A Helping Hand – The USW Playcentre

From my earlier blog name ‘A Student Father’ many of you may know that I am a father at University. Shocker, right? Well, I’ve had my daughter for the last three and a half years on my own, and though my parents have helped me with the odd day or two off here and there, which I’ve been grateful for, I’ve mostly done it all on my own.

I know they are proud of me, and for the first time in my life, I’m proud of myself for getting to the place where I’m at now. It may seem like a small goal to some, or not, and though I may not be getting firsts, I’ve been working as hard as I can, even with all the shit that gets thrown my way from the usual day-to-day.

So, why is it that every single time you get over an obstacle, another pops up, and not even just the ones that are in front of you. They come from all directions, from the sides, from behind you– all around you.

If I put the past to rest for a moment, and think about my future, building up to a hopefully successful career, why is it that it has to be stunted by people who have already had their chance?

I’m talking about the cuts at the University.

I mean, it was hard enough grasping at the courage to get into university, and here I am facing a stone wall, rising tall in front of me with stifling pressure. It stopped me in my tracks for a while, and this is why I’m writing about it.

So, the University want to cut the nursery they have had on campus for over 20 years. In the same email/letter that the Vice Chancellor wrote ‘Perceptions matter’ contained the same reasons for closure, such as, ‘Brexit,’ and ‘inability to break even.’

The nursery is at the top of the University, hidden away. It’s like it is in a world of its own. As you can see here, it’s quite a small and unique place.

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Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve heard a dozen arguments and reasons why, but the sheer audacity of those same people giving excuses have astounded me.

The fact that I’ve been given reasons such as ‘the current model in the nursery is not working’, but there has been no thought, and certainly no strategy toward changing that model. When met with offers from staff such as ‘Drops in pay’, ‘apprenticeship schemes’, and ‘rises in childcare costs’ still, they met the answers with such hesitation it dribbled out of their gaze when questioned.

The conversation that was held Thursday, 6th of April, 2017. It spoke for itself when they tried to make out even though they made this decision with no plan, no idea of test and trial, no effort, that they were still trying to do their best to keep the nursery open was disreputable.

I suppose attitudes like that are one of the reasons why our university has dropped more than twenty ranks since these people have been in these decision-making positions.

It’s okay though, blame Brexit, right?

Wrong.

The passion this has brought out of me is new for me, but the fact that I’ve moved from my hometown to a place I’ve never been to, and though it’s only twenty miles away from where I used to live, it can feel very isolated. I’ve been here for a while now, and I was so worried when I arrived here, searching for childcare, hearing of the horrors of what childcare centres can be like nowadays.

I remember the first time I walked into the USW Playcentre, and immediately, as soon as I walked through the door, I felt safe. I knew that my daughter would be safe here. Just from an email the manager remembered my position, understood how hard it must have been to come up here, and made us feel comfortable. Every decoration on the wall was made by the children– I mean, it was amazing.

I mean, they give gardening lessons, music/dance lessons, and even Welsh lessons… when it came down to the fact that all their food is homemade as well, it was enough for me to sign the papers and get my daughter there. As well as all those things, the children even get to go on a little walk up to a woodland area:

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When I signed those papers, I never considered that I would be confronted with the idea of it closing. I suppose you never do when such a place has been there for as long as you’ve been alive, but the thought of it closing spread quickly. You could see the determined fire lighting in every parent, and every staff member’s eyes as we all suddenly amalgamated together as one unit to march down the road fighting for its survival.

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So, all in all, this nursery has been an absolute saviour for me and considering I don’t have a partner to lean on, and my parents are unable to have my daughter full time, it is a necessity for my study.

I think, and not just because my daughter attends the nursery, but it will crush so many students/staff members if that nursery closes because it is filled to the brim with smiling adults and children alike, and it genuinely is a community building that is timeless. Its value is ageless, and it certainly does bring everyone together.

So, as the vice chancellor said in her letter, ‘perceptions matter’ this perception should be clung onto because, without it, this university will undoubtedly be worse off.

But, don’t take my word for it:

Five minutes.

I finally get to close my eyes for a moment and as always a thundering flash forks through my brain and I think of everything. Automatically, methodically, I plan for my upcoming assignments, my dentist appointment, food deliveries, whether I have enough money, bills, writing, reading, my summer, how to plan my hike, to double check canoeing, back to my brain I try to reset, and I exhale.

I let go of it all the minute later, and in tandem with this I put my coffee mug to my lips, and I can smell the almond milk stirring in the coffee and feel the steam slowly smother my face like a hot damp cloth. I open my eyes, and look at my screen, check my messages, open my word document, and then I stare, at the line between my monitors, and then, then I smile, only faintly… Because I’m still here.

Why I’m never giving up on TESOL

TESOL has been hit by the recent cuts at the University of South Wales, and I won’t see it cut.

TESOL has been an important part of my education at University, and possibly one of the only reasons why I’ve stayed. I’ve thought about dropping out, because of other things getting in the way, but the exciting lessons and the chance to always learn something new in TESOL has helped me understand that I want to become a teacher.

More so, I want to become a language teacher.

TESOL has helped me do this by showing me what grammar actually is, and not just understanding how to use the language correctly, but to label it, to identify language chunks, and so much more.

For example, it has taught me how to identify the difference between the tenses, past simple, continuous, perfect, and perfect continuous, or present simple, continuous, perfect, and perfect continuous, or, future simple (will, and going to), continuous, perfect, and perfect continuous.

It has helped me understand the difference between nouns, noun phrases, countable, and uncountable nouns, gerunds, pronouns and where and when to use them.

It has helped me understand adverbs, adjectives, how and where to use them, the comparative and superlative forms. It has helped me understand how to write in reported speech and the rules behind it. It has helped me understand conjunctions, articles, and so much more.

It has helped me understand how to use the phonemic chart, the differences between hard consonant sounds, and soft consonant sounds and to think of the synonyms of every word I use.

It has helped me understand how assimilation works, and that the way we communicate language isn’t necessarily right or wrong, but rather multiple choice. The fact that language is something fluid, and forever changing, as opposed to something that is outdated and not needing to be refreshed, or modified.

It has helped me identify problems with non-native speakers, in the sense of typically common problems that different language users will find difficulties with.

TESOL has helped me understand how to work with mixed skills groups, and multi-cultural groups, and to identify the importance of building confidence in a classroom, over repetitive study. Fluency being key in this.

I think that it is important to note that TESOL will contribute toward making me a more confident person, and a more understanding person. It helps me understand the use of intonation in speech, the variations in dialects, and to teach a simple way of explaining rules/uses of language to friends and non-native speakers.

Whether that’s down to the subject, or down to my teachers, Rhian and Mike, is difficult to discern but both my tutors and TESOL as a subject have been invaluable to me.

The Book of Dan

I keep getting jokes thrown my way due to the overwhelming complexity of my irritating mind. I mean, I think–I think–I think–I think and I think. Sometimes, the conclusions are pretty simple, and sometimes, a penny, and a paperclip equal human evolution. Makes sense, simple, right?

So, from talking about ghosts, historical figures, political distress, over complicated explanations for very simple things, I’ve decided to work my way into the idea of the book of Dan, this is secretly a real thing that all Daniels share; we’re awesome like that. In it to win it, as they say.

–Oh, who am I kidding, no one says that.

Anyway, to bring forth a new concept and idea to this blog, I’ll introduce the way that I think.

I use keywords to determine a pattern that triggers memories, that bounce back, and interlock with those keywords, reverting back to the question. Sometimes, it works, and others not so much.

This train of thought…

Question/keyword -> Memory -> Person -> keyword -> Memory -> Answer.

It’s like a boomerang of thoughts or a patchwork of expression. Awww, shucks, look at me, using my language teaching mumbo jumbo to define my inner elaboration. Excellent.

I’ve got a nasty habit of thinking about the past, I almost wrote pasty then, but I wouldn’t mind a pasty right now, but, that’s not the point. I’ve got a nasty habit of thinking about people from the past, events, regrets, and have trouble reminiscing old thoughts.

When, in fact, I never miss the person, and I think I simply miss those memories.

Since January I’ve been really good at just living in the now and not thinking of the past or the future. This has helped me improve this rather serious looking smile I sometimes plaster on my face and help me appropriate an intelligible idea of happiness. Honestly, I do get happy moments, please believe me! Ha.

Needless to say I think it’s time to put to rest the ghosts of my past, and finally super charge my tired mind into a stream of usefulness, integrity, and thoughtfulness, and all that other good, cushiony stuff that makes things better. You know the stuff.

So, the book of Dan, that was what we were talking about, right?


Rule 1: We don’t talk about the book of Da–

I mean, rule 1: Daniel is not one thing.

People have tried to define me as many things, and they’ve all been wrong. I’ve sought to describe myself and been wrong as well.

The closest anyone has ever gotten, was when I was called a fool by a woman eight or so years ago. The reason why I don’t see that in a negative light is that a fool is someone who is at the beginning of their journey. Able to walk in any direction, and not be bound to a single choice, journey, or have anything about themselves or their life/lives set in stone.

If I am anything, I am unpredictable and predictable. Maybe I’m predictably unpredictable. Jeez, mind-boggling, right? Not really. What’s wrong with you?

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I hope you enjoy my fat emblem.

Brilliant.

Anyway, I want to keep going positive, and have so much going on over summer, in the coming months, and even right now, so I’ll catch you later. *winky face*

I’m joking. Get over yourself. Not everything is about you, that’s why there’s a book of Dan… Jesus.

The almighty buzzkill

So, be it online dating, or offline dating, it’s been quite an interesting year or two. I’ve met a dozen or so people, and they were very different from one another, but also, some people have amazing similarities.

I mean, I’ve met 3 people, who have told me they are aggressive people, like, they can get physically aggressive, and throw a punch or two, and offer severe emotional discomfort when they feel uncomfortable, or annoyed…

That’s just what you want to hear when you leave a long-term abusive relationship, right?

So, when someone does tell me that they are aggressive, that’s it, spark over– may as well pissed over the fire that was interested in touching you– because that’s it. Gone.

Perhaps it’s wrong of me to be put off by people like that, but at the same time, I would be an idiot to enter a relationship with someone who was impulsive, and aggressive in one bundle. I mean, fuck me– how do these people mate?

Aggressively punching their way into sex? I’m not quite sure. But, it’s not my cup of tea, so far so, I’ll give tea up for coffee completely if tea drinkers are the naughty flaunty fighters.

I mean, it’s not like I’m looking for someone perfect, just, sometimes, things put me off people.

More insecurities than a heroin addicted chimp will put me off. Sure, we all got them, insecurities up the arse, but there’s a limit; surely. I mean, I have a child already and call me a prick, an asshole, or a dick, but there’s the point of love and the point of looking for someone to dress you in the morning. #notacareranymore .

So, yeah, I’m full of sass tonight. I apologise in advance, but I’m  sure you wouldn’t believe my sincerity.

Other than insecurity central, which, don’t get me wrong, I have a few myself, but surely, gotta ask, even though a “bitch ain’t one” you gotta wonder what those 99 other problems are, for example.

Then you meet some people who just want to stay in the same place forever, which, isn’t a bad thing but I not for me. I want to see the world, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Germany, Tibet, Japan, China, and Canada. Probably many more I’d love to visit, but I’d settle for moving to a few and visiting the rest.

Now, by this point you must be thinking, “So why are you looking for someone if you know you’ll be leaving this place, and going abroad?” Can’t expect anyone to go abroad with me, right? That’s what you’re thinking.

Well, I’ve been disappointed enough by other people who promised me everything, to plan my life around anyone else other than myself, and my daughter. But no, you’re right, I would think about what the other person wants, if they wanted to visit a country, not on my list, and stay there, you’d bet I’d consider it. But, I’m not staying in a place where I’m pretty sure God is trying to drown the bloody place at this point.

Anyway, I’m not after extravagant, or expensive… Maybe I’m looking for someone who has that element of not giving up. Can’t be too hard to find, right?

But hey, other than dating, life is going crazy enough as it is. From hailstorms to gaming tournaments, from mini golf to steak of the art, and from writing a novel, to airing it on YouTube.

So, it’s not like I really have time for anything serious I suppose. Lately, the arguments with people I meet after a couple of weeks are enough to put me off altogether. That being said, I met someone lovely, but they’re not interested in going abroad, which is fine, but I think I’ll kick myself forever if I don’t take up this opportunity to see the world.

I should just stick to my plan. Maybe when I wake up in the morning, I’ll have the motivation and self-drive that I had before the horrid start to my academic year. I got one test out of the way today and observed a friend’s lesson. Now, I’ll be doing mine next week, and that will be scary yet exhilarating. I can’t wait!

Time to work on portfolios, See ya. Welcome to my dating life, it sucks right?

I might have to invest in one of those life pillows and be done with it.

I just want to ask everyone who reads this blog a simple question…

Do you know how annoying it is to have the song “You got a friend in me” stuck in your head?

I do, and now you can, too. Here:

 

One warning, hopefully, no one takes offence to anything I write here, most of my writing contains sporadic, spur-of-the-moment thinking. Have a nice evening!!

I can’t wait to go back to the gym after all this panic about assignments is over!

Breaking self-made shackles

What decides a path that someone follows?

Is it the journey, their path, or is it their pain?

It could be all of them and it could be none.

Are our lives predetermined, or is everything impulsive, and wild like a forest fire?

I write this as I creep closer to my quarter-life-crisis. It won’t be long before I’ve been here for 25 years and sometimes I feel like the world is at my fingertips yet other times I get an overwhelming desire to walk away from the world and its fire.

I think the biggest journey for me, for this lifetime, was having a child. I made the mistake of having a child with someone who wasn’t sure of what she wanted and not even a second thought to the things you have to do, as opposed to the things you want to do. You see, with me the things that I have to do are easy. The things I want to do are harder. Sometimes they involved pushing people away so I can concentrate, or even giving myself enough space to push through the bristles of the brush that is life. You know, the one you try to squeeze through the gaps of when it tries to brush you away with each stroke.

I’ve spent so many years, already, being serious. Too long I’ve spent not smiling, and too long I’ve spent giving in to the negativity of this, that, or the other. Well, I’ve confronted metaphoric wolves, metaphoric foxes, metaphoric spiders, and metaphoric everything else. I mean–I don’t mean real wolves–of course. What I do mean though is that sometimes I can relate people to having anthropomorphic characteristics. Usually, you can tell who’s fierce and who is brave. You can tell who rushes into things head first and even the ones who save.

But, after spending over 2 years– trust me, it’s a long time for someone like me. Who talks and talks and talks, and thinks and thinks and thinks– They leave an imprint on you, like dirt on a blindingly white shirt. It marks you and takes a while for it to come off. When I finished that relationship I felt like I was wearing a white shirt that had more stains than white patches. But, you know what? Over the last couple of months, something strange had happened… something marvellous.

Sure, I’ve met new people and I’ve been to new places. I’ve started new things like YouTubing, and reading out my work. It makes me nervous but I like it… and it has helped. A lot, in fact. I think–no, I know I’m wearing a clean white shirt again and it’s time to put away the part of my life which I’d tried to hold onto for my daughter’s sake. Coming to the realisation that we’re better off without some people in our life has been the hardest decision for me to make but this is where I am now and I’m ready to move on with things.

So, sitting here today, in the library, and writing this– I’m in my second year — I’m loving it. I moan, and begrudge it at times but entirely… I don’t think I’ve smiled for this many consecutive days before and there’s no reason not to. Literally.

I don’t know what it is…

It could be the fact that I feel like I’m getting somewhere…

It could be because my daughter tells me she loves me twelve times a day…

It could be because I’m finally doing things I want to do…

It could be because I’m actually allowing myself to be happy…

I had a conversation with my friend yesterday, and we talked about how I’m not trying to control myself in every conversation… just… FUCK IT. Fuck trying to put a mask on or trying so hard to fit in, or even FUCK trying to ‘get serious’ and just have fun.

If you can’t have fun it isn’t worth doing.

Remember: The only person who can change your view is yourself, and that’s up to you.

 

Daily Prompt: Vice

via Daily Prompt: Vice

Vice…

We all have that one thing that hinders us, pushes us, lunges for us like a caged animal. The thing about a vice is that it is the dark hand on your shoulder that has a hold on you, causes your addiction, that face you pull when you smile into darkness, and it holds you in such a prison the bars seem invisible, but they are everywhere, in everything.

It can be a pull on your mind, a pull on your body, or a pull on your soul… a craving, a desire, something that draws you, and takes you in it’s arms. Drugs? alcohol? desire?

So, when do you wake up from your melancholic rage? Your sanguine desire? When do you wake up, and remember that your vice doesn’t have control of you? Can you? Can you escape the darkness once you’ve tasted it? Or is it a matter of time, just a “how long can you hold your breath?” until the tides roll over you, suffocate you, and pull you under the depths of confrontation with your demons.

Vice…

We are a collection of memories; if you could look at all of yours in a single moment, would you smile? or would you cry?

See you around cowboy/girls

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Balanced? I think not.

So, sometimes I feel as warm as the sun, and other times, I’m as cool as a cucumber (excuse the pun), as cold as ice… (We’re never going to get anywhere like this)… at sub-zero… I’ll show myself out… Here’s a door:

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I mean, just look at today…

It’s warm outside, warm in my soul… I mean, steering back to reality: It’s been a fun day; I took my daughter out to Cardiff bay, along with my buddy Conor.

Hey, look it’s Conor!

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Well, no it’s not Conor.

Maybe slightly less hair.

Anyway, moving on; see what I mean? I told you we’ll not get anywhere tonight.

So, I want to seriously start by stating that I lost a friend today. After arranging for her to visit in September, I realised that she was using me for a bit of a back-up plan with a few friends that she felt awkward around at the time, and I could see her changing her mind about a lot of things, and messing me around. The worst thing was that she pretended to like me more than a friend, so I’d say yes to her coming, which is ridiculous, I mean if she just said she wanted to be friends I would have been more than happy to let her stay. I’m just that type of person. Cool-beans, right? (tragic)

Anyway, with that out of the way, I burned that bridge real good, ended that friendship because that’s a big no-no to me, and if I didn’t end it there I would be goose-stepping into another despicably annoying situation (Heh, walking like a goose, can you imagine?)

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Here’s a picture of a goose, just in case you can’t. (Heh, this one looks like he’s having a giggle, or holding someone up for bread)

Anyway, with that out of the way, my stress was halved, and I had a brilliant day, filled with sunshines and rainbows… I mean look at this:

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I told you, see the rainbow, taste the rainbow. (Okay, seriously now, I will stop)

Anyway, in conclusion to my day, it’s been a pretty interesting one, and Conor is visiting me for a while, and it’s been pretty nice having someone around to talk to in the evenings as I’ve been alone most of the summer… in the evening anyway. So… it’s still a little adjustment though, being around someone else in this house is strange. It’s alien, aside from having my daughter here of course, and we all have to get used to the way things work. That’s life though.

Anyway, aside from a moody hour or two this evening, today has been a great day and I’m looking forward to doing many more things over the next year which includes going canoeing again, stepping onto the clubbing scene (How you doin’?)

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Okay, I lied about stopping the puns. That one was a classic though, can you blame me?

Anyway, I’ve had enough days where I can call different shades of shit and it is definitely time to change the way I see my days now, and move on.

I had a conversation with an ex of mine over trying again, and I couldn’t take a single step down that road; she messaged me, and all I could think about was how awkward it was reading the words she wrote. I knew she hadn’t ‘changed’ I mean, a leopard and it’s spots and all that jazz.

Here’s a leopard:

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Look! This one has a happy hat.

Anyway, back on point; it’s easy to say yes to something that won’t work, because you may miss someone, or even have some form of inclin of memory, but it takes a better person to say no to something that you do not feel 100% about, regardless of how it affects them, or yourself, knowing it will only make things worse. If you have to ruin yourself to help another, you’re doing it wrong, and I certainly do value my sanity recently.

Furthermore? Yes, there’s more, always is.

I want to work on myself, I know I’ve been belching the same theme for the last three months, but it’s imperative that we all work on ourselves, and after a decent chat with a friend through fb this evening, I understand that this is something I definitely want to do, seeking happiness for yourself, is a must. For, you do not want to enter a relationship, depending on the other person for happiness, it’s not what it is about. Even if it takes 20 years for me to find that place in my life, I don’t care. If someone comes along and adds to my life, not take away, I’ll be fine, but I won’t be compromising my own happiness, anymore. Fuck the ghosts of my past, they are ghosts for a reason, and now… on that note… they can perish like the mother fuckers they are.

Hasta la vista, mujeres.

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So, those of the people in my life who walk with me on this journey of mine for the better, are more than welcome. I will always be there for those who treat me with respect. I know a certain person will read this, and feel a bit worried, if she isn’t covering her face with a very hard slapping hand right now… but, here’s a message to the people in my life who really are trying to add to it, I don’t know where I’d be without you all:

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One day I will find the ying to my yang, but until then, I’ll stride on the waves of life.

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I’ll see you around, cowboys/cowgirls.

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Daily Prompt: Complicated

via Daily Prompt: Complicated

Complicated…

What is complicated?

Complicated is dangerous, though complicated is something that I would purport to be, I’m actually rather simple, but my thoughts can get complicated.

Perhaps it’s because I see things in different ways, or the fact that my brain refuses to switch off… All I know is that I make a lot of trouble for myself.

I’d recently had a conversation about my stubbornness. I argued with the girl and said it was important to me, also relating to the post: Stubbornness. Stubbornness isn’t the right word for it though. The right word for this is tenacity. Being tenacious is something that comes naturally to me, though as of late, there have been shifts of feeling tenacious, and then suddenly feel a lack of resolve, and almost feel like I’m drifting, and that feeling is hard to explain to the people around me, and lately, I’ve had arguments with people over it, because one minute I’m the nicest, most enthusiastic person around, and the next I’m moody, distant and not bothered.

The problem is, see, that I’m always bothered, always there, so I get this mixed feeling of worry how I will somehow annoy someone because of the way I am, and that even telling them that i experience these things, not being understood in that way and then getting assumed that I find everything easy to handle. Now, sure, from the outside view, you may think I have a firm grip on everything, but sometimes, I can’t walk outside without feeling my hands shake, so, arguments are the last thing I need, because I distance myself away from people so much so that I find it difficult letting them back in. Imagine me having a coat of armour around my body, and never taking it off. Every time I feel pushed into a corner it gets thicker, and thicker. Eventually, there’s very little of me that I let you see, however, I would want nothing more than someone to walk straight through it and dismantle the pieces.

That’s being complicated.