Personal

Breakupdate

Week 3 Day 1

So I didn’t think I’d actually want to write about this, but it turns out I need to.

This week, I know, it’s only Tuesday, I’m immensely struggling already with poor time management and a huge amount of stress and pressure. Partially because of the China move… but mainly because of loads of little things.

Today, at least 4 people asked me how my boyfriend/fiancé/husband was… if we were excited for our big move… then made a big deal when I told them we’d broken up.

Please stop.

It’s hard enough as it is without people asking a million questions and demanding to know all the details.

I made the right decision but to suddenly lose someone you spent nearly 10 months, every day, with us not that simple.

We had a lot of fun together and I will keep many good memories, but for now I’d like to stop feeling so upset about it all.

Does anyone else understand where I’m coming from? Why is it so hard to leave the past where it is?

I’m not angry or bitter, but I feel like I’m not moving forward.

Help?

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travel

Stonehenge and Salisbury

On an extremely windy, rainy and gloomy morning, I set off into Bournemouth ready to make our 9am coach. A group of 57 students, 4 teachers plus Ali and I were on a trip to Stonehenge.

It was the first time I’d been and in all honesty, I hadn’t heard many good reviews about the place. I can’t say I was excited. It absolutely poured with rain all day long. 

Once we arrived we were given audio tour headsets and bus tickets, we took a little bus up to the stones and… that was it. We walked up to the stones, walked along past them and then back again. Unfortunately that was about it. Especially as the rain was lashing down and my jeans were soaked through to my thighs.

Everyone was happy, taking photos and boomerangs, snapchats and selfies.

Back at the Visitor’s Center the gift shop was full of interesting souvenirs, beautiful jewelry, posters and loads of fascinating history and local books. It wasn’t long before everyone had piled into the cafe for coffees and hot chocolates – it was great to chill out with everyone.

When we arrived in Salisbury, Ali took us on a tour – giving us all the local information and even telling the students that the first McDonalds was down on Butchers’ Row – funnily enough some of them believed it!

The cathedral was absolutely breath-taking! I spent ages walking around, looking at every piece of it. Thankfully all of the students seem to enjoy it as well! How could you not?

Unfortunately, there isn’t much else to do in Salisbury once you’ve been to the cathedral and I found myself sat in Pret with a group of students for at least an hour, whilst we read, chatted and avoided the rain.

It was a pleasant day, but certainly nothing amazing and not something I’d particularly recommend unless it was a beautiful, warm day.

Book Reviews, Writing

Turtles all the way down

Book 16 of 2018: Turtles all the way down, by John Green.

After reading The Fault in our Stars last year and becoming completely obsessed with the story, I went on to read Paper Towns (then watch the movie) and then bought Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I am in love with the way John writes. I know he’s aiming at a younger audience but his words are so moving, simple to read, yet his messages are so important in teaching us how to deal with the world. Especially as a young reader.

Whilst I was desperate to reasd Turtles all the way down as soon as it was published, I was on a book ban because of the move to China, plus a little short of cash pre-Christmas. Thankfully, it was on a 99p ‘deal of the day’ on iBooks last week and I nabbed it immediately.

I couldn’t put my iPad down. I was reading until late into the night, reading on the bus, reading during my break time and a sneaky read during ‘quiet reading’ in class this week. I loved it. It had a real charm. It was soulful and sad, beautiful and heartbreaking all at once.

I can’t get enough of John’s books and I will have to start Will Grayson in the next few days.

What’s even better is that my students also love his books. I gave my second copy of The Fault in our Stars to one of my students and she’s thoroughly enjoying it, and another girl has read all of his books in Spanish, and is now moving on to the English version of Looking for Alaska. It’s fantastic.


John’s writing inspired me to write a little piece of my own – please don’t be too harsh on me, it’s only a quick scrawl to get my thoughts onto the paper but I thought I’d share it anyway. Here goes…

Ayala wasn’t real, but Aza was. The resemblance between the two were unmistakable. My best friend had turned me into some sort of monster. How could she does this to me??

Aza’s friend Daisy had undoubtedly betrayed her trust, their friendship, by putting a real-life Aza on the internet for the world to read about.

I’m going to be sick. I’m going to be sick. I’m going to be sick.

Her own mental health was just a platform for everyone else’s entertainment. A source of jokes and giggles over how ‘crazy’ Aza was. Now Daisy had taken it to a whole other level. The source of her increasingly popular fan-fiction was her. Aza. Her own best friend. Thousands of people read Daisy’s stories and know they all know that she’s best friends with an absolute lunatic. A sad, useless friend.

Gel. Get the gel. The thoughts will turn into bacteria and poison your brain. You only need a handful to get rid of the germs. There we go. Shit that hurts. 

Burning the lining of her throat and creating an instant, repulsive feeling of nausea, Aza couldn’t help but take another gulp of anti-bacterial gel. Just in case the thoughts actually became toxic and poisoned her.

You’re crazy, Aza, but you’re taking this too far. You know your own thoughts aren’t going to poison you. Or, are they?

 

 

Book Reviews

Book 17: Camino Island

Book 17 of 2018: Camino Island 🌴 by John Grisham

Well, well, well… I’ve heard a lot about Mr Grisham and his writing but this is the first book of his I’ve read. I can honestly say I wish I hadn’t had so much work to do this week because I didn’t want to put the book down! I’ve been reading at everyone opportunity.

From the first word I was hooked. There are no wasted words, sentences or, more importantly, dialogue. Everything has its place in this story and it weaves together so smoothly you don’t even notice the transitions.

One thing that threw me was the quote on the cover “the best thriller writer alive…” whilst this may be true, this book was not a thriller. It wasn’t even suspenseful. However, it was an un-put-down-able read and I love every word.

I’m using this book for my #popsugarreadingchallenge prompt ‘a story about a heist’ but it could also work for ‘story set in a bookshop’ or ‘problems society faces’ PLUS there’s tonnes of books mentioned in it… so if you read this, you’ll easily be able to chose your next read for ‘book mentioned within another book’.

Join Denny, Mercer, Elaine and Cable on this bizarrely outrageous adventure, full of wine, late nights and lives on the run…

I’m giving it 4/5 stars 🌟 and will probably pass it on to a colleague who I think will enjoy it too!

Education

The weekly round-up [22nd January]

Happy Friday everyone!

This week I was determined to encourage my Upper-Intermediate class to read more and guys, guess what? I DID IT. I FREAKING DID IT. On Wednesday I brought a box of books into the class and asked each student to pick a book, then told them we would read quietly for 15 minutes. It was deadly silent. The only noise was the turning of pages. I’m not even kidding. I nearly cried (see my blog post on things that made me cry this week…) After 15 minutes, “No, 5 more minutes, please?”

We had 5 minutes of ‘reflective writing’ – What have you just read? How do you feel about it? Share your thoughts with the person next to you…

At the end of the lesson they asked if we could do the same thing tomorrow. I could not believe it. So on Thursday, we had 20 minutes of silent reading. 3 students brought their own (English) books and 2 students checked out books from the library. I’m proud of myself for achieving that alone this week.

Even today two asked me why we weren’t reading today… #proud


I have also taken on a social media role at the school because I wanted to keep busy and focused. I get to interact more with the students, ask them to share their photos and talk more about their experiences here in the UK and at the school. Finding decent photos to take and uploading them to Instagram and Facebook… it’s all making my brain tick a little faster but I do love a project.

Thankfully, I think it’s paying off. We’re already getting more followers, hitting a pretty big audience and the main thing is that it’s fun. Everyone likes a good Instagram and I can only hope I achieve that.


Finally, we say goodbye to a group of 40 Argentinian students who have been an absolute wonder to teach. I’ve never met such dedicated, hard-working, lovely people in my life. For 16, 17 and 18 year olds, they are amazing. I have no doubt that their parents must be so proud of them. They are full of life and have great senses of humour, they’re kind and thoughtful and considering they didn’t know each other 4 weeks ago, you’d have thought they’d been friends since birth!


Next week brings even bigger challenges, but I’m ready for them.

  • To complete the newsletter
  • To improve the social media accounts and increase engagement
  • To plan more appealing lessons
  • To help my students speak and write more fluently (possibly starting with speaking)

Oh, one more thing, I’m off on a tour of Stonehenge and Salisbury tomorrow… but am one of the group leaders!! Eeek… I’m super nervous. Stay tuned, because I’ll be taking my camera and definitely be blogging about that tomorrow or Sunday.

Lots of love xo

health, Personal

Stressed not depressed

Firstly let me apologize for the slightly ‘down in the dumps’ topic, but then I’m being hypocritical really, as I like to remind people as often as I can that it is okay to talk about how you feel. Never apologize for sharing your thoughts. 

I’m stressing.

I’m stressing badly.

I feel absolutely overwhelmed with the amount of things that are racing through my mind every minute of the day. I don’t think I’ve had a decent night’s sleep in nearly 3 weeks and it’s drastically taking it’s toll.

I’m tired, grumpy, snappy and beyond emotional.
I keep welling up over the most stupid things.

This is what lack of sleep does to you.

But, what I have learned in the last year or two is that “one bad day, is not a bad life”. One day of hysterical crying, feeling like it’s the end of the world, doesn’t make it so.

It makes you human.

My depression has not come back. I am not depressed. I will not be depressed.

I am stressed.

And there’s a difference.


If there’s one thing I wish for myself, it’s to never have to experience the pain of depression ever again in my life. That feeling where you’re so low you’re breaking your own heart. I couldn’t experience that again and I truly hope that none of you do either.

However, if you are… REACH OUT AND TALK ABOUT IT. Promise me? Don’t do it alone.


Just lately I’ve been absolutely fine throughout the day, but the minute I get home I turn into an emotional wreck. I don’t want to hear any sounds, talk to anyone, do anything but lie in bed and cry. Or read, then cry.

Is anyone else feeling that way lately? Is it the weather? Am I not managing my time properly? I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong… Maybe it’s my diet? Whatever it is, I need to up my self-care game.



Things that have made me cry this week:

  • People thanking me for my work / help
  • Seeing all 12 of my students read silently for 20 minutes, with no phones or talking at all – their choice! and then ask to keep on reading
  • Finding out one of my students got a 5.5 on his IELTS and accepted into Cardiff (starting to well up now just thinking about it)
  • My students writing an entire page of homework, when 10 weeks ago they could barely write three sentences
  • Books. Always books.

I hope I’m not going crazy, but I really needed to put this out there.

I hope you’re not feeling this way either, but if you are, reach out!

xo

Book Reviews

Book 14 of 2018: A Gathering Light

I have another confession. I can’t even remember why I bought this book… but I’m glad I did!

Starting it on Monday, I couldn’t quite get into it. I started it thinking I would use it for the Popsugar prompt: True crime, but the story isn’t exactly based on the crime in question.

It is more about the people in the town in which the crime happened.

At page 177, I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down and it took me just a couple of hours to finish it.

A young, best friend duo, Mattie and Weaver, work their way through school, fight battles with outsiders and do everything in their power to help their families, even when the odds are against them.

For me, this story, despite being true, is about family values, determination and the importance of books. The enjoyment Mattie finds in reading, writing and learning new words resonates with me so strongly, and her determination to not let other people’s opinions of her hold her back is inspiring.

I wouldn’t class this book as crime, but it does address some serious issues, including race and infidelity, based in the early 1900s.

I’d rate it 3.5 stars – I enjoyed reading it but it didn’t particularly ‘move’ me.