Last week was the first time I taught in the Early Years setting here in the UK. There were so many things that they did differently to how we did it at home, but at the same time, there were so many new exciting things to learn. I never knew an interactive whiteboard existed, but once I saw a child work it out, I was amazed at how tech savvy this generation of children are compared to myself. Meeting new teachers, learning new routine, and meeting new friends, I can’t wait to be surrounded by this environment again. The continuous passion for learning, letting your imagination and creativity run, and then using different media to express yourself- these are all things I have missed. No matter where I am or which curriculum is being implemented, I feel the children and teacher’s passion for exploration. It drives me and I can’t wait to see how other schools around the UK are like. I can’t help but compare school systems, it makes me appreciate certain things about each country’s educational programme. It makes me miss my co-workers, my whanau, but I am excited to make lasting partnerships with the new families.
I know from this moment on, I have a lot to learn. I am grateful for those people that get out of their way to show me the ropes. It pushes me to do better and motivates me to learn from my mistakes. After reading this blog post by Becoming Minimalist, I now know to stop the comparisons and just aim at getting better. I shall leave you with a quote from the post:
“We ought to strive to be the best possible versions of ourselves—not only for our own selves, but for the benefit and contribution we can offer to others. Work hard to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Commit to growing a little bit each day. And learn to celebrate the little advancements you are making without comparing them to others”
"Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it" That’s what I always tell myself. Coming to a new country, everything just seems new. The UK may seem very similar to NZ, and yet people here do so many things differently. From the way they segregate the recycling to the way people stand on an escalator (on the tube stations), there are a lot of quirky things that the british do that sets them apart from the rest of the world. How lucky am I that I get to learn about all of these for a couple of years?!? I count myself very lucky. That’s why I am going to make sure I try everything and anything under this gray, damp British sky.
One of the things I enjoy is eating. Although I promised myself that I would be more thoughtful about what I eat (original plan was go back to being pescetarian), I can’t help but give in to the opportunity to try food cooked by people from another country. I’m glad I did because I enjoyed every single bite of the beef/lamb spicy stew prepared by my new friends from Zimbabwe and the smoky aubergine dip that my new Romanian friend prepared. It made me recall a blog post I read, where it says one of the ways you can be a tourist in your own town is to try new food and, if you are brave enough, to try and make it yourself. So off I went to try and make the same roasted aubergine dip, which was a success!
Another activity I love, next to eating, is exercising. SInce it became part of my healthy lifestyle, I just can not live without constant spurts of workout at least 3 times a week. A new country means a new home gym. It also meant new classes to try and new equipment to explore. This FitnessFirst gym might be smaller than my old one, but it has a lot of character. I can already see it through the people that go to the gym and that attend the classes. Exploring London has given me motivation to run it’s tourist spots. Now that I started my #eatworkoutwander and #whoruntheworld project, if I go to a tourist place,I instantly check it out to see whether I can run around it. This project is going to be so much fun. I cant wait to #runLondon !!!
There might be some truth to “Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it”. I now think everyone should try things twice, before they knock it. After all, the first time you do try something new, your unfamiliarity clouds your judgement, makes you unsure and may ruin your first experience. So give things another chance to prove your first impression right or wrong. Have you tried anything new lately?
Finding my way
Curiosity and wanderlust are often what drives people to travel. We hear stories of places we have never been to. The stories are full of adventures of unique experiences, beautiful places, delicious food and interesting people. We read about paradise online and dream of heading there to get away, even for a brief period of time. I am one of those people bitten by the travel bug. I am driven to see these places, eat these food and be amongst these different cultures.
To experience something out of the ordinary, one must leave their comfort zone. We can plan as much as we could at home, from accommodation, transportations and activities thanks to technology. But as soon as we hit the road, there are so many variables that hit you and lead you astray from your itinerary. It happens to the best of us at one point of our lives. What defines a person is how he/she deal with this set back. My current holiday is full of those set backs- some unforeseeable and some due to disorganization or bad time management. I’ve experienced problems while hiring a rental car, booking cruises, local traffic, telecommunication usage, camera, taking the wrong subway and dealing with me and my travel buddy’s different interests. With each adversity, I try my best to get back “on course”, such as calling the proper authorities, taking detours, giving in to my travel buddy’s wishes, or just rushing to get to places on time. I have realised there are so many little problems that you would encounter but one needs to learn how not to stress about the small things. If it is not important, why let the mood of the day be destroyed by this problem? If you have tried your best to right the wrong, why beat yourself up for it or point fingers to see who’s to blame? If it not the perfect camera angle, why keep on taking the picture instead of just being in the moment? With my travels, I have also realised how important it is to see things and feel things instead of trying to document it and losign the moment altogether. If it can wait, why waste experiencing the moment instead of trying to immortalise the moment on social network? Who are we really doing it for? Why are we doing it?
In my travels, I have realised there are so many possibilities. Nowadays we are spoilt with choices of food, activities and company. But like everything else in life, you have to stop and ask yourself, what is really important? Is it necessary? Would it make you happy or are you just trying to make yourself busy? It takes courage to try something new, or to finally push yourself to do something you have only dreamed of doing before. So I had to choose which food, activities and experiences suit my goals and are something that I truly enjoy. I love food and had so much fun trying different cuisines with every stop- Tahiti, LA, Miami and New York. I had to make sure I made healthy choices and also when to just treat myself. I also love being on the go and working out, so I had to make sure I made time for workouts when it is suitable. WIth capturing moments, I also told myself, “You can stop and smell the roses” If there is enough time to enjoy the moment as well as capture it, go ahead and go hard. Often times, when I went running I would stop to just look and snap. After all, photography is one of the things I love doing. It is probably one of the only art forms I can express myself in. At the same time, to continually take the same shots to get the right angle is just not me. My travel buddy is more like that and I know it bothers her if the right shot was not taken so I just did what made her happy. “Dont worry, be happy” says a lot about my attitude.
With each set back in my travel, I am amazed by people’s kind hearts and hospitality. From the rental car staff who tried his best to get me on the roads of LA; to new and old friends and family that let us in to their own home, fed us and helped is with every way they could; to the conductress that let me stay on the train when my ticket got lost; to the hotel staff that let us check in early, check out late and store our bags while we wandered; and many more. I am so lucky and grateful to have encountered those people. It strengthens my faith in humanity. It warms my heart and also makes me feel like I am a part of a welcoming family of souls with the goal of helping each other out. It reminds me to be kind to those in need and lend a helping hand when I can. It brought me back to the afternoon when a travelling couple in Auckland were having trouble paying for their roadside parking. I paid for their tickets and said “I am also going to be a traveller soon, and when that time comes, I hope people will be as good to me too. Just enjoy your stay”.
Wandering to different places also made me appreciate what I had at home. A lot of things reminded me of the family and friends back home. I miss them already. It is great to reminisce on good times and feel like you would want to share that moment with someone because you know they would have enjoyed it. A wish that’s impossible for the moment, but I know I must move on. I know it is my responsibility to make sure I keep in touch with family and friends, and keep my roots.
In life, we often get lost, we take wrong turns, go the opposite way to our destination, take a detour or sometimes just break down on the road. I now know not to sweat the small stuff, enjoy the simple moments and to not be afraid of going the long road. It teaches you to problem solve and actually works for the better. It pushes you to experience things that wouldn’t have been possible if you stuck to your itinerary. It has taught me that life is too short, so we must do more of what truly makes us happy.