Tuesday, April 23, 2013

China, Here I Come!

That's right, folks! My life is taking another turn...this time towards Beijing, China! I have recently accepted a teaching position at the Beijing Concord College of Sino-Canada for the 2013-2014 school year. The finer details are still being worked out, and I myself still have some questions to be answered. But I am very excited, anxious, happy, overjoyed, and proud to have made this decision.

I guess I started thinking about this while I was completing my Bachelor of Education degree at STU last spring. Atlantic Education International Inc. came to STU during one of our professional development sessions to present to our class the opportunities they provided to those wishing to teach abroad. When I left the session, I was easily convinced that this was the path for me. But once the excitement and novelty of the opportunity wore off, I became nervous and unsure that I was prepared for such a drastic change and move. So, I put that idea aside and focused on a smaller move to Calgary. I have always thought since moving to Calgary that I made the best decision for me in the long run. I needed to know that I could live independently farther away from home. I think I have proven to myself that I can do so, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Calgary. It's a great city, with lots of things to see and do, and I haven't once for a second regretted making the move out here. 

When I was home for the Christmas holidays 4 months ago, I did a lot of thinking and reevaluating. Being home saw many people asking about my experience in Calgary, how I was doing, what I was doing, and how long I expected to be there. The more I was asked these questions, the more I began to reevaluate where I was and where I wanted to be. One of my best friends, Amanda, is currently living and working in Beijing, China with the same company I have accepted a job with. She works at a different school in Beijing, the Canadian International School of Beijing. Our many Skype dates, Facebook messages back and forth, texts, readings of her blog posts, and viewings of her pictures brought back the notion of applying to teach abroad. It was very evident to me that Amanda was gaining so much life and career experience in Beijing, and I knew I wanted something similar for myself. The night I landed back in Calgary after being home in New Brunswick for Christmas, I Skyped with Amanda for nearly 2 hours talking to her about where my head was at. I was easily convinced that this was what I wanted to do. 

And now, 4 months later, I have interviewed, been offered, and accepted a job teaching high school aged students in Beijing, China! CHINA! I'm moving to China, people!! 

Monday, April 22, 2013

For Grandad. For My Family. For Me.

I'm trying to be a runner! And by trying, I mean I'm working towards a goal. And by that I mean I have been struggling to find some form of exercise that I enjoy and stay motivated to do. I feel like this is a cluster of statements that don't make any sense - but most of the time the activity in my brain rarely makes sense. But I tried exercise videos, and they get boring. I swim - but I don't do it routinely. Gyms frighten me. So I tried jogging/running...and I quite enjoyed it. I love being outdoors, and I love that I am doing something good for my body. And I love that I can see the improvements and my progress. I feel motivated to do more, and I feel motivated to keep getting better. So far, so good! 

This weekend, I did some thinking and wondered how I could motivate myself or set some sort of goal for myself to work towards. At my Weight Watchers meeting this past week, a member talked about how she used to be a cross country runner in high school. She said that she had just recently started WW and decided after 2 weeks to try and run a 5k race. It was hard for her, and she said she was quite astonished at how out of shape she was, but it motivated her to get back into exercising. I know many people who have run marathons and short distance races, and I have never thought of myself as one of those people. But I did some research this weekend, and I found that Calgary has a TON of 5k races and marathons in the city this time of year. But one in particular struck a chord with me...

The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada does a Spring Sprint in the city that involves a walk, a 5k and 10k race. I knew immediately that I wanted to do this - but I didn't want to do it alone. So I asked a good friend of mine if she would be interested in joining me, and she didn't hesitate for a second. The two of us both have a history with family members and brain tumours and are passionate about this cause. 

On May 9th, 2011 my Grandad passed away from cancer. It started 5 years prior to that as skin cancer, and returned as a tumour in the brain. 7 months of battling, and Grandad's journey with the disease came to an end. Since then, our family has become closer, found ways to cope, and grown as a whole. I have found my own ways to deal with this stage in my life: by wearing a Livestrong bracelet, cutting my hair for cancer patients, writing this blog, getting a tattoo, and wearing a heart shaped necklace around my neck everyday in memory of my Grandfather. Now, as I have become stronger, I find ways to commemorate the memory of my Grandfather that make me happy, and know make him proud. I am running this race for him, for my family, and for me. 

I would love if you could take the time to click the link below and donate to this cause. Your support and encouragement mean a lot to me, and I can feel your love from miles away. 

RIP Grandad. Always and forever. 

To donate, click here!