Sun, Fern and Kangaroo

Sun, Fern and Kangaroo: My fourth year of school

At the playground, watching Dad’s cricket 
Везилка Магазин


As I begin to retell the story of my schooling journey, I reopen the chapters at the fourth grade in 2011, where an interesting twist would await once the second term had started. My first male teacher would arrive in the form of Mr. Blake, whom was from the local town of Hurstbridge.

Male teachers were new to me, I was used to having female teachers in a women-dominated profession. But for the very few male teachers I’ve had, he was probably the best.


Another Book Week Costume. Batman! 


Before he had even come along though, my fourth grade teacher was Ms. Pearce. But after 1 term with her, she ended up taking a teaching job all across Europe, which included places such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden and Estonia. On her very last day, she asked us all to come in the traditional costume of the countries of our ancestry. My Baba and Dedo’s family friends Vojo and Jana lent me a traditional Macedonian costume that belonged to their son Vasko. I looked very cool and straight out of the village.

This was also the first time I’d learn that our country has a largely whitewashed history in the West – when we had to do a small research project on our country – there was no books nor information in the school library on Macedonia.


Another Twilight Sports with Gaurav!


When Mr Blake arrived, I remember his words very well. He was a tall man – the tallest I had met yet outside of my family and his words were I don’t take anyone’s crap, I don’t muck around and that I’m not afraid to tell your parents what you were really up to. Boy were those words so scary, it terrified a couple of students from ever coming back.

But he proved he was a real softie at heart and at the end of every school day – he would read the class some book for the last hour of the day. It was a nice way to end the school day.


Dad and I, on holiday in Lorne 


Inter school sport would be born around this time, and it’s where my competitive streak must have started. You played 2 sports – a summer one and a winter one. My first was Bat Tennis, which is tennis but with a wooden bat instead of a racquet. Hated it, even though I did pick it many times!

I did cricket in the summer as well under Mr. Blake, and for a sport my Dad had dominated for many years, I wasn’t the best! Always put last down the batting order and got a bowl occasionally out of sympathy. That was okay though, because it taught me not to expect everything handed out on a silver platter. And it was boring fielding – spent more time with the daisies than watching the ball.


Mum and I, on holiday in Lorne


My first winter sport would be netball, a game my mother had dominated in her youth. My coach was Ms. Donaldson, whom taught the first and second grade. We were that terrible though that a mother of one of my teammates volunteered to coach instead. I didn’t like her, because she made us train during lunchtime. I remember skipping out on one training session by hiding in a tree in the schoolyard. Didn’t help me that the exact same tree was overlooking the netball court and I got spotted straight away. Jordan Ristovski, straight down to the netball courts at once!!


Macedonian patriot from a young age!


I’m glad I didn’t skip out on that session, because it would eventually give birth to my love for a sport that I’ll cherish forever for giving me more confidence. It would still take another 5 to 6 years for me to reach my peak in high school. I was actually so talkative on the court during these rookie days I often missed the ball completely. The other winter sport I played was Softball, also under Mr. Blake.


One of the most famous photos of me – grumpy Jordan!


Two fond memories here – during a training session, when practicing some throws with Mr. Blake, a nice curveball found my cheek and the bottom of my eye instead of my glove. You don’t know pain till you’ve copped a softball to the face!

When batting against another school, I was ruled out by the umpire. But a very stern Mr. Blake came marching up to the crease shouting “Now I don’t usually protest decisions, but that one was rubbish and you know it!”


Young me, posing as always!


As you may have found out again, I take away a lesson from just about every life experience in my time on this planet. When reminiscing, I always stumble across stuff I’ve almost completely forgotten about and it brings a smile to my face.

I will always have the greatest respect for Mr. Blake. We always used to see him leave the school grounds at lunchtime and walk down the alleyway opposite the school. Turns out my mother found out he was going for a cigarette break each time! But that’s nothing against him, he’s another absolute gem of my schooling chapters.


Везилка Магазин