Where I’ve Been
Wow it has been TOOOOO long. I apologize. Three months. Life got weird, like really weird, life got crazy. But I’m back! This is a long one, so grab a glass of wine & unwind….after all it is Thursday and The Catch is on, soooo you deserve a glass of vino or cappuccino OR SOMETHING! Ohhhh….and I wrote this last week hoping to post it on the weekend, but crazy has a way of finding itself to me. So it’s Thursday and I’m coming in hot.
A lot of people have been asking me…. “Are you going to keep writing? Now that you are back will you continue to write?” To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure. I was somewhere in the middle. Yes, I want to keep writing, but about what? Who even wants to read what I’m writing? But over the last few months I’ve realized….who cares? Who cares if no one reads my blog anymore now that I’m back, who cares what people think about it or my intentions with it, who even cares if everyone has a blog these days. Do me, right? I love to write and I feel like if one person even reads this blog, and one person leaves thinking “this girl is nuts”, “holy crap, I feel so inspired”, “I want to try that, I’m going to try that”, “I’m moving to Australia in a few months and this random chick made me so excited for van life, 4 dollar bottles of wine, brunching and flat whites” or if someone leaves with the feelings of “I feel happy or motivated or intrigued”…. then my job is done. So yes, I will keep writing. How often? I do not know. About what? I do not know. But, I do know that this is my therapy, one of my favourite past times and has kind of become like my own online dairy. I have my own journal, but I’ve also realized that I am a much faster typer than printer, so this is my story. I choose how it goes. I am sitting in the backseat of a car driving through the long, beautiful, serene highways of Arizona. I did something I hadn’t done in a few weeks. I opened my blog page. Not only did I open it, but I started reading each and every post that I had written. I can’t help but feel so much nostalgia, happiness, pride, excitement and sadness all once. Only 11 months ago I left everything I knew, I resigned from the library, I took a leave of absence from the school boards, I packed up my extremely comfortable and nice lifestyle in Toronto, and said ‘see you soon’ to everything and everyone I knew. I had no return ticket, I could have been back in a month or two, a year or three, I had no idea what to expect. I mean in my heart I kind of knew I was coming home for Christmas, because I could never miss a Fantin Henry Christmas Fiascle, but I kept a very open mind throughout the entire process. 8 months later, I was home.
Anyways….where have I been. What have I been up to? Well in typical Chaos Courtney fashion…..it has been a wild ride…obviously. It’s never boring. When I got home and all my food demands were met, read more on that here , I met up with plenty of friends for hundreds of coffee dates, went for one too many wine nights, shared story after story, memory after memory, photo after photo. Even acquaintances, or people who had never met me but knew of me from a friend, reached out and sent encouraging and motivational messages saying they had followed along with my journey and it inspired them to book a trip, or to keep pushing through their current job to get that promotion….they asked to catch up over cappuccinos or wine because lets get real, is there any other way I’m sitting & talking without either in hand? Now, before I got home everyone told me….get ready. I said for what? “For the deep sadness that will overcome you.” Oh yea, I know I’ll miss this life, who I am in this moment, what I’ve experienced and accomplished, things no one will ever know that I went through to get to where I had gone and so forth. I knew those memories and those obstacles would be mine forever, hold a very special place in my heart and help shape the person I am and that I am okay knowing that not everyone will ever understand or know what I did to get to this point. But me get sad? Yes, of course I’ll be sad for a few weeks. “No, no” they said…..its deep and its weird and it immobilizes you. No, no, not me, I am always super energetic, bubbly and optimistic, I won’t be THAT sad. Well boy was I proven wrong. They were right. After the hustle and bustle that comes from the first few weeks of being home, it just hits you like a ton of bricks….and it is HARD. I got back on Thursday, November 24th. I was back at work supplying on that Monday. Everyone said take a few weeks to settle in, see people, adjust to the time difference and just soak up the experience, the crazy adventure I had just been on. Deep down, they knew that was not going to happen. I still saw everyone in the evenings, I battled through the jet lag (which luckily did not hit me too too hard), went to work everyday and indulged in all the pre Christmas festivities. Because obviously I am obsessed with all things Christmas, so I ate it all up. After Christmas and the famous Fantin Henry disaster that is Christmas day and involves way too much dancing and Joan (LOL) came New Years….a cozy weekend up north filled with good champagne, loved ones, snowman and sparklers…..OBVI. But then it came. The month of December was a whirlwind of happiness, sharing story after story, going through photos and videos of this insane adventure I had just embarked on, but deep down something was wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I did not feel like myself. My friends and family often ask me if my energy is natural or if I am on some sort of caffeine pill…or something else. NOOOOO! I am ohhhh natural baby. But, I felt so off and so I started reflecting. You come home from this insane adventure, an adventure I had mentally been preparing for since high school. My Pinterest board was over flowing with ideas & when people asked what university I was going too, I knew I wanted to be in the Concurrent Program, I knew I was going to fast track it by taking 9 courses at a time, and I knew that if I got into my first choice University, I could continue working 2 jobs to save for the adventure that would await me. I didn’t know it was going to be Australia, see here how I chose from a variety of opportunities, but I knew I was going to somehow combine my two passions together….to teach and to travel. Fast forward 4 years of working and studying, having my major goal at the end of it, and mentally and then physically preparing for my departure. The parties, the farewells, the tears, the hugs, the sparklers, the gifts, the outings, the letters, the cards….
All of a sudden this life changing experience came….
and then it came to an end, and I was back home in my comfortable bed with my cute string lights, my scratch map staring into my face, cuddling my family, enjoying plenty of wine, laughs and some tears 😉
If you know my family, you know we are like super duper close. So leaving them was the hardest thing I had to do. When I was offered a full time position and permanent residency in Australia, they decided if I said yes they would sell our house, live 6 months in Melbourne to be with me and spend 6 months at the cottage to be with my brother. You guessed it….I turned it down. Anyways…I’m off track like usual. And I write like I talk…a huge fast run on sentence.
I felt like I couldn’t write because something was not adding up and it kind of knocked me off my feet. I wanted my own class. As everyone told me…why would you ever turn down a class in Australia to come back and supply here…you’ll never get an LTO or permanent. And of course they had to be right….but whatever, supplying was awesome too. But what I realized was before Australia when I was supplying it was the perfect gig because once I graduated, I spent 6 months supplying, but when that bell rang at 3:30 pm, I was running out the door to get to my next job at the library which took me to 9pm. It was perfect. It was actually the greatest gig…..I was making great money, doing extra online courses on my lunch hour or after work, I was able to take time off to meet my girls in Whistler, celebrate my parents anniversary in Hawaii and spend late nights drinking wine & planning my adventure to Australia. Like the gig was perfect. So why when I came back and started supplying again did I feel so unfilled? Well….in those 8 months, I grew, I had a grade 4 class and now wanted something different. Supply teaching is an amazing gig, you gain incredible experience, have a great home life and some people seriously make a profession out of being a supply teacher. But, you are the new person every day. Every day you walk in….you sign in, you don’t know where the bathroom is, the staff room, you don’t know the routines, the students etc….you sit at the lunch table and some days have amazing people to chat with and other days people want nothing to do with the supply teachers. And all of that was okay a year ago…..because I had my own little community at the library. I had my regular patrons, my schedule, my shift, my staff…that was my family. I was there for 7 years. Now that I was back, that was missing. Wait…I only work till 3:30 pm….no, that is not the life for me at this particular stage of my life. People would say, “why do you feel the need to do more or get another job? Coming home at 4 pm would be a dream.” “I don’t feel the need to, but I want to. And that is not my dream. I want a work community, I want to experience and explore as much as I can at this age and make money to live the life I want for myself in the future. I want to indulge in everything I can right now”. When I finally pinpointed what was missing for that month, I felt soooooo relieved. Thank god for the support system around me…it was a weird time. Knowing what it was, what I was missing, and what I was ready for was a huge relief. After having a taste of my own class in Melbourne….and boy do I miss those kiddos so much….I knew I was ready to move on from supplying, but felt stuck because we all know what the job market here is like.
After everyday of supplying, I came home and applied to every single position possible…qualified or unqualified. I tried. I sent them off, with no expectations. The only expectation was to not hear back, but hey that’s okay. At least I am trying and my name keeps popping up. If you never try, you’ll never know.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…if the door doesn’t open, it’s not for you….the stars will always find a way to align, and what’s meant to be will always be. What you want, what you envision will manifest over time. I wanted and envisioned Australia for a long long time and slowly it manifested. Numerous people told me if I left, I would screw up my chances of ever getting my own class here in Ontario…..everyone’s got an opinion, and everyone thinks they know what’s best for you better than you. I am so so glad I did not listen to any of those individuals. I definitely can thank and appreciate their concern for me and my career, but I am glad I did what I knew was right in my heart. Between Christmas and New Years I got an email from one of the many applications I had sent off. WAIT, WHAT??? An interview??? No, not me. Fast forward a week and I was being interviewed on the Monday, found out on the Tuesday and started my very own class on the Thursday. TALK ABOUT A WHIRLWIND. A week before that I was hosting a girls Christmas glam night and it was 3 am, we were watching Christmas movies and had way too many glasses of wine, but we got in to these deep life chats. I said “I’m just ready for my own class. I want the relationships, I want the whirlwind of planning, marking, coaching, starting clubs, of the social drama, family problems, I want to leave feeling happy, sad, inspired, frustrated and everything you feel and take on as a teacher.” It’s all out of passion and love for the kids and what we do. Don’t get me wrong, when I was supplying I was able to inspire and leave inspired by the kids…but having my own class…it is a whole new level.
I like to kind of give each year a vibe or some sort of umbrella title or focus. I feel like 2016 was my Selfish Year. I could say 2016 was the Year of Travel or the Year of Yes, but I honestly feel like travel will be embedded throughout my entire life, it is in my bones, my heart and soul, and I feel like the Year of Yes is kind of like one of my favourite life mottos… “Say yes”. I’m captioning 2017 as the Year of the Career for me. That is kind of like my umbrella and focus of the year. Of course everything intertwines and everything is always growing and improving. But this year I had no idea I would ever see any sign of my own class…not in Ontario at least. I thought I had to go abroad again…which I WAS NOT OPPOSED TO! And now that I have my own class people say….well what about travelling? Well folks…..nothing is ever permanent, so yes another move is probably in my future, my summers will be spent teaching ESL abroad, and I will continue to chase my dreams of travelling and teaching. But, right now, where I am….I never expected, or at least most of me did not expect it, but a tiny part of me knew that what I envisioned, the way I planned out and carefully constructed a strategy would bring the stars into alignment. And here we are….stars aligned. People say “oh you obviously knew someone”, “congratulations, what was your connection, who do you know?” And my answer is no one. It bothers me when they ask again…. “no no you obviously got in somehow, you are so young, I know teachers 6 years out and they don’t have an LTO, you obviously know someone here”. No, I don’t. And it really freakin bothers me that this world assumes that you have to know someone to get what it is you want. A lot of the time it is but not always. No….hard work gets you what you want. Sweat, tears, all nighters, goal setting, strategy, determination, networking, experience, a genuine, kind heart and passion, positivity, an incredible work ethic and vision gets you what you want.
Last years birthday 2 months before Aus:
This years birthday three months after Aus:
Some things in life are luck yes, but a lot of it is hard work. If there is anthing I can tell you….it is DO YOU. Opinions are like butts, everyone has one. You can chose door A, people will still think you are making a wrong choice. Okay choose door B….nope still not okay. You can’t please everyone, and living a life trying to please everyone is no life to live in my opinion. Everyone has something to say, but you need to create your own life and do what it is you want. So often in our society we are told to graduate high school, go to university, get a decent paying job and take a vacation a year..one week to Mexico or Punta Cana, your choice. But who said that has to be your life. Again do you. Work hard and be kind. The world is your oyster. Create the life you envision. Not the life your parents tell you to have, or the one your friend might have or the life we are “supposed” to have. Be honest with yourself and follow your dreams. Do not settle.
You have to put everything into perspective…and this took me awhile to understand. A lot of people’s opinions on my decisions were fantastic, amazing, supportive, inspiring and motivating. Others, weren’t. But you have to remember their mindset comes from their own insecurities, fears, upbringing, from what they’ve been taught is normal, is okay, what is safe and so forth. So don’t take everything to heart right away…put everything into perspective, dig deep, look into yourself and make your own decisions. If I listened to my mom who was terrified of me moving aboard…..because yes she is my mom, but also because she was never a big traveller until she met my dad, and because she thought I would loose any chance of having my own class here…so if I listened to her fears, her voice of insecurity and love, I would not have embarked on the craziest journey. A good goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot. They say always go with the choice that scares you the most…that’s where the growth happens. So I hope you do that. Take the plunge, take the risk, do you. Who cares how old you are. Society creates this… “oh your 19…you can’t do this yet. Oh your 23, yes now is the time to travel. Oh your forty with kids, no you can’t change careers…too risky. Oh don’t travel until your house is paid off, kids are graduated and your retired”. None of these are right or wrong…..but they are either right or wrong FOR YOU. There is no one size fits all formula.
So here we are….I’m on my first official March Break as a teacher and for me that is huge. I am not one of those “oh I think I’ll be a teacher now….what else could I do?”…I envisioned this since I could walk. So I am indulging, swallowing and reflecting each and every aspect of this “first official” March Break as a teacher. I’m doing what I love to do every single day. I spend hours planning and marking and when anyone asks how my day was…they know a 2 hour conversation is going to begin. Crack the wine;) The good, the bad, the ugly, I love all aspects of this job. I am not only a teacher to these kids, I am a mom for some, a coach for others, a motivational speaker, a nurse, a doctor, a therapist, a safe haven, a dad, an actress, a life coach, a learner, a listener for all and so much more. I come home every night knowing how lucky I am, because I am one of the very few that is in love with their job, who smiles and sings the whole time to and from work. I arrive when it’s still dark out and pull out when it’s dark. The first car in and the last one out. And the times where it is nasty and ugly and you take home all the problems of the workpace and the crap happening in your kids own lives, I smile knowing that the reason I am so upset, or am crying, or frustrated or sad is because I love what I do, I love my kids and I want to be the best possible teacher ever.
Okay we have almost arrived at Antelope Canyon…..WHICH I AM FREAKING OUT ABOUT because I have wanted to go here for SOOOO LONG. It’s 3 hours from Sedona….but I will fill you in on our Arizona adventure soon.
Until then….I hope you enjoyed copious amount of Zifindal in one hand and a cappuccino in the other….& thank you for following along. The good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, the laughs and the tears, the rollercoaster of life. If I only have one reader and that’s my future kid…well this is for you. I don’t know what I’m going to write or how often, but when I do and what I say, I promise it will be real. It will be genuine. And probably positive, because life is too short to be anything but a positive penny.
Soooo for now I am enjoying feeling like myself again, enjoying that spark that was kind of dull for awhile, and enjoying the challenge of being the best possible teacher I can be every day.
I wouldn’t change any of this, where I am or what I’m doing for the world. No regrets. I hope you can say the same too. And if you can’t, I hope you find the strength and the courage to change that.
OHHHH and I’ve been waking up at 5 am a ball of energy….so I just watched Nick propose to Vanessa. I mean I hope he doesn’t screw it up…she is a keeper (or so I think…maybe because she is a teacher I have a soft spot for her….).
***Like I said, I wrote this last week***
I’m back from March Break and right back into the full swing of everything 31 kids bring and their beautiful, crazy, hilarious, active, different lives.
Happy Thursday beautifuls….keep smiling.