Category Archives: Random Little Things

The blog is moving! I hope you’ll come, too!

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Thanks so much for following along on my blogging adventures.  I love love writing the blog and I hope some of you find it helpful and/or entertaining.

In order to keep the fun going longer, and give myself a little more creative license, I’ve changed locations.

It’s all the same content, continued, just in a slightly nicer (read: easier) layout.  I hope you’ll stop by and check it out and choose to follow along there instead!

www.gitanalife.com 

If you don’t want to follow along by email (though I hope you will!), you can always check back for posts or find me on facebook, twitter, pinterest, or instagram.  

Hope to see you there!

Blooms, booze, and bathrooms: my 8 favourite things about Korea

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Blooms, booze, and bathrooms: my 8 favourite things about Korea

Each new place and experience has those things that imprint themselves on us.  In a new culture, they end up being the things you’ll always remember clearly and long for years later as you travel to new places.  They are the things that will make you smile and be grateful for your time spent in that place, whether you recall it as a wholly uplifting experience or not. As we prepare to leave, I have been reflecting on the best bits about this strange land and the last year in it.  For me, there are 8 things that stand out as really awesome.

Follow the link to my new and improved blog at gitanalife.com to read the full post!

Denouement

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Denouement

As the Korea chapter of our lives comes quickly to a close, we have been plagued with questions of what to do next.  Where should we go?  Africa?  South America?  Back to Canada?  What should we do?  Is there work for us there?  Volunteer?  Travel?  Here, there, anywhere?!

It’s been exhausting and stressful to have the whole wide world as an option.  I know, LIFE’S HARD 😉

And it’s extra hard when your wants are at war with your needs – we all know what that feels like – and it’s never a fun part of life.  But it IS life.  And so we’ve been back and forth debating the heaviness of our desires with the realities of our current situation.

My dream has long since been to do development work in Africa but I need to work for free, it seems, to get my foot in the door.  That’s hard to do with student debt.  SO, if we head to Africa, our time in Korea would have rewarded us with a trip to Africa…but not really helped us to accomplish any debt relief.  You see the dilemma!?  So it was this that had us going back and forth….and back and forth…and back and forth for what feels like months now (I think it really was months, actually).

All of which is a long-winded way of telling you that we finally have a plan 🙂  And I think at least some of you will be pretty darn excited about it.

Drum roll, please.

We are coming back to Canada!  Exciting, right?!

Now, before we get too ahead of ourselves, you should know upfront that this is not permanent.  We do, however, expect to stay through mid/end August.  We’ll be hanging mostly in Osoyoos (and by ‘hanging’ I naturally mean ‘working our ever-loving a**es off’) but we will get to see all of you!  We are so happy!  Of course ALL of YOU strictly applies to those Canadian friends and family living in the Western part of the country.  I am sorry to report that we will not be doing any side trips to Chile or Australia or Eastern Canada or the US or anywhere else to see our scattered family and friends.  But we will be thinking of you, if that helps 😉

The Plan

Early December Jon is going to head to Johannesburg, South Africa to attend an International Teaching Conference.  I am going to come back to Canada and he will join me about 10 days later.  I’m not sure where we’ll be camped for the month of December…Victoria, Williams Lake or Osoyoos probably (or very likely some combo therein) but January the job hunt will begin in Osoyoos.  Let me know if you hear of some seasonal (Christmas) work in any of those areas, mmmkkaaayyy?

The idea is that Jon gets a teaching contract somewhere awesome (our first choice is somewhere in Africa), and we head there in August to set up camp for two years.  Then I can volunteer/work/look for work/try to get my life together (since I will be 30 by then and my god, will I ever grow up!? Hint: probably not.  That’s boring).  We don’t know where that will be, or IF it will be, and we have contingencies for where and if and when.  But no need to worry about all that for now!  We’ll keep you updated as we know more, of course.  I am nothing if not an over-sharer.

In the meantime, I think it’s going to be great fun documenting our reverse culture shock back in Canada and I am really looking forward to playing the tourist in my own country – especially wine country! – for a while.  The blog posts will continue (they’ll be continuing on a new site…stay tuned for more on that as well) and hopefully continue to entertain you as we fumble our way back into the world we know but definitely don’t remember accurately (culture shock is WEIRD).

There you have it!  Right now we are busy planning our exit from Korea and entrance into Canada (and beyond), so though we would love to start making promises about when and how we can see you all 🙂 we won’t be able to do that just yet.  We ask that you let us get back to Canada first, and then rest assured, we will absolutely make plans to see each and every one of your beautiful faces before we leave again.  You don’t think we’d forget you, do you!?

We are desperately hoping to avoid this horror. Ack!  Snow!

#TBT…We (okay, me) are desperately hoping to avoid this horror upon our return. Ack! Snow!

Daily Positive

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Daily Positive

The interesting thing about only working one job (as opposed to three plus school) is that you find a lot more time to think. And think and think. I have been doing a ton of thinking lately, and it has arguably not all done me any good.  I have been really hard on myself (and Jon sometimes, too). It was as though not being incessantly busy and on the brink of exhaustion at all times was taking a mental toll.

“Why aren’t I learning more/doing more/healthier/thinner/smarter/cleaner/perfect in every way!?”

Gah!  It’s absurd.  And I am sure, all too common.  But you know what?  Something good has come out of me being so hard on myself (though I’m not going to continue down that road – honest!) and that is being forced to brutally confront my penchant to see the negative side of any situation. Sometimes its funny and I do love a good sarcastic laugh. But more often than not, its just lazy. Yes, lazy. As the years went on and I got stressed and depressed, and my empathy became a burden as opposed to a blessing, I got angry. I know this isn’t news to most of you.  But it became my go-to emotion.  The default position.  Neutral.

The thing is, I’ve always felt that deep down I’m a positive person.  Don’t laugh!  Its true :).  And yet I have always been more comfortable with a joke, an insult or even a barbed comment than I have been with sharing (or finding!) the bright side to any situation. I’ve always admired that find-the-upside quality in other people, while simultaneously finding it sort of obnoxious and unrealistic.  I still kinda feel that way.   Like, real life isn’t always positive and upbeat you know!  But I wanna be more like that.  When it comes right down to it, I would prefer to be able to  mock myself for my positive outlook in dire times, rather than ever feel the need to  come down on myself for being pessimistic or negative.  If I’m being really honest, I’m a little afraid I don’t know how to be funny and positive at the same time.  I love absurdity and that often shows up in wtf moments and is basically my trademark humour (I can say I have a trademark humour if I want to!).  This is gonna be a big change!

An extremely big piece of this for me is the fact that I am getting married.  MARRIED.  I mean, forever is a helluva long time, am I right?!  And have you met my fiance?  He is so open and giving and warm.  He’s basically the opposite of me and he’s awesome for it.  He doesn’t close himself off to people, and he never closes himself off to me.  Even when I’m being a dick (which, it might surprise you to learn, I can be pretty regularly 😉 ).  And I got to thinking…a lifetime is a long time to be with someone.  What kind of person would I want him to be with?  I’ll tell you this much – the answer is NOT a negative, pessimistic, bummed out one.  I don’t want that for Jon.  He deserves so much better than that – and so do I!

This isn’t some lightning bolt moment, but rather a simmering storm of about a year, maybe longer.  I have been working on it. I’ve been trying to be better. I’ve had good days and even weeks.  And I have improved a lot.  But when shit gets tough, I revert to my comfort zone – cranky and negative – faster than you can snap your fingers.  And I’d like to be one of those people who can flip that shit on its’ head and have a good laugh.  Laughing is super good for your skin, after all, and that’s what’s important here 😉

So in an effort to help myself with this evolution, I’m sharing it with all of you.  I need to be held accountable.  I’m going to force myself to share one positive thought per day for a year.  Or forever.  I will tweet it.  You can follow me (@cyndmaz), or just check out my tweets when you log on here (see below this post, on the right) if you’re interested.  You’ll get the updates, too, if you’re my friend on facebook.  I’m not going to clog up the blog with my daily positivities, but I am going to force myself to do it and to share it.  I’m also going to minimize the negative posts and give extra thought to what I put out into the world.  It’s not gonna be easy, but it’s gonna be awesome.

Anyone wanna do it with me!?  I could use the extra motivation and I’d love to be inspired by the great in your daily lives, too!

#dailypositive starts today 🙂

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A little reminder for my journey…

Inspiration comes in many forms

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Inspiration comes in many forms

Inspiration comes along in many forms. Sometimes it’s a skype date with someone important, a post on facebook, a random card from a friend, or under the guise of innocuous couchsurfers. Yes, couchsurfers.

I’ve been in a slump. For the first time in my life (well maybe the second or third time or something) I was feeling like maybe I can’t have it all, do it all, see it all, and live the life of my dreams. This is an uncomfortable feeling for me, as you may well imagine. I am nothing if not doggedly determined to do exactly what I want for my life despite the naysayers, the obstacles, and the dips. Being in Korea was meant to be a stepping stone, and while it can and still might be that, it is feeling more like a detour that spits us out nearly at the beginning of the road. Or something. I’m not good at metaphors. I think you catch my drift.

Enter our couchsurfers, Samantha and Eric. Newly married and five months into a THREE YEAR around the world excursion. Yes. And they are doing it all WITH student debt (I hope they don’t mind that I share that!) and WITHOUT having to work along the way (though they might, if the opportunity presents itself – to top up the coffers, so to speak). How amazing is that? They are doing it on a budget but by no means are they dirty, deprived backpackers. They stay in hotels AND hostels (we are their first couchsurf!). They spend about a month in each country so they have enough time to get a real feel for each place. They spent about a year and a half arranging and preparing and saving (while simultaneously planning their wedding!) and meticulously covering all of their bases. And now they’re on the road and making their dreams a reality. I’m blown away by them!

And I realized…they’re doing it. They are doing it and so can we. Maybe we will do it differently (we are already abroad trying to do the savings, etc instead of doing that first) but that can still work. We will do it our own way, but we will make it happen. It seems so simple but I was feeling so low, and just bogged down.

So what am I going to do about it? Well, I’m applying for two jobs this week! I was sticking it out in Korea awaiting a payout that will be unnecessary if I can get a paid position in my field. The whole point was to fund a few months interning or volunteering. But I, for the life of me, cannot understand why I had given up on finding a PAID role instead. It may not happen. But then, it MIGHT. And since when can’t I have whatever I want?! I stopped going after things and allowed everyone to tell me you have to work for free first. But who says that’s the way MY career will pan out? I stopped believing in myself and stopped gaining momentum and got terribly, terribly sad. And it’s no wonder!

I am so excited about getting back on track. I was afraid to tell everyone about the jobs because I figured I wouldn’t get them anyways. I mean, does that even sound like me!? Gah! Silly. I have been trying so hard to be grateful for being in Korea and so very guilty for not really feeling it. But enough of that. I am entitled to whatever feelings my own choices make me feel! I don’t owe anyone anything. I just need to be true to myself (and to Jon). Applying for these jobs, whether I get them or not, has been the most “me” thing I have done in months. Maybe that sounds crazy, but it’s true. I love change, I love adventure, and I do not like sitting like a duck in an unhappy situation. Onward and upward!

SO. One job is in Cusco, Peru – a city I love love love and said that I could live in years ago when I was there. I am basically qualified for the role except that they want my Spanish to be at fluent. And it is not. I am going to try anyways. You never know who will or will not apply to compete with me! Maybe someone with a level of Spanish and an interest in an intensive course upon arrival might just be enough for them. The other role is in Nicaragua and I am very qualified for that role. Like, really qualified. I think I have a real shot at it. It’s a totally bad-ass, hands-on, get dirty, build schools and work with communities, kind of job. Both would be so rad and so amazing for both my life and my career.

And where does Jon factor in to this? Well, we have agreed that moving forward our best bet is to ensure one of us has a paying gig that can support us both, and not to worry too much about which of us that is. The other person will sort it out (not alone, of course, just in conjunction with). We won’t take any jobs that would absolutely hinder the other from finding work in their profession, but it is not entirely realistic to look for two jobs in different careers with similar start dates and in the exact same location.

Stay tuned on the jobs (send good thoughts my way!) and check out Sam and Eric’s awesome site if you’re so inclined. She’s the writer and he’s the software brains. They both take and edit the beautiful photos. Killer team. http://www.plottingthecourse.com

I’m back, baby! 😀

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