Or rather, the Greater London Area life after 4 months as a teacher married to another teacher.
Life doesn’t always turn out the way you’d expect it to. For example, a year ago, I did not know that I’d be getting married so soon, nor that I’d be teaching in London. Funny how life does that kind of thing. But here we are: married and teaching in London. I’d like to make a few points on what life’s been like and what we do daily or weekly as well as comparing that to what life was like before in Canada. Except that there’s too many factors changing here:
Before – Dating, Canada, student, living at home, surrounded by friends and family
Now – Married, London, teacher, living with wife, new friends and family
It’s kind of hard to examine where the key changes were or what’s causing a lot of these things, but that’s just the scientist in me talking. Can’t really take time to change one factor at a time and life is only so long (not to mention I’d can’t keep myself as a controlled variable either). Unless we look at parallel timelines and consider how all of that would work out.
But that’s enough preamble…
Daily / weekly life
After settling down and getting more into the swing of things, daily life kind of looks like this: we’ve got work Monday through Fridays, usually getting to school around 7:50am and not leaving until 4 to 5pm depending on after-school activities (e.g. planning things, mandatory meetings, teacher training, student detentions). Returning home for a bit of a break (e.g. cooking dinner, doing the dishes, trying to relax) before we either mark books / tests or plan lessons for later. This is punctuated by a relatively new ritual of darts Thursdays with the science department at the local watering hole which is a mere 30 or so steps from our lodgings.
Saturday is our “let’s try not to think about school too much and relax and explore London or lounge at home like lazy people” day. This typically works out pretty well and gives us a bit of a break, although our students and teaching always seems to creep into the conversation somehow (more on this later). This is also good because we are in London and should definitely be exploring. Considering how expensive the transportation costs are for an excursion into London (almost £20 round trip for both of us), restricting exploring to one day is also financially sound.
Sunday is our “let’s go to church or watch a sermon online before buying groceries, cleaning the house, and planning lessons for the week” day. This includes a lot of sadness and frustration (particularly on my part) as we reflect on how we’re doing with our students and classrooms, especially with regards to behaviour, our lesson structure and flow, and how the classroom is going in general.
This is quite different from the student life before which consisted of going to class, coming home and doing readings / assignments, and then settling down to play video games. There certainly was more board gaming back then (probably another feature post) given that I had more mates that were into the hobby and the majority of my collection is back at home. I suppose one of the things I was told about working life was that once you were off work, you wouldn’t have to worry too much about work… except as a teacher, we take a lot of our work home with us. This is compounded with a lot of the mental aspects (probably self-inflicted here) with mulling over what’s wrong and right in the classroom and what needs to be fixed.
Groceries / Cooking / Household Things
I lived at home with my parents, so other than cleaning around the house (which I did a lot more of during the unemployed summer of 2014 prior to marriage), I didn’t do any of the groceries or cooking. I suppose I did do the occasional grocery shopping with my mom or when there was a party or ski trips and such, but not much experience there. Speaking of cooking, my experience prior is basically: instant noodles, fruit smoothies, oven instructions for premade foods, mango pudding, and hotpot.
Now? I do groceries with Andrea on a regular basis (someone needs to carry all that heavy stuff). Groceries is rather convenient for us because there is a local grocer 5 steps from our door, a brand name retailer across the street, a 99p (think dollar store) just down the block, and another brand name retailer down the block as well. But with this convenience also meant that if we wanted to be frugal (which we do), we’d have to figure out which places has the best deals for things. This is a fun (for me at least) exercise because the savings are tangible. Additionally, this makes you much more aware of how much money is spent on groceries, especially when I compare this to before where I’d purchase for a singular event rather than for a week’s worth of consumption. I’d like to note that groceries in London (we’re at about £20-25 / week) seem to be much cheaper than in Calgary (probably $100-150 / week).
Cooking’s also something that I’m getting more into. It’s like edible science, which is fantastic. In addition to instant noodles (which I still make), I can now make instant oatmeal, some semblance of pasta, and slow-cooked meals. I realise that if you can follow instructions and have some sense of taste (I’d like to think I have a bit of that), cooking’s actually not too hard? There’s a lot to work on in terms of skill (e.g. cutting things, speed of doing so, timing of prepping different dishes), but it’s an enjoyable (and tasty) endeavour right now.
Household-cleaning-wise, I didn’t realise how much I enjoyed having a clean home; or I just didn’t realise how much females can shed. I am also learning about how to clean toilets and showers and things! The things you learn being in London (or being married).
I think that’s enough rambling for now. I think these posts always start off (in my mind) as something a bit more coherent, and then it just devolves into me talking about things of relative and dubious importance or interest. At some point I’ll probably talk about the future, board games, more school things, and other stuff! Who knows.