Sunday, April 21, 2019

Graduation

I'm a huge fan of life long learning, the continuous pursuit of improving knowledge, and the practice of curiosity. For me, regular reflection, reading & conversations are important elements of that practice of curiosity. This is not a formal process of learning for me, but rather the meandering through lessons of life and work. 

I share these reflections following the celebration of my graduation this week. Undertaking a masters degree as a mature student and full time worker, is a commitment to fast tracking learning in a particular field, engaging formally in lectures and assessment, in the hope of demonstrating a particular set of knowledge or skills.

 
At my graduation ceremony, the occasional speaker shared three important lessons from her career. She recommended graduates firstly find their passion, and then find a mentor. Secondly she said take a chance, be brave, and go new places. Thirdly she said, reflect on the journey, and enjoy it. If you're not enjoying it,  change it.

 
I would echo these sentiments from my own experiences, however I would add two more points of advice for younger new graduates. 

  1. Find your community, a group of like minded professionals who will support you, challenge you and catch you when things get tough (as they do). These people are your sounding board, and can help with your professional identity,  as if forms &/or changes.
  2. Identify what your unique offering is - this is not just your passion, but what you give back to the world. 

I have some wonderful supports around me, personal and professional. These people constantly remind me what my unique offering is, and uphold me when I'm in need. I want to say a huge thanks to the women & men in my life who have encouraged me, challenged me, and held me when things got tough. My mother and sisters who are great teachers in their own fields, to my coaches, mentors & professional colleagues and peers with whom I have had many hours of debate, and a couple of my closest friends (like minded beings) who remind me I can do better. 

While the formality of university is over, the journey continues.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Love India!

I'm having a ball, and yet i have no shower, no air conditioning, no phone, and no chocolate! Im visiting with friends and the NGO I've been coming to for 12 years. My friend and I leave our partners at home, and come here to support the local NGO as friends and encouragers.

In the past I volunteered as an english teacher and volunteered to help write policies and grants, but things have changed alot here in India. The school is now well staffed, and some of the teachers speak  english very well. Our contribution these days is conversational english, and role modelling. We used to also run a hostel for local girls to stay closer to their high school, so accomodation wasnt a barrier to their continuing education. These days, government funds and runs hostels and our hostel closed down. Roads are better, and soon public transport will be better .. this will also improve the access to higher education for our rural girls.

This week, despite a collection of amazing Hindu and local celebrations like Pongal, weve been in conversations with the team about the next steps in a business model we started last year. Its pretty exciting to be a part of these discussions, and to hear about what the team are holding as their vision.

Celebrating Pongal 
Harvest festival




Sunday, February 10, 2019

Ordinary Stuff


My homegrown potatoes. I'm so chuffed. I have never grown potatoes before. But, potatoes are such a stable in our diets here, I dont know why I haven't tried these before.

Potatoes are ordinary things, not usually something that takes up a blog post - but harvesting these potatoes filled me with a strong sense of gratitude for the ordinary things in life. So I thought I'd just ponder those things for which I am grateful for recently.
True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. Seneca
I'm grateful that I can walk, ride my bike, swim and am generally an active person. This allows me to enjoy the  outdoors, help others, do my own housework and so many other ordinary things. As a side note, I am grateful for the health professionals who have helped  me with my mobility and rehab for active living.
 I am grateful to live in an environment that has accessible running water. Water is so important in daily ordinary life, and I dont have to think about it very much. My family who live in some of the driest parts of Australia do have to think about saving and protecting their water sources, and my friends in India also have to work for their water. So I am grateful.

 I am grateful that I can enjoy the smell of Mint, breath in fresh air, walk safely in my streets, sleep in a safe house, and that I enjoy the company of some amazing people in my life.



“Life is truly too short to not be HAPPY and GRATEFUL today.” 





Sunday, January 6, 2019

Walking with Bailey

 Today was the last day of my staycation. So to make the most of it, Bailey and I went for a walk in our local wetlands. Bailey just loves swimming in the creeks down here. 

 Bailey is happiest most when she is able to run free and swim in creeks and ponds. But she's never very far from me. She joined our lives 12 months ago and is now 2 years. She's such a joy. She takes me places I wouldn't have taken myself. 

 But I just wont follow her into this creek. We cant even see the creek! But she dives into these reeds with such delight, and then I hear the splashing and the pouncing. Once she's in those reeds, she is chasing things... I imagine she's chasing dragon flies. 

Here she's looking down at another creek.

The forest around the wetlands is just divine. Paperbark Eucalyptus. 
The smell of these trees and the forest in the morning is so special.

Thank you Bailey, for taking me for walks and allowing me to rediscover the beautiful places within my 5km radius. I've been blessed to spend time with you and with the wilderness during my staycation. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2019! New Years Eve wasn't a big event for us, as we decided not to leave the 2 year old pup on her own for NYE and instead took her for a sunset stroll along the lake, where surprisingly few people were for such a lovely evening. Then Miss Bailey and my partner and I spent New Years Eve on the back veranda enjoying the fireworks in the distance, and the lightening storm

For the most part, many Australian's will typically have the 2 weeks off work around Christmas and New Years Eve, and traditionally it's a time Aussies head to the Beach!  My sister drove some 12000km to join us at our place for a lakeside Christmas day, while my parents and other sister, congregated at another beach side location further north. After my sister and her family left on boxing I was awakened to the fact that I had no other holiday plans. 14 days off work - and my sister was only here for 3 of them. My partner works in retail so he's generally working over this season.


So, how to spend my vacation? a Staycation of course. I live near some beautiful beaches, an awesome lake and many beautiful national parks. In an endeavour to not become the live in servant, constantly tidying and cleaning around the house, I set myself some goals to get out of the house.


 I've riding more than 300kms in the time between Christmas and new years eve - some of that with friends, some just on my own. And most of those bike rides took me to the waters edge somewhere. I feel so blessed to have such a beautiful surrounds.


I have also enjoyed my gardening, and some good summer reading time.


I have some reflections brewing, but I'll share these later, for now - HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Thank you for sharing the past 12 months with me again, and may the next 12 months come with some of the same - events like Paris in July, and Japanese Literature Challenge - and maybe something new for this blog... wait... I'll share more soon.