Place in the World

Life is a constant stumble and fumble
of navigating through the world
looking for your place
for where you are supposed to be
as if the universe designed a single little space where only you can fit.
But the you of yesterday is not the you of tomorrow.
Does the universe know this?
Does it change and adapt
as you change and grow,
change and regress?
Perhaps it creates numerous little spaces for you to occupy;
for when you find yourself alone and free
or together and comfortable.
Perhaps your mistakes and mishaps
reshape your little niche,
moves it from place to place.
So you struggle and fumble some more,
forever searching.
But maybe the universe mocks us all
and we never need truly search,
for we are always where we should be
in the time and place.
It seems we are destined to a fate of free will and decision
and it is only a matter or embracing yet not attempting
to solve this puzzle of a life
which allows our unknown place to reveal itself.

written: March 1st, on my blackberry, finished in the Plaza Mayor, Salamanca, Spain

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An Expensive Cocktail

My heart is heavy.
When I breathe in, there is something pushing back against me, as if it is trying to prevent me from taking another unsavoury, life giving breath.
When I breathe out, it feels like my whole body tries to leave too, weighing me down as it tries to escape.
My limbs grow heavy, my eyes they close, my will to do anything vanishes. It is as if all my burdens suddenly decide to appear all at once, in a calm, overwhelming feeling where a sweet, sorted confusion is all that remains.
Eventually I give in and sink to the ground or whatever is underneath me, be it a chair or a bed. I sink and would keep sinking were it not for the Earth beneath my feet. On my tongue I taste acid indifference but mixed with two shots of syrupy sadness and a dash of loneliness. A strange combination but one that is all too familiar.
I’m as far into this cocktail as my physical body will take me but my mind keeps drinking away. And eventually I give in and order me another glass. I pay with my heart – heavy, not worth a lot, but just enough to overdose.

The Call

Artwork: Julia Yellow (source)

I can hear it: in the night, at lunch, as I walk down the street. It is loud and is getting louder every day, shouting my name and urging me to come. It accompanies me where ever I go. Sometimes it’s a ringing whisper in the back of my head; other times it’s a horrible, jarring, screeching tone.

It wasn’t always this loud. It used to be a dim voice that I would notice every now and then; an accompanying soundtrack when I heard a certain song or watched a certain show. But now it has got a hold of my heart strings and the constant vibrations cause pain and tears. It messes with my mind and plays with my feelings. But there’s no way I can stop the call until I go back to the source and hang up the phone.

The Week: Birthday Cake

It’s MAY!!! I know, I know, I’m about 12 days late for this springtime celebration but still, it’s generally one of my favourite months. Not just because it’s my birthday month but because it’s a fresh start: things are blooming, the weather is warmer, if I was in uni back in Canada, school would be over, and here only a month and a half-ish until I go back home 🙂

For my 21st birthday on Tuesday (true thoughts on that here), I spent the day in 8 glorious hours of class, with a nice nap in between. That evening my flatmates “surprised” me by putting candles on the cheesecake Vi made (18 to be precise – keeps me youthful) and presented me with the CUTEST strawberry purse, a bottle of nail polish and a gorgeous ring I had my eye on. It was a lovely evening.

People have been telling me I need to party it up while in Spain for my birthday, but honestly, birthday’s are fairly trivial to me. Not other people’s just my own. I have been trying for the past week to remember what I did last year but clearly it wasn’t anything important because I can’t remember for the life of me!

Wednesday, as we left our last class of the day (Portuguese), Vi and I were greeted with this scene:

We figure it was a warm up for the theatre production that was about to start down the street, but most people were just standing watching these homeless mimes (?) jump up and down in succession. Seems like it would have been an interesting play.

Friday I went for coffee with some girls from my geography class and we chatted and had a good time and they even paid for my (belated birthday) cake! ♥ That evening we had dinner at my place with one of our friends who unfortunately lost her voice and had to write on a notepad. One of Em’s friends came by later as well and we spent the rest of the night watching really funny YouTube videos. It’s what you do when you don’t feel like going out. Fun times! (I ♥♥♥ YouTube).

The rest of this week shall be thoroughly unexciting as I struggle to do two major projects that completely suck and are due the same day. Ever try reading 200 pages of Jesuit recount of the conquest of Chile written in Spanish from the 1500s, where the pages are badly scanned copies of the 500 year old original? Don’t ever try it. Sigh…

Happy Sunday 🙂

21

21. Wow. Twenty freaking one. Now I can drink legally drink in America. Yay!?! (But let’s be honest, I only go to the States to shop.)

There isn’t the much to turning this age, no real advantages to being 21. It is so much closer to 22, which let’s face it, sounds for some reason a lot older. 21 means I am an adult (well, technically that was 20, but this is just another year of re-enforcing that idea). According to Yahoo Answers, it means that I should be able to make rational and mature decisions; childish thinking should be behind me and my life goals and plans ahead of me.

If this were Christmas and I were Scrooge, I would say “Bah Humbug!” to that. Rational and mature decisions? Last week I was seriously considering dropping out of uni for a bit because I’m fed up with it, while at the same time I was mourning of the sad dis-figuration of my beloved stuffed hedgehog, Hedgey. I can barely decide what I want for dinner most days, let alone what to do this summer, after graduation or for the rest of my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful that I have made it to another year and that I get to spend it in Spain with some awesome people and 8 hours of class. But sometimes I feel like that Rizzle Kicks song, When I Was A Youngster:

Back when I was younger,
I wanted to be everything on the planet,
Now that I am older,
It seems the ambition has vanished

Yup. Pretty much sums me up at the start of my 21st year on this planet. Confused, without ambition, lost, older.

Happy Birthday to me.

The Rumbling Tummy Syndrome

Definition: an uneasy and noisy sensation due to a lack of food and meal planning

Symptoms:
– loud stomach growls
– clutching of the stomach
– headaches and/or dizziness
– the shuffling of papers/feet or the scraping of chairs in an attempt to cleverly disguise the loud growls

When it appears:
– in quiet classrooms while writing midterms
– studying at the library
– in a silent computer lab
– during a tutorial while you are answering a question
– any inopportune/inappropriate moment that serves to embarrass you

If only I could eat this daily 😦

Remedies:
– walk around with granola bars – they can help fend off the rumbles temporarily
– EAT BREAKFAST!!!
– always have money for food or bring lunch (keep a map of microwave locations campus-wide)

 Additional Information:
This syndrome has affected countless university and high school students alike – and still continues to do so. Although it is easy to combat – just follow the remedies. But remember, paper is noisy so use it to your advantage; too much feet shuffling looks like you have to go pee. Good luck and get well soon!

*Note: I’m not a doctor 😉

A definite lack of passion

I’ve been thinking a lot about where I want to go in life. When you’re in university/college, these questions come up a lot. The following conversation is one I seem to have at least once a week, when I meet someone new:

Me: Oh, so what are you studying?
Person: (with passion and commitment) International relations and peace and equity studies. I think I want to go into law or join a NGO. How about you? What are you studying?
Me: Languages. French and Spanish.
Person: Oh that’s so cool! I wish I knew another language. I did french in high school but never continued with it. (everyone says that!!) So what do you want to do? Become a translator?
Me: I have absolutely no clue…
Person: Oh. Well with languages you can do anything! (trust me, saying that doesn’t help, it just makes me more confused.)

It seems that so many people around me know what they want to do, or even if they don’t, they have a passion for something. It can be really discouraging because it makes me question myself. Why am I studying what I’m studying? Do I even like it? What do I want to do in life? People keep telling me that I have time or that an undergraduate degree doesn’t even matter. It’s your masters and doctorate that are important. But I disagree. I’m sure from you’re position as an older student, a professor or a counselor, you can look back at these times in your life and say things like that. But as a student who is lost and confused and unsure about what she wants to do, those words do not bring any comfort. I feel like I don’t have time – like it’s too late to change my field of study, if I was even sure of what I wanted to do.

There are things I regret doing, such as putting myself in a small little box first year, convinced of what I knew and unwilling to try different things. But now that I’m at a new school things have changed. The atmosphere is charged with potential and drive, a need to succeed and the desire to be the best. It puts pressure on you, not only to achieve but also to enjoy what you are doing while you are struggling to do it.

At some point in my life, ever since kindergarten, I have known what I wanted to do with my life. In my years after preschool, I endeavored to become an ocean floor geologist, despite the fact that I couldn’t (and still can’t) swim. I think I learned the word from the Magic School Bus, because “ocean floor geologist” is not common vocabulary for a 5 year-old. In elementary school, I wanted to be a teacher, modeled after all the great teachers I had. I would be the cool teacher who would let her students eat soup in class, go on lots of field trips and watch Bill Nye the Science guy every day. The 6th and 7th grade sparked a change, where I got more creative and started designing things. Then, my goal was either to be a fashion designer or interior decorator. But as I continued to age, reality caught up with me and my plans changed. After picking up French relatively quickly in high school and Spanish a few years later, I thought, well hey! I seem to be good with languages, why not make it a career. But it’s harder than you think when you’re not immersed in a native speaking environment.

This uncertainty is new to me and it’s a feeling that I don’t enjoy. Let’s say I hate it. Hate it. It’s a strong word for a strong feeling. I’m not sure how to go about tackling this feeling but I hope that the future brings with some certainty, clarity, and optimism, as well as a way for me to discover my true passions.

Have you found something you truly enjoy in life?

The Loss of a Great Leader: Jack Layton ♥

At 4:45 am on Monday August 22nd, 2011, New Democrat Party Leader and amazing politician Jack Layton, passed away from his battle with cancer. He was 61 years old.

Mr. Layton was a well-respected man who was admired by many for his dedication to his party, his ideals and the improvement of Canadian society. Always seen with a smile on his face and a positive spirit, he was a leader for many and an example to all. His easy going, energetic nature was well known as was his commitment to making Canada the very best it could be.

Before he was a member of federal politics, he was a city councilor in Toronto where he became well known for his social advocacy and forward thinking ideas. He tackled topics like homelessness, food banks, smoking, cycling, and AIDS in a time when many subjects were still taboo. Alongside his wife, NDP member Olivia Chow, he worked hard to make sure community and social justice issues were always addressed. He carried this same passion with him as he rose in politics to become the leader of the official opposition party, the highest the NDP has ever been.

Weeks ago it was announced that Mr. Layton’s cancer had returned, afters years of being cancer free. An interim leader for the party was announced and a statement was released saying Layton would not be returning when caucus resumed in the fall. But to be honest, I thought he would beat the cancer. The idea that he would not make it through never crossed my mind once so his death came as quite a shock.

I’ve been watching the news and the public response is very touching. Many reporters have met him over the years and a similar theme has come across as they tell their stories: his honesty and friendliness. People have been gathering at Parliament Hill placing flowers and notes of gratitude and sadness on the centennial flame. People all over the country, no matter their political background, are in mourning for the loss of a great man.

Before he passed, he wrote a letter to the public. It can be found here. This is an exert of the last few paragraphs:

And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

All my very best,

Jack Layton

My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, children, family and friends and may Jack Layton rest in peace. ♥

The Future

Sometimes I wonder what I am going to do with my life. Actually, scratch that. Not sometimes, most of the time. All the time. Everyday. What am I going to do? I don’t contemplate what my purpose is or why I was put on this Earth; philosophical questions make my head hurt. Rather, I think of the future, as I have been doing my whole life. I find I never really live in the moment. I am always looking at the past: what I did wrong; or at the future: what is to come, what I can possibly do, and if there is any chance in hell that my dreams will become a reality. There are days where I just sit on the couch, staring at a black television screen, pondering my days after university is finished. Should I travel? Should I get a degree? Should I take time off and work? Will I even finish? How will I pay for everything? Will I ever find a job? What do I want to do? And will I even be good enough to do it?
I’ve always hated the future, because for almost every scenario that happens, I envisioned it occurring a different way. I always imagine fantastic things, unexpected things, which make life more exciting or interesting. But when the time comes, reality falls short of my silent expectations. Always. And I know why.
I am incredibly unrealistic. I rarely express my desires verbally, for I know the chances and the likelihood of them happening are so remote that anyone who is listening would think me a fool. Yet I hold on deeply to these crazy dreams. The problem is that I never take any measure to at least try and ensure they become reality. I live in a silly, fictional world, where one day, while sitting at home, surfing the net, I’ll receive a call to work a job I would greatly enjoy. In my dreams I never make any effort yet things always happen. That’s not how it works in the real world and that, is a harsh reality. 
– Turtles

Wisdom Teeth

A few hours ago I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed. It was my first surgery (and hopefully my last). I wasn’t really scared until I was sitting in a room, with two nurses, an anesthesiologist and an oral surgeon. The lovely Hispanic nurse was making jokes trying to calm me down while the anesthesiologist was sticking a needle into my arm and the other nurse was arranging my bib. What fun that was. -_-

The possible ways they can grow in.

Before hand I had to read and sign a sheet explaining everything that could happen. I was a bit freaked out, because it reminded me of the drug commercials where they tell you every possible side effect before you even know if you qualify for the drug, which makes me wonder why you would take it in the first place.

Next thing I know, I’m in a different room, slowly gaining consciousness while sitting on a bench. I was weak, couldn’t talk and everything was fuzzy. My mouth felt weird and sore and I couldn’t stand up. But as I slowly come too, I realized that it felt like barely anytime has passed. It had been almost an hour, but felt like less than five minutes to me.

About 15 mins later, I was well enough to walk out and head home. My dad had to drive me because they could not realize me on my own. So now I am sitting on my bed, listening to the new Jessie J album and biting on four pieces of gauze, trying to stop the bleeding. It’s not really working, considering there’s still blood everywhere. I haven’t eaten in over 12 hours, and can’t until I stop bleeding. The whole bottom half of my mouth is numb and taking pills is a hassle. But it’s all good. I’m just chilling while my dad is getting a blender and more gauze.

I’ve heard horror stories from my friends, classmates and dad about problems, complications, dry cavities, swelling and broken stitches. I’m still worried something might happen, but I grateful everything has gone well so far. I had to get my teeth out because they were crowding my other ones, pushing them together. There wasn’t enough room for them and I have to get braces as well 😦 But now I’m going to sit back, dream of smoothies, and catch up on my Good Wife. 🙂

♥Turtles.