Friday, November 25, 2005

Lingual pendula

After the hurlyburly of autoclashes and insurance, it is easy to forget that I have a Japanese test to attend to on the 4th of December. Until recently I was dreading it, knowing that since the completion of the Prep course earlier this year, my Japanese had somewhat sunk from prominence.

Suddenly though, I have re-captured my lingual happy thought, also encouraged by the possibility of my dream job and now are burning through a lot of listening material, reading everything in Nihongo, absorbing hundreds of words daily and revitalising my skills.

Tuesday had a good sign. I went to a Chinese vegetarian restaurant and accidentally said 'Arigatoo' to the serving Chinese waitress. She knew I spoke Chinese and she knew I knew she was Chinese and what's more knew that I knew Chinese - but she just walked off thinking I she had misheard me (I assume).

My language exchanges are paying dividends too. But I cannot help but get the feeling my listening skill in particular will not be up to the mark. I am quite able to learn huge quantities of information and do a lot of work in a short space of time, but improving a skill area in a short time is not easy. But I have a strategy in place that I will be following to its conclusion.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Fault lines

Strange times are sometimes the most educational. On my way to an interview on Wednesday morning, I got a call from the guy I collided into. Despite me thinking that all those worries were over, a new chapter began.

He had gone to pick up his car, but suddenly found that he had to pay the excess to get his car back. Apparently if the excess was not paid, the person who is getting repairs courtesy of the insurance company must pay the excess for their repairs. Needing his car immediately, he got the money together and paid it to get the car out.
Yes, I hadn't paid the excess, but I neither did I know that not paying the excess soon enough would cause the other person to be put out.

So he urged me to pay the excess so he could be refunded the money. So not knowing exactly where the nearest place to pay I called the insurance company. After some dilly-dallying, I was put through to another guy who was on his game. He said that despite my misleading indication causing the crash, it was not, according to the Road Code, my fault. I was on the main road and hence I still had the right to change my mind, and him being in a side road should have reacted with a bit more care.

In other words, AA will contest who is at fault with Fintel, in a duel to see who has to pay for the repairs. If it turns out that he is at fault then our repairs will be paid for (!).

Of course this doubles as an ethical problem: The other guy is now out of pocket for my fault (regardless of what the Road Code says) and had to borrow from his father just to get his car back. So I called him with the bad news that the insurance won't be forthcoming immediately, and also made a verbal agreement that I would forward him the money that he had to pay for the excess with the agreement that if the case comes to pass that it becomes his 'fault' then he would send the money back to me.

Xin raised the spectre of suspicion that he could deny the agreement and pocket the money. I do have some evidence, texts and my back account statement to prove that I have done that so if it hypothetically leads to a civil case, I have something. But he has been very understanding despite the circumstances and I believe a little trust is in order.

If it was the case that he was at 'fault', I don't really mind him keeping the excess as it was my fault anyway. But we'll see which way the cookie crumbles.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Nga piki me nga heke

This really was the week that was. It was the most action packed week of mixed fortunes that I have had for some time. It started off on a high, everything was going well and I had well resurrected my job seeking fortunes.

Monday came and a golden call arrived declaring that I was still on the road for my dream job - the linguist analyst position with an interview in early December. Monday was also a day of action in that I started my preparation for an AIESEC event - which I ambitiously asserted my participation upon, deciding to do my first whaikorero (speech at a powhiri, maori lesson, culture session and teaching of Maori songs and the stick game, ti rakau).

Tuesday ushered in frenetic preparation for my paid work and then productive language exchange.

Wednesday was the breaking point. I through together the last of my lesson preparation and then threw myself into a job interview for the National Library. At first this position sounded promising, but then I realised that it was more or less a grunt job. I will have to make a decision whether I will use it as an interim job, and one that will get me a lot fitter, or whether I retain the status quo - provided of course I am selected for the job. I am rather overqualified.
But it was still the breaking point - upon returning from the interview I drove along Manukau Rd in search of capsicums and coriander, instead I indicated one way, changed my mind and drove into a four-wheel drive. Zu, the brave vehicle he is, went for the low blow, slipping under the ribs of the bull-bars and leaving a deep impression on his stunned combatant. We certainly did get him better than he got us. Unfortunately with the 3rd party insurance and being obviously at fault, it was me who became a cropper. Repair bills are depressing and will wipe out a month or two of my savings. From that crash on, I have been a mess.

Thursday and Friday were normal, crazily busy work days with the spice of chess, language exchange and 24. And another primary school job interview arranged!

Saturday was taken up with the AIESEC event. I seemed to be a one-man show for a large part of the time I was there. I was a little disappointed by the amount of preparation that was done before it by the organisers - I think there were a lot of lessons learnt. The time had obviously caught them out. I was the only external 'facilitator'. I took care of the powhiri - my speech rocked and I surprised the hosts with the fact that I could speak more than basic maori. And I had prepared everyone with two maori songs. My session explaining the powhiri went well, so did the culture one, the stick game one and the Maori lesson. I learnt a few things too. I learnt the actions to the haka (again), the words to Ten Guitars and most importantly to me, had my public outing in Maori. I had missed many opportunities last year due to my hesitation and am satisfied that I nailed my opportunities here. A local kaumatua even quizzed me and was a little disturbed that I could name all the main tribes in different locations.

Sunday was the fitting come down with a nice slow day before brunch with my mum and sister for their respective birthdays.

I don't need any more weeks like this frankly. My japanese preparation has suffered and I had better hope for two weeks of rather effective study or else my goose will be cooked again at level two.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I got a call last night saying I had a job interview in Wellington for the linguist analyst job. Wow! What's more, they will buy my plane ticket! Apparently it is a long application process for this particular job but I will give it a shot. It might be fun.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Progress and Change

My luck has turned a little for the better lately.

My injured foot has finally healed enough to walk distances without pain. This is a major mobility boost for me as I had been refraining from any walk longer than 5 minutes to give it the time to heal properly. Today I visited the spot where I believe I sprained it - and noted this time a "No Exit" sign next to the entrance to the driveway. I cannot know how I had missed it that night, but it was a sign that reflects so maybe it was not that visible. Also, I might have only glanced up, while watching my step. I have the goal of going on a big walk over the New Year or thereabouts to really test it. And then maybe getting into running within the first half of next year. I have also made moves to diversify my fitness. It is sad that my body is only really a walking machine with little upper body strength, agility or flexibility.

On the employment front, I have more or less decided to abandon my company project as a main source of work and re-started my job search. Lately, I have been losing my working hours due to the efficacy of my teaching: I was graduating off my students as they reached their goals! This is not a bad thing of course, as if they were not achieving their goals, it would be questionable if I were the man for the job. There is also no more students, beyond those I am teaching, that require teaching at F&P, the only growth area for me is... teaching Chinese! If I am still at F&P next year, I will teach another manager there from scratch.

The alternative side to all this is that I have several applications out there for new jobs - a librarian, a linguist analyst and... four for primary schools. I will have an interview for the librarian position this week. After the draining of finance in the last two years (two foreign trips, one year of study without work, and one marginal year of employment)

My personal life is blissful right now and I can only reflect how lucky I am - but the professional and financial side of my life must be the area to correct for me to feel any satisfaction with where I am going and that is my two month goal until the end of the year. Only when I achieve it can any real further goals be made.