Tales from the University (of Life)

I received a certified letter from the University regarding my qualifications.  It was written in dense legalese, so I took it to a friend to help me to read it.  It confirms that I am “en tramite” (being processed).  It explains that my qualifications have passed through the Faculty of Humanities, that the University will convene an examinations panel to determine the outcome of the process, and that they will let me know the result, which if successful, I will need to pay them a sum of money in order to claim any certificate.  So do I need to do anything?  I asked my learned friend.  No, he says, technically you just have to wait to hear, although if I were you I would give them a ring in a week or two to chase it along. 

So I waited, and sure enough nothing happened, so a couple of weeks down the track I started ringing round.  The initial paperwork was presented in the Rectory, so I started there.  No, they tell me, if the letter says that it’s gone to Humanities then you need to speak to Humanities, here’s the name and number of the academic secretary.  Day one, academic secretary not there.  Day two, speak to academic secretary.  She isn’t sure but agrees to chase it, can I phone back tomorrow?  No problem.  Day three, passed all over the building in search of the academic secretary, apparently gone AWOL.  Can I get someone else to help you instead.  I don’t know, let’s try.  I tell my story.  Oh yes I can put you through to blossom in a different office.  I tell my story again to blossom in the different office.  Ok let’s take your details.  That reference number can’t possibly be correct we don’t give out reference numbers beginning with 6.  Well this is the one written on the paper in my hand and that is definitely a 6.  Sniffs dubiously.  Well can I have your surname then.  C-A-N-T.  Can you spell that please?  I just did; C-A-N-T.  T-N-C then what?  No, C for Casa, A for Avion, N for Noviembre, T for Tango.  C-N-T but it doesn’t have any vowels in it….  skim over the next ten minutes for the sake of everyone’s sanity, suffice to say I’m deeply grateful my name isn’t Cholmondeley or Worcester… Cant, Hazel Barbara?  (Alleluia) yes that’s me.  But that paper work has never come to Humanities, the system here says it’s at the front desk at the Rectory, you need to phone them.  But the letter I have here says it’s been to Humanities and the Rectory says I should phone you.  Well I don’t know anything about any letter and you need to phone the Rectory. 

So I phoned the Rectory.  Initially officious lady becomes increasingly sympathetic as the story unfolds.  Sound of scraping chair, person rising to their feet and bellowing across a crowded office… anyone know anything about this…?  Turns out the person who took the original paperwork has just popped out, can I phone back in half an hour?  Believe me I will phone back every half hour for as long as it takes.  Half an hour later, the response from the Rectory is that they are waiting for a response to the letter that they sent me and I need to respond to that letter before they can progress the matter any further.  What, you mean the letter saying that I should wait for you to let me know the outcome?  Yes that letter.  So, please can you dictate to me exactly what the response is that you’re missing?  To say that you’ve received the letter. 

Dear University.  I have received the letter. Please can something else happen now.  Lots of love and kisses. 

All good gifts around us

Having anathematised Microsoft to the abode of the damned a couple of posts back, today we redress that balance as I freely admit to being totally in love with one small, sweet, inconsequential little feature of Windows; changing wallpaper.  Go to control panel, select personalization, desktop background, slide show, and how often you want the picture to change, and it will transform your desktop background into a kaleidoscope of memories (depending on what photos you have stored on your box of course).  I love every time I go to the computer and seeing “oh I remember that…”, “look there’s so and so…”,  “hasn’t Joni grown…”.  The other day I arrived to a picture of the Nazca lines seen from the air, and once I’d recovered from remembering how that was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life, I got to thinking “flipping heck, I’ve flown over the Nazca lines, what a ridiculously privileged existence have I been blessed with”. 

Gratitude is a good discipline, I think we find what we’re looking for, whether that be reasons to criticise or reasons to be thankful.  I know if I can find just ten things to thank God for each day, in less than three years they will have added up to ten thousand.  I also know that I’m not disciplined enough to keep counting them in any formal sense for a whole three years, but I am trying to be more consciously aware of God’s daily blessings around me (starting with wall-paper by Windows, and the Nazca lines). 

Today I am giving thanks…

… For my daily early-morning dog-walk along the lane, sharing the peace with our plethora of local wild-life, guinea pigs, woodpeckers, caranchos and chimangos (two varieties of birds of prey), and the beautiful tijeretas which have once again safely migrated back from who-knows-where to spend the summer here;

… For the two kilos of potatoes that I have dug out of our garden, (even more so since the original seed potatoes came free), and the successful garlic experiment, not to mention the sweet-corn and butternut squash plants that are just starting to push through.  And I positively purr when Joni says “the things we grow in our garden taste much nicer….” 

… For my English conversation students, because I enjoy work, and because they pay for our kids’ swimming lessons.  I also give thanks when they go on holiday and I have a free hour.  Work is a blessing, and rest from it is another one! 

… For Maxi, the small autistic child who I have just started working with.  May that be a fruitful relationship for all concerned. 

… And more than anything else for the blessings of watching my own kids growing and learning every day, each in their own…





The meaning of cleaning

Mummy mummy can I do that with you?

I’m not sure, it’s just a one person job really.

Ohhhhhhh, you never let me do anything you always have all the fun. 

Ok, come and do this bit for me. 


And what fantastically fun thing was I selfishly trying to keep for myself?  Cleaning the toilet!  Is it too much to hope that his enthusiasm might last till he’s 15?