Grateful for Unexpected Coffee Date

My friend texted me yesterday morning and asked whether I would have time in the evening to meet up for a quick coffee. As she lives quite a distance from me, I grabbed the opportunity to see her even for a short while.

We went to a coffee shop in my neighbourhood and enjoyed a frappuccino on the outside patio. We managed to speak about our buddy read, Women Talking by Mirian Toews, but were sidetracked by the novel we are currently reading together. As with all good books, we were able to link the issues in the novels with our own life experience. I love how books not only widen the mind, but also help you think about your own life experience.

This week I am grateful for the unexpected opportunity to meet my best friend, drink iced coffee with her, and talk bookish things.

What are you grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is part of my weekly gratitude reflection. You are welcome to join in and share your post in the comments.)

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Grateful for Mid-Week Get Together

This week I got together with a friend of mine who lives quite a distance from me and who was prepared to drive down to the city to attend a bookish event with me. I had told her about my experiences and she was keen to join me. On Wednesday, the book launch of debut author Roselle Lim, writer of Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune, became the reason we chose to meet up and spend an evening away from home.

The event was held at an independent bookstore that I had never before visited, so I was curious to see the venue. I loved the sign placed outside the store front and felt welcomed before I had even entered the shop.

A number of people had already arrived and soon the bookstore was buzzing with even more patrons. Roselle Lim was nervous, as any debut writer would be, but she smiled graciously as she welcomed those who were there to support her.

She read an extract from her novel and I wish she could have spoken a bit about her writing experience and the inspiration for her story. First time nerves maybe?

Anyway, my friend and I enjoyed the outing together. We sipped a glass of wine, chatted a little, and enjoyed the ambience of the environment. This week I am grateful for the excuse of a book event to meet up with my close friend. Together we will now read the novel we had signed by the author – which will lead to a number of texts flying between us, I am sure.

What are you grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is part of my weekly gratitude reflection. You are welcome to join in and share your post in the comments.)

Grateful for A Quiet Moment

Tonight is the school concert and it is happening in a couple of hours. When my class is not performing their song, I am expected to supervise them in my classroom while the parents watch the show. The day of the concert is a long one; especially when it is filled with excited children. I am hoping that tonight they will be a little calmer than during the day; and that they will bring something interesting with them to keep themselves occupied.

This week I am grateful that for the few moments of quiet that I will have in my classroom before it is filled again with twittering children.

What are you grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is part of my weekly gratitude reflection. You are welcome to join in and share your post in the comments.)

Why I Gratitude

Gratitude refers to an attitude of thankfulness and a desire to show appreciation for an action or event. Taken a step further, gratitude refers to an appreciation of what you have in your life – no matter how small. It is an appreciation of small kindnesses that are offered to us in our daily lives. It is only recently that showing gratitude has become vogue – and yet it is an attitude that should be an important part of our daily lives and thoughts.

Showing gratitude is not a habit followed by those who participate in the fast-paced modern world. Instead, daily actions are taken for granted and circumstances are expected as a right. Many people I come into contact with in my daily life look no further than the people in their immediate circle, comparing their lives with those they meet. The broader experience of others in the world is often ignored, or pushed to the back of their minds.

I have noticed a few people have taken up the banner of gratitude in the western world and, in doing so, are moving towards feeling more in tune with themselves and the world they inhabit. Gratitude does help us to experience positive emotions (optimism, enthusiasm, love, joy, happiness) while it moves us away from experiencing destructive emotions (envy, greed, bitterness, resentment). An attitude of gratitude helps us to find contentment within ourselves and the environment in which we live.

So what can we be grateful for? Firstly for ourselves: for our health, our inner strength, our ability to adapt and learn. It may even be something as small as being able to get up everyday and make ourselves our own breakfast, breakfast that we have the money to buy. The trick is to finding the positive in ourselves and to focus on that instead of what we can find wrong in our lives.

Secondly, we can be grateful for the things in our environment: our home, the people who love us, our workplace, something positive about our work colleagues. It is so easy to focus on the negative; so easy to gossip about things that are not done to our satisfaction. Do you not feel lighter and more content when you focus on the positive and what you are grateful for in a conversation? I know I do.

Thirdly we can be grateful for the small kindnesses that are done to us: a cup of tea that is made without request, a colleague dropping by and bringing us the mail, an unexpected visit by a close friend, a hug by someone you know because they see that you need it. Noticing these small things is what makes me content with my life. I have no need to wish for what others have when I notice that what I have suits me and makes me happy.

Since July 2014, I have been writing Gratitude posts on my blog (you can read the posts here). Writing these posts have helped me to focus on the varied things in my life that I have to be grateful for. It is so easy to focus on one thing but, in order to make my posts varied, my reflections have led me to write on a variety of topics each week. Every week I invite readers to share what they are grateful for in the comments or a post of their own. Reading other people’s thoughts encourages me to realise even more things that I have to be grateful for in my life.

Will you join me in reflecting on what you are grateful for?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to the Ragtag Daily Prompt. Today the topic is Gratitude.)

Grateful for Showcase

Yesterday I attended the Pembroke Publishers Showcase. This is an event organised by the Pembroke publishing house for interested teachers to attend. At the showcase, authors speak for 20 minutes about their recent publication and while speaking, give us an insight into what the book covers. While listening, I am often inspired and think about ways in which I can improve my teaching practice.

A quick bite to eat before the event begins. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

This is the second year that I have attended the event and returned to the workshop as I find it inspiring. I also enjoy the day as I get to spend some time away from the classroom with other teachers. As a result of the day, I now have a teacher book that I want to read to add an extra layer to the literacy component in my classroom.

This week I am grateful that I had the opportunity to attend the Pembroke Publishing Showcase. The day was interesting and inspiring – and I look forward to next year’s event.

What are you grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is part of my weekly gratitude reflection. You are welcome to join in and share your post in the comments.)

Grateful for BFF Time

Saturday morning dawned with grey skies and the promise of a wet day. The gloomy morning, however, did not dampen my spirits as I was to see my best friend. We had connected on the first day I took my daughter to school soon after we had landed in Toronto. We had bonded while our children played in the park. Now those children are finished high school and we still meet to share our thoughts and experiences.

We decided to take ourselves out for brunch and went to a restaurant that serves all day breakfasts. The meal we chose was delicious, the eggs cooked to perfection. Time was of no consequence as we chatted about our daily lives, what we had read, and what we hoped to do in the near future. I savoured the moment as I knew the next time I would see her would be in a few months time.

After eating, the rain prevented us from taking a walk so we went into Starbucks to continue our conversation. Eventually the time came when we had to return home and to our familial responsibilities. Meeting up with my friend was definitely a treat. I am grateful that she took the time to come down and spend a day with me.

What are you grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is part of my weekly gratitude reflection)

Grateful for Learning Experience

This week I am spending time to learn for the written exam that I have this weekend. As you may remember, I registered for the Canfitpro course in order to be a group fitness instructor. My intention is to share my love of Zumba with others.

Reading through the coursework I could not help but smile as it takes me back to high school and to when I did Biology. Even though getting the information into my head is slow, I am grateful for the opportunity I have to learn the material. It is interesting and it has helped me realise what exactly it is that makes a good group fitness instructor.

What are you grateful for this week? And what has made you smile?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is part of my weekly gratitude reflection and is linked to Trent’s Weekly Smile challenge.)

Youth Arts Program Exhibition

This year both of my daughters submitted their art work to the Youth Arts Program for the exhibition that takes place every year at the Ontario Legislative Assembly. On Monday evening we attended the opening event. Even though the wind was extremely strong, we bundled up and took the journey to Queen’s Park. It was not hardship for me to do this as I want to support my children in all their efforts in order to encourage them in the pursuit of their dreams. It is a big step for them to put their art out into the world – especially my younger daughter who is not as confident as her big sister.

After the speech given by the First Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, we had the opportunity to look at all the art on display. The art comes from all over Ontario and is produced by children ages 12 – 18. There is some really good art on display. Of course I could not help but smile when I saw my daughters’ work.

Abstract Art by my Eldest Daughter. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

My eldest daughter was disappointed when she saw her art work was placed upside down. She was pleased, however, at having her work displayed in the Legislative Assembly for all visitors to see.

A piece created with markers and pencil. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

My youngest daughter does beautiful work with ink. This was the first time she has submitted work for any event and I was very proud of her courage to do so this year. She was also beaming to see her work on display.Monday evening saw both my husband and I smiling. We are so grateful that our children have the opportunity to shine.

What are you grateful for this week? And what has made you smile?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is part of my weekly gratitude reflection and is linked to Trent’s Weekly Smile challenge.)

Grateful for School Closure

Yesterday I woke up to the news that the school board had closed the schools due to the weather – we were in for a snow storm which would later turn onto an ice storm. The news was unexpected as the last two times in the past few weeks that we had had bad weather with slippery roads, the school board I worked for had kept their schools open even though other school boards had closed theirs. Looking outside as the snow fell to the ground and whitened our environment, I was glad I could stay inside. I had a moment’s thought to venture outside but the howling wind encouraged me to change my mind.Not only would I be battling against the wind, but the sidewalks would not be cleared of snow.

This week I am grateful for the school closure. Not only did I have the opportunity to relax and read at home, I also did not have to venture out into the snow storm, struggle against the wind, and make my way through fallen snow.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week? Share your comments or the link to your post below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

Grateful for a Warm Home

Last week Friday the temperatures dropped and we were reminded that we are in the middle of Winter. Previous to this, we had experienced mild days – so mild that it felt like Spring! Old Man Winter decided to show his true colours and gave us a brutal few days.

Monday began with me stepping out into -33c temperatures and I walked hurriedly to work, bending my head against the icy winds. I did not even take time to enjoy the snow white snow that had fallen on the ground. My only thought was to escape the frigid temperatures and enter a warm building.

As always when it is so cold, my thoughts turn to those who do not have a home to protect themselves from the elements. Since I have moved to Toronto, I have noticed that the number of people living on the street has increased. Reasons for homelessness are cited as being the increasing cost of rental properties in the city, increasing poverty, the de-institutionalisation of mental health care, as well as factors of abuse. I always hope that those in charge of the city would open their hearts and step up for those without a home. I do acknowledge, though, that this is a dream that has not yet become a reality. The homeless are powerless and, as such, do not garner the attention of politicians.

The extreme cold weather has brought to the forefront of my mind how lucky I am to have a warm home that keeps me out of the cold. Not only do I have shelter, but I also have access to a reliable heating system that allows me to be comfortable. This week I am grateful for my home: a shelter that keeps me and my family warm throughout the cold Winter days.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week? Share your comments or the link to your post below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019