Mar 31, 2013

Project Life Week 13

I have finished Week 13 of my 2013 Digital Project Life . There were so many pictures I could have put in this week but I restrained myself and kept it to just 2 pages, however, I think an extra page may be necessary to capture the essence of my last week at school.

The two little boys in the bottom right photo are from my class. They each sang a solo then the rest of the school joined in - OH MY GOSH!!!! I have the words from the song and they will definitely be added to my PL album.

The last 2 weeks of PL I did not post publicly because they feature lots of photos of the children in my class and I am not sure how the parents would feel about me posting on the internet so I err on the side of caution.

What I experienced teaching at Chelsea was unique. A whole bunch of ladies who all got on well with each other with no unpleasantness that you might commonly expect to find with so many females in such close proximity 5 days a week. Many of us go waaaaaaaaaay back and have become good friends. We have seen weddings, funerals, births of our children and births of our children's children. We are in fact a family.

The children we teach are special to us - we worry about them like we worry about our own children. We are proud of their accomplishments and feel an enormous sense of reward at the end of the year when our job is done. I hope I can experience just a fraction of that as I move into a whole different environment in the UK. First I hope I find a job. Surely, I ask myself, if I can teach in South Africa I can teach anywhere.

Mar 29, 2013

Emotional Rollercoaster of a week!

Farewell Assembly - Thursday 28th March 2013
Final assembly with me in the hot seat! 
Well, as of today I am officially unemployed! Yesterday was my last day of teaching at Chelsea after having taught there for 26 years. Wow - that was a long time! You can imagine what an emotional week it has been for me. I am an emotional person at the best of times and it doesn't take much to turn on the waterworks - in fact I am known for that at school. I have been dreading this day because the school and the people are so much part of me, my life and who I am. It has been the most awesome school to teach at and my memories of Chelsea are very happy ones - memories I will cherish for the rest of my life. The people I have taught with over the years are not just my colleagues, they are my friends.

The decision to leave has been hovering for the past 2 years and recently several factors led to me taking that final plunge. It was not an easy decision to make but having made it after lots of discussion, prayer and weighing up the options, the deed was done. So here I am - unemployed for the first time in over 20 years. A lot of people have said "Aren't you scared?" but strangely enough, I am not. I feel at peace and believe I have made the right choice. I am not just leaving the school but also the country that has been home for 47 years. After leaving Scotland as a 10 year old I now return to the island where I was born. I can't say country because I was born in Scotland but will be living in England.

Obviously it is not just me that is affected - it affects Chez, Ciaran and Caelen as well but I think we are ready for it. Time for change and new beginnings. Yes, it is a little scary venturing into the unknown - but it is not completely the unknown. I will be staying with my sister Rhona and her family. I have stayed with them many times over the years when I have come over on holiday and I feel quite at home there - one of the family! The rest of the family live close by and I am really looking forward to spending time with them.
Michelle, our music teacher who is leaving to go and live in America. 
I taught her in Grade 1! Good luck Mish, will be thinking of you.
By the end of the day I felt emotionally drained - of course it didn't help that I only got home around 2:30 am after my surprise party the night before - that is another story! I went home and slept for 3 hours and still went to bed early, only waking at 5:00am the next morning.

Luke and Ethan waiting while Zelda gives her speech with me trying not to cry but not succeeding very well.

Luke and Ethan ready to lead the singing of my farewell song - You are amazing written by Michelle. It was amazing!!!

I had no idea that Luke and Ethan were going to sing to me. They were fantastic - I was so proud of them and totally overwhelmed. It is customary at our school that when a long standing staff member leaves, the school sings a special song specially composed for her. Michelle did a fantastic job with my song - I loved it. Mish - you are one very talented young lady - Thank you. After they had sung the rest of the school joined in, it was too beautiful! The singing at our school is beautiful . There have been many times when I was taking assembly when I felt overcome with emotion listening to and watching these beautiful young children singing with all their hearts. God must have been smiling Big Time listening to them. Such a privilege to be part of these assemblies. I am going to miss them.

The children during assembly.

Precious boys! Ethan and Luke - from my class. You guys were amazing. 

In fact my whole class were amazing. Michelle had been practising with them for weeks and not one of them breathed a word. They kept it a secret all that time - no easy feat for young children. Afetr assembly there were lots of hugs from the children and lots of crying children and teachers too! That was really hard. I am glad it is over but I must say I felt so loved and appreciated - I don't think we teachers realise the full impact we have on these young peoples' lives. It is very humbling and rewarding.

Mar 17, 2013

Time to reconnect revised version

Time to reconnect

Hi again,
I haven't posted for 2 weeks because my laptop decided to cease working whilst I was busy doing my Week 9 Project Life pages. One minute I was going strong, the next I had ground to a halt and was staring at a blank screen. It would not switch on at all. I changed the battery pack, swopped to different plugs, switched the router on and off but nothing worked so I had to admit defeat. I was very disappointed because I really enjoy my weekly PL fix at the weekend. Anyway, the good news is it is fixed and I have spent the last 2 days playing catch up! The results coming up now.......

As you can see from my pages it has been quite a busy time and on top of it I have not been well. I ended up at the doctor and was off school for 2 days plus still need ed the weekend and even then was still not feeling great. I had to get a repeat of my antibiotics making it a 10 day course instead of 5. Happily I can now say I am feeling much better. 

I also spent some time ( a considerable amount of time....!!!) scouring Pinterest and the internet for Freebies and ideas. I ordered a couple of digital items to start adding to my DS (Digital Stash). I want to try some things out for myself but right now I am under a wee bit of pressure because it is only another 6 weeks until Caelen and I leave Africa for the UK. I am going to miss Africa and .........too many things to mention but I have made my choice for the best of reasons and will be looking forward not back. I think Change and Forward are going to be my "Words" for 2013. 

Chez and I went to look at a flat this afternoon - oh my goodness! It was so small it could fit inside our downstairs living area and there would still be room to spare! If you close the 2 bedroom doors there is no light in the area they call the lounge. I don't think you can squeeze a double bed in either bedroom and the kitchen will only hold 1 person and our fridge won't fit. You can stand in the "lounge and see into every room in the flat. I could go on but will spare you the details. You may presume right we did not elect to take it further. I think Chez is quite worried that he and Ciaran will be out on the street if they can't find anything soon. Lots of prayers needed. 

First of the Farewells with BFF from College

Yours Truly, Robynne, Denise and Gooch  (real name - Felicity, Maiden name - Gooch, AKA -  Flick)

Instruction from Gooch - "Right girls, chins up, slightly surprised, bite the apple." Much hilarity and mirth, Chez took about 10 or more photos and I really battled to get one where we were all looking the way we like to think we should look! 
I think this proves my point!

These are my best friends from College. We met in 1973 when we all started our Teacher Training at Edgewood College of Education in Pinetown, Natal, South Africa. We hit it off right from the beginning and have maintained our friendship since then. I have wonderful memories of us all piling into my blue VW Beetle (named Bessie Bluebug!!!) heading off for a holiday in Himeville only to break down outside a small place called Camperdown. Not to be deterred we arranged for Denise's boyfriend at the time to lend us his car so that we could go off on our holiday! My poor dad was left to sort out the problem of getting my car back to Pinetown!

We try to meet regularly but some years the gaps were quite big as we each got on with our lives and families. Denise and Gooch lived in Zululand and Robynne and I lived a lot closer to each other so I saw a lot more of Robynne than the other two but whenever we meet up there is plenty to catch up on and lots of laughs to be shared.

I had said that as the time is drawing close for my departure to live in the UK , I would like us all to get together. This weekend was the only time when we were all available - all arranged in less than a week! Gooch and Seaton live on a farm - lychees, bananas, crocodiles...yes, I did say crocodiles. They invited us to all meet there. Denise lives in Eshowe, Gooch in Glendale, myself in Umhlanga and Robynne in Westville. Gooch is sort of central so it is easier to meet there. By the way, everyone else calls Gooch 'Flick" but we call her Gooch which was her maiden name when we first met. Everyone at College called her Gooch and it feels really strange to call her anything else.
Ladies at work

We all duly arrived late afternoon in time to watch the Sharks play rugby ( the men did, we were chatting and sorting out food in the kitchen till half time but we didn't miss much!) The farm has a lovely covered veranda and we sat chatting in the gathering dusk. It is in the middle of nowhere and it is pitch dark all around you. The guys got a braai (barbecue) going and we ate dinner at the outside table. Such fun, good food, good company - very special and particularly meaningful as I don't know when we will all meet together like this again.
Our husbands from left to right: James (Robynne) , Chez (me), Alwin (Denise) and Seaton (Gooch)

Robs and Gooch - very relaxed listening to a tale from Alwin
Denise with the crocodile skull Seaton got for her to take home
The dining area
 Chez and Alwin chilling over a glass of wine
 Seaton looking very mellow
Our hosts - Gooch and Seaton

You can see the complete and utter blackness behind us - dead quiet and very isolated. Personally I would be very nervous staying there on my own but Gooch is not worried and takes it all in her stride.

Moving on to coffee and some serious discussion - or not! Note the skull taking pride of place on the coffee table.

Tired of waiting for us to go to bed - we did eventually start wandering off in the direction of the bedrooms around 12:30 am.
Next morning most of us were up early. Seaton was being fetched at 7:15am to go to the airport - he was attending a Conference in George and had to leave early to catch his flight. We sat and had coffee, yoghurt  and toasted hot cross buns for those feeling a bit peckish.  I still managed to fit in some photos of the garden before we said our goodbyes. What a wonderful time we had. Thank you my special friends - I am going to miss our get togethers. We will have to make a plan for the future so that we can all meet up somewhere, sometime.
I love this wheelbarrow with these succulents
Looking up from the bottom of the garden - lychee trees in the background
Eye-catching - love this plant
Looking through the arch towards the house
The mosaic mirror reflecting life on the farm that Gooch made - a crocodile can be seen bottom left
Hand carved wooden hippo
Nguni cow
Beaded African lady
So true!
Africa, my home for the past 48 years