mercredi 17 avril 2013

Lewis - 1. Nesting

When you move to a new place to work, you spend a considerable amount of time nesting. You find a place to live; you move your bags in; you unpack and organize and place things where they work best for you. Every person has a spatial need unique to them. In this series, I travel to Stornoway, Scotland on the Isle of Lewis to settle eight student teachers into a short teaching experience at a local secondary school, and we compare living and teaching in Lewis to living and teaching in Canada, their home.

No one ever feels completely settled after a long journey unless they have found a clean, safe place to sleep; unpacked and had a hot meal; and that is exactly what the visiting teachers found upon their arrival in Lewis. Despite the various small issues with flight schedules, we arrived in Stornoway and were greeted by drivers who had smiles on their faces and seemed happy to see us. They took us to where we would stay the night. It was clean, airy. And we met two hours later for a walk around the corner to a hot meal at the Caberfeibh hotel. This allows your mind to rest and adjust to the local time.

One thing that always surprises me is how long nesting takes. But nesting, I believe, is a biological need: Find shelter. Find a food source. Connect to home, family. These are basic requirements that we still search for in each place we travel. The teachers with me found their accommodation. Then they unpacked. They connected (by wifi) to family at home. Then they needed to find a food source (a local grocery store in walking distance). Each step along the way to establishing the nest involved hurdles. Understand the local dialect. Figure out the codes for connecting to home. Know how grocery stores are organized here.

Eggs, usually found refrigerated in Canada, are on the shelf next to bread in Scotland. A small, but time-consuming discovery. Also, appliances work differently. There are different levels of currents, so women normally preparing themselves for the work day may not be able to use their straighteners or curlers from home. The shower power button, located outside of the washroom (WC) has to be turned on before it will go. The power switch for the oven needs to be flicked down, then the timer set on the oven before it will work. These are all small details, but taken for granted, can disrupt the flow of the day.

Once nested, it was time to discover the work place: How will we get there? How will it be different from school organization in Canada?
Callanish, Isle of Lewis
Lodging at Gearrannan, Carloway, Isle of Lewis

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