Sunday, 16 November 2008
I am so sorry to have left you suspended in air for so long. I had been quite sick and weak for about three weeks but now I am frwsh and fine again. The assignments run rather easily out of my pen and I have but one to go before the holidays. I plan to come home for Christmas and will leave here the 13th of Dec.
Life is easy and comfortable and I have nothing to complain about.
Today, as yesterday, a flokk of canadian geese, about 15 to 20, is happyly devouring the new grass on our lawn. I do think that it is quite good for the grass as it will strengthen their roots, anyhow it is fun to watch them. There are very conscious about their distance to each other and will complain and bite when some other bird comes too near. Watching that I think about our school children, most often piled into a to
small classroom. Maybe they would feel better at arms distance and couldn´t pinch each other and go on their nerves? So, and now I will show you Canadian geese.
This then would be the new grass, two weeks old.
And here are the geese eating it
Monday, 27 October 2008
Above you see some English country side
This morning I was going to chat on the blog and tell you that I got sick again, got a sore throat and passed the day yesterday in bed, reading, but now I feel better.... As I said, I was going to say that and then the „word“ closed down on me and I spent hours downloading a new trial version...but as you see, I did and now I am fine to go to the beginning of January. As I did spent so much time downloading I do not have more time for you now..
Monika, I read you! Hope you are well.
Saturday, 25 October 2008
As you see, the school of education in the university of Birmingham is known all around the world and here are some of the pupils and their home countries!
But talking about yesterday:
When people ask me, I mostly say that it is not cold in Iceland, not really. It is harsh weather , yes, just by the sea and often stormy. Now, being in middle England I don´t really believe myself any more. Yesterday was a wonderful warm day, a day when people at home would sit outside on the Austurvellir and the TV crews would take interwievs with the sun bathers. In the mean time, I hear, there was a blizzard going over my dear little island and the road over the mountains was closed for half a day. So, I bath in sun. There was a tiny wind with a small twinge in it so it wouldn´t get stuffy. Me and Lucy took the train down to the city and went there to eat in a malaysian resturant and I had crispy duck breast, very nice and soft. Then we went to the market, quite exotic for me. And on the way home the train did wait for us and I had only to wait for the bus for a few minutes: a perfect day.
Thursday, 23 October 2008
This morning saw me early outside and we took the train, 5 students, the fast train as we found out and had to go back again as we had gone too far, but found the school in the end and in good time. As I have to write it down anyhow, I will share with you.
So into classrooms we went, I looked to the 9, 10 years old and they just had a math test while we tiptoed in. This is a mainstream primary school in a „heavy“ environment and about half the children do have learning disablities or/and English as a second language. The school has a politic of being very „sensory friendly“ such as the colour of the room was very relaxing, a pale light seablue, also the ceiling, even the blinds were the same colour and filtered the incoming sunshine softly. The walls were well used, but again, in the main colour, lighter and darker, there was no colour clashing. They try not to use fluoerscense light, are slowly changing the light system in the school. To the end of the test the teacher put soft music on, very low and incense. No loud voice, the teacher whispered. So, comes recesstime, theteacher is still whispering, everybody who has his things ready and isn´t talking is called up by name and tiptoes out. All the children sit very quietly so not to miss the name calling. Five kids are not ready and the teacher ignores them, she walks out of the room and leaves them behind with the helper. Comes back after a short time while they hurried to get ready and lets them out.
Two children have wobbly nobby seat cushions to keep them from wriggeling.
Next lesson time: Just half the class now, learning how to write an assignment, heavy stuff. The teacher is very lively, never uses the word ‚wrong‘ : „This is an exciting piece. Would you like to think more about this word?“...“ Uses child participation: „Would you like to add?“ One boy with the diagnose of autism sits in front of is computer and is typing away what the others are writing by hand. Clapping hands to get attention: Claps different rythms and all the children join in.
I was quite impressed.
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Now it is a month since I am here. What have I accomplished? I am getting comfortable with the left hand driving and am able to look to the right (left) direction and cross a road without a bumping heart. I havn´t lost myself the last week. I have got a pot to cook in. I have nearly finished my first assignment of 4000 words. I gave me three weeks for each assignment that would leave me some time to ponder and to correct. Truly, I am ahead of time. Somebody in class told me today to talk, as English wasn´t her first language. I’ve seen a little of the English countryside. I sometimes catch the bus.
I have been to my first economy lecture and did understand something. Though I arrived 20 minutes ahead of time I just was lucky enough to get a seat on a table at the back of the room and the lecture room was stuffed.
In short: The world savings rose between 2002 and 2007 (less money flow). There was an oversight of risk takers and the individual organisations had become too big. The banks were wrongly optimistic and didn´t recognize their losses early enough. There was a very sudden liquidity crisis. The emerging countries come best out of this “crunch”, the best established countries suffer most. The future: The economy will be restored at about 2010. There will be a shift towards the emerging countries. We will see a new conversatism in finance. The establishments will become smaller and there will be more cooperation between them. There could be a political shift (example: Iceland- Russia). (Bill Allen, 22.10.2008)
"My bus stop"
Today I was lucky, on the way home I just had to wait a few minutes!
I am just home from a session, it is very interesting but quite exhausting, 3 hours in a row with one 15 minute coffee brake in between. This was one about how to conduct research and how much (or little) you can trust the resources you´ve got and how to check on that. I got by now a little ring of greek pupils who live in the Vale too, so we walk together to and back and tommorrow morning we will meet at 7.45 to go together to the train station for a school visit. After class I went to the “school market”, bigger today than before, with stalls for jams- they got these wonderful jams here. I bought a – not so cheap- plum jam with this nice plum chunks in it and, as Valur would call it, some “gras”, vegatables in this case and apples. This is all home grown and healthy and they take a pride in it to offer it to the students. So, that was that, at five a clock I plan to attend a lecture about the state of the world economics at the moment and in the future and after that I could go and look at a film in the building opposite. The time in between I must use to work. I did already do my whashing up and prepare my dinner as I will be home late. And now I´ve made me a nice cup of coffee to drink while reading.
Monday, 20 October 2008
The Lake seen from my stairway
University shopping center with clock tower
View from my window
Tommorow it will be a month since I arrived. I would like to hold on to the time and stop it passing so quickly. Today I ventured to the city of Birmingham the second time and I did find places I had been told about. I walked through a meat and fish market and the pig- and lambheads were smiling at me. I bought me some very fat and naughty sausage and had half of it for dinner. It was all fine until I had to wait for the bus for about 45 minutes and the trip home took one hour in the traffic jam with two yelling brats, (sorry, sweet little children of course..) on the bus. Outside the rain was pouring. Was I happy to get home again! I do miss my little red car. To go with the bus is ok, usually I even get a seat, but the waiting! The other day I spent one and a half hour just waiting for the bus. The timetable is quite erratic and seems to depend on the traffic and the mood of the driver. Now that I feel better I prefer to walk.
Friday, 17 October 2008
A week gone by since I last wrote, how quick the time is passing!!
I should be excused, I was really quite sick, a nasty infection of the lungs the doctor called it. Now that I feel so much better I just realize how bad I did feel. Still, there is something in the air which makes my eyes water and my nose run but I got a stronger antihistamin pill and hope that will help.
The weather is very beautiful, if this is the famous ‘English weather’ I could do with it everyday. It´s like a nice summerday in Iceland and it is nice to sit outside in the sunshine on a bench.
I just had my first belly dancing class and it really is fun, now I must exercise the right hipswing! It is very good for my stiff musceles and I like it a lot better than the pilates class I started last Monday.
School is fun. I do learn a lot about how to get ideas down on paper, how to do research and to write an assignment. And I am doing just that, my head full of ideas. Tomorrow I will go on a bustour to see something English, an old cotton mill and a Manor. The university offers it for oversea students. So I hope, I will have a lot of fun. Soon I will put some pictures on the net too.
Friday, 10 October 2008
I knew it, the universum is taking care of me. I knew I shouldn´t but anyhow I went to the belly dancing class. The class was there and enough of pupils but no teacher. So I had a leisurely stroll around the campus center, an interesting enough chat on a bench in wonderful and balmy sunshine and finished the tour off with a visist to the Lake to get some more water for my flowers. They are thriving beautifully, thank you. Now I also took care of the stingy nettles. I took my camera with me to take pictures in the beautiful weather but the battery gave up on me and is now loading. And I must now have a rest after all this excitement.
Today I got a notice that workers will come on Monday to “uplift the floor of my appartment”. I have been wondering about this on and off during the afternoon. I could not realy imagine that they would lift my floor up – where would I stay? Should I pack down? How long would this take? Now, sitting and knitting I got a new idea, maybe “uplifting the floor” means to make it shine? It could do with some shine in the bathroom and on the way they could clean the windows, too, I did it as far as my poor little arms would stretch, all the fingerprints from the workers still on it. Same on the outside, where I can´t reach it.
Thursday, 9 October 2008
Monday, 6 October 2008
O yeah dear Lord, the angels does love me!! For two days now I have wondered how to get my two 20kg packets I recieved, from the Hub, down to my house, up to my flat. I had it all planned, intending to walk two times anyhow, I stripped my shopping on wheels to it´s essence, had tape duct in my pocket to fasten everything together and now stood there at half past 5 in the Hub, ready for collection, but, I must confess, worrying. In front of me stood 50 people, behind me as many. I stood and stood, the queue moved 1 meter in 10 minutes. Just as I was nearing the counter, two people to go, I said to the girl waiting behind me”I really worry how too get my stuff home.” The second these words left my mouth a guy came running: “There´s a problem with the post office tonight as you might have noticed. Everything will be delivered to your door this evening”. I could have kissed him and hugged him and hurried home, bought me a beer to carry instead. And sit now, drinking it.
The morning found me at the doctors and it took all longer than I expected, so I missed one class. Yes, I got antibiotica, yes, I must come again and check my lungs and I just know they will tell me that I have to stop smoking. Maybe I will, it is really expensive, with the Icelandic economy collapsing and terrible things like that. Yes, I fell shitty and shaky and exhausted and yes, the beer tastes good.
In the afternoon I went to a class to learn about the campus internetlibrary and it is amazing! I will surely spend a lot of time there and look forward to that.
And, I do loose pounds, quickly, my trousers are getting too big.
Sunday, 5 October 2008
There is a confound misunderstanding in yesterdays blog: I don´t go hungry because I´ve got no money but because I drag shopping. Just old lazy me. There´s a huge difference.
Yesterday night: Already in bed- undecent- you would call it and after a loud banging at the outer door which I rushed to open after I´d thrown some clothes over me, there came a nice friendly man with an electric heater on wheels for me. What a luxus! I feel like in my summerhouse.
Like every night when I really go to bed, sleep will escape me, I do not know why. When I turn the light off, I wake up. Sometimes I let the light burning, that might help at times. Let´s try it out now.
It helped to half past two. Since then I am around, reading, typing, getting a bit frustated. It´s half past seven now. Got me another sleeping pill.
And got some sleep.
The sun is shining into my window and but for a small walk to return my bad oranges to the shop I have been writing and reading for my first assignment. It is fun and I already have three pages out of 15 which I will have to have ready the 5th of January. But don´t laugh too loud, there are two more to go. If you want to know more about my university, here I am proud to show you:
We were the first university to:
Accept students from all religions and backgrounds on a completely equal basis
Build on a campus model
Incorporate a medical school
Create a purpose built students’ union
Provide a sporting option for all students in the interests of promoting health and well-being
Birmingham ranks 5th in the UK for research excellence; in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise in 2001, seven areas of Birmingham’s research achieved the six star rating – a rating only given to studies of significant international importance.
Excellent sporting facilities, a busy calendar of social events and a global reputation for teaching makes Birmingham a great place to study – and we’re proud of the calibre of our academic community.
Two books I read today and want to show to you:
Juke Jackson, Freeks, Geeks & Aspergersyndrom, Jessica Kingsley pub.
You will learn something about autism spectrum and will have fun on the way.
Juke is great for all but specially for kids around his age. For young people on the spectrum is it a Must.
Saturday, 4 October 2008
I spent yesterday in bed, sleeping and reading and do feel so much better today. I did cut my finger though this morning on my beautiful sharp new chopping knife but got some band aid next door, so I do not think I will bleed to death. I spilled my morning coffee over the staircase where I use to sit and had to clean that up, so on I went cleaning and vacuum cleaning, so that´s done for the week. I´ve got a lovely neighbour in flat number two, arrived yesterday evening, a third year student from Iran, studying microbiology if I remember rightly.
I have been surfing around the e-journals of the university and there is a lot of interesting stuff and I get nice ideas for my assignment. I do have to look at these e-journals as there will be an introduction to them on Monday and I like to be prepared, then at least I know how far I get on my own and what I have to ask.
In Iceland I hear it is snowing and the first frost bit the country so I am very lucky with green trees still around me and a temperature above 10 C. It is though rather chilly in my flat as there is no warm water in the heating elements, I phoned and they are working on it. There are things like that all the days around this new campus. “It keeps us busy” was the understatement of an official.
My big parcels arrived finally but the postoffice won´t be open before late afternoon on Monday. So I have something to look forward to. It will be like christmas parcels as I don´t remember what I put in them J
My orchid looks somehow sad, so had a little walk down to The Lake to get some natural water, I do hope it will like it. I still have to find an avocado to offer it to. Silly me, getting the water I leaned into some twigs of “Brennesseln”, now I do not know the English word for it (poison ivy?), but it burns your skin and makes blisters for some time. As for now, some time later, it is a very interesting feeling, tickeling, like some tiny buds were hurrying along under my skin. As I said: Adventures every minute.
I went up to the Hub but there is no cooking over the weekend, so I bought me some chickenbreast, I´ve got some cocosmilk and curry and bread in the freezer, that should make a nice enough meal. I didn´t know the Hub was closed on weekends, now I have to do something about my food, it is extremely expensive to shop here, so as I´ve gotten a freezer I should go down to Birmingham the next days and buy me some real stuff. I am hungry most of the time, yes, I think I´m getting slimmer.
I ´ve been very busy writing and reading all day long and I think I´ve already got a nice start for my first assignment. Now I will go and cook.
Thursday, 2 October 2008
How lucky I am! I slept too long this morning, looked at the clock upside down I suppose and now I know nothing about the English eduation system. I wasn´t very curious, either. I registered at a doctor´s and not a day too early, I find a bronchitis on its way to settle in my chest. I´ve caught a germ(?). So, as that may be, I did meet at the drink and fun session at 12 o´clock and after that talked to my autism lector, supervisor, however they call it here and now I have my first assignment on the way about sensory issues in autism and am already reading, I must start at once as I can´t write more than one assignment at a time...my brain doesn´t work that way.
I did get the bus right in both directions today and as I don´t feel very uppi now I will chatter no more and leave you to your own thaughts.
Wednesday, 1 October 2008
This is quite a full week and I am vey tired. Many introductionary sessions but things are getting clearer and I decided the programms I am going to study and here they come: before christmas: Special educational needs of children with autism/ Inclusion and special educational needs/ Practitioner inquiry in education and from January: Curriculum and approaches for children with autism/ challenging behavoir and autism spectrum disorders/ severe learning difficulties: communication and behavoir and after that I will start my dissertation. That at least is the plan. Everything here seems to be quite high level but they also cook their potatoes in water so I don´t allow myself to get panicy, others did this, so I will, too. I´ve already got reading lists and some books to read, we go home each day with a load of heavy(pounds) reading stuff. I am rather on top of my organising and will have the weekend to think about how I will handle the details and make me a timetable. Today I took part in an optional English assessment and I felt like I did very well, this will decide in which group I will go to upgrade my English. There will be some boring stuff tomorrow like: introduction to the UK education system and, later the day, welfare issues, but they have very competent teachers here who can make the most boring stuff interesting- even the fire drill the other day was nearly fun.
It is very mixed weather here, raining cats and dogs one minute and sunshine the next and of course I had to walk more than necessary as I didn´t find the house I was looking for but now I know: We are supposed to register with a local doctor and as my health isn´t 100% I now look for the doctors office. I think now I know were it is, so I will go again tomorrow. I should find a dentist too as one of my teeth will probably say good bye after not too long. And I know where I can get a manicure if I choose to!
I had my lunch at noon with a very sweet lady from Malaysia, we have hung out together a bit now, Lucy is her name. There are lots of very energetic and interesting people from all around the world and there are a few mothers who take the autism course. One of them is planning to go to the Option Institute with her son and we have talked together a lot after she heard that I´ve been there. She did listen to Brian Kaufmann and was carried away. I´ve got a marvollous mixture of interesting students down at the university and my very quite little apartment (but for The Big Party outside).
Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Yes, I did read your e-mail (those that have sent me one) and I did read your comments and thank you for both, though I have now not the time to answer all. And, do have in mind, I do have FUN! I look forward to a year of holidays, talking about my favourit subject: Autism. And I did get lightbulbs today (1 ½ hour expedition) and they do work (still) and I got a toiletbrush at the same place. I could have used it to defend myself, waiting for the bus in the dark.
I had my first two classes today, each 2 ½ hours and between I went shopping (the bulbs), read in the library and got my first books home with me. Now I have to sort papers and get myself ready for my next class tomorrow morning.
Monday, 29 September 2008
Yes, I am busted. Worst is to walk endlessly, and I am not the only one to complain. I got painkillers for my back and try to take the bus when I meet it. Didn´t meet it today. Yes, the day was full of information, I will have to take 3 modules each term, just like in Iceland, that would give me here 30 ects and in Iceland 15, three courses, each one 5 points. Beside I can train my English in two different courses, using my module contents, I suppose and I will use that opportunity and I went to the gym and got one time for pilates on monday and belly dancing on friday, must have some fun too, isn´t it?
My toilet was fixed when I came home and my dripping water in the kitchen, dinner: roastbeef(?), turnips and brokkoli with a yorkshire pudding (it looked like a piece of smjördeig) and a creme caramelle at the Hub.
Sunday, 28 September 2008
Yes Lisi, I did buy a knife(?), two knives, a big and a small one not only the bulbs. The knife came so late because I didn´t find any before, they were sold out at wooloworths And a chopping board, a treespoon and nailsissors. A beanseat is like a rather big cushion to sit on, very light and very comfortable. Good to sit on when smoking outside and when my back is hurting.
Já Valgerður, ég er stanslaus að lenda í ÆVINTYRI!
After sunshine in the morning it´s drizziling now, probably will turn out to be rain. Nice for the grass seeds.
In the night my toiletwaterpushbutton dissappeared into the wall with a pling. I phoned right in the morning to get it fixed but nothing happened and I stayed around – these girls in the reception aren´t as quick as the ones before – but after a walk to them somebody looked at it, promised to send somebody else and asked me to stay in. Thats fine for me, anyhow, I took a quiet day today, reading, sleeping, knitting, surfing the internet. So my lightbulbs must wait until tomorrow, as it is Sunday today that might be as good.
It is strange here to walk the streets: everybody is driving on the wrong side, that is to say on the left side, not the right. Of course I did know that but walking around in a wrong way direction traffic is another piece of cake. My reflexes are all on the right side that is to say not the left and therefore the wrong side. Yes. I look to the side the cars are not coming from and jump in front of them when they take a turn. The funny thing about this is that I took my driving licence while there was still left side traffic in Iceland and had no problem going from the right in Germany to the left in Iceland. But maybe that is something that is easier for a young brain, my brain is so stuck already and my reflexes so ingrown that it will take some time to change them. And it is not really a joke, it does make me uneasy in the traffic, I take my time to cross the road and look for traffic lights when possible. Even the pedestrians tend to follow this rule so I must take care not to walk against the stream where it is crowdy.
Even if I am in a no smoking appartment it seems not to influence my smoking pattern but for one, two sigaretts a day. I do write down when I start a new package and it is about 20 a day (no, not packages, sigaretts). I thought I would automatically smoke less in this environment, but no. Not that I worry about it, I was just curious.
I look forward to tomorrow when the real life will start. It seems to me that there will be a program from 9 o´clock in the morning to 16, 17 o´clock in the afternoon with a hour break for lunch. I hope that then I will get a lot of answers to my many questions. It could be that I will be busted tomorrow evening, so maybe there will be no post.
Finally, as I could not wait any longer I found the solution for my toilet flashing: I´ve got a bucket and just filled it with water and down everything went. I am angry that I didn´t think about that before as I do it everyday in my summerhouse, carrying the water in from the raindrains. As I had the bucket out- part of the flats inventory- I washed the floor in the kitchen and the bathroom and now I guess the apartment is cleaner than when I got it.
I´ve made me a nice dinner with my knew knife chopping away on the new chopping board, using my new pan and wooden spoon and eating from my new dish with flowers on, what a beautiful time I have!