Right in front of my eyes

Hmmm....how to start this without sounding like a crazy.

Well....I've always been...sensitive. Emotional. Unpredictable. My feelings are strong & uplifting like an air balloon ride or drown me like the fly in my drink. 

At some point in my life, I made sure that I was SOOooo busy (work, training for some race, school, socializing, etc, etc), that I didn't leave any room for my feelings. This technique worked SO awesome, until it didn't. 

I have been on anti-depressants the majority of my life (and have no shame in telling you - finally), but something was out of wack. Long story short, pills weren't working, therapy wasn't working, personal development wasn't working... and VERY long story long, things are now....starting to work out. 

Maybe it came with age, maybe it came after years and years working on my problems and myself...who cares. Things are changing faster than I can keep up with. 

But...I'm haven't allowed myself to experience joy the way that I used to. 

I have continually kept comparing myself to the "Nicole of 2008", or "Nicole of 2010".. but I'll share a little secret with you. It's 2018. If I had stayed the same....well, that wouldn't be very good. Everything changes, everyone changes, and all I can do is just hope that the people in my lifeaccept me for who I am today.... and if not, well, it's been nice to know you, but I've got shit to do. 

So no more comparing. (Ok, *trying* to not compare...it's a process). 

I sat for awhile on Saturday, trying to think of a list of things I can do that bring me joy. I couldn't think of anything. Nothing....created that spark. I felt guilty. 

But then I stopped feeling guilty. Why don't I take a risk and try....ice skating? Maybe I'll fall in love with skating (unlikely). There's something out there that I love. I just have to find it. 

Or...even better...

I just have to see what's in front of me.

Completely random moments. That were joyful. That passed through my sieve of a brain once I had a bad day. 

Yeah - for sure I need to work to create more moments of joy - but I need to learn to see those joyful moments when they arise. 

I know it sounds like I'm thinking too much. Analyzing the crap out of this. But...that's how my brain works. All of the melancholy or shitty moments....they don't add up to the funny, fun, or joyful moments...I just let them overpower those memories. 

I am obsessed with one line of a poem I read (it was pure coincidence - don't think I'm some smart chick who started reading poetry...the last time I read a poem prior to this was in school...). 

We must risk delight.
We can do without pleasure,
but not delight.
Not enjoyment.
We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world. 
Jack Gilbert

Basically - the world is rough out there. We gotta take the challenges and keep pushing through them, cause shit's going to go down no matter what. We can focus on the moments of joy and keep striving for them - or we can accept mediocracy. 

I've experienced a deep, long depression, with little respite. It might happen again before I die. But until then, I need to keep taking the risks....so I can experience their outcome. And quit focusing on what wasn't. What isn't. And what may not be. 

Year of the Great 38

Hey there. Rememeber me? I used to the girl with a jet setting life, travelling the globe… then adjusting to life in another province – which may as well be another country, and then…I just stopped posting. I mean, who wants to read about my life now? Most importantly….do I really want to spend the time to write about my life….now?!?

A divorcee with her little dog… a boyfriend that she can’t quite decide what to make of…travelling to crappy places only for work…boring job….little payback….yeah….I REALLY want to spend the time and write about that life…

I’ve written about it here and there – but 2017 was Year of the Shit. I’m ask the Chinese that the Year of the Shit to be included in the updated Chinese calendar….but they won’t write back to me….

The Shit
  1. Depression
  2. New job
  3. Family Stress (like, worrying for 2 people’s lives)

I think the three issues do-see-do’ed around the year, repeating some sick dance sequence that made for twelve months of roller coasters, meltdowns, and some pretty big low moments. 

Then, I took a break from it all. I went back to Alberta. I stayed at a very close friend’s place, 50km away from the “city”, with chickens and dogs and the quiet and isolation that comes with living that country life. 

My friends SPOILED me. Gave me alone time. Time to catch up. Cooked meals for me… I just took it all in. I saw my family. A few of my friends. I slept, I rested, I just….took it easy. The freezing temperatures helped keep me from senseless errands and while I didn’t get to see as many people as I had hoped to – I loved having that time.

I came back to Montreal rested and with a different mindset. 2018 is the Great Year of 38 (I just turned 38). This year, I will learn acceptance while living my life (instead of breaking my brain trying to find ways to cope….first I will accept). I will let that shit go. The small stuff. The stuff that won’t matter when I’m 90. Look, it’s a work in progress. It’s not a New Year’s Resolution – it’s my life’s goals. Maybe this is the part that comes to people when they approach 40. Who knows. Another “goal” is to do things that bring more joy to my life. The broken ankle, the depression….it’s kept me from doing so many things. So I am doing something every weekend and starting some kind of activity on Wednesday nights to replace choir. I am going to (once again) try to find a volunteer teaching experience similar to the one I had in Edmonton.

Look, I still fall apart. My emotions have the same intensity as they always did….but their frequency and duration are different….and so are my coping skills. But things are moving and small changes are adding up to big ones. 

So - yes, 2017 was the Year of the Shit, but 2018 is the Year of the Great 38! 


Holiday plans

Still no passport, but I'm studying for an exam (on Monday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and then I'll take care of things. My mom's partner even offered to pay for it (which I gratefully accepted ...'cause...well..things are tight around here).

Today I took this creature to the airport. She has since learned that the airport is a very fun place and there is always something exciting happening there.

She has no idea who she is waiting for, so she randomly decides on a few people and goes up to them like she hasn't seen them in five years....even though she's never met them before. It makes my heart happy...because I like to think what it would be like if that was my greeting when I came home after a long week away. 

Airports cause me stress. And bring me a lot of memories.

Back to life when travelling was even MORE than it is now...flying 15000 km instead of 4000km or even 1000km... 

It was an amazing time in my life....but it brings back memories that...are still bittersweet. 

My very first New Year's Eve in Quebec. It was...pretty magical. Maggie, me, the girls, and my ex-husband went to his mother's house where we met the entire family. Everyone was merry, even I was drinking some vodka and cranberry - sneaking the girls a little capful and laughing. I ate traditional ragu, double kissing everyone multiple times on the cheek (this was still very new to me and weird because in Alberta there is NO kissing on the cheek an in Madagascar it's three times). 

After we our meal, dessert, and a cheese plate, I was in the kitchen with my mother-in-law (who is around my grandmother's age), and my...well, neice, who at the time was maybe 24 years old but seemed much older. I remember one moment my kind, loving mother-in-law asking if I wanted kids and I said yes, without hesitation... 

I loved the family dynamics, I loved the laughter, I loved the younger kids running around, I felt so complete. I had a family in Quebec. Another in Alberta. Another in Madagascar. Everything felt simple. 

I'm sure that everything wasn't as perfect as I remember. Life never is. But I think of times today. While I would love to see any of my....ex-Quebec family, it doesn't work that way. The family in Madagascar has changed into some amazing friends spread across the world. The family in Alberta has gotten smaller by two, but INCREASED by two amazing little children. But we are tense right now worried about two people in cancer treatment and one friend of the family on her last days. Things are going as well as they can, but it's a different kind of stress that we all try to understand but can't possibly, because it's just a weird thing. 

And me, in Montreal. With Maggie. I think about the girls quite often....since I watched them develop into beautiful women....but this will be my second Christmas without them, or their dad, who held a part of my heart....and randomly appears in my dreams from time to time. We aren't in contact and every so often, I wish him well in my thoughts, praying he is healthy and happy. Sometimes wishing I had read a book on how to divorce in hopes that ours would have went better. 

I guess the holidays are often emotional. I'm happy this year to be spending mine in Edmonton, staying with a friend, in the peaceful, quiet, "country". 

Which I need. Cause my nerves are a little fried and my brain is pretty tired. I need to be around some English speakers to get my vocabulary back. And just chill out a bit.  

Loving the Canada life.

This face says it all. (Don't you love when you act like a 101 year old with your cell phone and end up taking a picture of yourself instead of what's in front of you?).

I am tired, tired, tired. 

The plan begins when I decide to take an uber from my house around 17h00 to the airport on Sunday night. Last Sunday night. 

The day starts as planned, get my nails done (they were long overdue), and then do a few errands, come home and finish packing my suitcase, and at 16h00, start my workout. I am a little compulsive with my pre-airport routine even though it causes me mega stress.

I have to work out RIGHT before leaving and take a shower at the very last minute possible. This always means I’m on the way to my airport sweaty or freezing (depending on how hard my workout was and how hot my shower was), usually brushing my hair, and organizing my purse/carry-on or taking care of some last minute booking. Before I started taking a car to the airport, I drove myself and that was even worse!

So, arrive, check-in, get some water and sit and have ONE drink. ONE DRINK. (Oh, and cold medicine....oops).

Time to board, we arrive at the gate for the airline to tell us that they have reassigned our seats. So I’m no longer sitting next to my coworker, who, let’s be honest, helps me out a lot when it comes to making sure I have all my sh&t with me all of the time. I leave my stuff everywhere. I have since I was a child. I'm not saying that's an excuse, but I am just like that. k? I’m a forgetful person and right now I’m pretty much in PEAK stress with some stuff going on around me. Coworker comes in handy quite often in this area.

So now I’m sitting next to some random guy, who doesn’t smell great. I have all of my stuff all over the place, so I put my passport in the front pocket of the seat in front of me.
And then proceed to fall into the deepest sleep of my life. I haven’t been sleeping soundly at night for oh….two or three months, so I’m tired (working on this in many ways, don’t worry).

We land, I’m groggy. I get my things and get off the airplane, walk 15 steps, stop, remember that I don’t have my passport, and then go back and try to get on the plane. Nope. Against the rules. Not allowed back on this little plane (it’s one of those ones that you climb the stair onto the tarmack. The airline checked and said that they couldn’t find it….but I KNOW IT WAS THERE, but…they wouldn’t let me on, so silly me thought that hey, the cleaning crew will find it and they’ll call me later.

Later – they didn’t find it.
Later – they didn’t call me.
Later – I called the airline, the airport, and twelve other numbers or so to try and get my passport.

It wasn’t found.

I called the consulate to find out what to do – there wasn’t a consulate in the city that I had landed in, but there was one in the city I was flying to late Wednesday night. But no matter which open I took that they offered me, I wasn’t guaranteed a passport or a way out of the US.

However, if you enter into Canada as a Canadian citizen, you don’t need a passport (let’s hope that this statement is really true…I have my doubts).

So, I decided that I would drive to Toronto and then stay there for the weekend, using all of my fidelity points to book a hotel room, since I need to study my ass off anyways.

My brain was fried….and it was only Monday afternoon.

Monday evening, we went to Walmart (cause they are way better in the USA) and I had to buy a few toiletries because I forgot a crapload of stuff. Like A HAIRBRUSH. I had to finger brush my hair Monday morning, so I’m sure I looked smokin’.

We came out of the store; I got into the car, and drove onto the curb, thinking there was nothing there. Thankfully, there was no one around me, so I could just back up and not cause some kind of scene.

Monday night I went to work out, then I called my mom, cried a lot, and then we had supper. 

Crying, tired, and it's only a Monday

Thank god for workouts….I think they are the only thing that is saving me this week….other than the very good nature of my co-worker, who laughs with me instead of at me. Or maybe a bit of both. But they key word is “laugh” instead of “getting so freaking annoyed at me”.

So, we spend the next few days just outside of Philidelphia. I’m trying to act cool and normal….even though I’m exhausted, I’m worried that I don’t have a passport, and I’m….stressed.

We took an hour or so to explore downtown Philly, we seriously never do anything fun while we travel, so it was nice to explore a bit!
Obligatory Philly Cheesesteak. Not my thing but hey, bucket list. 

and...while travelling...if there's a homeless person sitting nearby....why not ask if they'd like a cheesesteak too? You never know what their story is. 

We leave Wednesday night to Detroit and arrive very late. We drive to the Westin and try to check in. It looks like an awesome hotel.

Guess what? We don’t have a reservation there. How is that possible?

I check my records. Oh. That’s right. We booked the BEST WESTERN. Not the Westin.

And the difference between the two, in case you live under a rock and aren’t familiar, is A LOT.

Said co-worker laughs. A lot. And then we drive to our sh&tty hotel.

It’s nearly 23h00, we are tired, I am exhausted, and check-in takes something like 20 minutes…and when I finally arrive to gross, run down, wall-to-wall carpeted hotel room, the key card won’t work. So downstairs I go again.

Finally, I’m in my room, and my co-worker is in the room next to me. And we can literally hear each other walking/breathing/talking…. There is zero privacy. Like we can clearly hear what the other is saying on the phone. Seriously.

I was giddy with laughter because it just seemed like too much.  I felt like I was ten years old and having a sleepover.  

The next morning, my coworker called to tell me he had zero hot water. I am exhausted. I need to get to work, so I go and hide under my covers and I open the adjoining room doors, and then I make sure I’m looking away so that he can sneak into my bathroom to have a shower.

Yes I’m serious.

He had called and tried to get it fixed….or shower in the gym, but nothing seemed to work. Thankfully, we were able to laugh at the situation….but man. What a freaking joke.

This morning? Same routine. I hide under the covers (he says he’s fully covered anyway, but I’m pretty uncomfortable sharing my room with a guy and so I’m giving him extra privacy), he comes in and showers, then leaves, then I get ready.
On the plus side, it’s super easy to let the other know when we’re ready to go because we can talk in a normal volume voice and hear each other perfectly.

What. A freaking. Trip.

So now, if all goes well, I will drop him off at Detroit airport. Drive to Windsor. Cross the border. Fly to Toronto (I decided it was far too much for me to drive to Toronto since I am seriously tired), and then crash hard. Possibly crying tears of joy once I arrive in Canada and once I am at my hotel suite for the weekend.

The ride across the boarder was slightly less dramatic. I had every single boarding pass, hotel receipt so show my way into and around the USA. And they just let me go. Phew. 

I arrived in Windsor, which may be the smallest airport in Canada. I was so looking forward to having a glass (or three) of sparking wine, but I was stuck with this. 
veggies, cheese and fruit, and red wine in a plastic glass. Whatever. it was food and drink. 
I had about three hours to wait in the airport before take off. Didn't realize that I had been rubbing my eyes a lot....

And I fell asleep in a very tiny airplane. Haven't been in one that since since I flew in Mada.

I arrived safe and sound in Toronto. The hotel was beautiful and my suite had a washer and dryer. I wish I was there now. Sleeping.

Saturday (after a very long and active day - my BF also got stranded in Toronto for 24 hours! Thank you Air Canada!), I walked around downtown. It was bumpin!!!

Eaton Center was open until 21h30 so I walked around until my feet were too sore. 

Doesn't it look like these reindeer are getting a little freaky???

So now, I'm back at the office. Day 2 of 5. I'm exhausted. Emotional. Sick of travelling. And kind of wish I had the dog cause honestly, she provides me with lots of laughs but doesn't talk as much as my co-worker. I'm getting a little tired of.....well, talking.

Once I'm back in Montreal....I'll get the new passport. I'll put on some makeup this time so I don't look like a serial killer.

And...hopefully will post later this week regarding some TO adventures.

Life is never boring. 

4 years ago today.

Not even sure I was back to Canadian resident status... came back after a very impromtu vacation to Morocco and the Canary Islands. I had planned on staying in Tennerife....but after a huge meltdown my friends convinced me to head back to Canada.

I lived with my cousin and his wife. In their basement. I took care of their dog, who gave me some soulful therapy. Miss that crazy dog. 

I was so nervous to be with all of my family during Thanksgiving as it was my first family event post-breakup #1 (remember...my ex and I got back together the following January....). I didn't want to talk about anything about the breakup. I was scared if anyone said something that I would just fall apart. 

Everything went perfect. I was with my family again. 

I just can't figure out how that was only four years ago....and not ten...or fifteen.. 

I miss my grandpa every.single.day. 

It's a Small World

Wow, two posts in as many days!

It's Thanksgiving weekend and I have zero plans and I'm not too terribly concerned... For me, Thanksgiving exists in Edmonton and nowhere else.

BUT, my Edmonton Thanksgiving table isn't doing so well. One JUST had a foot operation and has a horrible cough, another is undergoing cancer treatments, another had gallbladder surgery, and they all have been helping each other during this stressful time.

My mom & co is in Vancouver....

So what's a girl to do?

Collude with my ma and send over a pre-made Thanksgiving dinner to Gram's house, of course! We split the cost of a thanksgiving dinner including: roast chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, stuffing, gravy, rolls, and my cousin is baking a pie!

While I don't usually have the funds to play Oprah, it wasn't terribly expensive, I had just finished rolling all of my coins, and I only paid for half thanks to my mom....so it wasn't a burden of any kind, and I'm just happy that I can do something from far away.

So thankful for the family that I have. We may not always be close. We may not always get along. But we are always there for one another.

Very thankful for that.


Happy Thanksgiving!