Ezering Along

I have recently started a new job in the sunny land of ENG, a.k.a, England.

Who’d have thought?

I’m not gonna lie, leaving France felt (cue exaggeration) like losing a limb. I can’t remember a time when I have cried so much over something. It was experiencing lack of direction, indecision, confusion and loss all at the same time.

Well, apparently, the old me already had a feeling that I would end up in England, because if you recall my previous posts, you’ll see I’ve written (joked ^^) about returning to the UK and working in my mum’s local Tesco.

Funnily enough, I’m not working in my mum’s local Tesco – yet again I’m working in a school. This time though, I’m no longer the teacher, but the teaching assistant.

Thank goodness.

I’m enjoying my more-or-less free evenings; last year’s constant lesson preparation and activity research but a distant memory…

How delightful it is to wake every morning. To wake early, with purpose. To have somewhere to be, people to interact with, and a LOT to learn. (Being unemployed was just a bit of a drag…)

This is what I love about the education environment: It feels a challenge. It IS a challenge, rather. Yet this challenge means that every day is a privilege, as every day, little old me gets to learn. I get to learn pearls of wisdom from other newbies or experienced professionals, from the children, or more often than not, from my own mistakes. And mistakes, my friends,  are proof that you are trying.

I’ve read the book Captivating recently. In the book, Stasi Eldridge explains how as women we are created to be helpers. When God made Adam, it wasn’t enough; Adam needed Eve! Eve is Adam’s helper, she is his “ezer”. Not only is “ezer” used in the context of Adam and Eve, ezer is used in the Bible many times, meaning to help (helper), or to support.  And as a Teaching Assistant, I am convinced that God is teaching me about having more of His servant-heart. A heart created for helping others, a heart which is ready to help others, and rejoicing in the work.

Don’t get me wrong – rejoicing in the work is easier said than done a lot of the time. The first few weeks of my new job were (and still have recently been) quite up and down, and I still do, and will of course, experience down days.

What has been an encouragement to me though, are verses which I have recently (re)discovered thanks to one of Alyssa Joy Bethke’s blog post, Psalm 84:11-12:

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I feel as though I almost grasp something new, and then, unexpectedly, this exciting spark of something new, slips through my fingers. Whether it be a new experience, a different job opportunity, a new friendship, a new love-interest(ha!), a new hobby, or anything else, there are times when I feel like I’m missing out on what I’ve never had. Or almost had.

Then, there are the times when I dwell too much on missing what I once had.

So rather than seeing me feel all sorry for myself, I’m pretty glad that God chose to speak to me through Psalm 84, reminding me that He will “withhold no good thing” from those who continually seek Him. Psalm 84:11 confirms to me that right here, right now is where God wants me to be, and that right here, right now, is nothing less than His best for me. How cool is that!? And although sometimes I’m full of doubt, waking every morning with this encouraging truth does nothing less than lift my spirits, helping me to rejoice in the new day and in this current season of life.

So right now, let’s trust in His ways, and not miss out on our Father’s best for us. Remember His words (Isaiah 55:8):

 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways

and be blessed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TiringThursdays.com

Today is Thursday. Which means, it’s been a LONG DAY. Cue: lengthy blog post.

Starting work at 9am and finishing at 6:30 may not seem incredibly incredibly long or abnormal. But for me, it’s my most tiring day teaching. From teaching 3 year olds to 9 year olds – it’s not a particularly easy day. OVER 120 children I *teach* today. No lie!

Luckily (ha) I admit I have TEACHERS sit in on some of my lessons (in the school) for discipline issues – yup, so that the children will be more well-behaved. And I can tell you, these kids are WAY more calm with their proper teachers around. C’est impressionnant, la difference!!!

Teaching, is a skill. But I used to think, you either have it, or you don’t. And me, I told myself, well I just didn’t have it.

Like a crazy person, I decided to go for the ride anyway. But I can see now, that it is a skill. And my, am I impressed by everyone who goes and teaches! And like I said before, who teaches well. This year I’ve learnt and grown I imagine, yet if I was to continue the teaching adventure, well, I’d still have a lot of up-hill trekking to do.

However, I’m afraid my year as an English Language teacher for kids is nearly at its end. Very nearly. In just a few weeks, I will possibly be jobless… (Penniless too?? Let’s not go there…)

This is where the real adventure continues though… the adventure called LIFE.

This is my story! I’ve just got to write it well.

And I am incredibly thankful for this past year, that I have had this opportunity, a beautiful carefully hand-crafted part of God’s plan for me, and that I’ve stuck it out til the end. Advice to first year teachers – don’t give up! I’ve heard it before, and I’ll say it here now: the first year is the hardest! (I can’t really say as I can’t compare years, but I feel like it’s true!)

I’m gonna take a lot of memories away with me, mostly the happy ones, but also those most trying times.

Something as simple as a lil three/four year old inviting me over to his house (“Maitresse, tu peux venir chez moi!”), and of another sayin that I’m the most beautiful teacher in the school (ha),  and then the many love-filled hugs and bisous, beats all those hopeless feeling moments when you feel like the whole class is against you – little beings being little beings – disobeying, throwing things, running around, or trying to escape – and basically turning your classroom into a zoo.

But these kids, well obviously,  they’ve taught me a lot. And I’ve learnt to love them – and will miss them too.

WELL. Sentimental post just about over!

‘ll just leave you with this sentimental poem by William Martin; and be off with me….(job-hunting and cold Sweet’n’Sour chicken awaits…)

Make the Ordinary Come Alive

Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples, and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.

By William Martin

Long Way Smiles and Helping Hands

Mondays. What do you think of when you read that word? Yay? Not bothered? Already?

Today is one of those days – a MONDAY. And I admit, I’m not much of a Monday-lover. Saturday lover? Sunday lover? Count me in. Ze weekennnd!

Monday lover however, I’m out.

After my usual 4 classes today, I am happy to have made it through yet another Monday. Is it too bad that I’m counting? 8 more Mondays left working in that primary school…

Why? Because I-have-no-authority-with-these-kids, and when I suddenly do and something’s suddenly clicked… I’ll have another discouraging lesson.

Anyway, today after “teaching” my 4 classes (failing at disciplining more-like!), there were two things that made my day:

1. A teacher at the school offered to drop me home. THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE!

And with the amount of pupils’ books I wanted to take home, THIS WAS A MASSIVE HELP, thank you Lord!

2. A lady smiled at me in the street. Simple, but understated. Smiles go a long way! This only made me feel more happy.

MONDAYS. I need to remember that Mondays too are a gift. And we are to rejoice in them too, just like every other day!

This didn’t happen today, but one thing that makes my heart smile another little smile, is having 4 year olds helping me speak French. When I can’t say ‘Arthur’ or ‘Mathilde’ in a French enough way, these little ones do not hesitate to correct me and repeat repeat!

These small acts of love and kindness  – a smile, a practical helping hand, a gentle correction, are big acts of love in disguise! Big happiness boosting memories.

I hope you lived some good Monday moments too this Monday.

Ciao!

Napkin Note:

Dear Emma,
Each day is a gift, make it count.
Love, Dad

PS – Yes, Even Mondays.

Just Call Me Scatty

So…it’s been a while. Longer than I’ve wanted. I’ve had so many moments where I’ve longed to just forget everything I have on my mind and to just write. It’s kinda like escapism. But it’s like dancing, and swimming, and whatever-elsing – I just don’t seem to find much time for it.

Oops my nan and sister have just rang me on Skype…

Back!

Doing this teaching job thing I’ve realised, that I am the most scatty person I know. Not only am I quite messy generally…I mean I honestly prefer things to be nice and tidy and clean; when things are a mess, I just imagine how much cosier and lovely things would look tidy. But for me, when I have lots to do e.g. PLANNING, maybe tidying does comes last…as in, late at night… or the next morning…or the next weekend – if it doesn’t bother anyone else that is!

So back to this sentence…: “Not only am I quite messy generally….” BUT I’ve recently come to realise that I actually shamefully lose (but sometimes find) OTHER PEOPLE’S possessions!!!!!!!! For example, a pen. OK, a pen is perhaps not so serious, but still I feel BAD. I tell myself I’m just borrowing the pen, for example, because I know that such and such a person wouldn’t mind me borrowing it anyway, and voila, at the end of my morning at work, I think, Where did I put so-and-so’s pen???

Also, a recent trip to Le Feu prompted me to question myself: just how honest am I? If I say I’ll pray for somebody, do I actually do it, I mean, always? Or do I say all convincing, I’ll pray for you!!! But then get wrapped up in me-me-me, and shamefully forget or forget until ages after…

Work has been getting to me a little. Teaching, meh. I think I’ve figured out what I’ve always actually felt – teaching isn’t for me. I like children, I really do. (When there’s just one or two of them preferably, heh). And what does it say in the Bible…that we must be like little children? I need to brush up on my knowledge! Talking of that, I’ve started a read-the-Bible-in-one-year challenge (with 2 passages to read a day), which is going, er, okay so far…

But really, life isn’t SO bad. Although I may exaggerate at times and talk about black clouds following me around. I’m grateful for the food on my table, the roof over my head, and the money in my pocket. THAT REMINDS ME have I even paid my rent for last month?! Honestly you see, I can’t be left alone, can’t be trusted with anything!! Anyway continuing my list of what I’m thankful fors… I am so thankful for friends and family, plus friendly and supportive colleagues (never mind the disorganisation at work sometimes…they are a very supportive bunch!)

Now, it’s time to ask myself: What will I do next year?!!! This year is gaining me work experience, and new friends and challenges, (and a little French speaking practise on the side!!), but otherwise, I don’t feel like my time here in Lille is something I want for the long haul. The thing is though, I don’t know where I see myself next. I’ve been thinking of the somewhat exotic land of…Eng! England. You know, where they speak English. Near Wales. Scotland. Etc. Ha. But really, I have no idea where…Cambridge is pretty nice! But really, I’m asking myself too, what about being closer to the family…so anyway. Things are a little up in the air at the moment. Only thing I know is, I want to try something other than teaching!

Think that’ll be this post done. Thanks for reading if you’ve taken the time to read.

Ciao!

I’m Still Standing, Yeah Yeah Yeah

Okay, so it has been A WEEK. It’s over, thank goodness. I think it went pretty fast too because there wasn’t much preparation to do – because it was revision week etc. In the classes in the centre, we had to basically revise everything we have done up to now. Only problem – the parents came along to OBSERVE. This is quite a nerve-wracking experience. After say, just over 12 weeks in this job (with very little experience before hand) and then I have people OBSERVE the way I’m teaching their own kid, or kids. Let’s just say, it’s not the most pleasant experience, especially if one or two children start playing up and there’s my inexperienced self failing to gain control in front of expectant parents. My credibility gone down the drain…gulp. But I got through it! Woop! Well more or less, I have one more hour to survive with said parents watching me like hawks…

At this present time, I am, as usual, (not good I know…) but quite BEHIND with my work. This is not helped by the fact that I have pupil evaluations to do. Which also, I’ve never done before, until now. This is furthermore not helped by the fact that I barely know these kids. I mean, I teach over 200 a week. And some kids, I see for only half an hour a week. HALF AN HOUR times 12, well that equals 6 hours. So, I’ve seen, for example 75 4/5 year olds for a grand total of around SIX HOURS. Even less, cos of the two weeks holiday I already had. And now what, I’m expected to say how much each one remembers from that 6 hours, and makes notes on how much each participates and behaves? I can barely remember their names after spending half an hour a week with groups of 15 at a time.

I’m gonna have to make badges for the next semesters so that my next evaluations will be a lot easier. Sigh. Gotta learn the hard way.

Although I may be drowning in a pile of yet to be sorted paperwork and the like, I have many things to be thankful for. Number one – CHRISTMAS IS VERY SOON, and more importantly, THE HOLIDAYS! I don’t feel very happy actually that I move around quite a lot during the holidays; it’d be nice to stay here for a week or so to enjoy simply being here or travel a bit in France, and not rushing from place to place with work constantly there in the back of my mind. But at the same time, I know I will love catching up with different family members. And at my Mum’s place where there are less people about, I’ll enjoy that quality time with her and my twintwin, and some downtime to myself.

I just know that those hols will go fast. But I guess, that is life. And some people don’t even have HOLIDAYS! I’m the lucky one here.

Still not 100% health-wise, which doesn’t surprise me in Lilleland. Not got that much of a cold now, but coughing every now and again, and my ears are not right. But I can hear! I just would like to get a doc to check them out… but again, these irritations are not serious ones, so again I have a lot to be joyful about.

I’m going to go swimming methinks, tonight. After I finish my “reglisse menthe”. Have you tried it? You should, it’s very calming! The weather at the moment is quite representative of the north NORTH FRANCE methinks: grey, cold and rainy. But oh well. Feels like home, then, I guess.

Bisous mes amis.

A plus!

On The Other Side

On the megabus travelling from Cardiff to London today, I had time to write a few words of reflection. Here they are.

The weather is a little horrific. Grey skies. Raindrops running down the glass windows of this megabus coach. Rain. Wind. Wet roads. Big puddles. Welcome to the UK. In November. Or rather, in my case, it’s see ya later alligator. I’ll be back in just under 2 months.

I’ve had a really lovely 10 days away from Franceland. One hard thing was not seeing everyone who is so special to me. But in Cardiff especially, there are many who are so special to me, and in just a few days I didn’t have time to see all of those whom I store loyally in my heart.

In any case, I spent a few lovely days with my dad, little brother and sister, as well as a night with my nan where I caught up with 2 sets of aunties and uncles too. Not forgetting my 5 days spent in Beds with my mum and sister, including a pleasant girly weekend with an aunty from North Wales.

Going back to France now, I don’t really know how to feel.

Firstly I hope I catch my eurostar in time. Still on my way to Llundain and it’s past 10am. My eurostar leaves at 12:58…it’s OK, we’re due into Victoria Coach Station for 10:30am. Praying!

So as I was saying, not really sure how to feel re.commencing Chapter 2 of my Lille life. Like a kid, I look forward to travelling on the eurostar again and get excited when I hear people chatting away in French.

Re.work though, I’m feeling a little more anxious about the whole thing. I’ve even had a nosy on job sites to see a bit what’s out there – if I don’t survive past January.

I would love to stay in Lille for the whole year as planned. I’m just not sure I can hack teaching for the whole time. Perhaps throwing myself in the deep end wasn’t such a good idea.

Anyway; amidst my many blessings I am in a certain way unafraid. I have many security blankets – them being my friends, family, in Wales, UK and even in France.

One little nugget of information for you: over my time away, I met a Christian. Apparently only a Christian for the past 2/3 years, he admitted to me something about God –  ‘I live because of Him, and I live for Him’. He said this to me, unafraid and self-assured. It was touching!

Challenges will arise in this life, wherever I am, wherever we are.  And God is there in every one. He knows about every one. It’s our attitude which we must adapt.

Although things may be grey. Rainy. Albeit, horrific. God sees the bigger picture. We will have trials on this earth – but remember- this earth isn’t our home! Our eternal home and treasures are with God in Heaven – there is another side.

She is fierce

Freedom and Light

I now have the Toussaint holidays. I am going home to the UK on Thursday, for 10 days.

I can’t wait!

I have lesson planning to do too, but it doesn’t worry me too much thankfully. It always gets done, somehow. Although of course, being with the family, I’ll probably get pretty distracted pretty easily.

Updates on the work front – I am still not sure about it. Teaching. I know that by continuing, I should learn a lot. And by continuing, I will be letting myself in on some kind of emotional roller-coaster; where some days are good, and some days are just really discouraging.

However, I neither want to give up, nor leave France right now. So the decision is, to keep at it until Christmas. Which means only another 7 ish weeks of teaching. And then I might never do it again. So, as my mum said, only a blip in my existence. Also, I can’t give up yet, I need the money! So I need a plan B job to fall into.

I don’t hate it though – this job. It can be good and really satisfying when lessons go well, and there are some of the smaller classes I would be happy to continue teaching until forever. It’s just the other classes which I can’t control – that’s when I just want to curl up in a ball and never teach again! Luckily too, my work colleagues are a great support. Which would make it harder to leave. For now, I’m going to keep at it. As they say, we regret more the things we didn’t do, than the things we did….

So, what have I been doing with my holidays so far?

#Day1

I went to a creperie with two friends in Lille’s Grande Place and ate some Breton crepes. *yum*

#Day 2

I went on a road-trip with 2 work colleagues, from Lille to Arras!

We stopped off at Lens, where we climbed a coal mountain. (Er, not sure what the technical term is there).

We stopped at Vimy, at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial site. If you get the chance to go – you should! The memorial there is pretty impressive.

We picnicked at ancient church ruins.

We also discovered the Wellington Quarry, memorial of the battle of Arras, 20 metres below the ground.

There is a lot of history to be learnt here – unfortunately my knowledge of battles and wars leaves a lot to be desired. Luckily one of my colleagues is Arrasois (?), and very passionate about history. Throughout the day, he was able to fill us in.

#Day3

Was a quite relaxed day. I did some personal Bible study for my Groupe de Croissance meeting. I met my German friend for said meeting, and we discussed the passage (this time a chapter from Ephesians) together. We’ve been reading and talking about the Holy Spirit a lot, and discussing what it means to live by the Spirit, and how to be filled up with the Spirit. The passage we discussed yesterday, was Ephesians 5:15 to 6:9, where we also read about submission. About how submission touches everyone – whether it’s women submitting to their husbands, children to their parents, or employees to their employers

We also talked about how the Spirit works in us. My friend told me about a friend of hers; a man who lives on little, yet when he prays, he gets answers. His hand reaches out for God. Yet whilst his one hand is waiting for God, his other hand is stretched out below Him, ready to transfer whatever it is he receives, to the next recipient.

Ralph Stallis writes that man is not a bottle – we are not made to keep the Holy Spirit for ourselves. But man, is like a pipe, or an electric cable, or a river. We are to be rivers constantly renewing our water: receiving the water which runs down from the mountain, and allowing the water to run ceaselessly down to the pit of the valley. It is by doing that, that we can be full of the Holy Spirit: if at every moment we receive the fullness of God, and then faithfully let God communicate through us to the world around us. We are a river and not a pond. A canal, not a bottle.

I then went to another evening which I go to every week at Le Feu (Foyer Evangelique Universitaire), where we eat together and study together. Recently, we’ve been studying 1 John. In 1 John, we’ve been talking about how God is light. He is light, he is faithful and he is just. We’ve been talking about how we are called also, to walk in the light. How by walking in the light, we can see our sin – the light reveals our sin.

We must not try to hide our sin, but we should be honest with God, and ourselves, admitting the sin and confessing the sin to God. God is light, and we are called to walk in the light. 

Do you want to walk in the light? To go where your sin is unhidden, where you can be honest with yourself, and with God?

By walking in the light, you are on a journey of sanctification; of becoming more and more holy as you walk with God; becoming more and more Christ-like, and being in constant war with sin.

So, that’s what we’ve been studying recently – not that I understand it all! It’s just interesting, and it’s got me questioning my own walk. I’ll leave it there then, leave you with

Just another something to think about…