Sunday, September 13, 2015

Nine School Days

My mind is melted from the past few days; trying to wrap my head around new policies and procedures, a whole new educational culture, new names of new coworkers, a new schedule, new schemes of work (curriculum), new vocabulary, new kids, new problems, new classroom management dilemmas, and a whole bunch of other new things.

I don’t want to neglect my blog but I also don’t know what to write. The first week we had two days of staff orientation, and then, because I am a Form 7 Tutor (I have a year 7 homeroom class) and they are new to the school, we did two days of orientation with them. The second week was a regular 5 day teaching week. All in all, with direct comparisons to people in my hallway I had an easier week than some people, and it could have been so much worse. Actually the week that starts tomorrow will probably be more challenging by virtue of the schedule.  There is a lot to figure out, but I am surviving!

I live in a house of teachers, and last weekend we did school all weekend. Then we remembered that we moved to London to explore and adventure. If I just wanted to work I didn’t need the transatlantic flight. This Saturday we recommitted to exploring and adventuring. We spent some time at the Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibit, then we had a delicious dinner outside before heading off to do some shopping and a movie.

It was fun. More fun than this blog post- I apologize. I am still sorting it all out, and figuring out how to talk about it all. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Weekend Getaway

School doesn’t start until next week, so I decided to pop up to Edinburgh for a long weekend because I can just do that now.  I am overcoming my fear of buses (decapitations are not as common as I continue to believe), by taking an overnight bus from London to Edinburgh. I haven’t seen the Beveridge family since Kaytie and I were there in 2013, and since then there are two new adorable additions. It was a lot of fun to play with this cute family.

On Friday I managed to 
get myself from the Bus Station to Jude’s house. I really am figuring out this whole public transportation thing- No, it was one bus and I got off at the very last stop, but I will continue to consider it a success. We went down town for lunch, and we went to Costco (it looks exactly the same as every other Costco, but some of the brands were different). 

Over the next few days we went to the beach, and then we had fish and chips. While we were wandering around the harbour we ran into a real fisherman who was bringing in his catch, and he showed us all of the crabs and lobsters. It was neat.  We went to Blacketyside Farm and bought a lot of delicious berries, like a lot. They were amazing.  

We went walking. The countryside there is breathtaking. Everything about the area is breathtaking. The city is old and magnificent, then it is surrounded by so much beautiful. Tuesday night I spent a few hours wandering around the castle and surrounding area. I just find it all enchanting. I suppose people get used to living in a place like that, but I have a hard time fathoming it.

We also did some shopping and lots of talking. I’m so lucky to have so many amazing people in my life.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Maybe it’s packing my life into 2 suitcases and only managing to bring clothes, or that I turned saying goodbye to my family into the parade of tears, maybe it is sitting alone in a whole new country trying to sort out a whole new daily life, but I have been feeling very reflective lately.

Flashback August 2013


Completely freaking out about my future and trying to decide what I am doing with my life. Kaytie and I had just got back from visiting Jude in Scotland and I loved it there, so I am looking at visas back to the UK.
“I figure if I am just trying to find a job I can do that somewhere more interesting.”

“Obviously we think that is a completely ridiculous idea and that you should just go back to school, then when you have a plan move wherever you want.”

“I’m not sure about back to school, two years is a long time when I don’t think I want to be a teacher.”

This went back and forth for a few weeks, and I was completely delightful during the entire process. After the kind of emotional meltdown that sends Q fleeing to her bedroom I decided I would go back to school and committed to being in Lethbridge a few years longer. Only with the understanding that the primary appeal of this degree was the opportunities it presented for travelling while working in a job that let me spend my time helping people.

For about three and a quarter of the four semesters I was in the Ed program I maintained this position. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do this in the moment, or forever, but I liked the idea of a career that let me help people and that I could travel with. Every summer I had at least one or eleven moments where I said I wasn’t going back to school and I didn’t want to do this. Every September I went back to school, and in my last semester I decided that maybe I did like this, and maybe I could do this for at least a while. I loved my PSIII placement. I loved where I was, who my students were, and what I was teaching. It was very confusing, all of the sudden staying in Lethbridge didn’t sound like the worst fate imaginable.

It was strange all of the moving to the UK stuff was starting to take off at the exact same moment I stopped having to remind myself I was sticking this out for the adventuring possibilities. Why should anything be easy? I’ve wanted to go live somewhere new and exciting and closer to all kinds of travelling, but then it landed on the table when I was just starting to enjoy Lethbridge. In the end it was still an easy decision. I was doing this, if I didn’t do it for at least awhile I would always regret never having done it.  So here I am, all alone in my closet sized upstairs bedroom in a tiny old house in a neighborhood where everything looks the same and I still haven’t quite figured out north from south excited to start a brand new adventure. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

The First Few Days

Wow. It has been a little over two years since I have blogged on here, and this post is going to feature a lot of very similar pictures to the last one. 

We arrived in Heathrow Sunday morning (my cousin Crista was delightful enough to accompany me) and waited around to catch a bus to Watford. In a lovely coincidence the bus stop was right in front of the hotel I stayed in when I was here for interviews. It was nice to be dropped off in the middle of the only few blocks I have seen before. From there we took a cab to my new house.

Upon first entering I was, underwhelmed… It is small and old, which is to be expected, but I think I still had some preconceived notions of inherent charm. It is growing on me a bit more every day, and I am planning on liking it a lot (once my room is all organized cuter I will try and remember to post some pictures).

The next few days fluctuated between boring-getting settled-buying sheets-and finding a grocery store kind of stuff, and playing Tourist in London.

Doing the Wall Walk at the Tower 
On our first touristy adventure we enjoyed the Tower of London, a place I have been to before and was just as enchanted with this time. It is so comprehensive and interesting. We spent about 5.5 hours and didn’t get to see everything. An absolute must do when you come visit me.  

After that we went and saw Green Day’s American Idiot, a musical featuring Green Day songs telling the story of  three young men in the year after 9/11. It was intense. I was on the edge of my seat. The whole cast was so talented.

The White Tower- built in 1050
On our next foray into the city we took a bus tour and got to sit on the top deck of a red double decker bus! Awesome. Less awesome when it started to rain.  We got to see a bunch of the major sites, it really is an incredibly city. We went down to Piccadilly Circus for some shopping and then wandering. On our way we saw…

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is actually in front of us...
My mom texted me while we were there:

Mom: What are you  doing post lunch?
Erin: It stopped raining so we are going to walk around Buckingham Palace and all that jazz. 
Mom: It sounds like seeing Buckingham Palace is just common place for you now.
Erin: I do like how many times I have been to Buckingham Palace.

I do really really like that.

From there we wandered through Trafalgar Square, past Downing Street and towards Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey.

London is such a fun city to walk around, there is so much to see so close together. Before you know it you've walked all day, but there was never a moment that wasn't beautiful or interesting.

We made our way across the Thames, and went on the London Eye. It is a spectacular view, but I think if I did it again I would want to see it at night. 
View from the top of the London Eye

In the evening we saw Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. It is the longest running West End show, and is in its 63rd year. It was ridiculously entertaining. 

The evening was so beautiful that it seemed like a shame to go right from the theatre to the underground, so we walked to Trafalgar Square and spent some time. I love Trafalgar Square.

When we weren’t having fun I was being boring and trying to get organized to start my new adventure over here. Definitely still a work in progress. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Day Thirteen/Fouteen

Sooo apparently I have been seriously slacking at this whole blogging thing, which yeah I'll give you that one. I have been really slacking, but it's my vacation and I just don't care! Haha just jokes, come back in a few days after I get home and have had a chance to be bored. Then I will blog better. 

But I will keep blogging a little bit so I don't forget anything major.  Kaytie and I caught the underground to Westminster Station, and then proceeded to explore. 
We saw Big Ben and the Parliament Buildings, before wandering down to Trafalgar Square. 
We hung out at Trafalgar Square for a while watching street performers and enjoying the sunshine before wandering along St. James Park to Buckingham Palace. 
After appreciating the complete surreality of that moment we headed back on a lovely stroll through the park towards Westminster Abbey.
Westminster Abbey was mind blowing. So many significant people are a part of that history, it was insane to think about it all and be in that place.
After all of that epicness we went to dinner and a movie at the largest mall in London. 

Our second London day was the Tower of London and Wicked. We bought out show tickets in the morning and then spent like five hours or something at the Tower. We did a guided tour for an hour and then wandered around trying to see everything (we did not). 

After the Tower we quickly went to change our clothes and then we were off to the theatre. 
A fun way to end a fun trip!

Sorry this is brief, our plane is boarding. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Day Twelve

Well Jude took us to the airport early where we said sad farewells and then Kaytie and I got back on a plane. Destination, London. 

When we arrived we had some train catching entertainment and then I may or may not have got my luggage stuck in a turnstile trying to escape the underground.  Eventually we met up with Kaytie's working friend Lis. Lis is letting us stay with her and she is just a lovely host. She made us pancakes when we got here, then came with us to church so we didn't get lost.  
After church we went on a walk to explore some beautiful parts of the city. 
We went to the Portobello Markets, it was so fun and not just because I could him Portobello Road from Bed knobs and  Broomsticks. We also ate the best mint gelato. 
After all of our walking we met up with Lis's flatmate Jane and her friend Jema for dinner. We had a lot of fun and this super popular punjabi place feeling very local and in with the trends. The girls were so fun with so many stories of the places they have been. I need to travel more! 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Day Ten/Eleven

Today Kaytie and headed back to Old Town; we checked out Fringe again, saw another show and watched a bunch of incredible street performers. We also did a bit more shopping. 
Here is Kaytie reading the map so that we can find our venue. 

The wind here makes trying to take a picture difficult.

After getting back to Jude and Simon's we all headed up Arthur's Seat. The view of the city was so spectacular that I took no pictures. Actually I chased Emily up and then tried not to fall [again] on the way down. It was actually a fantastic way to see the city one more time. 

On Saturday I somehow ended up doing Aerial Assault; a zip lining/climbing style activity with Kaytie. I did not love it- it's very high up, but we did it and to celebrate I got my scone!
 Everything here was amazing! Local suppliers, socially conscious- you know the things that make food taste better...

After lunch Kaytie and I did The Real Mary King's Close tour. It was a fun way to see what is left of one of the oldest closes. The guide was fun and the tour is an entertaining way to learn a bit of history. 

Then it was back to the Beveridges to pack and remember how much I already miss them- so mostly visiting and eating cookies when I should be packing. They were amazing hosts and so much fun!