It's all a journey..
21.5.16 - 22.6.16 0 °C
Back by Popular Demand!!
I don't know about most of you, but we have really missed our blog.. Not on a 'we must consider our loyal followers' basis but more on a 'we really need to keep looking at life through our travelling light spectacles' basis!! So, how have we gone?
Not JUST Appointments...
It's quite hard really to sit down and focus on our journey since we arrived back on Australian shores. It's been several weeks and, even though we haven't moved very far at all (a few trips over to the other side of town to enjoy our dear Teddy & Isabelle would have to be the furtherest), we have travelled a very long way with appointments. We will not go on about those appointments but it's amazing how, just like aging cars, the human body, after nearly 8 weeks on the run, needs a bit of a tune up. We think in the first week back, we may have broken a world record on the number of different Health Care Professionals we saw between us and the pets! Suffice to say, any hope of having a healthy bank balance to gloat over was severely dashed!
A little aside for those who like the gruesome details! (Please feel free to miss this paragraph if medical issues are not your thing!)
Jen's physical manifestation of her anxiety strangely reared its head again very soon after our arrival home.. Old habits die hard. She is working on the concept of 'travelling lightly' even though we have had quite a few issues to resolve and things to work out already.
Eil's teeth have been the subject of many embarrassing & hilarious moments (the best has to be the Straddie big wave event when her plate & her sunglasses disappeared into the surf, never to be recovered!) Only two teeth lost their fillings on the trip and, only one of them needs a crown.. How fortunate!!
Some of you will know that, contrary to all appearances, Eil has both Glaucoma and Macular Degeneration. When the Eye Specialist peered into her eyes a couple of weeks ago, he decided Laser surgery was the way forward to reduce the pressure in both eyes (rather than continuing on with the drops !! (Ca-Ching, Ca-Ching went the cash register!) If you like pain & discomfort, this is the surgery for you... Having a foreign object placed in your eye so you can't blink, followed by many excruciating laser beams being drilled into your poor, defenceless eye is not for the feint hearted! The aftermath was not quite as bad as the Specialist described ('be prepared with strong pain killers as you'll find it feels like someone is poking you in the eye for a few days!') The truth is, Eil simultaneously contracted a rather nasty cold, so it was hard to decide what was worse: the pain of a miserable virus or the throb of a laser end eye. (We warned you there would be gruesome details!!)
Life.. What does it all mean??.
You will all be aware that the France & Italy Trip was our Retirement Extravanganza. We left 4 days after 'pulling the plug' on our long and wonderful careers. Eil started teaching in 1971 after an intense two years at Kedron Park Teacher's College and, with a few years out of the profession doing other wonderful things, can say she stood in front of classes (mainly as a Teacher Librarian) on & off for about 36 years. Jen started her teaching career at the wonderful Wondall Heights State School in 1980 and kept on inspiring students to excellence for exactly the same number of years.
If you were to ask Eil what the best part was: 'the children, it's always been about the children.. Their innocence, their sense of wonder, their unbridled joy, ... The chance to mold their world into something worthwhile & inspiring.. The chance to pass onto them the wonder of reading..'
If you were to ask Jen what the best part was: 'Every day was different.. I loved the creativity of it.. the personal contact with great kids... building on their minds and having them achieve great things. I liked a lot of things about teaching.'
But now... The next part..
Those of you who have followed Eil's life journey will be as aware as she is, that semi-retirement has been her 'thing' for quite a number of years. In actual fact, she has not taught full-time for any extended period of time since 2003!! This has done wonders for preparing her for what it means to 'be retired'!! Her philosophy of life has always been.. Keep a balance... 4 legs of a chair.. Physical, Social, Mental & Spiritual (Actually, a 'five-legged chair' would be more realistic.. including Caring.) All aspects need to be nurtured for a well-rounded life. This is not an easy balance to maintain but that's been her plan.
Jen's trajectory in the last ten years has taken her from a singing, dancing, band leading, soccer coaching, multi-age level extraordinary primary teacher to a secondary teacher of all things IT (as well as an astonishing part-time career in Photography). Jen's philosophy of life has always been.. Perfection is our goal, excellence will be tolerated! (a very knowing students gave her a mug with that saying on it and it sums her up very well.
It's about your VALUES..
We have had a chance to formally evaluate our deepest desires and how we want to behave as human beings largely because we have both read "So You Think You are Ready to Retire by Barry Lavalley. Our dear friends, Beck & Donna, went to a QTMB Retirement Seminar while we were overseas and were given a copy. It is an excellent and thought-provoking read. We'd give you a lend of ours except it is now dog-eared and underlined!! His premise is that you need to know how you behave or act before you can then decide what your goals should be and what you are going to fill your life with.
Having been educators all our lives, we understand the importance and the joy of reading. We always enjoy hearing what other people are reading so
here's what is capturing our minds and hearts at the moment:
Jen: "Gut: the inside story of our body's most under-rated organ" by Giulia Enders. She is finding out that there is more to the saying 'gut instinct' than you think!!
Eil: :"Finding Grace" Anthony Doerr's first book published in 2005. (He wrote the deeply moving "All the Light We cannot See"). So far it has mesmerised her with his keen and insightful view of the human condition.
Both: Anything written by Richard Rohr (a Franciscan Father with a heart for God and a gift for explaining how to light the path for the journey.)
For those holding their breath to see more of our thousands of photos from our trip (seems like ages ago now), Jen reports that she is 'onto it'!!
A small sample:
This is about where we are at in our amazing adventure... bet you can't wait for the next exciting installment!