My title owes complete homage to an inspirational blog post that stirred my imagination at 10:30am on New Year’s Day – a post that instantly spun my world and gave clarity of purpose to my new year – my 2014! This post is a must read: 50 Ways to Find Inspiration: Create, Explore, Expand at Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Complex Lives.
I guess my whole life’s mantra has been to “Create, Explore, and Expand” as there is a wind in my spirit that craves to be in the world, to experience and learn in awe from the stories of its people and its places. This blog post and list reminds me to live mindfully and engaged while fanning the embers of my inspiration, my curiosity, and my creativity! For 2014 I will do everything on this list; most I do every year at some point, but I like the challenge of doing so with intention and love doing so while adventuring abroad in Argentina.
The blog begins with this quotation: “If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us.” ~Daisaku Ikeda. The list in the blog categorizes sources of inspiration in nature, on the web, in possibilities, in people, and in yourself. Here are a few favourites in each category:
- In Nature: Take a camera outside and photograph everything that looks beautiful to you.
- On the Web: Watch a TED video to learn about inspiring ideas.
- In Possibilities: Try something you’ve always assumed you can’t do but secretly wanted to try.
- In People: Spend time with children and see the world through their eyes.
- In Yourself: Try something new and revel in the sensation of stretching beyond your comfort zone.
I am contemplative of all possibilities as my journeying of the horizon nears. This February brings a respite as our lil’ family of four moves to live, for nearly six months, in Santa Fe, Argentina. This journey allows me and my family so many opportunities to find inspirations to create, explore, and expand – to mindfully live a life of opportunity, dreams, and learning.
My husband – Cristian (who is from Santa Fe) – is on sabbatical from teaching math at the University of Calgary, so his journey will be about researching, writing his papers, working at the University in Santa Fe alongside his professors and peers, and joyously being with his extended family and friends. He both revels in the joy of us living near family and learning spanish, but he also worries about all the issues of safety and finances that come with such an endeavour. Yet, he shares my enthusiasm for this change of pace and the opportunities that abound. He is my soulmate!
My children, Luca(10) and Tulia(9), are so excited for our journey to begin. They just get it! They are willing enthusiasts of this opportunity – a spirited energy that is a constant source of inspiration. They look forward to being with their Argentina family, living in constant warmth with a pool, the giant slide in the park (tee hee – their favourite memory – kids!), but most of all they are so excited to get to go to school at Nivel Primario – Universidad Nacional del Litoral and learn Spanish – it offers a half day of classes in English and a half day of classes in Spanish! I, too, will be an eager student to learn the romantic language of Spanish beyond my fragmented Spanglish – so this will be a co-journey where they will likely be teaching me! They are so brave and filled with curiosity – this, too, inspires me to live without fear! At that age I would have been paralyzed by fear to have my parents send me to a foreign school in another language, fear of being “foreign”, fear of failing. Obviously, those fears have subsided in my adult self – so I admire their youthful positivity and energy. Of course, they are not jumping into the unknown – they’ve been to Argentina many times, they LOVE our family there, and they have visited the school they get to attend. They are also excited to become bloggers – reporting their adventures and learning to their classmates in Calgary, their friends, and their family – plus they are excited to become “travel writers” as children with a – hopefully – world wide audience. Luca’s writing will be found at Write Away Luca , and Tulia’s reporting (she likes the idea of being a reporter) will be found at Write Away Tulia. We got them set up in the fall and I worked with them for a first post, but we’ll engage with this as we begin our journey.
For the romantic side in me, my journey is filled with so much hope, reflection, and exploration. Blogging will be the central axis for most of my goals and purposes. I am so enthusiastic to do the blogging with my children, and even my husband is interested. We will be a family of bloggers whereby I’ll be using a “hub and spoke” approach that interlinks all our blogs via Edublogs (the same platform I use for class blogs and powered by WordPress), and keeps me in control (for safety) of my children’s blogging. For my “travel writing” experience of living as a Canadian ex-pat in the centre of Argentina, I’ll keep a separate blog from thehunni blog – it is called Write Away Hunni . This is the blog space where my life experiences will be ruminating, rummaging, and reflecting on all the wonders, curiosities, and challenges of living abroad in a foreign space and culture. I LOVE travel and Argentina – I am compelled to capture and share it this time with an audience.
The teacher side in me is compelled to delve into digital citizenship and educational technology with my own children – to really learn about all the possibilities of blogging from an elementary to high school perspective (see the side bar to explore my high school class blogs in the Blogroll). So, I guess you can say this is self-declared Action Research project for me. My children are happy to be my lil’ guinea pigs (or so I keep reminding them)!
Further to this personal writing journey, I will be looking at achieving professional writing too. First of all, this blog – thehunni: Blogging Beside My Students – will be a continuous space where I’ll write as a learner, a teacher, a professional. I plan to continue to read and learn from my PLN (personal learning network) and to reflect on this learning so that when I return to my classes in the fall of 2014 I’m refreshed, refocused, revised, and relevant. Secondly, I’m apprehensively excited to look at publishing the work I’ve done pioneering class blogs to improve and empower student voices as writers. I’m hopeful to at least look at article writing, but ambitiously, I am hopeful to write a book on the topic. The work my students and I have engaged in has been inspiring! This past year when I presented at the NCTE conference in Boston I was so inspired by the collegiality and support I received from like-minded educators. I hope to follow-up with professional writings and hopefully will be offered an opportunity to present again at NCTE 2014. I would love to explore the possibilities of being a professional teacher writer/consultant. Who knows?
So, my bustling life continues just in a far more adventurous and personally reflective way. I am so grateful for this opportunity to re-engage with my personal interests and passions. My days in Argentina will rarely be lazy-hazy, although there will be plenty of opportunities pool-side and beach-bound for that too! I will get healthy again with yoga and daily walks, I will learn Spanish because I want to build stronger conversational relationships with my amazing family there, I will explore and experience all that Santa Fe and Argentina can offer me, I will capture the beauty of that world through photos and writings, I will read – voraciously, I will cook to nourish my inner foodie-wanna-be, I will inhale the opportunities to live in a foreign country, I will play with my children and family, I will become the writer I dream of being – even if it is merely enjoyed by my family and friends, and I will use the list of 50 Ways from Buddha Wisdom to help me find inspiration so that I can mindfully create, explore, and expand myself! Here’s to 2014! Happy New Year!
- 50 Ways to Find Inspiration: Create, Explore, Expand (tinybuddha.com)
- New Year’s Resolution: Expand Leadership Strengths with Curiosity (leadershipspirit.wordpress.com)
- Cause of Leadership Failure – Lack of Imagination
- Social Media Enhances Professional Development