all good things must come to an end

On Friday afternoon, I said goodbye to my first classroom and my first group of students. As I stood in the classroom at the end of the day, with all of my belongings, it almost brought me to tears. I did it, I thought to myself. I followed my dreams and (hopefully) touched the hearts of 15 little kindergarten kids. A bittersweet feeling.

I think back to my first day in September. I couldn’t sleep. I was anxious. I didn’t know what to expect. Basically, I was being thrown to the wolves. I had to make my own path, set my own classroom rules, be the teacher I had always dreamed of. I was just trying to figure things out day by day (with the help of my teaching partners of course). And, although there were endless work nights, and days where I felt tired and run down, it was all worth it.

Not only did I grow as a teacher, but I grew as a person too. Patience. Compassion. Flexibility. Parenting. Sense of humour. Open-minded. Firm. Just to name a few. 

For 7 hours a day, 5 days a week. 5 months of the school year. These children were learning with me. Growing and maturing. Interacting with other kids. Developing their self-regulation skills. Yes, there many times when I felt frustrated. Overwhelmed really. After three months of school, I felt like some kids still weren’t quite getting it and that worried me. As a result, I was really hard on myself. What was I doing wrong? What could I be doing better? Am I really cut out for this? 

I doubted myself at times. After all, they do say we are our toughest critic. But, this process taught me not to be so hard on myself. Sometimes I had to take a step back and appreciate these little humans for who they were. Take each day as it comes. Enjoy the little moments. Learn from your mistakes. And remind yourself, that it’s okay to cry on your drive home from work (as long as it’s not every day).

During my last couple weeks at my school, the other teachers were asking me if I was feeling happy or sad about leaving. I always kept my head held high and answered, A little of both. Truthfully, I was looking forward to taking a couple days off for myself to get caught up on some work at home. Some much needed “me” time.

But when Monday came this week, I woke up feeling like something was missing. I missed interacting with my fellow staff. I missed being greeted by my students when the bell rang. I missed the excitement of when my students learned something new. I missed the little letters my kids would leave for me. I was feeling emotional. I know this isn’t the end for me, but this is the last “first” teaching experience I’ll get.

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So as I sit here, I can’t help but think, I hope my students remember me. I hope they know how special they are and how much of an impact they had on my life. And, if I could tell them one last thing, it would be from my favourite children’s book:

“You’re off to great places. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!”

– Dr. Seuss

Sometimes, good things come to an end, so better things can begin. On to the next teaching adventure…

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teachers have ‘first day of school’ pictures too.

 

travel more. worry less.

Traveling has changed me.

As a child I was fortunate enough to go on frequent family vacations. I am forever thankful to my parents for providing me with those opportunities. Together we created memories that will last a life time. Something to look back on and reminisce about.

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Although these trips have been special, I believe traveling as a young adult is different. It strengthens you. It allows you to grow and get cultured. It makes you appreciate the little things. And it ultimately defines the rest of your life.

As you know, over the past year and a half I’ve done a bit of traveling to Europe (Finding the Inspiration) to visit my boyfriend. I’ve always been a nervous flyer. I don’t enjoy being on a plane, especially when I’m by myself, surrounded by complete strangers. What am I supposed to do for 7 hours? Who can I talk to? Where do I go when I get off the plane? Will I have enough money? What if I get lost? These thoughts floated around in my head incessantly. Until I decided to let go. I chose to let these worries escape me and learned how to go with the flow (a skill that is difficult to master). It ultimately opened my eyes and changed my attitude into a more care-free, positive, enriched attitude.

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I’ve discovered new things about myself that will stay with me throughout my life. Lessons that I’ll be able to hopefully one day share with my children. Ideas and thoughts that I would like to share with you now.

5 things traveling has taught me:

  1. Experiences over Material things. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to shop. But, I’ve learned to recognize my needs vs. my wants. Happiness isn’t about getting those pair of shoes you’ll probably never wear, or that new handbag that is similar to another one you already have in your closet. Happiness is about making memories and embracing new experiences. My travels have taught me to buy experiences, not things.
  2. Taking a break from social media is okay. We have become so dependent on our phones and computers, that we often forget how to live our life free of them. I’ll admit, I’m still learning to master this. But, traveling has taught me to break free from social media and take time to enjoy what I’m doing, in the moment, rather than spending my time showing everyone else what I’m doing.
  3. The best restaurants are hidden away from tourist attractions. If you’re looking for delicious food at an affordable price, avoid the high traffic tourist areas. Yes, it might be nice to sit under the Eiffel Tower for dinner, but you’ll pay the price for it and it probably won’t be the greatest food. In my opinion, I got more joy out of stumbling upon a small, quaint restaurant down a cobblestone alley than going to a fancy, extravagant lounge.
  4. Step out of your comfort zone. Meet new people. Try different foods. Speak the language. Be adventurous. Say yes. In our lives, we often get scared of trying new things. But, I’ve come to learn that the magic happens outside of your comfort zone. This March, Justin and I are traveling around Switzerland and we decided to go paragliding during our time in Interlaken. I’m terrified. But I know it’s going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
  5. Appreciate the beauty. Breathe in the culture and nature while you’re visiting a new place. Sometimes you have to put your camera down and just enjoy where you are, who you’re with and what you’re looking at. Let it sink in and envelop you. Because that is what you’ll carry with you forever.

I’m sure as a take flight and explore new destinations, I’ll add more lessons to this list. I look forward to exploring and experiencing life the best way I know possible.

finding the inspiration

It isn’t always easy to find meaningful topics to blog about. Not to mention the fact that life gets in the way, and frequently, you don’t get the opportunity to just take a moment and appreciate all the amazing things you got going on. It’s been about 8 months since my last entry and I feel like so many spectacular things have happened to me.

At the airport with Justin

At the airport with Justin

I’ll start with the month of December. For me, this was an exciting month. For obvious reasons it meant that Christmas was fast approaching, but more importantly, my boyfriend, Justin, would be coming home from Ireland for the holidays. At this point, we had been apart for 4 months, so it was really nice to spend some quality time with each other and our families.

Another special moment, was when my brother and sister-in-law told the family at Christmas that they are expecting a baby in summer 2015. After an extremely tough 6 months, with the loss of my niece, Isla (A Journey of Grief), it was a bittersweet moment of joy to find out that we would be welcoming another little one into this world. With it now being just over a year, my family has had time to heal and we couldn’t be happier for them. I’m so looking forward to meeting my little nephew at the end of the month!

This brings me to the month of March. My first trip on a plane by myself. First stop, Ireland.

Justin picked me up at the airport and I spent a few days with him in Limerick. While Justin had classes, I was able to explore the downtown city centre. There’s something so exhilarating about being in a place, by yourself, navigating through unknown territory. The city lies on the River Shannon and has a vast variety of old architecture, lush pastures, unique shops and local pubs. Definitely worth traveling to.

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After seeing Justin’s home away from home, we were on our way to our next travel destination. Paris! For anyone who doesn’t knows me, I have been dying to go to Paris for years. So when Justin and I decided to book the trip and go, I was ecstatic. We rented a quaint little apartment through Airbnb, which was located in the 3rd arrondissement. Once we arrived, it was beginning to get dark, so as soon as we got settled in, we decided to head over to the Champ de Mars. I will never forget the feeling I had when I got off the metro and finally, after months of anticipation, walked the streets of Paris. My face hurt from smiling so much. We turned the corner, and there she was. The most magnificent, breath-taking piece of architecture I have ever seen. The Eiffel Tower.

During our stay, it was impossible to see everything Paris has to offer. But, we were able to see the iconic architecture, taste the delicious food, explore the chic boutiques, and experience Parisian culture. Here are some of my favourite pictures from the trip.

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Eiffel Tower (Day and Night)

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Garden Shop (near Notre Dame) and Pont des Arts (love lock bridge)

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Sacré-Cœur and Moulin Rouge (Montmarte)

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Arc de Triomphe and Candles at Notre Dame Cathedral

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Musée d’Orsay and The Catacombs of Paris

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Palace of Versaille (Inside) and Jardin du Luxembourg

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Notre Dame Cathedral and Palace of Versailles

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The Louvre and Our love lock on Pont des Art

After our time in Paris, we flew back to the Emerald Isle and landed ourselves in Dublin! I had traveled to Dublin once before as a child, but let me tell you, it is much better as an adult. During the day we walked around the city and in the evening we enjoyed a few pints at The Temple Bar. Again, here are a few photos I took along the way.

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St. Stephen’s Green and Flowers at Dublin Castle

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Entrance way to the garden at Dublin Castle

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Christ Church Cathedral and The Temple Bar

On to the next adventure…

the good, the bad, the ugly

I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty stand up, honest person. If I’m feeling a certain way because of something someone did, I’m going to let them know. I don’t think I have always been this way necessarily, but as I’ve grown up I’ve come to realize that things won’t change until you let people know what you want changed.

When it comes to relationships with others, I strongly believe that you should be open and honest about anything. Whether it’s telling your friend that the shirt she is wearing isn’t the most flattering, telling your significant other how something they did made you feel (good or bad), or talking about an issue that arose based on someone else’s actions (or lack there of). I’m not saying that being rude or blunt is the solution. I just think, that if you are truly upset because of something that happened, you need to determine what that relationship means to you. If it’s an insignificant bond that you don’t overly care about, then it’s probably just best to leave the issue and focus on other relationships in your life that make you happy. However, if it’s someone you deeply care for, then an expression of how you feel needs to be shared, regardless of how difficult it is. That’s the only way you can hope for a positive change with him or her.

I know what you’re thinking…easier said than done! Everyone knows that the truth isn’t usually what a person wants to hear. Reality check: It’s not always going to be rainbows and butterflies! Many of us dread telling people how we really feel. But the way I look at it is, if the person you are addressing is a true friend or a dedicated partner they are going to respect you. Yes, they may feel a little attacked at first (I think it’s only natural). But, once they’ve had time to decompress and think about it, they’re going to listen to you and try to solve the issue together because they care for you just as much as you care for them.

If they don’t do any of the things above, well then…maybe it’s time to re-evaluate and reflect. Is that the type of person you want in your life? Do they value the relationship as much as you do? Do they care how you feel? Will they stick around through the good, the bad, the ugly?

It’s difficult to face the reality of these questions because we don’t want to accept the truth behind them (probably ’cause we know the truth ain’t rainbows or butterflies!) But maybe this truth will set us free. Maybe knowing the answers will allow us to make a tough, but necessary decision about the status of the relationship. You get to decide.

I know for me personally, I’d rather have a few truthful relationships, than many disloyal relationships. What about you?

jlennon

sorry for partying

Alright people, it’s official. I’m getting old…

Apparently my body can’t handle drinking obscene amounts of liquor and going to bed in the wee hours of the morning anymore. There was a time where I could drink 4 or 5 nights in a row and still make my way to class Monday morning. However…after the weekend I had, I’m pretty sure my glory days are near over. After celebrating one of my good friends birthday this weekend it’s quite evident that my body loathes my entire existence. Not only are my legs all bruised up (how it happened, I’m not sure) but I’m going into day 2 of a hangover! Something I didn’t even think was possible..

Partying hard Saturday night made me realize a few things… There were some tell tale signs that should have made it quite clear to me that I’m no longer in College/University…

5 signs that I’m too old to be “party rocking” every weekend:

1. It took me more than 5 tries to climb on the bar top, just so I could dance with my girl friends (Classy, right?)
2. I can no longer stomach more than 2 shots of jägermeister at the bar.
3. Sleeping in a double sized bed with 3 other people leaves me with muscle aches and hip pains.
4. I have no recollection of how I got home after the bar (SO SAFE!) and,
5. Going to bed at 6am has thrown off my entire sleep pattern, making work a miserable hellhole today.

Sooo..with that being said, let’s hope I learn a little something from this weekend and pump the brakes when it comes to partying. Sorry mum & dad!

xo

 

Paddy, not Patty

With St. Patrick’s Day fast approaching (aka tomorrow), I thought it would be a good idea to reflect (and rant) about it. St. Patrick’s is a day for college students to get decked out in green attire, celebrate being “Irish” and drink obnoxiously at the wee hours of the morning!  I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a sucker for dressing up. However, I haven’t really had the best track record with St. Patrick’s Day. It usually ends up being a disaster!

With that being said, this is officially the first year I’m not celebrating, because, well, I couldn’t book any time off and I got stuck working. But don’t worry, I’m actually kind of okay with it. This is definitely the first sign of growing up (Not sure how I feel about that yet, I’ll get back to you).

BUT ANYWAY….There are many of you out there who refer to this lucky day as “St. Patty’s” when in actual fact, Patty is the girls nickname for Patricia and therefore incorrect! The short form for Patrick is Paddy (for those of you who didn’t know)…I came across this website, which is just a HUGE rant on idiots who call it St. Patty’s Day. I found it quite humourous and I think more people should educate themselves about the proper short-form for the day we all love to celebrate so much! I’ll let you check it out for yourselves… http://paddynotpatty.com/

So remember folks, when you’re doing your keg stand, or chugging your green beer from the pitcher….It’s St. Paddy’s Day NOT St. Patty! Keep calm and shamrock on people!

xo.

my love / hate relationship with employment

Why is there always that one person at your job orientation that you just want to punch right in the face? HOLLA. I know I’m not the only one out there who has experienced this! They’re that obnoxious weirdo type who asks an abundance of unnecessary questions while everyone in the room is thinking, “Really now? You’re actually wasting our time to ask that?!”…Face palm.
ImageWell I was lucky enough to sit right next to this particular individual at my Target orientation today (Yeah, I just recently got a job position at Target styling mannequins and displays – not my most ideal situation but c’est la vie).

The only thing this orientation taught me was, I absolutely love being unemployed. Here are some reasons why:

1. I don’t have to deal with stupid people who say and do bizarre things.
2. Being unemployed means no responsibilities. I don’t have to “check my work schedule” to see if I’m free next Thursday night.
3. I can catch up on all my daily TV shows, while still wearing my sweats (Speaking of which, I need to watch last nights episode of The Walking Dead!)
4. I can workout / go tanning / read a book/ run errands at any given moment!
5. I can wear my hair in a bun at the top of my head without anyone judging me (Those of you who know me like to sometimes refer to this as the “Ali-do”).

To be perfectly honest, I just think I’m naturally REALLY good at being unemployed. I know what you’re thinking, “Don’t you get sooo bored not working?” – Nope! I don’t in the slightest! I rarely sleep in and I’m usually always a busy bee during the day with plans at night. Maybe at this point in my life I should seriously consider being a housewife? JK. I think I just really like my freedom..

But, unfortunately, with unemployment comes an empty bank account. And we all know that every girl needs money to support her shopping addictions… So, with that being said, I’m putting on my big girl panties and earning my keep (until I can get a real job that is).
ImageOn the upside, I’m sure I’ll have plenty of ridiculous stories to blog about now! Until then…

xo.