September 2008

So, I’ve completed my first week now.  I had an odd day, about five days after I arrived in the country, where I sank into a bleak depression, convinced myself that everything was awful and was never going to improve and even the good things – like the good time I was having at school – I managed to twist into something negative.  It made me think of the baby blues which come around five days after giving birth.  I don’t think international travel normally brings about a rush of hormones, but I guess there are parallels with the enormity and suddenness of the life change, along with a dreadful feeling that there’s no way back…

Anyway, the feeling has been easing since then, so let’s get back to reality.  School is still fantastic.  I love teaching; my classes are great; my colleagues are friendly and as far as I can tell are very good at what they do.  The rooms are all air-conditioned – oops, there I go again with my long-standing obsession!  The other small thing that makes a great difference to me is the fatour (kind of breakfast, but at just gone ten, because they don’t really eat earlier than that) that is provided for a small sum in the staffroom.  It’s beans and very strong feta-like cheese and falafel (no idea how to explain that) and bread and salad with some delicious dressing.  But the most important thing is that it’s made by someone else!  I just love food that someone else has prepared!  Does that make me spoilt, or lazy, do you think?  It’s such a treat.

Sorting out the logistics of being away from home for much of the day hasn’t been easy.  M’s had to pick the children up from school most days and look after them for three hours or so till I get home because the woman who was supposed to be looking after them couldn’t stop them from going to sleep for the afternoon.  So for a couple of days, E and R were wide awake for most of the evening – and wanted to be up much later than I did!  Now things will hopefully run much more smoothly, as we have a new nanny!  She speaks good English; she’s good with children; she’s great!  And just at the right time, too, since M is off to Canada for ten days on Sunday.

So next week’s going to be tough.  Although hopefully G will be better and not getting me up twice every night for a nappy change – he’s had a nasty bacterial thing for a week now and the antibiotics are just starting to have an effect.  Poor boy, he’s been quite weak and clingy through it, understandably.  It’ll be nice to see him back to his normal, cheerful self.

More in about a week, all being well!

I love my new life at the moment!  I’ve had a lovely post-work time with the children this afternoon, finding their company so enjoyable after being away from them since breakfast.  Then I went round the new supermarket near here – and loved the experience!  The shop is just AMAZING!  For one thing, it has prices for everything on the shelves next to the items.  My fave shop last year, the Marwa Center, had only some prices.  This place is quite a bit cheaper than Marwa, too.  And it has tinned tomatoes, which a lot of supermarkets here don’t!  And loads else besides.  And they gave the girls a slice of cheese and a banana each while I was shopping!  Guess I already looked like I could be a good customer!  And I will be – I’m transferring my allegiance forthwith!  Sorry, Marwa Center, I will miss you!  Especially being greeted as I walk in: “Simmons!”

School has been quite kind, easing me into things with these two days doing no teaching, just observing and getting to know the ropes.  I have started the long arduous climb up the steep learning curve – and I don’t suppose I’ll see the top for a while yet!  I’m now looking forward to getting going with my classes, even though I have one more than I’d expected and can’t believe how cluttered my timetable looks!  I’m glad I’ve got through the 400 emails that greeted me when I first switched on my laptop.  All since the beginning of term.  Says a lot about a workplace, that.  An average of 100 a week, almost!

So tomorrow is Friday.  No work.  (We have a Friday-Saturday weekend here.)  Should be a chance to unpack then!  Oh, hang on, bother – TODAY is Friday.  Ooh, it’s far too late.  Well, just wanted to let you know how the first days had gone.

Ooh!  Ooh!  Can I just please tell you about the new road, too, before I go?  It’s called Street 60 and it was an awful road last year.  They’ve now finished turning the stretch I use (five miles long maybe?) into a dual carriageway – and it’s now SOOOO quick!  And best of all this road goes practically from the end of my road to the school entrance.  School to home in 12 minutes – and it used to take 20!

Discovering that the babycare room is tucked right in the furthest corner of the cavernous airport area I’ve just entered, at tired 3-year-old pace.

Being asked, “Would you like a coffee?” – when it’s perfectly clear that I have a bouncing infant on my lap with nowhere else to go!

Being offered breakfast at 3am when I only had dinner at midnight…

Being on a journey that lasts nearly 24 hours!

Yes folks, I’ve been experiencing the joys of international travel.  And that’s just the start of it – but fortunately for you it’s also the end of it, as I’m off to bed.  After all, I only got 2 or 3 hours’ sleep last night, disturbed by frequent taps on the shoulder: “There’s turbulence. Please check your children are OK” – “Would you like breakfast?”  Ooh, I’m a sullen person when deprived of sleep, I can tell you!

And I have a busy day at school tomorrow, which I am very much looking forward to – and rather nervous about, at the same time…

Actually saw one of the consultants today.  That must be a sign of how unusual my case is.  Have up till now just seen the doctors working for the consultants.  (And the wonderful nurse specialist who is intelligent, efficient, friendly and helpful!)  But when the consultants met on Monday to discuss (among other things) my case, this one decided to see me in person.

He told me lots about my condition, which was all simple and logical and made perfect sense, and most of which I have now forgotten.  D’oh!  He even gave me a name for it: I have secondary hyperaldosteronism.  The spelling might be slightly askew, I didn’t ask him for a transcript (although on reflection that would’ve been a good idea)!  But more importantly, with my particular cocktail of drugs, the symptoms are under control and… I can leave the country!


Right.  Aagghh!  There’s so much to be done!  Bulk-order prescriptions (if such a thing is possible).  Buy plane ticket.  (Yeah, right, as if I’d be doing that.  M is on the case.)  Get that pile of post I’ve been ignoring up to date.  Buy sandals for R and G and me.  (Oh help, where on earth will I find them?)  Change my mind twenty times about whether I can fit in a quick visit to my parents’ new house before I go.  Decide I can’t.  😦  Look again at logistics and realise I can’t go as soon as I thought I could.  Realise I probably can go to parents’ house after all.  Feel guilt-free excitement!

Oh, and the small matter of packing.  Ugh.

So naturally, here I am, doing some vital blogging.  Hmm.  Okay, okay, I’m going…

(I’m so excited!!)