Peace of Mind

A List of News, both good and bad:

1. Earlier this week I contacted the head of HR at my school, because I was hoping to book flights to go home to Canada for Caitrin’s wedding and to sort out my work visa. This is when she informed me that there must have been some kind of miscommunication, because the school DOESN’T HAVE A LICENSE TO SPONSOR ME!

So basically my entire week has been spent stressing out about how I am going to stay in the country when my visa expires at the end of August (and I’m super ill because of it!)… Rob and I have thought of everything under the sun! From looking for a new school, all the way to me moving closer to Rob until my visa expires so that we can spend time together before I’m essentially deported… and everything in between.

As of now, we haven’t entirely figured it out. We think we may have a plan, but until I know for sure, I’m keeping you in the dark.

2. On Thursday I had an eye appointment which lasted two and a half hours and they dilated my pupils so I was essentially blind for most of the day, so I didn’t go to work. Instead, after my appointment, I went to visit everyone at my old school! It was super nice, but naturally everyone was annoyed to hear that I wasn’t going to be sponsored, since the only reason I left my old job was because I was under the impression that this school could keep me in the country.

3. On Friday, Talithah (A friend from my old job… not sure if I’ve mentioned her in my blog before?) and I went to see Spotlight at the Peckhamplex Cinema in Peckham Rye. The movie was really good (and so was the popcorn!) but Talithah and I were so tired that we almost fell asleep on each other!

4. Last weekend was our anniversary, so Rob and I went to Edinburgh for the weekend and it was great! Robert got us a cute flat to stay in for the weekend (but it’s missing half of all its walls because it’s on the top floor), and we just had a really nice, relaxing time!

   
    
   

  

   

    
   

      
On Friday night we watched The Apprentice (which I’ve never seen before but I can say with absolute certainty that it doesn’t make me like Donald Trump any better… anyone else think he is kind of misogynistic?)

On Saturday (our actual anniversary) we went to the supermarket to get some food and then went back to cook it at the flat! Then we just relaxed for the whole day… we even had a nap! And it was glorious!

  
On Saturday evening (after the nap) I put on makeup (I know, shock!) and we went for dinner at Las Iguanas and had a bunch of fancy drinks and delicious food! Then we went to this nifty cocktail bar with a pretty dome ceiling! We had a drink there and then headed back to our flat for the night, for more relaxing!

   

    
 On Sunday we had to check out of our flat after breakfast, so we went around Edinburgh, along the Royal Mile, and explored! We got fudge, and some Scottish shortbread, went for lunch at Frankie & Benny’s (my favourite British restaurant) and then I headed on the bus to the airport to fly back to London!

It was a bit of a rollercoaster week, but I’m still hopeful that things will work out!

Today I’m hanging out with my friend Erin, so look forward to some crazy shenanigans being reported next week!

Stay tuned…

-Moose ❤ ❤

P.S. Thanks to Rob for taking half of the photos (all the good ones are his!) 

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I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)

Happy Saturday everyone!

I have a few minor updates for this week, but it’s better than nothing!

  1. My internet is down… again. So here I sit, in a Caffé Nero, sipping on a hot chocolate, even though I always regret drinking hot chocolate, simply because I need to use their wifi.
  2. The UK Government is apparently attempting to make it so that non-EU citizens can no longer extend their stay in the UK beyond 5 years unless they make £35k a year… I definitely don’t make that in a year. As you can imagine, this isn’t good for me. So if you are a UK resident or an EU citizen and you want to help a girl out, click here to sign the petition!
  3. I’ve been making a legitimate attempt to make something from my “Yummy” board on Pinterest every weekend. Last weekend I made this Avocado and Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip, and last night I made Bruschetta just like the girl in this blog does (and you should read it, because she is hilariously over-zealous about this particular bruschetta), except that I added red onions and a bit of olive oil because yum.  
  4. Alfieri has been growing like mad crazy. I take a photo of him every day and this is what he looked like on Friday:   
  5. Netflix is going to make it so that you can’t use Proxies or Unblockers to watch shows which are only on Netflix in another country! Life ruiners!
  6. I found the most Canadian thing I have ever seen in the UK.  
  7. I think that’s it but I really want to get a list of 10 items
  8. Oh! I’m going to Scotland next weekend!
  9. I just purchased a season of 7th Heaven on iTunes (since I don’t have internet to entertain me) for £14.99. The same season is available on the Canadian store for $14.99. I see a problem here, don’t you?
  10. Work has been really good. I hope to know more about visa stuff in the next few weeks, so I’ll keep you posted!

I guess that’s it for now!

Stay tuned…

-Moose ❤ ❤

Coming Home

It’s a three-parter today everyone!

***DISCLAIMER*** It may sound like I’m complaining a lot about moving all of Rob’s stuff… and I am… but the truth is that it’s totally worth it because now we will be in the same country and that is wonderful 🙂

Part 1: Travelling to France

On December 29th, Rob and I saddled up our rental van, and set out to drive to Grenoble in order to pack up Rob’s flat for his move to the UK! We drove to Dover, where the White Cliffs of Dover live (obviously) and hopped on the ferry to get to Calais! This is me, running in the “Pet Exercise Area” near where our ferry departed:


HERE is a super awesome song all about the White Cliffs of Dover! And here is us being super cute on the ferry with the White Cliffs behind us:


After that photo was taken, Robert and I proceeded to nap on the Ferry and it was glorious.

We spent the first night is Arras, France, where we partia-UNESCed here:


… which is one of twelve military properties designed by this guy called Vauban in the late sixteen and early seventeen hundreds.

We also stayed in a hotel near this gem of a tower:


 … which is also a partia-UNESC but not the same as the Vauban partia-UNESC. Just so we’re clear.

On the 30th, we stopped in Vézelay, which is a full UNESC and was also my 25th UNESC ever! Yay me!

This the church which is believed to be the resting place of St. Mary Magdalene:


 And this is me swinging on a well just outside the church which is believed to be the resting place of St. Mary Magdalene:


…because I’m classy.

This is what people in Vézelay do at Christmastime, instead of putting trees in their house:


 And this is what French pit-stop toilets look like:


 Yes, they smell as good as they look AND they have pink toilet paper!

…France, I think I’ll miss you.

 

Part 2: Packing up Rob’s Life

Possibly the most agonizing three days of my life, made bearable only by the fact that Robert was there and I love him, so yeah.

Day 1: Rob needed to spend the whole day working on a fellowship application which was due at midnight that night, and so I spent the day washing all of Rob’s dishes (because his kitchen sink is broke and so his dishes accumulated to the point where I need to spend approximately three hours doing them in the bathroom sink), packing up boxes, and hoping that it wouldn’t take as long as I thought it would to pack everything up. Oh, and did I mention that this was New Years Eve!? And it was freezing because his heating is broken so this is my warming up my feet with a space heater, who I affectionately named Spencer:


Day 2: Rob was finished his application and so we worked on packing up the kitchen (which took FOREVER) and then started working on other things.

Day 3: We packed up most of Rob’s stuff but eventually had to start loading the van… which took longer than packing up the kitchen took. By 2am I couldn’t stay awake anymore and so I went to sleep… then at 5 when I woke up (because we had to start driving back to London as we were doing this trip all in one day this time) Robert was already started on packing up more of the van.

After a really long day of driving for Rob (including a nap break and several coffee breaks… bless him) we made it back to London, just in time to unpack all of his stuff into a storage unit and get to sleep at 2am, yet again, just before my first day of work.

Part 3: My First Week at My New Job

My first day was a staff training day and so there were no students… nothing much to report there… except this “before” photo of my new classroom:


…”After” photos to come soon.

This is my class plant… I started watering him on Tuesday and this is him on Wednesday:


Thursday:


and Friday:


… I can’t wait to see him on Monday!

You’ll also notice that the plant is a “he” because he is named “Alfieri” after a character in a play that my year 9s are studying… bonus points to anyone who can name the play and the author!

My students are mostly really lovely! I have a few classes which are not quite as pleasant, but for the most part I really like the students! And the school itself is so awesome… they have a fingerprint scanner which you use to purchase food from the canteen (after you’ve topped up your fingerprint… of course!)

Anyway, that’s all for today!

Stay tuned…

-Moose ❤ ❤

P.S. Thanks to Rob for taking most of the pictures!! ❤ ❤

Deck the Halls

Sorry for the late post today everyone, but it has been a crazy few days!

On Sunday night, Robert and I went to our friend Claire’s birthday party, which was a lot of fun! We played a couple games, including one of my all time favorites (which I often play with students), Mafia! We played the game several times and each time it became more and more about devising a strategy to win. Highlights include the final round, when I was the detective but was given inaccurate information from the narrator, leading to a very false accusation of another player, and almost causing the mafia to get away with murder!

On Tuesday night, Robert, his mum, and I went to see Wonder.land, a new musical which is essentially a deconstruction of Alice in Wonderland! It was extremely well done and I thoroughly enjoyed the production. Some highlights were the costumes, the minimalistic set, and the excellent usage of a scrim to show a third dimension with projections! If you’re ever in London, I highly recommend checking it out!

  
Here I am, checking out the tea party!

On Wednesday, Robert and I went to Lewisham to have some amazing apple crumble! My friend’s son owns an apple crumble business and he has a stall set up in Lewisham so we went to eat some and it was amazing! If you’re in London you should check out Jonnie’s Crumble! He delivers!

Wednesday evening, Rob, his mum, and I enjoyed a delicious Christmas dinner with a really fancy looking cake!


 Thursday was Christmas Eve and it was a relatively uneventful day, except that in the Barker household, wrapping presents happens at the last possible moment, and so we were up wrapping presents until after midnight…

Naturally, I wrap like a pro.

Christmas Day was very nice! The three of us woke up at a totally reasonable time (Ok, Rob and I may have slept in a little too late… as we’ve done many times over the past week!) and then we opened our stockings (one for each of us) and I got lots of cute things including dinosaur cookie cutters, a large deck of brain teasers, and this reindeer:


(Of whose name I am accepting suggestions! Leave them in the comments!)

  

After stockings we got all pretty and left for Rob’s cousins’ house to see his family, have Christmas dinner, and open presents!

I got:

A plaid shirt

A jewelry box

An electric hand mixer to bake cookies

A cookie sheet

A couple cookbooks

A scarf

A cat game

A Teacher Planner (and it’s PINK!)

And lots of other things!

  

 Rob’s niece and I, playing a game!

And that brings us to today, which has been spent planning all of the things that need to be planned, like Rob moving to the UK, and me teaching at a new school… it’s been hectic!

And on that note, sorry for the poorly written blog post today, but I’ve got so little time, and so much to do!

Next week I’ll be in France to help Rob move, so that will most likely be incredibly dull, so don’t expect a blog post… but if I come up with anything exciting I will be sure to write one!

Lots of love, and Merry Christmas!

 

Stay tuned…

-Moose ❤ ❤

Good in Goodbye

This week has been EMOTIONAL!

 

It was my last week at the PRU and I shed many-a-tear because leaving is probably the last thing I want to do in the entire universe (OK, slightly hyperbolic statement but I’m just trying to make a point)!
So it’s been an eventful week, but not exactly one that needs recounting on my blog (unless you care to hear all about my roller coaster of emotions). Lots of Christmas parties, meals, cards, and Secret Santa… Lots of love and hugs and, as mentioned before, tears.

My last day of work (which, sadly, was sans-students) consisted of clandestine gift wrapping, a plethora of desserts (not very diabetes friendly), another Christmas meal with my colleagues (at Nando’s, because we are cool like that) which my two awesome bosses paid for, a Secret Santa gift exchange (which isn’t really that secret anymore), and speeches from all the staff members who are leaving (mine was not very eloquent), in addition to two beautifully, and thoughtfully written speeches by one of my students for my boss and myself! If that doesn’t make me feel like the luckiest person in the whole world then I’ve got serious issues!

 This bouquet of flowers from my colleagues just screams “Megan”!

All my Christmas cards, plus my leaving card and the speech my student wrote for me! ❤

 

Anyway, I feel like my most recent blog posts have all been about me leaving my job and how much I don’t want to…

So in other news:

It is almost Christmas, and while Christmas is a time of year which I have very mixed feelings about, this year I am looking forward to spending lots of time with my love, and also getting some much needed R&R!

I will also be doing a lot of planning for my new role as an English teacher at a school in Kent.

And for the last week of the break, I will probably be in Grenoble helping Rob pack up his flat because he is moving back to the UK! Yes, that’s right everyone! Robert is moving back to the UK (not London though, so don’t get TOO excited)!

My next blog post will be on Boxing Day, so I can’t wait to tell you all about my Christmas with Robert and his family!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Lots of love,

-Moose ❤ ❤

For Good

I have so much craziness to talk about this week and so my post will be done in multiple sections! Feel free to skip over some of them if you wish!

 

Section A: My Weekend Getaway to Germany

I spent last weekend in Dresden with Caitrin and her fiancé Johannes. It was a superbly awesome weekend!

I didn’t work on Friday because I had to catch my first flight at 2:45 and I obviously wouldn’t have made it had I worked until 3:30. I arrived in Hamburg where I discovered there is no WIFI at Hamburg airport and I was very distraught! Fortunately my layover was short enough that it didn’t really matter.

Then I flew from Hamburg to Dresden where I was reunited with Caitrin and Johannes! I even got an entire row to myself on this flight so I was in a pretty stellar mood upon arrival!

We went back to Caitrin’s flat where they cooked me a delicious dinner while I sat on my lazy butt and took photos (even though Caitrin had already done an eight hour, physically rigorous shift) but they love me anyway so it’s all good.
Then Caitrin and I exchanged Christmas presents since we won’t see each other before then. She got me the best thing ever! Drumroll please…………

A German The Little Prince colouring book and an Emergency Cake (Yes, in the event of a… well, I don’t really know why one would ever need an emergency cake, but if and when it happens, I will be fully prepared!)!!

Then Johannes went home and Caitrin and I went to sleep because I was exhausted from travelling and she had to get up super early the next day.

On Saturday, Caitrin was working and so Johannes and I spent the day together! We started out with an awesome breakfast… It turns out that pumpkin seed rolls are, like, the greatest thing ever!

After breakfast we went to a museum, which I cannot remember the name of because it is very German, but it is essentially a measurement and astronomy museum (which, as we discovered in Switzerland, I thoroughly enjoy!).

After the museum I was starting to feel really tired for some reason, so Johannes suggested we find a place to buy smoothies in the Neustadt… but sadly we couldn’t find any right away and so we decided to carry on looking around the Neustadt.

We found ourselves in this really neat hidden market with lots of cute little shops and really sweet buildings…

Then we went for lunch… Johannes had a hamburger… I had half a hamburger.

Eventually we ended up at a café/restaurant/pub where we ordered really adorable virgin cocktails and I discovered that my heart shaped stir stick was blue and translucent… not black and opaque like I originally thought, because it was super freaking dark in there.


After finishing our drinks we walked to the tram stop to meet Caitrin after she’d finished work!

The three of us then went to a Christmas market together, where I tried glüwein and the most delicious pastry-type concoction that can only be described as heavenly. I wish I had gotten a photo of this for my blog but once I took one bite there was no chance I was going to slow down to take out my camera! It was a rectangular doughy thing, filled with cheese and meat and topped with sour cream… SO delicious!

Sunday morning was a lazy morning but it was St Nicholas’ day so obviously Johannes filled our boots with treats!

Caitrin worked in the afternoon and so Johannes took me to the airport. I was relieved to find that my layover in Frankfurt Airport was not nearly as WIFIless as Hamburg!

 

Section B: Wicked Wednesday

On Wednesday, Ann and I took our two Year 11 students to see Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre!!! It was amazing! They both loved it so much! Ann and I cried (obvs), and I felt all warm and fuzzy inside when I saw how much everyone genuinely enjoyed it!

(A short section, but absolutely worth mentioning!)

 

Section C: The Debate

So, for those of you who don’t know, the unit I work in at my school is a one-to-one provision, meaning that I only teach one student at a time and I only have a total of about five students.

While teaching my Year 11s about techniques for writing persuasive essays, I came up with the [brilliant?] idea to have the students engage in a debate where they can apply the techniques to real life, and hopefully gain confidence for their essay!

I must say, it went quite well. The topic was “You have the world at your fingertips. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” We had three staff members participate: Myself, helping to argue the pro side, my boss, Jon, helping to argue the con side, and Mike… the world’s most biased judge (All squeezed into my tiny English office)!

Anyway, the reason I’m bringing this up, teacher friends, is you should DEFINITELY try doing a debate in one of your lessons! You’d obviously do it differently, since you probably have more students… You could even try doing a Parliamentary Style debate and elect a Speaker and a Timer and everything! Try it, seriously!

 

Section D: My Big News

So, I can now officially announce that I am leaving my current job to go teach English at a new school!

I found out last week on Monday, but obviously had several people to tell before I announced it to the world. It has been very bittersweet, for many reasons.

  1. I REALLY love my current job and I love my amazing colleagues and students and it breaks my heart to leave a place that has become a second home to me. Telling most of my students on Thursday was extremely difficult for me, but was also uplifting in a way, because it made me realize that I must be doing something right as a teacher, as I didn’t realize they would miss me as much as they say they will. (Sorry, run-on sentence…)
  2. The new school is willing to sponsor me to stay in the UK! So that’s amazing news! (And also the only reason I’m leaving my current job.)
  3. The new school has pink walls in the corridor, and that is awesome.
  4. I’ll have to walk farther to get to the toilet though, since the toilet won’t be directly across from my classroom… annoying.
  5. The new school is a specialist arts college, so I know they appreciate the arts as much as I do! They have multiple theatre spaces!
  6. Did I mention I REALLY love my current job and don’t want to leave? But, I’m trying to go into it with an open mind and an open heart! Wish me luck!

 

Anyway, I think that is all the excitingness for now… Probably more exciting stuff next week as it is the final week of term and then I’m off work for two weeks, and Rob will be here for most of it!

Also, I’m really tired and so apologies if there are any glaring errors in grammar or spelling. I’ll edit it later!

 

Stay tuned…

-Moose ❤ ❤

P.S. My phone is being weird and is only letting me post a few photos… I’ll try again later but you’ll have to deal with only these ones for now!

Easier Said Than Done

So lots of stuff going on with me these days… I’m beginning to panic (perhaps a little early) about being able to stay in the country once my visa expires in August. Yes, for those of you who haven’t heard or figured it out, I’m not planning to return to Canada to live anytime in the near future, if I can help it. Not that I don’t LOVE Canada, because I do… but I also love my life in England and I love my man and I want to stay close to him 🙂

But the whole trying to stay in the country to work and live thing? So many options, so few of which I am eligible for. Ancestry visa? I don’t have any grandparents from the UK. Spouse visa? I’m not married to a UK citizen or a person with permanent residency in the UK. Work visa? Well, this is what I’ve been working on as of late. But despite the fact that the UK is in desperate need of teachers, getting a work visa still requires me to give up a limb and my first born child.

So I’ve recently spoken to an agency about finding me a teaching job in a school that would be willing to sponsor me. So far there are a few potentials.

BUT that leads to a whole NEW set of complications. You see, there are several types of visas which allow me to switch to a Tier 2 (General) Work Visa within the UK… but unfortunately, the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa is not one of them. This means that I’ll have to return to Canada for approximately two months to apply for my Tier 2. There are a few good things about this:

  • I will get to catch up with friends and family! 🙂
  • It is cheaper to apply for the visa from Canada
  • I’ll already be in Canada for a wedding that I’m going to in May (because I’d probably go April-June)
  • I’ll get to pig out on dill pickles, slurpees, and salt-water taffy
  • I’ll possibly get to sub in the Didsbury area while I’m there!
  • We will finally be able to spread my mom’s ashes at Elbow Falls since we’ve held on to them for over six years…
  • I’d be able to get rid of all my stuff that I left in Canada… Garage sale, anyone?
  • I’d be able to take some more stuff that I DO want to keep back to the UK since I’d pack light on the way there! (Just like I did this past summer!)
  • I’ll probably get to experience a snow storm (Because, let’s face it… it still blizzards in Calgary in May)

Of course, there are also some not so good things:

  • I’ll be so far away from Robert for so long and in totally different time zones! 😦
  • I won’t be in Europe for his birthday (although he might come to Canada for it so I can’t REALLY count that one, I guess…)
  • I’ll have to sort out the whole living situation… Ideally I’d be able to keep my flat in the UK otherwise when I attempt to get either citizenship or permanent residency in the UK they will pull the “but you didn’t live here for five continuous years!” card. Also, I don’t want to have to find a new place to live when I get back. Maybe I can find a short-let or something but that would lead to the next issue:
  • I’ll have to find somewhere to store all my stuff so that someone could live in my room for a few months
  • I’ll have to leave my current job, which I love
  • I’d have to find a school that would be ok with me starting in September, or one that would be ok with me starting in January but then leaving for a few months in the middle

In general, I think going back to Canada will be a good thing, as long as I can find a school that will be willing to sponsor me to stay! So… wish me luck, everyone!

Stay tuned…

-Moose ❤ ❤

P.S. This website shows all the things I need to do to get my work visa, if you’re interested!

I Have You to Thank

*Note: this post was written before I heard about the attacks in Paris and I just want to say that I am heartbroken for the people of France and they are in my thoughts and prayers. *
Loyal blog followers: I’d like to talk to you about feeling un(der)appreciated and the importance of saying “thank-you” and making people feel cherished and acknowledged.

There have been times in my life when I have felt completely useless, like nothing I do matters because no one seems to notice the effort that I put in. I’m not saying no one DID appreciate me, I’m simply saying that I felt that way because the way I feel appreciated did not jive with the way they show appreciation. I’m certain that many of my teacher friends can relate, and for those of you who have an awesome career that I don’t know a lot about, I’m sure you know what I mean too! And those of you in a relationship, or who have friends, or family, or cats? I think you’ll also know what I mean.

For those of you who don’t know what it’s like to feel unappreciated… read this anyway because maybe there is someone in your life who knows what I’m talking about and you (yes YOU) can help!

We all know the saying “Actions speak louder than words”, which makes A LOT of sense most of the time… but the thing is, words are POWERFUL. I think saying that actions mean more than words do, is an injustice to the English language (or any language), and is ruining things for the people who really thrive on compliments and verbal affirmation of a job well done. I’m one of those people who needs both and I feel very “half-full” if I don’t get them. Call me needy, but I guarantee I’m not the only one. When you live halfway across the world from the vast majority of important people in your life, words can be all you have.

You have the power to make someone feel special by just saying “thanks” and really meaning it. Why not use that power for good?

But it’s not just about saying “thank-you”… it’s about being genuine and helping them to understand it. Tell someone they are amazing and really mean it. Tell someone they make your life infinitely better, and actually use those words. Write someone a song about how much they mean to you. Tell someone you love them and then tell them all the reasons why. As a student-teacher I was taught how important it is to ensure students understand the “why” behind the work they are asked to do because if they don’t understand its importance, they won’t believe that it really is, even if you tell them a thousand times. It’s the same idea as when we acknowledge someone for something. Saying “thanks for doing the dishes” is nice enough but saying “thanks for doing the dishes because you know I think that dirty water is even grosser than wet hair and projectile vomit plastered on the wall of the New York City sewage system”… well not only does that paint a pretty picture, but it means a heck of a lot more to the person who just did the dishes for you. It wasn’t an empty acknowledgment. It was deepened by the explanation.

If you want to take it a step further… every once in a while, for someone who has really made your life better, why not go above and beyond and do the dishes for them? Or take them to see a musical, or buy them a beautiful bouquet of flowers, or make them their favourite meal? Do something that will be meaningful to them…  because this part isn’t really about you.

But the bottom line is… people don’t say “thank-you,” and really mean it, enough. It’s become one of those watered-down phrases and it’s so sad. So finish reading my blog, get off your computer, and go do it! I don’t care how, just make it special for them!

On a completely different note, please enjoy this anecdote about my educational experience at McDonald’s:

I had an extremely exhausting day at work yesterday, doing supply in a year two class where about three quarters of the students were physically abusive, emotionally needy, and unable to remain quiet for ANY length of time, not even a second… so I decided it was a day for dinner at McDonald’s.

I arrive at McDonald’s after alighting at Balham Station, and went directly to the giant queue to order my food. A McDonald’s employee walked over to the queue and asked if anyone was paying by card… since I rarely carry more than a few pennies on me at a time, I identified myself as the sole card-payer and the young man asked if I’d like to use the self-serve kiosk located near the front of the store. I figured it would save me some time, and so I agreed, even though I’ve never used one before. That’s when the gentleman asked if I’d ever used one before, so I said that I hadn’t and he offered to show me how to use it. After getting started I realized that it was actually quite simple and I didn’t need his help, but as I teacher I was curious to see how he’d try to teach me. I must say, that I was quite impressed with his method! While many people might ask me what I’d like and do the whole thing just to save time, this guy explained to me, step-by-step how to do it, but let me do it all so I’d remember for next time! He waited with me until I paid, then told me to take my number to the side where my food would come when it was ready. When my food was ready, he even gave me the extra ketchup that I’d mentioned I wanted at the kiosk, which is a request I was unable to input at the kiosk itself.

It might sound silly, but after the day I had it was just really refreshing to have such nice service (and also, the McDonald’s in Balham is possibly the most efficient fast food joint I’ve ever been to in my life)

Say what you will about the food at McDonald’s but the staff at McDonald’s Balham are helpful, friendly, and lovely.

So, McDonald’s guy, if you’re reading this: Thanks for giving me the best customer service I’ve ever had at a McDonald’s. You’re a gem.

Stay tuned, and as Ellen would say, “Be kind to one another,”

Moose ❤ ❤

P.S. Happy World Diabetes Day!

No Such Thing as Time

Half-term break is usually bittersweet for me… I enjoy (and desperately need) the time off… but about three and a half days in I usually become incredibly bored, since I don’t usually have a lot to do, given I have like four friends over here.

This time, I chose to spend the entire week in France with my love, which has been really awesome, but during the day while he is busy at work I am pretty much just as bored (if not more) than I would be back in London.

But fear not, loyal blog followers, I do still have some exciting anecdotes/ tidbits to share with you this week!

  1. I flew into Geneva this time, rather than Lyon (which is where I usually fly when I’m coming to visit Robert) so we spent the night in Switzerland which brings my grand total of countries visited to a whopping nine… (OK it could be better, but how many countries have YOU been to?) Naturally we also UNESCed and TentESCed while we were there. We visited Le Chaux-de-Fonds/ Le Locle, Watchmaking Town Planning… because you know how the Swiss love their watches! We went to a Watch museum and it was actually way more interesting than I thought it would be because it wasn’t all about watches, it was about all the different methods of time-keeping, including back in ancient times when all they had to use for time-keeping was the sun (which, let’s face it, isn’t REALLY all the accurate… I mean, a year isn’t ACTUALLY 365 days… and the sun rises and sets at different times depending on the position of the earth relative to the sun! It’s just silly! Our tentESC was La Maison blanche (or the “White House”) which was designed and built by Swiss architect Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (aka Le Corbusier) in 1912 for his parents. It was so nice, I kept telling Robert I want to live there!      Me, being a clock.     Ridiculous…  
  2. Still Swiss news but just so awesome it needs its own segment: Round Potato-y Cheesy Yumminess (that’s what I call it, at least)… It is sooooooo gooooooood.   
  3. On Monday night, back in Grenoble, we met up for drinks with Rob’s colleagues Fabrizia and Jeeves (not his full name) and had a really awesome time! Jeeves just recently moved to Grenoble and Fabrizia actually lives in London, so now Rob and I have a dinner invite next time he is in town!
  4. Rob and I decided we needed a bit of a project to finish out the rest of 2015, so our new goal is to watch all the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and TV shows in order between now and the end of the year. Obviously we will have to watch some separately, but in the meantime we have been enjoying getting to watch them together. We usually make dinner when Rob gets home from work and then we watch the film while sitting on the couch eating our food. It has been so nice to do something like this together 🙂 We have also decided that I get to pick the next series or collection of films we watch together so I am taking suggestions! Leave them in the comments, si vous plais!
  5. My dear, sweet, Robert, aka the love of my life, who I love so very much, has the MOST ANNOYING HABIT EVER of waking up in the middle of the night to finish up some work (because he likes to come to bed with me and that’s cute so we can’t fault him for that). No, what we CAN fault him for is setting thirteen different alarms to wake him up, but of course he doesn’t get out of bed for like an hour and he keeps hitting snooze so all twenty-nine alarms just keep going off at all the ungodly hours of the night. And then he comes back to bed but has to go to work in the morning so he sets another fifty-six alarms to wake him up in the morning and continues to hit snooze so all ninety-three alarms continue to go off for three hours and I can’t get any sleep. And every time I go to reach for the phone (even though he is dead asleep) he grabs in and pulls it away from me and hits snooze for the six hundred and eleventh time so I can’t turn it off! This continues approximately four thousand and eighty-two more times until he finally wake up on his own accord because, technically speaking, he can go into work whenever he wants. WHY DOES HE TORTURE ME SO!? I’M ON HOLIDAYS! Moral of the story: Rob has been forbidden to place his phone anywhere near him from now on so he’ll need to actually get out of bed to turn the alarm off. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on any progress.
  6. While Rob has been at work this week I’ve spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking at recipes which, realistically, I will never make if I don’t give myself a reason to do so. Some are dessert type things and some are snacks and some are full on meals. I’ve decided (a bit early) that my resolution for 2016 is going to be to make a lot of these recipes! I haven’t decided if my goal to make a new one will be weekly or bi-weekly, I first have to decide how content I would be with the potential failure of this overly-ambitious (for me) goal… fortunately I’ve still got time to figure it out. If you’d like to see some of my PPP (Potential Pinterest Projects), then click here! I imagine this may launch my career as a renowned food blogger an I will be the next Julie Powell. Then, they will make a movie about me and I will be rich and famous!
  7. Yesterday (Friday) Rob took me to work with him! It was very cool and I learned all about his instrument and I got to see his office, and an actual real-life laser, and I was tested in case I was radioactive and it was fantastic! Naturally the most exciting part though, was when I got to don this very fetching lab coat and safety glasses…    Visitor #1!
  8. Today is my last full day, since I fly home tomorrow to see Gavin DeGraw in concert! It’s been a very lazy day, made up of sleeping in until 11, orange juice, pan aux chocolat, watching Agents of SHIELD on Netflix, and napping for two hours despite sleeping until 11… I imagine there will be some cleaning involved later, but for now I am enjoying being lazy with my love!
  9. Related to #6, Robert and I have been doing a lot of cooking together! The other night I made tomato/avocado/cheese melts for us to eat (this recipe had us use mayo on the toast but apparently proper mayo doesn’t exist in France so we used aioli instead and it was amazing!). Last night we made steak with a peppercorn sauce which Rob made from scratch, and he taught me to make his famous sautéed carrots, and they were so incredible that I’m sure I’ll be making them again… probably this week back in London! 

Thanks to Rob for taking most of the photos for me, as per usual!

Stay tuned…

-Moose ❤ ❤

Honey, I’m Good

Dear friends… I feel this [semi-political… Or at least politically inspired] post is necessary. Apologies if it is slightly disjointed…

Sorry non-Canadian friends… It’s doesn’t really apply to you. But just so you know, we recently elected Justin Trudeau, son of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, as our new Prime Minister and Facebook is freaking the [F-word] out. 

Hate. Is. A. Choice. Don’t do it!

Seriously people, why is everyone hating on Justin Trudeau? I don’t get it!

I mean, I know that last time Canada trusted a Justin, well, Justin Bieber happened… But let it go, fellow Canucks. Or rather, fellow Albertans!

I understand that maybe you don’t agree with his platform and maybe you think some of his choices are stupid. But did you agree with everything Stephen Harper said and did? And the difference here is that [in my humble opinion] Stephen Harper actually proved that his choices were not good for the majority of Canadians. Because he actually had a chance to do so before I formed my opinion. 

It’s no secret that I voted for the Liberals because I agree with a lot of what they are about. If you know me, think of who I am as a person: a teacher, a diabetic, etc. I understand that you and I may not have the same values and that is why [if you voted] I’m sure you did not vote for the same party that I voted for.

But OH MY GOODESS GIVE THE MAN A CHANCE INSTEAD OF ASSUMING FROM THE BEGINNING THAT HE IS GOING TO RUIN THE COUNTRY!

I’m not saying he is going to fix everything. I’m also not saying that he WON’T ruin the country (although I seriously doubt it). But at least I’m not 100% convinced that Canada is doomed, because God forbid we’ve elected the second youngest Canadian Prime Minister ever. 

Maybe this is because I’m a teacher, but I think the fact that he is young will be beneficial. Just because he is open minded, doesn’t mean that he’s naive or immature. 

I’m not even asking you to like him or to agree with what he is saying. But can we all maybe agree to stop posting such negative things about him on Facebook and other social media? It actually says more about you than it does about him, in my eyes, and it’s not very flattering.

And while I’m at it… Let’s quit hating on Obama too. I’m sick of all the hating. 

Stay tuned…

-Moose ❤ ❤