Category Archives: children

Empowerment and self image

Do you have a positive image of yourself?  Are you happy with your body?  Are there things you want to change about your physical image to make you feel happy? 

Many questions – but they are ones I have been thinking about a lot in the past few months.  So much so that I have decided to join Weight Watchers (or WW as they are now called!), and I also am now going to the Y on a regular basis (just about every day).  Yet, I continue to self-sabotage by eating whatever I want at night – regardless of the amount of sugar is involved. 

Do I have a positive image of myself?  Yes.  I am a strong, independent woman who may be overweight but still confident about how I look.

Am I happy with my body?  Not really but that’s why I joined WW and the Y.  I am trying very hard to get my body into shape once again and feel healthy.  I have an insatiable sweet tooth and it drives me crazy but I really don’t know how to solve that (drinking water when I am hungry does NOT help, and neither do carrots!).  So, I self-sabotage with cookies (at least they are sugar free but they are still cookies!).  One day I hope to develop the self control I really want.  For now I will continue to eat, exercise and count those points with WW!

Are there things I want to change about my physical image to make me feel happy?  Yes.  I want to get back to a size 12, where I felt the best.  I want to be able to buy clothes in the departments that are not “plus size”.  I want to be able to wear a cute summer dress without worrying about my flabby arms and tummy showing. 

Self-image is such an important part of our lives, especially from the early teens.  I always considered myself as the heavy one among my friends in high school.  They could all wear cute clothes, and jeans that fit nicely.  I was always the heavy one (at least that’s how I perceived myself).  And this was in the early 80’s – long before social media and the constant stream of these images the young girls have to look at now.

I feel bad for the young girls (and boys) coming into high school, and having to deal with bullying because of an image they portray, which definitely is more prominent in this day and age.  I would love to be able to go to my old high school, and sit down with a group of young ladies in Grade 9 and explain to them that they ARE beautiful just the way they are.  Being a woman is a beautiful thing, and we all struggled in our teens with some demon in our mind telling us we weren’t good enough in some way.  I want young girls to know that this does NOT have to affect them as they grow older.  That they can take control of their lives and learn to ignore the bullying and negativity, and feel beautiful just the way they are.  No matter their size or whatever else it is that brings their self-image down. 

Empowering young women is something that I strive to do!  I want to let young women know all over the world that every single one of them is beautiful in their own way, and that they are all strong and can do whatever it is they strive to do, no matter what anyone tells them.

So yes – we may all have our doubts about ourselves now and then.  That is a normal thing!  It’s not anything unusual and we can overcome these feelings.  Just remember – we are all beautiful!


Finding a reason to smile..

I am a very positive person, as I have said here many times before.  I try to find the good in everything around me.  And there is always something good in every single day, even if it’s just waking up !  At least you woke up!


But I have discovered in the past few weeks sometimes it’s difficult to find a good thing every day.


My father has been, and is still, in the hospital after suffering a heart attack in early April.  It is a long recovery for someone in their 80’s who have had heart surgery.   And yes, it is terrible to have gone through that and it’s sad and depressing to be in a hospital.


Sitting in the waiting room of the ICU department to go and visit him was very heart wrenching and yet also quite enlightening.  I, and my family, are extremely lucky that my father had a successful surgery and that he is on his way to getting home through rehab.  But there were other families and even just single people sitting in there, quietly crying because of the circumstances of their loved ones.  There was one day, however, that brought a joyous little girl who had no idea what was going on, that lit up the faces of even the saddest people in the ICU.  This sweet little girl was skipping through the room, singing songs and talking to everyone she came across.  She had the sweetest laugh and the innocence of youth brought some joy to everyone in that room that day.


For me, that was such a positive experience on a dismal day.  Even in such a negative, sad place you can find a positive thing about the day.  That little girl brought smiles and laughter to so many people who otherwise would not have had any reason to smile.


Try to find something today that makes you smile.   It’s easier than you think!



​Grade 4 ~ Monday morning madness

There is only one Grade 4 class at the school. They were my first class to teach each week ~ Mondays at 8:55am.  The class never started on time, my time was always short with them, and that was disappointing for us.  Despite the time constraints, we always managed to have a fun class. 

There is so much potential for the brilliant minds that are in this class.  I could have actual conversations with some of the kids and they were able to understand me and communicate with me.

They were a class of chatters but I still was able to connect with them.  They were a tough class to teach some days. Tough in that they were the most distracted of all the classes. Their classroom was in a corner away from the others due to renovations in the school.  Their interaction was mostly with each other so it was understandable that they chatted.

They were engaging when I had an interesting game or activity to do, they liked asking me questions about Canada and they also liked giving me a hard time about my minimal Chinese. I did manage to surprise them on occasion with some new Chinese words though!  They were very intent on teaching me Chinese!

Some of my favourite lessons with them were Scattegories, Scrambled Sentences, and Charades.  The charades was a very rambunctious game that came at a price of a broken ruler (not on one of them ~ on a desk~ oops!!)

I enjoyed the time with them and I can sense that there are going to be a lot of very successful students in that class.

As with all the students I have met and taught at Livon, I will miss these kids very much!!  It has been such an amazing experience teaching all these kids.

Grade 3 ~ the reasons why I love this career

If someone asked me what my favourite grade was to teach in China, this was it. Grade 3 without a doubt. These kids were awesome.

They were fun to teach, they were funny, they understood a lot, I could be silly with them but they also knew when they had to listen. One loud bang of the giant yellow ruler and they knew it was time to stop and listen.

Playing with them at lunch time (what time is it Mr. Wolf!), eating lunch with them every day, bonding with them outside of school at the playground ~ these are the kids that I will miss the  most. 

There are only two Grade 3 classes, each with 36 students, so it was much easier to get closer to them.  These kids ~ oh these kids ~ I will miss their laughter, their questions, their smiles, and their generous nature.   The snacks they would feed me, the high fives in the hallway, and lots of hugs.  

Albert, Frog, Yoyo, Sun, Sam, Terry, Derek, Nick, Coco, Cici, Angel ~ these are the names that immediately come to my mind but I will remember every single one of them.  (I wish I was just making those names up….but I’m not. Those are their English names!)

The Grade 2 students may have made me a better teacher, but the Grade 3 students showed me how much I truly love this career I have.  

Shine on kids, be the stars you are all destined for and know that I am going to miss you all so much!!

​Grade 2 ~ oh the challenges!!

Grade 2 kids ~ these kids are so smart, they are gaining confidence with their English, and are very inquisitive.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked how old are you (answer is always older than you), are you okay, where do you live, what’s your phone number, and the list goes on.

They love games ~ Teacher Says is their favourite.  Its been challenging to keep them interested and motivated but I have succeeded.  

I definitely have favourite students ~ I would be lying if I said I didn’t. Leo, Tom, Hardy, Ang Lee, Lucy and Ella are the ones that I love seeing every day.  

Seven grade 2 classes, average of 40 students in a class ~ a lot of inquisitive children who are always excited to see me!  They love feeding me their snacks too (usually with their hands right into my mouth ~ no wonder I had so many colds!).  

The unabashed hugs, taking my hand and leading me into class, the excited faces when I stand at the front of class and say “Teacher says stand up!” ~ those are the moments I will miss the most.

These kids have made me a better teacher with their questions and their eyes lighting up when they realize they can understand what I am saying.  Their quick minds, short attention spans and endless fidgeting made it challenging, but I can say that I came, I saw, I conquered!!


Teaching this past year in China has been an amazing experience for so many reasons, but these children are the main reason.  

Grade 1 students ~ they range in age from 6 to 9. Sweet, innocent, beautiful children who embraced me from day one, who weren’t shy to come up and hug me or hold my hand while walking down the halls of Livon. Who would see me and yell out my name, so I would wave back or say hello. Who would walk by a classroom when I was teaching and wave and say hello. 

These are the kids who grabbed on to me, showed me their love for me and found their way into my heart forever.  

Twelve different grade 1 classes a week, with forty students in each class  ~ I may not know all of their English names, but I know all their faces.  I will miss seeing them every day once I leave.  I hope they will miss me a little bit before their new teacher starts in the next semester. I hope a part of them will remember “Teacher Louisa” or “Teacher Lulu”, because she will forever remember them.  

Fears of the unknown

I have many fears, as I am sure most people do. Some of my fears are common (war is on the top of that list) and some are not so common, I think.
I have overcome many fears since my traveling life has begun.  One was traveling alone ~ could I do it? Could I be happy being alone in a foreign place?   I have conquered that fear. Being alone in a foreign country is more liberating than fearful. Its an amazing feeling walking through European cities or Chinese cities and having a feeling of belonging, despite being stared at. Taking in all the sights to see, the smells, people watching. Experiencing a whole new way to live.  Adjusting as well as you can to the language.  I am happy to say that the fear of this unknown was a good one to overcome.

Last night I conquered a personal fear.  Eating out in public.  I have eaten in restaurants here in China ~ I don’t always like doing that but I have done it (the noisy eating I will never get used to!).  But there is one thing I have wanted to do and couldn’t work up the nerve to do, until last night.
BBQ is very popular here. There is a BBQ place near my place but I didn’t know what the food was. That’s another fear!  What am I eating?? I don’t usually ask, until last night.  I was walking by, on my way to get my usual chicken and rice dish when two of my students and their parents asked me to join them. So I did. I sat down, ate delicious food outside, with people watching, taking pictures and talking about me. (I know the Chinese word for foreign teacher ).

My usual chicken dish that I love!!
What did I eat?  Grilled tofu (I love tofu!!), a seafood skewer (no one could tell me what kind of seafood it was but it was good!), pork skins (yummy!), chicken (what part of the chicken is unknown but it was really good), chicken wings and a huge bottle of beer.  I overcame the fear of the unknown food and enjoyed a lovely evening with these very generous people.  And now I know I will definitely sit down again and enjoy the food there.
So when you’re traveling, take the plunge and try local food. Don’t be afraid. You may be pleasantly surprised!!  (I did say no to chicken gizzards though ~ I had to draw the line somewhere!)

These faces…

It’s been a busy week with teaching. Extra lessons in the evenings and on weekends keep me busy.

My time here is quickly coming to an end, and as excited as I am to be heading to a new country and new adventures in a couple of months, I can’t begin to explain how much I will miss these kids. 

The name of the game

A great Abba song!!  Don’t judge me ~ I love Abba!!
So yes, the name of the game. Or, more precisely, the name is the game. A name can define you and your future. A name can create a show of strength. So what’s up with the Chinese people and their choices for their English name?

I have met Zero, Cinderella (don’t call her Cindy!), Precious Stone ~ and these are adult names!!  Some of the kids are Strawberry (a boy), Frog, Apple, and other names that are a combination of English and some other language!  Strawberry happens to be a very smart young boy but really?  What were his parents thinking??
Name choice is baffling everywhere but the Chinese people have definitely amused me with their choices!!
Remember when naming your beautiful newborn baby that while he/she is a baby now, one day they will be an adult!!
Zero for President!  (No sorry that just doesn’t work haha)

Happiness is a child’s laugh

The sound of a laughing child always makes me smile. Whether it’s a baby’s first giggle, a toddler’s belly laugh, or kids playing in a park, laughing at the sheer joy of being at play.

My day is so much brighter when I hear the laughing of kids. No matter what I am doing or trying to finish, the sound of laughing makes me feel better and ready to finish my job.

As adults, we tend to take things so seriously, we forget what it’s like to have a good long laugh. One that brings tears to your eyes and a sore stomach. 

So the next time you feel stressed, listen to some kids playing and laughing. Sometimes its all the therapy you need!!