When my Year 12s Play Pictionary

I had my last day with my senior students today. Earlier in the year, during a down moment, we played a class game of Pictionary: Two teams, two whiteboards, a lot of shouting and ‘senior worthy’ things to draw like ‘quantum physics’ and ‘Boo Radley.’

It became so raucous and epic that we decided to have the game of all games for our final lesson at the end of the year. Not only was my class involved, but also a few stragglers we’d picked up over the year; it was game on.

The following pictures were taken the moment after the team had correctly guessed the answer. I’ve put the answers at the end, so that you can have a guess too, though I think you’ll agree, their guessing skills are better than their drawing ones!

Class of 2013, thank you for a crazy year, and for the side-splitting laughter you caused me during this game!

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ANSWERS:

1. The Hunger Games

2. Encyclopedia

3. Air Force One

4. Compulsory Education

5. LOST

6. Carbon Dioxide

7. Evening

8. Oh Captain, my Captain

9. Machu Picchu

10. 21st Birthday

11. Back to the Future

12. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

13. The Roman Empire

14. Fossil

15. Abba

16. Seven Wonders of the World

Any Luck?

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What it Feels Like to Jump off a Cliff

Thanks to Luke George who took this photo a couple of years ago at our cliff jumping spot.

Thanks to Luke George who took this photo a couple of years ago at our cliff jumping spot.

If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you follow?

Actually, yes I would.

One of my favourite summer activities is cliff jumping.  There’s a spot about 2 hours away, where the deep ocean meets the cliffs to form chiseled inlets.

There are various heights from which you can jump. Three meters; seven; fifteen. I once saw someone jump from about twenty meters and was afraid I’d see their body splat onto the rocks below.

I say I love cliff jumping, but to be honest, everything in me hates taking the leap. As I stand on the edge, every nerve ending tingles, frantically bombarding my brain with the instinctive message that jumping is a bad idea.

I hate the moment when I almost jump but don’t, and then, even more, when I launch myself out and have that split second realization that it’s too late to go back.

I hate the feeling of falling; legs kicking at the air; arms tensing in an attempt to defy gravity.

I hate the way the water hurts if you hit it on a bad angle, like a mammoth slap.

In fact, there is only one thing I really like about cliff jumping. It’s when the water catches you and holds you momentarily in its belly, and you rise and break the surface and feel ecstatic triumph. When you know, with a sense of pride, that all your friends jumped off a cliff, and you were brave enough to follow.

My Post-Adventure Bucket List

Towards the end of high school, I began composing a bucket-list of sorts. It had the usual things on it: skydiving, eating snails in Paris, seeing an aurora, getting a degree and writing a book. Most of them I’ve achieved, but as I look back, I’m not sure they’re actually the most radical things I’ve done.

Bucket-lists can be beneficial but they’re all about forward-planning and imagining. Sometimes they’re not realistic. Life may bring restrictions like health, finances, time or circumstances, and suddenly our dreams are out of reach.

As I reflect on my life, I realize that my BEST bucket-list is my POST adventure one; the things that I’ve already experienced that I’d never have imagined up myself.

Here are some of the things that I’ve done that weren’t on my bucket-list:

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I took this photo while paragliding near the Annapurna Ranges in Nepal.

Flying over Mt Everest

Walking across a Burning Ghat on the Ganges River

Paragliding with eagles in the Himalayas

Cliff jumping into the ocean

Being elbow deep inside a sheep, trying to deliver a lamb

Road-tripping through torrential rain in outback Australia

Living life to the full isn’t always about planning, but about making the most of every opportunity; appreciating what we have been given, rather than focusing on what we’d like.

I may never see an aurora, get a PhD or travel into space, but I have no doubt that I will have experiences that I never would have dreamed of. I’d hate to miss them because I was so focused on my own plans.

The Lighter side of Singleness

I am so blessed to have an array of fabulous single friends to do life with. On occasion we get a laugh out of sharing memes which celebrate the awesome side of singleness, and make us laugh at the depressing side. I hope you all get a kick out of these.
P.S. If you’re NOT single, PLEASE tread carefully before sending these to a single person!! It’s kinda like being black… there are certain things you can only say to each other!

single-friendship-ecard-someecardsI have a couple of friends I’d like to send this one to… let’s just say, I haven’t yet!

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facebook_-1636470038I love this one ONLY because I don’t like cats and have no intentions of becoming the ‘crazy cat lady’ that friends like to tease me about.
If you do, however, fall into the ‘crazy cat lady’ basket, I hold no animosity towards you or your cats.

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married-single-fun-party-weekend-ecards-someecardsAhh the married people who constantly remind you how fortunate you are to be single… bless them.

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facebook_-3881639111This theory gets 100x more disturbing when you’re a school teacher…

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facebook_-514669080This is one of my favourites. I know all you parents love having your kids. But I really love not having them!

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what-do-smart-girls-getA lovely (or perhaps not so lovely depending on my mood) male friend sent this one to me. Well at least he think’s I’m smart.

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MjAxMi01YmFmMGUzMDM4ZjU1NTAy_516f0d83937efYou know, believe it or not, despite the ups and downs and difficulties of being single, sometimes this one really does ring true.

Being single isn’t always easy, but it’s a unique, blessed and precious stage of life. If you’re living it, have a laugh and enjoy it while you can, because chances are, one day someone will come along who will interfere with it!

Flying North for the Winter: Half Full

20130710_145039I think Jess and I will look back at this trip and laugh at the irony of escaping the cold to find ourselves in the rain. We’ll laugh about that, but mostly we’ll remember the good things, because experience has taught me that even the most horrible trips can get glorified over time.

And this one certainly wasn’t horrible. For three blessed days and four nights, I didn’t have to worry about being cold. Sure I always had a jacket, but for most of the time I could wander the streets in a t-shirt.

Cairns truly is a city in a garden. It’s a beautiful, vibrant melting-pot of cultures –  even in the rain. Wherever we went, restaurants, information centers or tourist sites, we were assisted by people from all over the world; English, German, French, Welsh, American and Asian.20130710_112504

We were tourists in our own country and the ‘locals’ were foreigners.

We rode in a gondola, high above a rainforest that inspired some of the scenes in Avatar, and shopped in hippie markets. We ate in a restaurant overlooking a rainforest and meandered in a heritage train past mountains and waterfalls and through tunnels carved out of stone.

20130710_144948We ate Turkish food and wandered the esplanade at night, following it up with some amazing gelati. We went horse riding through cane fields, chatted to people from all around Australia and the world, had a massage and shopped ‘til we dropped.

So really, it’s all about perspective.

You can read the ‘glass half empty’ version of our trip here: Flying North for the Winter: Half Empty

Flying North for the Winter: Half Empty

1338463_59722516I usually don’t travel during the school year because my health is too fragile to risk anything that could interfere with work. But this year, seeing photos of friends travelling through sunny Europe as I was sitting in South Australia feeling cold, I was itching to find somewhere warm to relax.

So I booked my trip to Cairns, imagining posting my own enviable facebook pics of blue skies, sun and ocean.

When we arrived it was raining and it hardly stopped. I think I got more rain in three days of Cairns’ ‘dry season’, than I’ve had all year in SA. We didn’t see a single beach and thoughts of going out to the Great Barrier Reef were squelched due to ‘unseasonably bad weather.’ On top of that, my body reminded me continually that I’m exhausted from the end of term and that CFS has stolen my right to be a good traveler.

I felt like a fool having bragged that I’d be posting photos of a gloriously enviable summer, and to rub salt in the wound, SA had unseasonably warm weather this week. While I was sitting in a wet cloud, they were having days of sunshine and blue skies, and some of my facebook friends actually posted pictures of themselves at the beach! In July!

As I sat on my bed on our final night, listening to the thunderous pelting of the rain on the tin roof, my phone chimed. I looked at the weather notification. “Warning: Cairns. Chance of showers.”

Because there are always two sides to a story, stay tuned for ‘Flying North for the Winter: Half Full.’

My Lucky Country

I was at the movies the other night to watch Gatsby with some girlfriends.

We were quietly chatting our way through the fifteen minutes of pre-movie ads, when this one came on. The conversation faltered as its magnetism drew us in. I made the comment that ‘there’s something about this ad that is just so me,’ and we watched in fascination as it unfolded. We tried to guess what it was for, and I got it: My state; my home.

I’ve always been proud to be Australian, and ads like this make me see why.

If you have a favourite ad from your country, city or state, I’d love to see it. Send me the link!

The Art of Enjoying Normality

Photo Credit: stock.xchng green grass

My year 12 students and I saw a play last week. It was called Random, by Debbie Tucker Green.

Afterwards as we debriefed, (they have to do an assignment on it of course – I know, we’re such killjoys) we discussed the way in which it deals with the supreme value of normality. This, as with many precious things, is not fully realised until it’s taken from us. Joni Mitchell got it right when she sang ‘Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.’

In the last few years I have purposed to try to live in such a way that I appreciate NOW those things that I am likely to appreciate later: being young, being single, freedom, travel, peace…
I am also learning to appreciate the little things. We live in a culture and a generation that seems to have subscribed to the idea that we could, quite possibly, die from boredom. I have learnt that, not only will it not kill me, but that I should find deep contentment in it.

On my overseas travels, I have been faced with countless scary times, way out of my comfort zone, when I longed to be sitting at home on my bed, bored. So when I find myself surrounded by silence and the monotony of normality, I try to remind myself that this is the grass that seems greener from the other side.