Friday, June 29, 2007

bittersweet symphony

A few weeks ago I read a quote by Nelson Mandela in which he stated "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered". Those words resonated with me at a time in my life when I feel like my perceptions of the world and my life are undergoing a serious shift.

Recently I watched that Verve video. You know, the one with the guy walking down the busy sidewalk oblivious to all the other pedestrians around him. It had been years since I had seen that clip and I was startled at how drastically my perspective had changed.

More than a decade ago, when that video was a part of MuchMusic's regular rotation I loved the song but I always viewed the singer as an arrogant asshole who gave little consideration to the world around him. But today, as I listened to the lyrics with fresh ears, my judgements were drastically altered and I deemed that he wasn't the bastard I had first believed him to be. He was instead just a guy who was living his life and making no apologies for it. Not a second of his existance was wasted on gratuitious anxiety concerning the opinion others might hold of him. I am aiming to live my own life with that type of veracity. Minus the knocking old ladies over in the street.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

putting down roots

I have felt a shift within me the past couple of months. A move away from the desire to run away and explore the world replaced with a longing to find a place of my own in the world that I can mold into my personal sanctuary. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to flee the predictable and travel to far away locations. When I was in high school a friend and I created travel collage jars. We snipped pictures of sites we longed to vist from magazines and brouchures, glueing them to the jar as reminders of our dreams. In the jars we saved all our loose change and saved for our dream of backpacking through Western Europe. As I grew up my travel dreams shifted but always my head was churning with thoughts of my next big trip.

But now as I am closing the door on one semester and preparing to start the final leg of my masters journey, my thoughts are no longer travelling to exotic locales but instead my daydreams are dominated with visions of walls decorated with personal mementos, shelves filled with books and a comfy armchair in which to curl up in.

The other day Chris and I attended the Rosalie Cheese Carnivale. We queued up at booths to sample gourmet varieties of cheeses, to chat with fellow cheese lovers and to purchase our favourites for later consumption with a fresh bagette. We found a shady spot and sat on the curb munching hastily concocted sandwiches and drinking wine while watching the crowds wander past enjoying the beautiful Australian winter sun. Couples walked by arms around waists. Parents pushed babies in strollers while the toddlers dawdled behind. There was even a tiny but loud and colourful parade at one point. As we nibbled our torn pieces of bagette stuffed with broken cubes of cheese I shared with Chris the stories of my trip to Paris in the spring of 2001. But rather than incite a desire to run off and have another adventure I was hit with the realization that at that moment I was enjoing a unique experience and creating new memories. In a spot only 10 minutes drive from my home.

Later that day we nestled into our warm bed with a bottle of wine, some dark chocolate and a dvd of The Holiday. I mused that this lovely day had encapsulated many of my favourite pleasures. Delicious food and wine, live latin music, time spent at a vibrant community activity, beautiful blue skies and yet another cherished day spent with the person I love most. I was hit with the realization that this memorable day hadn't required a long plane trip or a new stamp in my passport. And that thought made me happiest of all.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Rekindling the Inner Fire

I have spent much of the past few days in a blur. After writing my first exam on Monday and immediately coming home to frantically finalize Chris's residency application my brain seemed to shut down. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I arose early to see Chris off to work and then was confronted with the realization that I have a week before my next exam and nothing to look forward to but days of battling my longing to relax and procrastinate with my desire to excel in my remaining exams.

But each day the high performer in me seemed to slip further and further into the recesses. Even my inner procrastinator had lost motivation. The internet had become a tedium of information. Not even Facebook was providing me with mindless distraction. All I wanted to do was crawl under the covers and sleep for a month. I spent hours wondering where the overachieving Alicia of years past had disappeared to. While my motivation has taken a nose dive this semester it really has been years since the fires of ambition have burned as bright as they had in my teenage years. Is this a part of getting older? Is it a loss of optimisim and naivety that has squashed my desire to stand out and make a difference in the world? I like to think that I am softening as I approach my thirties. That I have mellowed into a wisdom that happiness doesn't come with being lauded for the accomplishment of extraordinary feats but rather the acknowledgement that there exist ordinary events in the every day that also deserve to be celebrated.

Even with this maturity I am not entirely conflict free. There is still a small inner voice screaming that my mellowing is simply masking the weakness that I will never accomplish all the dreams of my youth. So there is still a need to strike that balance between lazy nonchalance and health readjustment of expectations.

Monday, June 04, 2007

at last something on my walls

So after more than three months in my new apartment I have at last gotten around to doing some decorating. Mostly I have been restricted by budget but when I found a deal from a local camera shop offering $2.00 8"x12" enlargements I had to take advantage. Finding frames was a bit of a challenge since it is isn't the most popular size for photos around but I happened up a discount store with $4.00 document frames that worked with just some slight trimming.

I am extremely happy with the photos. I have never before enlarged any my pictures before and I have never been overjoyed at the quality of the 4"x6" prints that I have had done. Seeing them in such a tiny size was always such a disappointment after seeing them displayed on my computer screen. But the enlargements come so much closer to capturing the great colours and bringing back the great memories of my travels. Finally justification for always taking my photos on the highest quality possible and dealing with the aggrevations of more frequent trips to internet cafes whiles travelling in order to clear the card once again.

I am now inspired to continue my decorating on a budget kick. But first there are exams to be studied for. Yet another thing to look forward during my break.

Here is a peak at my wall (though this photo hardly does it justice)