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Hello, My Name Is...

I'm an Educator who is an Artist, Writer, Chef, Gardener and all around "Creator." I was brought up as a musician - a pianist, to be exact - but I've always preferred building a skill through constructing something new and different rather than going over the same passage countless times (the exception to this is when writing, editing and revising my manuscripts).

I've gone through numberless incarnations as an artist - from my earliest endeavors (and belief that art = realism; the more real the better) to 3D polymer clay in my early 20's, mixed-media children's illustrations, soft pastel portraits, ornament portraits and now back to one of my first loves (although hopefully the style is more mature) - India ink.

Writing is something that I've loved from a young age. I remember creating a story called "The Dove" that was several pages long and made the substitute teacher who read it, cry. While I do have a major love affair with words (both in reading them, and writing them), writing has generally taken a back seat to my art, then my teaching, then my becoming a parent. I am working on bringing this aspect of myself out of the shadows more consistently.

Food during my growing up years consisted primarily of home-cooked "Chinese" with Chinese restaurant food every. Single. Weekend. Baked goods were non-existent, except for rock-cookies or some variation thereof. The minute I got married, I decided to try my hand at making...everything. I've since realized how much I love variety in every aspect of my life (which accounts for how bored I was with eating the same cuisine when I was young). Cheesecakes were quite the staple in the first few years - my husband and I even began taking orders and selling my cherry cheesecakes. Since then, we have roamed the world in figurative, culinary style. From the ultimate "comfort" of hamburgers to exotic savoury dishes, from chocolate-dipped strawberries to much more intricate confectionery delights, "diverse" is the word!

I didn't grow up around gardens. I would be exposed to some lovely ones when we went to visit my maternal grandparents and aunt and uncle, but my childhood home was, for the most part, barren of plants. It wasn't until my husband and I moved into our apartment as newlyweds that my love of growing things manifested itself. Faced with my very own space for the first time, I wanted to fill it with green and beautiful things. This led to my exploring how to start my own seedlings when we moved into our first house, along with planting fruit trees and shrubs. A profusion of colour bathed our garden beds, and this is a tradition that I continue to expand upon.

I got into teaching a little later in life than is the norm. After getting married and graduating from the University of Toronto, I tried my hand at a number of things, starting with inbound telemarketing to medical secretary. I found that despite my beginnings as an extremely shy introvert, I was successful in these positions, but I also found that I became very bored very quickly. Finally, I landed a job as the last thing I ever thought I'd want to do - teaching piano at a music school. To my surprise, I felt more invigorated than I had before. Then, five years in, the father of a student who was also the Principal of a Catholic high school invited me to guest teach his grade 12 art students for four days. I accepted with alacrity, although I was nervous. Here was an opportunity to challenge myself, do something new and push past my bubble a little, and I was determined to do it. When the four days were up, the father suggested that I apply to Teacher's College. My whole life I'd said "I don't want to be a teacher," but when he made that suggestion it was like a switch flipped. "Yes," I thought. "You're right." I went home, applied immediately, and submitted before the next day's deadline. I got into York University's teaching program at 30 years old, adopted a five-and-a-half year old at the end of that school year, and landed my first teaching contract in September.

Teaching and parenting has led to many varied but intertwined learning journeys, and the more I learn the more I want to share. After all, this is life - the opportunity to acquire knowledge, to challenge ourselves, to build and discover our sense of self and self-worth, to learn, to stretch, to grow.

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