I think it has to be said that there is such a thing as over-contemplation. Most of the day I'm not thinking about how strange my life is, I'm just living it. But then I get home and I think about it, really think about it - and it seems like fiction.
Maybe this is a good thing. It works as a distancing mechanism, so I don't get easily depressed about being here. (No, I get depressed about inanely trivial things, it's the only way I cope.) But sometimes I think it's best not to think about it at all.
The store's going to be closed soon because the managers, who only started this year, are sick of coping with appalling accomodation. I don't know how long the store's going to be shut - hopefully not long. We're only fifty-five minutes away from the nearest town and a supermarket, but I can guarantee that not every family has a way of getting there. If things work the way they're supposed to, we'll see people helping each other out and the school will probably do all it can in the situation.
The supplies I ordered over three weeks ago haven't arrived yet. They're vital for my classroom. Coloured pencils, whiteboards, whiteboard markers, craft items. We had some coloured pencils at the beginning of the year, but my students chewed them, snapped them, took them home. We're down to very few. We have crayons. And we have textas. But we're frighteningly low on resources. If this was a school in Adelaide, I could go down to the local shop and buy some to bridge the gap, but I can't do that, because this is the middle of nowhere.
And I'm in one of the schools that's close to the 'outside world' as others call it. The thing is, it's not just a distance thing, because I get here in fifteen hours. Alice Springs is only four and a half hours away. It's not like we're on another continent, or out to sea. So I don't understand it - why it has to take so long to get any kind of support up here.
To be honest, my broadband being as awful as it is has really highlighted for me just how remote I am. Not having that easy, quick contact is hard --- I'm pretty sure I'd be a lot less well-adjusted had I not had broadband up here. I'd like to think I would have adapted, especially by now, but I also don't think I would have coped as well. Then again, sometimes, all I have to do is go out and stare at the sky - at the earth - and it's okay.
The new house across the road is complete and now blocks what had once been a stunning vista, but I don't mind. It's a tiny little thing, but it looks good. There's also a new wreck of a car next to my fence. Someone put a "110 kmh" sign on top of it. When I first saw it, I laughed. The guy driving me, someone else who works at the school, shook his head and said 'the bloody crap they [the anangu] put everywhere - makes you mad. I bet you that house will be trashed in a month.' It pissed me off.
It pissed me off the most because there was truth in what he was saying. (But he can be a narrow-minded arsehole.)
I think I'm learning a lot, but I don't know as yet just how useful any of it will ever be. One of the things about it is that you don't notice until you do reflect, and even then, it's easy to miss the true growth. So maybe I'm wrong, maybe this contemplation time I have is good for me after all.
I thought I'd open up the floor for anyone who wanted to ask me questions about teaching and living here, since I'm sure there are all kinds of things I haven't written on that you may be curious about. Don't be afraid to ask what you think are obvious or stupid questions, because there's no such thing.