Thursday, February 24, 2011

Axe Update

The phone calls and messages keep pouring in for my family in New Zealand. They seem to be coping well and although they still have very limited water supply and no sewerage they are a lot better off than many. I am listening to the local radio via Internet but we still feel so far away! Thank you for all your kind thoughts.
I apologise for leaving some of you hanging yesterday regarding my son's axe incident... I'll go back a few days to Sunday and start at the start. My husband has recently invested in a couple of very good axes and Sunday we got another big load of wood which needed to be chopped and so we were going to spend the whole day chopping away and hopefully filling up the wood shed ready for next year. My 8 year old son really enjoys chopping the smaller pieces of wood with the smaller axe and had cut quite a lot and was singing to himself and then..... "I've cut my foot, the axe is in my foot, help!" And indeed he had cut his foot, with the nice new sharp axe.
When I was in university I studied anatomy and once a week we went to the "laboratory" and were given different body parts to poke and prod and analyze how they moved etc. It was a little off putting initially, but when you got used to it it was actually quite fascinating. On Sunday I found myself back in the lab looking inside my son's foot and seeing that although he had split the skin clean open on the top of the foot he had JUST managed to miss the tendons, bones etc. They were very clearly visible, but in one piece. Fortunately there is not a lot of blood flow on the top of your foot so I managed to bandage it up and then we set about trying to find a hospital that would deal with the injury on a Sunday morning... not an easy task! All the hospitals in the 3 cities that adjourn us refused on the grounds that they didn't feel confident dealing with injuries (yes, they are hospitals....) and finally we called the fire brigade (which also doubles as the ambulance service) and after about half an hour they managed to find a hospital a couple of towns over that would at least take a look at it.
I must say that my son was incredible brave and although it only needed 4 stitches in the end he didn't cry after the initial act...... and even watched as they did the stitching up. He seems to be mending quickly and hopefully will have the stitches out in a week or so. The best thing about having children in a foreign country is that you get to learn a lot of vocabulary that you would otherwise never need! Gotta find a bright side of everything......

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Quick report

Just a very quick message before I get myself some tea.... thank you for all the phone calls, messages etc. regarding the big earthquake in New Zealand today. I must have had close to 20 phone calls today from people worried about my family - the latest was my daughter's teacher.
A lot of my family live in the city where it hit hardest, Christchurch, but all seem to be okay. Very shaken, but okay. Unfortunately I had to work this afternoon/evening so I haven't been in direct contact with them, but it sounds like it was an absolutely horrific experience and they are still experiencing many more aftershocks. My heart really goes out to those who have still not been able to make contact with those in the area (living this far away really makes it difficult some times...) and of course to those who have not been as fortunate as my family. There is so much that needs to be done over the next few days/weeks/months. It definitely puts our daily goings on like children putting axes into their feet into perspective (more on that another day!).
Thank you again for all your support.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Roadside friends

Because I work at a zillion different places I have to drive a lot. I get so used to the roads that I sometimes find myself at my destination without actually knowing how I got there - my brain just seems to guide me there while I am thinking about other things. There is one road in particular that I have to go on at least twice a day and sometimes up to six times a day so I am usually in autopilot mode. The other day there were roadworks on this road (something very common around here near the end of the financial year... gotta use up the budget or lose it!) and I was stopped beside these little friends on the side of the road. I must have driven past them a zillion times, but have never seen them before. I managed to whip out and get a photo of them in all their winter glory and with their selection of drinks opened and even poured into their glasses... if you look closely at the closeup photo you will see the glass of beer. I can imagine that if this was in New Zealand the local teenagers would be there in a flash ready to empty the glass!
Perhaps I will try opening my eyes a little more and maybe I'll discover a few more little friends around the place.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


I teach one class that follows a textbook and this week we were studying about asking for different things at breakfast when you are at a home stay. First I started by getting them to say anything that came to mind when I said the word "breakfast" and they came up with the standard Japanese answers - rice, miso soup, egg roll, fish, toast, milk etc. I then showed them the typical words that came up when I googled American breakfasts - donuts, waffles, pancakes, toast, cereal, bacon, fried eggs etc. We talked a bit about how most people in in New Zealand just get their own breakfast as opposed to the Japanese way of the mother getting up early and making breakfast for everyone. We talked about the fact that a lot of breakfast foods in America and New Zealand are sweet compared to salty Japanese pickles, fish etc.
The next day my son proved that he is not really Japanese and has a good dose of kiwi blood in him when he ate his piece of toast (that he had made for himself) covered in strawberry jam and then decided he was still hungry and needed some dessert... for breakfast. So he chose to eat an entire pavlova. Granted it was a small pavlova, but he ate the whole thing and no one in our family thought it was a particularly strange thing to do. Perhaps my husband also has more kiwi blood in him that I thought!