I was wise enough to troll round Durham yesterday to enjoy the Lumiere festival, with 175,000 other people. Lumiere is on my list of Excellent Things to Say in a Geordie Accent, incidentally. I had big reservations about going because crowds are probably my least favourite thing in all of the whole world, and as I recently went mentaller, I wasn't sure whether it'd do me much good to do what for some people is the fear-equivalent of bungee jumping. I think we avoided the worst of it though, as we got there early and then happily ate pizza, and then looked around later into the night. Also, increased medication ftw. I think my favourite bit was when they projected a kind of illustrated history of Durham onto the cathedral.

There was a bit where they projected VIKINGS and then FIRE onto it and it was really cool and I was so excited that I jumped up and down and went YAY THE VIKINGS ARE HERE a bit too loudly. Because I am still 3 years old, not 25.
I was glad I went, even if it was chilly and wet and I was too stupid to bring an umbrella. I think it relied a bit heavily on projection (I was told that in previous years there was more with ACTUAL FIRE, which would have been cool) but it was worth going to. I think (fingers crossed, prayers to Odin said) that things are finally on the way up at work now, especially because I'm resolving to show them how much I love languages and that, and how I do quite a few things in my own time (not all of it relevant, as there are few calls for people with a beginners grasp of basic Romani in my line of work). Then they shall love me again even though I went mad, and think I am worth keeping.
On Saturday I gathered some pressies to put in a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. I feel a bit odd about telling people that I'm taking part in it (this is the first time I've done it since I was a very small young child because a lot of people have misgivings about the religious aspects, and more especially, the notion that they're pushing religion on children. I don't have a problem with there being a religious aspect to some charities, obvs because I'm a Catholic (ignore the prayers to Odin a few sentences ago). I do have a problem with pushing religion on children, although obviously 'pushing religion' can be a difficult notion to quantify. There are accusations online that the children aren't given their presents until they've taken religious studies classes, which, if true, would certainly put me off doing it. However, according to their website, all they do is offer booklets of Bible stories with (not inside) the shoeboxes – there's no obligation to take them. It's a question of balance, I suppose. Overall, while I'm uncomfortable with some aspects of it, I think it's a decent thing to do. It was an oddly positive experience to go shopping for somebody other than me. I try and give to a different charity each month (a resolution from a couple of Lents ago) but normally it's just a case of donating some money online and not thinking about it properly for another month.
COMING SOON: I have to do a proper intellectual blog post about dialects in the classroom, as a similar thing to what happened in Middlesbrough has happened in the Midlands. First I must think of wise things to say. I totes had a dream that I started that course in forensic linguistics that I want to do in Birmingham. ONE DAY.