Preparing To Leave

Before heading to Kazakhstan I had a few things to sort at home. Such as buy a camper-van, try to sell my boat, flog most of my belongings, pack Margot and any items I wanted to keep into my camper-van and drive them to Spain for safe keeping, turn 30, you know, the usual things.

Toby 1

I won’t give you a full diary account of everything, but here are a couple of highlights:

The Penny farthing

I managed to sell a lot of my belongings by carboot and online, in particular I sold my penny-farthing using Facebook Marketplace. The lady who bought it was registered blind and was coming to collect it on the train with her guide dog, I was going to meet her at the station in the afternoon.

penny farthing

  • I was late leaving school meaning I was really short on time to get the bike to the station.
  • I couldn’t find the key to unlock the bike from the bike rack, I went back and forth to the boat with handfulls of keys – non of them worked, now I had even less time.
  • I eventually got my electric drill and broke the lock off – nobody at the marina batted an eyelid.
  • I couldn’t get the flaming thing into my car!
  • I grabbed the keys to the camper-van and managed to cram it in there.
  • I drove to the train station in the camper having only driven it once up to that point.

Success!

We made it in time, we even had enough time to pump up the tires.

The Boat

Despite several promising viewings I didn’t manage to sell the boat in the time I had available, the plan was still to “move out” though. My Mum offered to come and visit and help with the clearing out and join me on the drive to Spain. I wont bore you with the details of clearing the boat, but we had several lovely picnics in the marina and ate out a lot as mum decided the first thing that needed emptying were the food cupboards and we weren’t to cook anymore.

The day we were due to leave I was sitting on the front of the boat disconnecting the gas when I heard a splash and instantly realised my whole purse had fallen in the marina and was quickly sinking below the boats. I quickly plunged my upper body over the side of the boat into the water in and attempt to grab it before it was out of reach but no luck. Mum had no idea what was going on and thought I was falling in. I explained, partially stripped and jumped in after it – it had all my bank cards and driving licence in; if I lost it we were going to be massively delayed. The water was a little chilly and extremely dark and murky. Down between the boats and under the pontoon it was pitch black, I couldn’t see anything and didn’t know where the bottom was.

Mum secured Margot and came to assist – she was more panicked than I was as she couldn’t do anything. I bobbed about in the water trying to calm my heart rate so I could hold my breath long enough to reach the bottom. It was imperative I was slow and calm as if I stirred the silt up I would lose my purse forever and this water was incredibly silty. I dove down and slowly waved my hands around – nothing. I came back up reassuring Mum that it was under control. Up and down I went a few times until finally my hand made contact with my purse and I triumphantly made it to the surface.

margot

The purse safely on-board, the only difficulty remaining was how on Earth to get out. You have to realise the water level is maybe 70cm below the pontoons and a meter or more below anything on the boat you can grab. I tried clinging to the boat and pontoon and hoisting myself out, I tried using the ropes on my neighbours boat for a bit of leverage – it didn’t help, I tried moving further along in the hopes there was something to grab lower down and provide a bit some much needed assistance but no. Obviously I did eventually get out, using some combination of ropes , and Mum and swinging my legs up first, though not without gaining quite a scratch that seems to have left a bit of a scar, though I think it was fortunate not to get infected.

marina

Everything in my purse was laid out to dry, I changed clothes and Mum, Margot and myself went to the coffee shop for a breather. I couldn’t believe the adrenaline rush such an incident had caused.

We did manage to leave for Spain as planned, I’ll give you a few highlights from that adventure next time.

When Things Come Together

Ooh another Kazakhstan section, but you’ve turned down the job, what could possibly be happening now I hear you ask. Well, 4 days after declining the job offer in Kazakhstan, the international recruitment lady contacted me to suggest the same job, for the same group of schools, in a different city, in the same country, where I would be able to find accommodation allowing dogs, and as it’s a rural city it pays more (counter-intuitively).

s-margot.jpg

Though I would have to re-interview for the role with the staff at the new school. I now considered myself experienced with these interviews having completed one before with great success, so I thought, Why not and signed myself up for another Skype interview.

The interview seemed very much more a token interview this time. They seemed to have decided that if the previous school in the big city had wanted me then it must be their lucky day to get me out in the sticks.

After a little deliberation I decided to accept this job offer.

Team teaching grade 10-12 physics only, class size a maximum of 12 students: it sounded like a the most idyllic job I could have ever imagined.

s sketch tewkesbury

Then came the logistics. This is one of the main things about being a grown-up that I hate. Admin. Insurance, documentation, notaries, visas, vaccines, flights, council tax … and so on and so forth.

Plus I still had to get through the rest of the school term; though as the year 11’s had gone on exam leave my timetable was significantly improved and summer time on a narrowboat is wonderful, I especially enjoyed my mini veg garden.

Many of my colleagues were both envious and confused by my decision. Envious as I was leaving before what looked to be a difficult year, and confused as Kazakhstan wasn’t really an obvious choice. I don’t know the precise nuances of each of their situations, but I do believe people are rarely as trapped in their jobs as they think they are. If they really wanted a change they could do it, it might be difficult or uncomfortable but I don’t believe impossible.

I was due to start at the beginning of September alas the paperwork side of things slowed things down considerably to the point that I wasn’t entirely sure it would all come together, but , spoiler alert, it did, and I’ll tell you more about that in another post.

So here is where the real tale begins, as I start my journey towards teaching physics in Kazakhstan.

s boat & margot