December 31, 2006

Comfort in sound

There are times when I feel old, and the times in between when I remember that I am young are getting more and more scattered through the months. Idiocy is underracted once in a while and I am pleased to be able to think about the silliness that followed one womans discovery of a childs Karaoke PS2 game.

S, K, E and I started the evening off a little shyly. However, when you get three grown women, one excitable child and Tiffanys' I think we're alone now, who could imagine that anything less than carnage would follow. Once K realised that it was time for E to go to bed and time for us to crack open the booze, a mad dash to Tesco later to pick up Singstar Legends and we had some fresh songs to sing.

After six hours of singing our little hearts out we were all exhausted, but agreed that anything that followed this marathon would just be a let down. I myself performed a moving version of No woman, no cry that nearly brought everyone to tears. I am now in proud possession of a blue sequined singing headband that S bought for us all to wear. Everytime that blue catches the light through the window I snigger.

December 30, 2006

Festive slowdown

It is New Years Eve tomorrow and the feelings of festivity are slowing down now. My entry into 2007 will be a cinema double bill with L, and a bedtime of before 12.00 midnight. I hate New Year and feel that the whole concept of 'things will be better next year' is a load of rubbish. I spend all my time thinking about how to move forward, I don't need to do it on that one day of the year, in those few momenst.

One New Years Day has come and gone it will be back down to reality with a bump. I have no job. I have set the deadline of Friday the 12th of January to get some sort of job, even if it is relief teaching. That gives me 10 days of focused searching and applying to get down to. It is strange to think that this is exactly what happened in the summer. I got back from Canada, three days later I had a phone call and two days after that I was on a plane back to Poland. I wonder what is in store this time.

December 28, 2006


Now that I have been at home for a couple of weeks I find that I am just about caught up with all the people that I want to see when I come home. There are friends in particular that I feel I am able to show some level of vulnerability to. These are people who have known me professionally and who now know me personally. I feel that they know that despite everything I do, I sometimes feel scared about these jumps into the darkness. They are aware that I might need some-one to tell me that everything will be Ok in the end. Why they are so good at reassuring me I am not sure. I only know that they do, that they understand what I want from work better than anyone, because they have worked alongside me and seen me through ther changes of the last few years.

Even my parents have this attitude that I am, will always be fine. Everyone thinks that I can cope with anything, that I am strong, independant and focused. This may be true most of the time but I also feel very vulnerable. Now that Christmas is gone and there really is no new job to start I can feel the judgement from some corners. In the end, I will put aside the vulnerable part and let the focus shine on through. What else is there?

December 26, 2006

All over bar the shouting

Christmas is pretty much done for another year and the buzz of yesterday has gone already. This year was filled with playing board games with E and eating far too much. Last night I slept for a long time and has strange dreams, of knocking people over and sliding down the banisters in a six story house that looked like it was out of the 'Lion the witch and the wardrobe'.

Today I want to play with my gifts, learn how to use my new laptop and breathe some air that is outside of this house. Now that the sparkle of Christmas is fading we have the harsh reality of the New Year. There is no job on the other side, no money, no place to live. That is a project that must be tackled quick smart.

December 23, 2006

Five shops later

I cnnot count on one hand the amount of Christmas shopping that I have done over the last few days. I was up yesterday at 6.45 to take my Mum to Tesco for a major shop and every time I turn round in the house there is more things to be bought, I suppose that people panic that the two days a year when the shops are shut will bring about famine if you do not stock your cupboards.

Things are all Christmassy here though and there are lovely things to eat and places that sparkle. I am still in that holiday phase where all I want to do is sleep. My body never really stops until school is finished and I am home, and even then it takes a week for me to wind down and feel human again. Well, we have Christmas in a few days and then a big hole on the other side as it turns out that the holidays are the worst time to job hunt, what a surprise.

In the event of the new year I will give myself a week before I get into the schools on supply work. Still, I am, as ever, not that worried. I am sure that things will all turn out OK in the end. When Christmas is over I will be back with a vengeance on the job hunting. I am drawn home in so many ways, I want to come back to Yorkshire, but I have a feeling that it will be abroad again. I have a feeling, and you know that my intuition is always right.

December 22, 2006

Books, books, books.

I am having some book themes to this first week of my holidays. There have been quite a few purchases from the book sellers of Northallerton and I am nearly finished my third book since I arrived back. For the rest of the holidays I will be reading:
Eldest - Christopher Paolini
I just finished Eragon, as I wanted to read the book before I saw the film. I thought it was amazing and was desperate to read the next one.
Female Chauvenist pigs: The rise of Raunch Culture - Ariel Levy
I read a review of this book about the porno-ization of popular culture and it appealed to the rampant feminist in me.
A place called here - Celia Ahern
I read 'PS - I love you' and thought that her writing was very sweet. This is the new one and has more of a fantasy world setting. Should be an easy read.
Midnight over Sancatphrax - The Edge Chronicles
This is the third in the trilogy that I started loving a couple of weeks ago. Twig is now captain of his own sky pirate ship, you just cannot go wrong with these books.

All this reading has occurred inbetween rushing around in my car and seeing variou people that only come home to Northallerton for the holidays. This afternoon it is J, a friend who sat across from me in a million Maths lessons and let me have the answers to questions that I knew nothing about. After that I will be cooking Sausage and Chicken roast for K and S (a Nigella Lawson recipe!). Christmas rocks.

December 19, 2006

Yorkshire Blue

I went shopping to Lewis and Coopers today, a very old traditional food shop that sells things from all over the region as well as world specialities. It is usually one of my first stops when I come home as I get to gaze at all the locally produced cheeses and chutneys. It has had the same smell of Yorkshire Blue cheese for years and every time I go in there it makes me feel at home. I can step out of the doors back onto Northallerton high Street and I remember why small towns hold you tight and never let you go.

The interview did not go that well, it seemed like they wanted to look past my overseas experience instead of being amazed by it. Christmas is in a few days and I have no job to go to after the holidays. All self-inflicted, there is no pity to be had here. I have loved every minute in the bookshop, all the moments chatting and crinking cups of tea at friends houses all over North Yorkshire and behind every minute is a sheen of uncertainty. Maybe I am stupid not to worry, but I am just so in love with driving my car, listening to radio one and being called on my mobile every five minutes.

Oh, I wonder, I wonder. I am so glad to be home, smiling so much, bubbles of happy popping in my chest.

December 15, 2006

The last time

The last time I left Poland I remember that there were tears. I recall sitting in Allys classroom on the floor just wasting time and not really wanting to go home because then it really would be over. Strange because I was reading through this blog that is a year and a half old and there it aown with Boll sits from the first time around. There are lots of endings and even more beginnings on this blog, but that was always how I wanted it I suppose.

The bell has rung and the children are coming in from break. I have a mound of gifts on my table and the parents promise that they will come and say goodbye at the end of the day. It hits me again and I feel emotional. I was sad when I left Paris, mostly because of D and L, but this is different. It is the place, the people and the happy time that I have had here.

Loaded down with new supplies of Vodka and Boleslawiec I am nearly all packed and ready to go. Christmas dinner with the children and a staff party and there will only be a few hours between me and my flight. Bye Warsaw, you were just as good the second time around.

December 14, 2006

GK Style

When, K, N and J decided that we would go out this week for a little intimate goodbye meal, there really was only one place that we could think of to go. We do not go to Grand Kredens very often, in fact, it is the first time on this visit that we have been there, but we do love it. It is a huge place with all sorts of tat hanging from the ceilings but the servers are slick and the food worth every mouthful.

They serve high quality Polish fare and I started with Pierogi Ruskie. These big fat dumplings arrived with bacon on top and a good ladle of oil to keep them from sticking together. They were soft, comforting and delicious. N, K, J and I chatted a couple of hours away. All complaining of last week tiredness, all shattered but happy.

As I face the idea of leaving them again, I realise that I am lucky that our friendships have lived through two seperate times in the same country and a year in another one. These are people that will stay, that I will come and visit and I will always feel as comfortable with them as I did last night. That is also how I feel about Poland. We have survived two affairs now, our passion turned into friendship.

December 13, 2006

Hand-painted mug

This morning, my little Estonian girl gave me a handpainted mug. It is green and has a gold and bronze heart on it and she made it for me. Teaching little children is a treat, they hug you and love you and tell you that you look like a princess. This term has been full of cuddles and gifts but I have to say that I won't miss the primary classroom.

On Monday I have an interview at a school for a secondary teacher or Religion and Citizenship. This will include maybe teaching A level Philosophy and religion. Just the thought of being in a classroom debate that is based around an actual subject fills me with excitement. The little kids are great but I am secondary trained and I like the older kids better. With high school teaching I get to work with the kids and the subject that I love, double the reason to like being a teacher for me.

Have I done all my packing? Am I ready to go home? The job comes with the prospect of renting a house in my home town. How does that feel?

December 11, 2006

Gone before I am gone

Well, my replacement is here and I have to say that I do not care for the feeling of being gone before I am gone. She is there and she will be there when I leave and that is hard because I love these children and I have had a great time teaching them. Why don't I want to stay here, with these children? Why can I not explian my own feelings, what is making me go?

With five days left in Poland I have to wonder what will be coming next. As I blindly stagger into what I hope my fate will turn out to be, I can only hope that my intuition knows what it is doing. Five days left of packing, five days of dinners and goodbyes.

December 07, 2006

Sleep, pale sister

I still have no job and still have no worries about that fact. The weather is dismal and the children are all inside for wet play and climbing the walls because they want to be outside and running around. This afternoon we are making paper mache Christmas trees. Wallpaper paste and 17 6 year old children. Wish me luck tyen.

Now that we are done with the inspection and there are only 7 working days left I feel like I can relax again. I got my first Christmas gift yesterday and actually slept well last night. I still have the feeling that I just want to get home and see the lights of Northallerton, but it is feeling like a reality now, not like a dream in the distance.

December 06, 2006


I need toi forget what that hell-bound inspector just said to me so I have turned my attention back to the last few days in my Warsaw. The sun is bright today and the bare branches cast strange shadows all across my classroom. The madness is nearly over and come the weekend I will have forgotten that there has been so much stress.

I like Warsaw more this time round, if only because she is like returning to an old friend. You know you will always be welcome and you know where to get the good coffee. I must return back to Yorkshire, my career and personal relationships demand it. The inspector proved nothing if not that this is not my place, this is not my job, this is not where I will find success. I find myself dreaming of the purple heather, the lights of Barkers and the chatter of K and S. I want to be with my family and be back in the arms of Yorkshire.

Warsaw is not gone yet, she is still here and there is much to be enjoyed over the next 10 days. I got my first Christmas gift today. A hand made card and a little sad face when it was handed over.

December 05, 2006

Oatmeal and Hot Tamales

When I went to Nova Scotia this summer I was in a shopping craze. Part of this manifested itself by buying Ralph Lauren wallets in discount stores and part of it was manifested in hundreds of trips to the supermarket. When I got back to England, I had a whole box full of goodies that are still packed away and waiting to be enjoyed. In my box there is...
Aunt Jemimas breakfast syrup
Box of pancake mix
Hamburger helper
Kraft Mac and cheese
Cinnamon oatmeal
at least a million packets of cinnamon gum
cinnamon toothpaste

I have to admit that I was pretty influenced by D in my shopping, she used to bring Canadian gum to all our little coffee meetings. I went a bit overboard on the cinnamon, but who cares? The thing is that I only brought some of these things to Poland, forty packs of gum, some oatmeal and one box of Hamburger Helper. With the exception of the gum, everything else is still in the cupboard. I guess all that excess baggage seems worth it now eh?
other stuff that I have forgotten

December 04, 2006

One of those moments

Inspection week starts in less than twnety minutes and here I am having a moment. It started when I got my usual bus past Lazienki park and spotted the statue of Chopin all lit up in the morning darkness. It then carried on when I played Idlewild on my ipod while I walked down the street to school. The same one that I have walked down a hundred times before. I was still having my moment.

You see, I find myself again close to the edge of leaving this city that I love. I can't stay here, there is just no way, but I do love Warsaw. In another couple of weeks it will be packed boxes, locked doors and airplane rides again and I will be walking without looking behind once more. But I do love those moments when I find myself in love with where I am.

December 01, 2006

The Edge Chronicles

I have a friend, L who is my book buddy. We both love contemporary childrens fiction. Harry Potter, Wind on fire, Northern Lights, all the big collections of the last few years we read and chat about and then we go off searching for other new authors. I also love Cornelia Funke, Mary Hoffman, Garth Nix and too many others to talk about. A couple of years ago one of my students told me that I might like the Edge Chronicles, another series of books.

For any-one new, this is not the blog of a teenager. I do read adult stuff too, but there is something amazing about the stories that authors choose to capture the imagination of children, like they are the only ones with the ability to suspend their disbelief enough to get into any story in a true way. I like fairies and goblins and adventure. I am not ashamed.

Anyway, I am on book two of the Edge Chronicles and I am loving it. In particular, the pictures that illustrate the book (illustrations by Chris Riddell) are wonderful and reall bring the story out. I like the main character 'Twig' and will enjoy reading the other books over Christmas. If you have kids to buy Christmas presents for, any child over the age of 8 will love these.