Bring it on, summer

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Two months after getting back from Japan, I’m still unemployed. And I’m okay with that.

Mostly, I’ve been trying to get myself back on my feet, get some medial things taken care of,  and make the most of my gainful unemployment while it lasts. My tablet and I have made daily outings around town to do some writing and editing work. Next month is a month-long write-a-thon called Camp NaNoWriMo, so I’m hoping to use that momentum to buckle down and get shit done. 

Being unemployed has also given me plenty of time to be active. I spent a long, long time hating sports and hating the idea of working out. It always felt like an obligation, like a pressure, like something that people in my life were badgering me into for shallow reasons. My automatic instinct was to reject it out of spite. It took me a long time to realise that I could find something that was actually FUN for me, and do something that DIDN’T feel like torture or work. I was working out sometimes in Japan, but fell out of it when stress, anxiety, and an ankle injury all conspired to kill my motivation, re-kill it, and burn the corpse. Feels good to have resurrected it again.

Silly as it is, I’ve taken XKCD’s exercise model to heart. Yoga to level up my DEX, running to level up my CON, swimming for miscellaneous stat boosts. When you’re doing something you LIKE rather than forcing yourself to go through the motions of something you HATE, it gets a whole lot better. As it is with many things in life.

I’ve been catching up with old friends, though not as much as I’d like. It feels pretty lonely in the city sometimes, since so many of the people I used to know are living in other provinces and cities and countries now. But that’s okay. They’ll be back. I’ll go visit. The city’s even changed for the better since I left for Japan, and there’s a whole lot more groups and awesome people to hang out with than there used to be. Life goes on.

Now that summer’s here, there’s a whole city – a whole island – of awesomeness to explore. Writing on the beach with icebergs drifting past and fog rolling in with the caplin over the rocks? Epic.

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6 Great Board Games to Use for ESL Classes

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Spending yesterday at a local gaming event got me thinking about board games.

I’ve had a bit of a board game obsession over the last few years, largely thanks to watching Tabletop on Geek&Sundry. Mostly for fun, to play with friends and have some gaming in my life when D&D wasn’t possible. But when I was teaching in Japan, I also did my best to work board games into my classes whenever possible.

Since a few people have asked me about the games I used, I’m putting the list here for future reference. I mostly taught junior high, but most of them would work for any age group with minimal tweaking.

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Home sweet home

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After living abroad for six years, coming home is supposed to be hard. Leaving your life behind. Packing up years of adventures into a few boxes to be thrown to the whims of the postal service. Reverse culture shock. Seeing how much everything changed, and feeling resentful that it didn’t all stay still while you were gone.

Well, fuck that. I’m home and I couldn’t be happier.

There’s so many things I missed about Canada. Things you don’t appreciate until you’re living in a foreign country where you have the vocabulary of a four year old and are functionally illiterate. I missed friends and family. I missed having fireworks on New Year’s Eve. I missed falling asleep to the sound of a distant foghorn in the harbour. I missed being able to buy cheese that came in flavours other than “processed”. I missed being able to buy books in English at an actual book store rather than ordering import books online. Little things. Important things.

Not that being back home automatically makes things easy. But its a hell of a lot better than staying in a foreign country, doing a job that was making me miserable, and feeling like I was standing still.

Since I’m starting over in life, I may as well start over here too. If you followed me from one of my previous online lives, hello again. It’s been a while. I missed you! Let’s catch up on our mutual geekdom soon. If you’re new, hello to you too.