IMG_2245 I am holding an “A” in this picture not as a joke about The Scarlet Letter, but as part of a birthday message to a former camp participant.

I am a teacher.

Ever since I felt the joy of writing on a chalkboard in elementary school, I vowed that I would become a teacher. Of course, by the time I achieved that goal, whiteboards were the norm. Despite this disappointment, I consider myself a teacher at heart. I have worked with many different students including younger siblings and cousins, stuffed animals, young children, middle and high school youth and adults.

I am a learner.

I was a straight A student until my math class in 8th grade, back when getting straight A’s was a serious accomplishment. I have since gone on to receive a B.A. from Michigan State University in Elementary Education with a focus on Language Arts and a specialization in International Development. Several years ago, I became certified in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from the TEFL Institute in Chicago. I have also received two Masters degrees from the Institute of Education in London; one in Teaching and one in Muslim Societies and Civilizations.

I am a traveler.

The last time I counted, I had reached 17 countries. It’s not much when you examine the breadth and depth of the world we live in, but it’s something. My aim is to continue visiting new places and exploring the vastness of Earth at least once every year. So far, my favorite place on Earth is the Highlands of Scotland.

I am a reader.

I received the honor of wearing glasses before I was 10 years old because I couldn’t stop reading in the car when it was dark and I had to squint. I devoured books as fast as I could and loved each one with all of my heart. I grew up with the Harry Potter series and will continue to be an aficionado throughout my life. In college, I fell in love with Jane Austen; she will always be one of my favorites. In 2017, I rediscovered the joy of reading regularly and will be setting higher goals each year for the number of books I’d like to get through.

I am a human.

I believe that we are all connected in more ways than we know. I believe that if we opened ourselves up to that connection, we could accomplish so much and make this world a much more safe and peaceful place to live. Compassion and love for other human beings and other creatures is a crucial component of life that is often missing today. If we focus on connecting with one another, rather than with our technology or with our capitalist society, we’d all be much happier.