Whoops… it’s been FAR too long since I’ve updated here

Hello friends and family!

My sincere apologies for the lengthy gap in updates. Life happened and I’ve been in a bit of a bubble.

So just what have I been up to in the past month and a half? Well, last time I wrote, I was in Germany visiting my friend Ali and her family. A few weeks after that, she came up here to see me which was really fun. We had a good time exploring the city – although we learned that the Southbank during the Mayors festival is a place to be avoided. There were more people there than I’ve ever seen, even in Oxford Circus. You couldn’t move there were so many people and poor Ali was so uncomfortable. We left there as soon as we could.

One weekend in August I took the train up to Cambridge to visit my friends Leanna and Dave who I know from Canada. They’ve been living there a year and they love it. After showing me around the town a bit – including Clare’s College where Dave goes, we walked over the Fens (common fields along the river where livestock are allowed to graze) to a place called the Grantchester Orchards where we got to take tea on lawn chair under the fruit trees. It was wonderful (aside from the bees who terrorized David). It was a long walk to get there (nearly 2.5 hours) but it was worth it, and the walk back somehow seemed to go faster.

September brought with it the return of school (and a lot of rain!) and so I began the not so fun task of calling the agency at 7 am every morning to see about supply work. I ended up getting two days as an assitant at a school that opened a week earlier than everywhere else, which was a nice start, but then Mon and Tues of the following week there was NOTHING. 😦 I was starting worry, but on Wednesday of that week I connected with the rep responsible for my area and he managed to send me out to a school not far from here for the day. Thursday of that week I again had nothing, but this turned out to be a blessing because at about 11:30 that morning I got a call from the same rep from Wed with a job interview THAT afternoon. I went in at 3, and by the time I left the school at 4:30 I had been offered and had accepted the job.

Everything happened really quickly after that – I started on Friday so it was a whirl wind of getting to know the kids 3 days after school had already started. It’s a small little private school that’s located in an old mansion in quite a nice area. I have to take 2 buses to get there, but it only takes about 25 minutes (in good traffic) and apart from recent construction issues it hasn’t been too bad. I’m teaching a class of 7 year one students (which means they are 5 and 6 years old). It’s a nice little group – 5 girls, 2 boys and I’m having a blast with them. The first few weeks were spent just settling in and getting the classroom organized the way I want it, but now we’ve reached the point where things are running smoothly and both myself and the kids are getting into a routine so that’s nice. Next week, is the last week before our TWO WEEK half term break and then we’ll be back at it for another 6 weeks until Christmas.

Aside from work, I’ve still managed to do some fun things. I’ve been to see two shows recently – Wicked, and a “play” called Celebrity Autobiography. Both were fantastic! I also went to the London Museum a few weeks ago with Sarah, a fellow Canadian teacher that I’ve met here. They have an amazing exhibit that takes you through London history from the Victorian era right through to the future. It’s really impressive.

I’ve been trying hard to also get myself in shape and be healthier. I’ve been eating a LOT of salads lately, and tons of vegetables (I love living near good markets!) and I joined a rec centre nearby. Before I got my job I was doing really well, then there was a 3 week void where I just didn’t have much time to go because I had so much to do, but last week I forced myself to get back into it and this week I’ve been to the gym on my way home every day this week. If I leave the school around 4:30 I can get in a reasonable workout and still come home, make dinner and have time to relax. I’m finding that I really do have more energy and I feel a lot better so this is a great thing!

Last Sunday I took the train to Cambridge again to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with Leanna and David and another friend of theirs. It was so nice to see them again so soon and to celebrate the holiday. It was really strange having to go to work on Monday. But I’m not complaining – I have a two week break coming up so I’ll be fine! 🙂

So, there you have it. The super condensed version of my last two months. I promise I will post again soon. My ultimate goal is to update this at least once a week. Feel free to poke me if I get lax again.

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9 responses to “Whoops… it’s been FAR too long since I’ve updated here

  1. Kelsey Anderson

    Hannah! It’s great to read your update! Sounds like things are going really well for you. I must say, I am very envious of your class of 7 students! My goodness what a lovely assignment! As usual, I’m wishing you were around to share an afternoon tea and a gab with me. Know that I’m thinking of you and sending you my happy thoughts.
    Kelsey

  2. Kelsey! I miss you too! Tea would be lovely. I’m planning to come home in December so I’ll let you know once I’ve booked and maybe we can somehow coordinate a visit around our mutual family obligations! LOL 7 is a nice number although they can still make just as much noise as 25 when they want to – how do kids do that? Plus since it’s such a small class, they demand a lot more one on one time (because they can) and sometimes discussions are hard b/c it’s the same 2 kids who talk lol. How’s your year going? I should email you and we can “gab” properly. Maybe we can even skype sometime! We could have that cup of tea and chat! 🙂 Miss you.

    Hannah

  3. Hannah,
    It is so good to here that you are making friends, and it sounds like you have found a perfect teaching situation. How I wish I could be there with you! Do you ever hear of teaching jobs at the secondary level, or nursing positions?
    I have often toyed with the idea of taking a Sabbatical and working in another country. Unfortunately, third world situations are not an option for me because of my medical issues. But I can always dream of going to England, or Scotland.
    Miss you.
    love
    Josie

    • Josie,

      I’m very relieved to have a job and at the level that I wanted to teach at. I wish you could be here too! Yes, I’m pretty sure there are lots of jobs at the secondary level as well. Not sure about Nursing… especially with the recent public sector cuts that were announced here this week. Although apparently the NHS is the only thing they’re still putting money into so maybe there are? Teachers are still in demand though – there are so many job postings over here – there’s a shortage and in fact there aren’t even enough places for all the children in existing schools so there may be even more jobs. Best thing to do if you’re serious is contact an agency over here like I did – they help you with everything and they have the contacts and the knowledge of all the districts, what they need and what they have available. Most schools go through agencies for suppy/job postings rather than private, so it’s really the way to go over here. The agency I was with was called Sanza (or Tradewind – the two companies merged but they operate under both names) they’re really good and they help with all the details and answered all my questions.

      And London isn’t as expensive as everyone says it is – not for actual daily living. In fact there are some things I find to be a lot cheaper over here – groceries for example, especially fresh fruit and vegetables. I’m eating way more greens and I’m paying way less (even with the exchange). Housing IS costly, but you can find more affordable housing in certain areas (and house shares or taking on a border are really common occurrences over here). Of course there’s less land – you’d never have a yard like you do in Victoria here in London – but you could have a small one depending on where you decided to settle (some areas have suburbs where the houses are a bit further apart – more expensive though).

      Transportation IS expensive, particularly if you’re wanting to go into Central London, but I find that I can get by mostly in my own neighbourhood now and I only go into Central London to meet friends or sight see – all my shopping is done in the “suburbs” (it’s cheaper and less busy).

      Does that help you at all?

      Miss you too. I’ll be booking my flights home for Christmas soon so once I have I’ll let you know.

      All my love to you and Greg (and the rest of the family!)
      Hannah

  4. Hi Hannah – whew – we were really starting to worry. I was just looking up your telephone number to phone you and Dave reminded me that for you, it’s the middle of the night – not a welcome time to receive a telephone call. Congratulations on the job – I can’t imagine a better situation. I’m sure you will have them all warbling like birds, when the 3 r’s have been taken care of. So great that you have been doing sight seeing, and I am very happy to hear that you are getting into a healthy life style – what a difference a couple of months makes. Take care. We’ll look forward to the next entry.
    Marjorie and Dave (and Jacquie and the 2 dogs from next door say hi as well).

    • Hi Marjorie,

      I’m sorry I worried you. I just realized I didn’t respond to your email – I’d meant to – it prompted this update and I thought I had. I’m so sorry.

      I would love to hear from you and Dave though – and I have the next 2 weeks off (mid term holiday) so I’ll be available more overlapping hours so do feel free to call (as long as it’s not 3 am). I’d love to catch up, I miss you guys.

      The job is great – exactly the kind of thing I was hoping for and I really do have an amazingly lovely class. I’m very lucky. I should get to do some more sight seeing in the next few weeks and maybe see some other parts of England. Does Dave have any recommendations of things I MUST see in and around London or other parts of the UK?

      I have another update planned for this weekend – I’m going to attempt to get a weekly update going… we’ll see if I can sustain it with work, but stay tuned! 🙂
      Hannah

  5. Hi Hannah-
    Do people ride their bikes over there as routinely as we do over here? Or do cyclists take their lives into their hands? Have you managed to see the castle where the Harry Potter films have been shot? I assume it’s probably up north somewhere. I love your updates.
    We have had our first master class. We are having to pay for the master classes this year, which kind of sucks, as lessons are bloody expensive enough as it is, and plus I have to pay an accompanist as well, as Greg is not always available, or able to learn the pieces in time. Still singing with Ensemble Laude too. I think that Robyn wants me to record this year as a goal, so that is the trajectory.

    love
    J

    • Hi Joanne,

      Yes, there are TONS of cyclists here. It’s actually a really good city to cycle in. There are bike paths – some are lanes on the road and some are parts of the sidewalk designated for bikes. In fact, London started a new thing this year where you can rent bikes all over central london and return them at a different point. It’s such a good idea. I haven’t done it yet but I will one day. It would be a fun way to see parts of the city.

      Nope I haven’t been to the castle yet, but I just started half term and since I’m not going to Europe like I thought I would, perhaps I can hunt up where it is and go on an adventure to see it. I’ll let you know if I do! 🙂

      I’ve been getting the facebook messages from Robyn’s studio so I saw that there was a class. How did it go? That does sound expensive, it’s hard when everything costs like that – it adds up so quickly. I havent’ found a teacher here yet but I’m going to start looking more seriously now that I’m settled into my job and making a steady salary. Good luck with the recording, that would be amazing!

      Love,

      H

  6. Good to hear your update and that things are going well.7 kids is a dream.
    Rainy here with tons of wind. Typical slippery leaf issues on streets and off trees. Rough few months but ok today. Going to Amie’s for lunch.
    Won a fan contest and am going to Van tomorrow to meet some stars . A

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