i keep deleting my posts lately
Usually I can toss out a really long post with no effort at all, but for the last week it's been a real effort to keep my blog updated. So much has been going on that I just fall into bed when I get home and haven't been doing much of anything.
When I do write, I wind up getting tired of what I'm writing about and either saving the post as a draft or just deleting it right away. As it is, this post is pretty mishmash, so I apologize if it's a little hard to follow... just gonna go with how I'm feeling and type whatever comes out...
Yesterday was another payday, in which i realized that 400 pounds are being taken away from me in TAXES. Completely ridiculous if you ask me... It's funny that people told me that the tax system "isn't so bad in England" before I got here, but now admit that things can be pretty bad. Just one of many things that I would have really liked to know before getting on that plane two months ago.
The mail has been very interesting lately - I received both the package from Canada (just finishing up that post) and my debit card in the mail. I was really excited about getting the card on Friday because it meant that I could finally stop doubling the cost of everything here.
Of course in a typical twist of fate (just like usual since we've moved here), the card cannot be used at any ATMs until I get another piece of mail with my pin code in it. So the card is completely useless for another 3-5 business days.
What I don't understand is now a bank that's been around for centuries can be so behind when it comes to banking. Checks takes 5-10 business days to cash, bank cards not usable right away, people waiting forever to get service. Waiting almost two months for a bank card because they didn't update my address (even after 2 visits and a phone call), then receiving a letter in the mail on the day it's due to arrive asking me to please call them to set up a delivery date, time, and location. Redunant and unncessary, not to mention frustrating.
It just doesn't make sense. Especially the letter thing. Why wouldn't they just mail the card to the address that's been provided and confirmed - especially since the card is not usable until I get the other letter with it's pin code.
Things like that make me want to jump onto the next plane to Canada.
Speaking of planes, I just finished reading Lyndsay's last post, in which she was reunited with her best friend, who had spent a year overseas. I got tears in my eyes as I read, imagining myself in the same situation (which I kinda am) and missing my friends a lot. Saturday nights just aren't the same, and haven't been for a really long time.
On a happier note, my payday does mean that we'll be able to do a little bit of sightseeing before Jeremy goes back to Canada. We had wanted to go to Amsterdam (really cheap travel and lodging there compared to a lot of other places) but realized that once there we wouldn't really have enough money to get to do everything we would want to do... like the Heineken factory and a canal cruise. So we'll wait until he gets back. (I really hope he comes back)
What we are going to do is go to the Tower of London and actually do one of those tours, visit Kew Gardens (incredible botanical gardens), see Madame Tussaud's, and see the animals at the London Zoo and London Aquarium. We're also going to participate in a very cool wine tasting day at a place called Vinopolis, where you can partake in a wine tour, several wine and liquor tastings, and get a free t-shirt and corkscrew. One of the liquor tastings is absinthe, which I've never even seen before, so I'm a little nervous about that. Apparently it should be tried last because your taste buds take a long time to recover...
Half term (week-long school holiday) starts in one week, and with all of those things to do it should be a lot of fun. Jeremy has found some very inexpensive flights to Toronto starting November 2nd, so in less than 3 weeks, I'll be here alone. I'm sure I'll have plenty to write about then (and I apologize in advance).
Letters from the students
I said goodbye to "my class" on Friday, after being their teacher for 1 month. Part of me hoped that they would be sad to see me go (they were), but another part of me knew I needed to get them excited to have their regular classroom teacher (Mr. R) back. So I presented it as something wonderful and hopefully made the transition a little easier for them all (since for me it was very difficult - but I'm a grown up and can deal with the little unfair things in life). I'm leaving them after a month of great learning - for both myself and the class, I hope - and will always remember the first class I bonded with as a "real" teacher. Even some of the parents were sad to see me go, and commented that Monday was going to be hard on their children. I hope they settle in with their teacher quickly...
The school must have been happy with my work, because I'll be there all next week in a year two class, also spending an hour on both Monday and Tuesday in my old classroom, to help the kids transition go a little smoother. Hearing this plan made my respect for the Head Teacher grow even more, since he had obviously recognized that Mr. R would appreciate the support that somebody who knew the kids very well could provide, while at the same time helping the children to have an easier time with this change.
It amazes me how much you can bond with a group of students in such a brief period of time. Since many of them see their teachers more during the week than they get to see their families, it makes sense that they get attached to a teacher very quickly. What I didn't expect was how much I would come to care about them on such a personal level. If this is how things are after one month, I can only imagine what things are like after an entire school year. I hope that I will always remember the important place that a teacher takes in a person's life - especially the little ones.
Some of the children saw Mr. R in the staff room during lunchtime (he'd come in to meet with me briefly), and when I went out to pick them up at the end of their playtime, I was attacked by several students in the class, who were shouting "We don't want you to go! Are you leaving? We saw Mr. R in the school - we don't want you to leave us!"
Even typing this out breaks my heart a little. I hope every parent and teacher (and grown-up for that matter) remembers the role they play in the lives of the kids around them. They love you unconditionally, forgive you when you forget things, forget when you get cross with them, and accept everything you tell them as the absolute truth.
"I'm going to miss you, Miss Peterson" several students said quietly as they looked up at me at then end of the day.
I'm going to miss them too.