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.