Monday 28th September 2020

26/51#LifeThisWeek.Telling My Story. 2004-06.Chapter Sixteen.52/2020.

26/51#LifeThisWeek.Telling My Story.2004-2006.Chapter Sixteen.52/2020.

So, about a hundred three years ago ….I thought it was time, seeing I had a blog, to start writing my story. It was on advice from a blogging friend, now published author (her story is here) that I did. Then, for a long time I did not. Because cancer was diagnosed. Nevertheless, I eventually returned to the story and now I am at…drum roll… Chapter Sixteen.

With yet another photo of me because I keep changing my appearance…thanks to head and neck cancer, then cataract surgeries.

The most recent chapter, finalised how my first and significant career in New South Wales Department of Education ended. Sadly but there was a need for my health to improve and that it did.

L: NSW Teachers’ Federation Badge. R: N.S.W. Primary Principals Ass. Membership Badge.

Why was 2004 memorable?

I went back to school! As a teacher. But first, there is MORE!

I spent quite a bit of summer 2004 recovering from the broken right leg and receiving physiotherapy to get me walking again. We were a two-person household as our adult son had moved in with a friend. I had S P A C E to call mine, and claimed his old room for an art-craft one for me. It also doubled as a grandchild-sleepover space where we installed double bunks and these were in regular use.

My husband, whilst not in the best of health, started to enjoy his music and had a space in the house for that and part  all of the garage eventually morphed into a workshop. We had two vehicles but we were soon to add some home improvements but wait, I am getting ahead of myself.

Around the middle of what would be Term One in schools, I started to feel a restlessness within and to be honest a NEED to do something related to teaching. Having over a year away from schools to try my hand at volunteering and to get better health-wise, the thoughts grew that I probably needed to get my casual teaching availability sorted and out there to my principal friends.

“Would You Like Two Days a Week From Next Term?”

We lived in Glenwood, a suburb on former dairy land in Sydney’s northwest. My friend, D, and I had been colleagues for many years and I heard that the brand new school at a brand new suburb just 10 minutes drive away was where she was the foundation principal. I rang and she said ” come over and have a look at it, love to see you”. I did, with a version of a casual teacher resume in my bag.

After a tour in a modern, private/public built school we sat in her office and I began speaking about wanting to come back to teaching. She knew of what had happened to me at R.P.S. and in fact was one who stayed in touch initially. Before I could say much more, I received an offer, to start Term 2, doing 2 days a week Release From Face To Face Teaching for all of the SEVEN classes (K-6) the school then comprised. By the time I left the school in 2010 the student population had exploded from our original 156 to around 700…and since went close to 1000…if you know the now-densely populated North West area of Sydney, this will not surprise you.

Yes, thank you…that would be great. I asked what I should teach in that time. Her reply was ‘up to me’ and in a complete switch for me, I chose Creative Arts: art, drama and music.

Back to School. As a teacher.

On the first day of Term Two 2004,  the day after our second granddaughter turned 5 (huge party with jumping castle and I did face painting) I presented myself to the school…and the first group I would be teaching. Year 6. Now, this was still a very small school and the teachers were incredibly welcoming and friendly. I remain friends with many today. However, Year 6, first up took some courage but I did it. The thing about a brand new school is that the kids in the upper grades have come from different schools with different expectations. I did have some kids who tried me (behavioural and attitude) but we managed. After that baptism, I had the rest of the day…and I think I returned on the Tuesday as my 2nd day. I do recall being on Cross Country duty too as the kids ran around the then spacious grounds.

When a new school opens in a new neighbourhood there are children presenting to enrol every week and over time, this position grew to 3 days a week. By the end of that year however, I got a different role and loved this one even more.

Before I move on. The school had its official opening and that was a privilege to be part of. Some of the work I had done as the R.F.F. teacher in Art and Craft also involved Aboriginal Education (I had some expertise from my previous schools) and the Year 6 group performed at the opening using clapping sticks made by my husband.

The principal now had someone on her staff who she could confide in and even offload on but she did not do this much at all. However from time to time she would ask me “how come you are always so happy?” My answer was, she had seen my need to be back teaching and I was loving it as well as being a mentor of sorts to some …but I no longer had the full responsibility which weighed heavily when I was a principal.

The English as A Second Language Teacher. Me! 2005 & 2006.

I was always a teacher of literacy at heart, and loved working with children at the entry level of school. It made sense then for me to turn what I loved to do into a role I could deepen for myself and the school when there was growing student population of students whose second language was English.

I was able to set up the program, a space for the students and to develop the school’s programs. This was an important part of my role and being a former principal something I knew a lot about. What I did need to learn more about was the ‘how’ and ‘what’ of teaching English to a range of learners. Some were literally just stepping ‘off the plane’ as we used to say, and others had been in Australia speaking and learning English at previous schools.

The ‘language’ of teaching in this field has changed in the past 5+ years so I will use what I remember. The students were assessed, if needed, by me upon enrolment in whichever year they were entering. For example a student coming into Kindergarten and one coming into Year 5 might still be classed as ‘new arrivals’ if they had no understanding of English and would need, at separate times to being in class, some one-on-one or very small group learning.

To that end, I enrolled in a Post-Graduate Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at Charles Sturt University. Part-time and on-line with lots of practical work I could do with the students. This was a great way for me to add to my qualifications and hopefully, as time passed, get appointed to the school in 2007 as the substantive E.S.L. teacher. In the next chapter, I will share what happened.

Flexibility and a program that helped teachers integrate the students into their classes was important and I did all I could on the 3 days allocated to the program – always by student numbers – that year. The school’s population grew and grew, in 2006 there was a need to employ another person like me on a temporary basis. I was not permanently appointed, even though, over time, I hoped that might occur. More on that in the next chapter. 2007 was a big year for me. In many ways.

Family Times, House with ‘New’Mortgage & My First Trip O.S.

Despite the fact that we were now mortgage-free, see chapter fifteen, we became tempted to use the house as collateral for home improvements. Yes, people, we not only were tempted, we went ahead. The house benefitted with the enclosure of the outdoor room and adding air conditioning to it so it was a useable space, a carport, added driveways and landscaping out the front and back. This all helped at the time for our enjoyment. Much later in terms of selling, we had added value but the outstanding mortgage was paid out at the time of sale in 2015, bought new cars (much needed, old ones were literally ‘dying’)  but we did not have enough after that to buy a house on the Central Coast. This has, as it turns out, not been too bad as we have found a couple of options where we may wish, one day, to buy a house. For now, we are, like many, more comfortable as renters in the lovely, modern house we are in now.

Family times in those years became busier in some ways as the first group of grandchildren were changing in terms of ‘growing up’ and starting school. We attended Open Days, School Assemblies, Musicals and other events when possible. We took our two eldest granddaughters on a family holiday to Ballina which was fun and they got to meet some of their extended family and see where Papa grew up and went to school.

We welcomed partners into the family and life continued getting to know extended family members, and share in occasions, as well as support new ventures such as a return to study for one of our kids, with eventually University degree completed and more to come. One adult child continued in teaching part-time and we offered weekend/evening/afternoon respite for the kids in her busy times of responsibilities at school and beyond.

For some time I guess I did consider travelling overseas but never really got the chance. Then my plan was hatched and by crikey, I love a plan. To organise, the research and to find out more..blah blah. It was always going to be a solo trip. The plane ride for my husband of just on 3 hours in 2003 was the deal breaker for him as I wrote last chapter. He couldn’t accompany me. However, I was actually OK to give solo travel a go in a bigger way. I had already done some shorter trips and small breaks away within Australia so I looked at what I thought I could manage flight time wise, and where I was interested in visiting. It was to the U.S.of A.’s west coast but mainly the state of Hawaii I wanted to see. Dad and Mum had been there many times following Dad’s first visit when he was part of Harvard Business Summer School for 6 weeks in 1966.

With meticulous care and with the help of Flight Centre I booked 15 days away from 1 January 2006 to 15 January. Flights on Hawaiian Air, were marvellous and I joined their Premier Club to get preferential seating, extra luggage allowance and use of Lounges at LAX and Oahu. Brilliant. But, I almost went home from Mascot (our airport) before I left.

New Year’s Day in Sydney 2006 the temperature was 45deg. There was no air con working at the airport. My flight was not leaving till 10 pm. I was dropped off at the airport by my daughter…allowing plenty of time and it was actually ‘too much’ time. I was SO hot and over it..but stayed until check in could start…and when as a priority boarder I got to my window seat (then the aeroplane was 2,3,2 in economy)and sat, the aloha music and air con working….I sighed with relief. I probably need to expand this story separately but it went like this: Syd:Oahu, 3 nights. Oahu to Kona 2 nights. Kona to Oahu & onto LAX 2 nights, LAX to Las Vegas 2 nights, LV to SanFran 2 nights. SF to LAX back to Oahu 3 nights…and H O M E.

My Parents. 

In the latter part of 2006 my parents celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary (60 years wed) with a couple of small at-home celebrations with friends, and a family lunch in a local restaurant with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren on the following weekend.

I went to their house on the actual day with 60 yellow roses from the local Dural Rose Growers, and Dad already had the cards I had organised from Queen Elizabeth II, the Governor-General, the Premier of N.S.W. and…for Mum especially, my brother organised a ‘congratulations to long time listeners, N & A,’ message on 2GB from Alan Jones. Mum loved it. And he was kind.

Mum had not been well for a couple of years and with an aversion to doctors and investigations, Dad did the best he could to keep her health under check. Mum had some symptoms that appeared to be Parkinson’s related and also a lot of pain in some areas that was put down to be ‘post shingles’ neuralgia.

Mum had a great smile. And she made a lot of effort to do the best she could to look well and co-ordinated, with hairdresser appointments weekly and a pretty regular wardrobe updates. She started to not want to go out much in a lot of 2006 and it became harder to convince her to do so.

Previously Mum had been quite social, independent with her own car and social groups and interests including tennis and cards. But no more. Even their much enjoyed June-July winter stays on the Gold Coast stopped in 2005. But, there were reasons which would not be evident until next chapter: a big one. 2007.

Mum and Dad, taken by me, at the family celebrations for their 60th Wedding Anniversary. November 2006.

 

That is all…that I remember and CAN write about…with confidence of telling my story without giving away too much. It does get tricky with privacy but I have permissions and try to stay within boundaries set by myself and what is reasonable.

For all of the stories to date, please visit this part of the blog. Telling My Story.

I print each post out and have it stored in a folder for family if they wish to read it.

Thanks for reading.

Denyse.

List of Optional Prompts: July & August 2020. On home page too.

27/51 Taking Stock #3 6.7.2020

28/51 Self-Care Stories. #4. 13.7.2020

29/51 Your Choice. Mine is: World Head & Neck Cancer Day. 20.7.2020

30/51 Share Your Snaps #6 27.7.2020

31/51 Food. 3.8.2020

32/51 Why Did I? 10.8.2020

33/51 I Want. 17.8.2020

34/51 Self-Care Stories. #5. 24.8.2020

35/51 Share Your Snaps #7 31.8.2020

Link Up #195.

Life This Week. Link Up #195.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do!

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive  in nature.

* THANK you for linking up today! Next week’s optional prompt.27/51 Taking Stock #3 6.7.2020

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Travel Tips. 37/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.90.

Travel Tips. 37/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.90.

Yes, come here to find my tips for travel…..maybe not!

I suggest you are more likely go here to these wonderful bloggers below who know more about travel than I do!

So that IS the end of my post! Not quite.

This is the airline I DID fly in when I travelled in 2006.

I trawled back in the memories (and photos to recall my one and only trip to U.S.of A. You see, I had not travelled overseas at all. My parents had (a lot!) and some of that was related to Dad’s work but once he retired, they travelled until they decided “enough was enough” as the world changed and they aged. My husband’s parents were the same. One of our kids went to the US on a tennis camp in 1993 and the other went to New Zealand first as a school trip and then to stay with the family she loved there.

Ill-health of my husband meant it was extremely unlikely we could ever travel anywhere overseas but we gave it a go to fly to Far North Queensland but the seat was so cramped for a big, tall man with back issues that the only way we reckoned we could get back home was via Business Class. Which we did, and paid a premium for it but he was OK on the way home.

This meant, that if I was to ever travel again, it would be solo and to an overseas destination that I heard about most of my life: Hawaii and then to the cities of the West Coast: LA, Las Vegas and San Francisco. I have written about it here.

My tips are:

  1. Enjoy your own company and you never have a fight about what to do
  2. Take a change of clothes and some items you do not want to lose, in your cabin bag
  3. Be as comfy in the clothes on the plane as possible by dressing in loose layers and always keep your socks on.
  4. Choose a window seat if you can because you can lean up against it
  5. Have a small pillow in your carry on and you will be cosy if you try to sleep
  6. Noise cancelling headphones: a must
  7. Have a friendly attitude and treat cabin crew with kindness
  8. Even if it says it is one season where you are going, take a rain jacket
  9. Choose a great airline where you can join their ‘club’ and have access to a lounge, priority boarding and extra luggage
  10. Do not spend money on gifts for anyone but do buy things that will remind you of your travels

But my biggest tip I leave till last: be able to afford this level of travel and arrive very well. Sigh. My dream!

https://www.google.com.au/

Katherine here: http://brightlightsofamerica.com/

Sydney Shop Girl here: http://sydneyshopgirl.com

Lydia here: https://pandoraandmax.blogspot.com/

Joanne here: http://joannetracey.com

Deborah here: http://debbish.com

Sue here: http://sizzlingtowardssixty.com.au

Jo here: http://lifestylefifty.com

Kathy here: http://50shadesofage.com

Jan here: http://retirement-planning.info

Leanne here: http://deepfriedfruit.com.au

Sammie here: http://theannoyedthyroid.com

Natalie here: http://natalietheexplorer.blogspot.com

Min here: http://writeofthemiddle.com

Do you have any travel tips?
Denyse.

Today I link with Alicia here: for Open Slather and Kel here for Mummy Mondays. Do visit them too and link up!

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!

Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 38/52. Have You Ever..? 17/9/18.


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Countries I Have Visited. 32/52, #LifeThisWeek. 2018.70.

Countries I Have Visited. 32/52, #LifeThisWeek. 2018.70.

This is a very short post.

I have visited the United States of America.

One country.

Oh, alright then, some details! But first some background.

My parents got to travel around the world a few times initially thanks to Dad’s work (seeing overseas plants and offices relating to the fertilizer company where he was Company Secretary. That same company sent him, a young Chief Accountant in 1966 on a round-world trip alone to visit cities where his company had affiliations and then to University of Hawaii where he attended a 6 week Summer School from the Harvard Business School. It changed his life, and broadened his interests from that time. He also fell in love with Hawaii and with Mum in latter years visited many 7 times, meeting old friends, playing golf and relaxing.

Why tell my readers this?

Well. I had heard his stories for 40 years when, with the blessing and financial support of my dear husband I got to plan a solo trip to the U.S.of A. and topping and tailing the 15 day trip with Hawaiian experiences.

The Day: 1.1.2006.

The hottest day ever (till then) of 44 degrees celsius both at home in Sydney’s west and at Mascot, that late afternoon. New Year’s Day. Melting at the airport because the electricity was so overloaded the air con stopped.

Our daughter (Happy Birthday TODAY, KT!)

drove a nervous but excited me to the airport early..because..that is ME. My flight with Hawaiian Airlines was due to leave at 10.p.m. She and her youngest got Maccas and went home.

I sweated it out with a brief thought to forget this and go home. I shooshed anxiety and when I got to priority board (I joined Hawaiian Air’s Premier Club & it was so worth it) I sighed with relief from the air-con on the plane, the attendants in Hawaiian garb and their friendly demeanour. I also had a window seat (as requested via the Premier Club and had that seat each time I flew with them. I could not fault Hawaiian Air. Ever!

https://www.ispot.tv/ad/AiIE/hawaiian-airlines-we-are-all-voyagers

Hawaii – Oahu and The Big Island.

For the girl who had never travelled OS before but was a hugely skilled planner the trip went well. Originally organised by the local Flight Centre with me adding more ($$) to this trip I fear would be the only one (looking like it 12 years later) so I got to experience as much as possible. The notion of being solo did not faze me at all. I have a presence that does not show fear and I am a confident walker and can talk to most people.

Dad asked me to have a Mai Tai under the Banyan Tree – next door to my hotel. I had a Pina Colada.

My itinerary: loosely!

I stayed at Waikiki Parc hotel, upgraded to an ocean view and loved it so much for its breakfasts (hello, guava juice), the staff who lent me a body board and stored some of my belongings when I went to the Mainland AND for being only one very small walkway from the sand and the water, and a lovely walk either by the road or along the sand to Waikiki Beach. I did a morning tour to the Arizona Memorial. Very sombre and very moving when you see the whole harbour.

Inside the Arizona Memorial

I was there for 3 nights and then flew to The Big Island for 2 nights and hired a car there. I had hoped to visit the now very active volcano after finding out how to get to Hilo early one morning by car. I got lost and ended up back at Kona instead. Loved meeting new people and having new experiences. Took a gazillion photos but only a few are on my computer now.

Loved driving the Mustang

After returning to Oahu, I got an Hawaiian air flight to Los Angeles where, as was organised back in Sydney I was to be met by a driver to take me to my hotel in Beverly Hills. He was a no-show and that saw me on the mobile to his company to find that they had no booking but would see me Sunday to bring me back to LAX. Fortunately, as I am pretty resourceful and unafraid to seek help, I got on a shuttle bus and heard some Aussie accents and didn’t mind the scenic trip via UCLA on the way (very late now) to my hotel. Sorry Ma’m kitchen is closed. It was a snacks dinner.

Made my way to a good breakfast pretty early and readied myself for LA in a Day. It took in all the sights: I went to Venice Beach (so different to my idea of a beach) I loved using the ladies at Beverly Hills Hotel that was in Pretty Woman, did a bit of Hollywood Shopping for young starstruck granddaughters, was disappointed by the Hollywood sign and surprised myself by liking Universal Studios tour. I had a photo with Princes Fiona as Shrek was the “in movie”

What “Hollywood Sign?” Oh there!

Flew out on Sunday to Las Vegas after the promised Chauffeur limo drive I should have also had on Friday night.

Las Vegas. I just laughed out loud when I saw the poker machines at the end of the plane bridge. From then on, after checking in at Excalibur I smiled, observed and just took it all in. Saw Mamamia performed live, went through the Titanic exhibition and had a night Las Vegas tour culminating in taking in the view at the top of a tower. Oh, and met Elvis. Of course. Spent a wonderful day on a small bus excursion out to Hoover Dam and crossed the border. Great experience and saw some of the native American ventures as well.

Thank you very much

San Francisco. Really did steal my heart. I loved it. I felt ‘at home’. I can see why my Aussie expat friend Katherine is calling it home. Here is her blog. I stayed near the water and walked to have a crab lunch as my father insisted I do. I booked a tour of Alcatraz back in Australia and really found that tour amazing and quite sobering. I spent time going on the trolleys and finally finding a decent coffee. Sigh. Loved the bookstores, the music stores. Was not so pleased with the poverty I saw in the streets. Vietnam vets in particular.

Yes that is me with a few cameras (and a tour listening thingy)…

Back to LA. Waiting, waiting, waiting…for Trip Back to Honolulu.

My last days overseas were spent swimming in that warm water, walking to the photo developer near the statue of the Duke getting all of my pics developed before I got home, going to the Hawaiian markets and buying an extra bag to bring STUFF home in, and having a day tour of the North Shore. I had been singing Ride The Wild Surf on the school bus for years as a teenager and could not wait to see this beach. Nothing. Gentle waves. Boo, no wild surf. Still, we had a great tour driver and asking him a few questions found out that his job as a school teacher cannot keep up the mortgage payments on the house (housing was/is very expensive in Oahu) so he supplemented as a tour driver. I also saw a lot of poverty on some of the back streets.

What Wild Surf?

Home on 15 January 2006. Laden with stuff…for the kids. My lesson about that? Buy nothing! Bring back memories!

Now, that is a long story.

However I am going to finish with a wish.

I would like to visit the UK; specifically the areas where my grandparents lived: England and Scotland. I would also like to do a war sites/grave tour of France. This is unlikely to happen: due to my age…and money. BUT, I have decided not to give it away but to consider it.

What countries have you visited?

Denyse.
Joining with Alicia for Open Slather Here.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!

Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 33/52.  Famous People I Have Met 13/8/18.


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