What I Put My Umbrella Through

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I’m adjusting to London Life pretty well, I think. And aside from the fact that I’ve developed a cold which I attribute to the constant damp that surrounds me, I’ve almost gotten used to the rain. It’s interesting, living in a city where no matter how cold it is, it’s considered a beautiful day as long as you can see the sky. (Although cold for me is relative here, considering how much snow I’ve left back in Canada.)

Before I left Canada I had a beautiful yellow umbrella that was given to me by a friend and I cherished it. I left it at home, because I am not that smart. Luckily, I was also given a wonderful black umbrella at my going away party. It was perfect; it fit in my purse, it had a little flippy button, and I blended in perfectly with the black umbrella masses. This is what happened to it.

First day in London: I love my black umbrella. I can’t wait until I finally get to use it!

Day 2: Still no rain

Day 3: Getting tired of carrying the stupid heavy thing around with me if I don’t ever get to use it.

Day 4: Finally some rain! Have carefully folded umbrella back into its case after letting it dry

Day 7: No longer care about folding umbrella. Is probably getting moldy because I don’t care about letting it dry either.

Week two, Day 12: Umbrella has let me down several times due to wind. Umbrellas clearly useless against gale-like forces.

Day 14: Carried around stupid umbrella all day but came in useful at end of night.

Day 15: Have left beautiful, magnificent umbrella in a cab yesterday. Has probably been stepped on or worse. Will never see it again. Hope it knows I loved it.

Day 17: Purchased new umbrella from Boots. This one has flowers.

Day 19: New umbrella is tiny but works fine.

Day 25 (today): New umbrella is tiny and of no use to anyone. Hate it. Also flowers are ugly. I miss my yellow umbrella. And my black one.  

I guess I live in London now

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It’s been two weeks. When I finished Blogging Every Day All Year I swore that I would keep up blogging frequently. At least once a week, I told myself. And of course after the New Year I waited two weeks before posting a blog about my emotions and then another two weeks in London and I’m sure you’ve all thought by now that I’ve died or forgotten about you. I promise neither of those things have happened.

I’d like to update you on my life in England. I’d like to tell you all the things I’ve gotten up to in the last two weeks since I’ve moved here. But unfortunately I’m not sure how much there is to tell. My job is fabulous, but it takes a lot of learning, and my commute from Essex is long. I’ve met some fabulous people who make me feel less lonely than I should, really. I have done exactly zero of the touristy London things I wanted to do before I got here. I’ll get to them, I swear.

It’s strange, really, but I haven’t felt that sort of culture shock I was expecting. I mean, the toilets here use a lot more water than the ones in Canada, and the cars drive on the other side of the road so that I have to keep telling myself to look the other way or I’ll get hit by a car, but really everything’s quite… normal.

I think it has to do with having a routine. I get up, I go to work, I come home, I have dinner and chat with my adopted family that has so graciously taken me in, and then I hole up in my room hoping to speak to some people from home. I’m lucky enough to get to talk to my parents often. Even with the time difference, it’s not too hard to talk to people when you have internet.

I’m marvelously happy. I miss people, quite a lot, and there are some things I wish would just figure themselves out already, but I have no complaints. I love London. I’m happy that I feel like I’ve made the right decision, especially with all the up and down emotions leading up to my decision to leave.

I promise that I will blog more.

I promise that I will try to blog more.

Love you all.

Leaving

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It’s been over two weeks since the end of 2013, and tomorrow I begin 2014. These two weeks have been so packed full of trying to get ready to go that I haven’t really focused on the going. Tomorrow I’m going to get on a plane, and then I’m going to go live in another country, all by myself, for a whole year. In these two weeks I’ve tried to fit everything I possibly could into two suitcases, I’ve visited the places I’m going to miss and said a farewell to them, I’ve done the boring things that need to be done before you leave a country, I’ve gotten a reminder of my home etched permanently on myself, and I’ve gone through the goodbyes.

The goodbyes are the hardest. There are some that are still waiting, that I don’t want to face right now. And through all those goodbye’s I’ve teared up but I haven’t really faced the fact that I am leaving. It hasn’t seemed real. And now I’m sitting in my bedroom for the last time in who knows how long, typing on this laptop like I’ve done so many times before, and I can’t help thinking about how everything is going to be different now.

That’s a good thing; I wanted different, that’s part of why I’m leaving. But there is one part of me that is just screaming about how much it wants to stay here. Stay here and watch movies with my best friends. Stay here and play games with my family. Stay here and have sushi with my favourite people in the world.

I’m excited, I am, but I can’t remember what that feels like anymore. I know that there are things I’m looking forward to but I can’t remember what they are. I don’t want to make new friends I like the ones I have. I don’t want to miss the things I’m going to have to miss while I’m gone.

I want to stay here.

But I am not going to. I am going to London tomorrow. I am scared, I am sad, I am nervous, and I am getting on that plane anyway.

 

I wish I could take everything with me though.

One Whole Year :: Beday 365

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It’s been a year. One whole year since I decided to write every day. It’s almost unfathomable for me.

One year ago I was hanging onto the past. I refused to believe that a year had gone by since I finished school and I still didn’t have the career I had expected to just run into purely by accident. I missed Flight Centre and was still holding on to every hope that I would get to work there for real. I was terrified of the future, and so I let things drift by me thinking that everything would work out for itself if I left it alone.

Now, I’m taking the future and telling it to go by my rules. I’m following through on a dream that I’ve had for over five years and never thought I would have the guts to follow through on. I’m twenty four and terrified of everything but doing it anyway. I’m stronger (mentally, physically I am fatter and slower but that comes with age so not complaining), and happier, possibly more well-adjusted than last year.

I can’t believe I succeeded in this crazy, ridiculous, completely impossible goal of mine. One blog every day for one whole year. Even with the two grace days per month (which I am so insanely grateful for as they kept me from losing my mind) that’s three hundred and forty one blogs in one year.

I’ve blogged through anxiety, through stress, through death, and heartbreak, through four different seasons, and twelve months of internet things, through all the good times, the music, the memories, the travel, the best summer ever, and the best friends ever.

This year may have turned out exactly the same if I hadn’t blogged through it, but I don’t think I could have coped with it as well as I have, and I certainly wouldn’t have as grand a reminder of all the wonderful things that have happened. I am so so thankful to every one of you who have read along with my year. Thank you for commenting, and for considering commenting, and for mentioning my blog in conversation. Thank you to all the internet people who I’ve never met but are still here reading, I think you’re all fascinating and hope to meet you in real life one day. Thanks to my friends who coped with my interrupting nights of fun to write a blog on my phone, and thanks to my family who constantly copes with my leaving my laptop in inconvenient places all over the house.

I’m going to continue to blog next year, of course. (Not every day, I am not that crazy.) Next year will be different, and exciting, and scary, and I am so so so looking forward to it.

Turning Point :: Beday 364

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My brother is leaving tomorrow morning to visit my sister in Uganda. Though I know I’ll see him once more before I leave for England I can’t help but feel like tonight was our last night to spend together. I’m glad we got to sit and play video games just like old times, and I’m glad he was there to hug me and comfort me during my tiny freak out this morning.

It’s hard not to think of my leaving as final. I know I will be coming back in a year, and I will come to visit even before that, but there are so many things I don’t know about what’s to come. I know I will change but I don’t know how I will be different. I know I will come back but I don’t know what my life will be like when I return.

My move is a turning point in my life. Almost unintentionally I seem to be pushing my life forward in the direction I want to be going in. I’m excited, I’m so thrilled, but I’m sad and terrified and right now I don’t know which emotions are stronger.

I’m going to miss my brother a whole heck of a lot. I’ll miss everyone, but right now I’m sad I can’t put him in my pocket and take him with me.

Nudity in Films – Guest Blog :: Beday 363

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The time has come for the final guest blog of the year. The honour has been reserved for my friend Sal; who, along with being a nurse, and my friend for over eighteen years, has developed into somewhat of a film critic. While I can’t say I’m as great at looking at films in a more specific way of whether I liked it or not (the one film analysis class I took in college broke me) I can say that Sal’s opinions on film may rival those of the late great Roger Ebert, rest his soul. Sal’s written a piece on nudity in films, so I will leave it to her.

 

I want to start off by saying that generally, I’m not too concerned about nudity in movies/tv shows. One sex scene here and there, or a scene where non-sexual nudity actually has a purpose (more on that later)- maybe not completely necessary, but whatever. For me, the problem is when it goes beyond that. Sometimes, way beyond that.
Now, before you start labelling me as a prude and accusing me of being afraid of a natural human body, let me inform you that I am a nurse. I have bathed patients since I had a co-op placement in a nursing home at 17, and I have inserted catheters in men and women as part of my job. I assure you, I am not afraid of the human body.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll continue. I’m well aware that nudity is often shown to portray that character’s vulnerability- especially in movies. One example of this is the movie Babel, where there are full-frontal shots of a deaf girl who sleeps around because of the neglect she receives from home and the bullying she receives at school.

Other times nudity is shown during a sex scene. While sex scenes can be shot without nudity, it’s not really a big deal if there’s a brief shot, it obviously gives the scene more realism. This, I don’t really care about.

On to what I am uncomfortable with. To me, the movie The Reader (where Kate Winslet *finally* won an Oscar) is a very good example of this. Much of the nudity in the movie was unnecessary and excessive. Part of it was necessity to a point, as there are important post-coital scenes between the two leads where they are both naked. This I understand and had no issue with. However, there also many unnecessary sex scenes (we get it! They were having an affair!), and a scene where Kate Winslet’s character, after swimming in a river, stands up and we see a completely unnecessary shot of her breasts. It added absolutely nothing to the scene of the movie.

I also want to discuss the show Game of Thrones. Having read the (first three) books, I’m well aware that there are a lot of sex scenes, and that brothels and prostitutes play a minor part in the story. However, much of the first season had several sex scenes and one of the, um, participants would be explaining some kind of backstory or exposition that was important to the story. This became so common on the show that when there was finally an exposition scene without sex or nudity, people (critics) noticed and practically thanked the writers. This was because those earlier scenes made them think the writers underestimated the audience and couldn’t pay attention to an exposition scene without nudity. I was glad that they finally realized this wasn’t the case, and was actually more distracting than helpful.

Sex and nudity can be shown in movies and TV in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons. A recent article in Entertainment Weekly revealed that sex and nudity are starting to become more rare in Hollywood. This is a trend, despite my comfort with the human body and tolerance for short sex scenes, I wholeheartedly approve. It shows that gratuitous sex/nudity are rarely necessary to advance a story or a scene, and I believe we are better for it.

 

Great thanks to Sal for her opinion piece! You may find her on twitter at @saldsouza if you would like to hear more of them.

In a Shell :: Beday 362

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I watched this video at work today and just started crying right there over the towels I was folding.

I used to be that person. The one in a shell. Painfully shy.

Just like Harry, theatre was one of the things that helped to break that shell. But I can’t help feeling like if I had this video back then I might have chiselled my way out of it sooner.

I think about how I was back then and I feel like in a way my shell was necessary, just as Ze Frank narrates, but I hid in that shell far longer than I needed to.

And now, I’m thriving. I’m the kind of person who loves people and social interaction, and I’m brave and fun and exciting. I’m moving to a new country just because I want to.

I’m leaving my shell behind.

Days Like Today :: Beday 361

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Days like today make me realize how much I’m looking forward to moving and starting new things.

Days like today make me want to stay here forever and never leave.

Days like today make me want to hold onto my best friend and never let go.

Days like today make me wish I weren’t still waiting for things to happen.

Days like today are confusing and complicated.

Days like today are frustrating and exhilarating.

Days like today don’t make sense in my head but they meld together to form a mostly happy ball of emotions.

Days like today leave me tired and trying to write crappy poetry.

Christmas Feelings :: Beday 360

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I am aware that Christmas was yesterday, but my family celebrated Christmas today. Now I am feeling exhausted and spoiled and oh so happy and oh so loved.

I love Christmas. I love the eating and the games and the inside jokes and the looks on people’s faces when they get the perfect gift, and the inevitability of one of us ending up crying not out of sadness but out of joy or gratefulness or the inability to process such a large amount of emotion at once. I love being together.

Right now it seems like all of my happy emotions are tinged with a hint of sadness at my leaving, but I’ve chosen for now to ignore that, and focus on the happy.

Merry Christmas. I love you all.

Merry Christmas Songs :: Beday 359

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Merry Christmas to all of you darling readers who celebrate Christmas. And to those of you who don’t, happy Wednesday, you may not find this blog super interesting, but I am glad you are here anyway.

Christmas Songs are a necessity at this time of year it seems, and sometimes I get tired of the songs they play over and over on the radio, but when it’s done right, I am usually happily singing along and no one can stop me. I’ve comprised a playlist for you my dears today on Christmas, of some of my favourite Christmas songs. You can listen to it here

1. Charlie Brown Christmas Dance 

This song just starts off every Christmas playlist in my mind. I just want to dance around to it.

2. The Beach Boys – Little Saint Nick

I like this song because I don’t hear it that often, I think if I heard it all the time I might get tired of it, but the original Beach Boys version is so boppy and fun!

3. Angels We Have Heard on High – David Crowder Band

This is by far my favourite version of this song. Even if you’re not as inclined to bluegrass as I am, I challenge you to find a fault with this song.

4. Mary’s Boy Child/Oh My Lord – Boney M

It’s just so festive and fun to sing! Plus it’s common enough that you know the words, but not so common that it’s on the radio every single day since November 1st.

5. Christmas Eve/Sarajevo – Trans-Siberian Orchestra

I actually like this one a lot more than the Carol of the Bells with words, plus I absolutely adore God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, and there is no good cover of that song anywhere ever.

6. Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth – Bing Crosy & David Bowie

Oh this is just beautiful. David Bowie has the voice of an angel in this song. I mean, in most songs, but this one especially, and Bing Crosby’s voice is the perfect pairing with it.

7. If I Get Home on Christmas Day – Elvis Presley

I really wanted an Elvis song on here, but I hate Blue Christmas almost as much as my Dad hates Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire. And this song is just so melodic and beautiful.

8. Do You Hear What I Hear – Third Day

I had a really hard time picking my favourite song off of Third Day’s Christmas album. It is brilliant and this song is so good.

9. Silent Night/Away in a Manger – Relient K

I didn’t realize until I got to the end of this list that apparently I really like Christmas songs that meld together. What can I say, I get tired of the usual.

Merry Christmas everyone, I love you all so much

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