A special visit …

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My sister came to visit me! For the first time since I have gone overseas to teach, someone from my family came to visit and I can’t describe how exciting it was. It is just so different speaking to them on skype and showing them pictures or videos to actually being able to show them around in person. Carla, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming all the way out here, on a tremendously long journey just to come see me and I am so glad you enjoyed yourself.

Carla arrived on the Sunday before we finished school so I felt so grateful she was able to come in and see my beautiful school and meet my class and see me working in my job. I think she might have had this rosy tinted view of me coming here and hearing of all my holidays around Asia to what sounds like amazingly exotic places, that my work was perhaps a pretty light load. I think she got a real reality check into how busy my day is and how much there is to do as a Kindergarten teacher. She said it was hard for her to keep up her enthusiasm and energy as well as a smile all day! I love my job but it is seriously hard work. I wouldn’t change it for the world but I work really hard and I am glad Carla saw me in my work environment doing what I love to do!

Then once school had finished, we travelled to the Gili Islands. Carla is a little (understatement of the year) of spiders/ ants/ cockroaches and actually anything that moved. She did try to deal with her phobias well but I guess she had to since Indonesia is TEAMING with insects. We arrived in a monsoon rain and got soaked looking for some accommodation.

I guess the first place wasn’t such a good choice because Carla found seemingly a zoo of creatures. We moved the next day and Carla like the new accommodation much better.

The Gili Islands are so beautiful and relaxing and it was a great few days there. Carla even tried a try dive and I was so happy she did because I love diving and wanted her to experience it. She was so excited to see turtles which are so numerous in the waters surrounding the Gili Islands, you can and we both actually did see them snorkelling not that far from the shore.

We enjoyed good food, some great books and some serious chill time .. I heart the Gili Islands!

Carla tried to pretend she wasn’t burnt … but once I took this photo, even she had to admit it. LOL. That’s what happens when you paste yourself with coconut oil in the Gilis. I told her this is serious sun, but did she listen? No!

Still at least she is smiling 😀 We ate lots of wonderful food, and we had a lovely meal on one of our last evenings. I had this goats cheese salad which was so YUMMY!!!

After the Gili Islands, it was off to Singapore which Carla liked very much because there were no insects! LOL. We had a great time and were fortunate enough to be able to meet up with my good friend Kerry and take the (very expensive for what its worth) Jewel Cable Car ride. Pretty enough I guess. We also wandered around Sentosa and had lunch at the beach with them. Carla was braver than I and held a snake for a photo opportunity and claimed ‘Snakes don’t bother me at all, just ants, spiders, cockroaches etc’. Hmmm, I’ll call on you next time I see a snake in my house! Carla to the rescue! We stayed near Clarke Quay when we were in Singapore and our hotel was lovely.

Considering this post has been in my saved drafts for about a month, I’ll just add photos here because otherwise it might never get published … Oops. Carla, thank you so much for coming to see me and I hope you had a lovely time! Much love x

Enjoying a very expensive and TINY cocktail!

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Cello love!

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Wow it’s been way too long since I updated this blog and consequently I have tons of posts I want to make. Having considered how much I want to write about, I thought I’d start first with an update about my cello.

So I ended up buying a cello in Singapore which I was so super excited to get home and play. Unfortunately the cello got broken by Air Asia on its journey back to Jakarta. How gutting. It was broken at the neck and what seemed initially not to be not such a bad break, turned out to be worse than my initial thoughts. I was so angry with Air Asia but at the end of the day, I really should have had insurance. I was angry mostly because I didn’t know how I was going to get it fixed and how long it would take and how desperately excited I had been to get home and start playing! I lost most of that anger once Asep, my new cello teacher had taken it to a luthier he knew and had it fixed at a very reasonable price in just one week! Amazing. I was so worried it was going to be super expensive to fix but he got it repaired for a very reasonable 1.75 Million Rupiah, just shy of $200. Not bad at all.

I include here a picture of the damage done during flight just to show you what happened. It was a  deep crack around the whole width of the neck of the cello.

Nevermind it is fixed now and although I can still see where it was repaired, it is not so noticeable and I have fallen totally in love. What a beautiful instrument. I feel so blessed to have been so inspired to start learning this instrument. I practice every day and love to pick it up. I’ve mastered tuning it myself which was a little scary at first, especially with the thought of a string snapping right in my face. Unfortunately the A string peg is rather loose so this is most likely to be out of tune every day. It does give me good practice in tuning my cello as well as my ear though. I’m able to play a classical piece (well play the notes, not sure its so musical yet) that my teacher helped me learn on my first lesson and also ‘Yellow Submarine’. I’ve got a few naughty habits from having played the violin for so long that I need to retrain myself with such as my blatent Violin bow hold. Still these are things I am looking forward to working on.

I thoroughly recommend taking up a new instrument to any adult out there who has ever wanted to play something. It’s great for the mind and the feeling of success is beyond belief. It challenges me every day and I truly look forward to getting home so I can practice. I feel like I’ve joined a whole new community, especially online having found some great websites and forums about Cello. I really recommend http://cellofun.yuku.com/forums/2/Cellists-by-Night-Forum#.T4LDuSNxBkY as a great forum for a new student to the cello.

I also include a video here of the piece I have been practicing since my first lesson. Second lesson this Saturday coming. How exciting. Enjoy!

Wow

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Just realised I baven’t written a new post on here for almost a month.

I’ve been super busy with all kinds of things but I will write here very soon.

Great news, I get my cello back tomorrow. It got broken. Can’t wait to get it back so I can start playing music 😀

 

 

I want to learn to play the Cello

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Yes I know, rather random but those who know me, will know I often do and say random things. In this case, Sally has inspired me! Having been invited to her house for a rather lovely meal last Friday, I was so excited to see her very own Cello. I thought it was so cool that she played the Cello!  And her story of learning it as an adult beginner made me think about it myself! I have always wished I played the Cello. What a wonderful instrument, what a gorgeous tone, so elegant, so graceful. Well when played by a good cellist. I’m sure my neighbours are not going to be as into my new hobby as I am.

Now I’m not new to stringed instruments … I played both the Violin and Viola when I was at school. Sadly however much I loved playing them, it stopped soon after I left for University. I remember heading to the String orchestra there and being pretty daunted. This was very different to my youth orchestra. Everybody here practiced throughout the breaks whilst I was definitely more inclined to pop out for a drink or an actual break. Everybody here played music fluently and beautifully and could read the pieces without difficulty. This ease had never been mine. If I had practiced more, I’m sure I could have been a pretty good string player. I’m sure I would have been able to sight read with more ease and do all the tricky bits better than I ever did. I did practice lots, at one point, inspired by a music summer camp. I practiced every day for hours, determined to be better. Unfortunately this spurt was shortly lived and about a year later I was back to my teenage lack of practice. My most embarrassing moment at the University Orchestra and which totally ended any effort on my part in going there, was when my phone rang during the practice. Now it would have been okay had it been a quiet beep or even a simple tune. Nope, what was my ringtone? Only the loudest possible rendition of Lulu ‘You make me wanna shout!’. When it rang I cringed deeply as the ‘Weeeeeellllllllllllll … ‘ resonated loudly around the room. Even more so when the conductor who had been stopped us playing to go over some frilly part, looked very put out as the whole room got louder with the song. Obviously the phone considerately got louder and louder to tell me I hadn’t answered it yet.. She asked that the person should turn their phone off. The phone rang for forever and ever. I tried to pretend it wasn’t mine. The ringtone would end eventually. Everybody was looking at everybody. Whose was that phone? It stopped after what seemed like an eternity. Only to start ringing again seconds later. Oh the embarrassment of having to get up to find my bag on the other side of the room to turn it off. Total silence. Well that was the last time I went there.

Still I enjoyed playing music a lot. Even if I didn’t totally appreciate it at the time. I was so involved at school with music and outside in my youth orchestra. I met some great people and I played some beautiful music. Now, having not seriously played an instrument for a long time, I am inspired to play the instrument I always loved. I simply can’t wait to start learning lessons and playing music again. Music; playing it, making it, appreciating it is a joy. I can’t wait to begin learning again and I know I’ll be a hundred times better than when I was a child learner. Just to give you a little perspective, I was that irritating brat you’d hate to teach … who despite not listening to you would instantly answer correctly the very questions you shot at them which were designed to catch them out. My physics teacher, with whom I did not see eye-to-eye  with – wrote in one of my school reports ‘The whole class would benefit if Kielly stopped talking so much.’ I know I’m a better learner now and as an adult living in BSD, I can’t wait to be able to dedicate time to playing and learning the cello. There isn’t that much to do in BSD and for a while I’ve thought I needed a real hobby, here in BSD to fill my time. This is it! This is what I’m going to do. Sally, I hope you’re ready for some cool playing sessions together!

Bit of an issue getting a Cello either IN Indonesia or IN TO Indonesia. I’ve seen how they load baggage on a plane and I’m a little worried if I get a Cello online it would arrive unplayable. To compound the quandry, I can’t have lessons in Indonesia without a Cello. Yes that’s right. I have to HAVE (IE. BUY) a CELLO in order to have lessons. I don’t remember this at school with the Violin. (Well I wasn’t paying the bills) Surely you can try out an instrument for a while without buying? And a Cello would be like top of my list to NOT have to buy to learn it. Now choosing your first instrument wouldn’t be a problem normally if you were knew anything about the instrument you wanted to buy … as in you’ve had lessons, even just one or two. It would also be useful if you hadn’t chosen some ridiculously large and expensive instrument to play. Not a flute, no. Not even a guitar. A Cello. Yes you’re choosing to play the cello. At least my heart isn’t set on the Double Bass.It would be useful if you hadn’t chosen an instrument which is so EXPENSIVE. Google the price of Cellos. You’ll see what I’m talking about. Hmm. It would be useful even more, if you could try it out in the shop, even if you knew nothing about cellos to see how it felt, sounded and looked in real life and not in some rubbishy internet pictures. I would love to find a cello here in Indonesia so I could at least try it out, however ridiculously totally unknowledgeable I would be …  but I’m not hopeful.

I actually found a music centre which SELLS Cellos in BSD. Yes, stop the press, you did just hear me right, IN BSD, Jakarta. Yes that’s right, the city to the far west of Jakarta which if, this is where you live … when you want to find something, you’re probably going to have to travel for hours in traffic to get into Jakarta. When I started googling Cello Lessons in Jakarta, I emailed about 5/6 companies who said they had cello teachers and could offer lessons. I finally started receiving replies the other day. One of the first was a music centre which not only offered me a teacher/ lessons but also the chance to be able to buy a Cello with them which seemed promising given my situation that I need a Cello to BEGIN lessons here in Indonesia. Not only that … but they were in BSD. If I’d been eating or holding something, I’m sure I would have dropped it in some comedic shock effect. I genuinely could not believe there was a music centre here in BSD that stocked and sold Cellos.

I went there this afternoon and it was okay. I’m not convinced. A lovely music centre. A lovely man ‘Jap’ who talked to me about the 3 types of Cellos he had at his centre, all handmade from a guy in Shanghai. He insisted that although the cellos were not branded, they were worth the $3000 upwards price tag. And not available for hire. The cellos were all the same make … ‘just with better wood’ he said. Hmmm, this sounds like a sales pitch. ‘So have you got any other cellos for sale? Any made by a different maker?’  ‘No, these are our own that this guy makes for us.’. I genuinely cannot justify spending three thousand on an instrument I don’t even know how to play or know yet that I really really want to invest in. I’d rather get a cheaper model. Not so cheap almost nobody could make sound playable, but a nice student outfit. Which I’ve found online at a music shop in Manchester. They can ship it to my sister in Newcastle who is visiting me in March. Very exciting. I could ask her to bring the cello. I did actually, and she exclaimed loudly ‘What? Bring a Cello to Indonesia with me!?’  She will I know because she’s awesome and I’m hoping she’ll read this : ) Anyway its’ probably going to be thrown about a bit on the plane. Sods law, it will be; because I’ve bought an instrument I love and have spent quite a lot of money on. It’s fact that that beautiful thing you’ve just paid lots of money for … will be much more likely than any other piece of baggage on that flight to fall off as they’re loading it, or bounce off the irritatingly slow luggage conveyor belts and bang loudly off the floor. Sigh.

What a quandry. I’ll update when I know what I’m doing. Either way, I’m learning Cello soon … and I’m excited 😀

Childhood dreamers …

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My first and enduring ambition was to be a doctor. To help others. To this day, I maintain I’d make an excellent psychiatrist.

I also thought seriously about joining the army. I remember I saw a programme all about woman in the army on TV. I really considered it. For a short while.

I thought I might be a lawyer. Then I thought about being a crime scene investigator. Can you tell I am of a generation who grew up with CSI? However on realisation that a job in Newcastle as a CSI investigator probably wouldn’t be as glossy as LA or NY, the dream faded somewhat.

I thought about speech therapy or physiotherapy.

I thought I could be an author. I still think I could publish a book. I am working on one. Sci – fi.

There were jobs I didn’t even know existed when I was 18.

I didn’t fall into teaching. But it wasn’t something I considered till my final year at University studying English Lit. Thinking about what I was going to do now, I didn’t know. I could try to make it as a writer. Or …  em, well I wasn’t really sure there was much else I could do with an English Literature degree. I finally thought about teaching, a career my mother had always encouraged me to enter. Since then I’ve never looked back. Teaching is a wonderful, wonderful job. A job which challenges and inspires me. A job I learn from every day.

Working with young learners, I see people who genuinely can be anything they want to be. At 4 years old, anything is possible. You can fly your rockets to the moon. You can buy a car or indeed anything, money is no object. You can be an astronaut or work with dinosaurs which clearly are still alive. You can be a princess in a fluffy pink tower. You can be a monster truck driver. You can fly planes, you can be a hero. You can be anything!

Working with 4 year olds reminds me of this magical time when the world is anything you want it to be. It also helps remind me to help our students believe. To know they can do anything. Their future is not yet made. Inspire them.

26

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Okay, I don’t write much poetry. I haven’t written much poetry in years. Poetry feels a lot harder for me to write. I feel the pressure of being less rambling than in my speech. And I talk a lot. I find it harder to condense my thoughts. Still it’s a challenge and I am learning. and I tried! So here goes:

 

26

26 years of age am I.

836253504 pacy seconds

and 232292 longer days.

26 years of life,

and 26 years of learning.

Yet,

the dawn is only just rising.

Triumphing in impatient glorious sunshine.

Life is clearer now.

My journey is clearer.

The reasons for my existance

Do not trouble and perplex me so much.

I accept what this life is.

And that I can never know

any bigger purpose.

Other,

than the knowing of myself.

I see now,

That all we can do

Is live this life

Being the best that you can be.

Becoming the best that you can be.

To be this, mistakes must be made.

For how could else would we learn.

These lessons are our teachers.

Learn,

Or repeat mistakes enough times until you do.

Mistakes are not made by the young only.

The older make just as many.

The young make their mistakes often for the first time.

The older make many of these too,

Yet many first mistakes are taught time and time again

to a reluctant student.

Recognise others mistakes as just that.

 Learning by another.

Hold less resentment.

Offer more love and understanding.

Be kind and patient.

Slow down.

Be a better you.

For who else will.

What I’ve learnt about myself … so far.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently, often incidentally when conversations have led me to ponder an action in the past I took, or something which has happened which has helped me see a fresh perspective or understanding of myself.  I’ve begun thinking about and understanding something about life or me in a new light, often many years later. I’ve grown a lot in the last several years.

I’m sure if I wrote this post in a numerical order, placing first the most elucidating or most impacting observations of my life and me, it would be useful to you, the reader. It’s probably going to be a bit jumbled otherwise. However, I won’t do that. My thoughts of late have been sporadic and random and so I shall write my post as such. Besides, it’s not like at any point in my life, I’ve ever had a Eureka moment or tremendous insight, more valuable than any other which has given me a new instant understanding of myself. But lots of  thoughtful reflections and growth recently has sparked bright fireworks of linked threads in my thought processes … many threads. Combined, I feel a lot of change within myself. Yet I have to remember that is simply a reflection on how I feel right now, at this stage of my life. 26 years old, no more, no less. It will change. Hopefully in more good ways.

 Yet how I feel next year, what I’ll be doing or where I’ll be here is still unknown. Where or how I’ll get there in life’s path two, five or ten years down the line  is undecided and clearly not chosen yet. However I have finally realised that it is only me who can create that path, the route of my everchanging destination. The past is learned and over. I see more clearly now that history only exists because of previous history.  It makes change. History creates the present and only I can effect the present to create change for the future, for me in my life. There is no history, no past which has not created change. There is not one person in the history of the earth who has not created the past. I have realised it is only me who chooses where I’ll go in my journey, what I’ll do, how I’ll be me and how happy and successful I can be. That’s probably one of the biggest things I’ve realised over the past few years, months and days. Only I can make my life.

Nobody else in the world is responsible for how I lead my life here and now, or how I make those successes and happy times happen for me. The world is not to blame, individuals are not to blame. Circumstances may be unfortunate, or tragic, or difficult, but it is how you cope with these and learn from them which truly moulds us as a person. It is what teaches us. It is what creates our intricately woven journey through life, threading colourful paths and events in each life, connections made and crossed lines over years of history. Overlapping patterns of a long time – meeting, growing, fading and revitalized at times by its weaver, you or me. Jobs which over time, career and life come and go. The tale of your life changed and pulled without mercy through days, years and generations of your inevitable time here.

In your small life in a globe of over 7 billion until the day you die … and the only constant is you. The only force in determining your own future is to be actively engaged in your learning, intrinsic desire to learn… and to understand. Absorb it all,  what you see, of what you experience, how it feels, how it touches and feels …  of you and your involvement … for this is life. For me, this understanding has only come with growth, maturity and wisdom in a pretty wild and at times terror ridden upside down rollercoaster of a journey so far. If I could tell myself, now what I know now at 26, when I was lost at 16 I would. Yet I know she would never listen to me. As she didn’t many others.

I’ve also come to understand that the journey here for me at 26 is not unique, or unusual. Amongst 7 billion people, there are many lives more challenging than mine, many more desperate and hopeless. I thought I was one of them. A long time ago.  When I see myself at 16 wishing I could be anybody else, I didn’t see that any other life is full of similar difficulties, ups and downs. Some people may have very easy lives, but I imagine these are few. Many are like mine, or was. Many more are worse. When I stare at my 16 year old self, I know she would never have believed how much things could change, how much they would. She wouldn’t have understood. But over the years, she’s learnt. To understand that life is continually full of nights and days. There are just as many nights as days. Some are worse than others, in temperament, in weather, in events.  To see that these are cyclical and neverchanging so far from the very beginning of the evolution of our Earth and mankind. That there are many natural and unfair disasters everywhere. That even the best people don’t necessarily make it as long as you do. That this is life and whilst seemingly unfair, it just as, true, accurate and predictable as day and night.

But please don’t forget that there are as many good days, events, happiness and success for you as there are the black nights.That you can even make sunny days by yourself. You can make beautiful days appear from nowhere if you look closely enough to see it or if you work hard to learn to see them. Even if it can seem that all the nights have continued for oh so long, dawn will appear, in victory at some point. As a person now, I try my best to focus on the goods, the positives, the overlooked amusements and beauty life shows us every day and that we often miss absorbed in our own lives. I can see the beauty in both the days and the nights whether they be brief or long. This is my woven tapestry of life. I like to take delight in the positives I missed out on such more in the past. I notice the flower blooms in the sunny heat of the day. I see love between people, families I don’t even know.  I look at the sunset with new appreciation, its earthy streaks of hot colours flaring across my sky, before streaking into another, far in the distant time zone. I like to laugh, I like to enjoy simple pleasures. I like stopping to remember the sunny times. I like to enjoy them when they are here, however cloudy they may eventually turn. Right then and there, here and now, there are many thankful days of glorious sunshine banked and many more to come. At 16,  they were often shadowed and gloomy for long periods. I can look at myself happily now, so proud of how happy and confident, successful and ambitious I am, learning and evolving as a friend, daughter, sister, colleague and person. I never expected to feel this. It’s been a long journey here. And I’m proud and glad to stand here as me, one person in a huge huge world.

It took me a long time to learn that everybody doesn’t have to like me and likewise, I don’t have to like them.  We meet roughly I’d guess at most maybe 10,000 people in our life. At 26 I’ve only met hopefully much less than 50 percent of these yet. That’s still a hell of a lot of people. If I liked everybody or they all liked me, something would be very wrong. Most of these people, all except my family and closest members have passed by the gushing ordered river of events in my life which has changed so variably through time. I’ve also lived through mistakes and people- made to learn from. I now see that to make good friends, you also have to be a good friend. I think in naive assumptions, I thought it just happened. If I’m useless at keeping in touch or being reliable in maintaining a friendship, it will burn out. There are many people I have respected and liked in the thousands I have known or met. I have enjoyed many transient and circumstantial friendships. Right now, I have a few. They are valued and strong.

In younger years, I was definitely not a good friend, or person at times. I was stubborn and proud. And right now I can admit that, having learnt from those mistakes. I can be honest with myself. Now I think I understand a little more about not only how important it is to have strong, valued good friendships but also how this happens best when you have a healthy relationship and understanding of and with yourself.

There are many many people I have known or met, who I am not in contact with. We did not meet at the right place in time. Now, if you met me, I don’t think you’d recognize me. In a positive and celebratory way! I’ve come a long way as a person and I’m glad to be here at this point in life. I’ve done a lot of great things. Things I would never have thought of, not even dared to imagine. Having taken so long to come to feeling content with me, at times, I never thought this would come, and now it has, it’s a relief and enormous enjoyment.

I remind myself often to stop and reflect. A bad day is not so bad. Bad days are not so bad. Even when they arrive and park in huge, long travelled miles of bad days. The dawn will arrive at some time. And it will be glorious. As long as you have learnt from that darkness, even if eventually only after many years… you grow as a person, as a learner, of somebody learning to content themselves with the world which does give us  tremendous hot sunny high suns, but thrusts us as often into the blackest, murkiest nights.

Success is achievable. Healthy relationships – friends, family and love – are possible and wonderful. Happiness is yours for the taking. These are only some of the many things I did not forsee or know at 12, 15, 18 or even 20. Some people never reach their own individual understandings. But most do. It takes some longer than others. Watching others, it sometimes seems impossibly easy. If I could speak to my 16 year self, I’d tell her to take exactly the same path, to learn from the challenges, the uncertainty, the at times violent and volatile world and people, to see it as a journey- as a discovery in truth, although it’s for sure going to be peppered liberally with ugly ones. To press into her consciousness for only just a fleeting heartbeat how good it feels now. To flood her with needed hope. And reassure her that she will get there …  and that it is absolutely all worth it …

Eureka …maybe?