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

Monday, 3 April 2017

Rethinking Control

This week everything seemed out of my control. My emotions were so strong and so scary that I did not even feel like myself. I have felt unsettled for almost a week. I know exactly what started it but I couldn't stop it. No matter how much I wanted to forgive and move on my mind and my body were stuck. I am really working on doing better at managing well when things go wrong. I have really been working on this since school started and I felt like such failure. I seemed to be taking stops forward but then I was further back than when I started. In the midst of my freaking out someone who I met while on exchange reach out to me completely out of the blue and we ended up talking via video chat for an hour. Although my anger and fear were not gone, I was reminded that I was not alone. My brother reminded me that this might be true for the big things in life there are lots of things that are under control: what I eat, if I go to the gym, and doing my school work. Having it presented like that helped me calm down and take stock of what I was perceiving as out of control.
This morning I woke up way before my alarm (as I have been for the past week) and I sat down to finish an assignment while I watched the sunrise. I still felt sad, angry, and frustrated but my heart wasn't racing and I was observing a beautiful miracle that is the passage of time.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Sunny Days

The title was meant to get you singing the Sesame Street theme song in your head. Read it again and sing! Although we keep getting more snow and the temperature is going down (instead of up) I have lots of things to be happy about. The sun still comes out and helps me to cope with the chilly weather. My mom came for a visit and I even got picked up and dropped off at school (that hasn't happened in years). She spoiled me tremendously with restaurant meals, and going to a movie. It was really nice to have her company. We went to see the Shack on Tuesday. We had both read the book and were eager to see it transformed into a movie. I was frustrated because I thought it was slow and that general audiences wouldn't be happy with it and it wouldn't do well. I'd say about 3/4 through the movie I realized that it was okay for the movie to be slow, maybe that is what people need right now; a change of pace.
This past month has been busy for different reasons. Looking for jobs takes so much time and it is tiring. I was talking to a recruiter today and I explained to her that I am really bad at selling myself. She said it takes practice. Another thing to learn! I want to be liked right away and for employers to see my potential (even when I can't). Then I take a step back a realize that it's not that simple and I am one of those people that takes a while to warm up to, so even if I did get an interview there is limited time to create a meaningful connection. Kind of sounds like dating! I guess that's what interviews really are when it comes down to it; finding the right person. I just wish I didn't have to worry about money and could try things out and help where I can, with no pressure. Doesn't that sound nice? There are just so many options that it becomes confusing. And then you hear about what other people are doing and even though you had no interest in it you being to think that you should try that too because you never know, you might like it or you were excited about something and then it doesn't seems so great when you hear about the things that other people are doing. Oh comparison, my old, joy-stealing friend. It's tough, but at I am grateful to have options and peers that challenge me to do more.
Apart from that, it is just regular school life. I did fall on the ice last week and landed on my elbow. My arm has been sore for a while but I knew that would happen. However, I have woken up every day since then with a headache. I just made the connection between the headaches and the falling, today. Perhaps it is time to go see a doctor. Maybe a chiropractor?
Last month was Winterlude so there were lots of impressive ice sculptures in Confederation Park. Here are a few:

Unfortunately the warm spell we had closed the canal for this season. I didn't have a chance to skate on it this year but I will know for next year that I can't put it off. That's all I have for now!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Wrestling with the Thief

It just happened. The moment that I was told would come, descended unexpectedly and stole my joy. I am thankful that someone was honest and told me that I have made comments that people have construed as rude and judgemental but it is always difficult to hear. What made it worse was that my "socially conservative" views may make it easier for me to come off as judgmental. It is so difficult to control how you are perceived. I have had this discussion numerous times, in many contexts. No matter how many people say not to worry about it, I still do. It is important to me to make sure that I am not offending people and that I am generally perceived as kind of a nice person. I think it hurts the most because I didn't realize. I am inherently rude and I am not always aware. Yes, I have some terrible moments but I think I have been better in recent years about putting pride aside and acknowledging/apologizing for my wrong. Despite this particularly saddening moment, the last month or so has been so much better. January was a special term where we took one course, everyday, for three weeks. It was all about dispute resolution. Overall, the course was much more interactive than the previous semester. We had lots of in class activities and mock negotiations/mediations. At the end of the semester I was still kind of unconvinced that I was in the right place but I was starting to think I could be here and do something good. Anyway, after that term we got a week off! It felt kind of funny getting more time off when we had only been back to school for three weeks since Christmas break. I got on a plane and went to Sierra Leone. I spent a few days with Edward and his family. I was so energized and encouraged by that trip. I got back to school and put my new found energy to work. This semester has a lot less class time built into it so it seems much more... normal? There seems to be more time to do non-school things and to still get all of the school things done. That being said, job applications are not particularly exciting but are different than reading.
This past weekend there was a Christian Legal Fellowship student conference at the University of Ottawa. I met students from other law schools, and many from Ottawa that I had never even seen before! I was exposed to the work of Jim Gash who wrote a book called Divine Collision (I started reading it a 10 o'clock on Saturday night because I was just so excited about it). The weekend empowered me to keep studying the law and not be ashamed of who I am or what I believe. I was warned that because everyone comes out of the weekend feeling so "on fire" that there might be things that shut you down. That's what happened today. I was so discouraged and my initial though was not to speak anymore. I am still processing, but I know that I am grateful because it has made me aware and awareness means that I can try and change it.
I was going to say something about another week being done but it is only Wednesday! I don't have class tomorrow so it feels like the weekend is already here.

No. 2 River Beach

No. 2 River Beach

View of Freetown from the ferry

On the ferry back to the airport