Wednesday, September 28, 2005


UFP Starts...

It's 'hump' day (Wednesday!) of my second week of teaching our new intake of students onto the 'University Foundation Programme'... and I must say it's a real pleasure. They are still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and generally quite sweet - this is the most satisfying teaching I've ever done, I'm amazed and delighted to report. I do realise the new shiny gloss may rapidly wear off! I am, nonetheless, using a very good (hand-picked) textbook, with easy access to a photocopier, and other resources, and teaching students of quite acceptable intelligence, maturity, and motivation in the same, reasonably equipped classroom every day. None of these plus points have even coincided before! Whilst I can't really see my future lying with this school, it certainly has been handy. I went through a bit of a moment last week when I finally learned how short the terms are (I'm paid hourly, and the yearly total was rather a disappointing shock!), but am now looking on the bright side - it's certainly better to work few hours for decent pay than long hours for low pay!

Monday, September 12, 2005


Blasts from the Past

We've had quite a weekend in terms of catching up with family and friends whom I haven't seen in ages. It's been great - a bit overwhelming for Tito perhaps - but he should count himself lucky that he doesn't have to live with/next door to/in the same town as all these people, like I did in Peru! It was my cousin Emma's wedding on Friday - I was dead chuffed to finally go to a family wedding (we missed previous ones, having lived in Canada) and was equally pleased to find I didn't have to use the pig sty in lieu of a loo (as at the last wedding we went to in Peru). It was, however, a bit of a pig to get to, being held in Stone, near Birmingham. Well, it wouldn't have been too bad, except that our train from London stopped at Birmingham International, rather than continuing on to New Street - due to vandalism of the tracks. We then waited in a massive queue, and had to take a (slow) bus into town. We missed our connection and then the next train was delayed... Anyhow, to make a long story short, we ended up having to change in the train toilet (classy!) and stumbled out, half-dressed, at Kidderminster. As the train pulled off I realised I'd left my snazzy silver party shoes on board. I was not best pleased, but luckily I was wearing a pair of leather wedges which did go better with my satin frock than trainers would have done... We fell into a taxi, sped to the Stone Manor Hotel, and rolled up at the ceremony just as the vows began. It was all much more civilised after that, a very nice time was had catching up with relatives, taking photos in the garden, scoffing, and shouting over the inevitable disco.

Then yesterday, we enjoyed the Brick Lane festival (which is FAR superior then the Notting Hill one) with some friends, before meeting up with my oldest friend Kirsten and her parents. John and Maureeen Hainsworth are the reason my parents moved to Canada, as they were good friends from back in Yorkshire, and the Hainsworths moved across the pond first. My parents went to visit them and then decided to move there themselves! Kirsten is only about 2 months younger than I, and also an only daughter, so we have always been close, in spite of distances. I have many more childhood memories with the Hainsworths than with any of my blood relatives, that's for sure. Christmases, summer holidays, staying in hotels together when our dads were at conferences... It was, then, lovely last night to find that they still feel like family; Tito was immediately at ease and got his best English out. A meal in a pub was accompanied by pleasant conversation and memories. V. nice indeed!

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