long time no post

Tis mid-August.


I’m finishing up my summer contract at UBC’s English Language Institute.  It’s been generally part-time-ish for seven weeks, so no great money.  But a pleasant atmosphere and great colleagues and boss.

“There will be no work here this fall,” announced boss at a meeting last week.  This didn’t surprise, well, me, because I know the ways now.  And I am no longer working on the Masters because there are no jobs in doing that and etc.  But I could feel a general letdown in the room.

All these Masters in TESOL folks and nowhere to go.

Not true, most seem to have somewhere to go, including returning to the worst school I’d worked at in 15 years of teaching a couple of years ago.  Great hourly pay but toxic students and management (trust me).  So I blurt out to the teacher who tells me that, “Oh boy, that was the worst school I’ve worked at in 15 years.  Toxic students and staff.”

I apologized for my intensity later.  “Tis okay,” she said.

So three years in and I’m still unemployed a lot.  Oddly, my bank is offering me a $9,000 line of credit (which I am not taking, hello) so they must know something I don’t know, doo da, doo da.  Good to know it is there though and yes, I know about the interest situation.

To survive, I figured I need about $blank a year.  I’ve somehow made that much all ready this year.  To survive mind you, not like to buy stuff other than food and the like.  Somehow, I’ve managed to save a bit of money as well.  It won’t be fun dipping into the savings but I’ve known it was coming.

I’ve somehow fallen into job after short term job but I’m not feeling like that is necessarily what will happen in September.  Oy.  And I haven’t had my teeth cleaned in over two years, that kind of thing.

Same old story I’ve been repeating for three years now.  And as I get more afraid, I get more afraid.  I don’t want to end up so afraid that I can’t move.  Close sometimes.  Close.

Part of me wants to chuck it and go to Spain.  Shake it off in Spain or somewhere like that.

Probably not though.

I spent a lot of time alone this weekend – partly choice as there were a few things I could have gone to.  But . . . nah.  Yeah, kinda stuck.

The weather has gotten warm again so I swam in the mighty waters of Kitsilano Pool.  That was good.  That was very very good.  Might have a pool meeting with someone or two tomorrow afternoon and that is also good.

Oddly, I’m being observed tomorrow for two hours by two head teachers.  Well, not odd really, tis part of what they do up there at UBC.  I have been observed a whole lot in my career and it never gets fun.  We are asked what we would like advice on, so I took them up on that, gave a few specifics.  My class this month are 15 silent young and overwhelmed and low level English Japanese students so an interesting time to be observed.  Last month I had much more talkative folks.  What can you do.

When I’m out and about with people and have something to focus on, my brain does much better that is for sure.  Gentle to self always A.T. reminds me and then tells me about the great and unfortunately too early late John O’Donohue.  Irish Catholic, his voice entrances.  A.T. is a Buddhist so I like that she knows for Christian mystics.

I used to work with a lovely and whip smart fellow who has a great blog.  In a recent post, he writes about Tolstoy writing about the Kingdom of God – great stuff – http://www.arashworld.blogspot.com.  Tis folks like you, I comment, that keep me from throwing out the Bible.  I wouldn’t have thought he was interested in that kind of stuff.  But I’m learning.

When I posted on FB about O’Donohue, he mentioned that he liked his work.  Excellent.

I spend a lot of free time thinking about how hard it is to be me sometimes.  Hmmm, that is self-obsessive and probably depressed but there it is.

And so I’m still reading, thank goodness. Caroline Adderson’s latest book is set to come out tomorrow I think.  And the fall brings lots of good books.  Fabulous I say.  My brain works thusly:  I am working for two more weeks so I can still buy a book or two.  Yes, libraries, yes I am all about VPL, NVPL and the like.  Indeed.  In fact, the one thing that makes my two hundred hour transit journey from UBC to my North Van. GP on Tuesday afternoon is the North Van. city library.  Indeed.  But I get a vague high is the thing.  If I find an excellent book and get it, I’m like phew.  Connected to dopamine in the brain or something.

Or something.

I have finished finally teaching the Bodhi meditators.  They rarely showed up for class and I found out that they got the class for free (can’t say how or why though, oh the mystery).  It was frustrating.  But then they gave me an orchid that I haven’t killed yet, knock wood, a box of chocolates and a lovely card signed by most, some of whom rarely attended.  Jenna came to every class though and she wrote (she is bit flowerly as can happen):  “Thanks a lot for your great teaching.  Even though we have encountered the poor attendance; you have performed all classes so productive and creative. You are a very professional, kind, full-hearted and hard working teacher, to whom I’m respect.  From the bottom of my heart, I need to say thank you very much.”

I don’t include the grammatical errors for any mean reason – just want to do a bit of word for word there.  The professional comment was interesting since I showed up for every class in shorts and spent a few minutes complaining about the lack of attendance.  William also came to every class.  He did a couple of presentations on how to Bodhi meditate and his voice is so relaxed I nearly fell asleep.

The lovely linguistics professor showed up for the last class and gave a short lecture for his presentation on some second language learning theories.

“Don’t want to bore you,” he said.

“God no,” I said, “I am finding this fascinating.”  I was.   I love learning.  Nice humble guy.  He and his wife are opening (yet another ) Chinese secondary student cram school in Richmond.

Jenna gave a presentation on life vests, as she is a life vest designer.  Who knew?  I did not know.

I’m hoping there will be a course or two running this fall at Langara – it is not enough to pay any bills really but it keeps my brain going.

On Wednesday, my mom will have been, well, dead for eight months.  Still blows my mind sometimes.

So yeah, check out my former colleague’s blog.  Oh and I enjoy this one:  http://elizabethaquino.blogspot.ca/  Not sure how I stumbled upon her blog, might have been one evening when I googled, ‘my child is severely disabled.’  I know, right, why do I do that.  Uh well.  She is a good writer though and a tired warrior for her daughter.  Let me know what you think.



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