Never too old to learn!

Afrikaans verskyn onder die Engels.

I still get nightmares when I think about writing exams.  For me, exams were very stressful. Besides the fact that I had to work hard for every single mark, I was also extremely conscientious with a conscience which could drive me crazy. I was no academic performer, but felt I had to do better than my best.

For the past 17 years, however, I was the “teacher” and presented many workshops and courses.  While I spent many hours of self-study, thankfully there were very few exams.

As part of my journey towards 50 I decided it is time to swop roles and be a student again. I enrolled for a few courses and workshops, making careful choices to ensure I enjoy every moment and keep tests to the minimum. …and I do indeed admire those who study again after they’ve graduated, but at my age I do not have to impress anybody and I know very well that’s  not for me!

fresh-horizonsI started the year with a “Money Breakthrough Method” workshop – just because a friend recommended it and I had to start somewhere.  I’ve learned new principles I really wish to apply, but was soon reminded how difficult it is to create new habits (and yes, I am still practising!).  (Presented by Mandy Russel of Fresh Horizons: http://www.freshhorizons.co.za)

b6c8e0c4-0566-4253-baeb-d454da801357Next on my list was a “Visual Journalling” workshop presented by the well-known Anel Stricker-Bessinger …..an opportunity which crossed my path in an interesting way (a story on its own!).  I made amazing new friends as a new world of mixed art media opened up for me. I love trying out new techniques (it’s amazing how stress releasing it is), but also realise there is still so MUCH to learn. When I feel overwhelmed, my advice to my students often echoes in my mind: “magic does not happen overnight”…  This new journey in Visual/Art Journalling is fantastic  and so has found a place in my new business concept, “Tea Time Learning”.

During the winter months I enrolled for an online “Blogging and Content Marketing” course – an 8 week course –  with weekly webinars and requiring a huge commitment. It included homework assignments, reading and eventually an exam!  I took a deep breath, wrote the exam and passed with flying colours!  I am so proud of myself, and for passing with no nightmares!

pencil-proofI have a longing to sketch!  I crossed  paths, again in an amazing way, with a very special person, Elma Ferreira (of Pencil Proof, http://www.pencilproof.com).  I registered and arrived at the first session  of her drawing course, nervous and excited! I had no idea what awaited me…  It was not long before I knew:  “this was NOT going to be easy” …and believe me, it was the hardest thing I have ever tackled.  Yet, I have learned so much about myself. pencil-proof On the surface it looks as if I did very well, but every line, curve, circle, shadow I had to draw, was so DIFFICULT!!! And I know exactly why: preconceived ideas of forms, lines, circles prevented me drawing spontaneously! I know it will take a lot of practice before I will master this “art”.  My biggest lesson, however, was personal and I am ever thankful to the patient Elma (and her assistant Rhona) for this.  The personal journey continues ….

Without signing up officially, I have also been on a challenging Spiritual ‘course’ the past few months.  A course where my Creator has honed my thoughts, my future, my existence, my entire being (and He is still busy).  Not an easy course, but one which prepares me for new challenges …..

What have I learned? Everything one learns and tries is part of your personal growth and adds to a richer journey on earth.  It is often not the content of the course that matters, but rather the individual experience!

7-key-reasons-why-financial-education-is-your-best-investment-quote-1024x694

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOOIT TE OUD OM TE LEER NIE!

Ek kry nou nog nagmerries as ek net aan eksamens dink.  Eksamens was vir my BAIE stresvol.  Behalwe dat ek hard moes werk vir elke punt, was ek vreeslik pligsgetrou en het ‘n gewete gehad wat my kon mal maak.  Ek was nie juis ‘n akademiese uitblinker nie, maar het gevoel ek moet beter as my beste doen!

Die afgelope 17 jaar was ek egter die “onderwyser” en het vele werkswinkels en kursusse vir volwassenes aangebied.  Daar was baie ure van selfstudie , maar genadiglik bitter min eksamens.

As deel van my reis na 50 het ek besluit dis tyd om ‘n slag die rolle om te ruil en self weer student te wees.  So skryf ek toe in vir ‘n kursus en werkswinkel of twee.  Ek maak noukeurige keuses sodat ek dit ten volle kan geniet en probeer eksamens tot die minimum beperk  …en ja, ek het reuse bewondering vir diegene wat jare na hul graad gevang het verder gaan studeer, maar op hierdie ouderdom hoef ek niemand te beïndruk nie en weet ek baie goed dis nie vir my nie!

Ek skop die jaar af met ‘n “Money Breakthrough Method” werkswinkel – sommer omdat ‘n vriendin dit aanbeveel het en ek iewers moes begin.  Ek leer nuwe beginsels wat ek baie graag wil toepas, maar word gou daaraan herinner hoe moeilik dit  is om nuwe gewoontes te kweek (en ja, ek oefen nogsteeds!!)

Volgende op my lys is ‘n “Visual Journalling” werkswinkel aangebied deur die bekende Anel Stricker-Bessinger  …..’n geleentheid wat op ‘n baie interessante manier oor my pad gekom het (‘n hele storie op sy eie). ‘n Nuwe wêreld van gemengde kunsmedia gaan vir my oop en ek snoer hegte nuwe vriendskappe.  Ek probeer graag nuwe tegnieke (dis heerlike stresontlading), maar besef ook daar is nog so B.A.I.E. om te leer en my raad aan my eie studente eggo dikwels in my gedagtes wanneer ek oorweldig voel deur al die nuwigheid:  “magic does not happen overnight”.  Hierdie nuwe reis in “Visual/Art Journalling” is FANTASTIES en het ook plek gekry in my nuwe besigheidskonsep, Teetyd Leertyd.

Gedurende die wintermaande registreer ek vir ‘n aanlynkursus in “Blogging and Content Marketing”  – ‘n 8 weke kursus met weeklikse ‘webinars’.  Dit verg geweldige toewyding:  daar is huiswerk, leeswerk en uiteindelik ‘n eksamen!!  Ek haal diep asem, skryf in vir die eksamen en slaag dit met vlieënde vaandels ….en sonder enige nagmerries!

Ek het ‘n begeerte om te kan skets!  My pad kruis, weer eens op ‘n baie interessante manier, met ‘n spesiale persoon, Elma Ferreira (van Pencil Proof).  Ek skryf in vir haar tekenkursus, daag by die eerste sessie op met ‘n opgewonde senuagtigheid en geen idee wat op my wag nie!  Dis ook nie lank nie of ek besef “hierdie gaan nie maklik wees nie”….en glo my, dit was die moeilikste ding wat ek al ooit aangepak het.  Tog het ek so baie van myself geleer.  Op die oogaf lyk dit of ek fantasties gevaar het, maar elke lyn, kurwe, sirkel, skaduwee wat ek op papier neergepen het, was MOEILIK!!!!  Ek weet presies hoekom:  vooropgestelde idees van vorms, lyne, sirkels het in my pad gestaan om spontaan te skets.  Ek weet ook dat dit nog baie oefening gaan neem om hierdie ‘kuns’ behoorlik te bemeester.  My grootste les was egter persoonlik en daarvoor sal ek die geduldige Elma (en haar assistent Rhona) ewig dankbaar wees.  Die persoonlike reis gaan voort…..

Sonder dat ek amptelik ingeskryf het, was ek die afgelope maande ook op ‘n uitdagende Geestelike “kursus”.  ‘n Kursus waar my Skepper my denke, my toekoms, my bestaan, my menswees geslyp het (en steeds slyp) – nie ‘n maklike kursus nie, maar een wat my voorberei vir nuwe uitdagings…..

Wat het ek geleer?  Alles wat jy leer en probeer is deel van jou persoonlike groei en dra by tot ‘n ryker reis hier op aarde.  Dit is nie die inhoud van die kursus wat saak maak nie, maar wat jy as mens beleef het!

 

 

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An Engineer’s World

(Afrikaans verskyn onder)

The first word he uttered was not “mom” or “dad”, but “tatta” (referring to driving).  He could point out all the vehicle brands before he could talk – just name them and he would point to them with his little finger.  A stop sign was referred to as Toyota and it took us a long time to realise there is a “t.o.” in the word ‘stop’ – the first letters of “Toyota”.  (He became a Nissan fan and could spot any Skyline in a parking lot, even if just a weeny bit of the car was visible).kantoor-kombo

This car fanatic is my youngest brother, Johann.  His choice to study mechanical engineering was  no surprise!

Cars are certainly no interest of mine and petrochemical plants do not tickle my fancy, but I was very excited when brother Johann arranged a visit to the Sasol plant in Secunda (his mechanical engineering ‘world’) as his contribution to my “turning-50-to-do-list”.

on-our-wayThe visit was nothing I expected – it was far more and beyond my wildest expectations …

The Sasol plant is not big – it is HUGE!   The engineering works are not complicated – it is MIND BOGGLING!  I have new respect for engineers (and for my “laatlam boet” Johann) and definitely appreciate fuel more than ever before.

The plant made me feel small:  with streets, stop signs and traffic regulators the plant is close to the size of the town of Secunda. It actually covers a much larger area if the mines, water treatment facilities and game reserve is included. Enormous structures ranging from 70m to 160m tower so high you have to bend your head backwards as far as possible to view to the top! Many different activities take place on one plant – manufacturing of tar, synthetic fuels (including all types of petrol and diesel), gas, fertiliser, various polymers (a variety of plastics and resins)  ….and a water purification plant which purifies all of Secunda’s water as well.johann-lianne-by-plant

I listened, looked, asked questions and knew I will never remember all the details. The more I heard and learned, the more my admiration for Sasol as an organisation grew.  It is impossible to describe the true experience and the mind blowing information and statistics in one blog post, but I hope you will enjoy some of the following interesting facts:

  • Sasol employs ± 34 000 people and operate in 38 countries
  • Sasol is the world’s only commercial coal-based synfuels manufacturing plant
  • Synfuel (synthetic fuel) is a liquid fuel obtained from the gasification of coal
  • Sasol operates one of the world’s largest underground coal mining complexes
  • Sasol supplies ± ⅓ of SA’s inland liquid fuel requirements
  • Sasol’s share price on listing on the JSE in 1979 was only R2; the public offer was in such demand it was 31 times oversubscribed
  • There is a game conservancy area around the Secunda plant, with many different wildlife species, including a thriving Serval Cat population
  • Secunda is the Latin name for “second” – so called as it was the second town established by Sasol following Sasolburg
  • The tallest free standing structure in Africa is found inside the Sasol plant – a concrete stack of 301 m

Secunda and Sasol are synonymous ….. also the hometown of family and the employee of my brother Johann, but for me, it will never have the same meaning again.

What have I learned?  Where there are cooling towers and very high chimneys, hectic stuff is happening and very responsible staff are employed.

secunda-familie

 

 

My Secunda family ♥

 

 

 

 

Die Wêreld van ‘n Ingenieur

Die eerste woorde wat hy kon sê, was nie “mamma” of “pappa” nie, maar “tatta” (kom ons gaan ry!)  Hy kon al die voertuig handelsmerke uitwys voor hy kon praat – noem hulle net en hy wys na hulle met sy vingertjie. ‘n Stopteken het bekend gestaan as Toyota en dit het ons baie lank geneem om te besef daar is ‘n “t.o.” in the word ‘stop’ – die eerste letters van “Toyota”. (Hy het egter ‘n Nissan bewonderaar geword en kon enige Skyline in ‘n parkeerterrein erken, al was net ‘n klein stukkie van die motor sigbaar).

Hierdie motor-fanatiese man is my jongste broer, Johann.  Sy besluit om meganiese ingenieurswese te studeer, was vereker geen verrassing!

Motors is beslis nie my belangstelling nie en petrochemiese aanlegte interesseer my allermins, maar tog was ek baie opgewonde toe boet Johann vir my ‘n besoek aan die Sasol aanleg in Secunda reël (sy meganiese ingenieurs-wêreld) as bydrae tot my lys van “doendinge-voor-50”.

Die besoek was niks wat ek verwag het nie – dit was baie meer en het my wildste verwagtinge oorskry…

Die Sasol aanleg is nie groot – dis REUSAGTIG!  Die ingenieuswerke is nie ingewikkeld – dis VERBYSTEREND!  Ek het nuwe respek vir ingenieurs (en vir my laatlam boet Johann) en ek waardeer brandstof meer as ooit tevore.

Die aanleg het my klein laat voel:  met strate, stoptekens en verkeersbeamptes is die aanleg amper so groot soos die dorp Secunda.  Dit is eintlik baie groter as die myne, waterwerke en wildreservaat bygereken word.  Enorme strukture wat wissel van 70 m tot 160 m toring so hoog jy moet jou kop sover as moontlik agtertoe gooi om dit tot bo te kan sien.  Baie verskillende aktiwiteite vind plaas op een aanleg – vervaardiging van teer, sintetiese brandstowwe (wat alle tipes petrol en diesel insluit), gas, kunsmis, polimere (‘n verskeidenheid van plastiek en ‘resins’)  …. asook ‘n watersuiweringsaanleg wat al Secunda se water suiwer.

Ek het geluister, gekyk, vrae gevra en geweet ek gaan nooit al die detail onthou nie.  Hoe meer ek geluister en geleer het, hoe meer het my bewondering vir Sasol as maatskappy gegroei.  Dis onmoontlik om die ware ervaring te beskryf in een blogstuk, maar ek hoop jy gaan sommige van die volgende interessante feite geniet:

  • Sasol het ± 34 000 mense in diens en werk in 38 lande
  • Sasol is die wêreld se enigste kommersiële steenkool-gebasseerde aanleg wat sintetiese brandstof vervaardig
  • Synfuel (sintetiese brandstof) is ‘n vloeibare brandstof wat verkry word deur ‘n vergassingsproses (gasification) van steenkool
  • Sasol bedryf een van die wêreld se grootste ondergrondse steenkoolmyne
  • Sasol voorsien in ± ⅓ van Suid-Afrika se binnelandse behoefte aan vloeibare brandstof
  • Met die notering van Sasol op die Johannesburgse Aandelemark, was die aandele prys slegs R2; die publieke aanvraag was egter so groot, dit is 31 maal oorskry.
  • Daar is ‘n wildreservaat rondom die Secunda aanleg met ‘n groot verskeidenheid wildspesies en sluit ‘n vooruitstrewende Tierboskat bevolking in
  • Secunda is die Latynse word vir “tweede” – so genoem aangesien dit die tweede dorp na Sasolburg is wat Sasol gestig het
  • Die hoogste vrystaande struktuur in Afrika is binne die Sasol aanleg – ‘n beton skoorsteen van 301 m

Secunda en Sasol is sinoniem ….. ook die tuisdorp van familie en werkgewer van my broer Johann, maar vir my sal dit nooit weer dieselfde betekenis hê nie.

Wat het ek geleer?  Waar daar verkoelingstorings en hoë skoorstene is, gebeur rowwe dinge en werk baie verantwoordelike personeel.

 

 

 

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