Wednesday, 4 July 2012

To-do list

So things haven't quite gone to plan recently.  I was devastated when I learnt that my one year teaching exchange to America had fallen through, but I was also quick to think about the many positives.  Not having to leave my family was a big one: I am very close to my mum and brother, and would have hated not seeing my five year old niece for 12 months.  I've also busied myself by making a 'to-do' list, to help make my life here in England more engaging; more worth staying for, I suppose.  Some list items are small and some will take more of a commitment - financially, timewise, or otherwise - but hopefully they are all do-able.

1. Appreciate and enjoy my city.  When I was trying to 'sell' Leicester to the teacher due to come here from the US, it made me really appreciate the good things about my adopted city.  From great independent shops, to an amazing arthouse cinema and cutting edge theatre, to lovely countryside a short journey away, I am resolved to take advantage of the many things Leicester has to offer (and stop moaning about the bad things).

2. Appreciate and enjoy my country.  I picked up The Rough Guide To Great Britain the other day, and it made me realise how many amazing places there are in the UK that I've never been to.  Some day trips and weekend jaunts are in order, and top of my list are Brighton, Winchester, Totnes and Dartmoor. 

3. Appreciate and enjoy Europe.  It's been years since I took advantage of England's proximity to the continent, so instead of dreaming about the travelling I could have been doing in America, I'm going to start planning trips to the cities and countries on my doorstep.

4. Get my house in order.  Y'know all those niggly little jobs that need doing around the house?  The ones you live with, but that really bug you when you look too hard?  I'm going to sort them out.  Shelves will be put up, front doors painted, kitchen worktops replaced... if I can only find the number of the handyman.

5. Buy a bike and ride it.  Self-explanatory, this one.

6. Take more photographs.  Stop feeling so self-conscious about taking photos in public.  Accept that, at first, they will be crap but that I will get better.  Persevere.

7. Work less, live more.  I've already made moves to sort this one out; I've asked to reduce my hours at work, taking one day a fortnight off.  Hopefully the small reduction in salary will be more than made up for by the extra time to do what I please.

8. Be a better teacher.  I really hope that reducing my hours slightly will give me energy to have fewer of the lazy, "let's make a poster," lessons and more of the good ones. 

9. Get a new tattoo.  I've been talking about adding to my collection for a year now, and although I'm still somewhat lacking in inspiration (I liked Richard's suggestion of having a polka dot sleeve tattooed on, but am a little worried about what would happen when/if I go off polka dots!) I'm determined to decide on a design soon.

10. Try and work out where to go next.  In a metaphorical rather than physical sense.  I am uncomfortably aware that, at 34, this is the point where I need to start making decisions.  Do I want to settle down and find the man or woman of my dreams?  Do I want to pursue the idea of working abroad?  Do I want babies at some point?  Do I want to study more?  At the moment, my answer to all of these is, "yeah, kinda... I'm not sure... maybe?".  I need to spend some time deciding on my priorities and making them happen.

Wish me luck as I pursue my ten things to do.  What would be on your list?


  1. I hear you on No. 10! I still feel too young to make those decisions despite this being the usual time to make them. Eep!

    1. The moment dawned when I knew I'd have to stop with the age-denial when I bumped into some pupils (14) in H&M on Saturday and they were holding the same dress as me. I realised I was in danger of venturing into mutton territory!

    2. Nahhh! Maybe they've just got sophisticated taste for their age?! I bought a few nice dresses from H&M lately. But it must be weird bumping into pupils like that.

  2. Leicester does offer a lot more than it might appear to on first glance

    I think it's a city that requires a bit of scratching below the surface - it doesn't necessarily sell itself that enthusiastically all the time

    But you're so right about the indie shops, countryside and cultural offerings!

    - B

    1. I go throught phases with this lovely city of mine (ours?); sometimes I really love living here and at others I wonder why the hell I'm still here, some 15 years after I first moved to Leicester for uni.

  3. Funny, I'm reducing my hours from 1st August AND planning to spend a bit of time sorting my own home out. As for the photography, you lose the self-consciousness pretty quickly - I'm looking forward to seeing your pictures!

    (and don't get me started on number ten...)

    1. Going to try and take lots on my trip to South Africa. Fingers crossed one or two work out ok!

  4. Definitely with you on getting a bike. I finally started cycling properly two months ago and it's like crack. It seriously bums me out to travel any other way. I've saved so much money and will never go to the gym again. Life-changing stuff!
    Don't worry about making decisions, maybe. It'll all work out...

  5. I have my eyes on a lovely bike on ebay, as soon as I'm back from my holidays it will be mine!