Afterwards, I went to university in Bochum, still pretty close to home. I didn't really know what to do once I'd finish -at school, when people asked me, I'd usually say, "Why can't I just stay here?" Yes, I am one of those people who find a home away from home in their school. No shame in that, is there?
Well, at Bochum U I started out with Social Science but soon shifted to English: I so missed the language, and (to be totally honest) the amount of maths I needed to do in sociology was a wee bit more than I'd asked for.
Born and bred in and around Hagen, Germany, I went to primary schools in Hagen-Haspe and later Schwerte-Ergste, then to Fritz-Steinhoff-Gesamtschule, a comprehensive in Hagen.
I got my "Abitur", the access exam for university, in 1998, then did a year of mandatory social services -I've never been one for the armed services, and this was the alternative.
Next up was an Erasmus year at Liverpool U -Irish Studies. It was great. I do have to confess that for most of the time, I was studying Life rather than Irish literature, history and so on: I got a job at a call centre, then at a Spanish-owned restaurant. I was short of money, so I simply had to.
I made quite a lot of friends in Liverpool, and I met my partner, Ana. She was from Spain, so in the end I decided to move there.
If any of you ever get the chance to work and study in another country, please do. It's such a great experience!
So, I ended up in Cáceres, Spain, where I finished my course. I had a great time, and I learned a lot.
When I took my degree, I knew it was one in teaching -still, I'd barely given thought to it. Teaching had always appealed to me, but I felt I could never equal my old English and Chemistry teachers back at school. Still, it was a challenge, and I accepted.
I took up private classes and worked at language schools, including British Home in Cáceres. And know what? I loved it, and I was learning a lot.
In 2008, I became an itinerant teacher in the publicly-run system here in Extremadura, Spain. I've worked at quite a few schools up and down the region, most recently at the IES Albalat Comprehensive School in Navalmoral de la Mata, for three years.
Among other things, I've been to and organised two international school trips: York and Bray. I've been Head of Department twice, and I've carried out or participated in a number of projects.
In June/July, 2018, I passed the exam for a permanent place, and in September, I'm going to start at IES Santa Lucía de Trampal Comprehensive School in Alcuéscar, Cáceres.