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.
Friday (November 22) evening I had gone out for pizza and drinks with my best friend and my partner. It was a momentous occasion, since it was the first time both of them were meeting. We were enjoying bulgogi pizza with shots of Soju while my phone was ringing silently. It wasn't until we were all in my friend's car after eating, that I checked my phone. Several missed calls, a voice mail and a few text messages were waiting for me. My sister's message was urgent. This was only somewhat typical - it was the missed call from my father and mother that set me off. I hadn't spoken much to my father since October 25. We had a falling out, so to speak (parents just don't understand). So it must have been important for him to breach the awkward tension to call me.
I called my sister first. She gave me the news. My grandmother is dead. Just like that. Now, just imagine for a moment, a person who is akin to a Nazi, dying. Are you sad? No, not really. Actually, you probably feel elated. Like, finally. One of the most evil people in the world died - no great loss. I know it's a horrible thing to say - people say you should never celebrate someone's death. Well, perhaps if it was a regular person or even if they weren't, as long as they weren't bitter and cruel to their dying days. Unfortunately, my grandmother was like a Nazi. She hated everyone - every sexuality, every colour, every nationality, everyone. She hated her friends, her family and her peers. I don't remember her saying anything nice about a single person - except herself. She always had praise for herself. How kind she was - how smart she was - sadly, all delusions. She may have been steeped in denial and lost all objectivity. Either way, she was not a good person.
I dislike this fact however my opinion isn't necessarily shared. My sister was broken up about it. She was crying. She actually felt sad. I was surprised. I mean, my sister never visited - if anything, I visited much more frequently (to my chagrin). Nor did she speak kindly of her or to her - she would openly mock my grandmother, but in a way that my grandmother didn't know it was happening. It was embarrassing. I never dared to behave that way, despite not liking her. Yet, my sister was broken up about it. My father's reaction was expected - he was sad, but sad for different reasons. He felt like it was a life wasted - she didn't learn anything and she died alone, with no one who loved her. Perhaps she could have arguably deserved some pity if it wasn't for the fact she lived her entire life abusing others. I have zero tolerance for abuse.
So here I am, contemplating. My grandmother was 91 when she died. My father told me that she was found standing up, leaning on her walker with her eyes open. I hate to have been the one to find her. It must have been terrifying. The workers knew my grandmother and did their best to avoid dealing with her except when mandatory. She was in an assisted living facility where they had to check on her twice a day. So there she was, still moving, still stubbornly pushing - she died mid-movement. I can't think of many people who do that. That was her though - she was incredibly stubborn. So stubborn in fact, we were all convinced she would never go. She had already defied the odds years ago when she walked again, after doctors said she wouldn't. She had disc surgery in her back, and in more recent years, both hips replaced. Yet, she walked. Nothing stopped her.
While it's obvious there's no love lost between my grandmother and I, I can admire her tenacity. I have never known another woman so fierce, so stubborn, and so determined. Maybe I have her to thank for those attributes in myself. Either way, she's now gone. There's no point in belaboring the same point again and again, she's dead now.
Yet, it does leave me with some curious questions. How am I supposed to feel? Despite not liking her, I had visited her frequently throughout my entire childhood, adolescence and adulthood. I knew her closely. My father, sister and I played cards with my grandmother. We ate at the same restaurant for years and years and years. This Chinese buffet she preferred going to - she was also incredibly cheap and refused to eat anywhere else. We had gone so frequently, I recognized all the staff and knew exactly what food was served where. I had a preferred route!
So I was "close" to her. Although no one was truly close to her. She didn't have depth - she had layers of manipulative abuse. How do I feel about her death? I was honestly happy. I thought, finally. She's no longer a burden to my father. He often complained about how difficult it was for him to take care of her, and her affairs. She was stressful and demanding. If he didn't answer the phone, she would call the police and have them search for him - from another province! Controlling is a word that describes her. Yet, is that okay? Is it okay not to care about the death of a close family member? If one of your relatives was a "Nazi", would you feel bad upon their death? I will say that she was one of the last remaining ties to my father's side of the family. That part is sad.
Regardless, I wanted to update the Blog with what's going on in my life. I moved in October to a different place, so it's taken a long time to transition and organize everything. I've only begun to get settled in. I apologize for my absence but hopefully there will be more updates coming soon.
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.
November 13, 1887 saw one of the most notable demonstrations in history. Britain had created a difficult social situation due to a severe rise in unemployment and suspension of many civil rights, mainly affecting the Irish working class. After years of unrest it had finally reached a breaking point. Around 10 000 protesters marched on to Trafalgar Square, a symbolic meeting point of the working class and upper class. In response 2000 police and 400 troops were called in to halt the demonstration. As in every political demonstration where the working class rises to defend itself against the tyranny of government and the upper class, the police relentlessly beat down the innocent protesters. Using their fists and truncheons they beat not only men but women and children. Most were injured with at least 200 being treated at a hospital and 3 suffering from fatal wounds and dying.
I wish I could say this behaviour was abnormal. I wish I could say that this type of thing remains in the past but unfortunately it doesn't. Unfortunately it's not unusual for the government to silence its people. The working class were merely trying to bring attention to their cause. They were practicing the art of free speech and bringing to light the atrocities the government refused to acknowledge. What was their reaction? To beat down everyone who attended. It didn't matter the age or sex, they were quickly and viciously shut up.
You wish to hear examples of present day demonstrations where protesters are mistreated? They are countless but here are just a few:
- Battle in Seattle
- Quebec Student Protests
- FEMEN Protests
- Bolivia Revolt
- Occupy Wallstreet
You'll notice one thing when reading about protests, past or present, they blame the protesters. They claim that they're violent and dangerous. Sometimes the media even paints them to be anarchists. What a ridiculous notion! Just because you disagree with the government or corporation or IMF/WTO/World Bank or whatever it is doesn't make you to be an irrational anarchist. It seems like "anarchists" are the next "terrorist", the next bogeyman the government and media warns you about. Well guess what, those protesters are defending you and me. They're defending their rights. They're simply trying to bring to light an atrocity. The Bolivia Revolt is a perfect example. An American corporation attempted to privatize water in Bolivia, meaning that everyday people would have to pay for a necessity, how absurd! They were punished severely for speaking out but that didn't stop them.
Another great example is the Battle in Seattle. The WTO (World Trade Organization) was meeting to decide the fate of the world as we know it. So peaceful demonstrations took place to try and stop their globalization agenda. Yet the media reported violent protesters, which wasn't the case. Yet it made everyone assume that the protesters were evil and the WTO were innocent victims. If you knew what the WTO were doing, you wouldn't believe it.
I could go on and on about this but I think it's important that everyone does their own research. Make your own decisions. It would be your choice to decide whether or not the media evaluated situations correctly. Yet I would urge you not to believe everything you see and hear on television. Think about who controls the media, it's not the people. It's corporate entities, bending and shaping it to their will as they see fit. Makes you think, doesn't it?
If you're really interested, there are some excellent documentaries. There's one entitled "Battle in Seattle" about the 1999 protest I mentioned. More importantly there's one documentary you must watch called, "The Corporation". It's on Netflix right now (if you have an account). I highly recommend watching it.
Remember, remember the 5th of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot.
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.
Today is Guy Fawkes Day, a memorable moment in history for Londoners. In 1605 Guy Fawkes (Guido Fawkes) and accomplices, all Catholics, planned and failed an attempt to destroy Parliament along with the Protestant King James. They had disagreed with his heartless political actions so they sought to assassinate him and replace him with who they considered to be the rightful heir, his daughter Princess Elizabeth.
Guy Fawkes had been prepared to set alight barrels of gunpowder when Parliament was back in session however as left his station the night before he was arrested. Following procedure he was tortured until they were able to obtain a guilty plea under duress. His punishment would not be a merciful one. He was to be hanged, drawn and quartered along with some of his co-conspirators. (If you're unsure what that means, I suggest not looking it up. It would make most people squeamish. I can guarantee that it was the worst way to die.) Guy Fawkes knew of the horrible death that awaited him so with the noose around his neck, he jumped. This caused him to break his neck, killing him instantly.
In my opinion Guy Fawkes and the others must have had an excellent reason for attempting assassination and destroying the entire parliament. They were prepared to destroy the very symbol of their government, most likely in hopes that the government to replace him would be significantly better.
King James was by no means an innocent man. He was like most royalty: cruel, narcissistic and arrogant. For example, he was personally involved in torturing young women who were accused of witchcraft. He must have been a very unjust leader since in his first year of reign alone there were 2 separate conspiracies against him, one to kidnap him and the other to remove him and replace him with his cousin Arabella Stuart. One reason that Guy Fawkes might have been personally motivated to remove him from power were the heavy fines levied at Catholics who did not attend the Church of England (Anglican Protestant currently). Not to mention the Anglo-Spanish war that never seemed to end.
Guy Fawkes to this day has remained a notorious figure. On Guy Fawkes Day in England they commemorate the event with fireworks and burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes. This serves as a warning that the treason will never be forgotten.
In recent years the image of Guy Fawkes has transformed from heinous conspirator to folk hero. This change in perspective is due to the popularity of a film entitled, "V for Vendetta" based on an American comic book of the same name. The story features a dashing, mysterious figure named "V" who seeks to undermine and uproot the fascist dictatorship in a futuristic England. He re-tells the story of Guy Fawkes, explaining the necessity to destroy government when it is working against the people. This film has become so popular that Guy Fawkes masks (featured on V) have been used in protests against governments and other organizations. Guy Fawkes has become a symbol for freedom from tyranny and oppression.
I simply love the movie "V for Vendetta". In honour of Guy Fawkes Day I will be watching it and remembering why the Gunpowder Treason should never be forgot. To my readers, always be suspect of your government, they don't always have your best interests at heart.
"Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villian by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengence; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V."
- V for Vendetta (2005)
My dreams have gotten so strange lately and I'm remembering them with such an intense frequency that I find myself writing them down. I try to write them down as much as possible. Then I try to make sense of them. Not always an easy thing to do. Sometimes I find myself a little baffled but always amazed. I love amazing, lucid dreams. They make you want to sleep, which is a big deal for me since I'm an insomniac.
The dreams are very similar. At first everything is very normal, as though I'm awake then something surprising happens. A giant catastrophe! Some sort of terrible event takes control of the entire dream and forces me into wild circumstances. I'm forced to cope with the situation by relying on my inner strength to guide me. There's usually some fighting and tense conflicts until everything slowly appears to be working out for the better. Then I wake up. I never get to see if it actually works out.
I think that just by reading this most people would make inferences about what it all means. I've left out an awful lot of details but I believe it's important to examine the bigger picture. Either way, I'm a BAMF!
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