Mountains

Mountains

When I was eleven years old I came home from school with a letter. It was a long shot. It was a letter about a ski trip, with school, the following February. My parents were more eager for me to go than I could have ever anticipated, and it was the start of an eight year trend of winter ski trips to Italy and Switzerland.

In 2006, in Ravascletto, Italy, I fell in love with the mountains. In 2019, after six years off, I rediscovered my adoration of this part of creation.

The feeling when you wake up at an early alarm- wishing you could snooze it- only to remember you’re in paradise

The first view of the mountains above the clouds as you ascend on cable car number one of the day

The sound of a freshly bashed piste crunching as you glide above it

The blast of the wind against your face as you straight-line down a run that you should perhaps be more cautious on

The warmth as a mid-morning Gluhwein trickles down your throat (seriously though- when else is it acceptable to drink at 10.30am?!)

The chairlift chats, and snacks- planning routes down the mountain and occasionally being treated to someone else’s awkward conversation

The sensation as you unclip your boots and your feet know freedom once more

The knowledge that at the end of a 50km day, when every muscle in your body is screaming, that the only ones the shower will not relieve are the ones that hurt from belly laughing with all your favourite people.

Okay, you get it. Skiing is great.

As a kid, I always said that skiing wasn’t a holiday- it was a week of fun. You can guarantee that you will come back absolutely shattered and maybe a little bit broken (#rachloveshospital)

In 2019 I learned new truths.

I was lucky enough to visit Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland twice in eight weeks.

This was at the start of, and in the middle of what I can only describe as one of my most stressful terms ever as a primary teacher (think lesson observations, SATs prep, ofsted, parents evening, exclusion meetings, moderation, personal health issues).

I’m a big music fan.

Life should always have a soundtrack.

Every morning I ground my day in worship and in prayer. Spotify daily mix, linked to Alexa, wakes me up every morning at 5:45am.

I noticed a running theme of worship songs inspired by the mountains.

Not the old school ‘over the mountains and the sea’ ~Delirious, but new cool stuff.

‘On the mountains, I will bow my life

To the one who set me there

In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there

When I’m standing on the mountain aft, didn’t get there on my own

When I’m walking through the valley end, no I am not alone!’

~Tauren Wells

‘High on the mountain,

I will be lifting my voice.

And in the valley,

I will be dancing for joy.

In every season,

You are worthy.’

~Bryan and Katie Torwalt

It is easy to see the good in everything when in the mountains. When you’ve got your vacation mode on, when you’re in awe of God’s incredible creation it’s easy to have a mountain top experience on a mountain top!

I’m not just about the worship music- an eclectic mix is my vibe- and another fave is Ben Rector. He speaks to me in ‘I Like You’ with the lyric, “Life is not the mountain top, it’s the walking in between and I like you walking next to me”.

Sometimes, when you’re in the hypothetical valleys of life it can feel that your mountains are impenetrable, this often feels like the hardest time to be ‘dancing for joy’. It is at this point that I am reminded that the God of the universe cares about what I currently consider to be a mountain. In the book of Nahum, the prophet is letting us know that God is serious business, saying, “The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it.”

Nahum 1:5

I guess what I’m trying to say is that the God of creation made the mountains to enjoy, and that no mountain is too big for him to move.

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Returning

Returning

It’s been two years. A lot can happen in two years, and a lot has happened in two years.

I’ve returned to the UK, got a permanent job in the profession in which I was trained, made new friends, have become an Auntie, acquired a new car, broken three bones and been on countless A&E trips.

If my ‘gap yah’ from life taught me anything, it taught me not to wish my life away.

It taught me to make the most out of a Tuesday evening.

It taught me to always be available to be a listening ear for a friend that needs it.

It taught me to not be scared to ask for help when I need it.

It taught me that for relationships to be sustained, I had to go out of my way to nurture them.

It taught me to not be boring, and not to settle for being bored.

Life is hectic and busy; I spend my days ensuring thirty ten-year-olds repeatedly edit and improve their writing until it is the best it can possibly be. And then it hit me. I enjoy writing- it’s therapeutic and helps me to process things.

I made a vow when I returned to full-time work that I would travel whenever possible- over the last 24 months I have been on two beach holidays in the Canaries, two skiing holidays in Switzerland, two city breaks (Prague and Berlin). I love to tell my friends about cool places to visit, to eat and drink #instagoals

So here we go, let’s see how long this lasts. Rach’s musings on faith, food, travel, teaching and hopes and dreams. Or something like that.

 Travel tunes

I don’t know about you but music is so important as an element of any trip. I think the best part of it might be hearing that song later and being instantly transported back to a place or time with amazing memories. For example, Dynamite (Taio cruise) takes me back to a ski trip with the girls at 18. I remember Where is the love (Black eyed peas) playing in the yellow cab we got out of at Ground Zero on a family trip in 2004. And Before I fall to pieces (Razorlight) reminds me of travelling Austria with my parents at 14, my first holiday as an ‘only child’. 
In the days of Spotify Premium and being able to have WHATEVER I want downloaded onto my iPad, as well as millions more songs when I can get wifi (which is like 95% of the time right?!) I can’t imagine travelling without a sound track. These are my current go to’s- the songs I like to think that when I look back, it’ll be fond reminiscing of different travel trips in my early twenties!

Castle on the Hill


Starting strong with a bit of Ed ❤ 

You cannot not dance along to this banger. That’s a challenge! Just after this song came out I went down to Melbourne for a long weekend to stay with a friend, and he hired a car and we spent ten hours driving Great Ocean Road. We played this song. A lot. It was perfect. We were spamming our friends at home with videos and photographs, we were singing as loud as we could and we were doing all sorts of body percussion. A definite for any road trip. 
La Bomba


One of my best mates and I started a fantastic hobby when at uni- an all inclusive Easter holiday! This song is a guarantee after a couple of poolside rum and cokes in the sun- we know all the reps dances and I’m pretty sure we’ve both used it as a warm up for KS1 PE lessons #primaryteacherlife 

It’s a classic holiday tune, and it’ll always put you in a good mood. 
Cheerleader


I have to admit, I have a love/ hate relationship with this song. I loved it, then I overplayed it and hated it. Then I discovered Mr DeMaio. And Mr DeMaio’s six times table song. It was a game changer for the six year olds I taught, and within a week or two we all knew it word for word (and they all know their six times table inside out- thank you Mr DeMaio). Now, if I hear this song I struggle to not sing the alternate version- whether that be at 3am on New Year’s Day or at a house party in Sydney. It is a great party trick, and the original song is a great roadtripper. 

As is the six times table version. Check it out. I dare you. 

If I Had Eyes

Just a chilled out, classic holiday tune. I can feel the sunshine turning my face gloriously golden already. A must

Shut up and Dance


This is another song that reminds me of my teaching days! I used to dance around the classroom to this song, and the children all thought it was hilarious. It’s such a happy song, I can’t help but sing and dance along. It’s a mood changer and especially on a scenic drive it really makes me smile. 


Out of my System

This song is slightly expletive, but definitely speaks the truth! I have met so many people that I think this song is true of, although I like to think I have better standards than some of this. I think it is so important to travel, to adventure and to see the world, and I think Youngr perfectly captures the essence of this. Listen to it. 


Next to me

A friend sent me this song when I was on a family holiday up in Northumberland last year. The next day I had a horrible knee injury (children’s play ground related dislocation and destruction of cartilage), so spent most of that trip immobile. This song is romantic in a funny sort of way, and I like the dance element of it. It sums up confusing feelings and I feel like I related to it so strongly. 

‘If my dreams will let me be, will you come dancing next to me’,

Sunshine

I love this song at the minute! It’s a real summer belter, a real road trip song and this will definitely be one of the songs I will reminisce with my trip to Australia. It’s a bit more dancy than I would usually choose- I had a friend play it to me, but I decided I really like it myself!
Forever Starts Today

This was a song that I heard for the first time on a plane on my way to Sydney, on a one way ticket. Wow. It spoke to me. Have a listen and you’ll totally understand why. The world is my oyster and I have fantastic opportunities before me! 
Waiting on the Summer

This is such a happy song, and I often did spin classes to it in Sydney. The summer comes so slow and it moves so fast. That exact sentiment had been how I had always felt about summer holidays. This song makes me thankful for my year of chasing the sun. 
Born to Win

This is one of my favourite walking songs. I feel powerful, accomplished and successful when it comes on shuffle if I’m out for a walk! I grew up in a house with brothers that played the piano and 100 years by Five for Fighting was a family favourite. This song has a similar vibe, and I feel like it’s become my adventure song, it makes me feel independent and I feel like it is full of truth. 

So hear we are, The future’s now, The time, your time, has come, The stage is set, The lines are drawn, Today you’ll shine, my son, Earth is shaking, Don’t be scared…


Time of our Lives

This is very much a song for times of transition. It reminds me of leaving university. It’s chilled, it’s very easy listening and the sound of Tyrone Wells voice makes me swoon. This whole album is great car music- just as long as you’re not already tired! This is a song I think I will feel the relevance of more once this experience is over. It’s all about gratitude and being thankful for what has happened. I like that view of life. 
Captain


I love this song. I loved singing it during my time at Hillsong church. I love the affirmation it brings when travelling solo in a place you don’t know. I would really struggle to do this kind of trip without knowing I have a God that loves me. 
Go check out some of these songs, and let me know what you think! Have you got favourite adventure tunes? 

Fast forward

Wow. It’s mid March already. Great New Year resolution IMG_0041.JPGRach!

Things have changed significantly since I was last here, I’m currently perched on a top bunk in a dorm room of eight in the sleepy ‘town’ of Franz Josef, which today, is engulfed in a cloud. But still, life is good and I’ve got a fair few thoughts that I want to share. Bear with me…

 

 

Seven

Seven years. A lot has happened in seven years.

Seven.

Seven years.

Seven years ago I got off a plane and landed in Sydney. I was sixteen, and when I returned home I told my parents that it was the best three weeks of my life and that one day I would return.

Flash forward to now and I’m in Sydney. I’ve been here four months after booking a one way ticket: I have a bank account, phone contract, great friends, favourite hangouts and a postal address here.

I love the lifestyle, the food, the people and the beautiful things to see and do here, and the last few months have undoubtedly been some of the best of my life. Moving here was probably the best decision I ever made.

I have found true independence, learned to enjoy the luxury of my own company, picked up copious parenting tips, gained an appreciation for good coffee and distain of the not so good (become a coffee snob) and gained confidence in new and international friendship circles.

But

In 2017 I will return home. 

I am having the time of my life, but I anticipate with excitement returning to those I love. I have learned to look for the joy in every day, and I plan to use this blog to document 2017, the highs and the lows and finding joy in the journey.