Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas is coming...

It's almost Christmas of my favorite times of the year. I spent a wonderful day yesterday with my parents, decorating trees outside with lights and putting ornaments on the Christmas tree. :)

I feel soo relaxed these days, but the problem is I am trying to figure out what to do next. I had a wonderful experience taking TESOl with 14 other people (age 22-65), it stretched me far outside my comfort zone and I made some new friends with similar passions to mine. I found practicum to be the toughest part of the whole program. As I am thankful it is over now, it pushed me to do something I am not confident about, and also made me realize once again that I am often capable of much more than I think I am. I taught 2 groups of international students, mostly from Korea, China and Saudi Arabia. And I was reminded of how loud a group of Asian girls can be in the bathroom all together. Teaching them can be just as interesting, and I was often surrounded after class as they all gathered around me saying "thank-youuuu teacher!!!" in long, drawn out, high-pitched voices.

I woke up a few days ago and cranked my neck badly. I thought it would go away, but still today, I am not able to move my head around too much as everything is incredibly stiff and painful. I hope this is not going to end up being a trip to the chiropractor's office. But I must push that aside, as I am jobless and really need to start earning some much needed cash. So, off handing out resume's I go (cranked neck and all)'s funny how school can be such a comfort zone for's a place I belong and something I am committed to for a certain amount of time. Now that its over, I need to brace myself and, once again, enter the "real world" and try to pay the bills.

I am looking forward to Christmas holidays, with my favorite recipie of half-hour pudding, best dessert ever! And snuggling by the fire place sounds pretty inviting right now. So does an advil.

Merry Christmas all!! To everyone here and my friends overseas, I hope you can feel loved this season and bring love to those around you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

So. I got home last night and through a turn of events, I now feel like there is hope in this world...that there ARE good people out there. Someone left three bags of groceries on my doorstep yesterday...for myself and dear Jennie. No note. No letter. Nothing. Just an amazing amount of everything we dream of...(hense, my last blog post)...I couldn't believe it and Jennie couldn't believe it when she got home. So. To whoever this mystery person is...THANK-YOU. If you read this. haha. What an incredible blessing to us. We woke up this morning and both got excited to pack a real live lunch and supper for the day! And my, did my chicken and red pepper sandwich ever taste yummy! :)

Experiencing the gift of generosity from someone else is something that is quite inspiring to me. I want to be able to do stuff like help people around me who might not have what I have. I was reminded last night of when a nice older lady with her friends paid for my burger once after seeing me count out quarters and pennies (literally) really meant a lot more to me than she probably knew. Even if its something small, it really is the thought that counts.

So, I have been reminded that even though I may not have much, it is always more than someone else around me has. If I can be generous with what I have, and the next person can be generous with what they have, we can all help each other in our own little ways :) It's like the movie "Pay it Forward"...which seriously every time I watch it, it makes me cry.

Thank-you, mystery person, for sparking this in me and for making my day soo bright.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

crackers, dates, and creamed corn

There is an interesting phenomenon that occurs when one has just $4.00 to their name.
ONE = me
$4.00 = as much as I have owned for the last several weeks

This picture of a desert kinda reminds me of me. hmmmm...well, at least in the aspect that I long to buy things that are only for "rich" people (things like new shoes, a meal out, or even the occasional package of meat). I guess I feel like those things might fill some sort of I would be able to put a picture of a lush green forest up there instead of a desert as soon as I would be wealthy enough to actually own these items.

Over the past week or so especially, myself and my dear roomie Jennie, have been stumped by our lack of meal choices...I have often come to the conclusion that, yet again, today's supper will be dates, with crackers and a side of creamed corn. yum. I have longed to have a real meal. One that comes out of the oven and makes the house smell like Heaven. But I have realized that those days are yet to come. And for now, at least Jennie and I have resorted to the fact that we will one day laugh about all this and remember our "poorer" days. Living each day with only a few dollars makes you appreciate all the more when you can actually go to the grocery store and buy an abundance of colorful foods and sweets and yummy tasting dinner foods.

The other day I walked past good old Starbucks and found myself desiring a hot drink. I looked in at all the fortunate people drinking their specialty drinks and I was quite jealous. I wanted a specialty drink. And I sat in a few moments of feeling sorry for myself and quickly asked "why would I need a specialty drink?". This is just my rich society showing us what is supposed to be "normal" when really, all it is is abnormal when you compare it to the big picture of the world and what other people have.

But sometimes, I still would like to sit with my book and hot drink and brownie and enjoy a calm atmosphere. I think after all these days of dates and crackers and creamed corn, it will taste even better than before. :)

So, I should be studying for a test tomorrow morning. But I feel like a great procrastinator tonight. I already did a paper, so I am rewarding myself with not doing anything for a while, but now I'm realizing that it's getting closer to midnight and I know nothing at all that I'm supposed to know for the test. uhh ohhh.

Well...until next time. :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Turning over a new leaf...

After a week of packing what felt like a million pounds of "stuff", moving 7 people's stuff out and to a new place, and unpacking in the new place, I am finally sitting in our new living room - able to take a deep breath and relax. All I can say is....I am glad that is over. Very glad. It was tiring to say the least, and we are all looking forward to a weekend of sleeping in (hopefully) and finally getting to that homework we have put off all week. :)

Things are seeming to change every day...I think my body has come to adapt to change, I'm thankful for this, considering in the last 2 weeks I:
1) Switched from one job (Stella's) to a new job (coaching swimming)
2) Began a 8 week intensive ESL Teachers Certificate Program (teaching English as a 2nd language)
3) Moved from one large house to another smaller (thankfully) house
4) And now I'm trying to figure out bus routes, and get a handle on my schedule as to keep it well rounded.

A highlight is definately a story from 2 days ago in the University (of Winnipeg). We were all sitting in our class of 15, when one of the girls went to the washroom (a small toilet/sink room in the classroom), when she flushed it and KABOOMMM! The whole top part of it exploded! And a fountain of gushing water was shooting out at top speed. She came flying out, still buttoning her jeans, and freaked out at all of us to get out of the room and get help. By the time we all had gathered our bags off the floor, there was already a growing "lake" we had to slosh through even to get out of the room! The water poured out soo fast, it filled the room (about an inch high) and came out into the common area. By the time the emergency people came and dealt with it, there was a large area under water and unfortunate professors with offices below had water pouring through the ceiling. That was definatly an adrenaline pumping experience which I've never experienced before...soo the next time you flush a toilet, be careful!! It might just explode on you :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

in the stillness...and the crazy-ness :)

There was a really big thunderstorm on monday night. I was on my second day of my solo camping trip taking Ivy for a walk down through some "do not enter" restricted paths they were reconstructing...I was illegal, but it felt good. :) As the thunder got crazier, and people ran to their campers/tents to seek cover, I kept walking. Walking through a good thunderstorm is one of my favorite things to do...and I've found that going "against the grain" and doing something opposite that everyone else around you is doing is a pretty great feeling of freedom. It reminded me that I am free and can be free to do what I want.

This last week, I've been reflecting on what my solo time meant to me. After wanting to do a trip like that for a couple years now, I am so glad I finally just did it. Here are some of my reflections:

- walking through an entire campground for a few days alone, I began to realize what being lonely is. Everyone around me had someone. I didn't see one person camping by themselves there and a couple times really felt strongly the reality that I did not have anyone to talk to. Its interesting that the hardest part was each night not having anyone to say goodnight to. Such a simple thing that I haven't thought of much, but not having it made me realize how much that makes me feel loved. I was thinking about how I struggled three days without it, yet some people (i.e.those who are homeless/living alone with no support) don't have it for months/years/a lifetime. I can't imagine.

-I think some but not all people know that I have quite an intense fear of wild animals that can kill me (i.e. bears, cougars, etc...). I often try to tell myself that I will be okay, and I am trying to work on this fear. Maybe its because I grew up in the prairies and once i'm in a "danger zone" I get freaked out because of all the stories i've heard. Anyway, the pretty harmless black bears of Bird's Hill Park to most people aren't a big deal at all. But I saw an off road self-guided trail into the back woods in the park and I realized that I had to take it. Alone. (well, I took Ivy, but in the case of a bear attack, i'm not sure if she'd protect me or run away....). It was just a few kilometers, but enough to make me take a bunch of deep breaths and do the whole "you are not going to get eaten by a bear...just keep walking..." thing. And I MADE IT! I know its not a big deal to most people to be able to do something like that, but to me it was a realization that I do not want to run away from things that scare me or make me feel uncomfortable. I so easily stay in my comfort zone and am realizing that I want to break that...slowly but surely to encourage myself to not be paralyzed by fear, but to step out and start living life more freely.

- I have been thinking alot about community lately. I've realized that we often talk about community as it being a good thing. But what is a community without love? I was in a "community" in the park, yet felt so very alone. I've been in communities in churches yet have felt alone. It is community built on love that makes someone feel a "part" of it. It's like Kutless' song "Sea of faces" that reminds me of this the most - how we can be a part of so many communities all around us, yet when it comes to actually feeling a part of any of them, this can be non-existant. When we say "it's good to live in community", what we are really saying is that its good to live with people we love and who love us. Because without that, its just empty community...its living/being with people but having no connection. I was thinking while camping about this whole aspect of community and how strongly I feel about this. I realized that there is so much truth to the idea that our "ness" as humans really comes down to "love and be loved" as what holds us together and helps us through life. I think that last sentence was confusingly written, but hope you understand where I'm going. We are empty without love - being able to give or receive it. And as i was sitting in my loneliness, I was realizing that given a few more weeks/months of the same thing and I'm pretty sure I would literally go crazy. I do not mean to say this lightly. I think there is a connection between people who are without love/lonely and the link to mental health issues,addictions and the high rate of unsuccessful marriage.

Maybe I will dive into these thoughts and more later on, but for now, I need to put some sunscreen on (I'm now paying the price for forgetting this essential stuff last weekend), and go biking around Osborne/the Exchange District with a friend from work. We are going to go to some sweet vintage and music stores! :) Possibly Value village too...always a good time. I love a good deal. I think there may be some Mennonite blood in me after all...or maybe it has to do with not having lots of money. Or growing up a kid who raked people's lawns for 15 cents a huge garbage bag. And i thought that was a fortune!! :)

Oh yeah. And my insane love of country music was renewed last night having a massive bonfire with some girl and guy friends by the river, blasting the music as loud as we could and dancing and hiking through the forest and playing soccer and realizing that I am for sure going to Keith Urban's concert! :) woo hoo! Yea for country!

Adios for now :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

a different kind of adventure...

Today I am beginning my very first solo camping trip. Off to the beautiful outdoors...just me, my tent and the dog :) She'll protect me from the bears...or run from I've been wanting to do this for a few summers already, but it just hasn't happened yet. So I figured now is a great time having the next 3 days off work.

There are several reasons for my taking a few days to be alone. Part of it is for the reason that it scares me. I do love my alone time, but I often have realized that I get uncomfortable after a prolonged period of time by myself. Sitting in my thoughts is something I have been trying to figure out how to do without distracting myself soon afterwards. So, I think its important to get outside my comfort zone and do something that stretches me. I want to allow stillness and quietness to be my focus. I want to sit in my pain and be broken and allow myself to feel...maybe I'll learn through it or it will at least teach me more about why I am me. (which is something as of late that I have been seriously wondering).

But really, when it all comes down to it...I just want to be simple. I love having a simplistic lifestyle and not having much more than a backpack and bed...I think one day i'll end up a wandering hobo living in the mountains...anyone wanna join!? There is just something so special about escaping the chaos and being in nature and sleeping under the stars...and not doing much other than reading, journaling, walking, thinking.

I know I'm not going to figure out everything...maybe even not a couple little things I want to figure out...and I have to be okay with that. I wish I could get all the answers to the rediculous amounts of questions I have right now, but I have to be okay with sitting in my frustration and waiting...even for a long time. This camping trip is just one more adventures in the list of things in my life that have shaped me/will shape me and help me discover who I am - whatever that means.

So I am looking forward to reading the rest of "Through Painted Deserts" and "Searching for God knows what" - both by Donald Miller...brilliant author..."Blue Like Jazz" was very good...I was impressed by his blunt honesty and openness and vulnerbility. So, maybe I'll post some quotes later on from the next few.

Peace out. for now.

Onwards to adventure...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Today was one of those days where I felt encouraged by my co-workers and customers. My chosen summer workplace is Stella's the heart of the beautiful land of Wolseley. :) There are some really good people there...chefs, dishwashers, servers, managers...and I enjoy working with them. I sometimes notice how we tend to focus on the the negative in people and forget/don't open our eyes to the good things about them. Sure, in every workplace there is going to be frustrations and moodiness (and I am sure I've been the reason for that a few times...long days can sure bring out the best in you!). The culture of Wolseley is really growing on me...I have noticed many things about this area of the city in the last 10 months and more now that I'm working in a local cafe. Having lived in other areas of Winnipeg before, I see that this is a very open and accepting place. I notice a difference between levels of openness and personal expression and what is culturally "acceptable" here as opposed to what is not in other places. Not that one place is good and one is bad, I just think that the openness I've seen here is refreshing and it would be great to see it in the other parts of Winnipeg.

On a side note - It is quite fascinating to me how you don't have to go too far to see many different cultures here in the city...and quite sad how many middle/upper class people from other areas of Winnipeg have never ventured the 10 minute drive to see the poverty and homelessness of our downtown/northend. hmmm... here we are...almost into July. I wish I could live each moment as it comes, yet time seems to somehow be swept away in a blink of an eye. Scary, hey?

I feel like having a bonfire and listening to the Beatles. Sounds fun. :)