April Update

Claiming EI: Got a letter from Service Canada stating that I am not eligible for Employment Insurance over March Break, since I do not have 700 hours. This is actually because of another issues …

No ROE: In January, I resigned and contacted Human Resources of my last employer, asking them to close my file. I got a response that the process would be initiated and they’d send off a Record Of Employment. Whoever was suppose to hasn’t done it yet – three months later – and now Service Canada thinks I don’t have enough hours to receive EI since they’re not counting my hours in the north! And on top of that …

Pension transfer to Ontario: Since no ROE has been initiated, Retraite Quebec still believes I am working for the Quebec school board. Therefore, I’ve not been able to transfer my pension over to my home province of Ontario. Argh! If someone would just start the paperwork …

Teacher Librarian AQ: I’m doooooooone!!! I was a lazy butt though, as I handed in my last assignment two days late. No provincial subsidy for this course, but I may choose my next course based on the subsidies available.

Volleyball: Have been asked by high school friends if I want to join their Wednesday night volleyball league. I played for 4 seasons many years ago and am happy to be part of Ashbridge’s Bay again! It will mean driving back and forth between Waterloo and Toronto, but that’s okay. I won’t play all the games, but I’m looking forward to some beach volleyball and hanging with friends. Plus sand between my toes!

In other exciting news, I got to watch my first hockey game – Kitchener Rangers versus Sarnia Stingers. I’m not much of a hockey fan, but I have to admit it was really cool!

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Monthly Goals – March

Health and Fitness
  • Catch up on YTT class hours (3/5): I need to attend 30 more classes before end of June, as part of my homework. That means I need about 10 classes each month, before July In March, so far I’ve had 7 classes. Need to keep attending more!
  • Try a new studio (4/5): Did this on the last day of March! Part of my yoga teacher training homework. Now have to fill out my participation worksheet.
  • Start a spreadsheet to start claiming medical expenses (4/5): While doing taxes, we realized I will need this for 2018 taxes. Got this started but need to revisit the exact dollar mounts through my receipts. Carry this over to next month
  • Go climbing (3/5): Went climbing twice – once at GRR and once at The Core
  • Order a Squatty Potty (5/5): This has been a goal I totally forgot about for at least a year. Just did it last week. It should come in by April. As Bowman says, #stackyourlife!
Teaching
  • Start using Twitter again (3/5): Share math resources and get active again.
  • Be amazing at practice teaching (3/5): Didn’t do as much full yoga class practice teaching with friends and family. Practiced with P., N., J. and Liz. Also did the glute/hip/quad work with two people, including my sister.
  • Get feedback for YTT classes (2/5): Developed a Google Form to received feedback. Only used it once as I didn’t do many full yoga classes.
Finance / Professional Development
  • File taxes (5/5): Mom helped me do most of the work and even got my return back! Last year that I get to enjoy the benefits of Northern Residents Deduction. Sigh.
  • Apply for EI (3/5): Applied a bit late but yeaaaahhhh, not eligible because my last school board has not officially sent off my paperwork to the government. GRRRRRR.
  • Send in certification rating to Human Resources (5/5): Oops. Forgot to do this earlier and only completed it in the last week. This took a few months as I had to send off all the transcripts to OSSTF. I’m currently ranked in Group 3.

End of March Update

It’s been a great few three days in Toronto, but it’s also a huge relief that, as I was cruising up Highway 85 on Saturday afternoon, I am headed back to my home.

Toronto can feel like home in some ways and it always will, but honestly I find it stressful to be there for more than 3 days at a time. Traffic definitely contributes to it! Kitchener-Waterloo is where I live now, year-round and these days, I don’t “go home” for the summer. I finally have a place where I’ve got my own social life and independence as an adult and it’s not in the middle nowhere (sorry, Waskaganish)! My introverted self is very happy to have my own space where I can enjoy my solitude.

Here are a few end of March updates:

Financial literacy: Zipped back to North York on Wednesday night to see Dan Bortolotti, of Canadian Couch Potato fame, speak at the Fairview Library. It was pretty cool and I’m glad I was able to catch the talk as I missed it last year while living in the far north. I need to go over some of his podcasts and look at my portfolio again. Thinking of shutting down Questrade as I want to consolidate what I’ve got to just two brokerages or roboadvisors. Speaking of money …

Transferring my pension to Ontario: Trying to transfer my Quebec pension over to Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan. Argh, I got a rejection as my last school board has still not filed that I resigned. Super annoying. Will have to reapply in July.

Bartering and clothing ban: Still going strong 3 months into my clothing ban. I’m actually doing quite well as I’m managing to get new pieces every few weeks or so. Yes, it’s bit more effort to set up the trades, coordinate and run around for them, but I feel much better knowing that my carbon footprint is smaller. It’s also cool to meet other Torontonians that I might not normally cross paths with!

On Friday, I picked up an Old Navy plaid shirt that I’m head over heels with. My only complaint is that shoes are harder to find, but I’ve got a pair of boots waiting for me next month. I’ve made about half a dozen trades in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, but still mainly bartering, mainly in Toronto. Got myself a beautiful metal teapot and a lidded bucket to handwash some laundry (now I can stop using my salad bowl to wash my bras). Picked up a pair of Sailor Moon leggings for a friend.

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Shopping:
Bartering has become the equivalent of shopping. I don’t buy much these days but I love locally-produced sticker art. They’re affordable for a few dollars and this is a great way to support local artists. I picked up two stickers from Cry Wolf Clothing on Ossington, between Dundas and Queen West. One is a racoon, a.k.a, “trash panda”, sitting in a garbage can that says “City of Toronto”; I adhered it to my very banged-up Macbook Air. The second is “Turonno” in Blue Jays font, which I happily stuck to my bullet journal. You can take the girl out of Toronto, but you can’t take the Toronto out of the girl!

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Practice teaching: Still need to practice teaching a full yoga class. Hard for people to commit the time … sigh. Mainly been doing short lessons on hips, glutes and quads with friends and family. Last night, I even did a Skype session with my friend. It was a little awkward but hey, I wanna pass on what I can as I care about my friends’ health!

Not needing my therapist: If you followed me on Instagram earlier in the fall, you’ll know that I took on a counsellor/therapist. I was seeing her about once a month and we had a lot to discuss and sort out, especially how I approach my relationships. At this time, I’ve decided not to return to her. Our last session was good, but it made me realize how much more mentally strong I am since October. I don’t really have many stressors these days. I haven’t “broken up” with her or anything, but I haven’t booked any future appointments.

Family time: I made sure to spend some time with each of my family members. On Friday, my mom had lunch together. We do this about once a month. Took her to Golden Turtle off Ossington. I enjoyed some vegan bánh xèo, which is a Vietnamese crepe served as an appetizer. Looks like egg, but it’s not!

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First Yoga Class and Teacher Training Feedback

Taught my first yoga class last night at Queen Street Yoga, Kitchener, Ontario!

I had a 60-minute scripted class that I split with another colleague, L. She and I had met up twice over the past week and discussed our approaches. On Wednesday, we brought three friends together to practice our entire sequence in the studio and it helped us immensely. Our $5 Intro to Yoga class was a hit last night.

Normally, we could pack 12 people in the room but we were busting at the seems with 15 enthusiastic yogis. There were also 4 classmates, who wanted to come and support us. It was so nice to be embraced by the community. So much love!

Also, I’ve been working on a Google Form for teaching feedback. I asked a friend to fill it out when I went over my lesson on Wednesday. I had been planning on doing this early, but oh well …better late than never. Here’s a chunk of the form:

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If you’re interested in trying a (free) lesson with me, please let me know. I do need practice and I appreciate anyone who is willing to give me the energy and the time.

March Madness

Just enjoyed my first week of March Break in Ontario! It was nice to take a work break and spend a little time in Toronto. Here are some of the highlights:

Fitness: Subbed in for high school friends’ indoor beach volleyball league on Monday. I’m happy to say I’m finally starting to spike this year! Went bouldering on Sunday with some of my yoga teacher training crew. It was nice to have fun off the mat.

Reconnecting with people: Went to check out the pussy hut last weekend with B., whom I have not had a chance to hang out with for a few weeks. Got to see J., whom I haven’t been able to chat with for nearly two years. Normally, I see his wife a few times a year, but sometimes you gotta squeezep in the other half! Went to a baby shower for K. this weekend. Oof, having friends all over the place is tough because I’m constantly driving everywhere. However, I’m not complaining. After living north for 4 years, I’m thankful to be able to visit friends so easily. And on St. Patricks’ Day, we had a small high school reunion on the Danforth and enjoyed Greek food.
Family: Celebrated my mom’s birthday with my sister at our favourite Italian restaurant, Il Fornello. It was a belated birthday celebration because I wasn’t able to see her on her actual birthday; I had another YTT 3-day weekend and was mostly in the studio. Had a nice Thai lunch with my Gramma too.
Taxes: I have a super Mom! She helped me get all my papers in order and we filed my income tax. This time in Ontario. Goodbye, Quebec … I ain’t ever coming back. Also in the process of moving my pension back to Ontario with OTPP.

Books: Finished Caitlin Flander‘s The Year of Less, after purchasing it on Kindle for $1.99. Still struggling to finish Tiny Little Things. It’s such a heavy book that screws up so many emotions it’s not easy to read. I’m soooo close though! Will start on The Lonely Hearts Hotel soon.


Getting organized: In between, I managed to vacuum my room and wash all my bedding. I need to do this more often, ugh. I do not have a schedule! Also managed to clear our a couple of Bunz trades that had been pending since December. I picked up a blackboard/whiteboard, some eyeliner, a pair of turquoise Uniqlo jeggings, a well-loved Kate Spade wallet, a Somersby cider and a couple of Gap t-shirts. Super happy with my recent acquisitions! It always feels lighter when you clean out items you no longer use and get what you need and want.

Food: Check out this amazing vegetable pie I had at BarHop! I haven’t been taking as many photos these days. Trying hard to be present and always thinking about the Note to Self challenge, because it’s important to experience where you are and not just document. I had to snap this gorgeous looking pie though!

Great week over all! Working in Cambridge tomorrow.

Net Worth – February 2018

Didn’t do a net worth for January, so this is calculated over a two month difference.  I didn’t work that much in January due to the exam periods. A few notes otherwise:

Car repairs:
 On Saturday, just as I was about to drive into Toronto, I found that my car would not start. I ended up getting the car going with my Genius Boost pack, which I bought back in December 2017. On Sunday, the same thing happened but the battery boost did nothing. I was stuck downtown Toronto – thankfully, at a parking lot – and called CAA. A rep came and confirmed that the battery was fine. In the end, I asked to be towed* and the tow truck driver noted that it was actually the starter. He brought me back to Honda Waterloo and the next day, I got a nice bill totally $1174.12**

Travel: I had just come back from Alabama and Florida. Was in the US for 10 days. While I didn’t spend a lot, most of what I spent went to plane tickets and Disneyworld.

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*Thankfully this counts as one service call, not two.

**This was already the cheaper of the two options. If I had picked a Honda-brand starter, it would have been a couple more hundred dollars.

Monthly Goals – Fast February

No big goals this month, as I was out of town for 2 weeks in Alabama and Florida.

Health and Fitness

  • Set up another rockclimbing gathering (3/5): In the works, and trying to finalize a few things.
  • Get pap smear (5/5): There are no family doctors in the Kitchener-Waterloo and while some people might think this is TMI to write on a public blog, I feel that this should be a more common public discussion. I’ve briefly taught sexual education in the past, and hope to encourages others to get their cervical cancer screening because 1) it’s covered for Ontarians every 3 years and 2) it’s important to take responsibility in our sexual health, both of ourselves and for our partners. I was tested two years ago while living up north, but the entire file was lost – ugh – and I never found out about my results! Finally getting this done, as it was tricky to find a gynaecologist and had to wait for a recommendation.
Teaching
  • Keep working on Teacher Librarian AQ (4/5): I handed in assignments one day late about two times now, but am enjoying the course.
  • Download OCT license and pay for my annual fee (5/5): Business as usual.
Professional development
  • Finish books (2/5): I’ve been doing badly with reading. Mainly been relying on audiobooks while I’m driving between Tiny Beautiful Things and put I Hear She’s a Real Bitch on pause. I also have a lot of reading from my course and keep getting distracted with other eBooks that I am intrigued by! Will continue to refocus and finish up books in March.
Auto and Financial
  • Check RRSP contribution room (4/5): I have maxed out my 2017 contributions.
  • Cancel Cody membership (5/5): Thought I would use it but really, I have not.

February Update

Trip to the US: Went to Alabama and Florida for 10 days. Flew to Mobile for $198.46 CAD, took a Greyhound ($85.50 USD) to Jacksonville and then hopped on a Megabus ($17.50 USD) about 2.5 hours away to Orlando. Flew back by Delta via Detroit ($220.24 CAD). No hotels or hostels as I stayed with friends the whole time. Had a great time; as the trip was primarily reconnecting with people I rarely see. It was also nice to play with some kiddies and have paper airplane competitions at 10 am in the morning!

As I get older, I’ve learned that some trips don’t have to be about hitting tourist stops* and be more focused on rebuilding long-distance connections that are often maintained through social media.

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Substitute teaching: After two weeks without work, during the exam period, I was going bonkers from cabin fever. I tried to substitute teach as much as possible before I took off for my trip and was really happy to return to work afterwards. These things put it into perspective that I do enjoy my work!

Books: ARGH! I’m in one of those moods where I start different books and don’t finish any of them! I need to refocus on the following:

I also picked up a copy of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking  from J. while visiting Alabama, but trying to set that aside until I finish the others first!

Online Dating: Shut down my apps when I left and putting this on pause right now, because …

Courses: I’ve now devolved into either doing assignments for my YTT homework or my Teacher Librarian course homework. I handed in a couple of assignments late so I feel I need to buckle down and refocus. Just handed in Module 3 of my TL course on Wednesday and need to prep my YTT #5 assignment for this coming Sunday!

*I did spend a day at DisneyWorld’s Animal Kingdom to see Pandora. I missed it last time I visited. Enjoyed the beautiful 24 Celsius weather.

YouTube Creators of Change: White Male, Asian Female

A powerful video by Natalie Tran (39 minutes). I’ve mainly had white male partners in the past, out of personal preference, although I’ve also dated a couple of Asian men.

It shocked me to see that Natalie’s video brings up the fact that Asian women are receiving hateful comments for dating white males. As a feminist, I’m only realizing now that this is an important conversation that I have not thought enough about. What is the reason for this crudeness? Natalie and other YouTube vloggers dig into a discussion that taps into some deeper issues around misogyny, colonialism and Asian identity in the West.

Enjoy and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments: