Friday, 3 December 2010

November 2010

Finally, I have finished posting about my 1/2 Term Break, which actually happened a while ago now. Since then, I have started a new teaching position (Year 6 at Monteagle) and it has been a pleasure to teach such vibrant students.....Behaviour problems guaranteed, but I loved them so much.

I actually start ANOTHER teaching position on Monday, but this time it is in Year 1 (Kindergarten) so I am a little nervous about that because I was getting used to the older children being able to fend for themselves, and stay seated (SOMEtimes) When I start on Monday, I won't have time to sit down, and I'll be surrounded by runny noses and tattlers, HAHAHA! Butttttttttt, I'll let you know how it goes.

Halloween has come and gone, and of course I HAD to dress up, so I stuck white school glue all over one side of my face, applied toilet paper on top of that and then finished it off with make-up and fake blood. I guess I was a burn vicitim of some sort, but I think Crsitin said I looked like a Widower risen from the dead. Whatever I was, the costume looked great and I enjoyed my time out with sime friends (Zombie, Count Duckula, Dead Alcie in Wonderland, Angel of Death and the Insane Clown Possie brothers, lol!)
Well, if I would have known my make-up was going to affect me weeks later, I probably would have NEVR put it on.

Almost 2 weeks later, I noticed that my face was feeling irritated, and was red on one side (bet you can guess which side!) It took about 2 full days to really break out into a red rash which started under my eye and continue down my cheek until it got to my neck. WHAT A MESS I WAS IN. My second day at Monteagle, and I had to rush to a clinic to make sure I wasn't have a serious reaction to anything ( I mean, in all seriousness, it COULD have been a coincidence that the rash was on the same side of my face as the white school glue had been on, *sigh) Anyway, this horrible state lasted over a week, and by the end of it, I was avoiding public places and even considered calling in sick to work. God love the kids though, they were so used to it by the second day, that each time it got a little better, they noticed and tried to cheer me up! xo

In conclusion, I will NEVER refrain from putting shit on my face as part of an awesome costume, BUT I will NEVER put white school glue near my face again. I'm just going to have to find something better, and more gruesome next time!

Oh, and then it was my Birthday (rash never exsited then, thank god) A few of us went out to supper and had cake later on. I don't like to make a big deal out of my birthday and so this year was no excpetion. It quickly ended and life went on. :) We celebrated mine and Jennifer's birthday the next weekend by going into London for some dancing with a few great friends we met since we've been here. xo

  • Well, it's 9:40 am here, and I should still be sleeping in. I know it's Friday and I SHOULD be at work, but England can't handle weather. We had a tiny snowfall on Tuesday morning, and by the time I got the bus, waited in traffic for over an hour, I arrived at school to find out it had been cancelled for the day due to conditions........3 DAYS LATER AND SCHOOL IS STILL CLOSED! I mean, comon' people. On days like these, at home, we are expected to get to work, have duty outside AND send the children out to play at recess and lunch.....Jeeesus. I wouldn't mind so much, but No Work= No Pay! and THAT is never good when you're renting, lol.
Until next time......Keep Fit and Have Fun...HAHA

1/2 Term Break: (Part 3) Paris, France

So on our way from Belgium to France, I was pretty much interrogated on the train by security (because I apparently bought the wrong pass, and I was actually supposed to pay 54 pounds MORE than I had), and was almost thrown off. It was a great first impression of what the people were like in Paris, yuck! I told him he was being extremely rude to me, and because he didn't like my comment, he said, "Why don't you go back to where you came from!" As you can see, our bond strengthened and we became life long friends!! LOL
  • We had to attempt to speak French when talking to anyone because it seemed as though no one wanted to speak English to us, even if they could. Fair enough. We did a great job the whole time we were there, and by the end of it, Jennifer was reading everything she could set her eyes on! We hopped in a cab and made our way to our final hostel. It was decorated for Halloween, and of course I fell in love with it right away.
  • We did the touristy things of course, and bought a hop on, hop off bus pass. I noticed that all the guys over there would make a hissing and kissing sound when they wanted to get your attention (this did NOT go over very well with me, and so on more than one occasion, I had to tell them that I wasn't an animal!!) It must work for the french chicks...huh.
  • We booked a package so we could see the main things in Paris: The Eiffel Tower (including a 3 course meal up in the Tower, overlooking the city, A bout tour down the Riviera (during the night, watching the Eiffel Tower light up, as well as seeing the beautiful historic buildings, etc,)  and then going to The Moulin Rouge to see the burlesque show. It was awesome and well worth the money! We never had to worry about times, and transportation because it was all organised and ready to go!
  • On our last night there, we met an extremely cute Australian guy at our Hostel, and ended up going for drinks at a bar, close by. There was live music, and the guy who was singing was amazing. He had a huge binder full of songs (like something you would see at a Karaoke bar) only, he could play and sing ALL of them himself. I requested some Pearl Jam, Nirvana and I think Three Doors Down. I had some great videos of him, but recently lost most of my files :(
  • It was a great time in Paris, and I was asked out by the guy on the front desk at our hostel, but of course, time had run out and I couldn't! Maybe next time!
There you have it......our first travelling experience in Europe! Our next one is coming up over Christmas: we are headed back to France, in the French Alps for some skiing and New Years celebrations..Should be a time! I'll keep you posted!

1/2 Term Break: (Part 2) Brussels Belguim

I really need to get this posted, so I can move onto daily posts about my daily life, haha!

  • Anyway, we left Amsterdam, knowing we would be back again someday....well I WILL, anyway! I absolutely loved it there- the atmosphere and the recreational activities, hahaha!
  • We left with our new Canadian friend, Chantel, and made our way to the train station. We had to run to catch our train, because we were only a little late after waiting in line for food, and being served by the slowest worker of life- no joke! It's friggin hard running as fast as you can through a crowded train station with a huge rucksack on your back, let me tell ya! But we finally made it to the platform just in the nick of time, and boarded the train.
  • When we got on the train, we noticed there weren't many people around, so we had it made! Big comfy seats and peace and quiet. Well, too good to be true because we were told soon enough that we had boarded First Class, hahahaa. Shortly after that, we were sent to the back of the train with the rest of the commoners, lol. We fit right in!
  • Once in Brussels, we wander around for a half hour and accidentally stumble upon our hostel.  We grab a quick nap, and then head out to a world famous bar, Delirium.  Here they serve about 400 types of beer, and if you are ever there, trust me, the cherry beer is divine!  So, we drink some beer, meet some people who barely speak English and listen to some great live music.  All in all, an awesome night!
  • The next day, of course we do the touristy things:
    -Le Grand Place, which is absolutely beautiful and I cannot describe it, so see picture.
    - Atomium, this weird molecule shaped building with various exhibits, but pretty cool (ate a Belgium waffle).
    -Mini Europe (Yes, you guessed it, the sights of Europe in mini form! Exciting at first, but excitement does wear off once you hit Greece).
    - Le Mannequin-Pis or the Peeing Boy (a famous fountain in Brussels, not that exciting).
    -Supper at a nice restaurant looking out over Le Grand Place.
  • Overall, Belgium is a beautiful place to visit and the shopping is divine! I loved the old architecture and I have some pictures to prove it. Hopefully I cn get my next blog finished today, so keep reading!

Monday, 15 November 2010

1/2 Term Break: (Part 1) Amsterdam, Netherlands

Well, it has been a while (seems like I say that every time I blog..but anyway) I'm back to work again since the break, and have been busy with planning, correcting, and sleeping (when I can, lol).

During our half term break  at the end of October, myself and Jenn took a trip which became an adventure in itself. I have a lot to write about, so I was thinking about highlighting the main points. Here we goooooo.

  • After arriving in Eindhoven, we hop on a train which takes us into Amsterdam, where we walk for what seems like miles, to our Christian Hostel which just so happens to be located within the Red Light District. Great combo hey?!?!....After prayer meetings at 7pm, just stroll on down to the meat market, take your pick,  and afterwards ask for forgiveness for the fun you endured only hours before. It's such a great place!! lol
  • To start the day, we unpacked a little and then did some sight seeing. We found a carnival in the city's centre, and rode the huge Ferris Wheel which overlooked the surrounding area. After that, we searched around for a coffee shop. You didn't have to look far, and we were lucky to choose a great place the first time, to enjoy some coffee with our Space Cake and "afters." This shop was wicked....You sit to the counter, and you are greeted with two menus: one with  too many coffees to choose from, and another with many types of weed and hash for desert! The space cake was just to get you started....LOL. Great people, tourists everywhere, yet many locals just hanging out rolling joints and listening to Bob Marley. Ahhh, I would go back in a second.
  • After that, we walked through the Red Light District to actually see what it was like. This was in the middle of the day, and to be honest, it was quite depressing and uncomfortable to look these ladies in the eyes...which was a hard task to do anyway....There they were, each in their own full length window, dancing and motioning for any man to come try 'em out. I didn't really know what to expect, but what I did know was that I would have to go back there at night time to be able to make a final decision about the place....and that's what I did.
  • After a complimentary supper at the hostel, we bailed before the prayer meetings started, walked two steps from the front door, and arrived back at the Red Light District. We walked around a bit, and it was a completely different atmosphere at pumping, lights glowing, and lots of "action." Guaranteeing that we experience all of what Amsterdam had to offer, we bought tickets to a live sex show, and brought our new roommate with us. Sitting in the front row would have been exciting, and of course, I was boisterous, but the main actors were pathetic....At one point, the girl who was in the middle of doing her job, rolled her eyes as if she were counting down the minutes until her shift was up. I thought the acting was terrible, but I never really knew what to expect. On the way out, I let the doorman know how bad the "performance" was, but not before I got up on stage with the next act: a dancer with her banana!! She called me up on stage and I took part of a banana from her cleavage! A few guys across the way cheered and I was loving it, HAHAH. We chatted with the guys after the show and planned to meet up with them the next day.
  • The next day, we went on a 3 hour walking tour around Amsterdam in the freezing cold rain. It was so interesting to learn about the place, but by the time it was over...another coffee shop called our names...and we made our way into a smoke-filled room once again. This time though, we brought some new friends we met on the tour, and spent a few hours talking, eating, and smoking.
  • A nap was in order, followed by meeting up with the guys from the night before, for supper! We met another Canadian chick at the hostel the night before, and she hung out with us for the rest of the trip...she even came to Brussels with us!
  • After supper, we went to a peep show and then a strip club, where I saw the funniest sight: Jenn getting a lap dance from one of the strippers...ass cheek to face cheek, and everything in between. I think Jenn was cursing the moment she decided to sit in the corner. We should have noticed the handles and landing behind the corner seat....used for the stripper's performance.....wish I would have got this on video is all I can say!
  • Bought some souvenirs and went shopping before hopping on the train to Belguim the next morning. What a time had by all in Amsterda
When I get a chance, I will write about Belgium and France.
Hope you enjoyed this blog....sound like fun??? Ohhhhhh, it was! ;)
Until Next Time,

Friday, 29 October 2010

Wow...It's Been A While.

It certianly has been a while. I even forget what has happened since my last post, yet I have so much to write since I got back from my week long trip. I figured I would just write a general blog first, and then continue with my trip, deal? Deal.

Well since I last wrote, I have been to the Thames River Festival here in London, where there was lots of food, music and different cultures all the way down the river. Myself and Jenn ended up buying a nice bracelet made out of a fork! It was the coolest thing, so of course, I had to buy it. We watched as the designer curved the bracelet and he showed us how he made the designs for each piece of cultery. He also made bracelets from spoons and knives....creative hey!

We also went to a Timeplan social where we met some new friends (also teachers obviously) and got some free drinks. It's nice to meet people in the same situation as us, and some were even newer than we were!! I feel like this place is becoming home to me. Took some emails and numbers and have met up with some of them since then. I met one girl, Jenn, who also likes horror movies and concerts, so we have been to see Devil (which was ok, but had to see it) and we are gonna keep an eye out for some good shows in London!!

There has been a lot of sickness in our house here in Essex during the month of September and October..I think everyone is so busy- go, go, go, and it has finally caught up to us. Jenn was so sick, that she had to go to the hospital to get checked out. They gave her antibiotics and as luck would have it, she had an illergic reaction to the penecillin. Fun times let me tell ya. I lost my voice for more than a week and had a horrible cough for about a month (no lies) but during my trip it was bessst kind! Now that I think of it though, I have been coughing all day and my chest has been feeling heavy....Maybe its the dust in my room?!?! Hmmmm...good question.

We went to see a musical last week with some friends of ours called 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert' and it was HILARIOUS! A friend of ours found the tickets for only 13 pounds when they usually cost about 60 I believe...We had a resrticed view but it wasn't too bad at all. The show is funny and colourful and so entertaining! I LOVED it.....and I look forward to seeing more shows soon!

There have been a few encounters with strangers that I just have to share before I move on. A few weeks ago, on my way home from work, I stopped into the grocery store. After having picked up all my groceries, I proceeded to the checkout and paid with my Scotia card. For some reason, it wouldn't work and they couldn't do much to help me. I was sent to the service desk with my food, where the lady suggested I go out to the bank machine and try to take out cash. I was rotted at this point (after having put most of the groceries strategically into my back pack, and bagging up the rest) and so I unpacked everything again before going to the ATM. While I was in line to "attempt" to get money, this young girl about my age comes up to me and asks me if everything worked out after (she, along with other people were in the line up behind me when my card first got declined). I told her I was trying to take money out, and she asked me how much my groceries were. They were only about 25 pounds but this girl OFFERED to pay for my groceries and she didn't expect to be paid back?!?!?! I thought she was one of the sweetest people I've met since I have been over here, and I told her I would never forget her: Cynthia. There is a little bit of Newfoundlander in everyone. I really do believe.

Another embarassing incident happened to me while I was on the bus. It was super packed one day, on my way home from work (seems to be when everything happens to me, lol) Anyway, I was standing close to the driver as there was no where to go. A man got on with his two kids, and the children sat down while he stood up across from me. Well, the bus driver seemed to like it when he played footies with the gas a break pedals, because at one point he stepped on the gas, and I wasn't holding on. It's only instinct to reach your hand out to grab something, and in the process, I ended up SCRATCHING the man's cheek with my fingernail! Can you imagine how embarassing that was for me? I apologized a million times over, and we both ended up laughing about it during the ride home. He even started making remarks like "I wouldn't want to see you beat me might break out your black belt moves on me" and "How am I going to explain this to my wife?" HAHAHAH Oh my....only me, I tell ya...Only me!

Well, my position in year 6 is finished up at Lansdowne Primary School. It took the good out of me in the way that I didn't agree much with how the school was organized as well as the atmoshpere around the school. I will miss my kids soo much, and I know they will miss me. Some of them brought in chocolates and cards, a necklace and one child even brought in a cake for me. It was a great last day, and I will definitely visit when I get the chance. The teacher I was in for, Kylie, ended up becoming a friend of mine, and we are planning a  skii trip over the Christmas holidays together......PUMPED for that!

Ok, need to finish up my Halloween costume....don't have much to work with...but it should be fine!
Until next time!!

Hope everyone is doing good..Miss you all!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

"Miss Clarke, that's Rubbish!"

 While I have the chance, I will keep you up to date on my job over here- TEACHING. We initially came over here to substitute. but when we arrived, we asked our agency if there was any chance that they could hook us up with long term positions. Like most people who come over, it is usually first come, first serve, but because we are charming newfies......Liz found us positions- at the same school.... Fairly far away. Well, she DID do what we asked.....we just never got everything we wanted- a school close by, and a longer position. Having said that, I LOVE my school (and it continues to grow on me) AND I love my students even for some details.

 My school is located in a place called Tilbury Town (which sounds like Strawberry Shortcake's home or somethin') It is about an hour away, when you take the bus annnnd the C2C- National Express Train. We have to get up about 6, and be out the door for about 7. We then catch a bus to a place where we catch another bus which takes us to Barking (filthy place from what I've seen, but manageable). We hop on the train from there and take a 25 minute, quiet train ride to Tilbury Town. We get off the train, and walk about 5 minutes up the road where we arrive at Landsdowne Primary School :)

  I started to teach year 6 on the 2nd day of the school (which is grade 5 back home). When I was asked if i accept, I actually started to panic a little, because I am so used to the smaller kids, and honestly I am a little intimidated by the material I have to teach! Buttttttt, having said that, I went in there with a positive attitude and prepared myself with fun creative starters and "the first few days of school activities" jussssst in case. To my surprise, there wasn't time for anything I had brought with me. The day I got there, I was introduced to the Deputy Head (Vice Principal) and I was brought to my classroom where I was to wait for the other year 6 teachers. One had been there for years, and the other one was as new as I was (but she had some time to prepare before school even started!) I was thrown right into Guided Reading, Literacy (English) and Maths (yes, there is an "s" on Math..) I had to give them a test in Maths, and then later one in Science. They were to follow the schedule as it was presented, and there was NO time for anything "extra." I was a little dissapointed at first, thinking that it was just too structured! What if I don't get my math lesson finished and I need to go over it tomorrow (yet, we are moving on to another completely different topic). What if they need more time to work on their storyboards in Literacy, but we are changing books tomorrow?!?! Like, Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat's going on? And that was pretty much how it was the first week.

 The second week (13th-17th) I was still getting the hang of it, but I also tried to fit a few things in for myself. At the beginning of school, I always think it's nice to come together as a class, and create the rules of your classroom, and decorate something as a group. We did both. The rules were straight forward (even though they continue to break them). As for the small art activity, I gave them each a puzzle piece (made from bristol board) and told them that they were a very important part of our class, and without them, we would't be complete . They could decorate their puzzle piece however they wanted, and eventually we put it together by our classroom door. It is a big puzzle, surrounded by their homemade sheilds (about themselves) and above it all reads: We are each a piece, but we come together as a whole! (My LSA came up with that, which sounds great!) Anyway, I fit things in when I can, but there isn't much time at all!

 So, as a year 6 teacher, I teach guided reading, literacy, maths & mental maths, religion (help!!) debate, ICT(computers), topic (whatever it is, it relates to other subjects- right now, it's Charles Darwin), art, science, and phys. ed. The kids also learn french, music and PHSE (which is about emotional and positive schol behaviour). Instead of having plans weeks in advance, I get them week to week and sometimes day to day (depending on the subject) It kind of stresses me out a little bit, but I try my best to keep up and teach myself the shit I don't know. Another thing that is nuts, is the fact that they don't have textbooks here..I am serious. These kids have nothing to look at when they are learning math, or science. It's up to me to creat questions, visuals, and introductions to topics, etc. Like I don't have enough to do...craaazy.

 The kids come to class with their uniforms on (colors are blue, white and grey) and can interchange the colors when they want. All students have the same bookbag, the same pens, pencils, rubbers (erasers) and the same excersizes. It is good because a lot of the students come from poor families, and unfortunately....messed up home environments. It's sad for me to think that these kids don't have breakfast before coming to school, some of them are abused, some of them have prostitutes, addicts and criminals for parents, not to mention delinquint siblings. My class for the most part, are a good group of kids, but they do act up with anger and disruptive behaviour. I am working with them to get things on track. Rewards are in order for attendence (coming to school everyday is valued here, and stressed, because a lot of kids are kept home by parents who don't care, or can't wake up until 1pm to bring their child to school) I give rewards for students who try their best, and show respect to classmate, etc. Tryin to stay positve here! Whenever a student gets in trouble or I have to talk to them (mostly a boy), he tends to respond back with, "Miss Clarke, that's' Rubbish!" as if to say "That's bullshit Miss." They also have a tendency to cover their face, and make a moaning sound (like a 3 yr old) when I have to say their name or keep them focused. It drives me NUTSSSSSSSSS, and I am trying to squash that, ASAP.

 Anyway, I was asked last week to stay until half term (end of October because the Australian teacher I am in for, won't be back until then) so of course, I accepted. I went out and bought a month train/bus pass because I was spending so much money on it, and then I get some interesting news from the SECRETARY- not even the principal. She tells me that the Australian is coming bacl Oct. 1st, and that my position will be ending at that time. Needless to say, I was rottttttted!!! I'm still trying to get more info from the school, PLUS my agency and so I have to wait until tomorrow to see about it. I never signed a contract (as most teachers haven't) and so I guess they can do whatever they want. It just rots me because I bought a month pass (in the district I am teaching in) and I was asked to stay, but now it's changing?!? UGH!

 If I can get a job this quick, and this easily, Timeplan guarantees that I will hook into something else, So I hope! The Head and Deputy Head at Landsdowne School say very good things about me there, and they actually wish they could keep me. They have visited my classroom and they told the kids that they were the best behaved  in year 6! I am happy to get some good feedback, and so it should travel fast. I'm not worried...I just don't want to get attatched to my kids, and then have to leave them!

 Ok, HAND CRAMP!!.....But, next blog.......British kids and their language/slang...friggin' hilarious!
 Until next time..Take Care...xoxoxoxxoxoxoxoxoxxo

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Time is flyyyyyyin...'s 8 am on Sunday morning, and right now, I feel wide awake, but give me about an hour or so and I will be droppin' again. I have been super busy this past week and a half especially, but I'm still managing to go out for some drinks, with new friends and foreigners..haha.

 The week before last, my friend Cristin who lives in Harlow with her awesome boyfriend, Neil, came to pick us up for lunch and show us their new flat, etc. It was great to see a familiar face, and to still be able to click after all these years was also awesome. She brought us to see the MUN campus in Harlow, which isn't' very big at all, but it's so beautiful! Their flat is also in a beautiful spot and they seem to be very happy with life! I haven't been able to see them since, because I have been so busy, but we are definately past due...

 We also managed to explore Covent garden a bit, which is in London and is where all the buskers and street performers are, as well as a market with all kinds of things! It was extremely busy but worth taking a look. Statue people, a uni-cycle man, singers, a small orchestra type group, comedians, and jugglers. etc. I took a few pictures to post....someday, lol.

 So then, last weekend rolled around, and we figured we would see a show on Friday night, and then go out with the girls Saturday night. We bought tickets to see STOMP, and it was amazing. I loved every minute of it, and would see it again. The rhythm and beats that a group of people can make while putting on a show with characters who don't talk, yet engage the audience, is something I would reccomend everyone to see. They were using match boxes, making a sweeping sound with brooms, strapping a kitchen sink to themselves and creating music with that too!  Two thumbs up.

 By the time we walked around a bit afterwards, we decided to hop on the train before last call. Something disturbing kept coming on the announcements while we were waiting for our train: that one of the routes was cancelled due to someone under the train!!! He would repeat this every 3 minutes or so, and by the end of it, I was sick thinking about it. Stuff like that happens all the time here, but it was still shocking and sad to me :(

 Saturday night, we ventured into London yet again to start off at a Canadian bar called the Maple Leaf...haha.. WHY you ask?....why not! It was very close to the Canadian store where they sell Tim Hortons coffee, Kraft dinner (and very likely, savoury) but when we got there, it was closed. A few beers later, we moved onto a pub called O'Neils which was 3 floors of pub style atmosphere, live band, and dance bar...enough to keep everyone happy! Good night had by all.

 Sunday was  a lazy day, where we sat around, and chatted with each other. Watching tv, wrapped in a blanket and loving it. I'm glad I had the chance to relax, because what happened still keeping me going, and I am UUber busy from now until mid break (Oct.22) You will have to stay posted in order to find

 Well, that was LAST weekend, and this weekend is almost up too....Friday night I passed out at about 10:00 due to exhaustion.....loved my bed that night! Lastnight we had a low key night at a pub in Wanstead, where the beer is good and the atmosphere is even better. Chatted with a guy from Italy and plenty of English guys (most of em Rugby players dressed as cowboys?!) and was asked for my number twice, so I did what I was supposed to do....and took their numbers instead! Smart I know. I'm not having strangers call and text my phone if I'm not interested. It's the best way to go about it really. Better luck next time, HAHAHA.

 It's now quarter to 9 (am) and I am starting to get tired again. I'm going to take advantage of my sleep while it's a Sunday....the week brings work, work, work.

 Fill you in soon enough. Cheers! xo