Inspiration comes in many forms. We can be inspired by people we know and people we don’t know, movies we watch, books we read and history we learn about. I believe we are all inspired at different stages in our life. Watching my favourite sporting idols perform as I was growing up certainly had a direct effect on how much time I spent practicing my skills.
Like many things in life, the people you spend a lot of time with have a huge influence on your behaviour, feelings and beliefs. My grandparents, parents and two brothers have inspired me in many positive ways over the past 28 years. They have certainly helped shape the man I’ve become.
The person who inspires me the most is a certain lady I met over 4 years ago when I was living in South Korea. This woman is inspiring in so many ways. Her name is Katie Grace Filion. Katie comes from a proud, kind and welcoming Canadian family. She is intelligent, hard working, adventurous, driven, incredibly warm hearted and absolutely beautiful. I’m very fortunate to be able to call Katie my girlfriend.
Katie’s work rate and focus are something to behold. Just to put it into context, she has a Bachelor of Science (Chemistry), a Bachelor of Education (K-12), and has just started a Masters in Education. Academic achievements aside, Katie has been working as a teacher since 2012. I count myself lucky to be able to work in the same school as Katie now. We work together in a new school in China and I learn something new from her every single day. Her ability to overcome adversity, to problem solve, to be creative, to maintain high professional standards and to seek out ways to grow and learn are very inspirational.
Getting to know Katie has allowed me to become a better version of myself. That might seem strange, but when you spend time with people who are always growing, developing and learning, it has a huge positive knock on effect. Katie has spent the time to know and understand me, and always encourages and supports me to follow what I’m passionate about.
Living abroad is not all about the “good life”. As expats, we face challenges on a day to day basis. We are thousands of miles from home, family and familiarity. Having a full on international relationship can also provide a few obstacles. I’m Irish, Katie is Canadian. We have lived together in Korea, Canada and we currently reside in China. This involves a lot of planning, travel, looking into the future, new ideas, old memories- a whirlwind of thoughts fly through our heads on a daily basis. It can all build up and become overwhelming. This is where Katie shows her support, thoughtfulness, selflessness, bravery and her sense of adventure. We know that we don’t live an “ordinary” or ”typical” life, but this is where I’m so glad I met a person who is on the same page as me.
We all face battles, challenges and struggles in our day to day lives. Some of us complain about the weather, celebrity gossip, a poor wifi connection or a Facebook post that offended us. Katie appreciates the simple things in life- family, friends, nature, cooking, art, exercise, a good book. It really is a breath of fresh air to spend my time with someone who constantly seeks out the positives. My eyes have been opened to a world of hiking to a mountain top, getting up early enough to watch the sunrise, driving to the perfect spot to watch the sunset. These are now my favourite things to do with Katie. She has inspired me to appreciate the real beauty in life.
I’m excited for what the future holds. Katie continues to inspire me on a daily basis. I’m lucky that we live and work together. We learn from each other. We plan our adventures together. We are living a life we both enjoy.
Katie, I’m pretty sure you’ll read this, so…
Thank you, darling. I love you!