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I Haven't Been Everywhere But It's On My List I love to travel and experience the world but part of the fun for me is documenting those experiences through photography and writing. Follow along with me and enjoy the ride!

What Have I Been Up To For The Past 4 Years?

USA | Saturday, 6 July 2019 | Views [125]

I know it's been a long time - too long - since I've written anything but sometimes life comes at you fast and you just have to do everything in your power to keep your head above water. 

Professional Life: I've stayed at the same school and am still teaching chemistry.  I have spent all 6 years of my teaching career there.  I've honed my teaching skills there, built great relationships with students there, and have made some of my closest friends there.  It has been my home.  It has also been challenging, emotionally draining, and at times physically exhuasting.  To do this job well, you have to give it everything you have and if you're not careful, it can consume you.  Last spring, I really started thinking about what was next for me.  Did I want to stay in the classroom?  Did I want to persue another advanced certificate or degree?  Did I want to try to get my foot in the door of what my headmaster refers to as "the dark arts of administration?"  Was there another option I hadn't even considered yet?  After a lot of soul searching I decided that I needed a change of pace, with different expereiences and different challenges to push my out of my comfort zone and to help me grow personally and professonally.  

Personal Life: the last few years I have been trying to focus on me (albeit reluctantly at first).  It has been one of the hardest things to do and truly commit to because I've never really even tried.  I have been practicing healthy eating, healthy sleeping, and healthy living. This all stems from my unwavering determination to overcome my diagnosis of PTSD.  I have learned the difference between self-care and selfishness.  I have learned how to set better boundaries for myself and for others.  I have learned how to identify my triggers and act on them before I feel like things get out of my control.  I have learned that the more I take care of myself, the more I can be there for the people around me.  I adopted a puppy 2 years ago who has not just been my emotional support animal, but has been my companion through it all.  There is nothing like the feeling of coming home to her and having her feel so excited she can barely stand it simply because she loves me so unconditionally.  I have started a new personal training plan and joined Weight Watchers in January (I'm down about 45lbs so far!) because I know I feel better when I am healthy.  Mostly, I have been able to mainatain a much healthier work-life balance by taking some of the roles I had off my plate.

Travel: Since our Asian Adventure in 2015, I have been fortunate to do so much more travelling!  Although I didn't write any blog entries, it is definitely worth checking out my instagram page for all the awesome pictures @mwollak to see but I'll give a BRIEF run down here!  In 2016 I went to Aruba 🇦🇼 for Spring Break with a group of girlfriends from work, in 2017 I got SCUBA certifed so that my dad and I could fly down under to go scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef and climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia 🇦🇺  and then we visited New Zealand 🇳🇿 and got to see the incredible glow worm caves.  Later that year I traveled to Spain 🇪🇸 and ate queso y jamon and drank tinto de verano every day while enjoying the stunning coast in Calpe.  In 2018 I went to Belize 🇧🇿 and got to dive the Belize Barrier Reef.  That summer, I went to Iceland 🇮🇸 and hiked up a glacier, snorkeled in Silfra between 2 tectonic plates, and kayaked in a glacier lagoon.  For Christmas, I decided to fly to a tiny island off the Pacific coast of Panama 🇵🇦  called Saboga and enjoyed what was esssentially my own private beach for a few days to relax and recharge.  In 2019 I returned to Aruba 🇦🇼 where I got to dive one of the oldest ship wrecks in the Carribean and swim with dozens of sea turtles!

What's Next? Having said all this, I am happy to announce that I have accepted a chemistry teaching position at an international school in Ho Chi Minh City! I am nervous and anxious about so many things but I am beyond excited for this next adventure! Oh and I set a goal for myself to vist 30 countries by the time I turn 30 so I'll need to go to 7 more in the next 14 months.  Challenge accepted!!


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