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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!

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Signed: Thankful

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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

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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.

Signed,

A Concerned Observer

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

An Angel Without Wings

In a Christmas movie I saw recently, an neighbor and friend told the little girl that on earth, Angels wear their wings inside. Whether this is true or not I honestly don’t know. What I know is that there are times when we are told by a voice inside to do something, say something to someone or simply be somewhere at a particular time. If we obey, then we can be sure things will work out well even if we don’t always understand.

Over the weekend I decided to do something spur of the moment: downsize by two items. I had not thought of it before and had never done it before so I went online to read. Having acquired some information, I got my items and headed to the store. Surprisingly I believe I was very calm until I got there so I took a few seconds to look around before I caught the eyes of a staff member and went over. I was in the process of using my best language skills, and even a translation app, to explain what I intended to do but I could see how things were already not going well. Then, an Angel came by.

I did not ask her name or anything about her nor did I offer any information about myself. She translated well for me and waited around until the entire process, which took about twenty minutes, was complete. Since I only smiled and thanked her a few times rather than taking a minute to ask about her, I don’t know how she came to be there at that time or why she took time to learn English. Whatever was her motivation to learn and why ever she came to the store at exactly that time, I’m grateful.

It’s not that I couldn’t understand the store staff but rather that I was struggling to respond but my Angel made everything so much easier by being there. I’ve had other Angels turn up for me in my life. Sometimes I don’t recognize the blessing they help provide until the moment has passed. I am thankful to God for providing his Angels on earth to help me. I wonder if one day I too can be an angel to someone else in need. Until then, I’ll keep learning to live my best life and to recognize the everyday Angels I meet.

Winter Skies

There is something about the winter sky that commands my attention. Actually, I honestly enjoy spending a few minutes or seconds sometimes to look at and admire the sky throughout the year. There’s something so wonderful about the changes at both dawn and around sunset. The blues, oranges, pinks, and even grey seem to paint their mesmerizing colors on the clouds as they dance across the sky before they change right before my eyes.

It’s all fascinating to me but there’s something interesting about the winter sky though I’ve not yet been able to think of why it seems so different. Maybe it’s because the mountains are all covered in a white robe and I can see the shapes of them without their leafy green tree coverings. Perhaps it’s that I’m farther from the equator and I feel closer to the sky . Whatever it is, I enjoy looking out my window and looking up.

It’s a bit strange now to look back and think how uneasy I had been about this winter before it began. Sure, I was facing the unknown since this is my first winter in this particular location but I should not have given it so much thought. I have complained (sorry Lord) about the slower commute but I didn’t go into negative thoughts or turn to worrying over winter. I did say – a few times too many perhaps – that I didn’t know what to expect. But, in the end I simply prayed and stepped on to the path that was unknown and kept moving forward until it became known.

I guess in a sense winter has reminded me that there is a time to stop and make sure I strip away anything that would cause me not to be my true self or that would hinder me from reaching my full potential. It also invites me to rest for a while, to feed myself and take care of my ‘me’ so that when the spring arrives I can emerge like new leaves. I will be ready to give and grow and share my beauty, flowers and shade with others. After all, we can’t give from empty vessels. There has to be a time to refill and that’s what winter is or can be. Thanks for reading.

‘Rain’ and my life

Until about a few minutes ago I was set on writing only about the water bill my neighbor is going to get but now I’ve changed my mind. I have something else to write on. Welcome to my life and Happy New Year!

First, that water situation. Three days ago I thought I heard rain. After two days of snow I’d dug out a path and shoveled some snow but resisted the urge to build a little snowman. So when I heard rain I checked my weather app, saw ‘snow showers’ and thought of the missed chance to build a snowman. It likely would have looked more like a monster but isn’t it funny how we miss things (and people) when they are gone yet sometimes take them for granted when they are here. Later when I went to make dinner I still heard the rain but then I noticed a strange noise and that’s when I knew something was wrong.

The rest of that story has me thinking about the sort of neighbor I am. I’ve never met this neighbor and don’t think anyone actually lives there though I’m sure there are things inside. It turns out that the cold from the days of snow (or some such explanation – I don’t speak the language here well enough) caused some pipes to burst. This one seems connected to the water heater box thing outside. After trying to call around for help, including to someone in charge of housing and even an interpreter I know, I finally called my immediate supervisor who made some calls. In short, no, I don’t want to touch those pipes. They are old and cold and me even looking too hard at them could cause more issues. And no, I don’t want to pay the charges and have my neighbor reimburse me later. I’ve never seen or heard the neighbor. Me agreeing to pay seems like the only way to get the relevant company out to fix things. Genuinely sorry, but no, so that ‘rain’ is still falling and I feel badly.

It may be this situation that’s adding to my feeling or maybe it’s simply being home for many days and realizing that although I want to change some things in my life, it’s not yet time. So how do I make proper and productive use of this meantime that I’m in? A few minutes ago when I decided to write I had been dealing with a thought or rather a memory. You see, about eight or nine years ago I had been offered a clear vacancy job which I don’t think anyone understood why I declined. It was this memory that came back and had me wondering where I’d be today had I taken it. I think I’d have gone the predictable route of work, church, home and perhaps even family and home ownership. I doubt I would be right here today.

You see, back then, life was mapped out a certain way. People in my surroundings did high school then college or university, worked then got married, got a mortgage, and had a child or two. Even before I left, people were beginning to look at me and ask if I wasn’t going to get married. Even when I went back to visit I got asked if I hadn’t found anyone. Can you see now why even though I think it’s almost time to return there and to resurrect some of my dreams I’d be uncomfortable to do so? I’m fine the way I am. I’m not being picky or even hiding, just learning about myself and doing my best to live life the best I can. I think I had to get away to learn and grow and become better and more appreciative of the person I am.

I have no idea what the future holds for me. And I don’t have any clear plans – as yet. I know though that I’ll be all right in time. There are still so many things I don’t know and places I’ll never see but I came here and now I can see better. I may not be the wonderful neighbor I am to be or even be walking in my fullest potential but each day you’ll see me putting one foot in front of the other and getting up when I fall. I know God’s got me. He’s got you too. Best wishes for the new year and thanks for reading!!

UPDATE:

The water situation has been dealt with, thank God 🙏 and I had nothing to do with it. 😀

Going to live abroad? – Before you do…

Recently, I wrote about some job opportunities abroad. Whether you read my post or you found information elsewhere and will be going to work or even study abroad, preparation is key. While I can understand the feelings of nervous excitement about such an undertaking and all the benefits of independence, self-growth and adventure, I urge you to pause a bit. During this pause, I would like to share some of my ideas on things I believe are important when living abroad that should be worked on before setting out.

I have often mentioned research. Today, I’m saying research the culture. Find out what percentage of the population share the same religion and ethnicity as you and if you’ll be able to find churches (places of worship in your religion) or people that look like you in your new city. It’s important to have ideas of how you will be able to maintain your spiritual health when away from your own culture and usual setting. Similarly, think about whether you will be comfortable being the only one in your new town that looks like you. If there are not many people in your city or town from your part of the world, depending on where you are, here are some things to consider.

Can you make your favorite meals? Will the necessary ingredients or good substitutes be easy to find at reasonable prices? Chances are you’ll have no problem if the cultures are similar, if there are many people from your culture living there, or if your country is close in proximity or ties to where you’re going. If you have doubts at all or if you aren’t familiar with the kitchen, please learn to cook at least three easy dishes before you leave home. Having your favorite meals can help when you start missing home.

Another thing, but which is only applicable to some people, surrounds the matter of your hair. Yes, I’m being serious. Think about the products and brands you use at home. Will you be able to get these easily in your new country? If you’re into hair extensions, relaxers, weaves etc, depending on your new location, these may either be super expensive or nonexistent. Learning to do simple styles with your hair before you leave home may be a good idea. Consider also that lotions, moisturizers, shades of certain makeup products and other personal care products may not be readily available in your brands. Switching to those in your new country, online shopping or asking your family to send you things may be your options around this issue.

A further suggestion would be to check luggage restrictions and also prohibited items. Pack supplies to last about two or three months. This will allow time for you to explore and find either the same brands or similar ones. As for clothes and shoes, try not to take the whole wardrobe with you. After all, there’ll be stores where you’re going and you’ll acquire things while you’re there. Think about shipping certain items also. If you take certain medications make sure to pack both the supplies you have and your prescriptions. Don’t forget your documents and an empty lightweight bag – just in case you need to move around some of your luggage during transit.

All the best in your decision making. If you’re traveling through different airports, make sure you have the correct documents to transit and try to be on time for your flight. Have an open mind and don’t burn the bridges behind you.

Holiday Plans

Well, it’s just a few days before Christmas. For the first time in five years it seem I’ll be without a white one but forecasts can change. So can plans! I’d finished summer thankful that I had a job and was looking forward a bit to a little traveling and exploring. It was all getting laid out in my mind: destination, duration, flight costs, possible safety measures, goals for going there, foods I wanted to try, ideas of where to stay and where I’d want to visit, almost everything. And then I realized, current projections were indicating it would be best to stay closer to home. In fact, it may be better not to leave the general area.

I won’t sit here under my blanket beside the heater and write that that did not hurt. For a moment back there, I even tried to bargain with myself. You know it’s the holidays and they don’t really celebrate them here. You know it’s good to broaden your horizon and you’ve wanted to travel and see different places and experience different cultures. Well, you’ve got some savings from before, why not just think on it and see, you know, because you’ve worked hard for it so … maybe. No! I can and I could but I won’t.

So those plans got cancelled and I’ve decided to stay home. No decorations but I’ll try to make the day bright. Yesterday evening I paid all my bills and did some grocery shopping, thank God. I’ve gotten over my plans and have been living with a healthier attitude. In fact, I even did some exercises this morning – well, just a few minutes, but it’s a start. Sure, I did snack a little but it was healthy. And I even relaxed and watched a Joyce Meyer message and then, just now, a Perry Mason movie. See, I’m fine and doing well. Christmas will be here soon and that too will be fine. And, in a few months when I likely will need that savings I’ll have it to draw on.

All’s well that ends well, right. And it isn’t always so much about the destination. It’s about the journey to get there. So Merry Christmas everyone and share a smile, meal, or kind word with someone else. Take care of yourselves. Live well. You’ll thank yourself later for it.