Just Exploring

Little by little we make small things big. Step by step we move forward. Following the right path, the Eightfold path, makes me calm, steady and happy. Did you find yours? Everybody has one, just some must look deeper or look for it longer. Just explore and it will unfold naturally.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Skotsko, zaciatok (translation different pics)

Prvy half-term v Ashville nebol az taky tazky, ale predsalen som narazil na zopar tazkosti. Ako ste sa mohli docitat v poslednom prispevku. Takze prve prazdniny prisli v tom pravom case. Pripravoval som sa na ne skoro mesiac. Samozrejme nie doslova, ale bookovanie listkov dopredu je ovela lacnejsie. Jedine, co mi bolo jasne bolo, ze chcem cele prazdniny stravit na ceste - ved viete, ze to je moja vasen! Nemrhal som ani minutou a vydal som sa priamo do Skotska, presnejsie do Perthu, kde Katalin a Bogdan na mna uz cakali. Katalin je slovenska HMC ucitelka, uci niekde juzne od Londyna a Bogdan je rumunsky HMC ucitel, no a on je na skole kusok od Perthu. Oboch som stretol v Cambridge na orientation na zaciatku roka.

Nase dobrodruzstvo sa prave zacalo. Hned prvy vecer sme skocili na male obcerstvenie v lokalnom bare, kde sme sledovali ako Anglicko prehrava v majstrovstvach sveta v rugby - co je tu pravdepodobne najpopularnejsi sport. Boli porazeni Juznou Afrikou, samozrejme vsak ze rugby nebola nasa hlavna atrakcia. Hlavny bod programu bolo prebrat plan na nasledujuci tyzden, pretoze doposial sme sa starali iba o to, ako sa dostat k Bogdanovi. Rozhodli sme sa, ze si poziciame auto, zvazili sme to ako najrozumnejsi sposob, ako preskumat (viacmenej) obrovske Skotsko v rozmedzi par dni (presnejsie 4roch)

Den potom - bola nedela - sa zacal velmi pomaly, no ved co ocakavate od troch ucitelov, ktori si uzivaju svoje prve prazdniny? Ale podarilo sa nam vybavit vsetko podla planu a po dobrych anglickych ranajkach (prekvapivo po dvoch mesiacoch nemam ziaden problem rano zosupovat slaninu, resp. sunku a vajicka na ranajky!) sme sa vidali do mesta, kde sme si prenajali novy Vauxhall Corsa (v Europe znamy ako Opel) za celkom slusnych 35£/den s plnym poistenim - ktore sme s radostou uvitali, pretoze nikto z nas nesoferoval auto na lavej strane cesty. V skutocnosti to nie je az take zlozite, staci sa preladit na ovladanie prevodovky lavou rukou - prava ruka sa najprv vzpiera a z casu na cas sama posmatra po prevodovke, ale narazi akurat tak na dvere sofera! Inokedy ta zasa ide slak trafit, ked vidis toho debila, ako ide priamo na teba... az ked ta tesne minie, si uvedomis ze ty si ten "debil," pretoze nevies, ze tu je to cele naopak! Vsetky tieto "prekazky" sa daju prekonat viac menej v priebehu jedneho dna. Co vsak trva dlhsie je prisposobit sa tym uzuckym cestam, ktore tu maju! Hlavne cesty su ako chodniky v Amerike (aj ked tie su tam skor nadrozmerne!) a lokalne cesty su skoro ako jednosmerky! Avsak perfektne sa hodia do krasneho obrazka celej krajny, presne ako tie americke pasuju do Ameriky! Po case sme si na to zvykli...
Prvy den sme isli iba do blizkeho St. Andrews, co malo byt studentske mesto. Az na skutocnost, ze sme tam nestretli ani jedneho studenta, to bolo utulne skotske mestecko. Zopar obrazkov by vas mohli dat do obrazu... Nebolo to zle, ale ani nic specialne - super vsak bolo, ze som konecne travil moj cas s fajnovymi ludmi. Ja som rozumel ich a oni posobili, ze rozumeju mna, aj ked sme vsetko len nie rovnaki. Jedina nasa spolocna vlastnost je nasa tvrdohlavost, ale neboli z toho ziadne problemy!!! V skutocnosti sme mali vela srandy a vyvinul sa z nas dobry tym aj na dlhsie cesty.
Ale o tom v nasledujucom prispevku.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Scotland, in medias res

Monday morning. Pack all things necessary for 4 days trip by car and in the car. Yeah, car became our vehicle and house in one. So the price of rent covered the price of hotels as well, cause it is impossible to sleep outside in this kind out weather (5-10C, humid, foggy... Britain...) without sleeping bags, as naugthy British would say, we killed two birds with one stone... So we packed duvets (I have never ever traveled with some thing more homelike ...), maps and warm clobbers and departed. Our first destination was Forth William, or more precisely Ben Nevis. The dramatic effect of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain, is emphasised by the fact that it begins its rise from sea-level on the shores of Loch Linnhe, to tower 1,344m (4,406ft ) above the town of Fort William, providing an almost paternal presence. It doesn't sound much for Europeans familiar with High Tatras, or Alps, or whatever other mountains. But before you judge, consider the fact that Scotland is more northerly latitude which creates climate similar to Arctic regions and you shouldn't neglect that the starting altitude is 9m, so you literally climb the whole 1340m. Western rules and safety precautions are little more rigid, so the guide at the visitor center asked us, if we want to climb it today. Well, yes? We were not really thinking about all these facts, we just wanted to go for a walk. It was something around 2pm and the weather was nice (relatively in Scotland, though!). She told us that the hike might take 7 to 8 hours, even though the good time is 5 hours and national record is 1 and 1/2 hour! So we were forced to change our plans. No problem, we will come tomorrow.For today we can check the Loch Ness. Another spectacular and well know place. We founded on a map small hill, which we decided to climb to get in shape for Ben Nevis. It was a lovely walk... We slept on the banks of Loch Ness, which can be characterised as dark and deep (280m), surrounded by hills. At the night we had a small dancing party around the car... teachers unleashed after two months! All Scotland lacks trees, so any kind of hill looks massive and offers amazing views.No matter what I will say in next few lines, one should be always well prepared for any hikes! Just because you are in mountain region! Only if you are really keen hiker, and don't have all the necessary equipment with you, then go for it. I did it in skateboard sneakers and regular trousers with cotton shirt! The last mentioned sucked a lot, but who cares now! It took us respectable 7 and 1/2 hours up and down - as the lady mentioned, but well we were talking all the time... anyway it is not short at all. According to the travel guide, 9 out of 10 days the summit is covered with clouds. During the whole climb it looked like we were not going to see much from the top, which is one of the reason you are doing the effort, isn't it? It was extremely windy, cold and upper quarter of Ben was dipped in thick milky fog. But we were really lucky because few meters before reaching the summit, the clouds started to vanish and as we get to the top, the weather turned 360 degrees, revealing breathtaking views and showing natur´s magic called rainbow - this time circular! As usually, the way down was more tiring and quite bones damaging, well especially on the shortcuts we took!Wednesday. Once again we woke up on the shore of a lake, they call them Loch here. We were quite wasted, I was starting to feel serious muscle fever on my calves. Nothing else, just calves, I guess it's from the steps-like-track on Ben Nevis. You can't imagine better step aerobic! So we decided to have a little more tourist-like trip in a car. We drove all around Isle of Sky, which was recommended as one of the highlights of Scotland. Yes, it was lovely but I spent all day in the back of our car, so all I remember are just few 15min. stops on various places. No matter how spectacular they were, I didn't really enjoyed them. How could I? We were like Japanese tourists in Bratislava -taking pictures, and making wow sounds! But at least we covered lot of miles! What was good on it, was that we were exploring what happens when 3 individuals close them self in rather limited space and spend there whole day - antecedent by other two days together. As I experienced before, we developed our own language and particular jokes... As usually we slept near some Loch.Thursday: The highlight of this day was the very morning! We stopped for coffee and tea, and decided to enjoy them on benches with marvelous view of Atlantic ocean. We reached the top of Scotland and we were aiming to town Tongue. The innocent morning tea extended into ecstatic swimming in the cold ocean with outside temperature not more than 15C on the sun! The cliffs were amazing, beach marvelous and ocean lovely and refreshing. We were in the water only for few minutes but during the next hour or two we were energized as after adrenalin shock from free fall.
The rest of the day was lovely, too. We knew that our trip is slowly coming to the end, so we discussed a lot and were really nice to each other. And of course, we made fun of British and Scottish people, well, what do you expect from three foreigners on theirs first break! It was lovely, marvelous and so on...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Scotland, getting started

The first half-term at Ashville wasn't that hard, but I had to face some difficulties, eventually. As you might have read in the last article. So half-term break came at the right time. I was preparing for it almost for a month. Of course, just because booking tickets is much cheaper when you do it in advance. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to spend it entirely by travelling – well, you know that's my passion! I didn't waste a minute and went straight to Scotland, precisely Perth, where Katalin and Bogdan were already waiting for me. Katalin is Slovak HMC teacher, she was located somewhere south of London and Bogdan is Romania HMC teacher, he is at school close to Perth. I met both of them at the Cambridge orientation at the beginning of the school year.Our adventure was just about to begin. Right that evening we went for a small refreshment into local bar, where we saw England loosing worlds final in rugby - which is here probably the most popular sport. They have been beaten by South Africa, but anyway rugby wasn't the attraction. The aim was to discuss the plan for following week, because so far we were only worried about how to get to Bogdan's place. We decided to rent a car, as it sounded as the most sensible way how to explore (more less) vast Scotland within few days (exactly 4).The next day - it was Sunday - started very slowly, well what do you expect from tree teachers having first holidays? But we managed to do everything as planned, after good English breakfast (surprisingly after 2 months, I have no problem eating bacon and eggs in the morning!) we went to town and rent new Vauxhall Corsa (in Europe known as Opel) for quite decent £35/day with full insurance - which we gladly welcomed, because none of us drew a car on the left side of route. Actually, it is not that difficult, you just need to switch into left hand gear shifting -at the beginning the right hand seems to pop out accidentally, looking for the stick, but finding nothing but drivers door! And sometimes you get terrified that the stupid idiot in front of you is driving straight into you, it only after he miss you, that you realize that you are the one who should be called stupid for not knowing that here it is the other way around. All of these "hindrances" can be over come within one day, or so. But what takes longer, is to adjust into the tiny narrow streets and routes they have here! The main routes are like American sidewalks (here they call it pavement, but anyway they are rather to vast in America!) and the local routes are almost like one way streets! Well, but they fit well good together with the whole landscape, as the American do with American countryside. We get used to them... eventually.For the first day we went only to nearby St. Andrews, which was meant to be a students town. Except of the fact that we didn't meet any students, it was lovely little Scottish town. Few pictures should give you the picture... It wasn't bad, but nothing really spectacular - the great fact was that I was finally spending my time with fine people. I understood them and they looked like they understand me, even though we were all but different. The only common characteristic was our stubborness, but it didn't cause any problems at all! Actually we had lot of fun and ended up as a good team for longer journey.

But this will come in the following article.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Temna strana

Posledny tyzden bol hrozny. Od pondelka po piatok, to vyzeralo ako keby som kazde rano vykrocil tou nespravnou nohou. Neviem presne opisat co sa dialo, ibaze sa veci vymikali mojej kontrole. Mozno praveto je ten problem, mozno sa snazim mat vsetko pod kontrolou, no nech je to co chce, skusim to dat vsetko von formou tohto blogu.
Uz som tu dost dlho na to aby som sa stotoznil s dennou rutinou, ale nie dost dlho na to aby som pochopil vsetko co sa deje okolo mna. Vsetko sa to zacalo v pondelok. Chvalil som sixth formerov, ale asi unahlene, v pondelok ma prekvapili. Aj napriek tomu ze to bola hodina po teste, cize clovek by predpokladal ze ucivo maju zopakovane, ziaci nemali ani potuchy, pripadne iba matne tusili o com som im hovoril. Ak by to nebolo ucivo priamo nadvezujuce na poslednu hodinu tak by som nemal namietky. Samozrejme ze moj problem nie je len ucenie. Cely den sa vliekol ako ukrainsky vlak a ja som sa citil akosi osamelo a smutne.
Preco osomelo? Nemam tu toho spravneho partaka. Ostatny asitenti su v pohode, ale nie su to presne moje typy ludi. Madarsky chlapik Guyla je trochu spomaleny a malo uprimny. Viem ze sa snazi byt dobrim prikladom pre ziakov a dobrym priatelom pre nas, jeho spravanie je vsak cudne, a to hlavne poslednou dobou. Mal na navseteve kamarata z Madarska, co pre nas znamenalo ze Guyla zrazu zmyzol. A ked priatel odysiel Gyula zrazu bol. Teraz sa snazi akosi vynahradit cele toto zmyznutie, co vyznieva este cudnejsie. Francuzka asistentka Nelly na mna posobi trochu nudne, je to asi len preto ze je pasivna, resp. jej aktivity su uplne ine ako moje. Sebastian, Nemecky asistant, je asi najviac v pohode, ale niektore jeho komenty a nazory su dost prudke. A potom tu je este Paula zo Spanielska, no aj ona je OK, ale akosi nevieme nadviazat hlboke rozhovori. Neberte to v zlom, ja ich mam rad, co chcem povedat je ze sa asi znas nestanu najlepsi priatelia. Uzil som si snimi vela srandy, mozno sa dobre vztahy len rozvinu... uvidime. Chyba mi dobry kamos na konstruktivne debaty -nie kritiku, nie staznosti, nie plytke rozhovori o vsednom zivote...
Pondelok pokracoval kurzom anlgictiny (Cambridge Proficiency English(CPE)), co ma uplne priklincovalo. Nie len ze je to velmi tazke, ale trva to 2 a pol hodiny! Asi vsetci viete ze moja gramatika, ani ta slovenska, nestoji za vela. Tento kurz ma vysoke ciele a doslova sa rype v gramatike ,dokonca aj niektori native speakeri ho povazuju za narocny. No posudte, moje prve skore s Reading bolo 12/25 a s Use of Englisch 8/18, co nie je dostatocne ani nahodou. Ostatny asistani studuju Anglictinu na Vyske, takze to zvladaju ovela lepsie, ale tiez hovorili ze to bolo tazke.
Nemohol som sa dockat vecera a beztarostneho zaspania z celeho tohto desu, dufajuc ze zajtrajsok bude lepsi. Ale nebol! Niektori ludia v skole ma zacinaju fakt nudit, alebo stvat? Nie vsetci, ale niektri ucitelia, ako napriklad moja sefka, Head of Maths Jully, su malo uprimny a napr. ona ma kritizuje za chyby ktore sama robi... Uz ma nebavi jej spravanie a moja pretvarka. Ako ucitelka nie je najhorsia, ale je velmi slabo zorganizovana a neuveritlene busy, co prenasa aj okolo seba. Tlaci ma aby som sa ponahlal s ucivom, co vedie k nepochopeniu uciva ziakmi a mojej nervozite na hodinach. Na skole je vsak mnoho kvalitnych ucitelov, obidivujem hlavne ich klud a pozitivisticky pristup, ktory u nas tak chyba! Da sa snimi perfektne porozpravat, ale prilezitosti na dlhe rozhovori je malo. Najhorsia vec na skole je asi ze nie som dostatocne oceneny, som len akysi asistant. Napr. tento tyzden som ucil iba 4 hodiny matiky, a pozoroval hordy hodin nudnej Jully. Tak som nevahal a poprosil zopar ucitelov chemie ci by som mohol participovat na ich hodinach (samozrejme pocas mojich volnych hodin). Na co Jully reagovala: "Ok, len aby si stihal pripravy na tvoje matematicke hodiny". Kurnik sopa, to akoze som uplny debil, alebo co? Cela skola je priserne prisna. Pravidla su na uplne vsetko. S mnohimi sa ztotoznujem, ale niektore su minimalne cudne: napr. nemozem byt v triede zo studentom bez toho aby bola na dverach sklenena tabula, taktiez nemozem mat studentov vo svojom byte v Mallinson house, jedine ze by som nechal otvorene dvere -vsetko pre moju bezbecnost!!! Internet je cenzurovany. Opet, pochopitelna zalezitost ak by to nebolo predimenzovane. Napr. som potreboval prelozit slovicko twat, ktore sa normalne nachadzalo v knihe, a boom, internetovy slovnik ma nepustil dalej. Mimochodom to slovo je drsna nadavka, ale aj tak! Nepozeral som nevhodne obrazky, necital nevhodny text, iba som potreboval prelozit slovo. Tak isto bol zablokovany aj yahoo a vsetky chat stranky, resp. studenti nemaju na tieto stranky pristup a ja musim na kazdu stranku poziadat odblokovanie. Takze yahoo fungovalo az po tyzdni co som prisiel. Cudne je ze do teraz som bol schopny prezerat si svoj vlastny blog, ale par dni do zadu naskakoval filter aj na moj blog!!! Ze chat filter! Do kelu aj snimi, to nie je chat, to je moja stranka. Takze teraz pisem na slepo, pretoze stranka kde to pisem funguje, ale vlastna stranka blogu je nedostupna. Proste pakaren. Uz som poziadal o odblokovanie, ale to potrva tak tyzden.
Posledna kvapka k celemu mojmu "fasa" pocitu bol moj naivny pokus o pomoc Samovi a Deanovi (studenti z mojho intraku) dostat sa do posilovne. Musia mat oficialne potrvdenie ze presli uvodnym treningom. V stredu vecer, po tom co som si zaplaval, som hodil ockom do posilovne. Bolo tam zopar studentov a tak som snimi hodil rec. Prisiel Sam a ze nemoze cvicit.
Dean: " preco?"
Sam: " Nemam potvrdenie."
Ja: "Mal si trening?"
Sam: "Jasne"
Ja: "Takze jedine co potrebujes je podpis?"
Ja: "Som opravneny ti ho dat?"
Dean: "Asi hej"
Sam:" Asi iba ako ucitel telocviku, musis povedat ze si ucitel telocviku."
Ja: "Tak sa nanho zahram, podme tam" Tak sme isli na recepciu. Vsak predsa chcem pomoct, nie? Naivne som si myslel ze to je len na jeden vstup do telocvicne. Na recepcii vsak bol sefko celeho sportoveho centra a povedal nam ze podpis musi byt od ucitela ktory viedol trening. Tak som to nechal tak a povedal som Samovi nech pride zajtra aj S podpisom. Hned ako som odisiel som sa vsak citil uplne na hovno. Preco som vlasnte klamal? Bolo to take dolezite?
Na druhy den prisiel Niel (sef vsetkych intrakov, a sef mojho intraku) a povedal mi ze Dean a Sam maju pruser, pretoze sa nevhodne spravali v posilovni a boli drzi... a este som pocul ze si povedal ze si ucitel telocviku, je to pravda? Ah jaj, a tu to mam. No je to pravda, a moj blbi pocit z celeho tyzdna PRAVE dosiahol svoje maximum. Citil som sa ako maly chalpec vinny z klamstva plus este viac nahovno.
Proste to nie je moj tyzden. Ale ziadne strachy, teraz je uz tyzden zamnou a urcite pride spusta dobrych. Dalsi clanok sa bude volat "Svetla strana". Ja viem, viem, vyplakavanie a stazovanie sa nie je to co chcete citat, ale ked sa tak citim? Nebojte sa vsetko bude v pohode. Vsetko co potrebujem je trocha vsimavosti a pokoj v srdci!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dark side

I just have had a tough week! Since Monday till Friday it looked like I was waking up on the wrong side of the bed. I can't really explain what's wrong, but things were just not running as I expected. Maybe that's the problem, maybe I'm expecting too much, well whatever, I'll just get it out through this blog and hope it will be over.

It all started on Monday (8/10). I am here long enough to slip into the routine, but not long enough to understand everything what's going on around me. Last time, I was praising sixth formers, well but maybe too soon, surprised me on Monday. In spite of the fact that it was a lesson after a test, they had no clue, or just blurred idea about the stuff I was talking about... well if it was not connected to the previous lesson I would have no objections. Obviously it wasn't just this. The whole day was moving very slowly and I felt somehow lonesome.

It's probably because I have no real friend, for good constructive talks. No complains or pointless coments! Good discussion. The other assistants are fine, but they are not exactly my types. Hungarian lad Guyla is little slow and not really honest. Even though he is trying to be the best example for students and caring friend to us, his behaviour was rather strange, specially during last few weeks. His friend from Hungary visited him, and Guyla suddenly disappeared. Now he is trying to bridge the gap, which looks even more strange. The french assistant Nelly looks in my eyes boring, it's probably only because I find here too passive. Which is not a negative characteristic, she is just different then me. Sebastian, German assistant, is probably the most alright person, but still some of his statements are quite harsh. And there is also Paula from Spain, well she is fine, but we don't talk too much. Don't get me wrong, I like these guys, what I am saying is just that we are probably not going to be the best friends forever. I had lot of fun with them, and maybe the good relationship will be developed as time goes on... will see.

Monday, after school, we started our Cambridge Proficiency English (CPE) course, which nailed me, completely! I find it very hard. All you lads know that my grammar sucks, even in Slovak. This course have very high aims, so even native speakers may find it hard. Well my first scores from Reading was 12/25 and from Use of English 8/18 which is not satisfactory at all! The other assistants are actually studding English in they home countries, so they were coping much better, even though they sad it is hard for them.

I couldn't wait to get into the bed and just past out! Hoping that next day will be better. But that was not over! I'm starting to get sick of some people I am working with. With some of them I am in contact since beginning and I will remain till the end, because they are my bosses. Specially the Head of Maths Jully. There would be nothing wrong on that, if she were sincere. Maybe she is, but I was really annoyed, by some of her behaviour, like pushing me and rushing my lessons, which is leading to students confusion and me being nervous. Then there are people which I am just discovering as very trustworthy and discussion worthy persons.
The worst think in school is that I don't have enough challenge, and I am taken as assistant. For example this week I thought only 4 periods with upper 6, and observed tones of Head of maths lessons, so I asked chemistry teachers to attend some of their lessons. After I told her, she was like: "just make sure that you have enough time to do your job here at maths department". I am like, what the hell? Well and whole school is too strict. There are rules for everything. For example I can't be in room with one student if there is glass panel on the door, neither can I have boarders in my room at Mallinson house -it's for my safety!!! Or the Internet is filtered. It would be all right if it was not little too much, for example bare typing of vulgar world into online dictionary will filter the whole page, or I wasn't able to check my yahoo account at the beginning. Lastly I wasn't able to check my blog, so even this post is written without me seeing it on the page. I am able to access only the blog making page, but not the actual blog! Isn't it ridiculous?

The last drop into all of this was my naive attempt to help Sam and Dean (boarders from Mallinson house) to get into gym. They are supposed to have induction and they need a written proof of it. On Wednesday night, after I swam a little, I drop into the gym just to have a look. Sam told me that he can't go in because he doesn't have his proof of induction signed.
So I was like "did you have induction? ".
Sam:"yes of course"
Me: "So I guess I can sign it for you can't I?".
So we went to the reception, but Sam told me that I should pretend that I am a P.E. teacher. Well, whatever, I just wanna help, right? At the end we were told that it have to be signed by the person who did the induction. So I just left. But I immediately realized that I did wrong and knew that I should have not lie. On the other day Neil (head of boarding dropped by, and sad that Sam and Dean are banned from gym, because of their rood behavior. I am like: oh yeah, I was there, but I left, what happened? Neil: " Well they were rood, and had inappropriate behaviour..., but the stuff from gym sad that you sad that you are a P.E. teacher, is that right?" Dam it! I felt really stupid and humble. My bloody bad state of mind peaked right now. I felt guilt, during the rest of the week, which even increased my shitty mood.

But no worries, week is over and I'm sure that plenty of good ones will come. Next post will be called "Bright side". I know, I know crying and complaining is not what you want to read about, but I just felt like this. Don't worry I'll be fine. All I need is little of mindfulness and peace in my heart.