crystal's capers

one girl's international adventures

Saturday, September 15, 2007

This Crazy Life

Right, so apologies for having fallen off the planet. The last weeks of summer suddenly got freakishly busy, and predictably, once school started I found myself overwhelmed with work. So here's the update:

A couple weekends after Thomas and Jeannette visited, Riccardo's parents, Hans and Carla, came over for a weekend. It was another lovely time spent catching up and sight-seeing; I will post pictures and details on that once I can retrieve the shots from Riccardo's camera.

Overwhelming. It's all I can think of to describe my first weeks as a high school teacher. Trying to conquer classrooms full of deliquents, a school system radically different from what I grew up with, and 14-hour/day lesson-planning has been a challenge. Understatement. Want to know more? CALL ME.

Riccardo is currently in Germany; heading to Japan on Monday; he'll be in Brazil for a few days before we weekend in Canada for those two up-coming weddings, and then returning to Brazil for another week; and in mid-October, back to Japan. Lonely me.

So, I'm advertising: I have a week off school in October (from Oct. 20 to 28) and Riccardo will only be here for the first 3 days of it. I also expect that October is an especially great season for cheap-cheap-cheap last-minute deals from Canada to either Heathrow or Manchester... so the offer's on the table.

Looks like we're moving, AGAIN. We've made an offer on a fabulously-wallpapered, 3-bed, semi in King's Heath, Birmingham which has been accepted. We are currently working our asses off at getting all the paperwork and approvals together. The move will likely occur in mid-November. Ugh.

More updates to come.
Love and hugs from us both.


Stratford upon Avon, Shakespeare's Birthplace

After the village and the gorge, Thomas, Jeannette, Riccardo and I headed to Stratford upon Avon which, conveniently, is only 20 minutes from our home. Stratford is famous for being the birthplace of Shakespeare, and is soooo historically and culturally rich as a result of all the tourist money that goes into the town, that I instantly fell in love with it. After walking around town a bit, looking at Shakespeare's birth home, watching the English version of houseboats cruise the canals, and battling the (other) tourists, we chose a lovely canalside Thai restaurant for dinner. The food was delicious, but of course, the bill was atrocious. Nonetheless, I can't wait to go back!

Day two of Thomas and Jeannette's visit was a little quieter: I was somewhat disappointed by my first-ever visit to downtown Birmingham in the early afternoon. I'm told that London is f.a.b.u.l.o.u.s. in every way, and apparently that is where the national funding for cities in this country has stopped. As the second-largest city in the UK, one might expect Birmingham to at least try to rival it's only real competition, but Birmingham was blah, blah, blah.

On the plus side, the Selfridges Centre does house the closest sushi restaurant to us, and so we of course took the opportunity to chow down on some tasty conveyor-belt goodies. Unfortunately, we had to pay literally eight times more for our sushi in Birmingham than we did when we were in Japan (roughly $85 CN, without beverages, for two, for LUNCH!). :O

Oh! How could I forget!? Directly across from the sushi shop was none other than Crispy Cremes! Okay, so Birmingham is good for food. And shopping. Anything else? - I've yet to learn.


Victorian Living Village & Ironbridge Gorge

A few weeks ago our good friends Thomas and Jeannette came for a weekend visit from Germany. We found this a fabulous excuse to do some sight-seeing, so the four of us headed of to Shropshire to visit the Blists Victorian Living Village, and the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, Ironbridge Gorge.

In my travels, I have learned that I LOVE living villages, and Blists was no exception. It was the actual size of a real town, and featured all the shops and services available in the Victorian age. The townsfolk were just Victorian enthusiasts who were happy to share their knowledge of the time and show us how all the working machinery worked. We even got to change our pounds and pence into farthings, and use our Victorian money to buy goods and services throughout the village. So cool!

Just a few miles away is the emblem of the Industrial Revolution: Ironbridge Gorge. This is the iron bridge, the first one ever. The bridge is surrounded by a charming historical town and a beautiful valley, and was definitely a worthwhile side-venture.


Reminiscent of High School

A friend of mine from Japan, who is now an insanely successful published novelist, posted this on his blog recently and I couldn't help but remember doing these questionnaires in Career Development classes in high school. Wanting to see how on-target I am, and where I should turn if I find myself looking for a career change, I decided to check it out; here's what I came up with...

1. Director of Photography
2. Director
3. Coach
4. Set Designer
5. Costume Designer
6. Clergy
7. Music Teacher / Instructor
8. Foreign Service Officer
9. Humanitarian Aid Worker
10. Sport Psychology Consultant
11. ESL Teacher
12. Foreign Language Instructor
13. Special Effects Technician
14. Psychologist
15. Actor
16. Sign Maker
17. Animator
18. Fashion Designer
19. Desktop Publisher
20. Pet Groomer
21. Special Education Teacher
22. Plumber
23. Cartoonist / Comic Illustrator
24. Autobody Repairer
25. Computer Trainer
26. Teacher Assistant
27. Elementary School Teacher
28. High School Teacher
29. Early Childhood Educator
30. Chef
31. Industrial-Organizational Psychologist
32. Professor
33. Human Resources Specialist
34. Adoption Counselor
35. Association Manager
36. Child and Youth Worker
37. Butcher
38. Cook
39. School Counselor
40. Magician

Magician? Now there's an idea!


adopt your own virtual pet!