Saturday night and I’m drinking vodka with my dude

As anyone who has ever come out on the other side of a super lame time period can attest, being finished with CELTA is amazing. I still have the lingering feeling that there’s something to do…but there isn’t. I’ve begun looking for new jobs, since there just isn’t that much work at my former (current?) place of employment at this time of year. It’s a small school, it’s no fault of their own. I don’t know what will happen next, but I’m hoping I can piece together enough working hours to keep me busy, while looking for something new and fulfilling. But in the meantime, a day or two of nothing nothing nothing is more than welcome. Library books and catching up on my tv shows it is! Wee!

 

(For those who are interested in doing a CELTA course in Brighton, I highly recommend St. Giles. The teacher trainers were lovely, and overall the experience was comprehensive, and well-rounded. Stressful, but great.)

Chilly walks by the sea (with a red cup in hand)

Yesterday I took a little mid-day break from CELTA-ing to go for a seaside walk with Jon. It was brisk and pretty chilly, but we managed to time it just right, as a dark, cloudy front was creeping up behind us the whole walk home. Gotta get the vitamin D while you can!

We also hit up Starbucks on our way for a special deal that got us buy one/get one free to kick off the red cup season. I don’t know what it is, but I drink so much more Starbucks here than I ever did in Ohio….maybe it’s just a taste of home, and the fact that the CEO stopped building them on every corner and instead decided to focus on quality and fair trading (okay, I know there are issues here…). Oh, and I hate Costa and Coffee Republic and Cafe Nero, the English coffee chains. Of course I love and support all the tiny coffee shops in Brighton-I’m a Small Batch girl all the way-but I’m not saying no to two for the price of one, feel me? Anyway, to cut this coffee monologue short, it turns out that the winter flavors for coffee in English Starbucks are different-no peppermint mocha! So a gingerbread latte it was for me, and a praline mocha for the mister. And neither of our names were spelled right. This happens to Jon all the time, but choosing the more convoluted spelling of Ashley, just off the cuff? Weird.

We walked down along Adelaide Crescent and then back towards our place, sipping our coffees and enjoying the fresh air and gorgeous blue skies. Really-it was a beautiful day. Until the sun set at 4:30, which, hello, is still so early. I don’t think I’ll be getting used to that anytime soon. My body still thinks that if it’s getting dark at 4:30, it must be December, and that’s just not true over here. Hopefully I’ll adjust at some point. Probably not.

There were an intrepid few other walkers among us on the seafront. The whole vibe down there shifts so much when the season changes. All the students and families and seasonal travelers are gone, and only a few people go on the actual beach. No more laying around boozing on the rocky shores in the sunshine….

Most of the buskers are gone too. You see the more hard-core athletes, the dog walkers and the families with children on scooters (oh how I hate scooters!) and ladies like this one, ignoring the wintery temperatures and practicing her hula hooping skills barefoot, in cut off jeans and a tank top.

Rock on, hula lady. You be careful out there! I hope you don’t catch pneumonia.

And just a special shout-out to this guy, who has been extra supportive over these past three weeks while I’ve suffered through CELTA. My emotions have been on edge and I’ve had a steady stream of work, leaving all housework and most of the cooking/survival type things to fall completely on him. I am completely not carrying my weight at chez Sheets-Norris.  And he hasn’t complained one bit! What a trooper. Only one more week!

Making Friends, Having a Life

Making friends of my own, outside of Jon and I’s shared circle has been a real turning point for me in this new English life. It took a while, because well…there weren’t many chances for me to meet people. But the last two weekends in a row I went out on Friday with friends while Jon stayed at home, chilling and playing video games. And I missed my dude on a Friday night, but when I was dancing my face off at a club with lady friends (something Jon doesn’t like doing, ever, as he is so completely not into dancing) I couldn’t have been happier. It’s nice to be able to have independent lives again…something we haven’t really been able to partake in nearly as much since I moved here. And it means a lot to me. Not that I don’t miss my friends from home (and Canada, and other parts of the world for that matter, but you know what I mean), but it’s really heartening to have a well-rounded life not dependent on one just one person-even the person you love. Baby steps to a real life!

Swiftly, swiftly

Life of late in sunny Brighton town. So glad the weather has maintained a generally warm, cheery demeanor these past few weeks! I am feeling crazy scattered and the weather is at least a lovely constant. Even when it’s rained it hasn’t been that cold. It’s like summer showed up and is doin’ its thang all over this place, which in terms means everyone is cramming all their summer adventures into every spare moment. Better late than never!

Last week’s observation went really well, thanks for your well wishes! I feel really comfortable in the work that I’m doing and it was nice to be validated on that level. I’m so thankful that I found the job when I did-through it I’ve made friends and became more comfortable in my little English life. So even if I don’t have it after the autumn…well, I guess there were some really great things. Silver linings and all that. Not that I won’t be keeping my fingers crossed for a permanent offer. Mama has bills to pay.

Anyway, I’m just checking in after a week with very little motivation to write (could be tied to the fact that more than a few nights were spent out this past week, which is not the usual pattern at the Sheets-Norris house). I feel like soon I’ll blink and be in Ohio…summer’s going so quickly, and now that it’s actually worth enjoying, I don’t want to miss anything.

 This week

This week was one of those long, crazy ones. Somehow this Ohio girl has gotten out of the habit of being productive when the sun is shining-fortunately I was joined by oh…all of England. It seemed that my classes were half full-between Ramadan beginning last Friday and the sun shining all week, students just weren’t showing up!-and well, I just wanted to be outside. As did the entirety of Brighton, so it seemed. Jon and I ate dinner on the beach every night this week, drinking wine or beers and watching people swim in the sea, children loudly playing all around us and dangerously pink British citizens everywhere you looked. Eventually after the sun set we’d mosey back to the flat to watch some tv and go to bed, leaving the drunkest folk to the beach, having accomplished nothing with our evening but enjoyment of the weather that the rest of the world (i love you hyperbole) gets all the time. And gets tired of, for that matter. For shame!

I took my students outside yesterday for a little scavenger hung of the Brighton Pier. I had a quiz prepared for them, and it was a lovely way to take advantage of this short-lived hot weather. Although of course not everyone loved it-apparently I have a number of students who came to the UK specifically to get away from the heat of their own countries and are fairly annoyed that Brighton all of a sudden got hot. I feel for them. Sort of. Not really. Suck it up, guys, the rest of us are miserable! And today the rains were forecast to begin again, but they did not, oh surprise of surprises. In fact, it reached the mid-70s yet again and was incredibly humid and muggy-something I’m just not used to anymore. England is full of surprises, and this weather is one of them. It’s strange in that I’ve only just got the “summer’s begun” feeling, when really August starts next week….oops.

Anyway, the Olympic opening ceremony is tonight and I’m actually surprised by how excited I am about it! It’s pretty cool being in the country and so near the city where everything’s going down. Jon and I have talked about trying to find some tickets to some event or other, since they’re still available. The regular or the paralympics, both will be amazing. We’ll see what happens. I really wish I had a jumpsuit or something that was half Union Jack/half stars and stripes. Go Team USA and Team GB!

Run ragged

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Me after getting rained on for maybe the millionth time this summer, which is perhaps a ham-fisted metaphor for my life right now.

 

I’m a little burnt out guys. Burning the candle at both ends and all that. Frustrated that I am putting so many hours in at work, but only being paid for the hours I’m in the classroom-ah, wage working. Still expected to plan and prepare and do reports and go to meetings though! Oh, and I still haven’t been paid the half of last month’s pay check that was missing….paycheque, as they say here. It is a less than wonderful situation, which makes me sad because I like my job, for the most part. And there is nothing to be done about it but to work through the busiest part of the season and wait for things to slow down next month. At least then the work outside of the classroom will recede-all the better since I’m not paid for it. Remind me sometime to tell you about my disgust with paying only wages to workers that should obviously be salaried, and what a low down move it is.

The rains keep coming. Yesterday was one of the most disgusting days yet. Legitimately cold (high 50s F), plus ultra windy-and mostly this summer’s windiest days have come to coincide with bursts of sunshine, not the rain, like the heavens are having a chuckle at our expense but don’t want to push us too far. Well, not yesterday. Rain, wind, cold. The whole shebang. It felt like October. Today was better, the sun came out around lunchtime, but by the time I left work at 5:30 it was chilly and gray once again. At least there was no rain.

Man. What to do, what to do. The days of summer are quickly slipping by and yet not a single thing since May has felt like the season. It’s messing with my brain. And the English have finally jumped on board with my misery-everyone complains. Last month everyone joked about “English summertime” but now, it’s serious. And everyone is down in the dumps. The nation feels braced for the worst, powering through, even with the Olympics coming to town in ten days. As is, all I can do is throw in the towel for July and stop expecting it to get nicer. Maybe August will be a better month in the South East of England. And maybe the rains will slow down for a little while. I hope so. I really do.