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Mona – Nothing Special but I’ve Enjoyed the Ride

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The third post in my kickaction.ca blogging carnival series is Mona (my 8th grade English teacher!) Read on for some great insight.

1. If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be?

Nothing Special but I’ve Enjoyed the Ride

2. Where are you from? How has where you’re from shaped your life?

Not really “from” anywhere. Have lived in five Canadian provinces, haven’t ever visited the other five. Born in QC, left when I was one year old and came back when I was 25 because in 1967, when I was 15 and went to Expo in Montreal, I decided I wanted to learn to speak French as Canada had just recently become an official bilingual country. And, Quebecois guys were awfully cute to this 15-year old. And, eventually I married one and am still married to him!

3. Where do you live? How has where you live shaped your life?

Well, I guess I kind of answered that in #2. Living in Gatineau, QC across the river from Ottawa, Ontario so basically call two cities home which is perfect for a bilingual couple such as my husband and myself. Choice of Gatineau, then Hull, certainly did shape my entire adult life as my later-to-be husband whom I met at Université de Moncton. He was one of my profs, and was offered a position at Université du Québec en Outaouais. We bought a house next to College Saint-Alexandre, in Gatineau. The contractor who built the house let us know that CSA was looking for an English teacher and I was hired and stayed for 34 years.

4. What is your greatest achievement?

Greatest = Fame, Fortune, Something Unique or Spectacular? Haven’t done that yet and probably never will but we tend to associate “great” achievements with the above in today’s society and this is incorrect, I believe. Great is living your life to the best of your abilities and, in the process, not ever willfully doing something to hurt another person. Humans aren’t perfect and spending a life trying to achieve perfection is futile. Just do the best you can and be honest with others and yourself.

5. What is your greatest regret?

That I started smoking cigarettes when I was 16 and have struggled with quitting, so far unsuccessful after many attempts, for most of my life. Also, that when I was younger and had an opportunity to travel to France and study in Avignon, I chickened out! Don’t start smoking and don’t be afraid of taking risks which enrich your life experience.

6. What would you tell a young girl who is struggling with something like her identity, bullying, not fitting in, etc.?

My mother said it to me, and I will say it to you now that I am 60. You probably won’t believe me but trust me, it is true. Do not waste your precious, vital, young energy worrying about how you look!!!!! The most beautiful feature on any face is a sincere smile. And if you think you are different from your peers and feel you have to change to fit in with ‘the crowd’, don’t. Stay true to who you are because you are special. Adjusting your unique look, personality, interests to fit in with how others think you should be, just makes you an anonymous sheep in the flock. Stay true to yourself. The world needs those individuals who know who they are and appreciate their unique individuality.

7. What’s next?

What’s next for me is my new part-time job working in a shop. After 34 years as a teacher in a wonderful school with wonderful students, I had one totally lazy year as a retired teacher doing …… nothing. After awhile, it sucked. Enjoying life means work. And then the time you aren’t working becomes so special because you deserve that break.

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