I left Kuwait in June 2006. With my belongings held in a shipping warehouse, I flew to the USA for the summer. (NOTE - if you are having your stuff hanging around in a hot warehouse it is best not to pack scented candles. They melted into weird shapes and the smell impregnated a plastic beaker.)
I flew to Bozeman Montana via London, New York and Salt Lake City. The whole journey took many many hours as I had an overnight stop-over in New York. This was a blessing because I was able to check into a motel and sleep in a bed enabling me to have a good night's sleep.
I stayed with a friend in Bozeman and she kindly lent me her car whilst she worked. I got toiletries at Walmart and visited another friend. I then got a lift 70 miles to where I was staying in Paradise Valley.
I attended a church conference, and volunteered as Conference Program Assistant. The following week I attended a week long seminar at the same place. I then did some voluntary cooking for a group of wonderful young people who were attending a camping retreat right in the mountains. I did this the year before, but now I had a team mate which made it easier and more enjoyable. After that I cleaned the campground showers - lots of scrubbing! I also tackled some of the self contained rooms where people had stayed during the conference. Weather and scenery was glorious and I enjoyed it all.
At the beginning of August I flew back to Britain. I went to stay with my daughters in their tiny flat in Cardiff. Whilst working in Kuwait I paid their rent for a two bed flat with a large lounge. Now I had no job so they got a cheaper, smaller place - a one bed flat. They used the lounge as another bedroom. It was a little squashed, especially with my summer luggage, but I was useful and helped to decorate the place.
I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do but I didn't really want to get a teaching job. I needed a place to live so I searched for nanny/housekeeping/carer jobs. I started a nanny/housekeeper job for a New Zealand family living in Windsor in September.
I did not know they were famous until I mentioned the guy's name back in Cardiff. Sean used to captain the All Blacks rugby team. He is a modest, genuinely nice man and the rest of his family are lovely too.
The work was enjoyable and quite easy. I took the 8 year old girl to school and back, supervised her homework and sometimes made her evening meal. I also did some errands, cleaned the house, ironed the designer clothes and occasionally took the dog for a walk. Neither parent had regular schedules and both did the school run sometimes. They would occasionally say the house didn't need cleaning so it was a flexible, no pressure job. I enjoy housekeeping for other people, so much more than for myself. They had just moved into a large house with a garden adjoining the River Thames and embarked on an extensive remodeling job of the whole house. They are possibly one of the few people in England to fill in a pool to create other rooms in its place!
They did not have a flat for me until October, so I lived in the swimming pool room. Unfortunately the water was freezing as the pump had broken, so my dream of getting out of bed and having a swim before breakfast did not come to pass.
Eventually I had a lovely flat over the enormous garage/storage rooms. The downside was that they did not want me to have any visitors because they did not want strangers on their property. This was a laugh as their property was overrun by builders for months! They also did not like me booking flights for weekends in Europe because they might need me to babysit at the last minute. I understood both these views. Maybe a young person who had not led an independent life before would not find the restrictions inconvenient. So I realised that this job was really not for me, however nice the family was.
The family went to NZ during December and I took the opportunity to do a bit of supply teaching. I realised that I actually missed teaching children and that although I had accommodation and the use of a car, the wage was not enough for my commitments. Ryan Air might not charge much for the flight but traveling either side of both airports took it's toll on by bank balance.
At that time I was helping to organise a 4 day conference in Frankfurt in October. This was for the European members of my church. We also produced newsletters and had many phone and physical meetings. So it was a very stressful time for me. During the conference I realised I had not had a proper home for 4 months! Being unemployed, a change of job and organising a conference and publishing newsletters was a recipe for stress big time.
In oder to leave that job I needed to find somewhere to live and get a car of my own. So I bought a car on ebay and moved to a room in a shared house in a leafy suburb of Reading. It is a large town where there are lots of supply teaching jobs. It wasn't until I moved into the shared house that I realised that the other people in the house smoked! It was an unhappy month as the live-in landlady also sometimes took drugs. And my car was extensively vandalised along with hers.
I found a lovely 2 bed flat overlooking a large park of grass and trees which I share with my youngest daughter Claire as she needed somewhere to live too. Rent is so expensive here that it made sense for us to share. At the time she was doing supply nursery nursing (child care at private day nurseries), but she soon got a permanent job in a nursery in Theale, a village just outside Reading.
At first I worked for an agency as a supply teacher every day. I enjoy doing this, especially when asked to go back to the same schools. During the summer I was asked to do some work in day nurseries, which I also enjoyed.
In June I was asked by the Head of a large junior school that I regularly visited, if I would like to share a class of 8 year old children, taking them Thursdays and Fridays. This school is situated in a large council estate and the families are 3rd generation unemployed. The children are therefore deprived, with little support from home, either emotionally or academically. This means that there are several very challenging kids in each class and teaching them is a little like trying to get blood out of a stone. However the Head teacher is very nurturing and all the teachers are supportive and work very well as a team. I always enjoyed going their because of this. I even told her that the reason why I didn't have a 'proper' job at the moment was because I wanted to have a week or two off in July every year (when British schools are still in session). She said they would work around that, so I accepted the post. I love getting jobs without applying and being interviewed! They also wanted me to work every Wednesday in different classes, enabling the teacher to do planning.
It is great being part of a staff team again and I enjoyed helping 120 children from years 3 and 4 put on a song and dance show of the different cultures of the world. The staff also put on a short pantomime for the kids which was great fun for everyone but we only had one and a half rehearsals! There are pros and cons being part time. I don't have the full responsibility for the planning, preparation and evaluating, but then I miss the staff meetings with their discussions and training and don't always know what is going on in school as things change to fit the circumstances etc.
Just for a week to attend Helen and Orion's wedding on June 24th. A truly wonderful day. I am grateful to have been a part of such a joyful occasion, especially as mother of the bride. Meeting Helen's father again after 15 years was not quite as nerve wracking as I thought it would be. The bride and groom looked radiant as did the bridesmaids and groomsmen. And Claire looked wonderful as a bridesmaid. Here is a creative slide show of the glorious day: http://www.montana-wedding-photographer.com/Showcase/Battersby/
EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique
I learned this whilst living in Kuwait from a site on the Internet. When I got to England I did a level two training in London. I use it personally to help with my own emotions and physical ailments and teach it and use it in the schools I work in. (See http://www.emofree.com for more info on the technique and look at other posts of mine for info on how i use it in school.) The children doing the show at school gave a much better performance because EFT banished their nerves.
I was very grateful to have the EFT tool at my fingertips during my journey to the Montana this last summer. I took the National Express coach to Gatwick airport. The coach was delayed and so time was a little tight. I therefore decided to use the toilet on the bus to save a little time at the airport. However, as I was washing my hands the door flew open catapulting me down the gangway. I hit my backside on the armrest of a seat before landing on the floor. When I got my breath back, whilst still on the floor, I began to tap. Flying wasn't the best thing to do with a hemorrhaging buttock but I tapped a lot of the journey and by the time I got to Bozeman, 14 hours later, I did not need the wheelchair. There was an enormous bruise but I managed to walk down the aisle with no limp.
The Violet Fire is another very wonderful technique for helping with emotions and ailments and I use it in conjunction with EFT but they are both most often used on their own.
What is the violet fire? I hear you ask. Well, I will let the person who introduced it to me, Elizabeth Clare Prophet tell you in her own words. "It is an invisible spiritual energy that appears violet to those who have developed their spiritual vision...... (It) has many purposes. It revitalizes and invigorates us. It can heal emotional and even physical problems, improve relationships and make life easier. More important, the violet flame changes negative energy, which makes it an effective tool for healing. Today we are learning more than ever before about how disease can be rooted in our mental, emotional and spiritual states. By transforming negative thoughts and feelings, the violet flame provides a platform for our healing. I call it the highest gift of God to the universe. I think you will agree once you try it for yourself." (Violet Flame to Heal body, mind and soul. Elizabeth Clare Prophet. copyright 1997 by Summit University Press.) Check it out at http://www.transformnet.org/ for more information if you are interested.
It has changed my life. I am now more positive and joyful after the application of this over the years. It has even healed my arthritic elbow and enabled me to be more calm and tolerant with people.
In November I conducted a Violet Flame workshop in London with some friends, which was very well received. One lady said she could feel the energy tingling in her body and she felt light and joyous. If I am ever feeling depressed, a few violet flame mantras banish that state fast.