Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘dreams

Ever since I was a little girl, my dream was to be a teacher. I loved learning, loved going to school and was lucky to have had some wonderful teachers. When adults would ask the inevitable question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would stand tall, even though I was very short for my age, and proudly state, “A teacher.”

But, as is often the case, life happens while you are making other plans and I didn’t become a teacher. I had great jobs in retail management, recruitment and employment counselling. But I still longed to teach. So, after my children were grown up and I was already a grandmother, I enrolled in a Teaching English as a Second Language, distance learning program with the University of Saskatchewan. This was a two year program. Since I was working full time, I did my lessons in the evenings after work. I graduated with a Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language shortly after my fiftieth birthday. It was a proud day.

At last, a teaching certificate.

My first job after graduation was teaching six orphaned Tibetan teenage girls who planned to work in health care eventually. Since many of the volunteer doctors they would be working alongside would be from English speaking countries, they required English communication skills. They had come to Canada for six months for that reason, sponsored by medical professionals. They already had some basic English language skills.

The students were delightful and soaked up the learning like sponges. We had so much fun. I learned as much about their culture as they did about North American life. They especially loved learning the idioms. As I left the school to catch the bus home one afternoon, they shouted, “Break your legs.”

We laughed and we cried together. A lesson about camping became a lesson in birth control. I taught them how to make hamburgers and they taught me how to make momos. It was an incredible experience.

I invited them to my house for a typical Canadian barbeque. I also invited my daughter and everyone got along so well. The girls sang and did a Tibetan dance for us. They said, “Now you have seven daughters.”

After six months, they graduated from my class with much improved English skills. We held a ceremony for them at the school the day before they were to return to Tibet. There were many tears shed that day. They had already left the building when one of the girls, Lasha, came running back in to give me one more hug. I still shed tears thinking about it.

This was another dream come true for me. I had other wonderful jobs teaching English to non English speakers and met some amazing people from all over the world, but these girls will always be my special students. It was the most rewarding job I have ever had and I will never forget my Tibetan girls.

Have you had a job that was extra special?

It is coming up to six years since we packed up and moved to Spain. Recently at a writing group, we were given the prompt of – Screw it, let’s do it! I decided this would be a good time to write about the trials and tribulations we had as we prepared for this huge move. The group enjoyed my story, so I decided to share it with my blog followers.

Screw It Let’s Do It!

Retirement loomed. My husband and I often talked about retiring to a warmer climate. Many of our friends had bought property in the southern United States, Mexico, Central and South America. But hubby wasn’t keen on living in any of those places. His parents retired to Spain from the UK a number of years earlier, and we had visited them there a few times. We both liked Spain.

This will do.

It was a long way from Canada, but it had the appeal of being in Europe and close to other countries we wanted to explore. I loved the history, the beaches and the weather. It was affordable for people living on a pension., too. Paul imagined riding his Ducati on twisty mountain roads all year round, and I entertained thoughts of writing books and travel articles while sitting in the sun.

We booked a trip, and while in Spain, we found places along the Costa Blanca that could work for us within our price range. Once returning home, we did further research. Retiring to Spain became more of a consideration. When I told my children our potential plans, they said, ‘Do what makes you happy, mom.’ I mentioned to my daughter that I would give her my trusty Honda Civic. Her eyes perked up and she asked, ‘When are you going’?

With the blessings of the family, we began the process of clearing out the apartment and putting it up for sale. Having downsized from a 2500 square foot house to a 1350 square foot apartment fourteen years earlier, we didn’t think it would take much work. We didn’t realize how much we had acquired in that time!

Both of us still working, every weekend was spent clearing out closets, file cabinets and storage spaces, as well as painting and decorating to make the place look fresh and clean. We met with three different real estate agents, and decided to list with the one we felt would represent our place well based on her enthusiasm. There were many showings but no offers. As we had some wiggle room, we dropped the price a bit.

Over the summer, I gave away, donated and sold seventy percent of our belongings. Time was spent with family and friends as it might be awhile until we saw them again once we made the move across the ocean. There was one offer on the apartment. Way too low, we turned it down. There was still time. I knew the right people would come along and love our garden apartment in its great location as much as we did.

Retirement party!

I retired at the end of September and we booked tickets to Madrid leaving the first of November. I made one last trip to Alberta to ensure my mom was settled into her care home and to spend valuable time with my grand and great grandkids. An offer on the apartment came through while I was there. Although low, after some negotiating, we came to an agreement. They were to sign the papers the last week of October. For all intents and purposes, it was a done deal. Things were looking good. We went out for drinks with friends to celebrate.

I sold the rest of the furniture and organized a moving company to pack and pick up the personal belongings we would take with us.

On the last Monday of October, I woke up to a very upsetting message from my son. A good friend of ours had passed away in her sleep at the age of 53. I was devastated. I had just seen her two weeks earlier, a picture of health.

An hour later, I received a call from the realtor. The people who bought the apartment were to sign the papers for the sale the next day. Except, they decided to withdraw from the agreement, forfeiting their deposit.

What else could go wrong! I felt the walls crashing in all around me.

The furniture was all gone except for the bed. The dishes, pots and pans, and everything else were packed, ready to be picked up by the movers the following day. My daughter was coming for my car on Wednesday. Hubby had already sold his car and shipped his Ducati. It was already on the way to Spain!

Even if we stayed until we sold the place, we had nothing but an empty apartment. I was sick to my stomach. We sat on the bed, and in between my incessant sobbing, we explored our options.

Finally we decided. Screw it, let’s do it.

So with very little money and continuing mortgage payments, we flew out to Spain on November 1st, 2014 as planned. Well actually, we ended up flying out on November 2nd, but that’s another story, for another day.

I was invited to be a guest on a great blog called Loving The Fifty Something

Read what I have to say about getting older and check out Sam’s interesting blog where she features other over 50s. 

Amazing Over 50’s – Darlene Foster

Amazing over 50’s

I am inviting and featuring ‘Mid-lifers’ who are enjoying life over 50 and who are happy to shout out about great health, fitness, lifestyles, work or their achievements etc, but more importantly who are embracing this time of their lives with pride and open arms.

This month I’m happy to introduce Darlene Foster as my seventeenth guest.  Darlene is an author and blogger.

Welcome to Loving The Fifty Something, Darlene

Can I ask you to tell us a little about yourself  

Of course, you can, but you might be sorry. I’ll try to keep it to the Readers Digest version. I spent a lot of time daydreaming and making up stories as a child. I dreamt of becoming a teacher, writing books, travelling the world and meeting interesting people. But as the saying goes, life happens when you’re making other plans.

Read more here https://lovingthefiftysomething.com/2019/07/25/amazing-over-50s-darlene-foster/

I’d be interested to learn your feelings about being over 50 if you are, and how you feel about becoming a 50 plus person if you aren’t.

goal-setting-photo

I am a very goal-oriented person and require goals to keep me on track. At the beginning of every year, I write down some goals as I believe writing them down cements them in my mind and helps me to meet them. As the year comes to a close, I like to look at the goals I set for myself and see how I did.

These are the 2017 goals I posted on my blog.

Prepare Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind for publication in the fall of 2017.

Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind was completed in January 2017 and after a number of edits and a few beta reads, it was published and launched October 1, 2017! This is book number six in the Amanda Travels series. I am so proud of this book. Thanks to everyone who assisted and supported me, bought this book and reviewed it. Launching a book is much like giving birth, hard work, painful but so worth it!

Return to Canada in October to promote the newest book

I returned to Canada in August and September for an awesome six-city book tour and wrote about it here. I moved the date up in order to accept an invitation to present a workshop for the Vancouver Public Library’s Writer’s Camp in mid-August. It was an incredible experience. The book tour was successful and I now have many more Amanda fans. I was also able to see many friends and family members while there. 

Write Amanda in Holland, book seven of the series

I started Amanda in Holland-Missing in Action and have written over fifty percent of it. I would have liked to have been further along by now though. 

Explore places in Spain we haven´t been to before.

I visited the amazing city of Cordoba with special out of town guests as well as other small towns and rural sites in Spain. Although I had visited Barcelona twice already, I explored parts I had not seen before. There is still so much to see and do in this fascinating country.

Return to England to visit family and friends

We travelled to York in January to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary and visit some of Paul’s family. In October we travelled to Liverpool to meet friends. Both fascinating cities that reminded me of why I love England so much.

Go on at least one interesting trip outside of Spain

We spent a week in Malta and loved every minute. I wrote about that trip here.

Attend Pueblo Ingles or a similar program assisting Spanish-speaking individuals with their communication English

For some reason, this hasn’t worked out again this year but it is still on the list. 

Create a new up-to-date website

My clever brother created a swanky new website for me. I just love it and can’t thank him enough. www.darlenefoster.ca

Organize the files on my computer

I started this but need to work harder to get things organized better. 

Learn to use the new Samsung Tablet Santa delivered!

 I use my tablet daily and take it with me when I travel. It was such a great gift. It didn’t take long to figure most of it out.

Keep in touch with family and friends, including friends on social media.

I make a concerted effort to keep in touch with everyone. Social media has been a huge help with this. I even met some of my social media friends in person this year. I wrote about it here. 

Be kind, be strong and never stop being curious.

Yes, yes and yes.

In retrospect, 2017 was a very good year and I look forward to 2018.

I wish everyone who reads my blog a very Happy New Year!! 

“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will.” George Bernard Shaw.

If you would like to know what sparked my dreams as a child, read my guest post at March of Time Books, the new blog site of my dear English blogging friend Barbara Fisher.

What sparks a child’s dreams?

Guest post by Darlene Foster dreamer of dreams, teller of tales.

When I was little, my dear grandmother gave me a colouring book filled with pictures of children from around the world dressed in traditional garments. I loved that book and while colouring each page, dreamt of visiting those fascinating places. Growing up on a farm in the Canadian prairies, we didn’t venture far.

Read the rest of the article here  Pop over to Barbara´s blog and you might see me in a sombrero!

What sparked your dreams as a child? I would love to know.

 

Today I have the pleasure of being a guest on Jan Moore´s blog, Work on Your Own Terms, where I talk about my decision to move to Spain.

Following the Dream, by Darlene Foster

I met Darlene on Gabriola Island when she was visiting her daughter, just before she and her husband moved from Canada to Spain. I’ll let Darlene tell you about her new lifestyle in her own words. Her travels inspire the children’s books she writes. See how happy they look in Spain. She just might convince you to follow your own dreams.

DSCN0134

“I’ve got to follow that dream wherever that dream may lead.” Elvis Presley

“Why Spain?” was the question asked of me often when I made the decision to move to another country. “Why not?” was often my answer.

I could have said, because of the warm, sunny weather, the fabulous Mediterranean food, the medieval markets, the rich history, the castles, the fiestas, the warm and friendly locals, the laid back life style etc. The truth is, I wasn´t really sure. I just knew I wanted to try living in another country, preferably a warm country.

Click here to read the rest of the article:   http://workonyourownterms.com/followingthedream/

FIferrydock

“Reach high, for stars lie in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.” Pamela Vaull, 20th Century American Author/Poet

goals

As many of you know, up until very recently I have been facilitating workshops for job seekers for the past thirteen years. I loved my job and enjoyed all the workshops I created and delivered, but my most favourite was my goal setting workshops. The participants enjoyed the sessions and said it gave them renewed hope. I have attended a few goal setting workshops myself over the years. As I was cleaning out my desk at work, I came across a workbook from an excellent session I attended nearly four years ago. I almost fell over when I read my notes.

1. At the beginning we were asked to write down a dream. This is what I wrote:

To be an internationally known children’s author living on the coast of Spain.

2. We were then asked to close our eyes and picture ourselves having achieved this dream, then describe the environment around us. My response:

In book stores and schools doing readings and presentations, surrounded by fans of my work and going home to my villa in Spain.

3. After a couple of other exercises establishing  capabilities and values, we were to write down who we had become once we achieved our dream.

I am a writer of children’s fiction expanding my horizons and meeting new and interesting people while adapting to a new culture and environment.

4. Finally we were asked to write our dream again with enhancements that came from some explorations and reflections. Here was my enhanced dream:

An internationality known and well loved author of children’s stories, interviewed on TV, with lots of fans and owning property in Spain where I can go to relax and write after my travels and book tours.

There was much more to the workshop, but what I realized when reading what I wrote, was that goal setting does work. Writing down your goal or dream and visualizing it,  is powerful.

Since taking this workshop four years ago, I have written and published three more books, read from my books at schools and book stores and am about to move to Spain! I haven’t been interviewed on TV but I have been interviewed on blogs and that is even better.

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” Walt Disney 

 

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You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. -C. S. Lewis

Today I am guest blogging over at T.B. Markinson’s blog Making My Mark

Inspired by Dreams of Travel by Darlene Foster

Posted on January 10, 2014by 

I recently met Darlene via her blog. Most of you know I love to travel, so when I discovered that her books were centered on traveling and introducing new people, places, and cultures to a younger audience I had to find out more. Darlene was kind enough to agree to guest post. I was inspired when I read her post and I hope you will be as well. And now here’s Darlene:

Read more:  http://tbmarkinson.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/inspired-by-dreams-of-travel-by-darlene-foster/

Drop by and make a comment.

While there, check out TB’s other blog site The 50 Year Project where she challenges herself to visit 192 countries, read 1,001 books, and watch the top 100 movies. I love this idea of listing places, books and movies one plans to experience in the next 50 years.

TB is also an author (boy do we have a lot in common!)

Check out her latest book Marionette

 

Happy New Year to everyone who reads my blog. I truly appreciate the time it takes to read blogs and to make comments. I feel honoured that you choose to read mine.  Your kind words have meant so much to me over the past year.

Every January 1st for as long as I can remember, I have made a list of goals for the coming year. The habit of setting resolutions has gone out of favour but I tend to need to have goals to keep me anchored. It is always fun to revisit the past year’s goals and see how I did. Here  are my 2013 goals from last year’s blog.

1. Reduce the clutter. I will take a page from Lorna at Tea Room Delights where she has decided to get rid of one thing a day for the entire year, for a total of 365 things.  This may help me get this done! Today I got rid of the old calendars.

Check (somewhat): I did get rid of some clutter but not enough. I stopped counting so I don’t know if I got rid of 365 items or not. It was a good idea though.

2. Complete Amanda in Alberta-The Writing on the Stone and have it published before the end of the year.

Fail (somewhat): I did not finish Amanda in Alberta but have 13 chapters of a 20 chapter book completed. 

3. Take a trip to Alberta to do research for Amanda in Alberta with my eleven year old grandson.

Check: I had a great time doing research with GS 2 and came away with good ideas.

4.Ensure my foot returns to normal.

Check: I have looked after my foot well and, although there is still a bit of pain and I still can’t wear most of my heeled shoes, it is so much better.

5.Continue to look for more outlets for my writing.

Check: I have guest blogged for some great blog sites.

6. Write more travel articles.

Fail: I have not written many travel articles this past year.

7.Contact schools to do readings.

Check: I did a couple of readings at schools and a workshop at a Junior Author’s conference which was most enjoyable. Would love to do more.

8. Consider working part-time in order to spend more time on my writing.

Check: As of January 1, 2014, I have arranged with my employer to work 4 days a week, giving me one whole day to write. I’m so pleased this has worked out.

9. Take a nice holiday with Paul (without injuring myself)

Check: Paul and I had a fabulous holiday to Spain in May.  I returned with all body parts intact.

10. Practice kindness with everyone I meet, no matter how my day is going.

Check: I have been conscious of practising kindness in my daily life and recognizing that not everyone has a good day everyday. 

All in all I feel I did quite well with my 2013 goals.

Now for my 2014 goals:

1. Finish Amanda in Alberta -The Writing on the Stone for publication early spring by writing diligently and completing three chapters a month.

2. Get rid of unnecessary belongings, prepare the apartment for sale, sell the apartment.

3. Start new writing projects: a picture book, travel articles, another Amanda adventure.

4. Cut back working hours some more, possibly retiring.

5. Take an extended vacation to Spain or move to Spain by the end of the year.

6. Attend my grandson’s graduation in Alberta.

7. Spend quality time with friends and family.

8. Plan a few small holidays and/or getaways.

9. Continue going to yoga on a more regular basis.

10. Pay attention to the signs the universe is sending.

 

One of my Christmas gifts from my wonderful daughter was a 30 minute Tarot card reading and consultation. The cards indicated changes in the horizon and a warning to slow down. The three cards I chose at the end of my session were so amazing:

Break Free: Try different ventures and experiences as a way to grow and earn.

Simplify Your Life: Eliminate clutter from your home and work life to balance the flow of activities.

Divine Magic: Extra magical energy surrounds your situation right now. Expect miracles!

Wow, now I feel so ready for the coming year!

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”

-Gloria Steinem

Whether you set goals or not, I wish you all the best that the new year has to offer.  

I was invited to guest blog on Donna Martin’s On The Write Track site. Every Wednesday her theme is Writerly Wisdom. Today I wrote about not giving up on your dream to be a published writer. I hope you enjoy it.

Never Too Late To Become A Writer
Darlene Foster

A goal without a plan is just a dream.

Many of us dream of being a writer. After all we have tons of ideas. We spend years talking about it, fantasize signing our books, and envision people saying, “I read your book and loved it.” But there is always an excuse. We are too busy working, raising kids, keeping a house, volunteering, looking after grandchildren or aging parents; the list goes on. Then one day there is a bit more time and we say, “Now I’m too old to write a book. If only I had started years ago. It’s too late.” I have heard this many times.

I was one of those people. I had so many excuses for not sitting down and writing a book. I took writing courses and attended seminars, wrote a few short stories and submitted to the occasional contest, but the idea of writing a book was too daunting and I often felt I left it too late.

Read more………

http://donasdays.blogspot.ca/2013/01/writerly-wisdom_30.html

 

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis

 


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