Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Starting Again; Part 2

I am frequently asked to report upon the various smaller details about living in Sweden, so I've chosen a just a few subjects and will do my best in this entry to give a little flavour of some of the smaller experiences so far.

Malmö is home to the 3rd largest IKEA Store in the world. After the Christmas break Henrik and I booked a date in our diaries to take a bus to IKEA and "make a day of it", which might sound crazy but, as I'm sure many of you will agree, once you really get stuck in to IKEA it's very hard to move on to the next section of the store, let alone make it out of the store within just a couple of hours! And don't forget the restaurant, which is an important part of any IKEA trip. Just out of interest, has anyone ever had anything other than the meatballs? I always swear I will choose something else, and then I never do!
Henrik and I arrived at IKEA with the usual promise that we wouldn't buy anything unless it was really necessary and we definitely wanted it. That promise flew out of the large glass entrance doors as we walked in. Because of the layout of IKEA, as you walk through you imagine yourself living in so many different homes. I would not advise going to IKEA with your significant other unless you are very secure in your relationship, or already living together. Because if you didn't already feel very serious about this person, a trip to IKEA can change all of that, which is not necessarily a good thing! You suddenly see your sweetie in amongst the sofas, cushions and throws, televisions and perfect kitchens, and your imagination goes haywire. Suddenly you picture your whole yet-to-be-created family together, in this custom built IKEA house that exists only in stores and in your mind. Any previous annoyances, compromises or little niggling doubts are thrown out with the promises not to purchase anything, as you find yourself in a world of style and convenience. You start to picture yourself inviting friends over for dinner in your new IKEA dining room, before you get everyone to gather around for a DVD on the huge television, relaxing on your deluxe corner-settee, with a huge IKEA Popcorn bowl, while you serve wine in neat IKEA glasses. Even those of you who are the most sceptical about your own relationship, or relationships in general, IKEA can arouse the most surprising feelings inside you. After all that, and scribbling down notes for every item to make sure you don't forget to check it out later on, it's no wonder people need a break in the restaurant! And the restaurant is a great place to be brought back to reality after your little trip to wonderland. I think it's essential to visit the restaurant, even if only for a quick fika. It gives you a chance to remember who you are, and also where you are both physically (an IKEA store) and emotionally within your relationship. You get the time to realise that the imaginary party, or family, or whatever your IKEA dream consists of is just that: a dream. For now anyway...(!) After our visit to the restaurant we went back into the main part of the store and bought a few nice items with our Christmas money, just to make the apartment a bit more cosy.

Princess Cake (Prinsesstårta)
How many of you have been in to the IKEA restaurant and seen the strange-looking "princess cake". This delicious green oddity is not always green, but that does seem to be the most common colour. I promised my cousin that I would sample one on her behalf (well, really, it's my pleasure!) and decided that the next fika would include princess cake. So why is it that, as soon as a decision like that is made, Malmö suddenly became devoid of princess cake? I had so many fika's while on the search and it simply wasn't on offer. I wonder if it had anything to do with the season, as it does seem to be a rather summery dessert. I noticed it was available in the freezer section at Willy:s, to be defrosted and enjoyed at home, but as I was doing this for other people, not just myself, I thought it should be freshly made. It turns out that Princess Cake is Henrik's favourite dessert, and as his birthday was coming up I put in extra effort to buy a princess cake, rather than just ordering a slice with my coffee. My sister was staying at the time, so there was extra reason to buy a full sized cake, as there was another person to eat it. In the end I went to Mormors Bageri (Grandma's Bakery), and bought a roulade princess cake, rather than the traditional dome, which wasn't available. The cake was white and red in colour, rather than green. I think it was a Christmas theme, as those were the only colours to choose from. Check the picture at the top of this post to see Henrik and I tucking in. Princess Cake consists of a vanilla sponge, with a jam and cream filling, much like a victoria sponge. Then more cream is piled on top of the cake, and finally a layer of marzipan completes the design, resulting in a very neat and stylish dessert. I've included a photo of a traditional princess cake. We really enjoyed eating it, and my final judgement - everyone should try it. The fact that it is green should not put anyone off!

The Swedish Language
Lastly, for those with a slightly more immature sense of humour, I'd like to invite you down to my level for a moment while I share with you a few funny little things I've experienced with the Swedish language. For the rest of you, I make no apology, but if you're not interested, then now is the time to stop reading!

OK, how would you feel, if when ever you go outside you continually see the word "fart"? How long would it take before you manage to stop laughing each time you see it? I'm just about there now. But why the word "fart"? Well, in Swedish "fart" means "speed". As a result, it is constantly appearing on road signs. A "farthinder" is a speed bump. "Infart" means "entrance", and "Utfart" means "exit". A driveway is an "Uppfart"... you get the picture. This word is everywhere!

Another word, slightly ruder this time, is the word "Tvätt". If you're not already laughing then it must just be me... but come on. "Tvätt". It's like a camp european way of saying tw*t. Oh and it means "wash", as in doing the laundry. So you might see "Tvätt" on a sign for a laundrette, and most apartment blocks have a "Tvättstuga" or "Tvättrum", meaning "laundry room".

Just one more, although I could go on! This one is related to music. The Swedish have a very literal term for the instrumental introduction to a piece of music. It is, simply, "förspel". Translated literally it means "foreplay". You have to be very careful in rehearsals when using that phrase, believe me!

I'd like to leave you with a link to a funny video on youtube, of an advert that has been showing on Swedish Television. It is a pretty good representation of how I feel when attempting to speak Swedish, especially when Henrik works so hard to correct my mistakes. Enjoy!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Starting Again; Part 1

Welcome back to my blog!

I'll go straight in with some confessions, to get things started:

1) I have found continuing my blog difficult, after a period of feeling uninspired.

2) Winter was hard for me at times, with a couple of low points.

3) Winter was also one of the most amazing times of my life. Talk about highs and lows!

4) I am trying to continue my blog. Really trying.

Let's pick up where I left off. October 9th, in our apartment at last. Since then I've spent a huge amount of time settling in, making my own space, unpacking, procrastinating and beginning to feel like I really belong here. Getting everything unpacked and put away was very important to me. I always try to maintain order in my living space, and make things as comfortable as possible. However, for the first time ever I was facing a huge obstacle: someone already lives in this apartment! And that someone is my boyfriend. I was really excited about moving in with Henrik (and that excitement hasn't faded!) but I couldn't have predicted how hard it would be to move myself in to his home, and make it 'our home'. In the past I have always had my own space, either in the home I was raised in, or house sharing at Music College. This time, instead of moving in from scratch, I was fitting myself around someone who already lived there. Henrik was also moving back in, after a year in England. We tried to work together, but essentially we were working against each other - Henrik trying to put things back where they belonged before, and me trying to move new things in to an already established home. Henrik was incredibly anxious for me to feel settled and welcome, and worked very hard to help me move everything in and find a space for all my things. Finally, we're about finished! 3 months later, and the flat is starting to truly feel like a home.We still have too much stuff between us, and my parents are STILL storing some of our things for us, but we're moving in the right direction.

The Swedish winter was harsh this year. Rather like in England, the Swedes were subjected to a winter much colder than usual. I live in the South, where the weather is much milder. It normally wouldn't snow too heavily in Skåne, but this year there was so much snow that leaving the house became a very undesirable prospect. Temperatures were averaging minus 6, which is certainly bearable with the right clothing, but not pleasant! I know my Canadian audience will think I'm a wimp, but if you're not used to such cold then it then it can be quite a shock.

Another shock to my system was the daylight hours during the winter. I started to notice it getting dark as early as 2.30pm in the afternoon. It would be fully dark by 4pm- and wasn't getting light in the mornings until 8.30 or 9am. That equals about 7 hours of daylight, which isn't a great deal. This was the first time I really felt any sort of struggle about being in Sweden. I spent a great deal of my time at home, while Henrik was out rehearsing with the Opera Company. His schedule was very busy, while mine was more independent. It was a great opportunity to work on my new website and give a lot of my time to practising and developing myself as a performer. I also had plenty of time to network, complete a lot of admin and really work on furthering myself for employment in Sweden. However, I found myself struggling to do any of those things. Being home alone was becoming difficult, and with the limited daylight hours, which were getting shorter day by day, I was starting to feel really homesick for the first time. But more than anything else, I was ashamed of my inability to motivate myself. In a way I was disappearing into myself. I became my own worst enemy, lacking any desire to leave the house (especially into the cold!) and at the same time longing to get out and just DO something. It was a very strange time, and looking back on it, I'm amazed that I found myself in that position. Henrik was obviously worried about me, and I found it hard at the time to open up to him and tell him how I was feeling. In the end I got through it by finding activities for myself to do, with Henrik's help. I started making things, such as Christmas Tree decorations and other gift ideas. I also got stuck in to my website and found that I had lots of things to be very positive about and proud of. I hope to be online very soon!

Before getting back into this blog, I was considering how open I should be about how hard it was at times in the winter. I want to give a true picture to how it can feel to move abroad. It's not always easy, and sometimes you long for the familiarity of your home country. But I also have no regrets for moving to Sweden, in fact I love it here. Not only that but the positives by far outweigh the negatives!

So, on to the positives! Christmas in Sweden was incredible. I felt so welcomed into Henrik's family, and celebrating Christmas in a different culture was a fantastic experience. The run up to Christmas is full of excitement, much like anywhere else in the world. But there are some celebrations specific to Sweden, that I really loved. December 13th is the festival of St Lucia. Early in the morning, the youngest in the household (or the children collectively, as it tends to be!) will dress up as St Lucia (girl in white, wearing a crown of candles), or her attendants. They make coffee and serve it with saffron buns to the others in the house, waking them up with their singing of the traditional "Santa Lucia" carol. Towns tend to organise a Lucia Tåg (Lucia Train) early in the morning, with a procession of Lucia and her attendants, carring candles and singing carols. I went to such an event at the Malmö Opera, early on the morning of Friday 10th Dec. I was treated to beautiful singing, free coffee and saffron buns, pepparkakor and glögg (mulled wine!). The glögg was the strong variety too...which I was not aware of. You couldn't really tell because the flavour is so strong anyway. But after 3 small rounds of glögg I started to notice!

Sweden puts a lot of emphasis on lighting their cities and towns during the Christmas period. I think because so much of the time is spent in darkness, there is a real need for cosy lights and Christmas spirit, or everyone would suffer from severe depression! The lights in Malmö were stunning this year. I loved walking around town and soaking up the festive feeling. There were lots of opportunities to visit friends and share glögg and pepparkakor. Everyone was getting into the spirit of the season, and people were very friendy and welcoming.

Christmas Dinner in Sweden is different, as you might expect! Instead of Turkey, the Swedes favour ham. Dinner is more like a buffet, only everyone sits together around the table. There is sill (pickled fish), köttbullar (meatballs), potatoes, lots of vegetables, the ham of course, hard bread and preserved salmon. There are also lots of other items to pick from, it can vary depending on different family traditions! I decided to try and cook a Christmas dinner myself, for some friends. Henrik helped of course, and we decided to do it while my sister was visiting us from England, so that she could try it too. In the end Henrik and I made so much food that we were eating it for the rest of the week, much like ay other Christmas dinner! The typical Swedish Christmas dessert is something called Risgrynsgröt, which is basically rice pudding. It is often flavoured with cinammon, and traditionally the chef puts in an almond too. Whoever finds the almond in their dessert is said to get married in the following year. Unfortunately one of our guests has a nut allergy, so rather than forcing him to play russian roulette with his dessert, I used a raisin instead. It wasn't so discreet, but did the job none the less!

I spent the actual Christmas celebration in Stockholm, with Henrik's mother, where we were during the summer. Henrik's brother, sister-in-law and their children were there too. It was so special to be included in their family celebrations, and I loved seeing the differences between our traditions. The Swedish celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, or Julafton, and then spend Christmas Day recovering and enjoying their gifts.

December also meant the end of term show for the school I have been teaching in since arriving in Sweden. It was a huge success, and everyone performed to a very high standard. We have started our new term now, and have got stuck in to some brilliant pieces from the Glee show. I am having so much fun working on the music with my groups, and feel really positive about the term ahead.

I have to sign off now, as I am going in to town, but I will update again soon, with more information on my time in Sweden so far. Stay tuned for: Princess Cake, IKEA and more!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Getting Lost Around Town All Over Again

We finally moved into the proper flat this week. I say this week because it has taken a few days and lots of public transport (neither Henrik or I drive) to make it with all our stuff. We are still living out of boxes and bags, but things are gradually making their way into their proper place. Life here is starting to feel more real, now that I can say I have an actual address. The novelty factor has started to wear off, but so far I am still very content with Swedish life. Malmö is a very beautiful city too, and the sun is still shining most days, although it's getting a lot colder as the days go by. This afternoon on my way home from work there were lots of golden and orange leaves falling from the trees, and with the bright yellow sun shining and uplifting tunes playing on my iPod I couldn't help but feel content. Content and a little over-whelmed.But in a good way, if that makes sense? It's true that I have always hoped I would live in an other country (or even more specifically, I have always hoped I would live in Scandinavia) for a while if I had the chance. I just never imagined the chance would appear so soon. No time like the present though!

Monday was a special day in the Swedish Calendar: Kanelbullens Dag (Cinnamon Bun Day). As I have mentioned before, the Swedish take their fika buns very seriously. I think if I were ever to write my memoirs from my time living in Sweden I would have to give it the title "Swedish Fika-Buns Ate My Waist-Line". I mean, come on. A national day dedicated to a cake? I think I'm in heaven...

I'm really enjoying working in the theatre school, I've covered another dance lesson since my last post and I had a lot more confidence the second time round. I'm most happy when leading the Singing lessons though, as I was this morning. The students seem to be having a great deal of fun too, which is really important as we hope the school will grow and more children will want to join, so when they see how much fun we have I'm certain many more children will sign up! My next goal is to find more work. Now that I am in a permanent location I can call my own, I am able to teach from home, which means I can start giving private lessons. Now it's time for some shameless self promoting to anyone and everyone, to see if I can fill some hours with private students and get back into a more full schedule.I'm keeping my eyes and ears open for any opportunity that comes my way, and I am now attacking the job front with all my energy.

I've really started to notice the difference in economy between England and Sweden. Sweden as a country is doing very well, the recession is a thing of the past (though not forgotten) and the Swedish Krona is rising in value. This is all good for Sweden, and therefore it is good for me, while I am here! However, my British need to find-a-bargain is not fulfilled here. Not in the way it should be. You see, I still have English prices and numbers ingrained in my psyche. I think the best way to explain this is with another of my lists:

Cost of cheap supermarket own brand loaf of bread in Britain: About 54p.
Swedish equivalent loaf of bread: 20sek

Cheapest available own brand Super Noodles in Britain: 9p
Swedish equivalent Super Noodles: 4sek

Only two examples but they make a good point. I should point out that 20sek is about 1pound 84p, and 4sek is about 38p. Now in Sweden this is a reasonable price when compared to the national wage, though some may argue it's a little pricey. But for my British-brain it's outrageous! I find it had enough with all the extra 0's on the numbers (eg 100sek is only about 9pounds 50p!) but on top of that I never feel like I'm getting a bargain! I don't think I'll ever adapt to this new way of thinking...

Finally, 3 little thoughts:

1) I found a really nice, big, shiny conker on the floor today near the Malmö Opera House, while walking home from work. I brought it home with me. Henrik thinks the word conker is funny.

2) My local supermarket is called Willy's. It's huge.

3) Now that I've moved to the other side of town I have to re-learn my way in and out of the city. Everything is in reverse.

2 photos from this Summer
TOP: Henrik and I next to the boat (our means of transport between islands) in the Archipelago.

BOTTOM: Me, feeling the heat on a hot summer afternoon, again in the Archipelago. We spent an afternoon at a war museum built into a small island. The island had basically been transformed into a defense point, with underground caverns and lots of guns hidden in the land-scape. It was a really good afternoon and I was fascinated with the design of the island. The base hasn't been in use since the 1930s, but it's a great museum now!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Photo Album: Crayfish Party 15th August

Click the Thumbnails to enlarge

The Spread..........A Close-up..............This one is waving

Just add snaps.................Enjoying the crayfish.....The boys

Tucking in

In the photos: Henrik, Gorel (Henrik's Mother), Gustaf (Henrik's Brother), Me (!), Liv och Ludwig (Gustaf and Kerstin's children).

Only person not shown in the photos is Kerstin, Gustaf's wife. She took the all the photos: thank you Kerstin!

Stay tuned...

I am not ignoring the Swedish general election that has just taken place, but instead fully intend to publish my own update, reporting on my own experience and understanding of the election that has just taken place, from an outside point of view. Stay tuned!

End Radio Silence

At last, I am writing another update for my Blog. When I last posted, I was back in the UK to celebrate my Dad's 65th Birthday. I had a wonderful time at home and really appreciated spending time with my family again. One thing I never mentioned was a small highlight (one of many!) to my visit home. While in Stockholm I was finding myself increasingly frustrated with the lack of reading material. Of course, the newspapers are in Swedish. So are the magazines. To get an english magazine I would have to go to the Central Trainstation to pick up an over-priced out of date english edition. The library had a small selection of english literature, but there wasn't anything I wanted to read. I know beggars can't be choosers but seriously, I had read most of the books there. There were a couple of series I really wanted to start but the first books were all missing (probably already on loan) so I couldn't take out any of those. I re-read some stories, as they had a couple of Terry Pratchett books and I never get tired of those, but on the whole I was disappointed. The washroom in the basement of the appartment block we were living in had a small make-shift library that the residents had thrown together. It consisted mostly of swedish books, but I found a John Grisham book that looked worth a try. By the time I was heading back to England I couldn't wait to stock up on books and max out my luggage weight allowance for the flight home. So imagine my absolute delight when, on arriving home, I find an envelope waiting for me. I opened it up and realised it was a birthday card from my Aunt and Uncle that had been saved for me, rather than sent on to Sweden. Inside was a gift card for Waterstones (UK Book Shop)! I was absolutely psyched, and the gift couldn't have been better timed. I was desperate for new reading material, and couldn't wait to spend it on something exciting. I bought 2 books, one was a fantasy book, the first in a series, by Jonathan Stroud, and the other was a book about the lives of Chinese women by Xinran, a Chinese Journalist. I've read the second, and will start the fantasy novel soon. I also bought a Jodi Picoult book called "Picture Perfect", which I have almost finished, and I borrowed the final book in the Twilight Series from my sister, and finished it in record time. So I am definately making up for lost time with the rate I'm gobbling up literature. And my Mum made the best offer ever, to send me magazines in the post so that I have some light reading material. Of course, it's also important to me to try and learn to read in Swedish, and I try to read an article in the newspaper, or on the TV guide, every day. It may only be 100 words long, but it's important to me to keep trying!

Once I arrived back in Sweden, I moved half way across the country, to Malmo in the South of Sweden, where I am now living and working. Housing and travel has been a bit of an adventure for the last month or so. Let me try to bring you up to date on my current situation, by using the following list:

1) July 21st - August 27th. While living in Stockholm I was staying in Henrik's Mother's appartment in Central Stockholm, and occasionally having short stays at his Uncle's house on Alon, an island in the Archipelago.

2) August 27th - I travelled to England for my Dad's 65th Birthday. Let the good times roll!

3) September 1st - Back to Stockholm. I arrived in the small hours of the morning, so technically the 2nd.

4) September 2nd - Morning flight to Malmo. Staying with friends on a beautiful farm in Horby. I've never stayed in such a wonderful place, with sheep, horses, chickens, cats, a dog and lots of home grown food. I felt truly spoiled! We were waiting for our appartment in town to be available.

5) September 4th - First day of the new job. More on this later.

6) September 6th - Back to England. This time, Birmingham. I was supporting Henrik in a recital he was performing on the 7th. Then we went to my family home, packed lots more of our stuff, spent some quality time with my family again. Henrik met the guinea pig, the parrot and the cats we have at home. We went out for a lovely dinner at the best Fish and Chips Restaurant in town, and of course I had Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas. It was beautiful.

7) September 8th - Fly back to Malmo. This time we are living in a lovely appartment in Lorensborg. The appartment belongs another kind member of the family, and we are staying in this one until our appartment is available. We are waiting for the tenants to move out, they have the place until 30th Sept, as agreed in the contract. The place we are staying in is beautiful, and I'm grateful for the generosity of Henrik's family and friends, that have enabled us to have somewhere to stay while waiting for our appartment. I honestly can't wait to get in to our place though, and start unpacking my new life properly.

So that's everything caught up, in a very brief and basic form. Let me tell you about my new job. I'm working as the singing teacher in an international theatre school, affiliated with one of the inernational schools in Malmo. We effectively run a weekend activity where the children learn songs, dances and drama sketches and perform them at the end of term. It is a wonderful opportunity for me because it enables me to teach in english, and meet a huge ex-pat community. I've also had lots of interest from students for private lessons, which is fantastic as that is what I was doing most in England and I'm really keen to carry on in Sweden. I've also made friends with my colleagues, Mattias (Drama Teacher) and Victoria (Dance). It feels really good for me to be making friends of my own, so that I am not just relying on Henrik's friends for socialising (although they are also lovely people, there's something to be said for being independent!). I've also met a lovely lady called Vanessa, who has a child at the theatre school. She has been helping us out with registers, selling tshirts and looking after the children during their breaktimes. She is a Drama Teacher at one of the Universities in Malmo and has been really helpful and friendly to me. She is actually from England, but married a Swede and now lives with him in Sweden.

I've faced various challenges with my work so far, the most memorable being this past Saturday (18th) where I actually took the dance classes, and another singing teacher covered the singing lessons. Victoria is performing in a national tour at the moment, and she won't be available for every weekend. When she is away, I am the cover-dance teacher. I really enjoyed teaching the routines to the kids and working on the steps with them. It was a great 3 hour work out for me too, as they have so much energy!

Speaking of work-outs, I put on about 7lbs this summer...maybe even more, I couldn't find a reliable working set of scales. I'm supposed to be a UK size 12 on the bottom, 10 on top, but now all my clothes feel tight! There, I've said it. Now I'm accountable to everyone who reads this blog. I'm going to try and get back in shape. I'm not planning any major weight loss, but I need to get fit again, so I will be checking in with you all. I just need a set of weighing scales now! Keep checking for updates on my progress. That will encourage me to work hard!

I think I've caught everything up to date now, and as I'm in a more permanent location for the time being, I will be updating on a more regular basis once again. Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad!

I have briefly returned to the UK, to celebrate my father's 65th birthday. I arrived in the UK on Friday at 21.45 BST, 2 hours later than scheduled. First the flight was delayed in Stockholm, then we faced further delays before finally landing at London Gatwick. We were so delayed that there was no-one at the gate in London to drive out the tunnel-link to the plane, so that we could all disembark. We had to wait while they found someone. I think my sister describes an event like this as being sent to "fail-jail".

My brother met me at the airport and drove us both back home. Dad was really surprised to see me as we had kept my trip a secret. Saturday was a nice day of chilling out at home, before we went out to dinner at a lovely oriental buffet, which had food from China, Malaysia and Thailand. Delicious, and very entertaining to see my father try to eat with chopsticks.

I brought a few tastes of Sweden home with me, but only a few as I didn't want to over do it and I'm still working out what the tastes of Sweden are! (No rude comments please.) In the end I decided on a large tube of Kalles Kaviar, two jars of ABBA Sill and an Elk Salami. No one's tried the salami yet... I think I may have to lead the way on that one. I get the feeling my family think it's a joke. Every time I explain to someone that I brought home Moose, they think I mean mousse.

Yesterday I baked a chicken and bacon pie for dinner. In the evening I went with my brother and sister to visit my aunt and uncle who live in the next village. We took a box of old photos and memoirs that my Grandma left behind when she died (about 15 years ago now I think) and went through them. My sister is taking some time to research the family tree, as a hobby rather than a lifetime commitment. It was really interesting to hear stories about people I never even knew existed, and to share memories of our childhood. We ended up staying until quite late, without noticing the time. I was so pleased to get to see my aunt and uncle (and both my cousins who were home) before going back to Sweden on Wednesday. I laughed so much as we recounted old memories and heard new stories. I laughed so hard I think I burned enough calories to earn an extra cinnamon-roll next time I have fika.

Today my brother, sister and I went out for lunch, followed by a trip to the cinema to see Toy Story 3D. For lunch I had...you guessed it: Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas. Inspired by all the memory-sharing last night, I am going to delve into the family photo case this evening and dig out some memories and photos. Tomorrow I think I am going to one of the nearby cities to do a little shopping with my brother. Wednesday is the end of my stay, and I will be returning to Sweden via London Gatwick. I have a meeting for my new job on Friday 3rd, and will officially begin teaching on Saturday 4th September. Wish me luck!