I recently moved from Nashville, Tennessee, to London, England! Having lived in Tennessee my whole life, I find the adjustments difficult at times and refreshing at others. This is the story of my life as an American teacher in London.
Interests: LONDON, West End, meditation, nutella, the curly-haired guy who performs at the Big Bang on Broadway in Nashville, Sting & the Police, boots, languages, belly dancing, Eastern philosophies, ballet, Spanish, calzones, books, love poems, chocolate, laughter, geography, learning, swing dancing, sarcasm, theatre, music, traveling, trains, Europe, history, karaoke, romance, Buddhism, love, art, photography, kissing, movie quotes, beauty, fast cars, God, witty jokes.
Things I'd like to do in my lifetime:
*Write a book that gets published by a major company.
*Learn to play guitar and cello.
*Climb a mountain.
*Become a freelance journalist.
*Learn at least 2 languages other than English.
*Visit every continent.
*Meditate with Buddhist masters.
*Scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef.
*Write songs that are fun for me to sing and for others to listen to.
*Be hired for a public speaking engagement.
*Help build a house.
*Learn to milk a cow.
*Drink tea in the Sahara desert.
*Learn how to pole dance. (Just for fun, for ME.)
*Run on the Tower Bridge. <---MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!
*Swim in the Aegean Sea.
*Live in Europe. <---MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!
March 14th 2009
Our friend, MaryJo, is from Ireland. In case you don't know, an Irish friend equals a kick-ass St. Patrick's Day. Heck yes. We got the hook-ups. Patrice's House Even though it's a week night, we deck ourselves in green and head over to MaryJo's Irish friends' house to have some food and drinks before we go out. Patrice, whose house we are at, cooks up some sausages and beans and dishes up salad for dinner. Her boyfriend, who also lives there, informs us that the house is under renovations at the moment. (Even though the absence of walls and the presence of plywood everywhere make that obvious.) Dinner is delicious, and we top it off with green beer and other green mixed drinks. Apparently, there's some pop band in the UK called "Girls on Tour", and ... read more
March 13th 2009
It started out with comedians doing stand-up to raise money for charity. Today, it's offically called Red Nose Day: a day of clowning around when everyone in the country raises money by doing something wacky or off-the-wall. Rockstars, actors, mothers, members of parliament, and children all contribute comically and donate money for charities. Television networks keep track of how much money they've raised and encourage people to give more by playing commercials for different charities and talking about the good that Red Nose Days past have done. My school is on board as well. The students pay one pound for a non-uniform day and come to school in their pajamas. (Lord, help us.) It's actually kind of cute. The girls wear baggy flannels and carry stuffed teddy bears, and it's neat to see everyone in something ... read more
March 12th 2009
Teaching this history class is a NIGHTMARE. They make me almost cry everyday. In fact, I would cry except that I don't want them to have the satisfaction, so I hold it in. I've never been one to hold in tears, because I find it painful. All that negative energy just stores up in your body and it's harmful. This class has thirty-two students, four of whom are girls. The rest are the most wild, immature boys I've ever seen in my life. They enter my classroom running and chasing each other, throwing chairs around and yelling. They refuse to sit in assigned seats; they prefer to sit by their friends and talk for the whole lesson. I'm up there trying to teach, and it's like background music that no one really pays attention to. They're ... read more
March 9th 2009
Ever since I switched from teaching science to humanities, I've been in charge of teaching four enterprise classes. Enterprise is a course designed by my school to combine citizenship and business studies. After the completion of the course, they're supposed to have two GCSE's (qualifications/certifications in business). I don't know how to teach business. When I first spoke with Samia about making the transfer from science to humanities, I saw that I'd have two year-10 enterprise classes and two year-11 enterprise classes. I said, "I don't know anything about business." "It's really easy," she said. "We give you all the resources you need. You give the kids the assignments, and they do the work. Then you check off that it's been done." "Oh, that doesn't sound too bad." "Plus, in February, they'll finish with their IT ... read more
March 6th 2009
I've been hanging out with Mehdi almost every other day. I'll just go to his place for dinner and he cooks and we chat. It's been nice. We run into each other on the train on the way home from school today. After a comfortable silence that lasted a few minutes, he invites me over for dinner again. "Oh no, I can't tonight," I begin, trying to word it carefully. I sort of want him to know that I'm going on a date, just to see how he'll react, but I don't want to be a bitch about it or sound too excited (because I'm not). "I'm going to London for dinner and a movie." "Alright," he says, and I can see the wheels turning in his mind. "What movie is it?" "I'm not sure," I ... read more
March 4th 2009
To fulfill the government requirement that all high school students in the UK receive Sex and Relationship Education (aka, SRE), my school has hired a lady from the Luton City Council to teach my Year 11 students during our enterprise lessons. Of course, we lay down some ground rules like, "No laughing at other people's questions" and "Don't ask personal questions or share personal information." But....can you imagine a room full of sixteen-year-olds talking about sex and relationships? Yep, that's exactly what it's like. The kind lady from the City Council travels to different schools teaching SRE. Since she doesn't know him, she doesn't realize Mitchell is just trying to be funny when he raises his hand and says, "Miss? I have gonorrhea." Everyone cracks up, trying to cover their smiles casually. "Mitchell," I say in ... read more
February 27th 2009
"Hello," he says. "Are you a teacher?" I smile, "Yeah, how'd you know?" "You take the same train as us and get off at the same stop. We're all teachers!" he laughs, gesturing to the group of four seated on the train around him. They all laugh and greet me politely and invite me to join them. I'd seen him on the train countless times before. He stood out to me because he has such a cute face. I remember in past debating whether or not I should strike up a conversation with him. I had decided not to, because although he was attractive, there something about him that didn't draw me in. So I left it. Until now. He has talked to me. We chat on the train all the way from St. Albans to ... read more
February 25th 2009
Ash Wednesday--The First Day of Lent 2009 Sarah Ban Breathnach is the author of Simple Abundance, a book about the power of gratitude. She advises us all to start keep a "gratitude journal" in which we list five things we are thankful for every day. When you feel grateful for the good things in your life, you open yourself up to receiving more good things. It's the Law of Attraction: you attract people and situations to yourself, based on your thoughts and feelings. Gratitude is the most powerful feeling for drawing in good things. So here are five things I am grateful for today: 1) I managed to come up with a good lesson plan for my foundations class. 2) Ailsa agreed to be a reference for my job search. 3) I had the time and ... read more
February 24th 2009
Since I moved to England, I've made many great "That's What She Said" jokes, and no one even cracks a smile. They just don't get it! I had to do something. About a week ago, I showed this video to Deanna, Igi, Jodi, and MaryJo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-wf2pP7T0Y . It's a compilation of all the That's-What-She-Said moments from the TV show The Office. I had to preface the viewing of the video with, "Keep in mind that it's a sexual innuendo." The first time I ever heard this joke was on the reality show Newly Weds featuring Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey. (Yes, I'm embarrassed to admitt that I caught an episode or two when it was on.) They were finishing up dinner in a restaurant, and Jessica insisted on having dessert. Nick was saying, "No, honey, you ... read more
February 23rd 2009
I'm always surprised by how much I love London. Every time I'm there, its energy overtakes me, and I never want to leave. I'll never get sick of London. I've got to find a way to live there! Find a job, find an apartment, and live there for a year or more (if I like it enough). But when would I do the Peace Corps? That's something I know I must do in my life. I want to serve in a developing country and learn another language and how to live off the land. But when would I go to graduate school? Higher education in the US is so expensive; I might just go to school in London or another country where it's cheaper. My eyes hurt. I'm tired. It's late, but I can't sleep. I ... read more