Friday, 5 October 2012

Bombing out.

The importance of equality and being nonjudgemental has been drilled into me throughout my uni studies. Curiously, less so during high school where, ironically, the message would create the most impact. Nevertheless, it has sunk in, and I am painfully aware of some things said off-hand by those around me (older generations in particular). Though it is not only an interesting comparison of different social groups/ages/cultures.... every now and again, a thought slips out that borders on downright judgy. So I thought I'd share one of them with you.

Some of the people I work with when I volunteer have had a very difficult time obtaining a job. Or, more specifically, a job in which their primary employment competition are not school kids (think retail, hospitality). When examining the sheer array of jobs applied for, the look of desperation and exasperation on their faces, I cannot help but see a common theme (well, there is two, but given that addiction affects people from all sections of the community, I discount it here).
The theme is this: they did not finish school. And, finances aside, goodness me it limits what they can do.

I understand why the Government is so hell-bent on keeping kids in school, or if not, sending them into a trade. My mother, bless her, knows this better than anyone. Indeed, neither of my parents finished year 12. Instead, dad entered the police academy, and mum the workforce.
Her experiences, and I suspect limitations, are what drive her to throw us three kids into further study of something. Anything. My sister will become an artist. One does not need qualifications to do so, but it sure as hell looks good on the resume, to discover that the pretty redhead with the prettier drawings has had some professional training.

But I digress. Seeing people in their 30s and 40s, unable to find a job that they either 1, would love to do, or 2, simply one they can maintain, is heartbreaking. Especially so when you see how much they want to work.
So when I hear of children (for that is what they are in the eyes of the law) leaving school at 14, 15, 16, to work full time in retail, supermarkets and the like, I cannot help but want to box them over the ears and yell 'you might see it as pointless now, but you will regret it later if you pull out now!'
My boyfriend did just this, got 6 months into a chef apprenticeship, realised he hated it, and then couldn't go back to school (such is the way of the UK education system). He regretted dropping out within a year of doing it. Having said that, many people find a profession, and work their way up. Said boyfriend could well become a state manager of a big transport business in Australia if he keeps working like he does.
But how many people leave school prematurely and never gain a skill or qualification. They might be pieces of paper, but once learnt, it's a skill valued for life. Why throw that away?

Monday, 24 September 2012

Something's gotta give.

The number one down-side to being an introvert is... being an introvert.
It doesn't really matter whether one calls it a lack of social skills, or simple shyness, I've been told I am both shy and socially stunted.
However, I'd say it's a personality trait, given that I've always had a hard time making close friends. I'm too abrasively honest with some people, and too shy with others. Both have cost me friends.
I look at photos of parties I declined, simply because it would have meant seeing people I burned bridges with, and have too much awkward history, rather than go and catch up with the people I miss and havent seen in 2 years. What the hell?!
The psychology side of my brain sits there and knows exactly what I have a hard time with, and how to go about fixing it: it should be a simple case of taking a deep breath and throwing myself in the deep end. While it may take conscious, exhausting effort at first, it will soon become second nature. BF Skinner went out and spoke to something like 20 strangers a day until he could do it naturally. With practice, he made himself more extroverted. Yet, something holds me back, like when you catch your breath on something as you exhale. And then you can't.
Mike reminds me every once and again, in his annoyingly frank tone, that if I don't make the effort I'm going to end up sad and alone. Never mind the fact that I'd stick with the guy forever if I could. But, as narked off as his tone makes me (it reminds me of my mum), he's right. Something's gotta give. And soon.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Thinking ahead.

Looking back at the last four months, I have a hard time reconciling simple logic with the sheer determination with which I went about my denial of reality. Now, however, it seems to have paid off. Whether that is due to the fact that if you want and hope for something hard enough it will happen, or whether there was a subconscious insight the rest of me knew nothing about..... or maybe it was just sheer luck that paid off. I don't know. I've always been a really lucky person, so I'm tempted to take the high ground and say I secretly have superpowers for global domination with my willpower. Or maybe I just got my stubbornness from my grandfather. There's that possibility, too.

What I am talking about, my friends, is the fact that exactly four months ago I was sat down and told my boyfriend was moving back to the UK in 48 hours, and wasn't planning on coming back out. It was devastating. Somehow, a strange twist of fate brought him back out here 8 weeks later, and things have been.... interesting, to say the least. Still, the dust has finally settled, and we're planning a trip to Scotland for Christmas and New Year. Once I'd gotten over the "yeah right, you're just yanking my chain, you big meanie", I've started to get rather excited about the whole prospect. Things have settled to the point of actually feeling like it's turning into a serious relationship. One that might keep going  years down the road, and involves a Husky, renovating a house, and a kid to teach how to play Football. I always was slightly old-fashioned at heart with where I want my life to end up: gimme a house, husband, dog and a baby and I would be one very happy lady.

A slightly less expected result of all this talk about travelling (and the subtext of getting a puppy) is that I've started to feel all gun-ho about using it as a test-run for the future. I've been told a lot of people go there, fall in love with it, and don't leave. I suspect that view's a little biased, given that it came from the most proud Scot I've ever met. But still, he has a point. So, instead, it may well be time to see if I can hack the cold weather, understand the accent, and maybe make a go of living abroad after I graduate.

Who knows, I might even be able to use some of that lucky nature to get me a scholarship do a PhD or Masters at Edinburgh, Glasgow or Abertay University. Dream big, or not at all, right?

After all, in the end life is one big adventure, and there's no hurt in trying.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Ohai Spring, I missed you

 Praise the Lord, the Sun's out!!!!
The last few days have been the most glorious welcome to Spring I can remember for a long time (from memory, it poured for a week straight last year). 26C today, and actually managed to lay on the grass in the sun with an Orwell novel for an hour. Think I got a bit of a tan from it, too.
Jeez I've missed the sunshine. I have friends who just roll their eyes and smile, others think I'm a little strange, but being in the sun gets me excited. About everything. I have a habit of standing in the sun, eyes closed, face raised to the sky, arms outstretched, like I'm waiting to give the sky a hug. I had an ex who called it photosynthesising. A slightly more callous (albeit accurate) term would have been to call me a cold-blooded reptile - I need to be in the sun to warm up to life in general.
Things are always better when it's warm and sunny. Bad news never seems as bad, stress is never as severe when one is shading one's eyes from the glorious golden rays.
Admittedly, I have noticed that the sun's bite has grown substantially over the last few years, and I suspect this year will be a scorcher (yay!). Here's hoping everyone remembers the sunscreen.

This time of year is my favourite, because even though everything is piling on (Major assignments, the success of which will determine my admission in to 4th year, are all due in the next month), and stress levels should be through the roof, it is so much easier to just take a breath, step back and smell the roses. Or wattle, as my case is. I just wish I had Gus to walk.
Rani, my other dog, has been extremely sick of late. Half a dozen trips to the vet, a biopsy, ultra sound and multiple drips later and we still have no clue what's wrong with her, and it's been seriously freaking me out. Having said that, she's definitely on the mend, a conclusion come to by the simple fact that she has begun hovering whenever there is food about. Especially biscuits. She loves bikkies. I've never seen anything get so excited over a Ginger Nut. Never thought I'd be pleased to see that behaviour, but hey, here we are.

Sadly, the forecast for the rest of the week is looking less than promising, but given the past weekend, rain and 17C is an acceptable compromise for another lovely weekend coming up. What I do know is that with the warmth comes a happy Olivia. Given the grumpy, unforgiving state I've been living in the last month and a half, it's a miracle I have a family or boyfriend still around.
Still, sunshine solves all.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Wanted: A new furry companion.

My boyfriend has always had a thing for Huskies. There's always talk of getting one as soon as he's got his own place, and I get a new photo every couple of days of one for sale, adoption or just general cuteness. I told him I'd babysit while he was at work, and possibly pinch the dog while I was at it. He wasn't impressed. I think he knows I'm not kidding.
Having said that, I myself am more a Staffy girl, though admittedly I am still grieving over the fact that my beautiful little Man is living happily with another family somewhere, with no idea how much I miss him. Never really understood how attached people can get to animals until we had Gus. I mean, we've always had at least one dog, even from before I was born, but he was really special.
Mike knows this last little bit, and thus chose to take me into a pet store on Rundle Mall last week. I dont know whether the move was meant as a bonding experience (given that we both want dogs, and, ideally, they'd be one and the same and living under one roof), or as torture. Apparently there's a designer dog called a pugalier (there's one pictured). They were the CUTEST thing I've ever seen. Even cuter than a baby hedgehog. That's right, I'm pulling out the big guns with this one.

Who wouldn't be sad at losing a face like this?!
I don't know what it is about the idea of getting a dog that I love so much. Maybe it's watching couples potter along the beach with a furry bundle of energy, maybe it's the fact that dogs symbolise a a long term thing (and I love stability), or just that I love how pups will love you unconditionally no matter what else is going on - they're the most reliable friend you'll ever have. Regardless of which is the main motivator, the end is simple: I want a puppy.
Then again, I also want to move out, have a house of my own with Mike, and have a full time job. Sadly, of these, geting a dog is on the bottom of the list - gotta have somewhere to put the tyke, and some way to feed it, right? For now, at least, I'll have to live with just looking at photos.