Who Are You?

If you try to put your personality into words you might find it harder then you think to encompass everything that you are. That is because you have depth. You were born with a personality and certain behavior patterns will follow you throughout your life from that and your early experiences, but there is more to you then that. There is a plethora of experiences that have added up to shape you and make you who you are today.

Now and Then

I’m smiling in the picture, but you can also tell that I’m tired. This photo was taken right at the beginning of another stretch of teething symptoms. On top of that I had finally cleared the “first trimester” nausea that had persisted well into my second trimester. With a burst of energy and motivation I had ambitiously signed up for a writing course and started the application process for a new online teaching position! With teething came earlier mornings, busier days (my son gets this weird energy when he’s teething) and bigger meltdowns.

Getting Up: Life With a Toddler

Felix is lying with his face on his pillow. His skin is red and blotchy from crying giving the impression that he has just had a severe allergic reaction to something, and his blue eyes are puffy. When he sees me he springs to his feet, “Hi,” he says, a huge grin on his face.

“Good morning,” I reply walking over to his crib and pulling on the string next to the window to open the blinds. Felix points out the window in excitement, “Do you see your house?” I ask.

So you want to write about yourself, but what are you writing

Congratulations on partaking in one of the most meaningful and challenging journeys of your life as you write your story down on paper. You know you want to write about your life, and you may, or may not know if your end goal is to have a private record for your family/ friends, or a published book. Regardless it is nice to be able to explain to those closest to you exactly what is eating up all of your time. Naming your project will also help you find more relevant advice on how and where to start.

Memories and Global Events

We were a bunch of teenagers stuck on a bus together for 24 hours. Some of us had decided to stay up all night, while others opted to attempt to sleep in their cramped seats. Kailey and I probably pulled a few too many pranks on our coach than necessary, but he managed to prank us back, so I felt like we were even. It was the spring of 2005, I was sixteen years old and I was so excited to go to Florida for the track and field meet. At the time Florida seemed so distant and exotic. I watched out the bus window as the snow became less and less, until the sun went down, and I remember waking up to green grass and bushy trees full of leaves. Once I was up, I returned vigilance to the window, watching the changing landscape and completely amazed by my first glimpses of palm trees! Kailey tried to climb one at our rest stop, but it had a spiky trunk and she did not make it very far.

A walk in the rain: The secret local walk

The path curved around the outside of the high cliffs, prickly cacti growing sideways off the rocks. “Ahhhh!” my one year old, Felix, would scream in a high pitched squeal of delight every time we saw a cat, which were plentiful along the path. We had started the trail from the parking lot that sat just below the Palamidi Castle. There had been a camper van parked there, full of kids, laundry hanging to dry on the outside. I was tempted by the idea of renting a camper and making a road trip of our time in Greece.

Traveling With a Baby Checklist

After several miserable attempts at adventuring with our one year old where one or all of us ended up short tempered, over hunger, and/ or crying, I scribbled a checklist reminder down in my travel journal. It is so easy to get so caught up in trying to see all of the sights and forget about the things that really matter. Because of this checklist we ended up doing a lot less then we had originally planned. That simply forced us to prioritize the things we really wanted to do, and gave us time for small adventures and little moments.

CATS: Exploring Epidaurus.

Cats were the first thing we noticed as our car came to a halt in the parking lot of Epidaurus historic sight. Cats that were lounging on the edge of the parking lot, or spread out across the pavement lifted their heads to watch our car approach. Stretching, their unblinking eyes fixed on our vehicle, all at once they got up, and slunk in towards us from every direction. By the time we had the doors open the whole glaring of cats surrounded us. There must have been 20 or 30 of them, and clearly they had come to associate tourists with food. Felix was delighted! At one and a half, he had a near obsession with cats, and here there was a whole bunch of cats close enough for him to reach out and grab with his pudgy fingers.

An inside look at a VIPKid In-Person Coaching event

The underground metro screeches to a halt on a Saturday morning. The doors open and a scattering of individuals enter the train. It’s quiet, a sharp contrast from Toronto commuter morning rush during the week. About midway down the train a woman in a bright orange with the letters V-I-P-K-I-D written in bold white print down the arm, finds a seat. She rides the train all the way down to Union Station, right in the heart of downtown Toronto. The CN tower peaks through the tall buildings that surround her. She is an orange speck on the city streets. She walks to Wellington street. The building she enters towers up towards the sky, and on a brick wall in silver lettering, says 95 Wellington West. “Hello, I’m one of the coaches for the V-I-P-kid training event,” she informs the security guard at the front desk. She rides up to the fourteenth flour. As she begins setting up the room for the fast pass event, she takes a moment to glance out the window, enjoying the little adrenaline rush she feels looking straight down on the street below.

Palamidi Castle: winning the Greek revolution

In 1715 Fortress Palamidi was captured by the Turks, continuing the rule of the Ottomon Empire in the area (Papathanassiou). 1821 was the beginning of the Greek revolution, and the leaders of the revolution saw Palamidi as a stronghold that could give them a seat for the government. Palamidi was put under siege, and the though the attempts to storm the fortress failed, the Turks were unable to re-supply and began to starve (Papathanassiou). The Turks agreed to surrender if they were not relieved within 25 days (Phillips & Walter, 1897, pp. p.96-107).

Living on Greek Time

It has taken us a long time to adjust to these hours, especially since my VIPkid hours have me working until around 4:00 pm local time. We would try and go into town after work only to find it a ghost town! The shops would finally be opening up again as we headed back home to make dinner. We also made the mistake of trying to buy diapers on a Sunday. We were on our way to Olympia, and we figured it would be easy to stop in at a store on route. Every store we came across was closed! We were down to our last four diapers! We ended up finding a small family run convenience store that was open and had diapers, but the frantic search definitely added a twist to our adventure that we had not anticipated!

The Parthenon for kids

My husband’s name is Nate, and my name is Jenn. We have a one year old son named Felix. Nate and I really love Greek history and mythology. We were able to find jobs online that would let us spend some time traveling. The first place we went to was Athens. Greece has a lot of hills and mountains, so we stayed in a small apartment that was only one hill away from the Parthenon, a temple for the Goddess of wisdom and war, named Athena. (Greek Gods & Goddesses, 2019).

Writing Culturally Appropriate Parent Feedback

“Ok, bye bye star!” I said, trying to lock the child in his chair with my gaze through my computer screen. I was teaching my online ESL student Alan again. For a long time he was my most loyal regular. I started teaching him shortly after beginning with the company, and he signed up for five to seven classes a week. Although Alan behaved well when his mom was in the room, as soon as she left, out came the toys. Today Alan had pulled his yellow sweater right up over his head, so instead of a student looking back at me, I was staring at a yellow blob. “Uh oh Alan! Look! Only two stars!”

Exploring The Acropolis: the Parthenon, the birth place of Greek plays, and the invasion of Erouloi

Seeing the acropolis at night was an unexpected treat, and a view of the famous site devoid of crowds that not everyone gets. We were moving on to Nafplio the next day, and check out was at two, so we had enough time to go back when the acropolis was open. We had been discussing whether or not to go back, as we felt we had seen it all the night before, but we decided it was worth it. Despite very little sleep, Nate was up making breakfast early enough for us to get out and back before our 2 pm checkout. 

Experiencing Local Culture: a lazy day in Athens

“Careful, careful!” a vendor said to Nate as he ducked below the overhanging tent roof of the fruit stand. Nate had our one year old, Felix in a backpack carrier. Nate is already 6’4”, and Felix stuck up a few inches above his head. The street market was full of locals out buying big bags of fresh produce. There was a large variety of fruits and vegetables, but what stood out most to me were the booths were loaded with fresh oranges, tomatoes, olives, and bananas. We walked from one end of the market to the other, surveying the selection and discussing our lunch and dinner plans.

Renting a Car in Athens: the joys of driving in Athens

Nate eased onto the roads, careful to obey the traffic rules and speed signs, as Athenians zoomed past us, motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic! The signs were all in Greek, which we could not read, so the directions on Google map were no good for us. Instead I adapted by saying “Turn left in 500 m, 200 m, 100- must be the next turn!” The stop lights were right above the intersection, making it nearly impossible to see when they turned green if you were at the front of the line up.