December has been a very eventful month to say the least. It has once again been full of adventures and we have ended with plenty more stories to share.
The first week of December was actually the last week of school; yes, I know what people are thinking “the amount of holidays teachers get…” obviously it is not usual for teachers to get a month off for the Christmas holidays but I am not complaining! We get a long holiday to try to match up to what the government schools do here, this is their six weeks holiday so we get four to keep a good balance and this means no long half terms in February or May!
During the end of this term, I had my formal observation in school and I am pleased to say that it went very well. Usually when you apply for a teaching job, one of the stages is obviously to teach a lesson, but being so far away, the school have to rely on references and the interviews to judge how they expect you are going to teach. For me, this actually meant more pressure for the observations because the leadership team had never seen any of us newbies teach but as I have mentioned before everything is done in such a supportive way that it is a positive experience all round. It also made me reflect on my teaching experience here so far. It is different to both England and Spain, obviously there are positives and negatives within all places I have taught but thankfully there are a lot more positives here. One main thing is the work life balance; this is helped greatly by the fact that it is a small school (marking is less, there are less reports to write etc.) but having a better balance really improves teaching; you can really personalise it and have a bigger impact on individuals. Also, the pressures we face as teachers doesn’t seem to get passed on to the students here; both in Spain and England you would see the stress in the children and the pressure on them to achieve highly, sometimes way above what they could actually achieve. I am not saying the children here don’t care, they do of course, they want good results and around exams they too feel worried and anxious like anyone else. However, throughout the year and in key stage 3 they seem to enjoy school more and that is how it should be, all they should only be worried about what they will get for their school dinner! There are of course things that I do miss, writing hundreds of reports is not one, but working in a bigger school has its advantages in other ways and if I am talking about things I miss from my last school then my previous colleagues and lovely Blasco tutor group are definitely some of those things!
To continue making you all jealous of the long holiday, we ended the term with drinks at another fancy hotel and a BBQ alongside the pool. I never thought I would have a work ‘Christmas do’ in a bikini!
The following day we were ready for my parents to arrive. We were so excited to show them our island home!
After a long journey my parents arrived by plane in Praslin (we are yet to go on the smaller plane from Mahe to Praslin). The plane stays quite low and the views look breathtaking; this will definitely be my next method of travel instead of the rocky Cat Coco. We hired a car so that we could all get around the island together and it was nice to be able to pick my mum and dad up from the airport, cases in tow; one full of presents and clothes for us (well… more clothes for me). To make them feel at home, we had the Christmas tree up and improvised with some of my heart fairy lights, it may not be a cold Christmas but we will try our best!
We introduced mum and dad to the beach at the bottom of our garden and had a chilled night at home, ready for an island tour the next day. First stop… Anse Lazio and its impressive blue waters. Dad didn’t come out of the water the whole time!
My dad quickly got used to driving in the Seychelles and after driving through the Vallee de Mai, of course we had to do the walk through it. It was a lovely day and not busy, we seen lots of palm spiders this time, which is great to see them thriving! I am not usually a fan of spiders but palm spiders are beautiful and they don’t really move from their web! We also seen lots of skinks and day geckos but also got to see the less common bronze gecko which was really big! There were a lot of birds around too and we caught a glimpse of a couple of black parrots.
As well as visiting some of the main sights in Praslin, we had lots of chill days together too; walking along the local beach and reading around the house. Dad and I even went to yoga in Lemuria hotel, which was very relaxing! During one of our walks, we came across a few trees that had fell and of course if there is a fallen tree around you have to have a go of the classic scene from the film Dirty Dancing!
When mid-December came it was time to celebrate Jay’s birthday and what better way than to do it in style in a 5 star hotel! All you can eat breakfast and a lazy day by the pool and beach…. Perfection!
Mum and dad had had a quick glimpse of Mahe; they had seen some of Praslin so the next island to visit was La Digue, we hopped on a boat and 10 minutes later we arrived on an even smaller island that only has three taxis and all other transport is bikes! It was beautiful!
It was lovely cycling around the island, we seen even more stunning beaches, some definite competition for Praslin in that area and we also met some very friendly locals.
A little bit of snorkelling, an inquisitive bat fish, lots of cycling, a lemon shark sighting (at my ankles eek) and a few cans of Amsterdam (along with lots of laughter) later it was time to go home.
With my parents leaving before Christmas, it was only right to have a fake Christmas together! So we set the table, made some Christmas hats from gold paper and of course cooked a roast dinner!
We even had a visitor…
I think by this point mum and dad thought they had seen everything they could on a tiny island, but we weren’t finished… We took them on the hike through the hills to Anse Georgette beach! I have previously mentioned this walk (see post Happiness is…), yet again it was hard work in the heat, you really do sweat from places you didn’t know could sweat, but that beach is so worth it at the end!
There was even a little wedding arch set up on the beach from a previous ceremony and it got me and Jay thinking…
It was nearing the end of their trip so we thought why not visit another island. We packed a picnic and jumped on a boat over to Curieuse Island. To end a beautiful day, we decided to go for some sunset cocktails at Coco de Mer hotel and wow, what a spot!
We sat out on the jetty and looked over at the colourful fish underneath us and watched as the Sun set over the Indian Ocean.
The colours were even more amazing than ever.
It was bitter sweet, such a lovely last night but I knew that when we woke up the next day, my parents had to go home!
Of course, before they went we had to have a little drama, we were stood outside the airport saying our goodbyes and the doors of the hire car decided to auto lock…. with the keys still in the ignition! Not only were the keys locked inside but also my bag and all of my parent’s luggage! After a panicked phone call to the company (luckily Jay’s phone with his number was in his pocket) whilst nervously watching the time, we finally got into the car; at least it gave me an extra half hour with mum and dad. We said our goodbyes, again, and waved them off.
Time for our first Christmas alone, about 6000 miles from home.