The December plan.

I finished off the blog post for November in private posts, as there are naturally things that I want to reflect on but don’t want anyone with an internet connection to read. A few will be in my professional portfolio regarding experiences at work.

Work is… Well, it’s coming up to Christmas, so you can probably guess what working in a major store is like, especially in the customer service area. I am thankful for those customers who come with a smile and a ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ – the ones that remember that you are a human being, too.

My plan for December involves reading, knitting and moving. Flan and I are moving from a tiny, one bedroom flat inside the ring road to a three bedroom house in a neighbouring village. The rent isn’t too expensive, but I have to admit that money is a bit tight given that we have to pay for a month of rent in our current flat (contract only ends Jan. 20th) and for the deposit. Oh, and let’s not forget the Christmas presents that need to be sent over to South Africa. But the overlapping rent will be worth it, as we will actually have space for a Christmas tree in the new place! (Especially as it’s unfurnished…and we don’t have a lot of furniture.)

A Christmas tree means Christmas decorations, of which we have none. I know Flan’s father is donating a few for our first Christmas in our own home. We don’t have enough money to waste on stocking up on enough decorations to make our tree look loved, so I’ll be attempting to knit a few. I’ve bought myself some cheap acrylic yarn in the standard Christmas colours (green, red, white, plus a bonus glittery black). I’ll be attempting stars, snowflakes and maybe an reindeer or elf.

I’ll also be trying to wind down from the bustle of work with a simple, reliable relaxation method – getting lost in a good book. Once upon a time, I was the child who could finish a 700-page Harry Potter book in one long 7-hour stretch. Then came high school, though I did manage to juggle homework and reading back then, as homework was a simple issue of finished/unfinished. When I started university, reading became difficult, as reading for pleasure wasn’t relaxing. It was riddled with guilt and worry. Shouldn’t I be studying? With occupational therapy, it’s not finished/unfinished, only don’t know/know a little/know a little more/etc. There’s no endpoint to the knowledge and understanding, and I never knew what was enough to do well in essays and exams. So I kept feeling like I should be studying, reading articles, writing reflections, etc. But now I feel like I should have some work/life balance and get back into reading for pleasure, not just learn learn learn. I do very much enjoy studying and learning new things, but if I binge, then I get exhausted and don’t feel like doing anything.

So I’m going to read this evening, and maybe I’ll even finish a book. Book of choice, What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang, as recommended by @kirtyes.

Another personal test – NaNoWriMo! Or should I do DigiWriMo instead?

An almost 11th hour blog post.

In 2 hours and 14 minutes, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) will kick off. I feel like giving it a better go this year than I’ve done in the past. Previously, I’ve given up after about three days because I’m a bit too much of a perfectionist to simply write 50,000 words in only 30 days. I think part of the problem was that I had to take an idea and keep it going throughout the month. My ideas sort of ran out of steam, or I just couldn’t figure out where to take them.

A slightly easier alternative, I think, is DigiWriMo, which is Digital Writing Month, also starting tomorrow. The aim of that is to write 50,000 words of online content, not one long novel. I could cover that in blog posts.

So what does everyone think? Bearing in mind that I will hopefully have a job interview to prepare for soon, as I applied for a paediatric band 5 post yesterday, and the OT lead told me interviews would be taking place in the third week of November.)

A look at culture through Greek mythology.

As part of the Coursera course I’m taking on Greek & Roman Mythology, I had to read Homer’s The Odyssey and Hesiod’s Theogony. I would really recommend that people read these, just to understand a bit more about the lives of humans millennia ago, and how some things haven’t actually changed. However, I would recommend reading with a group or doing a course like Coursera so that you can really get into the story and understand the different elements.

Anyway, I’d just like to briefly talk about a few thoughts that came to me through reading The Odyssey.

An appreciation of cultural differences

Odysseus is part of a culture that has certain beliefs and practices, including xenia, which is the practice of extreme hospitality. Through his journeys, he encounters other cultures, some of which are similar to his own, while some are very different (practicing cannibalism, for instance). However, he expects everyone to act like him when he encounters them. I’m sure that these people he met also expected him to act the same way as they did. Through Odysseus’ (and Homer’s) eyes, these differences make these people lesser.

Relating to the modern, globalised world we live in now, these kinds of expectations are still prevalent  though they really shouldn’t be. Ideally, people would tolerate each other’s differences, even welcome them (aside from cannibalism and anything else of the sort though). I, as an occupational therapist, can’t really expect someone from, say, a Catholic family to have the same values and behaviour as myself. In fact, I cannot expect an atheist British person (yes, this still embodies a number of different populations, but bear with me) to act like myself. It is simply not logical or moral to think – or worse, treat – someone as lesser because they don’t come from the same culture as you do.

Some things simply don’t change

One thing that I can’t really say too much on critically, but that amused me, was that even back then, mellenia ago, the ‘common’ people gossiped about the ‘nobles’. There are several instances in The Odyssey where nobles were afraid of what the “meaner” people would say about them. This lead me to thinking that, yes, this was written a long time ago, and we tend to think that we’ve changed so much over the ages, that we’ve evolved and developed. But this and other scenarios made me realise that, actually, we’re not that different from the people who lived thousands of years ago. Our technologies have developed and we’ve made incredible advances in science and knowledge, but we, as human beings, have not actually, fundamentally, changed all that much. People still talk about the royal family and celebrities today.

So there are my two little thoughts. I hope they spark some interesting introspection, and I repeat my recommendation to delve into some ancient literature!