Wow. Okay the last time I posted on this blog was in April. Whoops. I’m so sorry for not being more regular with this blog. Life has just been busy and well, that’s not an excuse but I do intend to get better at this. This past week I’ve been working on a back log of posts (with pictures) of various walking tours and traveling I’ve done in the past year. I should be able to start posting them starting next week, so you’ll finally get to read more about what I’ve been up to in the past YEAR.
Yes, that’s right. I’ve officially been in London now for over a year. That seems crazy to me. There are days where is seems like it was just yesterday when I was leaving Victoria to begin this adventure of life. Then there are other days where I feel like I’ve been here forever. A lot has happened in the past year, both good and bad. Some of it stuff I can’t really share in a public forum like this (which is another reason I haven’t been posting) but most of it has been good.
If I tried to write about everything that’s happened this year, this post would be EPICALLY long and could, quite possibly, break the internet, but I’ll try to break it down and give you an idea of some of the things I’ve been up to.
Let’s start with work. As I believe I’ve mentioned here, in September I was hired to teach Year 1 at a small private school here in North London. I was blessed with a lovely class of 6 very sweet 5 and 6 year olds. My class consisted of 5 girls and 1 boy and my days with them were an absolute delight. They were an intelligent lot and I had a lot of fun finding new ways to challenge them. Sadly, though my class was lovely, and the teaching itself was fine, the school was not. There were problems at the school most of them stemming from poor management by the head and owner of the school. Resources were scarce and I spent a lot of time scrambling to find basic materials (like glue sticks for example) to make my lessons work. The positive of this is that I got very creative. The negative is that it made things more stressful. Added stress came from unhappy staff because the head did not treat any of us well and the turn over at this place is huge (for students as well as staff). Ultimately, by the third term, I decided that I couldn’t stay on another yet. I would complete this school year for the sake of the children but the rest of it was just too much and I would not return in Septmeber. So after April break I handed in my notice for next school year (I was required by my contract to give a full terms notice).
Since then, I’ve found myself in a bit of a nightmarish situation because my boss seems to think that by giving my notice I’ve terminated the contract and therefore she doesn’t need to pay me the remaining portions of my TWELVE MONTH contract. Yes, I’m fighting it. So far I’ve made very little progress and I’m incredibly frustrated. I’ve been out of school for 2 weeks now and unfortunately they haven’t been as restful as they could be because of the financial worries/stress I’ve had over this situation. I should be able to get through the summer with what I have provided I’m extremely careful with spending, but that means that I have been trying not to go out much so that I’m not spending too much money on transit. It’s limiting and it’s sad because I had really, really wanted to travel this summer.
Still that crazy situation aside, i’m enjoying myself. I’ve been on loads of interviews for next year and I’m waiting to hear back from a few thing. My agency is really good and I’m not worried about not finding something for next year. If all else fails I know I can supply teach and get lots of work. I have a friend here who did supply all of last year and she only didn’t have work when she didn’t want to have work. So I know that come September I’ll be fine.
Wow, okay I said way more about work than I’d thought I would! Moving on.
Even though I’m mostly going to be London-bound this summer I’m not feeling that badly about it because a) it’s LONDON and there are lots of things I can do here without spending a lot of money and b) I’ve already been blessed with a lot of travel this year so I really can’t complain.
I’m working on complete write ups of these trips but basically this is some of what I’ve done this year:
In November I spent a week in Germany. First in the Munich area and then in Mainz where my best friend Ali lives with her family.
In December I flew back to North America for Christmas and spent some time in both California and Victoria
In February I spent a week in Kent at a cottage I rented with 4 other friends. We rented a car and did lots of day trips from there to places like Canterbury and Dover.
In March I flew to Ali’s in Germany again for a weekend to attend the baptism of her youngest daughter.
In April I flew to the East Coast US and spent 3 weeks visiting Boston, New York and DC. I even made it up to Niagara Falls overnight to visit a friend.
In addition to these big trips I’ve also done some shorter trips out of London to places like Cambridge, Newcastle and Stratford-upon-Avon, so really I’m not doing too badly. Plus, I do have one trip planned this summer – in August I’m driving to France with Jenn. and Claire (two of my current flatmates) to visit Claire’s family in Southern France.
Living situation and Friends
I’ve been blessed with a multitude of new friends this year. Most of these friends I made in November when I participated in National Novel Writing Month (commonly called NaNo WriMo or just NaNo) and attended a bunch of writing session around London. Since then I’ve gradually gotten to know people better and I have a pretty active social life. Which is a nice change after the almost complete lack of social life I had when I lived in Port Alberni.
For most of this year I lived in a small flat with another girl in North East London. My flatmate was really nice and we got along well and the flat was clean and modern, but it was a bit far out (20 minutes on the bus AFTER getting to the end of a tube line) and I mostly lived in my room, which was very tiny. Then, while I was on vacation in Boston in April, I got an email from some of my friends here (some of the ones I met in November) who had a room opening up in their house and they asked if I wanted to take it. I did.
So, long story short, in Mid-May, I moved. I’m still in North London, but not nearly as far north and I’m much closer to Central London. Plus, the transit links from here are about 3 million times better and I don’t have to pay as much to go into town because I’m not coming from as far out.
Even better than that, I’m living with people who were already my friends and whom have become even better friends since my move. There’s 5 of us here total: Myself, Jenn., Claire, Jimmy and Sarah, plus an adorable ginger cat (Jenn.’s) named Nimbus. It’s a big old Victorian house that isn’t in the best repair because the landlords don’t put work into it, but it’s functional and it’s big and I’m really enjoying living here. My flatmates and I have a lot of things in common, frequently watch stuff together and often eat together. Just last weekend we hosted a pub-style book quiz where about 20 people came!!! Claire and I had written the quiz so we ran it and it was a lot of fun.
So yeah, socially, I’m doing really well and enjoying myself.
I love living in London and I’ve had the pleasure of attending a fair bit of theatre in the past few months (I’ll be posting detailed write ups on some of that soon) and I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of my friends from other parts of the globe this year as well as they’ve passed through here or as I’ve passed through their cities so that’s been really good too.
Phew. Okay, I think that’s enough for now. I am going to make a better effort to update this blog regularly. In fact, I’m going to try to make this a weekly thing, I do better if I have deadlines! Please, please feel free to poke me if I don’t. I don’t want to leave such a long gap between updates again. I miss those of you who are far away and I think of you often. I hope all is well.