Changes

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There are many changes we go through as individuals where sometimes it is hard to see how far we have come until we take a look back into our past. As I perused old photographs and deleted miscellaneous pictures off my phone and computer, it forced me to think about the past. What has changed and how I have grown, if I have grown at all..and hopefully not exponentially.

I have a list of things I would like to do in life but over the past few years it has been to be settled and happy and still thirsting for life and adventure. It started really at university and then after I graduated university in December of 2007. It is hard to realize that it has indeed been years since that time. I remember orientation or FROSH as it popularly called. We were sorted according to discipline. I was in humanities so the people I met in my assigned group and who were also studying humanities were still people I knew years later.

This comes to mind as I am attending the wedding of one of these dear friends in a few weeks time. I remember her well as one of the first people I met at that orientation at age 17. Time goes by so quickly. Its as if it is on a constant escape to the next grand adventure wherever that might be. I finished my studies quickly. I enjoyed Political Science, English and Womens Studies, subjects that could help me understand how our society is shaped and could arm me with advice to improve it or at least write about it.

When I graduated at 20, I was lost as to what to do. My French was not wonderful at the time but I thought, ”Why not?” And with my parents’ blessing, I went away to Quebec and met all these wonderful people from Paris, Lyon, Montpellier, Belgium, Switzerland, L´ile de la Reunion, places I would have never imagined to meet people from. We would have get togethers and go out. Sometimes we would stay in and eat wonderful food. It was such an international, friendly, fun crowd. A few short months after my arrival, I was speaking an acceptable French and planning with my new friends, navigating Quebecois and French culture; it was a wonderful time in my life. I spent 2 years there more than I thought I would and was able to visit France with locals because of my new French bilingualism and my new friends. I had never lived alone for university, it was different being away and responsible for myself. Sometimes I enjoyed the people I met, sometimes I didnt and I wondered how it could be better. Anyway, I would go into stores and ask questions about items while practicing my French. I would perfect different subjects which helped when people would vary their sentences and ask something in a slightly different way than I had heard it before. I would become very confused and provided a much-needed puzzled look. When I had lived there for about a year, I met a girl who had come over from the South of France to live with her then-boyfriend. We were introduced through a mutual friend and we resulted in becoming quite good friends. I had never met anyone who spoke quite as quickly as she did. She would also write to me in a very colloquial French, not often written to me because I was not so gifted in colloquial French. I found when my mind was becoming less and less stimulated by my environment, this new girl was there ready to brighten me up even though she too was having issues. I remember her never really complaining about her situation. I remember however her as a bright light, loud and smart, always ready to take on the world and unafraid of giving her opinion. Many people underestimated her as being smart but I learned quite a bit from her.

I had not envisioned it would be difficult in Quebec because I was there to figure out what I wanted to do with life but I knew I wanted more out of my time and I wasn´t asking myself enough. I steadily began to get bored after a year and a half. Yet, this was part of my journey, the journey of figuring out where I fit in. I think back and think I could have done more but then I did accomplish quite a bit. I become fluent in French, made wonderful long-lasting friendships and had enough French credits to help me with my next venture.

There was a whole world out there to learn about and experience. Many of my new French friends decided to settle in Canada and not return to France but I, for some reason, had a burning desire to know more, to ask, ”Well, who else is out there?” The truth is Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail. I hate that phrase because I feel it takes the adventure out of things. Sometimes it is a wonderful rule to live by, sometimes not. I think if you are serious about making permanent changes, it comes from preparing for them. I speak from experience when I say that in certain situations, I wish I had prepared for them. I learned to think on my feet but sometimes there were wasted moments where I thought, ”Ok I need a backup plan. I really should have made it before but let’s see what sticks now’

A good example of this is when I went to Paris for the summer in 2012, to fall in love with the city on my own. I suppose it was and still is magical to me because I have this beautiful version of it in my head. I also went there so many times and love the romantic aspects I envision. It doesnt matter what misadventures I had there. I was drawn to it by its architecture. And I know, France and Britain are countries built on the riches of poorer nations but just a beautiful city. I never felt alone there. But there were situations where I could have prepared better there. The purpose though at that time was to enjoy, which I did. I´ll tell the lost in the suburbs of Paris next time

To be continued….

 

 

 

 

Heartbroken?

When we think about heartbreak? What is heartbreak?

Is it disappointment? Is it that you expected more? Are you giving more than you are receiving? Are you appreciated and feel appreciated every day?

Sometimes you can have a clean heartbreak and sometimes there is a consistent falling of the heart where you want more out of life, your relationship, yourself and it is cyclical. The cyclical heartbreak is not anymore hurtful than the former but it is consistent. Consistent means long-term effects that affect your daily life and how you function. How can we concentrate on happiness if negativity is always given a front row seat to our lives?

Perhaps some of you have seen Inside Out. It is a children´s movie. However, with all children´s movies, one must realize that they are written by adults. A lovely thing about most children´s movies is that it is meant to teach a lesson; something where we can take away and reflect on what we have seen.

In the film, there are different emotions that play into the different situations we experience in life. Each of these emotions attempts to help the child navigate and understand themselves. As the film progresses what we see is an alienation of sadness. Sadness is pushed into the corner, ignored and alone. Happiness, anger, fear and envy? are left behind to maneuver the individual to feel different ways. However, what we learn later is that every situation demands different emotional maturity as we grow older. We cannot avoid feeling the good without understanding what makes us upset. When we understand what our triggers are or the kinds of things that make us sad, it provides us with perspective and understand so that we may move forward and learn to love the positive aspects of life. We shouldn´t focus entirely on the sadness and negativity but we should understand the role that they play in our lives.

No one can be happy 100% of the time. We have ups and downs and ways that we are pleased or disappointed. When we become stressed or disappointed, what should we do? Do we retreat into ourselves or do we discuss the issue with others for perspective and therefore, afterwards create an action plan of sorts?

How we react to our ups and downs can help train us to be reflective, meditative and happier, positive people. Heartbreak as experienced through life,situations, other people who haven´t a clue how to feed or replenish our souls or to be there. Half of the time, it is about listening to the other party and really hearing them. Responding to what they say and trying to understand perhaps what is not said.

Listen. Meditate. Love

What is happiness?

Everything starts with the relationship to the self. How happy you are in work/relationship/family must first be dealt with by examining ones relationship to what things make them happy

When you think about how happy you are, for many years the question concerned how stressed we were which means that the discussion of happiness became secondary to the problem STRESS

Except can one truly escape stress? No, you cant. You can only learn how best to cope with it. Sometimes people become so overwhelmed and obsessed with what others are doing wrong or how they cannot seem to break free of the rut they have found themselves in, that they invariably result in doing nothing. The stress and the pressure renders them quite feeble and unproductive.

I remember I knew someone who said she couldnt sleep or eat because of her feelings about a certain subject. Her issue was that she couldnt change the way someone was acting. She could not cope well. It was as if someone else was in charge of her emotional state but how is that possible? Can others truly control our emotional states? If we allow them to, yes.

The question then becomes how do we concentrate on the self?

First lesson of the day: Breathe

7 seconds take a deep breath in, hold it for 4, breathe out for 8 seconds

Continue for 7 minutes

 

What is love?

Is love an undying dedication to another where you live for another and think only of that person?
There is nothing but the beginning and ending of this person
Is it love to feel immense joy and immense sadness because of someone?
Is love when you feel someone is your family or someone for whom you feel nothing but unbridled passion?
Is it someone you make organised plans with or someone with whom there is nothing but spontaneity and carefree freedom?

Is it being saddened by separation and thereby, missing a piece of your whole?

or is it standing on your own and watching your partner stand on their own?

Is it when you feel a part of every aspect of their lives or when you step back and appreciate things they do and ignore the things they don´t do?

Is it love to want to fix someone because it will improve them or is it love to let someone be who they are?

Is it love to constantly fix your problems or should love be easy?

When love gets hard, do you shut yourself off and wait for your partner to wake up or do you become vulnerable and embrace all the issues and problems and resolve them?

Is it love to expect that someone will run after you if you walk away? Is it love to accommodate someone or to let them accommodate you in everyway?

Should you expect something everyday? Appreciation, a touch, a hug or is all love varied and particular?
Is it love to be the support for everyone but yourself?

At what point, is it no longer love but a pursuit of hide and seek?

When you both have so much history and feel disconnected, how do you reconnect? How do you wake up and realize the disconnection has occurred? Or do you make space for yourself?

Should you just do as you want and expect that your partner love you unconditionally or should you go through all your decisions with your partner ?

At what point, does your love beg you to walk away or is it about enduring?

Fast-track Education of the Self

I was 20 when I graduated university. I fast-tracked university because frankly, I was getting impatient and I wanted the next part of my life to start. I didn’t know what I wanted to do in university. Sometimes, I wish that I had taken it slower so I was sure of each of my steps. I have friends of mine who said, ‘Well, one should never regret education’. And I suppose I shouldn’t. I went to India recently where it seems as though the country is at work.  I think that’s the best way to put it. I think it’s ironic how the general public complain about child labourand poverty in the third world countries but that, despite this, it doesn’t seem to stop them from buying clothes obviously originating in those third world countries. I would assume this derives from their desire of not paying the requisite first world price of clothing where people have the benefit of the glorious minimum wage. Thus, the public prefer to complain and continue living their own lives instead of creating new pathways for those who know only one path. Send a child to school, write to your local MP or the country’s MP, give something back to the community, make your own t-shirt!

Don’t make inane commentary that serves no other purpose than to rise above and condescend others. People aren’t completely wrong nor are they completely right. At the same time, there is hypocrisy in that poverty is outrageous in other countries when we have it right in our own countries where there is easy access to education. Do we not owe it to ourselves to ask what happened there? Statistically, they say that if you come from a two parent home where both have been university educated, it is highly likely that you will be educated in the same manner. And, they align education alongside earning potential.

I always say education is the answer. It’s what allows us mobility in the world. In this fast-paced ever-changing society, the one constant is the need to have access to education and education is a broad subject because what it means to some might be different than what it means to others. For example, agricultural education one might only learn on a farm as opposed to molecular biology. One of my research papers during my Masters was about a girl who learned all sorts of interesting things on the farm where she grew up and consequently found when she herself went off to university that it supplemented her understanding of the theoretical and written world. It provided her with a practical application of what others learned theoretically. What I mean by this is all that you learn throughout life is relevant. Opening up your horizons is also part of expanding your mind and your potential.

For myself, I didn’t appreciate the education I had because I always felt I was being pushed to do one thing or the other and though I said to myself that I wanted to be everything I could be, then I chose easier paths. At least that’s what I tell myself. I figured that if I studied those subjects, it would give me time to think about what I really wanted to do. I was afraid I might pursue something that I would fail at in the end.

During my undergraduate, I studied English, Political Science and Women’s Studies, which gave me a strong literary appreciation though perhaps not so much for old English literature such as La Morte d’Arthur. I might feel differently about that particular one now seeing as its been almost 10 years since I read it though it’s the only one coming to mind. With women’s studies, people always laugh it off and then when you tell them that women still earn 70 cents to the male dollar, they say well I’m not a feminist but that doesn’t make sense. Clearly, it doesn’t make sense if you are not willing to do anything about it unless the assumption is that you are marrying that man who does have the potential to earn higher (which is a completely separate subject….I digress)

I met wonderful people though. A very few have remained as permanent friends but it was such a multicultural university. There was a girl who I met my first day who went to Egypt every year. Every year, she would bring me something, rice paper bookmarks with Egyptian hieroglyphics, a painting of Osiris, mini statues of pharoahs, earrings. I remember on my 21st birthday, she gave me artificial pearls and a pearl frame. It’s meeting people like that which allowed me to know what generousity and friendship really was. I regret that I didn’t join more clubs but in the end, it helped shape me as an individual. Like that page from the Velveteen Rabbit about becoming.

“You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be kept carefully. Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby”

Perhaps its also about learning to accept yourself alongside your capacity to absorb the world around you and share your knowledge with others who share theirs with you

velveteen quote.

 

 

Paris <3 An undying love for a beautiful city and culture

I haven’t written about my summer trip/adventure to Paris a few years ago but I thought I should. It was terrible, amazing, fun and terrifying.

However, the story really starts around 7 years ago in Canada when I had just finished my undergraduate studies. I went to this little town called Trois Rivieres in the province of Quebec. It`s also where I really started to learn French. I only meant to stay 4 months and then 2 years just flew by. I met so many people, many of whom I am still in touch with today and got caught up in the romantized French people and culture as most of my friends happened to be French exchange students.

When I first arrived, it was January 2008 so mountains of snow in a sleepy town and a seemingly empty university. I started taking French classes that semester and met a Parisian girl who I am still friends with today and always ask, `Why me?` I didn’t even speak French well. I would stop and start and stop and start so many times because I always hesitated on my phrases.

There were so many people I met who made such an impact on my life and helped me experience things that I wouldn`t have otherwise. It was a strange period in my life. I remember immense joy and then periods of immense sadness, times when I wanted to be surrounded by everyone and times when silence was all I wanted.

Anyway this was part 1. I will share a Trois Rivieres story soon

Beautiful thoughts from London, UK

It is interesting having been here a year and to start anew, to rediscover the self when it feels like the self should already have been known before, long ago. To have dealt with the lows and the highs and to feel balance again.

It takes time to understand our true wants and desires and then find how to discover our path in relation to these desires.

I was reviewing the following video with a student of mine about Malala Yousafzai and how, at a very young age, was motivated and passionate about the issue of female education or lack thereof and started to speak about it

http://www.itele.fr/monde/video/malala-yousafzai-plus-jeune-prix-nobel-de-la-paix-96457

The Sporadic Return

I have been on hiatus for more than enough and why should I have been? I love writing. It is one of my passions and I always have hoped to pursue it in one way or another. So here I am back again. I will say that the beauty of fashion is that in each era, we may liken it to an ever-changing force that evolves into the best and the worst of itself. (Example, the 80s, not to say that there were not certain “epic” ensembles even so) I will continue writing about fashion as well as a few other things. I initially had thought to make this small haven, a literary one that would be presented in a 3rd person or 2nd person voice although I do think I may have to expand my voice to emphasize certain opinions of my own. Though I have never avoided or attempted ways to avoid articulating what I think, I think it is good to open up the forum so I may invite commentary from others more often.
Another interest of mine is the human interaction aspect of people. I find people so explicitly interesting so as to puzzle me exceedingly. There are so many ways to understand body language and how one decides to illuminate a point during a conversation that it seems absurd we have to learn it all by ourselves throughout the course of life.
There is a certain beauty and intrigue of discovery where we stop ourselves to reflect on what people communicate to us where every sentence metamorphoses into notes and tones of delectable perplexity. Even though it is disconcerting when we do not comprehend how to understand something, we seem to always have to go beyond ourselves and either ignore or contend with whatever idea was expressed.
Why should we? If someone has decided to do something so determinately, we should be able to respond clearly and assertedly, “Dearest, though I love this very interesting albeit confusing conversation, speak in plain English or I will be very motivated to slap you upside the head”. Don’t you agree? :) It never usually happens like that though, does it?
We have high tolerances for silly things.
And so, here begins a new chapter wherein I hope to be honest and grow and mature with my writing, which I love dearly.

The Fight Against Breast Cancer Continues with Swarovski, Halle Berry and Sofia Vergara

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Sofia Vergara and Halle Berry, among others including actresses Lisa Edelstein of “House” and “The Good Wife” actress Julianna Margulies were in attendance at the charity auction of the Swarovski Element sponsored 22 designer “little black dresses” to raise awareness and funds for both the American Cancer Society and its French counterpart, La ligue nationale contre le cancer.

Both Halle and Sofia have been affected by cancer. Halle, losing several people over the last few years and Sofia, suffering through it thyroid cancer herself. Vergara says a positive attitude was the key to beating the disease. “One of the most important things is not to think too much about it, not to dwell on it, not to question ‘why me?,You just have to wake up every day and do what you’re suppose to do, and try to fight it. Thinking too much will make you depressed and not give you the power to fight it.”

The part the “little black dress” played in the evening was timeless and exquisite as each one, as donated by various designers made their own versions of the dress with Swarovski elements as pictured above.

It’s a sad reality to face when we lose someone to anything but it’s always important to never give up hope for a cause.

Did you know Peace Day was today?

This came as quite a surprise since there seems not to have been much publicity for this other than Jude Law….but it raises a few questions. Even though the goal of having ‘Peace One Day’ is valid, will global cease-fire and independence ever truly be achieved for the one day? This seems more borne out of wishful thinking than critical thinking. How would this be able to be ensured? Would someone enforce it? or would we depend on the goodness of ‘the people’?

If we could organize a process in which to donate to these war-torn countries where peace is most inevitably needed, that could be a more realistic goal for the moment. There seems never to be enough publicity for what is important. This shouldn’t have only been on Youtube. It should have been on one of the many social networks that we have access to in this day and age.

Fashion In a Spray-Can

Coca Cola fashion! No, not really but it is clothing that sprays out of a can. It’s called Fabrican Spray-On Fabric and the reason it has been created is for all those who can never get clothing tight enough or to fit ‘just right’! The idea comes from Imperial College London researchers and a company called Fabrican.

The couture sprays out by use of aerosol technology, which ‘creates a thin layer of light, textured, nonwoven fibers that have the look of interconnected snowflakes.’

What’s even more amazing is that ‘the sprayed fabric can be peeled off, washed, worn again, perfumed, and even decorated to create patterns’. Almost hard to believe it can do that considering that it comes out of a can and vaguely resembles silly string. In any case, it sounds interesting!

Who knows what they’ll think of next?

Oven Fried Chicken Recipe



This is borrowed from Oprah’s website with a few minor alterations on Patti Labelle’s recipe. There was no parsley available, which seems like a useless addition anyway so cilantro was substituted. Read below to create a healthy alternative to Southern Fried Chicken made..in the oven!

Servings: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

Oven-Fried Chicken

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 halved chicken breasts , bone in, skin removed
  • 1 cup panko (or other seasoned bread crumbs)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 large cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup nonfat yogurt

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine chicken broth with 3 cups ice. Add chicken; chill 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a resealable bag, combine bread crumbs, flour, salt, cayenne, oregano, garlic, parsley, and pepper; shake.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a large baking sheet with vegetable or olive oil spray; set aside.

Place yogurt in a medium bowl. Remove chicken from broth. One piece at a time, dip chicken into yogurt, then place in bread crumb mixture and shake. Place breaded chicken on baking sheet. Spray tops of chicken with vegetable spray. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Nutritional Information:

402 calories

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