My little blog seems to be nothing but videos these days, but I’ve found myself genuinely moved by the number of touching films and remembrances of the Great War that have come out this year. The new Sainsbury’s ad honouring the Christmas Truce is one of the most beautiful ads I have ever seen; and, far more than shouting and grandstanding could ever do, quietly points out the pointlessness of war.
I am not generally one to admit to get a bit sniffly at television or films, but I have to admit, the John Lewis Christmas ad this year made me genuinely teary. Also, I really, really want my own penguin (or two) now.
I had meant to be so good this year about my blog…so good! Instead, I have neglected it as well as pretty much everything that doesn’t relate to teaching.
I had been warned by so many people that the first year as an NQT would be hard, but I was seriously unprepared for the ass kicking that this term has delivered. It’s been 6 weeks of frantic planning, learning, and ridiculously late nights, and I have wondered more than once if I’m cut out for this teaching thing. It didn’t help that Ofsted visited the third week of school. I would like to say that I’ve hit my stride, but I can’t honestly admit that. Every day feels like an enormous hurdle to be got through before escaping and trying to prepare and recover for the next day. This is Hunger Games teaching, ya’ll.
Still there have been some nice things this autumn, too. I’ve made a lovely new friend, had visits from wonderful people, made trips into London, including my first visit to The Globe, received my first paycheck in over a year, planned for a holiday to Copenhagen, shopped for new clothes and pretty things for my flat, and best of all, I have a lovely new niece to hold, even if I have to wait until April to do so. It seems like ages until I can go home, but it’s just 5 days until half-term and then I’m heading to Cambridge for a relaxing week with Paul, and all I have planned is reading and knitting and sleeping, oh my.
On Sunday I braved the heat to meet my friend Jane at Regent’s Park. We settled in the shade to eat sandwiches before joining in with Tango Al Fresco. They started with a beginner’s class, which, unlike some classes, was really for beginners. We even practiced moving our feet around the dance floor before we got started. There should be more classes like that! I was also lucky enough to be partnered with one of the instructors, who was kind enough not to point out that I am essentially a lumbering mess on a dance floor. Still, it was a lot of fun, and for the tiny moments when I managed to let my partner lead, I loved it. I definitely need to take more classes and then get out there and tango!
As well as the instructors and beginners, lots of dancers came out to just enjoy the sun and spin around on the dance floor in bright frocks and pretty shoes. There was also a demonstration from a professional tango duo from Argentina who were really spectacular to watch.
After our tango class, we wandered around the park, trying to keep cool with ice cream. We looked at the roses, examined what was on at the open-air theatre, and got up close to an elephant.
On my stroll back to Great Portland Street Station I spotted a familiar face. I’m not sure exactly why he was there, but it was lovely to see. I suspect, of all the presidents, JFK really would have enjoyed a good tango around a dance floor on a summer day.
In the past year I’ve quit my job, moved to another country, gone back to school, and basically dropped everything while I worked towards a new career. It’s been a whirlwind of a year, but it’s been completely worth it. And now it’s the summer, this is my reward.
A peaceful garden with flowers and birds, a comfy sofa to curl up on, non-school books to read (at last!), adventures to be had, messes to be made in the kitchen, and time spent with my favourite people, both here and online.