Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Review of 2013 and 2014 resolutions!

I feel bad for not having blogged for so long. Apologies, 2013 was a very strange year.  To recap:

At the end of January I left my job and decided to retrain as a TEFL teacher. I figured this would give me a flexible qualification, which I could take anywhere in the world with me.

The CELTA (in February) was an amazing experience, despite being so hard and so, so tiring. The teachers were amazing and made every session fun - I honestly don't know where they got their energy from. It was also a really emotional experience as nearly every afternoon we were required to teach language students, and our every move and utterance was monitored, judged and then proclaimed upon in group sessions the next day (e.g. why did you say this? Why didn't you use the phonic symbols for that...). I became so paranoid about being watched (sometimes by two members of staff as well as some of my colleagues) that my lessons literally started to unravel before my eyes.  I would lose my resources (where is my pen? my worksheet? my brain??) and thread half-way through a teaching point. I seriously thought that I was going to fail the course and it was such a relief to pass. I also met some really lovely people and had the best laughs of my life. I would recommend this course as a great way to get over leaving a bad job, as you really don't have time to think about anything else when you are doing it.

March and April were unfortunately a bit of a blur due to a serious illness in the family, and I spent some time back in the parental home, putting the rest of my life on hold. You realise where your priorities lie when someone you love gets sick. I never really understood what death meant before, and nothing really prepares you for it. Luckily that person is in a stable condition for now, and I feel blessed every day for it.

In May I got to visit Shanghai and Beijing. Amazing sights. The language, food and culture barriers were huge though, especially as I'm a vegetarian and it was hard to sometimes recognise the food dished up. For the record, Jellyfish is not a vegetable - no matter how hard someone tries to convince you otherwise.

Over June and July I spent 6 weeks teaching English each morning to groups of teenagers from France, Switzerland, Italy and China. That was a really fun experience, but also a lot of hard work, requiring hours of prep time and some marking thrown in for fun too. You only get paid for your contact time though, so after this experience came to an end I decided that I'd had enough teaching for the time being and turned my attention back to administrative work. 

Since the middle of August I have been looking, and looking and searching some more for suitable work. Where have all the jobs gone? This is apparently no longer the 1990s when admin jobs are anyone's for the taking! I was either really good at applying and interviewing for jobs 15 years ago, or the current economic climate means that for every job I apply for, there are 60+ other equally / better qualified candidates on my tail. It is now nearly the end of January, and despite countless applications and a number of job interviews (where I was apparently often the 2nd choice) I am still unemployed. Being unemployed SUCKS! I'm lucky that I have a husband who can pay the bills for both of us for now. But my life is sadly unbalanced, and I miss the sense of purpose you get from going to work each day and building relationships with colleagues.

Nonetheless, Dr X and I have a new plan to look forward to. During the latter half of this year we plan to go forth into the world, to travel to new countries and engage with different experiences, both work and volunteering. We don't know what our new life will look like yet, but we know that it's time to do something different. 

I hope that your 2014 will be a good one. Be encouraged.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

New Year's resolutions 2013

A bit late to the party with this one, but last year my resolutions were as follows:
  1. To get a new job
  2. To get fit
  3. and to save money

These were big goals but I'm pleased to say that I have made a sort of progress in my life, even if it wasn't what I originally anticipated. The results of my goals so far are as follows:

  1. Instead of getting a new job, I ditched the job I'd grown to hate and am now enrolled on a CELTA (teaching English as a foreign language course)
  2. Instead of getting fit, I'm losing weight from the stress of being on the aforementioned course - I'm only one week in and am already questioning my sanity in choosing such an intense course with a correspondingly heavy work load...
  3. I am saving money temporarily as I'm too busy to go shopping, except for the essentials, but as I no longer have a job the saving money has become slightly irrelevant...
Thus my resolutions for 2013 are:

  1. Not to quit when things get hard (I'm talking about you CELTA!)
  2. To choose my next job more carefully than I have done in the past
  3. To earn my crust!

It's going to be an interesting year!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

My Christmas wish list...

Photo from Maddie On Things
I don't want too much for Christmas, but the following would be much appreciated:

  • Good health for all of my family and friends
  • Peace (all over the world)
  • Joy (for everyone)
That about wraps it up for me.

One had a most enjoyable week-end...

A few weeks ago Dr X and I had the pleasure of visiting Windsor Castle. Luckily we arrived early in the morning and Dr X had pre-ordered the tickets as the queues were already significantly long. There was a security scanner to pass through which felt like being at the airport and the security guards had scary looking weapons. We found out later that the Queen was also in residence.

Windsor Castle is very pretty but also really, really large!

It's very well maintained
and guarded by fierce looking creatures... 

This one looked more cold than fierce!

The royal cat was taking a stroll and keeping an eye out for any royal mice.

The cat wasn't too happy that I was sitting on the step soaking up the sun.

I managed to convince the RC that there was space on the step for both of us!

Dr X refused to be enticed into the royal gift shop.

There's lots to see inside the Castle walls. Queen Mary's Dolls House was amazing but you can't take photos of it.

We waved goodbye to the Castle and went to explore the rest of Windsor. In the town centre, there's a cute cafe which uses part of an old train for seating. 

Windsor is well worth a visit, but it's not cheap and gets very crowded so pre-booking is advisable! One had a spiffing time.