Casualties in the Battle to Stay Relevant

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

After I was unable to get a work visa on the ground in Italy, I knew that teaching English online would be some kind of bridge to my next formal work or activity, or become the core of what I would be doing. I had partial approval by a company to do it but there were some technical limitations I experienced by not having strong enough wifi, but one day it occurred to me I might be able to bypass some of them by maneuvering differently on the website – and it worked! Within minutes I started getting videophone calls from all over the world, and getting a trickle of money that has made parking myself in Croatia right now viable and has put me back in the black.

According to my dashboard, in just over two weeks, I’ve logged 3,679 minutes teaching (or tutoring as it is more ostensibly called by the website – which allows for a lot more leeway and achieving the aim of conversation practice with native speakers) and have spoken to 278 students. Most of them are people passing through collecting a 5-minute free sample of the application/platform, but as your client reviews maintain a higher rating average, suddenly most of this is weeded out and you have subscriber students. In the beginning,  you do not know who will be your future base so it is wise to affect as much warmth as possible. Through the course of this, I have heard dozens of very fascinating life stories and the core theme is that everyone is striving for a better position in life and to keep up with multiple realities in a globalized economy. Particularly difficult the path is for the person who knows more or wants more than their peers in their native setting, because even once established in the target country and language, something else invariably happens that elicits a further expansion attempt.

There are many stories I could tell but I’ve been particularly consumed by the plight of a family in Brazil. It all started with the father calling me sometime in the space of the last ten days. Bear in mind the primary function of my role is meant to “teach English” but often the plot overtakes the task. He imparted somewhere in between me assessing what to study and where to focus that the reason for his studying is because he intends to sell off most of the family’s assets and move the family to the US for a year, most likely in Florida. He is in investment and trading and the wife is a dentist concentrated on aesthetics. My immediate thought was that her career is in jeopardy and this is a perfect storm to inadvertently unskill her. In a few moments he expressed that his wife was concerned about her work and I jumped in to say that is quite valid. He then explained that she had had a bout with cancer in recent years and now that they are in their mid-40s, he wanted them to go do something for a year since life is short and it would be a great opportunity for immersion for the family. If they decided they wanted to stay beyond a year, then they could take steps to formalize certifications in the US and so on.

I sent him some resources and then went about my work per usual. As a part of account maintenance I know from any other work I’ve done in the past, I sent follow-up messages a few days later to revive relationships, help in any way I could, and in general I have always called this a “stimulus package.” About half a day later he called and said he wanted to see more of my background and that he wanted me to teach the entire family with separate lessons a few times a week, and soon the two kids were popping up on the screen and hovering nearby smiling and wanting to participate.

The whole family is lovely and these conversations with the kids were more routine and while they were communicating fine, the father told me that he was worried about me being bored with the nine-year-old because I was stretching myself a lot to find what he would be most communicative about. I could and can see the kind of intellectual pressures kids of the more affluent can be under because often the parents became wealthy by being talented in abstract thinking and they full upon an opportunity, and the kids may not be wired in this particular way (conversely it is much worse to think in abstractions and not find the right market or timing and hit the bottle, fall prey to addiction, or otherwise get swallowed up by other mediocre pursuits). I explained to the father that there are many things that the kids have not been exposed to in Portuguese yet so the expectation threshold needs to be suspended a bit.

I met the wife. In the first lesson we established a plan for her whereby there would be some of the platform’s material used to support concepts for each lesson and give her structure for a sense of security and coming away with something. She was using a few Portuguese words but we were able to communicate that she is a neurotic perfectionist who would rather stay silent until she knows what she is talking about than to come out with something imperfect. I did a few things tactically to destroy that and her near fluency that existed before I ever met her is surfacing. She voiced her concerns about their move from a purely weather, social, and crime based subject area but did make a point to say how much she loves her career.

The next lesson I had with the husband he talked with me about the resources I had sent him in regards to crime statistics and real estate in Florida and then brought to light that the worst cities in Florida still have a crime rate 1/10th of that in his city in Brazil. They currently live in a gated community and have had an armored car in the past. He said in no way at night would anyone there stop at a red light for fear of carjackings or other dangers.

However, all of this has been mere decoration leading up to last night on my second lesson with the wife. She was alone in the gated community house and though I had things prepared we barely got to them. She was completed frazzled after having met up with her business partners whereby either they were wanting her to give up her stake or she was proposing to possibly sell her stake in the clinic. It was here that I learned she founded in 20 years ago this year and they had just expanded to a high end facility in the last year and now she was totally torn of how to handle this. Does one hold on to their stake if there is resistance and hope that no sabotage or disorder takes over in their absence? Does one sell immediately and walk away in case some kind of liability or trouble happens? To me the most logical thing to do is to have the wife stay there a few months while the rest of the family finds their footing and then decide, but that is not for me to say. I do not know Portuguese but she said that her wish to stay for the career must be selfish and then I started tearing up and so did she in a moment. I indicated on the screen (you can type things on the screen and the translation will appear if needed) that a true compromise and happy balance can be struck. I seriously stepped back and wondered what kind of protocols or rules there are for teaching in this case and on this platform but reached the conclusion that the humanity of the situation superseded the formality. At any rate, this is a woman that I in some strange fashion have some influence in the situation that she could wind up starting her career over again entirely at almost 50-years-old in a strange country.

It’s impossible for me to transcribe all that happened but she indicated Portugal might still be a possibility for them. I went over some of the advantages of there, but that I know a doctor often makes only about 20,000 euros a year there. A few minutes later the husband arrived back home and joined in and everything became more or less a family planning session. He had just spoken to the neighbor who told him that his family had just tried the US for two years not long ago and they were now immigrating to Portugal where they could fly to Disneyland Paris for 10 euros if they wanted and the crime is much lower than the US.

This is an evolving story but we are seeing great patterns of migration and personal transformation right now. Sometimes it feels like we must fall on our sword for the safety of our children, spouse, community, or workplace, and there are certainly rare moments where this is logical, but our impulse to stay relevant and survive is often another abstraction that is not really as urgent in reality as it seems. A joyless calculation can add so many more emotive variables that we don’t anticipate. Due to both the importance of maintaining muscle memory or manual dexterity and the somewhat perverse, unnatural competitive system that is imposed on us, we really cannot afford to step off the hamster wheel for long and remain a viable worker commodity in the eyes of employers and partnerships that are going to be favorable to us – so we must think of our partners’ ability to hold their professional space in a move. Conversely, when a partner offers affection and care to to step away from all this intensity, we also have to learn to laugh and accept sometimes because all the hierarchies, professional identities, titles, certifications, possessions, and marching around in uniform are mere costuming that have no permanent universal meaning.

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

 

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2018: Courage Under Fire

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

Greetings from Croatia. This is the first time I’ve done this prediction report from outside North America in all these years, so I may seem as though I am looking at the world from a completely different vantage point. The majority of the audience of these annual predictions is always in the United States however, so if I seem overly focused on there, it is because this is the center of empire on one hand and the version of reality most of you live in on the other.

To give a brief summary of what I expect from this year, I already did a bit of the preliminary work in the preview from December. Basically, what I expect from 2018 is that in general people are going to be much more willing to be straight-shooters and speak the truth as they see it and also unlikely alliances will become more apparent in the process of artifice breaking down worldwide gains momentum.

OPENING REMARKS: Dear God, and virtuous spirits, Please use these cards, the Golden Tarot I possess, to identify key issues for 2018 that will accurately predict and guide people through events that give them foreknowledge and advantages in knowing these details in advance. We ask that the cards and my interpretation of them are accurate and any bias on my part is removed if it is not constructive to drawing correct and true outcome conclusions and remarks. Amen and spontaneous, God-driven blessings to all.  

OVERALL:

XI Strength; Nine of Wands = 2018 Theme: Courage Under Fire

What are some of the environmental events of 2018?

XX Judgment; XVIII The Moon

The first word that I saw in my mind was “Japan” as I was choosing the cards. I believe that a second shoe for Fukushima will drop. The extent of the contamination is going to be found out. There will be some expansion of or permanent quarantine on the area.

The Judgment card that appeared supports this but also helps me draw a conclusion that is20180110_215030 not ever circulated in contemporary communications. The earth is protected by powers that we do not know or understand and will find a balance for itself. This does not absolve anyone of responsibility to do correct things to foster its wellbeing, but destruction is its way of balancing things. As you can see a harmonious garden inspired by a good virtuous spirit and an unobstructed sun surrounded by verdant hills is what wins.

The Moon is a card of instability and rather predictably alludes to crises in relation to water or ocean waters in particular. I do see coastal Asia as a particularly stricken area with typhoons this year and in general the frustration and a panic about weather changes setting in. There will be more Barbuda settings worldwide where people will not resettle.

It’s not happening quickly enough but more people are starting to look to the skies and notice patterns in nature again during the period where authority figures have a harder time managing perception.

Where or in what do people need to invest the most energy this year?

Three of Cups; Three of Swords

The first word that came to mind was “altruism.”

Three is a number of expansion and to have both of these cards appear upright with such a question means expanding compassion and enhanced talents. Many of us will end deliberations and go forward with doing something nice or celebrations. The official definition of Three of Swords in this deck is to lose something so I would take this to mean that part of the celebrating is acknowledging those who have passed or will pass this year and adopting a lot of old ways from celebrated people in the present. This is perhaps overly general but I do feel prodded along to say it – it’s as if people will much more deliberately look at things from the past that they liked and will implement them actively and frequently now. Things that we are emotively attached to will be more relevant this year and brought back into practice. Remember and give in 2018.

What do we need to take a stand or a strong position on this year?

Nine of Swords; VI The Lovers, reversed

Intellect and focus spring to mind.

My reaction to this question and the literal meaning of the cards are kind of inverse. A statement of rejecting superficiality comes to mind and avoiding instant gratification urges comes with that. We need to concentrate on work, commitment, and seeing intellectual development through rather than quickly patching things and getting by.

Official definitions of tarot indicate the horrors of Nine of Swords and I think that this means the obstacles to our success by the financial order of the planet seeming insurmountable. I’m afraid that they are. The best thing to do is to cultivate your mind as far as you can take it and be on top of the fundamentals of numbers, numeracy, financial impacts of various decisions, and to hold on to your autonomy wherever possible.

How can most people make themselves materially more secure this year?

XIII Death; II The High Priestess, reversed

Let go and accept things when they’re gone.

As I have said thousands of times by now, 2015 was our last “normal” year. We are in a cycle of tremendous loss and numerous endings. There will be an unbelievable number of unfair but inevitable endings. The best thing to do is to not fight them and to accept the ending of various eras.

The High Priestess in reverse reiterates this again forcefully. The end of a particular belief pattern and changing fundamentals. Many mentors, leaders, and ways of thinking will totally lose relevance in this period.

How seeing these forces will make anyone materially more secure is not instantly apparent but I would take it to mean that until we can overcome our myths and resting on laurels, there is not a lot of resilience to get on with the next modes of sustaining oneself financially. It is very difficult in this period to have any solid idea of what is really going on or what has any real future value. I take this to mean to stay quiet and take quite conservative positions and to retreat from the hoard somewhat in order to hear your own voice. Allow yourself time to get a firm grasp of where you actually want to be and what your aims are. Some opportunities may be missed but most people are not armed with enough information to subject themselves to a lot of possible volatility. For some reason, I see April as a month when a lot of people can have a better idea of what they want to be involved in and a few of you who read this will remember and feel secure enough to make a geographical move.

 

This year I was steered to avoid any kind of fear related, geopolitical, or political overtures and questions because somehow I received the indication that this is not our primary work area at this moment and we can get a lot more accomplished by addressing the aforementioned areas. Facing negative realities head-on and staying with one’s values in stressful situations this year is going to make people feel like they are making headway because as wealth becomes more abstract so too becomes self-fulfillment and thus traditional status symbols lose their meaning.

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

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Sequestered in Low Season Istrian Peninsula – Croatia

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

I hope everyone has had nice holidays or at least a break from the norm (in a nice way) for the end of the year 2017. For those who were familiar with the situation, I was unable to get my visa formalized into an extended presence in Italy and thus ended up running out days I could be physically present in the 26-country Schengen Area network. I had originally planned to go to Spain for the holiday break but needed to eat this expense of about $125USD to alternatively find a way out of Schengen as soon as the school term ended since my final permissible day was December 27th (January 2nd if they did not look and count the five days I was in Slovenia in August). A friend from the US I have known for many years who lives in Sevilla, Spain and runs a thriving yoga practice and education business, who I was originally going to Spain to see, quickly arranged a trip with another friend of hers (and now mine – a fearless woman from the American South by way of DC and Utah who knows how to pave her own way anywhere) to Rome and as soon as the courses I was teaching ended on December 22nd, I rushed home to pack to get out by the 23rd and take a train to Rome to see her. Leaving my coworker friends in Castelfranco Veneto, Italy along with the students may go down as the most difficult thing I have ever had to do because they are extremely valuable to me on a personality level as well as professionally, and the students are such a motivated and lively population. There was just nothing we could do because it takes some time to get the visa and it has to be done with presence in the US. However, seeing a friend I had not seen in person for six years was just the boost I needed and I was further able to see another friend I met earlier in the year in Ukraine in Trieste in my mad dash out of Schengen.

It was a very bizarre trip. A number of people working in the UN that I met through a friend indicated that it should be no problem to get my visa straightened out but then a few questions in and immediately their arguments would collapse. I had not been to Rome for almost 13 years so I did see it with fresh eyes and it is quite beautiful, albeit very expensive compared to where I have been living. I had hauled two large bags (what was meant to be a year’s worth of living material) across three trains getting there and for leaving Schengen, I opted on Croatia as an EU-member but non-Schengen member to get stamped out, and the affordable (62 euros or about $75) way out was by a 17-hour bus journey with a four hour layover in Trieste. As soon as I got ready to leave it started raining in Rome and rained everywhere I went til my arrival in Pula, Croatia. My shoes which had worn out fast, each formed a hole and got flooded – so I had wet feet for the entire journey. A nice break was meeting my friend from Naples (not pictured because I haven’t gotten permission yet for showing his 4-year-old daughter who accompanied) in Trieste where we had an elaborate sushi lunch.

 

 

I crossed the border without incident, though one of the other passengers was not so lucky. I did not overstay but I was still on edge because of the number of surprises that have unfolded. The final pictures above show the Christmas tree at the rainy border.

 

 

 

I arrived at the hostel and was greeted by the owner or manager but he has since taken off and I have not seen or heard anyone. He said that there are two other guests but I have not seen any sign of them. My dorm room is 15 euros a night ($18) and it is all to myself. I am here three nights to recover from everything.

Pula, Croatia is on the mysterious Istrian peninsula which has been occupied by many empires. The owner of the hostel said that a local tribe had originally defeated the Romans but when they were celebrating this they were attacked and lost control of everything. This city has been inhabited for 3,000 years and includes a major Roman arena which is probably the most famous attraction here. It is my understanding that to get residence here is quite straightforward and so I am here shopping that opportunity while I get busy deciding my next move. I love being in the classroom as much as I love tarot and selling things of a sustainable or ethical nature so I am willing to wait to have this be a factor in what I do. The food and liveliness here does not compare to what I experienced in Italy – though this is probably enhanced by how quickly it had to end.

 

 

 

I will soon be with you for 2018 predictions, the preview of which is here.

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

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2018 Theme Revealed

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)20171118_132558

Click on images below to have an expanded view. I am currently in Italy and these images capture the holiday vibes and also the message I wish to convey for 2018.

Hello friends and the intrigued! 2018 is soon upon us and I wanted to get a general theme prediction out there again in a more timely fashion because I have a lot on at the end of this month. In addition to that, most of us have been on edge from so much bad news in the last year to 18 months. I have said it before to many of you who are reading this both before and after the year, but 2015 was our last “normal” year. For those who don’t know my site well, I have been posting these year predictions based on tarot for about five years (2017) and normally I get the general spirit or energy of the year correct but not always the results, often because I am reading bias or too much media into the results. Also, we are able to change the future once the main trajectory is laid out before us – we can avoid some of the more horrible aspects of things if we see something coming.

I asked the cards to give a general overview of our experience – and this is the warm-up or starter for the reading rather than the fully fledged version I do in January. This time I was compelled to draw two cards for reasons we will soon find out:

Dear God, Please use these cards, the Golden Tarot deck I possess, to identify a theme for 2018 that people can see and more easily know how to position themselves for survival, prosperity, happiness, and success in the year we recognize as 2018. We are thankful and want to do well with our allotted time. Thank you, Amen.

XI Strength; Nine of Wands = 2018 Theme: Courage Under Fire

This is a very interesting combination and indicates a rising up of people. I will term 2018 the year of Courage Under Fire. Be prepared for conflict and having to stand your ground. You are more likely to find your words and stand up for what is right rather than going with the flow and the critical mass or mass consciousness is turning in this direction. It could be setting the stage for massive conflict but it means a cathartic experience of finally being true and being able to live with it in spite of costs. I expect a few traumatic events that shock people into awakening, and maybe a few technological advances or reality changes that make people gain some additional intellectual prowess. This is a year of needing to put in some very hard work to get yourself adapted to the changes and people will see some hits to their comfort zones.

I do take this to mean a more militarized, organized time, but I do think that alliances will cross partisan lines and people will be focused on pragmatic things. There is war coming but it is going to firm the resolve for most of the readers of this forthcoming reading.

People are going to have more self-control and awareness and not be imposing limits and paranoia on their own capabilities.

I look forward to visiting more with you in 2018!

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

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Quietude in and Before the Storm

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

At the moment I am still in quiet mode during my period of (re)learning the ropes teaching in Italy, though I am now four weeks in. For some reason I am finding that my brain wants to teach everyone everything on the spot rather than step back and realize that it will take years for each student to get through what they need to do in order to gain fluency, and not all will do it. It has been such a beautiful experience being in the classroom again, and I am so moved each time I see something shift in someone’s brain and they are able to master a piece of grammar or vocabulary for the first time. I have a group of adult A1 students and several of them have in a short time gained an enormous amount of confidence, and it really can nearly bring one to tears when you see them experience this.

After what seems like perpetual sunshine here we have a few days of rain underway and I have been hibernating in my studio apartment to some degree today. I came to Italy in part to escape some of threats of climate change and political upheaval. It happens here as well but there is a particular energy of agitation that seems to hit the Anglosphere more than elsewhere and I have this juxtaposition of feeling fortunate to escape the matrix but a state of missing it also. There are several things I still see in the media cycle (I should just turn off my laptop and put it under the bed) that are drawing me in and keeping my vibration lowered, but I do feel safer here. I advise everyone to be relaxed and self-assured but on top of how they could be manipulated.

 

I am getting some indications that our bubble is nearing the end of its life cycle, so please  play it safe and don’t leave yourself too exposed to volatility. That said, there are some possibilities of good things to come from the US with the possibility of more straightforwardness and the truth coming out. Do your best to tell the truth as you see it as it comes and take the bad early on while preparing your safety net while foundations are in place.

Below in the slideshow you can see basically every vantage point I experience on the 12-15 minute walk home every night when I close the school (sometimes alone, usually with my talented and hard-working colleagues).

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John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

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Daytrips Around Veneto and Venice

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)20171015_184135

(to skip to pictures only, see bottom)

I have returned to teaching for the first time in seven years and have my first week under my belt now. My position in northeastern Italy is one that is surrounded by great people on staff and also in the student body. While it is always a physical shock starting a new position and absorbing pieces of a language, culture, and organizational culture, and further this curriculum is much more active than what I’m used to (a lot of games and interactive tactics), I have been treated so well through advice of colleagues that I have absolutely nothing to complain about. The locals do insist that the haze here is just related to fog but I do believe the dominance of diesel in the car marketplace is affecting me.

During my time here, I will do my best to take advantage of this very centralized base to see lots of towns and scenery here. You are never far from the next town or village. It feels like they all link together in a relatively low density but one that feels like a very spread out suburb. One reason that I came here is to explore a long-term arrangement because I can sense that this area will not experience the same amount of turbulence that North America or Asia will in the next several years. It is really surreal living in places of 800 years of continuous settlement and you can see how this impacts people – it is a less dynamic and fast place but rather people take a long view and are in no rush to finalize something. This runs at times totally counter to what I expect from the American business landscape where you have to move very quickly before the mood changes or a competitor gets into the space first.

Here are some recent scenes I’ve enjoyed.

 

VENICE

I missed coming here in 2005 and assumed it would be long gone by now. It’s really congested and a bit too much for my taste but I am glad that I went. It is very near me and a round-trip ticket is €9.80 with hourly departures the majority of the day.

 

ASOLO

This was a quick day trip with a new coworker, his girlfriend, and friend. They were excellent company to hike up the hill over the small city. 

 

AGAIN CASTELFRANCO VENETO, home base now

Europe was high on my priorities to relocate to also because of the nighttime pedestrian culture. You can see that people prefer to stay in numbers here. There is something to be said for surrounding yourself with architectural beauty to benefit your psychological health.

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

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Clandestine Italy

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)20171008_144946

This is a limited release post to get everyone who knows about this work journey up-to-speed. I have not told everyone that I have moved for an eight-month contract teaching English in Castelfranco Veneto, Italy, near Venice, in combination with soon formalizing work establishing new sustainable, ethical brands and organizations ad spaces with digital publishers. I would like to quietly rebuild my teaching skills without a lot of social media activity. It was really crazy getting over here with a flight delay that forced a missed connection and left me and about 2,000 other travelers stuck in Lisbon – the frustration was so high the police were called. It took me 36 hours door to door. Needless to say, even telling a few others that I was okay was difficult.

I will be teaching all levels and age groups and in particular it will be interesting having a dozen or so adult students who will be forced into my hands for vocational retraining in a bad labor market.

This city seems like a friendly light industrial city. Per usual I am coming in here like in South Korea barely knowing the local language but I have been to other regions in Italy. I have been treated very well by the director-owners and new core colleagues from the UK and Australia.

You can see some local images of the church across the street, the fortified city/castle dating from the 1200s, and the efficiency apartment the school arranged.

Again, I may not report as extensively or tell everyone I’m here because it is all rather experimental. Please click away at the pictures and check out a new consultancy offering for traveling to Europe. I love helping people save money generally but in travel especially.

 

 

Strangely, all of northern Italy was this solid light pink and then purple while we were landing, the color of spirit a neighboring passenger pointed out.

 

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

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