Friday, June 15, 2007

Quebecois Gil, Aussie girls Tamara, Selena



Pictures: My hammock between 2 rubber trees on the last 5 day course;
Gil, Quebecois flatmate, back from the Tall Ship.

Gil, my quebecois flatmate with Marie-Eve, has come back after 2 months on the Puteri Matsuri tall ship. Marie stays on another month. It's good to have a flatmate again.

We talked about outdoor activities being therapy if you are too mentalized - or caught up in thoughts, as we both tend to be. He said whitewater kayaking had helped him ground himself and "encarnate" into his body, rather than be disincarnated. The same can be said for me - I have a tendency to ruminate, or think too much, and outdoor sport is good for me.
On the same note, David, who is from OZ and head of corporate activities here at WC, is a good example of how outdoor activities can transform a person. He explained that in his teens, he was a bookworm, and was starting to take drugs, then at 17, his mother sent him for a month with outward bound Queensland. He trekked in the jungle, canoed, abseiled, suffered, and failed at everything. But at the end of it, he had enjoyed using his body for the first time, and it changed him. Later, he worked for OB for 2 years as an instructor. He's also worked in Switzerland.
Gil's parents are interesting - his father is 55 and cycles, climbs up mountains with snowshoes and skiis down with a snowboard. Gil never has to wait for him - he is very fit. His mother is a doctor. When they were younger, their parents covered a room with paper, and got he and his sister to throw paint as they wished - free artistic creation.
The other evening, after the MOE course, we had Tamara and Selena - two aussie girls over for drinks, talking and a DVD. Watched "the Guardian" about rescue swimmers in the Alaska coast guard. Pertinent to our jobs, as it involves first aid, risky situations, fitness, the outdoors.
Selena said she knows the first aussie female rescue swimmer, who has just graduated in the Coast guard. Selena hails from Victoria, where she has worked in a variety of summer camps. Also was on course with a guy who done 3 tours of duty in Irak, and had killed numerous terrorists - interesting.

Tamara graduated from the same place as me - Cairns TAFE, but a year before me. Has worked around Brisbane, with Coefficient, an agency that sends you out for a few weeks at a time to various camps. I had heard of it before, and it sounds like a place I would like to work for, for a while. A good way of avoiding routine, and of seeing how different camps operate.

I gave them tips on how to handle the Malay students, the long hours that we do and so on. The kids rarely say "I don't understand" - they smile and nod, then you realize they did not understand you at all. Which can make teaching difficult. There are ways around it - to use mime instead of talk, to get them to perform a kayak stroke in front of you, etc. The other thing is, the kids are passive - you get more initiative from 12 yr old in oz than 16 yr olds here. example: a tarp needs folding: 4 people will gather around the tarp and just stare at it.... So they need to get kicked in the backside - I actually mime kicking them , without hitting them. they laugh, and understand I want them to move their butts.

I explained my hammock system to them - as pictured above. Much lighter than a tent, and fun to be in. Also my cooker system where I make porridge for myself in the morning, as well as coffe or Milo 3 times a day.

Selena had a good 1st aid story, where she had to stabilize and evacuate a boy who has a big gash in his leg. We also talked about John Marsden, who wrote the "Tomorrow series" book for kids, about a group of kids who have to act as guerillas when their town is taken over by an armed band - very politically incorrect to actually stand up to thugs and shoot them, but healthy as, in my opinion. Marsden has opened a special primary school in victoria, called "Candlebark", where kids can cycle around huge grounds, use power tools (yes), and where other innovations have been introduced. It was great to be mixing with such stimulating people, and it made me realize how pleasant young outdoor aussies can be to talk with.

Here's the website for the Candlebark school in Victoria, set on 1100 acres. sounds healthy:

http://www.candlebark.info/

1 comment:

Cecilia said...

*Love* your hammock up there in the leafy heights, it looks like a blissful place to sleep, or just lie quietly, gently rocking!