Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Long Overdue Update

I'm back to the blogging world!

After an absence of almost 3 months, I'm updating my blog.

So, what happened to me?  

Well, a few things.  

First off, I decided to focus on some personal and professional development.  This has meant more reading, listening to podcasts, journaling, and connecting with other English teachers.

At the end of each day I felt mentally exhausted, and so I preferred to spend time watching TV or doing some other mindless activity on my own.  Such an attitude doesn't lend itself well to keeping a blog updated regularly, unfortunately.

During this time, I have come to some realizations.

I've been reading a book about being introverted, and it has been really interesting.  Not only do introverts (like me) have different preferences about how they spend their time, but they also think differently.  They process information differently, and even their physiological makeup is different.  These differences account for differences in energy levels, communication styles, and a myriad of other things.  

The book has helped me realize that I'm not a strange or bad person if I want to spend a quiet weekend mostly to myself.  It's not strange that if I'm out at a social event that I feel tired after 2 or 3 hours and am ready to go home.  

Another realization is that one of the most important relationships you can have is with yourself.  I think that being able to spend time by yourself, find activities that interest and nourish you as a person, and not need to depend on others for happiness is an important accomplishment to achieve in life.  

The third (and perhaps most important) realization is the reminder that I got from a podcast that a person's happiness largely depends on the connections that a person develops with others.  For some people it is very easy to withdraw from social situations and keep to yourself, but it's not always the healthiest thing to do.  During this time, I have made a conscious effort to connect with my friends and spend time together, and they have also made an effort to be sure that I get out and stay social.

So, what else has happened over this time period?

Some very positive things!

1. I paid off one of my student loans.
Anyone that knows me personally has probably heard me talk about the loans that I took out to attend graduate school, and over the years I have felt frustrated to be paying back an unsubsidized loan that accrued interest every single day regardless of if I was working or unemployed, healthy or sick.  I decided that I wanted to have this particular loan paid off by the end of the year, and as I made payments I realized that I was closer to paying it off than I had realized.  I made my last payment on July 3rd.

2. Chile won the American Cup.
Chile hosted the American Cup this year, which meant a huge influx of tourists.  It also meant that there was a lot of traffic around my neighborhood before, during, and after each game.  Chile won round after round, and each time the victory was celebrated with honking horns, celebratory chanting, and drunken revelry.  In the final it was Chile versus Argentina, and when Chile won the city exploded in celebration.  The game happened on the 4th of July, and knowing that the game was scheduled to end at about 7 or so I decided to just stay in and recharge my batteries that day.  It was a good decision after hearing about people trying to travel from one part of the city to another after the game finished.

3. I I was selected to give a workshop at the IATEFL Chile conference in Concepción this weekend.
I always enjoy going to conferences and getting to share teaching strategies and ideas, and being selected to present this year is a huge honor.  This will be my first weekend trip outside of Santiago since I returned in February, so I'm really looking forward to it.

4. I've been able to start a gym routine.
I have some new classes located in downtown Santiago, and I have a 2 and a half hour break between some of them.  This allows me enough time to get to the gym, work out for an hour, shower and change, and run a quick errand or two before my next class.  My schedule will allow for me to do this 4 days a week, so my goal is to get to the gym 3 days a week.

To make up for all the text in beginning of the post, here are some pictures of social gatherings/events that have happened over the past 3 months:

At Moe's Tavern

View of the fireworks from my apartment after Chile won the American Cup
A burger at Hard Rock Cafe in Santiago
Vanilla tea and pumpkin pie at a new coffee shop
Meeting up with Cristobal.  We were both exchange students in Germany 15 years ago.
In the polka dot art exhibition with Ellen
A room of changing colors in the polka dot art exhibition
An interesting room in the art exhibition
In the polka dot sticker room.  Everything was covered in stickers.
A dance troupe performs caporiera at an Africa Day celebration
Having fun at a cat cafe
I hope everyone up in the Northern Hemisphere is enjoying the summer!  Until my next update.

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