Sunday, 23 January 2011

Razzle Dazzle em!

Another busy week in London. I worked 4 days this week. Monday I got called out to a school in Brixton and was warned 1) grab an umbrella, it's really coming down out there and 2) this could be a tough class.  Neither are things that you especially want to hear on a Monday morning, and definitely not when your umbrella broke the previous week on a long walk to the train station...

So I got to the school just as the rain was actually soaking through my thick winter jacket and was thankful that I had worn pants that were the right colour so you couldn't tell they were actually soaking wet until recess time.
The class I was in was a year 5 class and they weren't as bad as I had prepared myself for, but they were loud. Not the most polite and not necessarily the most scholarly (I was asked several times, and in all seriousness, if there were dragons in Canada).  We started the morning with some literacy reading a portion of Robin Hood. After recess we did some work on triangles in numeracy and then the student teacher was doing her first lesson with them in Religious Education.  She had been talking to the kids for about 10 minutes, mostly reviewing what they had learned previously about Christianity, when the little girl sitting beside me turns and asks me, "Miss, are we talking about Robin Hood?" To which I had to respond, "No, we're talking about Jesus." Oh well, we can't all grow up to be astronauts...

Thursday I was in a year 3 class in another tough school, but my friend Josephine was also at that school the same day so it was nice to have someone to chat to at lunch.

On Wednesday I had the day off.  It worked out well because I was going to see Chicago with Josephine and Christine that evening, so I made my way into the city in the afternoon and walked around taking some photos on a rare some-what sunny day. We all met up for dinner then went to the show. We had gotten discount tickets online for 15 pounds. Obviously not front row, but good deal for a popular show.  When we arrived, however, we were told that our seats had been upgraded. We went from upper balcony to stalls - 13th row! It was awesome and the show was amazing!! So much fun.

The rest of the week we were a little bagged from our late night, but it was worth it! We have already booked tickets to go see the Phantom next week and can't wait :)

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Getting Cultured

What a week! Five day work weeks are exhausting! haha It feels like it has been awhile since I've had one.  But I am glad to rake in the cash during the week so that I can spend it all travelling on the holidays. I spent my three "on call" days this week all in the same class. It is a year 2 class filled with some really nice kids. Of course a few naughty ones too, but after the first day I had most names down and it was pretty smooth sailing. Also good to spend 3 days in one week at the same school because then the secretary gets to know my name/face and will hopefully think of me next time they need supply.

Friday was a lovely movie and sushi night with Josephine. Nothing makes a tough week or day (she was having a bad TGIF?!) better quite like sushi!

National Gallery
On Saturday Josephine and I met up and headed in to town. I had decided that after being in London nearly 5 months (!) it was high time to visit the National Gallery. Boasted as "one of the world's greatest and most important galleries" according to The Handy London Map & Guide. Josephine also had never been and the price was right - free! Gotta love it.
National Gallery & Trafalgar Square

The gallery was great! I don't claim to be an art connoisseur by any means, but it was pretty exciting to see works by Leonardo da Vinci, Picasso, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Raphael, Monet and many other famous artists that I have only ever read about. The gallery is huge and we put in our best effort, but after wandering around the seemingly endless rooms for quite some time hunger took over and it was time for lunch. After lunch we walked down Oxford Street for a bit before heading home. A great day out in London city.

Sunday started out nice and sunny. I went or a run in the morning and it was even quite warm, many other runners with just t-shirts were faring fine.  I came home and did some chores and by the time I got to groceries it had clouded over and the grey skies had returned... Hopefully the sun comes out again this week. Met up with friends for lunch and now to get some work done. Fingers crossed for another busy work week because I am getting quite excited for all my trips. Starting with meeting Mom & Chris in Rome in less than 4 weeks! AND this week I booked my trip with Christine and Josephine to go camping in Spain for 6 days in July during the Running of the Bulls!! Very excited to see this crazy tradition.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Just like riding a bicycle..

NYE 2011
New Years day I made the painful trek back to London... Literally!! NEVER again will I travel New Years day, not pretty. I finally got back to my flat around  3 in the afternoon and spent the day sleeping off my self-induced post-New Year's pain.
Sunday I decided it was time to get back at it and went for a run. After a week and a half with several fondue dinners and several (dozen) croissants, this also was not very pretty. But Monday morning I dragged myself out for a long run and started to feeling a bit better about myself when I made it home without having a major coronary.
I had the ingenious idea of setting my alarm an hour earlier each morning to ease back into my routine, Monday being a bank holiday and Tuesday being an inset (pro-d) for most schools. But, of course, this plan was shattered when I got a call Monday night around 8:30 asking me to work in the morning. I was at a movie at the time and hadn't even eaten dinner yet.. so much for my back to routine plan (Love and Other Drugs - I definitely do NOT recommend it).  Morning came very early since I had a hard time getting to sleep - getting back to human routine of bed before midnight and morning before 9 was not easy. Luckily I was doing TA work in a nursery class (3-4 year olds) and I had been in there a few days before Christmas break so it went fairly smoothly and did not require me to think too hard.
Wednesday and Thursday I worked extra days at my regular school replacing an Australian teacher who was not back from the land of OZ yet. I was in her nice little class of 8 eight year olds! Just lovely. And Friday I did my regular stint of French in each class for one hour. All in all I lucked out with a fairly slack first week back :)
Friday evening a bunch of us Canadian (and 1 Australian) teachers from the agency met up for drinks. As per my new years resolution I had a drink at the pub and ducked out as the grouped moved on to their second establishment, of many, of the evening.
I enjoyed a relaxing weekend, did some walking and running and on Sunday enjoyed a day at Westfields shopping mall with Josephine, including sushi lunch! Then Christine met us and we went to see The King's Speech - I do recommend this one.
Today I woke up not knowing if I was going to work or not and ended up being called in to a school I had gone to several times in the fall. I was having a lovely day until I looked on the wall, saw a display and realized that these kids were born after I graduated from high school. Suddenly felt extremely old...
Ah well, you can't win them all. Glad to be back in London and am eagerly planning all of my 2011 adventures in the time I have left in the UK. Funny how I have 8 months left, but feel like I am on the home stretch because I have so many exciting things all lined up!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

A New Year

Well a new year is upon us so it comes with the blog territory to do the 'refelctive' or 'sentimental' post.  2010 was a crazy year for me, and obviously brought some huge changes.  It has actually been a year of growth for me.  This year I began to really understand the saying: "you create your own happiness".

I consider myself a very fortunate person. I have a wonderful loving family. I have some great friends and I have a job that I love. I have my health and the health of my family, what else could you want? I decided I needed a challenge. I needed to push myself outside of my little box of comfort and go for the things I wanted in life, and I did it all for me! I know that may sound selfish but I think that too many people spend all of their time pleasing other people and sticking to the status quo that they never take that moment to be selfish and do something just for them, just for their own personal happiness.  Was it hard quitting my dream job with no promise that I could get it back, yup. Was it hard waving goodbye to my parents at the airport knowing it could be a full year before I saw them or hugged them again, heck yes! But will I ever regret it? I really don't think so.

This year I have discovered so much about myself. Things that I want from life, the kind of person I want to be, the way I want to live my life.  Even more than these things though, I have learned to appreciate every moment and to live in every moment.  Life cannot be completely mapped out and planned all of the time, sometimes you just need to leap and see where you land, then pick yourself up and go from there.

This year, 2011, I want to challenge everyone to do something selfish. But not just a little "I'm going to take a hot bath with a glass of wine" selfish. I'm talking something that terrifies you beyond belief but for some crazy reason you have always wanted to do it. Maybe it means you will live off of kiwis and powdered soup for a couple weeks so that you can afford to do it, but it will be worth it! And after you have done this thing, whatever it may be, take a moment to appreciate it, and everything else in your life.  You can have all of the things in the world and experience everything imaginable, but if you don't stop to think back on it and really appreciate it where will your happiness come from?

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my life in 2010, I hope you stay a part of my life in 2011, and Happy New Year to you!!