Life As An Astronaut

Part three of the creative writing series, topic provided by 642 Things to write about, penned by a good friend, The Sailor.

“You are an astronaut. Describe your perfect day.”​

Most people expect me to answer this question by taking about how amazing it was to be in space, free-floating above the world below, thinking deep thoughts about immensity and universal-truths.

Honestly, space was balls. You gotta avoid puking pretty much the whole time. You strap yourself in to pee. You can’t eat real bread. Your body begins weakening immediately.

​Oh, and farts! Weightless farts don’t dissipate. That’s something they don’t tell you in the NASA brochures. On top of which, you eat nasty freeze-dried food that was made by some crazy Russian factory. The food has one flavor: glop. That and borscht. Ok, two flavours. Both aren’t good. And both make you fart.

Honestly, my best days came after space. When you have the time ​to really understand the amazing adventure you’ve had a chance to participate in. When it sinks in.

​When it really sinks in.
I think, for me, that was when I noticed the little bits of response from people long after we had returned. Sure, there are big parties and thousands of people watching as you are returned to earth, but the best part is when someone recognizes you in a bar, or picks up your coffee at a shop and just says “thanks”.
I like to think of each of these experiences as thanks from the universe for the huge risks we took up there. Risks that were worth it when you consider the kinds of science we were doing, and the potential impact it will have on our future.We learned a lot about how to grow plants and deal with animals in space. If you think that’s a minor accomplishment then you’ve got no idea what it’s going to be like trying to take those first shipments of grain and animals to populate Mars.
We learned about how fast human organs start to decay and atrophy in space, muscle tissue particularly. If you don’t think that’s important then you’d better not plan on being a part of the first long-distance manned spaceflights.
I won’t even be alive when we put some of those pieces of information to use, but I’ll be glad that I made the trip. In the meantime: thanks for the coffee. ​
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How to Deal When You Love Hockey, But Your Team Majorly Sucked This Season

Obviously, if you’ve read any of this blog in the past two years, you can safely determine that I am a tiny bit of a hockey fan. So, recently, faced with a new “my-Canucks-sucked-so-bad-they-didn’t-make-the-NHL-playoffs-and-oh-my-God-the-team-is-going-to-blow-up” world, a thought occurred to me. What’s it like to be a hockey fan in the depths of summer, when you have no one to cheer for? I posed this question to a friend of mine, we’ll call him Junior, and asked him to write his take of life deep into the most exciting time of the year, with nothing at all to be excited about. Is it really about the world’s best and most beautiful sport? Or do allegiances taint the love?

Junior:

It’s Wednesday, May 14th and the eyes of the hockey fans around world (really, mostly North America) are focused on the TD Boston Garden where the Bruins are set to face the Montreal Canadiens in Game 7 of their war of attrition 2nd round playoff series. As a Vancouver Canucks fan, you would think that I would be greatly anticipating the prospect of the Bruins’ season ending at home – to a Canadian hockey team no less.

The sad fact is: I just don’t really care either way. I guess it’s a symptom of watching your favourite team’s season end before the playoffs even begin. Without a vested interest in the NHL playoffs, you find yourself saying things like “that Marchand is a talented two way forward” and “Milan Lucic sure seems like a classy fellow.”  Yes – you can become a bandwagon fan for a few weeks and cheer for a feel good story – there’s nothing wrong with that. (Editor’s Note- There is, 100% absolutely something wrong with BOTH of these former statements, and I have supporting evidence to both, but I digress.) But if you have not spent an entire season following a team through its highs and lows (and being a Canucks fan, there have been plenty of crippling, deeply dark, lows lately), that emotional component that makes the road to the Stanley Cup so exhilarating is noticeably absent. In other words, I could give a duck. It’s impossible to feel good about hockey in general when you realize that in the span of about eight months, your team went from being a high-calibre, playoff ready squad, to having two rookies in net, lowest scoring totals in half a decade, and an injury list that could reach Los Angeles.

Playoff Hopes

 And this is how I have come to feel strangely indifferent about the NHL playoffs this spring without the Vancouver Canucks’ involvement. There were never any potential second or third round match ups to worry about. Never any lineup controversies to get into a heated argument discuss with co-workers. Never any ridiculous time pumping quotes to analyze. No, being a hockey fan come playoff time when your team does not even qualify for postseason play is an altogether dreary experience. It’s like knowing someone’s going to win the lottery, someone you know, maybe even like a little, and you’re not even getting a penny of it. Maybe admitting this fact makes me a sad excuse for a hockey fan, but it also makes me an honest hockey fan. I’m a one-team, and one-team only kind of guy.

 The rest of you can enjoy watching hockey well into June. I’ll be sitting by a swimming pool somewhere eagerly awaiting (and maybe dreading) October.

Plea to a Houseplant

I was recently turned toward this journal, 642 Things to Write About and found my creative juices rejuvenated for the first time in a while.  As a result, this little blog of mine is going to have a new shape and feel to it in the coming months.

Starting with today’s entry, my first in the journal. The topic chosen at random: “A houseplant is dying. Tell it why it needs to live.” This is, oddly, the absolute best jumping-off point for me, creatively speaking. For as anyone who has ever had the pleasure of meeting me knows that I’m a killer. A cold-blooded shrubbery killer. There has never been a plant, or tree, or garden I have encountered that I have not managed to bring to the verge of death, or carry right over to Hades.

And so, I give you my plea to all houseplants.

Why do I need you to live? Because I really really need to stop being a murderer. A vicious, serial-plant-murderer. Honestly, unless you’re a cactus, there is little hope for you. And even then, let’s be real, I’ve offed a few of your brethren. You should be well aware that I cannot guarantee your well-being while in my presence, and for this I am dreadfully sorry. You didn’t know when you were given to me that you were approaching your certain death sooner than anticipated. Really, your life span with me as your guardian depends on your will to live, my leafy green friend. So, live! Choose life! Choose flourishing leaves and flowering petals! Fight the good fight, and persevere against all odds. Trust me, I will do everything right, and somehow, you will wilt, dry out, or worse, inexplicably drown. (I’m looking at you, mysterious 4-inch tropical, circa 2008). For once in my life, I’d like to know I didn’t assist in a plant-suicide, and that my mere presence does not want to make you keel over. I know I can do it. I just need a willing compatriot. So, plant life, bring me your tried and true warrior, and let us prove the nay-sayers wrong! Long live the perennial!

Death to Plant Life

Attack of the Intimidating Woman

About a week ago, I had a great coffee date to catch up with one of my friends from high school. He’s one of those people whom I was little worried about for a while in our early twenties. We had been very close in high school, and immediately following. But, as with life, we fell out of touch after I moved across the country for university. Of course, the advent of social media let me keep track of him so I knew the bare basics of what his life looked like.

Since university, he’s been on this one-man tear to follow his dreams. Moving to New York to pursue a career as an actor, and having the opportunity to study at the Lee Strasbourg School. He’s back home in Vancouver visiting for the holidays and our schedules serendipitously aligned for us to grab some coffee, and embark on an ambitious 2 hour catch up of approximately the last decade of our lives. Challenge accepted. During this conversation, he referred to me as being “intimidating” more than once. And after the third time, I had to ask him to clarify his definition of the word. Was my being an intimidating woman a good thing, or a bad thing? Turns out, it was great.

As he so eloquently described, an intimidating woman:

  • Has her shit together
  • She has drive and determination, personally and professionally
  • Is a grown woman (she has no time for the “trivial shit other girls obsess over”)
  • Doesn’t need to impress you with make up, and clothes, she let’s her wit win you over
  • She is comfortable in her own skin, and doesn’t feel the need to apologize for how you think she looks
  • Has self confidence, (apparently this is the #1 attractor) and as a result is both beautiful and smart

Needless to say, I asked him to stick around and continue to whisper sweet nothings to me all day long. It did get me thinking though, why the choice of “intimidating” as the main descriptor? Why not strong, driven, or a plethora of other options? His answer: because you’re the type of woman every guy wants, but is scared shitless when they actually get you. They don’t know what to do with you, because you’re equally as happy with or without us. The only difference here is that by needing us, you show vulnerability, giving us a glimmer of hope.

Obviously, this was a lot to take in at 10AM in the morning. I always thought there was something about me that I couldn’t put my finger on. How I managed to end up surrounding myself with some really great people, in particular, strong women and driven personalities. He summed it up in the laws of attraction- that you get back what you put out into the universe.

So what was this all supposed to mean? Did I give off some signal that screamed “Caution, intimidating woman, be afraid”? (This may explain portions of my dating life.) According to my source of male insight, this was quite the opposite, the only thing that “screamed” off me, and those like me, is that you better bring your best self to the table before approaching, because otherwise you will not be given the time of day. Sure, this sounds fairly bitchy and discriminatory, when it fact, it just means that you are self-aware and do not have time for those who are not.

Of course hearing this from an old, but close friend was a pleasant surprise. It also was reassuring to hear this coming from someone who also knew me “back when”, so they have a reference point. The moral of the story here is that yes, I am and can be a lot to handle, but I have equally the same to offer. I am, in fact, a unicorn. There are more of us popping up here and there across the land. Be ready friends, the attack of intimidating women is coming, and in the word’s of Beyoncé, “you’re not ready for this jelly”.

The One Where Her Guard Fell

I’ve been meaning to write something like this for a while, but never really had the cajones to do it. This last year has been tough, amazing, but tough, in all aspects of life. So I figure doing some cathartic writing therapy, before charging into 2014 was as good a time as any. This is going to get personal fast, but we all know I wear my heart on my sleeve. For better or worse.

The best way to attack this is to break it down, categorically. We’ll briefly touch on friendships, career(s), and love. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Friendship:
About a year ago, it became clear to me that someone I thought would be in my life forever, as my best friend, would not in fact be that person. I’ve been told time and again that people are in our lives sometimes for a certain length of time to teach us about ourselves, and move on. I firmly believe this was what she was to me now. We’ll call her AB. We had a great ride, I mean, I can honestly say that I have never, and likely will never pick up a girl at a bar again on St. Patrick’s Day, by offering to swap our dates for each other, and then end up leaving together without either of them. Upon moving back to Ottawa last year, she and I tried to dive right back in. Big mistake. A lot had changed for both of us, and we were not the same university students anymore. She decided to pull the rip cord, and I, though completely disapproving of her actions, did not push her. It is now a year later, and we have not spoken. Not to sound ungrateful, but her absence, though known,  has not necessarily been missed. Sure, I recall fondly our time together, memories and conversations. But my life has not suffered for it, there is no void. When I realized this, about 6 months into my imposed friendship exile, I knew I was at peace with it. I wish her only the best in life, hold no ill will, and thank her for everything she has taught me. This is not a conclusion that would have come so easily to me in the past. I would sit and over analyze it, pick apart everything said and figure out how to fix it. I fight for people I love, and friendships sometimes to a fault, and I know now that it’s ok to let someone step back if they need to, they’ll come back if they are meant to be in your life. Frankly, if I had gone into past-Meera-psycho-mode, I think this situation would be a lot more miserable than it was, and I don’t think either of us would have been OK with that.

Career(s):
If I can say one thing about 2013, it is that I have legitimately worked my ass off. (No, seriously, my ass is smaller than it used to be, I’m pissed). I have held down, at any given time, anywhere between one to four jobs, and at full steam put in 70-80 work weeks. Everything about my life at that time was amazing and miserable simultaneously. You know when people say that they really value work-life balance? Let’s just say I didn’t believe in it. While working these crazy hours, I sacrificed my health, my sanity, friends wondered who the zombie-like brown girl was in the room, and the person in my life took matters into their own hands, and turned off my cellphone, and laptop to just get me to watch a football game with him. This job consumed me. It came to a bit of an abrupt end, which absolutely caught me off guard, but also gave me a healthy dose of reality. I knew what I wanted out of a mentor, a boss, and this person did not fit the bill. Losing that job got me back to BC, (the place of my last missing mojo crisis) but this time I was coming back with my tail between my legs, but my head held high. Part of that mojo loss was placing expectations others had for me, above those of my own. I can’t function that way, especially when those people (the closest to me), do it out of love. I understand their concern, but them worrying about me, and constantly voicing their opinion on the matter became suffocating the last time. I knew that coming in, and asked for my space. Lo and behold, it took a while, but employment came in a tidal wave, and I am glad to say I am finishing off the year in a good place, and in Vancouver, somewhat permanently.*

Love:
Love is a fickle, unforgiving bitch. OK, maybe not totally true, but I have a point! I can honestly say that this past couple of years, I was in love, in lust, and just plain bored. Let’s begin with bored. You know when friends tell you that you should take up a hobby? Maybe actually take up a hobby, and don’t do what I did- date someone as a social experiment, realize you do like them a bit, but not as much as they you, and then brutally dump them hastily before a party because that wasn’t part of the plan. No one likes a bitch, let me tell you. Boy A, let’s call him, met me at a time where someone I like to refer to as “bored-Meera” showed up. She’s got a job, got a good group of friends, and decides to bring in some companionship to boot. Nothing serious, a dalliance, someone to go out with, spend some time with and then say thank you and move along. All-in-all a solid plan, until it blows up in your face. Boy A ended up falling for me a bit, this was a no-no. Not in the plans, and not what I wanted. I chose him for external factors that seemed to be ideally suited for where I was mentally at the time, and then he went and threw the caring wrench into it. Sorry to say, that relationship ended (on relatively good terms), we went our separate ways, and I fell in lust.

Enter #2, Hulk. Here was someone who was smart, funny, loved football (and played it too!), and seemingly loved a lot about me. The duper became the duped here. This is a situation where I thoroughly thought there was something substantial going on with us, assumed the feeling was mutual and never sought to clarify. This went on eight months. Note to future Meera: always clarify, it saves you a lot of time, and a lot of looking like a ass. Had I clarified, this could have been a mutually beneficial situation, instead, I was a little surly and a little upset for a time, but I got over it. I can say, looking back on my time with Hulk, I regret nothing, we were great fun while it lasted, it was nice to feel like a real woman, (my girls know what I mean), and I harbour no grudges. If anything, I thank him for making me realize the massive douche-nozzle (real term, I said so) I was to Boy A up there, and I am better for it.

The final chapter, #3. The one where her guard fell down. Hulk up there, he taught me to not be a jerk, but he also taught me to have my guard up, and not drop it so easily any more. Enter the Magnet. Something about this person has always kept me interested for the greater part of a decade. Be that on a mental, physical, spiritual level. He is the type of person that makes me so furious when we talk because he constantly challenges me on everything, but that can say one word or phrase and I give up. He had said, repeatedly since we had been together that we were going to change each other, whether we intended to or not. The Magnet was 100% correct. My constant questioning of his carefree nature and live in the moment attitude balanced out his lack of observation for the rules of relationships that I adhere to. I fell hard, fast, and absolutely was in denial of it, until it was too late. Magnet is the type of person who says whatever is on his mind about you, and “we” and does not question it. That’s a scary thing, to be presented with someone who cares for you so fiercely that they say, honestly so, they see a future with you. And when in my sarcastic nature challenge them to paint it out, the illustration is so realistic is scares the shit out of you. As we know, I am the take what you say with a grain of salt type person, and Magnet managed to beat that side out of me. I began to believe him, and eventually I saw it too, clearly. I told him I finally got what he was talking about, and I was in. If you could have seen the look on his face, it was like a kid that was just told “hey, it’s Christmas morning everyday for a year, oh, and you can eat ice cream for breakfast too”. His reaction to my revelation? “Finally, now I’m not the only one in this.”  You know it’s a bad break-up when I’m the one trying to hold back an all out sob because he emailed you to end things because shit got real for him. That’s when I knew precisely how bad it was. I don’t cry over men, I haven’t in a while, because I’m just as happy in a relationship as I am out. This just pulled the rug out from under me. Suddenly all of the trials I had been through the past year or two didn’t matter as much. My heart dropped, my breath went shallow: no, not him. It was a slap in the face, and kick in the gut at the same time. And moreover, email? WHO THE HELL DOES THAT? He was right, our relationship did change me, he gave me a sense of clarity in what I want in a partner, he also cleared up the what I don’ts. So, thank you Magnet, for finally answering the what-if. Our timing has, and likely always will be off, but I know I think perhaps you were more caught up in the idea of us than the reality of us. We will always be messy, complicated, tricky to navigate, and it could be glorious, or a disaster. We both knew there would be no in-between. Because, if you weren’t, you’d have stayed and fought. Let’s face it, you’re the first person who ever told me I was worth fighting for, and fortunately, that is the one thing that has not changed.

This verbal rant fills the void of blog posts from the fall, (see above writings for reasonings why), and also serves as a verbal confirmation that yes, I am doing all right, thank you. So 2014, I look to you for bigger, better and more enlightening occurrences.  Until then, enough real talk, I have a spiked hot chocolate with my name on it waiting for me.

I leave you with words of wisdom sent to me from the aforementioned best friend and bride of earlier this year:

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Damned if you do, damned if you don’t (Also known as the Bride responds)

And now, a guest blog from my best friend, the bride whom I had the privilege to stand by on her wedding day:

Since we are on the topic of weddings, I asked the owner of this amazing blog, the Canadian Female, to let me throw in my two cents, and she reluctantly agreed. I am the previously mentioned bride and best friend.

The reason I wanted to throw in my two-cents, other than the clear abundance of opinion, is to touch on the other side of this equation.  And Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t sums it up quite nicely.

I have been married for a total of three weeks (which obviously makes me an expert in all marriage-related topics). Our wedding day was everything I could have wished for and more. I married an amazing, caring and hilarious man with my funny, gorgeous and very supportive best friend by my side.  Everything was perfectly executed, from the designer cake, to the blue Manolos, to the mandatory late-night guest dancing with a tie around his head.

However, I would lie if I said the whole wedding outlook didn’t raise a number of questions and concerns in my own head. As a woman in my mid-20s who has spent most, if not all, of her adult life in a committed relationship, it made me question if I was ready for the substantial leap of faith that marriage has come to signify to our generation.  The reality is that being single has a certain sexiness to it and being married is considered one of those huge milestones that must mean you have all of your shit together (which I do not, by the way), or that you are done experiencing life, and settling down is the natural progression before being written out of history all together.  Dramatic? Maybe. But also absolutely true.

I recently had someone approach me at a party, nothing more than a mere acquaintance, to interrogate me on why I got married. This person proceeded to then tell me that, at 24, I should be out there “living life” and “being happy” as if marriage was nothing short of a death sentence.  Such an asinine question merited an equal smarty-pants answer so I told him I wanted to get fat and getting married meant I could let myself go.  That look of shock, pure gold. Seriously, Master Card has nothing on that.

The point is, there are two serious lessons to be learned that no one bothers to teach young brides embarking on this wonderful journey.

  1. Your bouquet won’t even be wilted by the time everyone has dumped all of their expectations on you.  As romantic as wedding planning is, you will start receiving baby questions 24 hours out from your wedding. And house purchasing options. And ten-year planning tips. Because a wedding is nothing more than just an open door into your life and everyone will take the opportunity to offer their expectations of you and your husband. Prepare for it and laugh it off.
  2. Your friends will either be really supportive or really judgemental. There is no in-between and neither will be on purpose. As happy as people will be for you, your actions will make them question their own lives and decisions. All those questions that you ask yourself as a single gal in the face of commitment and your friends moving on with their lives, they still exist, you just have to pretend you have your shit together more because you’re apparently an adult now. Go figure.

In sweet, because this wasn’t very short, those questions never go away when you get married, you just have to decide what is beneficial for you, and damned be those naysayers. There will always be questions and second guesses, it has sadly become a staple of our generation. So rest assured single ladies, those of us who are hitched have no frigging clue what we’re doing most of the time either.

But it helps to have good open chats about both sides of the equation and, when that fails, have copious amounts of red wine with your best friend.

Wedding Day Sept 7, 2013

Wedding Day Sept 7, 2013

Let Them Eat Tiramisu Cupcakes, She Said

I try to visit my best friend in Toronto on the partial-regular (aka when my bank account permits, or another friend driving down takes pity on me).  This time round, the trip had a different feel and sentiment to it.  There were no deadlines, no commitments to social events, sports games or wedding-specific tasks to take care of.  For the first time in a while since she and her fiancé moved out of Ottawa, we have actually had time to enjoy each other’s company without the pressure of a deadline or departure.  This turn of events couldn’t have appeared at a better time, for me and for her I feel.  Both of us as of recently have been suffering from a case of the “lonely-s”.  The “lonely-s” are a side effect of being separated from most of our friends and families, going through the ebbs and flows of life.  In this specific case, the ebb.  The arrival of “spring” here in Canada brought with it a change of circumstance, in particular a lot of them for me.  A difference of opinion and need for personal space lead to my signing a lease, accepting my need to be selfish in a relationship lead to the dissolution of one that had potential, and lastly, a great opportunity career-wise turned out to not be the best fit.  And so, the spring of 2013 brought me back to a very familiar place: square one.  The only difference this time around is the location, Ottawa.

These reasons are more than likely why this venture to The Big Smoke ended up having more meaning and more necessity behind it than I initially thought.  Thankfully, this trip provided a respite to take a beat, step back from every thought racing through my mind and assess my next plan of attack.  In a way in which only she could, this process has been aided by delicious French food, champagne, macarons, sushi, and tonight, homemade pizza and tiramisu cupcakes.  There is something mind-clearing to cooking and baking for me.  Even if I am merely playing sous-chef, the act of focussing all of my energy into a tangible output calms me, focusses me, and gives me some brief peace of mind. (Double-edged life lesson right there, don’t you think?)

Alas, following a weekend of much needed family, friends, rest, and relaxation I head back to Ottawa with a heavy heart, and clear eyes.  I firmly believe the next few months will shape the next phase of my life, for better or worse.  It is only with this mindset that I can truly tackle the next steps in front of me these coming weeks.  With this realization, and new-found clarity, I have no choice but to end this post with a little baking therapy, in the form of the Tiramisu Cupcakes my best friend churned out last night.  I mean, you have to stop for the smallest pleasures in life.  There are no better.

Tiramisu Cupcake Recipe


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The Fall Quarter

2012 has continued to move at a blistering pace. The summer moved faster than I could keep up, and the next thing I know, October is around the corner. This brings us to a reflection of my resolutions for this year- as you’ll recall, I set these goals in January. For reference sake, you can peek at the original post. As I’ve done previously, I’ll summarize quickly below.

  1. I blog at least once a week, by the end of 2012.
  2. I travel outside Canada once this year, (2012), for at least a week, job or no job.
  3. I am employed by March 1, 2012.
  4. I bake one item for all family celebrations this year, not repeating recipes.
  5. I improve my decorating and frosting skills by taking a class, or practicing a lot.
  6. I am more kind, and patient in all of my relationships (long-term goal).
  7. I dent my 30 x 30 goal*, in the next 3 years in a big, big way.
  8. I reconcile with “being selfish”- doing things for myself, for no other reason.
  9. I read 50 books by December 31, 2012.
  10. I learn a second language (again): French/Italian, from my school days (long-term).
  11. I get healthier, so as to prolong my life. Activities include: cardio, more yoga, hiking three times a week, to start (long-term goal).

On the whole, I’ve managed to make headway in most of these goals, keeping in mind that some were written as longer term goals, and for my own sanity, some goals were shelved completely for the time-being. Let’s begin with the obvious: I have not blogged once a week, in fact, it has been far less frequent, but, I do make the case for quality over quantity. I have not yet travelled outside of Canada for a week, however there is still a good portion of the year remaining to amend that.

I was indeed employed by March 1, 2012. With an accounting firm based in downtown Vancouver, a contract that was book-ended with a contract at an insurance company located conveniently across the street from my previous job. As of this moment (September 24, 2012), I am once more, fun-employed, this time in Ottawa. Here, my job hunting prowess begins anew (relatively speaking), though I have high hopes for this city.

Goals 3 and 4 can be grouped hand in hand, and I am saddened to say, life changes took priority over these two aspirations. Fear not, foodie friends, Christmas is peeking around the corner, so salvation, and royal icing will once more take centre stage! Goal 7, my 30 x 30 goal is on going, and a constant presence in the back of my mind, so it is shelved for this moment, but not forgotten. Goals 10 and 11 are both once again long term goals that I have been working toward since the start of the year. My mind and body have thanked me for my actions thus far, so I assume staying the course is the only option at this moment.

Goal 6 and 8, being more patient in all of my relationships, as well as being more selfish, is still a work-in-progress. I think this is something we all continually strive to do throughout our adult lives. To that extent, this got put the test prior to my move with my family, their fears and wants for me, as well as our overall ability to communicate openly and effectively. Yes, it is tough when there is such a strong generational gap and overarching outlook on life between your parents and yourself, and in my case, my sister and brother-in-law really helped but a lot of things in to perspective for me. Something I have yet to thank them for, and something that I am not sure I can ever fully express my gratitude over. I do have to say that it is truly humbling to realize that I have so many good people in my corner, backing me up.

I have made major headway in my 50 Book Pledge this summer, currently cutting my teeth on Anna Karenina. It’s a tough mother of a read, but I hope the commitment will pay off. It’s one of those books that you hear constantly of; best-seller lists, greatest reads of all time, most talked about, etc. I had to give it a shot.

There you have it, a super quick update on my resolutions set back in January. Honestly, if I didn’t know better, I’d have thought those goals were made in a different year, by a different person. In a way, that is precisely the case- the girl who started out 2012 is certainly not the same person writing this blog now, for better or worse, she’s changed, and I’m kind of liking it.

Ch-ch-changes

In life, sometimes we all need to take a risk from time to time, if only to spice up the ordinary by trying a new cuisine, or more drastic options, such as packing up your life and moving clear across the country on a wing and a prayer. As most of you may have gathered by now, I am not one for the small gesture. For me, if a change needs to happen, it needs to be balls-to-the-wall or not at all, otherwise it won’t have nearly the impact desired.

Long story short, it’s been just over a month since my last post, I no longer call Vancouver “home”, and find myself 3542km across the country in Ottawa with friends who happen to be like family to me, trying to start the next chapter of my life. This decision was not made lightly at all. Sure, I flipped back and forth on it for the greater half of the summer and ultimately, this was a decision that wasn’t a choice at all. A shift had to occur in my life anyway, and what better place to go than somewhere with legitimate job prospects and a solid as steel support system?

It’s been one week since I’ve arrived. Yes, it feels rather surreal to not see my family or friends in Vancouver daily or weekly. Yes, it feels surreal to see my friends here in Ottawa daily or weekly. This will all taking some adjusting and getting used to. Can I do it? Absolutely. Do I have any regrets? As of right now, no. I can’t say with 100% confidence (more like, 95%) that this is where I am meant to be. However, I can say with 100% certainty that I am not meant to be in Vancouver right now. That’s all the clarity I need for the moment. I know that’s not a lot of assurances to go on for most people, my family members included. Most of them are worried for me, scared of what may or may not come to fruition for me. I completely understand and respect that. However, sometimes following your gut pays off, and my gut hasn’t been this settled on a choice I’ve made in a long time. It’s hard to convey that feeling to people who don’t function that way; the people who need quantitative facts and figures to weigh their options and then take the appropriate course of action. Perhaps it’s a generational gap kind of thing, or a miscommunication of sorts. Regardless, here I am, and here I will be for the foreseeable future.

I find it amazing how much information the human brain can retain. It has only been one week since I’ve moved here, and 3 years since I last officially lived here. In a lot of ways, nothing and everything has changed. My internal navigation system hasn’t quite failed me yet (thank goodness). The surreal feeling I was referring to above is mainly to do with my friends. People I rely upon daily through the wonderful advances in technology, and now they are in front of me- tangibly. My male roommate and friend pointed this out to me a short few hours ago. Our “brunches” we reserved for each other on Sundays when I lived here can now occur at any moment, I just need to ask. It’s the little things like that, the safety nets I didn’t quite realize I needed that let me know things will be OK.

As the quote says above, 20 seconds of insane courage was all it took for me to start my next chapter. I’m not sure what will be written of it, but I can promise it will be entertaining, heartfelt, full of life experiences, and most importantly, all of my own doing.