A city girl's respite

My dad frequently says that I lead "a privileged life". And normally I launch into a full-length explanation of how my bajillion school assignments, lack of sleep, and nearly empty bank account would demonstrate otherwise. But for once, I'm inclined to agree with him. Because not only did I get to spend 3 weeks in England, but now I'm relaxing away in beautiful Sicamouse for 2 weeks with Gizette, my best friend. I would say Summer has been good to me.

And with just a week left in this little Canadian paradise, I've been thinking about all the wonderful things that make this, in my opinion, a true vacation.

I don't over-sleep and wake up groggy and grumpy. I wake up with the sun, refreshed and more or less cognitive. And in my own time I can make my way to the kitchen to find a Grandma whipping up breakfast or it all laid out for my choosing.

My little book-worm heart is going insane here as I plough through book after book, at the beach or outside on the covered porch over looking the lake. I never feel rushed or exhausted. If I'm tired, it's that pleasant sleepiness that comes from being so calm. And if the occasional mosquito didn't keep me alert, I'd find it easy to slip off listening to the waves lapping the shore.

Of course, I've been bitten and sunburned to the point of swelling. And sometimes I wish for my car. But if anything, I've realized that even a die-hard city girl like me needs a little time away. A little time for myself, free of the constant rush of work, school, and an attempted social life. A little time to collect my overwhelming thoughts and sort them out. A little time to find peace for my crazy city soul.


Grateful for Gratitude

If you know me at all, you know I'm the biggest worrier there ever was. I plan plan plan (everything) and then rethink and then plan some more because I hate not feeling in control. But of course, rarely do my plans actually go off without any problems. Usually my plans are on the brink of not even happening. And this throws me into a panic. And when this happens, I put on a stony face and breathe deeply to remain collected while my brain is going crazy trying to find some solution for the problem I'm facing. But I started to become so stressed out about everything that I cracked. I couldn't handle even the slightest of worries without feeling completely overwhelmed to the point where I became physically ill. It was debilitating. I wasn't sleeping, I was breaking down in class and I felt completely lost.
Then someone said something that changed my life. I can't recall the words exactly nor was it anything that would sound like an earth shattering revelation. All I can remember is something along these lines: when you're grateful, your problems don't seem so bad.
Here I was, the biggest stress bomb of the century, dreading every future second but all I had to do was be grateful. I had nothing to lose so I went for it. I started to look at my problems and say okay what about this am I grateful for. And gradually I felt relieved. No those problems didn't go away and they weren't magically solved. But I was seeing my blessings and that made it easier to face my trials, however small or big they were.
It was like a scale: for every brick of a burden I had on one side, I could put a dozen bars of gold on the other side.
Digging my car out of the snow wasn't bad because at least I had a car. A couple thousand of my own dollars was do-able when people across the world didn't even have the chance to go to school. And my extremely small feet just meant I spend less on shoes.
Learning to be grateful changed my life. No, I'm not some perfectly happy and calm human being who never utters a word of complaint. I still complain and have moments of anxiety. I still have a good cry once in a while because "my life sucks". But then I pull myself together and think about what I'm grateful. And the World starts spinning again and things don't seem so bad.


England: It's a Love-Hate Relationship

A couple of days ago I attempted to update my blog with our latest adventures but alas I froze the computer trying to load photos. And while I hate to leave my post unadorned by images, I'm afraid I've got no choice in the matter. So I decided to change the premise of my post.
Like any country, there are things I love about England as well as some things that I find less than desirable. Here are mine.

The reasons behind my English infatuation.
  1. Family-Obviously I love being able to see my family and spend time with them. Time with loved ones is so precious, especially when you live thousands of miles away.
  2. History- There is so much history here, from quaint litte towns with quaint little doors to the endless rock walls of Jane Austen's days.
  3. Cheese!- I love cheese and the cheese here is amazing. Nothing like that bland orange stuff in Canada. Here it's so glorious and yummy...mmmmm.
  4. Scenery- With its rolling hills dotted with sheep and enchanted looking trees, I feel transported into a new world. I look around and it looks like I've walked into a place from Lord of the Rings (I know it was shot in New Zealand) but England is such a magical place. 
  5. Line-dried clothes-  There is something charming about looking out the window to see your clothes fluttering in the breeze. And they feel so soft and smell so fresh afterwards.
A couple things I could do without.
  •  Driving- I feel like I'm on the Night Bus (from HP) because every 2 seconds you have to swerve out of the way of an uncoming car. Or you have to squeeze through a narrow gap of cars. My plane ride was smoother than our car trips.
  • TV- If you think Canadian TV is lame, well you obviously haven't watched British telly. With a limited selection of stupid or crass shows, it gets painful. Thank goodness for Wimbledon.


A British Renovation and Beautiful Beholdings

After weeks of anticipation, I've finally arrived in beautiful England. And to honour the occasion my blog got a British reno!
I'll be updating my blog regularily (for those who care) with all the fun and exciting things I'll be experiencing while in one of my favourite places on Earth. Starting today!
One of the neatest things about travelling to England is crossing the time zone. Now normally this means jet lag and hours of feeling like a zombie, dark under-eye circles and mindless shuffling to and from places. And while this is a less than enjoyable experience crossing a time zone is a sight to behold.
We flew off near mid-afternoon and while we crossed Canada we saw from the window the violently bright sun set in a beauitful orange and pink glow skimming the tops of the clouds. You expect twilight fairly soon, seeing the moon rising to the right of the sun in sort of a strange celestial dance.But the sky never darkened.
The Sun remained hovering just near the top edge of the clouds, colouring their white peaks and keeping the sky lit. As we crossed the ocean and then Greenland, it began to rise again. Blotting out the moon with its light and bathing the sky in that same neon coral glow.
It's a strange sensation to see the sun alive and bright over the span of 2 days. Your body doesn't know how to react while your mind struggles to comprehend this rare event. But all the same, it's an awesome thing to behold.


A Bittersweet Goodbye

You know that day you know will happen, but it seems so far away?

Well, it's here. 

17 years ago I met a little red-head. His name was Cameron. And no we aren't getting married even though our older sisters tried to set us up when we were only 3.

But this red-head and me became friends. Probably forced at first since we were the only ones our age at Church. And then because we were in the same kindergarten class. And our sisters were best friends. So it was only natural that we had endless play-dates.

But as we got older, we were friends by choice. We basically did everything together. So much so that our friends always assumed we were A) brother and sister or B) dating.

Now last time I checked me and Cameron looked nothing a like and I don't think "dating" exists when you're in Grade 4...but you get the point.

As we moved into junior high and high school, it became the classic joke that we were destined to get married because we argued like an old married couple but still were inseparable.

Our adventures have been intertwined since we could talk. From being Grade 6 graduation valedictorians to spending 5 weeks in Quebec to doing a little road trip to Utah and back.

And now for the first time, our adventures will go separate ways.

Cameron will be serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for 2 years in Romania.
For 2 years, the only contact I will have with him will be by letter.

Part of me wants to kidnap him and keep him here but another part of me is excited for him. His 2 year adventure across the World will be so much greater than 2 years he could spend here.

My life-long friend won't be here with me, but he will always be near my heart. 


Harry Potter Mania

I just got my ticket for the midnight premier of the last Harry Potter movie ever! (bittersweet moment)
Harry Potter is such a huge part of my life. I am one of those kids that Harry Potter saved from illiteracy and a introduced to the wonderful world of the written language. And now, I'm going to school to be a journalist. These books literally transformed my life and turned reading and writing into my passion. And because I owe so much to JK Rowling and her masterpiece, I really need to share it in an all things Harry Potter post!

While I love ALL the books, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was truly my favourite.
Not only is it the climax of the entire series, but it's one of the purest examples of fighting for what you believe in. Regardless of age, blood, and talent, these people come together to battle for what is good, even to death. It's the ultimate battle of good and evil. I also love the deep and strong relationships between characters because it reflects so clearly what it means to be a friend. And it's beautiful.

Hermione Granger.
Because she's like my twin! Apart from being a academically gifted and a lover of learning, her growth through out the books is a lot like my own personal evolution. I was that goodie-two-shoes and know-it-all who worked really hard in school and would never imagine doing anything wrong. But like Hermione, I really came into myself and learned I wasn't just defined by my grades and I wasn't afraid to challenge authority. She also went from that insecure girl to being proud of all her quirks. And if that wasn't enough, Hermione is the key for Harry to succeed. Without her brains, he'd have been done for a long time ago.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
For me, this movie just epitomized the world that JK Rowling created. It was so true to the book and really felt magical. As much as I love all the movies, some I feel were too concerned with an "artistic vision" rather then bringing to life what is already so amazing. It's also where the actors are really starting to understand the roles they are playing. And of course, DOBBY! I love Dobby and how loyal he is.

"You said to us once before," said Hermione quietly, "that there was time to turn back if we wanted to. We've had time, haven't we?"
"We're with you whatever happens," said Ron..." (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)
This part of the book always makes me bawl. But it's so touching. Harry doesn't want to endanger is best friends, but they are willing to risk anything to help him. This should be under the definition of "Friendship" because that's exactly what is it. It's courage and strength and faith to stand by someone even in the darkest and most hopeless hour. It solidifies the unbreakable friendship between Harry, Ron, and Hermione.


Science and Religion: Heaven Help Us

Being super religious, science has always been something I approach with caution, never knowing what will come up. And I always try and take everything I here in class and mesh it with what I'm taught in Sunday School. But that doesn't usually work. And it bothers me because the highly logical part of me wants scientific findings to complement my beliefs. But every once and a while I discover something that really makes me wonder if science and faith can really support each other. Today was one of those days.

On top is what's called the Oort cloud. It's basically a giant swirling mass of comets and the Solar System is at the center.
On the right is an atom: a cloud of electrons swirling around the nucleus.

One is the basic unit of matter and the other is our entire Solar System. But I couldn't help but notice that they are basically identical. And so it makes me wonder, whether science does really support my belief of the Universe as being a Divine Creation. I mean what are the chances that these to astronomically different things are so similar by fluke?