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.