Sunday, March 22, 2015

No more school and a new niece!

First of all, my brother and his wife had a new baby yesterday so I’m an uncle for the 9th time! Her name is Eliane and I love her already! I’m heading to Toronto for Easter so I won’t have to wait more than a year to see this one! Life is good everyone.

I just finished my last assignments on Thursday and now I start my final practicum tomorrow in Kanata teaching a 4/5 class. I’m teaching them fractions, rocks and minerals and spelling strategies. Last practicum I mainly taught subtraction and a few other lessons but by the end of this practicum I should be teaching close to a 100% which is a little intimidating but apparently I’ve been preparing for this for the last 8 months so I should rock it. My main goal for tomorrow is remember all of their names then go from there. I have a friend from my section who is placed at the same school so that should make the transition a little easier and more fun. After April 24th, I will be a certified teacher (hopefully) and free to explore the globe at my leisure. I was recently offered a job teaching in Kuwait on a one year contract but I thought it over a few nights and it just didn’t seem 100% right in my heart. I feel like once you start making decisions solely based on money and you know deep down isn’t the right choice for you, is when your life starts to veer off course. I’m good at making important life changing decisions because you just need to trust yourself completely that you are making the right choice for your life at that moment. Not believing in yourself and your decision making process is a huge disadvantage. It helps having reasonable friends and family to bounce ideas off of but somewhere deep down you know the path you should follow so I’m just trying to listen to that. My current game plan is to apply to international schools in Japan and hope for the best. It’s been my dream since 2009 and I believe I would fall in love with Japan instantly. I have experience, will be a certified teacher and think I’m going to be an amazing teacher so I’m trying to be picky with what school I decide to spend the next two years working for. It’s kind of like dating. You are looking for the right fit for both parties and there are plenty of opportunities out there, you just need to search, put your best foot forward and it will all be okay.

 In other events, let me just say that this last year has flown by. I can’t believe that I’ve been home almost 12 months, about to finish school and jump into whatever is coming next. School certainly surpassed my expectations (because we all know not to have any…), I’ve met genuinely great people who will hopefully let me stay in their lives for the years to come and I learned how to be a better teacher. Yes, there is a ton of group work and some of it wasn’t the most engaging but for the most part, learning how to be a teacher is a tough thing to teach and I think Ottawa U does a good job all things considered.
Now spring creeps into our future with the promise of a hot and flip flop filled summer. No more shoveling, boots or brushing off the car is only days or weeks away. March Madness is a welcomed source of entertainment along with sugar shacks and maple syrup! Enjoy life everyone!!! That’s probably enough for today, I should have a few more posts upcoming about new jobs and unwanted life advice; I have a lunch to make!

“Do your own thing on your own terms and get what you came here for.”
-Oliver James

“Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck.”
-Joss Whedon

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Update on 2015

Bit of an extended break between this and the last post because not a whole lot has been going on. Christmas break was great, finished my first term at Ottawa U, had an amazing Montreal New Year’s with my international friends who I love very much and now we are on the home stretch to being a certified teacher and figuring out what’s next. So. What’s next?

This past weekend I attended an international job fair at Queen’s called TORF. It is incredibly well run and organized. More than 60 schools from all over the world attended with around 300 teacher candidates. What an experience. I applied, paid and uploaded my documents a few weeks ago and at that point any school can review your file and see if you are a right fit for their school and their teaching openings. There was a list of schools attending that I looked over with a specific focus on the UAE for the possibility of making more money and being in a hot climate. If you know me at all, you might know that I’m not Type A, super organized. Getting prepared for this fair, printing out forms, making sure I had everything was somewhat of a challenge because I didn’t want to forget anything because this weekend could change my life. I had a place to stay through couchsurfing so that was an added free bonus. I went to Kingston Friday at noon, drove to Kingston and met Daphne and two other guys who were attending the conference. I got an email that morning to interview for a job in New Cairo for a job teaching at a Canadian school in Egypt that teaches the Ontario curriculum. This was my first real serious teaching interview and I think I handled it well because they offered me a job starting in August. I wouldn’t be able to save as much money as I wanted in Egypt so I declined their offer. It must be a huge struggle to recruit people to a country that is constantly in the news. I think that the media blows things out of proportion and it was more about money than safety in my decision to decline their offer.

After the interview, I went to Queen’s to register and meet with potential schools for interviews Saturday and Sunday. When you arrive they give you an envelope with information you will need for the weekend along with blue cards. Those blue cards are from schools that are interested in meeting you. I LOVE the idea of someone asking to interview me. It’s like when a girl comes up and talks to me first. That happened once……Anyway, I had like 6 blue cards and it amazed me. I anticipated maybe one card because I don’t have experience at an international school so when I saw all the cards it gave me confidence. Some of the countries included Macau, Venezuela, Honduras, Mexico, Thailand and Italy. ITALY! I didn’t even consider this school because it would be in such high demand and Europe is a goal I have in a few years. So I had 20 minutes to respond to these cards. One minute my mind is set on the UAE. The next, thoughts of Italy and South America flood my mind. All of these contracts are two years so it is a major commitment to make that I take seriously because I don’t want to bail on a school that has but its faith in me. I decline Venezuela, Macau and a few others while excitingly checking yes to Italy, Bangkok and one in Qatar. At 7pm, everyone was in the auditorium for a briefing about how the weekend was going to play out. You could feel the tension. At 8, we were free to enter the gym and talk to potential school at their booths and request an interview. It wasn’t as chaotic as I had imagined so I picked the schools I researched, set up interviews and was ready to go in 20 minutes. After that, we grabbed a beer at a local watering hole while getting excited for our interviews in the morning. I researched the schools that were interested in me and was impressed with the Italian school that has IB curriculum and teaches half in Italian and half in English. They are legit. Did not get much sleep before it was off to my 7:30am meeting with a school in Bangkok. Thailand. Sigh. I love Thailand with all my heart and couldn’t ignore an interview with them but it wasn’t meant to be. The vice-principal didn’t even know where Nakhon was! After my first interview, I prepared for my next ones. School in the UAE went ok but I knew I wasn’t qualified enough for the position. After that, a good school in Qatar offered me a job teaching kindergarten for a decent pay. I am more comfortable teaching students who are a little older and I know I’m not the best kindergarten teacher so I declined that offer as well. 3 declines, 1 no offer.
Italy next. Good vibe from the director, felt good and answered his questions. Cancelled an interview to attend his presentation. Italy was the job I wanted. Told me they would email me later on that night. Ended up cancelling my last interview in the UAE because I heard bad things about the school and because I started to realize I really don’t want to move away alone again. I’ve done it and been successful but I would love to move somewhere I had contacts and some sort of base. Moving halfway across the world for a third time alone seems much more daunting now at 28 then it did when I was 25. It would be easier if I was married and just went where my wife wanted to live. Problem solved.

In the end, Italy never messaged me and I left the fair empty handed. It was my fault for increasing my expectations. The reason I did was because I was confident I could get what I wanted. As the weekend comes to an end, I’m confident that I’m a teacher that would make a school better and I have a lot to offer. This fair was compared by the organizers as speed dating. And they were right. You are looking for the right fit, timing and shared vision. I haven’t found her or the school yet but I’d rather be too patient and picky than jump into something that I know doesn’t feel a 100% right. On the plus side, my couchsurfing host signed at a school in Bulgaria! She wasn’t even considering going there on Friday and by Sunday she was committed to spending the next two years there. Amazing. I am now lifelong friends with her and Frank so the weekend wasn’t a total write off. I’m happy for everyone that got what they dreamed and it’s only a matter of time before I write a post about how ecstatic I am about my next adventure.  

"I will prepare and some day my chance will come." Abraham Lincoln

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Student as Learner-School Assignment

Today in gym we are playing dodgeball. Boys on this side; girls on that side. Game on!
We are heading to the library in a minute. Whoever is the quietest will get to line up first. Girls line up. Boys, line up behind them.
In Math we will be doing multiplication. I will divide you into two groups, show each group the question and the team that answers first wins. Boys on the left, girls on the right.
When we go outside, we will be making snowmen. Whoever can make the biggest snowman will win! Also, whoever can create the most life like snowman will also win! Go!

Situations like this and countless others take place each and every single day all over the world. Grouping, competing and evaluating boys and girls in the same class is common place. One week into my placement I asked my Associate Teacher about how he perceives the differences in boys and girls and if he changes his teaching style to accommodate their differentiated learning. His short and simple answer was “No”. He didn’t feel strongly that boys and girls are fundamentally different and should be taught differently. We discussed how he might approach a class filled with strictly boys and he had previously taught a class with only boys and his style didn’t change. During a recent Twitter chat with our Professor and other users of the social media site, we had a debate about how boys and girls differ. The main consensus was that boys are a bit more active in class, have trouble sitting still and tend to try and make their friends laugh. (I can relate to that one) Consensus on girls is they talk more but more quietly, read and write more. When I was first starting to teach kindergarten then my next year in grade three I never considered that my class had unique needs that will differ between boys and girls. Now that I’ve had a bit of time to think about it, when I think of past students who loved talking, girls come to my mind. Boys tended to be a bit more on the aggressive side for example play fighting, sports, anything Minecraft related, and essentially acting like girls don’t exist. Stereotypically or not, girls are a bit gentler, soft spoken, loved complimenting their teachers’ on their hairstyle or new outfit. If I were to go back to that school, I’m not sure if how I approached that year would be dramatically different other than knowing what I know now about how kids learn differently on different days and in different ways. I would agree with the research that states that boys and girls develop differently but it is unclear to me how and if it is necessary to teach them differently or to segregate them like in some schools in America and other places around the world. 

An article in the New York Times by Motoko Rich (2014), he writes that “Over all, research finds that single-sex education does not show significant academic benefits-or drawbacks. Janet Hyde, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison who analyzed 184 studies covering 1.6 million children around the globe said the studies showing increased academic performance often involved other factors that could not be disentangled from the effects of the single-gender component.” Because this subject is new to me, I don’t feel incredibly passionate one way or the other but I’m leaning towards it not being a great idea to separate the two sexes due to lack of results and boys and girls need to learn to co-exist. They need to work together and segregating them only delays the inevitable of them working, living and starting families together. Rich (2014) wrote that “Shenilla Johnson, 9, a third grader at Charles Drew, considers an all-girls class a boon. Boys, she said, “annoy you”. While that may be the case, a parent, a friend or a coach might also annoy them but they won’t have the option of simply escaping them.

In Michael Gurian’s 2001 article Boys and Girls Learn Differently he notes that “you will discover many exceptions to what we say…you will notice some boys at the female end and some girls at the male…Many things are going on in each brain and personality that can outweigh gender difference.” I do believe that boys and girls are different but I don’t think treating them differently or putting them in certain classes is the solution. Putting them all together based on their age is a bigger issue that gender differences. Some 6 year olds can be learning with 8 year olds while a 9 year old might be as developed as a 7 year old. Gurian’s (2001) article does have some tangible tips for teachers to help with these gender differences. “Because girls and women are able to hear things better than boys and men, sometimes a loud voice is needed for boys. This fact makes an interesting basis for keeping boys near the front of the physical classroom. Males and females even see things differently, with females generally far better at seeing in a darkened room. On the other hand, males see better than women in bright light.” (p.30) These facts would suggest placing boys closer to the front of the class due to their biological needs. While boys and girls develop and process information differently, there is no universal “way” to teach everyone so it is important for the classroom teacher to get to know their class and find out their interests and passions. While they’re may not be a standard format to teach boys and girls, there does seem to be a common link in motivating a class to perform and behave. Rewards.

With rewards fresh on my mind entering my first practicum placement thanks to readings by Alfie Kohn, I quickly noticed how prevalent they were in my grade 1 class. At the end of each day, my Associate Teacher would assign work dollars to 3-4 students who followed the rules, worked extra well or were a good friend in the classroom that day. These work dollars could either be put into a movie fund and after $50 has been raised, the entire class could eat popcorn and watch a kid friendly movie. (We tried watching Jumanji. Apparently not kid friendly)  The student who earned the work dollars could also save their money for a trip to the “store” where they could pick one item in exchange for 7 work dollars. With Kohn (1993) in my mind with his quotes “The whole point is to control people’s behaviour”(p.53) and “Do rewards motivate people? Absolutely. They motivate people to get rewards” (p.67) I tried to assess the effects this rewards program had on the class and if they really did “do nothing to promote this collaboration or a sense of community…an undercurrent of “strifes and jealousies” is created whenever people scramble for goodies.” (p. 64) In my limited amount of time in that classroom, a few things stood out in relation to the rewards/punishment debate. Adding the element of the movie fund, the idea that $50 dollars needed to be raised to watch a fun movie encouraged collaboration in working together for a shared goal. Giving up the opportunity for a chance at the store was seen as a selfless act and they put the class’s enjoyment ahead of their own. I believe that this helps with class building, working together and the idea that they are stronger together than alone.

Another effect I noticed is that the teacher used it to reinforce certain behaviour that is deemed “unacceptable” in a classroom like yelling out answers to certain questions or talking to a friend while the teacher is speaking. I watched the behaviour of one student change 180 degree from the time I entered to the time I left and I’m sure that receiving work dollars and positive reinforcement played a massive role in her turn around. While I agree with Kohn (1993) that “If we do not address the ultimate cause of a problem, the problem will not get solved.” (p.62)  I believe that for some children, coming to school isn’t a fun or enjoyable experience. I did not like coming to school at all as a student because I attended an all-French speaking school with Anglophone parents with little to no help outside of school. If I was given the option of a special reward for learning a grammar rule, I would have been 100% more motivated than the 0% I was before entering the classroom. Some students just need a little extra push in the right direction and maybe with an extra sticker or two, they will get the ball rolling in the right direction, gain confidence and while still enjoying the reward, feel more connected and involved in their classroom.  William Glaser would use the terms power and fun in his approach to learning and classroom management (1986).

William Glasser (1986) wrote that “when any of us are in any situation where we decide that we no longer want to learn, we stop having fun…And as you almost always remember, your best teachers were able to make learning so much fun that you may still recall what they taught even though you have little use for it now.” (p. 29) I completely agree with Glasser’s points on fun in the classroom. In my first year teaching in Thailand, while I wanted my kindergarten class to learn to read and to count, my main goal was for them to wake up in the morning excited to come to Teacher Bert’s classroom. I can remember crying the first day of school and watching my mom leave me in this French foreign land. I kept in mind that they are still incredibly young, they have the whole rest of their lives in a classroom so it was my job to get them excited about the idea of school and that learning can be enjoyable and entertaining. I tried not being overly serious or insanely demanding; I would take them outside to the playground and read them fun books. I would play and interact with students from other kindergarten classes to make sure they had some fun in their day as well. 

Glasser (1986) also notes that “The more students can fulfill their needs in your academic classes, the more they will apply themselves to what is to be learned…If you do not find your work satisfying, you will never be able to do it as well as you would like.” (p.30-31) How do we make their work satisfying? Let’s see what our good friend Vivian Paley has to say on the subject.

VIivian Paley

Paley (2006) notes in her article On Listening to What the Children Say that “There are no right or wrong answers. Get everyone talking and then find connections-person-to-person, person-to-book.” (p.122) One major theme that I have learned these last four months is that a class feels more empowered when they are given choice, when what they are learning relates to their real life and are given time to collaborate and discuss while not just listening to the teacher the entire day. It wasn’t that long ago that I was in elementary school but there certainly seems to be a shift into each student learns in a certain way and it is the schools duty to ensure instruction is tailored to that pupil. I can hardly remember the issue of choice ever being brought up and another reason I didn't enjoy my learning journey was because we would learn things that were completely useless and inapplicable in my life. For example, I can remember not ever picking up an instrument or interacting with music in any way up until middle school. How grade 2’s are supposed to be excited about learning about Mozart?

Paley goes on to write that “He was truly curious…I practiced his open-ended questions, the kind that seek no specific answers but rather build a chain of ideas without the need for closure. It was not easy. I felt myself always waiting for the right answer-my answer.” (p.123)    I can relate to a feeling that in order for the class to be moving forward and learning, they needed to move quickly and give me the correct answer. During my practicum, my Associate Teacher was extremely patient in waiting for the class to process the question and give them time to think. People are generally uncomfortable with silence but is evidently a necessary part of giving a student space and time to think their thoughts through.

While I can see how new (and older) teachers could feel overwhelmed with theories, theorists, classroom management tricks and tips, I feel that if in your heart your truly want your class to grow as people and as students, you are on the right track. This career isn’t for everyone and everyone has their own approach but if you love being around kids, think they are genuinely funny and want to help make them better human beings, teaching and reflecting are the best ways to look out for your future students.

A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying. 
B.F. Skinner

Glasser, W., (1986). Control Theory in the Classroom. (pp.23-43). New York, NY. Harper and Row Publishers. ISBN: 0-06-096085-X
Gurian, Michael (2001). Boys and Girls Learn Differently!. (pp.13-43). San Fransico, CA. Jossey-Bass Publishers. ISBN: 0-7879-6117-5
Kohn A., (1993). Punished by Rewards. (pp. 49-67). New York, NY. Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 0-618-00181-6
Paley, V. G. (1986). On listening to what the children say. Harvard Educational Review, 56 (2), 124-131. ISSN 000178055
Rich, Motoko. (2014, November 30th) Old Tactic Gets New Use: Public Schools Separate Girls and Boys. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Friday, November 21, 2014

To who I'm going to marry

It's about time I tell single Bert that we've had some awesome times, met some cool people but I'm ready to move on. I feel like 28 years doing my own thing has gotten me almost as far as I’m going to get alone. I could be a much better Bert. Much better. I’m just not intrinsically motivated enough; having you as motivation will take us to new heights.

After meeting most new people I think “Will you be the girl I marry?” This is killing my productivity. I’m under the assumption that you are doing something incredibly awesome like building a sailboat, saving someone’s life and saving an endangered species all at the same time but I need your help. I’m not a good dater/boyfriend/small talker. I’m not someone you want to meet at a party. I’m not good at faking interest. I don’t have tons of things to say to strangers. I'm waiting to get to know you. I do promise I will tell you anything and everything you want and need to know. I’m saving my time and energy for you. I honestly remind myself constantly that I want to make your friends jealous about how great your life and family with me is. They won’t want to leave our clean house to go back to “Stan”  who forgot to feed their kids and put them to bed on time. It’s a school night!

 I promise to remember that you like burnt marshmallows, hate yogurt or whatever quirky things that are important to you because I will make it important to me. I promise to wake up early and make you breakfast, do the chore you especially hate and make sure your car is clean and smells like vanilla or whatever scent that you love.

If you laugh at my hilarious jokes, tell me I look good in one of my many suits and are cool with me watching football, I think we will do just fine. I only ask that you do your best to find me because I can’t wait to make your life better. And if you are half as good looking as I imagine you are, our kids will be breathtaking. I will teach our kids so many fun things, take them on walks and go on all kinds of adventures. I might be a better dad than a husband but I promise I won’t ever stop trying to be better at both. There are a few things I’m going to need to learn how to do first so I can teach our kids them but it seems like time is on our side. I doubt that you will find this post because you are probably somewhere researching nanotechnology or riding a horse in a country I've never heard of but you should know that I’m about ready to start exploring new cities, restaurants and islands with you. No hurry though; I wouldn’t want to rush you. I’m around. Just say hi.


"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading"

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Are you an adult?

When I wake up and get reading in the morning, I don’t look into the mirror and think that an adult is staring back at me.
(I can’t actually see my reflection after showering because we don’t have a fan in the bathroom but you get the idea) My main thoughts consist of not forgetting my lunch, not being late for school and wishing I had gone to bed an hour earlier. Are those adult thoughts? They seem a level or two below what an adult should be thinking about. I imagine a real adult is thinking about getting their child ready for school, not forgetting about their wife’s _____ (I’m not sure what wives want their husbands to remember) and making sure their RRSP’s are growing at a steady rate. While I myself don’t see myself as an adult, I’m pretty sure my class of kindergartens and grade 3’s looked at me like I was one. The class I will be spending a month with in November will almost certainly look at me like I’m a grown up. I don’t feel like a kid or a teenager but I definitely don’t feel grown up or old. Maybe that’s because I’m in school, don’t have a career, a house or things of value. But I’m starting to think that even with those things I might not feel like one. I can’t be the only other person who feels this way right? Do you look at yourself and think “I’m an adult?” The main reason I’m writing about this is that there are certain ideas or habits I think an adult should demonstrate that I don’t at this moment in time. So if you do some or all of the following, I consider you an adult:

If you are walking down the street and it starts to rain and you causally pull out your umbrella and keep walking…you’re an adult.
If someone tells you they are hungry and you have snacks with you…you’re an adult.
If you do your own taxes…you’re an adult.
If you own a house…you’re an adult.
If you have money automatically taken off your paycheck that goes into a savings account…you’re an adult.
If you go to dinner parties…you’re an adult.
If you tell someone you aren't mad at them but just disappointed…you’re an adult.
If you have more than two kids…you’re an adult.
If you take baths on a regular basis and you aren't an actual baby…you’re an adult.
If you have a variety of different rewards cards and collect points…you’re an adult.
If you go on vacations with other're an adult.
If you can remember to bring bags to the grocery store to help the environment…you’re an adult.
If someone starts to cry or is sick and you hand them Kleenex you have in your bag…you’re an adult.
If you own and use a label maker…you’re an adult.
If you haven’t thrown up from drinking in more than a year, you are probably an adult.
If you collect're an adult.
If you own a tuxedo, you’re an adult.
If people show up at your house unannounced and your house is spotless, you’re an adult.
If you host Thanksgiving and Christmas…you’re an adult.
If you have more than enough socks and they are matching each day…you’re an adult.
If you send out a Christmas card…you’re an adult.

I don’t want to make it seem like I’m hating on adults. I hope to be one someday. These are just some guidelines that might be useful in assessing your current adultness. Feel free to let me know your thoughts on being an adult and other characteristics adult have. Enjoy the rest of October because winter is coming.

"I believe that everyone else my age is an adult whereas I am merely in disguise." 
Margaret Atwood

I'm late to this video but I watched it yesterday and thought that it's super well made and made me think.

My favorite song right now:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


funny standup 2 Funny quotes from standup comedians (18 Photos)

I don’t want to bore people with talk of group work, school projects and Building Futures Workshops but a few too many days have passed without posting something so I’m thinking if this doesn't happen now, who knows how long you will have to suffer through a life with Teacher Bert posts. As usual, I will try to keep this short.

inspired quotes 10 A little inspiration to get you through the mid week crisis (36 Photos)

School is fun. I’m not a scientist but learning might be good for you. There are always things to be doing, books to read and assignments to tackle. We’ve made lava lamps, paper airplanes and other high level thinking projects. Going to school and learning that you will actually take into the real world is a much more enriching experience than learning about sedimentary rocks or Shakespeare. I go into my first real Canadian class for a day on Friday where I will be shadowing one of my professors and making a lesson plan out of the book “Love You Forever”. There are about 37ish people in my class; 32 of them I think are girls. I’d like a refund.

wise quotes 29 Interesting and beautiful quotes (32 Photos)

A few weeks ago, our Math class went into an English school on the Quebec side to do a Math workshop with some elementary school kids. Let’s start by saying that I’m not a Math savant. To say the least. Before going into the school, we do the Math problems that we will be showing the kids as a group then teaching them the next week. We had three problems but probably wouldn’t have enough time to complete all three with the students the following week. One of the problems was called Jumping Chips. You need to get the colours from one side to switch with the colours from the other side without jumping the same color and yellow can only go right and red can only go left.

This took a bit of time for the class to figure out but it’s a good Math problem that focuses on problem solving and patterning. So I study the problems to make sure I understand them, show up to school the next week and get assigned 3 kids for 45 minutes. 3 kids for 45 minutes? Easy. No. Problem. I tell them about my teaching experience and introduce the problems. First problem gets solved easily then it’s time for some Jumping Chips. To make a long story short, the kids were struggling with it and within 15 minutes I made one of them cry. Not a little cry, like a Bert crying in New Zealand cry. I’ve made students cry before so this didn’t really faze me but it’s the fact that I could understand how he felt feeling defeated by Math and feeling not smart made me feel horrible. He essentially felt worse off about Math after spending 45 minutes with me. After the class, a head teacher at the school informed me that he has a learning problem and not to take it personally. This would be the point where I would be honest and say that talking to that teacher about having difficulty with that student made me cry in front of her because I felt that I did a bad job as a teacher. But that would mean admitting for the second time that I've cried and I don’t think I’m comfortable sharing a second Bert being sad story so I will leave that out.

inspired quotes 35 A little inspiration to get you through the mid week crisis (36 Photos)

This was my first Thanksgiving in three years and in the spirit of giving thanks, I’m extremely thankful for my adorable nephew Ben, all of my other nieces and nephews for that matter but he’s the baby so he’s allowed to be the favourite. I’m thankful to be in school, to feel like I’m making progress in life, that being Canadian is a pretty great setup and feeling life is only going to get better. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and thanks again for letting me take up a part of your day.  

“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get” Frank W. Clark

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Puzzle pieces

I don't like puzzles. I'm not big on attention to detail or patience. If my life depended on putting together a puzzle that was even mildly difficult, I wouldn't be long for this earth. Luckily, this situation hasn't come up (yet).

I do however think we are all creating a giant life puzzle. You decide how big, spectacular, detailed and ambitious your puzzle will be. I think that we are always constructing our puzzle and looking for the right pieces to continue building. Our jobs, passions, friends and lovers all are pieces. Some pieces are bigger than others, some fit nicely in while others we have to search for, re-arrange, and put down until the puzzle comes more into focus. As it happens, sometimes wrong puzzle pieces make their way into the box and you can't use them for your amazing puzzle. It doesn't necessarily mean that that puzzle piece isn't great or unique; it's just not in the blueprint for your masterpiece. We sometimes struggle with certain pieces and how they fit into the bigger plan. Trying to fit wrong pieces then eventually finding the right one makes assembly more rewarding. Kind of like my nephew's toy that has different sized holes for different shapes. The triangle just won't fit into the circle hole (trust me).

"There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle."

Deepak Chopra

I think we are all puzzle pieces looking for other pieces to make us whole. We spend time with people to try and figure out if and how they fit into our lives and how they can make us better and vice versa. It might take a while to figure out a certain piece doesn't quite fit but that's the fun of making a puzzle. Some pieces fit together instantly while others take time.

Build the biggest most magnificent puzzle you can; it might never be fully complete but it seems like we have been given time to start building. Just make sure you start with the corners.

"The problem is that we always look for the missing piece of the puzzle instead of finding a place for the one in our hand..."

Alina Radoi