Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Happy Birthday

Tomorrow is my 25th Birthday. I’m normally not that concerned about my birthdays. The day arrives, we have some cake and presents, and then life carries on as usual. Bada-bing bada-boom. 
This year, however, the approach of my birthday has been met with some feelings of melancholy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m also very excited about it, but there has been a bit of reminiscing surrounding this birthday.

As all birthdays, this one brings up thoughts of being younger. The dreams I had as a child and how some of them were realised and some were let go. 
There’s a wonderful line in a Regina Spektor song that says: “One day you’ll wake up and feel a great pain and you’ll miss every toy you’ve ever owned."
I think we can all relate to that in some way. You think back to how your life was then and how different it is now. But at the same time, you know that if you had those toys now they wouldn’t mean the same to you. You can’t go back, so you move forward.

Because my birthday is at the start of August, it always, without fail, fell right smack-dab in the middle of the Summer holidays. This means that I always had the day off on my birthday, (except for a few times here and there when I was working a summer job), and since I’ve chosen teaching as my profession this continues to be the case. It’s great, I have a whole day to do with what I will.

However, being that it’s the summer holidays usually meant most of my friends were away. As a result my birthdays were always more of a family affair. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My family are my favourite people in the whole world. I always count myself incredibly blessed whenever I think of them. The love I have for these people is immeasurable. They bring so much joy and light to everyone they meet. Think salt of the earth and that’s them.

I think that’s part of the struggle I’m having this year. It will be the first time that I celebrate my birthday outside of the family home. For the past 24 years I’ve been home for my birthday, and now I’m finding that “home” is a trickier place to find.

Currently, I live in Chilliwack in a wonderful apartment that I love. So yes, I consider that my home. But it can also be a lonely place because I live there on my own. My loving family; parents and sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews, are spread out across the globe in 3 different countries. I consider those people to be my home, but at this point a rather far away home.

This year I will be spending my birthday with my boyfriend, James. He is the most loving and thoughtful man I have ever known. He truly astounds me with his servant heart and generous spirit. He lives in a house along with 6 other people. They are kind, intelligent, welcoming, and full of laughter. I’ve been spending a fair amount of time here over the past few weeks and months, and slowly I think I’m starting to consider this place and these people to be one of my many places I can call home.

I can’t say what this coming year will hold. I’m certain there will be times of feeling alone and missing the life I used to have as a child living with my family. But, I am also certain that this year will be full of hope and joy during the times spent with the new people in my life. I’m sure I’ll find more places to call home and make new memories to reminisce about years from now. The important thing is that I can always look back and say that no matter what, I’ve been surrounded by love and that means more than I could ever say.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Things I Miss About My Home in England

The special needs group in the building across from mine and their whole-hearted Karaoke singing every Saturday.

Being able to get lovely dinners and desserts at Marks and Spencer’s.

The guy who was always blasting Status Quo as he drove around town in a little blue car.

The daily market selling everything from fresh fruit to antique jewellery.

Feeling like a true Londoner every time I took the Tube and ended up where I wanted to be.

My cute little British students with their polite manners and smart uniforms.

Street musicians of all varieties that made the shopping street feel like a party.

Hearing a variety of British accents everyday and loving each one.

Walking past beautiful historic buildings on cobbled streets every day.

That one particular street musician who, without meaning to, made every song sound like a threat. (I’ll never listen to Dreadlock Holiday the same way again. “You better run! You better take cover!”)

Being able to take the train and watch the countryside roll on by.

Going to the Theatre and visiting Museums regularly.

Walking through the streets of London.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Nesting Instinct.

Nesting is a term used to describe the instinct or urge an expectant mother feels to prepare a home for her newborn. Lately I've been having some nesting urges. Don't worry Ma and Pa, I'm not pregnant. But I do feel a longing to create a place that is mine. I've never fully had that. For the first part of my life I always shared a room with my younger sister, then for a brief time I had my own room, and then I started moving around roughly once a year (sometimes more) which never really gave me enough time to create a home for myself. Right now I'm living in England and I'm renting the top floor of the local vicarage. In some ways I have made it my own, but in most ways it's just a room. The furniture is not mine, the bedding isn't mine, I can't paint the walls or put up pictures. Next year I plan on getting my own place. A place that is really mine. I doubt that I'll actually buy a place, but I would like to rent something that is its own unit. Not a basement suite, not a coach house, but a real apartment that I can make my own. Furnish with furniture that is of my taste. Hang up some of the art I've collected and pictures of people I love. Fill it with knick-knacks and books that mean something to me. Heck, if they let me maybe I'll even get a dog. Yes, I'm looking forward to finding a place to make my own. A place to settle for at least a year or two. A home. 

Friday, 20 February 2015

The Gift

He handed her the book.
‘I’m sorry it’s not a first edition.’
‘Well does it have the same words?’ she asked.
‘Yes, I suppose it does.’
‘Then I love it just the same.’
She leaned in and kissed his cheek.
This made him happy.
He hoped she would do it again, but instead she began to slowly thumb through the pages.
Thankfully, watching her enjoy the gift made him happy too.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Getting To Know You.

There are many blogs I've written but never posted. Good blogs too. Ones that revealed different parts of who I am. Blogs that share some of my hopes and dreams, my insecurities and my worries. I haven't put these blogs on the internet because that isn't how you should learn those things about me.
Those things should not be readily available to anyone who has internet access. 

We've become very accustomed to sharing everything in our lives with anyone who will listen. Taking pictures of our food. Photographing our feet on random sidewalks. Stretching our arms out and pointing the camera at ourselves in front of anything even vaguely of interest. There is nothing wrong with that. I mean, I've got a Youtube channel where I love to post videos of my adventures. What I worry about is more than that: we share our opinions of everything. We comment what we're thinking and how we're feeling. We write paragraph after paragraph about our deepest thoughts and dreams. Should all that really just be out there?

The other day I was walking on the street and I overheard a girl saying "Some of my friends don't even have instagram. I mean, it's not like a deal breaker or anything but come on! What if I want to get to know you better?" It's worrying to me that we get to know each other through screens and it's dangerous too. On the internet I get to choose what I share or don't share. I could paint you a beautiful picture of who Hanna is and how great she is and all the fun stuff she does. But that isn't the full picture. That isn't really me. Certainly not all of me.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is this: if you want to get to know me, all of me, you're going to have to actually spend time with me. You're going to have to work at it. I need to know that you care enough about me to earn the stories of who I am. I need to trust that you will respect them. You won't get to know me through your screen but I'm more than happy to meet you for a face-to-face and a heart-to-heart. 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Take Time

Our world is pretty fast paced. We've become accustomed to getting things at the push of a button (or click of a mouse). We complain when we have to wait in a queue for even a few minutes. Or when the internet is ever so slightly slower than usual. I think we are slowly loosing our ability to appreciate the little things. We don't take time to just sit and enjoy a good song. We don't look up from our gadgets to see the beauty of the morning sky. We can't get off of Netflix long enough to wind down with a good book and a cup of cocoa. 

These past few weeks I've been making an effort to take time to appreciate the little things. I want to make sure that I actually take notice of the day as it unfolds rather than being focussed solely on what tasks I have planned to achieve. I know I'm not the first to do this and I know that it's not a revolutionary thing, but it has been making such a difference. Every evening I give myself at least an hour before bed: I light a candle, do a bit of journaling, play some music, or snuggle up with a book. I unplug and actually take time to enjoy my life. And it has given me so much more peace. I don't feel stressed, I don't feel like I'm busy every hour of every day.

I've noticed that by just taking a few minutes here and there throughout the day to appreciate the little things I've been able to feel so much more calm. It reminds me that life is so much more than constantly being on the go and always thinking about the next thing. Sometimes I want to share a moment with a student and really listen as they tell me a story. I want to take time to just sit and enjoy my lunch without marking at the same time. I want to enjoy the colours of the sky as the sun is going down even if I'm still at work. 

I know it can seem hard. You already feel like you don't have enough time in the day, let alone have extra time to stop and appreciate something as small as a good cup of coffee. But trust me, once you give yourself these moments to be thankful for these things you'll find that maybe you do have more time than you think. 

Sunday, 19 October 2014

True North.

Dear Canada,

Today I miss you. I miss seeing you in your Autumnal splendour. How I wish I could take a long drive along the Fraser River or down a winding country road. I wish that I could go for a hike in your mighty mountains and take in the beauty of the changing foliage. I want to bundle up and to feel your cool breeze on my nose. I wish that I would get caught in one of BC's downpours and get soaked to the bone. Then I would snuggle up with a cup of coffee, real coffee. Maybe have some pancakes with maple syrup and bacon while I sit in front of a log-burning fire. I love to smell of wood smoke that lingers in the damp air, mingling with the scent of crisp leaves. To hear the call of a loon or an eagle. I miss your oceans. I miss you plains. I miss the mountains and forests. I miss you vast skies and the beauty of your sunsets. I miss your cities and your towns. Canada, today I miss you, but don't worry. Someday I will come to you again and be able to love you all the more.