March 5, 2013
Information session on teaching English abroad (conveniently located at my alma mater).
September 2, 2013
I officially complete my 100 hour course on teaching English as a second language, and receive my TESOL/TESL/TEFL certification.
September 18, 2013
I attain a federal criminal record check (with photo and fingerprints) in order to apply to a range of companies.
September 17, 2013 - March 20, 2014 (185 Days*)
Struggling job hunt rages war on my time, and emotions.
March 21, 2014
I'm contacted by numerous Japanese companies, including one long phone call discussing my goals and intentions. I'm asked to consider the position thoroughly, then contact them after I've made a decision.
March 24, 2014
I officially register with the company's website and await a reply. I immediately receive a call back and continue with an interview over the phone before proceeding further. I'm informed that I will need to send a scanned passport photo/signature page along with my university degree, a professional looking photo, and a minimum of 3 reference letters (2 work and 1 character). On top of that, I must complete a grammar quiz, and fill out a questionnaire consisting of various work related questions and an essay.
April 10, 2014
I discuss my upcoming decisions about deciding between jobs in a blog post.
April 24, 2014
I receive my final reference letter from my university Japanese professor. I immediately send it to DJ and finish that part of the hiring process.
July 10, 2014
My father drives me to Calgary, Alberta to visit the Japanese Consulate. They approve my work visa and instruct me on the immigration process after entering Japan.
July 16, 2014
As part of the final, official step for moving to Japan - I visit my doctor for a note declaring a clean bill of health.
July 21, 2014
I receive my work visa in the mail.
August 14 - 16, 2014
My plane leaves for Japan. There are stops in Vancouver, Canada and Taipei, Taiwan before landing in Nagoya, Japan.
August 18, 2014
A two week orientation begins, instructing new employees on curriculum and method.
This time of year is always the most difficult for me - the end of April and the beginning of May. While at this point in time I do not wish to disclose the precise reason, I will allude to it. When I was but an adolescent, I experienced the worst trauma of my entire life. That trauma has followed me every step. I suffered from PTSD for a long time after - although at the time I didn't know what was happening. The flashbacks wouldn't end.
Flashbacks, in accordance with PTSD, can make you feel like you've returned to the scene of the trauma. They can make you believe that no time has passed and you're stuck in time repeating history. It's frightening, painful, and inescapable. Your mind is triggered backwards and it has a hard time remembering how to leave.
While many years have passed, and the flashbacks have slowed - they like to reappear annually around this time of year. I will be innocently smelling the night air, or perhaps laying in bed, when all of a sudden I'm back at the scene of the crime. Emotions flood my consciousness and I'm reminded of all the horrible things that happened, like it's happening in the present. I try to move past it, but I've learned a long time ago that flashbacks are not easily escaped, or for that matter, avoided.
Last night was no different. I spent a good piece of my present time remembering my excruciating history. It brings up so many dark memories, and darker feelings. Self-loathing, depression, anxiety, panic, fear...I felt myself falling backwards into torturous nothingness. Luckily for me, this instance had a rare exception to previous instances - I had a very loving and supportive partner. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have been able to express myself openly, or as easily. I would have flailed in my own personal hell for a lot longer. Instead, they listened and held me, and reminded me that I was safe.
I think about all the other people suffering with flashbacks, and empathy pours out of me. I wish no one had to re-live their traumas. The mind is a delicate machine, that can be unfortunately programmed with undesirable routines. The trick is learning how to cope. While I understand the pressure to make it "all go away" (all too well), it's not the best solution. You inevitably end up hurting someone else - and perhaps even cause them PTSD, making it a vicious cycle. It's best to learn how to cope. The most important thing here is that time heals. While it heals rather slowly, it does heal. Perhaps there will be a scar, but it means you're a survivor - not a victim.
While I was thinking about coping techniques, I did a Google search for the hell of it. I turned out this article: Coping with Flashbacks by Matthew Tull. There's some good information there - I think next time I experience a flashback I'll try either biting into some peppermint gum, or cranking my music. It can't hurt.
I know that I haven't been updating as frequently as I should but due to present circumstances, I've been overwhelmed by a myriad of conflicts.
I thought as a courtesy for my readers and as a cathartic gesture for myself, I would share a little about what's going on in my life presently.
My relationship of over three years has ended. As I've mentioned before on a previous post, "If you love someone, you must let them go". I can say in all honesty that I will always love them but I can also say that we're not meant to be together. At first I had a hard time accepting it but I suppose that's rather normal. Eventually I realized that it was much better to be apart than together. A sad lesson to learn, I suppose but a necessary one. Everyone deserves to be happy, whatever that means. Sometimes that means you have to break up.
I feel lucky in a number of ways. One of them being that I don't hate them. I can truly say that my love for them is unconditional. I also feel lucky that they said what they did and ended things when they realized they didn't love me. I don't want to be in a relationship with someone who doesn't love me. That would be doing a great injustice to both parties involved.
Now that I'm single again I can honestly say I feel like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I feel like I have my wings back and I'm no longer trapped in a tiny cage. Despite admitting to a few close confidants and the pages of my diary that I was unhappy in my relationship and wanted to leave, I could never seem to admit those feelings to myself. I kept denying them. I wanted to believe I was happy because I loved them. Yet I think we all know that at some point those buried feelings will surface, again and again. I would just take it out in my diary. I looked back on things I'd previously written and I realized how tortured I felt. I never felt loved and perhaps that truly was the case.
If someone is unhappy with themselves, they'll never be happy with someone else. Love or no love, it's not going to make a difference. I desperately wanted to believe that if I loved hard enough that I could make someone happy but I forgot the key to happiness, "Only you can make you happy". Any effort on my part was sadly futile.
My relationship was like living in a barren, arctic wasteland. Every day I sat trapped in an icy cavern and I desperately tried to think of ways to manifest some warmth. I hoped that my own body heat would reverberate back to me, yet I was unaware of the many drafts that sucked out every last bit of heat and only made me colder. Sometimes the wind was so fierce that it howled through the small crevices and sounded like voices, then I didn't feel so alone. Over time, without my acknowledgement, the cavern's structure began to fail. One day the ceiling collapsed and exposed a bright, blue sky. I stared, uncertain. What was out there? I hesitated, comfortable with the familiar. At least I knew the cavern but I could not remember the sky. So I tried to stay. The entire cavern began to collapse around me, surrounding me with rubble. Some pieces hit me, bruising my tender body. Without another thought, I ran. I lifted my head towards the sky and raced for the only exit. I climbed furiously over remnants and finally reached the top. I closed my eyes and jumped. I expected my body to fall briefly before meeting an early demise. Yet I was lifted. Higher and higher, into the brilliant blue firmament and into the reaches of the sun. The warmth enveloped my body and suddenly my memory was restored. Flashes of a life long forgotten pressed on me. I forgot that I could just fly away. For a brief moment I looked down to the cavern. It had been completely destroyed. I had escaped with my life and I was grateful.
I mentioned on a previous post (Life and Death) that I would discuss the meaning of life as I saw it. Many people have attempted theories before me including Monty Python. I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring and let you in on my theory.
If this topic makes you uncomfortable then I suggest stopping right here. Although seriously, I imagine other things probably make you uncomfortable too if that's the case. Regardless of your sensibilities, I am continuing. If I were you I'd read anyway just to satisfy my curiosity. After all, you don't have to believe anything I say. It's just my own theory.
The simplest I can describe my beliefs regarding life is fate. I believe in destiny. I suppose that sounds rather corny, doesn't it? I've thought long and hard about this and I've come to a conclusion I feel satisfied with.
I'm sure at some point in your life you've been in a situation that appears completely random. Perhaps unpredictable. You're so certain that something so bizarre could not happen that in fact it did.
Anyone could sit back and look at life as a series of random events. Perhaps indeed they are. It is my opinion however that there are no accidents. That's right, no accidents and no coincidences. To me, everything happens for a reason.
What does this have to do with the meaning of life? If there are no accidents then life is indeed fateful. It means we're all destined to a particular set of experiences. If that's the case then perhaps the meaning of life is intrinsically tied to fate.
I believe that as interconnected beings of energy we are on a collective journey. What sort of journey? A journey of spiritual growth. Our experiences help shape and define who we are as individuals but more importantly these experiences assist our "soul" growth as well. In much broader, more accurate terms, these experiences not only affect the individual but the collective (the ball of energy I described before). While assuming these physical bodies,
each sensation, each emotion, every hardship or thought is funneled into the collective consciousness. The collective consciousness has been described in multiple ways by many people. I believe that due to the interconnectedness of nature that everything we know, think and feel is gathered together. We are constantly tapped into this consciousness whether we realize it or not. It breathes inspiration and ideas into our minds. This consciousness is crucial in helping us grow by sharing our experiences and serves to remind us that we're not alone.
Destiny provides us with the necessary catalysts to grow in new ways. In the grand scheme of things, the physical body only provides the required vehicle for experiencing fateful events. It is through the limits of these bodies that we come to understand the nature of the universe and ourselves.
To sum up, we are interconnected beings of energy placed in limited physical bodies in order to experience destined events that help us progress together as a "ball of energy".
Sounds silly, doesn't it? Maybe it is. Maybe it's absurd. It doesn't really matter, after all these are just the musings of one person (more correctly, the collective consciousness). So thanks to everyone who helped me form this theory.
Have you ever heard of Necomimi? They're cat ears designed to respond to your brainwaves. Pretty cool, huh? The name "Necomimi" means "cat ears" in Japanese. Clever one, Neurosky!
They're a relatively new product released in 2012 and they use technology that's typically reserved for laboratories or hospitals. It's a clever and creative idea that I absolutely love.
The ears are motors that turn according to brainwaves which represent your "mood". There are two sensors that detect your brainwaves, a forehead sensor and one that attaches to your ear. This is how the magic works.
I've literally used these ears for more than an a hour at a time and I love it. I'm a fan of cosplay and can imagine wearing these for all sorts of reasons. Nevermind the fact that they're supa kawaii!
If you're interested in learning more about Necomimi, click on one of the links below to watch a video! If you would like to purchase the product I would recommend visiting their website directly by clicking on the link provided and not using a third party (speaking from experience). Neurowear is also in the process of putting the finishing touches on a tail! Then you could truly have the whole set! Unfortunately I can think of a lot of situations where a tail would be inconvenient. Still, my curiosity is piqued.
In the interest of full disclosure I purchased and received these ears originally back in January. The ears were phenomenal except by random chance they happened to be defective. I immediately contacted Neurosky and they generously helped me. Together we were able to come to a solution and they sent me new ears. Thank you Neurosky for having excellent customer service. I finally have my ears again!
In Canada and the United States our observances are based on Christian beliefs due to the beliefs of the colonists who settled here. Valentine's Day is no exception.
The origin of Valentine's Day is at best, spotty. It's allegedly based on a man named Valentinus who lived under the Roman empire. He was imprisoned for apparently performing weddings for Christians. At this particular time in history, the Roman empire was heavily against Christianity. Valentinus was executed but before he died he sent a note to a special girl that ended with, "from your Valentine".
To be honest, it all seems a little too convenient to be true. Especially since the story isn't agreed upon. There were quite a few men named Valentine around that particular time period and different churches across Europe claim ownership to Valentine relics. That's the thing about Christianity, in my opinion it appears to be less about fact and more about ideals of morality.
Regardless of the alleged origin, Valentine's Day has evolved from religious worship by some to a commercialized "Hallmark" holiday observed by many. In the U.S. alone it is estimated that every year 190 million valentines are sent. In the U.K. they spend around 1.3 billion pounds (over 2 billion dollars) on Valentine related gifts annually. It is without a doubt a very profitable holiday for greeting card companies.
This reason might be why many are disenchanted with observing Valentine's Day. Coupled with being single can also be disheartening. I would argue and I'm sure some people would agree, that Valentine's Day is not just about celebrating romantic love. When I was younger every year my parents bought me Valentine gifts to show their unconditional love. Apparently I'm not the only child who receives such gifts since half the valentines in the U.S. are delivered to family members, typically children.
Despite the commercialization of Valentine's Day, I appreciate celebrating a day of love. You don't have to purchase an expensive greeting card or the typical chocolates and what-not. You can do what you like! That's the beauty of it. There are no rules. You're not required to do exactly the same thing as everyone else. You can make the day special by celebrating however you like. If you're single you could do any number of things. You could celebrate your friendships or family. If you're particularly touchy about Valentine's Day and prefer to be alone, then why not make it a day appreciating yourself? Make your favourite meal, watch your favourite movie. I'll be honest, when I was single I paid no attention to it. It was just another day. Mind you, I haven't been single in awhile and I think I would spend it a little differently now.
It doesn't matter how you choose to celebrate the day or if you ignore it altogether. It's your choice. I just like the idea of celebrating love. Love is truly beautiful in all its forms. So take the opportunity to tell someone you love them.
I love you, my readers! Here's a painting I did just for you! Have a great Valentine's Day!
P.S. If you feel like giving some loving back, please fill out my brief 5 question survey by clicking on this link. (No worries, it's still on my site.)
This morning I woke up from a dream. It was a very lucid dream and when I awoke I was surprised it wasn't real. Then I sat in contemplation wondering what the dream meant. Why did I dream about her? It made me sad. Let me tell you why.
The dream started with me taking a class. I'm not sure where I was taking this class, I could assume it was from the university but honestly that would be misleading. A dream has its own learning halls. Regardless of where, I was taking a class. I feel like it was a writing class and that in itself would be ironic. In real life I'm a writer and apparently in my dreams I am too.
So I was standing outside of the classroom, waiting for the teacher to get there. This made sense to me since all my years in university I usually spent time waiting outside the classroom. (I made a habit of being there early.) So there I am, waiting patiently when I see someone walking towards me. Someone unexpected. I froze and panicked. I thought, I should walk away, turn around, do something to hide my identity. I wasn't prepared to see this person again. Yet I couldn't I do anything, just stand and stare.
They got closer and closer until finally they were right in front of me and oddly enough, smiling. This didn't make sense to me. Since if I were to see this person again, they wouldn't be smiling. Most likely they would do their best to ignore me or worse say something horribly cruel. Instead in my dream, they stood there smiling. So I looked at them questioningly, confused and baffled by their appearance. I managed to make out the words, "I didn't know you were in this class". She smiled back and said, "I tried to tell you". She described an antiquated means of getting in contact through messenger and I was shocked. That was what we would have used before.
I remember being completely and utterly dumbfounded. I never thought in a million years I would see her again nor would she be happy to see me. From there it was just like old times somehow. We reverted back to the way we were. When the classroom opened, we sat down but I had already picked my seat apparently before I knew she was going to be there. I had placed my stuff far away from hers.
The class started and the teacher sat in the middle on top of a desk. (This isn't unusual in some university classes by the way, so the dream was not off base.) She was talking and describing something but I wasn't listening. I was too distracted by my ex-friend's sudden appearance. I still couldn't believe she was there. It didn't make any sense to me. Before I knew it we were starting an activity. We had some sheets of paper with pieces of different stories on them, maybe a song or two. Next thing I know music is playing and the teacher is coming closer to me. She's singing and dancing along and I realize I better participate. I happen to know the lyrics to the song by heart and start dancing alongside, singing as well. The teacher stops after a bit and frowns, pointing to my sheets saying I should have it opened. I blush but feel frustration cloud my mind. I knew the words, I didn't need the paper.
The teacher pointed to a student and started another segment, from a story this time. They were expected to act it out it seems. Between all the commotion my ex-friend, turned friend came over to me and started to laugh with me at the hilarity of this class. It reminded me of high school where we spent creative writing class together making fun of the teacher.
Then the dream ended abruptly, as dreams have a habit of doing. I found myself dazed and disappointed. There was a longing inside of me to have her back as a friend. I was disappointed that it wasn't true. Yet I know it's not possible. Despite the dream's optimism. The friendship seemed to be great when I had it but it ended terribly. It wasn't up to me either. She decided we weren't friends anymore. It was a stupid reason. I hadn't been available to talk with her about her millionth break-up with her long distance boyfriend. Did I mention she called on my father's birthday? Over that, over nothing, she decided to stop being friends. It seemed counter intuitive. I had always been there for her. I had always supported her and helped her any way I could. I felt like something else was the catalyst. Before that I had divulged to her some terrible news I had kept locked up and expected some warm comfort in return. Instead, she didn't want to talk about it or even try to help me. I remember being instantly frustrated and hurt, the "friendship" was like every other "friendship" I had been involved in, not reciprocal.
I would give all of myself in a friendship and never get it in return. It made me think back on what I had with her as superficial. She was incredibly judgemental and lacked compassion or empathy with others. Why would I expect she would treat me differently? I guess I thought we were best friends. It turned out that I was only her friend if I was doing something for her.
As much as I enjoyed seeing her in my dream, in real life I recognize she was well, a bitch if you don't mind me saying. I could never be friends with her again, not after the way she treated me then tossed me aside like I was garbage. She didn't know how to be friends with anyone. Honestly, people don't change that much and she's probably still a diva.
Hence why the dream seemed good but turned out bad. I guess it was similar to the very "friendship" I had with her. All in all, I don't need to be dreaming about people I never want to see again. Do you want to hear something odd? It was just her birthday three days ago.
I woke up from a nightmare this morning and remembered it long enough to write it down. I actually woke up crying. I had been crying in my dream and apparently crying outside of my dream as well. So after writing it all down I decided this would be a good time to briefly analyze what happened.
In the nightmare I spend all my time trying to contact my partner and eventually go searching for them. When I do find them they don't remember me and I'm horrified. In the nightmare I don't understand what's happening and my family keeps making references to an alternate reality that no longer exists. When my partner finally walks away from me and leaves me behind as an emotional wreck, I come face to face with some much deeper feelings.
I wake up and realize that I never want my partner to leave. Those were feelings I hadn't come to terms with in real life since I never thought that it was a possibility. When I had to treat it like reality I felt a severe emotional loss, comparable to a close family member. I love my partner and I'm glad it was just a tragic nightmare. I'm going to make sure they know how much I love them. I think the same goes for everyone else in my life too. I want them all to know I love and care about all of them. We never know what's going to happen. Life is unpredictable.
Dream Day is a bizarre holiday created in honour of Martin Luther King Jr. who delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech on August 28, 1963.
Everyone dreams every time they go to sleep regardless of whether they remember or not. Most people are confused about what dreaming means. There are a few theories. I think the majority of dreamers believe that dreams mean absolutely nothing and their content is generated randomly by the brain. While that could be true, it's still just one theory among numerous. Psychoanalytic theory, put forward by Freud, is that dreams are metaphorical. Their content can be analyzed for their true meanings behind the images. Then there's a completely different theory. Phenomenological theory asserts that dreams are personal to the dreamer. There's no book of dream definitions that can accurately analyze any dream because dreams are very specific to the person.
I concur with this theory. Dreaming is extremely personal. The only person that can interpret a dream is the dreamer themselves. Perhaps that seems insurmountable but there is something every dreamer can benefit from knowing. There are different types of content in a dream. Day residue and dream lag. Day residue manifests in the dream as things from every day life. This can be information from one day to one week prior to the dream. Dream lag can be content from years ago, typically memorable emotional events. Emotional events in life are highly salient causing a person to dream about it while they're asleep, demonstrating the subconscious concern. There are also different types of dreams: existential, transcendent and nightmares. Existential dreams are usually about loss, transcendent dreams are surprising and amazing, while nightmares are terrifying.
Dreaming can change depending on what's going on in your life. For those undergoing trauma or loss, dreaming can transform into something different entirely. Those who've underwent some kind of trauma may re-experience the event in their dream while those who've suffered a loss experience separation distress.
Interpreting a dream can be difficult but each person carries with them all the knowledge they need to do so. After you dream try to write down everything you remember. The more you focus on what you do remember, the more you'll be able to recall. Write down everything and try not to be overly concerned with the bizarreness. Part of the reason we have difficulty recalling details is due to the inherent bizarreness of dreaming. When we awaken our conscious mind is confused and doesn't understand the strange images. Put aside confusion and just write it down. Once you've written everything you can remember, read it. Some things will be easy to interpret while others will take a bit more time. Try to think about things that concern you. People tend to dream about what is emotionally significant in their conscious life but it's represented in a strange new way.
I hope that with this information you will be able to interpret your dreams a little easier.
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