Day 4: Ten Interesting Facts About Myself

  1. I once dyed my hair pink, in celebration of having raised $20,ooo for Invisible Children. I did it (raised the money and died my hair) on a livestream, with people all over the world watching. The pink didn’t last long (I opted not to bleach first), but hey—for a few days, I had a head of magenta hair.
  2. “Ellen” is a family name. My great-grandmother was Ellen, and my grandmother is Patricia Ellen. My mom totally should be an Ellen but, alas, is not. I think it’s rockin’ that my great-grandmother named her daughter after herself, and I plan on passing the name down to my daughter as well.
  3. I was an English major in college. This surprises people who don’t know me but do know my job title (computer science teacher). In actuality, my English degree equipped me with many of the skills I need (presentation, effective rhetoric, reasoning, analysis) and an ability to acquire any skills lacking (during my interview, my now-boss asked, “Do you know much about computer science?” I replied, “No ma’am, but I can learn.” English majors can learn anything.).
  4. I was a student at the school where I now teachTo my knowledge, I’m the only St. James alum who has returned to be a faculty member. Today, I’m preparing for the sixth-grade graduation, working on slideshows and awards. One decade ago today, I was myself a sixth-grade student, preparing to graduate and move out of The Bubble.
  5. I have two tattoos—a white one on my wrist that I want to fade away (or else to cover it with something new) and a brown one on my ankle that I love more and more every day. I regret neither of them; giving myself freedom to make and not regret mistakes has been a necessary and liberating part of my journey.
  6. I played soccer for nine years. I started in the fourth grade and kept going through my first year of college, only to quit because I felt the team to be oppressive, disrespectful, and lacking sportsmanship (mean girls are mean, you know?). I so wish that that had not been the case; what I wouldn’t give to have spent four years playing college ball. Now, if I play, it’s on the school’s field with a group of ten-year-olds (still very fun—and wow, they’re fast) (also, they think I’m super cool because I have an ounce or two of skill).
  7. I have Bipolar II Disorder, or something like that. It’s more annoying than anything;  I never know what kind of day I’ll have or how long an episode will last. I manage, though, and use my situation to my benefit: I wholeheartedly believe my disorder is an advantage because, while it makes day-to-day functioning way tougher, it also grants me a greater capacity for empathy and understanding. I am a better person, teacher, and friend because of my experiences with mental illness.
  8. I’ve been to 15 countries on 4 continents: USA, Mexico, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, England, France, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Tanzania, Greece, Israel, Uganda, Honduras, and Belize. I am so grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve had to travel, and for the passion for travel that my mom instilled in me. This summer, I’ll add Canada and Turkey to the list, about which I am more than excited.
  9. Meanwhile, I’ve only (“only”) been to 19 different states (and some of those barely count—just ate a meal there, etc). I have a lot of backyard-exploring left to do.
  10. I’m currently looking to pursue a MEd in Developmental Psychology and Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (at the University of Toronto). We’ll see if that happens; it’s obviously quite far away from home, and taking such a step would be huge, but for now, I am enjoying the dream.

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