At Sandy Hill we use to do "Praises and Prayer Requests" at the end of our meetings every morning. This was an especially important part of staff bonding because if someone was dealing with something difficult, we could pray, as a team, for that person; if someone did something of particular worth, we'd take a moment of recognition for that person. It could get really annoying at times, I'll admit, when people became so unnecessary about it (mind you this is usually taking place around 6:30am) but for the most part, I really liked it. The few times that I was recognized for something, it helped me continue to go above and beyond in my job as a camp counsellor every day.
Today, I would just like to praise Cori Poole - the girl that I moved to Whistler with. There are so many things that stand out about her that make her so special to me and close to my heart and I feel like I could list off a hundred. For starters, the first sign that I knew Cori had to become my new best friend (I forced her), was the way that she viewed people. It is definitely one of the more outstanding aspects of her person that made me, and so many other people, fall in love with her. When I was in a dark time of my life, finding it difficult to love the people and the world around me, and see the good in it, Cori gave me a new notion of love - she really redefined how to love others. She notices detail that no one else does. She takes careful attention to the beauty in everyone, which is something that I use to pride myself in but seem to have lost it just months before I met her. She always seemed to find a way to love everyone and not in a "I love you way" but in a "you are an important and truly valuable person" way. She doesn't just accept people with their flaws and uglies; she sees right past them and straight into their beauty and gifts no matter how different they may be from hers or misunderstood they may normally be to others. It's a gift that sets Cori apart from many people I know.
Today in particular, however, I have to praise and recognize Cori for her ability to keep faith and stand so strong throughout the tough stuff. Not only do I see her going above and beyond her calls of duty with her job on a day-to-day basis, but I see her lifting me out of my little ruts when I get discouraged. Her faith is what made me move to Whistler and it is what keeps me here. Like I mentioned in a previous blog, I find it difficult to just be without much direction or purpose so I often face doubts as to whether or not this is where I should be right now.
I want to publicly praise Cori for keeping so much faith for me when I lose it, and for believing in, what she likes to call, fate (what I like to call God but our difference of personal spirituality is a whole other story) for doing its job that everything will work out in the end. I see how that faith carries her through the difficult moments she may have with her job and it's the same faith in her that doesn't expect any recognition for what she is doing - she just does it selflessly because it's the right thing to do.
Cors, I wouldn't have wanted to move into this disorganized and scattered temporary life with anyone else in the entire world - not even Riley. You came at the right moment (like always cause God is really rad) and somedays, it's only the faith that you have in me that gets me out of bed in the morning. I wish I could say I have that strength all on my own but I think God is giving it to me... through non-other but you. ♥


the place i'm in

So I know that the tourist-hot-spot, Whistler, is one of those places that, if you've heard anything about it, are Canadian, have visited, and/or ski/snowboard, you've probably, but not certainly, considered how incredible it would be to live here - to be a "local." Not certainly, meaning not everyone who fits into one or more of those categories likes the lifestyle that Whistler has to offer. I, for one, never considered it to be a place I would want to live; it's cold, the party and drug lifestyles are overwhelming, I would miss the ocean, I'm not into skiing or snowboarding... etc.
So whyyyy did I move here? Haaha
Well I think it's because I was meant to. Haven't truly figured out why I was meant to yet and I'm sure I never will. The Big Man Upstairs has interesting and ironic ways of directing us to eventually develop into the person he's designed us to be.
It kinda all started with the creation of my bucket list. I wrote it approximately two years ago and since then, some things have been checked off, such as getting a tattoo, meeting mickey mouse, wearing red lipstick, getting an x-ring... and some other things have been removed from the list out of the fact that I just don't really care to complete them anymore. For example, "Go to Paris and see the Eiffle tower." I'm not so big into Europe tourism at all and I think French people can be quite brutal. I just put it there cause I wrote the list around the same time Lesley went for her visit to Paris so I was being a copy-cat. Umm... jeeze off-topic-Sally here just rambling...
So my bucket list includes: "Live in the mountains and learn to ski or snowboard" and long story short, I basically fell here. Even the day before I moved, having learned that one of my roommates was a pro-snowboarder and that we have snowmobiles in the back yard, I just kinda shrugged and seeing the looks on Riley and Gordy's faces, I suddenly realized I have very little appreciation for what I am about to embark on. It just so happened that Cori and I were both so conveniently able to live here - that things fell into place, so to speak, and so I thought "why not?" I now know why people who move here stay way longer than they plan - it's cause it's freaking unbelievable. Even if you don't have a passion for the culture of "shredding the nar" and/or don't do drugs, this place is still beyond belief. I realized it's because of the people who are here - everyone who lives in Whistler, does so because they want to and for no other reason. Rarely people come to Whistler because their job or their school drags them here. It's quite the opposite - try living here and doing something long-term-productive with your time. It's just not really like that. It's about the spirit of living, and friendship, and doing what you love with the people you love. It's about last-minute decisions, days off, movies and hot chocolate at night, inside jokes, and the freedom to be totally you. I am so unreal corny... But it truly is like a version of Disneyland. A happy place for happy people with a bunch of small, part-time jobs and scattered schedules.
I got three myself: cashier job at Shoppers, promotions job at Tommy Africa's, and a job doing Kokanee Apres.
So now that I'm settled in with jobs and such, my stay here has already increased from 6 weeks to... undetermined. Funny how that happens.
Like I said, I don't know how this adventure fits into the big picture of my life and who knows, maybe it doesn't really do much at all for me in the long haul. But I like to believe every step we take is an important part of the journey even if it feels kind of pointless... like me living here. I have a problem with just letting myself be without much direction so this book I've been reading by Regina Brett gave me some insight (obviously right when I needed it the most... when else?):
It's scary to make major changes, but we usually have enough courage to take the next right step. One small step (paying one months rent here), then another (getting a job), then another (making friends). That's what it takes to raise a child, to get a degree, to write a book, to do whatever it is your heart desires. What's your next right step? Whatever it is, take it.


to love and be loved is the greatest happiness of life.

I can't say that I hated my experience in Vancouver...................

Actually, yes I can: I hated my experience in Vancouver.
Okay to be completely fair, I lived in New Westminster which isn't Vancouver at all but if someone from Nova Scotia asks you "so, where are you living?" when you're living in New Westminster, it's just easier to say "Vancouver" especially considering I only really went to New Westminster to eat, sleep, and pack my lunches for the day.
& also, to say that I hated that experience is not to say that I hate Vancouver... it's a city. Maybe I just don't like cities, right?
& it also must be noted that has nothing to do with some of the wonderful people I was able to get to know while I was there. I consider each one a blessing. But when I wasn't in NewWest eating, sleeping, and packing my lunches for the day, I was studying, and in class, and on the rare occasion, you may have found me enjoying myself at church or getting together with my sister, or a handful of other great people, for coffee. Life went from being people-centered to people-absent. Tragic. Despite having met good people, when I reflect back on the past semester, most of my memories are flooded with sadness. I either couldn't make time for them or I could but I just didn't want to because I was so tired of trying to impress; I was exhausted of feeling like I needed to be somebody... like being myself is no longer good enough. And I'm not going to lie, having moved only a 1.5h drive North of Vancouver to the much smaller community of Whistler, I realize that Kelly was right when she said "from what I've heard, Vancouver is a bit pretentious. I heard you have to have like 7 incredible and unique hobbies for people to be impressed with you."
I hate to say that was the vibe I was getting.
I have to disagree with the people who think I didn't give it enough of a chance. Considering I made it my mission almost every day I was there to just adapt, as Sarah suggested I start doing, I don't think I didn't give it enough of a chance. I think it's that "Vancouver," used as a general term to include the people, the surroundings, the activity, the public transportation, the scenery, the livelihood, etc., really just didn't love me enough. Not that some particular people didn't show me love. Maybe just that I didn't feel like that real me needs freedom to just be... without expectation. I don't like performing for people. I don't like "showy." I like when people bare their emotions and dependance and quest for companionship. Not many people that I encountered in Vancouver did that and I'm living with one of the few right now so it kinda goes to show how important it is to me. I'm sure if I had spent more time with some people, more could have happened in that sense. Hence why I decided to apply to UBC and give it another shot - perhaps a better one. One equiped with the knowledge of what kind of world the city is.
There, I said it. I'm a spoiled brat that wants to be loved wherever she goes. So forgive me for my high expectations, and for being a complete emo, but I'm simply tired of being in a world where expectation is present but love is absent.
I wrote this in a poem my first month back to school for my Senior year at X and it speaks volumes into why this Rena didn't feel great in that Vancouver:
i feel i lose a piece of me
when acknowledgment is absent
i can't explore the inner being
and i end up feeling resentment
i try to change the shape i am
so i can fit into the hole that's been cut for me
but nothing about this hole
truly lets me see
the deeper version of me
begging to be free
begging to be seen
eye to eye
nose to nose
toe to toe
heart to heart

Love is the air I breathe, and moving to Vancouver & feeling deprived of it made me realize how vital it is in my life.
So there.
Take it as you will. I know there are people who read my blog and understand me and there are people who don't and the latter are probably so annoyed that I think I have the right to boast about this secret inside of me. It's like when I tried reading "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle and he started his book with all these things that make you feel as though understanding his philosophy is your express pass to this exclusive group. Well... I didn't understand his philosophy at all so it just annoyed me that he thought he was better than me.
I don't think I have some sort of secret that everyone deep-down desires. I know some people are quite content where they are. I know that my deep emotional side can also be detrimental in my life (hence my bad experience with living in a big city of nameless faces deprived of potential love). I just needed to publicly acknowledge the probable explanations for my negative experience with a city that is reportedly one of the top 10 best cities in the world to live in. It's either that or sit here in confusion like I have been: "What am I missing here?"


new-year hype.

I'm so sorry but I have a real problem with the hype revolving around a new year. Hear me out... I tried taking a good attitude this year about it. I had plans to do the whole dress-up-&-go-out thing with my LOVES in Halifax but fate took a twist and I ended up in Calgary (pause: Riley was in a snowboarding accident - could have been brutally bad and was for a few days but god is pretty awesome & riley is doing just fine now walking with a cane & waiting for a routine brain surgery sometime closer to the summer).
So I'm not saying I don't like an excuse to dress up all pretty and take pictures with the people I love the most and dance the night away and shout "HAPPY NEW YEAR" in sync with everyone. I think that part is really quite special but I also think it demonstrates our society's need for social bonding because the fact is, when you wake up on January 1st, nothing has changed. People with sick relatives wake up and their relatives are still sick, that application you had to write is still due, and the fight you had with your boyfriend didn't magically disappear (luckily Riley and I avoided fighting since I got here despite his major uncomfortability and my bratiness about not being at home - but I'm just speaking in general terms here).
It's not that I'm not totally enlightened by all the life-changing status updates about beginning 2011 [insert sarcasm], it's just that I don't see the difference between beginning a new year and beginning a new day. If it actually changed something other than the calendar on your wall, I may be convinced it's worth spending that $50 on the ticket to that thing you went to (and totally don't remember). Like I said, I'm not saying I don't buy into the hype: I'm just questioning the legitimacy of it all when, at the end of the day, everything remains and the pressure to change on January 1st is too great for most people to even flinch.
I had to buy a new journal (because my old one became tiresome) & my first entry was December 18th. I actually gave it a title, which is totally embarrassing - fresh start.
"Don't we always say that this year we're going to be better than the last? We use January 1st as some sort of fresh start or reconciliation for our past mistakes . As if starting this journal, or a new work-out plan, etc., on January 1st, as opposed to December 18th or March 7th or June 28th, is going to make it easier for me to commit to it... I really don't need a Jan 1st to feel like I'm getting a FRESH START - all I need is the sun to rise, and the confidence that I've been made right to know I can do all things through the strength I've been given"
I am SUCH a debbie downer right now and I'm totally aware of that. It's not that I don't think people should make new years resolutions. I just think that January 1st shouldn't be given so much credit. It's a socially constructed notion of a new beginning that doesn't actually exist. If you want a new beginning, you don't even have to go to sleep and wait for the sun to rise. Where you are in your life is an ideal condition for change.
How relieving.