Sunday, 18 February 2018

Bright Spots

Quick! I need to write a post while I'm having a good moment!

Thank you to everyone who continues to love, encourage, and pray for me in this difficult season. I know my blog has not been full of joy and happiness lately. I try to be honest and typing it out sometimes helps to get it out of my head so I am not over thinking so much. My life is not working out as I planned and I am working on letting go of my plan and embracing God's plan (easier said than done).

The new semester is going well. I am taking business organizations (mandatory), maritime law, taxation, and evidence. I was looking forward to tax the most because I have been waiting to take it to see if it could be my future but it has been the most stressful and confusing class so far! There goes that dream. Surprisingly business organizations, the mandatory course, has been the most interesting. Even in my undergrad I thought business structures were fun! I know, I'm crazy. Maritime law is totally different than I thought it would be but I have a teeny tiny bit of insight into the inner workings of a ship so I think I am following along okay. I have to write a paper in that class and I still haven't declared my topic. If you have any ideas, please share them with me!

Last week I has a job interview with a law firm for the summer but I didn't get it. I'm telling myself it wouldn't have been a good fit but I am still disappointed. Good news is I have another interview on Wednesday so I hope that one has a better result.

I finally went skating on the Rideau Canal yesterday for the first time ever. Last year the canal wasn't open for very long so I missed the window. This year I decided I need to go before I lost my chance again. I has been ages since I last skated and I have to say it was not an enjoyable experience. I would say I am a decent skater but I was scared to fall the whole time. I couldn't look up at what was around me because I was looking down trying to avoid the deep cracks and bumps. I feel bad for people who consider themselves beginner skaters because it would be even scarier for them and they would think it was their fault. The ice is very uneven and when there are lots of people on it, it gets very chewed up. Now I can say I did it and I will skate on the regular ice surfaces if I get an ice skating itch.

I've been meeting with a Syrian couple to work on their English. They are soooo nice. She is a lawyer and he is an engineer but of course they can't do those jobs here because they don't have Canadian qualifications. I feel so bad for them. I think the husband is really frustrated that he cannot work after he spent so many years studying and getting experience in the field. I wish I could do more for them. It isn't their fault that Syria fell into war and they had to leave their home behind. They have been here for about a year and their English is quite good already. They take ESL classes at Algonquin College so we talk about their assignments, their children, and their lives in general. Meeting with them gives me perspective in my own life and makes me so grateful to be Canadian. I'm so glad I am involved with a few activities outside of school. It keeps me going and reminds me that my life is not so bad.

It is pretty warm in Ottawa today: +2 Celcius. The thing is that people take the "warmth" way too far at this time of year. I was walking home from the gym and I saw I guy wearing shorts and sandals. It isn't that warm.

In other news, this weekend is the last few days of Winterlude and the warm weather has not helped the ice sculptures keep their form. I snapped this photo a few weeks ago while it the sculptures were still fresh and it was very cold.
That's all I've got. Have a wonderful week! Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Time Doesn't Wait for Me

I yelled at God yesterday. The moment I walked into my apartment I let it all out. I thought I would feel so good when I was done, that He would hear me and respond but that didn't happen. I feel lost and no matter how hard I try nothing makes sense. I feel that the more I try to trust God the less I trust myself and the more I struggle to make seemingly simple decisions. It is like I am going backwards in terms of growing up and taking responsibility for my actions. How do I deal with this? The burden gets heavier every time I think about it. Everywhere I look the world reminds me that I am unmarried, unemployed, and unhappy. I had an interesting revelation a few week ago reading a book by Brené Brown. I realized that I don't want to be happy, I want to be joyful. Happiness is about external circumstances and joy is about what is inside. I have never been a joyful person and I want to be so badly. I want to radiate it and share it with people around me. I want to shine a light on people who are covered in darkness and I want to give hope to anyone who needs it. I want to show people that they can survive the defeat but I can't do that if I am still trying to get through it myself. I want this season to be over. I want the anxiety to stop and the shame to go away. I want to wake up and not have failure be the first thing on my mind. I want to feel useful and capable. I don't want to feel alone.

I have a funny semester in January because I only have one class for three weeks. As it happens the class I am taking is pretty easy and so I am constantly looking for things to do (mopping the floor is always an option but never seems to get done). On Friday I was so bored because it was so cold and I was just staying safe from wind burn pretty much all day. Luckily on Saturday morning my mom called me an said my sister was in labour so I got in the car and started driving. I made it from Ottawa to Toronto in time to be there for my second niece's birth. I missed the first one because I was still on the ship at the time. My family spent a lot of time in the waiting room, taking turns making sure the big sister was entertained. Turns out two year olds aren't good at sitting still. When Giulietta got to see the baby she wanted her on her lap. I have never seen a newborn in person before. She looked like and felt like a doll. She was so quiet and still until she scared herself when she coughed. Then I got to see her mouth open to see her toothless gums and hear the wails of a baby that was experiencing the world for the first time. It was the best way I could have spent my Saturday. My sister looked like she was just hanging out all morning and she hadn't just pushed out a human being or anything big like that. I couldn't get over the fact that one moment Joey was all cozy inside the womb and then she was with us breathing, crying, and coughing. Oh yeah, her name is Josephine, like my maternal grandmother (someone I never met but I miss tremendously). Here she is:

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Where is the Love?

Why are we so hard on ourselves? It isn't just me, right? I was telling a friend about some things that I am struggling with and I was so worried about what the reaction would be. I didn't get shunned or shamed. I got feelings of concern and helplessness. Later on in the day I was thinking about it and this came to mind: if someone came to me with that, what would I do? I wouldn't run away. I would be sad for their pain and happy that they came to me. I would offer to be there for them in whatever way I could. I wouldn't think they were unworthy of my love or care. I wouldn't think they were an awful person or a lost cause. I would not reject them or end our relationship. So why do I think someone would do that to me? 
I am trying to answer that last question. Is it because I don't trust people or because I don't think very highly of myself? Maybe a combination of the two? No matter what the answer is, it is no wonder life gets hard sometimes; there is no love.

*Complete change of subject* (I like that I can do this in my blog- I can barely manage to write effective transitions for school)

Here is my collection of sewing class projects:
Infinity scarf, zippered pouch, zippered pillow case, fringe edge napkins
My favourite project to date? I like them all. The infinity scarf gave me a lot of trouble because I was sewing based on the pattern but I didn't cut based on the pattern. It still functions but it isn't very voluminous. It wasn't a good moment for me but I have enough fabric to make it again if I want and I learned my lesson. The blue pouch was the one I was most excited to make because I can never find a zippered pouch in a fabric that I like. It is very likely that I will make that again on my own. Doing these classes have shown me how much I have changed in the last five (or so) years. In the past I would have gone crazy trying to get it perfect. Now I try to do it and if I make a mistake I might try to fix it or I might just try to make it work.

That's all. Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

An Overdue Update

Hello September! The blog skipped July and August but I sure didn't. It was an incredibly busy couple of months at work. I got lots of overtime pay and when I wasn't at work I was generally sleeping. I still make mistakes everyday (missing an order entry, forgetting the extra lemon, begin inefficient) but I am not scared to make those mistakes. All the things I did wrong come flooding into my mind at the end of the night but that is just the way I am; reflective. I haven't had much feedback from supervisors but I keep checking in to see what I can do better or if there are any problems. We were supposed to have mid-season reviews in June but I think it was just so busy that it was set aside for the time being. With a lot of persistence I finally got my review. My self-review was worse than my supervisor review but that is also how I am: hard on myself.
In July I finally got some company, which was both good and bad. It was nice to have other people around, to hear Giulietta giggling, and to have some more options in the fridge. It was also a challenge because there was less space for me to just sit when I was not working. When there were people around it was less acceptable to isolate myself. I completely understand that but it also makes it hard for me to recharge. I am glad my family was around, no matter how much we fight. One weekend the five of us just sat together for the first time in forever. There was no profound moment of emotional healing but we were all there, being a family the best way we know how. I always hope that we will love each other more, differently, and without resentment. I wish that so much that I make myself so angry that I push myself away from everyone because I am so disappointed. On my drives to and from the city I have taken to listening to podcasts because music just doesn't excite me sometimes. I have been listening to Craig Groeschel from Life Church. I wrote about how much I liked his book #struggles, so I looked into his sermons. He is so great. I feel like he is speaking right to me and it gives me so much hope! He is very clear in his speaking and extremely understandable. Sometimes I have a tough time when sermons are too high level with their content. I end up feeling dumb and discouraged which is not how I want to feel when I am trying to learn and grow.
These months have been filled with tears and fear. I didn't want to share that. I didn't want that to be the main message but I think it is important to assure others they are not alone in their struggles. It is going to be okay. Talk to others. Don't let the voice in your head convince you that people don't care and you aren't worth it.
Between sleeping, working, and crying I managed to read quite a lot (mostly during quiet times at work). Here's my completed book pile:

As you can see it is quite the mix; funny, serious, fiction, non-fiction. The Handmaid's Tale terrified me because what's stopping that from happening today? #struggles spoke to me so clear and it was filled with truth and helpful insight on what technology does to our lives. Strong Looks Better Naked came at a time when I was really struggling with my willingness to get off the couch and get moving. It was encouraging, honest, and a good kick in the butt. Furiously happy was not at all what I usually read but I was so sad that the title caught my eye. When I ignored the profanity there were some funny moments but it didn't end up being my favourite. The Highly Sensitive Person was very technical and sometimes dry but it is about brains and behaviour so I knew it wouldn't have me on the edge of my seat. It did give me some insight into why I act how I do and gave me permission to not be so hard on myself for all my emotions. Divine Direction didn't sink it. I know it was good and talk about making decision that would change your life but I wasn't paying enough attention to let it make a difference. I need that to read one again. The Hiding Place was AMAZING! I loved it so much; I think I read it in a day. What a story of faith and miracles!

I left behind these beautiful views and drove back to school yesterday. I only managed to golf 1 time but it was a beautiful day and I had such a nice time. It was such good exercise; I thought the hills on the front nine were going to be the end of me but I made it through the whole 18 (mostly because I knew I needed to be able to say I played them all).

The drive went more quickly than I had anticipated and I got back to my apartment and promptly decided I needed to buy a bigger shelving unit because the one I had was overflowing. Off to Ikea! It was easy to put together and I did it while watching Under the Tuscan Sun. For some reason unknown to me, I woke up at 4:44am. I suppose it was because I was overheating and my throat was so sore. I had some tea, watched the end of a movie and then got to bed.
Today was the first day of school. But what is the first day of school without some readings? Yes, you read that right I had work to do even before my first class. Thankfully it was not much (only 10 pages) and I had lots of time this morning to get it done before my class. First day of school look:
Why did I wear this sweater?
1. It was chilly
2. To have a piece of Edward with me
3. As I walked along, I realized that it made me feel like I was part of something even in this place where I don't know where I fit.

That's the update!

Thursday, 22 June 2017

You Won't See Me Back Here Again

Those were the words that a police officer said he has heard so many times from people waiting to be seen in court. Unfortunately they do not always stand by their word because he sees the same people time and time again. Yesterday I went to observe in bail court in Bracebridge. I was able to shadow an incredibly kind and brilliant lawyer through client interviews, discussions with the Crown prosecutor, and talks with the police. It was surreal. There are actual people behind the glass (or plastic), with real lives, and real problems and that is their reality. The lawyer was not just an advocate, she was a counsellor, a social worker, and she was a real person. The courtroom was not full of people arguing and trying to outsmart the other; the justice of the peace, the lawyers, the clerk, and the reporter were all working together. I am not sure if this day made me want to be a lawyer or if it pushed me in the other direction but it was a very welcome change of pace and dose of reality. I had a great day. I have been having a few more of those lately and that gives me hope.
Registration for classes was today and I got what I wanted but now I am terrified that I put too much on my plate. I did exactly what I was told not to do and took the courses with the most reading in the same semester. I did it because of the professors that were teaching them; I have heard really good things about them and I thought having good professors was more important than sanity. That being said, I hope I won't see myself back in the state I have been in for the past year. It has been one year since I returned home from the Africa Mercy. If you have been reading, you know that it has been a tumultuous time and the transition was not smooth, by any stretch of the imagination. I am trying to create a new routine. I am starting to "run" again. I say "run" because it is more walking than running, and not so much running as it is jogging. I hopped in the lake last week (it was cold) and it will be a while before swim season starts but I am looking forward to that. I have been clinging to other people to make my life make sense but I know I have to do that for myself. I don't want to leave anyone behind or be doing things for myself when I could be spending time with them, so I end up just wasting my life away waiting around for other people. Maybe that is why this year was so difficult; I wasn't living I was just existing. I feeling like I have had that realization before, but today is a new day so I'll just take that thought and roll with it. I can be happy, even if it means that I have to live differently than I pictured it. I'm scared. Everyday.

On another note... what's a day off without some cannelloni making with Nonna? Google told me that when you make them with crepes (like we did) they are actually manicotti. That is pretty significant considering I have been calling them cannelloni for 27 years.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The Sun is Falling

Although I should have lots to report it doesn't seem like much has happened. CLI was okay. I struggled the whole week with feeling inadequate. The topics covered with incredibly difficult and I felt like I was back in law school and I wasn't able to contribute. The people I met were very nice and although I made a complete fool of myself the second day, they didn't give me the cold shoulder. This is what happened: on the second night the organized activity was board games. I was the first one there and people started to arrive and people were deciding while game they would like to play. One person wanted to play Apples to Apples, but I have never been fond of that game and so I "voted" for something else. Well, the conversation escalated to a point where someone joked that I should just leave because I didn't want to play and I was at a point where I wanted to leave so I did. I walked out and after I did it I felt so stupid and knew I made such a bad impression. Someone came and talked to me and said I should join them again. I really didn't want to because I was so embarrassed but I did and everyone except three people played Apples to Apples. *sigh* It was a long week and although I learned a lot but it scared me because I realized that I am not capable or equipped to defend or spread my faith. There is so much I don't know and I am a person that wants to know everything and if I can't then I just give up. I am not sure I will really be able to understand the Bible unless I go to school to study theology. Drop out of law school and take up theology?! Oh! I didn't fail first year! I got grades on Monday and everything is fine. I didn't do amazing but I got through it. I went to the eye doctor a few weeks ago and he told me I should get reading glasses since I would be doing so much of it going forward and I kept joking with him that what he was saying was that it was okay for me to drop out of law school for the sake of my eye health. He has known me forever so he just said that my dad probably wouldn't be okay with that.
On another note the sunsets at the cottage have been gorgeous!
Work has been going well but I make mistakes everyday. The other staff are nice and all the people I have served so far have been pretty great. Last week there was a big storm and it knocked out the power and the generator but the diners did not really understand the extent of the outage because the dining room has lots of windows so there was plenty of natural light coming in. The kitchen was pitch black though and they could not cook anything because of it. There was a couple that was celebrating their 54th wedding anniversary and they were so sweet! The kitchen was trying not to open the fridges or freezers to keep them as cold as possible but they made an exception so there could be dessert for that one table. 
That's all I've got.
Oh! Today is my Nonno's 80th birthday! I got Sunday off so I can go to his party!
That's really it.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

It's Happening

I found a grey hair yesterday. The good news is that it seems to be a very nice light grey and so when I really start to go grey I am just going to let it be. I had a prof in my undergrad and she has the most beautiful head of curly grey hair and I hoped I would have hair like that when I got older. That day is coming more quickly than I had anticipated.
Exams are done and I survived! Obviously I have too much time on my hands if I can be looking for grey hair. Yesterday I was walking down the street without my knapsack or a jacket and I felt so good! I was standing tall and I felt like I was free. If you have been reading my blog you know that this year has been kind of challenging for me. I hope that my summer posts will be more fun and uplifting! This year is done and I am keeping my fingers crossed that I won't have to redo any courses and I can just move forward. Yay for freedom! I am heading back to Toronto tomorrow and then I will be heading to London, Ontario to participate in CLI next week and then I will be starting work on May 12th.

Fun Fact: Today is Sierra Leone's Independence Day