Friday, April 29, 2011

Endings becoming beginnings

“How quickly then, how quickly all of this will end…” – David Vertesi

I begin.

For the first time in years I have a computer that runs on battery. I am sitting five thousand feet in the air on my way to Phoenix. As a girl who prefers winter to summer I am still puzzling about how I ended up here. In exactly one week I will be on a different plane heading in the opposite direction to London, Ontario. One week. One week and my life will turn upside down. But this is good. I think. I cannot organize my thoughts or decide what I should be writing about. I do know this: I am doing the right thing. I do not know this: if I am doing the right thing pursuing someone in the spur of the moment.

I was told last night that my ability to live in the moment was inspirational. This floored me seeing as I feel one of my biggest weaknesses is my tendency to dwell too much in the future. I can barely walk down the street without thinking about what is going to happen once I get to my destination, what will be happening twenty minutes from now, what tomorrow will bring, months, years…

The past month has been the most trying of times; to not dwell in what is going to happen in the future. I met someone who makes me feel…complete. His hands feel like home. When we are together I experience absolute happiness. He makes me want to be a better person. But this begs the question, was I silly to let this situation unfold when I was knew I was moving away?

(note: five days elapse between these two paragraphs)

No. I would not wish away the last month of my life for anything in the world. And while my mindset as to what will happen once I leave has changed slightly, I refuse to feel compromised or disappointed. If I can take anything away from dating someone with an expiry date, it is that I cannot underestimate what I have learned in the last month. I am strong enough to say goodbye (not see you later), I am able to make decisions based on what I need and not what someone else needs me to be, and if nothing else I have learned that there are people out there who can make you feel:

Lovely. Beautiful. Joyful. Whole.

I have no desire to pursue any type of romantic relationship while in grad school but I have a feeling I may eat my words in a couple of months from now because if I am anything it is romantic; open to anything despite how much it could potentially hurt. This last month has taught me that it is never beneficial to close your heart to anything the world wants to give you.

Accept. Love. Lose. Heal.

I continue.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why Worry?

This picture is backwards because I was too lazy to scan it and upload it onto my new computer. The writing is unintelligible anyways because the picture is sixteen years old and was taken on a camera that cost 200 rupees, the equivalent of five dollars at that time.

The camera was a birthday present. It was the first camera I had ever owned. The picture was taken at a trekking lodge in Marpha and I was nine years old.

Sixteen years and many lifetimes ago I came into contact with this "poem" (simply for lack of a better word) for the first time. It is entitled "Why Worry" and the gist of it is, is that we shouldn't worry because even if we get sick and die we will either go to heaven or to hell. Thats right, there are no other options. At least not in this poem. Heaven is not something to worry about and neither is hell because as it is so succinctly put: "you will be so busy shaking hands with old friends that you will have nothing to worry about."

Two days ago I was out and about with a friend on a beautiful sunny evening in Kits. In between arguing about which houses were the best on the block (dead trellis' aside) and gardening tips (yes I know how to spot wild strawberries now) we encountered an old man who had a smile so large it overtook his features. Wrinkles aside this man was as sprightly as a garden gnome who has been invited to Brownies for the first time. Lively as he was, his beef with us young ones was this: that we (young people in general) do not smile enough. After I assured him that this was most definitely not the case with us he proceeded to pull a small piece of printed paper out of his wallet. He commanded me to read it and I did. I couldn't suppress a nostalgic smile when I realized it was the "Why Worry" poem that I had photographed so many years ago.

The elderly man wasn't interested in this nugget of information as he proceeded to reminisce about a time when he had told a couple of teenage girls to smile on a bus in Latvia. For me, however, I was once again transported back to another time and place. Why did I take a picture of that poem? Was it because it made me laugh? Did I understand the significance of the message at the time? Was this encounter simply a coincidence?

After we managed to maneuver our way out of the conversation and were once again along our way, the talk turned from housing to what could we take away from that conversation. Life is full of worry and stressful situations. It is easy to get swept away with concern. My friend informed me that he realized that he needed to let go of some of the worry in his life; live in the moment and enjoy it.

This meeting between the old man and me didn't happen with the twenty five year old me but with the nine year old me, holding my very first camera. The worry free nine year old me. What a feeling! At this pivotal time in my life where I am about to leave behind everything I know and everybody I love it was so important to be reminded of what is valuable in life and that I can't waste a minute wondering what if. I have been so lucky to have found such good friends (old and new) in Vancouver and I now have a whole storage unit full of fantastic memories to carry with me into my new life out East. It's time to let go and embrace every situation with open arms and an open heart because, after all that I have been blessed with in life thus far, why should I worry?

Friday, April 1, 2011

The best game ever played...tribute.

When I was eleven I left the British Primary School (now known as The British School) to attend KISC (Kathmandu International Study Center). I was stoked beyond stoked. As the youngest grade in the school we were also the biggest, a whopping twenty kids. My brother, four years older than me and in the highest grade at KISC, was the only boy in his class along with three other girls. I do not believe he took advantage of the situation but that is another story.

I will always remember this year as one of the best of my childhood because it was the year when I participated in the best game ever played.

When I tell people that my class at KISC went on a week long trek it is usually greeted with buggy eyes and an incredulous exclamation that usually goes something like this: "What? They REALLY let you go off with your teachers for a whole week?" I wouldn't have thought that was weird until I moved back to Canada and field trips consisted of a trip to the pulp mill for the day (insert sarcastic thumbs up here). But yes, our class trip was the week long Gorkha trek. A historical area of Nepal where kings conquered and were conquered subsequently, but also a place where twenty boisterous youth had the time of their lives.

Day six outside of the village of Chiplote we discovered that the sloping hillside next to where we had set up camp is a natural maze of bushes. Awesome? Yes. Even better: the natural tunnels and hollowed out holes that just screamed "PLAY IN ME!" 25 year old me cannot remember the rules of the game excepting that there were two teams: the chasers and the chase-es. While struggling to recall the details of the game I am reminded of the Tenacious D song, "The Greatest Song in the world."

"This is not the greatest song in the world, this is just a tribute...couldn't remember the greatest song in the world..."

So this is what this blog post is all about. A tribute to the greatest game ever played. A tribute to the scrambling through dirt and bush, avoiding pursuit at all costs. Diving into holes, tearing our clothes on brambles, adrenaline pumping through our bony, pre-adolescent bodies. Hearts pounding holes through our skin, not yet realizing you can never go back to a time when you were truly happy (sorry Wordsworth). This is a tribute to the times before television, video games and ipods, when kids still played outside and invented their own games. A tribute to the times before kids demanded to be entertained.

Six years later I happened to end up a boarding school with my childhood crush from Nepal (I wasn't allowed to date him back then and didn't want to when we became re-acquainted but that is, once again, another story). One of the first things we reminisced about was that game. I was heading back to Nepal in a few months and all we could talk about was how epic that game was and how it could never ever be re-created. Eight years after that conversation here I am remembering it still. One thing for sure is that I will always look back at that time in my life and never doubt how good I had it, and never fail to miss it.

She was a smart girl. Until she fell in love.

Last night I was jolted out of my zzz's by the sound of chairs being thrown down the stairs. How did I know that it was chairs and not say a table or body (though I would not have been surprised by either)? The throw down was followed by my neighbour shouting "I fucking hate these chairs in my hallway!" The subsequent crash was followed by much banging on the other neighbours' door and the shouting that ensued should not be repeated due to its graphic nature. All of this happened at a lovely 2am. Luckily for me I was not on my usual 6am wake up call but I still lay awake in bed for an hour gripped with fear and anger about the following things:

1. Crackheads banging on my door (anger).
2. Crackheads breaking down my door (fear).
3. Crackheads arguing in the middle of the night (anger).
4. Crackheads in general (fear).

I grew up in Cranbrook, BC so I should be used to crackheads by now but the reason I fled Cranbrook the second I graduated from high school was to get as far away as I could from that scene. Thanks to Facebook I cannot escape the reality of my upbringing and get to experience a new type of fear: well known drug addicts reproducing [children]. Bring on the next generation.

But I digress. This is not the first time that I have been woken up by my conscientious and caring neighbours, who, interestingly enough, I have never seen or met before. They generally like to save their episodes for the middle of the night, the later the better. He usually storms off and she shouts after him "You are coming home right? RIGHT? ANSWER ME! ARE YOU COMING HOME?" I could almost feel sorry for her if she wasn't continually interrupting my drama free sleep. After he has made his way out of the house, making as much noise as possible, she proceeds to moan and cry and rock in place (the last one I do not know for sure but this is what I would imagine to be happening).

I realize I may sound cruel and callous but it is a well known fact that these people are hard core drug users. They are clearly both stuck in some kind of horrific,destructive and circular relationship that makes them dependent on the other so neither can ever leave. Hey, there may even be love involved. We always hurt the ones we love the most right? I know first hand how intense love can be and when combined with something as harmful as substance abuse I would have said, back in the day, that I couldn't even imagine what kind of life that must be. Now I am experiencing it first hand and it is not pretty.

I gave my notice today and will be moving out in a month.