Week 17


Week 17 was busy with attending three seminars and extra reading. I need to finish writing another 2,000 word summary as soon as possible.

Sometimes, I start something funny. Last week, when I was reading a website about a minimalist lifestyle, which involved living in a small flat with less stuff, I wished I could be like that. But I cannot throw away my books, stationery, miniature Dutch house collections and baking utensils, so I am not able to become a minimalist, but I threw away quite a few things this week. It was actually very refreshing.

One of my supervisors allowed me to sit in on her module at medical school, which discussed the topic of End-of-Life Care. I observed the medical students’ consultation work with older patients in particularly challenging situations. It made me aware of not only the need for health professionals to prepare for such challenging issues but also how the professionals’ empathic responses help to improve the patients’ feelings.

My goals for week 18:

  • write a summary of reading on pragmatics
  • enjoy teaching
  • bake a birthday cake and celebrate Luca’s birthday on the 6th


Summer Week 1

The new language classes for the summer semester have started. I am teaching two courses, Beginners with 14 students and Upper Beginners with 11 students.

Week 1 class is always fun! We meet new people who might share the same interests and learn the greeting expressions. I also showed an introduction to verb conjugations for the upper beginners who will focus on grammar and literacy.

I also need to reflect on the outcomes of my previous students’ experiences. Last semester, I thought that conversation-based classes might be too easy for students and they might get bored with them, but I eventually found that without enough grammar information, it was tough for them to reconstruct the target phrases in different contexts during the conversational activities, although they could say natural expressions in a particular context. Grammar information is essential for adult learners.

Teaching language is now a great pleasure for me.


Day off


On Saturday, I read a book on mentality, how to restore confidence and how to make myself motivated again. It is a kind of positive thinking method. Following the instructions in the book, I made a list of my future goals and top 10 priorities: my research eventually came out as the number one priority. I am now feeling much better after a few days of depression.

On Sunday, I baked muffins with raspberries, banana and chia seeds. This was the first I have baked since moving into this place last September. The homemade muffins taste great. I did not touch any work and I only did cooking, baking, cleaning and ironing, which worked well. We need a bit of relaxation, and maximising fun time can be a very important thing sometimes.

Week 16


Last weekend, we celebrated Easter Sunday by eating chocolate Easter eggs for breakfast and having a dinner party with our friends. The day before, Luca and I went to our favourite Italian restaurant, and there he gave me a surprise card for the Easter celebration. It was my fist time to celebrate Easter in the UK.

The Easter break is over, and I am back to work. My motivation for work has suddenly declined. I have been struggling to control my feelings and the current situation of work. I still need to change a large part of my research plan. I might also have to change the initial schedule for it. I have already spent four months revising my protocol.

I bought a new stand mixer on impulse to enjoy baking at the weekends. I just want to maximise my fun time. Aside from my research, I am excited about teaching again next week.

Week 15


I have been working on several tasks this week, editing my proposal, writing literature reviews on two main topics and preparing ethics forms.

The biggest achievement from Week 15 was that I got approval to take an audio-recording of primary data for my research, which is a very positive step in the right direction. It also means that I am realistically able to continue my research following the initial plan. I am considering myself a very lucky person. The one thing I am sure is that I was lucky to have met a person who shares the same interest as me.

The next important step is getting approval to continue my research from the ethics committee by July. My goals for the next week are to fill in the forms and submit them to my supervisors and to make teaching materials for at least the next four classes.

I am teaching again in the summer semester after the Easter break. I have also been asked to deliver some sessions at a high school just as I did last year. It is always great to have a solid connection with someone who is interested in my culture.

I will have to be grateful for all the good luck I have had.