Feeling Gratitude

Week 97 – January 22, 2022 – Nothing is Absolute

Ok… I had lasagna today (at a friend’s place) and candied salmon a couple days ago. Nothing is absolute, but happy that mod of what I’m eating lends itself to a lacto-ovo vegetarian. I feel a lot better and I can see the abundance of what is. I don’t feel deprived or missing out. I am just feeling more happy.

It’s been one week into MY NEW LIFE. I declared January 16, 2022 the as the beginning of my life. Admittedly dramatic but I just felt things have changed for me. I felt more aligned to MY WHY than ever and I am more authentic to my values and myself. Honouring me and my strengths and knowing that I’m in the service of others fills my heart. ❤️

One week in to this new way of being (and living) and I feel blessed and joyful. Nothing is perfect and sometimes expectations are not met, but that’s the point of it. I feel guided and purposeful. I don’t feel scared and if I’m being judged, so what? That’s not about me. I need to feel good about what I do and understand how it aligns to my why and how it serve others.

I also know that I have to take care of myself. Some days I feel over worked and over extended and it’s ok to stop, poses, and rest. I needed to sleep and took that opportunity last night. I went to bed at 11pm and slept in. Guilt free. I woke up when I was ready to rise. I took the morning for myself (with a hint-o-work).

What’s strange is, I tried twice today to jump into work and my computer had no battery power. Huh. That never happens. I thought I plugged it in before leaving to my friend’s house. Apparently not. Before blogging on my phone, I went to my computer and it wasn’t charged again. It was a sign I took the first time, and reminded a second time… STOP.

The work is not going anywhere. It will be there tomorrow. I have a tonne to do, but that doesn’t change. I’ve done some “work” today but the other work will have to wait. My mental health and wellness matters. Again, if I want this new life to be sustainable, I need some practices that are just meant for me. Right now it’s Friday night curling, Saturdays, and blogging. I’m super grateful for what is.

Goodbye Meat

Week 96 – January 16, 2022 – I can’t do it.

Wow. I just love looking at my last post that says “Honouring Rest.” Hello? I was in my computer all day today to make a couple deadlines. I was up late most nights working lady week and dropped a couple things off my plate to get things done. Ahhhh… there’s so much more to do. Now it’s almost 2am on Sunday. I thought I should blog now. I’m in bed and on my phone. You’d think I’d want to sleep but no… I was so excited I stopped working at midnight that I took some time for myself. While I was resting and watching a bit of TV, I heated up a bowl of leftover fried rice. I’ve been recently on a meat cheat. My kid tends not to eat red meat or poultry. After a couple days of eating meat… that’s it, I’m done.

I can’t do this anymore. my body is not happy with me. I thought it would be joyful to try time with meat products and I don’t feel good. I just talked to my class last week about burnout and listening to your body. I also told them I’m not very good at it but I’m always trying and learning how. I felt it today and confirmed by how I feel. It’s goodbye meat. I don’t think I’ll miss it. I’ve been holding into meat as if it’s part of my identity and in some ways it is with my Chinese heritage and memories of my mom. Something just clicked with me tonight and it’s time to let go.

Also my #OneWord2022 is COMMIT. I’m not going to do anything unless I can commit to it. Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian. I’m not sure if I can go vegan. My sister is vegan but I think this is a good compromise and will give me some flexibility. I just went through my kitchen cabinets and fridge and removed anything with meat. The food bank wins and so does my body. I need to listen to it and it’s speaking to me. I’m trying to do that with rest too. It’s about making decisions and sticking to it.

This is a step in the right direction. Goodbye SPAM. It was good while it lasted. Now it’s hello hummus. Lol. My sister eats a lot of that. I’ll figure this out. It’s time for a shift and I’m ready. Time for bed too. Until next week… ☺️

Honouring Rest

Week 95 – January 8, 2022 – Back to Work

Oh my… I’m sitting in my Lazy Boy reclining chair (my favourite and posh purchase of 2019) napping and having narcoleptic moments. It’s 5pm and as much as I have much to do, I can’t feel guilty about rest. I joyfully slept in today, made macaroni and cheese for me and the kid, and drove her to work (aka. The 1.5 hour drive to work ritual). I recycled and took out the garbage and sent out a few emails. Admittedly, I’m pooped. Long nights during the week and lack of sleep to get work done, it’s ok to take a moment to pause.

My thinking is, the time I take to rest will essentially be investing time to my level of productivity. After a long week with little sleep and high demand for productivity, by the time Friday afternoon rooks around I have to shift gears and focus on myself and wellness. I am lucky to have many mentors, friends, and colleagues who help, guide, and question. One of them suggested this notion that rest actually helps with productivity. I was skeptical at first but over the last few months, I’m convinced.

I still keep long days and nights but when I approach Saturday, I have to slow down and rest. Friday nights I curl. I’m so happy to return back to the sport and I have an awesome team. I feel incredibly lucky and I have so much fun. My body, on the other hand, is not so happy. it’s been awhile since I’ve last curled and I’m physically not the same. Nonetheless, I love to curl and by the end of the game and night, I’m spent. This is a good thing. Getting ready to play transitions next from work to rest. Saturdays I sleep in and feel guilt free of taking time to recycle, clean the house, or just veg on my recliner. It feels good.

Now writing this blog post at the end of the day (Saturday), my head does not feel groggy. I feel rested. Grounded. Calm. Even though I have a tonne of things to do and some things that are overdue, I can only do what I can do. I have to make an effort to prioritize what’s important to me and rethink how I do things as I learn things. That’s all I can do and want to do. This way of being I attribute to the pandemic. Admittedly, I’ve said to a few people this week that I am grateful for the pandemic. It forced me to slow down, reflect, and make really important decisions. Hello 2022!!!

Had there not been a pandemic, I would have continued in this life of doing things for others and losing myself in the whole mix. I was numb to my life and my feelings. I lost touch of who I was and who I am. Pausing helped me to take a moment to question and pivot. I was resisting my life. Creating boundaries like rest and honouring rest is respecting me and my needs. I can’t be last anymore on the priority list and proving myself to others doesn’t matter. What matters is happiness and joy.

I love my kid and that she’s with me now. I love her to bits. I love the work that I get to do. It’s challenging and fulfilling. My work is aligned to ‘my why’ and it’s taken many years to get here, yet everything I’ve done mattered and led me to this place at this time. Finally, I’m grateful for the people in my life who lift me up, who will walk beside me, and who I can trust wholeheartedly. I have an amazing community, I love working with students, and I’m excited to engage in this thing called research. I am learning and I can’t ask for anything more. There are and will be tough moments, but resting is key to my success.

Digital Debris – Year in Review

Week 94 – January 2, 2022 – Pivot Please

Wow. The biggest ask of 2021 (and 2020). This time, the pivoting was personal (and 2020 was professional). First question, to keep my website or ditch my website… that is the question. Two-authenticator + new phone + lack of digital literacy + website under attack by cyber creeps = everybody is locked out. I do feel lucky to have access to my blog via phone app but it’s not “real access” to my website. I’m embracing the idea of DIGITAL DEBRIS for 2022. I’m still paying for my URL and I’m blogging. Everything else will remain static until I have the time to figure things out.

I’ll continue blogging until the pandemic is over. The Omicron variant has taken the pandemic into the fifth wave. It’s Week 94 and my word for 2022 is COMMIT. I’m going to do this. I’ll blog. I like blogging. It’s a good way for me to reflect. WRITING IS THINKING. My friend share that with me earlier this year and I could not agree more. I think it will be different from blogging from my phone versus my laptop. I’m interested to see what I’ll learn from blogging with my thumb versus my sub par QWERTY skills. To be discussed later.

Reflecting on 2021 is somewhat horrifying but also liberating. Pivoting is not something to be resisted but embraced. The pandemic has forced me to reflect on what’s important to me, but also take the time to critically reflect on myself and how I am leading my life. This reflective process brought me to some conclusions I never wanted to face, but also ones I needed to face to move forward.

I will say, I have never felt more like myself in a long time. This feels great. I am really understanding who I am as a person and I am willing to step back or push back to ensure my values are not compromised and I am not betraying myself in such a way that I would lose myself again. It’s a horrible feeling to feel so detached from who I am and always in a place of self doubt and uncertainty. This level of insecurity led to many moments of self doubt but also giving myself away to other people’s needs and wants. I’m worth more than that and I needed to understand that.

Ongoing feelings of unmerited unworthiness, experiencing lateral violence, walking away from toxic relationships, saying goodbye to my pet (Sally), driving a UHaul truck, and moving away from my home and community of 25-years were painful moments this year. It was a slow boil for this frog that I had to get out. Now I feel peace and calm like I never did before but also I am learning more about my self-efficacy, value, and self-worth. I feel great and I’m so happy that my kid opted to move with me and rebuild our relationship.

The more that I am understanding and believing in myself, stand in my two-feet, and welcome the life and support of my friends and family, I can be open to feedback and embrace the struggle snd opportunities for growth, personal and professional. My new place is starting to feel like home and my kid is feeling more like herself. I will not compromise myself for others and I will give myself credit where credit is due. I was so happy to end the year publishing my first single authored manuscript about my practice and program evaluation. An accomplishment I am super proud of but also super grateful for the people who helped me along the way.

I am truly blessed. And even though we are pivoting again due to the Omicron variant and the pandemic persists onto year 3, I am so grateful for the time and space it offered me to reflect, reimagine, and take action. I can do this and I never felt more stronger and able. I look forward to 2022 and embracing my one-word, COMMIT. It’s time to commit and I’m ready to do so. Look out world… I’m coming.

Merry Christmas 2021

Beading = math, writing, solace

Week 93 – December 25, 2021 – Locked Out

It’s official. I’m locked out of my website and I auto renewed my web domain for 3-years. 🙄 Security and passwords. This reminds me of Skype. I have a handful of accounts because I can NEVER find my way back in. I might find my back up codes one day (or not). In the meantime, I will continue to blog from my phone with limited WordPress capabilities.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Can you believe it? It’s Week 93 of the pandemic and the Omicron variant is on the rise. Classic Christmas. Who needs more reasons to stay at home? Not me. It seems that life is forcing me into a place of solitude and isolation. That’s ok. There is something to learn, I’m sure. I would like to note, it’s my first Christmas in Prince George. The best part is, I get to spend it with my kid. No turkey this year. My kid is pescatarian. It will be shrimp and fish tacos, but woke up this morning realizing I forgot the limes. Dang.

Finding new traditions while not going out. I ran around yesterday and bout sushi, Chinese food, and groceries (sans the limes 🙄) so that we could just stay home Christmas Day. It’s minus 24 degrees Celsius this morning. It’s going to be a very cold Christmas. Lots of snow but hope we can have a good day celebrating what we have and enjoy our company.

My kid had yesterday and today off work and as much as I need to do work (and have lots), my brain, body, and soul just says NO THANK YOU and opts to do nothing. Frustrating but I’m learning to allow so that I can be productive. I have a few manuscripts on the go and need to get to them because writing takes a long time. I am learning this (and loving it).

So, for productive brain time, I’m beading. I first started beading with my friend. Terrible at it and I needed a lot of assistance, but I was drawn to the process, patterning, and patience. There were several competencies I needed to learn and enjoyed. I was introduced again to beading as part of a math collective. I’m enjoying it and love it even more. Both instances are connected Indigenous ways of being. I’m not using Indigenous knowledge but I was taught by Indigenous people.

Beading gives me my time back. It forces me to be present (and when I’m not, I would either stab myself with the needle or make a mistake). It helps me to appreciate the little things like the “click” when the beads fit. It also teaches me about UNDOING and the process of unravelling work to fix a mistake and move forward from that mistake (i.e., reminiscent of the writing process ☺️).

The picture above is something I made during Christmas Eve. Yes, I should/could be writing, but I find that when I bead, I’m able to get to my writing in a wholehearted way. I loved listening to my Christmas playlist and beading. My heart was full and I would go out for a walk too but… IT’S TOO COLD OUTSIDE. 🥶

Merry Christmas everyone. Stay safe. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Socially distance.

New Phone, Locked Out

The first photo I took with my new phone.

Week 92 – December 20, 2021 – Password Deficient

Yes. I am blogging on my phone and so grateful it works here. I’m locked out of my account on my laptop. For “security reasons” I installed a two-step Authenticator and lost connection when I got my new phone. This is what I fear most about changing phones. That’s probably why I held onto my iPhone7 for so long. I hated the idea of losing stuff. Now that I’ve learned more about the two-step Authenticator, I’m pretty sure I set it up wrong with no back up. I do recall having the base codes and printed them but who know where it is. I have no idea. Until I can figure things out, I guess I will be blogging from my phone.

Might be a good thing to be working from my phone. Now I don’t have too over-obsess with formatting, which I often do. I can just write what’s on my mind and hope that autofill does not use words I never intend (like it does when I’m texting). I’ve been anticipating this blog post as I wanted to celebrate. Actually, it’s been a roller coaster and not being able to access my blog through my laptop is an excellent metaphor as to how things are going. Things are going but certainly there are obstacles.

I will say that it has been a week of learning. Real life learning that can only be accomplished experientially. I am personally and professionally challenged while I may be challenging others in the meantime. I am learning what’s important to me and when it’s at risk, it’s heart wrenching and emotionally draining. It makes me question and wonder why certain things matter to me. But what I am realizing is my value and to value myself.

Hence the phone… I always put myself second or third in the list of priorities. Sometimes I’m lady and don’t have a good sense of self. Getting a new phone (and finalizing some personal stuff) is to honour who I am as a person. I have strengths and areas of growth. I was also proud of myself to take the weekend off (even though I was a bit overwhelmed with what the week holds for me before Christmas).

I am grateful I can text from my phone as I am grateful for the people who support me, personally and professionally. Take one step at a time, be present, and notice the little things are parts of my mantra. it’s finding the joy in the little things and sometimes to feel joy, there’s a little pain or anxiety. You can’t numb the pain or deny my strengths or limitations. With any ups or downs, I am still ok. ☺️

I’m enjoying blogging from my phone. It might lead to shorter blog posts but it also lends itself to more free writing. I am looking forward to Christmas. Laying low. And avoiding COVID at all costs. There might be more #patiopics as I continue to hibernate in my apartment with my kid. We are so lucky to be together and I have nothing to complain about. Life is good.

Life Starts Today

Week 91 – December 12, 2021 – I am enough

I cannot believe that we are in the middle of December, it’s marking weekend to get the term over, and we are heading into a new year in a couple of weeks. I am not sure where the year (or time) has gone, but I have learned a lot about myself, what’s important to me, and where I need to go next. It’s been a turbulent year, like 2020 and 2019. Oh wait… let’s not exclude 2018. Maybe this change process would have been less rocky had I not been resistant or doubtful of the process and in my abilities.

I love that I have returned back to curling. It’s my childhood sport. I played in the provincials and won one and runner up in another. I loved being on the ice. I played a bit during university and into my adulthood. I wanted to play competitively once and commuted from the Sunshine Coast to New Westminster, but got pregnant and stopped. Gosh… I loved playing in bonspiels and winning a lamp or car battery (LOL), but what I loved more were the people, community, and the lessons learned.

Here is a beautiful example. Look a the photo above. It came from the last end. It was our opponent calling the last shot. My team was yellow. The game was tied and we had to steal to win the game. The house was looking very good for us and the opponent had to make a pretty spectacular shot to take one. They had one sweeper and the skip made a pretty good shot and we ended up stealing one to win the game. It was a super close game, in the end. But during the game, it was a gong show.

In the first end, none of us made a shot. The other team stole 2-points. We then took 3-points in the second end, but they took 3-points too in the third, then two points, then one. We were down by 4-points in the 5th end. This was not looking good for us and we did not have the momentum we needed to get our game together. We were taking ourselves too seriously for Friday Fun League. A few words with the skip (I’m the third) and we shifted our game. We took 3 in the 6th and stole one in the 7th.

We started to joke around in the 6th end. “Were the one shot wonders.” And, we would say… “that’s the end of the game, we made our one shot.” Then, we rebranded to the “Two-shot wonders” in the 7th end. I love joking around with the skip, but have fun with the team. We started to get our groove by the 8th end to leave us with 4 rocks in the house with several guards. We did the best we could do. It was one shot at a time, we set up the end well to steal, and we had no control of the outcome.

Although we stole one point versus four, we still won the game. That’s all that mattered. We won. That’s the whole point of playing any sport, but what was more important to me was having fun, connection, and the flow of our team. We gelled by the end of the game and the end result provides a summative and formative feedback on how we were doing. I am so glad that we were able to shift our mindset mid-game to be the “Two Shot Wonders.” I love that we are able to laugh and play.

What did I learn from this curling game? I’m in the 5th end and heading into the 6th. Change my mindset to change the trajectory of my pedagogy journey but also enjoy the process. Don’t take myself so seriously, but find times to  laugh and play along the way. It’s ok to have fun. Trust the outcome. When we shifted our mindsets in the game, we focused more on each shot and present situation versus the outcome and dwelling on the past. It’s great when my skip threw two guards as his last rocks.

Life begins today. I need to live for me and embrace next steps to make things happen. I’m not going to dwell on the  past or focus on any outcome or expectation. I know what I am working towards, but it’s more about taking one step at a time and take joy in all that I am doing, what I am learning, and who I am meeting. I love the lessons I’ve learned because I curl. Today’s learning was about parking the ego, focussing on the present, and being patient. Thankful for my team. I can do this.

Underestimated and Overestimated

Week 90 – December 4, 2021 – Catching Up, Slowing Down

Who would have thought? Three weeks… gone… just like that. Time is passing by so fast and I am not slowing  down to take the time to reflect. I am also not taking the time for me… to be a person… for self-care and mental wellness. COVID-19 is not going anywhere anytime soon. I committed to a weekly blog from the start of the pandemic and we are into Week 90 with a new variant, Omicron, on the horizon.

I feel overtired and overworked that I’ve lost all sight of what’s important (or at least, what’s important to me). I am doing everything and nothing is getting done. It’s frustrating and disheartening. As of Friday, I surrendered to what was. I could not sustain what I doing anymore. I had to say NO, concede, and rest. I was not my best self and did not sleep the night before. This way of being is not sustainable.

Here I am thinking that I can write 3-blog posts in one to catch up on what’s missed. It’s already tomorrow. I’ve been wanting and waiting to write and reflect, but set conditions on myself that holds me back from what I love to do. I’m not sure why I do that and honestly, it’s not serving me. I missed out on school visits and connecting with Teacher Candidates, but also enjoying what brings me joy and happiness.

Friday morning was a very low moment for me and I took the day to rest (with a few emails and phone calls). In the second half of the day, I experienced what made me happy… CONNECTION. I need to be connected to people again. The afternoon started with short visit from a former teacher candidate who was dropping off a poinsettia to me as part of a fundraiser. It felt so good to reconnect with her and catch up.

My friend and colleague is moving to Ontario at the end of the month. He got a new position at another university and I was invited to his farewell party hosted by his department. I felt so blessed to to have the opportunity to laugh and reconnect up with him and meet some of his friends and colleagues. I love this person. We can’t stop laughing. Such a good person. We shared appies and dinner. It was too much fun.

The day concluded with a Friday night curling game. What can I say? I LOVE CURLING. I am so happy to return to the sport and so happy that we won that game. 9-2. I felt that my “curling muscles” are coming back, slowly but surely, but I love playing with my team and the positive vibes we share with each other. Fist pumping, high fiving. I just love that. I’m so in the present and joyful connecting with others on the ice.

I need to feel connected again. I needed to feel happy and energized. I love people. I love learning. I’m also realizing that this blog will be SUPER LONG because I intended to write 3 short ones, but I am so grateful to be returning back to my reflective practice and blogging is integral to my practice. Do I need to reassess my goals and what’s important to me? ABSOLUTELY. I am so grateful for Friday night. Thank you.

Week 89 – November 27, 2021 – Unrealistic Expectations

This is a meta moment. I underestimated how much I wanted to write and the time required to catch up and overestimated my abilities and expectations to get things done. I just want to do EVERYTHING within the constraints I am given, but I am realizing time is a commodity I could use more of. And if I had the time, where do I want to spend it? I feel that I am brought the same question, “What’s really important to me?” I know that my students are important to me and ensuring their success.

I love being on the committees I’m a part of and I love innovating in practicum and the B.Ed. Program. What I am struggling with is the writing and research… and finding the time to do it. My contract is 80/20, but doing research is key for me to move forward in higher education. I’m not sure if this is possible. I have a few projects on the go, but many are not reaching to any closure and honestly, could be in jeopardy. I might be overdramatic, which may be true, but I just don’t know what to expect.

Finding my voice is key, but also finding the time and prioritizing it. I tried. I parked everything to get some writing done, which took way longer than expected. I learned a lot from the process, but in the end, there were several situations during practicum I needed to attend to. Responding to the urgency of the now is unpredictable and can be very time consuming. Although it’s time well spent, it’s also  at the expense of some of my priorities. Making concessions is disappointing, but seems inevitable.

I am left wondering, while feeling humbled and somewhat defeated. I can see that higher education requires a focus and determination that I am learning more about. I need to be more patient with myself and more kind. I need to be more intentional and strategic, such that I will schedule times to pause and rest too. This week has been an excellent learning experience and I see the value of getting a tenure-track position that has a 40-40-20 framework that values one’s time to do research.

Week 88 – November 20, 2021 – Learning Experientially

I am doing my best to have a career in academia with an 80/20 contract. My focus is teaching and service, but I need to engage in research if I have any aspirations to get a tenure-track position. That said, here I am taking the time to catch up on my blog posts (3-weeks later). Honestly, what’s really important to me? I love my kid. I love to curl. I love people. I love learning. What else? I love my reflective practice. I love connection. I love enacting change. I love wrestling with ideas. I love shopping???

I don’t know. What I do know is, learning is humbling and I am in 100% of how I respond to anything. I have people who want to support me, but I have to support myself. As much as I am learning more about what it means to be in higher education (transitioning SLOWLY from K-12), I am also learning more about myself. I think that’s the biggest challenge. As much as I want to connect with others, I need to (re)connect with myself. Gosh I love the writing process and how it can bring some clarity.

This is a good place to end on this 3-week blog catch up and take time to rest. 🙂

Just for Me

Week 87 – November 13, 2021 – Understanding My Agency

This is a strange journey indeed. I spend a lot of time helping others in my work to understand their agency. Now the tables have turned and I need to understand my agency and why it’s important. I feel that I have turned corner in life and having to make decisions for myself. I am not driven by external forces, although they are giving me plenty of formative feedback. It’s my turn and this is a new place for me. Making choices for me. Thinking about what would benefit me. Wondering about what would be best for me, personally and professionally. Admittedly, this way of being is new territory for me and what I am understanding is, I have to embrace my agency, develop me sense of self efficacy, and honour my strengths and research.

I feel like THAT math student. “I can’t do this.” “I’m not good at math.” “I don’t get any of it.” Classic comments from a student with low math efficacy, lack of self confidence, and too scared to ask a question. Gosh. I remember one student in my Math 11 class. He was a force, a large person, and influential amongst his peers. He started the term strong because he relied on his natural talent. He was a very smart but the content is not so intuitive. His grades quickly plummeted. In class, he was “not very nice” and he refused to do any homework. I’ll admit, I was scared of this student. He used intimidation to protect himself. The strategy was effective. One day, he came into my class during lunch tutorial asking for help but saying the same quotations as above.

I said he could do it… if he really wanted it. He did not believe me. We would have a few power exchanges in class, even though he scared the kajeebees out of me (never let them know that as the teacher). And then one day, he came to my room after class to ask me privately how to succeed in math class. One step at a time, with guidance and support, he took my advice and started doing the work. You could see him build momentum. With one assignment to the next, he was starting to pick up his rhythm and confidence and his grade started to improve dramatically. At the time, I had 100% final exams. If you can beat your overall grade, then that’s the mark you keep. This student finished the course with an A and continued that path onto Math 12.

Gosh. I love students. They teach you so much. I am also reminded by the First Principles Principles of Learning, “Learning takes patience and time.” Although this principle applies to this student’s journey in mathematics, his story definitely applies to me at this very moment. I am saying to self, “I can’t do this. I don’t get it.” I often wonder if I am meant to do this work. I am reaching for help and have people trying to guide and support me but I have to do my part. It’s my work to believe it, want it, and do something about it. I can only imagine what that student had to do to change his habits, mindset, and priorities. He had to step away from his pride to succeed. He did the work and now it’s my turn. I’ve always wondered why I had that experience.

Gratitude for Being Home

Week 86 – November 7, 2021 – Flying During the Pandemic

It feels so good to be back home. I never thought I would find myself saying that. I resisted for several years and now that I’m back home, I can wholeheartedly say that I am in the right place at the right time. It’s been a challenging few years on my pedagogical journey. A lot of internal work was required to get my dissertation done (4-years ago) and that work continues. My mom passed in 2018 and not being employed at that time was a blessing. I took care of her in her last 20-days. It was the least that I could do. I got to know her better as a person, but also had the privilege of watching her transform as she faced death with courage, strength, and clarity.

After my mom’s passing, I accepted a job in Prince George. It was a term contract, so it was tough to make a “full commitment” to the institution. My family stayed on the Sunshine Coast and I struggled with the move and my identity while grieving the lost of the most important person in my life. Calling Prince George “home” seemed like betrayal, to my kid, my identity, and my marriage. As it turned out, my marriage ended after the first year and returning back to Prince George was bitter sweet. I was away from my kid for another year, I was angry and disillusioned about my marriage, and I was on another term contract. Commitment was lacking on my end of things and all I wanted to do was take my kid… and I was not sure what to do next.

My work was challenging and so was my mental health. I felt disconnected. There was a strike at the university in 2019, then the pandemic in 2020. I was separated from my kid more than ever. I felt trapped and alone. Not only did I have to pivot in my work with remote learning, I had to pivot in my life. On Mother’s Day, I returned back to the Sunshine Coast to live in my house, with my kid and estranged husband, for 15 months. Separating from my husband was confirmed, being with my kid was essential, and saying goodbye to the ocean and coastal life was needed. Even though I did not realize that I was subjecting myself to a toxic relationship that I had to walk away from, I also spent many hours contemplating what’s important to me.

When I finally left the Sunshine Coast to officially live in Prince George with my kid in August 2021, I was tired, exhausted, and liberated. Now that I am away from that life and my two feet planted in Prince George (with my kid), I can make the commitment to this community. I still have a term contract and who knows what that will bring in the future, but was feels so wonderful is the ability to make choices for me, to listen to my heart and spirit to truly understand what’s important to me, and to have friends and family standing beside me and holding me or lifting me up during the good times and bad. The journey was treacherous and the journey continues.

The journey is not over. That said, I am more clear, more happy, and more certain about what path I need to take and I can feel good about it. I know my purpose and I am living 100% aligned to that purpose. I was in Vancouver last week for the week to observe Teacher Candidates living in the Lower Mainland. I had the opportunity to visit with family and friends, but also see Teacher Candidates in action. They were amazing!!! Flying back to Prince George was a good feeling. I am returning back to my kid, I am returning back to community, and I was returning home. Feels good.