Waking Up In Canada

Time Out Just To See

The walk home April 1, 2012

Filed under: life — wakingupincanada @ 9:03 pm
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I turned right instead of left when I walked out of work this evening. It is a welcome oddity that I finish at 7 on a Sunday. It is made even better by the light; the long evenings coming in. I used to laugh when  my Grandmother would say that; I’d begin mentioning it once the shortest day of the year passed on December 21st.

Now I know the feeling; the end of winter, the sign of hope, the beginning of something fresh. In Banff, the snow is melting, leaving slush and ponds of water across the sidewalk. It is getting warmer and I only wear my snow jacket skiing now. The streets are getting a little busier. New staff are coming and old staff are leaving.

Summer is coming.

I walked along Banff Avenue and called into Lululemon, where I was inspired and motivated; to run better, work better, plan my future better. Not a bad pep talk for a Sunday evening, without spending a cent. I walked along the Bow River to the spot I spent New Year’s Eve and watched the fireworks in between the water and the mountains. My brown suede boots filled with bits of snow and water from the melt. I sat down and looked at the bridge, the mountains, the forests, the blue sky and the white moon, the frozen river and the water in the middle still flowing. Simply beautiful:

It is the unplanned that can amaze us, the simple act of walking home a different way, a longer way, that can find us amidst nature and love unexpectedly. It reminded me of where I am, right here, right now. It reminded me that the best things in life are free.

I walked home with a spring in my step and took off my wet boots, feeling more energised than if I’d come straight home.

When I looked out the window, it was snowing.


Roots October 14, 2011

Filed under: Friendship — wakingupincanada @ 7:33 am
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I'm holding on

Walking along the Fenland Trail, I noticed that a lot of tree roots intermingled. None, however, were as forceful as this couple. Along the river bank, many of the trees were leaning diagonally out of the soil, bent over the Bow River. Some had fallen in.

This couple stood out. They rose magnificently together. I saw in them love, friendship and support.

Sometimes people think I’m courageous and brave travelling alone in a different country. They don’t see the roots wrapped around me, from thousands of miles away. These roots fed me with love, care and advice, particularly when I first arrived and I was not yet grounded in Canadian soil. They gave me support and showed me I was not alone, wherever I stood. They listened to my fears and grumbles, draining my worries from me and replacing it with hope and positivity. They stayed up late to keep me company.

When I first happened upon these trees, the stronger tree stood out. Then I saw the root of the thinner tree clasping over and under its stronger mate. It is the thinner tree that provides the support. It helps the stronger tree to flourish, to counterbalance it to grow straight rather than stoop over.

I am travelling by myself but I am not alone.


The beginning October 7, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — wakingupincanada @ 12:11 am
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I had a dream. How many people want to say that? I did, I really did. A friend was staying with me in my home that night, and we discussed my becoming self-employed. It all looked set and secure. There was a plan.

Then I had a dream. I was running away, and being helped to escape by my family. I woke up, and went about my day; I am not a Biblical character after all. I couldn’t concentrate. It was January and I had a work plan to submit, which should have been straight forward. I loved my job; I believed I was pretty ok at doing it. I took a half day, a benefit of my job that I did not underestimate. I went to my favourite cafe and chilled, trying to work out why I was restless. On my couch that night, I thought I’d write down how I was feeling, to get it out of me. Suddenly the question came out on the page: “Am I leaving the country?”. My mouth answered aloud for my heart before my brain registered. “Yes”. I rang my mentor the next day, and sensing something was wrong, she gave me a meeting right away. She listened. She advised. She told me she was biased. I cried. That night I told my sister and my parents that I was going to Canada for a while. Why Canada? As an 11 year old in school, that’s where I always stopped when I planned my world adventures. Why not Canada?

That was it. From then on, it was just formalities. There has never been a plan. I have a work permit until next August, but who knows? A dream got me here, and a dream could take me away. I just have to give 2 weeks’ notice at work and book a flight, or maybe 2; I’m a long way from home. So I play it day by day. Right now, I work in a gift shop, I run and I do yoga. I write and I read. I am living the simple life.

Since arriving, it has been back to basics. With the smaller pay cheque, I have to rethink how I spend my money, all of it. Without my career, I have to rethink who I am, where my passion is. Without my family and friends, I have to rethink how I interact with people. Without my country, I have to rethink what it means to be Irish. That is a lot of thinking, and something I do too much of.

The day I left, I hugged my family goodbye, not in a big fanfare, but individually as they left for work, or their own home. My family do not do formalities, we take things in a relaxed way, without ceremony. Only my baby sister was at home as I left. I got on our usual bus to Dublin, which we have all taken countless times. The Stables’ horses were blocking traffic: a typical summer day in Dunfanaghy. In my heart, I knew that however sad I was to be leaving, I was twice as excited about what lay ahead. Maybe for the first time in my life, I was taking the road less taken.

When I was fresh out of college, I shared an office with a wise lady. She has been granting me her wisdom for 8 years now. When I moaned one day, “I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up”, she replied “It is not what you want to be that matters, but who”. I guess this blog is about me finding out who I want to be, and how I go about being her.