The misery that I brought upon myself in 2015 did not want to leave me way into January 2016. This year has continued being madly busy and stressful, but several positive occurances have indeed taken place, things that are helping me to see the light at the end of the tunnel, although I still have to endure several months of the ordeal of living in la capital.
I have now (almost) certainly decided that I will not be staying in London a single day longer than I absolutely have to. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t, on occassions, experience the feelings of delight, joyousness, even exhilaration and euphoria, particularly on Saturday and Sunday mornings when I whiz through almost empty streets of central London and past some of its most monumental landmarks, such as the Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace, on my way to Victoria Station from which I catch the train to south London, where I work. There’s certainly some magic in this first-hand experience from the cycle seat, and I’m sure I’ll be pondering over it with nostalgia once it’s all over and I’ll have moved out and on. However, most of the time, I am stuck in horrific traffic, bathed in exhaust fumes and enraged with clueless and, more often than not, nasty drivers. Coupled with not-so-great weather that we’ve had recently (after all, it’s winter in this part of the world), it’s been challenging, and though I’ve always been saying to my students: challenging is enjoyable, now it’s time to admit, it isn’t always.
On the positive note, despite my strong conviction that I was most definitely going to fail the first term at uni considering how little time I had to study and write my essays, the deadlines for which were at the beginning of January, which was basically amidst all my, mostly work-related, dramas, not only did I pass and with fairly decent marks, which is almost a miracle, considering, but it was the essay-writing that gave me the most pleasure in my non-cycling life from late September to early January. Thankfully, I rediscovered the reason why I have been making all these sacrifices for the last three years and with the re-found passion for cinema studies, I began Term Two with enthusiasm and have managed to keep it up. I have been studying a lot, working, writing for EEI (two new texts, by the way: Eva no duerme & La novia), and have taken on two private students: one for English and one for Spanish! Besides, I have exciting academic plans, but I’m going to wait a little longer before revealing them to the world.
I am getting away from London for ten days at Easter to work on a language programme with Latin American students in a lovely green area of Ardingly College, near Haywards Heath. I did the exact same thing five years ago just before moving to San Sebastian, and I enjoyed it so much that I promised myself I’d do it again if I was ever to be back in the UK. I can hardly wait, I desperately need to change the environment.
Last but certainly not least, after three verging-on-plain-rude letters to HMRC that I managed to send in the first three weeks of 2016, re: a serious cockup with my tax code, as early as a couple of weeks ago I received a reply, and apparently I’m getting my money back in a few weeks’ time. I obviously don’t trust them, but at least they have acknowledged their error. At last! VICTORY!