Monday, February 20, 2012

Phenomenal weekend

Being back in Vancouver has been great... since I have arrived, things have pretty much been perfect.   TIme to do school work, catch up on sleep, spend time with my beloved, relax, and workout. 
some of the highlights:

Date nights: On friday night, the boy and I went to a movie, and then out for a nice dessert on the water.  it was nice to be able to, after having spent the whole day inside writing my paper, and getting over tiredness, just to spend quality time together.  To communicate, to laugh, and to just enjoy the company.  Last night, we did our "make up for a lost valentines day" date.  We dressed up all fancy, and went to eat at an expensiveish resaturant, Nuba; we then walked around gastown (and, when i say walked around, we walked all of two blocks) to find a place to grab a dessert and cocktail.  we were successful, and Pourhouse even had live music which included men with fedora's, playing a stand-up base. 

shopping:  since I will be attending a conference in NYC in March, and I own all of zero clothes for something like that, I spent thursday afternoon with my super-stylish friend Terry (who, incidentally is also my "bride's butler" for my wedding) shopping on Main street.  We hit up all of two shops, at which I bought my main outfit at one called "Barefoot Contessa."  it was SO lovely to a) clothes shop with a boy, and b) be stylish.  I am not stylish at all, so, when I get the chance to do that, with someone who *is,* it actually turned out to be a lot of fun.

running:  I ran my first race of the year.  It was deemed that it would probably be quite laughable, since I have been "training regularly" for all of about 6 weeks.  It was just a race to be in race mode, and because they are fun.  i went out, thinking that I would ahve a basic endurance run, with no pressure.  And, that is exactly what it was.  I have been having a bit of an issue with my esophagus this week, which makes... oh you know, eating... extremely painful (yup, quite annoying), and I was a little worried that the pain might cause me to have a DNF.  but, it didn't. instead, I ran through a beautiful place in the Vancouver suburbs, and thoroughly enjoyed the race.  Didn't do too shabby either, coming 10th/50 for my age-group, and a 1:54 effort.  For febuary... I am more than happy.  I spent the afternoon napping on the couch, with the boy i like rubbing my calfs.  that was a definite bonus as well.

here are the splits (more for my benefit than yours!)
1: 5:20/151bpm           11: 5:35/168                  21: 5:24/181
2: 5:07/154bpm           12: 5:24/170                  should have been over... but, last one:
3: 5:13/158                  13: 5:14/169                  22 (208 m): 1:05 (5:15pace)/181
4: 5:18/160                  14: 4:57/169
5: 5:29/162                  15: 5:16/168
6: 5:46/168                  16: 5:29/170
7: 5:38/169                  17: 5:27/173 (picking it up here)
8: 5:34/167                  18: 5:14/173
9: 5:40/168                  19: 5:21/175
10: 5:34/169                20: 5:39/178

pre-run Gu energy! 

On another note, I got this in an email, and... as always, kinda great.  

Dr Randy Pausch died of pancreatic cancer in 2008, and wrote a book ‘The last lecture” one of the bestsellers in 2007. What a legacy to leave behind…

In a letter to his wife Jai and his children, Dylan, Logan , and Chloe, he wrote this beautiful "guide to a better life" for his wife and children to follow.

1. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
2. Don't have negative thoughts of things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment
3. Don't over do; keep your limits
4. Don't take yourself so seriously; no one else does
5. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip
6. Dream more while you are awake
7. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
8. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner of his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
9. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
10. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present
11. No one is in charge of your happiness except you
12. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
 13.Smile and laugh more
 14. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

15. Call your family often
16. Each day give something good to others
17. Forgive everyone for everything
18. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6
19. Try to make at least three people smile each day
20. What other people think of you is none of your business
21. Your job will not take care of you when you are sick. Your family and friends will. Stay in touch.

 22. Put GOD first in anything and everything that you think, say and do.
 23. GOD heals everything
 24. Do the right things
 25. However good or bad a situation is, it will change
 26. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up
 27. The best is yet to come
 28. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful
 29. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it
 30. If you know GOD you will always be happy. So, be happy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How to say I love you

if you like, or don't like Valentine's day, i don't really care.  I also don't care that my valentine's day post is a day late.  It was busy day yesterday.  And, I get to see that fantastic boy today.  so, in my books, that is all that matters in this regard.

I do find it rather hilarious that people either love Valentine's day, or hate it.  there is not too many in-betweeners.  people are either smooshy, or bitter.  I do feel a little 'meh' about it.  doesn't really matter either way.  admittedly, if that boy just washed over it, with no recognition, I would kinda be sad about it. but, in the blog-o-sphere people share valentines day love things.  So, I have made a complilation of some of my favourite this year.  They are worth watching and reading.  love brings warmth to the heart.  no matter what.

From Longreads:  100 Ways to Say I love you. 
From 22 Words: People on the street saying "I love you" in many different languages and "Bryan Adams' 'everything I do, I do it for you' sung with movie clips" 

From Google:  Nerdy cuteness, when you google the following: sqrt(cos(x))*cos(300x)+sqrt(abs(x))-0.7)*(4-x*x)^0.01, sqrt(6-x^2), -sqrt(6-x^2) from -4.5 to 4.5 

Monday, February 13, 2012

New week, new book... GIVING THANKS

So, a little bit more of a "godly" post.

This week has been challenging, in many ways.  I think that was clear in my last post.  but SO SO SO many things to be thankful about.  i think it started out with a great service at church yesterday... we are working through Acts, and we read Chapter 14.  and, i just loved it... I don't really expect that Paul and Barnabas were expecting the reaction they got from the crowd after then performed their miracle... "Um.  wait a minute... we aren't gods.  God is God. Not us! shoot.  that's not what we meant for you to think." Can we say "cultural mis-understanding?!?!"

how often do cultural understandings like that happen in our lives... maybe more often for some people, than others... but, every time they do happen... kinda funny.

we also, during our version of the prayers of the people , we started talking/listing things to be thankful for.  and, it definently helps to list those things out loud, and really start to hear what other people are thankful for.  kinda helps in your "living with maximum enthusiasm."

so, what am I thankful for this week?

  • i just got to send money to Malawi for school fees for the boys.  and, there is something inherently satisfying in that.  it actually kinda feels like i am actually making a difference in this family's life.
  • I am just two days away from seeing my beloved. and, the distance is really difficult these days, and I tend to think that being close will be really helpful.
  • My abstract for my paper on Malawi was accepted to NYU's Education conference in March: Advancing Global Education in Austere times."  And, I have never given a conference presentation. i don't even have good clothes to wear (to be remedied in Vancouver).  But, despite the nerves, it comes with huge excitement!  it also forces me to get my ass in gear in finishing this paper.
  • it is reading week next week.  that means I should (ideally) have time to catch up on my writing, my assignments, and interviews that i need to do for school
  • i am starting a new book, called "Organizing your Private World," as part of a book study/discussion group.  It is a "christian" book, and I have only read the preface and first two chapters.  but... so far, TOTALLY ENGAGING and doesn't want to make me puke all over it because of the "christian-ese" in it.  I think that it will not only be applicable to my journey with faith... but, honestly, will be very applicable to life in North America.  I tend to overwhelm myself, and do too much (don't we all?)... it is important to figure out how to balance the public life, and the private life... feed your spirit.  
  • we had a SUPER successful meeting on sunday regarding WHEAMS. we covered a lot, and spoke a lot about the direction that we are taking, as WHEAMS in Canada.  Our goals for next month: draft letters for fundraising, and draft mission statements.  it is *really* exciting to be involved in something that appears as if it will actually make a sustainable, palpable difference in education, economy, and health care.
with love. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

every once and a while, things get overwhelming

and, right now is one of those times.  I was in Edmonton last week, for a family thing.  not a great family thing, but a family thing nonetheless.  Because I was there, it meant that I also missed a week of school stuff, and productive work time.

I arrived back to Montreal this week, and have felt like i have been consistently walking around with tears welling up in my eyes.   For some reason, montreal never makes me feel "Sigh, I'm back at home."  or "sigh, i love being here." there are nice things about it... but it is not the feeling that I get in other places.  I almost cried in yoga on tuesday, when I looked at my Chitenje (African cloth used for various things, most notably carrying children on a back, and wrapped around as a skirt) that I had brought to cover myself up at the end of the session to stay warm.  i think i just looked at it and thought "damn... what would I do to be back there..."  i miss malawi.  I miss the sense of relaxation while getting things done.  I miss not feeling stressed out about every single thing in life.  i miss the sun on my skin and the laughter that I had every day. 

so, what is with the sense of being overwhelmed?

i think it is mostly school... there is SO MUCH crap to be done, and endless readings.  I have submitted abstracts for a couple conferences.  This Education one at NYU, and the annual meeting for APHA.  These are abstracts on a paper that I haven't even written yet.  A paper that I barely know what it is about.  A paper that counts for 6 credit hours of my degree (that's a good chunk).

Edmonton was not exactly relaxing.  Despite having a loving, caring, and supportive family... they are a little crazy.  Literally and figuratively.  it is *Very* rare that my entire family gets together (i need to start emotionally and mentally preparing for this occurrence to happen again at my wedding), and when it does... well, I wouldn't say it is exactly a restful time.  and there was definitely very little time to do work, or think about school while there.  I was there to support my family (my dad in particular) as challenging situations were arising.  but, i missed a lot of work time.  and had inconsistent training.

I have readings and papers and a concept map coming out of my yingyang.   it feels as if it will not get done as fast as i need (especially because I am leaving for Vancouver next week again).  and, because of all of this, I got 5.5/10 on a quiz this morning... I lost the majority of my points, because i switched the signs and symptoms of upper vs lower respiratory obstruction.  ugh.  and that made me want to cry again. I am over the fact that getting good marks will lead me anywhere further in life... but, what I do desire, because I love what I am studying, and I love nursing... is to get good marks, because I want to do well in my field.  I want to understand it, and i know that good grades represent that you understand, and that you are learning.

and, i have realized how close I am to my first 1/2 ironman of the spring.  and... my first 1/2 marathon of the spring... (um, try 10 days?).  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  that makes me want to laugh out loud.  soooooooo unprepared.  but, training is going well... I am training with McGill Tri Club, mostly because it is cheap, and convenient... since, well, you know... I am a student at McGill.  But... I will tell you what... it definently teaches me to be patient, and not competitive during practices. I don't have to kill myself now.  it's only February. i don't have to win every swim practice or track run.  I have to win my races ;)

so.... i wonder if the solution to this feeling of being overwhelmed is to start drinking at 11am.

probably not.  i think the solution is focusing on the positives.

1) we raised the money for Lawrence and Sanderson, for their school fees.    With thanks to Laura down in California, who is giving money for every mile she runs this year to a charity (which, i think is amazing, since our sport can be sometimes...), and my Dad, and myself, we are getting the 90-ish dollars that are needed to pay the fees and make the moneygram transfer.

2) the best thing about being in edmonton, was being able to have a sleep over every night with my amazing 16 year old niece Makalya.  I got to see her vision board for the week, and talk to her about love and goals and school and friendship.  we got to sleep in the same bed, and watch TV together in the bed.  we laughed.

3) I got to see other family members (like my aunt), and talk to my brother on the phone. which, is rare. we also got to eat good food in edmonton, at places like the bothy, and duchess bakery.
4) I submitted two abstracts to two conferences.  those conferences are in NYC and San Francisco.  Wouldn't it be amazing to get accepted?

5) it is sunny outside.  

6) i have friends who will give me hugs. 

7) i get to see my beloved next wednesday. who, btw, is looking super hot these days...

Friday, February 3, 2012

call for help in Malawi

I know that this is kinda a moot point~  because there are lots of people who need lots of things, and everyone has a different reason to be asking for money.  but, I thought that I would blog on it soon...

I have some friends in Malawi, Sanderson and Lawrence, who are 19 and 21.  They are trying to get through secondary school, and are in form 1 and 2... which is our equivalent to grade 7 and 8.  Their school fees for the rest of the year are 75$ between the two of them.  Before leaving Malawi, I was able to pay for the first half of the fees, directly to the school (I have the bank account info).  I then encouraged them to seek out tourists to climb mt mulanje, so that they can pay for the rest of the fees.  This is difficult, due to the rainy season, and lack of tourists.  They also have their mother, who is getting treatment for a major thyroid problem, which compounds on the fees.

at any rate, I am unable to help... I have no money with the need to pay my own school fees, and not having a job.  I want to be able to help, but, have no way to be able to do this.  Would you consider helping?   They have 2 weeks before they will be kicked out of school.

I know that this is a tough situation for everyone, because there is a need for funds like this for (almost) every.single.person. in Africa.  How do we know where to put our money?  How do we know that what we are doing is not causing more harm than good, and not creating a society of dependance upon western donors?  I don't know.  I don't know the answer to that.  All I know, is that I believe health and education are worthy causes.   And I hate not knowing the answer or the solution.  And most of all, I hate not being able to help.

Anything that you might be able to help with would be appreciated!

here is a picture of me and Lawrence hiking Mt Mulanje!