Spring!

I am writing this at the very end of my break so bear with me and my bitterness. However, I had a really nice and balanced break. A friend from Toronto visited me which was a complete surprise and made me feel loved. I also went to Jasper for the first time! Jasper is like a weird version of Banff and like, major Twin Peaks vibes. It was rainy and foggy, which kind of made hiking not the greatest but we managed two very baby trails and snapped some lovely pictures.

After a lovely time seeing the mountains, I now have a mountain of marking and planning to do! Which is fine, and will get done. I am looking forward to getting back into a routine again and getting through this final term of school.

I’ve been pretty good at keeping my work and life balanced. It’s been really hard learning that this year. As a teacher, I find that my to-do list is neverending. There is always something I could be doing, could be organizing, could be “fixing”, or making better. There is always a parent to call or a lesson to plan or something to grade. And sometimes you just need to say no and know that it’ll all get done by June. Oftentimes, you also need to know what to prioritize. In the first term two hours would go by after school and I wouldn’t even know what I did but I did do something. Now I *try* to make sure I leave by 4:30 with the exception of specific busy times of year like report cards or parent-teacher interviews. I’m doing better and recognizing that my time is valuable – as a teacher and as a human being.

Hello again.

Hi! I am going to try posting (again) because I have so many goals and new routines for 2019, it’d be nice to have a place to write about it all and also hold myself somewhat accountable. Currently, I am working on the following:

  • A sleep schedule with minimal alarm snoozing. During the week nights it’d be nice (and healthy for my brain) to be in bed by 9:30 and to start reading before bed.
  • Read more! Connected to the previous goal where I can read a half hour or so before bed. This goal also includes putting books aside that maybe aren’t serving me / I don’t want to read in order to read something I will actually like and enjoy. Oftentimes I will feel stuck with a book and then I won’t read it but I also won’t start anything else.
  • Less phone time before bed! Then I can read, then I can sleep at a decent time, etc.
  • Cross stitching – figure out some easy patterns? I started this several weeks ago and did some practice stitching so now I just need to get some easy patterns!
  • Tidy stuff.
  • Air plants / redo some terrariums I have!

Anyways, last week was a week that showed me how important my time is, but also how important my sleep routine is to my brain. I was going to bed at later hours and then out all day due to working and then errands and then people and it definitely MESSED ME UP. I was moody plus my period is coming so there’s that. Obviously there are going to be busier weeks! This happens! But man I still need to maintain routine.

 

 

Poetry

Hello everyone!

I haven’t written here in MONTHS. Hoping to change that this year!

However, I have still been writing! I have been posting somewhere else: my poetry instagram account! I started this a couple months ago with the encouragement of a friend in order to keep my writing alive despite being super busy with work and life. It has been a success! I have been able to write and post when I can with zero pressure, which has been a big help in my creativity and inspiration. I have created a link to my Instagram in the left sidebar for easy access to any of my latest pieces. I will also be creating a poetry category so that I can post some of my poetry directly into here as well.

I have also started a 30 Day Writing Challenge with Justin and our good friend Caitlynn. For 30 days we are writing for different prompts. There are no limits or guidelines to what we are writing. It could be short fiction or poetry or anything we desire! I am hoping to post a few of my favourite pieces from that as well.

Feeling really, really good about writing and poetry lately! I’m so happy to have found a way to share and put my writing out there. Engaging with a writing community has been so helpful, uplifting, and supportive. Still hoping to eventually put together a second zine as well once I have a wider collection and narrow down a theme.

Here’s to 2018, a year of MORE writing and reading.

Planning For Fall

I haven’t written much over the summer, other than in my own personal journal a couple times. It’s been one of the busiest summers I’ve had in a long while! I visited Toronto for two weeks in July, which was a non-stop trip seeing friends and family. Also helping my Nan (my Grandma on my mother’s side) get to some appointments due to some minor health concerns. She developed Bell’s Palsy this last month which was a bit of a scare and more of a frustration for her than anything.

Coming back to Edmonton has been quite busy. This city thrives during the summer. There is so much to do and I’m sure there are still a bunch of things I’ll have to save for next year. So far this summer, I’ve been able to experience farmers markets, Taste of Edmonton, Heritage Days (Canada’s biggest multicultural event!), Shakespeare in the Park, and various new restaurants and cafes. Next week I am heading to Cold Lake with Kailene for a night, and in a couple weekends Justin and I will be visiting a farm sanctuary just outside of Edmonton! I’m. So. Excited. PIGS. 

After reading and frequenting Pinterest for about a month, I’ve finally started to pry open various English resources and planning guides because I am starting my first teaching contract this September! I’ll be the ELA (English Language Arts) Instructor for a Grade 4 class, two Grade 5 classes, and a Grade 6. I’m nervous and excited. Nervous because I am more familiar with high school students and teaching, but excited because I supplied a lot for elementary and honestly really like it. I always said I’d NEVER teacher elementary. But I’ve known since starting teacher’s college that you take what you get and you may not even start in your subject area. With that said, I’m happy and grateful for what I was offered this past June. I was a bit hesitant at first but the more that I plan and read and get to know the staff and school, the more that I am excited and confident.

Also, I will have my very own classroom! Four classes of students will come into my class throughout the day (sort of a rotary system) since I am just the Language Arts teacher, so I’ll have to figure out some organization and routines. But I am soooo excited to set up a reading nook, a library space, plants and pictures, a Word Wall, and all sorts of neat things that I maybe couldn’t do in a high school setting. I really am going to take advantage of the fact that this will be my own room.

I’m going to get back to planning and reading, but here are some pictures of my so far empty class.

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My future desk area with bright windows behind me!

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Trees right outside the window.

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So much shelving!

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Can’t wait to start decorating!

The Mountains of Banff, Alberta

I saw mountains for the first time two days ago. I was struck with awe and wonderment, almost moved to tears, as we drove further into the range towards town. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing and I felt true, genuine happiness from just the beauty of these natural wonders. The fresh air filled my lungs and the trees and mountains filled my sight from all angles. This was everything I had ever hoped it would be.

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Driving the loop surrounding the large glacial Lake Minnewanka in Banff, Alberta.

Justin was right in describing these views as primordial. These mountains are primordial and whether you are seeing them up close or far away, they evoke this very visceral feeling. It makes sense why I was so innately driven to tears.

After driving for several hours, we made it into the town of Banff. It’s about a 4 / 4 and a half hour drive so we were feeling excited but definitely needing to rest and figure out what our plan was. We knew that one thing was for certain – we needed to get out there and be even closer to the giant wonders surrounding us.

We came up with a rough plan and headed to a trail near Mount Rundle. This trail was quite long so we didn’t do the whole thing. I hope to come back with bikes in the near future and head along some of the trails in this area and another area as well. Mount Rundle is seen from various parts of Banff, but it was amazing to see amongst Bow Valley. This trail also had Hoodoos, which are rocks that are formed from years and years of erosion.

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Hoodoos are located in the bottom left of this photo.

We walked for a while along this trail and eventually turned back after several stops at the lookouts. After our walking, we decided to eat at a simple but really cozy Irish pub in town for dinner, all the while taking in the mountains surrounding town.

The next day, after various changes of plans, we decided to drive along the Lake Minnewanka loop. This drive takes you all around the large glacial lake with various stops for hiking trails, picnic areas, and camping grounds. We stopped at several different places, the major one being directly at Lake Minnewanka where you can boat, rest, bike, or hike. We, however, got fries and ice cream cones and sat near the lake on some rocks, taking in the reflective, still water and the mountains surrounding it. The lake and mountains together were stunning; one of the most beautiful views we saw during our time in Banff. It makes a lot of sense why Minnewanka literally means “Water of Spirits” (in Stoney / Nakoda, a Siouan langauge).

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Lake Minnewanka, Banff, Alberta

From that point, we continued along the loop and made a few more stops at various parts of the lake and mountain ranges. I can’t express how genuinely happy I was, seeing these mountains merely exist. They are here because of nature and time. They are just here. It takes time to become that collosal.

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Justin and I realized how grateful we are to be this close to Banff. The 4 hour drive is not long, especially considering how much time was needed for these gigantic, towering beauties to form.

Uprooting & Grounding

Uproot:
verb
past tense: uprooted; past participle: uprooted

  1. pull something (especially a tree or plant) out of the ground.
  2. move from their home or a familiar location.

Many days here I feel perfectly fine, at peace, at home, and happy. To me, home isn’t a place. I have a constant place that I go back to (my grandmother’s) and that has sort’ve turned into my family home. I love it and miss it dearly sometimes. But home is not a place. It hasn’t been for a while, at least, for me. Home is wherever I’ve had to make it, with whoever I have made it with. Right now, I am doing that again and I love where I am. I love what I am doing. I love the people I am surrounded by. And I am so happy and grateful for the people that have made me feel at home here in so many different ways.

But still, none of this discredits or changes the fact that I miss certain places, or that I miss so many people. Sometimes it hits me and sometimes it comes slowly, in waves. I’ll suddenly feel so disconnected. It comes and goes and I’m sure it will for a while yet, but I’m okay. I think I’m okay because I’m aware of what this feeling is from and I know it is a part of this process, this uprooting. I have to go through it and I have to feel the sadness of the change and transition. Many feelings can exist amidst change.

I’m strong though. And I’m ready to root and ground myself, once again. I know I must recognize, feel, and acknowledge my sadness, but it’s so hard sometimes because I want to just feel all the happy parts and NONE of the sad parts. I also have a hard time saying it out loud; acknowledging it. And hardest of all, I don’t quite know what to do with myself when these feelings arise; when I recognize them. I start feeling really directionless and I don’t know what to do with my time. It’s hard to do things because I feel like I can’t settle or relax because I don’t quite feel settled or relaxed. I feel displaced and disconnected. But I know that in order to truly root and ground myself, I need to be honest with myself and part of that is feeling my sadness, feeling my happiness, and all the other feelings that come with this transition. I need to be honest with myself and those around me because I will truly reap the rewards of this transition.

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Six of Cups from The Wild Unknown

When I did a Past / Present / Future spread the other night, I pulled the Six of Cups for the present. I wasn’t surprised, and I almost laughed. I looked at all the different coloured roots of that tree and I saw each root trying to fit itself into the earth. A giant tree trying to root and ground itself, growing throughout the process. I recalled the conversation I had with Kailene earlier that day about trying to fit myself into somewhere a little unfamiliar after being somewhere so familiar – somewhere that I have lived my whole life and know so well.

“You literally pulled your roots out of the ground that you knew and now, you’re planting them somewhere else. It will take time.”

It will take time and I am ready for it. I’ll take as long as I need and the process will take as long as it needs. I just wish I knew what to do with myself when things feel hard. I guess talk to people, and try to do things no matter how hard it may be. I am grateful though for how well everything has gone so far. This process is hard but an important one. I’m so glad that even if Edmonton is “unfamiliar” (in comparison to where I am from, to what I have known my whole life), it still is unfamiliar in a very light sense of the word, considering everyone and all that I have here. I love it here and I love it more every day.

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Me, Penny, and Kailene at an amazing dog park about 45 minutes away.

Supply Teaching

I’ve officially been added to the supply list for the Edmonton school board that I will be working for! It’s been an exciting week with various phone calls from an automated robot who Justin and I have humanized and grown to love and hate. (He starts calling at 6 in the morning to notify me of possible supply jobs.) Finally, after many anxious emails and phone calls, I accepted my first supply job and went to a junior high school today to cover for a teacher.

I’ve been so nervous, anxious, and excited leading up to this day. I hadn’t been in a classroom for almost a year and a half. For some reason (anxiety), I started to think I was forgetting everything I had learned and that I wouldn’t feel comfortable in a classroom again. And it’s true. At first, I wasn’t completely comfortable today. But as the day went on so much came back to me. Importantly, the love, passion, and comfort I feel for teaching came back. It felt so natural again and I think I worried that I lost all this after being out of it for a while. But I realized that just because I had been waiting and trying to get into a classroom or a school doesn’t mean I stopped liking it or stopped caring.

So today was my first day back into a classroom and my very first day as a supply teacher. I’m still nervous for so many other firsts that will happen along the way, but I am really happy that I can say I love what I’m doing. And I can confidently say that I didn’t forget the things I learned after all. They just got tucked away, like books on a shelf. Now, I am reading them again.