I’m so happy to say “Hello!” to you again, my dears. I almost have the blank page blockage, considering how long it’s been since I last had the time to write anything. I have been busy living, my life has taken a turn that requires all of my time and dedication, but I am happy and thrilled. I was finally offered a full time, permanent job in education and I’m a fully recognised teacher in England, which has been my goal since I moved to this country. I didn’t have time to drink the champagne or go out for dinner to celebrate that, because I’ve been swimming in seas of paper work and climbing mountains of books to mark, but, hey, great things are great because they require all of your energy and achieving anything with effort makes it worthwhile and so much more gratifying.
Tomorrow is Christmas and the year is about to end. For me this has been the best year ever. I have accomplished marvellous things - I started this blog, I went on an epic, unforgettable road trip, I won a poetry competition with a trip abroad attached, I had all my diplomas recognised in the UK, I obtained my full time, permanent job as a teacher and I didn’t want this year (that my Mum predicted was going to be MY YEAR) to end without me taking the tests for my British citizenship. So I did. I scheduled it 2 days before Christmas, because that’s just so me: I couldn’t relax and enjoy anything knowing that I still had one thing on my mind. I left my house lamenting for my attention, I postponed the making of our traditional “sarmale” (stuffed cabbage), without which our winter celebrations are inconceivable, I took Anita with me promising her a fun day in Exeter and after a sleepless night, all packed with “Life in the UK” tests, we embarked on the train - my daughter’s most recent passion (yes, she finally overcame the anxiety of travelling by train and she’s now loving it).
The sun was invading the cabin through the train window and all I could think of was that it HAD to be a great day, I had to pass the exam and end the year positively. I arrived at the testing centre an hour early, I went in straight away, I took the test in less than half the time allocated, because I simply couldn’t wait another second. Then, there I was, out of the room, with the receptionist holding the paper with my result in her hand, telling me that it was her birthday and that she would get home in Southampton at 8 pm, where her daughter was waiting for her with a nice cake. “But ... did I pass?” I whispered timidly. Time felt suspended in the air for a few long moments and then she smiled gently and replied “Oh, yes, sure you did my dear!” I felt like jumping up and down with joy, but instead I continued listening to her stories about visiting my country 25 years ago and how awful it looked, how she had found our people hospitable and kind. Our conversation ended with me promoting my country, inviting her to go visit it again with the certainty she’ll find it completely changed, although in my heart I know we still need a century or two to get to where I'd like it to be. I couldn’t wait to grab my paper and run out to tell Anita the good news.
A big hug outside, as soon as we met again, smiles and high fives and then she switched quickly to "Lets' do some shopping". You see, she doesn’t quite grasp the fact that 25 years ago I was her age and I was coming out of an era when I didn’t even dare dream I could go out of the country, I could visit any place abroad, I could talk to people that were living outside our borders. She doesn’t understand that I accomplished a dream that seemed impossible and now I am/ we are a small step away (1800 pounds for me and her) from becoming citizens of a country I have always loved and admired. A memorable day for me, a day out shopping in Exeter for her. She’s relieved she won’t have to do all this “test thing” herself though and I’m happy I can spare her from it. I think she deserves to enjoy a serene, happy teenage, just like all her British friends and feel she’s equal to them in every way.
We bought a few items on sale, admired the shops’ vintage décor, enjoyed the Christmas decorations in Exeter, took a few cute pictures that I’ll allow you to take a peek at here and then the rain sent us home. Back on the train, back home, back to reality. I can finally relax for a couple of days and enjoy the festive season. No Christmas tree this year, but I feel I have baubles and fairy lights in me. Very few decorations in my house, but I sparkle inside. Happy festivities, darlings! I hope you had a good year as well and I wish you all a serene, tranquil Christmas, with your dear ones near you or in your hearts. My heart is full of joy and love and I embrace this warm feeling that I’d like to take with me in the year to come. I am looking forward. I’m so looking forward to all the other great things I’ll bring in my life next year, because I do believe it’s up to us to make good things happen if we strive and persevere. Ho, Ho, Ho and holidays to remember to you all!
P.S. I was wearing Wrangler jeans, my one and only Christmas jumper inherited from Anita who stopped liking it and an adorable little jacket from United Colours of Benetton that I bought in Italy. Casual for a day out shopping, accessorised with a big and heart-felt smile for a very memorable achievement. J