Saturday, September 21, 2019

Friday Night Seoul Baseball

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Last night was my first Korean baseball experience. You know who loves baseball? Koreans. America has had a big impact on their culture since helping South Korea during the Korean War and having US military bases in Seoul since the 1957. Hence the Mountain Dew drinks and Twix candy bars at 7-Elevens throughout the country. How could I say no to watching the Doosan Bears play their rival, the KIA Tigers after work on a Friday night? I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.

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A teacher who works at my school asked if I wanted to join him, his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s friend to watch the game. He was clear in stating that this wasn’t a date. However, if someone comes up to you on the street and says, “I’m not trying to scam you”, rest assured that person will attempt to scam you.

The first thing I noticed was that they have convenience stores inside and outside of the stadium and it seems like you can just bring your own food and drinks to the game.

(side note: Koreans love convenience stores. There’s one just outside my house where people will sit on the patio furniture and drink till sunrise)

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They have no metal detectors or people checking your bags. However, they do not sell Soju inside the stadium because people get too rowdy so if someone is drinking Soju in the stadium, I heard that they take it from you. If you are ever in Koreatown or somewhere where they have Soju, go with Peach. Hands down the best kind.

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The Doosan Bears were the home team so we were obliged to cheer for them. Their record is 82-54 and they did not disappoint. They pummeled the KIA Tigers 6-2. I want to return not only because they seem to have a chance at winning the league, but also because of the environment. Going to see a Jays game can be fairly dull but games here are similar to a European soccer game or MLS in North America. They have cheerleaders, music playing, noise makers and individual song chants sung by the fans for each player. While it still is baseball which is by no means the most exciting sport to watch, just witnessing how much Korean people love baseball and support their team was heart-warming. 

We had tickets close to first base which cost about $20 USD but can go as cheap as $10. Food and drinks are about less than half of the price at MLB games and they hire people to blow a whistle to grab fans’ attention when a foul ball is hit in their direction. I’m assuming they do this because people are staring at their phones and have been struck by foul balls in the past. Safety seems to be a big priority because they have netting all along the entire infield to reduce baseballs hitting fans.

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Other differences I noticed were selling fish and rice cakes outside of the stadium instead of hot dogs. During an intermission between innings, in Toronto they will have a fan answer a trivia question or get different fans to compete in a dance battle. In Seoul, they have a beer chugging competition. I think I’ll like Korea.

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If you ever come to The Land of the Morning Calm, make some time to go to a game. Baseball diamonds are littered around the country with little kids playing and batting cages can be found in most areas of Seoul. Baseball is a massive part of their identity and a peak into how Koreans live their everyday lives.

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 “Never allow the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game!” Babe Ruth

Thursday, September 12, 2019

4 days in Chicago

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Before flying home, I took a quick little stop in Chicago to see what all the hype is about. The flight was also the cheapest way for me to get home so that was also a major factor in the timing of checking off Chicago from my bucket list (I have a list I made in 2013 that needs revisiting).  I’ll give a Bert description of my 4 days in Chicago but if you are at the airport trying to decide on a destination, go ahead and book Chicago.

People love Chicago. My brother goes every year. I haven’t heard anything bad except for all the murdering that happens. Apparently, the danger is more on the outskirts of the city so this Canadian was safe staying downtown. I didn’t have much on my to do list. My list included going to a country bar, wandering around the city, eating some famous Chicago hot dogs and pizza, taking part in the architecture tour, seeing a baseball game, seeing that famous bean thingamajig, and essentially embrace being in an English-speaking environment after finishing my time in Shanghai.

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Let’s start with what I was most excited for: country music. I adore country music. Going to a country bar is much more fun that any other type of drinking establishment. They aren’t pretentious, they aren’t expensive and people aren’t there to start trouble. People are there to drink, ride bulls and listen to Alan Jackson songs. My theory is that people who like country music are much less likely to be murders. Prove me wrong; you can’t. So, here is what happened when I went out. First, if you are a guy and you go out in Toronto alone, people think you are super weird (which might be true) but in New Zealand people would invite you to their group. I was unsure where Chicago would fall on this continuum. Before making my dream come true and going to this somewhat famous country bar, I went to Guaranteed Rate Field to see the White Sox play the Minnesota Twins. Baseball teams have fun giveaways on the weekend and luck would have it that that Friday was COUNTRY NIGHT! Do you believe in miracles because I do. 

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So, I take the subway out there, grab a few beverages, wander around the stadium, eat some unhealthy food and finally settle into some seats with hardly anyone around me. There did happen to be two married women behind me and I thought this would be a good time to approach strangers and pepper them with questions. My first question to them after confirming they had husbands was, "So.... is getting married a scam?"

I do not believe these women have ever been asked this question before in their lives. They had no reason to lie because their husbands weren’t at the game and they both agreed that it’s not a scam and that it was mostly about managing your expectations. I then rapid fired a few more questions before excusing myself and letting them enjoy the rest of their night sans Bert.

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I take the subway south to Bub City and find there is a bit of a line to get into this establishment. I then come to the realization that Chicago is a bachelorette hotspot. The whole weekend, I am seeing groups of women in matching t-shirts drinking champagne and puking off speedboats. Whilst in line, a group of ladies from a bachelorette party ask if I’m married. My smooth response? “Ahhh I’m from Canada.” THAT’S NOT HOW WE TALK TO HUMANS BERT! 

Oh brother; we are off to a rough start. I get into the bar, order a drink and everyone in there is with friends and having a gay old time. I am not with anyone, drinking my gin and tonic just happy to understand what is going on around me. Then a lady who was in her late 20’s comes up and says her friend thinks that I’m cute and asks if I will join her and her girlfriends. If you can imagine, I joined them. It didn’t take that lady long to realize I am not as good looking or charming as she thought and I was soon left alone once again.

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About 10 minutes later, a guy from the line I was in to get into the bar asks me if I want to come with him and his friends to another bar. Should you leave a place with a stranger you’ve never met? Yes, yes you should. However, I realized the bartender had my credit card so I had to decline his request after I realized this fact.

Back to being alone.

10ish minutes pass and a handsome man who was about 50 asks if I’m sitting at the table I’m next to. I said no so he calls his girlfriend over and only because he feels bad, asks me if I want to join them. SURE! I replied enthusiastically. So I’m sitting with this attractive older man with his lady who definitely has a biker chick kind of vibe who is blonde and slightly older than him. He’s telling me stories about being a musician and how much cooler her is than me. To show off, I told him I would go over to a pair of women and show him how smooth I can be. Long story short, I ended up buying these two people drinks then never talking to them again. Classic Bert move. 

Finally, alone once again, another lady waves me over and asks why I’m all alone. She’s from England and had a good heart but if we are being honest, I would have rather of been alone than talking with her so eventually the lights come on around 1:40am, I make my way to the local hamburger shop where the man working at the counter was by far the most interested anyone was in me the entire night. If only God made me another way, I would be much more successful in the love department. So that’s my Chicago Friday night country bar story.

The Saturday I did the Chicago architecture tour which was certainly worth it. I found it interesting that there was a man selling beer on the boat like they sell beer at a Jays game. Americans love boozing it. Here are some stolen pictures of the tour.

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The biggest surprise about Chicago due to my limited research was how outstanding and expansive their waterfront is. It’s spectacular. People are biking, running and there are countless areas to jump into the water or find a nearby beach. Did I get lost going in the wrong direction? Yes. Did I take more than 41,000 steps? Yes. Did I find a massive beach volleyball event? Also yes.

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A major highlight that my hostel recommended was a neighbourhood named The Pilsen. It’s a Latino community that has delectable food, creative street art and is not like the rest of Chicago. I went to Los Comales #3 and asked the waitress to bring me anything she thought was exceptionally good. She did not disappoint.  If you are interested in doing something a little off the beaten path in Chicago, it’s worth the quick visit. Also, I wanted to visit The 606 Bloomingdale Trail but didn’t have time but it is compared to NYC’s Highline.

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Other notable mentions in Chicago was the 24-train system; I felt much safer than its reputation. Midwest hospitality/charm is a real thing. Chicago Riverwalk is a great spot for sightseeing, kayaking, coffee and drinks. Navy Peer is bustling and worth the visit even though this is where my getting lost confusion began so BE CAREFUL! Chicago has a crazy number of parks, has random street art, lots of museums but I have a no museum policy lately so I can’t give you advice on that but Chicago has lots of sports teams and music festivals to keep everyone happy. I left a few days before Lollapalooza took place.

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The only real negative thing I can come up with is the high amount of homelessness around the city. I don’t know anything about the numbers or what the city is doing to improve the situation but there are people asking for change or food everywhere I went. It’s sad and disappointing to see that in such wealthy countries like Canada and America, people have to live like that. I don’t know what the answer is but it was the only downside to the trip.

I would most certainly advise you to go with a pal, co-worker or mistress because while traveling alone is fun, I’m sure hopping on a boat and exploring Chicago by water with friends would be even more more memorable

Also, I live in Korea now so you should be getting some Korea input soon. Let’s just remind ourselves that I didn’t like Thailand, New Zealand or Shanghai at first so let’s give this new spot some time.

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“It is hopeless for the occasional visitor to try to keep up with Chicago-she outgrows his prophecies faster than he can make them. She is always a novelty; for she is never the Chicago you saw when you passed through the last time.” Mark Twain 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Graduation Fail

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I failed. Failed hard. People say failing is good and that you learn from it. It’s been about two months and I’m not convinced it was in any shape or form positive. I was asked to give the closing speech during our graduation at the end of June. I was unsure what to talk about. Graduation speeches can be a bit cliché and I wanted to mix it up a little. While I think the premise of my talk was positive, I failed to realize how soft I am and emotional I get. I should have kept to mood light and positive seeing that I cry far, far too often. It was a sadder vibe than I expected the day of graduation and I regret not pounding back a Red Bull and listening to some pump-up music on my final drive to school. I should mention that I was their speech teacher. Speech. The class I have taught for two years showing them what to do and not to do all culminated in one final speech to send these kids off into the sunset. I cried almost instantly and barely got through it. It was a complete disaster that I regret almost daily. I understand now why people are afraid of public speaking. I thought I had it covered. I thought I would kill it. I did not. Here is my speech. I hope you can gleam some wisdom from this abject failure of mine.

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Thank you, Mr. Weir, teachers, parents and students. I know you think I’m going to come up here and give you advice about how I think you should live your life. (Pause) Well, you’re right. This is my last opportunity so get comfortable, this is going to be a long one.
I’m a big fan of quotes so here is my first:

“The trouble is, you think you have time.”

We all think we have more time than we do.
The average life expectancy of Koreans and Canadians is about 83 years. Let’s assume for a moment that we will all live to be 90. While researching for this speech many, many weeks ago, I came across an article from someone one year older than me who calculated how much time he has left on Earth and created some graphs to represent his remaining years. Here is what I found.

For a man who is expected to live to 90 and who is 34 years of age right now, he should have:
About 56 winters left.
56 Super Bowls. (just looking for one more Cowboys Super Bowl)
Lived through 5 presidents and should see about 9 more. Hopefully a new one next year. CIVICS!

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Now for the most depressing stat.
For people who graduate and don't live at home again, they have already spent about 90% of the total time they will spend with their parents. If I were to see my mom for about 10 days a year for the next 30 years, that gives us about 300ish days.  
I don’t say this to scare or worry you. This is just reality. And the unfortunate reality is that while we are looking at numbers hoping we live to 90, that will not be in all of our futures. When I was 19 my dad died when he was in his early 60s. We should have had another 30 years but life doesn’t work that way.
Here’s my second quote that I find accurate and appropriate:

Youth is wasted on the young.

I want you to not waste your youth or any other time period you have in life. We think what we do is significant and especially when young, we tend to think small events will destroy our future lives. I’m here to tell you that we will all will be forgotten in less than 150 years. Again, I don’t say this to scare you, I say this to relief you of the stress that any of this is important. You embarrassing yourself while running through the halls and breaking your phone means nothing in the ever-expanding universe. Your girlfriend inevitably breaking your heart will fall into the abyss of Earth’s 4 plus billion age.

My third quote comes from Steve jobs:

 “Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.

Almost everything--all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure--these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

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Maybe you think you shouldn’t listen to the guy on stage without a job, but at least listen to the guy who most likely created the phone that’s currently in your pocket.

I’m not saying you need to be productive all the time and make every second count. I think it’s ok to waste some time, studies say it’s good. There’s a difference between sleeping in and reading a book one morning and wasting 4 hours each night past lights out playing video games on the 5th floor of the dorm.

I will leave you with my fourth quote:
“There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.” Leo Christopher
Be mindful of who you let into your life, who you spend your time with and the amount of time you spend with your family.
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.
Actually, I have one more:
Life, if well lived, is long enough. Seneca

Thank you and God bless

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Telling kids that their parents will die soon and they will soon follow was a misstep. Don’t remind people of their impending doom. Kills the room.
Telling them nothing they do is important and everyone will be forgotten was also not a crowd pleaser.

In the grand scheme of things, nobody actually cares that I fumbled that speech. Those students have forgotten about my mishap and also any advice I tried to pass on to them that day. I hope my message sticks with you more than it did with them.

"Failure is an event, not a person. Yesterday ended last night." Zig Ziglar 

Monday, August 26, 2019

Summer update and a new home

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The problem is once I haven’t written a post in a few weeks, I feel the need to write a really great post to make up for it. Well, this will not be a great post but I’ve been radio silent on the writing front lately and thought I would dust off the cobwebs before getting back into the swing of writing, school and traveling. If you wanted a Bert update for some mysterious reason, you have found it.

Summer is coming to a close. I spent the first three weeks of July hanging out in Shanghai and enjoying my final days in China. I then flew into Chicago for 5 days. I definitely could have made that into a blog post and now that I think of it, I will put it on the list of things to write about. To summarize the 5 days, I would just say that the hype about Chicago is real and if you get the chance, go.

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I then flew to Montreal, took a bus to Ottawa where I spent the next week before ultimately arriving at my summer destination, Toronto. Have I been productive? No. Have I spent too much money? Yes. Have I been active? No. Have I read books? Not really. Have I spent a lot of time around children? Yes.

Oh, I’m moving to Seoul on Friday. I went to Ottawa to get a new passport and do an RCMP police check and I am just waiting to get my visa to be able to work in Korea. I’m excited to have a reason to wake up in the morning, teach kids things and have some structure to my days. I have also joined a Seoul baseball league so that should help in meeting new people and being active.

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As you might know, Japan has been the dream for about 10 years. I was interviewing for a job in Japan and didn’t get it. I wasn’t even mad…. However, we must look on the bright side and the bright side is I have a job that I’m excited about, get to explore Seoul, eat tons of Korean BBQ, get some plastic surgery and make my long-awaited trip to Japan in September during a long weekend. My plan is to spend the Christmas vacation in Japan exploring and snowboarding. There is a possibility of my mom coming to visit during a break at the end of January and the summer Olympics are being held in Tokyo so I would like to be around to see a few events next summer.

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I have a Japanese teacher online and I have taken 9 lessons so far. It’s quite the role reversal being the student instead of being the teacher. She’s in charge, knows everything and gives me homework. Usually she asks me if I have studied and I usually say no; she’s not impressed. It’s hard but I’m going to stick with it until the end of the year and check on my progress.
It’s been good for my heart to come home and see my mom, go to a family reunion, and catch up with my friends. I definitely feel this year the vibe has changed with me only really having one single friend in Toronto and everyone else being married and having kids. I think it’s great and kids are cute but I am certainly at a different point in my life compared to essentially everyone at home in Canada. While it’s good to come home, I need to build my own life and do my own thing.

Future posts will be about Seoul, Chicago, digital minimalism and other musings I have in my mind. Hope you had a safe and fun summer and if you ever want to visit Seoul, let me know and the first bottle of Soju is on me.

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"A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished."

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

World Altering Travel Hack

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I don’t write much about travel. I used to. I kind of feel like it is showing off. Let me tell you allll about Georgia. "Isn’t Instagram like that Bert and you post on their semi-regularly?" My answer to that question is to shut up and read the rest of this article without critically thinking. Where was I? Oh yes, travel. Big fan. But I would rather write about random thoughts or tell you stories than tell you the cheapest way to get to Valencia or where the best place to find street graffiti in Oslo. Lately, I have found a travel hack that I find has and will save me time, money and is almost as good as the real thing. Be warned: You will probably not like this idea and think I should get medically checked. I have and the prognosis wasn’t great; let’s move on.

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In less than two weeks, I’m going to Beijing for a lacrosse tournament. I have lived in Shanghai for over two years and have only been to Hong Kong and a water town a few hours outside of Shanghai. I’ve never been to Beijing, seen the pandas or the Terracotta Warriors. I was researching things to do in Beijing and the classic ideas came up, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Great Wall. Do I really want to go to The Palace Museum? No. Do I want to take a bus filled with tourists to wait in line to get a glimpse of the Great Wall? I do not. Am I ok with dying and not seeing these famous landmarks?  Surely. I feel like people more than ever are going places, doing things and eating food they deep down don’t want to do but want to be able to say, “I went there,” or “I did that.” Cool story bro. Tell it again.

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Instead of going to places you are lukewarm about, I suggest you implement my new travel hack. Pick a place you are semi-interested in but don’t want to spend the time, money and energy in visiting. Got it? I’ll play along and say Great Wall. Now that we both have our spot in mind, type into your browser the word 'YouTube'. Now this may come as a surprise to you, but thousands upon thousands of other people have been to your destination. Let’s capitalize on this fact and watch some artistic drone shots, maybe some historical facts added into the narration and imagine ourselves there. I found this video hit the spot and freed up my Saturday in Beijing next weekend:

Wow! So cool! It does seem nice and I’m sure it is a real treat to see in real life (honest it does) but the rigmarole of going there, dealing with crowds on a short weekend trip doesn’t appeal to me. If I had more time, people who wanted to hike and camp on the wall, I would be more down but this helpful video will have to do. Since there wasn’t too much info in that video and with the wonders of the internet, in less than an hour, I can be fully caught up if I watched these two (I won’t)

Am I joking about all this? No. Do I think you should try it? Do whatever you please but I’m just trying to help. Nobody is going to see everything. It’s impossible.

“You can do anything, but not everything.” David Allen

Pick your spots, go all in on the things that get you jacked up about being alive, and for all the other so-so things, leave that to Ms. Youtube. I wish you a secure and fast internet connection.

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“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang

(Especially if you never even have to leave your room eh?! Am I right? 
What a great post. Nice work Bert.)

Friday, May 3, 2019

Bert User Guide

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Greetings! You have made the correct decision in becoming friends (or more) with my favourite human: Bertram Leonard Brandon The Third. Before you begin your journey with this adventurous nomad, I feel that you need to know a few things. Car manuals come with instructions; blenders give directions on how to blend at maximum capacity for your family’s health and future; spaceships show you how to blast-off. This is a manual for dealing with Bert. No refunds or exchanges will be processed.

Bert is a sensitive soul. He has grown up with loving parents, a brother and sisters who care for him very much. He has not sought or ever dealt with harsh criticism during his time on this planet. He is well aware that there is much to criticize but he does genuinely want you to have a successful relationship with him. He wants to make your life better in any way that he can with his limited skill set; his heart in the right place. This is not always enough. He can be extremely stubborn when faced with either challenging situations or when he is clearly wrong (which is frequent). He does not operate at full capacity when even slightly hungry, tired or stressed. Fascinatingly, he gets thirsty often which may or may not be a future medical condition worth discussing with your new acquaintance.

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He has spent a considerable amount of time with his brother who sets a great example and who looks up to. His sisters have been nothing but kind and supportive of his life abroad. He speaks with his mom more often than a regular adult male but she brings joy into his life so you would be lucky to meet her; she’s good people. Bert’s dad died when he was 19 and we are unsure how that has influenced his post dad life. While his dad loved his family very much, there are certain characteristics Bert has learned from his dad that need could learn and grow from. His competitiveness, slight anger and non-verbal tendencies come from that side. However, Bert is a better human after observing the importance of hard work, supporting or being the underdog, saving money, the importance of family and keeping an orderly lawn/garden.

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He is self-conscious about many things. He is not handy, has never been in a real fight to defend his or a mistress’s honour. He has lacked financial aptitude and restraint in the past which he is secretly concerned about re-becoming an issue in the future. He is unsure he will be a fit husband/dad due to him being a man. He says one of his priorities is becoming better with food and cooking but early results of these New Year’s Resolutions are not promising. His physical health is not optimal at this moment. He is not flexible, has poor endurance and is the last person you would want picking a lacrosse team for you. His French language skills have diminished considerably since grade 12 and is poor at greeting/goodbyes. This may be time to reconsider the role this man will play into your future.

Having said all that, there are a few positives in allowing him into your life. From my knowledge of the situation, he is honest, trustworthy, humorous, kind, adventurous, fun, pensive, reasonable, outgoing in certain situations, spontaneous and inquisitive. He is someone who will help you move, take you on a picnic or cheer you up after your wife leaves you. While Bert has not always learned from all of his mistakes, I believe he has learned valuable lessons about honesty, communicating, being open and transparent.

It is important to remember that Bert is a kid at heart. While he has been technically an adult for some time now, people who know him best would say he leans more towards being a student than a traditional teacher. He has spent the majority of his life alone which has taught him a lot about who he is, what his strengths and weaknesses are and what he is looking for in others.
Before I forget, his laugh may startle you. It comes out of nowhere. It has been known to cause some embarrassment with those that socialize with him out in public. He laughs at random times. For example, at a movie theater where nobody else laughs at a particular line in the move, BAM! Classic Bert laugh. He does not enjoy people mocking his distinct laugh so proceed with caution.
Bert loves babies. He believes they are incredibly cute and adorable. He can relate to kids because as we noted earlier, he basically is one. He will make faces at babies on the subway and play with children where it is socially allowed. While he adores kids, he is in no hurry to have any now, in the foreseeable future, or possibly ever. He loves his nieces and nephews very much and wishes he could spend more time with them.

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Other items to be aware of include his buying of bananas but rarely eating them, his ability to spill a cup of water if put anywhere near his feet, falling asleep with the light on, reluctance is speaking about his feelings, his inability to stay in a country longer than two years, his inability to tie a decent boat knot, the fact he would be a terrible detective due to his lack of attention to detail, he is easily agitated, is the last person you want making sure the rope to the water ski doesn’t get stuck in the boat’s motor which ultimately could kill someone’s best friend’s wife, the possibility of putting dish soap into an actual dishwasher, not finding a new job before quitting his current job, his ineptitude at stopping while skating, his poor drawing skills and questionable tattoo choices are all weak points for this being born May 18th, 1986. For those interested in personality quizzes, he is an Enneagram 7 and a Myers Briggs ISFP.

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While this may seem complicated, Bert certainly isn’t. As long as you love him with all your heart, make time for him, laugh at his jokes, listen to the occasional country song together, drink lemonade together, talk about books you read and quotes you like, play sports, climb mountains and explore waterfalls, feed him mango, bagels and Honey Nut Cheerios, learn how to gently criticize/influence his behavior, let him think he is in control when clearly he isn’t, let him have his alone time, accept that he will watch more football than he should and cares far too much about his fantasy football team and Dallas Cowboys, understand that he can be forgetful and to remind him to take his time, make a list and to visit the dentist regularly, as well as being open to travel and life abroad, your experience with this user will ultimately be a positive one. I wish you good luck on this adventure. 

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'Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom'

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

My services are no longer needed

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Looks like my time as an employed person will be coming to an end come June. Is it my fault my school is closing? Yes. Should I be concerned about life without an income? Certainly! What am I going to do about this problem? Probably nothing.

For a variety of reasons, my school is closing and taking my paycheck with it. On the plus side, I have had a few months to construct a plan. I will give you a few seconds to take a stab at what my new plan will entail.

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If one of your first guesses is travel, you would most certainly be correct. I don't feel like I have explored enough countries in my time since leaving home. I could have discovered many more places if stupid Thailand wasn't so appealing. I will be taking a (short) Thailand break and exploring some countries in Asia. My plan changes hourly but as of this moment, I am considering spending July in Shanghai while tinkering with some ways to make money online to prolong this period of being a deadbeat. I have heard great things about Sri Lanka and flights from here to there are reasonable ($450ish) so I am planning on spending a month discovering Sri Lanka (alone if you can imagine). My next stop will be a return to Indonesia. Indonesia is a massive country that should be easy on my wallet if I plan it correctly. I will also learn to surf in either Sri Lanka or Indonesia because I feel like I haven't learned a new skill lately. After a month or possibly two in Indonesia, I have my eyes set on Australia.

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While my experience in that part of the world hasn't been ideal to date, I believe Australia can give me what I think I need: English speakers, clean air, nature and a Canadian lifestyle without having to go back to Canada. Will this plan change? Almost certainly. Will I definitely make a mistake, regret it and blame someone other than myself? Indubitably! Is this a good plan? Only time will tell.

Living in China has been a trip. I love Shanghai more than I thought I would. I got out of debt, met different people, traveled and got to hangout with high school kids every day. I lived all by myself for the first time which was a real delight and semi learned how to use chopsticks. The fact that I will have spent just about the same amount of time overall in Thailand as I have in China is pretty wild. While Thailand has my heart, my lungs will always remember their time here.

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I'm not sure humans were meant to live in a city with 23 plus million people. I think it makes people act like savages. There are many young foreigners in town getting wild each night and dating in Shanghai is not an experience I would recommend to others. While this might be a 2019 thing, people here are certainly looking out for themselves and Shanghai will get you one way or another.
I just went to the rugby 7's in Hong Kong last weekend. It is the most hyped weekend in Hong Kong. Nations from around the world congregate to play a fast style of rugby, dress up, cheer and drink.

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I have been wanting to experience it since I heard of the event. This year I finally had the time and the money. While it is an experience and I'm glad I went, I wouldn't make it an annual event like some people do. Most people arrive in the south stands by 930am and stay for as long as they can last. The costumes are fun and the rugby is entertaining but I feel it is a tad overrated. I couldn't see a clock indicating the score or time left so it made it hard to understand what was happening. The south side stands were packed filled with drunk Australians (a glimpse into my future) and people drinking like they've just found water in the Sahara. 
For more of an accurate depiction of rugby 7's, watch this:

I will be making another Hong Kong trip this weekend to play in a lacrosse tournament. 

"Oh Bert, how is being the captain of the lacrosse team going this year?"
"Oh, thanks for asking friend. I drafted a team and we have lost all 6 games so far. Everyone hates me and I'm not allowed to be captain ever again. Talk soon!"

In other news, my favourite day is rapidly approaching. May 18th, I will be turning 33. That is the update on that.

People sure do seem to like this Game of Thrones show.

In October, I will regret not having a job and will be super stressed about money and life so check back again in a few months to see that prediction come true.

I don't love Youtube and don't follow too many people but I just found Matt D'Avella and find his videos enlightening.

I heard a great quote today. I will share it without sharing my analysis because my analysis will certainly come off as negative.

It is difficult to overstate the unimportance of practically everything 

That is long enough of an update. I wish you all good health and good fortune. Appreciate your jobs and income while you have it. It may not last as long as you think.

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The north wind made the Vikings