Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What we've been doing!


These are the Monbulk Host students with their Japanese exchange students. I wouldn't normally put a photo like this on the 'net but everyone is so blurry and far away anonymity is assured!

We've had twelve days with our exchange student and we've done some good, but generallys peaking low-key things. The first couple of days it was really hot and the girlchild and Emi went to the local pool and to Chelsea beach. We've kind of discovered Chelsea because one of The Accountant's friend's is in a bluegrass band that plays there on Sundays. We go and sit on the verandah and gossip and the kids brave the water. There was no braving last week, however, it was so hot that the water was a necessity!

We also took Emi to Gembrook market, Olinda and Sassafrass, Sherbrook forest (where I saw two lyrebirds but Emi possibly didn't even see one - how do you say groundbird in Japanese??? I did my best...), Emerald Lake Park and - probably the hit of the visit - across the road to the Neighbour's house where she got to feed a possum and see plenty coming down from the roof to feast on chopped up apples.

It seemed an awfully short time for them to be here, particularly compared to Angi's stay last year. But apparently they are completely hampered by the Japanese school year. It's a shame because if she'd been here for an extra week we could have all gone to Kyneton where she would undoubtedly have seen wallabies, if not echidnas.

It's exciting to be on holidays - I haven't done a scrap of work - actually, that's not true - I was in at Box Hill for about four or five hours today working! But I haven't done much writing. This will change of course. A reduced combo of us go to Kyneton on Friday and I'll work there.

Got Lorrie Moore's Birds of America in the post today and read most of it to-ing and fro-ing from Belgrave to Box Hill. They are such good short stories - really deft. They actually make you itch to write.

But my reading matter this hols is Marcus Zusak's The Book Thief. I bought this for the boychild, who couldn't put it down. I've been meaning to read it ever since but didn't take it on camp because I couldn't find it in time and haven't had a chance since. This holidays, though, it gets plonked firmly in my bag.

I may also take Aidan Chambers, This is All - even though I took it to camp and bought Ladies Auxilary secondhand Georgette Heyers instead. I couldn't believe in the main character after the tampon scene. Just couldn't. Liked other stuff - like the white horse - but the tampon scene? Come on! It's like watch out, I'm going to shock you!except that it just isn't believable when you put it all together.

I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I want to love it. I love the structure, form and genre of the novel. I love the author and his style/s. I love the original Pillow Book underpinning this novel & providing a journal-esque structure.

I just don't believe in the main character.

Maybe I'll throw in some Heyer as well...
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Chris Fryer said...

It's great to hear about what you've been doing with your Japanese exchange student. Last year I made a web site for an organisation that brings children from the Chernobyl area to Melbourne once a year.

I have finally decided to add your blog to my blogroll.

It's good to hear that some adults do enjoy the school holidays. Today my brother and I had to undergo the misery of babysitting, not that you can call a 11-year-old and a 13 year old babies. I have always felt that I was in touch with my inner child, but today just left me feeling like a nasty grumpy old fart. Have you got any tips for controlling kids of this age?

Cattyrox said...

Hi Chris,
bribery and corruption! If you're quiet for half an hour, we'll make chocolate muffins, go the movies, read a book together....Failing all that let 'em loose in a shopping centre with a mobile phone, a map and tweny dollars and tell them you'll meet them in Borders or the bookshop of your choice in three hours. Always works for me!