Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Settling in...

Living on a small college campus is SO interesting! We have work routines, of course, working 8AM to 5PM, but there’s a built-in social system, living in “the same neighborhood” as the other staff. And then, there’s the element of enjoying “the bush”, the wooded 28 acres of the campus.

On Mondays, we often have a staff meeting to bring everyone up-to-date with classes, IT concerns, accreditation processes, and other information.
Also on Mondays, sometime during the work day, I slip out and walk down the road to help Jacque Allder (the college principal’s wife) prepare the food and their home for “evening tea” (supper) with all the students and faculty and residents. She always has music playing and, as we chat, we chop and stir and cook together before moving dining room chairs and setting out plates, cups, and cutlery.  She’s a teacher’s aide and has Mondays off. I’m learning lots about Aussie life and their pastoring life.  While they would probably deny it, the Allders are extraordinary people, generous and caring – and we’re truly enjoying their friendship!

One or 2 days a week, I get to help Andrée, the French-Canadian librarian who’s been in Australia for more than a decade, with data entry of journal articles into the digital reference library. It’s interesting work since I enjoy data entry and, while I don’t read the articles, I find the article summaries fascinating. Most of the concerns in the church are the same worldwide!

Tuesday mornings, we have a chapel service led by a staff member or graduate student, preceded by morning tea with snacks (cake, cookies). Each leader uses a different format and a different focus, so it’s always a thought-provoking experience.

Although Dan’s work time is sometimes dictated by a project that’s urgent, or by the availability of a fellow IT worker in another part of the world, we try to walk the campus most afternoons before dinner. We always enjoy walking in the bush (the wooded part of campus and, yes, we stay on the path) and, so far, we haven’t seen any snakes but we almost always see some wallabies.  Wallabies are incredibly cute, gray with dark-tipped ears and nose and paws, always alert to our movements while bending over to eat grass.  The librarian lives near the back of the property and puts out bread for the wallabies; sometimes she can attract 10 or more at a time!

An English language school is also part of this college.  Sandra, our instructor, teaches Korean students who come for a month or more and live in the dorm. She also, with a part-time instructor, hosts a group of Korean students who come for English and touring for a month each year in June or July.

On Fridays, the instructors have a “research day”, which means they’re studying either at another college or another university library, or they are not-to-be-disturbed in their own offices here.  It’s a very quiet day for the rest of us, and we get to close the office 1 hour early!

We have not served in a academic setting before and are enjoying becoming a part of all its aspects.

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