Posting from my iPhone

почистванеI know it’s been a hell of a long time since I last blogged, but I am now able to blog directly from my iPhone. Hopefully I can now blog while on the bus, or at the doctors, or any other situation when I’m waiting around doing nothing!

In summary:
Missed last Les Mills workshop
Registered early for next workshop
Been teaching balance fill ins
Finally taught a couple of pump fill ins
Have updated groupfitness.org
Now have new mobile version of the site
Started new job job at SA Water in December

phew…….I think that’s enough for one blog!

Chiro

My chiro is amazing. There’s just nobody like him, I just have to say it. You’d think a knee injury would have nothing to do with my back, but after seeing my chiro and getting my hips straightened out again (it’s a process over a few weeks to get back to normal) my knee suddenly stops hurting. He also fixed up an ankle problem I’ve been having since I left Australia. I’ve had a muscle that was tight and sore down the front of the shin and if I ever tried to run or do any sort of impact, my heel would hurt. So while I was getting my treatment from the chiro, I asked him to have a look at my ankle. A very painful adjustment, but it feels MUCH better and I look forward to being able to do more impact again.

Yep my chiro is magic. I’ve seen a few now and none are like him.

Chicken or the egg?

I’m not normally a person that’s into the economy or particularly knowledgable about business and politics, but I do know a little bit about the influence the media can have on the community on a global scale. When I studied my degree in computing and multimedia at university I hated those waffley essay subjects, but some of the information on media influence was quite interesting.

Bare with me, this topic probably sounds a bit boring so far, but it’s relevant to today’s economy heading into global recession and I think the media could be partially to blame…….or have at least accelerated it and caused a greater impact.

When I was at university I remember people in my group discussing the Reconciliation and the apology between Australia and the Aboriginals. Someone brought up how during the opening ceremony at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, when Kathy Freeman (an Aboriginal runner) entered the stadium….right at the moment John Howard (our Prime Minister) frowned.

“Wait a minute…….” I said. How do we know when that footage of him was really taken? The media have put together 2 pieces of video footage and created an impression that could influence most of Australia. People developed a bad interpretation because of 2 video clips put together. Maybe he was about to sneeze? Maybe the sun was in his eyes? It doesn’t matter, but the point is the media have this power to change peoples opinions.

So now coming to the current day problems, with the economic downturn. The US banks crashed and following this was the grim message that this was going to affect everyone globally. People got scared, employers stopped employing, people put their money away, people stopped spending. With or without the crash in the US, if people did this I think it would cause the economy to go bust. Basically, if people stop spending money, then businesses stop making money, if businesses stop making money, then businesses stop employing people, if people get scared of losing their job, then they stop spending money…

I would love to know what would have happened if when the US banks crashed, instead the media reported “hey this is good for Australia and it will strength the economy”. What result would this positive influence have? I’m not knowledgable on economics so maybe the strong US influence would still have turned our economy, but I’m convinced it wouldn’t have been as bad if they didn’t introduce the fear that they have worldwide.

So which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Apeldoorn vs Adelaide Part II

After I wrote about the first difference between Adelaide and Apeldoorn, I knew I’d miss a few things……so here is part 2 with some more topics……….I know there’ll be more in future.

Last time I wrote about the Carparks and the water, but this time it’s about the driving.

There is a very different attitude to driving here, but I do think overall they are much more skilled drivers. They are more skilled in snow and ice (not like we get that often in Adelaide) and while people tend to speed here more, they are far more responsible with tailgating (most of the time) and sticking to the right (or left as it would be in Adelaide). Basically here, you cannot overtake from the slow lane, and they ACTUALLY follow that law (most of the time).

It actually works much better on the freeways, and I think if they worked on policing some of these things, we’d end up with safer drivers in Adelaide…….rather than just putting radars around everywhere.

The reason I think this, is because some of the time the driving is pretty scary here, but with the huge population in such a small area there doesn’t seem to be a greater number of accidents (18 million people living in an area that is just a large dot on Australia).

For exampe:

In Adelaide if you enter onto a freeway (our one and only true freeway in Adelaide), you ease in, giveway, look for a space, if there’s a lot of cars then one will generally back off a bit to allow you to move it. It’s all pretty nice. In the Netherlands, expect them to leave you room and you’ll find yourself unable to change lanes and you’ll get stuck in the emergency lane, something which you’ll get fined heavily for.

Instead, what you must do is choose your target. You must decide, “ok I’m going to go there” and just move there. If a car is in the way they move for you at that point, but only if necessary to avoid hitting you. Essentially it seems that if it doesn’t cause an accident, then it isn’t illegal, lol.

Same with roundabouts……it’s perfectly fine to enter a roundabout and cut some one off, only as long as you don’t hit them.

If you ride a bike or motor bike, then whether you ride on the bike lane or the road depends on whatever gets you there quicker. Many motor bikes switch to the bike lane at roundabouts, because bikes have right of way there……….very annoying.

In the end you end up with safer roads though, because drivers EXPECT to be cut off. In Adelaide some accidents occur because drivers expect right of way. Interesting issue, where what is supposed to be safer could in effect cause more accidents?

Frustrated

I’ve been going to my Dutch course for over a month now, and while the first couple of weeks were very helpful to me, being forced to listen and try and speak in Dutch, now it’s started to go downhill for me.

What has started happening is that the organisation has decided we need 15 people in the group, but we only started with about 8. Each week, we are having an extra person added and that means we end up going over old stuff. They are supposed to “catch up” but unfortunately it just happens that we still review stuff.

Now normally this wouldn’t be such a problem, but for me the course is already going at such a slow rate that I’m going nuts. We have so far learnt stuff like:

  • Hoe gaat het met jou?
  • Waar woon je?
  • What is je naam?
  • Hoe laat is het?
  • This are simple sentences and we’ve also learnt a few grammar rules……….BUT, we spend an hour on a rule that I understand within 5 mins.

    So there are two problems that I’m having, 1) the course is going too slow for me, or rather….the content is too simple, and 2) more people are being added to the group, hence slowing it down further.

    Now with point number one, I risk offending people with my further explanation, so I will attempt to explain without saying anything racist or condescending. Back when I first did my test to see what my current level of Dutch and education is, I was asked to bring in my certificates and university degrees. I thought that this meant I would be alloted into a group that was similar to my level…….not just my level of Dutch, but my level of education also. 

    Now in reality, that test I did seems to have made no difference………or otherwise they think I’m really stupid. To explain, I will demonstrate by pointing out the people I’ve been grouped with.

    • Some who have absolutely no schooling in their native countries……i don’t know how many
    • At least one lady who has done just 2 years of schooling in her whole life
    • Two men who have already lived in The Netherlands for 30 years and 21 years, but speak with very poor grammar and poor understanding of the language
    • Others that have already lived here around 5-6 years

    To avoid getting in trouble I have omitted to mention what countries they are from, but there is one guy in the group that possibly due to his culture, appears to have little respect for having a female teacher and doesn’t appear to show much interest in learning Dutch. He is fairly new to the group, so maybe he’ll prove me wrong, but this is my observations so far.

    So basically, I’m REALLY with the wrong people. I think we have about 12 people in the group now, and there are 3 or maybe 4 of us that I think should be taught seperately. Don’t get me wrong, most of them are lovely people………in fact, I really like ALL of them (except the guy that appears to be disrespectful). But I think it’s a problem when the teacher has to teach people HOW to tell the time on an analog clock, not just teach people Dutch.

    I have spoken to the teacher about this, and for now she has replaced one of my lessons each week with a personal coach, since my problem is not struggling to understand grammer, but rather my problem is just learning to speak and listen to Dutch and broadening my vocabulary. So this is a small improvement. I’ve met her and she’s a really lovely lady……..a volunteer studying at university. I’m going to see her every Friday and she’s going to help me by just chatting in Dutch and helping me try to read news articles and stuff. So we’ll have to see how this goes over the next few weeks?

    Adelaide vs Apeldoorn

    I’ve been wanting to write about this for some time. Living in a foreign country obviously many things are different and it takes quite a bit to get used to some things. But, rather than write about the things I’ve noticed between Australia and The Netherlands, I think it’s more accurate to talk about specifically the differences between Adelaide and Apeldoorn, since Apeldoorn has some things which are not necessarily applicable to the whole of The Netherlands.

    The food for instance………mmmmm yum. Not far from where we live there is one of the best Chip stores in The Netherlands, known as Patat here. I know that eating fries in Australia is just never going to be the same for me again after eating Patat met en met uien! Nevermind the frikendel and kroketten. The food in Apeldoorn is just fantastic. The milk is better and the water is far more drinkable than Adelaide. In fact, all dairy, bread and anything cooked in oil is far better. The veggies though? Adelaide tops out on that one actually………much nicer fruit and veg. They don’t use preservatives here which is probably healthier, but the food deteriorates really quickly.

    Carparks
    Laws are quite interesting here. Sometimes they are clear, sometimes I just wonder if anybody knows the rules. Then I surmise that they don’t care. When it comes to carparking there is a simple rule that I know of. If it fits, then it’s a carpark, lol. But there are some places that you must not park or you’ll get a hefty fine………and if you’re lucky that may be sign posted. Otherwise after you get a fine you then now know you cannot park there and the general public seem to have learnt this way. Sometimes it’s ok to park there even if it does have a no-parking sign…………and some clearly designated parking spots you cannot park in. I have not yet learnt why.

    Driving has kinda similar rules………it’s only illegal if you get caught apparently. Depending on the act, with 18 million people in such a small area the odds can be on your side. Sometimes it’s even acceptable to drive on the bike lane or footpath if that happens to lead to your designation. If cars really must not drive somewhere, then the only real way to prevent it from happening is to build a barrier……….this does seem to work well 🙂

    Water
    Where Adelaide has been having an ongoing drought, the opposite certainly occurs here! I arrived in Spring and it rained nearly every day. During summer…….it rained. It continued to rain in Autumn. In winter it either rains or snows. And when it rains it never just drizzles. I went out once in what I thought was a “light rain” and found myself absolutely saturated! I’ve learnt now not to underestimate the rain here and I always take a rain coat! lol

    Those are the first things that come to mind. If I think of the other points that amuse me, I will write about those in a second installment 🙂

    Dutch course

    It’s been about three weeks now since I started my Dutch course, and I have to say it has been a HUGE help. I was very very nervous about starting the course, particularly because they teach ONLY in Dutch. I thought……”how can I learn Dutch if I can’t understand what they’re teaching?”

    The first intro day that I did was very difficult for me and I understood very little, but even after the first week of being forced to try and communicate in Dutch (even if it’s just a couple of words and using hand signals) and also having to listen, it has improved my ability to be able to listen and comprehend the language. Up until now my written dutch has been far better than my spoken (or listening), but now even though I know half the stuff we’re learning in the books already (it’s very simple level) the experience of talking and listening in the language has been very valuable!

    I can now do simple stuff like ask where you’re born, where you live, what is your telephone number etc. I think once I can get to a stage where I can have some conversation in Dutch I think it will advance very rapidly for me.

    Dutch course

    Due to my back problems I missed the first day of my Dutch language course, but I attended tonight and I haven’t really missed to much thankfully.

    The course is completely and solely in Dutch, although the teacher is very good at explaining things simply and using visuals to help understand. Although I cannot understand all of it, I did find it very helpful in actually practising listening to Dutch and being forced to try and speak it. There were 6 of us, and it turned out only the girl next to me spoke English………which was a huge relief and we kinda buddied up. She has also only been in The Netherlands a short time, only 4 months……..so we’re kinda in the same boat.

    We got told off for speaking in English though, cuz during the actual course we are ONLY allowed to speak Dutch. I can see the sense in that, but luckily during the break we’re allowed to gabber on. The people in my group are all kinda around my level, so that makes it easier to learn in that environment.

    One thing I did find, is that the level we were practising was VERY easy, but it’s the theory that is easy for me, not the actual listening and speaking. I have been studying some Dutch via text, so that’s how I know the theory, but I haven’t actually used it much in practise. The environment she teaches us is great, very supportive, even if we make mistakes, and she encourages us to keep trying (“probeer”!). Without that I would find it very difficult, and I apologise to the Dutchies, but they do tend to be a bit critical……..which is why I haven’t practised speaking the language yet! People always say that the Dutch appreciate any attempt foreigners make at attempting to speak the language, but I have to be honest and say that I haven’t experienced that, and that instead I’ve experienced criticism of my mistakes and laughing at my accent. ok ok, I admit I haven’t had MANY experiences, cuz I haven’t attempted to speak the language as much as I should……..but that’s cuz when you’re new to learning a language you tend to be a bit more sensitive (especially when you’re from Australia where we have very little exposure to foreign languages).

    Anyway, doing the course tonight has got me thinking more in Dutch. There’s a lot of repetition, which I struggle to keep focused on (my brain tends to wander easily), but repetition is the only way the language can really sink in, so I have to try and stick with it. Because my family is Dutch I’ve always wanted to learn the language, so I really need to try and focus to achieve my lifelong dream!

    Eventful day

    Well I DID manage to get in with a chiropractor, which was a HUGE relief. I’m still in a lot of pain since the chiro could only partially adjust my spine……and it will take a little time to get back into the right position again. He seems to think that it has been triggered by stress and being in a strange country, not knowing the language and missing my friends, being a new mum and bending over all the time to pick bubs up etc. Thankfully there doesn’t seem to be nerve involvement, so my fears that I was reliving a disc injury it seems I don’t have to worry about! Hopefully I can make a full recovery soon.

    On the other hand, we had another little emergency……..my favourite little boy (my son) held on to a pipe (feeding hot water to the radiators, which are in themselves safe) and burnt himself. He’s such a curious boy, crawling and into everything! But I just overlooked that danger and didn’t realise!

    I ran to him straight away when I heard him cry, somehow you just know when the cry isn’t right. He was no longer holding the pipe, but I could tell immediately what had happened. I took him straight to the tap and ran his hand under the cold water…….when I could see it was blistering bad I rang Alexander who came home from work to take us to the hospital. It took us a few hours before we got through putting Connor’s hand under more running water, being seen by paediatrians, nurses putting cream on and bandaging him etc etc. So now he has a little stumpy hand all wrapped up.

    I hated hearing him cry…….I just know how painful it was but there was nothing I could do for the pain. Breaks my heart. But tonight when we got home, he’d all settled down and he was back trying to get into everything again……..ocassionally crying when he put too much weight on his stumpy hand, then tentively trying to crawl off on it again. Sigh…….nothing keeps him down, lol.

    He has second degree burns, but it should all heal fine.

    Back relapse

    Things have are suddenly not so good for my back. Yesterday, while it appeared I did almost nothing at all, a simple little turn while walking away from the table has rendered me almost unable to stand. I can’t stand up straight and I’ve been in agony for 24 hours now.

    At first I thought I had triggered another disc problem which I originally had over 10 years ago, but after seeing the doctor today he thinks a chiro should be able to sort things out. The scarey thing is my spine is quite visibly obviously out of line. I’ve only seen spines like this in pictures! Unfortunately I cannot ring a chiro until tomorrow so it’s at least another night in pain…….hopefully I can get in straight away with a chiro!

    I hope my back settles down soon so I can get back into the gym once and for all!

     

    New Years Eve

    We ended up having a wonderful New Years Eve. The original plan was to have a quiet night at home, since partying isn’t really possible with a baby. But we got messages from a couple of friends asking what we were doing. They weren’t sure what they were doing, so we responded “come round to our place if you want!”. Both of them ended up going with other plans, so we settled with spending the afternoon at Alexander’s brothers and then came home.

    At his brother’s place we ate the traditional Oliebollen and for the first time the canals were completely frozen enough to skate on. So we went down to a lake with Alexander’s newphew and niece while they skated on the ice. I walked on a frozen lake for the first time ever. Kinda eerie!

    Eventually it got too cold for me and the novelty wore off so we went back inside!

    When we came home we had a message from Janne saying that her plans fell through after all and she’d like to come over our house after all. Great! So we were going to have company after all!

    Then an hour or so after that we got a message from the other friend that he also had a change of plans and he was coming over after all!

    So we had a great night, which ended up with me falling asleep on the floor around 3amish. The boys lit fireworks and us girls kept our distance and watched it. At least we could actually SEE them this year! Last year had the heaviest fog I’ve ever seen in my life………I wrote about it in this blog somewhere, the fog was so heavy we couldn’t even see the fireworks that were only 4 m away!

    Janne stayed the night over at our house, and this afternoon we had fun doing a balance class in the lounge together. We did BB35 to the DVD, so Janne had fun trying to do everything on “instructor right”, lol.

    So it as a great night, and I think we’ve triggered a great “friendship” between two people 😉

    Introduction to Dutch course

    I attended my intro to my Dutch learning course today. The one ironic thing about it is the letter to invite me to the intro (to learn Dutch) was in Dutch. Go figure. But lucky of course Alexander can translate for me.

    When I attended they spoke almost completely in Dutch, although the teacher did clarify things in English for me occasionally. I struggled to follow along and it turned out that most of the group have been in the country for years………some 4 years or more. They could already speak Dutch and communicate, but their Dutch just wasn’t good enough for them to get Dutch citizenship, hence they were doing the course to better their Dutch. I think there was only 1 other person that was in the same predicament as me and knew very little Dutch.

    Later we were paired with another person, and we had to ask each other questions on a list, which luckily I understood most of them. We had to answer in Dutch and then tell the group about the other person. As far as I know I was the only English speaking person in the group, so there was no cheating possible. Most of them were Turkish…….I think there was a Chinese lady and I can’t remember the rest.

    I didn’t feel terribly comfortable, but the lessons commence next Monday in the evenings, and apparently that group is more at my level, so I’ll learn faster that way. It’s going to be difficult, cuz with the evening routine with Connor and gym stuff etc, I would find during the day much better (assuming child care can be arranged). However apparently the morning group is a more advanced level for me and may be too difficult, meaning it will be harder for me to pick things up.

    So in the meantime I’m going to start with the night group for a few weeks and see if I can get childcare to get into the morning group. Perhaps by that stage my Dutch may have advanced a bit so that it’ll be easier for me to follow along in the morning group. The teacher felt that it would probably take me 3 months to get to that level, but we’ll have to see because if I get the opportunity to teach gym classes I would really like to keep the evenings open.

    Anyway, in the meantime I’m going to do a bit more revision of my Dutch book (which I’m ashamed to say I haven’t studied in the last few weeks, being sick and all).

    Another social networking site

    While I really didn’t want to join ANOTHER social networking site, I have joined this new one for a reason. The few Dutch people I know here are all on a Dutch site called Hyves, which is basically the same as myspace, but in Dutch.

    My aim in joining this site is to try and help me learn Dutch. At the moment I need Alexanders help to actually write anything, and to interpret anything that anyone writes to me, but I can only hope it will get better.

    So if there are any Dutchies reading my blog, please feel free to add me as a friend and help me with simple Dutch sentences while I struggle to learn this very difficult language!

    My Hyves profile: http://misfitmel.hyves.nl/

    Been sick…….again

    I started coming down sick on Saturday, just felt a bit off colour, and the following days I ended up sicker than I ever remember in my life.

    First I remember on Saturday not going shopping with Alexander because I thought it would be better to rest cuz I was so tired. It wasn’t until Sunday night that I went really down hill, and I won’t go into details but I had a terrible night. I lost 2kg just overnight (not a good weight loss obviously).

    Most of Monday I was pretty off colour although feeling much better than the night before. But then Alexander started coming down with what I had. Monday night I spent most of the night being there for him, even though I wasn’t totally recovered yet. So I’m feeling pretty tired at the moment, although I’m on the mend.

    This meant that Monday night I missed out on the Les Mills launches…….again! I haven’t even been to a launch at the gym here yet. Seems I’m sick every time they have one.

    Something really doesn’t seem to want me to get back into Les Mills stuff at the moment….