Grateful, flattered and a big ‘Thanks Mom’

Thankful, humbled, flattered, honored & feeling blessed.  The last week brought lots of good news and opened new doors without closing any.  Whether its good karma, good luck or simply I that had great parents who raised me right I keep getting more and more opportunities to thrive in everything I enjoy.  Thanks mom!  A belated happy mother’s day to you (don’t worry I woke her up with a Skype call as I went to bed.  Time zones are funny like that).

On that mother’s day Skype call my parents commented that it seems like my “life is in between vacations.”  I’ve got a good job that affords me plenty of time to travel but more importantly living in Korea means I’m always traveling.  So how could things get better than they already were?  I had no idea until these last few days.

Over the weekend I attended my 2nd Google Apps for Education Conference.  It was amazing, I learned a tremendous amount to help me personally as an educator and independently with productivity tricks.  (stay tuned for an overview of the best tips & lifehacks!)  At the end we were invited on stage (roughly 200 attendees) to do a “Demo Slam” (a 2 minute presentation of on an awesome Techno trick).  I won a cool laptop bag but more importantly while networking later in the evening they asked if I would present next year!  What an honor.  I of course said yes and have already begun preparing a trial presentation for my coworkers.

The networking continued as I met dozens of teachers from international schools all over Asia.  Uh oh.  All over Asia?  Yeah, I don’t know when I’m leaving Korea but there’s no guarantee leaving Korea means returning home.  Especially if I can get into a fancy international school and explore some new corner of the world!

Already on cloud 9 from the conference I finalized my summer plans and have begun coming to the realization that I’ll be spending 3 weeks in Thailand this summer!  Brian and I are hoping to jump on motor bikes and explore the northern jungles in between beach days and hopping over to Cambodia to see Angor Wat.

Hours after those tickets were purchased I was asked to be a Teaching Mentor!  I was taken aback.  He couldn’t truly be asking me to be his teaching mentor?  I’m still young.  Aren’t I?  Okay so I’m almost 30 (with dreamy thoughts of a destination 30th on the beach!) but I’ve only been teaching for a handful of years.  I’ve always known I was good with kids and thought highly of my teaching abilities but never wanted to be pretentious.  I guess I’m inspiring more than just my students but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to be a mentor.  Does it?

I confided in him that I wasn’t sure I was qualified but IF I meet the requirements I would be happy to oblige.  Then I started to think back to the mentors in my career.  Most if not all of them mothers by now so happy mothers day to Roe, Judy, & Sue; they were some of the most influential teachers in my early career.  Can’t forget Dr. C and all my amazing professors.  I know I’m not quite among their ranks but in makes me proud to know I’m on track!

So like I said.  I’ve got it pretty good.  The truth is after leaving that crappy hagwon I have had few complaints and many thanks.  Thank you mom & dad especially for helping me become a son that you are proud of.  A person that I’m proud to be.  Thank you to all the mentors and role models in my life from Aunts, Uncles & extended family to coaches, scout leaders and of course my teachers!

Onesie Subway Ride – Seoul Flash Mobs

A few weeks ago I had the crazy idea to start an epic pillow fight, one thing led to another and I created Seoul Flash Mobs.  We decided to get our feet wet before the pillow fight (which is turning out to have almost 2,000 RSVP’s!) with a onesie subway ride.

 

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The plan was simple.  Give everyone an easy way to buy an animal onesie with enough time to order it (gmarket.com aka Ebay for Korea).  We decided to meet at Dongdaemun History & Culture Park, a famous landmark that is often referred to as “that spaceship like thingy.”  While there we would hang out with some “refreshments” before jumping on the subway to eventually make our way to Hongade for Crazy Multiply’s art show, Archaioposterus.

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We ended up having so much fun in Dongdaemun and became mini celebrities as Korean parents tossed their kids into our hands for a quick photo op.  We decided to stop in Gangnam for a second round of photos and jumped at the chance to dance to Gangnam Style!

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“We Do Not Inherit the Earth from Our Ancestors; We Borrow It from Our Children”

“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”

-Moses Henry Cass

Hang En-8

Cass’s quote is especially important I lieu of the recent climate change “debate.”  Well, lets be honest, its not really a debate.  The conversation is akin to a child arguing with an adult over the benefits of brushing one’s teeth, eating healthy, how video games are good for studying or just about anything that has been scientifically proven yet people still deny.

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Seoraksan National Park, South Korea

For millennia humans have inherited the earth from our forefathers and continued to live off the land.  Only recently has our race begun to realize the impact we have on nature and the profound changes we set in motion.  Some changes are already irreversible (sure that’s a TV show but those facts check out).  The Earth’s temperature is rising and our best estimates of letting it continue on the current course are catastrophic.

 

 

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Jirisan National Park, South Korea

The thing to remember is that regardless of the current situation we need to get into Cass’ mentallity of “borrow[ing] Earth from our children.”  We hand it back to them in (hopefully) better condition than we were given it.  Humans are known for their ability to adapt and I am confident in our abilities to continue doing so.  I look forward to inventions that help us solve the issues that climate change is presenting.  I’m hopeful about future technology that could reverse the damage caused by our pollution.   A 19 year old is spearheading the ocean cleanup, scientists are hoping to lower the Earth’s temperature by using artificial trees or other inventions to suck the harmful CO2 out of the sky.

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East Sea from Daecheongbong, Seoraksan National Park, South Korea

The sun hasn’t set on us yet.  With the help of modern scientists, activists and everyday people we can keep this beautiful Earth for generations to come.  Soon we will return this borrowed planet to our offspring but until that day we have work to do.  Even if its just recycling and making a compost pile everyone can help clean up our planet  Get out there and make a difference so we can leave the best planet possible to our children!

 

“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done…” – Dalai Lama XIV

“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.”
Dalai Lama XIV

Such a strong and incredibly true statement about life.  I love the adventures I went on yesterday (and the day,  month, year before that)  As evidenced by my perpetual Facebooking & blogging about trips but one thing is certain; without following the Dalai Lama’s advice I never would have made it on 99% of those excursions.  If I sat around thinking about what awesome things I’ve already done (climbing waterfalls, exploring caves or summiting mountains) I’d never make it to the next one.

If I spent my days daydreaming about the next big adventure my future holds (Granted I do often do this in my leisure time.  See below.) that expedition would never come to fruition.  I never would have gotten off my butt in New Jersey and moved to Seoul, explored Son Doong (the world’s largest cave) floated in the dead sea or countless other unforgettable trips.

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Floating in The Dead Sea

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Son Doong, World’s Largest Cave

One of the reasons my posts have been sparse the last few weeks is I just started up a new language exchange.  Every Tuesday night from 7:30-9:00 I convince a bunch of Koreans & foreigners to sit down and chat.  We take half the time to speak in Korean and half to speak in English.  We’re up to 16 members in just 5 weeks and everyone is enjoying this FREE opportunity to learn language and bridge cultural gaps.  We’ve been negotiating contracts at my current school and its not confirmed but it looks like I’m gonna stay on board for another year, I’m even a candidate for the promotion to team leader!

That means I can’t wait to plan for my next BIG adventures (since I’ll have about 8 weeks of vacation to play with next year).  I’ll be in Shanghai for 2 days in December before returning to NJ for the holidays (December 27th. Shindig at my parents place.  Save the date!).  I’m looking forward to a warm holiday in February (Thailand’s looking pretty enticing right now) and researching a Nepal trek to the Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camps for as early as next summer.  But I’m not just looking at the future I’m working TODAY to make that happen in some unforeseen tomorrow.  I’m always looking for new opportunities to a)travel and b)make some extra money (just finished a flyer for English tutoring that I’m going to have some Korean friends proofread at tonight’s exchange!)

I try to be as productive as possible and I don’t like wasting time.  Sure I take breaks, everyone needs trashy TV binges, HALO/Call Of Duty marathons, your occasional buzzfeed article or Sunday recoveries from questionable Saturday decisions.  The trick is to strive to make them the exception rather than the norm.  Budget leisure time just like you would a paycheck and you will quickly find that you are prepared for more and doing more.  You will find new opportunities to save money through a little elbow grease and I’d be surprised if you can’t put your mind towards a new opportunity for some cash flow making tomorrow’s dreams even more likely.

Yesterday is in the past, tomorrow’s in the future, so remember that “today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live!”  Whether that means learning something new, saying hello to a stranger, falling in love, calling an old friend or simply getting up and getting started you’re the one that’s in charge so do it today!

P.S. One last update for my family, friends and other followers!  I’ve been getting back into shape with a sober September, promoting men’s health for Movember by hitting the gym, sharing advice, cooking as much (and healthy) as possible and of course growing a mean ‘stache.  Can’t forget how epic Saturday night was my first 1920’s murder mystery!  (p.s happy birthday Erin!)1920's murder mystery