Thursday, August 12, 2010

12 August 2010

I'm sitting at work and it’s approximately 12:30. The children were sent home early because the majority of the staff is attending a peaceful march. There's a strike looming on the horizon and the march is just the first step because the government is just not agreeing to our request for a much-deserved salary increase. So pretty much, the school is semi-deserted... few staff, no children and that leaves me bored. To alleviate said boredom, here I am, writing a blog after an absence of several months.

The first thing I did was to read through my previous blogs so I guess that first I'll report back on what has happened since. Firstly, I have stuck to barely any of my resolutions but isn't that the point of resolutions? We all set unrealistic goals but never actually accomplish them. Well, I am not eating healthy (my lunch involved a quarter super peri chicken and Portuguese roll from Barcelos… yummy!) and I am most definitely NOT exercising. Thus I have lost no weight whatsoever, in fact I think I may have gained a bit and I'm not happy at all about it. My sister is pregnant at the moment and my niece will arrive in a few days. We plan on joining the gym next year and motivating each other to gain back our high school figures. (More unrealistic goals.) I would also like to take up belly dancing. I know a few people who do it and it seems like a totally fun way to get in shape. I love dancing!!! I used to do tap, Spanish, modern and even a little ballet, Latin and ballroom dancing when I was younger (and fitter) and I'm completely passionate about dance but sadly an ankle injury or rather several ankle injuries when I was 14 ended my dream of being a dancer/dance teacher. Life went on but that passion never faded. I'm hoping that one day I can convince my boyfriend into joining me for some Latin and ballroom lessons but I doubt it, my baby is a ‘macho man’ kinda guy. My love for dancing probably explains my current 'obsession' as my boyfriend terms it. He's probably right. I am totally fascinated by a dancer named Dharmesh Yelande from ZTV’s Dance India Dance. I guess watching him dance reminds me of that long forgotten dream and the fact that he's easy on the eyes doesn't hurt but honest to God, he has nothing on my baby. There’s only one man for me and that is my boyfriend. I love you baby! Mwah!

Secondly, I really suck at the whole saving thing. I loaded up my accounts buying school uniforms for my ‘son’, stationery, hard drives, etc. and then there was the expenses associated with that vampire-themed party and then when I found out my sister was pregnant I made sure I splurged to spoil my soon-to-be niece and gave my sister an unforgettable baby shower so all in all, not much saving was done. Right now, it’s more like settling off my accounts and then next year I'll have to work on savings.

At least I did stick to some of my resolutions. I registered to do my Honours degree in Education but I have been slacking in that department. I seriously need to be a bit more dedicated to my studies. It sucks though. I’m the kind of person who flourishes in the lecture situation and self-study/distance learning is just not for me. I guess that I’ll just have to persevere and hope that I get through. I’m definitely doing my Masters degree at an actual university. I have no idea how my sister does it, she is so disciplined. Respect sister! Another resolution that I have kind of stuck to is taking better care of myself and dressing for me. I hardly look like Audrey Hepburn but I’m comfortable in what I do wear. I have my black nail polish back. So what if it’s a little goth? It’s me. I do need to do something about my hair though. My boyfriend’s aunt is a fantastic hairdresser. I need to make an appointment. I also started using eye cream. My gran is flawless for a woman her age. She could pass for my mother. Her best beauty advice is to take care of your skin so I make sure I cleanse, don’t sleep with make-up on, moisturize and started using eye cream as soon as I turned 25. If I age half as gracefully as she did, I’ll be happy. My gran is smoking hot!

Speaking of which, yes, I am now 25. I have officially hit the quarter-life crisis and yes, I’ll still comparing myself to other people’s achievements and finding myself lacking but I’m sure that someone out there thinks that my life is pretty brilliant so I shouldn’t complain. I had an absolutely fantastic birthday. I brought a cake in for the staff at work, and then spent a quiet day with my family and boyfriend. It was the perfect birthday! My boyfriend completely spoilt me with a 10mega-pixel digital camera. Another one of my interests is nature photography. I can’t wait to get started. So far I’ve only used it for family photos.

I am starting to love my job by the way. I feel like I have finally settled in at my new school. I got to know the people here, I don’t hide behind my books anymore (although I still read everything in sight) and I feel really comfortable here. The staff here is absolutely wonderful. I’ll even admit (grudgingly) that I really like some of my students. I guess that change can sometimes be a good thing. Anyway that’s it for now. School is closing early and I need to log off. Much love everyone (especially to my boyfriend).

Sunday, March 14, 2010

14 March 2010

Hello again to whomever might stumble across my rantings and my 2 followers (thanks guys, you make me feel special). It’s been a long time since I've last ranted. I've just been caught up with everyday endeavors of life I guess. I haven't even read my email in weeks! Thanks to my brother nagging me to upload some pictures onto his facebook, I've finally logged on to the net and here I am.

Firstly, the promised report back on the New Moon party. What can I say to adequately describe such an event? Hmmm... Well, I'm Goth at heart and a major fan of vampire folklore so I had certain expectations of the event. I eagerly awaited the day, arranged leave from work, booked an expensive hotel and generally spent a small fortune in plane tickets assuming that it would be worth every single hard-earned cent for this 'never-to-be-forgotten' moment in time. Carpe diem and all that. Well, what I got was a really lame party. No one was dressed to theme except for a few cast member look-alikes who didn't look much like the cast at all, bimbo waitresses who could have been from the local Hooters handing out bad seafood appetizers, 80's pop music (at a vampire party... wtf?!!!) and I mean, they even were doing fake tattoos as if it was a kiddy's party. No dancing, no dark gothic music, no dark gothic crowd. Just 'barbie' people getting drunk. The bar was also only serving one drink. I mean really? One drink? No options! My boyfriend and I stayed for all of one hour before going back to the hotel, watching a lame horror movie and passing out from the sheer exhaustion of walking around Sandton all day. I could have stayed at home to watch a lame horror movie on TV with my boyfriend. I should have stayed in Durban and rather bought myself a few pairs of hot Iron fist heels with that money. Oh well, at least I won't have to wonder what if. I've had the experience and it is over and I got to spend some quality time with my best friend and even do a bit of shopping.

Moving on, I finally won my dispute against the Department of Education and have been made a permanent educator. To celebrate, I will provide lunch for the staff of my new school. It's about time I start making friends there. I tend to be too much of a loner which leaves me feeling, well lonely. In the same breathe, I don't relate to anyone at my new work place. They are all older than me and married with children. I miss my friends at my old school. Those were good times. I miss my old students. They were my babies. I don't like change. I REALLY miss my varsity and school friends. Without them, I don't really know who I am anymore. I often escape into my books. I recently read 'My Sister's Keeper' and I hated it! If you ever read it, you'd understand why. Worse still, I read it when I had major PMS and cried for an hour after the last chapter. You would have thought my puppy had died if you had seen me. I was devastated! I get too wrapped up in the lives of the characters that I read. I love reading. I'm such an addict. I am reading 'Under a Blood Red Sky' at the moment. The storyline is slow to develop but really good once it does. After that I have the 'House of Night' series waiting for me. I can't wait for the release of 'Strange Fate' by L.J. Smith. It's the last book in the 'Night World' series and all her fans have been waiting years for its release. Only four months more...

I know, I'm an addict, I have a problem. I love books. You would not believe how many books I buy a year. I try to save by trawling through second-hand book stores and I've even found a few treasures there. I specifically look for vampire books. So, if anyone has vampire books that they don't want, feel free to donate them to me. I will cover the cost of delivery from any South African destination. Yeah right... who just gives away books? I wish. See, my inner addict!

Moving on, had a sad week last week. Some of my students found a baby bird trapped in a gutter with no nest in sight. It would have died or been trampled so they brought it to me. I hand fed it every two hours, gave it a clean cage, plenty of reiki and love and then on Friday night, I put it to bed as always, covered it's cage and that night when I went to check on it, it was dead. Just like that. It broke my heart because it was doing so well. I blame myself. Was there something more I could have done to save it? I loved that little bird. I just wanted it to be strong enough and eating by itself so I could set it free but it just died. My heart is so broken. I cried and this time, no irrational PMS. Rest in peace my little Tweet Tweet. The kids will be so sad when I tell them tomorrow. They also became so attached to it. It was a little bit of sunshine that lightened each day. Maybe I should get a class pet for them but do I really want the extra responsibility? My bearded dragon Lestat is already a lot of responsibility. Will the children even appreciate the gesture? I doubt it. I wonder why I ever became a teacher. Forgotten dreams... We all have them, lingering in our pasts, an ever present reminder of what could have been. We all have to settle into real life eventually. We give in to responsibility and become mindless worker bees slaving to satisfy our queens (taxes, car payments, insurance, medical aid, etc.). I'm approaching a quarter-life crisis and am so dissatisfied with where I am right now. I could go on but I think I'll save it for another rant.

Alas, that brings me to the end of today's blog. Feel free to comment, share, add, etc. I hope that this has been entertaining reading.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

31 January 2010 (Goodbyes)

This blog is a sad one. This is a blog for goodbyes.

As I mentioned before, I am a teacher. At times I hate my job even though I love science. I constantly complain about the department of education, the lack of resources and the unruly children. All of this might give one the impression that it’s just a job to me. That impression would be wrong.

One of my biggest flaws is also one of my greatest strengths. I have a big heart. Whilst it allows me to love greatly, it also causes me to hurt deeply. When you are a teacher, you can't keep your heart out of the job. If some teachers do, I would love to know how because I can't. How do you see children grow up in front of you, see their good, see their bad, see their triumphs, failures, fears, strengths, wisdom and so on and not care? As much as I complain about my students, I honest to God love them. I worry about them and am willing to make sacrifices to ensure that they will receive a good education. Often my job goes beyond just their education and I end up worrying about their home situation. On many an occasion have I dipped into my own pockets or given freely of my time. Last year I lost my job and changed schools. This meant leaving behind my children, my babies who I had learnt to love over the years. I still keep in touch with many but for one I wasn't there and this is his story.

I won't mention his name for respect of his memory. I will just call him my lost child. I know what happened to him was a tragic reality of life and beyond my control but I can't help but feel that if I was still at my old school, I would have noticed that something is wrong, that I would have spoken to him, learnt of his problems and maybe even saved him. You see, my lost child was an orphan. Both his parents tragically passed away and I never knew of this as I had moved on to another school (not by choice). Life became difficult for him. He lived in poverty and slowly all his dreams slipped away from him. He couldn't afford school fees or textbooks and his dreams of making something of his life were fading. Somewhere along the way even his spark, his smile, his spirit faded and on Friday he took his life. I cry as I write this because we are so blinded by our own lives that no one noticed the suffering of the sweet child. He was so disillusioned that he took his life and now that he's gone I can't save him. No one can save him. I want to be a good teacher. I want to be a good person and it breaks my heart that I wasn't there. I didn't even know that he had passed away until after the funeral. My mind is awash with memories of him... his compliments no matter how badly I was dressed, him volunteering to wipe the board for me, carrying my bags and even running away from his own classes to sit in my class. Even when he was naughty and drove me crazy, he was alive and now he is not.

Rest in peace my lost child, rest in peace.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

24 January 2010

Well... it’s been a while since my last post. I used up my internet cap and had to wait till I could afford another one. Don't get me started on the cost of internet in South Africa. From what I've read, South Africa has the most expensive internet in the world. I once read an article that said it would be cheaper and take less time to fly to Japan and download a file in an internet cafe than to try and download the same file from a South African dial up connection. Flying to Japan is expensive. I think that that article was utter sensationalism but it still had a point. Internet in South Africa is way too expensive. Moving on…

So life is looking really peach right now. I'd like to think of it as divine intervention. I started a fast with my church a few days ago and since then two really fantastic things have happened to me. Firstly, I received word that I had won an arbitration against the Department of Education which means that I am now permanently employed. I’ve been waiting almost 2 years for this to happen and have endured endless heartache, victimization and even lost my previous job as a result. Then a few days later I found out that I had won tickets to a VIP vampire themed party. Now for anyone who doesn’t know me, I am obsessed with all things vampire. I'm not delusional enough to want to be one, or to believe that they exist but I am fascinated by the idea of them. They are powerful, tortured, intriguing, sophisticated, gothic and sexy. Winning this competition is utterly surreal. Unfortunately it’s in another city so I will incur some expense in attending the event but its a once in a life time opportunity and I don't want to miss out. I sent in my RSVP immediately, convinced my boyfriend that we absolutely had to attend, booked the flights and to spoil myself, I also booked into a five star hotel. I might as well go all out. Now the only detail I need to attend to is what to wear. I'm thinking something elegant, gothic and sexy… something in lace. I have a stunning burgundy corset overlaid in black lace but I also have a black lace up corset with off-white floral bead work. One of them should be perfect for the occasion. Now I just need to get a nice lace skirt to match and I'm set. Naturally, it has to be black. It is my favourite colour after all. I'm really excited. I never do anything this exciting. I mean going to the movies is an event in my life. Flying off to another city, staying in a 5 star hotel, attending a VIP party... it’s all something out of a movie and I'll get to live it. I’m still in denial but happy too. It’s an odd feeling, having something to look forward to. I can learn to like this feeling. I think I’m becoming optimistic. Hmmm… oh well, it’s a great way to start the year.

Friday, January 15, 2010

14 January 2010

Its early morning and I’m sitting at work in the staff room, waiting for the 8 a.m. briefing where we will be given our tasks for the day. Today will most likely involve much administration and collection of school fees. Discipline is near impossible because the second I put my head down to handle some paper work, some of my students run out the door. Yesterday I had to resort to locking the classroom door and appointing a door monitor to open and close it as needed. Today I plan on rearranging the furniture so that my desk is nearer to the door and then there’s the matter of an alphabetical seating plan. The latter makes it really easy to see who’s missing and saves time when taking register.

I really find it funny when I watch American sitcoms and movies that show a high school setting. Do the learners really sit quietly and do their work? Is the worst disciplinary problem someone whispering to a friend? If so then I want to move to America. In South Africa I’m lucky if I get 20 minutes of work done in a 50 minute period. Each period roughly goes like this… the kids enter the class, don’t bother to settle down, I scream, they eventually sit, I beg them to get their books out (if they have even bothered having books or any form of notes at all), I pass out notes/textbooks (the children share because the school can’t afford a book for each child), they start writing/tearing the few textbooks we have, I scream, then they contemplate whether they want to do any work, chaos breaks out, I lose my voice/burst into tears/have a potato thrown at me. Yes… they once threw a potato at me! Creative little $@%*$!!! It’s all terribly demotivating. I try so hard. I keep psyching myself out to be a fantastic teacher. I spend endless hours preparing but they never appreciate a bit of it. They don’t even try to learn. It’s like they don’t want to excel in life and then they wonder why they fail? That is if they fail at all. Half the time they fail but the report says that they pass or are condoned. The department doesn’t like a true reflection of the terrible state of the South African education system so they force schools to change the marks and then children who can barely read are passed. Then when the matric (grade 12) results come out and pass rate is appalling, the department and the media start to blame the teachers. According to them, we teachers are overpaid and lazy. I’d love to see a journalist last a week in my world! The real problems are lazy learners, no disciplinary support (because the learners fear nothing and have no respect) and a total lack of the resources teachers need to provide a quality education. I mean even paper is scarce! No wonder we have a lack of skilled artisans and professionals in South Africa. The education system is completely failing us. Okay… enough about my job frustration.

Moving on, today I had a fight with my boyfriend in the morning. It was stupid and it was entirely my fault. I was being totally selfish. Yet, he was the one who apologized to me. I am so grateful to have him. He drives me crazy sometimes but honest to God, he is the only person in the world who can handle my bullshit and I love him. It’s so easy to see the flaws in others but sometimes we all need to be humbled. We all need to look in the mirror sometimes and see the problems in ourselves. It’s the only way we can really improve as people.

Now to end off today’s rant. The other day the ladies at work and I were having a chat in the staff room about weight loss and I, with my recently acquired knowledge from reading the 1.5 e-books on the subject, decided to chip in. It was a just my usual ranting but by the time I got to the end of it, the ladies were rather amused at the truth behind my little observation. Please note that the following rant is based entirely on my observations of the human race and not on my own experiences.

In modern society, between soaring inflation and recession, it has become a necessity for a family to have a dual income household. Hence, women are empowering themselves and joining the workforce by the droves out of necessity. When men work, they expect to be treated like Lords when they get home with the poor wife often playing the role of maid. However think of the poor female and her suffering. She has to get up and see to the kids, hubby and herself in the morning, go to work after the school run and work a full day, come home and see to the kids, dinner and cleaning, then hubby comes home and she has to see to his needs. So despite being double as run down as he is, she still has to play the spritely young lover when the kids have gone to bed. Now, let me get to the point of my rant. When these women are overworked and stressed, naturally the body produces a substance called cortisol. This hormone causes the body to break down muscle. Since muscle is responsible for cellular respiration, it is the metabolic tissue responsible for excess fat loss. Less muscle equals less fat loss. Next, it also causes the body to crave the foods that cause weight gain and even worse to store as much fat as possible even when the intake of these foods is low. So in conclusion, women gain weight because of the pressure that society and their men put on them to be working mothers and ‘happy housekeepers'. If a man has the audacity to come home and call his working woman fat, he better hope to God that his medical aid is in order because he’ll need it! He is after all part of the reason that she has gained this weight, so he should be a little more understanding and should love her curves, bumps, orange-peel and all.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

11 January 2010

It’s a new year and a new beginning. I don’t really understand that phrase… how can the minute between one year and the next magically change everything and restore hope? Its bull to me but nonetheless I have decided to embrace the spirit of things and start this journal for my 2010 year which will document my attempts at fulfilling my resolutions and life in general. First and foremost, let me state that I’m not the most enthusiastic of people so I’m not going to be religious with this journal. I will write when I can and when I feel like it. There is no specific topic I plan to document apart from my resolutions so this journal will be general for the most part. If you’re reading it, who cares? It is not the diary of a 16-year old girl guarded with a lock and hidden in an underwear drawer. So sit back, buckle up and prepare to delve into my mind…

My name is Keri, or at least that’s what everyone calls me. I’m 24 and about to turn 25. Getting old is starting to scare me. I keep comparing my life to the milestones I think I should have reached by now and I keep finding myself lacking so I’m not going to dwell and depress myself. I’m a teacher. It’s a good job but not my passion in life. My passion is science, biology in particular. I harbour dreams of one day returning to study and then conquering the world of biological sciences but I know that in all reality I’ll settle down, have 1.5 children and then fade into obscurity. I’m not too big on dreaming anymore, it only leads to heartache. Wow, I’ve become quite the pessimist, haven’t I? Anyway my resolutions for this year are basically to rediscover myself. I want to be happy with who I am. I want to like who I am.

Firstly I’m going to work on my appearance. I want to lose weight. My ideal goal weight is 55kg so I have a fair amount of work to do to achieve this. I want to aim at losing about 2kg a month for the first few months and then work at maintaining my goal weight. I’m honestly tired of working my ass off to lose the weight and then just gaining it again when I stop. I also want to grow my hair but that means first cutting it to get rid of my split ends… an unfortunate consequence of an impulse colouring. NOTE TO SELF: DO NOT EVER HIGHLIGHT YOUR HAIR AGAIN! I’d also like to do the small things more often like painting my nails, having a facial, etc. I want to have time for myself. I’d also like to improve my frumpy image. This year I’ll buy nicer clothes and wear my contacts and make-up more often. To me, my personal dress sense is appropriate but others find it a bit Goth/punk and I've been criticized for that. So to avoid conflict, I’ve been letting myself look unkempt and dowdy and this has negatively affected my confidence. I used to be a pretty girl. Now, I don’t like what I see. My appearance projects a lot. I don’t think I look professional hence I don’t command respect from the children and my peers. I don’t mean to be shallow but in reality, a well groomed good looking person gets a lot more respect. From now on I will make my decisions when it comes to what I wear. I guess I’m taking back my self-confidence this year and I’m doing it for me, not for anyone else.

My second resolution is to improve myself as a person and to do this; I plan on furthering my studies. I’ve been half-hearted about this and I fear that applications for Honours in Education may have closed. Even if it is too late for me to go back to university, I will study something… maybe some part time courses. It’s on my 'to do' list. I guess I still have time to study if I don’t get to it this year. There will be no marriage and children for a few years yet.

My last resolution is to try and get my finances into order this year. I want to have at about R60 000 in the bank by the end of the year. That means I can’t be tempted to dip into my savings account any more. No more impulse shoe shopping. Iron Fist will lose a bit of business this year. Difficult but it has to be done. My aim is to stick strictly to my budget and to try and deposit at least 19% of my income into savings every month… Yeah, I know, a bit eager. I said I’ll try; I’m not making any promises. I also want to pay off all my accounts and keep them below a grand. It may be idealistic but I think I can do it.

So what have I done so far to attain these goals? Well, I bought some new clothes that are both stylish and functional. They weren’t expensive (keeping with the last resolution) but they were a start. I have also decided to start being healthier. I’m not going to diet. I like food. It nourishes and sustains me and I do not want to have negative feelings towards food. I will eat what I want, when I want but do so wisely and in moderation. I turned down trifle today. That’s a good first step. I’ve also started drinking a lot of water. It wasn’t by choice to be honest; I had to because of a bladder infection. Now that I’ve started however, I’m going to try not to stop. I will choose sugar free cool drinks when given the option and have wholewheat where I can. I will not deny myself carbohydrates but will control my fat and sugar intake. I will eat lean protein, fruit and vegetables to my hearts abandon because I’m not going to diet. Diets fail, being healthy doesn’t. I’ll also use the powerplate machine 5-6 times a week and try to do a workout 3 times a week for at least 15 minutes each time unless I'm sick, in which case the powerplating alone will have to suffice. I will also try to start some weight training, apparently it promotes fat loss. I’ve read 1.5 e-books on fat loss so far and the advice is realistic. So with my research done and my hopes high, the journey begins. Wish me luck.