The Icebreaker

An Icebreaker should tell your audience something about yourself, let them get to know you a little. In my first speech at my public speaking club I talked for 7-and-a-half minutes (when I should have only spoken for 6) about my first 4 hours in the UK. It was quite an interesting 4 hours.

You’d think, as I did, that Australia and England are pretty similar and that’s what kills you. If you go to a *really* foreign country such as Japan you expect things to be different so when they are it doesn’t really come as much of a surprise. It’s the opposite when you first come to the UK. You think things are going to be more or less the same as in Oz, but it’s the subtle things that put you off balance and remind you daily that you’re a foreigner, even after 9 years. For example, I still don’t understand why people get really upset if you turn your car around in their driveway, even if you don’t actually pass the fenceline. I don’t understand tea with milk or why people always ask me what I’m doing here when I could be there. I don’t understand why you have speed limits when no-one pays attention to them, and don’t get me started on roundabouts…

Still, England is a pretty great place to live. I’ve been here 9 years after all.

It gets hard though, when life changes and you’re far from family. In January I got divorced after nearly 20 years with a really lovely man earning lots of money and loves his children but left me feeling bored and unfulfilled. I moved house with next to nothing (I’m sitting on a cushion on the floor as I write this) and I worry about money constantly. I had to sell my indulgence, my Jaguar S-type, because it just got too expensive to run. The price of fuel is a killer, ain’t it! I was informed in January that my contract won’t be renewed, so I’m only employed until the end of August. I’m a maths/science teacher so finding a full-time job is easy, but it’s impossible to be a full-time teacher with 3 children at three different schools…

I love teaching but I think it’s time to find something different, I just don’t know what. I can’t remember where I first saw Mumpreneurs, I think it might have been a friend of mine from my public speaking club. I thought it might help because I need to find a way to earn money from home, but I’ve no idea where to start.

I would say my biggest obstacle is that I’m afraid to dream. For so long what I’ve wanted and what I’ve got have been completely different, diametrically opposed in some cases. It kinda puts you off hoping. I get to the point where I don’t even allow myself to think ‘it would be nice if…’

When I’m feeling more positive, I list my skills, interests and achievements as follows: I love public speaking with Toastmasters International, where I organise the fortnightly club meetings and help members reach their personal goals. I love ladies barbershop singing. I took on the chairmanship of my club after only 8 months because no-one else would. I know I’m not doing as good a job as I should, but if no-one will step up then they get what they’re given 😉 I’m also a member of a quartet and we hope to compete at national level next year. I’m a part-time teacher (although not for much longer) and I am a toastmaster, the red-coated kind. I want to learn to fly and travel around the world visiting Toastmasters International clubs. I love teaching and training but think it’s time to move to adult education. Teenagers are great, but they’re exhausting!

Hm. Well, I’ve probably exceeded my timelimit for an Icebreaker blog post. Nothing new there!

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