Pedagogical Reflections

A Good Canadian

June 9, 2024 – Not sure how to feel


Look at the amazing photo. It’s an image of Babine Lake. I was just there for a couple of days working with Koh Learning and SD91 students. I had an awesome time working with the graduates students who came from the university as part of their coursework. We spent one night connecting and planning out a workshop they had to facilitate the next day. We had a few gut wrenching laughs. And, the students did exceptionally well the next day. The students were very engaged with their learning activity. The two days with Koh Learning was magical and spending some time in Granisle was something I needed to fill my soul to remind me about the land, place, and people. There is/was so much to learn and I was very humbled and happy.

After this event, I was collaborating with a colleague from the university. She is new to the university and I appreciated her insights and innovation. I feel that I will have a lot to learn from her and I look forward to seeing how this collaboration will manifest. During one of our conversations, she called me “a good Canadian.” I can see why se did. In lots of ways, I was being “a good Canadian.” I was not too opinionated, I was diplomatic, and I was considerate to all people (I might have been apologetic too). The comment took me by surprise. No one has ever called me “a good Canadian” before. Strangely, it’s been something I strived for as a second-generation Chinese Canadian.

I wonder if this perspective from my colleague is because she is new to Canada as well, spending a few years in Ontario before coming to BC. Her point of view was refreshing and I appreciate her straightforwardness and honesty. Most of my life I struggled with belonging and acceptance. This feeling could have been derived within my family in different ways, but also, it did not matter how “Canadian” my parents wanted me to be, you cannot change the colour of my skin. Racism was always present and sometimes visible. It’s not a good feeling to be called a racial slur when I don’t even know the language or culture of my Chinese heritage. That information was foreign to me, but for some people, how I looked influenced their opinion of me.

Moreover, I don’t want to get too hung up on stereotypes, but my kid who does not look Asian gets caught in some misnomers like “you should be good at math because….” Personally, I don’t look like a typical Asian. Growing up in Prince Rupert and working at the museum, visitors would often ask me what tribe I was from. I hated disappointing these tourists with an answer like “Hong Kong” or “China.” Honestly, I never saw myself as Asian or Chinese. I had always felt Canadian and I was brought up that way. My parents assimilated me into Canadian culture. I did not know any different. Racism is not blind. This journey into my ethnic identity is to learn more about Chinese-Canadians in BC. I also want to learn more about my family.

On the second day at Granisle, Leona Prince spoke in the opening circle. In her talk, she spoke about knowing ourselves and knowing the land. What struck me in her talk (which was outstanding and it resonated with me deeply) was her mentioning about owning and loving our name. Our last name tells us where we are from and who we are. Her asking ME to accept my last name (or any of my names for that matter) is troubling and extremely difficult. I never liked my name. Hmm… this is telling. “Alice Christine Ho”… for a good chunk of my life. I called myself “Chris Ho” for many years during my adult life. Then it transformed to “Christine Younghusband” (which by the way took a tonne of my thinking time to come to terms with that name) when I got married. Now, I go by “Christine Ho Younghusband.” To be honest, I was undecided.

Name, identity, place, and culture… I am left thinking and wondering… Who am I?

Scared To Let Go

May 26, 2024 – Doing what it took to FIT IN


Starting this blog series of thinking about my childhood/adulthood, my ethnic identity, and the person who I have become, I am flooded by many memories I wish to unpack. I’m not going to make rules like… “blog everyday” or force myself into a way of being that is not authentic to me… but I will embark on a story that resonates with me the most, at the time. Today, what inspires me to write is about FEAR.

I don’t have a specific story, per se, but I have many stories that represent the same idea. The first narrative that comes to mind that resonates with me is about my kid and her experience in Grade 4 or 5 and making title pages. In her class, students were required to make title pages for their notebooks (for every subject area and every unit). The making of title pages were relentless and my kid could never get a 10/10.

My kid investigated the 10/10 wall of exemplars hypothesizing how to get 10/10 on one of her title pages. Was it bubble lettering? Was it colouring in circles? Was it using particular colours? Who knew? What she did know is, she never got it despite how hard she tried to achieve this illustrious 10/10. This perceived failure caused her much anxiety, confidence depletion, and doubt. My question is, what did she learn?

I often share this story about my kid and her learning experience with these title pages. Although the teacher made an explicit connection to the curriculum with these title pages, my kid did not understand what she needed to do to get a 10/10. Other students “got it” but she never did. She might have got one 10/10 but getting 10 was something that was mysterious and difficult to achieve. Why the need to comply?

For me, this story captured my attention for many reasons (and for many years). First, I remember my kid in Grade 3 (not so long before) where she questioned why the teacher insisted that she colour the sky blue. She was forced to finish the “turkey drawing” before she was allowed to the the work she wanted to do. In the end, she did neither art project. Honestly, I supported her in that decision. It made sense.

My next thought is, what happened? A couple of years later, my kid was obsessed about doing what other kids were doing. She lost her autonomy and her sense of self or agency to do what best represented her and her thinking. Learning became more about pleasing, achieving, and jumping the hoop to get the grade. I would often share this story to describe the importance of success criteria and formative feedback.

Sadly, it’s more than that. It’s about FITTING IN. This story about the title pages and those damn one-inch boarders was more than compliance and lack of clear success criteria, but more about doing what it takes to FIT IN. As Brené Brown would say, “fitting in” is the antithesis to “belonging.” Fitting in meant to “giving yourself away” or “betraying yourself” with hopes of “belonging to” something you are not aligned to.

This story weighs heavy on me and takes a full-circle. I cannot believe that this story is telling MY STORY. No wonder it resonates with me deeply. I also find it ironic that I chose the image from my collection of the Ukrainian nesting dolls. I used this image and metaphor for a TedTalk I gave in 2017 titled “ALIGNMENT.” The connection is clear and obvious to me. Fitting in has been an ongoing need and want for me.

I can’t do it anymore and honestly, I don’t get the success criteria to achieve them. I’m tired of giving myself away and betraying who I am. Over time, I lost who I was and now I am relearning it. I remember the extreme feelings of fear of “not getting it right” and getting reprimanded for “making a mistake.” I tried my best not to (or at least hide them) for purposes of fitting in, perceived acceptance, and being seen.


This story resonates with me as a child, adolescent, young adult, and adult. I remember driving into a planter with a rental vehicle a few years ago. I damaged the bumper and I was overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. I did not know what to say to the rental office. The entire drive I was going through scenarios in my mind and my heart was racing as if I was running a marathon. The anticipation was excruciating.

I had that aching feel-like feeling often throughout my lifetime and in many different circumstances (i.e., dropping glass during a science class during my first year of teaching, workplace interviews, and making an ICBC car claim). All of these examples do not seem on the surface to relate to my ethnicity or upbringing, but in many ways, it does. Don’t make any trouble. Don’t be a burden. Do not bite the hand that feeds you.

This fear factor (witnessed as unusual behaviour), is learned and deeply embedded in my psyche. It guides my decisions and ultimately, I become my own biggest suppressor so that the “true me” cannot be seen (or heard). As a result, I’m hiding. I’m pretending to be someone that I’m not. I am just too scared to show who I really am. Hence, the Ukrainian nesting dolls is an appropriate image for this blog post.

What I learned from the car accident with the rental car is, NOTHING HAPPENS. After driving the car back to the Vancouver Airport and parking the car, I went to the rental car desk and made the claim. I filled out some forms, they assessed the damaged. And they smiled and said that the bill would come by mail. That’s it. No judgement. No yelling. No shaming. That was a huge lesson for me (except for the $800 bill).

It’s hard for me to be seen… truly seen. As a child to adulthood, I have many layers, armour, or shields to protect me. I can let some of myself be seen, but it’s was most likely not 100% of who I was/am. Too worried to be judged, too worried to be hurt, or too worried to be disappointing anyone. There are undertones of being the youngest, being a girl, and being Chinese… all things (and more) I tried to hide or minimize.

One layer at a time is being opened and exposed. One nesting doll after the other, I am finally reaching the true me. The little doll sitting at the centre of all of these layers. Being exposed, hence sharing my stories and the desire to learn more about my history and ethnic identity as a Chinese-Canadian in BC. This pedagogical journey of mine that started well before the pandemic continues onto the next chapter.

Connecting to Self

April 29, 2024 – Making Sense of Place

On my journey of self-discovery, I am learning that a sense of place is part of our identity and need for belonging. Place can take on different meanings. It could be a town or city, a community, a home, etc. Where do you have a sense of place? Where do you feel like you belong? I think about Brené Brown’s “belonging to self” which I am learning how to and do not dispute her research. What is provoking my curiosity is figuring out where I belong. I look at some colleagues and they were born in raised in the same community where they work, live, and play as an adult. Belonging and place are so obvious (to me) when I observe these folks. They have a connection to the land, the people, and history of the place. It mesmerizes me and a bit envious.

This week, I am in the Lower Mainland before I head out to Banff for the Outdoor Learning Conference. I am presenting in Banff with a colleague and I am spending much of the spring/summer term going to conferences and developing my research program. Part of my research program is exploring AUTOETHNOGRAPHY as a research method, but also a self-study, a community-based action research project, and program evaluation of the courses I teach. I will also be continuing the work with Climate Education in Teacher Education and revising three manuscripts to submit (or resubmit) to a journal. Moreover, I’m looking into developing a micro-credential course in mathematics education and local Indigenous culture, which relates to my dissertation. Saying this out loud reminds me of the immense work ahead of me.

My time in the Lower Mainland was intended to be a respite for me to reflect on my practice, engage in some writing and research, and to reconnect myself to place. I just came back from Kelowna, BC from a couple of recent trips and Calgary, AB from a conference. I am paying attention to place in terms of h0w the place makes me feel, the people within that place, and understanding my sense of belonging. I needed to step away for a moment to gain some clarity. I took this last semester to heal by slowing down. I almost burned out at the beginning of the year and resting takes a lot of time and intentionality. I am also recognizing that I am a person of trauma and being cognizant of trauma responses are critical for me to understand and dismantle.

Even writing this blog post, I am waffling a bit in terms of what I want to writing and what I am actually writing. It’s a struggle. I find my trauma responses isolating and shameful. If anything, I need to pause, breathe deeply, and find moments of joy. Mental health issues are on the rise and aspects like job security, finances, and health conflate the feelings of stress, duress, and anxiety. I appreciate the blog as a means to reflect and to self-assess how I am doing. Coming to the Lower Mainland is an opportunity to ground myself into place. As mentioned, I’m staying at my brother’s place, I am visiting my sister, and I visited my mom (at her resting place). I tried to connect up with my dad, but that lends itself to another story (not one I am telling).

I can only create the path for myself. That’s it. One step at a time… with patience, kindness, and compassion… connecting to self and believing in myself are essential to my success and next steps. The fun part of it is, I am integrating this learning into my research program. I feel invigorated and excited. I don’t know what I will learn, but I am learning nonetheless. For this, I am happy. I share this image of my first dinner in Vancouver. I went to Neptune Noodle House in Burnaby to have a hot bowl of fish congee and a side plate of deep fried bread. It’s not really a dinner meal. Congee is more likely a breakfast or brunch meal. This soup was delicious and everything that I wanted it to be… hot, tasty, and comforting. It was filled with memories and food is my only gateway to my culture. I enjoyed people watching and the place was packed.

Being in this restaurant on a rainy day having a big bowl of congee felt like home. I can’t bring my mom back, nor can I be a part of the “double duck” dinners we used to have at the Chinese restaurant at the mall. I remember that my mom used to make congee at home when we lived in Prince Rupert. I loved these meals. They were so special to me. Now that the “cloud of trauma” is lifting, I look back at past experiences to see the joy and love that surrounded them. I miss my mom and know that her intentions were always good (even though I did not understand some of them). Food helps me to reconnect to my heritage, to my mom, and to myself. This meal was a grounding moment for me and anticipate having more Chinese food in the future.

Furthering My Studies

April 14, 2024 – Developing an Expertise & Finding My Joy

Gosh. I looked for this photo on Facebook. I have a memory of this day and it turned out that it was a photo that was posted by one of my former Math 12/Calculus 12 students. I didn’t even read (or remember) the comments that were attached to this photo and others. It seemed like the conversations that I would have with others students I’ve taught (i.e., in teacher education and graduate studies). I was reminded that this is the kind of relationship that I would like to have with my students (e.g., relational, relatable, and fun-loving), but I was also reminded how I never stopped to “smell the flowers.” I could never appreciate or accept a compliment. I always strived to do more. I’m not sure what that mindset was about, but it has landed me where I am today. Right now, I am focused on slowing down and noticing… and appreciating.

Look at this photo… it’s from January 21, 2008. Aside from being a photo taken almost 2-decades ago and I’m teaching high school mathematics, not much has changed. I see my Mac products (e.g., iMac and iPod), I am wearing Lululemon pants nest to my Lulu bag, and I have a cup of coffee on my desk. My walls are cluttered with images of and from students a well as some art created by my kid. I think she was 4-years old at the time. I have shelves and shelves of books. There is some level of order with my level of disorder. And this phot was taken by a former student (and posted by my former student). I really enjoyed looking for this image, thinking about what brings me joy, and reading the comments that complemented them. They made me smile and laugh. I think about this moment in time and… I was happy. Life was good.

I’ve been thinking lately about building my expertise and what do I love. One thing that I do notice is my love for teaching math. I would not say that I am a math expertise of math subject specialist, but I’ve had a healthy career in math education and I loved teaching my numeracy class in addition to attending any professional development sessions in math education. I do have find joy in this area, but not as an expert, but more as a learner and facilitator. There is nothing I am more passionate about, that is, for math efficacy. How does one develop this sense of self-efficacy in math, as a learner and educator. Understanding this has been the underpinning and inspiration of my dissertation and maybe this is my catalyst to return to that work.

My kid mentioned to me that she would be ok with me pursuing another PhD, but in math education. Her comment and generosity brought me so much joy. Now that I am learning more about myself and what brings me joy, pursuing further studies has been very attractive to me. I was looking at an online MEd program, a PhD in person program, or a certificate program abroad. The cost will be about the same for each program, but what is clear to me is, this is what I love to do. I have so much to learn and I need to navigate my next steps that are more focused and aligned to what I love and brings me joy. I know that I can do this work and I what I need to do is to delve back into my doctoral research in conjunction with my autoethnography. They will work together and I am excited for the spring/summer term to explore this further.

Coaching and Presenting

April 9, 2024 – A Reflection of What Brings Me Joy

A slight delay of this weekly blog post. I started writing it last week on Friday, but now we are well into the new week. There is no better time than the present. I felt like that I had completed this blog post, but my mindset and thinking were contributed to my OpenETC portfolio in “The Tables Have Turned.” Last weekend, I was in Calgary, AB at the University of Calgary at the Werklund School of Education to present and attend the REVITALIZATION of WestCAST (Western Canadian Association for Student Teaching). I had a very good time attending and learning at the conference, presenting the work of “Climate Education in Teacher Education in Northern British Columbia,” and working with four teacher candidates (TCs) from the UNBC Teacher Education Program with their presentation, etc. The teacher candidates presented on “Grounded Connections” which focused on wellness, learning on and with the land, and BC’s Curriculum. The TCs were phenomenal and I am super proud of them.

The TCs were well prepared. The presentation was inspired from coursework but they created something that was really important to them. My role: the Curling Coach. I suggested what resources to consider, how ideas could flow together, and provided ongoing formative feedback. They had a hypothesis about wellbeing and being on the land, and I suggested that they test this hypothesis during their first teaching practicum. They engaged in a LESSON STUDY and each TC was able to incorporate the lesson into their practicum with the students they were working with. They pretty much engaged almost every grade level from K-7 (with exception to Grade 4) based on their practicum placements and situations. One TC facilitated the lesson as closely to the intended lesson, another TC implemented the lesson with buddies, whereas another TC had to adapt the lesson and kept it oral, and the fourth TC managed to fit the lesson with time permitting. What a beautiful demonstration of being adaptive and reflexive with one’s practice. I loved coaching this curling team and they killed it.

Another thing I have realized from this conference is the joy I find from presenting and networking. I think that is the life of an extrovert. I spent some time to prep the presentation and I had to read some key texts early in the presentation, but I was so wowed by the teacher candidate from another university who presented before me. They presented on Climate Action. It was an inquiry project. They interviewed teachers and looked at the literature. As a result, they created a set of lesson plans from BC’s Curriculum that focused on Climate Action. She had research experience and I was so awestruck by their work because it was representative of what the climate education research project I’m working on with my colleagues are looking for. It was a beautiful and serendipitous connection. As a result, I could not help myself but to keep referring to that TC’s work. Because the first presenter was a “no show,” we had some extra time to present and receive questions. I really enjoyed the conversation and I made new connections with those present in the room.

In hindsight, I think the strongest part of my dissertation was my oral defence. This is not to say I am an expert presenter, but what I am saying is, I really enjoy presenting and making connections with others. I loved working with the teacher candidates (aka. the curling team) and appreciated how our conversations was an ongoing dialogue and negotiation of how the presentation would go. I can only dream of that kind of relationship. It was respectful, relational, and reciprocated. Feeling grateful.

Calling for a Spare

March 22, 2024 – Injured

I started to write about this topic last week but felt like I was hypothesizing so abandoned my approach to that blog post. Call it irony or serendipity, the hypothetical became true. I am injured. I spared last night for another team. I didn’t stretch and gradually my left hip and right Achilles heel felt strained. Throwing rocks became impossible. At that point, I saw the clear alignment between the mental game and the physical game. By the end of the game, I had neither. I’m disheartened.

Pain denial is real. I did not want to believe that I was not feeling my best after a couple of ends of play, but persisted and continued to play. Over time, I could not concentrate on my shot mid-slide. It was kind of a “crap-shoot” by the time I released the rock and I hoped for the best. The quality of my play rapidly declined as the game progressed. I was feeling horrible… physically and emotionally. A strong start… lead to a “meh” end. We lost the game. We gave the other team a 4-ender. I played third, and again, I felt out of place. Lots to reflect on from sparing in this curling game.

There is no better learning than the counterexample. I learned that lesson from Dr. Peter Liljedahl in math education. Here we are at the counterexample. I took some Advil last night and a hot bath to warm up after the game before going for bed. I had hoped to wake up this morning with a new outlook… and no pain. Nope. That wish was not meant to be. I woke and send a text message to my Friday night team that I could not play due to injury. I needed a spare. What is disappointing about not playing tonight, besides not playing, is that tonight is our last night of play in this year’s curling season. Luckily, my injured skip said that he is willing to return to the game tonight. Whew. This news brought me some solace. I’ll be watching tonight.

Although this is not the way I wanted to end the curling season, I am so grateful for all of the lessons I am experiencing and learning from. As mentioned, I am out of the game tonight due to an injury. I had to swallow my pride and park my ego to ask for help… a spare for tonight’s game. If I was true to myself, I have to be vulnerable and honest with how I am feeling and act accordingly. Asking for help is humbling. You don’t know how it will turn out, but trusting in oneself, the outcome will always surprise you. I guess this is surrendering to the situation. You can’t control the outcome. I can’t make myself feel better (i.e., heal my injuries overnight). What I can control are my actions. I had to ask for help. I am so grateful that it’s my skip.

A Late Post

March 19, 2024 – Grateful for My Health and Healthcare

A late post, indeed. It’s the middle of the night and it’s a late weekly post. Although this blog was not meant to be a weekly contribution, nor will it be a daily post because I need time to think and reflect, I like to have something written at least once a week. What I am learning is, I need to reflect (and learn) before moving onto the next. I am noticing and honouring this trait and tradition I have made for myself. Thinking about Parker Palmer and self-knowledge, the more I learn and understand about myself, in addition to the subject matter and students, the better I will be at my practice. I am so grateful to connect with some former students and colleagues. I am making time to meet with folks who “fill my cup” and hopefully I do the same for them. If anything, I need to do what’s best for me so that I can serve others.

Today, I was relishing in my #OneWord2024 (HAPPY). I am taking the time and deliberate practice on what makes me happy. I love watching curling on TV. I love playing curling on Friday nights. I love beading on Thursday nights at the art gallery. I love connecting with folks in my learning community. I love being with my kid. I love eating dumplings. I love watching Hallmark movies. I love blogging. I am learning lots about myself and taking the time to engage in these activities. What I learned today is, I love health practitioners and healthcare system. Much of what I’ve been focused on is my mental and spiritual health. I spent very little time on my physical health even though I know it is interrelated with the latter. Willingly or not willingly, I have been deferring and referring to the medical profession for help and assistance.

I take some medication that I have to renew my prescription every 3-months, I have been maintaining my dental health and appointments (with full intentions of flossing everyday), and I have been experiencing some symptoms and conditions that need some tending do. Although I am not being specific with my medical condition in my public blog, I did get a couple of referrals last year and now I am hearing back from some medical professionals. Over the last couple of weeks, I received some phone calls and had a phone consultation and in person consultation. I was so pleased to get these calls and grateful to be taking some action to address some my health issues. Today, I got good news too. I could not be happier. To ask and accept help from health professionals, I am going to feel and be much better… physically.

Body, mind, and spirit… I was wondering how all three would come together for me. Now, I understand. I am also learning how to go to the gym on a regular basis, but also return to a workload that is doable, joyful, and productive. What I learning is about the importance of being CONSISTENT. Although this blog post is not exactly about my autoethnography on “the perfect curling shot.” It’ is focussed on this key word of being consistent. That word struck me after one of my curling games this season. We won the game. I was skipping and our spare curled third. My skip is injured. The team I am skipping have a good synergy or balance that is tough to describe to create, but when you have it… magic happens. For us, it’s curling and being consistent. After winning one of these games, one of the players for the other team shook my hand and told me that I was consistent. I took the complement.

What I should notice is, you can’t play if you’re injured. You play your best when everyone on the team is focused on learning and making the best of every shot. And, what I learned from my last game, getting down on teammates, judging others (or self) in negative ways, and blaming others or getting frustrated negatively impacts one’s performance. I am not saying that this is what happened on my team last week (but have done so at other times and with other teams), I observed that in our opponents. I’m not judging them but merely noticing and recognize that behaviour. Admittedly, I would not got to the doctor’s or healthcare if I did not have to or think that I had too. I was too worried about being judged or worried about what I would learn. I was definitely in denial. Instead of things getting better, they got worse. I guess this is how today’s news impacts my curling metaphor. Get help to be better. 

In the end, what I have learned is, asking and getting the help I need, regardless of how scary I may perceive this experience and future experiences, people want to help, they can help, and I need the help. I am going to feel better. I have never felt happier. I feel optimistic and hopeful. I cannot wait for next steps and I look forward to what life will be like when I have some of my health issues remedied and/or managed. It feels good to have access to this help and I feel privileged and humbled to get this help. Thank you health professionals for your expertise, kindness, and compassion. I am grateful to have access to health care to become a better me.

Making a Decision

March 11, 2024 – “Love Where You Are”

I’m not sure how it happens, but it’s a thought pops into my head that brings some solace and peace into my heart and mind. I’m not sure what all of the deliberation entails, but often it involves something very important to me. During the deliberation process, I’m left in limbo. It’s not a great place to be, but as one person said to me during beading… COMMIT. This is so true. I know that the context at the time was beading at the art gallery and it was about committing to the bead and process, but it resonated with me in ways that lingered and challenged me to make a decision.

My blogging on this WordPress site will explore my learning from curling, beading, and experiences with my mom during her last 20-days. I am feeling more invested in exploring autoethnography and using this platform to document some of my learning and reflections as I work towards a formal study on myself, my practice, and ethnic identity. I am drawn to the idea of identity development (mine in particular) and how our lived experiences formed who we are, what directions we choose to take in life, and what’s important to us in terms of our personal and professional lives.

I started my research program with much tentativeness as well as moving forward with publishing its results. Now with the discovery of the methodology of authoethnography and developing a research question that resonates with me deeply, I knowingly or unknowingly made a connection to my dissertation on non-mathematics specialist teachers, program evaluations in teacher education, and recent work looking at decolonization and my ethnic identity. I did not think it would be possible to bring these ideas together, but I found the thread that ties them.

When I realized that, my mind drifts to the next question about my career and next steps. Part of that depends on where I live. At first, I did not expect to live in Prince George, but I’ve been here for almost 6 years (minus 2-years due to the pandemic and remote learning). Lots of what I’ve been upacking is what’s best for me and what do I want to really do. I am so grateful to take a moment to step back and look to reflect on what that might be. Now that I am unravelling my own “imposter syndrome” symptoms and the “need to please” others, the answer became clear.

I’m deciding to stay. There are challenges, but there are also many sources of joy. When I consider both, the joy outweighs any adversity and perceived obstacles. I am open to any outcome and understand that nothing is permanent or forever. I am learning this the hard way and in many ways. What is certain is making a decision. I am making the commitment and in doing so, I have so much clarity now such that my motivation and excitement are unleashed. I feel free and open to the challenges that are in front of me and ones that I will be looking for very soon to keep learning.

I have not felt this excited in awhile and I am going to take those next steps to make things possible for me. I am my only agent and advocate. I am learning this and I am stoked to make more decisions to stoke my fire. Where I was going to live and make a commitment to weighed on me for quite some time and have been swayed in different directions for many reasons. What I do know is, I feel happy, I’m excited, and I’m ready to live, take risks, and play. How can I be so lucky to do what I get to do and I am so grateful for my friends and family who support me and lift me up.

Off My Game

March 9, 2024 – Learning from the Counter Example

Well… it’s been 5-days since my last post. There will not be a daily blog post. Accept and allow. I’m not sure why I continue to strive for unrealistic goals, but when I think about my #OneWord2024… being HAPPY is also knowing what makes you happy. Admittedly, this last week was an excellent counter example and my curling on Friday was evidence of that. My mind was elsewhere, my body was not 100%, and my spirit was lagging. When you’re not all there and PRESENT, it shows up in your day-to-day life. Reflecting on my game, I was very aware what other people were doing, saying, and possibly thinking. What a horrible place to be. Why did it matter? Why was it important to me? In the end, it was all not important and consequences are real.

I am also reminded by the beading classes I’m taking at the art gallery. I curl on Fridays and bead on Thursdays. As mentioned, this last week was not great for me, emotionally and physically. On Sunday, I just joined the gym and went a couple of times. Unfortunately, I think I’m overdoing it and it’s taking my body some time to recover. My plan is yoga on Sunday. Let’s see how this goes. Anyway, back to beading, when you are not focused, present, or attuned to what you are doing, you stab yourself with the needle. It never fails. You cannot daydream, worry about what other people are thinking, or be too judgemental of your own work. You have to bead from a good place and be present. I love beading on Thursdays. It’s one of my places.

“BELONGING: a feeling of being happy or comfortable as part of a particular group and having a good relationship with the other members of the group because they welcome you and accept you” – Cambridge Dictionary

A lot of what I would like to explore further in my research agenda is BELONGING or the sense of belonging. My overarching research question is about “not quite belonging” and this knowing or feeling connects many aspects of my professional experiences and what interests me the most. In order to explore this idea of belonging (or lack there of) further, my Chair has encouraged me to learn more about myself. This opportunity to delve into self-knowledge and understanding more about myself, possibly in a self-study, autoethnography, or program evaluation, I need to take a moment to unravel and unpack my lived experiences to understand my positionality, identity, and sense of belonging. I’ve started to explore and inquire.

Ideas such as self-doubt, misalignment, and inauthenticity are elements at the core of my investigation. I spent many years of my life trying to be someone that I am not. Some would call it “people pleasing” others might call it “assimilation” while in other cases it was more about “fitting in.” I believed that it was something I had to do to belong. What I know know is, I was wrong. According to Brené Brown, the opposite of belonging is fitting in. Regretfully, I spent many years trying to “fit in” and yet, I never belonged. That’s a harsh reality. The fear of not fitting in or fear of not doing what it takes to fit in misguided me for a long time. Now, I know and I am re-learning my values, my beliefs, and what it means to do what’s best for me. The journey begins

“The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.” – Brené Brown

This is a difficult lesson: I am enough. I don’t have to prove myself, I don’t have to explain myself, and I don’t have to defend myself… anymore. Living in the shadow of others or seeking the approval from others are not ways of living that is being truthful or authentic to me. I saw that in last week’s curling game. The constant worry and self-doubt throughout the game equated to underperformance, lack of clarity, and a losing outcome. I’m not even sure about being so vulnerable in my blog post, but not doing so is not accepting myself for who I am. The last two weeks have been incredible to rest, restore, and find the clarity I need to be consistent, kind, and compassionate to me and my needs. I can do this. I accept myself. I am happy.

Everyday cannot be “the perfect curling shot.” Learn from your mistakes and try again. Focus on consistency. Don’t dwell. Stay in the game and trust each throw.

Feeling Rested

March 2, 2024 – Onwards and Upwards

Holy moly… Yesterday, my site had ZERO attempts to log into my account. Over the last 24-hours, I had 1800+ attempts. Was it something I said? I changed the title of my last blog post and let’s see how that goes. The last thing I want are bots attempting to get into my WordPress site. I just finally gained access to it (by accident). I almost gave up this site because my access to this site was limited and deteriorating with each update. Not that I have regained access to my site, I never want to let it go. LOL. It was a nice reunion with my WordPress site a few months ago. I hope the number of attempts reduce over time, but my last post was an epiphany, so I can see why folks (or bots) might be attracted to my site. LOL. Just a side thought. Who knows? TBD.

I love this photo. There is nothing more comforting (to me) than a hot bowl of pho. It’s one of my most favourite things to eat and I feel lucky that there is a place in Prince George I can go to and seek this moment of solace. I love the service and I love the familiarity. And, it was delicious. I am finally feeling like myself. I feel rested. I feel aligned to who I am. Ironically, I’m getting a bit dozy writing this blog post, but I woke this morning feeling like I’m rested. Most times I wake feeling tired or anxious. Today, was a good feeling. I made breakfast (refried rice and a sunny side up egg with soy sauce) and had a hot cup of coffee. Ahhhh… my favourite things again (although I would have loved a piece of Spam, but the body can no longer have it… #sadness).

Saturdays… (aka. be a person day)… I recycled, cleaned the house, grocery shopped, vacuumed, and dusted… I’m blogging, watching the Brier or Hallmark movie, and taking the time to make a yummy lunch (i.e., a bagel with cream cheese and lox, a sliced orange, and a diet coke). It’s the first time in a long time that I feel like I’m myself. What a weird thing to say. I feel at peace. I don’t feel like I’m in the hustle and I feel aligned to who I am. I love that I get to think about what platform I would use to document my “stories” to explore the methodology of autoethnography or to pause and think about the “pile of marking” I need to accomplish and complete in the near future. I feel good about this place and way of being. Focus the curling shot… that’s it.

I can appreciate the little things. I’m no longer scared or worried about what people think or will do. I don’t feel compelled to impress anyone, nor do I feel motivated to limit myself or be someone who I am not. I think about my autoethnography of “the perfect curling shot”… none of these factors matter. What matters is knowing the shot you want to throw, executing the technical aspects of the delivery, and staying within the moment to achieve the shot. Moreover, your team also have to be on board with the shot. As soon as there is any self-doubt, worrying about the outcome, or thinking about the opponent in that moment of making the shot, you’ve missed the shot.

The last few weeks have been transformative and I am feeling like my 13-year old self alive an well. I have to admit, this journey of understanding myself (or finding myself) has been one with may up and downs. If anything, you have to have those tough conversations, connect with friends and family, forgive and have compassion for self and others. Huge vulnerability is required as well as a piece of humble pie. I am more about myself and therefore I am learning more about my teaching practice, which in turn contributes to my research program. The goal is to find the goods internal to the practice. I am learning and think I found it. And much like curling, stay consistent.