My New Normal!

My new normal has become riding a double decker bus 45 minutes to work every morning and an hour home every evening. I no longer stock up on groceries for a week or two, but rather two or three days (due to the impressively small nature of the refrigerators and freezers here). When planning to leave the house I now rely on bus routes, train lines/stations and traffic rather than hopping in my car with the “be there in 5” mentality. None of these are negative things, but rather big adjustments to daily living that I’ve grown accustomed to rather quickly and that no longer faze me. In the last couple weeks I have started to feel like I actually live here in London, and now that I am a couple weeks into my new job and have settled into a routine it all feels so “normal” – whatever that is.

I’ve done a lot over the last couple weeks, but I feel as though I haven’t even made a dent in everything I want to do while I’m here. A couple weeks ago I took a day trip to the White Cliffs of Dover – somewhere I wanted to go ever since I knew I was going to England. And they were just as impressive as they are in pictures. There’s something about standing on the edge of a plummeting cliff looking out over the sea to the cliffs of France in the distance that makes a person feel small and insignificant, yet whole and peaceful at the same time. It was probably the best first Saturday excursion I could have taken.

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Another weekend I spent the day in Windsor, touring around Windsor castle and the little town itself. As some may know, it’s been on my bucket list for years to see the queen. The current queen. Yes, the one that is 90 years old. I don’t feel as though I’m one to be starstruck by people, but I think seeing the queen would make me a wreck. So let’s just say being in one of her many residences made me more excited than the average person. Either way, it was of course beautiful and I would not have complained if I was born a royal. We ended the day with a little walk down to the shore of the Thames river with the castle towering above the little town.

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I guess a main part of my year in London is my new job! My school is fantastic and the pupils are the cutest little 5 year olds I have ever seen. I realized shortly after beginning that I have much to learn. I always knew that the first year teaching was going to be busy and time consuming, but knowing something and experiencing something are completely different. I came into the year with so many things I wanted to do and try and am finding myself not having the time to develop or implement them how I’d like. Granted, it’s only been a month since the beginning of the year and I have loads of time. I truly love it though, and have a great support system at the school happy to guide me through. I think I’ll elaborate on the England school experience in another post – way too much writing for today. But here are some pictures of my school and classroom (at the beginning of the year – it has changed much already for the better!)

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As some of you also know, I had the privilege of having my sister here in London with me for a week before she headed off to school up north of Manchester. It was definitely different waiting to pick someone up from the airport rather than being the one picked up, but I quite enjoyed it. After a week of 5:30am mornings and late nights, I can say I was absolutely exhausted but wouldn’t trade that week for anything. We started the week off by trying to fight her jet lag and went sightseeing in Central London. Over the course of the week we hit up St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, London Tower, saw the view of the London skyline from Primrose Hill, and went to The Lion King at Lyceum Theatre – which was phenomenal. We also went to a play at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre – and had box seats (not as great as you may think – but still cool). It was a modern play but in Shakespearean language. Not gonna lie, didn’t follow a lot of it but being part of the production in the open theatre was an experience I’m glad we had.

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I know that I am not the greatest at giving everyone updates of my life or sharing pictures – but hopefully this has been a sign of good faith that I will stay on track with my blogging and keep you all filled in. I appreciate you all!

Cheers

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Hey, I Moved

Hello again everyone! It’s been awhile since I was required to write a blog post – welcome to my first one that I chose to do without it being for an assignment. I think this means it has sunk in that I’m no longer a student.

As most of you know, I have recently relocated across the pond to London, England. I’ve been in the UK for 11 days now, and can say I’m finally starting to find myself getting settled. There have been many twists and turns from the first day I arrived, drenched in sweat, an obvious foreigner dragging more luggage than she can handle, to today, drinking coffee in my new home (I have yet to accept an offer of tea – I’m not ready to give up my coffee yet). When I arrived, my first priority was to find a home so that when my week was up at the hostel I wouldn’t be homeless. Within 2 days of searching, I confirmed a place and was set to move in that week!

With that taken care of, I set out to do all the boring stuff associated with moving. I got myself a fancy new UK number (which I cannot for the life of me memorize), and bought an umbrella of course. I now carry it with my 24/7 in my purse. This is also where I ran into some small roadblocks with technical issues regarding my visa, which are still being worked out, but everyone here has been very helpful and I’m optimistic. Of course I had to get some sightseeing in and so I hit up the British Museum.

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Once I was all moved in, I could start settling and explore my new neighbourhood, which is on the very edge of West London – Uxbridge. I spent some time (too much) shopping for the essentials (and ended up with a couple bags of non-essentials – oops), and finding my favourite coffee spot. This past Saturday the agency I’m with, Engage Education, held an induction event at the University of Westminster. It was so good to see and reconnect with familiar faces from the iday event I attended back in April, and to meet new teachers in the same kind of situation as myself. A celebratory supper and evening was in order as we explored just a small part of central London.

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I will finally get into my classroom on Wednesday this week and am so ready to start working! This week I’m hoping to do a bit more exploring and a bit more settled so that I’m ready for my career to start next week!

Before I close off, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts over the last 11 days:

  1. Nothing is more humbling than squinting at coins trying to figure out how much they are all worth. I’ve resorted to only paying with bills, sorry – with notes, and now my wallet weighs about 10 pounds just from coins
  2. One of my favourite discoveries – Poundland; the equivalent of the Dollar Tree
  3. With all the different cultures and travellers here, I don’t even know what a real British accent sounds like anymore
  4. I thought “cheers” meant “goodbye” for the first while, and it was only after numerous weird interactions I finally figured out it meant “thanks”

Until next time!