Ah, Technology (and Not Having a Mobile)

So, Yahoo deleted my account due to inactivity. That’s fair enough, considering I only use it every eighteen months or so when a question crosses my eye that is both active and I have an answer to – such as this one, on the similarities of Welsh and Gaelic (about which I will post next week).

The problem lies in the facts that (a) accounts deleted due to inactivity can’t be retrieved, and (b) signing up for a new account requires listing your mobile number so that a confirmation code can be sent to it; (c) I don’t have a mobile phone and (d) there doesn’t seem to be any way to change it to send to code to your e-mail. Also (e) I have a specific, uncommon question which isn’t answered in any of the pre-existing help pages and (f) you can’t e-mail administration for help without logging into your account, which leads me back to (a) my account has been deleted and (b-d) I can’t retrieve it or create a new one.

Now, I don’t have a mobile phone. Or FaceBook, for that matter. I do, however, have an e-mail address and a blog, which for the most part serves me well enough for keeping in contact with people, conveying information, and ranting and rambling about random things (such as now). I can acknowledge that some things might be easier with a mobile phone and FaceBook, but I also expect I’d be much less efficient about getting anything done if I had them do to getting distracted by them. (Which wouldn’t be a good thing, since I’m already distracted and inefficient).

Here’s the explanation: I used to have a mobile phone. I had one for a year – the year I was at face-to-face high school. I only got one after missing the bus and walking 15 minutes back home to beg a lift to school from my mother. But then I started doing SOTA (correspondence/home-based education) and we moved house. My sister stayed at the same primary school for her last year, now quite a distance away, and I readily handed over my mobile phone. No doubt that “readily” was due in part to the fact that, at the time, we had basically no mobile reception at our house.

Now, I don’t really think I need a mobile phone. (I also wonder whether I’d even be able to use one, given how mobile phone technology has progressed since 2009). Even though I’m at uni this year, I always have ready access to a computer onto which I can log to send or receive an e-mail, and if it’s something particularly urgent, there’s always the college landline. (And, on the rare occasions I feel I’ve overused the uni’s landline, there’s always someone around me with a mobile phone I can borrow).

After all, people organised their lives and communicated with other people for years – centuries – before mobile phones. And they didn’t have e-mails or landlines. You’ve just got to plan a little better. I don’t text my parents when I need to be picked up from somewhere – I estimate the time I’ll be finished and let them know beforehand. If I’m meeting a friend somewhere, I make sure to organise the details and confirm them in advance so we turn up in the same place at the same time – without phoning each other while walking there to confirm we’re both going in the same direction.

Really, it’s perfectly possible to live a sensible, normal teenage life without a mobile phone. It just takes a tad more planning and fosters a slightly greater sense of responsibility.

It also gives me a sense of being much older and world-weary when I look across a dining table filled with my classmates and sigh, because they’re all texting or FaceBooking and not actually talking – which is, after all, according to my upbringing, what meal-times are for.

It’s very, very rare to run across an occasion where I actually can’t do something because I don’t have a mobile phone. Now, I belong to a number of online forums and such. I even signed up for My9 (the Channel 9 equivalent of iView) the other day after missing something on the television (what a waste of time that was – the programmes aren’t nearly as good as the ABC, you don’t have to sign up for iView, just be in Australia [as I found out in Israel] and it doesn’t play as many ads). Yahoo is the first place I’ve tried to sign up to which doesn’t automatically send the code out to your e-mail. Even Bangkok Airport sent the connection code to my e-mail! At best, most online places have an option to send it to the mobile – I’d at least expect that Yahoo would retain an option to have it sent to e-mail. Quite obviously I signed up to it without a mobile phone the first time.

Oh, well. I suppose sometimes I just have to resign myself to not being able to share information with people who want to know it.

Even if my answer is more relevant and detailed than the others that are already there.


Mo Theaghlach

Seo an topaic a bh’ ann an t-seachdain seo:

Faodaidh tu a-nis innse dhuinn mun teaghlach agad-fhèin. A bheil iad seo agadsa?: bràithrean, peathraichean, nigheanan, mic, balaich.

Agus dè mu dheidhinn nan daoine seo?: nàbaidhean, caraidean… (searbhantan!)

Ma tha bràithrean no peathraichean agad, a bheil mic no nigheanan acasan?

Tha mi a’ smaoineachadh nach eil teaghlach mòr agam-fhìn. Tha mi a’ fuireach comhla ri mo phàrantan, mo phuithir, agus mo sheanair. Chan eil ach aon phuithir agam – tha dithis nighean aig mo phàrantan.

A-nis, ‘n uair a tha mi a’ sgrìobhadh an t-òraid seo, tha mo phuithir an-seo anns mo sheomar. Tha i a’ laigheadh air an làr agus tha i ag ràdh gun robh i bored (ciamar a chanas mi bored anns a’ Ghàidhlig?). Agus bhris i am fionnaraich. Fuirichibh mionaid.

Tha mi air ais a-rithist! Tha seachd bliadhna agus deug aig mo phuithir agus dh’fhalbh i às àrd-sgoil ann an t-Samhain. Thèid i a Chreagan (Geelong) am bliadhn’ airson oilthigh.

Tha mo sheanair a’ fuireach còmhla rinn cuideachd. ‘S e athair mo mhathair a th’ ann agus tha ochd bliadhna agus ceithir-fichead aig. ‘S e Astràilianach a th’ air, agus thàinig a shinnsir às a’ Chòrn. Tha e às an dùthaich an tuath air Adelaide – ‘s e “Kernow Bichan” a th’ air an dùthaich seo (Còrn Beag).

Tha mo sheanmhair (am bean athair mo mhathair) marbh a-nis, ach bha ceathrar chloinne aca – triùir nìghean agus aon mhac. Tha a’ phiuthar-màthar nas sheaine na mo mhàthair a’ fuirich ann am Baile Mhòr Shidni. Tha triùir chloinne aice. Tha aon mhac agus dithis nighean aice – mo cho-òghanan. Tha aon mhac, Seumas, agus aon nighean, Caitrìona, pòsta agus tha mac beag air Caitrìona. Tha a’ phiuthar-màthar nas òige na mo mhàthair a’ fuirich an tuath orm ann an Creag Mhòr agus tha dithis chloinne aice. Tha mo bhràthar-màthar a’ fuireach ann an Coirea a-nis.

Tha mo sheanpàrantan eile (na phàrantan aig m’ athair) marbh cuideachd, agus bha iad a’ fuireach anns an Alba. Bha mo sheanair às Alba fhèin, ach thògadh mo sheanmhair ann an Dùn Èideann anns a’ Shealainn Nuadh (bha Gàidhlig aice). Tha na co-ògha m’ athair a’ fuireach anns a’ Shealainn Nuadh cuideachd. Chan eil ach aon phuithir aig m’ athair agus tha i a’ fuireach ann an Sasainn. Tha dithis mhac aice.

Chan eil mòran nàbaidhean ann far a bheil mi a’ fuireach a chionn ‘s nach eil mi a’ fuireach ann am baile. Tha leth-cilemeatair eadar an taigh agam agus taigh mo nàbaidhean. Ach tha mo nàbaidhean snog co-dhiugh. Tha dithis “chaorach nan rathaid” againn – aig mo teaghlach, aig na nàbaidhean air suas an rathad agus aig na nàbaidhean air thairis an rathad.

Chan eil searbhantan againn idir-idir! Ach tha mo mhàthair ag radh a-nis ‘is a-rithist gu bheil searbhant aice!

Tha mo phuithir an-seo a-rithist agus seo an t-òraid Gàidhlig aice-fhèin (thuirt i e agus sgrìobh i e):

Pheska ma. Hun yell un galig ackum. Tscheerie.

Agus sin e!

Group Photo

Teaghlach no caraidean? Chan eil fios agamsa!

Back On The Farm

Do I live on a farm? I don’t know. I usually tell quarantine officers I do, anyway. But I don’t live on a farm in the context of a commercial producer that forms my family’s main source of income. I do live on a farm in the context of a bit of space and a few animals.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned chooks for a while, although I did tell you about our sheep a few weeks ago. I used to talk about chooks a lot.

But anyway, about two weeks ago (while I was away), my family discovered a hen in the back of the chook house sitting on a clutch of eggs. Since they didn’t know how long she’d been sitting, they didn’t want to do the usual thing of removing the eggs and exposing the hen’s underside to cold air, so they just let her be.

On Sunday morning (while I was away again), Dad told us that he’d discovered a single chick with her, so this morning, I headed down to the chook yard to check it out.

01 - Chook Yard

We actually have three roosters in this yard, and you can see them all here. We only put two in from last year’s hatchings, but this one in front of the tree we misjudged, and that turned into a rooster, too. They other one is the third one along on the right of the tree, and the grey one behind the green bin thing. That’s the only one with a name, as far as I know – Douglas. (“dubh” – “dark”, “glas” – “grey”). His father looked much the same and was called Graham. Yeah, we’re inventive.

02 - Clucky Hen

She wasn’t particularly happy about being picked up so we could look at her chick and eggs, but she didn’t peck at all and settled back quickly.

03 - Chick Side

Abair isean breagha! Isn’t it cute? It’s a brilliant colour.

04 - Chick Front

I do so love mixed-breed mongrel chooks. I have no idea how she’s going to feather out.

So far, there aren’t any other chicks. I picked up a few eggs and couldn’t really hear any pipping, except maybe in one. We thus far haven’t have much success with hatching chicks under hens (ducklings, now, that’s another story), but a few months ago, a friend from church took some of our eggs to put under his clucky hen and got about 90% hatching. So there’s still time. She might just have been sitting on this one for longer.

There was some curiosity from the others. I didn’t get the camera out fast enough to show the five or six that were looking beadily in at us at one point.

05 - Curious

A Quick Weekend Jaunt

Abair turas mor! What a long journey!

Sorry for the delay in another post (I know you’re all waiting with bated breath to see whether I actually got home or whether the ‘plane crashed somewhere perhaps over Mount Gambier), but for much of the latter half of last week I was completely incoherent with jet-lag, and for the last fifty hours, I’ve been in a car.

Well, I haven’t been in a car for all of it, but I have been for about twenty hours of it, which means I’ve spent just as long in a car this weekend as I did in an aeroplane last weekend. And didn’t get nearly as far.

It was entirely my fault, of course, as I didn’t have to go and I chose to.

And, unfortunately, I left my camera at home (again – this is becoming a habit) so I don’t have any pictures to share with you of the trip (the scenery isn’t nearly as exciting or rapidly-changing as in Israel). However, I may or may not be making the trip again in two or three weeks, so there may be pictures then.

What’s happening is that my sister is going to uni interstate (nearish Melbourne) this year, which is probably an 8-hour trip if you speed and don’t stop for food or the toilet. With the academic year starting in a few weeks, we went over this weekend to sus out student housing for her. And found a rather good houseshare, it has to be said, for all of the five daytime hours we spent at our destination.

That’s enough of cars for a while, I think.

Funnily enough, Adelaideans travelling to Melbourne for the weekend isn’t particularly remarkable. And I mean, it’s not like you live in Jerusalem and you’re going to Tel Aviv or Ber Sheva for the weekend (yes, I’m still comparing everything to Israel, as in Israel I was comparing everything to Australia). After all, the trip from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv is probably about forty-five minutes in rush hour. It’s not even like you live in Glasgow and you’re going to London for the weekend – although it would probably take about as long by car, it’s not neatly as far.

I’ve been telling myself for a few years now that Australians drive distances, and no Australians bat an eyelid at it. We drove from Dallas to Iowa City and barely thought anything of it as we did it over three days – but the locals we mentioned it to were amazed! Then again, I had a conversation with a lady in a shop in Tiberia who was amazed that we’d come “all the way” from En Gev to visit her shop. That was about 16km as the bird flies (about 30km by road). Yeah, I literally go that far by road to do the weekly shopping. Although admittedly it would be only about 16km to my nearest supermarket.

But one of the people we spoke to near Melbourne thought we were crazy for driving that far for the weekend (it’s ten hours one way). “I’d fly!” he said. But flying’s more expensive. And more difficult to do at the last minute.

“We wouldn’t drive to Sydney for the weekend,” we told him, “That’s two days. But Melbourne – no-one thinks anything of it.”

Which is true. If you mention a weekend jaunt to Melbourne to someone in Adelaide, the most involved response you’ll get is, “Stop every two hours for a rest and don’t leave at 4am to get there at lunch time.”

The truth is, whenever there’s a football game involving one of our teams in Melbourne, thousands of Adelaideans leave on Friday night to drive to Melbourne for a Saturday night game and then drive back on a Sunday. The trip simply isn’t remarkable. The road is dead straight. You don’t even have to turn off at any point – just slow down now and then to go through the odd town.

That doesn’t make it any less wearing, though – although I do think I’ve conquered my jet-lag. That’s what I was hoping would happen with going along on the trip – exhausting days in the car and early mornings at motels near major freeways with thin curtains and no soundproofing. Eastward jetlag always hits me harder and the four nights I’d already had at home hadn’t seemed to have done anything to help it.

So, there you have it. Yes, I got home safely. Then I left again. Now I’m back. At some point, I’ll have to get myself sorted for uni.

The Second Leg – Bangkok to Melbourne

I think Bangkok Airport makes it very easy for airlines to make things very hard for passengers. It’s just the way it’s laid out between the departure lounge and the holding yard / gates area.

You see, I’d bought a couple of bottles of water in the international lounge. Yes, I’d drunk them and then filled them up from the drinking fountains, but usually once you’re in the international lounge, anything you buy there is fine.

Not so here (although I didn’t have any problem in the other direction). Apparently Australia doesn’t allow you to take bottles of water over 100ml into the country. Not that I’d been planning to take them into the country, anyway.

I immediately felt cheerier as I stepped onto the aeroplane. El Al is very efficient and all, but has small grey seats and navy military-style uniforms. Thai Airways, with their rainbow of seats and bright skirt-blouse-and-sash uniforms, just makes you happier. The service could be terrible, but you wouldn’t mind it as much because of the décor.

01 - Thai Colours

unfortunately, the soft, warm lighting means you don’t get the full effect of the colour scheme

Did you know Thai Airways’ short-distance flights/planes are called Thai Smile?

But the service was pretty good. A nice stewardess came along and asked if I’d ordered the vegan meals, and when I explained that I hadn’t, and that it had been a mess-up with the travel agent, she made sure to get me proper meals.

I managed to stay awake for dinner, which was surprisingly good. Chicken curry (apparently – it tasted good, but it was a bit bland to be curry) and rice.

02 - Dinner

I watched Ted, which was more vulgar than I expected, and then went to sleep. Although I don’t recall sleeping much, I also can’t remember anything further until they woke us up in the morning, so I must have done.

Omelettes seem to be very popular for airline breakfasts at the moment (that’s three of four this trip), and shortly after that, we were landing.

03 - Breakfast

So far, I have about a 60% success rate with the e-gates. It worked leaving two weeks ago, but not this morning. This is pretty typical. “Go and see a real person”, it told me (not in as many words). It’s quicker that way.

I ticked about four boxes on the quarantine declaration form, and go questioned. “What are you declaring today, ma’am?”

(I find it so weird to be called “ma’am”. I’m old enough to be called “Frau” in German, and that’s weird, too, but “ma’am” is something you’d expect from an American, not someone with a Melbourne accent.)

“Ah, and olive wood carving, some dried rockmelon I’m prepared to give up if I have to…”

“No fresh fruit, vegetables, or plant products?”


“Please continue through here, ma’am.”

I had barely even started my long, long list of stuff to declare. I hadn’t even reached the part where I explain that I have been on a farm, near farm animals, or in a rural area in the last 30 days simply because I live on a small farm(-ette) and have been gone only 18. That’s always a fun conversation.

Is it possible to get culture shock coming into your own country? I always have trouble when my port of entry is in the eastern states – “you forget how bogan everyone sounds when you land in the eastern states”. I’m currently sitting at the gate waiting to board, listening to some middle-aged Aussie couple going on about “Oy had that bl**dy window seat but there was no f*cking bl**dy window, was there?”

Yeah, welcome home.

That said, the earlier flight has now boarded, taking the bogans with it, and I can now here and middle-aged-Adelaide-city-man accent behind me. You know the accent I mean.

The First Leg – Tel Aviv to Bangkok

I have no idea what happened to the seating. We were all over the place. I was next to two elderly Israeli ladies, Evanna and Juliana, who were going on some sort of RSL group holiday to Thailand. Evanna told me it was the fifth time she’d done it!

I tried hard to stay awake for dinner this time, and I mostly managed it, although I dozed in between.

01 - Dinner

I’ve been signed up for vegan meals again, which is great for breakfast (no dairy), but not so great for dinner. But Israeli vegetarian food isn’t bad. I’m not looking forward to the Thai version.

But I did discover something interesting: When I pronounce my name the Israeli way, and someone subsequently sees my surname, it is pronounced “Chay”, which is sort of cool, because that’s Hebrew for “life”.

I slept solidly for a good five hours (although I can’t say how well), before waking up in time for breakfast.

02 - Breakfast

After that, it wasn’t long until we landed, and then parted ways. Some are staying in Bangkok for a few days, others wanted to go into the city just for fun, others went to find coffee. I went to find a bottle of water, some dried rockmelon and a comfortable seat.

The water and dried rockmelon, by the way, cost 375 baht. I have no idea what that is in dollars. We’re about twenty-five baht to the Australian dollar, so a quick calculation tells me about $15. I wish I hadn’t worked that out. I hope I can get the rockmelon into Australia, because I’m not going to eat it all.

Bangkok Airport is really humid. Walking around it makes me sweat something awful. Also there were mosquitoes in the first lounge I tried, so I’m a bit worried about that, because an Australian couple there (travelling to Israel) mentioned as they were leaving that they had malaria in this country. And malaria is carried by silent mosquitoes, I know, which these were.

Ah, anyway. I needed to find somewhere to charge up, since I was almost out of computer battery. Since the big screens were still three hours away from showing my flight at this point, I headed to my best bet: the wing with the Thai Airways lounge. I don’t think I can get into the lounge, but a Thai Airways flight is likely to leave from there, right?

It’s a little weird to be back somewhere where the majority of white people speak with Australian accents, but here’s one thing I need to learn, since it’s not the first time I’ve been caught out: if you see someone wearing an Australia-themed top, the chances are he or she is not Australian.

I approached a couple, the man wearing an Australian flag on his chest, to ask if they knew of any powerpoints.

“Excuse me, do you know if there are any powerpoints around here?”

“Ah… you want to sit here?”

“… Do you speak English?”

“Little bit.”

“What language?”


“Ah. Um… as-t-il des… points du… power… pour charger mon ordinateur?”

“Pour charger? Je ne sais pas. I think… ask at the magasin.”

Yeah, they were laughing at my attempt at French. It turns out, after asking at the nearest shop, that there was a large, blue, light-up wall over the other side with the words “free charge” and the power sign.

I’m having trouble with the wi-fi here again (although this time I can’t manage to get it to work, which I could last time), so although I’m typing this in Bangkok, I probably won’t post it until I get to Melbourne.

I had quite the headache, although sitting still and drinking water was helping with that, so once my computer had charged, I went and lay down for a bit.

I was sitting near a young German couple who were remarkably uncommunicative despite my attempts to talk to them and feed them dried rockmelon. I gave a “tschüβ” as they left and the young woman looked at me in surprise: “Ah, so!”

Loving Language’s airport challenge is a bit trickier when the other party involved refuses to communicate.

After dozing for about an hour (Bangkok airport as a few areas with really comfortable lounges), I heard familiar voices in my subconscious, so I got up and made my way across to the others. I then filled the remaining three hours by going over the trip with a couple of other group members. Apparently, I’m the only one who can remember the last two weeks.

I also, fearing another less-than-palatable tofu-based vegan meal, went and bought some rice and chicken for 231 baht (I think that’s about $9).

03 - Take-Away


The Last Day – Bet Tzion (Negev)

Back on the bus, and after seeing a marvellous sunset which we totally failed to capture on camera, we were let in on the surprise we had been promised.

The truth is, most of us had a fair idea what the surprise was, but we hadn’t let on to Yuval and Tzion, and acted excited and surprised when they told us.

Discerning Hebrew-understanding readers will recognise that the title of this post, ‘Bet Tzion’, means ‘Tzion’s house’, and that’s where we were going!

Map - Bet Tzion

Tzion lives in a city called Ofaqim, about fifteen minutes from Ber Sheva, with his wife and two daughters. One was too shy to come down.

01 - Tzion's Family

Tzion with his wife, Tamar, and younger daughter, Shai. Shai is seventeen and goes to school at a kibbutz nearby. It’s more expensive but apparently the education there is much better. She speaks pretty flawless English, but with an American accent. She can speak with an RP accent but says she has to concentrate harder.

She’s pretty excited about her service next year and wants to stay on for longer and become “a warrior”. I think she might have translated that wrongly. Her older sister is 22 and finished her service a while ago. She wasn’t too keen on it and became a field nurse, and is now working in a hospital.

Tamar had put lots of snack foods and drinks out for us.

02 - Food

After staying for about an hour at Tzion’s house, and then left to make our way back to Tel Aviv.

Map - Airport

The trip to the airport took about an hour. I was a little worried about facing security again, but it all went smoothly, and we were in the waiting lounge for about an hour before leaving. I went and bought a bottle of water and a bar of chocolate. There were Ritter there, which is my favourite, and another group member bought a block, but I thought, “Why buy something here I can buy at home?” (and they didn’t have my favourite flavour), and bought some Israeli chocolate. That was a slight mistake, since apparently the Israeli taste in chocolate has been influence buy American chocolate, so it had that sour milk taste.

I later squished it by sleeping on it in Bangkok.