Pre-greek breakfast

What better way to prepare for a morning of greek lectures than by revising some greek? What way indeed?

A few things I’ve noticed this semester:

  • the first half of semester was much easier than the second
  • if you skip a concept, or don’t learn it thoroughly, there won’t be time to go back: there’s a tonne of new things to learn every week
  • for some reason, I don’t pray much about my language learning: it’s probably a pattern i’ve picked up from other study.

It won’t surprise you to learn that lecturers will pray at the start and the end of lectures, but that’s a three hour block: if you arrive late, you’ll miss that altogether, and it can seem a lot like studying at a secular institution. Combine that with the part-time student pattern of not being on-site for chapel (a kind of hour-long church service) or pastoral care groups, and it can be quite a spiritually dry time, if you let it be.

In my case, i’ve already established some friendship with a number of lecturers: if you are prepared to ask for some time with them, then they’re always happy to provide face time and wise counsel. I worry – perhaps needlessly – that less bold students might slip through the cracks at times.

Coast bar & café, Port Macquarie

Peak coffee. Only a handful of Norfolk pines and the occasional car interrupt the view of the ocean: a gentle breeze drifts across the outdoor tables.

Service is relaxed and friendly: as it should be, given the food prices: despite the lack of tablecloths, this is an establishment with a restaurant price-point.

Coffee (decaf) is pretty good; it’s inoffensive, a soothing mid-afternoon cup. A worthy place to pause and take in the scenery.

Oliver’s food stop, Wyong

Allpress espresso coffee. The internet has spoken, and it has told the truth. This is indeed the better venue for coffee purchase at this roadside destination.

Coffee is ground to order, and, though there’s a huge head of foam at the top of the cup, the coffee itself is worthy of comparison to some of the cafes in sydney that i’ve frequented: far better than anything you might hope to get by the side of the road. I should mention that I had the decaf.

long weekend

Took a rare day off to streach out a quick trip up and down the coast. Managed to spend some time with Kel’s mum, grab a 5km run along the Nambucca river and towards the beach, visit church in Macksville, and see the latest addition to the Morton family.

Book: The Power of One

Book: The Power of One
– Bryce Courtenay

The audiobook was free for download at the iTunes Music Store, so I grabbed it at the time; I’ve never read this book before, nor (despite listening to no small number of podcasts) listened to an audio book, and this one is a monster at somewhere around 20 hours, but nonetheless, it makes for a good read, er, listen.

This is the story of an English boy growing up in world war II South Africa, and how much he achieves. It’s quite an inspiring read, though he seems to have a lot of opportunities mixed in with the hardships. Doesn’t have much positive to say about Christianity, although the kinds of Christians portrayed in the book are very much 1-dimensional stereotypes.

Rescued from train breakdown

An adventure on the way to work is always blog-worthy, if not actually welcome. Waiting on wynyard station from just before 9am today, the 1 minute warning jumped up and down to 2 minutes: up and down. I was starting to think it would make a good short film, when the announcement came through.

“Due to a mechanical failure at town hall…”, you get the idea. Ultimately, they started using terms like “severely disrupted”, and “your ticket will be recognised by sydney buses”. This last announcement was enough to empty out the train platform, and we were herded towards the bus stops above the station.

There were no surprises in seeing some resulting chaos: of course, not everyone wanted a bus to north sydney, and it seemed that not all the bus drivers had been told yet.

Surprisingly, though – and there’s not even a state election looming – they had a specially hired bus ready to go, and someone with a megaphone herding people towards it, within 25 minutes.

Now, the bus, standing-room only, is making its way to the harbour bridge: all told, it was handled much better than I would have hoped. I didn’t even see a single screaming match between a commuter and a cityrail staffer! Who would have thought that sydney commuters could be so civil!

Greek chapter twelve; the third declension, caffeine-free

Yes, you can see a photo here of the greek textbook with my mug of lemon tea. After two cups of lemon tea, I realised it was really just a reflex to be getting a hot drink, and I started drinking water instead.

This week was the first time where I felt like the rest of the class was a little bit ahead of me on one of the concepts: not a great feeling, but I’m increasingly seeing that people pick up different concepts at different rates.

This week is the second last week of semester, and we’re spending the last two weeks learning the “third declension”. So far, we’ve been able to tell what kind of noun a word was by looking at the ending, and now – surprise, surprise – things get more complicated.

In the final hour, we learned two words (tis and tis) that differ only in the accent over the second letter. And of course, those words have 24 different forms (are you seeing a pattern developing with Greek and its 24 different ways of saying everything?) to learn. Somehow, though, these forms are increasingly making sense.

Not long now until the exam; for some reason, though, the exam feels like a temporary pause on the way to learning to read Greek, rather than something that will be incredibly difficult and stressful.

Having said that, I’m sure my opinion will change as we get closer to the exam time.