Enjoy The Moments

Being a city girl from Toronto and landing in a rural New Hampshire town was a learning curve for me. Colby-Sawyer College was a great fit for my academic needs. I knew I wanted to be a teacher and needed small class sizes to be most successful. The hands-on learning which began my freshman year certainly helped me as a student. Colby-Sawyer’s size provided many opportunities for me to take on leadership positions and be involved in the entire school life, not just the academics. Being on the student government as the campus activities representative, being an RA and creating information booklets for other international students all gave me leadership and organizational skills which have transferred to other places in my life.

After I graduated from Colby-Sawyer in 1995 with my Bachelor of Science and teacher’s certificate in hand, I moved to Maryland where I taught in two private schools for the next 13 years. I taught preschool, pre-kindergarten, and grades two, three and four. In the summers, I began as a counselor and then worked my way up to being the director of a prestigious day camp in the Bethesda, Md., area for six years. Afterwards, I started my own adventure camp program for middle schoolers to experience daily adventurous activities around the Washington, D.C., area, such as hiking, rafting, biking, ropes courses and scavenger hunts through the Smithsonian museums.

Moving to new places where you don’t know anyone is both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. You have to really put yourself out there to meet new people. I am an observant person which helps me see where there is a need. Helping people has always been a passion of mine. Incorporating this passion with my love of travel, I traveled to Costa Rica, Australia, Tanzania and Cambodia to volunteer and live and learn among the locals. I loved these experiences. Volunteering is truly rewarding, not only for the ones I am helping but personally as well. It is different than being a tourist: it's living and working with locals and it provides truly amazing opportunities to learn about new cultures, see the world and meet new people.

In my 14th year of teaching, a colleague told me about the opportunities in teaching abroad. She had seen so much of the world as her husband worked for the Department of Defense. I felt this change was what I needed. After a lot of research to learn about the unique schools around the world, I decided I wanted to be immersed in a host country rather than work in an American-based location. Thus, I moved to Athens, Greece, in the summer of 2008.

To say it was difficult moving to a foreign country where I didn’t speak the language, during the worst financial crisis of my lifetime, would be an understatement. However, I survived. Yes, it was challenging, but it definitely made me stronger, more open to try new things, more conscientious about being a guest in a foreign country and more appreciative of the life I was born into. Although I had backpacked through Europe after college, I didn’t give up my chance to explore different cities in Europe and new countries, including Egypt, Tanzania and Turkey.

After three years of living and working in Greece, it was time for my next adventure, which was even further away from home. In fact, it was on the other side of the world in a country so small you can’t see it on the map — and therefore often called the Red Dot: Singapore. I taught grades two and four at the Canadian International School, an International Baccalaureate school, for 10 years and loved it. The country of Singapore is centralized in the perfect location on the equator — free of natural disasters, summer all year long, pristine and safe and a wonderful jumping-off point to dream vacations. Since I love having a good adventure, learning new things, meeting new people and exploring the world, any holiday I had, I took the opportunity to travel. From north to south (and everything in between) — from the rich heritage and magical land of Japan to the reflective monks of Laos to the beaches of Thailand to the surreal beauty of New Zealand. I observed, experienced and learned. I was fortunate enough to travel to more than forty countries while living overseas.

These rich experiences while traveling encouraged me to bring stories to life in the classroom. One of the highlights of teaching is watching children grasp reading and learning to love to read. In April 2020, I finished my Masters of Education degree specializing in library science. I learned more than I ever thought possible about the avenues one can use with a library degree, not only introducing students to treasured literature and teaching research skills but also working in an information agency helping with archiving, genealogy and documenting family stories.

This created an unexpected fork in the road that led me to my new adventure. I have been a photographer all my life — capturing moments, sharing stories through photographs and reminiscing while going through photos. My friends used to pester me that I took too many photos, but now, as I share my scanned prints, they are appreciative of the “Throwback Thursday” photos. While living overseas, I continued to take photos capturing all the new and exciting places, people and things I saw. As we all know, now with digital photos you don’t think twice to say, “Is this photo worthy of my film?” You just click, click, click! To help me remember and retell my stories, I began making photo books with my digital photos: one book each year with some additional books for extra special trips.

Unintentionally, yet not regrettably, I have left teaching and moved back to Maryland. Cultivating my love of learning, teaching, organizing and sharing stories, I am now a proud business owner. I have taken a hobby and turned it into a profession. I have joined a new industry called photo management; I help people organize and share their photos.

Named for the closing my father used on his messages — “Enjoy the moments” — my company, Enjoy the Moments, is up and running. Please follow my business on Facebook at Enjoy the Photo Moments or on Instagram at @enjoythephotomoments. I offer a wide range of services including teaching people the steps to organize their printed photos: how to sort them, preserve them and share them. I scan/digitize print photos, correcting red-eye and blemishes and restoring old photos. I also curate clients’ photos while creating beautiful photo books to keep their stories alive.

Colby-Sawyer College laid the foundation for me to help me be the person I am today: independent and confident, a leader and a risk-taker. A special thank you to the person who has made the largest impact in my professional life — Professor Janet Bliss. She has helped tremendously not only during my time at CSC but literally along my adult life journey. Her praise, encouragement and commitment to instilling a growth mindset certainly helped me become the person I am today.