Time for Change

Events By Sep 13, 2011 8 Comments

Help sometimes comes from the most unexpected of sources, doesn’t it?

This summer, I had to put my writing on hold to earn some money. Shocking, I know, but apparently money is still useful, particularly if you want to pay your bills and eat. Rather than just take any old job to get some money together, I still wanted to spend my summer doing something that I love and, happily, I managed to do just that by putting my TEFL experience to good use and taking in homestay students. This involves foreign students, who want to improve their English, coming to live with us as part of the family for 2-3 weeks at a time. They get formal lessons in the morning for a set number of hours and then we spend some time, a couple of afternoons and a day at the weekend, on excursions which enables them to practise their language skills and, hopefully, also shows them something of my local area and culture. It was hard, hard work being “always-on” with the student(s) living with us but I did also have a lot of fun, too.

As with any teaching I’ve ever done, I learnt a great deal – both about myself and my language. But I think the most important thing I took from my Summer of Students is what it was like to be 15/16. A time when I felt that I could do anything I put my mind to and go anywhere to do just that. Admittedly, I was realistic about my limitations even back then. I never thought for one minute that I would wow the world with my singing or that my tennis skills could win me Wimbledon but I did believe that if I worked hard at the things I was passionate about, actually good at and enjoyed, then there was no reason for me not to be successful at them. Not if I were doing all I could to make it happen.

Do you remember that feeling and how great it was? Perhaps you managed to hold on to it. I didn’t. It got trampled in exam failure, job hunts, job losses, divorce, the loss of a parent and all of the other ‘stuff’ that life throws at you from time to time.

But thanks to Beatriz, Céline and Andrea, I believe that I can reclaim it or, at least, some semblance of it. (A huge thank you from me, girls. You are, all of you, extraordinarily talented young women and an inspiration.) So, I’m making some changes, taking more chances and forcing myself out of my comfort zone to see if that helps me get back on track and rediscover the risk-taking teenager who I know is still in there somewhere, however deeply buried! Because rather than boring myself – and everyone else! – stupid with a long list of excuses, I’d much rather be the kind of person who sees a challenge and says “Oh, why not?” and then gives whatever it is a go.

When was the last time you did something that scared you?

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



  1. Debs Carr says:

    Good for you! We had Swedish students to stay a few years ago and it was hard work, but they were lovely girls.

    The last time I did something that terrified me was probably going up to the 76th floor on the roof at the Rockerfella Centre in New York. I’m scared witless by most heights, but that was amazing. It probably helped that there was a glass wall all round the open spaces.

    1. kath says:

      Oh, Debs! If you don’t do heights, I imagine it was still pretty scary even with the glass wall. Kudos to you for going up there.

  2. KarenG says:

    I love how you said this:

    Because rather than boring myself – and everyone else! – stupid with a long list of excuses, I’d much rather be the kind of person who sees a challenge and says “Oh, why not?” and then gives whatever it is a go.

    Me too!!

    1. kath says:

      I knew you’d say that! You always seem to be brimming over with positive energy, you’re an inspiration, Karen.

  3. Well done you and you capture that feeling of being able to do things just so well.
    I sense more writing coming on.

    1. kath says:

      Thanks Fennie! And I think you may be right about the writing. I got pretty grisly over the summer not being able to do any.

  4. Jayne says:

    Gosh yes. I was thinking about this the other day, actually. Mine got trampled on as well, a long time ago. I’ve been making inroads to recovering it – getting there!

    The last time I did something that scared me? A few weeks ago I drove somewhere new in the dark (and rain) for the first time. Also on Monday I cycled over Tower Bridge (no cycle lanes, the traffic felt a little close!).

    1. kath says:

      Eek to cycling over Tower Bridge, you mad person. There’s a fine line between going out and grabbing life by the scruff of the neck and stupidity, you know… 😉

      And you just got yourself a new cheerleader. Here’s to making many more inroads, lovely lady. xx

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