Leaf to speak at the Women’s Connection luncheon on Dec. 5

Erin Leaf

IRON MOUNTAIN — Erin Leaf will discuss Christmas traditions and the real meaning of Christmas at the Iron Mountain Women’s Connection’s “A Christmas Gathering,” luncheon Dec. 5.

The event, which will also feature the Florence High School Show Choir, will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. Pine Grove Country Club in Iron Mountain.

Leaf grew up in Colorado and Hawaii, with many opportunities to hike, camp and explore the outdoors. She enjoyed special occasions to learn to ski and scuba dive with her family. “You find more beauty and emotion in nature than you can even soak in –there’s just no way to capture it,” Leaf said.

Leaf developed a strong interest in languages and travel at a young age, and volunteered at a camp in Canada at age 14. Thanks to support from parents and grandparents, she began university at age 18, and pursued teaching English. While studying cross-cultural education at Northland International University in Wisconsin, she made excursions to Chengdu in central China, the Tayap’sen village in Mexico, and Qingdao in coastal China.

Each adventure helped her develop language abilities and teaching skills.

“You don’t learn languages until you use them every day. And you don’t learn about a new culture until a new friend opens his or her world to you,” she said.

Leaf graduated in 2012 with her TESL certificate and a minor in music education. She hopes to teach English both overseas and in the United States. 

While at university, she met her soulmate, Andy Leaf, who shared her interests in travel and teaching. They were married on Maui in January 2013 and settled in Iron Mountain to see what opportunities waited in his hometown.

They were thrilled to find teaching jobs in Qingdao for the 2014-2015 school year. This life experience brought them many new friends and memories they find invaluable in their direction today. 

They now have a 1-year-old daughter and are expecting a son in January.

“I’m at a point now where travel is on hold, but adventure has invaded my home in the form of my very own explorer,” Leaf said.

She looks forward to seeing the world through the eyes of her children and experiencing their firsts. 

Reservations are available until Nov. 30. Cost is $15, which includes the meal and child care for those who need it.

Reservations can be made by email to evacarlson54@gmail.com or 906-774-3077.