…. not someone I’d expected to meet in Phnom Penh, but it’s amazing who you meet walking up the river and I always thought that she had a very interesting personality. We sat and watched the sun go down, chatted about this and that and found we had a lot in common, philosophy of life – you know … stuff like that… She really has a great mind.
- michelle in pp
At least I think that’s the appropriate Californian expression. Now come on, would you have read this post if it had been titled ‘more of the same?’
Unfortunately, it’s back to reality and a slowing pace: two major projects (in which I played only a minor role) – the new Curriculum Policy and the new Child Friendly Schools Policy (and the associated plans) – are now completed and have gone forward to the Minister for approval. I now realise that the pace will slow between now and my finish date… I am unlikely to take on any big new projects at this stage. There still is work to do: I still have to complete work on the staff development DVD; I am helping plan the VSO conference in March; I have to keep moving Primary English language policy along and there are always further smaller tasks in the DCD office to keep me busy. I also am working to support a local NGO which is campaigning for more freedom of information and more democracy in local areas – they wanted some assistance in improving their monitoring and evaluation framework and I agreed to help. I went out to see them this morning in their office and was very impressed both with their work and with their sophisticated understanding of the problems associated with evaluating the impact of their work. These are ‘bits and pieces’, varying in the extent to which they seem worthwhile, but overall it doesn’t feel like a ‘job’, so I need to change my mindset and pull them positively together in my head or the next two months will begin to drag.
Lunchtimes have picked up since I discovered the local sports club. I overdid a bit on my shoulder muscles last week, realising how feeble I have become since the dislocation the summer before last. Anyway, it’s great to have the exercise. While cycling/stretching/heaving away I am listnening to an audio book, the Chocolate Wars by Deborah Cadbury. While the general history is towards the ‘ladybird’ end of the spectrum, there’s great insight into the Quaker families who successfully developed the British chocolate industry.
I’ve also been working my way through The Wire. I’m now on to the fourth series, which includes vignettes of life inside a Baltimore middle school. I have a stack of bedtime reading books on the shelf, but so far the DVDs win out. On their own, any of the sub-plots and sub-cultures (drugs lords, police on the street, city politics, school life) isn’t strong enough or accurate enough to carry a show, but spliced together they support each other and somehow it works. I mean, have you ever seen a portrayal of the ‘urban classroom’ that was realistic? Try this one for size: