Saturday, March 18, 2006

Latest Email

G’day everyone. Well for those to whom I have been very slack…I am back in NZ and have been since December. It has been a pretty busy few months. Etusko and I arrived in NZ jobless and homeless. We quickly took up residence at my parents house which mum and dad just loved!!

We decided to make the most of the weather (well what the weather should have been like) and do a little bit of sight-seeing. We visited Rotorua and Taupo/Turangi (for new years) and also did a trip north to Auckland/Paihia and the Cape. Unfortunately shortly after our Northland trip the bubble burst and I began work which was initially full time over January and then part-time in February.

The job is at IRD in the Hamilton Call Centre. Answering calls on the general and family queue. Which is basically people having questions about their personal tax and family assistance. We had a whole month of training which is pretty amazing considering that the contract is only for six months. It is pretty good as they have been pretty cool about my requests for differing hours as I can’t work Tuesday evenings. I am in a team of about 10 people. We have lost a few people since training for various reasons but the bunch I work with are pretty good value, a real range of ages and backgrounds. All in all the job isn’t too taxing (sorry I had to.)

The thing which is taking up most of my time is university. I have been back at uni since the middle of February. I am doing a graduate diploma of teaching (secondary school). This has proved much busier than I though it would. Also much more academic. I thought it would just be a very practical course but we are focussing on a lot of learning and pedagogical theory. Although I am not sure that much of the theory is assessed other than an assignment. Basically the course runs from February to early November. We have to have about 14 weeks practical experience at a school. I will be doing half of that at Hamilton Boys High School and the rest probably at a school in the Bay of Plenty (although I wont find out exactly where until later in the year). I am doing social studies both senior and junior and business studies as the subjects that I am studying at uni but my first stumbling block is that at Hamilton Boys High they don’t actually have a senior social studies class but I have been trying to get involved in the legal studies class, which I think I have some knowledge in…but possibly too much. On my first week of observation I got a little carried away on explaining burden of proof…when their eyes glazed over I realised that maybe I had gone a into a little too much detail.

Classes are for me on Monday to Thursday usually around 3 to 5 hours per day. Tuesday is a long day as I have a three hour class from 4-7pm which is a bit tiring. It is pretty good being back into the uni groove. Although it is quite strange taking it so seriously. I have not developed a theory that going straight from school to uni is not a good thing. It is a pity that this course is a pass fail course rather than a graded course as I am sure that my grades would be slightly higher this time than my last attack at uni.

On the social front things have been reasonably quite due mostly to the fact that I have been so busy working 16 hours a week and attending uni for the balance of it. The major highlight was Dave and Pip’s wedding in Wellington. It was a very nice service and the aftermatch wasn’t too shabby neither. Etsuko took full advantage of the location to do some reminiscing from her time in Wellington. We have also had a visitor from Japan, Tomomi, who is Etusko’s friend from junior high school. She just left on Friday morning.

Etsuko has also found a job cleaning at a motel just two blocks from our place. It is quite flexible and the owner of the motel seems to be quite friendly. It is actually a motel that we have stayed at before. Generally Etsuko is working 4-5 days per week for about 4 hours per day. Just enough to keep her out of trouble and still let her go to the gym.

On the geeky side of things I have been expanding my geekiness factor. I have my own website which you can find at and I have even been doing a podcast…well actually I have done two of them. For those of you who don’t know what a podcast is it is basically an audio file that you can download and listen to on your computer or on your mp3 player etc. They are the antithesis of exciting but if you are dying to hear my voice then please have a listen!! I have also put a few photos and stuff on there. Of course I have been making an attempt at continuing my blog which you can access from my home page.

Of excitement soon will be that a couple of my students from Japan are visiting, Mika and Satomi. So I have been organising with them a plan that gives them as much a taste of New Zealand as possible without leaving them completely exhausted in the week that they are here.

It was also interesting to get an email from one of my students at High School in Japan, young Mr. Tani who did an excellent speech on motor sport in Japan has just graduated. Congrats!

Also of note is Alex (my little blister) is returning to NZ soon due to immigration issues with the US govt. who for some reason are pretty strict on immigration lately…not sure why??

I will email at some stage with my plans for the future but at this stage I really don’t know what I will be doing.

So I apologise if I have not managed to catch up with you since I have been back but I have been a little busy. I hope to see a few people over the Easter break…but please don’t hesitate to contact me. Ph. 07 839 0055 or cell 021 542440 or email or on my website .

Until then….



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