What I’m up to…

I just noticed I haven’t written anything on here since last spring… I’ve never been able to maintain a blog consistently I’m afraid. So, to update everyone on what keeps me busy (and away from blogging…):

  1. travel. The past year’s been amazing in terms of traveling and we’ve got a few more city trips coming up in the near future. I love taking photos whenever I’m on holiday, which leads to the second thing that’s been keeping me busy, which is
  2. editing photos and trying to make albums. It didn’t help that my computer died last summer and I still haven’t merged my Adobe Lightroom 3 data with my new Adobe Lightroom 6 software. I have looked up how it needs to be done, but I’m a bit afraid of losing all my data and edited photos in RAW-format. Might give it a go next weekend. Also, my husband and I agreed making photo albums together, or trying to, is not a very good thing for our marriage, so I’ve been appointed as album maker. Australia 2014 is halfway finished, Australia 2015 and Bonaire still need to be edited.
  3. knitting. I knitted quite a bit before my new job got so hectic I just didn’t know how to make the time. Now I’m in my third year at my teaching job I’ve been managing to keep my evenings and weekends relatively free of work (although I have to work on Monday and Wednesday nights to teach part-time students). So last autumn I decided to make a quick cowl to see whether I still liked knitting, which I did, and then signed up for a number of knitting workshops at a local yarn shop. I’ve learned how to make new types of stitches and how to ‘read’ my knitting, which has really helped me speed up my knitting. No more counting to see whether a stitch needs to be knitted or purled. I was really looking forward to two workshops last weekend, but those were cancelled unfortunately. Now I have to wait until April to learn some new skills I need to make several projects that have been patiently waiting in my Ravelry queue. Ravelry is an amazing tool for knitters, it’s a very comprehensive website that not only lets you record absolutely everything to do with your knitting, but also has many forums and groups where you can simply meet other knitters or ask technical questions. Which I’ve done in the past and it solved several problems for me. Never underestimate a well-designed, well thought-out website. You can see my project page here.

Unfortunately my teaching schedule means I no longer attend dance classes. It’s impossible to be at dance class at 19:00hrs when you have to teach until 18:40hrs – which my school thinks is a normal time for full-time students and teachers. Hopefully I can persuade my manager and the scheduling department to free my schedule late in the afternoon on Thursdays from September on so I can resume my dance classes. Until then, I’ll just keep knitting and editing photos and traveling!

-x-

Marjolein

I like… birds

First of all, I love that song by Eels. Second, we have some birds nesting in our garden! We installed a little nesting box on one of the walls of our garden shed two years ago. Nothing seemed to happen there, as a pair of great tits who like to hang out in our garden actually tried to build a nest in our roof instead by pecking a hole into it – which we quickly put a stop to. They were rather upset when we closed the hole in the roof, but seemed to have gotten the memo. This year they decided to nest in the nesting box instead. They keep flying in and out, first with nesting material, and now that the little ones have hatched with worms and other goodies. We try and be good neighbours; we were doing a bit of gardening on and around the back patio when my husband noticed one of the tits sitting in a neighbour’s tree with a worm in its beak, waiting for us to leave. So we went back to the front patio, the tit delivered the worm to its little ones and flew off again. Back we went to the back patio and this pattern kept repeating itself the entire afternoon. I quite like how many birds live in our neighbourhood, and how they like to nest here. Our neighbours have a pair of blackbirds nesting in their ivy. I wonder if they’re the same as the blackbirds we see in our garden every day. The lady who lived in our house before we bought it used to feed them, so they’re quite bold and come up to us every now and again (looking for food of course). I wonder when the little ones will make their first appearance!

Grammar

I teach remedial grammar, and it keeps surprising me what kind of mistakes students make. English shouldn’t be too hard for them, as it is related to their native language. But it seems as soon as L2 (a foreign language) is involved, common sense and everything they’ve learned flies out of the window never to return. It’s also a challenge when teaching, because if you mention the basics they need to know they treat you as if you just insulted their intelligence, and then proceed to make exactly those mistakes over and over again at the exam. I attended a lecture about new ways to teach grammar at the IATEFL conference a while back, and I hope I will get some development time next year to see what I can change in my syllabus to make my grammar teaching more effective. I really hope I can attend this conference again in the future, because it’s really helped me move past some issues I’d been experiencing. Let’s hope the grammar problem will be resolved as well!