For some of you this may come as a surprise: for the past 11 months, I was living in the Canadian capital. But now in less than a week, I will be leaving her for my new life in Poland. But I guess you’re wondering what brought me here in the first place. Why didn’t I blog about my experiences here? The truth is…I just didn’t have the time.
I came to Ottawa to pursue a second masters degree in Applied Linguistics. It seemed like a good idea, and that it would open more doors for me. I had a full scholarship, including a TA position.
However, this seemingly good idea turned out to be a sour one. I soon discovered that I had gotten myself into something way over my head. The workload was very demanding, where I would be holed up either at home or at the library working on research papers and endless readings. Classmates were too busy to socialize, exacerbating the situation. As a result of this time consumption, my WIP got put on hold, my posts stopped appearing, and ultimately I witnessed an attrition of followers – both on social media and my blog. My TA deal wasn’t any better. The professor I was assigned to mistreated me to the point where I had to consult my union.
I began to realize that this quest for a second masters was doomed to failure. I had been in school long enough, and needed to return to the working world. And while I was at least enjoying Ottawa, my next adventure could not include her.
Despite the hardship of my university experience, I managed enjoy all that Ottawa had to offer. It’s truly a unique experience to spend an extended stay in the capital of one’s country. In Ottawa, it’s a big city with a small town feel, where outdoor activities are plentiful all year long! As I prepare to depart my nation’s capital, I reflect on some of the highlights of my time here:
- Skating on the Rideau – dubbed the longest outdoor skating rink in the world. I think every visitor to Ottawa should try it. Just remember it’s not like skating on a regular rink (pretty bumpy).
- Attending Remembrance Day ceremony at National War Memorial – the best part is when I saw the prime minister’s wife from afar!
- Curling – I actually learned to curl last January, and glad I took lessons. Much harder than it seems!
- Bike trails – these I will miss the most! The best one is along the Rideau Canal, where you can bike downtown. I definitely recommend investing in a bike to those planning to live here for an extended period of time.
Many apologies for not sharing my Ottawa experiences with you. It was just burdensome to share something, which for awhile was causing great pain. However, I am definitely looking forward to Poland as I have dreamed of working abroad for many years now.
Until next time!
Now that Christmas is done with, it’s time to look to welcoming 2016. Put on those party hats, bring out the bubbly and make New Year’s Resolutions – again! But before you get excited about watching the ball drop on Times Square, be sure to take the time to bid adieu to 2015.
Remember this time last year when you were making resolutions for 2015? Did you succeed in accomplishing them? Don’t worry if you didn’t; many of us fall off the boat before Valentine’s Day. But how was 2015 for you? Think about all that has happened for you this year. What went well? What didn’t? Was 2015 better or worse than 2014? For some of you, 2015 hasn’t been exactly happy. What with the growth of ISIS, and the terrorist attacks in Paris. Try not to let the global woes cloud your judgement as you reflect on 2015. It’s OK to think about yourself in this context. So how was 2015 for you?
Make a list of all the good and bad things that happened to you this year. What happened this year that you would like to have continue in 2016? What could be improved in the new year?
A number of good and bad things happened to me this year, but for the sake maintaining a happy mood I shall highlight the goods: I visited four new American states (Louisiana, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Mexico). I rode in a hot-air balloon, officially earned my master’s degree in Education, and I finally finished my soon-to-be debut novel, The Burning Night. I have to say that 2015 has been a progressive year for me. I’ve taken risks, tried new things, and my life has been moving forward.
It’s important to reflect on 2015 before she bids us farewell. A way to stop and look around so you don’t….miss it. Where have I heard that expression before? You’ll probably be surprised at what you discover as you reflect on 2015.
It comes now and again: that time when life gets us down. Sometimes we know why and sometimes we don’t. I think it’s really tough when you’re down and don’t exactly know why.
I remember an old song from Monty Python The Meaning of Life and it goes like this: “Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown. And things seem hard or tough. And People are stupid, obnoxious or daft…and you feel that you’ve had quite enooooough! Just remember…”
So what do you do when life gets you down? Well there are so many ways, but rather than tell you the obvious, I’d like to share one way that’s often overlooked.
Think of all the challenges that you’ve overcome, which has made you a stronger person today. Think of one or two challenges that were really tough on you and what you were going through at the time. Then you should recall what steps you took to overcome those challenges and how it changed your life from there.
When you look back on those challenges you remind yourself of how strong you were and how you’re much stronger today. So when those gloomy days come, you can remind yourself of your strength and perseverance. You’ll be able to say, “I’m strong, nothing can beat me! This isn’t so bad.” You’ll feel much better because only you had the power to get through that difficult time in your life.
So in short, when life gets you down do the following:
- recall one or two very challenging moments from your past
- write down what the situation was and how you were feeling at the time
- write down everything you did to overcome it
- what did you learn from that challenge?
- how have those challenges made you a better person?
- say out loud, “I am a champion! I will get through this!”