14 d’agost 2011

nose updates

I don't remember if I was 10 or 12. What I remember is that I loved playing competitive games in my parent's swimming pool with the kids I grew up with. From swimming to diving, I spent hours in the pool from sunrise to sunset.
During that time I really liked this guy. All I remember is that he was a great swimmer... And his speedos :-&.
My best friend was playing as well, he had just thrown me out of the spring board and I was diving towards the stair when I felt something that pushed me to the bottom of the pool. It was my best friend's heel... On my nose.
The pain was excruciating. They put me under cold water and I hardly bled. Weeks later my nose was out of place and as I was developing, and coming from a family of prominent noses, my nose was very big and crooked.
Bad for my teenage years. I was known as the girl with the eagle nose. Big and red at the top, most of the pictures I have from that time were me with open mouth, as I couldn't breathe through my nostrils.

When I was 16 we booked my operation. Correction of the nasal septum. I shared room with a girl who just began at my school and was being operated of the same, the same day and from the same doctor.
We had lots of fun while in hospital. We probably spent 3 days there. My friends came to visit me. I even enjoyed hospital food and managed to lose weight. When I was a teenager I was obsessed with loosing weight as my body slowly developed from a sporty figure to a full figure woman: big boobs, big butt, big trouble... as I was always on competitions and weight played a role.
Weeks later the operation failed. The tip of my nose fell. I went back to hospital, this time a little correction... they broke my septum again. I left it there as I was able to breathe great and I managed to be more effective in my training. All was sweet.

My Rudolph nose reappeared 10 years later during a liaison translator job in Frankfurt. The tip of my nose developed a perfect round red circle and it was painful to touch. I used to disguise it with make up and some balm a doctor gave me.
3 years later that round spot gained relief and I was able to push it down. Puss always came from the right side and it was a question of weeks that the spot would come back.
Until one day it was so prominent that I squeezed it and puss and blood came out of the skin like a hose and opened a big hole on the tip of my nose.
The doctors that checked me found a strange body in my nose. It turned out to be another mistake from the doctor in Barcelona. He used the wrong thread.
Nose was open, they found a donour and nose was... totally replaced. It was an emergency operation as I was at risk to let the infection come into the breathing channel and to my brain.

Long story short, during a trip to Brazil March 2010 I found out my nose was tender again and I had puss coming from both sides.
Back to the hospital and new appointment for operation. Number 4.

Since images speak louder than words, it has been now 1 and a half months from there, and this is how it has evolved:

Day one, still a bit dizzy from the anaesthetics. See they used my left ear to fill my nose. Ear is covered, it was bloddy. I was in Amsterdam, I couldn't help thinking of the pain Van Gogh must have gone through.

Week one, eyes already almost normal. They were quite puffy for a while.

Week 2. They removed the cast. I had some plastic discs on the sides of the nose. It was annoying and disgusting, since my pores couldn't breathe and a lot of dirt and sweat would build a creamy film. They were painful to carry, later on I developed a bleeding sore from the plastic cutting through my skin.

Last visit to the hospital JUL 19. They removed everything. I could breathe!

As per today. Sitting and blogging (and exercising the art of procrastination). This is my beautiful side. The nose got a bit misplaced, I think because I jumped in Barcelona from the very board that was the beginning of all. When I dove in the pool I felt a weird pressure. I think that's when the nose got a bit misplaced.

The tip has moved a bit to the left. It is hard to appreciate on the naked eye, so overall I am quite happy with the result.
The bio-stitches have fallen from the ear, but I still have stitches on one side of the nose. They won't fall. It is a bit painful to touch. Yesterday I attempted to pull them. Ouch!
Ok, I will wait.

Whenever I'll have more time to procrastinate I will scan images I brought from Europe, where you could see the hole that developed in my nose.


Fent brut per fer net.
It is quiet in my head.

04 d’agost 2011

Anglosaxon rigidity in an American oriented society

While filling an academic paper I have had the major need to throw non-academic founded thoughts somewhere before they could filter somehow in my objective politically correct version.
I am currently writing about foreign students arriving in NZ and their potential problems in having to follow schooling in a different language.
And it really hits me.

Understand another language as: English.
Maori, co-oficial language, is taught as a foreign language. Its fluency is not compulsory. They managed to keep it which is already grand. I hope it helps students understand their Pasifica peers more and pakeha in general learn to read the soul of their country from the original inhabitants.

We are talking about students with English as a non-mother tongue and the difficulties they can encounter when being taught in a foreign language (English). And since we are politically correct we won't say that the majority of students that might have potential adaptation problems are Asian or Pasifica students.
Culture. They come from a collective oriented society to face an individual oriented society. That is the main cultural trait I can think of. On the other side, the politically correct form of academical research papers won't let me say that while students of Western societies might face this or that issue to readjust, their Oriental-Pacific peers are already regarded as second class foreigners. Sorry, but this is the unofficial version, the one I learnt from hearing people talk.

I always blamed my parents not to take me to a school overseas. I finished my education in Germany, in German. The uni there was aware of us foreigners and we were divided in translation groups between "translators into German with German as a mother tongue" and "translators into German with German as a foreign language". We really appreciated the differentiation and in fact we chose that institution because they make that difference. It never created a German vs others division. The major division consisted in: cosmopolitans vs non-cosmpolitans, it was easy to tell. To begin with because being a mother tongue speaker of German didn't necessarily make you a German (took me a while to understand as a Catalan).
But I am talking about foreign language students, with surely another way of viewing language and culture.

Stick to the main subject

Back in Auckland I am trying to stay diplomatic and stick to the paper resources that relate to NCEA, curricula and PISA reports and leave all these perceptions aside.

NZ claims to be a very international country. I wonder if that means that, in its young age, and despite the isolation from the world, it failed to find its own character. Despite having Pasifica inhabitants to learn from, they regard them as 'the other group that lives here and does their stuff, and some is cool' and adapts the neoliberal pattern of the American way of life: Cars, drive troughs, take aways, pay for health and live to work. Combine this with whites generally as exciting and passionate as Brits are: cru-di-tos. So more or less. The closest thing to the American dream doesn't happen in Kiwiland, by the way. It is called Australia.

Maybe, in some years their original settlers will grow and modify the society, but if, the change is still many years away.

In fact, this is just an impression. I need to learn a lot more of this 'multicultural' society and be able to contrast what I read, with what I see and what I feel. I am quite new to this.

Partly relieved, now that I got rid of these hovering ideas, I can continue academically and politically correctly reflecting about the challenges I will face in meeting the needs of learners of English as an Additional Language.

Suggestions are welcome.