My first two weeks of work here in England were fairly relaxed. That's because the insanely busy summer season had not yet begun for Richard Language College. Well, the craziness began this week as the college received a huge influx of students and my job has been transformed. I work from 9:30 each day until 3:30 while I am going back and forth between Richard Language College's campus and Bournemouth University's campus (either by walking or by bus, depending on how much time I have). I generally stay at work until 5 pm each evening to finish work and to use the computer for emailing Matt. :) Then I go home and have dinner with my host family at 6:30 pm. Then I'm out with the students for about another 3 hours in the evening for the activities we have each Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings. Wednesday afternoon we take half-day excursions. Then on Saturday I lead a full-day excursion, leaving at 8:15 am and returning around 7:00 pm. I am now also working on Sundays as I lead other full-day excursions, again from 8:15 to somewhere around 7 or 8 pm. So here I go....starting to work 7 days a week for the next several weeks, or perhaps even until I go home!
It's really quite exhausting, but I LOVE spending time with the students! And even though I'm in the "office" for some time each day, it's easy work--signing students up for activities and excursions and taking their payments and then making the arrangements for everything.My evenings are spent with the students playing volleyball, going on balloon rides, hosting BBQ's, watching fireworks on the pier, playing mini-golf, or going to the cinema. And then the weekends are spent visiting wonderful cities like London, Bath, Oxford, Windsor, etc. So although I've become quite the busy little bee running all about England, I really can't complain! Everything I do is fun, and what's even better is getting paid for it!
Although things are great, one can always expect some "incidents." I had one this past Thursday night. I was leaving the cinema with a group of students at around 11 pm. After chatting for a bit, I began to walk home with some of the students. We were in Bournemouth's town centre, which is not the place most people would want to be at night because the centre turns into a huge, out-of control party scene. So as we're walking along, a car speeds down the road and throws two eggs at me as my back is turned to them. By the time I turned around, the culprits were already gone. I could NOT believe it! The eggs hit my over-sized purse and broke all over it, but I would rather it be that than my clothes or hair. UN-BE-LIEVE-ABLE. The students with me were as shocked as I was and they felt very sorry for me. My feelings at the moment were more like anger, maybe extreme anger to be more precise. But I managed to keep my cool as I continued to walk home with the students. Thankfully, I was able to wash all the egg off of my purse when I got to my host family's house. And of course it had to be my favorite purse--a very expensive knock-off Coach purse. (my sister has the REAL thing, lucky her!)
Today we went on an excursion to Windsor Castle, one of the residences of the Queen. I now consider it a Must-See, if I were to recommend places to visit to any persons traveling in England. You can see some of the pictures below. It was a beautiful day outside and the little town of Windsor is charming and full of character. The Castle itself is truly breathtaking. Of course it was swarming with tourists as it is July, but fighting the crowds was most definitely worth it. Visitors aren't allowed to take pictures inside the Castle, but pictures wouldn't do it justice anyway.
And today I had an almost "incident" at Windsor Castle....with the Queen's Guards. Yes, it's true. They march about the Windsor Castle grounds quite a bit and as I was strolling along in the Castle's courtyard, I looked over my shoulder and jumped out of the way as 6 silent, stone-faced soldiers marched right over the spot where I had just been standing. I had about 2 seconds before they literally would have bowled me over--although the Guards usually completely ignore tourists, they are known to be quite harsh if someone gets in their way. I definitely didn't have any verbal warning from the guards as they approached but thankfully their bright red, polished coats caught my eye in the nick of time! Whew....I almost became a casualty of an army of 6 of the Queen's Guards. But barely avoiding it was also quite memorable!
Cheers, and God save the Queen!