Tag Archives: graduate

Can it.

Dear Alex,

I am continuing your very British last blog on the ‘Great British Bake-off’, and its future *chokes back sob*, with an equally British topic: the unassuming cup of tea.

tea-drinking-uk.gif

Yesterday was the 358th anniversary of tea in the U.K, an event so important Google informed us of it.

I am stereotypically British in my love of tea. It is a trait that makes me incredibly proud and I have no idea why. Perhaps because there are only certain things that make me feel proud or patriotic to be British. The Olympics (I don’t know if you got the fact that I love the Olympics from my last blog, but just so you really know, I do), the national anthem, but most of all is when people use tea as a way to conquer any uneasy situation – boredom, sadness, anger, tiredness, unpredictable weather. Well, actually just weather in general.

326979c164ef5d869a9291dc1b92e40f.jpg

Pinterest gets it.

The British can put the world to rights over a cup of tea and I strongly believe tea can conquer anything. At times of uncertainty the simple act of putting a tea bag in a cup, adding hot water and stirring, is a therapeutic enough task for me to gain perspective and calmness. It’s like magic – exclusive magic reserved just for hot beverages.

 

So this is why I was so upset when I found out last week that a company, with bold claims of innovation, has made tea…in a spray can.

CrmQlWXWYAEi7pT.jpg

Yum Cha Drinks’ new innovation ‘No More Tea Bags’, a useful invention for…I can’t think of who.

Now I know when the teabag came in all hell broke loose. I have a friend whose family still refuses to use a teabag, loose leaf all the way in their household. But they are distinct as far as I am concerned and amongst the general population, the teabag is THE way to make tea.

So was there even any kind of demand for this spray-can-tea madness? Were we ignorantly avoiding our tea-making destiny? I’m sceptical.

THEY claim that it says goodbye to the hassle of dirty, messy tea bags you have to throw away, not like any other form of household rubbish then. Please can someone make carrots in a can so I don’t have to peel them anymore and go through the hassle of putting the peelings in the bin? That would be foolish surely.

They also condescendingly note that it will result in:

“Properly brewed better tasting tea”.

img_6185

This must be what happiness looks like.

Clearly they have no idea who they are dealing with. As if the British have ignorantly been drinking under brewed, bad tasting tea for decades. A realistic possibility, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not incensed by the madness of tea in a can. Now we know how infuriated the Italians felt when they found out you could buy tinned ravioli.

I’m all for progress, but this just seems unnecessary and expensive. With a starting price of £3.99 for 20 cups of tea, who can afford the sci-fi nonsense of tea in can when you can periodically buy 480 teabags for £5, from a supermarket that “makes it”.

Once upon a time we were a country who loved watching a programme where normal (and sometimes loveably slightly odd) people made cakes on a channel that epitomises being British. All with a cup of tea we made with a teabag.

Now who are we? I don’t know, but I hope to God we don’t become a nation of tea-sprayers.

Love T xx

Olympicspiration

Dear Alex,

When we started this blog, I was excited for many reasons. It seemed like a cool idea, a chance to communicate with you when our lives today are so separate and also because I love writing.

Since I’ve been back from Spain – Almost two months ago! How did that happen? My life as a professional job searcher has resumed. I eat, sleep and breathe cover letter writing and CV-tweaking and with it my appetite for writing for fun has been lacking. There is nothing like job hunting to make you feel a little bit like your soul is dying. That will be the first and last dramatic comment, I swear.

But hopefully that partly explains why I have been on an extreme blogging hiatus, and I do apologise for my absence. However, I have returned! Never to be gone for so long again (hopefully).

I fully intended to be back blogging a couple of weeks ago but a certain event that only comes around every four years has proven to be a major distraction. I love the Olympics. For all the debates about whether Rio de Janeiro should be allowed to host the games in the first place, nothing takes away from the sheer excellence that takes place wherever the games may be. I have loved every second of watching Michael Phelps, Adam Peaty, Helen Glover & Heather Stanning, The Brownlee brothers – athletes who are just so far and away the best in their field and worked immeasurably hard  to get there. Needless to say I will be gutted when the games end this weekend.

Olympic_rings_446x251.jpg

My love for the Olympics is probably not a huge surprise to you, given that my love of sport was anything but concealed when we lived together. However, seeing people give everything for the prestige of being the best in the world and a medal around their necks is infinitely inspirational to me at a time when I feel I need a bit of inspiration. Don’t get me wrong; the amount of teenagers winning Olympic Medals before they’ve even finished school is amazing to me, and slightly depressing at the same time. I could barely make a decision for myself at sixteen, and these ones are winning Olympic medals. But the Olympics are proof that working hard pays off, a truth that sometimes feels like a big conspiracy and once, every now and again, it’s nice to be reminded of the fact that its not.

Mostly however, the Olympics have made me miss rowing. It’s the only thing I’ve ever really been proud of and the only evidence I have that proves I can do anything if I set my mind to it. Before rowing, I never knew I could. I yearn for the feeling of pushing myself and slowly but surely seeing results, of hard work, of learning something new about the sport and myself.

ekp_file_0__team-gb-logo-600x600_1463414384Not only have the Olympics restored the pride (2nd on the medal leaderboard!)
I had and, given recent events in our country, lost for GB,
but they have also reignited my motivation. So I have made lists, got organised and persisted on with my cover letters and CV’s, because right now a job is my aim. It’s definitely not as exciting as the Olympics, a country load of people won’t be cheering for me and I obviously know that this is not a big deal in comparison to actual Olympians. My point is persistence and anyone can be persistent. So I’ll settle on my persistence in getting a job being my medal for now.

56e18298e4b07cff49f1520a_cv1.jpg

Under Armour brought out a fantastic addition to their ‘Rule Yourself’ campaign, starring Michael Phelps in the build up to the Olympics. The campaign focused on the struggle that goes into being an athlete – early mornings, weights, workouts and failures; all with the slogan:

CdbxOKVWEAARF-v

They may have been talking about Olympians, but it made me think that anyone can take this message away. With any luck at some point all our hard work, in whatever we do, will ‘put [us] in the light’.

 

Love T xxx

P.S I never watched Love Island – I’m very sorry.

P.P.S Can’t wait to hear all your news – your Instagram looks like something out of a gorgeous travel brochure – hope you’re having an amazing time 🙂

Hello again.

Dear Alex,

I’m back. Please don’t take my blogging absence as anything to do with your last blog; I thought it was absolutely fantastic:

“Who runs the world? Not girls, but the media and gender frameworks”

What a line. JUST FAB.

In fact, it got me thinking quite a lot. Enough to write two blogs myself, promptly decide I didn’t like them, and resume my social media silence. The truth is I’ve wanted to comment on quite a lot of what’s going on in the world, internationally, politically, interesting marketing and communications news at the moment. I mean, where do you even start? Over the last few weeks, ideas for blogs have come thick and fast – Taylor Swift’s latest addition to her campaign for Apple Music (wrote this one, may tweak it and post it in due course) the American presidential race, Hostelworld’s new campaign (again written, may post it later), Brexit issues and my internal rage over my own student loan and the state of them for future generations of students.

These have all remained ideas in my head or written in notes on my phone, and not appeared in the blogger sphere for several reasons. However, the main reason is that I have just been having too much fun exploring the place I have called home for six months.

The gorgeous Northern Spanish coast

It seems a cliché to say ‘time flies’ but for me this couldn’t be closer to the truth. How it is already June is beyond me. So this blog is an ode to everything I have discovered and done in Asturias and Northern Spain over the last month or so: a semi tourist guide of ‘musts’ to do if you ever come here. Whilst I am acutely aware of all that is happening in our world today, for the next two weeks at least, this is my world and I couldn’t feel any luckier that it is.

A true highlight of living in Northern Spain is the food. They champion the long lunch here and I’ve never paid more than 16 euros for a three-course meal with drinks and bread. I feel like I’m going to be in for such a shock when I get back to the U.K and have to pay £7 for a churro at Glastonbury. Plus as a general rule here, the grimier the place looks, the more incredible the food is – a rule that typically cannot be applied to places in the U.K.

A few weekends ago I went hiking with some friends along a trail called ‘Ruta de las Xanas’ (Xanas being the merpeople that supposedly live in the lakes in Asturias).

But at the end of the trail was an incredible view and a run-down restaurant where a little grandma asked us what we wanted to eat from the daily menu options, shuffled away and came back bearing giant cauldrons of food that was the best I’ve tasted. My friend’s Spanish boyfriend validated this by saying if the waitress is an old grandma, the food will be incredible. Evidently he wasn’t wrong.

In addition to the hiking I’ve had a pretty activity packed couple of months. I’ve been paddle boarding in the Pico de Europas (a mountain range) and kayaking and cycling in the most gorgeous scenery. I didn’t fall in once paddle boarding but did fall off my bike in spectacular fashion – classic me.


Plus my parents finally came for a visit last week and we spent every minute that they were here visiting the parts of this beautiful region that I’ve not been able to easily without a car.

The weekend before the last, we went to Bilbao and San Sebastian, stopping in little villages on the way and the way back, all along the Northern Spanish coast.
 It was beautiful.

Turns out, after having to persuade my Mum that we should stop in Bilbao before San Sebastian, that it was actually the preferred city of us both. The Guggenheim, ‘pastel de arroz’, the old buildings and the general feeling of life you get from a city, were all well worth the trip.

San Sebastian was a tourist haven, and this fact let it down for me. It’s saving graces were the beach, the view from the mountains that bookend the city and the incredible and imaginative ‘pinchos’ it boasts. Thank goodness I was with my parents because the ‘take your plate and help yourself’ attitude that most of the pincho bars have is dangerous for my waistline and my wallet.

Pincho highlights including croquetas and a chorizo cupcake 🙂

Now I’m down to my final 10 days here I can say that my bucket list of things to do is shrinking and my collection of unforgettable experiences mounting, with every one my spectrum of feelings about leaving point moving closer towards gutted.

Stay tuned for appearances of the written yet never seen blogs and most likely an emotional ‘Don’t make me leave Spain’ one too.

Lots of love as always, and can’t wait to hear about all your news too 🙂

T xxx

Unchartered Territory

Dear Alex,

We are in unchartered territory. Today I have written a cover letter with a difference for a job application. This blog is the only copy and I hope you enjoy it, for whilst a cover letter is not something I would usually write to you, the content is, and has been, something I would write about. So in addition to this being to you and perhaps something you may find interesting, it is also for the eyes of a well-known publisher’s careers team.

SO. Dear All,

hungrycat.jpg

I have been reading ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ to all of my classes of 3-5 year old Spanish children this week. Teaching this age has been my biggest challenge during my time as an English assistant. The inevitable barrier of teaching those who find their own language difficult, let alone another, has at times been a hurdle I have had to retreat from in order to find another way around. However, this week has restored my faith in my ability to remain clam and collected when faced with a problem, and be an organised, patient and capable leader.

I have gained a certainty in the universality of stories, and the power of this particular story. From the moment I pulled out ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ my usually loud and feisty infant classes were as captivated by the story, and the intensely magical illustrations, as I have been since their age.

I have always loved the drawings and story of this book, even related to its ‘eyes bigger than its stomach’ attitude and even at the age of twenty-two I am still finding new ways to love it.

It is is the best teaching tool. Cries of ‘Oruga’ and ‘Mariposa’ (my all time favourite Spanish word) turned to ‘Caterpillar’ and ‘Butterfly’. Children were calling out numbers; fruit and colours in English with such delight it made pride and happiness bubble inside me. All because of one gloriously colourful story that surpassed different languages and childish impatience. Its greatness exceeded my expectations.

                                    (250)

I have re-found a love for children’s books now that I have to read them on a frequent basis and this love promises to continue through my adulthood with the rebranding of the Ladybird books featuring ‘The Ladybird book of…’ for adults. A take on the classic children’s book for adults and titles including ‘The Ladybird book of the hipster’ which has got to be my favourite.

The publication of these books is what made me stand up and take notice of Ladybird now that I am to all intents and purposes an adult. It was ingenious. The publication of ‘The Ladybird book of…’ books combines a symbiosis of adult humour and content with a nostalgic reference to childhood and tradition. In an uncertain digital age, people are seemingly craving a simpler time of paperback copies and classic stories and Penguin Random House seized upon this in a spur of brilliance that has sold over a million copies.

What a joy it would be to work on these kinds of ideas and help launch a rebrand trademark as captivating as Ladybird for the modern day.

 

I hope everything is going well with you and you have recovered from your idyllic trip to Italy.

Love T xxx

 

 

 

Wherever I lay my hat that’s my home

Dear Alex,

All it seems I do is apologise for the delay of my blogs. At first my delay was because I had very little to write about apart from my burning desire for it to hurry up and be the Easter holidays. Then just before said Easter holidays I found myself with a million blog ideas and no time at all. What with frantically trying to finish all my work and achieve everything I wanted before the holidays.

Which to be honest was a bit of a shame because I have re-found my love of TED talks and one of my blogs was about this. I downloaded lots for the many long journeys I took over Easter and loved every one of them. I feel instantly more knowledgeable, intelligent and reinvigorated with how fascinating the world is. TED satisfies my innate curiosity that sometimes lays slightly neglected and dormant when life gets rushed. The good news is that this curiosity is being placated far more recently thanks to the TED app – on the go genius at my fingertips.

This is just as well because I have been very ‘on the go’ lately. A jam-packed holiday seemed exciting when I was last minute planning it before the break. A little bit less so now that I am back at work feeling pretty exhausted. Although I do have some fantastic memories and for that reason I wouldn’t change it.

So it all began with a fleeting visit back to the U.K. Just enough time for eat all of my favourite foods and spend time with one of my favourite people (shout out to my Mum there). Then it was back on plane to Spain, this time joined by Helen – think you’ve met her before, she is at Cardiff, one of my ‘rowing friends’ as I remember you and Meg always called them :).


We started in Valencia where one of the first things we did was go on a walking tour around the city. I love walking tours – the guide could be telling you pretty inaccurate information but I like to believe the majority is the truth and they are always good showmen, so if nothing else it is always an entertaining experience.

We also went to the beach for a couple of hours every day. There is almost nothing better than staring out to sea, I kind of wish I lived a bit closer to a beach, they make me really happy. We also got bikes and cycled along once of Valencia’s main features – there used to be river, now dried up and an amazing park, ate paella and ‘fartons’ and drank ‘Horchata’ and ‘Agua de Valencia’.



Then onto Madrid, which is almost colossal status. According to my good friend Google it in fact has a smaller population density than London, but it doesn’t feel like it. Cue three days of the coolest hostel I’ve ever stayed in (loads of cool messages on the walls) museums, churros and tapas eating, a lot of walking on another highly entertaining walking tour, a couple of sunsets, more churros, a picnic in the park and a general good time in what according to our hostel is the sunniest capital in Europe.


Then all that was left yesterday was to part with one of my besties and get on over a 5-hour bus back to Asturias in preparation for work today feeling like I’ve doubled my body weight in amazing Spanish food, and a bit dejected to go back to reality after a pretty great Easter holidays. But then the old woman next to me insisted on sharing her sandwich with me as if she knew that all I needed was some Jamón Ibérico and I would feel better. To tell the truth, she wasn’t wrong.


Can’t wait to hear about your Easter in Italy.

Love T xxx

Word Vomit

Dear Alex,

I realise as I write this that our last communication was ten days ago. However, I have reconciled with my infrequent blog posts by romanticising it. It is far more comparable to how letter writing used to be – as if you have to wait for my update to come through the post box rather than being instantly readable on our blog.

This time I fully intended to write my post just a couple of days after yours, but as always life gets in the way. I’m glad you are enjoying your new life in London (I love your room by the way), you realise just how huge it is when we were in fact in the same city and its vastness stopped us from seeing each other. For as you know, I was back in the U.K for an agonisingly short amount of time; just enough to get my Pancake Day fix (they were great) and use every traditional mode of transport apart from a bike.  

 I crammed so much into such a short amount of time that I am still recovering from the exhaustion.

So the main reason for my return was for a topic that is incredibly relevant to one of the reasons we started this blog in the first place: the tales of our lives as graduates. For the reason for my trip back to the U.K was for a job interview that was like none other I have attended. I knew the second I left the building that I hadn’t progressed to the next round, I hoped I was wrong, but I had a sinking feeling I wasn’t.

Firstly, I let my nerves get the best of me, which is perhaps the number one rule of what not to do when being interviewed, yet I doubt I am the only person to have experienced this. I suddenly had word vomit and just talked at people. 

  
I told anyone who would listen how nervous I was and how everyone around me was so amazing and I didn’t belong. Well done T, draw attention to the fact that you feel like everyone in the room is better than you. In my bid to seem open, I was definitely too honest about everything. It was like I was having an outer body experience. As if I was looking in on this person trying to be me but not succeeding and coming up with a weird mix of someone I couldn’t relate to. Which is in fact very unlike me, I normally would excel meeting new people and god knows I had enough employability seminars to know how to act in an interview. All in all I’m not too sure what happened.

So even though I was expecting it, not going through to the next stage of the interview was disappointing. I genuinely felt for the first time that I was right for the job and would excel at it. It’s unique and filled with variation and I could vividly picture myself doing it. So why couldn’t I show them? But oh well, I know I am not the first one to experience this kind of disappointment, nor the last: life as a graduate.

I am now back in Spain, feeling slightly deflated but pleased to be back. I have already been here 6 weeks – how did that happen?

Hit me back with more London experiences and news. Seen any more celebs recently?

Lots of love as always,

T xxx

‘A Penis please – Oh no sorry, I mean snack’

  
Dear Alex,

I loved your last blog post and the very poetic way you used changes as a mirror of your life. I have listened to endless Bowie since his death; I had almost forgotten how great his music was. My favourite is ‘Heroes’, I always thought it was a wonderful message that anyone can be a hero if not ‘just for one day’.

I am far from heroic. However, being the only young English native teacher at school I have somehow adopted a kind of hero status for the younger pupils, mostly girls I must admit. They shout my name in the corridors and hug me whenever they see me. A teacher told me her class of four year olds asked where I was one lesson and one girl said ‘Oh no she won’t be here yet because she flies to school’. So apparently I have super powers too.

One super power I do not possess is the ability to speak in a different language. It’s not a classic super power like invisibility or super sonic hearing. However, my daily struggle of communicating in a different language leads me to believe people who speak more than one, especially if that one is English which I now realise is grammatically impossible, are super. Hence the title of my post, which is an exhibit of my daily struggle. Here the word for a snack and penis are strikingly similar sounding to me as a foreigner, however, needless to say I will not be making that mistake again.

In my defence I was exhausted. Which is my current state. I am exhausted when I wake up, exhausted at school and exhausted consistently. I have learnt my apparently pea-sized brain struggles to translate if I am tired. Plus, I know from our days working at a children’s camp, that the feeling of tiredness you get from working in a normal job is nothing compared to what you feel when working with kids. Today the struggle was real. TGIF.

I’m trying to try something different every week – last week it was wine tasting. I had a great time but to be honest I could not decipher which was meant to be ‘fruity’ or ‘full-bodied’ – all I knew was if I liked it or not. The Tapas that go with it were excellent – you would have appreciated it, a lot of cheese and Chorizo.

  
Tomorrow it’s another cultural adventure. Football is a major deal here and I’m going to a match tomorrow – I know very few rules, don’t know the team and don’t know the language. Despite these struggles and feeling pretty steadily out of my depth, life is definitely exciting here.

I hope the next chapter for you is just as exciting 🙂

Lots of love,

T xxxx