November Update

Lots of life updates. Here we go ….

Yoga Teacher Training: I won’t write so much here. I tend to microblog important notes on Cody, since that’s where other people discuss anatomy and yoga with me. Otherwise, this is the third weekend and it’s going well. The studio director, L., spoke with me privately yesterday. She knows that I have been feeling going through an emotional rough patch (still dealing with my break-up), but at the end of the night, she told me that she’s very glad to have me in the program and in Waterloo. It was really sweet and it meant a lot to me.

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Accepting compliments: I used to struggle with accepting compliments and brush them off / deny / deflect. Over the years, as I spotted this behaviour, I worked on it. I am better at receiving them, which includes simply looking at the person who said it, smiling and saying thank you.

As I’d mentioned above, the director gave me a HUGE compliment last night. Today, I also got several compliments. 1) The (same) yoga director said that she liked my pineapple tank top, which was nice on a cloudy and dreary day, 2) a classmate that I ate lunch with said that I was smart, attractive and charming and lastly, 3) another peer said that my teaching instructions were spot on and that I was a natural at it! Internally, I can still have difficulty accepting these as truths, but I want to embrace that this means I am valued and worthy, which isn’t a feeling that’s consistent when you are living in a new place and still trying to make new friends.

Occasional Teaching: Hard to believe but I’ve already hit the minimum 20 days I need to apply for the LTO list next year. So far, I’ve worked about 30 days. I took this week off as a much needed mental health break. I only worked a 0.5 on Thursday. And that’s fine. No need to shame myself for taking a break.

Career options: On Friday, I went to EdTalent, which is an annual job conference held in Toronto by Apply to Education. I got a chance to say hello to the Cree School Board and chat with my friend, E., who is now a vice-principal. We gabbed for 15 minutes and it was really nice just to say hi to a friend. But I still have wanderlust that will never ever die, and after sticking around Canada for 5 years – yes, I did travel during the holidays – I still want to go somewhere. I spoke with a few UK agencies. They will do anything as short as one month but I was considering a 2-month term.

Reading: One of the optional books to read for Yoga Teacher Training, is The Gifts of ImperfectionBe compassionate with yourself, according to Brene Brown. As I’d mention above, shaming myself for taking a mental health break is not productive. I used to do it but I don’t anymore. Over the past 4 years while working in the north, I took days if I wasn’t physically sick but was emotionally overwhelmed and needed a recharge.

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Employment Insurance: I need to apply for EI for Christmas! My classmate, N., tipped me off as she also works for the same school board. She said you can often get more money from EI than a summer job.

Financing my car: I paid off my car in 52 months, instead of 5 years! This is 8 months ahead of schedule as I threw several years of tax returns at the balance. I am feeling very proud about this! It helps too as I’m not making very much money right now.

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Bunz Trade in Guelph

First trade outside of Toronto! Got rid of a few of my highly desirable Indigo notebooks (impulse buy) and a scarf for this size 8 Lululemon sweater.* A little loose but still pretty comfortable and very, very warm!!!

Didn’t waste gas as I went to hang out with my old high school friend afterwards for board games.

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KAIROS Blanket Activity

My local union is running a KAIROS blanket exercise workshop! I signed up right away and am really excited to finally participate in this activity later on in November.

If you’re not familiar with it, it is a teaching activity used to show the historic and contemporary relationships between non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples of Canada. I’ve heard of people having very strong emotions during the exercise and that the whole experience is quite insightful and powerful.

Can’t wait!

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Saying Bye to Mechanics

Just did a 1600 km round trip with my sister. We went to Val D’Or, Quebec to grab my old winter tires, get them swapped on and then drove the summer tires back. I said bye to some of my favourite mechanics and I was a bit sad. The people at Honda Val D’Or have been very good to me the past 4 years.

It was a good 3 day trip and it gave my sister and I a chance to catch up. We didn’t have any solo time together since the summer was so busy with relatives from Hong Kong and then I moved in September.

Feeling emotionally drained though, as I bumped into mutual friends and acquaintances during the trip. I ended up discussing and disclosing my break-up much more than I had intended, so I don’t plan on working much this week.


YouTube Series: Vantage Credit Union

Was looking for information for a former student, who recently graduated. She is considering buying a brand new car.

In my humble opinion, especially for someone who does not have a high-paying full time job with lots of security is not to buy brand new. I was digging for information to comparing leasing versus financing and came across this super cute YouTube series from Vantage Credit Union. They are based out of Missouri, USA, but I found the explanations very captivating, succinct and informative. Check them out and pass it on if you know anyone looking for personal finance information:

(More) October Updates

Eating Vegan: Even though I’ve stopped buying a lot of animal products, I haven’t been doing that well with being vegan. I caved and ate pizza yesterday at the Katy Perry concert in Toronto (actually had dinner at Chipotle, without eating cheese there, but got really hungry a couple of hours later and ran out of choices at the Air Canada Centre). I hadn’t eaten pizza in many weeks prior!

Meditation: I restarted Headspace again! Two years ago, I actually was doing it every day for 6 months. I’m restarting it and realized that I actually miss Andy’s voice! I really enjoy guided meditation and not doing it by myself. Currently on a 10-day plan for “Acceptance”.

Salary assessment: I am starting out the salary assessment process in Ontario. I got an updated letter of experience from the Cree School Board and also sent in transcripts from the University of Toronto.

Reading: Sooooo excited to pick up a few holds at the Waterloo library tomorrow. I can’t wait to get my hands on The Little Book of Hygge

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

October Updates

Side hustle: A few weeks ago, I got a message on Linked In. A tutoring company asked to interview me and since then I’ve got two clients. The hourly rate is only $25 – sorta alright but not great, compared with private tutoring, in which I could dictate what I charge – but at this point, I don’t have time to find clients on my own. This is fine for now and I like having someone to talk to and support me through the process.

Goodlife: Through Edvantage, I got a Goodlife memberhsip for $400 (plus taxes). We get a special corporate plan as a public school teacher. Includes towel service and squash court access. Still waiting for the paperwork to go through; it can sometimes take up to two weeks (grrrrr).

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Salary Assessment in Ontario: Currently I am working as an Occasional Teacher, which is the professional title for a substitute teacher. I currently am paid a daily rate, no matter how many years of experience I have, but if I end up in a Long Term Occasional (LTO)*, I will need to have a formal salary assessment done. For now, I am starting the processing and setting up my academic profile. This means I have to order all transcripts from universities that I’ve attended and forward it to the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation. Ugh, I hate paying for transcripts but I like being on the right pay scale!

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Investments: It was depressing to look at them drop in the spring and summer. But trying to be a good Canadian Couch Potato investor, you’re not suppose to let your emotions dictate your subsequence actions! And hey, looks like markets are going back up, so yay!

Reading: Still reading a lot as I’m trying to rehab my poor brain. I have a few lifetime’s worth of books to get through so I can’t stop! Mostly graphic novels right now with another book on the side. The past few couple of week I have read Mike’s Place, the first and second volume of Bryan O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim, as well as Seconds. In the middle of Lena Dunham’s book and also started Guy Delisle’s, Jerusalem Chronicles (he’s Canadian!). 



Friends in Kitchener-Waterloo: I’m being invited to stuff! People are talking to me more regularly! This is nice and good and wonderful! However, I feel that I’m losing touch with other friends in Toronto, even though I’ve made the effort to ask them to meet up, hang out and not getting much of a response. Such is life. Appreciate what you have while it lasts.

*Any consistent job in a classroom that lasts more than 10 consecutive days. Under Regulation 274, I am not able to apply to take LTOs until 10 months of being an OT. If there is a shortage within the school board or a permanent teacher continues to extend their absence, you can still be “rolled into an LTO”. 


Net Worth – October

I’ve been slacking off on calculating my net worth. Didn’t do it for July, August or September. I wanted to include my auto loan, which is probably around $1000 but then Honda Finance decided to change their login system. I meant to call them but just never end up doing it!

So rather than put it off another month, I included an estimate of $1200 remaining on the Honda CR-V. A few comments:

Overall net worth: Generally stable, considering that I’ve spent a lot of money this summer eating out. I also have a higher rate of rent ($600) to pay, as well as payments for my Yoga Teacher Training tuition (~$333); both are withdrawn on a monthly basis.

Selling off personal property: $1500 total; from the Ikea standing table ($200), cross country skiis and boots ($300) and my kayak and kayak gear ($1000)./

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You may be wondering why I even sold some of those things I had worked hard to acquire. Personal belongs that I really enjoy and put me in a better lifestyle of healthy living.

I have not mentioned to a lot of people yet, but I left my 5-year relationship a few weeks ago. Emotionally, I’m recovering must faster and better than I had expected. I have lots of close friends and family that have been able to support me (my grandmother said, “You don’t need him.” I really wish she were able to say DTMFA* in Chinese). I also started going to a therapist.

I really didn’t want take the millenial-esque approach and vomit gory TMI** details all over the Interwebs nilly-willy. I’m in the process of wrapping up some details and trying to get a few of my belongings back. Obviously I’ve taken the kayak at a huge (financial) loss, but extricating myself from my former partner has not been without disputes or struggles.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Finances are okay. Emotions are okay. Physical body is great. Self-confidence is actually higher than normal. YTT has been phenomenal. Making friends in Kitchener-Waterloo has been slow but starting to take off!

I’ll continue to blog more over the next months as I know I’ve been neglectful, often just microblogging – via Instagram – instead of putting down my words here. I intend to write more and I really do love to write in this space of mine, even if there are very few readers.

Last thing: Please, please, please write back to me if you read my blog. You don’t necessarily have to comment on the page itself, but a text, an email or phone call is lovely too.

*DTMFA is an abbreviation for “Dump the mother f***er already”
**TMI is an abbreviation for “too much information”.