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.