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.
Update time! What have I been up to? Goodness gracious, these past few days have been interesting. Well, perhaps not so much interesting as they have been stressful. When it rains, it pours.
On Thursday (March 20) I received several e-mails in regards to applications I've sent out. Let's go back in time for a moment - I've been applying for teaching jobs in Japan since September. I haven't heard anything positive until recently. I spent a long time painstakingly re-writing my cover letter and even more painstakingly writing two separate essays. Essays - what for, you ask? Well, it turns out that pretty much every Japanese company hiring foreign teachers requires an essay as part of the application. So I poured my best efforts into writing two excellent essays. I sent them off along with my resume and cover letter, then prepared not to hear back. I almost immediately heard back from one company. They asked me to attend a group interview where I would present a 30 minute lesson plan - then maybe a personal interview.
I flinched. Okay, fine. I can do that. I can come up with material and what-not for a lesson plan. Then I noticed the deal breaker - they want me to attend an interview in Ontario. For the curious, that's about 3500 km away from where I presently reside (~2100 miles). That means spending almost $1000 to go for the *chance* at an interview. Not to mention the inevitable plane trip to Japan - the company doesn't pay for that either. I sighed heavily. Of course. Bad news is always disguised as good news. To my chagrin, the second Japanese company was also interested, but also required a trip 3500 km away. Apparently this is a common thing for Japanese companies hiring ESL teachers. They typically have a recruiting center in a few major cities and don't see the need to accommodate anyone outside of the area. They have the luxury of being that picky.
What does it mean for me? Well, I won't be working for either of them - that's for sure. I very politely declined their offer for an interview, then sat back and banged my head against the desk. So much for that. Despite those obstacles, I have applied to 2 more Japanese companies. Guess what? I did that Friday (March 21) and got a phone call on Friday. A very pleasant and friendly woman greeted me, letting me know she was interested in my application. I spoke to her again yesterday (24) - she confirmed that she's interested in hiring me. Then she started listing off things I need to do. I need to write a grammar test, write an essay, fill out a questionnaire, send in copies of my passport and degree, and send her 3 reference letters. Not to mention an official interview and orientation in Toronto - if I even get that far. Sigh.
Does it ever end? Jump through this hoop. Jump through that hoop. Now do it backwards. Now have someone record you doing it with commentary. Oh did I forget to mention that she wants it within the week? Well - that's clearly impossible. The best I can do is next week. Which is fine - however it will push back travel dates (if I get the job).
Besides that jumbled mess of nonsense. I've also heard back from another interested employer. I've received an e-mail and official letter giving me an interview time for a position as a language assistant. It wouldn't be in Japan, but actually across the country, in either Quebec or New Brunswick. Both of those provinces are largely francophone so they require English teachers. More specifically, T.A.'s. Despite being within the country, the distance exceeds 4000 km (~2500 miles). One thing is for sure, the culture would be vastly different from where I live now. Alberta is known as "oil country" since the "tar sands" are the biggest contributor to the economy. Whereas Quebec is known for their maple syrup.
I would love to live across the country. I've never been that far east and at least I would still be in Canada. There are a lot of positives to that. I'm really looking forward to my interview. Unfortunately, my French isn't that fantastic, but I don't think that's what matters. I'm enthusiastic, friendly and enjoy teaching. Besides, if none of these things pan out - I still have 2 other companies I'm keeping on the back burner. One in Spain and one in France. Negatives: they don't pay well, I'd live with a strange family, and I'm not Catholic.
Anyway, now you can understand why I've been super busy. I have a strong desire to update Shadow Vault however with these latest events taking precedence, it's been increasingly difficult. Besides complicated job applications, I had serious back pain last week which prevented me from writing. Not to mention with April coming up, I have 6 birthdays to prepare for. What the hell? That's almost everyone I know.
So where does that leave Shadow Vault? I will do my absolute best to update it this week, if only in fear of not knowing when I'll have the time to update next. Besides that, please wish me luck on my job search. It's fucking impossible out there.
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.
After much deliberation I've decided there are going to be some changes to the website. This is just the short and sweet version:
1) A brand new art gallery showcasing photos and drawings
2) Instead of Storytime Sunday, I will be replacing it with a brand new segment
Please do not worry, Storytime Sunday will remain as it is but for various reasons I will no longer be making contributions to it. There will be a whole new addition to the website. As of right now I'm still in the process of organizing and preparing my website for the new changes.
I will keep you updated! In the meantime, please fill out a brief 5 question survey.
I can't believe I haven't posted something since Sunday. I need to get on top of that. In the meantime while I'm trying to figure out what to post next, you can enjoy a funny YouTube video.
Side story: I visited Manhattan a couple of years ago and rode the subway. I was immediately surprised by the peddlers who traverse up and down cars collecting money for various causes. I was quite taken aback by this sight because I can assure you where I live there is nothing of the kind. The majority of people ignore them and mind their own business but there's always someone willing to give something. This video makes fun of this common occurrence and it's worth a look. Really well done.
These past few days I've been writing up a storm and in turn I've ignored the blog. Right now I've just been prioritizing my novel ahead of everything else. Honestly, I'm very pleased. I'm making excellent progress and at the moment I know exactly where I'm going. It's a wonderful feeling. Still, I realize that I will need to be updating content on a regular basis so today I will be thinking about what I can add to the website in the meantime.
You can expect another update later this week. Probably a lot later in fact but there will be one. Anyway, thanks for visiting!
Good day to you all! Before I continue with Storytime Sunday I would like to give a little update. I realize I haven't posted in a couple of days and for that I apologize. I've been quite busy. Luckily I do have some pleasant news. Yesterday (Saturday, December 1) my partner and I bought our second Christmas tree together! I've never had a Christmas tree this early in all my life! It was quite exciting. We purchased it from a lot where most of the proceeds go to charity. It made buying a Christmas tree that much more special. So today (December 2), we will be decorating our tree! We might need to get a few more ornaments or lights but I think it will turn out great. So whenever I get the chance I'll post pictures! Then you can all enjoy my tree. I think I might even post some from last year.
Now onwards! We continue our story. If you are interested in reading the previous segments the links are located here. You can also find them as a subheading for the Blog. Either way you'll be sure to enjoy Part VI.
I've been meaning to write another blog entry but I have found my time very tied up at the moment. Although there is little I can do today I can promise that tomorrow I will have another Top 10 list and a proper blog post. No worries, I'm always here. Trying to make the site better, write interesting things and keep on top of my daily priorities.
See you tomorrow!
Tonight I will be attending the Metric concert! I'm very excited! I've never had the opportunity to see them live before. I will be writing a blog post about it after the concert but I suspect it will be quite late by then. So don't wait up! Tomorrow I'm going to Just for Laughs! What a busy couple of days! I'm looking forward to sharing my experiences.
In honour of Metric please listen to one of my favourite songs.
At the end of October my city had the pleasure of hosting the Star Wars Identities Exhibition. I had been looking forward to it since last year when I first heard they were coming. Up until today I could only imagine what wonders were in store and my goodness, it was wondrous. I visited the exhibit with my family and partner. I suppose the first thing I should mention is that I had bought tickets online for a specific time, well it turns out they were running an hour behind schedule. Even though we showed up early we didn't have the pleasure of getting into the exhibit for over an hour. What did we do with our time? Browsed the other galleries and mostly waited in line. Despite the long wait I would have to say it was definitely worth it.
When we finally made it to the front of the line we were presented with an ear piece, receiver and wrist band. Then we watched a quick 5 minute video on the quest we had all undertaken to discover the hero inside of each of us. It made me so very excited. I cannot fully explain the excitement that was coursing through my veins. Star Wars has been one of my favourite stories my entire life and here I was about to witness some of the greatest props, costumes and concept art that has ever existed. I got to see Boba Fett, C-3P0, R2-D2, Yoda, Han, Leia, Chewbacca...you name it! They were all there!
Maybe you're wondering what they meant by discovering the hero inside of us, well the wristbands we were given were more special than any of us realized. The exhibition had an interactive feature; inside were 10 stations each with a question designed to develop a personal character. You would press the wristband against an illuminated hexagon and voila! You would make choices in order to pick what kind of Star Wars character you wanted to create. The questions ranged from what species you are, how your parents raised you, what your personality was like to choosing the empire or rejecting the offer.
The best part about creating your own character was the consideration they had put into designing these questions. They actually used a variety of psychological theories that were very familiar to me. I truly appreciated that. What an awesome and brilliant idea! Not only were we able to enjoy the amazing movie props but we each created a unique and memorable character. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Star Wars Identities you should take it! I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was truly a wonderful experience.
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