Tuesday, 23 August 2011

the best weekend

Last weekend still lingers in my memory because of its absolute and utter loveliness. There was a camping trip with our lovely crescent friends and neighbours who are really the living personification of everything a good neighbour should be. There were starry skies that did not begin or end, so many stars that I almost believed the old adage about there being more stars in the sky than grains of sand on every beach in this world. It was genuinely breathtaking. And also included were roasted marshmallows, Barca's homemade apple pie and homebaked bread (truly delicious!), wonderful company, a trip to Wilton House (which I will write about soon. Go! Please go! It is also breathtaking and idyllic in every sense.) There were spiders too and a chicken named Campo who followed everybody around, whom I fed aforementioned apple pie and who made Ciara and Helena shriek when he lurched towards them which was quite hysterical. And there were lots of other lovely and camping-appropriate things which should be mentioned but I really do not have the time! The other amazing thing, beyond words really, was meeting our long lost Canadian cousins, their parents (dance teachers) and three members of their dance troupe too. It is an awfully long story; suffice to say, in my twenty years, I have never met them despite having visited Canada but they are here with the dancing school (how very Ballet Shoes!) on a field trip and we hosted a little tea party and got to meet all four of them and everyone else too. They were so sweet, hilarious and absolutely exquisite dancers. It makes me so inspired to see young people dedicate their lives to an art form in such a way. I can't really put into words how wonderful it was, so here is a picture (or several.) I really must sleep now, as I am going to Germany tomorrow with my mother for a student house hunting adventure (wish me luck!), but camping pictures will follow and more stories too. Sorry for rambling.


It really was one of the most beautiful weekends in existence.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Those lazy hazy crazy days of summer...

pears in our garden

tea for two

The first of autumnal fruits, blackberry picking with two of the most wonderful girls I know, the advent of Brown-eyed Susan lookalikes in our back garden, morning tea with my mother (I will miss this, dearly), packed lunches and trips to our park to play badminton and rounders with the neighbours. The silly season is upon us...it's just nice.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

I miss you, beach

A simple nine-word sentence in the novel I am reading ('they jumped off the dock into the blue waters') has invoked in me an awful and unrivalled longing for the sea, which I miss with every fibre of my being. It is an itching in my bones and a yearning in my heart. Every year, upon our arrival back home, I forget about my love for the ocean for approximately two weeks. My sea swimming, ocean diving, crab catching, sandy sandwich eating quota has been fulfilled and I can continue with my ordinary urban existence. Then I remember. This is not meant to sound downbeat; I feel extraordinarily lucky to have found a place - the sea, anywhere, as long as the water is blue in the sunlight - at such a young age where I feel utterly contented and I am so happy I have been able to spend so much of my summer at the beach this year. My city burns and I am very grateful that our street, the neighbourhood, remains as yet unharmed (and I grieve for those who have lost their livelihoods and the places they love, it is awful and despicable and dreadfully sad; I am not really sure what to think, except that it is clear something innate is dreadfully wrong with our society for young people to resort to violence) so it seems silly for me to be rambling on about my love for the sandy sea shore. But sometimes, in the wake of terrible events, all you can do is remember the places you love most in an attempt to rekindle what has been lost.

The absolutely wonderful thing is that, weather permitting, I'm driving to the beach with my best friends this Friday! I can hardly wait! Also, sending my best and most fervent good wishes to all those affected by the riots here in the city and elsewhere.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

deutsch dreaming

Everything is beginning to come together. Letters from the Bavarian schools minister (for me! for me!) drop onto our doorstep and clutter my inbox.  I know the names of the two high schools I will work in, and the exact distance in kilometres (oh yes, I am becoming a true European already!) between the two. I hope to live somewhere in between, with other young people, near the Danube. I have looked forward to this for so long. In my first year I would lie in bed and look at my ceiling punctuated with plastic stars and think how exciting it was that, in not too long, I would be stargazing in another country. 'I'm excited already!' I would exclaim to those who enquired about mein Jahr ins Ausland.  In second year this bordering-on-lunacy excitement was replaced with the mundane, everyday bureaucracy of actually upping and moving to another country; deciding where and when and how and what exactly it was you planned to spend twelve months doing. Then the references and the endless forms on crisp white paper, the mad dash to the only photobooth in the vicinity to procure a passport photograph for our applications, the weekly meetings in dusty offices in the Victorian villa I love. But now, the to-do list shrinks daily, things fall into place, and the excitement is returning to me. The thought of walking through the narrow streets of the city in the snow, of bicycling to school, of partaking in the quintessentially German tradition of Kaffee und Kuchen as often as possible (and using this as a bribe to make old friends visit me), of swimming in the lake, of visiting the places I used to as a child, of wandering through Galeria Kaufhof for hours, of making new German-speaking friends and of submerging myself fully in another culture I adore....it makes me happy just to think about. Ich freue mich darauf.

P.s. For those out of the loop, I am spending my mandatory year abroad in a Bavarian city teaching English to high schoolers. Juhu!
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