Isn’t it exhilarating when you’ve been fretting over a life-changing decision, finally make up your minds, and just know you’ve made the right choice? That’s how Joe and I felt after we typed this letter:
Dear Ms. N,
Please accept this as our formal notification that we are resigning from our posts of High School Math/Physics teacher, and Grade 6 English teacher and will not be returning for the new term in August 2011.
This decision was not an easy one, but we have decided that we would like to return to our home in Spain and retire. We very much appreciate the opportunities we have been given here, and the welcome and support the school has given us.
We wish you all every success in the future,
Joe and Victoria TweadSo that’s it. A year ago we signed up to teach in an International school in Bahrain, and now we’ve come to the end. The school wants us to stay, but we’ve had enough. Enough of teaching rich children who don’t want to learn, enough of getting up at 5.00 am each morning, enough of the heat and enough of the politics. We grew very fond of Bahrain and its people, but the Sunni/Shi’ite issues and the anti-government uprising are not our battles.
Sometimes I squeeze my eyes tight shut and imagine Joe and I are back in our Spanish village. The cuckoo will have arrived in the valley, and the swallows and swifts will be be circling overhead. Sparrows will be stealing strands of straw from our chicken run and the village cats are giving birth in derelict buildings.
But for now, we’re dashing round the island of Bahrain sorting last minute stuff and visiting places we want to see before we leave. Of course we had to visit the King’s camels, all 450 of them. I fell in love with one particular royal camel and named her Camilla but Joe was unreasonable and refused to let me take her home.
Things have definitely improved in Bahrain since martial law and the curfew were lifted on June 1st. Now demonstrations can take place without the fear of being fired on. It’s too late for the Grand Prix which has been cancelled, and the Saudi and Kuwaiti tanks and troops still remain, but now they no longer guard the shopping malls and stay mostly out of sight.
However, there is still much discontent and the situation is volatile, although rarely reported. We know that the problems are far from over, but when they flare up again, we’ll be far away in Spain, counting chickens instead of helicopters. Already I can almost taste Paco’s homemade wine. Look out El Hoyo, we’re coming home!
Do join me on Facebook to find out how we’re coping, day to day.
My recipe of the month – Couscous with Lamb
A North African recipe, popular as a dish shared between friends and family. (With thanks to Ali Meehan)
l2oz lamb fillet
2 tbsp. oil
2 medium onions
1 tsp turmeric or saffron
1 tsp each of cumin, coriander & cinnamon
half tsp chilli powder
4 carrots (sliced)
2 small turnips (sliced)
4 small or 2 large courgettes sliced
Cut meat into cubes.
Heat oil in saucepan, brown meat and add spices & onion, stirring. Cook for 2 mins.
Add stock (1 chicken & 1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in approx. 1 pint of water. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 2 hrs.
Add courgettes & chickpeas – cook for a further half hour. Prepare couscous according to instructions on the packet.
Place couscous on a platter, cover with meat & vegetables and a little of the sauce. Serve the remainder of the sauce separately.
Victoria is the author of 'Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools' (available at Amazon UK or Amazon USA) and 'Two Old Fools – Olé' (also available at Amazon UK or Amazon USA)
“a charming and funny expat tale” The Telegraph (UK)
“Weeks later you will be doing the dishes and recall some fleeting scene with chickens or mules or two old fools and laugh out loud all over again.” The Catalunya Chronicle
Contact Victoria by email on TopHen@VictoriaTwead.com or via her website at www.victoriatwead.com