Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Shifting



It has now been over a year since we got back. We left London on January 17, 2008 and arrived the same day back to a world unknown - Canada.

We had no idea - nor did we speculate - what was in store for us when we got home.

What we knew for sure was that we needed rest, calm, stability, quiet, same old same old for a good period of reflection.

We didn't need adventure or escape or incomprehensible challenges. We knew we needed to be able to sleep in a bed for more than 3 nights, to not have food dictate our daily itinerary, to not have to wonder whether we would be understood.

Home gave that to us. We were surrounded by wonderful friends and supportive families that were willing to help us in any way they could reintegrate back into this world that seemed very far from home.

I think I've always called it home. This year has taught me that it is, in fact, home and that even though lots of places around the world felt like home, this is the one place that really defined that word for us.

We had some trials. Starting from scratch is never easy and though we had more help in this part of the world then we had elsewhere, perhaps we relied too much on that assistance mentally and just assumed it would be easier. In hindsight, the physical was easier. We had family to help to find a place, support us when we did and even let us stay with them when we didn't.

The mental, however, was just as hard, perhaps harder because of the expectations we had on it being easier.

My sister C was the one who got me thinking about expectations. My workmate F said that happiness is actually about managing expectations.

There were many things I did not expect. I know people close to us expected many things as well. And perhaps, this was the hardest part of the entire 're-entry'.

One by one, watching friends and family be disappointed or have to alter those expectations about us being home. It was hard for me not to feel like I was letting people down and yet I couldn't change who I was or what I wanted and I knew that those around me didn't want me to be anything other than me.

But we have overcome many things. Just as before, we managed to find a home and jobs within the span of 7 months. We managed to find time for cultural journeys and quiet days at home, weekends at the cottage and weeknights on the patios, holidays with family and group dinners with friends.

We rebuilt relationships with people - big and small - and learned the value of being close proximity to those who have known you for a lifetime.

There are days when I just want to get up again. When I feel so deeply in my bones that I was meant to fill this life up with exploration and discovery. When I want to just jump into another culture, soak it up and really become one step closer to understanding the nature of human beings.

And I know there are other ways to learn this. Some people have children, watch them grow, observe in wonderment how the human spirit is so versatile and resilient. Some people take up teaching to inspire and engage. Some people climb the ladders to the top to help empower and motivate people to be the best they can be. Some people master a task and focus their energies on doing things perfectly.

All of these are ways to discover more about the human spirit. And I'm trying new things everyday as this urban Canadian person to see just how else I can discover.

But I can't say that the desire to educate myself about the world by being part of it has not gone away. Many people will think I've "gotten it out of my system" and should really "settle down" into a world that perhaps was not meant for me.

For now, I'm really giving it a chance. Because the benefits of being close to family and friends, living amongst a diverse community, contribute to the happiness I feel.

But I will always maintain that what we set out to do, what we hoped to achieve was about creating a lifestyle. To never feel stuck, never feel trapped, to always set out in life to do things you want to do and not things you have to do.

Right now, I think we're doing that. And no matter where we go from here, we must always remember why we gave up so much in the first place and use that as a guide to direct us down this crazy river of life.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

For the Kids...

My interest in education and nurturing the next generation probably started years ago when I was a Girl Guide leader. Part of me thought back then that I just liked to be bossy.

There was one moment, during a weekend camping trip, where I saw the light in a girl's eyes and I knew that this was a feeling that I wanted to witness again. She was a small little blond girl, 9 years old and while very out going and precarious, she was terrified of fire.

All the girls had to try and light the stoves by lighting matches at least once as part of the tasks to compelete their 'Overnight Camp Trip'. And this girl was petrified. So, I helped a little. I showed her how to do it. We practiced with wood and then got ready for the real thing.

I could see the fear in her eyes and yet there was a determination. She was GOING to do it, even if she was completely convinced that she wouldn't.

And then she did. On the first match try. And the look on her face was one of beaming accomplishment. And for the rest of the weekend, you could hear her voice loud and clear whenever it was time to light the fire 'I'LL DO IT!! I CAN DO IT!! LET ME DO IT!!'

The satisfaction of being part of that moment for her was very exhilarating.

Being in Korea gave me that opportunity every day, especially watching the kindergartens. These little people, first time away from their moms and dads, and seeing how they coped, learned, adapted, interacted, grew, learned - incredible.

And this long ramble is actually leading to a poignant column I read today in the Globe and Mail. One that I think needs to get out there and have more people be angry by this.

Because it angered me.

IOC sinks to new low by severing ties with charity

I've seen how empowering extracurricular activities can be for young children and how they take those lessons with them everywhere.

What the IOC agreed to was clearly out of greed and not really for any other purpose, certainly not for the purpose of bringing different nations together, to be together on a common ground.

But wait, what are the Olympics for now anyway?

Monday, January 19, 2009

For Now..

I have quite a few things that I want to write about here but after a weekend cooped up with the WORST COLD OF THE CENTURY (and after living through yellow dust in Korea, THAT' saying something) I am still just trying to focus on lifting my glass of orange juice to my mouth with out sneezing, coughing or falling asleep.

But there was something I just read that I wanted to share. Because I like it. And I sometimes know how lucky I am that travelling and living around the world and having someone like D has allowed me to put things in perspective that other people struggle with, that I used to struggle with and that I am now quite happy is not one of my struggling points (although I have many other, one of which is rambling on when I SPECIFICALLY SAID I did not have the energy to do so.)

Here is it

Friday, January 16, 2009

Run Forest Run

My sister C reminded me today of a time that seems almost light years away as I sit look out a window of the PILES of snow and the MINUS of degrees in weather.



This is a shot of me finishing my 2nd 10km this October. I kinda like how I'm in mid air. And thats a look of joy and satisfaction and MAN DO I KICK ASS on my face. So, I'm physically AND mentally, flying.

And that fuzzy person? Taking the picture in the left hand side of the screen? Well, that's my biggest cheerleader, D.

I decided to take on a long distance running challenge thanks to friends of our L&J. L had done loads of long distance when we were younger, so she pretty much breezed through the 10km that got me addicted to running.

She set up a running schedule for us, I think it was 10 weeks in advance, and by sticking to it, I surprised myself.

I remember the first couple of days, struggling to complete 3.5 km, wondering how it was I thought I was ever going to go 3 times that amount without my lungs giving out on me.

And, then it really just got easier. It's a simplistic statement, and a bit of the obvious, but essentially, my body just began to figure out what it was suppose to do.

Before a knew it, a short run was 5km.

Some days it was harder (eh-hem, on mornings AFTER a good night out) but some days I surprised myself (like the night I started my run frustrated and managed to run 10km IN THE RAIN) and in the end, the scariest day was the day of the first 10km, when I was so terrified that I wouldn't finish or WORSE I would end up walking across the finish line.

By the time I got to the 7km mark of my first 10km on Toronto island, I was feeling pretty confident, although I knew all the people I was running with were probably already at the finish line.

Then, my MP3 player died. It had happened. My worst nightmare. I didn't have music to push me through. I was TOTALLY going to walk across the finish line.

Singing in your head anyone? Focussing on that person you're going to pass ahead of you anyone? Ignoring your achy feet anyone? More singing in your head anyone? And then, of course, cheers from the crowds as I sprinted in.

There are many reasons to hate winter, especially if you don't get out there and play some sports in it. I can't wait for the spring so I can back on the road and go flying.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Travel & Tech Collision

You may have noticed my blog has been less about travelling and dreaming and more about stuff, or how to reacquaint yourself with stuff after you've spent 6 years avoiding stuff.

I managed to find something today, however, that would MERGE both the travelling AND the gadget-stuff type life.

See it, Post it, Love it, Make Out With it

After spending hours of potential sight seeing time and millions of pennies at various Internet cafes uploading photographs, I can say that THIS is perhaps the best $500 value you'll find.

Standing in from of the Eiffel Tower with the most beautiful sunset? Don't want to leave it but have the EXTREME URGE to share the love? Take the picture. Upload to your site.

(note: okay, sorry, you'll need to find a wireless hotspot to do so but hey, you get my drift)

I realise phones do this but phones do not have the pretty-ness of this beauty NOR do they all have that wonderful touch capacity that Aston Krucher was showing us before Christmas.

This people, is a piece of stuff I can get on board with.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Have you been Seen?

http://deartoronto.com/2009/01/05/33-seen-reading/

I started following this woman and her blog awhile ago and have really been inspired by her creativity and innovation.

Watching this story makes me miss books. It also makes me miss being around people who work in the book industry. There was a lot of drama and always a lot of anxiety about the future but this type of story reminds me that there is hope.

People do read. And at the end of the day, if your stress is related to getting them to do so, well, that's a stress I can get on board with.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Techy Geek...Or Bandwagon Jumper

I'm currently at my desk, F5-ing my web browser screen on this website just to get the MOST UP TO DATE INFORMATION from the MacWorld Keynote 2009 speech.

It's in these moments that it makes me want to run out, buy a Mac and start preaching the good word around to techy's alike. Its only natural to live up to my coke-bottle-glasses image, isn't it?

Monday, January 05, 2009

Round We Go Again




2009 is here. Does anyone remember Y2K? God, that seems like, years ago. Well, 9 years ago to be exact.

I have lots of way in which I am going to alter my perception this year. I will not call them New Year's Resolutions because really, that is just setting myself up for disaster.

But I am going to look at this year with new eyes. And hope that with each day, I will keep the awe-ness that I so cherish in daily discovery and observation.

I'm going to slow down. Say no. Prioritize. Stop and smell the roses type thing.

I'm going to not let the snow get me down and leave my house anyway.

I'm going to try to relish in my distractions and not rue them.

I'm going to remember that endorphins are my friends and 10 times up and down my steps can do the trick if it's -20 outside.

Wishing you all new hope and adventure.