This week has been quite productive. I am starting to work towards finishing my time in the programme so I am trying to fit as much as possible into the last four weeks while I can.
After group meeting on Monday morning I went to the Blind Foundation. They wanted to see if there was anything that they could help me with for next year. As I have everything sorted for myself though the meeting was very short. When I got back to Kickstart I went down to Countdown with Suzannah. No one had been available Monday morning to go shopping so they had asked me to shop online. It was the first time I had done it this term. I placed the order on Sunday so therefore did the entire thing independently. It went well and I found it easy, as expected. I had tried to get it delivered first thing Monday morning this time rather than on Tuesday like I used to. But by the time I placed the order the first delivery window had closed and I could only get it delivered between 1:00 and 4:00. As two of the students were cooking after lunch I needed to go to Countdown to pick up the ingredients that they needed for that day in case the delivery didn’t arrive until it was too late. Thankfully I had realised this issue before placing the order on Sunday. After talking it over with Jude we decided that I would have time to go to Countdown in the morning. That meant that I had to delete some of the things in the trolley last-minute and change the quantities of some items. I was slightly paranoid that I had made a mistake while doing this. There was only one thing that I ended up forgetting and it wasn’t anything major. We picked up the few things and then returned to Kickstart to work on the meeting minutes from that morning. After lunch I worked on my end of year evaluation and then I had a session with Jude. It was a productive session. We talked about how to apply for a flat, table etiquette, the Swish tournament I am organising and a few other bits and pieces. To finish off the day I went to the gym. I started at the gym by walking for twenty-five minutes. Then I decided to run to see how I went this time. I was able to run for five minutes without my knee hurting at all, which I was very happy about. After the five minutes I stopped though but I looked forward to trying to run for a longer time again on Tuesday. After hours the shopping arrived. Nearly everything was delivered that I ordered. They had rung me up earlier in the day to tell me about two products they didn’t have in stock. One of which was cat food which they simply replaced with a different flavour. The other was sausage meat which we couldn’t think of a substitute for so they simply left it out. Once I had unpacked and put away all of the shopping I realised that they had forgotten the icing sugar, which wasn’t a major.
Tuesday was a particularly productive day. I spent two hours in the morning working solidly on my end of year evaluation. I made great progress in the time which was a relief. Then I had time to cook another BBQ for everyone for lunch. Last time I had cooked a BBQ we ate it for lunch but still had a meal for dinner as well. This time we had decided to have the BBQ as our main meal for the day and then we would simply organise our own thing for dinner that night. As a result the girl who cooks on Tuesdays for the blue kitchen agreed to help me out. While I prepared the bread and cooked the sausages and onion on the BBQ she made two salads and mixed some cordial to drink. I remembered from last time to stab the sausages to begin with to allow the fat to come out. I set up the BBQ myself this time with Suzannah’s guidance including removing its cover, putting up the sides and connecting the gas bottle. I remembered how to light it too. Once the BBQ was hot enough I cooked the first eight sausages. While they were cooking I buttered some bread ready for lunch. Suzannah told me when they were ready and I transferred them over to the grill on the other side to keep them warm. Then I cooked the next eight. I felt really comfortable with the BBQ this time and feel that I would be able to cook on one in the future myself. Once the final four sausages were cooking I put the onion onto the plate as well. I had never cooked onion like this before. I had sliced them into rings. I pushed the centre of the onion to separate the rings when putting them on to cook. I found the onions quite hard to cook as I couldn’t feel them with the tongs. That meant that I couldn’t really tell where they were. Once they were ready I put the onions into a bowl. The only way I could tell when I had taken them all off was when the sizzling stopped. I was also, at times, able to see pieces of onion on the plate but I couldn’t rely on that vision. I then put the sausages and onion on the picnic table outside. By this stage others from the group had brought down plates and glasses to use. The salad appeared soon after with the drinks. We all sat outside and enjoyed a lovely lunch together. I loved the experience and certainly appreciated everyone’s input to make it run smoothly. Not only did everyone help to carry things downstairs but also to take them upstairs again once we had finished. I put most of the dishes in the dishwasher with the help of another student and then before we knew it everything was done. Then I went downstairs to clean and put away the BBQ. I remembered how to clean it from last time. I hadn’t put it away last time though so Kathi showed me how to put the sides back down, how to disconnect the gas bottle and then helped me to put the cover over it again. Kathi also helped me to roll it back into the shed. Then I spent an hour with Barbara discussing financial things including mortgages, hire purchase and more. I learnt a fair bit in the session including what easy finance is, what to look out for when getting something on hire purchase and some of the rights that you have when hiring something. It was a useful session and will help me to be more aware of things to look out for in the future. To finish off the day I went to the gym. This time I managed to run for ten minutes before I was tired. My knee didn’t hurt at all again so that made me extremely happy. I am a little disappointed although not surprised to realise how far backwards I have gone with my running since the end of last term. As Suzannah said though, it shouldn’t take me too long to get back to that stage. I am going to try my best to improve again in the time that I still have here at Kickstart.
Wednesday was another productive day for me. I began with more time to work on my end of year evaluation. I managed to finish it in that time. After that Suzannah and I were going into town. As I will be in New Zealand for the upcoming Victorian state election I needed to find a way that I could vote. After doing some research I discovered that I needed to go to the Australian Consulate-General’s office. When we got there we needed to go through a security check. Then the lady gave me my ballot papers. I filled in my preferences with Suzannah’s help and then we headed back to Kickstart. This was only the second election I have voted in. I found it an interesting experience voting overseas. In the federal election last year I was able to vote over the phone but they didn’t have that option for this one. Hopefully in the future they will always have phone voting available. It was a very posh building and Suzannah and I had fun trying to find our way around it. When I got back to Kickstart I ate a quick lunch. We had been timetabled in for a group O&M session in the afternoon but it had been cancelled. That left us with time to work on any bits and pieces that we needed to. After that I went to the gym. I only managed to run for five minutes this time but I felt good doing it. I wanted to get back to Kickstart to set up for our Swish training. It went quite well. We began by allocating teams for the tournament. I had Brailled the names of the five Kickstart students on pieces of paper that I put in a hat. Then each of the hostel students pulled a name out. I felt that that was the fairest way of choosing the teams. After that some of the teams were able to play together to practice. I am going to ask all of the Kickstart students to join us for our last session next week so that every team will hopefully be able to practice together. I also showed some of the students how to receive a serve as I had noticed they were often holding their bats on angles that meant they would most often miss the ball. Overall, I think it was a good session and I was feeling quite positive after it. Everyone played well and they all seemed to be improving since our first few sessions.
Thursday morning began with some more time to work on my evaluation. Seeing as I had finished it already I used the time instead to write this entry. Then we went to filming. This week I worked with the other Kickstart students to do some more of the writing. I volunteered to be the narrator for the film this term. As no one else volunteered for that role I got the job. As I am only going to be at one more session though I organised with Hank to record my lines at home and email them to him. I am glad that I am still able to be a part of the film after missing a few sessions this term. This week Hank also handed out a DVD of last term’s film. I watched it when I got back to Kickstart. I thought it was great and I was impressed. The video has also been uploaded to Youtube so I will include the link later in this entry. After lunch I had some time to mow the lawns again. I had been looking forward to this. Last time we spent the majority of the session talking about the mower itself so I only got the chance to mow a small patch of the lawn. I remembered most of what I was taught last time including how to make the mower either lower or higher and how to start it. I mowed most of the backyard and only missed a couple of patches here and there. At first I mowed without anything to guide me but then we trialed having stakes in the ground with some string going between them. I was able to follow the string with one hand while pushing the mower with the other. It helped keep me straight. As I went Jude moved the stakes for me so that I could cover the whole backyard. I emptied the mower three or four times as I went. I was surprised to see how quickly it filled up. Following the string worked quite well. I was proud of my effort. Then the other student who usually mows the lawns took over to finish off for me. In the future I will probably still ask someone to mow my lawns for me but at least I have had a good go at it for myself now. I really do appreciate that Kickstart gives us the opportunity to try things like this. To finish off the day we had a group session. I am going to Melbourne for the weekend leaving Friday night and returning Monday night. As a result I have had to be very organised this week and think ahead. I needed to make sure my menus were in the iPad so the shoppers for next week can write the list, make sure my end of year evaluation was handed in before I left as the due date is Monday and I won’t be here and so on. This has meant that I have been fairly busy throughout the week, especially after hours, but the weekend at home will definitely be worth it. One part of being organised was that I needed to cook the meal for my kitchen on Saturday in advance. I didn’t have any timetabled time for this as I usually cook on weekends so I cooked it after hours on Thursday and put it in the fridge for them. I will be able to leave on Friday knowing that all the jobs I needed to do are done for the weekend.
Friday’s outing was made up of two parts. First of all we were going jet boating. We had tried to go jet boating earlier in the year but the boat had some mechanical issues so the outing was postponed. I had been jet boating myself once before and really enjoyed it so I had been looking forward to this. It was definitely not a let down. After we all got dressed up in our wet weather jackets and life jackets we climbed on the boat. I was sitting in the front on the very right outside edge. I got quite wet which I loved. We did several 360 degree spins which made huge splashes of water come into the boat. I also loved going up and down over the waves while we were moving fast. It was exhilarating and a lot of fun. As usual, we laughed screamed and yahooed the whole time. While we were out in the harbour the skipper told us a lot of interesting facts. A couple that I found particularly memorable is that luxury boats and ships average out to cost about one million dollars per metre. I also learnt that the population of Auckland is 1.5 million people, approximately 47% of these people own a boat of some sort. After jet boating we drove to St Luke’s mall where we had lunch. Then we went to self defence. We had the first of two sessions of self defence last term but a miscommunication meant that our second one also had to be postponed. We covered some of what he had learnt in our last session which refreshed our memories before moving onto some new things. I was very relieved that we didn’t do too many violent things this time like we had last time, including gripping and squeezing the windpipe. We covered a lot in the session which became a little jumbled in my head because of the huge amount of new information he was giving us. After self defence we headed back to Kickstart and I began getting ready to leave for the airport.
Here is the link to the video on Youtube that we put together last term at filming: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqQp8H25ayM
Until next time.