What now for Manus?

Urrrrgh.

I bloody hate this situation.

I’ve made phone-calls, including to Peter Dutton MP (Minister for Immigration and Border Protection). I’ve also sent an email to my local member, Bill Shorten MP (Opposition Leader) and Shayne Neumann MP (Shadow Minister for Immigration).

See that below. This sickens me…. and I feel so hopeless and helpless about it.

Check out the statement from Shadow Minister for Immigration here:  http://shayneneumann.com.au/news/immigration-and-border-protection/former-manus-island-regional-processing-centre/ A lot more mealy-mouthed than I’d hoped for. Luckily I saw it when looking up his contact details and could address the icky bits in my email (they’re the bits in red). In the email, when I speak of the “current situation” I’m referring to the situation today. The angle I took was influenced by a phone-chat I had with a staffer from Shayne Neumann’s office.

 

Dear Mr David Feeney MP, Mr Shayne Neumann MP and Mr Bill Shorten MP,

My name is Clare Keogh and I am a young university student living in [suburb], Victoria. I am deeply concerned about the situation on Manus Island that has been unfolding for several weeks and escalated today. I am also keeping the people detained on Nauru in my thoughts, as they should not be forgotten either.
I know that the current situation is not Labor’s doing and that the centres, when Labor restarted them, was intended to be used for regional processing rather than indefinite detention. 
 
However, the fact remains that the current situation is not the responsibility of PNG but of Australia. There have been reports of AFP involvement in today’s crisis on Nauru, after all. 
 
By what right are the men’s phones being seized? By what right are their few belongings being taken and destroyed? By what right have their only means of getting water and shelter been destroyed? By what right has their access to even the most basic medical aid and food been removed? Why has Behrouz Boochani been arrested?
 
I understand that, as you are in Opposition, it makes it harder to make concrete change. But you and your colleagues should speak up about the situation still. Perhaps you are advocating for them behind closed doors. Can you explain, concretely, how? 
 
I am particularly concerned by some of the information that has been presented in the statement produced by Mr Neumann an hour ago: 
 

The situation at the closed Manus Island RPC could have been avoided if Malcolm Turnbull was clear from the start about refugees’ access to essential services at the alternative accommodation in PNG.

Turnbull has a moral obligation to work with PNG to deescalate tensions and guarantee the ongoing safety and security of these people.

Labor accepts that the former Manus Island RPC has closed as the result of a decision of the Supreme Court of PNG.

The men at the closed centre need to relocate to alternative accommodation – such as East Lorengau – to access security, health and welfare services.

Footage and reports from advocates who have visited the East Lorengau site make clear that the “alternative accommodation” at East Lorengau is not ready. No water, toilets, or showers. No power. Inadequate shelter for the tropical conditions. No security and no safety. The locals do not want them there. After all, Manus Island is a tiny part of PNG, with scarce resources for the local population.
 
Has anyone from Labor attempted to go and see conditions for themselves? Where has this idea that the offered alternative accommodation is acceptable come from? Why is the onus on the men to move there, rather than the violence to stop? The men have been asking us to listen to them about this. Why are you ignoring their voices? 
 
 
Nauru is also a small place that is struggling to care for all of its people. Yet today I heard news of a new contract being given to Canstruct to build more facilities (described as “garrison-type”) for those held there. There are children and vulnerable women on Nauru. Can nothing be done for them? 
I thought Australia was better than this. It makes me sick at heart to think of this going on, when it would be so much cheaper and more humane to fulfil our international and moral obligations and either bring them here or resettle them in another country who are willing and able to take them – like New Zealand – while working with other countries in the region to create a viable long-term solution. 
 
The idea that these measures are in place to “save lives at sea” or “protecting Australian borders” is rubbish. There are far cheaper and better ways of preventing people risking lives on boats to Australia, like investing in real regional dialogue and processing, providing support and resources to countries, like Malaysia and Indonesia, where the boats set out from. 
 
The current situation is a punitive measure created to encourage asylum seekers to think that going to Australia is worse than staying where they are. Now that has led to desperate people being treated like animals, denied even the most basic human rights. 
 
Please do something. This is a major sticking point for myself and many others in terms of voting. More than that, making a stand is the right thing to do. Have some political courage, listen to those who are experiencing the crisis, and act, please. The situation has gone on for far too long! 
 
If you reply, please don’t use an automated response but something real. 
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Marriage Equality Essay

Last year I took a subject as an elective called Sex, Gender, Identity. It was an introductory subject that encouraged us to explore different aspects of those three things and how “the personal is political” (original quote author unknown). The final assignment for the subject was an essay which we could choose the topic from a list. I chose to examine marriage – the feminist critiques and marriage equality movement. The resulting essay gained me the highest mark I’ve ever received on an assignment. But more importantly, the research I did educated me about the topics and reaffirmed my stance on the issue. Below is an edited version of that essay. Please read.

I’ll note that I’m in a privileged position in writing this article. I’ve been raised in a heterosexual environment, I’m in a heterosexual relationship and I’ve had to learn about these things second-hand. So these are my opinions backed by evidence collected from academic sources as well as personal ones.

 

Marriage: an institution which involves formal recognition of the union of two people, conferring legitimacy on an intimate relationship (3). This formal recognition usually grants a range of social, religious and legal benefits, rights and responsibilities (3) and has existed in some form for centuries (14). At the moment, the most easily-recognised and legitimised marriage is monogamous and opposite-sex – it’s still considered the norm. Challenging this norm, same-sex marriages have begun to be recognised in many countries after the hard work and activism of advocates. For many, this is a positive step for LGBTIQA+ people and society as the gains are seen to outweigh potential negatives. However, other activists are not as sure, as they take a more radical view that marriage should be either changed completely or left behind together. I investigated these two competing discourses and drew conclusions for this piece.

Firstly, the positives. 🙂 It has been suggested that access to marriage is tied, metaphorically and/or physically, to full citizenship rights in society (9). Also, as the phrase, “equal before the law” suggests, in democracies, the law is a place where all citizens should be equal (8). Hence, marriage is seen as a pathway to acceptance and legitimacy, a way of demonstrating that what people feel for each other is real and valuable. A chance to throw a big party and show how much they love each other. The exclusion of LGBTIQA+ people could be and has been argued to be an intolerable discriminatory practice. It has been suggested that in order for LGBTIQA+ rights to advance, all formal barriers to full equality must be overcome (2)(4) before or while other steps are taken – like fixing anti-discrimination laws (10). Due to the prominence of marriage in society, it can be seen as symbolic of other rights and some have argued that governments which do not afford equal respect of and protections for both LGBTIQA+ and heterosexual intimate relationships enable and participate in systemic homophobia and heterosexism (4). It has also been argued that this inequality harms LGBTIQA+ people in substantial, material ways – from subtle exclusion to violence (1)(2)(4). I agree with this – I’ve read very compelling personal accounts from people over the last few weeks and before that (not to mention hearing the lived experiences of my friends) which demonstrate the truth of it (6) (11). I also agree with the contention that one way of combatting the harms is to work towards full equality, including in marriage, for all regardless of sexuality. Research shows that there are particular social, legal and psychological benefits to this.

Marriage can reinforce partnership bonds, facilitate parenting and generate levels of social support for those who participate (7). LGBTIQA+ participation in marriage widens the scope of marriage norms, as non-traditional roles and practices are expressed, intentionally or otherwise (1)(7), providing additional choices and freedoms. For example, with children. It could be said that the very presence of LGBTIQA+ people and families in so-called public spheres changes and destabilises the unconsciously accepted heteronormative view (1) of society. Hmm, maybe that’s why the conservatives get so grumpy about it. Well, they can suck it up, because change is a thing that happens. Changes to societal views of family and so on include what is seen as normal by children – everything from the gender of their parents and/or extended family members, to how gendered or egalitarian their household is. Research shows that in observing and learning about these practices and by educating each other, children become directors of change (1). After all, we’re products of where we come from, influenced by the personal world(s) we inhabit. And if those worlds are more equitable, so much the better. The presence of children also highlights discriminatory practices which occur within the current system which privileges marriage, particularly heterosexual marriage, over other relationships (4). To many LGBTIQA+ people, the idea of only being allowed something separate-and-different to marriage does not work if it’s not seen as legally and emotionally equal to it. Even if/when marriage alternatives were given equal rights, benefits, protections and obligations as marriage, it can be argued that LGBTIQA+ people are still discriminated against simply because they’re still unable to choose between marriage, a civil partnership, or something else (14).

But what about the feminist/queer case against marriage? Feminists have criticised marriage as being oppressive to women due to patriarchal structures of power for many years (14). These power structures are those which reinforce a socially conservative breadwinner model (5) – an opposite-sex relationship of mandated monogamy, working husband and dependent wife bearing the brunt of housework and child-rearing (9). If you think about it, this model has been – and still is – at the core of public policy for some time (5)(15). Non-traditional families – such as single parents, mixed-race partnerships, and LGBTIQA+ families – challenge the model. You can tell this from the way conservatives react. However, I’ve read concerns about whether the model is really being challenged (15). There’s an argument that marriage equality campaigns are being turned into binary debates of for and against. These leave little room for valid critiques of the social and economic institutions of marriage, and how the societal privileging of marriage marginalises other intimate relationships (9)(13). The argument continues that while the potential benefits of marriage should be recognised, the next or concurrent step should be to push for those rights to be expanded to all intimate consensual relationships. There’s a risk, activists argue, that not doing this would go against hard-fought-for feminist freedoms (12) and create a new tiered system within the LGBTIQA+ community of the socially acceptable marrieds held above the rest of the queers. This could lead to a reinforcing of conservative heteronormative marriage ideas, merely expanded slightly.

Despite this, there’s no question that many LGBTIQA+ people do want to get married (4), even as they recognise its pitfalls. Marriage as an institution isn’t necessarily seen as a good thing – but the equality before the law is (2). Marriage is a complex institution and we should resist the urge to press it into one box or another (5). If and when marriage equality becomes reality, then the contradiction of being separate-but-equal (13) is removed. It then becomes a choice for all, heterosexual and LGBTIQA+ alike, as to whether we’ll participate in marriage and how we could or would change the institution for the better. As it currently stands, some of the population have only a restricted choice and how is that choice then free or fair? Alongside this, we then work for the expansion of legal and economic protections, currently enshrined in marriage, to all relationships so that all intimate consensual relationships are valued (5). We could even go further and ensure that welfare rights are fair for all regardless of relationship, employment and monetary status (5). This then challenges the conservative understanding that defending the rights of women, LGBTIQA+ and other marginalised groups undermines committed caring relationships. At the same time, it dismantles the patriarchal heteronormative one-size-fits-all approach and works towards a more caring society, away from the outdated universal breadwinner model to a universal caregiver one. In this latter model, LGBTIQA+ people would be just as accepted for caregivers and caregiving as heterosexuals (5). This opens up possibilities for greater awareness on and attention to other intersectional issues. After all, attending to one issue does not prevent us from working on others and “those of us who are interested in fighting for justice and the flourishing of sentient beings in any of these contexts should be interested in fighting for justice in all of these contexts” (4, p. 77).

 

In other words, I’m in favour of marriage equality, as I’ve previously discussed. Btw, for me, my religious beliefs influence that view positively, as I’ve mentioned before as well. I’ll be unpacking that side of the argument soon too. If the postal survey goes ahead I’ll be participating in it and voting yes. I hope if you’re an Australian reading this that you will too.

If the postal survey goes ahead I’ll be participating in it and voting yes. I hope if you’re an Australian reading this that you will too.

 

References (these got a little muddled when rewriting this into a post, but I’d really encourage you to check them out):

  1. Bernstein, M. (2015). Same-Sex Marriage and the Future of the LGBT Movement. Gender & Society, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 321–337, DOI: 10.1177/0891243215575287
  2. Bevacqua, M. (2004). Feminist Theory and the Question of Lesbian and Gay Marriage. Feminism & Psychology, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 36–40, DOI: 10.1177/0959-353504040300
  3. Budgeon, S. (2009). Marriage, in Encyclopaedia of Gender and Society, O’Brien J, (ed.), vol. 2, Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, pp. 505-508.
  4. Callahan, J, 2009, ‘Same-Sex Marriage: Why It Matters—At Least for Now’, Hypatia, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 70-81.
  5. Ferguson, A, 2007, ‘Gay Marriage: An American and Feminist Dilemma’, Hypatia, vol. 27, no. 1, pp.39-57.
  6. Gadsby, H. (2017, August 17). “Probably a good time to repost my anti-plebiscite piece…” Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fhannahgadsbycomedy%2Fposts%2F10155675309518000
  7. Green, AI, 2010, ‘Same-Sex Marriage: Lesbian and Gay Spouses Marrying Tradition and Innovation’, Canadian Journal of Sociology, vol.35 no. 3, pp.399-436. Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org.ez.library.latrobe.edu.au/stable/canajsocicahican.35.3.399
  8. Harrison, JB, 2015, ‘At Long Last Marriage’, Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law, vol. 24, no. 1, pp.1-60.
  9. Josephson, J, 2005, ‘Citizenship, Same-Sex Marriage, and Feminist Critiques of Marriage’, Perspectives on Politics, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 269-284.
  10. Lawrie, A. (2017, July 29). A quick guide to Australian LGBTI anti-discrimination laws [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://alastairlawrie.net/2017/07/29/a-quick-guide-to-australian-lgbti-anti-discrimination-laws/
  11. Lawrie, A. (2017, August 9). 2,756 Days. Frustration and love [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://alastairlawrie.net/2017/08/09/2756-days-frustration-and-love/
  12. Marso LJ, 2010, ‘Marriage and Bourgeois Respectability’, Politics & Gender, vol. 6, no. 1, pp.145-53, DOI: 10.1017/S1743923X09990572
  13. Merin, Y, 2002a, ‘Chapter 2: The Changing Institution of Marriage and the Exclusion of Same-Sex Couples’, in Equality for Same-Sex Couples, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 6-60.
  14. Merin, Y, 2002b, ‘Chapter 10: Alternatives to Marriage and the Doctrine of “Separate but Equal” ’, in Equality for Same-Sex Couples, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 278-307.
  15. Wilson AR, 2010, ‘Feminism and Same-Sex Marriage: Who Cares?’, Politics & Gender, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 134-145, DOI: 10.1017/S1743923X09990560
  16. Young, C & Boyd, S, 2006, ‘Losing the Feminist Voice? Debates on the Legal Recognition of Same Sex Partnerships in Canada’, Feminist Legal Studies, vol. 14, pp. 213–240, DOI 10.1007/s10691-006-9028-8.

 

#MIV2018 Update: Registration is OPEN! 

I’m so excited right now. If you’re interested, follow the links below from the email I received overnight. I’ll be doing that tonight after placement. It’s going to be a blast. Come along!

____________________________________


From the Convenors’ desk…

Hi groovers,

Exciting things are happening in Melbourne. At our AGM a few weeks ago we welcomed Cameron, Gemma and Justina to the committee and we’re glad to have them on board.

And now, for the news you’ve all been waiting for. We are so incredibly excited to announce that registrations for MIV 2018 are officially open!


Register now for the festival and secure your place in the Summer of 69.
We can’t wait to see you – there’s only 6 months to go!

Peace and love,
Alex and El xoxo

Reblog: Resolutions: Good or Bad

I find resolutions interesting. As I commented on Noelle’s post (linked below),

I like ones that are “commitments to try”, so to speak. You know they’re goals and things you’d like to do, but they’re not “have-tos”.

Setting unattainable resolutions can lead to trouble or so it seems – we gain only negative emotions when we revert to old habits after promising to keep to a path for a year.

I remind myself that these are goals, to be practiced and worked on during the year but not mandatory.

With that in mind, some ones for this year are:

  • Do well in my Masters coursework etc.
    – Ask for help if I need it and monitor myself so that the changes of this year don’t cause my grades to drop.
  • To listen twice as much as I speak;
    –   I’ll be addressing this in more depth later, but as I’m a talker and social person who also is a “Feeler” (high F in Myers-Briggs, for example), I worry about my ratio of talking to listening. So I’m working on it.
  • Alongside the above is my want to actively practice my Feeling
    –   Again, I’ll explain in another post, but cultivating my empathetic presence is important to me. These first two are very connected.
  • To get back into blogging
    – I fell off a regular blogging schedule a bit over the second half of 2016, but I’d like to be more consistent.
  • To get back into writing my story.
    – I’ve done quite a lot of backstory-work but haven’t actually done any story-writing for a while. I need to get back into that.
  • To be more active and finding more walking spaces.
    –   I’m not naturally a person who gets active, as I’m not sporty. But I like nature and I like walking and I know I ought to be sitting less. I’m not interested in overdoing it though, as I’m skinny enough as it is.

Idea taken from the post linked below:

What are your thoughts on setting New Years Resolutions? Have you completed yours in the past or are you one of those who forgets what they are? Come read about the good and the bad of setting reso…

Source: {DISCUSSION} Resolutions: Good or Bad

#BringThemHere

https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/refugees/bringthemhere/upload-your-own-bringthemhere-message

I did this yesterday:

ESP Bring-Them-Here_photo 1.jpg
The Equality, Sustainability & Peace (ESP) Group at La Trobe says: #BringThemHere!

We stand with those on Manus and Nauru – we love you and support you. It’s past time for the government to stop stuffing around and close the camps. Set up some humane processes, open up onshore and offshore detention centres and #bringthemhere to #letthemstay.

Momentum is building – join us!

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/aug/17/this-is-critical-103-nauru-and-manus-staff-speak-out-their-letter-in-full?CMP=share_btn_tw

 

 

 

Time flies

Well, I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks. But maybe I’ll get back into a rhythm now.

I had a nice Easter weekend which was a blend of old and new traditions. Including family, food, drink, and nature. Oh and some solid driving practice.

Placement finished last Friday. I’m truly thankful for the experience.

Now I have no uni for two weeks, to refresh and reflect.

Here are some of the things I’ve been getting up to lately:

A chestnut horse (brown body, black mane and tail) leans its head over a wire fence. It is surrounded by yellow grass and green tree foliage. A bright teal-aqua fern contrasted against brown leaf litter

Description board telling readers about the Domino TrailAn old rail bridge in the woods, with a fallen log in the foregroundThe same rail bridge but with sunlight shining through from aboveDucks on the bank of a lake. The lake, with shadowed water and greenery surroundingFood on a plate: chicken drumsticks, boiled potato with skin on, and steamed veg like carrots, kale, bok choi. Flowering shrubs with lorikeets in them. Tuna and veggies in a sauce, with bread around the outside of the plate. A cafe menu booklet. It’s red with black circles and writing reads “Abbey Road”Beach foreshore with pale yellow sand and blue waves with white foam. A jetty is off to the left. View of Melbourne CBD from a bridge on a major road. The skyscrapers are distant, the rails of the bridge are sturdy iron. The sky is blue. Colourful salad of couscous, carrot, capsicum, cooked kale sits in a white bowl. Beside it to the left is a big knife, beside it to the right is a silver fork.A large crimson rosella sits in teal-silver ferns and nibbles.Shot of construction work over a road, laying rail tracks, a bridge, and concrete structures for a station. A crane is in the image.Trees and grass in a nature preserve.A bird rests on the window and is silhouetted by the sun. Another bird is swooping at it.

Chicken schnitzel, noodles and veggies like capsicum, kale, zucchini and carrot.

Captioning these images doesn’t appear to be working on my mobile, so here are some descriptions:

A horse and ferns spotted on a bushwalk; the board describing of the trail we used; a disused rail bridge with and without a makeshift light filter (person’s hand sufficed). The over-bright shot made me think of the idea of a “voice from the heavens”.

Next are ducks and their lake; then a dinner – chicken drumsticks, boiled potato and veggies; followed by a shot of birds (lorikeets I think) in the flowering shrubs.

A menu from the Abbey Road café in St Kilda; a shot of the water there; and a view of Melbourne city as we went back over a bridge on Punt Road.

A salad I made for a lunch get together yesterday (cherry tomatoes, carrot, capsicum, cooked kale, with couscous); two crimson rosellas in ferns munching; a shot of some level crossing removal works happening near me; followed by indigenous flora in a nature preserve.

Finally, two birds having an argument on my window; before chicken schnitzel, noodles and steamed veggies for dinner.

Have a pleasant evening, all.

Busy Days

Hopefully soon I’ll get a chance to publish some recipe posts and finish off the Japan trip ones. For now, though, here are a few pics and notes from the last week or so, of things that have been making me happy.

Red flowers with green stems stand tall in a flower bed, manicured green grass surrounding themA shrub with pink flowers and green leaves in a little space next to a roadA yellow sunset looking out over a lake, with a tree and pier silhouetted

Add to this: the ducks I saw walking through uni to choir; the 20+ rainbow lorikeets taking a bath and feeding in the front yard of a place I walked past the other day; the simple peace of drawing and colouring a picture.

Atm I often leave placement at the end of the day feeling like my brain has been used, and used well. I’m learning lots, about occupational therapy in mental health, transferable skills, and about myself. There are rewarding and challenging aspects, and reminders of why I chose to do OT.

I’ve also had some fun times with my uni housemates and friends. Some of us went on a specially-organised cruise on a “showboat” this week!

Prow of the boat, with cream and brown colours, facing towards a bridge

And LaTUCS (my uni choir) is back for the year. Check out http://www.latucs.org.au and http://www.facebook.com/LaTUCS for more info.

Three Years Ago: WGS

Three years ago today, I shaved off my shoulder blade-length hair to a number 3 cut, in order to raise funds for the Leukaemia Foundation, while challenging myself a bit. I’d never had hair shorter than my shoulders since primary school. You know what, though? Since the shave, it hasn’t grown very far past my chin before getting chopped back!

The “World’s Greatest Shave” is an annual event. Why not pop over to the website and see if you can sponsor a few people?

That is, if you’re not doing it yourself… 😉

Apparently, this year is the event’s 20th birthday.

Reblog: IWD

After I published yesterday’s post, I realised that I could have posted something a bit more directly relevant to March 8th, International Women’s Day.

My day consisted of doing placement duties driving around and sitting in offices, as well as a gym session followed by dinner with friends. In the car when we were driving around, I made sure the radio was tuned to Triple J. Every year they celebrate International Women’s Day by having “Girls to the Front”, highlighting female artists and presenters all day. 😊

I also read this piece by Carly Findlay, appearance diversity activist and friend, highlighting eight disabled women (and one non-binary person) to follow on social media.

http://carlyfindlay.com.au/2018/03/08/eight-disabled-women-and-one-non-binary-person-you-should-know-this-international-womens-day/

Quote from Carly, introducing the piece: “Happy International Women’s Day!

May your mental load be reduced, manteruptions be kept to a minimum and your voices be heard.

This year’s themes are “No Woman Left Behind” and “Press For Progress“. Disabled women are often forgotten in discussions about diversity and violence and media and women in general. So I’m going to let you know of a few who you need to follow.”

Shared from The Age: Nightmare Commute

See the article here: https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/the-west-has-melbourne-s-worst-commutes-four-hours-a-day-across-town-20180301-p4z28i.html

Before I moved to Melbourne, I was travelling at least four hours a day (round trip) to get from home to uni and back, from central north-west to north-east.

Where I live now in Melbourne, I have a lot of privilege in terms of easy access to PT. I also have privilege in that, even when I was commuting, I can walk a decent distance in a relatively short space of time because I’m not limited by physical health overmuch.

It makes one think, though: the people who are most severely affected are those who, like me, can’t drive for whatever reason. (My reason is that I’m still learning how to.) We can’t just jump in the car and go if the PT system isn’t present.

A group in the article suggest that the electrification of the rail line to Melton needs to happen at the same time as the current Metro Tunnel works, instead of after it, because of the current capacity problems. I’d like that to happen – but I thought one of the reasons for waiting was that the current bottleneck in the City Loop needs to be resolved by the tunnel or else it’ll still be more of the same?

What’s needed are more connecting services, like buses, to bridge the gap in the meantime. It’s a question I ask when I see a new estate going up: where’s the connecting PT services?

I expect we’ll be hearing a lot more about this issue and others like it in the coming months. It is, after all, a state election year.

Microwave Tuna Curry

Pressed for time or can’t be stuffed turning the stove on? Feel like you’ve been through all the usual dishes already this week? Read on.

Makes enough for 1 serve.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can tuna (in water)
  • 1 serve veggies – could be frozen or fresh veg!
  • Curry powder, Moroccan spice, (extra) paprika, mixed herbs, pepper, chilli, lemon
  • (Extra) water
  • Spaghetti pasta or noodles or potato

Utensils:

  • Microwave-safe container
  • Teaspoon
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Pot
  • Cutlery
  • Plate

Method:

  1. Chop veggies
  2. Tip a tsp or so of all seasonings into a microwave-safe container.
  3. Peel lid off tuna can and use it to pour the tuna water into the container, leaving the tuna in the tin.
  4. Mix water and seasonings; add a touch more water if necessary, as you want it to have a paste-like consistency.
  5. Start water boiling for pasta/ noodles/ potato – cook them alongside the microwaved ingredients according to packet instructions/ until soft.
  6. Tip chopped veg into the container, then pop into the microwave for 10 mins.
  7. When 5-6 minutes of the 10 have passed, pause microwave and add tuna, breaking it up so it’s not one big clump.
  8. Restart microwave to cook for remaining minutes.
  9. Optional: I was going to add a dash of peanut butter here but got distracted; you could add a touch of flour/ other thickener. Depends how much liquid you want.
  10. . Combine with pasta/ noodles/ potato. Serve and eat.

A glass microwave container sits on a red placemat on top of a fruit tablecloth. In the container are veggies (orange carrot, purple kale), pasta and tuna in a dark curry sauce. Either side of the container is a fork and spoon.

Reflections from the past two weeks…

It’s been a good week for me. The second week of placement.

A good week in the sense that I’ve learnt and am learning lots, and I feel I’m growing too.

My placement is in mental health services and it’s really interesting. I’ve been placed across two parts of the service: community and long-term inpatient. (Those are layperson’s terms for the areas; they have more formal names.)

The work I’m doing is challenging and rewarding. We do what we can do to help the clients engage in treatment, under a model of “least-restrictive practice”, using practice models like the recovery model and others. I’m supporting seriously unwell people, advocating for them and above all, doing my best to keep them safe. They’re really vulnerable because they’re unwell. At higher risk of being a victim of violence and other trauma than they are of being a perpetrator.

It’s challenging; figuring out how to engage with and build rapport with clients, trying to prevent them from coming to harm, supporting their over-stretched families and support networks, as well as dealing with the bureaucracy of funding and resources.

Some days and moments are really hard. This role teaches you about boundaries and self-care, because you can only do good work if you’re taking care of yourself.

You have to become really good at reading someone’s mental state and analysing their risks, which is a skill that develops and is honed over time. But you can only do what you can, as best you can. After a certain point, it’s not up to us but to the clients. We’re working with real people, after all.

That’s what makes it so rewarding. Real people, real personalities. Real stories. It’s things like making the time to start a conversation, finding out what interests them, inviting them to activities you think they’ll enjoy. Taking pleasure in observing positive changes, even small ones, and creating space when people need to talk about things that matter. Advocating for them, while helping them (re)develop skills including the tools for self-advocacy. And more besides.

The next six weeks, like these past two, will be challenging and rewarding. I know I will keep learning and I hope I give something back, too.

In my current mood, this comic panel about life, by Awkward Yeti, speaks to me. Especially the last panel.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Japan Days: White Christmas, Freezing Boxing Day, then Mt Fuji

Hi all. The first of my scheduled posts. I hope to schedule quite a number so I can have at least a couple every week during placement.

Here’s the next Japan Trip post. Only one more after this one. Starting on Day 8 of our trip, which happened to be Christmas Day.

For Christmas, we decided we’d go to Nagano via the shinkansen to see the Japanese macaques, or “snow monkeys” as they’re known. You’ll have seen them if you’ve seen this image.

The snow monkeys were adorable and I had so much fun. It was also my first proper “white Christmas” so that was exciting.

We then went back to Toyko and had dinner at a sushi bar.

Day 9: A Trip to Lake Freezing

Day 9 we decided to go off and see Nikko, that was supposed to have a waterfall and nice lake. It also was really, really cold.

First, we visited the waterfall, which was quite cold enough.

So we warmed up with some fish cooked over coals at a stall nearby.

A heap of white coals sit atop a grate on a trolley. In the centre of the coals there is an orange colour from the heat. To the right side of and behind the pile of coals are rows of small whole fish, skewered through by sticks. A the back of the stall there are fridges visible and a flimsy roof supported b wooden beams is also seen.

Then we headed off again, towards the lake. Not perhaps our wisest choice, but still fun in the end. You see, we didn’t know it at the time, but we found out later that the temperature at Lake Chuzenji was -5*C while we were there, not counting wind chill which probably made it a few degrees colder.

To get to the lake itself, we walked into an icy wind and watched as it literally blew snow sideways across the road. An experience I won’t forget and rather fun in a ridiculous way, once I’d got my scarf arranged so that my coat hood wouldn’t fall down. 😛

No real pics here, too busy experiencing it. That and my phone battery decided to quit because it was too cold. It did that at Nagano too.

I did take a handful later though, once my phone and I had thawed a bit. In order (or mouse over for captions): defrosting selfie after the lake, mizuyokan (sweet red bean) sweets and award-winning ramen from a ramen place in Tokyo.

The experience of having ramen in a ramen bar was interesting. You don’t talk in there aside from ordering your food. You’re there to enjoy the food, not to chat. The place we went to with the three-years-running award-winning dish pictured here is, I believe, Michi. Highly recommended, though it has a bit of a wait time as the place is quite small.

Day 10: Mt Fuji

We were off again from Tokyo the next morning to see Mount Fuji. We went to a town nearby with a beach that has pretty impressive views. The beach itself is made of stones and pebbles. Below are photos from the day.

 

At the end of the day, we finished with another well-deserved hot meal and new Japanese experience – Japanese curry. (Second-last row, first column – these pics are randomly arranged.)

A very enjoyable day, with more to come before our trip ended.

 

Hi there!

Thinking lots of thoughts atm.

One of which is that I ought to schedule some posts for the next few weeks… I don’t like not posting anything but that’s what happens when you’re busy.

I have just finished my first week of placement for my final year of Masters of occupational therapy. It’s in mental health in two different settings and I’m finding it really interesting.

It’s tiring, but I’ll learn lots over the next eight weeks and it’ll be really rewarding.

Let’s see where things go!