Monday, December 29, 2003

Christmas in Bangers 

Well although Christmas does not mean a lot to most people around here the aussie contingent managed to pull it together and make a show of having a very aussie christmas. And as all good ausiie christmases do it began on christmas eve.

The whole mob of us went round to Kate and Jills place where we had a slab of beer and a few bottles of wine, which were kindly supplied by Neil, our friendly mate at the High Comission. Needless to say the trip there was an adventure in itself, there's something about cab drivers here which means that none of them would be able to find there way out of a wet paper bag, which is not a problem if you know where it is you are going exactly... however on this occasion we didn't. So about 2 hours after we set out from savar we finally arrived at the right place and fortunatley the beer was cold because, I needed one.

It all got a bit better after that. We had organised a secret santa sort of affair which went down well. The funniest gift was a commode chair. This is the kind of chair you can sit on to go to the toilet. Needless to say Rachel was not greatly impressed, but she also got a consolation present as the buyer, who unfortunately for him didn't stay secret for very long had got a consolation present.

The next day we headed down to the Australia Club where we had organised roast ham, beef and chicken as well as mountains of salad, nice bread and even christmas pudding with custard. In short time the boys got down to a game of backyard cricket with all of the usual adaptations of rules so you only have to put your beer down if you are batting or bowling. My massive six out of the grounds was only bettered by Andrews as he was smart enough to do it first ball and therefore not get out. So after cricket I got on the BBQ and cooked up some different things, a few left over snags from the other week, a mountain of onion, some capsicum and vege patties and stuff and then it was time to get into the grub.

Must admit it was not quite the same as sitting round with the family but I think it helped that we were all in the same boat so to speak and it's a really great bunch of people so all in all I think we had a pretty good time.

The shenanigans continued well into the evening until I managed to end up sleeping at someones place just around the corner where I could wake up on the couch in the morning and not have to move to watch a bit of the boxing day test. Should add at this point that 11am is a much more reasonable time for a match to start, than say 6am, soooo didn't actually see the start of the match.

Anyway hope you all had a good one too, would love to hear about it and will keep you posted about new years.....
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Tuesday, December 23, 2003

birthday bbq's 

Well I couldn't have asked for a better birthday despite the fact that I worked for the first time in 25 years. I never even had to go to school on my birthday as it was always during holidays.

On my actual birthday had a chat to the family and then Patrice and Aimee cooked me dinner and we had a few drinks but the real party was the next night at the Australia club. We had organised to use the facilities to cook up some snags and assorted vegetarian type bbq items but unfortunately noone had told the club manager. Despite this he was really nice about everything and helped us out the whole way. The real fun started after my placement finished for the day. I had been given the mission of going to the fabled German Butcher. Now let me tell you, this place is like meat heaven. I was blown away with the availability of pork beef chicken and various cheeses and not too expensive either. I will definitely be going back soon. So I purchased about 5 kgs of snags and headed down to the australia club.

A few hours later everyone started arriving and by negotiation with a few people we managed to gain permission to hang up the 15ft by 5ft aussie/bangladeshi flag. While I was waiting for everyone to turn up I started chatting with a bloke who had been here for a few years as a teacher and was heading back to Armidale to take up a principals position. I had a great yarn to him about Casino which he had also lived in and the region in general. The upshot of this was that he had a whole lot of bar cards that he wanted to use up so he shouted me a few beers.

As it turned out it was a great night. A real celebration. And although it was also Patrices last hoorah the mood remained quite elevated for the entire evening. There was a masiive turnout including all the aussies, the CRP crew and a few other ring ins as well. So those of you were concerned about me spending my birthday alone and in the absence of beer need not worry.

Since then there has been the sad departure of Pato, well loved by all and sundry at CRP.

For me it's been placement every day which is chewing up most of my time as well as trying to prepare for this research project. It looks like it might just get off the ground, although it will mean a lot of work for me, but on the upside I might end up being published which wouldn't be too bad I guess. The main thing is that it would be good for OT and good for CRP.

Anyway I have been having struggles getting onto the internet lately so I'll take this opportunity to wish everyone a very merry christmas and a happy new year. Although it is sad at this time to be away from family and friends, and I miss you all greatly, I think I am in the right place for the time being and have made a lot of good friends here and won't be too lonely for Christmas. Every one who reads this is also obliged to have a really nice boutique aussie beer (any of the tassie breweries, james squire or coopers will be fine) for me, and a couple of glasses of nice red. I'll drink a toast to you all.
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Monday, December 15, 2003

many many things 

Well I know I've been a bit slack with the posting and everything but I have also been very busy. I know some of you will find this hard to believe but in the first week of the placement I worked from 8:00am until at least 6:00pm without a break every day. I know what you're thinking. He's cracked. He's finally lost it. Also maybe. He's lying. But as with most things there is a story.

Turned up on the first morning of placement and we thought better just duck in and see the director, show him the letter he sent us saying we could do placement here and then get stuck into it. So an hour later we finally get into his office, he looks at the paper and writes a few things on it and says "ok thats fine" ....we must have been in there about 15 seconds.

So anyway later in the day I went in to have a chat to the assistant director who was the guy I've met a couple of times before and has been very supportive of occupational therapy about getting a room to use for meetings and groups and things like that, so there's this other big wig from another NGO in the office as well and he says "If you're going to be here you might as well do some research into whether OT actually does work for psych patients" So after a bit of back forth we decided that it probably was a pretty good idea but it would take a lot of work to pull it together in time to get enough treatment in to make it worthwhile. As it stand now it looks like it will happen and I figure that if we can show that any patients had improvements while being treated for 6-8 weeks by a bunch of 3rd year students then that should be great for OT in psych in Bangladesh. I may even end up getting published which would be good for a giggle.

I was in the middle of this crazy week and I thought, I've got to go round and see Adrian to drop of the bottle of scotch I brought him back from Nepal. Walked in his door and he says "see anything on the table that you haven't seen before" I was a bit confused at first but eventually he pointed out a small paperback. No other than the one that I edited for one of my students brothers. The worst thing was that at the time I had absolutely no inclination to believe that this book would ever see the light of day. So when he asked me to write some comments I made up some dribble about how this was a tale of greed jealousy betrayel, ....... but above all it's a tale of love. So anyway a small part of this has made the front cover followed by Mick, you'd think i was the new york times or something. Just inside the book is my full review followed by my full name as displayed here ... Michael Mason "Mick" BAppSc Occupational Therapy GARGB. If you're not wondering what the last bit stands for I'd be surprised. It was a bit of a joke. It's General All Round Great Bloke. Hope the guy who wrote the book never finds out otherwise he might never ask me to review one of his books again. Oh dear.

The other things that have been happening lately are Christmas dinner, carol singing etc at the australia club. Quite a funny evening.

A few social engagments related to the visit of my country manager from AVI, accounting for a couple of extra trips into Dhaka which I did not really need but involved good food and stuff so how can you say no.

But the sad news is that this is my good mate Patrice's last week in CRP. It's the end of an era and mick is a bit sad.

However gotta get on with it somehow.

Missing summer in australia, particularly family, friends, beer and cricket, hmmm possibly even in that order. Will write a crappy christmas post before it comes around. Promise.
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Thursday, December 04, 2003

Nepal and other things 

Well have been back from Nepal for about 3 days and have been flat out ever since. Straight back into work and trying to get hte final things sorted for the prac that i'm supervising, it starts on saturday. Think everyhting is organised but I guess we'll find out when we turn up to the hospital on saturday morning. Should be a great experience either way and with a bit of luck I'll get a chance to improve on this years efforts next year.

Back to Nepal.

Spent about 10 days kicking around this magical little country where all you have to do is ask and someone turns up with a beer. The first few days were in Kathmandu where we caught up up with some other Aussie volunteers who are there and turned out to be incredibly useful in terms of booking good places to stay and not getting ripped off. This city is not really my scene though, way tooo touristy for my liking and probably a bit of culture shock after having come from good old bangers where white people are few and far between. Had some very nice meals and that was great. Went up to a place called Nagarkot where we could watch thte sun rise over the himalayan range which is quite spectaculr after the endless flatness of bangers. Then jumped ona bus to Pokhara where we did a 3 day trek to get a bit more mountain action, absolutley spectacular, incredibly hard to describe, mountains over 7000 meters are pretty bloody big. Also caught up with Philand Toni Lindsay some friends over there and spent a bit of time hanging out with them which was great. Saw the inaugral performance of Phils band which was kind of a strange experience.

Anyway much more to write, sorry to those whose emails i haven't responded to, i'll do it soon promise, and more to come on bangers and mash as well.
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