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Thankmas Day Fifteen: Thank you Mary

My biggest worry when I moved to Cambridge for a month to do my CELTA was accommodation.

Cambridge is expensive and I couldn’t afford a BnB (or AirBnb) near the college for a month and I didn’t want to live in the centre and commute every day so I opted for the homestay option (staying with a family, though luckily in my case the host’s children had grown up and moved out) the college offered which included breakfast and dinner. But I was terrified. I’ve been living on my own for the last three years (minus a 6 month break in which I lived with a flatmate I did not get along with) and I had knots in my stomach even thinking about living with someone else again.

On a hot, sunny day, the 25th of July, I met Mary, my host, for the first time. She didn’t say much before she grabbed my luggage to clean the wheels and asked me to take my shoes off. I wasn’t sure what to expect after that first encounter.

But Mary turned out to be an incredible host. She didn’t speak much English, though we always somehow managed to communicate, she was wonderfully weird, hanging out bedsheets to dry on the staircase, wearing a plastic bag on her head to keep the fish smell away and I loved her to bits.

She made delicious albeit always ‘with a Chinese flavour’ food every day for all her guests, she would serve dinner for me in her own private kitchen when it was too noisy in the other room because she knew I needed peace and quiet (she’d even tell others to keep it quiet when the levels of noise were too high), she brought me fruit and other treats when I was stuck in my room for hours working on lesson plans, she did my washing and made me feel comfortable and well looked after.

My CELTA experience was definitely one of my 2019 highlights and Mary was huge part of it.

I would have probably worn the same dirty clothes and starved for a month if it wasn’t for Mary. So thank you Mary! I miss your delicious cooking and your sweet laughter!

Eleni

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