Thursday, March 31, 2005

Bargain Bin Teachers

I will explain that term in a minute...

First, my apologies for not updating in almost 2 weeks. I've been a bit busy and stressed. I almost updated the other day but opted to go home at a decent time instead! It was brought to my attention by no less than two people yesterday that I must update, and scroll that headline about Americans being obnoxious down a bit.

Right, so what's been going on in the life of Megan as she navigates England? Well...let's see.

Bargain Bin Teachers

This is just referring to a joke Kathy made last night about how St. Peter's really got a great deal on me. They get a qualified music teacher (hard to come by in England these days) who really wanted to live in England (and wasn't picky about where) and they get to pay me very, very little. I just thought it was funny. I said to Kathy, "I was a bargain to this school!" She laughed and replied, "Bargain Bin Teacher!!" How we laughed at that one.


Yes, again. I am going to see National Anthems again tomorrow afternoon. I have had a rather...hectic...week and I decided on Wednesday that I need a good Saturday to make up for it. So off to London I go tomorrow. Probably to the British Museum in the morning. I haven't been there since 1999. Then I have a 1:00 "flight" on the London Eye, and at 2:30, a ticket for National Anthems. More Kevin!! Cheer a girl right up.

Bath and Easter Weekend

Last weekend being Easter weekend, we got 2 extra days off. On Good Friday I got up early and headed off to spend a lovely day in Bath. I had forgotten how beautiful it is there--a truly lovely city. And it was perfect weather. Sunny, slightly warm, flowers blooming everywhere.

I went to the Jane Austen Centre and walked around the city and had afternoon tea at the Pump Rooms next to the ancient Roman Baths. A lovely day.

Saturday I cleaned my room, did my co-op trip for the week and relaxed.

Sunday I sat on my bottom all day eating the chocolate Kathy and Derek gave me for Easter and watching DVDs. I watched American Beauty, The Usual Suspects, Top Gun, and then found a movie on TV I wanted to watch. Kathy and Derek were out all day so I took over the sofa, fed the animals at tea time, and in general made a lazy excuse of a person out of myself. It was wonderful.

Monday was laundry/cooking/get ready for the week day.

Something's Coming, Something Good

Yes. Spring Break is a'coming. Two weeks off from this crazy school and a trip to Paris with Mom and Dad. I can't wait!

One more week of bratty year 9s (they're getting worse--I'm not the only person who says so) and hyper year 7s. One more week of craziness, and then the Spring Term is OVER and DONE and I get two whole weeks to enjoy!!

Decisions, Desicions

Right, if you read my back blog entries you'll see that while my first term at St. Peter's was kind of the "honeymoon" phase. The honeymoon ended almost as soon as I stepped off the plane at Heathrow on 5 January.

This term has, in a nutshell, been difficult.

And now it is Desicion Time. Do I stay? Do I go? What do I want?

I want:

To live within an hour of London. To live within an hour of my parents. To have Millie with me. To have my own place. To have the freedom of having my car. To live somewhere where I can walk everywhere. To shop at Target whenever I like. To be able to see Kevin Spacey on stage. To have my very dear California friends nearby and to keep my budding social life in England. To be paid more.

In other words, I want the best of both worlds wrapped up in a tidy package. And I can't have that so I have to choose.

After a really stressful week that has included one long, tearful phone call to Mom and Dad (Tuesday), one day of absolute apathy towards my job (Wednesday), one night of being unable to sleep (Wednesday) for the stress, one email from Heather saying, basically "grow up and face the music" (but in a gentler way!) and one Mental Health Day (Thursday), I have come to some conclusions:

If I don't earn Qualified Teacher Status and start making more money, I will leave. I'm willing to put up with a lot--but it does get difficult when you don't make a hell of a lot of money for your trouble.

Logic. Minimal emotion. That's my approach.

And I promise, I will try to keep the Bridget Jones moments of utter panic to a complete minimum!

Thank God it is Friday

And with that...



Friday, March 18, 2005

Americans Are, Let's Face It...


Three in the morning. I'm sleeping as best I can on a freakin' bunk bed. And into the room stumble two drunken young American women. One is giggling. Just standing there giggling at her shoes. Giggling at the wall. I don't know. Giggling at whatever she's giggling at. And half the room is rudely awakened.

Of course, there goes my night. So I got up to go shower. THEN I looked at my watch.


So here I am, posting in my blog at 4:30 in the morning.

At least I met Kevin Spacey. That more than makes up for things. And there's a 5:30 train to Essex. So I'll just go home early and nap.

No more hostels!!

But more Kevin Spacey, please... : )

Greetings from the Hostel...

Oh. My. God.

Can I just start by wiping the drool off and then saying that Kevin Spacey is amazing???

Right. I loved the play. It was very well done and Kevin was excellent. Funny, dramatic, wrenching. At the end, he has a near nervous breakdown and acted it so superbly I was stock-still in my seat. Everyone was.

Of course, we all know that Kevin Spacey is a brilliant actor. I mean, come on, both of those Oscars were well-deserved.

At the end, a few people stood (including yours truly) and clapped and cheered. He looked exhausted, but seemed grateful. The other cast members were Mary Stuart Masterson (Fried Green Tomatoes) and Sam Weber. They were great, too, but really, who's gonna look away from Kevin-Gorgeous-Spacey???

Here's the best bit, though:

I. Got. Kevin's. Autograph.

Watch me swoon.

I had a drink at the Pit Bar but quickly got bored waiting to see if he'd come down. And I kinda figured he wouldn't because he truly looked exhausted when taking his bows.

So I left and took a look down the side street towards the stage door. And there was a crowd, and a hat, that, according to my friends at the Kevin Spacey Board, Kevin has been wearing lately. In fact:

There's a pic of him in it, bad facial hair and all (which he's wearing for the play).

And I nosed my way in, and I acted like a total stupid fan. I took a picture (from a distance, not right up in his face) and then got near enough to hand him a pen and my program. He signed it and I said, "Brilliant performance..." He said, "Thanks," and then I added, "And I loved 'Beyond the Sea.'" He smiled and thanked me again. And then I walked away.

And giggled all the way back to the tube station.

And that's all I can type right now. I have to go stare at Kevin Spacey's autograph on my program like a total idiot.

Sweet dreams!



Wednesday, March 09, 2005

What kind of flower would you be?

I got to thinking this morning (I know, I know, dangerous...) as I walked to school.

I'm like a daffodil.

Before you think I've become some kind of hippie, hear me out. I've been under some stress these last few weeks. This morning I saw that Kathy's daffodils are blooming in the front yard and they made me smile. I never used to pay much attention to daffodils, until I spent the semester in London and saw that grand old city turn yellow with them in March and April.

So why am I a daffodil?

Daffodils are amazing little flowers. These hearty little souls bloom at a time when most flowers are still cowering in the ground. There is very little sunshine, and the days and nights are bitterly cold, but daffodils are determined to bloom. You see them, resolutely shooting out of the ground; then a little yellow head appears. Before you know it, the daffodil's happy little face is smiling at you.

Most people, when asked, would tell you that roses and lilies are the beautiful flowers. These are the romantic flowers of love and romance, the flowers you give someone dear to you. People do not necessarily associate the sturdy little daffodil with such fanciful things.

And yet, when you ask them, people always agree that daffodils are lovely little flowers. They agree that daffodils are cheery and happy and able to bloom in the most difficult of circumstances. Perhaps there is no one who is immune to the charm of a bed of daffodils, so bright and optimistic, on a bleak winter's day.

Gardeners never worry about daffodils. They gently plant a bulb in the fall and leave it to rest in the winter. Even as the snow falls, and the ice freezes everything else in the garden, the daffodil is safe. And it tries to improve itself--each year, one bulb will produce more and more sunny little flowers.

They're not perfect, however. Daffodils have an alarming tendency to steal the show from everyone else in the garden. If left unchecked, they will overpower other flowers, taking up the space and sunshine the others need to grow. Every once in a while, someone needs to remind the daffodil that it is not the only flower in the garden; there are others who need time to bloom.

The daffodil is one of the unsung flowers, but it doesn't seem to mind. It just plugs along, blooming each year and offering itself to the world the best it can.

Seeing the daffodils in Kathy's garden made me smile this morning...and reminded me why I came to England. I can do this. I'm going to be just fine.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Bits and Pieces

I just have to give a quick shout-out to Miss J., (who will be 7 on the 14th...excuse me while I just have a little sniffle...) who is reading 66 words per minute, only mistaking the word "crayon," (and if you ask me, that's one of those words that breaks a couple of rules of English). The state standard for students at the end of first grade is 70 words per minute. Way to go, Julia! And way to go, Sarah, for encouraging her to love books.

Well, my dad has done my taxes for me. I am lucky this year, I do not owe the State of California. In fact, they're giving me $25 back! I checked an online currency converter. This amounts to a whopping £13. Hey, that's a trip to the co-op.

Am feeling much better about life in general and my job especially. A rough couple of days...but as ever, I muddle through. It helps that I have a few friends here at school I can talk to (there are a few teachers here who are relatively new to the profession, like me, and we all float along in the same boat), and it helps to have friends and family back home cheering me on. So a quick shout-out to all of you for letting me vent, cry and be a big baby from time to time. I don't think I ever quite comprehended just how much courage this whole idea ("Hey, guess what? I'm moving to England!") would take until I actually did it.

Quick Millie update: I sent a large envelope full of stuff to my parents (birthday card for Dad, Mum's day card for Mom, as English Mum's Day is in March, and a few bits and pieces). According to Dad, when they opened it, the Millikins jumped onto the counter and stuck her nose into the envelope, sniffing and sniffing like mad. Moving papers and things around with her little nose. How sweet is that? She hasn't forgotten her mommy (and her mommy hasn't forgotten her).

And that's about all here. I haven't sent out any more anonymous Valentines. : )



Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Oh, this is a good one!

A few minutes ago, Trevor, a maths teacher, came into the staff lounge and said to me, "Thanks for the Valentine" with a very cheeky grin (he's a funny guy, I absolutely love talking to Trevor, he's always good for a cheer-up).

I smiled and said, "But I didn't give you a Valentine..."

He then tells me that he saw a little hand closing his desk drawer at the end of 5th period today. He waited until everyone was gone before looking inside. When he looked, he found a card with the following:

I [heart] U
Happy Valentine's Day
Love, Miss Cooper

I started cracking up...of all the things these little farts pull, this is the funniest. Made me laugh so hard, I actually got rid of a brewing headache...

Two updates in one day...let's see what tomorrow brings, eh?