Short Film: Alternative Math

This is a pretty hilarious short film (8 minutes). You’ll appreciate it if you’re a teacher ūüôā

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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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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!).¬†

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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”.

Getting Back into My Books

The past few years, while living up north, I made it a habit to read a lot. I was a voracious reader growing up, but, like most adults transitioning into working life, the habit fell by the wayside.

The north was a perfect place for reading. Lots of time, lots of silence, lots of solitude. And with my full time job as a high school teacher, it was helpful to have enough disposable income to afford an Audible.com membership. I found a lot of new books through this company and got into books by comedians (i.e. Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jim Gaffigan, Mindy Kaling). I consistently surpassed my goal of 15 books a year, and marked it on GoodReads.com:

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And then 2017 rolled around.

I struggled with reading. I couldn’t sit and get through a single book within 2 weeks. I kept seeing more books and would start them without finishing the others. Soon I had a giant stack of half-finished books and a wave of anxiety that there was no time to read them all. Needless to say, I felt frustrated.

I attributed it to bad habits. I had trouble focusing. Well,¬†it’s probably because I’ve got so much going on this year – new job, moving out of the north, moving to Waterloo, adjusting to a new city, etc. etc. The excuses went on and on.

Deep down, I knew I had time. I always had time for a book because they so beautifully fill in the cracks to our days, but I blamed my lack of focus and left it at that.

And then I read this page out of Manoush Zamorodi’s¬†Bored and Brilliant*¬†and it – figuratively speaking – scared the poop out of me:

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So it wasn’t just me.

Even famous journalists, writers, literary artists, scientists, politicians and neuroscientists were suffering the same fate. I wasn’t the only one who was having issues with deep reading. I was not alone in this.

And a couple of weeks ago I vowed to dive back into reading.

Deep reading. Everywhere reading. Reading on a daily basis. Reading for short bursts. Carrying my books to read when I was waiting in a line. Reading when I was waiting to be addressed at a service desk. Reading during a meal. Reading in the morning. Reading before bed.

And magically, I felt my focus come back.

It was alarmingly fast and yet noticeable. It was shocking the difference I felt. Not only that, but the wave of anxiety was not replaced by a wave of great relief. Relief that that part of me didn’t die or disappear altogether. Relief that I still love reading. Relief that I learn so much from these books and that I get joy from it.

Well, I better damn well get my act together if I am going to get through Lena Dunham’s¬†Not That Kinda Girl,¬†Roxanne Gay’s Bad Feminist¬†and Katherine Boo’s¬†Behind the Beautiful Forevers¬†before the end of November.¬†

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Gotta run, I have a book to read.

*The book is based off of a series of interviews from the WNYC podcast, Note to Self

Bedtime Care Package

Sometimes, I’m bad at putting myself to bed. Like a lot of people who take their cellphones to bed, I get distracted on social media or scrolling through a news feed. In order to break the bad habit,¬†recently, I started putting together a “bedtime care package”.

This is similar to my teacher self-care package, which I used to stash in my drawers. After a long stressful day, I would close the door after the last bell and pull out a small box. I’d take a bit of time to put on hand lotion or use aromatherapy oil to destress. Occasionally, I’d pull out a piece of candy or chocolate.

Here’s what my bedtime care package consists of. The purpose is just to focus on getting ready for bed:

  1. Eyemask – Pretty self-explanatory. It often comes off in the middle of the night and I have to fumble for it in the morning.
  2. Wooden hair brush –¬†One of my favourite brushes. I received it as a present when I lived in South Korea.
  3. e.l.f. lip exfoliator* – My lips can get pretty dry, so this is nice to have. It has a bit of oil to moisturize and a nice, light scent that is fairly neutral. The best part? This is only $5 on Well.ca! Plus it’s vegan.
  4. Clinique eye cream – A few years ago, I tried a variety of random eye creams and had a lovely time with skin rashes. Thus, I defaulted to Clinique, because it is hypoallergenic. Unfortunately, it’s also not vegan, so I may have to go back and look for a new brand. I like Dr. Gross products, but it’s so ridiculously expensive.
  5. Vanilla incense –¬†Occasionally like to use incense. It sets the tone to relax and wind down. I got this off of a Bunz trade last month.
  6. Cocoa shea butter – My cousin A. gave me a jar of The Parkdale Butter Co. as a present a few years ago. I was hooked on this Toronto-based brand and bought a second jar. I used this on my calves. There are minimal ingredients, maybe just 2 or 3.
  7. Paperback copy of Meditations from the Mat – S. gave me this book a few years ago. I didn’t think much of it at first but it has been good bedtime reading. Rolf Gates brings to life the yamas and niyamas through his personal stories and reflections of his yoga practice. Very easy to read, but has depth if you’re feeling contemplative. It’s not a bad substitute for a Bible if you’re an atheist yogi seeking spiritualism.
  8. Bag of lavender – Grown by my mother and dried. She stitched a small bag for me. Lavender has been known to help relax the body. I crush the bag and take a few whiffs of it just before bed.
  9. Pacific hand cream – I don’t use this much except during the wintertime when my skin is fairly dry.
  10. Basket – A cute cloth basket I got for $2.50 at Dollarama.

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*Vegan products

New Tiffin from Ten Thousand Villages

I have been wishing for a tiffin for years!!

A couple of weeks ago, I finally bought a metal tiffin ($30) at Ten Thousand Villages*.¬†Iit was treat to myself. If I’m going to get into a habit of not buying lunches – this was initially happening in September, oops – then I want to feel excited about eating my lunch too!!

Yes, my family and I are still purging a lot of household goods through bartering on a site called, Bunz, but when I do purchase something now, I think a lot harder about it first.

You’ve no idea how patient I can be! Having lived in the north means that I often wait for many, many months before I buy something. So this tiffin was no different and was not an impulse buy; I’d actually first saw it back in July and waited until I had moved to Waterloo, unpacked, reassessed what was in my possessions and started working before I picked it up. I love it!!!

The only downside is that I can’t microwave it of course, but now, I just dump the food on a plate if I do need to heat anything up. All the school staff rooms have microwaves. Plus it’s also super easy to clean and I only deal with one lid!

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*This shop focuses on selling fair-trade items at sustainable and fair wages.