My first print article has been published! It is a piece detailing life as an international student at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Canadian Student is a professional education magazine that will be distributed in high schools, universities, career fairs and Canadian embassies. The aim of the publication is to promote Canadians to study abroad while also enticing international students to come to Canada to complete their higher education. It was edited to include one small spelling error but other than that I am pleased with my first real deal, publication in print. Currently, it is only available in print versions. However, many of you have been asking to give it a read so I scanned a copy to make my section of the magazine available to you: Canadian Student Magazine-Renee Jordan
A few months ago Healine Magazine, the publication for the British Columbia Brain Injury society, approached me about running a profile on my post-accident story. The idea being that my story could inspire others, and also is a powerful recount of how professional interventions and supports can lead to long-term success even in the midst of drastic changes. I was honoured, excited and hesitant all in one. I was given the opportunity to maintain creative control, which allowed me to write the story and focus on the aspects of my recovery I wanted to. I elected not to focus on the logistics of the accident, or the nitty gritty of the years of continued rehab. Instead I kept it positive and choose to focus on the impact the accident and subsequent injuries have had on my educational and professional pursuits.
However, even with the opportunity to share my tale in my own words I was still anxiously left feeling less than brave. The story of my accident is something I keep close to my heart and only a few people, mainly my mom and Jay have been let in to see the full extent of my injuries. I often frame all the ramifications in positivity (because regardless there is a vast silver lining to my experience), and down play the severity. A brain injury is permanent, so although I have come a long way thanks to an amazing team of rock stars, so many of my challenges remain. Therefore, I still spend so much of my time and energy compensating for the long-term effects or masking my perceived deficits. Ironically, this level of protectiveness has ultimately been the only cause of conflict surrounding my accident. I have learned through trial and error that when you aren’t transparent with your needs, others are not aware of them and that is when a breakdown in communication occurs. Therefore, over the years those closest to me have challenged me to be candid with my experience. So when I agreed to do the story I shared with a few trusted people that it was going to print. However, I held fast that I wouldn’t share it with the wider world because no one I knew would be reading Headline and I could still protect my story. They all gently prodded me to be brave (since that was my goal in penning the story at all) and trust that those who loved me would only be appreciative to glean greater insight into my experience. So with their words bouncing around in my head I am now letting you, my big world of dedicated readers, friends and family, in on the story.
The print versions aren’t on shelves just yet, nor is the latest edition up on their website yet. But with that being said if you are in any medical center, neurological office or rehabilitation space in the province of British Columbia grab a print copy of the magazine in the next week or so. Otherwise, feel free to download the PDF version right now and head over to page 10 for my article: 2014 winter Headline. I hope you enjoy, and please share your insights and stories with me in connection to the article. Getting queries and e-mails from readers is one of my favorite aspects of up keeping this blog.
This post is a touch overdue, but nonetheless it is hard to believe that it has been over six months since we packed up and set off for Manhattan. These past months have been some of the most exciting, invigorating, and stretching of our young lives. Jay just flew home from a Boston to Miami to Colorado Springs to Virginia business trip, and as we sipped green tea on the floor of our kitchen catching up on our week apart we began reminiscing about this unbelievable journey we are on. It is cheesy, and mushy and painfully cliché but we are both so wholly in love with our life. We are in agreement that no matter where life takes us next, we will always look back on our time in New York as one of the best, most exciting, most spine tingling spectacular seasons of our marriage. We are in awe of the growing that has happened in us individually and together. So in love with the friends we have made here. So inspired by the art and community we have been able to soak in. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t all be rosy. Uprooting and replanting has had its fair share of adjustments and longings as well, but slowly, over time those have turned out to be a beautiful reformation process for me. I have a cherished New York friend (who I would be lost without) who has lovingly and thoughtfully listened to me voice all my concerns and worries in painfully rich detail and on repeat. She told me it has been such a joy for her to watch my little mind expand as my vision for our future grows. The result is that now as we move forward to the rest of our time in NYC, to graduation, to job hunting and to family planning we go with an even more open heart, broadened minds and a whole bundle of faith that what comes next will be equally as amazing.
Everyone: “You’re from Caaaanada, you must be so used to the snow”
Me: “West coast Canada, as in I can count how many white Christmases I have had on half a hand”
Sadly, I do not live in an igloo nor do I inhabit a ice covered tundra. I am from a mild, verdant island off the west coast of Canada, where our temperate climate saves us from extreme heat and extreme cold. In essence it is perfect. So with that in mind this happens to be my first true winter. Previously, my skin had never felt well below freezing and I have never had need for Sorrel Boots and parkas. Where I hail from a light fall coat and toms constitute winter wear. Again I reiterate it was perfect.
Now I have experienced winter and I will give it that is is whimsically pretty and the soft snow falling over the city streets is as serene as it is cinematically perfect. However, the practical side of skin nipping cold air, pragmatic (not cute) winter attire and trekking through snow drifts to the subway is less than glamourous. For example, there was one afternoon during the polar vortex that Jay and I tried to set out for an adventure and made it around the block before trudging back to the sanctity of our heated apartment. The air burned our lungs and the frigid temperatures soaked in so deep that Jay’s hips throbbed. However, that being said if you asked Jay about winter in the city you would get a much rosier response than I am detailing. So I guess like beauty, tolerance is also in the eye of the beholder.
All gripping aside thankfully winter isn’t actually as terrible as I had imagined it to be and at the very least I have now earned my winter badge of honour. Now perhaps I can consider myself a true Canadian. However I haven’t done it alone. I owe my survival thus far to my step dad (an Ontario native) who sprung to buy me hearty winter boots to keep my toes warm and the Michaels Kors down jacket I nabbed on a ridiculously great sale that keeps the rest of me cozy.
Before we booked our flights home for the holidays we had a large internal debate about our New Years plans. Should they be held on the east coast or the west coast? We settled our qualms by polling friends who have been in the city years longer than us rookies. What we couldn’t decide was if we should fly home in time to wrangle a spot in Times Square to watch the ball drop, or spend it with our oldest, most cherished friends at home. In the end I was informed that the logistics of a NYC NYE was that I would wind up standing for hours, sardined next to strangers being unable to move to eat, drink or use the bathroom. Which for me, who tends to be a sensitive soul, this is not my ideal environment at all. So in the end we decided to stay and ring in 2014 from Victoria. Continue reading “New Years and a New Year”
This month I was asked to find a spare moment in the chaos of finals to talk about our plans for Christmas, either near or far from NYC. I chose to highlight some of the festive activities that we managed to squeeze in between laborious paper writing and those lengthy library sessions where you sustain yourself on a diet of coffee and determination.
Next week we will be jetting back to the island to enjoy the Christmas season with family and friends back home. However, before that happens we have been taking full advantage of Christmas in our new home. The holidays in the city have a little extra sparkle and a dash more whimsy than anything I have previously experienced. The lights begin being hung around mid November and by the time Thanksgiving comes around almost every street is adorned with silky red bows and fragrant evergreen wreaths. It is beautiful, and even the grinch-iest of grinch would have a hard time not warming to the Christmas spirit this city emits.
Currently I am in the midst of finals insanity in a way only grad school can muster. However, Jay and I have been taking study breaks to explore the festive undercurrents of New York City. Below I have chronicled some of our top holiday highlights. Warning this list is long and only scratches the surface of holiday offerings this city provides. There just may need to be a Christmas in the city 2.0 post to follow.
This is a great little video that highlights elements of Columbia, but I like it best because it showcases our neighborhood so exceptionally well. So take a look at where we live, work and go to school.
Check out those colors on the trees on our street! I have so enjoyed fall in the city, being from the west coast I am used to everything staying lush and green for the most part throughout each season. So watching the colors alter and fade as the months wear on has been wonderful to experience. They have also served as a bit of teachable inspiration.
On Saturday afternoons I help teach an autism education program in Chinatown with a group of some of the most exceptional teachers on the east coast, to an equally special group of students. I have been working hard to choreograph and rehearse three dances for them to preform at a fundraiser this coming February. It has been a challenge, but one that I am enjoying undertaking. After we tire them out with solid minutes of jiving and grooving we do a little art followed by some down time with games and centers.
Before Thanksgiving we tackled a fall art project that my friend Ryan found for us to do (This guy is going to be one stellar teacher. Anyone who can should hire him immediately). I am so used to using natural materials in my classroom for everything from art to science to math, but what I forgot when selecting this particular project was that I no longer live in a densely forested, organically lush corner of the world. Nonetheless Jay and I scoured the parks near our apartment to collect leaves for our tree Tree themed art project and had a whole lot of fun doing it.
Below I have included a description of our project. However, I forgot to snap a photo of the sample (which I sent home with a student) or any of the student’s finished products. This idea is in no way an original by us, so as such I borrowed a photo from another location to give you an example of what a completed wreath. The URL is on the image as to give credit where credit is due.