Sunday, November 10, 2013

A big change

Forgoing prompt repayment of my student debts, I accepted a job for the summer in Vancouver.
Packed things up, spent a small fortune in a short amount of time and flew into a whole new world that was about as far away from everyone I knew and loved as I could get without leaving the country.

The summer was a whirlwind of new adventures, thrills, trials and sometimes challenges. This I could claim as my first true foray into the real adult world. I was renting an apartment (room), I was working a full time job, doing everything for myself and creating a routine and life for myself as I got to know the city more and more as I got out into it.

And I got to know it pretty quickly. There weren't too many parts to Vancouver I hadn't been to or knew about and that felt good. Sometimes I would forget that I'd only been there a few weeks, it would feel like I'd lived there for years.
And it was fun too. Summer is a beautiful time of year on the West Coast and we were spoilt by a rain free mild July.
Everyone I seemed to talk to when I went out were from somewhere else, either visiting or had come for a bit and ended up staying a long while.

And it was very exciting and I met some very nice people and did some really cool stuff.
The highlight for me was definitely getting to volunteer for the Illuminares Lantern festival, where I got to see the strength and connection amongst the residents of Trout Lake and Kensington cedar Cottage. It felt good to be a part of it all, something I am searching for for my life.
Everyone wants to feel like they belong to something.

I volunteered for the Folk Festival, attended meetups for coffee lovers, shy people, urban farmers, wandered about and tried some foods that I would never find here in Winnipeg (beef tendon in good!)

For 3.5 months I was a resident of Vancouver and for the month of October I was the volunteer housekeeper at the Great Bear Nature Tours lodge up in the great Bear Rainforest. It was a challenging but once in a lifetime and rewarding experience for sure.
The wandering and adventuring life felt good, but at the end of October I knew that it was time to go back, I needed my mum (proudly a mommys girl), and some structure and stability. That, and I needed to be somewhere where I could be for a while. You cant set roots if youère always coming and going.
While I loved Vancouver for all its neat places and convenient transit and cheap food...I wasnt sure if I wanted to make it my place. Victoria maybe, but I was lacking the energy to start home all over again.

So Winnipeg drew me back in again, despite the many times I have said I could not live there for what reason or another: The cold, the sprawl.

But after a 2 day 2 night train trip, that is where I find myself.
And Im liking it. There is a lot of treasure in this city if you are willing to take the time to look for it, such as music and art and culture. SO much, that you have to be very good at deciding what not to do because theres so much going on that you have to sometimes pick one thing over another.

Looking forward to being here for a while, even despite nervousness about the cold. Im not as well insulated as I once was so when the mercury drops to the negative double digits its going to be a toughy.

Challenge accepted!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Life on the West side...of the country

Because I am a bad blog updater, a whole world of craziness has been going on and I have failed to document it. Even my written journal is suffering for entries. It's hard to take the time when there's so much going on! And then there's so much going on that you couldn't possibly write it all out in the stollen minutes you have between adventures.
When this happens, I start to get towards almost a funk, where I write lists and daydream about spending whole days in parks or coffee shops just writing and organizing my papers. Bliss.
It was something i got to do a couple of times while in Toronto this spring with K. He would chill and people watch and I would scribble furiously in my notebook. We'd both feel rejuvenated and calm afterwards, refreshed for the next adventure!

The biggest and most noteworthy event of life so far has been my move to the West Coast. On June 19th, at 5pm, I boarded a plane with my big backpack and a belly full of red-wriggler worms of nervousness.
Was I seriously doing this? Picking up and hauling ass to a new province by myself for a summer job? Apparently I was.\

And I haven't regretted it one bit. While I've come to realize that Vancouver is not entirely the city I would like to settle in, the West Coast has enchanted me to no end.

I have found many a friendly new face and a lot of fun at my job, a non-profit summer day camp that teaches kids to love and take part in the protection of nature!

Though I haven't been feeling as well as I would like to, I've been trying not to let it get in the way of some good adventuring! But chasing after campers really tuckers an old body out!

But I've gotten a lot better at recognizing what I need to keep my energy up which has been a huge help

This weekend is the Vancouver Folk Fest as well as the Illuminares Lantern Festival in John Hendry Park. I will be volunteering for both, so it is sure to be a crazy couple of days! But I plan to take Sunday for rest and recovery for the next week of bright eyed campers!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Headwaters gathering and learning to be present

I have always been someone who struggles with stress and anxiety. There is rarely a time when I am not thinking about the future and trying to figure out how to piece a plan together so that I am optimizing my time and doing everything on the list of goals. My teacher called me very passionate, but the problem is that it is also to my detriment. I am passionate about too many things, too many interests and directions all crowding and vying for space in my muddled brain. When you have too many options and ideas, I've noticed that nothing really ends up happening. Like a chicken without a head, there is a lack of focus to get anything begun and seen through to completion. That was another tidbit from this same teacher, who noted that what I needed most was a serious focus into my desires and where I wanted to take my life in the near future. I know this to be true, as someone only really able to see the full picture, details and specificity are nearly impossible.

This weekend, I was present at a gathering in the Beaver Valley near Collingwood Ontario, where people came together to discuss primitive skills, nature awareness and connection to others and community.
My attendance to this gathering has, you could say, been a long time coming. I first learned about Kimbercote farm four years ago during my Katimavik days. I didn't know much about it at the time but I wrote it down as somewhere to check out one day. I also learned of Earth Mentorship run by Chris and Laura Gilmour, and Stix and Stones Wilderness school. But they sort of fell out of my mind and I didn't think about any of it for several years. I know that because of my Katimavik experience, I was led to choose Fleming College as my first post-secondary venture. From there I learned about various stewardship initiatives in southern Ontario. Getting involved in the schools Environmental Initiative club, had me making friends with people who shared my views and interests in sustainability and self-sufficiency.
This spring, the schools eco initiative had their annual Back to the Roots gathering (started by Carly Jae of The Pine Project North) at Wolf Den Hostel and Nature Retreat. It was a hugely therapeutic weekend, and while there, I met all those individuals involved in the organizations I had heard about years earlier. They were mostly all Fleming grads! And all were connected through friendship and a network with Ben and his hostel. I hadn't known this before setting up my Field Placement with the Hostel.
It's weird situations like that, certain encounters, compulsions or tugs on the dial of our internal compasses that point us in directions we didn't plan and ultimately can't predict.
To take it back to the beginning, it all branched from my poor high-school performance. Had it not led me to fail entry into University, I might be completing a useless degree in psychology right now. Or I could say the journey started when I chose to take my high-school coop placement at Parkwood Hospital, where I met kids who were doing the Katimavik program at the time.
It's intuition I suppose,
something I need to learn to trust and tune into.
Which brings me back to now and my future worries and doubts and insecurities.
These worries were present throughout my strange path from high-school to now, even though things have worked out so well and given me so much.
So if I remember that and remember that I can trust what my gut compass is telling me, I can try to be more present and grounded and contented.
Because, how do I work towards my goal of healing and helping others if I cannot focus enough to be productive and fully involved in everyday life? Present so that I don't sit back at the end of the day, scratching my head and wondering where the day went and how it was I didn't accomplish anything.

Headwaters helped. I knew that by going there I would be able to get in touch with people who I could speak to to learn and gain insight from. While there, I spoke with many people who were involved in many different initiatives in this province that while all were different, each was connected in some way to the heart of what I'm looking for.

So for right now, it's about doing what needs to be done right now. Job applications haha.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Journal writing and taking time for rituals

A while back, I wrote the title for this entry but didn't put any content.That's one of the features of my personality, coming up with an idea and not beginning it. Writing things down is handy for remembering all the things I mean to start. So many things.

May 11, 2013
Was the Toronto Comic Arts Festival in Toronto ON. I overdosed on journal comics and spent too much money on zines I only sorta liked and waffled about the one I really coveted. Why is that? I do it all too often with money.
Haha anyways, It was inspiring to see the work of all the different artists and their different styles and words. I can't imagine how scary it would be to essentially lay yourself out on paper like that and have people walk by and critique it within a few seconds, pick it up, flip through the pages, put it down and walk away. Like many mini rejections almost. It would take some work I imagine to not take it personally.

I feel like I am not making sense at the moment. This past week has been a whirlwind of new things and new faces and I feel a bit of a cold coming on. But I am feeling the tug to be creative today. I will walk to a cafe after Ukulele class and sit and draw and daydream and write in my journal.

Idea one:
Write my own hourly comic, or at least write it out

Idea two:
Comics or a zine about my adventures

Idea three:
One of the zine ideas I wrote down on that little green index card

Idea Four:
Remember to do that thing with all my old journals where I pick out entries that are all from a single day from  different years.

Idea Five:
Write and take photos about daily routines/rituals. Or draw pictures of everyday objects

Hmm... Should really have written down what I thought of yesterday because the ideas have flown the coop that is my skull.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Over the college hill

It shocks me to think how quickly a major chapter of my life is coming to an end. I'm not scared or devastated. There's too much to do still to worry about that. 
But to think that I'll be saying goodbye to a place that has been so good to me, shown me so much friendship and helped me to grow and recognize my potential as a person will be challenging. I know there are a lot of students that go to Fleming, and after their two years can't let it go and come back. A part of me really wants to do that. But my adventurous side wants to see what else is out there to do and discover. There are so many options if I work hard. 
Sometimes I worry that I won't be able to get where I want to go, that I'll choose the wrong path and miss out on big and amazing things. Too many options is overwhelming...
But I have to remember that the present is where I need to be right now. Work for the future but take one step at a time.
So that means midterms. Four more from now and I will be free for a week. Though those days are likely to be work filled as well, I intend to fill them with art and friends and good long walks. 

I guess all these thoughts tie into the fact that I will be 22 in a couple short days. Whether I'm ready or not, I am rocketing towards my mid 20s and need even more to remain focused on the things that I want and the places I want to end up in along the way. To not get stuck or settle. Most of the people I went to high-school with are graduating this year with university degrees. School at a constant since the age of four. Some of these people don't know yet what they want to do. While I'm just as vague in thinking, I'm grateful fo r having chosen a different direction that has given me so much experience and growth.

I just have to remember Balance. Keep things simple and balanced and everything will turn out just as it should

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Summary of 2012

Its always been important to me that after a large project finishes or a milestone or significant period of time has passed, I take some time to go inside my head. I do this for the purpose of a big mental spring-cleaning while reflecting on everything that has happened, good or bad, how I've grown or regressed and where I plan to take things from there.

Now that my third semester of Ecosystem Management at Fleming is finished, all that stands in front of me is another three months and then...I don't know. The thought is both giggle inducingly exciting or numb-assingly intimidating. At least I can say that there are a few possibilities I would like to explore, it's just making a first decision and hoping it's the right one that's the hard part. Work, more school, adventuring? What will things be like down the road? Hard times? Good times? Love? Loneliness? Madness?
Focusing in the present is a necessity for the survival of a brain like mine.

When I do my periodic maintenance shut down, I get quiet. I say little and I stare into space alot. Solitary walks and trips to the coffee shop to sit and nurse a green tea become more appealing.

This year summed up has been one of polarity. There was a lot of happiness and fun and love, but also stress, depression and the grief and self-esteem blows that comes when someone you love tells you that you're no longer their favourite hat, or that they're just not ready to wear the captain's cap, but you're still a fine and beautiful sea-faring vessel.

I got the idea at the beginning of 2012 from a good blog Rowdy Kittens to pick a word to be the theme of your year. I chose to make it Connection. I realized that I really needed to work on connecting to the world around me and focus on it and less on my petty troubles and thought processes. I wanted to connect on a deeper level with people, family and friends, make new ones and maintain the old ones. I hoped to connect with the natural world, the community, and the strengths I have in my own self.

This year I was going to make the word Engage. Engage with the people and the world around me. Take action, stop planning and actually do things.
But after talking to some insightful friends and noticing the challenges that seem to be cropping up in the last while, I realized that the real word to focus on is Balance.
Balance in work and play,
Socializing and studying.
Balance between eating too much and eating too little.
Balance between time resting and time moving.
And so many other things. Life lived well is a life that is able to equalize in the face of change. To recognize excesses and deficiencies within and externally and make adjustments to make things better.
Much work to do in this year of 2013

Friday, December 14, 2012

And third semester zooms by. Wave to it as it passes

How is it that even though this semester is the same number of days as the semester  this time last year, it feels about half as long. Does this sudden time speed-up sensation come with familiarity or routine I wonder? I feel like a broken record saying it so many times but I really think time is moving faster or I haven't been paying enough attention.
The latter is probably correct, the last 6 months have been sort of a distracted hazy blob. I have had so much fun so far, meeting awesome new people and playing Quidditch on a team. My room-mates have been nothing short of heart-gladdening and while they are slightly bad influences in the eating healthy, sleeping at a reasonable hour and being studious department, I am lucky to be able to share a home with them.