student days… (a quick memoir)

Dear friends

30 years ago I was towards the end of my first year studying architecture. I may have mentioned before, I studied at University of Edinburgh – it had been my long time desire to study there and I was blessed to make it. I absolutely love my Edinburgh days; I made great friends and had great experiences. I loved studying architecture, that had been my long time desire since the age of about 14 years. However it was not a pleasant experience as generally I recall struggling with the large egos of tutors and fellow students, not all, but enough!

30 years later and I am traveling to a local university where I have been tutoring first year architecture students these past six months. How enlightening it has been for me to discuss architecture with these young people. And how difficult!!! And how sad as I see them not working and continually falling short of what I see so clearly in them. We recently did a hand drawing quiz, prepared by one of the full time lecturers, i.e. 1 minute to draw an internal wall with a door at scale 1 to 50. (This may sound technical but remember these students have been drawing and studying the topic since last September so it should not have been a difficult task). Only a few managed to correctly draw this in the minute given to them 😦

I’m now on my way to see the annual school exhibition. In my first year, my hand drawn sketch of a half onion was exhibited 🙂 I’m interested to see what the third years produce at the end of their degree since some of my first years will be there in two years. Hopefully this will also help me to understand the ethos of this school of architecture and current architectural education.

Much can happen in two years… not to mention thirty years…

I’ve been much more reflective about time in recent months as I approach the age of Kylie Minogue! I recently heard a radio journalist who invited two friends to live by a motto for a month, such as, live every day as if it’s your last. I was impressed by the attitude of the individual as they made the effort to contact extended relatives and even organise a simple family gathering.

The recent words of living prophets and apostles – #LDSconf – have also touched my heart. I keenly feel that we are living in the time of the parables specifically concerning the last days, like the parable of the ten virgins. These are wonderful but perilous times – we must prepare and that doesn’t happen overnight… two years?… thirty years?… a lifetime?…

You can judge for yourself 🙂

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perspective

Dear friends

I feel the last several weeks have been fairly unbalancing for me… as if my life is ever balanced but things were OK and we were coping. Things have tipped and I know that any balance regained will be different. This is on account of family fractions, fractures, whatever you want to call it. It’s difficult and painful.

I admit, one of these is my doing… I couldn’t keep my mouth shut when listening to my children being compared (negatively) to other grandchildren in the family. The other, I am right in the middle, between two close family members.

Outwardly, I’ve tried to keep going. Praying, fasting, reading scriptures, listening to uplifting talks, trying to get some calm in myself. I’ve delved into work – which isn’t difficult since we are currently at technical design stage so lots to do – but I’ve had some ridiculously scary dreams… car going over a cliff with my dear husband and I inside, me on a motorcycle being rammed by a car but left unharmed, the car was written off, and then alien raptors attacking the city as we hid out in an edge of town estate. Trust me, these were very scary, very vivid dreams.

There’s been other things happening too – some members at church have passed away, the husband of a friend, the youngest sister of some friends of our children and the son of some other family friends who has children.

Physically our home is not settled as my dear husband arranged to have the kitchen replastered, before we’d ordered a new kitchen… the result, we’ve been camping out in the garden for washing up and cooking in the dining room – since end of December. (The end is near – new kitchen is installed next week).

During this winter of discontent, shall we say, there have been moments of enlightenment which have helped me regain my perspective.

Daur2 (who wants to study architecture) was discussing with me, on the way to school, how she’d got 17/30 in yet another maths test whereas the rest of the class got 20+. As I reassured her that it would be OK, she exclaimed, but you can say that, your successful!! I was quite surprised by this and asked her if she ever remembered me not being an architect. Daur2 doesn’t remember and I explained that it was 14 years between me finishing university and successfully getting a job where I could finish training, and the week after I was offered the job, we discovered Son2 was on his way, and all this after failing my final project submission at university and having to resubmit in the autumn.

We all have our moments – some last 14 years but that doesn’t mean we give up on our dreams.

Son2 and I had a discussion recently about 3D vision, and how if you close one eye, you see things in 2D, with no sense of depth. Our brain uses the information from two slightly different angles to give us that depth that we see. Our students at university have also been exploring this as they’ve been to draw sections – some make the mistake of drawing the section as a perspective, showing depth.

I realised that in my life, I can choose to view it in 2D, in a very linear manner, dictated by time. This can be quite limiting and discouraging as it gives a sense of running out of time or not having enough time.

Or I can choose to see events in 3D, things past, present and future, wide-screen, full surround sound. A bit like Ebenezer Scrooge’s experience of Christmas Eve night in A Christmas Carol. Essentially that helped gain perspective in his life.

So I’m training myself to approach my life and trials with perspective, seeing events and people more holistically. This is the correct view – anything else is like having one eye closed!

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known

(1 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 12)

time for yourself – a poem

Dear friends,

I mentioned how a few weeks ago we cleared out the garage.  Well, I came across one of my old sketchbooks from university days, 1990-1991 and in the back was a poem I wrote for a project.  I think every RIBA School of Architecture does a ‘design a retreat’ project – no-one can claim that RIBA validated architecture courses are anything other than creative – I sketched the section of an onion, wrote poems and drew an androgynous figure!  Anyhow, I thought you might enjoy reading the poem – I’m not a poet, I’m an architect, so I’m sure the more literary among you will see room for improvement 🙂

time for myself

Time for myself and not for the world

of strife & malice …

and competition

to succeed, to win.

Why never to be yourself?

But here’s the chance

with a time of its own,

and still enough time for me.

So that I can grow,

in the world

but not of it.

A chance to dream, or rather ponder

without worry of waking,

work, food, work.

Here, at one with nature –

for are we not nature ourselves? –

we can be honest,

with nature,

with ourselves.

Having honesty enough not to hide

– we can hide but a short time in our dreams

from the world –

but if we are true to ourselves,

we need no dreams to hide in,

for we have nothing to fear.

The world can not harm us,

it can not touch us if we are honest,

showing integrity

being ourselves.

and then we can go back,

knowing that we’ve lived,

to our fullest potential,

And,

knowing that we had time for ourselves & not for the world,

living for that one dream, above all,

To return.

 

Wednesday calm…

Dear friends

You might notice a trend with my posts – I tend to write more on a Wednesday because all are out (youth activities), except our youngest and I can spend time cooking dinner.  Why is Wednesdays child full of woe? I love Wednesdays!!

I’ve spent some time checking the latest blogs from those I follow – there are some great thoughts, images, buildings and blogs out there. Thank you all for sharing a piece of yourself.

I’m feeling more miserable about work than usual; I checked out some job adverts and saw a part time one (in academia) and thought how that would give me the chance to explore some things that I want to.  Although my dear husband sees my misery it’s hard for him to encourage me to change the status quo.  Something is going to have to change!!  I’m not going into detail now but it’s not a happy place to work = 😦

Thankfully back home is a refuge, a busy one, but a refuge. We’ve all got new passports now – that’s an investment in itself – and making plans for our holiday on the continent at the end of July.  A dear neighbour has said we can stay in their second house for a week. We’re all excited – the two youngest have not left these shores!

I feel blessed to find calm and solace in troubled times.  I know work will still be there tomorrow but sometimes you’ve got to let tomorrow take care of itself. Today is now and I want to enjoy the rest of today. The past is done. All I can change is the future and that hasn’t yet happened 🙂