A diary of an online tutor – halfway and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!
by Shân Gwenfron Jones
“Write a blog”
“What’s a blog?”
It’s not a diary. A written entry of what’s what. I’ve pondered a lot over the last ten years about the meaning of the word. I keep a diary, but I’m enjoying giving this blogging a go.
I Google it. It’s a written record in the form of a conversation published on a digital platform. Just my thing! I can do that.
It’s already week five. Halfway. We’ve reached base camp!
We’re going back to the past today. The past tense.
I take a few minutes before stating the lesson. I’m looking forward to it. We know each other by now.
I need to brush my hair! I’ve been home now for weeks, my hair getting longer.
An hour to go before 7pm kick off. I wait patiently.
I’ve been sitting at this table in my front room for twelve weeks.
The house is looking at it’s best. Every wall painted, no weeds in the garden. Although, the airing cupboard is still a mess. That’s what I’ll sort next. It’s a difficult task to find any matching socks in there without a head torch!
We’ll need a new sofa by Christmas. It’s starting to wear with everyone home all day every day!
Half an hour to go. Everything in place for the lesson. Notes. Textbook. Biro.
I’m longing for the mountains.
My steel toe walking boots are by the door, ready for their call to go back to the mountains.
Quarter of an hour to go. My mind goes back to past adventures.
The alarm clock rings. It’s two in the morning. Time to get up.
I get dressed quickly. Searching the airing cupboard for some warm, thick socks (no chance of finding a matching pair!) I find two strangers that meet each other for the first time and are keen to go for a walk. Rainbow colours on my feet.
Steel toe cap boots. Proper mountain shoes.
A sack full of treats on my back and the mountain call whispers in my ear.
I’m out the door. The moon is like a candlelight leading me up the mountain. I reach Llyn Nantlle in total silence. Only my breath talking quietly. I see a few sheep’s eyes sparling like Christmas lights decorating the mountain.
Small steps through the darkness with my sister’s borrowed head torch showing me the way.
I feel the fear rising in my throat as I walk along the rugged paths in darkness and silence. Llyn Nantlle is now underneath like a great big eye from the past gazing up at me. It’s a full moon and the lake is completely still.
I keep moving, slowly. The stone wall is a friendly handrail leading me all the way to the summit.
I lift my head to take one last look at Llyn Nantlle before it disappears. I’m halfway. Carnedd Goch basecamp. I’m out of breath and stating to think about my flapjack.
A strip of light appears from the other side of the mountain like a long piece of ribbon wrapped around Eryri (Snowdonia). Panic. The sun is on it’s way. It’s 4am. Come on, I need to step up a gear! I reach for my back pocket to find the strength and start taking big steps towards the summit.
I reach the summit just in time, at the threshold of a new day. I’m on the summit of Garneed Goch, on the far side of the Nantlle ridge. I sit quietly with my back towards the solid stone wall which has stood the test of time (and all-weather conditions). I feel safe, nuzzled in the safety of this historic wall.
It’s now 4.30am.
Snowdonia’s outline appears in front of me, the sky like a piece of vibrant silk, like a stage wating for the curtain call, waiting for the sunrise. Amazed by nature’s kindness appearing in the distance.
Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) stands it’s ground as the colourful silk dances around, reaching it’s summit.
It’s 5am. The sun slowly wakes up. The sky like a huge dimmer switch, waking up the world. I feel like I’m in a huge open-air cinema watching a classic.
Sitting on a summit enjoying a sunrise is an otherworldly experience and an experience to be treasured. A sunrise brings order. A new day gives us a new start.
I enjoy a well-deserved breakfast in the company of Snowdon and friends. I find my coffee and flapjack in the bag and yearn for the amazing flapjacks made by Mary at Caffi Meinir. They are the best!
The alarm goes again. Five to seven. I suddenly remember that I’m sitting in my front room ready to Zoom all over Wales.
Half-way is a turning point in every journey. Whether it be a language journey or a journey to the summit of a mountain.
You change gear.
Five weeks remain. Keep going. One mountain at a time, and one level at a time.
Every journey is up and down. I remember an Irishman once said to me as I was cycling in Killarney (when I was younger and lighter)!
I asked, “Does this road have hills?”
“Well” said the Irishman, “It’s up the up and down the down.”
Now that is a wise saying. Up and down. We have to keep going, up and down. You’ll never get an upside-down hill.
7pm on the dot.
Here we go, I press the button and I’m in the land of Zoom. The students appear one by one, all of them smiling, ready to go back to the past.
The front room is buzzing, and Gel sits obediently by my feet.
The students have been diligently learning for five weeks now. If you do something for six weeks, it becomes a habit, that’s what they say. We have to keep at it.
The clock reaches 9pm. Another great two-hour session. I say goodbye for another week, and they all disappear. Week 5 is in the bag.
I’m back in the empty room, with the messy airing cupboard.
We’ll keep going for another five weeks, and we’ll keep building that language wall, brick by brick, block by block, making our way to the summit.
Right, off I go for my daily walk around the block. I pass my steel toe caps by the front door, waiting for their next adventure. My backpack hangs patiently, ready for the next picnic. Better days will come.
It will be week ten, at the end of the journey when I write my next blog. I’ll see you at the summit.
Keep going and onwards we go.
P.S. I need to buy a new head torch and I need to sort out my socks once and for all!