25 Things about Me
I am a five foot ten, blue eyed, short haired, athletic, single white male who likes sports, reading and quiet conversations in hidden away café’s, looking for a … oh wait that’s for a different “Things about Me” list… sorry about that.
1. I love to write. I keep a blog and update it occasionally. I am a huge fan of haiku. I have had entire conversations with people in the form of haikus. One of my poems was published when I was in grad school. It was for a project we were supposed to spend the week working on. I forgot about it and wrote my story of myself during class. The professor liked it enough that she admitted it to a journal she worked with. (justinswallace.blogspot.com)
2. I love photographs. I have a buried desire to become a better photographer someday. I would like to think that I occasionally have an eye for what would make a good picture. Mostly though I just like that with a small piece of inexplicable machinery I can soon have a piece of paper that has clearly captured a moment in time that I can then look back on for the rest of my life. That’s pretty amazing.
3. I shaved, like all the way with a razor, for the first time in years last night. Not that I’ve been growing a gigantor beard. I kept it generally neat and trim. But last night I decided I’d like to see what I look like without the accumulated hair. I must admit I cut a dashing figure.
4. I am absolutely horrible at carrying through with ideas that I have. I’m a pretty creative person and have been told that I have good ideas. But I’ve also discovered that I’m a good brainstormer, not such a good carrier outer.
5. I have an interesting relationship with God. I think we understand each other most of the time. My faith is definitely something that is important to me. It is also something that I have seen change more dramatically than any other aspect of my life in the past 28 years.
6. I am a quintessential renaissance man. I will try just about any new thing that I encounter (except food) and generally find that I can do a passable job at most things. I would not say that I am really amazing at any one thing and sometimes wonder what it would be like to dedicate myself to the pursuit of excellence in one area. Instead I continue living the life I have been given and do pretty well for myself jumping from one activity to another.
7. I once did a back flip off of a 30 foot high cliff into a river. My friend yelled up to me that I shouldn’t over-rotate. As I jumped back off the cliff and did my flip I realized that I was pretty much where I started only three feet from the ground I had just left. 30 feet gives you a lot of time to look around, flail about and think about the lack of wisdom involved in doing a back flip off a 30 foot tall cliff. The sound of my back hitting the water still causes me to cringe.
8. I have the unfortunate ability to remember the ending to books I’ve read even if it’s been years since I’ve read them. I still reread books more often than I read new ones. It’s more about the process than the conclusion, I’ve found.
9. I had a major life realization in December. I was writing to a friend about my faith and I realized that I firmly believe that there is a bit of God in all of us. And once I actually realized that I believed that then it TOTALLY changed the way I look at people. As I made that discovery, in a centuries old monastery, I looked at the people around me and my eyes welled up with tears at the sudden and overpowering realization that I could look at the people around me and see God. I was literally surrounded by Him. I’ve professed for years that God is everywhere but this was, to my recollection, the first time that I ever actually saw that God was all around me. It was an amazing moment and has caused me to look at people very differently.
10. My BIG BIG goal in life is to teach on every continent. I am currently up to three. I taught fourth grade for a year in Georgia (the state not the country) and learned an incredible amount about myself and about my chosen profession. I taught first kindergarten and then a combined k-1 class in Freetown, Sierra Leone and was reminded everyday, despite the countless frustrations, why I love being a teacher. I am teaching third grade in Linho, Portugal where I am learning how to put into practice the ideas I come up with and the importance of good classroom management schemes. While it’s a bit early to know I am starting to think that my next post will be in New Zealand as I’ve developed a strong contact with a school there.
11. I love romantic comedies. I have no problem with walking into the “chick-flick” section of the store and picking up a few good movies. I look forward to new Hugh Grant movies. I don’t know what it is but I like them.
12. I have been known to randomly burst into song without preamble. I really enjoy singing. I sing in my classroom all the time. I sing in the shower… loudly. I sing in cars. I sing walking to the bus stop in the morning. I sing in church. I am singing in between entries. I really love to sing.
13. Unfortunately, in consideration of number 12, I am horrible at remembering lyrics. It drove a certain friend of mine in college crazy. She was a wiz at lyrics. I never understood how she did it. I can sing along with music pretty well, but get me on my own and the most random phrases imaginable will come belting out of my mouth.
14. I have always said that if I won the lottery my dream would be to throw a gigantic masquerade ball. I would invite everyone I knew and each invitation would contain a ticket for dance classes, that way when the ball actually happened everyone could really dance. I would hire out cirque du soleil to come and do their craziness in and amongst the guests. It would be freakin amazing. And now that I live in Portugal and am literally surrounded by ancient castles I have plenty of venues for my dream to happen.
15. I find kids to be absolutely amazing. I couldn’t imagine working in a job that wasn’t surrounded by children. Their outlook on life, their zany humor, they just make life more fun.
16. Amongst the many things that I am, I would have to say that, apart from things dealing with children, the thing that makes me happiest in life is dancing. I started actually dancing in high school, before that I danced but it was probably more a flailing, white man overbite, impression of the guy from Hitched, than actual dancing. I began with swing and ballroom and these are still probably my favorites, but since then I’ve done modern, latin, jazz, blacklight and even a bit of ballet. My ballet career fell flat before it started though because of my inability to point my toes despite hours and hours of attempts.
17. I am a frustration to my parents. Well that’s half true. I am a frustration to my amazing mother. I am a reflection of my father so he can’t get too frustrated with me. Despite my life long pursuit to do everything, my parents have continued to support me whatever the newest craze is. For that I am eternally grateful.
18. The first thing I did in my new classroom was to put up a sign that reminds me that “Patience is a virtue!” This is a lesson that God has been trying to drill into my head for the past forever and I continually seem to need reminding. Having a visual reminder helps a lot though.
19. I work hard to live a life that will never allow me to look back on things and regret any decision I’ve made. That is not to say that I haven’t made my share of stupid choices. I’ve probably actually filled my life quota for stupid choices and I’m only 28. However, I make a concerted effort to use those stupid choices to make myself into a better me. It doesn’t always work like I mean for it to, but I try.
20. Someday, when I either don’t want to be a teacher anymore, which seems inconceivable at this point, or more likely when I just want a break, I want to become a librarian. For a school. That seems like an amazing job. Recommending and reading books to kids all day long. I could deal with that.
21. In relation to reading books. My other someday dream job is to be the guy that reads books onto tape, or cd as the case is these days. I think I could do a good job of that. If anybody has a hookup with someone who needs a reader for their book, give me a call!
22. If Facebook ever needs an advocate or spokesman I will gladly take up the role. I am so grateful for this “socializing device”. Especially since living overseas makes it difficult to stay in touch with people, Facebook has been the most amazing tool possible for staying in touch with friends and family. I get on everyday and get excited every time I’m told I have a new post, a new message, a new friend.
23. I cannot snorkel. I don’t know why. I’ve tried. And I always lower the water level of whatever body of water I’m in by drinking my body weight in water.
24. I always want to wake up first on Christmas. I want to be the first one to check out what’s in my stocking. This year I called my dad at seven in the morning England time, which is two in the morning Georgia time, just to make sure he could be privy to my early morning Christmas joy spreading. I can’t say that he was overjoyed by my call, but I think he got the point. Having said that, I don’t like to open my presents first. I like to sit back and watch everyone else open theirs first and then quietly open mine on the side.
25. I’m bad at keeping in touch with people but think about them far more than I let them know. Memories of friends and family keep me going when I go to new places and am surrounded by new people. In Timbuktu I spent the afternoon and evening thinking about what different people would say about the rather non-attractive camels we rode into the Sahara. In London I walked around for days on my own imagining what different people would want to see or what they would say about the rather interesting fancy dress New Years Eve party at a small village bar I went to. During the time I spent in Freetown I constantly thought about how different friends would react to the craziness that I encountered everyday. And now here in Portugal I wonder what different people are doing where, how their lives are changing and when I will get to see them again. Though I may be bad at writing to people I hope that they know that they are constantly in my thoughts and prayers.