Friday, 28 January 2011

Safe and Sound :)

Since I last wrote I am happy to report that all my family are safe from the floods in Australia.   Over twelve thousand homes have been flooded and I cannot imagine how awful it must feel to lose everything.  However, it is so much worse in Sri Lanka and Brazil where hundreds of people have died.  Although the floods are off the front pages here, they are still happening and the centre of the state of Victoria – my homestate – has become one very large lake.  It seems so recently that I was concerned for my family being caught up in the devastating bushfires of the summer two years ago.  One of my sisters had to evacuate three times, knowing that if the fires threatened her township the authorities had planned to let them burn so they could concentrate on saving the next town that they considered to be more strategically important.  It was only a very fortunate wind change that stopped her losing the home she and her husband had spent twenty years building.

Australia is such a land of extremes.  Everything is so big, rugged and raw.  At school we were taught the poem ‘My Country’ by Dorothea McKellar.  I could recall the first lines of the second verse which I had always remembered as the start of the poem.  It was only when I revisited it this week to write my blog that I realised there was a first verse.  I had never taken any notice of this one, but having now lived in England for over thirty years, these words really resonate for me.

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies -
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!
 ‘My Country, Dorothea McKellar, 1885–1968)

There are several more verses and I became quite homesick reading it, not helped by my Skype calls to sisters complaining of too much sun and too many hot days!

I have been back at college for two weeks now. I have passed my first course work and met with my tutor for my case discussion review.  We meet in groups of five students with one tutor and each week a student presents a transcript of a recent client session.  After it is read out with students taking the ‘parts’ of counsellor, client and narrator, the presenter remains silent while the rest of the group discuss the session in detail.  The presenter takes notes of the feedback then goes away and writes it up with his/her reflection.  S/he then returns the following week to present it.  It is a fantastic learning opportunity and I get as much out of my presentation as I do from the other students’.   I am enjoying my clinical work immensely and have completed 43 of my required 80 hours. It feels like the more I do the more I have to learn!  This week marks the halfway point of our course – I’m not sure that I mean it is all downhill from here though!  I am finding this year much tougher than I expected although I am really enjoying it.

After seeing five clients on a Thursday morning followed by an hour of personal counselling- an essential requirement of the course, I am thoroughly ready for my stained glass class in the evening. There all I have to worry about is getting the right stain colour, cutting the glass accurately and choosing which pub to have a relaxing pint in afterwards!

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