Teaching English with My Heart

I’ve taught English since 2005. I’ve done it in Paris and Quebec City. I’ve taught big groups, small groups, privates, adults, teens and kids. I’ve loved every kind of format. They all have something different to them. Something sweet and uplifting. Something to make it new every single time.

I teach with my heart. I am who I am, in class and outside. I am known to dress up in a certain, somewhat fashion-forward yet funky way, to tell funny, at times surprising jokes or to get up and demonstrate a move. I can be very deep or relaxedly humoristic in my conversation classes. With kids, I love to break out a dance or just get off of our seats and get moving. I can often sense the specific need that there is for that particular lesson. Call it intuition if you will!

My teaching is about focusing on you, my student, but nevertheless, I bring my whole being into it. I take inspiration and wisdom from my rational and tangible university education as well as my emotional life experience. These all weave into a package that often touches deeper than just a mere grammar or vocabulary lesson. We spend moments together that leave us upliftef even after the lesson is long gone and done.

I’m glad I chose this job. I feel like when I’m teaching, I am doing what I know the best. It feels good and right. It feels fulfilling. I have a passion for English and connecting with others, and I get to spread that sweet scent day after day.

Birthday Girl

August 9th has always been a special date for me – it’s the day when I was born. Summer heat baby! A zealous lion with a passionate, big heart. A personality that can be hard-working and ambitious at its best, and addicted and easily convinced (maybe even taken advantage of) at its worst. Today I celebrate my 44th birthday. I feel much younger though. I feel energetic and excited for life. I have lots of good things as it is, and an excitng new work perspective coming up.

In my forty some years, I have lived in four different countries. That is something I am proud of. Finland, USA, France and Canada have all left their mark on me. I feel connected to all of them on some level. Yet in each, there are also things that I do not adhere so much to. But that is wisdom that my 44 years have taught me: nothing is perfect, yet there’s beauty and enjoyment in imperfection and giving grace, to ourselves and others. I am the unique mosaik of my experiences. So are you. We each have value and a story to tell. We just have to pause and listen. Listening is so important. That is where we learn and are changed, from the inside out.

Below are some pictures of my past year. I wanted to share these highlight with you.

Camping on Cape Cod.

Camping trip continued to Connecticut.

Summertime glamour where we live, in the old town of Quebec City.

Yoga in the fall.

Taking a walk and enjoying the cooling temps and the beautiful Quebec foliage.

Exploring Austin, Texas, at Christmas.

Striking a dancer’s yoga pose in front of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas.

Celebrating the arrival of spring at the Ottawa Tulip Festival.

That’s been my year. Thank you for having been a part of it, in person or thru here! I value each person who pops in to read my posts. This blog is my creative outlet and it’s been my faithful companion since the start of it in Paris in 2007.

Cheers to the new year and our continuing adventures together!

Ready for New Season

My Scandinavian vacation was wonderful. I got to go to the beach and do yoga to my heart’s content. The balmy summer temperatures bordered that of Florida. At times the heat even got to us, in a country where air-conditioning is rarely needed, there really isn’t much of it. But that taught me useful lessons about my strength. I’m resistant and stronger than I sometimes believe to be. This realization will carry its beneficial aftermath long into the new season.

Now I’m back home in Canada and trying to beat the beast that is jetlag. I’ll soon head out to teach my this season’s first power yoga class. Hopefully that’ll boost my body and mind.

I’m excited to jump back into work on Monday. My head is rested and my heart is full. Let’s start the new chapter together.

Finding Peace in Your Body

I recently got asked how I figured out a way to body love. I used to pick on myself. I didn’t like the way I looked. There were favorite body parts, like my abs, that I especially focused on. I was constantly trying to loose weight. I wanted to maintain a weight lower than what was commonly recommended for my height. Then one day came a moment when I did some serious soul-searching. I wrote down my true values. None of them turned around bodily measurements. I also recognized that when I was in contact with others, I never paid attention on their weight. I wanted to see them as they really were, a person with interesting things inside. So, I figured that I needed to apply my core values to my life as well.

I decided to stop the fight between my weight loss wanting mind and the actual needs of my living body. Trying to maintain a lower than normal weight led me to controlled and inflexible behavior. Keeping things where they naturally aren’t supposed to be is hard work. Some people spend their lives fighting with the scale, deciding that they’ll never go over a certain number, come what may. But in the meantime they are limiting how much they really experience this life. There were times when I’d stay at home just because I didn’t want to eat more and thus didn’t have the needed energy to go out and enjoy other’s company. Or maybe I’d go but only be a shadow of myself because I was exhausted. These are rather extreme examples but you get the picture.

I decided to allow myself the amount of energy, nutritious food, that it needed to fully function. Slowly I incorporated all foods back into my life. I had forbidden foods like nuts, chips, pizza or chocolate from myself. I now go by the 80-20 principle. I try to eat 80% clean, just because I know it makes me feel my best, and 20% indulgence. I’ll have that chocolate chip cookie if I want to. I do physical activity every day. I do it because it helps me to feel good in my body and also boosts my mood. I know that I have to be mindful of maintaining my happy spark alive. I also know that I have to be proactive. I take myself out for a walk or do some yoga before I feel too sad.

I have recently focused more on health magazines and social media in comparison to the fashion magazines that I used to read. I still like fashion and read the glossies I subscribe to, but I pay attention on not getting any negative body vibes from them. If my day’s good and I’m feeling great in my skin, then there’s no problem in looking at a young girl with a very thin (and probably photo shopped) frame. But if I’m already feeling self critical so then maybe that day I need to entertain myself with other things.

I continue to look for articles, social media influencers and messages that support my quest for body love. I’ve found a group on Facebook where women support each other’s sports and health goals. That has been a very positive experience. That is why I was inspired to start my own Happy Place fitness community here in Quebec City.

So, what’s the secret to body love and peace within? Deciding to want it more than anything else and then doing all you can to get it. There’s beauty in putting yourself out there and giving encouragement to others. That’s why I wrote this post.

Beach Yoga

I had flirted with yoga before but it is only this summer that I’ve really delved into it. I took yoga lessons back in Paris which left me dubitative. I craved sports and didn’t find it in that particular practice. But now either I or something else has changed, and I really see the interest in yoga. I still feel that it is a lot like my twenty years of ballet – a discipline based on strengthening and lengthening the muscle all within the same practice – and what is more precious than that.

I enjoy yoga outdoors and with music. I also like the mental side of it. Sometimes the instructor will encourage you to set a certain goal to our practice like finding peace or energy, or even an answer to a question. I like the emphasis on being thankful and also radiating the love you have sparked when finishing your session.

I recently discovered a beautiful girl – inside and out – who teaches yoga lessons online. Here’s a link to Boho Beautiful if you also would like to try working out at home with her. She will take you to do yoga on the beaches of Asia. You find differently focused lessons: core, shoulders, morning wake up, digestion and so on. I say let’s go find peace and power…