The Friday Five: Things On My Mind

1.Read. I am a Too Much Woman by Ev’Yan Whitney. (via Swiss Miss)

“There she is. . . the “too much” woman. The one who loves too hard, feels too deeply, asks too often, desires too much.

There she is taking up too much space, with her laughter, her curves, her honesty, her sexuality. Her presence is as tall as a tree, as wide as a mountain. Her energy occupies every crevice of the room. Too much space she takes.

There she is causing a ruckus with her persistent wanting, too much wanting. She desires a lot, wants everything—too much happiness, too much alone time, too much pleasure. She’ll go through brimstone, murky river, and hellfire to get it. She’ll risk all to quell the longings of her heart and body. This makes her dangerous.

She is dangerous.

And there she goes, that “too much” woman, making people think too much, feel too much, swoon too much. She with her authentic prose and a self-assuredness in the way she carries herself. She with her belly laughs and her insatiable appetite and her proneness to fiery passion. All eyes on her, thinking she’s hot shit.

Oh, that “too much” woman. . . too loud, too vibrant, too honest, too emotional, too smart, too intense, too pretty, too difficult, too sensitive, too wild, too intimidating, too successful, too fat, too strong, too political, too joyous, too needy—too much.

She should simmer down a bit, be taken down a couple notches. Someone should put her back in a more respectable place. Someone should tell her.

Here I am. . . a Too Much Woman, with my too-tender heart and my too-much emotions.
A hedonist, feminist, pleasure seeker, empath. I want a lot—justice, sincerity, spaciousness, ease, intimacy, actualization, respect, to be seen, to be understood, your undivided attention, and all of your promises to be kept.

I’ve been called high maintenance because I want what I want, and intimidating because of the space I occupy. I’ve been called selfish because I am self-loving. I’ve been called a witch because I know how to heal myself.

And still. . . I rise.”

— Ev’Yan Whitney

2. Watch. I saw Jojo Rabbit this week, and I thought it was excellent. It had the theatre laughing, smiling, and crying. It told a well-known story from a unique satirical perspective. Teaser: Jojo’s imaginary best friend is Hitler.

3. Do. I have been taking flamenco dancing lessons this fall, and I’ve been enjoying it so much. I have learned a lot! And I definitely love wearing my flamenco skirt! (Thanks, B, for the skirt. Thanks, M, for challenging me to take a dance class.)

This isn’t actually what we do, but I wanted to twirl my skirt after class this week!

4. Do. Two weeks ago, I bought a Verilux Happy Light at Costco. Sitting in front of it for about 15 minutes a day is supposed to help with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). I’m not sure if I suffer from SAD, but I figured the light can’t hurt. And since it was on sale, and Costco has a great return policy, I figured I had nothing to lose. For the last two weeks, I’ve been using it every morning for 15 minutes or so. Have I noticed a difference? Yes. I have noticed that I have energy all day long. You know that 3pm, 4pm slump that many of us get? Well, I haven’t had that in 2 weeks! I haven’t changed my activities or my diet, and I seem to have energy all day long. It could be the light or it could be a whole bunch of other things, but I’m going to continue with the light because, well, why not?

5. Think. What does everyone think of the dramatic flooding in Venice this week? It makes me sad to see destruction.

via BBC

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Comment: A Glimpse into Education in China

I’m an educator. For decades, I’ve learned about how we learn and how we teach. I have experienced education in other countries as a teacher and as a learner, and I continue to learn about education systems around the world. One article that caught my attention recently was about the Chinese education system. It’s not so much the text that I was focused on. Instead, it was this photo that had me staring for a long while. It made me think.

I have learned quite a bit about the Chinese education system through friends, colleagues, students, and academic and non-academic articles. While I don’t have first-hand experience, I have heard about the organization. The restrictions. The long hours. The competition. The standardized tests. This photo gives us a glimpse into that Chinese classroom. The space. The textbooks. The hunched over bodies. It’s quite a view. And so very different from our Canadian classrooms.

Here in Canada, we have public, elementary classrooms full of stability balls, stress toys, and markers in every colour. Teachers have Amazon wishlists for parents (or the general public) to purchase supplies for their classrooms. Because how could they ever live without a whiteboard marker holder? Or a range of Command strip hooks?

At the post-secondary level, we have classrooms with chairs on wheels, so students can move around easily to work in groups. We have a walls of whiteboards to encourage problem-solving (when sometimes all we really need is a paper and pencil). We have rooms with several projectors, so that a professor’s PowerPoint presentation can be projected on multiple screens and so that student groups can project their work for ongoing discussion and feedback. The students I meet often complain about purchasing textbooks. About night classes. About morning classes. Phones are brought into classes, and often used for educational purposes. I regularly ask my students to use their phones (or whatever device they have) to look something up, to read something, or to submit work. It is rare for my students to come to the university classroom without a device of sorts.

In many Canadian classrooms, we love space. Students spread out. They don’t seem to like sitting too close to one another. If I teach in a large classroom, for example, students may opt to take one, two, or three spots for themselves, leaving an empty seat (or several) between them and their neighbour. We still have the desks-in-rows seating arrangement, but we’re moving away from this set-up. At the elementary level, this is generally a thing of the past (the long ago past).

Education around the world is so very different, I know. I shouldn’t be surprised to see photos like the one above. But I am. And I’m glad it makes me think about how we teach and learn in different contexts, how my education has given me freedom to learn, and how I can continue to make contributions in my academic work.

Two for Tuesday: Marble

Marble is never going out of style, which means I can write about it for years to come! Hooray!

For today’s pair, I’m sharing two smaller marble-look items. First is this simple tumbler with marble base.

The second item is this marble-look coffee maker. I know it would look great on my counter (as if I really need another coffee maker though!), and maybe it would make a great gift for someone in your life!

Event: Singles’ Day

I recently learned that November 11th is Singles’ Day. The holiday seems to have started with young people in China who use this day to celebrate the pride they have in being single (so Wikipedia tells me). The date – 11/11 – has four single ones in it, and the number one represents a single individual. Not only are singles celebrating, but they’re also shopping! Apparently singles’ day has become the largest offline and online shopping day in the world.

Today I’m sharing a collection of great things that come in ones. We have one heart and one brain, so we should be taking excellent care of both! Dressing is easy when you opt for a one-piece dress or ski suit. A chair is great for an individual. Goggles may be plural, but it’s one piece of plastic to keep your eyes clear under water. Speaking of water, a single pitcher is great for holding a lot of liquid to serve to friends. People generally where one watch to keep track of time even if they may stack it with a collection of bangles (like I usually do). Finally, a unicycle is great for a one-person show!