I realise I haven’t posted for such a long time.

Christmas came and went. We celebrated by hiring a massive gite and saw family, drank fizz ate foie gras and even did a mini outdoor Christmas concert that was live streamed on Facebook. It was perfect.

In January, I began teaching English classes online with a company in China called Whales English. I love the new structure to my days. When the children are dropped off at school in the mornings, I set up my online classroom (ie. hide my bed with a screen) and logon. I have regular students that I see each week so I have built up a relationship with them and their families.

I am now in my 6th month working for them and I absolutely love it. Why? Because it is a job where I have found CONNECTION.

CONNECTION: to my children. I can take them to school, pick them up at lunch and at the end of the day. I don’t work on a Wednesday so I can take them to their football matches and horse-riding lessons. Evenings and weekends are free to have mini-breaks, weekends away or local adventures in the vines.

CONNECTION: to my husband. When he is not doing concerts somewhere in the world, we both work from home so we see actually see each other. Having previously both worked in the world of the arts, this has never happened before.

CONNECTION: to the rest of the world. Whales English employs teachers from anglophone countries that can live anywhere in the world. The Facebook group connects us all. Reading stories posted by fellow teachers from across the world gives me a sense of global adventure and connection to some places I have never even heard of. The support amongst the group is practical and nurturing. In the early days I was terrified about teaching. The group was reassuring, kind and gave so much advice. I was so grateful.

CONNECTION: to my community. With no commuting to and from an office, I can invest in our local village, Caux. Most days we can be found in the skate park. Friday is market day. Everyday is a fresh croissant for breakfast and now that cafes and restaurants are open, long lunches and strong coffees can be enjoyed all within a few minutes walk of chez moi. We have made friends with people in our village and my husband is even part of a local ‘pétanque’ team which also includes the drummer from the Gypsy Kings and a top chef. We have been welcomed my ALL including the Mayor, with open arms.

CONNECTION: to myself. Planning and teaching for me means personal growth. I enjoy the technical and creative challenge of teaching online. I am doing something I love and it has purpose and meaning. I can be creative and fun whilst being completely autonomous. I can feel the buzz of starting and ending a day and a Friday night STILL feels like a FRIDAY NIGHT… The only difference is that there is nothing to impact on my weekend.

Isn’t it strange that we have moved 950 miles, in the middle of a global pandemic, to a tiny village in the South of France… and yet, as a family, we feel more CONNECTION here than to any other place we have lived.

In a few weeks, the children will come to the end of a full school year which will be celebrated in true Sharp style. For now, though, it’s a Friday afternoon, my work is done and the weekend can commence. Time for a G and T!

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