crystal's capers

one girl's international adventures

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Half-term Breaking


That's my sigh of relief. It's been a busy half term, particulary with Ofsted. But that's done and dusted, so: Phew!

What's the plan then? Well, Riccardo has been in Japan this week, and arrives back on Sunday night, then he's taken the whole week off with me!! YAY!! We sooo deserve that!

Kimberly and Corey are already touring around Edinburgh, and arrive in the Midlands on Monday afternoon. Can't wait to see them and show them around! Corey's birthday (30th!!) is on Wednesday, so we'll definitely show them a good time then. Can't wait!

Then next Saturday is Halloween! It's the first Halloween in three years that Riccardo's been around (usually Halloween is a prime time for him to be travelling for work), so we're having a small party. It's going to be pot-luck, costumes optional. Should be great!

Lots of additional events lined up over the coming weeks, too! We've got our re-scheduled Andre Bocelli concert immediately after half-term break, and the following weekend, a Bonfire Night party at our friends' Kate and Rob's. Already two invites to Christmas parties, too! And that's all leading up to the main event: the visits of both our families over Christmas holidays! Should be a great couple of months!


Who needs a TV...

...when drama regularly unfolds outside your window?

'Tis the case. Here's an overview:

About a week and a half ago, I was preparing for bed (at my usual supercool time of 9:30), when I heard a ruckus arising outside the house. Peeking out the window, I saw about 15 teenagers having some sort of rumble! Apparently a large groups of anti-socials had come by to fetch my neighbour's delinquent, er, son, for a rough-up. There was much shouting and carrying on, and the usual, girls trying to hold boys back from thwacking each other. Things were really hotting up, as they say!

Of course, it was just about that time that Riccardo noticed the noise, too. And called you-know-who. Within 2.5 minutes (literally!) there were 5 cop cars, at least a dozen coppers, and an ambulance lining the street directly in front of our house. Blast your favourite techno, pop some chemical mood-enhancers and you'd have had yourself a full-on rave!

After the riot was sorted, several police officers had to fetch the delinquent-next-door, cuff him, and haul him away in the ole paddy-wagon. Not sure what his offense was, but probably something along the lines of insulting an officer, drunken-disorderly, or brandishing a weapon. Wouldn't surprise me.

As if that isn't enough, last night we had more excitement beyond the panes.

Again, getting myself ready for bed, when the walls of my room started strobbing. This time, just a single ambulance, along with about 10 gawkers. Paramedics had to get out the old stretcher to peel some guy off the pavement. Not sure if he had just stumbled, drunken, and passed out in a really unsuitable location - it's not like it hasn't happened before. Recently. Or he may have actually been hit by a car: our road is long and very straight, and on a slight hill, so drivers tend to mistake it for the Indy 500.

In either case, he seemed ok, because he was trying to get off the stretcher. Regardless, the ambulance took him away, and soon enough the crowd of lookie-loos had dispersed.



Monday, October 12, 2009

On the downside

Brace yourself, more moaning to follow:
  1. Left my first weekend consisting of actual rest and relaxation with a Sunday night migraine, which then carried over to Monday. Ugh.
  2. Found out that my work 'got the call' on Monday. Ofsted, the governmental auditing agency for schools, is visiting on Wednesday and Thursday this week, thus I need to expect another 60+ hour workweek. Have to make sure all my marking is up to date and detailed, have to plan riveting lessons on full 3-page lesson plans, have to review the Special Needs register to make sure I'm making the appropriate provisions and differentiating my lessons, have to revamp my seating plans, including putting the pupils' current levels and target levels on them, and so on...
  3. Need to request further prayers and well-wishes for one of my yr 11 students who was in a rugby accident last week, ended up needing brain surgery, and is currently in a coma. What is up with these catastrophes of late?


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gimme a Break

Wowza! Can you believe it's been over a month since I last posted? Well, yes, I guess it's not that out of character.

We've completed the redecoration of our kitchen!! No more reno's until Spring! Woo-hoo! It's now light grey-blue, rather than canary yellow. Looks hot. Only one unplanned expense occurred: in replacing our kitchen tap (which was broken and ugly) we encountered problems with our mains water supply; that whole nightmare ended up costing us an extra £180 in plumber's fees, in addition to the £90 faucet! Ugh. Pics to follow at some point. Hmmm... need a digital camera. Which reminds me...

We bought a fancy-pants all-in-one printer about 10 months ago (for when I went back to uni). Supposed to be great. Unfortunately we apparently didn't use it enough, because it died of unuse. It was on warranty still, but honestly, such crap. As it happens, HP doesn't make replacement parts (they'd rather fill up our landfills with printery-rubbish - how very green of them!), so we're supposed to receive vouchers to buy a brand new one. This would be great if we were planning on staying in the UK forevermore, if we used a printer enough not to have it break of unuse (love making up words!), if we didn't get a £100 discount on the first one which means we won't get anything equivalent for the vouchers they're giving us. Soooo, do we sell the vouchers at a loss on e-Bay, or do we buy something else... such as a digital camera?

Work's a bit manic right now. They make us produce first term reports in mid-Oct., which is ridiculous because we have to have a sufficient amount of material marked in order to produce these reports: for the measely 120 students that I teach. Last week I worked from 8:00 to 6:00 pretty much every day, plus I brought a stack of marking home to do this weekend. And they say teachers work 26.5 hours per week. Ha.

Riccardo's travel schedule is hotting up. He's off to Japan in about a week, then back for a week's holidays when Kim and Corey visit - can't wait! Shortly after that he's got to be in France for a week, as well as India for a week. His family, and then mine, are visiting at the end of December/beginning of January (YAY!) and then he's back to India again. Who knows what else will crop up in the meantime.

We've just helped to add dear sister Kelsey to the list of visitors after Christmas. As a starving student (well, in fact, slave labourer: 1 year, unpaid practicum where she has to pay tuition! OMG!) there was no way she would have been able to afford the trip herself, so we all pitched in and now she's officially jumping the pond with my other family-gallies. Poor Riccardo: he'll have to fight off all the Hambrook/Frost/Weber girls!

Can I please ask prayers and good thoughts for my sister, Rebecca's close friend, Shannon, who was in a car accident toward the end of September? She's in a coma in Kamloops Hospital, but is slowly recovering. She's a brilliant, vivacious young lady who will definitely overcome this ordeal, but it would be great if you all would keep her in your thoughts.

Also, one of my own closest friends is suffering a tragic loss in her family, so if you could additionally send love thataway, please!


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