Thursday, December 31, 2009

9 things that furthered me in 2009

I moved departments at work. This is the biggest thing that happened to me this year. It was the best thing that (I think) has ever happened in my life. Not that other things haven't been more joyous in the moment, or more exciting; but I can't think of anything else (although Yeronga SHS came close) that has centred me on my journey. The path to the pure spirit of me is clearer because of this department. I am eternally grateful for this experience. It was one of joy, contentment and fulfillment. I am a better person for it.

So technically, this happened in 2008 as well, and I moved on from this in 2009. But through this house, I gained a couple of great friends, learnt to live independently and how to live graciously around other people without impacting their lives negatively.

I went on my first official date this year. While I have had relationships and been 'out' with boys in the past, this was the first time that I officially went on a 'date'. What's the difference I hear you ask? Well, going out with someone is much more casual - this date, we met each other, he bought everything and I didn't have to spend any cash on myself (except for the tacky souvenirs I bought). Nothing came of this date - mutually - but I have experienced having someone buy the stuff for me and experienced the 'dating game' as an adult. I learnt that there are adult men out there and that I can have a comfortable afternoon with someone I'm not attracted to and there is no need to be rude to them and run off. And now, it's not a secret anymore.

N, E & J
These three women came to my rescue when I decided to leave the above-mentioned Geddington Road. I am eternally grateful for the three of them allowing me to doss at theirs and give me two months grace in finding a new place to live - I would never have found such a convenient and lovely place if I hadn't had them to accommodate me. I am also grateful for their friendship and the comfortable way in which we interact with each other. I have learnt that I am not abhorrent and strangers can and will like me. For me, without me changing myself into someone I think that they will like. Even in such a bad emotional state these women took me into their lives and became friends with me. For them I am eternally grateful.

Even though Stacey on 'Gavin and Stacey' drives me around the bend using this word as an adjective, I have become a serious convert to Lush products. Back home, I used bathing time as pure necessity - jumped into the shower and got out as soon as possible. Over here, with the addition of Lush to my life, I will actually run a bath on a weeknight - obscene luxury - and soak in blackberry, or avocado or peach. So relaxing. The only thing that annoys me is that there aren't enough citrus products. But by finding this company, I have begun to treat myself to relaxation and think I am worth it.

*deliberate lower case i*
On arrival (and, actually, to this day) I spend a lot of time in front of the television. Having the BBC and Channel 4 here have given me lots to watch - and on occassion Five and Five USA. And most of it much better quality than the tripe we got back home. But then I learnt I couldn't watch all of it and live my life. Something had to give, and in my new-found love of life, it was not going to be that, so TV had to give. I don't mind missing programmes now - after years of taping hours and hours of TV each week to do both, that's a different perspective on life. But, if I do miss something and want to catch it up, invariably I can - on the internet! Apparently this invention has come to Australia as well during my time over here, but it wasn't available last year so it was a revelation and something that got me through this year.

During the first half of the year, I was involved in the school musical - We Will Rock You. Absolutely brilliant. Brilliant play, good songs and what I got out of it was invaluable - more children at school got to know me and I was able to command more respect from students through the school. I will never join a new school without taking on extra-curricular duties. Invaluable lesson.

This meant that I could keep in contact with family at home (as well as friends.) This furthered me because I was able to get healthy and know that I could still contact people back home. I am scared about going home, but know that I will be able to keep my spiritual path open and acheive more because I have been in contact with them. It has also meant that I haven't overly missed anyone - they've been just a phone call away. Unlike in Germany when my homesickness was all-pervasive, having contstant access has made it seem like that I was not so far away at all.

Yes, this is a constant source of worry, and I have been broke all year. It didn't seem to matter how much I earnt it; I spent it. Nothing new there really. I have needed to ask parents for a few handouts, but unlike in the past, it has been a last resort. There were a few things I contemplated that would not have helped me on my path, and I often left it too late for deadlines to ask for help. This proved to me that I can live on 10 quid per week (as long as school wasn't on and my friends were in different timezones) and that I ache to be financially independant. It is my main goal in 2010.

**Obviously, there are more things that have contributed to making me who I am now, on the cusp of the new decade than I was at the beginning of 2009. But these nine things above are those that I can see as being pivotal in my soul being lightened and leading me into 2010 as a calmer, more mature and independant person.**

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sherlock Holmes

Holmes-baby has never really attracted me. I mean the story. All a bit homo-erotic to me - two men living together as bachelors? yeah, like Cary Grant (I'm totally if I got his name wrong!) and that other dude and their dog. 'Just Friends' *Pfffft.*

However I really enjoyed the new film with Downey Jnr and Law in it. Holmes was a bit camp, but Old Coke-head carried it off. Bumbling idiot and not taken at all seriously. My kind of 'victorian crime thriller'. Mr 'I like my nannies warm' was the straight man - oh, look a double whammy - and it managed to negate my annoyance at the whole 'friends' thing. Really trying to get out of Sherlock (what the hell kind of stupid name is that? Almost as stupid as the girl on Waterloo Road called Sambuca)'s grasp but always getting pulled back in.

I swear I annoyed E - I kept saying, "Yeah, that's right, kill the Necromancer" *oopps* Oh, well, sometimes you get things really wrong.

My movie career in the UK is now well and truly over. Too much money must be paid for the privilege and I don't have much. :( And, I finally got so jack of the seats not having drink holders so you've gotta hold on for the duration of the film. Bah.

2 more days of this month, year and decade left. I'm of the 'decade starts before the 1st year' Don't care what others think. So a full decade will have passed in two days time since the millenium started.

What's happened? The millenium dome's been revamped, I've been to Europe three times - Germany twice and England once (still gonna get the tattoo design done that I want... when I get up the courage...) graduated uni and kept a teaching job for a year. I've done a lot. Proud.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 09

It's all over. Gone. Finished. Done and dusted. But you know what? I am not feeling all that sorry this year.

It was missing something this year - family, friends and sun. I had a heap of fun with N - lots of crap TV, over-sugaring ourselves, Wii party (most annoying game ever) and presents. But it just didn't fulfill me this year. Don't get me wrong; I wasn't sad or resentful about the way I spent it. My choice afterall. It just had a couple of missing elements.

I am looking forward to getting home more and more. Beginning of February!  Bring it on.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas TV

There are two movies that I want to see each Christmas. Scratch that; four. One though I own on DVD so it doesn't matter when I watch it - it's a great movie and sometimes I will watch it throughout the year.

The three movies I long for all year are:

The Last Leaf.

So yes, it's an Easter parable apparently and therefore I really shouldn't be waiting for it at Christmas. I feel slightly stupid now, but you know, I swear that I saw it first at Christmas. Anyway, the story was sooo beautiful. A girl is dying and giving up the fight. She tells her neighbour that when the last leaf falls from the vine outside her window, she will also die. During the night, the neighbour paints a leaf in place of the last one (which had fallen off). So, of course she doesn't die - but he does.

Now I know it's an Easter story, I understand it much more. When I watched it the first time, I was shocked and horrified by the LDS message that came up after it. This was a religious film???  Even my 15 year old self couldn't get past the beauty of the story to hate it. On principle you see - it was religious. Not because it was from the LDS, but because it was from a Christian organisation.

Now, as an adult, I am much more easy-going and, you know what? I thank this movie for making me a more tolerant person - I now enjoy that there are people in the world who follow an organised religion and believe totally in a supreme being. I envy their totality of belief and their ability to follow a thought. I don't, but believe in something - I'm not agnostic either - I know what there is out there, but it is not part of the conventional wisdom.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

This movie I look forward to all year. I finally got to watch it this year and fell asleep! I can't believe I did that. It's an anarchic interpretation, if the muppets could do anything else, of *shock* Dickens' A Christmas Carol. This year it was even more interesting for the time I was awake - I taught the story at GCSE level at the beginning of this year, and, you know what? It made it so much better; Gizmo, playing Dickens, uses words direct from the book and this gave me an added rush.

A Mom for Christmas

Olivia Newton-John as a mannequin that comes to life and becomes someone's Mum? What a corny story. I haven't seen this since I saw it the first time. Released in 1990, I'm guessing I was ten or eleven when I saw it. But I fell in love with it. I've wanted to see it again every year, but now that I'm in my almost-late (what?!?!?) twenties I am scared that the magic I hold in my head from this story would not be there, and it would just be soppy and corny.

Joyeux Noël

A Trilingual war film with Daniel Brühl, Benno Führmann and Guillaume Canet? Hell yeah. Canet I've never seen before or since, but woof! (that was a wolf whistle by the way). It's the story of the Highland Army, the Germans and the French all fighting for a little piece of land in WWI and the ceasefire story we all know - they go to mass together, become friends, play football, eat and celebrate christmas. It also has the aftermath of the army trying to hide this fact. Powerful stuff and really, trilingual? That's my kind of film.

So, essentially, I look forward to Christmas because of the presents and the family (ooops, Freudian slip-should really be in the other order) and Christmas movies. Even if most of them are totally sappy and corny.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nail Marbling

So I've kinda got obsessed with my nails. I have in the past three months accumulated around 15 bottles of nail polish - and then E got me another 10 or so for Christmas!!! It's kinda a guilty obsession - 'cause I've always made fun of painted nails in different patterns and different colours every day. *shrug* I guess I've just got to own there is a bit of the chav and bogan (and yes, they are different species - Wikpedia obviously doesn't know the interacacies of the differences. Chav's, in the words of Nathan from misfits, have their hair pulled back so far that they look a little asian [OMG, totally racist] and wear Burbery, tiny little skirts or grey tracksuit pants about three sizes too big and huge gold hoops. Bogans on the other hand, wear jeans, flannelette, have their cigarettes held by their shirtsleeves and still think the mullet is in fashion.) in me, no matter whether I hope there isn't.

Anyway last night I tried finger paint marbling. Oh, ye gads, did that ever go atrociously wrong.

This is what I was heading for (albeit in green and red):

What I got was more like this:

 But even that's pretty compared to what I got. It was Terrible. That deserves the capital. I know that it will extend up the fingers 'cause of the way you do it, but I wasn't prepared for the great lack of consistent colour - it came up either really really dark on the green/red or like light green and pink. Then my polish remover sucks. I know this. It takes me way too long to remove any kind of nailpolish. So I couldn't remove it from my hands. What kind of nailpolish doesn't allow you to remove polish from flesh!!! I opened my travel pack of nail polish wipes (like make up remover pads but for nail polish.) BEST INVENTION EVER! These got rid of the nail polish better than I've been able to with  'proper' remover for the last thre months. Well chuffed.

So now I've bored you stupid about nails and polishing, I am going to brave the snow and pray I don't fall over again so that I can get some food in.

**In fairness of copyright laws, I must tell you that all pictures in this post are not mine and were found through google images. I apologise to those people who were able to get marbling done properly...*

Monday, December 21, 2009

Labelled as a teacher

I'm on the hunt for new blogs to read. I read Amy's, the Daily Nail's and Nat the Fat Rat's religiously and they're in my little 'blogs you're following that are being updated' pannel on the  blogger dashboard. I also try to remember to check Postsecret every Sunday. But now I'm not working, I thought I'd try and find some more blogs, like mine, with Blogger's 'Next Blog' feature.

Apparently, because I have the word 'teacher' in my precis of my blog, the next blogs are all about homeschooling, or teaching blogs for classes (why they aren't using a VLP I don't know).

So, in other words, I have not found any more blogs that speak to me.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

White man dancing!!!

A warning goes out to the wide world - there were white men dancing in my town tonight. Badly. Can a white man dance rythmically? They're either dancing in the 80s (hell yeah - lawnmower, sprinkler, cash register), spazzing widly and hitting people or dirty dancing so disgustingly with their partners (or, interestingly, each other) that people feel decidedly ill.

(Has anyone noticed yet that this is my second post in 12 hours?)

We went clubbing tonight. If you've read aforementioned post, you will know that it snowed so much that the school was closed today. So I caught a cab into town at 8.30pm. I thought fleetingly about walking; but one instant outside made me laugh at myself and head back inside to call a taxi. He turned up on time, and drove sanely to where I wanted to go. Then, I got out of the car, after giving him a 1 quid tip and walked around behind the car, thinking he would drive off forwards. No. It seems he didn't want to do that. He reversed. Right into me. Before you get worried, it was so slow I didn't know what it was to begin with. Then some drunk dude on the footpath hit the car and the same instant I realised that I was being pushed by the car. He drove off without checking. I didn't hit the ground and promptly forgot about it, so I obviously wasn't worried.

I was with my old housemates, and bar one woman (who on noticing my new-found happiness and confidence asked what his name was) I get on with them really well. R got sooooo drunk. Not talking a little drunk, I'm talking insanely drunk. And we were all tipsy but not drunk. So, at 1am R decides that it's time to go home and says, "let's go outside and get a cab" And for some reason this sounded like a great idea, so we traipsed outside into the snow.

40 minutes until the cab arrived. In -2.5 degree heat. Or, should I say absence of heat? Never have I been so cold in my life. It was warm when I arrived home - of course. But now 15 minutes later, in bed, with my thermal underwear on, I am really cold again. :(

But, ignoring the cold, the being almsot run over by a cab, the huge fight that started in the toilets and spilled out onto the dancefloor including at least 10 men and the almighty drunkeness that was R, I had one of the best nights of my life!

A picture of the real ugg boot I bought today. OK, I bought a knock-off... and two of them.

I just spent over 10 minutes writing a really informative, thought-provoking and very stream-of-consciousness (and let's face it, the writing that I do and my Dad likes is pretty much always stream-of-consciousness) post and then IE went all postal on me and crashed. I much prefer Firefox. IE is the devil. I know one of my friends from high school haad some kind of joke name, but blow me if I can remember...

Anyway.... I am going to endeavour to replicate the ideas of the post that is now in the middle of nowhere.

I finished at school today, rather like a whimpering dog than a big firework. I was looking forward to saying goodbye to everyone and maybe getting a formal send-off during the leaver meeting. I had even practiced my '2nd place' face - you know the one when you're happy for the other person if you didn't win - for when my headteacher forgot to mention me in his 'these people are buggering off' speech.

Then I woke up this morning. The landscape had turned miraculously from greys and smog to white and frost. Snow had fallen and settled during the night. Just what I didn't want. Snow is miraculous in that it covers up the rubbish on the side of the road, it hides the grass the council hasn't mown in six months, and it closes the schools.  We don't give our kids realistic expectations, 'cause they think that life stops if it snows. It doesn't unless you are school student, school teacher or someone who lives in Britain. But at least they had grit today - back in February they had to buy it from France and Ireland, and a table salt company stopped grinding and sold it to the government!

So, that all could have been summed up as, "It snowed so I didn't have school today but chose to go in anyway to clean my desk for the new teacher."

After 4 hours of marking and tidying, we caught a cab into town and went shopping!!! My friend bought a pair of Ugg boots for 179 quid. Not a lot you say??? That's about $380 Australian. I went next door and bought a pair of the picture above for 30 quid. I also bought a pair of jeans, a shirt, a ring and earrings.

I am currently lying in bed, trying to keep warm. I was supposed to go clubbing tonight with the old housemates, but we've had a few miscommunications and we've all been changing our minds, so not sure anymore what's going on. I kinda just want to buy a pizza and snuggle up to the blanket and internet.

Or the marking that's left over.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I got up late today. Not too late- dead on the third alarm. I never used to be like that but this winter I am seemingly uncapable to get up on the first alarm. I have gotten dressed and pinned myself up. I need to 'cause my shirt's too low and I flash bra everytime I try to help one of the little ones (which is kinda a terrible idea.)

I removed my patchy green nailpolish with red french tips. That was brilliant polish. I have replaced it with clear polish with red glitter in it. I'm trying to convince myself that it's Christmassy enough. I changed my earrings too - yesterday I wore wreaths dangling from my lobes. Today I'm wearing candy canes!!!! I figure that this is the best way to do Christmas seeing as we're not supposed to do anything Christmas until Friday.

The head announced it in briefing with "I might sound like a Scrooge..." Why, yes, mr man banning Christmas! Just a little. But in reality I'm ignoring that advice. He did say that as long as it was educational it was OK. So, I figure that anything I do is educational.... as long as it's in the target language! Mwahahaha Evil plans afoot.

9 sleeps. Holy crap! (Interesting saying by the way... but the bus shall be arriving in 8 minutes and I still need to adon my body with two coats, a scarf, a beanie and gloves. Bloody cold. So the interesting that is the phrase "Holy Crap" will go undiscussed this time. [I guarantee you it's going to bug me all day])

Saturday, December 12, 2009

All going to the dogs

Not really sure that phrase has anything to do with what I did last night, but man, that's how I sure felt when I got out of our Taxi (why the capital, I ask myself?). We were meeting the rest of our work department for our Christmas dinner at....

the Dog Track.

Now, for 10 quid, I really wasn't expecting much. We got 2 quid totes (for some reason, you don't place bets on the animals in dog racing, you place 'totes' on 'tracks'.) I confused the bet-taker (not going to call the 40 year old man in a tshirt, drinking a bright red drink [which could only be red fanta, or lemonade with grenadine in it - pansy] a bookie) when I went up to the counter and, in all my wisdom of never having bet before, confidently stated, "1 pound on Morden's mist in race number 3". The man just stared at me. Rather conspicuosly I stood there. IN my work clothes - tailored brown pants, a peasant blouse with sequins all over it. In the incredible amount of tshirts and jeans, I well stood out.

Where was I? Oh yes. I then said, "Dog three in race three., one pound to place." He still just looked at me. This was not a glare. It was not angry. It was utter confusion. I've not even seen any of my wee kiddies look that blankly at me. It was a look of "What the hell is this woman talking about? Is she speaking a foreign language?" which is you think about it, I do all day at school but don't confuse people that much. In the end, he had the form guide in front of him and I reached over and pointed to the dog. A light came on! 1 pound to place? Yes!!!! I communicated.

So back to my expectations. 10 quid and I got two totes, two drinks, dinner and entry. Really really wasn't expecting much. We had a choice of scampi and chips or chicken nuggets and chips. I don't eat fries. I don't eat fried food (OK, sometimes I will have a pack of pringles... but I've eaten four packs all year). So I bought a burger. Wow! The food at the school canteen was miles better than that.

It did only get better though. It was incredible fun! I won 5 quid, so came out with money, and got to see a wholy different side to a couple of women from school.

And the best bit??? We talked about school for no more than half an hour, and it wasn't complaining!!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Safe, warm, relaxed and calm

I am writing to you from my very own fortress. It is a comfortable fortress. It is a cushiony fortress. It is an extremely close to technology fortress. It is my safe haven from the wide crazy that is the 'borough.

I read ithe concept on a blog in October (word up to "Blogs of Note" - this invaluable tool has allowed me to stumble upon [a  word which I know I so shouldn't be using as I am sure it's copyrighted. Damn you, I stumbled across it - myself!!! Without a program to help me {OK, I guess the Blogger program helped me}]) and didn't really get it. So? You're sitting in your living room near the TV and with your laptop? Woot.

I am now a definite fortress convert. I come in from school, get changed (nothing better than loose jeans after 'smart' trousers) turn one light on and get comfy. It's like Homer J Simpson - my butt is starting to leave an imprint on the couch. I turn on my music (currently Christmas carols - In der Weihnachtsbäckerei!!!) and then watch some TV, do my planning, marking and generally just laze around. Ich faulenze - Je suis paresseuse *.

The only thing that has felt this comforting in a long time was a long hot bath with a good cry to 'the Book Thief' and then wrapping myself in towels straight out of the dryer. Ahhhh, heavenly bliss.

*Before anyone wants to get really picky - I am aware that Ich faulenze and Je suis paresseuse do not mean the same thing.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Inconvenient Truth

The inconvenient truth I have to tell you is uncomfortable. It is annoying, irritating and really quite gross. It's this:

My housemate is loud.

I don't mean she talks a lot, I don't mean she listens to music loudly, I don't mean that she watches her TV loudly.

I mean that when she and her boyfriend are ensconced in her room she's loud. Do you follow?

I bet you do in these days of 'inappropriate' content on the internet, TV, and movies.

My computer only goes so loud.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I got the bus today at 4.27 and by the time I got home at 4.35 it was pitch black.

So unfair. I want the sun!!!

*but I don't want the heat it brings.*

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Death by perambulator

Something that I have heard plenty of times in my year here, "I wasn't scared of strollers before I moved to England" Now, before you ask - no, I do not now call them strollers. I have a friend of the Canuck variety (is Canuck racist for me to say? Seriously, I'm asking. Is it as offensive to call a Canadian a Canuck as it is to call an American a Yank?)

So my friend has on many an occassion when we have just, barely, escaped death by pramchair, and said, "I wasn't scared of strollers before I moved to England."

I can't remember prams being a death-wielding vehicle back home. This is not to say that they aren't - maybe the Australian variety of death-pram are hidden from view much better in Australia. We are much better at hiding our dirty little secrets - no red tops you see. We don't do scandal like the Brits do. They might say, 'chin chin' and pretend to have perfect manners, but inside their wee little heads they are screaming out for a good gossip. I guess it's why they drink so much tea. "Oh, Mrs Jones, would you like some *ahem* tea?" "Oh, yes Mrs Allen, I would love some *ahem* tea." 

See what I did there? I used the word tea as code for gossip. Clever me, I really do deserve the G&T label.

Anyhoo... Again, I've completely veered off track. I guess that's what happens when you mark 30 books with less than 5 pages of the required writing in them. You go well mental.

So, where was I? Ah, yes, death-prams. These are prams wielded by both low socio-economic and high-socioeconomic mothers. They are wielded by both the teen mother and the mid 30s mother. They are wielded by both smoking and non-smoking mothers. They are wielded by both those mothers in tracksuits and those mothers in suits.

These are the prams that seem to be going into the exact space you were walking in. The prams that force you out into the middle of the road, because they couldn't just wait. These are the prams that walk into the backs of your legs while you are standing in line... or walking along minding your own business. These are the prams that are more unwieldy than those supermarket trollies (sp that doesn't look right, even though I followed the English rules. No, no more tangents this post!) with the incredibly dodgy wheels.

And these prams are always followed by mothers (and fathers. I understand that death-prams are directed by people of both genders) with extremely death-like glares. How dare you walk on the sidewalk? You want to go through that door? Well, you can hold the door open even though you got there first, 'cause I'm going through. You've got to let me - I reproduced!

Now, a deep and sincere apology for those parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, uncles and aunts and friends who can and regulary do have control of their prams and don't turn them into death-machines. But man, I'm scared of prams now.