best and we池e not serviced by cable here in the apartments. What TV is available receives poor reception. No matter. I can download my favourite shows online. Having a direct link to the BBC is however a real bonus. Much as I知 enjoying being back in Melbourne, we are a long way away from the rest of the world.
09/23 Direct Link
Tuesday morning, sitting with a pot of tea in the Kiosk at the end of St. Kilda Pier. It痴 hard to believe this charming building was destroyed by fire a few years back. A more faithful restoration would be hard to imagine. The pier itself, and the rocks beyond, is the first place I really connected with when I first moved to Melbourne back in 1991. It痴 a place to come and sit and gaze out across the bay and let the cares and the stresses of the day drift away on the sea breeze, just like I知 doing today.
09/24 Direct Link
It痴 beginning to happen, that process whereby I find myself slowly but surely becoming one with a place. Wandered through the streets this evening, looking every which way to try and fully take in all that I was seeing, I could feel myself connecting with the urban tapestry of the place its orderly tree-lined street; its wealth of architectural gems; the ambience of day passing into evening; the illumination of its infrastructure; the hidden charms of its many laneways; the hustle and bustle of people out on the street and I found myself inwardly smiling and thinking to myself; this is home.
09/25 Direct Link
It痴 odd to think that every time we致e seen each other over the past ten years we致e each been a year older. That will all change now. Nonetheless, what I find extraordinary is how youthful you look and how well, despite the fact you池e not feeling your best. We both seem to have inherited the youth gene and it痴 not simply a product of growing older and not seeing the age. I can see the age, but stand us next to so many of our contemporaries and there can be no denying we have a lot to be thankful for.
09/26 Direct Link
There was something magical about the way the sunshine illuminated the yellow canola fields and the lush spring growth that made me feel so at one in this landscape, the way it bursts into life in spring before the hues of summer brown set in with the passage of the season; while by the sea I was overtaken by a feeling of oneness, a mood often induced by my sojourns down to the Isle of Wight and now here, a full 12,000 miles away; a sense of being connected with something much bigger than yet innately a part of myself.
09/27 Direct Link
With the start of the new school term just a few days away it was good to go in and spend some time with my fellow Year 6 colleague and plan what we池e going to be teaching the girls. It was useful too to spend some time in my new room and gain a sense of ownership of the space. I知 going to be out of my comfort zone in terms of what I値l be teaching but I知 beginning to see this in a positive light. In terms of professional development it痴 a great opportunity to increase my skills base.
09/28 Direct Link
Strolling around the dockland precinct this evening I couldn稚 help but wonder at how this city has grown since we last lived here. So many new buildings, new bridges, new waterside walks and new sweeping vistas, not to mention the physical expansion of space are transforming Melbourne into something so much more than it was. We used to live pretty much on the perimeter of the city. Now we are well and truly nestled within it. And while not all of the changes are for the better, for the most part the marriage of the historical with the new works.
09/29 Direct Link
I visited a former colleague today and had an informal tour of a school that will for now remain nameless. There is a teacher in charge of the primary art department there who after 27 years may be resigning due to pressing personal and health problems. The situation is therefore both delicate and sensitive. Suffice to say, we値l know by the first week of November whether there will be a vacancy. In the meantime I致e met the head of the junior school and the head of the senior art department. It was a warm and fruitful meeting.

Watch this space.
09/30 Direct Link
As the month draws to a close, enough of looking back. What痴 done is done and if anything has by chance been overlooked, then so be it. A new chapter beckons and with it the need to be fully focused on all that is to come rather than what has been. Instead of reflection, projection; instead of what was, what will be. It requires focus and effort to bring something new to fruition, and with so many new and interesting challenges ahead, it痴 time to set my sights firmly on the road ahead and to keep moving in that direction.