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NJEA Convention in Atlantic City

6 Nov

This Thursday and Friday New Jersey teachers are flocking to NJEA convention for some professional development, collegiality, technology updates, networking, reflecting, best practices and strategies and, of course, some soul searching with colleagues and presenters.

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I have been to six full hours of learning. Although I feel a bit tired, I just love it! And although I have gone down to Atlantic city by myself, I have met up with a few colleagues, from both my job and my doctoral program.
All of the workshops have been very stimulating but, of course, I have my favorites. One workshop was dedicated to the amazing thing called CHANGE and what steps to take in order to implement it successfully.

Plenary session has been conducted by a world famous speaker from Finland – Pasi Sahlberg. What a fascinating presentation, and so inspirational. There are so many things that Finland is doing right and the U.S. Is doing wrong… For instance, the U.S. looks at this whole idea of education as competition, while in Finland the approach is completely different – they look at wellbeing and success of individual child.

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Hubby has been checking in with me periodically throughout the day. I miss him. I have also been tweeting away any takeaways from my workshops.

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At this moment I am sitting at Atlantic City Bar and Grill that is a restaurant famous for its’ seafood. Guess what I am having? Soft shell crabs, of course!

I am sitting alone. At first I was like “ok, this is weird” but hey, a woman can’t eat alone? It just so happened that no one has been staying for the second day of the convention. Except me.

After dinner, I went back to the hotel. For a while, I stood by the window, brushing my teeth, looking down at Atlantic City. Such contrast. Blinking lights of casinos next to unbelievable decay of half-way houses, run down apartment buildings and empty parking lots.

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My mind and body needs rest. Today was a day well lived. And for that, I am thankful.

I welcome fall…

28 Sep

Fall is officially here, and I couldn’t be happier. Yesterday I snapped some pictures outside, and my hubby and I have set up our fall display.
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Also, this weekend we have made a fire a few times, and my cat Apollo was perplexed by it. The fireplace gives me a remarkable feeling of coziness.

IMG_1808.JPGAnd in the backyard, roses are blooming… They were not blooming so much in the summer, but in the fall they are covered with blooms! Go figure… They probably like this cooler weather?

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I also went outside to stargaze for a bit on Friday night using the Sky Guide app and found out that right above our house are two huge stars- Vega and Deneb. I have always been eyeing them thinking what are those?… That night it was so clear, and, after turning off all the lights in the garden, the stars looked even more pronounced.
Although I am head and shoulders deep in grad work this fall, I still plan to take time to enjoy all the beautiful things fall brings my way. For instance, apple picking, corn maze, fall hiking, pumpkin carving, and fall photography sessions.
I welcome fall in every way. What about you? What are some of the things you love about fall?

Good morning. Pokhara, Nepal

23 Jul

I am sitting in Baba’s Kitchen waiting for my breakfast to come out. Our group is staying at Baba’s Lodge (Father’s Lodge) for one more day before moving on to Kathmandu.

Baba’s Lodge is just the right name for this place. It is cozy, clean, and extremely helpful. Baba himself selves breakfast and inquires whether his guests slept well and whether they need anything. Baba is an older gentleman, tall and big. He speaks wonderful, almost academic, English.

The building itself is made of a terra cotta color brick (again, warm) with bright orange marigolds in planters everywhere. I love this place!

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Baba knows how to make coffee nice and strong (for us, Americans) and his breakfast is hearty and filling. Baba also likes to discuss the U.S. and have been to New York.

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Good morning to all from Baba’s Lodge in Pokhara, Nepal!

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One Journal Is Finished…

23 Jul

Another one is on its’ way.

I am sitting in small organic cafe, in Pokhara, Nepal. Our group came back from our a trek and the rest of the day is at leisure.

My sweet, dear friend Heeni gave this diary to me for my birthday, a few years ago. I kept saving it for a special occasion and decided to use it as my travel diary during this trip to India and Nepal. I finished writing in it today so it lasted a very long time and provided a listening ear and lots of space to express myself.

On the back flap, it said it was made in Nepal from elephant dung for Barnes and Noble, NYC. When I saw that, I said, whoa, this is made in Nepal and I’m using it in Nepal to write about Nepal!
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For my friend, I am bringing a new, blank journal made of tree bark FROM Nepal that was made IN Nepal. I hope she likes it!

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Lastly, for myself, I purchased a new journal to start writing in tonight.

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New journals symbolize new beginnings for me. All that writing that is left behind has benefitted me directly and indirectly. Using a journal puts things into perspective for me, allows me to reflect and see that things are not as bad as they appear. Vice versa, journaling allows me to be grateful for things that ARE going great. And lastly, journaling lets me practice mindfulness.
When I write, I pay attention to how my journal paper feels, the sound my pen makes, and how thoughts lay themselves out on paper.

Good Morning from Agra

11 Jul

6AM in Agra, India. Up, face washed, teeth brushed. Horns beeping all over, work day starts. Tuk-tuk rikshaws hustling back and forth, streets become alive.

Phone call to room service gets me a big pot of coffee. Instant but the best one ever. Email check, all good, world is still here.

Grateful to be here, to have the opportunity to travel and get to know this amazing country. A country of extreme contrasts. The country of the kindest people.

Grateful to be on vacation here yet grateful to be a citizen of my own country. Feeling homesick. A sip of coffee. Deep breath.

Browsing through photos. Which one shall I share with the world today?…

Here it is:

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All photos property of Daria Pizzuto

Rajastan, India Highlights

2 Jul

For the past three days we were in Rajastan, India. Apart from wondering the markets, we rode camels into the desert and camped out in the desert. We had a camp dinner and listened to music. As the desert grew dark, we looked at the night sky. It was mesmerizing.

We have made our way from Jaiselmer, to Johdpur, to Udaipur. Every city seems to have a fort (pretty useful in times) and vibrant markets.

I am having such problems uploading with pictures so those will have to wait until I come back home. Hope everyone has a good day!

My New Neighborhood

21 Jun

This morning I have ventured out into my new neighborhood with my camera.

Plainfield, New jersey has a very bad reputation but certain areas of Plainfield are really nice, A former governor of New Jersey, Jim McGreevy, lives in Plainfield – his house is an ivy covered colonial. Check out some of the houses in my neighborhood – some of them are so beautiful and just full of old charm.

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