Ouroboros

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The ouroboros has several meanings interwoven into it. Foremost is the symbolism of the serpent biting, devouring, or eating its own tail. This symbolizes the cyclic Nature of the Universe: creation out of destruction, Life out of Death. The ouroboros eats its own tail to sustain its life, in an eternal cycle of renewal.

Now I am not in the habit of eating my own tail, but having been around the world and back, I do feel a spiritual sense of renewal and growth from my experiences.  I was not on a year-long holiday, but rather I dug deep inside of myself as a teacher, a father, and a husband and came back to Portland Oregon and Mary Rieke Elementary, full circle, a changed person.  How exactly is still to be written, but my Fulbright teaching experience was life changing.

I feel it is time to close my blog for good, but I would like to share a few final photos looking at my life from the past year…

My exchange partner and I, Mr Robert Pearce, meeting for the first time in Washington, DC.

My exchange partner and I, Mr Robert Pearce, meeting for the first time in Washington, DC.  This was taken back in July of 2012.  As the Fulbright Foundation and the Institute for International Education are both located in Washington all participants for the 2012-2013 exchange year met up for meetings and social gatherings.  I was nervous and excited at the same time, but in hindsight I should have paid more attention in the meetings surrounding culture shock.  I had no idea what I was in for.

I took this photo close to midnight whilst walking around DC on my first night.  Having never been here before I was moved by many of the monuments, especially the words of Abraham Lincoln.

I took this photo close to midnight whilst walking around DC on my first night there. Having never been here before I was moved by many of the monuments, especially the words of Abraham Lincoln.  Deep within myself I felt a sense of purpose as both a teacher and a citizen of the USA.  It was a prideful moment.

My kids watching the Olympics our first full day in England.  They look tired and a bit worried.  They had no idea what they were in for and I am so proud of them for doing so well spiritually, socially, and academically.

My kids watching the Olympics our first full day in England back in August 2012. They look tired and a bit worried. They had no idea what they were in for and I am so proud of them for doing so well spiritually, socially, and academically.

These are the American teachers teaching in the UK with family members in Northern Ireland.  Not all made it to this final gathering, but these people, us Fulbrighters, stayed connected throughout the year as best as we could.  We called, visited, and wrote to each other all year long whenever we needed to reach out to someone who understood what we were all going through.  I hope that I can remain in contact with many of them.  Time will tell.

These are the American teachers, some with family, who taught in the UK. We are  in Northern Ireland back in June of 2013 for our end of the year meeting. Not all the US teachers made it to this final gathering, but these people, us Fulbrighters, did stay connected throughout the year as best as we could. We called, visited, and wrote to each other all year long whenever we needed to reach out to someone who understood what we were all going through. I hope that I can remain in contact with many of them. Time will tell. I met some really wonderful people who I am indebted to for their friendship.
Receiving our certificates!  Satya from the British Councel is standing far left, and Maggie from IIE is kneeling far left.  These two women were lifelines for all of us and I own them a debt of gratitude for all their help throughout the year.  Unfortunately none of us received any college credit towards our degrees, but a certificate from the US State Department saying that we completed the program still looks good professionally.

Receiving our certificates! Satya, from the British Councel is standing far left, and Maggie from IIE, is kneeling far left. These two women were lifelines for all of us and I own them a debt of gratitude for all their help throughout the year. Unfortunately none of us received any college credit towards our degrees, but a certificate from the US State Department saying that we completed the program still looks good professionally.

So coming full circle these are photos of my new classroom for the 2013-2014 school year.  I have 31 students and I am teaching 3rd grade (Year 4).  About half boys and half girls. I will miss the Smartboard I had in England.  But back in America I do have a desk to work at which is nice.  We also have PE, Music, and a Dance teacher.  Teaching PE and Music was really difficult and I am glad I now send my students to professionals instead of an amateur like me trying to teach those subjects!

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It is the largest class I have ever taught and the noise level they create is by far my biggest challenge.  But so far they have shown me that they are bright, capable, and willing to do their best.  When students are that flexible I feel that I can teach them anything they want to learn.

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As I stated before the Fulbright Teacher Exchange side of the Fulbright program has been discontinued.  A few countries will participate for another year, but the UK side has been eliminated.  It is a disappointing ending to my experience, but I am and will forever be a Fulbright alumnus.  I plan on participating with the program however I can, as well as staying in touch as best I can with the wonderful teachers I met both overseas as well as from America.  The experience itself was never easy but I would not change a thing.

Looking back on my year it seems part fairy tale, part dream. Our photos, souvenirs, and memories keep the experience fresh in our minds. I also hope that my children will grow up to be better citizens and more globally aware due to the experiences that they took part in.  All of us, Rebecca, Annika, Zachary, and I were given an opportunity of a lifetime and we will never forget our year living abroad in England, 2012-2013.

So with that I close this blog.  Thanks to everyone who followed along and enjoyed the ride.

Jeff Sturges

Portland Oregon, October 2013

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The Highs, The Lows, and Reverse Culture Shock

My shoulder satchel, complete with many patches from many places we traveled to.

My shoulder satchel, complete with many patches from many places we traveled to.

I gotta admit that the first two weeks back were a whirlwind of excitement!  Back in our home, seeing our friends, our children out playing with other children: everyone was happy.

We found our home to be about 85% perfect.  The other 15% were things that we expected to find: some home repairs in need of fixing, houseplant care, and yard maintenance.  It actually felt good to “tinker” with my home, since I had not done any real tinkering in a year.  I tackled some major landscaping last week, with more to come this week.  Getting out my tools to work on my home was a nice change of pace. I also hired a handyman to repair parts of my ailing fence in my back garden.  Lastly we invested in a new television, as living with a 42″ flat screen for a year was a real luxury and returning to our 26″ CRT TV was disappointing to say the least.

Then we noticed the first change.  Well, obviously, everyone we know has a life to get on with so they all carried on.  Meanwhile, we were still around riding high on being home. People made time for us, and still are doing so, but they also have other things to do than to hear us wax poetically about living in Europe.  Next our children began to see that we were not really going anywhere, like we had been doing for over 300 days.  We were staying home, taking care of business (lots of paperwork), and sorting out our return home.  Crankiness began to set in, along with some emotional outbursts.  Actually, a lot of outbursts by all four of us!  Here we were back home, yet no one was really happy.  We were not unhappy, just not feeling like something was quite right.  This lasted about a good week and is still lingering, just not as emotionally high as it had been.  I think we all needed a good shouting at.

I did take Zachary away for a Father/Son camp out up at Lost Lake on Mt. Hood.  This is a semi-annual event hosted by some of the Fathers in our neighborhood.

Our 4-Runner all locked and loaded.  I realized how much I missed this car of ours.  It takes us everywhere we want.

Our 4-Runner all locked and loaded. I realized how much I missed this car of ours. It takes us everywhere we want.

Swimming in the lake.

Swimming in the lake.

The trip was good for Zachary to re-acclimate with the boys that live nearby.  Plus the weather was brilliant!  Annika has had a few sleep-overs with her girlfriends, though many of her best friends are either out of state or gone to summer camps.

Both kids are registered for school next year, and we got their back to school gear all sorted.  Plus the grandparents have been generous with their time (and money) taking the kids out for the day and buying them new school clothes.  Zachary came home to lots of hand me downs from a year ago, but Annika found that most of what was left in her room did not fit.  She has really grown up (physically, that is)     🙂

A beekeeper was working around the corner from our home removing a hive.  The tree itself had fallen over and the city wants to remove it but not kill the bees.  I watched him work for over an hour, having never seen a beekeeper at work in person.

A beekeeper was working around the corner from our home removing a hive. The tree itself had fallen over and the city wants to remove it but not kill the bees. I watched him work for over an hour, having never seen a beekeeper at work in person.

We have also experienced a bit of the reverse culture shock.  Just today a pedestrian was crossing a main road.  I slowed down for her, but I guess not slow enough as she scowled and used a hand gesture to express driving slower.  I thought that she would not last a minute in England with that attitude.  Yes, we have to watch out for pedestrians these days.  As I have mentioned before, the car comes first when it comes to using the paved roads overseas, and the people on the roadside need to fully watch out as they do not enjoy the same rights as over in the USA.  Some other things that have shocked us:

  • I also saw that gas (petrol) hovers around $4 a gallon over here.  Ha, we were paying close to $8 in Europe.  Americans have nothing to complain about.
  • The weather here has been gorgeous.  Sunny, pleasant, and mostly mild.  It did get a bit warm for a short spell, but after living in a much colder climate we embraced all the sunshine that we could absorb.  Hence all the BBQing and eating al fresco.
Out at the Alberta Street Fair.  Alberta is about 3 blocks north of our home.

Out at the Alberta Street Fair. Alberta is about 3 blocks north of our home.

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  • We have eaten out a few times, going to old standbys for sushi, pizza, and Mexican food.  There are so many more places I want to go out and eat at, but we do have to watch our budget.
  • We do miss the pub atmosphere and the freshness of the food from the markets.  We still eat well, but have found that food here is chock full of more preservatives, thus it does not go “bad” nearly as quickly.  In England we had to buy smart and eat fresh daily.   Makes you really wonder what is in American food, even though we buy organic and local products as much as we can afford.
  • Drinking beers back home has been a challenge.  Our second night back we went to a neighbor’s for socializing and I had two beers before I found myself wobbling.  I then checked to see that I was drinking beer at 6.7% alcohol.  In England we averaged pints at 4 to 4.4% alcohol.  Even the cheap lagers that I like in summertime are well over 5% in alcohol.  My system is definitely not used to strong beers.
  • Living abroad so simply has taught us that less really is more.  Within the first two weeks back we found ourselves bagging up lots of clothes and making piles of ‘things’ that we no longer wanted in our lives.  With our 4-Runner we filled it up twice and took stuff to Goodwill or the recycling center.  There is still another pile growing in our basement. Downsizing our stuff is now a priority for us, something we might not have realized had we not lived in England for the past year in a much smaller home.
  • Coming home to our old wardrobes has been a welcome change.  So much to choose from, after having worn the same handful of outfits for so long. Yet we still filled 4 bags of clothes that us adults do not feel a need to wear anymore.
  • Lastly Rebecca and I have found ourselves sleeping more than ever.  We are now averaging well over 8 hours a night.  In England I averaged between 5 1/2-6 1/2 hours per night.  I feel like I am much more refreshed each day I get up, possibly making up for months of lost sleep?

I return to work this week, and school begins next week.  I feel that I will have come full circle by then…

Paris en été

"The map says it is supposed to be right in front of us."

“The map says it is supposed to be right in front of us.”

Hot weather followed us onto Paris.  Our first night included thunder and lightening storms that seem to crackle right above our hotel.

Notre Dame was our first stop on our first day.  Now we have seen A LOT of churches, cathedrals, minsters, etc.. so it takes a lot to impress us.  This cathedral did not let us down as it was quite amazing, and celebrating 850 years!

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The Catecombs!

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The largest ossuary in the world, containing the bones of six million Parisiens.

The largest ossuary in the world, containing the bones of six million Parisiens.

Outside the Arc de Triomphe.

Outside the Arc de Triomphe.

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The second thing both my children wanted to see living in Europe was the Eiffel Tower.  Rebecca and I were proud that we were able to take our children to such wonderful monuments across the world.  The kids loved all the sightseeing we did for the past year.

The second thing both my children wanted to see living in Europe was the Eiffel Tower. Rebecca and I were proud that we were able to take our children to such wonderful monuments across the world. The kids loved all the sightseeing we did for the past year.

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There is no line to get up to the second level of the tower IF you choose to walk the 669 steps that it takes.

There is no line to get up to the second level of the tower IF you choose to walk the 669 steps that it takes.

Zachary, Rebecca, and Annika at the very top of the Eiffel Tower!

Zachary, Rebecca, and Annika at the very top of the Eiffel Tower!

Boat tour along the Seine.

Boat tour along the Seine.

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French Bistro for lunch.  My bucket of moules.

French Bistro for lunch. My bucket of moules.

This is what 14 Euros worth of beer looks like in one glass.

This is what 14 Euros worth of beer looks like in one glass.

I only serve the best drinks to my children.

I only serve the best drinks to my children.

Across the street from this Bistro was Père Lachaise Cemetery, eternal home to some of the most interesting French and European artists.

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Reflecting with Mr Mojo Risin'.

Reflecting with Mr Mojo Risin’.

The cemetery is really quite beautiful to walk around in.

The cemetery is really quite beautiful to walk around in.

Many Metro stations were quite colorful.

Many Metro stations were quite colorful.

For Rebecca’s birthday we went to the Louvre.  By now our children were pretty much done with museums, but we somehow convinced them to try one more.  Knowing that the Mona Lisa was here they complied.  The place was packed with tourists, but once you got away from the famous paintings there was more room to explore and reflect.  We spent four hours here and that was about enough.  Of course we did not see the whole museum!

I took an elbow in the ribs just to get this average shot.

I took an elbow in the ribs just to get this average shot.

No one seemed to know that this was Da Vinci as well.

No one seemed to know that this was Da Vinci as well.

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Vermeer.

Vermeer.

Venus de Milo.  It was fun to see so many "famous" pieces of art all in one place.

Venus de Milo. It was fun to see so many “famous” pieces of art all in one place.

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This is moments before Zachary fell whilst running around this art installation and seriously skinned his knee.  Mom was prepared with bandages, thankfully.

This is moments before Zachary fell whilst running around this art installation and seriously skinned his knee. Mom was prepared with bandages, thankfully.

At Metro station La Defense there is a large, bronze thumb that we just had to see to believe.

At Metro station La Defense there is a large, bronze thumb that we just had to see to believe.

Birthday girl enjoying her chocolate mousse for dessert.

Birthday girl enjoying her chocolate mousse for dessert.

Traveling around Europe I noticed that, especially when eating out, the people who wait or assist diners all knew some English.  In addition, many places had menus in other languages.  Both Rebecca and I have worked in the food industry and in America we do not provide menus, or even service, in any language but English.  I did my best to use my four years of High School French, but most Parisiens answered my questions in English or asked me to not bother with my French.  Were they pompous or polite?  I could not tell.

We took the Channel Tunnel train all the way back to London, then on up to Melton for one last night.  We stayed with the Triggs again, who were gracious hosts and are good friends.

We took the Channel Tunnel train all the way back to London, then on up to Melton for one last night. We stayed with the Triggs again, who were gracious hosts and are good friends.
Christopher Triggs took me out in his TRV, and eighties British sports car.  It went very fast!  He even let me drive it home the last mile, my final time behind a right-hand wheel.

Christopher Triggs took me out in his TRV, and eighties British sports car. It went very fast! He even let me drive it home the last mile, my final time behind a right-hand wheel.

We spent a couple hours in their garage sorting out our packing.  We ended up taking back with us four large bags to check, and each of us carried two bags/pieces on luggage onto the airplane.  It was a bit cumbersome, but the end was in sight and that was incentive for all of us.  We flew home on American Airlines, which had hundreds of movies to choose from to watch, so the entire plane was plugged in.  We all watched 3-4 movies each, catching up on films we missed while away.  The food was good as well, and the flight did not feel so long.

We went through customs at Terminal 4 in Los Angeles without any hitches, then humped our gear to Terminal 6 for our plane ride home to Portland.  Luckily our checked luggage was only with us a brief time before we re-checked it at Terminal 4.  Bob and RJ Steed picked us up in two cars from the Portland airport, and we got home around 10:30pm.  I had stayed awake at this point for about 23 hours, and now a bit of adrenaline was kicking in being back in my home after gone one year.

Europe was good to us, and gets big thumbs up!

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Sturges European Tour 2013

Too much to write about, so I will speak with pictures.  I must say to all my British compatriots that you live so close to so many unique cultures—you must explore them as often as you can.

BERLIN

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Brandenburg Tor

Brandenburg Tor

Holocaust Memorial.  Some of these blocks are up to 5 meters tall.

Holocaust Memorial. Some of these blocks are up to 5 meters tall.

One of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Ishtar Gate of Babylon.  Pergemon Museum.

One of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Ishtar Gate of Babylon. Pergemon Museum.

Weather was hot.  Fountains cooled us off.

Weather was hot. Fountains cooled us off.

SO36. Famous Berlin Punk Rock club.

SO36. Famous Berlin Punk Rock club.  We stayed in the Kreutzberg section of town, which is known for its artists and musical history.  Gritty and tough part of town, but we liked staying here immensely.

BUDAPEST

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Szechenyi Baths. We spent most of our first day here in the baths.  Sun came out and we all got a slight burn, but it was nice to just relax in a variety of pools.

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St Stephen's Basilica.

St Stephen’s Basilica.

Bela Lugosi!

Bela Lugosi!

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Breathtaking view at night of Budapest.

Breathtaking view at night of Budapest.

Buda Castle.

Buda Castle.

Hungarian train timetable.  For the life of me I picked up NO Hungarian words.  Too Hard!

Hungarian train timetable. For the life of me I picked up NO Hungarian words. Too Hard!

Inside the Parliament building.

Inside the Parliament building.

Having a cold one inside a "ruin pub". This one was called Szimpla, and is considered one of the best bars in the world.  Probably more fun at night without children.  Place was huge and very quirky.  Would go over well in Portland.

Having a cold one inside a “ruin pub”. This one was called Szimpla, and is considered one of the best bars in the world. Probably more fun at night without children. Place was huge and very quirky. Would go over well in Portland.

PRAGUE

Pilsner Urquell.  Invented near here and the oldest pilsner beer in the world.

Pilsner Urquell. Invented near here and the oldest pilsner beer in the world.

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Prague Astronomical Clock.

Prague Astronomical Clock.

We took a bike tour.  A great way to see someplace you have never been to before.  Weather getting a bit hotter!

We took a bike tour. A great way to see someplace you have never been to before. Weather getting a bit hotter!

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Prague Castle.

Prague Castle.

St Vitus Cathedral.

St Vitus Cathedral.

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PISA

Before we left for Europe our children wanted to see two specific things.  This was one of them.

Before we left for Europe our children wanted to see two specific things. This was one of them.

We toured the tower early in the morning, and they rang the bells at 9:15.  At no other time did we ever hear the bells ring.

We toured the tower early in the morning, and they rang the bells at 9:15. At no other time did we ever hear the bells ring.  The pole in this picture is vertical, allowing one to see the tilt.

Pisa was very hot and very muggy out.  We stayed there for only one night, right next to this place.

Pisa was very hot and very muggy out. We stayed there for only one night, right next to this place.

FLORENCE

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A David, but not THE David.

A David, but not THE David.

On the Ponte Vecchio.  Florence was very crowded and very hot, but not as humid as Pisa.

On the Ponte Vecchio. Florence was very crowded and very hot, but not as humid as Pisa.

The communal sitting room outside of our room.  The place we stayed in was a converted palace.  No tv, no AC, and mosquitoes.

The communal sitting room outside of our room. The place we stayed in was a converted palace. No tv, no AC, and mosquitoes.  Toilet is off to the right, and our room has the door open.  The room itself was huge!

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Another David.

Another David.

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Next up, Paris…..

Sunset Over Waltham

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Well, I did it.  I taught a full year abroad in a foreign country!  The last days of school were very emotional including tears from many around me.  Internally I was just as sad to be leaving, but I am also really proud of myself for being able to do what I did.  A year ago if one was to tell me all the adventures and challenges that were to come my way I could not have believed them in a million years.  But they occurred and I came out a year later a better teacher, a better husband, and a better father.  I am exhausted and exhilarated having accomplished what I did.

How this all will change me as a teacher remains to be seen.  I know that I will approach teaching a bit differently because I really have no choice.  I do not foresee any real radical changes to how I will teach, but I do know that things will probably be a bit different.  I am excited to see what those changes might be next school term.

Of course we celebrated at the pub last night with our neighbors, whose son William and Zachary are best mates.  William is now on holiday, but when he returns Zachary will no longer be around, and that will be really hard for him.  They grew really close.  But it was still fun to chat and eat around various pints of cider and real ales .  My last night in a British pub was a good one.

Today we are continuing our mass cleaning of the home.  I went out and got a haircut, and had the car professionally washed and cleaned out.  We will finish our packing today as well.  Tomorrow we are going to move into the Trigg’s home for one night as we hand the keys to this home over to my exchange partner’s parents.  Monday our last adventure will begin…

Monday we fly to Berlin for three nights.  Then we fly to Budapest for three nights.  Next we are taking the train to Prague for two nights.  Followed by a flight to Pisa for one night, then the train to Florence for two nights.  Next we take the train back to Pisa and fly from there to Paris for four nights.  Finally we will take the Channel Train (Chunnel) all the way back through London up to Melton Mowbray for one final night, again with the Triggs.  On Wednesday the 31st of July our taxi will pick us up and all of our luggage and take us to London Heathrow, where we will fly back to the USA.

Our trip across Europe will be done with packs on our backs.  We are staying in the city centers of all the places.  We are basically backpacking and taking just enough to wear for a while until we need to do the laundry, probably in Prague (?).  We have both walking and bicycle tours planned in some places, will see most of the expected tourist sites in each city/country, and we are expecting warm to hot weather throughout.  I am not sure if booking a seaside holiday would have been a better plan, but seeing five countries and using three currencies (four if you include our coming back to England)  is what we are doing and we all are looking forward to this last, wild adventure.  Rebecca and I have been planning this for months and we got good deals on accommodations and travel fares.

I will be signing off the computer Sunday night, sending the occasional pictures to friends and family when the internet is available, but I probably will not blog again until August once we return.

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Emotions Running High

So I only have two days left to teach, but I gotta tell you that things are not easy for me right now.  We are saying a lot of goodbyes to some really nice people who have been part of our lives for a year, and it is not easy to do.  Additionally, last week I taught school on Independence Day, which of course I have never had to do before.

Lucky for me July 4th was handed my way to help design a day for the school.  Initial ideas included a rota of activities for the whole school, but I made the point that children are not really inside on this day in America. They are outside playing, or at the pool, or the beach, or eating BBQ with friends and family.  Well, we could not import a pool, but we did have a free play afternoon in the classrooms.

In the morning my students tried to find a label all fifty US states.  In the year 5/6 classroom they added the state capitals to the challenge.

In the morning my students tried to find a label all fifty US states. In the year 5/6 classroom they added the state capitals to the challenge.

I taught the whole school our National Anthem during Assembly time.  We also watched some firework displays from Washington DC last year, and learned a bit about what Independence Day is.  In the afternoon we had birthday cake, celebrating my Nation's 237th birthday.

I taught the whole school our National Anthem during Assembly time. We also watched some firework displays from Washington DC last year, and learned a bit about what Independence Day is. In the afternoon we had birthday cake, celebrating my Nation’s 237th birthday.

Students also dressed up in red, white, blue, and stars and stripes and the whole school ate outside on picnic blankets.  I was amazed to see what different children wore and everyone was very kind and supportive of me.  Everyone seems to love America, which makes it even more special teaching here.  I felt very patriotic, especially when the whole school was singing our National Anthem.  A memory not soon forgotten.

Mrs Triggs and Mrs Saunders sharing a laugh at our picnic.

Mrs Triggs and Mrs Saunders sharing a laugh at our picnic.

Well, that was last week. This week, specifically yesterday, the whole school surprised me with an after school English Tea Party!  A total surprise!

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There were cakes, biscuits, cucumber sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, jelly sandwiches, pork pies, three pots of tea, British china tea cups and saucers, strawberry lemonade, and so much more.  Everything decked out with the Union Jack and the English flag.  I was really moved by the kindness and generosity of everyone.  A photographer from the Melton Times was present and took my photo with my class.  Lastly, I was presented with two huge cards made by the students of the whole school.  I was also given a class photo, a school photo, and a photo of Waltham Primary from the turn of the century.

http://www.meltontimes.co.uk/lifestyle/arts-leisure/pupils-say-goodbye-to-american-teacher-1-5268413

Thank you to everyone involved who made me feel really special.  Friday, July 12th, the last day of school, will be emotionally difficult.

Quintessential British Weekend

Last weekend was quite a treat for me.  First, Wimbledon began and was on live every night when I got home from work.  I have kept an eye on Jerzy Janowicz and predict that he will be able to win it all for the men.

Second, the Glastonbury Festival was happening, and due to an obvious partnership with the BBC, big chunks of the festival were shown either live or taped on the telly.  I was able to watch the Arctic Monkeys live on Friday night, and the Rolling Stones on Saturday.  I even caught some snippets of Kenny Rogers, Public Enemy, Primal Scream, and Mumford and Sons.  Did not cost me anything, no need to wear my wellies, and I did not need to retire to a tent to go to sleep.

Lastly, I was invited to play Cricket!  Yes, that Cricket.

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My friends Christopher and Bob play in a kind of friendly league on a team with a variety of ages, and I kindly asked them last September if they could afford to allow me to ‘give it a go.’  Now that the season has begun, they invited me to play against Sproxton Village CC.

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Christopher was the star of the game, scoring 73 runs and batting for close to two hours.  I played quite well in the field and my teammates cheered me on whilst making some nice defensive plays.  When it came my turn to bat I did not fair so well, scoring 7 though I did hit a 4.  I did not get a chance to bowl because the other team ran out of batters, though we had only played 70 overs in an 80 over game.

Here I am batting.

Here I am batting.

The game lasted only five hours, including our tea break.  Tea included finger sandwiches, scones with jam, baked goods, fruit, and yes, tea.  Afterwards there was a BBQ and a picnic held by SCC.  Gentlemen on my team invited me to play in their next game at the end of this month, but I sadly told them I would be out of the country, working my way home. I think I held my own on this day, and both Christopher and Bob concurred.

As the photos show the weather was gorgeous and I had a wonderful time playing a game I knew nothing about beforehand.  There are games on telly but I find them a bit boring to watch.  I did some research and see that there is a Cricket Club back in Portland, so maybe my playing days are just beginning?