10 things to know while Travelling

“Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.”

Actor, Alan Alda

I find travelling to be the most creative of things I can do, specifically when I do it alone. I am connecting the dots through every decision I make. I am connected to people I’m never going to see again, at restaurants, while walking, or standing in line. Each person I meet has no idea whether I am a local or a tourist, not unless I actually tell them. When I was in the west of Canada, there is no distinct marker between me and the people I meet. Saying, “I’m from Ontario” doesn’t create any surprise reactions. Except, the people are curious about how my experience is going. Sometimes I would share my next venture with them, that I am on my way to Alberta.

Granville Station, Vancouver

When I got off the ferry, I took a bus to Vancouver’s skytrain. It wasn’t hard, just frustrating to figure out where I am going while on a strict schedule. I wanted to be at the Via Rail train station at 2pm. I sat on the bus between two asian young women, one white man at the back of the bus, and another white woman joined him with her suitcases. Once I got off the bus, I followed one of the asian woman. She agreed she would show me where to get the skytrain since she was going on the train too. While we arrive in the elevator, a black man (which I had seen in the ferry terminal in Victoria) was already in it, and an elderly white woman joined us. Most of us didn’t really know where we were going. We were figuring it out together. We lost the man who ended up taking the escalator, while the rest of us women walked to another elevator that took us to the platform. On the train, we started talking about Canada. I shared that I was on my way to Alberta, the Asian girl shared that she went to visit her parents on one of the island and she is returning. The elderly woman shared how she has watched Vancouver transformed into the big city it is now. There was another young white woman behind me who got my attention, and shared that she used to live in Alberta, but she is happy to live in BC now. She is in graduate school but doesn’t think she’ll be going back to Alberta. “Don’t go to the Edmonton Mall” she said, “Everyone goes there. Go to the Art Gallery or the Museum instead.” Well, I took her advice.

Art Gallery of Alberta

The elderly woman had told me to get off at the City Centre. Even though my GPS wanted me to continue on the train. I decided to take the elderly woman’s suggestions. When I got out of the train, I asked a number of people for directions. What I noticed was, no one was from Vancouver! The strangest thing… Two young girls directed me down an escalator, and from there I followed the signs to the platform. Nothing was completely difficult, it’s just that with the added stress of not wanting to miss my train, created anxiety. Anxiety and travelling is an uncomfortable mix. That’s probably why most people won’t do it. But, what calms me down is the confidence that, no matter what choice I make or not make, everything will work out just fine.

READ MORE: Ferry to Vancouver.

Travelling opens up my curiosity and puts all my assumptions and expectations behind closed doors. I wish that I could live like that in my ordinary life. Each moment is an opportunity to create a memory and to not take anything for granted. When travelling, I am fully aware of how to live in the moment, because I am certain that I won’t get another opportunity to come back to that very spot. Sitting in the train with strangers talking like ole friends hardly happen for me at home. We connected over our transitory journey.

So to end this post, I want to say that I have learnt a lot while travelling, I just have to use those same lessons in my regular life. Let me share 10 of them with you:

  1. Always ASK questions, don’t assume nothing.
  2. LIVE in the moment and don’t take anything for granted.
  3. Set aside plans, and go with the FLOW (this is the one that I use as my mantra).
  4. Be CURIOUS and try new things (this is a staple of travelling)
  5. Always go with your HEART and set aside every limitation.
  6. Create MEMORIES not nightmares.
  7. Be OPEN minded.
  8. Be anxious for NOTHING.
  9. Make MISTAKES. They can turn out to be best memories.
  10. Be completely FREE to be yourself (no one is judging!)

The echoes of hope

Written by: My friend, James Golding

I rise today,

Conscious and reflective of yesterday.

I thought …that as we travel through the canyon of life,

Each day we hear echoes.

These are milestones of how far we have traveled,

Reminders that we have a distance yet to go.

The echoes tell we have gone far, and gives hope we can go further.

Still those echoes never say how much further we have to go,

How much time is allotted,

Nor, whether we need to go at all.

Jamaica Bitter and Sweet

Now that I’ve been here for close to two months, Jamaica is slowly revealing its flaws to me. It wasn’t long that I accepted that some days I’ll have to bathe with cold water; but I did not anticipate having to bathe from a basin. This was not in the travel books. I not only had to bathe from the container of water, I also cooked and washed dishes from the kettle. Who knew that one could use so little water to do so much?

Jamaica, I felt was a little insensitive to me this week. I had to accept the realization that Jamaica does things differently; not like what I was used to. I have been chasing the digicel representative (the phone company here) who is never at their workstation when I visit. It’s either close in the middle of the day or they are out to lunch. I walk away puffing everytime. Finally, early this week I caught them and for the most part received great customer service; they did not have sim cards in stock, but promised some would arrive by the end of the day. Since other pressing matters came up, I postponed my return until the following day; which left me playing cat and mouse again. The next day, I reiterated my concerns to a another rep. She can only do pay-as-you-go, and not a monthly plan at this location. I rested my elbows on the counter and rubbed my fingers on my forehead. I pulled out my new NCB debit card, deciding that I would take the pay-as-you-go plan.

“We don’t take cards” she said.

At that point, invisible steam was blowing out of my ears.

“I’m leaving now” I said. And I stormed out. I walked towards a bench overlooking green grass and open space underneath a tree; and sat down. It was a minor problem, but overwhelming because Jamaica could not grant me my very small request- usage of my own phone. The Jamaican sun dried up my tears and I accepted that not all my requests will be granted and although I had been patient for the past month, more of it is required.

In spite the minor unkindness I felt this week, Jamaica surprised me over the weekend. I had a chance to walk along the beach in moonlight; and sat at my favorite ice cream garden, Devon House. I was hoping for more of these romantic events, but I guess I can’t always get everything I want. Still, I love you Jamaica.

Growing up

We dream about what we want our lives to look like in the future, but often times many of us are scared to get there. When we see the future drawing near it’s like something in us are startled, in disbelief, or fearful. It’s not uncommon I guess because growing up is scary. On the other hand, some of us jump right in, without even a second thought. We tend to only focus on the good parts- getting married, having children, buying our home. The perfect life. But somehow, we never dream up the divorce, the unruly children or the house that has become such a financial burden and a cause for half the quarrels that takes place in our homes. In this day and age, four in ten marriages will end in divorce according to a study done by the Vanier Institute of the family.  In spite of that, people still aspire to marry and those who are separated/divorced still want to find a marriage partner.

Somehow, in the midst of these turbulent times we still hope for the ideal, without much planning. After marriage, couples tend to go deeper and deeper into debt because they pile on all of life’s major milestones on top of each other. First come the hefty wedding bill, then comes the new mortgage and then the new baby, to add the cherry on top. It’s overwhelming but so many of us plunge right in, and often never come up for air. Years later, the debt grows and grows.

Yes, babies are supposed to be the pride and joy of our new family but if we don’t plan ahead, doesn’t that child often seem like a burden? Some might even say they are like a new bill. The cost to take care of them can be huge. On top of that they cause strain in the family. Suddenly, you have to plan your life around this infant, put up with the wailing when it needs to sleep/poop/eat. Many of us, normal people, get into a fantasy world when we’re married and think about the cuteness of the baby and how complete our family would be, but then we’re faced with torture when the baby is born. What appeared to be a bright idea suddenly seem more like a disaster.

I guess the torture ends at some point, or maybe we learn to adapt as parents. By this point, our pants pockets and our bank accounts are dried out but we persist because, well things have to get better right? If we work more everything will be okay. And that’s when we stop spending the quality time with our families, especially us women. Our children grow out of hand, our husbands are now driving us crazy because they can’t seem to understand that we need to work. Six years ago when we first got married, the kinds of expectations we had are thrown out the window and now we have to deal with reality. It’s not as ideal as it appeared in our dreams. Now what?

Maybe it would have been wiser to stay clear of all of it, allow the fear to drive us away from the fantasy world. But then, how would we know if we could have done better?

Odd co-incidences

Some call it, “God Winks” while others call it “cosmic choreography”; but regardless of the names we use to connote these mysterious co-incidences, most will admit that these are the best moments in life.

There is not a definitive term that has been coined specifically for events such as these, no one knows who or what is involved in allowing situations to naturally occur without the attempt of anything we have done ourselves. It happens to all of us, once we let go and agree to follow the path that has been made known to us. As W. H Murray (Scottish expeditions) explains, “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too”.

Thus, the only work that one does in these events, is commit oneself to the task at hand in “faith” or “fate” trusting some unknown voice that only we can hear that tells us to go ahead and do what seems unreasonable to others; yet it all makes sense to us. It isn’t easy though. Trusting something beyond ourselves is a far more complex decision than sticking with the logical world, where everything makes realistic sense. No one chooses to quit their job in pursuit of a hobby or a desire; yet that’s what Will Smith did in “Pursuit of Happiness” and that’s also what Jill Goldsmith did. She was a public defender who decided to quit her job and become a television writer for shows like Ally McBeal, Law and Order, and NYPD Blue. For both characters, both had to give up the comforts of what they knew and lived an uncomfortable life. As for Jill, she went for six months of unemployment, close to being broke, before she found herself in a “cosmic choreographic” situation. Hers happened at a chocolate factory. As she was waiting in line, a random stranger walked up behind her. The stranger agreed that Jill should go in front as they must have walked in at the same time. Jill thanked the stranger and explained that retrieving her chocolate even ten seconds earlier would make a huge difference in her happiness as she was very depressed. It turned out that who Jill was talking to was the writer and executive producer of the NYPD Blue series. The story unfold from there as the stranger wanted to hear about why she was depressed and she explained the part where she left her lawyer job in hopes of becoming a writer.

Life is truly interesting and fascinating to say the least. Life is a story that is yet to be told, but first we have to live out this awe-inspiring story so that we can tell it and re-tell it, as it is our personal story. When we allow the still small voice to direct us, the stories plots and climaxes become more interesting. Unfortunately, for this story to be this Hollywood motion picture, we have to stay in the dark until the movie is made.  In the end though, all the roads of our lives merge to form a superhighway, where everything makes sense, where all that we have learned along the way finds a place.

Change: “Proceed cautiously”

Life changes all too often and it’s mostly when one is unaware. There is never a banner that reads, “checkpoint” or “you are proceeding to the next level, proceed with caution”. Changes come up unexpectedly. I’m not saying that changes aren’t good- they are, even when it’s not in our favors. Changes help us to grow, make progress, and it teaches us different skills, like how to adapt or be more responsible. Yet, no one likes change. For me, I’m bittersweet towards it. I don’t want to remain stagnant and I don’t like when things get boring, yet at times there is fearfulness deep inside because I don’t know what’s coming.

Now, I live alone in my very own apartment. I make the rules about everything. I make the big decisions and the small ones. I do the chores and I am the only one who has the keys to my door. It feels great… outright exonerating! But how did I get here? It happened in the span of a few months, if not weeks. My new job suddenly forced me to consider the options of staying with family or moving closer to work. Second, I was offered an apartment at a very low cost, if I moved in right away. But the ultimate boost, which left me with only one option was when I was told to leave home. Was I scared? Not really. I had lived on my own before. I had prepared myself emotionally and financially because I knew that the day would come for me to leave. In truth, I was waiting for this change to happen. So this change did not catch me off guard. I wasn’t knocked off my feet, but simply rolled with it.

But change don’t always happen that way, does it? Most times we aren’t prepared. Times like when you learn that you’re pregnant but didn’t plan for it. Or getting kicked out at a young age and have no clue about what it’s like to live on your own. Or what about when a certain illness strike you or a close family member, the one where your sustenance comes from? How do you cope then? These are the changes that are so frightening and leaves that awful feeling of fear deep inside your stomach. When your thoughts can only focus on the circumstance, when sleep cannot come because your mind is uneasy. Change has come and all you have to do is to deal with it. There isn’t a way to turn back the hands of time, walk backwards so you can change the present into the past. There isn’t even a way to jump over your current present, such that your future can become your present. All that’s left is for you to deal with it, cope with it, live with it for the moment or forever. What then?

Sadly, some people entertain suicidal ideations, while others go right out and commit suicide. Some people choose unhealthy coping mechanisms like drinking alcohol, smoking, or simply becoming numb, nonchalant and apathetic towards life and their current circumstances. I can’t say which one is worse. But I do know that none of these choices help us to get over the circumstances.

I recall the very first time I was kicked out, at seventeen years old, and I remember feeling this invisible cloud that was hovering over my head. I didn’t have a mother or a father to run to for refuge. I knew that my future looked great but I couldn’t figure out how I was going to overcome this obstacle in my present. I didn’t have any resource or experience to make it through this time. The only thing I knew how to do was pray. I cried to God and I told him I needed a place to stay as I was about to start university soon. Right after, I followed my heart and a week before school started I got a place on campus; a place that was filled to capacity had an opening for me! For the next five years of my life, that one drastic change enabled me to grow into a responsible adult, capable of thriving in new environments. This change turned out to be a positive. Would I want to go through the exact situation again at seventeen? No!

I remember how I felt about going off to Mexico alone at twenty-two. That same knot was present in my stomach. I felt the thrill of going to a new country, excited that I was going to live with a Mexican family for two months, but scared because I didn’t know what would happen. I had to find my own way to the family’s house. How would I tell the cab driver where I was going, with the little Spanish I spoke? But when I arrived, everything went smoothly. I figured it all out and truthfully, there was nothing to worry or feel scared about.

Now, I realize that I’ve only dealt with a few “minor” circumstances, nothing to turn my whole world upside down. No unexpected deaths, no child births, no traumatic illnesses. Neither did any natural disaster came and shook my house down, nor was there any car crashes that disfigured my face/body. People’s circumstances varies according to the lesson they are intended to learn. And as much I could not put myself in those people’s shoes, the idea is that change is something we all face at some point in life or another. So far, I’ve learned to cope with my “minor” change/obstacle and I expect that they will serve a lesson when I have to endure other major changes. The greatest feeling though, is when one can look back and feel a sense of accomplishment because one is standing at a safe and stable place. So the only problem with these changes is that, they happen too unexpectedly. Since we have to go through it whether or not we want to, it would at least be nice if there was a big Flag that read, “Change is coming! Be cautious”

What Worriers we are!

When the bible said, “If God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers … he will care for you”. What did the bible really mean? I interpret it as; we should never worry about anything, neither the smallest nor the largest. God has to ensure our safety or satisfy our needs, whenever we have them. This is my view of the scripture and since its God’s word, and His words aren’t empty, then it has to do as it says, God’s duty it to ensure that I don’t have to worry.

Speaking about worrying, last night after my shift was over I decided to use the gym at work. I wanted to get my 20 minutes work-out in and get out so I could go home. I was very happy with the fact that I motivated myself to work-out and burn some sweat. It was about the time I wanted to leave so I hurried to the door, already foreseeing myself driving and being home. But the door was locked! I literally could not get out as I did not have my work keys anymore. Moreover, the locks must have been changed as the door was never able to be locked before. My mind was growing frantic, as it entertained thoughts about having to sleep in the gym overnight. But I adjusted my frame-of-mind because I spoke the same words written in Matthew 6, “Don’t worry about these things…your heavenly Father already knows all your needs”. I know without a doubt that I would be rescued, it was just a matter of time.  Time, I didn’t want to waste though so I banged on the door repeatedly for someone to hear me; no one heard. I stood there and waited while twirling my hair, wondering should I be shouting like this? Or should I act professional? Do I have to wait for another 15 minutes when others will be ending their shifts and may wish to use the gym too? I banged and shouted even more. But I heard the bible verses in my mind again, “don’t worry…” So, I decided to get calmer and listen. It was then I heard someone’s keys, and I shouted, “Hello!!” And there a manger came to my rescue! God provided like He said He would and I must have waited for a maximum of 2 to 5 minutes.

God provides. Nothing is too hard for God. I could have easily worked up fear and anger within my heart but I refused to allow the negative thoughts to seep through and had an effect on the outcome. Such a simple lesson to learn, but when it comes down to the moment, it is often the most difficult to practice in our daily lives. In the spotlight, we are nothing but big worriers. We worry about tomorrow, the day after that, the week after this one, and the next year. We worry about our finances, we worry about being lonely, we worry about the outcomes of our children; everything becomes problematic and often we don’t try to do anything about it. We just enjoy the thing God says not to do.

Why are we like that? When God says no, we say yes. Is it because we think we’re smarter than God? Or we think He doesn’t know how we’re feeling? Does God see how frustrating it is for me to be a single mother coming from work with three children waiting for me? If God sees that I need a husband, why doesn’t He send one. That’s how we speak about God “behind His back”.   When I get like that I go to God in “prayer” and I shout at Him, sometimes I cry and sometimes I display my anger to God. I remind God what He says and I tell God that I’m starting to worry as I can’t wait anymore. The last time I did that, God did provide exactly what I wanted. Yes, I had to wait. Yes I had to preoccupy myself with other things to ease my mind from worrying. Yes, I had to constantly remind myself that God knows what He’s doing, He is in charge and I had to ask myself, “Am I not okay in spite the fact that I lack the thing I need?” And of course the answer is yes! God is still providing until He actually provides the thing we need! Ha, what an amazing God.

All in all, I know God doesn’t want us to worry, not for anything. He will provide the simplest thing we need and even those things we perceive as difficult and out of our reach. He just knows. And should He allow us to wait; it has to be for our own good. In fact, when I received my personal request from God, I started to wonder what life would have been like had he provide it for me a year before.  It just wasn’t what I would have wanted and so God also has to ensure that it is the right time for us. So, why don’t we just leave everything to God? Pray and do only those things we can and just leave the rest to Him!

Relationship Woes

There are some people who can never be out of a relationship. They tend to have steady long-term relationships and they are the ones you’re certain will get married sooner or later. But, there are those of us who can never hold a relationship down. The sooner we get into a relationship is the sooner we get out of it. We are the ones who may never get married.  I used to think I was just picking the wrong guy, but now I’m starting to wonder, could it be me who is the problem?

John and I dated for exactly three months. We had a great relationship in the beginning; it was filled with my favourite word, fun. He had a lot of energy and we did all those interesting date-like events: movies, dinner, and going for walks. Somewhere before the three month point he wouldn’t call as much. I would be the one to initiate the calls. And by the three month point, my calls didn’t seem to go through. Of course, for me, that symbolized the end of another relationship. And I moved on. I’m left livid of course because I feel disrespected and I wasted my time with another idiot.

Other times, I find that I’m the one who is just not into the guy and I also don’t answer the calls as frequent as I would. The guy becomes less appealing to me in conversations on the phone or in person. I’m not impressed by the clothes he wears and I don’t feel engaged in our interactions. When I talk to him, the conversations become mundane for me, and I’m wondering how I can end this call without being rude.  When it gets to that point, I save myself the hassle by impolitely refusing to answer his calls, and of course, like me, he gets the picture.

I wonder if it’s karma though, I’m basically sowing what I reap. Because I know my relationships have all been short-lived, I’ve come to dislike dating all together. In my last few years however, I’ve made it a duty to change my approach. I’ve been putting more efforts in all my relationships; and not just with guys only. What I’ve found was a startling difference.

Jason and I were together for six months! I invested my time and energy to build our relationship. I took the time to meet his friends and family. I went out of my way to clean his apartment and to make dinner for him on weekends. There were things I didn’t want to do, but for the sake of the relationship I did it anyway. Although our relationship ended, and I was broken-hearted, what I learnt was that it’s better to put my whole heart in the relationship than not. It added more depth and meaning to both of our lives.

Now, when I analyse myself and currently building what seems like another wonderful relationship; I feel scared. Not because I’m worrying that it might end, I’m used to that, but because this might last longer than three or six months. I’m with a guy who is actually taking everything seriously. He seems committed to building our relationship and he is leaving me no choice but to do the same. I feel that I have to call him before he calls me or I have to cook for him because he drove all that way to see me. It’s not the feeling of obligation necessarily, but rather of desire.  I feel appreciated when I do those nice things because his response is encouraging. Although we’re at the beginning phases of our relationship, it feels like I’ve already achieved what I’ve spent three months building with other guys.

But while the interactions have all been nothing short of amazing, like he is everything I imagined in a guy; I’m starting to feel afraid. What if he really is the one I’m going to marry?  Will that mean I can never date again? I will never be in another three-month relationship. I can never dump another guy and get a new one. I will actually have to commit to this one relationship for the rest of my life. Other women find this to be a relief in their lives, but I’m feeling jitters in my stomach. I’m not so sure I want this kind of commitment. Where will the excitement go? What if the fun ends? What If I’m tired of waking up with the same guy on my bed? What if he snores too loud and I can’t get rid of him because it’s his room and his bed too. What should I do then?

So when I look back on my short-lived relationships, I’m thinking that this may have been my mechanism for getting out of what could become a long-term commitment. Though the separations leave me upset, I normally bounce back in no time and regain excitement from the next new guy. Now, I realized, it was never the guys who were at fault, it was me all along. I have been undeniably feeding my own fears of commitment all these years. And I’m wondering will I do the same in this ecstatic new relationship I’m in?

Adulthood, when does it happen?

The law explicitly states that an adult is someone who has reached the age of majority; usually around age 18 to 21 depending on the jurisdiction. Upon that time, a person has the ability to exercise their right to vote, to get married, obtain a driver’s license, drink alcoholic beverages or sign legally binding contracts. But often, in spite this age of majority and our new adult privileges, we don’t always feel like adults much less act like one. So, when exactly do we accept this coming of age?

For years, I have been over 18 and I cannot, for the life of me give up my childish tendencies. I tend to whine like a child, complain like a child, skip to places like a child, grin and make funny faces like a child, hug the elders in my family by wrapping my whole arm around them like a child, and on occasions ask for piggy back rides like a child. For the past 5 years, I’ve been telling my friends that one day I’m going to grow up and accept being an adult. Their response to me usually is, “yea, right!”. Sometimes I wonder when this physical maturity will kick in completely.

After turning 25, and still observing the child in me, I started to become a little worried. Is it possible that I may have inherited my mother’s playful side on a more pronounced level? I unspokenly made a vow to myself that I was going to start acting more like an adult. Since then, I find myself breaking my unspoken covenant time and time again. I told myself that maybe my immature behavior might very well be a part of who I am. In fact, it is me who often cheer myself up with my at times silly, cheery, charismatic and childish personality; and it is this very same personality that cheer up a lot of my at times distressed friends. Upon relinquishing my attempt to break my covenant, I surprised myself the other day.

It was unlike any other day because I made a decision on the spur of the moment, to rent a car. Although I talked to friends about my irrational decision, they said nothing to deter me. Instead, one friend spontaneously agreed to come along for the ride. It left me even more convinced and excited about driving my Nissan Versa 2009 around the city.

For one day, this car was going to be mine. Admittedly, throughout the day, I forgot I had the keys so there were times when I walked to the passenger’s seat forgetting that I was the driver. When I did remember though, I smiled inside. This whole experience gave me a feeling of empowerment and control over my life, something I haven’t really felt before. It was always difficult to see myself in my very own car mainly because I link owning a car with being an adult, and at this point, I still haven’t felt like one. Having the car for one day enabled my mind to mentally visualize myself not just in my own car, but my own house, having my own children- and in essence taking on the responsibilities of adulthood. Balter and Tamis-LeMonda agrees, in their book, (Child psychology: a handbook for contemporary issues), that “responsibility is the key to an adult status because it has such strong connotations of self-sufficiency and self-reliance”.

I suppose becoming an adult is not just having the law acknowledging so, or family members emphatically insisting that you ‘become one!’ Instead, it’s more the amount of adult-like experiences you have. The more your mind is cognitive of doing adult things the more you feel like one. As for me, I’m mentally ready to take on larger ownerships and bigger responsibilities (like my own full-time job and my own Jeep Liberty). Until then, I’ll be well on my way to accepting adulthood.

Life’s canon balls

Life throws many canon balls at us that it makes me wonder, how am I going to dodge them all? I’m only just starting out my life, and I’m beginning to wonder how many hits am I going to have to suffer? Already, I have had a few slight blows but nothing severe to knock me out, mostly because for most of my life, I’ve had others to shield the major hits from me. But what will happen, when I’m left unprotected? Will I be able to survive?

I met a man, let’s coin him Ardashir, who was from Afghanistan. He’s only been living in Canada for eight years. He has two children and has been married to his wife for the past 20 years. In his country, Ardashir was an Engineer. He was an elite in his society. For 30 years he lived a life of comfort, stability, and security. He knew who he was going to marry before the thought entered his mind. And his parents already had the money to buy his house when the time came. Sure, his country was war-ridden, but Ardashir would be considered secure if asked by others in his society. Nonetheless, he moved to Canada with his wife.

Canada was not how he imagined. He had no support, no money, nothing. He assumed being an Engineer in Canada would be easy. Instead he found himself working at a Pizza Pizza store after one year of being unemployed. His heart broke. He knew that in his country, working in a store would be considered demeaning. Now, he has to do work there for his family of 3 and has been for the past six years. What a change!

Change can make or break anyone of us. And I’ve had a few changes in my life. I’ve spent my life studying- 22 years in total. I went to admirable schools: a Catholic high school for girls in Jamaica, a Catholic high school in Canada, as well as an elite University. When I graduated, and was not able to find a decent position; I had to work minimum wage at a summer camp. I felt humiliated internally. My heart sank and everyday at the job I had to deal with it. It was my only means of survival, and under different circumstances, I would have said ‘No’ but I realized money is better than no money. What could I do?

I had to humble myself and accept that I had just been hit by my first minor canon ball. It was minor because it only left a bruise and besides I still had support to fall back on. But what will I do when the major balls come? My pastor orated a sermon about Job, a very respected and honoured man in the bible. Job had gone through so much. He had everything and lost it all, but Job was still faithful to God. My pastor ended his sermon by alluding to us, to me, that I haven’t gone through anything yet. He meant that all the small issues that I’ve had doesn’t even come close to what Job had to endure. Today, I listened to my aunt tell her story. She told me of the pain, the hardship, the struggles she had to endure. She told me how hard she had to work, how many painful surprises she underwent. And how she got through it all by her perseverance. I wouldn’t have known that if she hadn’t disclosed them. It makes me wonder, what does my life has in store for me?

I will never know the answer to that question until I’m experiencing it. When I am, I will try to be like Job and like my aunt; enduring the pains to the end. In the end though, things will get brighter. Life brings its up days and down days, we just have to experience it without forgetting that it’s all in the experience. When life chooses to throw her canon balls at me, I will try to dodge whenever I can, but there will be times when I’ll get caught. Then I’ll have to make the hurt heal and continue living.