Waking Up In Canada

Time Out Just To See

Breathe February 9, 2013

Filed under: life — wakingupincanada @ 10:11 am
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Sometimes it is enough, just to breathe.

Sometimes, the day is long and your head is full and your mind is racing, and it is just enough to take a few deep breaths.

Sometimes, the world seems too big, and you too small, and so you just breathe to keep going.

Sometimes, the world seems so big and you so small, and you breathe, just to take it all in.

When those around us need more than we think we have, we breathe to relax, to remember love, to re-energise.

When we fall short of our own expectations, in the midst of our own disappointment at ourselves, we breathe, and realise, we can.

In the midst of chaos and collapse, we breathe to survive.

In the pause of the waiting moment, we breathe to use the time.

In the moment of utter happiness, we breathe to drink it all in.

When alone and lonely, we breathe to remind ourselves, we are.

In the midst of being lost, I breathe and remember I am here.


Sometimes it is enough just to breathe. Sometimes, it is our everything.




The firmness of friendship March 29, 2012

Filed under: Friendship — wakingupincanada @ 6:00 pm
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When I was 16, our English teacher, a cheery, wise and happy man with a smock of white hair and thick black eyebrows commented that for our final exams, our poems would largely be based on transience, a mis-balance he believed, as in life, poems were mostly about love. I have become to wonder if he was wrong.

Banff is a transient town, and the lives of people like me are built upon hellos and goodbyes. Much revolves around the workplace here. In Banff, living space is everything, and many employers provide subsidised accommodation to their staff. The people I work with, I live with, ski with, eat with and socialise with.

Every week, people walk into our store, resumes in hand, and we don’t know if this is our new best friend standing in front of us. In our team, we have a plethora of characters  – the high energy people, the super-organised individuals, the laid-back crew, the super sellers and the super helpers. This mesh of personalities is like a microscopic view on the world and all that it takes to make it go around every day.

And just when you fall in love with it all, it is time for another goodbye. This week, we have a double dose of departure, with 2 beautiful people heading home. Unlike before in my life, when treasured companions move on to a better job or better home but stay in the area or at least the friendship circle, the international melting pot that is Banff sees possible Best Friends Forever fly off to the far reaches of the world, to a different career, a different lifestyle.

Somehow here, you connect with the transience that is life, the constant ebb and flow that is people. With every changing staff member or housemate, there is a change in the balance, the routine, the atmosphere. Sometimes it is a little shift barely noticeable, other times, for better or worse, a sudden movement occurs forcing ripples out in all directions. Sometimes the only thing is to stand firm in yourself and allow others the same courtesy. Other times, it seems to me, it is about learning from them, trusting them and enjoying them for as long as you have them.

It has been 7 months and many friends now. As 2 of my BFFs move on, I see all that they have given me: 6 mile runs through the mountains and gym workouts; pyramid hill sprints and scrabble in Tim Hortons, indulgent breakfasts and cheap cinema nights, wine and crackers and double dates. Only a true friend allows you to swear at them at the beginning of a 3 minute hill sprint or shares the joy in playing scrabble over good coffee at Tim Hortons, and offers to share the car she will win in Roll Up the Rim. A BFF gets lost with you and enjoys the views regardless.

It strikes me at these times, not how tough it is to say goodbye, but just how brilliant a good friend is. As we move through life and all its phases, a good friend grounds you, wherever your roots may be.




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.