SANTA??? I KNOW HIM!!

If you are as unemployable as I am, you will understand the feeling of applying to each part time job that appears before your eyes on-line. Retail, waitressing, bar work – the list goes on. I even applied for the job as a christmas elf at the grotto in my local shopping centre for a laugh (as well as to say to people I was honestly still looking for a job).

Imagine my surprise when I get phoned for an interview. The interview consisted of a few questions and was a fairly regular which resulted in me being invited to a further interview. This then led to me being invited for a trial shift a few weeks later.

For the past 2 weeks or so, I have been a full time christmas elf at the grotto. In all honesty, I’ve learned so much from that job when I thought I would learn nothing. I obviously learned the usual basics such as using the till and operating the camera software but I also learned much more about people as well as myself.

  1. Frozen has taken over the world. I’ll admit that, for the past year, I have boycotted watching Frozen. I never have watched it and I never will. I just don’t want to simply because I don’t want to give into this hipster Disney hype that has sprung up. However, in this job, it seems vital that you watch Frozen at least once. Most of the girls visiting the grotto would ask for some form of Frozen gift from dresses to dressing tables. I couldn’t get over how one simple movie has morphed these children into being dressed head-to-toe in merchandise as well as begging for other items.
  2. Kids still play with toys I loved. I loved it when the kids would come in and they would ask for things like Lego, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Barbie merchandise. It made me realise that times may have changed but kids are still encouraged to play with items that my brothers and I would adore and ask for for christmas. Hearing this made me realise that there are some kids who aren’t those annoying ones begging for an Xbox, iPad AND new phone. There was even one girl asking for a yo-yo and a skipping rope!
  3. Stop spoiling your kids. I understand parents want to ensure that their kids have the best christmas ever, but is showering them with expensive gifts really going to make that happen? Sometimes I felt like saying to them that spoiling them with all these gifts is just going to make them more ungrateful when they are older as well as expecting something much bigger the year after and the year after. I mean, I witnessed 5 year olds asking for iPhones and Xbox’s or even both. (Don’t want to play that card but) when I was younger, we got a Wii between us as our main present – don’t think I would have dreamed of asking for my own as opposed to simply sharing one with my brothers.
  4. Parents are worse than their kids. When I had to keep the queue occupied with copious amounts of chocolate and paper hats that sliced your hands, I learned that the most patient were in fact the kids. The parents would complain the minute they joined the queue even though they were aware of the waiting time. I guess the kids were just far too excited to see Santa but surely the parents would make sure they didn’t ruin the experience by being so impatient and causing a scene.
  5. Kids facial expressions are the best. You would be using the usual script you had been saying for days (“Excited for christmas? Been good? Excited for Santa? etc etc etc) and the kids would be looking a tad excited but once they opened the door and saw Santa – wow. Their little faces would light up and this huge grin would appear on their faces as if they had just seen something magical (when in fact it was a retired 65 year old man who had nothing better to do with his time). It was so amazing. However, there was also the other side where the kids were terrified and this look of panic mixed with horror would overcome them as they ran for the exit.
  6. Selfish parents are the most annoying. I don’t think parents understand that if your kid is terrified of Santa and you force them in a small enclosed room, then they are not only going to freak out but they may also be scarred for life. One of the other employees told me that there was an adult terrified of people dressed up and discovered it was because they were forced to visit Santa. All some parents seem to want is a photo and I could never quite understand why they would want a photo of their child crying their eyes out in terror.
  7. It actually didn’t feel like work. Honestly, for the majority of the time, it didn’t feel like a job at all. It felt like I was choosing to be there to the point I forgot I was even getting paid for it. Even the work it involved wasn’t anything extremely difficult or tiring – you either kept the queue occupied, worked the camera in the grotto, made the photo gifts or worked the till. Knowing that you were making a kid feel the magic of christmas made up for the 7 hour shifts (almost daily). Not only seeing their faces light up but even how excited they got about the fact Santa could use a magic key to get into their chimney-free house. We even stayed open half an hour later because there was a single dad who only got too see his daughter that one day – he was so grateful.

Working there has definitely helped give me confidence as well as realise that working with kids (in any age range) is what I want to do as a career. I may have been laughed at by people I know walking by and have a strange guy hit on me two days but it was definitely worth it. (Got told by a fellow employee that there is such a thing as an “elf fetish” which is far too strange for me).

It was something that kept me busy during my winter break, the chance to socialise with other people and obviously a part time job that is a little different from the few i’ve had.

You can all keep your retail christmas jobs because I can guarantee you that mine was far less stressful because I got to make sure kids had a smile on their face and a great experience meeting the jolly old man himself.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road?

Do you ever feel like you’ve made wrong choices in life? That you’ve taken the wrong path and you’ll never have the chance to get off it? You are stuck on that path from the moment you leave high school until the moment you take your last breath?

We were told to start thinking about life after high school at least 2 years prior to our last day. For me, that was not helpful at all. It was just far too soon.

For as long as I can remember, at different points in my life, I dreamed of becoming a teacher. More specifically, a primary school teacher. I would look up to Miss Honey from Matilda and see this magical woman who had the ability to make anything fun and interesting. I would make my younger brother play “Teachers” with me where i’d make him do work and i’d grade it. I would tell everyone how excited I was that I would be a teacher.

Once I got to high school, around 3rd year, that all changed. I realised that children weren’t what I was interested in. It became apparent that I was doing extremely well in my Administration class: I was finishing the work the fastest, getting the best grades in the class and even got the award for my year. Doing admin work involved me, on my own, getting on with the required tasks. I would put my earphones in and drift away into my own little word while battling on through the heavy workload.

My good admin grades as well as the enjoyment I found in it made me steer towards a career in admin. I found different college courses I could apply to which could help me achieve the further grades needed for a little cosy office job where I could work my way up to a higher position if I wanted to.

Once I told my parents, they were not the happiest. They had heard me say I wanted to teach for so long that, once I broke the news to them that their little girl wanted to be a secretary, they started telling me it wasn’t a “real job”. I felt so much pressure to find a job that they saw as “real”. I now realise that it was my decision. It was my life.

It was so difficult. Until one day, my dad asked me what I enjoyed. At that point in time, I adored history. I may not have been the best at it but I was so engrossed in the subject to the point I would research Russian history in my spare time. Once I told my dad this, he asked me why I had never thought to teach the subject. At that moment, I thought “you know what, I could do that. If my history teacher can do it then so can I”. I have never been so wrong in my life. Well, maybe. I’m not too sure.

Anyway, I then applied for universities with the feeling i’d never get in – my 5th year grades were definitely not anything worthy of university. As a back up, I also applied for college courses on social sciences just in case.

I don’t think I have ever felt that level of stress and pressure in my life. It was the most horrific year of my life in terms of stress. Jeez, I even got a twitchy eye that was diagnosed as being “stress related”. I missed parties so I could study, I hardly ate anything as well as breaking down in front of teachers in tears telling them how I was struggling. There was a dream, so close that I could almost grab it, yet my exams were the one thing standing in my way.

Guess you could say that the blood, sweat and tears paid off because I got the grades I needed for a university place! I had 3/5 offers so chose Stirling as my first then Edinburgh as my second (this was before I completely fell head over heels in love with the city of Edinburgh). Stirling made more sense because my course would be 4 years instead of 5 and it was also slightly closer to home.

I’ll always remember people’s reactions to my university acceptance. The results came through, by text, at about 3am. I couldn’t sleep so stayed up watching Modern Family and the minute they came through I started uncontrollably crying. Finally, I had made something of myself. The first person in my family to apply and be accepted into university. My mum and dad were over the moon (even if they had been woken up in the middle of the night). However, I was seeing a guy at the time (who was a few years older) and when I told him, he just didn’t seem to care. It was as if my achievements meant nothing to him. I got cards and a couple little presents to congratulate me on my success from friends and family which made it all seem real.

My first year saw it hit me, straight in the face, that this might not be for me. All those years of watching Matilda and Waterloo Road had not prepared me for what was about to come. I wasn’t enjoying it at all. I would dread each day because I would be with people who had moved out, made lots of new friends and were loving their courses. Yeah, I had made some friends but I was just so used to having old friends that I had known for years – it was hard to adjust to this whole new life I had to lead.

I’m now in my second year and I don’t even know if anything has changed. We had a go at micro-teaching (teaching a class of about 10 pupils for 25 minutes) and I enjoyed the first class but the second and third made me reconsider if I was doing the right thing.  The children would ask me questions and it would make realise how awful I actually am at history. The worst one yet had to be forgetting the dates of World War II (how stupid, as a history teacher, can you possibly be?!). Don’t even get me started on discipline! That’s the part i’m dreading the most. Hormonal teenagers who hate school are the age I detest. Why do I want to subject my life to that?

Our first proper placement is coming up at the beginning of January and it’s going to be in a primary school. I’m worried that i’ll realise that it is much more fun and exciting and that I should teach primary instead. Actually, it’s terrifying me.

The thought that my plans are changing scare me. Change is not something I cope well with at all. I’d have probably dropped out of university months ago if I had not feared change so much. I wanted to be the one who had her life all sorted until the very end but it’s not looking so likely any more.

I guess I feel that choosing to train as a history teacher was me choosing my path. Now that I have chosen that path, I cannot change onto any other path without it meaning that all my previous studying, stress and hard work have meant nothing. Absolutely nothing. I’m stuck on this never ending path, through a degree that i’m scared isn’t for me and ending up in a lifelong job which isn’t for me. It feels like all those stress filled high school days have been the biggest waste of time, all because I chose the wrong path.

Fin?

Today, i had nothing much to do so decided that i would check out the documentary Blackfish about Tilikum the Orca as well as Seaworld and the treatment of whales. This whale has been said to have killed three humans while others have said that she did not.

When i went to the park in Florida the other year, it felt like such a magical place full of happy trainers and animals. It was such an amazing experience and i never thought anything different about it.

This documentary has shown me the other side to this park. The idea that these whales are confined to such a small space for roughly two thirds of their life is terrifying. They have no space to move or even swim properly which is not beneficial to the creature in the slightest.

What makes it even worse is the idea that Seaworld has taken on this whale that they knew was dangerous to people. This is just endangering their own trainers as well as the other people who come in contact with. It has the ability to drag a trainer into the water and rip their arm off – surely something should be done to ensure that this does not happen again? There has been reported more than seventy attacks on trainers. The footage shown in the documentary is horrific.

I must admit that i am not a huge animal lover but i have never felt so much emotion towards a species in my life. These whales did not ask for such a thing – they would dream of the chance to swim in the ocean with their families in an open space and not in a tiny enclosure where they have no space to move. I feel like Seaworld are extremely idiotic for continuing to breed Tilikum who was known for being such a vicious whale.

I agree that having the chance to experience animals up close is an amazing opportunity but once you see how they are being treated as well as how they act towards trainers then it is not worth it. It is not worth keeping whales in captivity if they have the ability to endanger the life of a human or even fellow whales.

No Dress Code Stated

One thing (among many) that annoys me is the different reactions to a naked body of a male or a female. When faced with a half naked/naked woman on a calendar, it is seen as something which is disrespectful to women yet when it is the body of a man, not one person would bat an eyelid. Surely, it should be the same for both genders?

It seems to be that in this society, it is okay for a woman to ‘disrespect’ a man in such a way but the moment a man holds the image of a woman in a calendar or a newspaper then they are seen as ‘perverted’ or ‘disgusting’. Is it not possible for us to tell a woman that she is ‘perverted’ for looking at the picture of a half naked man? For some reason, people think that it’s okay for a woman to objectify the body of a male but not that of a female.

This is when i have to say that if woman truly want equality, then maybe they should not be so judgemental when they see a man with a calendar of a naked woman when they themselves have a calendar of a ‘fireman’ with no clothes on. I feel that there is nothing wrong with being comfortable in your own skin so if someone has the courage to pose for a calendar with only their underwear then good on them! It’s brilliant that they have built up the courage to do such a thing and if it does not hurt anyone in any way then there is no harm in it. It just annoys me when it is seen as wrong for woman to pose for calendars while it is the norm for a male to pose.

(I also understand that there are people of the same gender who would look at images, i just didn’t know how to state that throughout.)

It’s All About You

A little thing that is getting on my nerves these days is the view on body image.

Why do people seem to think that when someone is unhappy with their weight, it is to do with trying to impress a guy/girl? Can it not be possible for someone to want to be thinner purely because they want to feel better about themselves?

Let people be who they want to be unless it hurts them or anyone around them. People can be whatever shape or size they wish to be and it is not always about trying to impress someone. Yeah, there are some people who feel like the guy that they like will only like them back if they lose a couple pounds but there are people out there who want to feel comfortable about themselves.

Stop making out that all people want to do is attract other people. It brings other people down about themselves even more.

Turn My Headphones Up Real Loud (I Think I Need Them Now)

Listening to music may be performed in different ways. There are times when i listen to it in the background while my mind is preoccupied with something such as studying and there are times when i just close my eyes and focus on every single sound which enters my ears.

I personally love them both but the latter is one of the best experiences that you can have. I just love the feeling of the goosebumps down my neck as i listen closely to the drums or the guitar, while my eyes are firmly closed, with nothing getting in my way. It has the power to block out anything that is going on at that exact moment. It’s like my own little world where i can escape to for those three to four minutes. When my eyes are closed i feel like i am fully submerged into the song: i am standing in the middle of a venue – only me and the band. It feels like they are playing to me and only me. 

I love the feeling of concentrating on the music and nothing else. You have nothing to worry about: no work or stress or insecurities. It is your time for a change. There is no need to think about anything else apart from the melody and the lyrics. 

People say music is therapy to them and i one hundred percent agree. There is nothing better than coming home after and awful day, sitting back and listening to an album from start to finish. Likewise, screaming along to the lyrics is also amazing and just makes you feel like every little bad thing has been extracted from your body and left to disappear. 

Music is a healer. There is no doubt about that.

Source A is a Primary Source.

Last night, before i went to a party, i went with my dad and brother to visit my great gran in the hospital. It was really upsetting apart from one part which intrigued me.

My dad brought up the question “what did you do when you left school?” and she went into an in depth description. She told us how she worked in a cigarette factory which made cigarettes which were shipped off to the soldiers. She said that all the women would put their address into the tin before they were sealed. My dad made a comment about how it would boost morale since they would have someone to write to while they were away and my gran said that that was why the boss actually encouraged them to do this.

I actually loved that conversation so much. I hate how i never ask my grandparents questions about their past. My great gran (on my mums side) used to talk about living in the tenements in Glasgow and all the little stories but i can’t remember them because they were over 5 years ago. 

I need to ask people questions about the past. I don’t want to learn everything from books – i wanna learn from people who experienced it first hand. There is only so much a book can tell you whereas a person has the ability to tell you how they felt and every detail about what they went through. I’m going to start writing them down so i will always remember them.

My gran has so many stories about how they used to go out at my age and meet guys and they are some of the best stories i have heard. They had so much fun and life was not as serious as it is these days.