I have to admit – this is the 4th time sitting down to write this post.
I have written 2 uninspired drafts, and 2 full-on entries, that I read back grumpily days later and deleted.
None of them felt right.
They were forced – literally – because I felt like I owed you an update. I did! I wanted to write!  But when I sat down to get going, nothing actually came together.

I even made a whole analogy about how my ideas were knotted and tangled and I couldn’t find a decent thread to start with. It went on for at least 3 paragraphs; we got real convoluted.
I jumped ship.

Now I think I’m finally at a point where I need to write.
This one is back to my rambling thoughts and happy-typing.
I’m just here – hello my dears ❤

The following updates might help explain why I’ve been a little overwhelmed and MIA….

  • My final year at School Name ended. I said my goodbyes to current and past students, and to staff. This sounds simple enough, but if you know me, you know goodbyes, or emotions in general, are not my forte.
    That last week was one of red eyes and tissues, and it took very little to trigger a whole new mess. To those of you who were there, thank you for whatever it was you offered, be it a shoulder, a warm word, or just your patience and withheld judgement in the moment. Y’all know who you are – so much love.
  • I donated half my life to charity shops and friends. There’s only so much you can bring home in 2 suitcases.
    I tossed most of it because selling it felt like too much effort, if I’m being honest. It was given to my curb-side neighbours, to my friends if they seemed keen, or dropped off at a local shop. I just needed to get to the finish line.
  • I had dinners and brunches, visits and road-trips, trying to get in last minute send-offs with friends.
  • I left the country.
  • I moved into my mother’s house.
    Double ouch.
    (No offence mama, love you!)
  • Unpacked my life.
  • Got a new phone number.
  • Visited family in Ottawa.
  • Went camping.
  • Saw ‘Come From Away’!
  • Met with friends.
  • Bought a car.
  • Won the lottery
  • Rode a horse
  • Bungee jumped
  • Found a four-leaf clover
  • Flew to Mars
  • Got my Timmies fix.

Obviously I’m skimming, but basically I’ve been busy.

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Meet Gloria!

TLDR: I’m officially back on Canadian soil, living a Canadian life.

Writing when I’m a big mess of stress, anxiety and raw emotions isn’t fun, and it’s definitely not cute.
The melodramatic teenager that’s still sitting somewhere in my stomach crawls onto the keyboard and the results are beyond eyeroll-worthy.  It’s hard enough to keep her in check while I’m living in my childhood bedroom – I can’t set her loose on the internet.
“I am a grown-ass woman!” I remind the mirror every morning, hoping to keep her quiet.

The adjustments have been made and the thoughts have started processing, so these are steps in the right direction.
The plan now is to write about this past month properly, but I’m not quite ready for a fully fleshed-out recount yet. Until then, I hope you’ll take this snapshot for the apology and mini-update that it is, and bear with me.


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Tent friend! Coffee friend!

A little history…

Wondering what came before the looming prodigal-return?
Probably not, but you’ve already clicked the link, so maybe you’ll indulge me.

I left home, a suburb north of Toronto, in 2013.
I had just qualified as a teacher, and job prospects for new teachers in Canada aren’t great.
My specialization is in French, and my placements in teacher training were all for the subject, not a class. After graduating, I worried that I wouldn’t be considered for ‘classroom teacher’ roles – destined to be pigeon-holed into teaching French language.
Knowing this, and that I wanted proper classroom experience, I planned from early-on to go abroad. I looked into a few international schools, but (as feared) heard that language positions were filled, and to try again another time.
So instead I chose a country where I could teach my own class, in English.
Europe was also appealing because it was close to the friends made in past travels.
London was calling – it just felt right.

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I worked supply shifts to start, jumping around schools and getting a feel for the city’s massively diverse neighbourhoods (‘boroughs’)  and learning the ins and outs of the English school system.
I found myself a flatshare, met amazing people, and eventually landed myself a full-time position teaching Year 6 (Grade 5) at **** School.

**One of the things that seems to have stopped me from writing over the years is the expectation that teachers keep pretty quiet over social media.  It’s strongly advised that you avoid speaking about your personal life in the public eye (and to be fair, I’ve definitely had students seek me out online). So my last name will not come anywhere near this blog, and I’ve decided I’ll be censoring myself. Sometimes literally. Asterisks ahoy!

I’ve worked at this school ever since; nearing 5 years now.
As a low socio-economic area, with students of all backgrounds, it’s been demanding, and sometimes disheartening, but especially rewarding. I couldn’t learn what I’ve learned here, anywhere else.  I grew at the school. I gained a lot.

‘Leaving and Learning’ is the title I’ve given this blog.
It feels like it has the potential to be read as a negative, but that isn’t my intention.
I left home, and I’ve learned.
I made a new home – I’ve got my favourite faces and places in the city;  I understand and can identify (some) regional accents; learned to avoid tube stations at rush hour; walk to the ‘high road’ or ‘pop to the shops’ to grab drinks – alcoholic or otherwise – from a ‘newsagent’s’ or ‘off-license’; commute to work on a big red double-decker bus; and I’ve come to appreciate mushy peas, clotted cream and yorkshire pudding.

It’s been an amazing chapter for me, and I hate to turn the page.  It just feels like the time to start a new one.
So once again, I’ll leave.

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In the future, I don’t plan on leaving Country X  every time I get the urge for change.
Maybe I’ll come up with a better blog name once I know what I’m actually going to be writing about long-term,  but for now I’ll settle on explaining myself.
Leaving can mean bad habits.
It might mean unflattering outfits and it definitely means my early twenties.
I can leave a good impression, leave a tip or leave you hanging.
Right now it just so happens to mean leaving a continent, and crossing an ocean.
And it’s very bitter-sweet.

I’m returning to the land of maple and snow.
Of bagged-milk and Trudeau.
Of ‘eh’s and ‘zed’s,
Toonies, Timmie’s and toques,
Hockey – not ‘ice hockey’ – and the dearly missed caesar.

London will always be a home to me.
But Canada is calling me (back).
And it just feels right.

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