Friday, October 29, 2004

Stress, London, and Lie-ins.

Okay, last week was pretty bad. My posts on Tuesday and Wednesday were indicative of one hell of a low mood.

But it is past. Finally. It took a few days but I managed to move onwards and upwards. A nice chat with my mom on Friday night (and a good cry) really helped.

London: My goodness, that town has an effect on me. I adore London (as you all well know) and it never fails to make me feel good again. Last Saturday, I took the train in early in the morning and then took a flight on the London Eye. Fantastic!! The views are incredible. You can see so much of London. It moves very slowly, and you almost feel you're not moving at all. It takes about a half hour to get all the way around. I really enjoyed it and will have to do it again sometime.

After the Eye, I went to the Imperial War Museum and spent a good few hours in the D-Day Exhibit and in the Holocaust Exhibit. Both are incredibly moving and very well done.

After that I made sure to find myself a copy of a new album--Robbie Williams' Greatest Hits. Gotta support my Robbie.

Since Saturday, I've had a few lazy days of lie-ins and reading. Tuesday I took the bus to Chelmsford, about 20 miles away, and did some shopping. I needed sweaters for work, and I did a little bit of Christmas shopping.

So yes, I am much better. And truly lazy this week, if my lack of emailing and blog updating is any indication.

I think tomorrow I will go back to London and have a look around Camden Town market. A very famous market with lots of good stuff.

In the good news category: Summer is a'comin' in! Yep, my friend Summer is arriving on Thanksgiving Day in lovely England to spend a few days with me before going to Spain (her big long-time dream). When she's back from Spain she'll spend a few days in London before heading back to the States. I'm very excited, it will be marvelous to see her and show her my beloved London.

In other news...I finally have a bank account! Complete with my very own Barclay's Bank Debit Card. Let the spend--*ahem* SAVING begin!

All for today...I'll be back at work on Monday and will hopefully have more to post about.



Thursday, October 28, 2004

Oy vey!

Bad Meg!!

I'm okay, I promise. Just lazy. And not in a typing mood lately.

I have grand plans to update tomorrow (Friday) and if I don't, email me and yell at me to do so.

Enjoying my week off. Details tomorrow (I'm too lazy right now).



Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Well, I tried updating last night, and it wouldn't post. Thought I'd lost that one. Then I updated just now, and both of them posted. Both are titled "Pumpkin Poop."

Oh well. : P

Pumpkin Poop

Yeah, you read that right.

Mom sent a great little Halloween care package with two pairs of Snoopy Halloween socks and a bag of Pumpkin Poop (Whoppers candy). It made me smile when I got it on Monday.

Today is another story.

Before I go into my little vent, I'll just point out that I do realize I will be okay soon.

But today, I feel like absolute dog crap.

I have a cold, for starters. The sniffly, constantly-blowing-the-nose variety. The kind that leaves you feeling tired even after 8 hours of sleep. Add on top of that the fact that I am bloated (my trousers were loose three days ago, tight this morning, and I'm eating very well these days) and cranky...well, look who's coming to town soon!

In other words, I'm a wreck today. I have been sleeping well, but I'm tired. I am emotional. I almost cried getting ready for work this morning. I went downstairs, started petting one of the cats, and almost cried then. I almost cried while walking to school. I almost cried while checking my email in the staff lounge. I knew then, "I can't do this today." It's not fair to me, it's not fair to the kids. So I talked to the Office Manager and she agreed that I need a day to recuperate.

I hate feeling this's really not in my nature. But it reminds me that we need the bad days to appreciate the good. Well, I will appreciate the good!

I knew going into this that there would be bad days...I just have to live through them and the good ones will come back.

So, I'm off to have some Pumpkin Poop. And to hug Harry Bear. And to curl up in my old flannel blanket and relax.


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Pumpkin Poop

Here I sit, eating pumpkin poop.

Mom sent a little Halloween package, containing two pairs of Halloween-themed Snoopy socks (yay!!) and a plastic bag of Whoppers, also known as Pumpkin Poop.

I am having a rough day. It's not that anything horrible has happened. I'm just down. I'm getting a little bit of a cold...and I'm feeling like I'm not effective in the classroom.

Of course, I am effective. Our school just has a lot of kids that don't want to learn. There is a culture in this country that being unsuccessful is "cool." We seem to have a few too many of those at St. Peter's. Most of the time, I get around it but today I don't really want to.

Tonight after dinner I went for a nice brisk walk. It made me feel a little better, as exercise always does. And it was really cool, as I was walking, I heard the bells of St. Mary's Church going. I hadn't heard them before. It was calming.

Well, it's almost bedtime. And I've had my fill of Pumpkin Poop. Thanks for that, Mom. It's doing its job. : )

I will get better...I just need to get through today's feelings and remember that tomorrow is a new day.



Saturday, October 16, 2004

Busy week! But now I have more pics to share!

Lots of 'em! I have had two rolls developed since last posting pictures.

So, to start, more of my room:

Kathy and Derek...nicest landlords a gal could ask for!

The dogs. Kathy was holding up biscuits so they would pose for me. They are, from teh left, Titus, Marley, Tommy and Rosie. Titus is a mutt. Marley is a pedigreed Spanish Water Dog, and Tommy and Rosie are rat terriers (the ones who fight)

Marley, looking like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. He's a sweetie, but also under 2, so still a very playful baby.

Titus...the old man. Kathy went to the vet one day and looked at a booklet in the waiting room from the RSPCA--older dogs with no homes. This is how she ended up with Titus. A month or so before I came to England, the poor guy had a stroke. He's fine now, though a little wobbly. Sometimes he falls over when he sneezes. But he's a dear old boy.

St. Mary's Church. I was standing in front of St. Peter's when I took this. I can see it from my classroom windows.

Home Sweet Home. My room is at the back of the house.

Whew! Lots of pics. I'll update again soon. It's been a busy week, but half-term break is coming (Friday!!!).


Meg, the picture-taking fool

***NOTE (8/23/09) In putting pics up, this post got heavily edited. Not all pics were available, as they were taken before I went digital.

Monday, October 11, 2004

I can just see the headlines...

...about a California Girl in Essex County, England freezing into a blue Meggie-cicle.

It is SO COLD!!!

I like cold weather, but boy, this is going to take some getting used to. And thermals!! Today we had a chilly wind coming from the East, and I walked to work in a wool coat (only to be told later in the day that when winter sets in--this is just fall--I'll need something even warmer), a scarf, gloves, and a hat. I was still cold!

Kathy and Derek laughed yesterday when I commented on the cold. They said, "Oh, this isn't cold!" much as I was laughing six weeks ago and saying, "Oh, this isn't hot!"

Yet I must say, the cold, as numbing as it is, is still better than that icky heat of Sacramento.

What a busy day! I had a lady from TeachLondon to see me at the school, a candidate for the Head of Expressive Arts teach a lesson to my one class of the day(which meant I was sitting in the staff lounge for a half hour) and lunch-time detentions. And lesson planning. Always lesson planning! Oh, and a couple of my co-teachers laughed at me at the end of the day when I announced, "Oh, crap! I have bus duty...and it's sooo cold out there!!!" : P

They couldn't resist poking good-natured fun at Little Miss California Girl as she rushed off for jacket, gloves, etc. The Abdominable Snow Woman.

I guess this really isn't very cold by Burnham standards. I have a feeling I'll be investing in thermal underwear!

All is well on this side of the pond. Busy, busy, busy. I have this week and next, and then half-term break. Yippee!!

Well, off I go to get some fun facts about Beethoven for the rest of the week. The children of St. Peter's High School will be singing "For Elise," the wonderful lyrics that some clever soul put to Beethoven's famous "Fur Elise." My middle school kids in the States loved it, hopefully their British counterparts will, too.


Meg, on the Rocks (Chilled)

Sunday, October 10, 2004


That is the sound of a tired gal.

I went to London yesterday, and instead of hitting the Imperial War Museum, I ran some errands first. And left no time for the museum. But that's okay. I had a nice day. Strolled down the crowded sidewalks of Oxford Street and Regent Street. Poked around the Virgin Megastore (CDs) and Waterstone's Books. Bought a cute top at Marks and Spencers, and had way too much fun in Hamley's toy store.

Today I participated in a walk to save the tigers at a zoo in Canterbury. It was a school field trip and I offered to go along. The walk wasn't very organized so it ended up being more of a free admission to the zoo. But it was a good time.

So now I have the rest of today to relax and read some of the new books I bought yesterday.

I have noticed something funny. Since I've been here, I have been spending as little money as possible. I have to buy food and stuff like that. But when I go shopping, I tend to buy books and Snoopy stuff (Oh yes, I have found Snoopy stuff...). I just think it's funny that I'm surrounding myself with these because I must find them comforting.

Not a lot going on this week. It was a busy week, as usual, but much better than the previous (yeah, that one, where I ended up in tears on a Friday afternoon). I made some progress with Friday 5th period. Slowly but surely, I'm settling them down.

And...that is all. I'm sure I have a million tales to tell but I've been walking all weekend and I just want to crash on the couch with a good book!



Tuesday, October 05, 2004

So, how's Meg, anyway?

Meg's fine!

Friday was the culmination of a long, stressful, icky, sticky, nasty, gross, very bad week. I wasn't feeling very well, I had a cold sore, I was homesick, etc. Friday 5th period, it all came to a head. The straw that broke the ole camel's back.

I had my restful weekend, and now two days back at school, and I am feeling a lot better about everything. I just had to claw through the bad week. I knew going into this adventure that there would be bad days, weeks, etc.

It really helps that I have so much support from across the pond. So everyone who reads this, thank you for the positive thoughts and support. It is friends like you that make life easier.

And now, it is getting close to my bedtime. So off I go to get showered and ready for bed. : )



Sunday, October 03, 2004

A Week of Meg's True Adventures...

Oh my...

I'll start with homesickness. The definition of homesickness (according to is:

Acutely longing for one's family or home.

And I am.

I know I'm just going through a temporary glitch, but oy, it's a difficult glitch. I feel like I'm madly trying to claw my way out of it.

I'm not unhappy with England. I'm just really missing home--big things and small things. The big things are obvious. Mom and Dad. Friends. Millie (oh, my goodness, I miss her a lot). Then there are the little things. Mexican food. My DVD collection (I'm already reserving one day of my time at home at Christmas to watch all 10 hours of Band of Brothers, all two hours of Miracle and whatever other movies I fancy).

So, this week has been one of homesickness and battling back tears. Not a fun week, really.

Work is fine. I have been kind of "blah" but not about the kids. I'm making headway with all of my classes (but one--more in a minute about that), so I'm happy about that. I'm getting along with my co-teachers, and even had a nice compliment from the Head Teacher. He said to me, "We ought to hire more American teachers, if they're all like you!" I was flattered. : )

Anyway, that one class. Friday, fifth period. Last class of the week. Good grief...that mix of children is awful. I have never had much control in there, unless I send about 3 kids out of the room. This week, I sent for Teresa, the art teacher next door. She came in, and she couldn't get the kids calmed down. She's pretty formidable, too. So she sent for a member of the Senior Management Team, and one of the Deputy Heads responded. Trouble is, he's new to the school this year, too. So the kids (year 9) test him, as well.

I was so fed up with this class, I could feel my face getting red, and I just wanted to walk out of my room and march straight into the Head's office and say, "Right. I refuse to teach that group." I was so frustrated, and so tired, and not feeling well, and homesick on top of it all. I seriously had moments during that class in which I thought, "Gee, I could be in California, with my cat, off to teach the Elverta kids right now..." I wanted to be anywhere but teaching that group of kids.

I made it to the end of the day. The bell rang, I dismissed the little hellions. The deputy head (David--same name as the Head) came back and asked how I was doing. I looked at him and said, "This is the most frustrating group of children..." and then I started to cry.

Now, if you know me very well, you know I hate to cry like that. As my dad is fond of saying, "There's no crying in baseball." Well, I broke that rule. I stood there in a corner of my room, with a flustered Deputy Head teacher trying to comfort me, bawling. I told him, "It's not just this class. It's just been a difficult week for me. I'll get over it," as I snivelled and cried and used the pitifully small ammount of tissue I had to wipe up the mess.

Not pretty.

David left me to calm down (if he'd stayed I never would have) and I spent 15 minutes or so in a corner (where people can't see me if they walk by my room), calming down. Deep breath. Tears. Deep breath. Reprimand self. Think of happy thoughts. Millie comes to mind. Miss her. Cry more.

Finally, I had to leave school to run home for some trousers. I had a few things going on that afternoon/evening:

1. A little do in the staff lounge in honour of new staff (really just an excuse to drink).

2. A night out in Chelmsford with some of the gals.

I had forgotten my trousers to wear when out on the town, so I walked home, calmed down, had some chocolate, and got back to school able to speak without crying, and with my eyes no longer red and swollen. I had some wine and cheesy poofs (Heather's and my remedy for days like this) and then headed off to Chelmsford with the gals.

Chelmsford is about 45 minutes away by car, and there are a lot of younger teachers at St. Peter's who prefer to live there because it has shopping and a night life. After seeing the commute they make, I figure I'm happy where I'm at!

We had a lovely dinner at an Italian place called Gerardo's. We all ate too much, but it was really lovely. Then we stopped by an Irish pub called Sweeney's, then on to Toad. Toad is a bar/dance club and it was crammed to the gills with scantilly clad Essex Girls and Essex Boys. And not the greatest it was on to Chicago's, which was definitely better. But still crowded.

I think I've outgrown the whole noisy, crowded, hormone-filled, loud music, drink to the excess kind of places (not to mention the SMOKE!!) other people my age still enjoy. I found myself wishing we were somewhere that we could

a. talk without screaming,
b. walk from point A to point B without coming into rather intimate contact with total strangers, and
c. sit down and relax rather than dancing like loons and trying to attract the opposite sex with our moves.

When did I grow up?!?

Overall, I had a good time. The gals were really nice and I would definitely like to spend time with them again. Perhaps somewhere quieter.

I spent the night at Aideen's house. Aideen is Irish, and quirky, smart, funny, slightly strange, generous, and fun. She's also new to St. Peter's and is very unhappy teaching there. She plans to give her notice and leave at the end of the fall term.

Yesterday I caught the bus back to Burnham, and spent a couple of hours showering the smoke out of my hair, eating lunch, and reading. At about 1:30 or 2:00 I decided to read upstairs and possibly nap for an hour or two. After 15 minutes of reading, I was ready to fall asleep. I vaguely thought to myself, "When I wake up, I'll walk down to the co-op for my groceries..." and then settled into my peaceful nap.

Six hours later, I woke up. It was dark out and I was disoriented.

I slept for SIX HOURS!!! I never nap like that! Hell, that wasn't a nap, that was hibernation!

I got up and went downstairs. Kathy and Derek were just wondering if I was sick, but were relieved to find that I was okay. We all figure that was my body's way of getting rid of the stress of the week. By now it was 8:30 so I had a snack, read until 11:00, and went back to bed. Slept for 8 hours. I feel great today!

So it's Sunday, and instead of going to London, as was my original plan, I'm doing laundry and going to the co-op. I've given my room a good dusting and vaccuuming, and I'll relax this afternoon with a good book.

Next weekend: London. Nothing's stopping me!!

Here's to a better week. Cheers!