Tag Archives: life

Plans for Life

HSGS in the Lobby - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Mr Hello and I have spent the weekend making grand plans. Grand, extension sized plans.

You may remember that we’re renovating our Victorian terrace in Rochester (part 2 of the series so far is here). The thing about old houses is that they are always a bit of a money pit.

More than needing you to spend all of your money, however, these old houses simply demand that you spend all of your time on them as well. That is what is breaking our metaphorical bank at the moment – where is all this time supposed to come from? I’m in time debt to myself and my home and I can’t seem to make the repayments.

Instead of housework, or pottering about on the allotment, or marking the several thousand school books I always need to mark, yesterday we simply curled up on our sofa together, got our laptops and measuring tapes out, and spent the day planning what we want our house to look like in a few months time.

We have a rather snazzy set of drawings that Mr H pulled together, and now all we need to do is find the people we want to turn those drawings into their wonderful, life enhancing reality.

When the house is all said and done, surely, surely then I will have some more time? That’s the way it works, no?

Until then, let’s just take small comfort in the fact that the blue in our small lobby is deliciously on point.

Life Lately :: March 2016

Life Lately March 2016 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Long time, no blog! I’d apologise, but….I won’t. As the title of this post suggests, life kind of got in the way of documenting it. I’ve made peace with this style of blogging, and I hope you have too!

Since last we spoke, I’ve had a week’s half term (by which I mean, 3 days since I tend to work a couple of days during each break), and then have headed straight back into teaching, which I’m sure most of you can understand, is undertaken at quite the relentless pace.  Ho hum.

I also had a suspected broken nose after spectacularly hitting myself in the face with my car door. It was dark, I was trying to check my parking, and was sufficiently convinced of its poor quality that I went to move it and – WHAM. Door to the face time. Noice.

In the spaces between, here’s what I’ve been up to. Clockwise from top left:

  1. Super bargainous £4.50 hat from the M&S outlet down the road. Headache-inducing-frozen ears no more!
  2. Getting my allotment on – after a couple of month’s break Mr H and I got the ol’ wellies on and trekked up the hill to our piece of earth. There are few things as good for the soul as a couple of hour’s worth of fresh air.
  3. Work, bitch. I spent a small, insignificant, teeny, tiny (I swear!) portion of my most recent paycheque  in the Body Shop last week. I wanted to check the wear on it, so pre-work selfies it was. Plus, let’s all agree that the eyebrows are on point, no?
  4. I made a thing. A trial run quilt for a couple of lovely pals who are currently pregs. I completely and utterly winged it (shock horror), and to my actual surprise, it turned out rather well.
  5. Planting seeds in trays – I’m sure there’s a technical name for that, but let’s not dwell. One more example of my current obsession.
  6. Champs in front of the TV because broken noses hurt and being tired is laaaaame.
  7. I’m getting….older?! The shape of my face is changing, and getting a bit saggier, but I actually quite like it! Another example of the Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation in Yorkshire Rose. It smells really nice, and it has Aloe Vera in it, so my skin has been rather good lately! I also picked up the Fresh Nude Foundation Brush, which is seems to be a cross between a regular foundation brush and a kabuki – I like it!
  8. Getting in to work at revolting-o’clock isn’t quite so bad when you get to see a sky like this.
  9. My main man. Over half term we went out on mini-dates several evenings in a row, and it was double delicious spending time out of the house, on a school night, with him. We made a pact to get out more during the week once the weather improves!

The days are now becoming lighter, and so I am taking it upon myself to take a few more photos for this here blog, and even once coat weather has been banished, perhaps even a mini shoot! What do you think, pals? Can I do it without being totes awks? Not sure.

Hope all is well for you all out there in Blogtopia.

xx

Sam

Living Brave :: 3 Weeks In

As I mentioned in my post on COURAGEworks, I’m currently in the middle of a course on vulnerability, created by the wonderful Brené Brown.

You may not be as into self-helpy stuff as I am, but if you are at all interested, do read on. I’m usually turned off by things that claim to have the secret to ‘changing your life’ or ‘unlock wealth’, but I am very pleased to report that this course promises neither.

This class is about “being brave, and showing up in our own lives”. It’s about recognising that vulnerability is the root of all human connection, creativity and joy in our  lives. It’s crazy when you think about it.

I’ve always been an open person, in fact I think this blog is testament to that fact. There ain’t much I ain’t willing to share, to be honest, but something that’s rung true for me in the last lesson or so, is that being such an open book isn’t always being wholehearted and vulnerable. I’m learning so far to think whether the people have earned the right to hear my story, and what is my intention in sharing parts of myself.  Maybe it’s time to hold back a little.

This certainly isn’t a way of saying I’m no longer posting here – in fact it’s the opposite. There’s nothing here that I’m embarrassed about or wouldn’t want people to see. But in my personal and professional lives, I’m going to *try* and remember the truth of being wholehearted and vulnerable, and live those values as best I can.

So, in short, the course is great. It’s thrown up a few questions for me that I haven’t yet answered, and that is exactly what I hoped it would do!

 

Thoughts on 2015

Looking Forward - HSGS

I do realise that we haven’t yet reached that all important 25th day in December, but nevertheless it hasn’t stopped me from starting to reflect on the year that was 2015.

To prevent you from having to hang around here all night, here are some of the things that have happened this year, in the Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha family:

  1. I returned from Australia, and resumed life as an expat
  2. Mr H passed his driving test and our lives were transformed by having so much more time
  3. We developed our back garden
  4. A new job for me
  5. I started driving lessons
  6. A spell of freelance writing work for me
  7. We got the hallway re-plastered
  8. My first UK teaching job finished
  9. Oh yeah, a wedding
  10. My family came to visit and many of them stayed with us!
  11. My second job started
  12. My life went crazy when I started primary teaching
  13. I booked my driving test (9 days peeps!)

So, yeah. It’s been pretty crazy. Professionally this year has kicked my butt, but as my new hero Brené Brown says, I’ve been down in that arena, daring greatly. I’ve managed, however, to end on a really high note at school, but am seriously looking forward to having a proper break.

Personally, there are a few goals I’m thinking of setting for the new year, and once I’ve settled on them, I’ll definitely share them here on the blog – perhaps it will keep me honest.

2016 is the first year, in what seems like forever, where there will be no big changes. I’m not moving anywhere, I’m not changing jobs, I’m not getting married again that’s for sure, so I’m looking forward to it being the year where I can really smash out some personal and professional achievements.

It’s been a big old year, that much is for certain. I am looking forward to 2016, but before that, let’s all see out what’s left of 2015 in style.

In Which I Am Extremely Tired

Time to take care - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Rather foolishly, I spent 3 out of the 4 weekends in November away from home. First a lovely jaunt up to Suffolk for Bonfire Night with Mr Hello’s family, then to our dear friends’ home in Ely, and last weekend for a girl’s trip to all the London Christmas shops.

It has been totally great, but needless to say, this last week I’ve been flipping exhausted. On Sunday evening this week, I had quite a bad episode of anxiety, which freaked me out enough to realise that it’s high time I started to take better care of myself.

I’ve got some extra weight to lose, terrible back pain to see to and sleep to catch up on. In my new job I essentially work 6 days a week, and it’s a pace I literally will be unable to keep up for long if I don’t make some serious changes soon.

Christmas is on its way, and over the two weeks break I get, I’m going to do my best to make a start on a healthy Sam in 2016.

I guess if I don’t do it, no one else will!

 

Wedding Planning: The Not/Boring Bits

The Wedding Interview Room - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

 

This is a truly dreadful picture, in fact, both the images you will see today leave a lot to be desired, but please bear with me.

You see behind that door, this morning my future husband was having our pre-ceremony interview. It’s not as exciting as it sounds, which must mean it was really rather dull, but in fact there was something exciting about it all.

The wedding is 53 days away (but who’s counting, right?) and today it all finally felt real. Mr Hello and I are participating in a truly human ritual, and one that we’ve all been doing for hundreds of years. There’s some magic in that.

I remember feeling the same way when we went in to get measured up for our wedding rings; for hundreds, if not thousands of years, we’ve been obsessed with putting shiny loops around our fingers. We’ve thought it was important to have an outward sign of our internal commitment to someone, and a really freakin’ shiny one at that.

This is not to say that the rings are all that important, it’s not even to say that getting married is all that important. Except when it is important, when you really, really, really want to marry someone. The way I want to marry Mr H.

Somehow, the slightest connection to the weddings of old can turn even the dreariest paperwork shuffling meeting into something a little more…epic. Although to be fair to our lovely Superintended Registrar, she was not dreary in the least.

I’ll leave you with a final poor image, hastily taken as we got our post-interview coffees. I felt it was necessary to mark the occasion with some posing:

After the Wedding Interview - - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

We’re gettin’ hitched soon, y’all!

 

 

Jump Forward, Spring Back

Spring in Rochester Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

The sun is shining most days now, here in Rochester, and it’s good for my soul. I’m still rugged up with my slippers on inside, but there’s sunlight streaming through the blinds in our bay window, warming my face as I write.

A lot of English people like Autumn the most, probably for the sublime colours of the season, and the permission we grant ourselves to rug up before walking outside. Whereas with Spring, we’re all pretending Summer is on her merry way, so the unwritten, unmentioned rule is that coats are banished to the back of the cupboard.

There’s something about the in-between seasons, Spring and Autumn, that are really quite special.

It’s an in-between season for me too, professionally. I’m about to start teaching tomorrow, and although I have some last minute preparation to finalise, today is a pause, a breath before the madness of returning to regular, outside-the-home work.

I’ve enjoyed being at home. I’ve enjoyed the way Loki, the slightly more ferocious of our two cats, jumps on my lap and naps with me while I work in the study. I like to hear the cheekily hopeful bell attached to the collar of next door’s cat, as he comes into our house for food, only to quickly escape once he sees me here. I’ve enjoyed being able to take my time with things, and to see there’s a rhythm to each day, even when there’s no plan.

Life changes with the seasons, and the seasons seem to change with life.

9 Superficial Things I’ll Miss About Australia (No, it’s Not the Weather!)

Perth Weather Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha
But the weather ain’t half bad, just sayin’

It’s a truth universally acknowledged by a certain resident of Kansas that there’s no place like home. There are just some certain comforts that make you feel safe and secure, and while many of these are now available thanks to globalisation, there are a few silly things about Australia that I know I wistfully think of when back in Ol’ Blighty. Let’s get listing, shall we?

  • The Size of Avocados – Being a part of the avocado lovin’ family that I am, this is *quite* a significant thing. Avocados in  Australia are deliciously bloody huge, creamy and ripe. On several occasions in the past I have had the misfortune to buy several avocados in England that have proceeded immediately from rock hard to completely rotten, totally bypassing any edible stage. This is important, you guys.
  • Availability of Great Coffee – Look. It’s a lot better in Kent on the coffee side of things now, then it was in 2010 when I first came here. There are still many crappy tearooms selling crappy dishwater style coffee, but you can actually get a flat white here now, Lord be praised. But it’s just not quite as easy as popping down the road to Mooba, Lawley’s or Milkd, like I could in Perth. Heaven is a coffee flavoured place on earth. That’s a song, right?
  • Grill’d & Jus Burger: 
Grill'd Burger
Click for Source – Chi (in Oz)’s Photo Stream

 

Don’t know if there is much more I can say. Burgers. Delicious delicious burgers. Chunky chips. Before you say it, no, I         don’t live in London and no, Byron Burger is just not the same. Suitable replacement suggestions very welcome indeed.

  • Cheap Public Transport – The People of Perth might disagree with me, but public transport is sooooo much cheaper there than in England. In the Motherland there is no such thing as a grace period, meaning you need a new ticket  every time you jump on the bus. For a non-car-owning citizen such as myself, this becomes rather problematic. Terribly interesting too, don’t you agree?
  • David Jones Foodhall – I’m not saying that there is no equivalent in England. There is. It’s a tiny little shop known to the locals as Marks & Spencer, the greatest English shop of them all. But M&S is missing one crucial thing in my book, which gives my beloved DJ’s the advantage. That crucial element is the World’s Greatest Sushi Bar. I don’t know what it is about David Jones Sushi, but it’s bloody delicious and quite cheap really. It shall be missed.
  • Frosty Fruit Icy Poles – Also known as quite a depressing icy pole if you’re a normal person, but the WORLD’S GREATEST SWEET TREAT when you’re trying to watch what you’re eating and are desperate for some kind of cold sweet treat on a hot Australian Summer’s day. It’s the little things you miss, you know?
  • Tax Returns – Stay with me here guys. We don’t have to do these in England, but in Australia if you earn over X amount (I’ve forgotten how much because it’s been too long since I had a proper job :-/) you need to do a tax return, and if you’re lucky, it ends up that the Government owes you money and you get a nice little deposit into your bank account. A form of enforced savings, if you will. Luckily I’ve never had to repay any tax, although I know people who have, and that’s not fun in the slightest. But when I was saving for my travels, I worked three jobs and paid a lot of tax, and ended up with a $4,000 refund waiting for me come tax time. Thanks very much!
  • No Electric Showers – Just typing out ‘electric shower’ makes me go a bit funny. Water pressure in Kent is technically known as ‘a bit shit’ and so if your bathroom is on the first floor or above you need an electric pump to get your shower on in the morning. In Australia I had the full force of outback water blasting me in the face every day, and by golly I’ll miss it. My English shower feels like a combination of being spat and weed on at the moment, and let me tell you, it’s not as fun as it sounds. Unless you’re into that sort of thing. I’d also like to point out that in England you’re not allowed so much as a powerpoint in the bathroom (you are in Australia!) but you can have an electric shower? MADNESS.
  • Knowing How to Do ‘Life’ Stuff – Now this isn’t quite as superficial as the rest, but it’s something I’ll certainly miss. When you’re a local or a native citizen to a country, you end up just somehow knowing how life works, as if you’d picked it up by osmosis throughout your life. When you’re an immigrant, you forfeit that knowledge and so it just takes you that little bit longer to work stuff out. How to get a driving license, why you need a TV license, who pays council tax, what the hell council tax even is, who can vote and where. Having lived here for a few years, I’m much better than I used to be, but there are still times where I feel like a stranger, and I make the odd misstep. But I guess that’s life!

I returned to Rochester at about 9pm on Tuesday night, and it was incredibly surreal. I haven’t yet quite consolidated the fact that I’m back in my own house, with my own cats and my own fiancé. I haven’t yet begun to miss Australia too much, although I’m prepared for that to hit me when I am least prepared, as I’m sure those of you who have travelled will recognise.

A Funny Old Time

It has been a funny old week, the beginning of my last assessed period of university, and the start of the last interminable stretch before Mr Hello gets his cosy little toosh on a plane to come and pick me up. A mixed bag of tricks, if you will.

GOING UP:

All of my assessments (bar one, rather critical one, my school placement) have been submitted. There is now nothing I can do about it, and my results are in the hands of the gods. Or my lecturers, which is somewhat one and the same, if the stories are to be believed. I’m so freaking relieved, it’s incredible how we put the pain of assignments out of our minds once they’ve been completed. It can be QUITE torturous. Oh well, all done now, and qualification is just around the corner! Hoo-friggin-rah.

I’ve semi-successfully changed my sleeping hours so that I wake at a reasonable hour, not the 1:30pm that had become my norm. It’s quite a pleasure to be awake as the world rises, and although it means I’m yawning at 10:30pm. Not quite such a pity seeing as I have renounced every possible form of a social life. Over my first few years in the workforce I realised I much prefer having extra time to get ready rather than more time in bed, and so when I get in a habit of waking up on time I like to linger over an extra cup of coffee or reading one more blog post. I realise this is what is known as an INCREDIBLY BORING THING TO SHARE but at the same time, such is my life, and I daresay most people’s lives tend to revolve as much around the mundane in life as mine. At least I hope so!

 

GOING DOWN DOWN DOWN:

I am totally and utterly obsessed with the thought of seeing Mr H again. He’s my default thought with every mental break I can get. I don’t know if any of you have undertaken a long distance relationship (LDR) before, but let me tell you, it’s not something I would recommend. I’ve luckily (wonderfully and gratefully) been in the position to never once question my partner’s fidelity, but the terrible thing has been the intense boredom that has pervaded my life since we parted. Sure, life is beautiful and glorious without him being next to me, but it sure as hell ain’t half as interesting. Recounting a funny incident on the train isn’t quite the same as laughing uncontrollably over a shared experience. Catching someone falling asleep just as you’re waking up does not make for particularly fulfilling conversations. You begin to live on faith, despite your belief system. You just have to trust that you’re still in love with someone, even though you KNOW that you are, but you somehow don’t feel it quite so much as you do when you can roll over and kiss their hot cheek next to you in bed. It’s agony, truth be told. Boring, hellish, and seemingly never-ending agony.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the fact that my right shin had developed shin splints, which caused me to take a break from my new running regime. Unfortunately I took it upon myself to discount numerous medical recommendations and took a mere 1 week break from running, which has proven to be totally insufficient. I was struggling on with the pain before I realised that in combination with the terrible blisters I was still developing, there was no hope for me to run in the future if I didn’t take a proper break. My blistered feet aren’t quite recovered yet (mores the pity) but the status of my shins is yet to be determined. I’m not sure if the self-inflicted break is a balm to my lazy-leaning temperament or stressing me out even more, but I feel anxious about it and I want to get back to running as soon as possible, if only to prove my inner lazy yet critical demon wrong.

Lastly, someone in my close family is going through a terrible time with chronic depression at the moment. I don’t feel totally comfortable sharing more details online at the moment, but I want you all to know that if you’re in the same boat, you sure as hell aren’t alone.

~