Welcome back to Southland!

The weather has turned again. It's much more Invercargill-ish yet again :)

Days are warm, around 20 degrees, and every couple of days brief rain comes through. The ground is moist, the rainwater tank replenished and the grass has started growing again. My God, how the grass has started growing again! I mowed the lawn 3 days ago and already it's starting to look like it may need another cut very soon again.

Hills no longer look burned-off yellow. Pastures are turning green, roadsides are turning green and Otepuni river near downtown Invercargill is actually flowing again, rather than looking like a stale band of overgrown water.

It's nice seeing my surroundings flourish again.

Deciding to back off

A couple of weeks ago I bought a used camera on Trademe. It's kind of like New Zealand ebay.com - a website where people can trade with each other.

When the camera arrived by mail, it turned out to be faulty. The menus were constantly resetting - it was as if the camera was "thinking" that someone was pushing various buttons, when in fact no-one was touching it. When I e-mailed the seller she promptly apologised and promised to refund, but never did. I contacted her again, she promised to refund but never did. When I contacted the website letting them know of this incident, the seller got angry and posted a not-very-nice message - in a nutshell - on my profile. I felt bothered by the whole experience.

Eventually, I decided to back off. It just came to a point where I thought, I don't want to spend any more time or effort on this argument. My life was not bettered by it.

This morning as I was driving The Kid to school, I came to the same decision about my school and the mess I described in the previous article. I am going to back off.

What has happened is not fair. I am going to spend an extra year in school, costing both time and money. There is a good chance some of the study I did last year is not going to be accepted as part of the new curriculum, so I lost time and money last year, too. I may even be losing money now because until SIT confirms my enrolment I do not qualify for government support for childcare. (Whether that government department will back-date childcare support, I don't know - the lady in their office said today that it's the main office's decision to make, and she can't say for sure either way.)

But as I was driving The Kid to school this morning and crying at the wheel of my car over the unfairness of it (I think the technical term is bullsh*t), I thought, I do not want this kind of life. I don't want to be quiet in the kitchen whilst packing lunchboxes and saying to my son, "Please leave me alone, I'm not feeling good today." I don't want the ignorance and stupidity of the office managers in my school's department cause my life to look like that.

So I am going to back off. It may not be fair, but I am not going to keep crying at the wheel of the car in the morning because there are things more important than that in my life, and they are worth protecting instead.

Traumatised

The beginning of this year is tough. I feel trampled over and overwhelmed. In an arrogant way I'd like to say that I also lack the social skills to deal with people who are either stupid or not doing their jobs well, but that would do injustice to everyone involved. Nevertheless, the fact that my school department have yet again done... I mean, it's diabolical. What they've done is diabolical. How one after another after another I am uncovering what looks like an absolutely disorganised and incompetent system behind the colorful slogans of quality education, it's beyond me. How can someone run a tertiary education department and get away with stuff like that???

On a good note, there is change coming this year. I have a new tutor who is absolutely FANTASTIC. Spectacular! I love pretty much everything about him so far. There is also a new programme manager who I hope has the interest in actually doing a good job.

The problem though, I am still at the receiving end of the problems. The new programme manager looked into government paperwork yesterday and found out that the curriculum I am on is only allowed to graduate up to 31 March 2019.

My expected graduation is November 2019.

Meaning, I was allowed to go part-time onto a curriculum which is not actually allowed to be completed in the timeframe they've let me on. Two weeks into my second school year I have to change curriculums and timetables, and to say that I am angry at them is a pretty accurate way of putting it.

I left his office yesterday afternoon, dropped my bag on the floor and just cried in the hallway. I then composed myself and went into my environment class. When a couple of boys started throwing around opinions about climate change not being a real thing ("The Paris agreement is a joke! A joke! Even scientists don't agree that it's happening! It's a natural thing Earth does, it cools and warms. It's all just a way to put more taxes on the everyday people." etc) I got angry enough that I stood up and asked them to back their opinions with facts and references.

In hindsight, bad idea. What I should've done instead is present my own understanding on this topic in a calm way and just left them to it. Wound up and traumatised, I lashed out instead. Now I am about to start crying at the idea of having to pick up the f*ckin' paperwork again to figure out what classes I need to take at what times, re-arrange childcare, re-arrange government support hours.

I am SO GLAD we have that new tutor. I am SO HOPEFUL over the arrival of a new programme manager who, I hope, will make sure that no other student will have to go through the administrative trouble I've gone through.

But nevertheless, I am sitting here with a wobbly jaw, eyes welled up with tears and thinking, why.  Why do I have to do this? Why do I have to spend evening upon evening dealing with this stuff!?!

49 random things about me

1.-36.

37. I have never seen neither Star Wars nor Star Trek.

38. I am in awe of Meryl Streep.

39. I love movies with strong dialogue. The top 10 favorite dialogues are in:
* The Man from Earth,
* Intouchables,
* It's Kind of a Funny Story,
* Enough Said,
* Prime,
* Up in the Air,
* 500 Days of Summer,
* The Departed,
* Mary and Max,
* Love and Other Drugs

40. I drink about 3.5 litres of water each day.

41. I've tried a cigarette twice, both around the time I was 13. Both times I took a puff and thought, disgusting! I've never tried since and now tend to avoid places where people smoke because of how off-putting I find the smell.

42. I can parallel park. A driving instructor who trained me in Estonia taught me an easy way of doing it and, ten years later, I still use his method and get my car parked.

43. I do not want to be buried. Instead, I want my organs donated (if any of them are viable for donating) and the rest, burned. The ashes can then be scattered at a place of significance, but if anyone wants to earn special brownie-points, they can scatter the ashes at Mount Saint Elias in Alaska.

44. I support an opt-out system for organ donating, rather than opt-in. At the moment, when someone dies, the doctors need to get a permission for organs to be used; people need to go through the effort of saying "Yes!". I think it should be the other way around: people should need to put in an effort to say "No!" because organ donating should be the norm, rather than not-donating being the norm.

45. I have life insurance, but I don't have insurance against serious disability.

46. If The Man and I were building a house, we would probably consider a strawbale structure, or maybe rammed earth. Depended on climatic conditions of where we were building.

47. I play lotto only when the prize draw gets to a must-be-won $40 million mark. On other occasions playing lotto is a waste of money, but very occasionally (once every couple of years) when the jackpot hasn't been won for a long time and reaches $40 million (a must-be-won scenario, ie the ticket closest to winning gets it all), I play because, mathematically, the likelihood of winning gets down to about 1 in however-many-people-purchased-tickets and for $9 I think it's a gamble I can make, for the fun of it. Otherwise no, I don't gamble.

48. My favorite movie of all time is The Man from Earth.

49. I tend to take short showers: less than 2 minutes.