Possible Job Opportunities Abroad

Recently, I read a blog post from a young lady who had sent out a couple hundred copies of her resume but had not received a job. It was a story that had many people sharing ideas of what she could do, where she could possibly apply and motivation to keep trying. I also added a few suggestions. Yesterday I was wondering how many people would see the job options mentioned in that post and I thought I’d write a bit more on the opportunities I had mentioned there in the hope that someone who needs it will read this or someone will share it with a friend who could benefit. While I did some research on these opportunities, please ensure that you also do some research to determine if any one of the opportunities mentioned is right for you.

A great opportunity to teach English abroad is the JET Program. It’s the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program which is an agreement between the governments of Japan and some English-speaking countries to allow qualified persons from those countries to help teach English in Japan. The application period is open once each year and applicants need to have a Bachelors degree. It’s very competitive for the opportunities it provides as well as the benefits such as paid airfare from your country to Japan and a return fare at the end if you meet the requirements. Participants are only allowed a maximum of five years on this Program but it’s not unheard of for persons to find other jobs in Japan rather than returning home.

Other programs for Japan include: Interac, Borderlink, Gaba, JOYTALK, and Aeon. Some of these programs have better reviews than others so research the options for the best one for you. If you are in Japan already, sites like Gaijinpot or JobsinJapan usually have many job offerings – not just in education. While there may be jobs on these sites for persons overseas, it appears there are far more offerings for persons already in Japan. Some persons have gone the route of going to Japan for university or on a tourist visa then trying to find a job once they have arrived.

If you are more interested in other countries, there are many other programs out there. For instance, a program for teaching English in Chile is TeachinChile and there’s a government program in France called CIEP. There are other broad programs which cater to many countries such as TeachAway which offers jobs with various programs in about 60 different countries. Another way to teach English abroad is to complete a TEFL or CELTA course with a registered institution that then offers job placements abroad on completion of the course. Whichever option you go with, do your research and then research some more. Best wishes!

Signed: Thankful


The morning I decided on the topic was the morning I ended up being late for work. It was only by a few minutes and I’d called in to let them know what was happening and that I would not be on time. Yet in the moment, as I waited for the lights to turn green, I found that not only was I sensing a bad attitude coming on but I was also being ungrateful. I actually said aloud, “God you’re messing with my plans”. After I got to work, apologized for being late, got told it was fine especially because I had notified them in advance, I noticed I still felt so badly and had to talk myself in to looking on the bright side.

That day turned out wonderfully well. Nevertheless, I thought I should stop and think about my attitude and what I could have done differently. I have decided to stick with my “Signed:Thankful” topic and find some things I can be thankful about. Thanksgiving was a few weeks ago so perhaps many people already did their reflections and have moved on to decorations. For me though, I am thankful today for safety, a job where I can positively impact lives, happiness, joy, my smile, good health, that I can pay my bills, independence, my family, and that God loves me. I am thankful for progress and that I am learning and growing. I am thankful that while I have not yet achieved all the things I want in life, I am not living with regrets.

I am thankful for so many other things too, like simple things: I can swallow, I no longer have a cold, I have started working on some of my goals again, and for today, I am not concerned about what this winter will be like. It’s not that life has somehow become so much better for me based on how society looks at life. Rather, it is that I am no longer so concerned and secretly worried about the future that I fail to see the beauty of each day. I still fall off my good train sometimes, and I still spend hours trying to research what I can do with my future, but in my mind somewhere is the assurance that it will all work out.

I have realized that the opportunities I have today and how I use them can impact my future. For instance, years ago, I had an opportunity to learn a second language. I have not mastered the language or come anywhere near fluency but I have seen how the experience of this learning has helped me in the way I relate to and assist others who are learning a foreign language. So now, I am looking out for opportunities and trying to use them wisely since I do not know how they will impact my life in the future. It is all part of living in the present moment rather than living in the future while neglecting the present. Do you see now why I can be thankful for growth and the little things? How about you, what are some things you are thankful for?

Dear Parents


Dear Parents, hello!

How are you doing? Let’s talk for a minute. I know many of you are doing the best that you can and even shake your head at those parents who have shown time and again that they are too irresponsible to be parenting. Allow me to ask you this: what kind of parent are you? No, don’t answer as yet or think I’m being rude. I do have a point. Hear me out, please.

I’ve seen and heard of parents who talk about strict upbringing where their own parents/guardians were poor and how difficult life was for them. Usually, these parents themselves end up parenting on one side of the extreme. By this I mean that either they become the “always working” parents or the “count it” parents. Sure, there is a middle ground of parents who have found themselves building life on the balancing needle of the extremes, but right now they are not the focus.

So which parent are you? Are you the “always working” parent trying to ensure your children “will never have to” go through struggles like you did growing up? If so, are you also providing all their wants, in addition to their needs and doing everything for your children to the point where they have no home skills? What would they do on the day you have a cold and can hardly make it out of bed? Or do you still drag yourself out of bed sick and all to ensure a smooth running household? Could your children survive the day if you, for whatever reason, failed to wear your super-parent cape and rush in to the rescue? Is this you?

Well, if not, then are you the “count it” parent who cannot even give your child a present without informing him or her that it cost $2.99 (insert the value) at Walmart (insert store name)? You see, while you are counting it all up and thinking you’re teaching your child to value what he or she has, you may be fueling his or her wish to grow up and ensure that they never have to look too carefully at prices. There might also be the wish to work hard so that their child never has to endure what they went through or even to be like you.

You think I’m being too harsh? Don’t walk away. I’m not playing a blame game or just being a critic. I’m here asking you to think about what you are doing while you are here giving parenting your best. You see, one day your children will grow up and be adults themselves. Will they have to be dependent on others to wash, cook and clean for them because they don’t know the first thing about even boiling water because you always did everything for them? (Think on the fact that one day they may be parents too or spouses and will need to help in the house or teach these skills – that they never learned – to their children.) Or are your children going to have these home skills but be bitter towards you for not providing an enjoyable childhood with lots of opportunities?

Go ahead. Ask me if I’m even a parent. Do I need to be one to have this conversation with you? Does your dentist need to be a recipient of tooth fillings before he should be allowed to conduct this procedure on others? My point is that, what you are doing in the way you are parenting will not only affect your children but will impact those they have relationships with and their own brand of parenting also. You know how your experiences affected your life so stop a minute and think of the impact your side of the extreme will have on your children.


A Concerned Observer

P.s., we can talk more about this if you’d like.

Forever (or how ever long)

Strangers we were, friends we became

Life was happy, always there you were

Never saw it, didn’t sense the change

You wanted more, engaged we became

Time flew by and love grew stronger

The sun rose, the winds blew gently

The birds sang, the flowers bloomed

This love, is this love really

Your vows and mine, with honesty said

Friends and family witness our memories

We saw this coming, we sensed the change

Time flew by but our love it remained

The sun shined, the winds blew stronger

The birds sang, the blooms stayed on

Young love it grows, sees hope and changes

How long is forever, no end they say

Trials came, disagreements too

Held hands and prayed, we found the way

They saw it coming, they sensed the change

Time flew by but our love never aged

The sun shined, the winds grew fierce

The birds sang, the blooms stayed on

This is love is it not really

Renewal of vows, anniversaries aplenty

Happiness abounds, joy covers our hurts

Never saw it come, didn’t sense the change

Wanted more, but more it’d never become

Time flew by, it’s true we’d say

The sun shined, the winds blew gently

The birds sang, the blooms fell one by one

A word for others who are like I was

I’ve thought about writing these past weeks but each time my stories would have drawn attention to someone else and contain details that were too personal. Apart from that, I had my excuses like, well I have nothing interesting to write about, or I always am writing about life on this mountain top, or I probably should just stop writing. Well I’m back today and not because I’ve found something interesting or because it has nothing to do with my mountain top life, and not to announce that I’m giving up writing either.

Simply, I’m here to offer a simple word of encouragement to anyone who may take the time to read this. It’s for you as well as for myself as I need to get better at taking my own medicine, not just giving it out.

In life, there are some things that we are not happy with. Think about them and if you can change them, if they are necessary to be changed and the reasons and motives are right, then change them.

Some things are best left alone. You can live with them. They can help you be better.

Each day, show gratitude for what you have. Part of that is to smile, slow down, be aware of your present moment. Remember to take care of your health!! You have only one you. Sure, these days there are surgeries to replace parts, provide transplants, give tucks and reshape areas and all sorts of things. (If you’re already ill, this is not aimed at you but instead at the healthy with a don’t care kind of attitude.) Wouldn’t it be better for you to just live healthily now than plan for adjustments later?

Respect the you that you live in.

Gratitude for my life as it is

We were standing in front of our house talking after it had become dark enough for even the faintest light to shine brightly. Nothing serious, just about running and getting in those kilometres on the app. They were explaining to me since I’m not a runner and then we talked about the safety of the places to run after dark or alone. One had seen a young bear, another felt a certain area was spooky and best avoided. Then, suddenly, all our phones sounded an alarm and we waited. When it began, the ground beneath my feet danced and swayed to an unheard rhythm. Someone, some distance away, screamed in fright I guess. It was not a lot of shaking but it felt weird to be outside and standing. I checked for anything nearby or above that might come falling down. All clear. Finished. Gratitude expressed.

In for the night, I began to think of yesterday when I had wanted to write my thoughts. They weren’t as fresh now but I could still try if this tiredness I feel allows. It didn’t, so now on this bright morning, while the occasional sounds of people moving about drift my way on a lazy breeze, I stop to write those thoughts. I’m reminded that I should write more regularly but some days I only say my thoughts the way I would write them then never take the time to actually put them down. But, gratitude for my thoughts. I’m blessed to have them.

My short trip to town completed I began the drive towards home. As I left the lights behind, the number of vehicles decreased. Few had their lights on as it was still light enough to still see without them. Mere minutes after leaving the town the beautiful verdant rice fields greeted me. There, hanging just above the plants was a light mist, barely visible in the evening light. Up above, the clouds danced in fading orange and grey delight across the sky painted in different shades of blue. Distractingly beautiful.

There are very few cars coming my way and my eyes are alert for any pedestrians out at this hour. The fields are empty. Farmers are already home likely gathered around the dinner table or preparing for it. I drive on up the winding mountain road trees on either side crowding in and blocking out some of the fading light. My own lights are on now and I let my thoughts flow. I see the lights of a house on the right partially hidden behind some trees. A feeling envelopes me as I drive pass. Immediately as I’m passing I feel an invitation that says one word: home. It leaves me and my thoughts turn to prayer.

I pray because in this minute I know that one day I’ll leave behind this mountain dotted with rice fields and flowers and the occasional animal scurrying across the road. I’ll leave the peace and quiet, spring rains and flowers, noisy cicadas, summer greenery, and this life in general. (It’s my first summer on this part of the mountain so autumn and winter are as yet unknown but having lived in the mountains before, I can imagine what I’m in for on top of one.) I’ve often said this is not my forever home and I know there is an actual expiration date but I prayed this moment and these experiences would stay with me; that I’d live them well and appreciate all I had been given.

I don’t know what waits for me in the future I cannot yet see clearly with my mind’s eyes but for today I want to live, do my best and express gratitude for everything especially my life as it is now.

For you

Misty morning

Flowers with dew

Hidden birds calling

Walking slowly to you

Dark night

Roads, holes with water

Staying awake is a fight

Roaring camp fire and laughter

Midday white

Powder piled high

Mittens and boots fit just right

Hot cocoa, down with a sigh

Cool winds

Colours on trees with a splash

Birds on branches flap their wings

Leaves descend without a crash

You were here

You went away

To me, you are a Dear

Still much to say

Growing stronger

Learning more each day

Wishing you were here longer

For wisdom and peace I pray

Happy birthday Grandma

For anyone who may read this and who may be dealing with the loss of a loved one, please know you’re not alone. You can still have hope and joy in your life. These things don’t fade. You can still have them and try each day to live your best life, to be the best version of yourself. Don’t beat on yourself for not being there, for starting to forget what your loved one looked like, or for anything else you’re beating on yourself for. Today is a beautiful day even if you can’t see it. Grieve. Go through your process the best way you know how. Whatever you do, don’t neglect yourself. You are here for a reason. Be thankful, show gratitude, love yourself, and be your best you.


As darkness falls over the land tonight, I sit at my little table and think. There’s a lot on my mind tonight. There are thoughts of what happens next, where am I, what have I been doing, do I have the discipline for the next phase, what have I been glossing over that’s in front of me, how do I make the best of what I have while planning for the future. I know I’m blessed. It shows in the many opportunities I have each day to learn something new, to positively touch and impact lives, to live in peace, to be surrounded by wonderful nature, to live in good health. Yet with all this, something calls me.

For a few evenings I’ve watched dusk settle over the mountains. Watching the day end or begin is something I’ve liked doing for years now though sometimes I don’t always make the opportunity or appreciate it as much as I should. There is something majestic about seeing the sun shine brightly as it stands just above the top of the mountain before it mellows and disappears over it painting the clouds beautifully as they dance across the sky. It’s wonderful to watch and it does something to my heart. The dawn is special too, just watching things come to life or appear in a different light as the darkness lifts off them.

Growing up, there were always set chores to be completed in the early mornings before getting ready for school and in the evenings before it got dark. Those days had their own issues but looking back I’m not sure I understood those days at all but I suppose it’s natural that children don’t understand or notice everything. Occasionally, I will be doing something and look up or a feeling comes on that at this time of the evening I’d have been doing such and such. I smile sometimes – a bit sadly at those memories because I’ll never have similar situations to share with this younger generation.

Perhaps I will though, right, since no one knows the future and sometimes that life still calls me. I’ve moved so far away from that part of my life it seems a little foreign. I don’t really see how it’s possible or how it would work with some of my other dreams. What I can see is that I have a great opportunity now but it won’t last forever so I need to either plan ahead or hope things will naturally fall into place the way they should. Whatever happens though I want to be at least in some way prepared as I’m not a great fan of surprises.

It’s completely dark outside now. For a while, all will be covered over as if buried or planted. What’s left undone today must remain that way. Sometimes in the light of day we realize that it was better that certain things went undone. Dawn comes really early on this mountain top and the summer weather seems un-summer-like to me. Soon the leaves will change colour and everything will be transformed then go to sleep before the snows return. Life on the mountain seems fast so I know I must make the best of it.

Wishing the best for you too, where ever in the world you may be.


Meant to be there

Supposed to care

Old enough to know better

No need for a trend setter

Wiser decisions and you’d be with me

Time ticks on, can’t go back

Warm tears bitter, a mask for the pain

Wishes aborted, hope in vain

Sometimes there, must have cared

Mentally immature, too old for a cure

Childishly selfish, expecting too much

Forgive and forget, warm tears for supper

Foolish it’s true, the heart still wishes

Hugs and smiles, things being different

Dream on dear child, weary after miles

Too sad to be happy

Meant to be there

Supposed to care

Learnt to live with a hole

Warm tears for supper

Mountain Dreams

I keep thinking it would be good to share with you some parallels between actual mountain climbing and climbing your way to your dreams. See, this week, a little mountain taught me some lessons. It wasn’t really little, even though it has that word in its name. Before I share the lessons let me be honest that I was hesitating all week about going but I went because I need to get out more and the fresh air is always good. It has been raining every day up on the mountains but that day would only be cloudy and the rains would continue the following day.

Lesson one would be to plan ahead. While I was deciding to go or not to go, I still got ready. I had an idea of what to wear, where we were going and the things for my first aid kit. My other debate was on which shoes to wear as I don’t have proper hiking boots and I’m still nursing a slight toe injury. On the morning, I communicated with the friend who suggested the hike and got to the meeting place on time for our drive. Even when we arrived at the car park I knew I was not feeling this hike but I put doubts and fears aside because this mountain needed to be climbed.

In life, sometimes we don’t know what our dreams should be or which one to work on. We know to dream but not necessarily how to plan the steps for achieving the dream. Sometimes the dream seems so big or there are fears and doubts that try to make us give up the dream before it has a chance to see some daylight or get some fresh air and life breathe in to it. At times it may be that others around you may not see the dream or have never risen that far so there is no one to guide you. Just be careful who you share your dream with, at what stage you share it, and how to nurture it so it doesn’t die when it should have lived.

So friends, there I was walking among all this greenery, hearing the sounds of birds high above me and water gently flowing nearby. I took literally ten steps and I was already breathless. No joke. My heart was racing. I was tired. After resting a few minutes I continued along. The organizer of the trip was way more fit and just stepping along up the incline, over fallen trees, jumping across small streams, and bubbling with effervescence. Not wanting to tamper her joy I asked her kindly to go on ahead. The other hiker refused to leave me behind citing a rule of her Girls Guide club from her childhood days which forbade her to leave the slowest person behind.

And herein lies lesson two: face the truth and own it. Was I hurt when she told me the rule? I felt it coming on but I chose to admit I was the slowest but instead focus on the fact that she was not leaving me. Any hurt I felt I decided to turn it into energy and see if I could move any faster or stop less times so she could also enjoy the hike. This lesson fits with our dreams as well because sometimes in the way to enjoying the dream there will be persons and situations that slow us down. The dream may need to go on hold a little for us to face, admit and deal with certain things before we can successfully move forward. Remember, it’s not very practical to be going uphill and at the same time be pulling a whole load of hurt, resentment and baggage along. Let it go.

Friends, I got the the mountain top at least three times but then noticed it was only the top of a part of the mountain not the actual top. At one point the place was so narrow they tied ropes on either side to help you along. I sore it was the top and even made a video for my friends back home about having gotten to the top. After this top there was a bit of a slope going down but behind those shrubs, and through the mist on the other side, the climb started again. The lesson here is, try not to be distracted with what looks like the fulfillment of the dream. Also, celebrate the milestones along the way so when you’re tired the flat places don’t mislead you to thinking you’ve reached the top.

The rest of the story is that we turned back about half hour from the top. My feet were dying on the way down so much so I thought I’d probably lose my nails. I figured if I put my gloves in my shoes then my feet would have less place to be dancing in the shoes and could have more protection. I tried positive thoughts, gratitude, enjoying the scenery, and thinking how fast we were descending. When I finally saw the car park, I cannot tell you how happy I was. Maybe hiking isn’t one of my hobbies anymore but it sure taught me a few lessons. Unlike me with my mountain climbing, if you’re working on a dream, don’t quit or stifle your dream. Work on it, you’ll be happy you did.

Learning from others and my advice to you

All around us each day people are busy working away. There are dreams to be fulfilled, money to be made for the bills and general living or for retirement. We see social media or the tv showing us the “good life” and the things that make it seem we’ve arrived, we’ve made it (wherever and whatever that means to you). There are endless videos of young people trekking off around the world, or others living lives we can only admire from afar since our budgets and circumstances or future plans would not allow us following suit. At the end of the long work day, we get to go home, do more work before crawling tired in to bed to get up next morning to the same things.

I’m sure I’ve made that sound badly and like two different worlds. My life as it is right now is fine. Yes, there are some things I’m hoping will be different and better so I’m working on them – little by little and staying motivated. So what am I on about then? I’ve recently been talking with others and hearing about plans for the future, present circumstances, and missed opportunities in the past.

Planning for the future is great! Be as realistic as possible but still dream big. Today your situation may look one way causing you to think about the future through a particular set of lenses but remember never to doubt yourself. The energy you project into your day, your future or your relationships is important and impacts what you receive. Whether you believe in God, the Universe, Love or whatever name you call your higher power, know that you are loved, special, and there are great plans for your life.

In my talks recently, missed opportunities was a big topic. I too have had this conversation- with myself. I then wrote out some of the opportunities that came my way that I did not make full or good use of over the course of my life. In psychology they explain that this evaluation of life happens in the older years and that if life was happy and well spent then people are happy to continue on and share their wisdom with others. If the opposite happened then they are likely to experience despair.

The fact that this evaluation of life is happening at younger ages is amazing to me. We are still in the stages of life where jobs can be changed, new or further studies undertaken, countries changed, or relationships fostered. Sure, the resources to make the necessary changes may not all be available and dreams may have to go on hold, but my point is that changes can still be made. An older person I spoke with explained that one of the challenges associated with the desire to change right now is age. There is a whole process when you are over a certain age and close to retirement.

My advice to everyone (I’m aware you didn’t ask, but here goes anyway) is to have a sit down with yourself. Divide a sheet of paper into four or use four sheets. Write out the plans for the future, present situation including things you think are positive and negative, missed opportunities of the past, and finally, which opportunities you wish you had or could have again. From the present, pause and be thankful for all you have. The good things will make you better and the negative things can be learned from. Express gratitude for the opportunities you’ve had regardless of how they were used. Then connect your future list and the opportunities hoped for lists. Write out small steps you can take to revisit and achieve or fulfill those things.

Be patient with yourself. And be kind. It’s a process! My friend once told me, had someone asked you to give or do something for them you would, so think about yourself and do the same. Lisa Nichols shared recently in her video How to Not Lose One’s Self in Relationships, that people will only love you to the degree that they love themselves. So then, best wishes on your journey and talk with you soon.

Learning and my visit to the doc

I can be clumsy some days. Well, not all of the day but rather just a few seconds – which is enough time to cause damage. I think I’ve been a little accident prone for years and have the scars to prove it. Trips to the doctor, weeks of ointment covered legs, having to wear slippers instead of shoes, enduring sympathetic sentiments, and playing tag with my self esteem are all reminders. I’m not beating on myself so that’s not what this is about. It’s more about the experiences and possible lessons I’ve learned along the way as a result of these moments.

A lesson example would be to avoid ants of the vicious variety. I really don’t recall precisely where or when I had my meeting with the ants but I definitely remember it did not go well. They were irate over the heavy intrusion of my preteen feet. Now I’m not saying I was in any way overweight. No one who knew me then would believe that. In fact, I got called a few interesting – but at the time hurtful – names due to my size. Even recently, my size was the topic of a few conversations.

Here I run the risk of mixing stories as two want to come out at once and neither is the reason I even began writing today. The ants story ended with penicillin, a few missed days of school, scars, and of course this story to tell. One of the recent conversations regarding my body size didn’t even include me really. It was between two nurses in a language I’m still new to, while they were taking blood samples during a routine health check. Last time I did this I left with three places they injected trying to find enough blood. This time I left with only two and their reasoning that it was because I was “so slender”. Right.

So now, back to lessons. It’s better to be prepared with tape for wrapping swollen limbs, antibiotic cream for scrapes or scratches, and bandaids. Those usually are in a little kit for whenever I’m taking trips. For today though, tape alone was fine. I finally visited a clinic over three months after my toe collided with the metal bed foot on a morning I was rushing to get things done before leaving for work. I had overstayed my time in bed and was trying to make the remaining time work. Well, the X-ray showed no fractures, thank God. The doctor asked me for the tape I’d brought and wrapped my two toes for support I guess then asked if I wanted medicine.

I left with no medicine because I told him “I don’t know”. I’m not big on medicines nor on pain and I’m not the greatest fan of doctors. They can see more of me than I’m comfortable with or even knew existed and they can give me any medicine they want to. All that said, today was probably one of my most interesting visits to a doctor. He also told me to wear bigger shoes. I am laughing, probably too much. The lesson, well, visiting the doctor can be hilarious. Let’s hope I still think so when I see the next one.

I wrote it for you Grandma

You were here

I thought you’d always be

Chiding, reminding, guiding, pushing

Tall as the trees you stood for me

No nonsense, quick thinking, matriarch

Helpful to all

Encourager, evangelist, disciplinarian

Took on the world with just your hands

None visited left empty – spirit or hands

You always said to God the praise belongs

“Happy Mother’s Day” I told you

“Wish I could say the same” you told me

I left it there, no more to say

We both know you raised me the right way

It’s here again in two days

Time will heal

True but not always so

Glimpses of you once tall and brave

Slowly disappear into sunset fade

Thousands of miles between us both

A message, my voice perhaps the last you heard

You’re all better with your Lord and mine

Resting, praising, basking in the glory

No more pain or tearful worries

Peace be mine and hope

Time heals

I’m all right

Living how you showed me

Praying for the light

Peaceful night, and Happy Mother’s Day