This week my group classes began and my first one was on Monday evening at 6.30. I admit to feeling just a tad nervous before I went in but that disappeared as soon as I met everyone. The time whizzed by and we had lots of laughter and lots of conversation as the group all had a reasonable level of English. And on Tuesday evening, at the same time of day, I had another group, a bit more advanced but a bit more reserved. I had to work a little harder with them but I feel sure it will go well. And each group have another hour and a half on Wednesdays and Thursdays...
My relationship with mornings was tested as well this week as my third group have their hour-long classes on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8am. That's eight o'clock in the morning if you didn't quite take it in at first reading. That's early. And this group is all men and all with a fairly basic level of English but again, the time flew by and by the end of the first lesson, they could all remember how to pronounce 'J', 'G' and 'R' and by the end of the third lesson, they were having short conversations and spelling words out correctly.
I also have hour long lessons with some of the senior managers and I am enjoying the conversations very much. At one of the sessions, I realised we were discussing information systems and the collection and production of statistics...all my 'old' work interests and knowledge...so that was extremely interesting and only by a whisker did I stop myself from offering to take on the job of designing a reporting system for the production department!
And at home...well, we're becoming accustomed to the total destruction of our garden. FR has fashioned some steps to reach the outhouse and the garden gate and has also created a little raised flower bed area. He's also had some iron bars made to fix to the wall so we can put up some canopies for summer shade. We've had various men round to give us quotes to do the work and so I expect more action before long. For now, it's been all hands on deck...oh, perhaps that should read all male hands on deck as neither Romy nor I have had much to do with it so far.
Mateo is very happy these days too as our lovely English neighbour has done him the biggest favour she could....she asked if he could do a few hours work in her garden for which she is paying him. And he's delighted - not just with the money, which is fantastic for him - but with actually doing the gardening. And it's come at the right time for him as he now has found himself a girlfriend. It's just lovely to see him so happy, although as she lives in another village some distance from town and even more from us....a 40km round trip..which is of course, 80km there and back twice! I am encouraging him to meet her in town when he can, though I really don't mind the journey. There are no buses after school time so unless their parents help out, they could be doomed from the start!
However, not everything is going well for everyone. My dad, who had a stroke 10 years ago, has been most unhappy and difficult with my mum since she returned from her visit here. Things came to a bit of a head yesterday and I had a call from my sister to say it looked as though he might not be able to stay at home any longer. She and Mum were waiting for a visit for an assessment. I was concerned enough to be looking for a quick flight home but although I could find a flight to Manchester today, I couldn't find one to return. However, Judy called me a little later after the visit and said that they had managed to sort a few things out. Dad had agreed he would take some more medication - he'd been refusing to and had not been sleeping and spending much of the night shouting and being very disruptive during the past couple of weeks - so that he could stay at home for at least a bit longer. He's completely unable to control his feelings of anger and frustration but understands that his behaviour is making it impossible for Mum to look after him. He knows he doesn't want to be in a home and that the medication he's being given should help them both to manage life at home.
It's very sad. I'm phoning my mum most days and my sister, who is brilliant at dealing with Dad's unrealistic requests, is giving all the support she can. Between us, we can only try to do what we can. I'm going to England with the children in July and Mum said it would be silly to come beforehand as really, I can't change anything. But it doesn't stop me wishing I could. I'm glad to say that least both Mum and Dad had a good night's sleep last night for the first time in a while. That has to help.
So it's been a week of taking the rough with the smooth; being grateful for the good things and dealing with the bad things. Just keep swimming!