Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yearly Newsletter

So, about once a year (or so), i am ambitious enough to write a newsletter. Here is the 2009 version! hope you enjoy!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Photos

I snuck the camera, and got a shot with the tree :)

My Uncle (Mum's younger brother) and I.

One of the centre pieces at our dinner table... my aunt sure knows how to make it beautiful!

Apparently, there have been about 3 million of these pairs of Vancouver 2010 mittens sold.
There were 4 that turned up in the Patterson household this Christmas. My cousin, Nicole, and I

The Christmas tree, with all the presents gone.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Video!

Hi All... in the mode of the season, I thought that i would put a bit more effort into my post today.

A little video for you. enjoy!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

christmas smells and relaxed days

I think that is exactly what christmas is supposed to be about.

I am currently in Mississauga, ON. which, is a every present western suburb of Toronto. If you are reading, and you are Canadian, you know that going to Toronto for christmas is not necessarily what everyone wants to do. I have even had a sympathetic "oh. i'm sorry." statement. THat is... unless, of course, you are *from* toronto. Then, it is the only place you want to be! ohhhh, the irony of being Canadian, and your opinion about Toronto.

But, to me, right now, it is pretty much P.E.R.F.E.C.T. this is the first time in years that I have spent christmas with family. And, this is a family of which I have not maybe *Ever* spent christmas with. And, can they do christmas. I am sitting beside a wonderfully smelling, decorated tree, and, downstairs my cousin is wrapping presents in the kitchen (i am already done!), and my aunt is baking cookings, and cooking meals for tomorrow.

It is such a relief to not have to do anything. I have no schedule, no work to do (well, hardly any work), and no one that I have to see. I just do what I want to do, and I relax. and I watch movies. And, i write letters. And, I work out. and, I eat. and i breathe a sigh of relaxation of having nothing to stress about.

It is kinda neat, because this year, my family on this side has had a large amount of "coming" together, when it has not happened like this before. I am out east, so I get to spend time with the pattersons. My cousin (who is here), got into law school in Edmonton, so she is living at a house which is owned by our other cousin, and gets to see him more often (which is the part of the family that she has not seen much over lifetime, but, I have). so, these [re]connections are being made throughout our family. which is really nice.

two things which are happening during this week, though, which I have had to just laugh about.
1) I am eating meat. probably will be consistantly over the next two weeks, while here. how, if you know, I am a mostly vegetarian. but, since I don't like to be a big hassell when other people are cooking for me: meat, i will eat. we shall see how it goes... ha ha! all I gotta say is that my GI defininitely feels a little different...
2) I don't have my bike here. So, I am limited to what I am "allowed" to do in the house. I can ride my uncle's bike. but, apparently, not until after christmas eve. because my Aunt doesn't want smelly sweat workouts downstairs until *after* christmas. (which, is *totally* understandable.)

love it. love christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

TMI kids...

so, I would just like to make a comment...
remember how a few days ago, i was missing my Teen Missions Team kids?

well, still kinda at that point. and, i just watched a video of two of them... here it is. it just shows you how awesome, and hilarious, they are. boys will be boys!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

i was just thinking...

about so many things...

about the things that have happened this past week.
about poverty.
about what i like about triathlon.
about christmas events and the current advent season and the feeling in the air...

Earlier this week, I had the unfortunate occurrence of having my wallet, apartment keys and cell phone stolen out of my pocket. Even more unfortunate, it was at a place where things are meant to be safe. A place where people should be able to relax, and not be worried about things going missing, or whatnot. and, this is the second time that something of mine has been stolen at church. and, it is quite ironic. but, i choose to go to churches that have outreaches to individuals who are of lower income, individuals who may be homeless, individuals who live in poverty.

and, i have been dealing with poverty on a number of different levels recently, but, this incident got me thinking about a few things.... not as much of the *Causes* of poverty, but what effects poverty causes... things like decreases health, and lack of attainable education, and a drive towards addiction, and lack of access to adequate housing.
but, beyond those things, how poverty can make someone feel scared.unwanted.desperate.

was i upset about getting my things stolen?
of course.
am i worried about "identity theft" in the future? well, maybe. i mean, yeah. it is in the back of my head.
am i ticked off that this is the second major theft that I have had at church? definitely. it stings a bit.
am i angry at the individual who did it?

no. not really. i am angry at the things that drove him/her to do it. and, i am incredibly saddened that they felt so desperate that they had to be driven to steal from someone that they know.

it also has tainted a few opinions i have. I mean, i try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I try to think 1st: no, it was me. I mis-placed it. then, when i know i haven't that: "well, obviously these people need it more than me. maybe they will buy groceries."

but, then when they travel down (using my bus tickets...) to the local liquor store, and then charge up 50$ worth of alcohol on my visa... well... really. 'comon. you are definitely living up to stereotypes that people place upon you. but, jokes on you: you just stole from the poorest, non-homeless person in the city! ;)

but, remember: the poor. the homeless. the desperate. they are always with us. and, they aren't just in africa or asia, or in the slums. open your eyes. they are all around you, and know that sometimes, they don't necessarily look like you think they do.
and, i will return to that church. And, i will return to the church in vancouver where my computer was stolen last may. Because, i will not let anyone, physical or spiritual, discourage me from sharing meals with the homeless.

on a much lighter note:

it is coooooold outside. and it is wintery. and when I breathe, my boogers freeze. and, when i blink, sometimes i feel like my eyes are going to freeze shut.

but, yet, i run. :)

because, it *is* beautiful. this morning when running, i got plenty of sun. I saw people that have become recognizable during my saturday morning runs. I like how in the park, there is music playing around the area where there is a outdoor skating rink. i like how in that same park, they *plow* tobogganing routes down the hill.

during my run this morning around the park, and I got thinking about the crazy things we do as athletes. and, also the reasons why i like training for triathlon.

some of the crazy things that I, or other people I know, do in the name of sport:
  • wake up at obscene times of the morning. like 4:30 am.
  • in those insane times of the morning, and we know that if we try to call each other, it isn't like the other person will be sleeping.
  • we do *a lot* of laundry.
  • we brave the frigid air bundled up with numerous layers, and balaclavas around our faces, in order to not go on a treadmill. or, alternatively, we run outside in shorts, when there is snow on the ground.
  • we towel ourselves off like we just got out of the pool, after we have been sitting on a bike in our house for an extended period of time.
  • sometimes we exercise for periods much longer than 2hours at a time. in fact: we celebrate if our day only has 2 hours of exercise in it.
  • we spend a lot of money on athletics. think about it. we pay for 3 sports, not just one.
  • we prefer to date people who go to sleep at 9:30. that means that they will understand our schedule better.
  • we eat all the time.
some of the things I like about training:
  • it makes running the 10 blocks to the metro much easier when i miss the bus in the morning.
  • it allows me to watch t.v or movies when otherwise i would not have the time, thanks to setting up my computer in front of my bike when training (today on the schedule? Ice Age 3!)
  • i get to eat all the time.
  • racing allows me to take fun trips: i have raced in Amman, jordan (my first 1/2 marathon, 2007), LA (a 1st place athena finish at the olympic distance in 2008), and New Orleans (my first 70.3, april 2009). i have also traveled with rowing, all across north america.
  • i get to wear really tacky outfits when outside, with the excuse that I have to be warm, and layer up.
  • it makes me a better student. i can concentrate better, and release the exam stress by working out.
  • sometimes, i get to sleep for 12 hours straight (like, for instance, last night!)
  • my training, and my racing, inspires other people.
so, that is about it for now. I am sure that the next time that I post, I will be in Missisauga for the holidays. yeehaw! (oh yeah. and, i'm not sure if you got it. but, i am not in new york state. scheduling just didn't work out. oh well. no worries. instead, a nice relaxed weekend at home catching up on a lot of things!)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

ready for a holiday!

believe you me. I am ready to split from this town for a few days.

This week has been unbelievably unbeliveable. Let's just say that irony has shown its ugly head, and I was not happy about it. At any rate, I look forward to leaving on *friday*

plan is:
go to syracuse on friday. see my friend from college, Daniel Van Vliet, and his wife nicole, and their son who I have never met.
hop a bus on saturday to Rochester. go see my coach!
then: get my fat pinched, and my run video recorded, and my swim looked at, and my bike speed tested. and, a "meet the team" run on sunday morning.
then: monday bus to toronto.
and bask in family love!

woo! all of that makes me excited just to think about! :)
and.... i got my garmin back in the mail today. yesssssss! Heart rate monitoring, you and i are back in the game!

so, things are okay today. but, just okay. and, i am okay with okay. because it is a lot better than really *hitty. which have been the way things have been in the last few days.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

went out last night with the nursing girls, and this was just as we were leaving.
i thought it was the *only* good photo of me in the whole night.


So, I am working on something right now for the kids that I went to Haiti with. For some reason, I have been missing them a lot recently. Taking this saturday to relax, to work out, and to catch up on things that I have been putting off during exams.

It is a beautiful sunny, snowy, and *cold* day out there. but, one of those days that you just feel happy to wake up too.

It is amazing, because I remember when I had returned from my first trips with Teen Missions interational to Africa, and how long it took for me not to think of those trips from a day-to-day basis. How hard it was to adjust to life back in "the real world." And, so, I wonder how they are doing right now.

When I look at the photos of these teenagers, I just know how some of them are going to really continue to excel in the future. I know that for some of them, it is going to be a struggle. I know that all of them are going to continue to face the challenges that arise in being a teenager these days. and, if this is the closest that I can be to knowing what it feels like to watch a child move forward in life, and have to give up some of the direct influence, knowing that for that time, you did as much as you could do? Maybe like a parent feels when they watch their kid move away, and battle the adult world. then... wow. it really takes work.

But, man. I miss them. What a incredibly special priviledge it was to play a part in their lives!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


so! it went wayyyyy better than thought it was going to be.
and, i find that very ironic. but, GREAT! so.... it just started the day well.

and, to end the day, i got to watch the olympic flame relay. but... since it is late, and i have to wake up early...

i will post on it tomorrow. but, it was so neat! :)

outlook on pharm

so, my classmates decided to stay up late and study.
I decided to sleep.
I would rather be rested, and do poorly, than be tired and do poorly ;)
it just makes dealing with the stress *that* much easier.

I just had a reminder while i was getting dressed about what I am doing here, and how I am meant to be doing what I am doing. and, two quotes that i have posted by two inspiring pictures of female triathletes came into my head.

Because my God is a big God,
I will think big with confidence, knowing that

God did not call me to a life of failure,
but to a life of SUCCESS.
this being so,
as long as I do his will,
allowing him to work in me and through me,
motivating my very thought.

i like to think that god has on this.
so, i have a new outlook than i did last night.
it is a wonder what a sleep and a workout can do. :)
will post after the exam.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow day

so, every once and a while, I post a "hilarity of life" tag.

today is one of those days.
it started snowing in the early morning today. probably at about 6 or 7am. I write my physiology exam this afternoon, at 2 pm, and my pharmacology exam tomorrow morning at 9am.

So, after my 8hours sleep last night, and good breakfast (ps... i *gotta* ween myself off bowls of quinoa for breakfast. as delicious as it is, i think it needs to be a treat, not a habit. sigh....) of quinoa, a banana, yogurt and coffee, i made the trek to school. and, any reasonable person would have taken the public transit.

but, not i.
i decided to walk.

and, i find it hilarious that i put on the same clothes that I would wear out on a weekend winter hiking trip on the west coast, in order to go to school.

so, this is why they call canada "The great white north."
at one point in my life, i remember the wonder that came with the snowfall. maybe i have become jaded with my living in somewhat temperate climates for the last 8 years. yes, it is pretty....but... when you expect the next 8 months!? and, as i was walking, i was laughing because this is ridiculous! it has only been snowing for about 4 hours, and we already have 6cm or so.

and on the day of the two biggest exams this semester. sigh. irony.

ha! hilarious. i looked hilarious this morning. i wish i had a photo.

so, it is now post-physiology.
and, i guess "the hilarity" continued. sigh. but, this was not the good part of the hilarity. I don't understand how something I was feeling so confident with seemed so hard. and, i am so frustrated right now. it was like, i forgot some of the most basic things, and i don't know why. and, if this was the way it was with physiology, i am now scared to s*it about my pharmacology exam tomorrow. ARGH.

so, i am going to get on my bike for my workout, before i start to cry.

but, now that the wind has stopped blowing... the snow *is* rather nice.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

post secrets.

I *love* post secrets. today on sunday secrets, frank posted a video. this is the link to it. it takes about 5 minutes, so take the time to watch!

it is amazing. really interesting to see people, rather than just the postcards. very very touching.

PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death and God from Frank Warren on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

T-4 days.

so, I have my finals on wednesday and thursday.

Physiology on the afternoon of wednesday, and pharmacology on the morning of thursday.

it seems so close, and so far away.. all i know, is that I will be burrowing my nose into my books, and into my notes for the next couple days. One of my classmates and i have come up with a good solution to "Studying" together. via skype. we just sit studying, and when a question comes up, we internet chat about it. pretty good solution, but, am tied to my computer right now, and that is annoying.

I ran a santa shuffle this morning. My first 5-km "test." My tri (life?!?!) coach will use this as a marker for my progress. And, my shuffle was a bit quicker than a shuffle, which i was happy about. I was a little concerned that since all I have done in the last 4 weeks is bike and swim, that my running legs would be questionable. especially that ankle. but, needless to say... it was pretty darn good. The weather was nice (about 3 or 5 degrees), dry, and no wind or snow. There were probably about 75-100 people there, many with santa hats, and elf feet. so, festive. i like festive things.

and, it gave me a time to stop thinking about GABA receptors, and Brain structure, and teratogens and hormones and the nervous system and... and... and....

and, a funny note on all of this, we have been talking "contraceptives." and, in looking up info about it, i came across this. pretty ridiculous in my books, for sure. sure, you go ahead and try that. sit in a sauna everyday for 2.5 months. then let's see if we can't get preggers. that screams reliability to me. :rolleyes:

shoot, I am ready for a 2 week break over christmas. two weeks from now, i will be calmly sitting in the house of my extended family :)

oh yeah. and... i am thinking of making a move away from Facebook. just letting you know. but. don't tell anyone. but, if you read this, and are a facebook friend, don't be offended if one day, i am just not there anymore...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

big goals...

yesterday, I had my end of term review with my clinical instructor at school. And, it is amazing, because despite the fact that I have enjoyed clinical, I am r.e.a.l.l.y h.a.p.p.y. to be done with geriatrics. If you read a few days ago, you know that some of my experiences have been less than ideal.

we learnt about what our placements for Ped's and Post-Natal will be next semester. And, let's say that "nothing is set in stone," but, with the declaration that this area is going to be the clinic that I am working in absolutely thrills me. i was able to ask the clinical coordinator after class: "so. well. a TB clinic. does that mean.... well, that it will involve a lot of immigrants and people in lower socio-economic groups....? since, well, you know, that is where TB exists?" [thinking....please say yes!] and, her response was, "yes. of course. you like that, eh? I thought you might." (and she said that the placements were random. ha ha ha! i don't think so....)

at any rate. my meeting. All i got was positive feedback. and, some assignments back. and, it is funny, 'cause i don't think my instructor is allowed (or something) to give a A. cause, i get an assignment back, and it is .25 less than an A. but, within the paper, there are no places that say "this is where you went wrong." kinda funny. and, if it was a graded class, i would be annoyed, but it is a pass/fail. so, i'm good with it.

but, we got talking at the end of the meeting about the "Do you know what area you might want to go into?" and, of course I do. and, i voiced it like this... "heh. well, you know, sometimes when people ask me that, i hesitate, because people think it is way too big of a goal."

and, i guess, that is the thing about it.
sometimes it seems like too big of a goal.
sometimes it seems like i have no idea how this is going to pan out.
sometimes it seems that it would be way easier to just stay in north america, and settle.
sometimes that is why i look for people and places where i can settle.
but, that is not me.
that is not my dream.
that is not my passion.
and, that is not why i call this blog dreaming over the ocean.

and, so, i dream that my dream is not too lofty, and not too ridiculous that someone can tell me otherwise.

I have been to africa, 3 times. you can see some pictures of my second trip at that link. and, it was on that trip (i was 18), where i knew that my life until whenever was going to be a walk back towards africa. [why africa?! i am not quite sure. it is just where I have grown a passion for. the place where i feel totally at home. the place where most of my heart lies. sometimes you can't explain that].

what is my dream?
i dream of having a clinic.
a clinic in a remote area, that reaches people who would have to walk for days to get adequate medical care.
people who have limited access to health care, and rare contact with the western world. people who live and love their culture. people who live on sustenance. people who can teach me what it means to be grateful for what i have.
i want to be able to have a clinic where people can come and receive care for everything from the small, to the large. a clinic that can treat not only the physical, but the spiritual, and the psychological, and the societal, and the emotional needs.
a clinic that not only has nurses, but a physician, and therapists, and teachers, and students.
a clinic that welcomes first the locals, and secondly, people from western cultures.
a clinic that is a place of learning, and of teaching.

i dream to have a clinic that can change "my little corner of the world."

and, if you have ever listened to "Johnny's camaro" by david wilcox, what is where the name of this blog comes from. about a girl who went to africa, came back to north america, and her life was forever changed.

and, for those of you who are curious... yes... there are triathlons in africa. could you imagine?! ha ha! a tri in lake victoria?! "um, excuse me Mr Crocodile while I swim through your eating grounds..."