Monday, 31 December 2007

The Twelve Paragraphs of Christmas

Twelve months, eleven new chords, ten classes, nine amazing friends, eight (thousand) bus rides, seven new recipes, six shades of blonde, five role changes, four seasons, three addresses, two homes and one year. The transformations that have taken place in my life have been vast and intricate, as well as generally entertaining. From New Year’s to New Year’s I have gone through a physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual metamorphosis. I started in January as a nervous, uncertain high school girl; now as I emerge on the other side of December, I am shaking of the last of my cocoon to reveal the confident, God filled woman I have become. Let me show you how I got these wings.

January was the grand finale of a different life. Returning to high school without most of my friends and seniority privileges was exactly the motivation I needed to realize that I didn’t want to be there anymore. After my exams, I waved a cheery farewell to four and a half years of comfort zone, packed up my bags (and boxes and crates and backpacks) and moved on – half way down Muskoka Road 10, to MBC.

February and March were filled with a completely foreign and wonderful kind of education. I rejoined the world of wintery outdoor activity and sport – a world that I had neglected for far too long – by learning snowboarding, cross country skiing, ice climbing, dog sledding, winter camping, skating, snowshoeing, hiking and a wonderful variety of other ways to spend some quality time with the snow.

In April I repacked my life into a much smaller suitcase and flew with my team to Costa Rica. What an amazing time in my life! I learned so much in that place. I saw so much, did so much and was taught so much. From repelling a waterfall to painting a house, from hiking for miles and miles at a time, to sitting in stillness and silence for hours; these are the lessons that I took away from my trip. In what free time I could find, I picked up and developed many important skills including journaling, water conservation and euchre. When we flew home I brought back so much more than I went with, but not in material possessions. I left part of my heart in that country, but I was given so much love and insight and experience that I think it was a fair exchange.

May and June were spent blowing leaves, planting flowers and getting ready for the summer. I made more new friends, attempted (with no success) to learn yet another language, got very dirty on more than one occasion and frequently drove a truck. I learned a lot about me during this time and settled into a rhythm of life that was finally my own.

That rhythm was pretty short lived because as June ended, chaos began. It was a beautiful, exhilarating, noisy chaos: dozens of staff, hundreds of kids and thousands of opportunities to have a blast doing what I love to do. I supervised people but I witnessed lives. It’s the most amazing feeling, to participate in the life of another person and know that you have changed them in a positive way. Naturally there was drama and conflict, but the troubles that were introduced by the summertime sun are far outweighed by what has come of it; a million memories for the photo album of my mind.

August gave way to September and my life changed again. Frosh was certainly a shock to my system after six months of a completely different atmosphere, but I pushed through it and really got into life at University. Yes, I go to class (and learn much more than I thought I could), I cook my own meals (and have yet to poison myself), I keep my room “relatively clean” and I’ve even been to the bar (though it’s definitely not my style), but it’s my church that’s holding me together and keeping me strong while I’m at Nipissing. Friends and church and God... it’s a pretty good system... you should try it some time!

My life at school is so much better than I ever could have planned. I’m so at peace there, and it has quickly become a home to me... small-h-home, that is! So when it came time for a three week vacation to capitol-h-home, I was almost nervous to return. Life wasn’t at a standstill while I was at school... my family was still going, living and changing without me... but when I got here, I found out that this was still home too. Home: such a funny concept. Where you hang your hat, or where you keep your heart? Maybe it’s a balance of both.

So now, the year has come to a close. Only six hours remain until we welcome into our lives 2008 and all of the craziness that it is certain to bring. What will the next 12 months hold for me? Who will I be next New Year’s Eve? So much anticipation and excitement! If 2008 can even come close to the standards of 2007 in my life, next year is going to be an unbelievable ride. Twists, turns, loops and surprises of all kinds! I can hardly wait!

Six more hours.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Two A.M. Decisions

There is good reason for avoiding any kind of activity at 2am; your mind is not as lucid as it is in daylight, your thought processes slow dramatically and every consequence has a huge effect on your entire state of being. It is very easy to cry at 2am.

Maybe the internet got the hiccoughs and you lost an hour of work in 18 seconds. Perhaps iTunes will only play heartache break-up country music songs, or you didn’t get that e-mail you weren’t expecting. Traditionally trivial events can suddenly mutate into uncontrollable monsters of ridiculous irrationality; however, strange and wonderful things happen at 2am, and in personal experience they are almost worth the trouble.

You see, in a strictly metaphorical (and slightly metaphysical) sense, the mind can be stretched and moulded like intellectual plasticine. At 2am the brain is uniquely malleable, having already been prepared for mental manipulation through natural exhaustion. There are thoughts and ideas locked within the mind that are completely inaccessible at any other time... unfortunately, they often take a great deal of translation and explanation before any real value can be associated with this raw material.This may be one of those unpolished excavations of my mind. Perhaps I am blinded to it's faults because it is mine, but I happen to believe that this particular piece of writing is brilliantly insightful... and now it's almost three!