The Perks Of Dating A Teacher

My mum was a teacher when we were growing up. She eventually gave it up for non-governmental, non-profit work but there are still embarrassing memories of being treated as a teacher’s daughter. However, being as young as I was back then, some of these memories have blurred into one and have started to fade. I am, now, however, dating a bookie-turned-writer-turned-teacher. This brings with it its set of perks!

You appreciate the mornings –

Our day starts at 5am, the unholy time his annoying alarm starts chirping. No matter what stage of sleep I am in, once that alarm goes off, my day begins. Even if my work starts at a more normal hour of day, I am forced given the opportunity to literally listen to pre-sunrise birds. The three hours I gain from this means I have time to binge watch the blacklist go to the gym and eat a healthy breakfast.

You appreciate the nights –

Having woken up at unearthly hours means that your body is slowly fading by the late twentyonehunderhours. This means that the three hours that you do get from the time you leave work are spent in the best way possible – cooking a meal, binge watching ‘Making a Murderer’ while he either grades papers or lesson plans spending quality time together and sleeping. Weeknight date nights? Umm, what’s that?

You appreciate the weekends –

A teacher’s idea of a lie in during the weekend means waking up at 7am in the morning! When you date someone who is a loud waker-uper, you are doomed given the gift of having a really long weekend. So instead of waking up shortly past noon, you have the whole day ahead of you to do whatever you want. Unless, of course, he’s brought the lesson plans home again.

You appreciate your health –

Working with cold-carrying munchkins kids means you become quite kid too. This has helped me take to naturally occurring sources of Vitamin C like it is the newest weight loss fad. This also means that I have become quite good at tossing masks at his face and ducking for cover every-time I hear a sneeze making hot chicken noodle soup and being the excellent nurse that I am.

You never stop learning –

If you are lucky enough, you get to hear their teacher voices all the time. You not only get to brush up on nursery rhymes you thought you’d hear again. Sometimes when a point is being made, certain people (I’m not naming any names) stand up and make the point. On the plus side, you get to be up to date with the latest hits on the 2016 nursery rhyme chart!

Go find yourself a teacher. If nothing else, you will get ugly adorable fridge magnets and wall hangings to decorate your house!

Guest Blog – 5 in 5 by Classical Gasbag

Norm and I became friends over a floppy disk. It’s a long story that I’m saving for an important occasion but what started off as friendly information sharing became a friendship that now spans across a blogging platform, a mailing platform by some corporate called Google and a good old fashioned pen to paper medium they used to call letters. But before all of this, there was Classical Gasbag and that’s where I fell in love with a stranger’s style of writing. If you haven’t already clicked on the link, go read now. 

Norm

Five years ago I left my last part-time job and fully retired. I happily gave up my structured life of getting out of bed early in the morning and showering before my wife, Cindy, took over the bathroom so that she could get ready for work. I was never sure how long her morning ablutions and cosmetics application would take because she was often interrupted by telephone calls, or… Well, that’s neither here nor there. That isn’t the topic of this piece.

My life suddenly became unstructured. I slept as long as I wanted. Except even without an alarm to wake me, I still opened my eyes at 5:30 a.m. I watched the morning news, but I wasn’t going anywhere to talk to anyone about the things that interested me. I tried going to an occasional breakfast gathering of people with whom I had worked while I was still a State employee, but I invariably ended up seated next to or across from the people no one else wanted to listen to. Believe me, there were reasons no one wanted to listen to them. I stopped going after about three breakfasts. I learned the patterns of the mail carrier so that I could stroll out to the mailbox and share a pleasant word or two. Of course the only mail we were getting were bills and sales pitches for hearing aids and assisted living facilities. I started going to the Amazon website and ordering books and CD’s and DVD’s that were on sale so that something interesting would come in the mail.

That went on for a couple of years and then I discovered blogging. I had originally planned to use my blog to rant about things that upset me and to write stories of my life before I moved to Lafayette and met Cindy. I thought that if I played around with those stories I might eventually write a fictional account of my earlier life. But I also planned to write a post a day for a year. And Cindy kept telling people that they should read my blog. Well, I didn’t especially want those people to read about my past, and since I was posting every day I had to fall back on things that were happening every day as subject matter. It did bring some structure back into my life.

The best part of the Internet is not the ease of shopping, or of doing research, or even the easy accessibility to smut, but rather the opportunity to read what other bloggers are posting. Of course I’m only speaking for my crabby, old self. I only follow a couple of dozen blogs. I respect those writers and their visions of the world. That is why when Anju, whom I truly respect, asked me last year if I was going to do the NaNoWriMo challenge, I decided to jump in. It became my way of finally stringing together some fictionalized stories from my past. This year she asked if I was doing a reading challenge, so yes, I am. Now she has honored me by asking me to write this guest post. She is pushing my boundaries as well as adding more structure to my life. I guess that I have to admit that structure, even in retirement, is good for me. Thank you, Anju!

Guest Blog – 5 years in 500 words!

I haven’t hosted Adam here before, but he is THE BOY that I keep talking about. Show him some love. 

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Time stretches back in the form of memories, highlights, edited collections of things we choose to retain. If you had just 500 words to talk about about the last 5 years what would you choose to include, what would you omit, what would you not even be able to recall? How do we select what memories are worthy?

I’d remember first and foremost meeting you, I’d recall with film like quality the first time our eyes met, our first conversation about the beer you were drinking. I’d remember shutting ourselves in as a storm raged outside, the tranquility we’d feel in shutting the world out. I’d remember following Stephen down remote coastal paths, as if on a voyage of discovery. I’d remember our first place together and how hard it was to get here to this point, sitting here now thinking of the last 5 years. I’d remember falling in love.

If I had to pick one unifying factor that encapsulated the last five years it would be travel and expanding horizons. When I went to Cyprus in 2010 I hadn’t been abroad for 10 years, since then I have been on a 3,000 mile European road trip that took in 9 countries, visited my sister when she worked in Germany, been to Spain twice, to Slovakia for my brothers stag do, spent a week in Bangkok and visited India twice before eventually relocating here in 2014. I always thought I had an adventurous spirit buried inside me that wanted to get out and see the world, and now here I am living in India, 5 years ago i’d have found that impossible to imagine.

My family has changed a lot over the last 5 years. The older generation, who were the rocks for so long have found themselves more reliant on the support of the young as time inevitably began to take its toll. In 2011 my Granddad died, I don’t use the words lightly but he was a great man, constantly supportive, always kind, always putting himself second to our needs. I draw inspiration from his memory as I try to make my way in what can sometimes be a vastly confusing world.

In July 2014 my younger brother got married. I think i’ll look back on the memories of that time as some of my fondest. Everyone important to me in one place, wonderful weather and true happiness, something that shouldn’t be underestimated in life, something that can be all too fleeting.

I’d look back to the 2010 version of me and tell him not to give up, that there are new experiences and unimaginable things ahead, that what perhaps seemed like a dreary existence wasn’t going to last forever. I’ve never been one for 5 year plans or planning the minutiae of my life, sometimes I have thought it has been to my detriment. But as I look back across the last 5 years i’m glad I just allowed things to happen, because allowing things to happen can take you to places you never imagined.

Cheese, Gromit.

I’ve been meaning to write about this old dutch couple that came to volunteer at my parents Aid & Development project. I’ve been meaning to write about it because they seem completely oblivious to 21st century etiquette. For example, they didn’t think there was anything wrong with them bringing their giant dutch flag and wanting it to be flown at the entrances of the villages where my parents work.

To them, they couldn’t see that there was something wrong with white people wanting to plant flags over the land of people from the third world. My dad refused in outrage – it isn’t okay to go around asking people to hoist your nation’s flag. Especially not on their Republic Day. They, of course, thought our outrage was silly and that we were just making a noise to be difficult. So while the new car was being blessed, they went out, brought their flag out and then posed for photos.

To prove to you that this is not a work of fiction
To prove to you that this is not a work of fiction

I am trying to paint a picture of what sort of couple they are. Having read their blog, I know that they think that Indian food is horrible and made to kill your palette, that all Indian cows are dutch cows, that everything in India is inferior and cheap and that every single Indian is  uneducated and poor. Because of the language barrier, they went back home thinking that a 5 year tailoring student became brilliant because of her tutelage and an entire farming community became master farmers because of his planting techniques.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I saw her put sugar on her egg and eat it whole, my giggling would’ve been replaced by something more vocal.

They refused to eat any Indian food and preferred to live off cheese and tinned goods that they brought back from the Netherlands. This is an actual conversation I’ve had with them –

giphy

Them – Do you want some cheese?

Me – I wouldn’t mind tasting some.

Me – Mmm that’s good. What sort of cheese is it?

Them – It’s dutch cheese

Me – Erm, I know, but what sort of cheese is it?

Them – *speaking slowly* it. is. dutch. cheese.

Me – No, I mean, cheddar, blue, goat, you know, variety!

Them – *losing their mind* IT IS DUUUUUUTCH CHEESE!

Me – Forget it.

I think I might be off dutch cheese for good!

Damn Hormones!

Nephew – Princess Pea was crying today when I gave her some chocolate

Me – Why?

Nephew (dropping his voice to a whisper) – I don’t know. I think she got hormones.

(Things kids pick up while eavesdropping on conversations about your pregnant sister)