Tuesday, December 23, 2008

End-of-year ramblings & reflections

I love the festive season- there’s always so much going on! Marty & his Patricia arrive tomorrow evening- Yippeee! We’ll be heading off for a wee adventure to Zambia’s Northern Province for about a week. I’ll then expect company through to February 4th- how wonderful is that?

There’s one thing that has been getting me down though. My unofficial exam results have been received- though they weren’t quite what I had expected. All of the exams I sat in Lusaka I cleared (which is great news- I was really worried about my International Human Resource Management course...) However, I apparently didn’t pass my research proposal (which surprise, counts for the two introductory courses of the program. Without passing this proposal I cannot continue on with the program as I had hoped). My initial reaction was shock which quickly shifted into anger. Now I’m irritated that I don’t have the official results to see where I went so very wrong. The worst part is that when I submitted my draft my tutor provided praise & thought the draft would be developed into a passing research proposal with a few minor adjustments. So in those minor adjustments I must have really bunged up. I’m hugely disappointed, & a small part of me is holding onto the hope that maybe- just maybe- they’ve given me the wrong unofficial results (Maybe it was that International HRM course I bombed…). But since I can’t really hang on to that & still pursue my degree, I’m doing the best I can to dust myself off & attempt the RP again. GAH. What a waste of time & money & I really have no idea how I failed. I thought my proposal was tight. And so did the host of people who reviewed it. Another part of me is trying to accept the failure- I don’t really remember failing at much in my life. I was always the kid who “made the team”; so I’m trying to embrace this as a learning experience. I'm looking at the situation as a challenge that will hopefully (somehow) help me become a better person.

Apart from the things I’m caught up with at the moment, I’m hoping to make some time to reflect on the events of 2008. We certainly started out with a bang in India, & there’s not really been a dull moment since I threw so much energy into school & basketball. I look forward to sitting down & planning for 2009 as much has been ticked of the “to do list” for 2008.

Otherwise I’m wrapped up in Christmas baking, holiday planning & wedding planning- despite the poor school results I’ve got a couple of exciting months ahead! Here’s a shot of my delicious pecan squares- thanks for the recipe Ma, they’ve received many compliments already (okay, they don't look divine, but they're certainly scrumptious).

Happy Christmas/holidays/festive season to all! I’m about to be on holiday- Whoop!

Monday, December 15, 2008

BSA Basketball End-of-Year Party

The three of us BSA Basketball coaches decided we wanted to celebrate a wonderful season. We threw together some juice & snacks & planned fun games for Friday afternoon. We also awarded a certificate for each player’s participation (which the kids were really excited about). Former BSA players were invited to join in some silly games, and recognize the up-&-coming athletes; I was really happy the ‘older’ guys were around to support not only us, but their friends at BSA. I don’t know how many photos I took but I’ve tried to pare down to the favourites…& I’ll try to attach wee stories so you get a taste of the afternoon.

I loved this shot of "Air Teza". Another team had come to compete to open the afternoon festivities- fun fun.

In the right-hand line these guys are former players, or will be former players in 2009- but they came to enjoy the day with us; I'm hoping to recruit a couple to coach...

Snack-time. And yes, we did mix a bunch of juice in that green bucket...

Here Coach Alinafe is explaining a silly team-building game- I love the facial expressions on some of the players "You want us to do what???"

For fun, we had our under 12 team play the "big guys"- those who have moved on to higher-level basketball. It was fun to watch the little ones play their hearts out while the more senior players admired the skills that these kids are gaining at such a young age.

We had a bump-out competition for the under 12 players and then for the older guys.
Here are some shots of the competition

Nganga won for the under 12s

& Sogi won the combo under 15/18 category.

Alfred cracked me up because he came runner up in a couple of competitions- what a kid- just lost out & is still smiling. I admire his attitude & hope that some of the younger guys look up to him.

Sogi's post-win celebration

Elvis surprised us all during the 3-point competition because he was on fire. (The guys had earlier been teasing him for his red out fit- calling him Santa Claus; I thought it fitting that he also won a red t-shirt for his record: 6 out of 7 three-pointers in the preliminary round and in the final). Thanks to the folks at Bellerose (Sue!!!) for your continued contributions to making our small BSA events memorable!
The competition

And the winner (Elvis a.k.a. Santa Claus)

One player stood out to all three coaches this year. Rather than giving “MVP, Best defensive player” etc awards for each team, we decided to recognize only one player- the “BSA Player of the Year”. Bupe (pronounced more like woo-pay, meaning gift) had quite the season. He wrote his grade 12 exams this year but never missed a beat on the basketball court. He was our most consistent player, attending all training sessions & never missing Saturday games, the team jokester’s attitude also improved this year- he became that goofy but confident leader. His basic skills also improved drastically- what more could we ask for?! I get the sense that he was a bit surprised to be recognized, but all the guys were happy & I’m sure he loves his new tracksuit (thanks Mabvuto)!

All-in-all we think the day was a great success & it’s nice to introduce a few of the players to my on-line friends (loyal readers)*giggling*. Next we get some more serious feedback from the players, focus on the ups & downs of 2008 so that we can plan for an even more successful 2009. I love it!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Babies at the baby shower

Hi all, not too much to report over the weekend; but I did remember to take some photos at Kupela’s baby shower. Kupela’ looks about to burst (but beautiful as always)!

The father of the child was also pulled into the festivities…they were asked to wear diapers & pretty much look ridiculous while guests were allowed to ask various questions. For each question they answered wrong (or differently) they were painted with make-up or dashed with baby powder.

Sweet Vicki brought her beautiful baby Ndinawe & I can’t believe how much she’s changed in the past few months.

It was a beautiful day, and now it’s back to the grind...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

First Christmas card of the year!

Thanks “Kumah” Kaye & Uncle Nick! What a nice surprise…& it was the perfect inspiration to set up my few Christmas decorations last night. (Unfortunately I missed the traditional December 1st date of setting everything up; I suppose the busy festive season has already begun). No need to comment Lain, I know it's too late for you*grin*. I have also realized that my tree looks fairly pathetic with so few decorations; I hope to remedy that this weekend.

Other news:
- We had our end of year tournament for the youth league over the weekend. BSA fared well: our under 12 squad lost in the semi-finals by one point (heartbreaker), our under 15s won the whole shebang, and our under 18 team lost in the final. Sadly, the person I asked to take photos took a couple videos (mostly of the ground)*hahahah*…I’ll post some action shots up here eventually if there are any keepers. We will, however, have an end-of-year party next week- I will certainly take photos then.
- A small update on books. I managed to get my hands on the famous “Golden Compass” book- what a read! I have no idea how I’ll track down the other parts of the trilogy…but I will. I couldn’t put the book down so I chose to pick a “classic” after that, just to slow the pace down a bit. I chose Emily Bronte’s Jane Eyre & found it thoroughly enjoyable; I would chalk it up as one of the easier classics to get through. I found myself chuckling out loud- brilliant. I am currently reading a piece of smut that I’m embarrassed to pull out in front of anyone because it’s a grocery store romance…but it’s light & mindless- just what I need to unwind!

That’s all for now.