Wednesday, 18 March 2009

A Walk Down Memory Lane

"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered"
Nelson Mandela

I visited Niddrie Mill Primary School today for the first time in 10 years. Alot has changed since I worked there all those years ago. In fact it's not even the same building - the place is unrecognisable. Niddrie Mill and St Francis Primary schools have merged and now share this incredible building which opened last year. It's absolutely huge and I started to wonder whether it might be a good idea to drop some crumbs along the way to help me find my way out! The reception area is like an airport! It's a beautiful school - all fresh and new and airy. But I kind of felt sad not to be visiting the old building down the road which is where I worked as a Nursery Nurse for many years. There were a few familiar faces there today to remind me of this time - Rosemary, Fay, Madeleine, Linda, Elaine, Heather and Sandra. It felt like I had just spoken to them yesterday. Good to see you again girls and thanks for making me feel so welcome!
I also recognised some of the children in P7 who were in buggies the last time I saw them. It was good to hear what their big brothers and sisters are up to now. How old did I feel when I heard that some of my first Primary One class now have babies of their own!?
The building might have changed but the 'feel' of the school remains. It was lunchtime when I was leaving and there was the usual throng of lively kids to bring back some happy memories. I almost felt like rolling my sleeves up and mucking in!
I never quite got closure on leaving Niddrie Mill. In the Summer of 1999 an unexpected job opportunity arose and this meant I officially resigned from Niddrie Mill during the summer holidays that year. I was absolutely devastated to have to leave my job but at the time it felt like I had very little choice. I needed security. At least I was spared having to go through the heartbreaking goodbyes that come with leaving a much loved job. I know that if circumstances had been different and I had been offered a secure and permanent contract at Niddrie Mill I would never have left. I had never felt so at home anywhere and during my time there I made so many good friends who taught me so much. But looking back with the luxury of hindsight I know it was the right time to leave - I just needed that shove to force me out of my comfort zone. Even though my path led me to a job I hated ( that's another story..) everything turned out for the best in the end.
I have achieved so much in the last ten years. It has not always been easy (in fact it's never been easy) but I know that working at Niddrie Mill Primary will always be one of the most challenging and rewarding things I have ever done. I felt quite emotional today. I still really miss it. I'll always look back at my time there with fond thoughts and I will never forget the brilliant staff and children who I met along the way - not only for preparing me for just about anything but also for paving the way into the career I have now chosen to follow.

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