It's been a long, difficult year at school and all the Staff think so at school. Worst thing was seven of my Year 9s getting suspended in the last few days. They are like my own special kids at school (I am apparently the only teacher that likes their class) and I'm so sad that they have gotten into trouble. Thing is though, for every bad kid in the group, you can pinpoint the background that has contributed to it, whether it's a PTSD situation from abuse, a parent in jail, a sister who recently died, it's all been too much for them as a group. And I know that's not necessarily an excuse, I had one of those situations in my own home and I never did anything wrong, but it just depends on how loved and cared for these children are. As soon as even just one parent fails to show that unconditional love (and children just need one parent to do this), the child suffers.
There has been such beauty in my world all the same. Christchurch was lovely. I spent three days down there on a conference and it was good to be away, just doing what had to be done there and nothing else. Sleeping quietly in my own little room. No housework! But surprising how quickly you get sick of lining up for smorgasbord. I lined up all during the conference, then at the Year 13 Leavers' dinner, then at the Staff end of year dinner... but at least I have food to eat. I really shouldn't complain. I was invited to a lovely lunch on Friday at one of the senior teacher's houses. Isn't watermelon and feta (with a dash of mint leaves) nice together, even though it sounds kind of gross! You must try it.
The tuis are brilliant this spring. They are quadrupling in numbers around Wellington and the other day there was one in our garden! I was so excited. I love them. Their noisy clacking, their liquid whistles, their cheeky beaks and white tufts at their throat, they're amazing.
And now it's nearly 1 am, my first chance to update in forever, but I really need to go to bed! So much to do over the next few days. I have five girls on a leadership camp in Paraparaumu and I'll have to go check on them a few times over the next few days. It's about 40 minutes drive out there so it's a bit of a trek. I hope they have a good time. They were very nervous out there this morning. I stopped at J'ville on the way back and did a bit of Christmas window shopping, bought a coffee, just chilled for half an hour. At least going to Paraparaumu you drive along the coast the whole way. The sea was rough today, brown with runoff from the hills, white flecked waves rolling in, Mana Island misty in the distance, and Kapiti Island invisible. I saw in the Deaths column yesterday the passing of a man called Mike Meads. He had come out to Mana Island with us one time, and while we slept he would be out in the bush tracking the nocturnal insects. One morning at breakfast he reached into a cloth bag and pulled out a Giant Weta. It was fat and creamy and quite different from the usual wetas, but still *shudder* pretty gross. He wanted me to hold it but no way! I am sorry he has died, it looks like it was a hard struggle.
It's good to cruise beside the sea though. It's kind of levelling (excuse my pun), to be at sea level, to be right there at the edge of a vast sea that reaches around the world to all of you. I feel connected with the world when I'm on the coast. And I've been a bit down lately so I think that kind of connection is good.
And so to bed. Have a good day. I have been reading a harrowing tale of a girl from Sierra Leone who lost her hands, followed by the story of the girl who was hit by napalm in Viet Nam, and now I'm onto a woman who broke out of the Mormon church. Fun reading, but once I am not so tired, I'm going to do some writing. I can't stop that. And I am looking forward to that.