Friday 24 February 2012


With hindsight, it's so obvious. Why didn't I see it coming? Why did it take me this long to get to this moment?

Some people believe in love at first sight and dive straight in. And it works. Others are great friends for years before they realise the love of their life has been next to them all along. I don't think it matters how you get there. As long as you get there.

Last night, a moment similar to this happened to me. Martín and I went to the pub for a drink and talked about the new class I had started teaching that day. As the conversation went on, it was clear to both of us what should happen. It's not just that I love teaching. I am also really good at it. It always happens. I leave my classes with a spring in my step and a love for what I do; for what my students are learning; for the creativity and energy I give and they give me back.

When we moved to London in July 2010 from Buenos Aires, it would be an understatement to say I was a little sad. I loved my life, my job and my friends in Argentina. The most difficult thing that I knew I would have to change was my job. How would I be able to have the life of an English teacher I had there here in London? I didn't see it.

So I did something else. Something else I became good at. And I liked it. I didn't love it, but I learnt a lot and I realised it was an option for me. And it involved writing, which is something I love. But I missed the buzz of teaching; the constant creativity; the new faces and different problems. I missed putting my own weeks together, directing my own work life.

So, EUREKA. Now I am going to do it again. I am going to drive my professional life here in London as I did in Buenos Aires. When it clicks, it clicks. I am older and I have more time, resources and patience. I have more knowledge, more experience and the guts to do it today that I didn't have before.

Understanding the lessons of life aren't always straightforward. But they are always there. And the moment the penny drops is as sweet outside the classroom as it is inside. As a teacher, I should know that.

And I do.

Saturday 18 February 2012

Being inspired

Today has been exciting and fun.

I have had the first of my Games Maker training sessions: the orientation session. Along with 10,000 other volunteers, who will be doing a whole medley of roles during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, I got to spend three hours being mentally prepared for what will come.

The excitement builds.

While I can't go into detail on the specifics of the training, let's just say that there was a lasting impression we all left with: inspiration. Part of our role is to inspire: positivity, teamwork, openness, diversity, culture, London and the UK. We are the faces that welcome athletes, spectators, delegates, sponsors and fellow workers at the Games. We have the chance to make our mark and leave a lasting impression.

It's inspirational stuff, and what I realised today was how inspiration works both ways; how the part we play, no matter how small, makes a difference to those competing on sport's greatest stage.

I would have thought that there was no greater inspiration needed than fulfilling the dream of standing on the podium with an Olympic gold around your neck. But there are other factors involved in all of this: the crowd, the assistance with accreditation, getting about, food, results, interviews. So many aspects of the Games, and within each sport, are in the hands of the volunteers. You feel special too, when athletes speak about their experiences and the importance of the volunteers at the Games. One volunteer, who thought and acted quickly, saved one swimmer a huge embarrassment just before their race. They went on to win gold.

It's a humbling feeling. But exciting and thrilling as well. The eyes of the world won't be turned on us exactly. Most will be being inspired by the antics and heroics on the tracks, roads, fields, pools, water, pitches.

But we will be there. As part of it. Making it happen. Inspiring, in our own small way.