Grow

In education, there is this idea of a growth mindset. The philosophy is this; students are rewarded not solely on a finished product or meeting a goal. In place of this praise for “getting an A”, or doing something at a certain level, students are praised on their effort, their ability to persevere, and for making progress, no matter how small. The language used is vastly different than the simple “excellent” or “good job”. You need to help your students be mindful of where they were, make simple realistic goals they can hopefully meet, and show them how much they have learned and achieved since the beginning. The language in these scenarios is specific “wow, look at that! last month you read 25 sight words, this month you can read 30, you must be practicing and reading a lot.”

I had a few interesting days in the past few weeks, culminating in 2 vastly different, yet similar in one way, conversations. They both left me feeling peaceful, which is turn made me reflect (living that LP)! haha. The first conversation was with my brother, Tim. Simple, short, and sweet, he was just checking in and it was so nice. It makes me want to put more effort into remaining in more frequent contact with the family, especially if I am not visiting in the near future, which is looking more likely to be the case, but who knows what will happen. The second was to be honest with someone about where I am, and what I need at the moment. I was worried about this conversation, how the other person would take it, if they would be upset. The products of repeated putdowns don’t go away easily, and this is truly challenging for me. But to my surprise, it was fine. They even congratulated me on being so straightforward and honest to not only them, but to myself. With this not only did I feel peace, but I felt strength. Like I shouldn’t worry to share what I really think, need, feel, especially if I do it from a place of peace and not hurt. Which is what brought me to growth. This person made a joke about me “growing up” haha. But really, he wasn’t too far off base. We all are still “growing up”, even if we are 31 and have been independently living for 16 years. I am beyond exhausted, but in light of the joy this night brought me I got these words in my head:

Growth

Like a toddler takes their first steps

tentative at first

bold after repeated use

Nothing stops their determination

Fall

Get up

Get hurt

Find comfort

The challenge has been set

They won’t stop until they succeed

A child learner to use a pencil

random lines

change to letters

form words

communicate

Life is a process

You will fail

But in that failure

Growth

You’re a work in progress

You learning your identity

Sometimes you forget

like when you fall in love

2 lives meld

2 lives separate

You have to remember who you were before

You blend the two and learn

Growth

you’re a work in progress

How to use your voice

even if you were silenced

Now you know you can shout

if you need to.

Growth

You’re a work in progress

You learn

How to be true to who you are

based on your terms

not insults

not lies

not disappointments

not false compliments

Sometimes you will regress

But you will always continue

to be kind

to be honest

to be nurturing

to be forgiving for your faults

Growth

You’re a work in progress

You travel

you explore

you get lost

you find your way

you meet new people

some kind

some not so

You learn

Growth

You’re a work in progress

You learn to control your mindset

You become positive

strive to improve

learn new things

Focus on the good

Life will happen

You will  be negative

You put yourself down

You feel sorry for yourself

But you refocus

you say a pep talk

you remember you’re awesome

you see your growth

and realize

The beauty of growth

there is no limit

there is no glass ceiling

your efforts

will bring you endless opportunities

love

joy

adventure

intrigue

knowledge

pleasure

memories

excitement

friendships

with a cost

sadness

loss

pain

illness

stumbles

When this happens

remind yourself

you have been through a lot

you survived

life is good

keep searching

who know

This makes life, life.

mysterious

beautiful

Don’t give yourself a goal

None of us should ever be “grown”

be open

challenge yourself

Grow

Me first

So I am back. I’ve not written in a little bit, but hopeful that I will make more of an effort to do so now. It’s been a rough little while here, but slowly the clouds are parting. I’ve been feeling such intense emotions, almost like grief, but the fog is beginning to lift and I noticed, yet again, that I am forgetting me. I am forgetting that ultimately I live within my body, day in and day one, and will until I am no longer present on this Earth.

It’s such a natural state for me to take care of others. Whenever the opportunity arises, I am typically there with a helping hand, even if I am so tired, so anxious, so everything else in that moment. I procrastinate, but typically when it comes to self-care. Why do people do this?

After my marriage ended, my journey of self-discovery really highlighted the need to put me first and remember that I need to be my number one supporter in life. I need to project myself positively, love me, take of me, so that I can really do what I love: take care of others. And I accomplished a lot. I am more kind to myself, and more aware of how I need to care for myself, and why it is immensely important to do so.

But it also so easy to forget.

This month marks one year that I split with Thomas, and maybe I am punishing myself for an unknown offense, like it was my fault entirely for the break-up. I wasn’t “enough” for him to want to make it work. Yet, I also know, when I think objectively, that this thinking is nothing but bullshit. haha.

So we go back to where I began 6 years ago. I am going to back to loving me, dating me, taking care of me. Remembering that I am enough, and that I deserve far more than I have been giving myself. That I am a person who needs daily care and first and foremost this care needs to come from me.

I love you all, and I am not going to forget or “NOT HELP” you, but if I go on radio silence for a while, this is the reason. I need to feel whole, happy, content, and productive in my day in order to find the energy to help you and not feel like I need to sleep for 100 years like Mr. Van Winkle.

 

Keep in touch and I hope all have a positive and safe holiday and New Year!

conflicted

Confliction is a fact of life. You know you should eat healthy yet you bargain with yourself that the one bowl of ice cream won’t hurt too badly. If your lucky, then conflict in your life can be easily negotiated. A compromise can be made. A solution, even if one you didn’t fully see in the beginning will appear. It is a much different case when the conflict is within yourself. When it is between your heart and your brain. In some ways the saying is true, time heals all wounds. And some things you must relinquish to time. Trusting that it will get easier. And it does. You make new plans, you begin to enjoy your days and know you will eventually get over it. But the thorn remains. You just begin to accept it. There are moments that just bowl you over. Dreams that you neither call upon nor want that appear in your sleeping hours that make you wake with a smile until reality dawns and you remember it will never be like that. How do you hope for something new? When your heart has not yet agreed with your realistic mind that something more may wait somewhere in the future? I guess you just trust and practice patience. 

Cut, Maintain, and Regrow

If you’d have asked me this day last year what I would be doing today, the answer was simple. I would have been living with Thomas on the campsite in Retz. I would have been looking for more ways for me to get a visa to be with my love. Spending my days with his family, having bbq’s, walking around his property, helping with preparing for the fall by cutting wood. I would have been happy. When our relationship ended 7 months ago, I didn’t even think about this summer or what I would do for 2 1/2 months while school was out. I was top busy focusing on work, determined that my coming to Albania was going to help me pursue my career, even if that didn’t end with me teaching in Austria. But I do believe that everything, and everyone, happens for a reason. In the midst of that heartbreak, I was hosting a surfer from the carolinas named Katherine. She told me about a program called wwoofers and how she volunteered in Ireland on an organic farm. The seed (hahaha) was planted at that point. This was a way for me to be productive, learn something new, and still be able to travel. It would also give me the added bonus of “living” in Ireland, and find out if I could call this place home.

My life is in a turning point. I love traveling and exploring the world and the past 5 years of bouncing around have been truly life altering. However, I am not the same person that I was after my divorce. I am not running away from something anymore. I want to run towards something. I’m ready to find that place that makes sense, the puzzle piece that tells me this is where I should plant my roots. I will still travel, explore, investigate, and work for understanding of others. I just want a permanent home to do it from in the meantime. I want to raise a family, even if it is just me and my child. So I will travel now not only for adventure, but with a new filter. Can I live here and be happy for an extended period of time? Would I be happy raising my child here? Is it easy enough for us to leave and explore other places in summer and on holidays?

I love Albania, the people are kind hearted and the country is beautiful. I can see myself loving my time there, gaining wonderful memories over the next several years, and leaving with a piece of Albania in my heart. However, I also know Albania will not be my forever home. Culturally, we are very different and some of these differences will prevent me from becoming permanently based there.

Anyways, back to my summer. I am volunteering for a lovely couple, Cliona and Conor Dooge. They won their property at auction back in 2000 and moved into a property that was overgrown, wild, and teeming with potential. It consists of their main house called the rectory, named after the fact that it was the home of the local rector from the village church. It has a little creek running through the property and has “the island”, a large field completely surrounded by ponds, with lily pads, or the creek with access from the house with a cute little red bridge.
Now to the gardens, where my fun begins. They have a poly tunnel where grow their herbs and small veggies. Around the corner from this, they have their raised beds. Currently, these beds are being used to make compost. They have a walled garden that is filled with various fruit bushes and trees. Here, Cliona grows apples, black currants, raspberries,figs, st. John’s wort, sweet pea, mint, gooseberries, lettuces, horseradish, ajd multitudes of roses. Spread throughout the rest of the property you will see many flower beds that are all also organic.
My day consists of weeding the beds, mulching, harvesting fruit, playing and feeding her 2 adorable pups, Sky; a German Shepard, and Scout, a collie mix. I also take care of her 5 hens. If she still had pigs, I would also take of them, but her last sow passed 2 years ago.

The work is hard and I can feel my muscles working all day. I am loving being outside all day, and knowing I am helping things to grow is a wonderful experience. When I am digging or pulling, my minds quiets and I feel so at peace. This feeling is rarely interrupted, unless Sky jumps on me to play through out the day. Hahahaha. I am letting go of the things in my life, like my relationship, that I no longer have control over. I am weeding these parts of my life, just like the dandelion that threatens to take over a garden. Then comes the pruning, the removal of the unneeded. With this, the roses are able to bloom beautifully when they are ready. I know that now I am in right in the middle of this in my current life….a kind of maintenance phase. But when the new buds bloom, they will grow tall, be healthy and bloom into something truly astonishing.

What can we do?

So from half a world away, I read about the events that happened at Pulse. A place I have spent nights dancing at with friends. I am waiting. I am waiting to see who is among the people who lost theirs lives because they wanted to go out and have a little fun. Maybe I know them, maybe I don’t. But that is not the point. At this point, I don’t want to talk about Christians, Muslims, guns, terrorism, or any of that. Because in all honesty, this isn’t the solution to the problem plaguing the whole planet right now.

I want to talk about intolerance. This is the root of our problem. People, in general, are so scared, intimidated, and intolerant of anything that different from themselves. We don’t talk about our differences nearly enough in order to gain knowledge and understanding. People belittle, hate, and fear far too easily. The back and forth I see on social media is driving me mad. I don’t care what anyone says about my feelings on gun control (although I hate guns with a passion and would jump for joy the day that proper guns restrictions are put in place). But we are living in a world that breeds ignorance and bigotry. This isn’t an American problem or a middle east problem or any one place problem. It is a global problem. One way to help counteract this is through education. Educating our children on compassion, love, respect, and a general moral code. That is NOT okay to hate someone you’ve never met. It is not your place to harm others and then escape your responsibility because something was done “in the name of God”. That isn’t our burden. We need to come together and make honest efforts to relate to each other. In the end, we are so much more similar than we are different.

Today is a day that I am so amazingly proud to be an educator. That hopefully, I can reach some of my students and help them be proud to be a member of the human race and how truly beautiful that can be if we worked together to build peace, instead of slaughtering people in cold blood because of how they choose to live their lives. That through education and battling ignorance, we may help to make improvements to a world that is screaming for help.

These men and women were not hurting anyone. They are truly innocent bystanders that lost their lives in one of the most horrific ways imaginable. But they are our brothers and sisters.¬† They are our family. Not someone’s family, but our own. Changes to that ideology need to be made at such a basic level. We are one people and the world is in a civil war against each other. We need to lay down our weapons, lay down our hateful rhetoric, abandon our fear, and work together. There are such generally good, peaceful, beautiful human beings in the world. There are also monsters. This is in every place on Earth. We can cower in fear, ignorance, and hatred and allow this to continue by reacting to this with more violence, or we can do our part to make the world a safer place.

I, for one, refuse to stop living my life and trying to meet the truly amazing people that inhabit my home, planet Earth, because of these actions. I refuse to hate someone I have never met and hasn’t cause any harm. I refuse to name call and belittle people based solely on their beliefs. I refuse to live in fear. I will get up every day and smile at strangers, tell them I hope they have a great day, and help people in any way that I possibly can.

People are now screaming for more laws, more regulations, and more restrictions. On some of these points, I agree. But this in reality is merely a bandaid to our bigger problem. Fear, hatred, violence, every negative -ism on the face of the planet. Wake up and realize that in order to really make a dent in this problem, we need to be brave, compassionate, open-minded, tolerant of differences, and actively seeking peace in our lives.

I am still waiting on this list. From half a world away, with eyes burning, and mind clouded with exhaustion. But I am also so grateful. That I can see, now more than ever, how precious every life is, and that I will get the chance to see my loved ones in a few weeks and hold them close to me once more. I suggest everyone do the same. Let go of past grudges that are only there for the sake of your pride and ego. Let’s push out more love into the world and see what happens.

 

Peace, Love, and Light

Wendi

SOL: Taking stock

I realized today that it has been more than one month since the SOL challenge and I haven’t really written. In some ways I guess this is a good thing. I’ve been busy……

 

Loving myself

Imagining

Visualizing my future

Investing in me

Not focusing on the negative

Going forward

I rescued a dog this past month. I’ve named her Maddie and in many ways she reminds me of myself. She is beat up and bruised with a bad left hip. In the hip department we are twins. 2016-04-26 20.04.01

What a responsibility! She, sadly, has many problems and we are working on fixing her up. But really, she isn’t a bother, and it is nice to have her waiting for me at home with a wagging tail. I am excited for the day that she is fully vaccinated and I can begin taking her around the neighborhood. But for now, it is training to not go in the kitchen and just keeping her comfortable. After spending months eating trash and sleeping under cars, I think it is the least she deserves.

I’ve been enjoying doing all things PYP. If you asked me what I expected from PYP curriculum when I first began learning about the curriculum and the philosophy behind it, it is so similar to what I am experiencing. It is hard, challenging, exhausting, but oh so rewarding. I get be a kid with my kids and help them learn things through doing it. It’s not perfect at my school, not by any means. We are new, we are lacking many resources I would love to have, but as a whole, I am in heaven. My kids are motivated and opinionated. They know how to work hard and be silly. I think I did a pretty rock on job for my first time teaching with PYP, and I have a mile long list of things I want to tweak for next year….so I forsee a big working summer, which is ok. But after Turkey, I was dreaming of a school and position that really ignited that passion for teaching again. PYP is it! It also helps that my coworkers are awesome.

Current stock of my life…..:

Job to keep me busy and fulfilled? check

Way to many plans for the near future? check

Strategies to make these plans reality? check

Good friends and family near and far that make my heart happy? check

money in the bank? check

clothes on my back? check

No, my life isn’t “traditional”. I don’t see myself ever moving home, getting married, and raising a family there. But my life is me, in all of its chaotic splendor and I am embracing it!

 

Our final post for SOL: Embarrassing Moment

I can’t believe how much fun I had this month completing the slice of life challenge. It’s been a good way for me to come up with new ideas about writing and I’ve definitely enjoyed sharing slices of my life with people from all over the world.

Considering tomorrow is April Fool’s I thought I would post a slice of an embarrassing moment. Something to hopefully make you laugh when you read it.

I woke up late that morning and was in a super mad dash to get to class. The professor I had that semester, I can’t even remember his name, was extremely strict about getting to class on time. I’d been late twice due to traffic and road repairs in the area, and if I was late one more time I’d be withdrawn from the course.

I pulled some clean clothes from the dryer, got dressed, and rushed through the rest of my morning routine, brushing my teeth while I poured coffee in my travel mug. I ran out the door 10 minutes after I woke, praying I would make it on time.

Luckily, the day was nice and traffic was surprisingly light for this time in the morning. I pushed the speed limit until I made it to the school. My next challenge being finding a parking space somewhere in the vicinity of my building. I’m not having much luck and I can feel the sweat trickling down my neck as I continue to search as the minutes tick on.

Just when I think it is hopeless, BINGO! A space opens and swing my Scion in the spot grabbing my bags as I turn the car off and jumping. I have 6 minutes to race across the campus and get to the class. With a quick apology to my short little legs, I begin to speed walk/ run.

All through the parking lot I am going as fast as possible. I reach the neighboring building a cut a tight turn towards my building when I run into someone hard enough that we both fall to the ground. Looking around I grab everything within sight as I pour apologies to the person I just body checked.

Annnnd then I look up…holy smokes!

I am pretty sure I am looking at a future movie star, that man was so hot! Just my luck, I am thinking as my face burns like red hots. He laughs, tells me not to worry, and we go on our ways.

Nervously, I check my watch and am relieved to see I can still make it if I go right now. I apologize again and begin to walk off.

“Miss, I think you dropped this.”

I turn just in time to see him bending over to pick up something from the ground…….

A pair of my polka dot panties!!!!! They had statically stuck to my pants that I pulled from the dryer.

We both realize what it is at the same time and as he pulls a hot potato and goes to drop it and my hand reaches out to snag it. I am aware that I must look like a tomato by now, shove them in my pocket and run to class.

There were at least 2 positives to the day:

  1. I made it to class with seconds to spare.
  2. The panties were clean.

 

I hope this made you giggle a bit and you have fun fooling your kids in class!