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All Over

20 Sep
A coffee and doughnut at a Tim Hortons outlet ...

A coffee and doughnut at a Tim Hortons outlet on Yonge Street, Toronto, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First of all I just want to warn you that this post will seem a little disjointed.

Back in the Canada for a couple of weeks, just drinking my Tim Hortons, filling up on donuts, pouring maple syrup on everything and chatting up some RCMP. Nah, just kidding.

I guess I could have also said watched some hockey in there, but the season has been cancelled here, so…all of my fellow Canadians are grasping at straws saying “What will we obsess about now?”

I don’t know.

The real point of this post is not to think about stereotypical Canadian mannerisms or food. But rather it is an ode┬áto what I call “giving over.”

“Ah yes of course!” you say and then look at me in a quizzical way.

Let me paint you a picture. The overarching fact here is that I’m an adult, I’m 23, I’ve been living abroad for the past year and a couple of months, I have a well-paying job and I have my apartment. Yes, good for me.All of that disappears when I come home. I become my parent’s daughter and my older sister’s little sister. Its like stress never really existed for me, they take care of all my needs. It’s wonderful to a certain extent.

Yesterday I needed to hand in my passport to the Chinese Visa Office to acquire my Visa to return to our China. Instead of being able to drive myself into the big city, I need my father to drive me. Because I don’t know where it is. I have to hand over my independence and accept that this is the way it is. If I were living here it would be different. But I don’t. Talk about a step down off the ladder of pride. It’s good for me though I think. Independence can be overrated.

So anyways on the drive down to get my visa photos taken, my father turns to me and says, “Do you know how to smile with your eyes?” I hadn’t thought about that. Because you see in Canada we are not allowed to smile for passport, visa photos, photos of any kind that will end up on a document for official use.

“No I hadn’t thought of that,” I tried and failed miserably. I guess I’m just good smiling with my mouth.

“How about your nose?” He asks.

I try. But the result is just my wrinkling it and I look as if I’ve smelt rotten cheese. “Nope, can’t do it.”

My point is this. Pride is wonderful in that it gives you the confidence to do what you want. But sometimes you reach moments in life where pride will make you stumble. And when your ego does take a tumble, take a moment and try to smile with your eyes. If you can do that, then try to smile with your nose.

If you can do both, give me a call I want to know your secret.


6 Jul

I’ve been in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico now for about a week and let me tell you I’m amazed at the beauty of the people, at the beauty of culture, at the beauty of their language and so much more. The country (although I’m outside the city of Xalapa) is amazing to observe and attempt to relate to, which is sometimes rather difficult, but always interesting none the less. It makes me smile, for many reasons, mostly because I’m so naive and also because beauty still surprises me, no matter where or how I find it.
Where have I found beauty you ask.
Let me tell you. My friend and I went walking yesterday, which is no different than any other day, but we went to a park that was absolutely gorgeous. There were streams and green, green trees that stretched above your head to create a canopy of sorts to block the rain. Throughout the park there were various playgrounds and swing-sets and a soccer game going on behind a fence.
When we walked to the top, of a walkway that seemed to stretch on for forever there was a couple. And they had no problem with expressing their love for each other in very obvious ways. But this couple was to me, different, not because they were expressing their love for each other (that’s quite normal in Mexico), but because this woman was quite large and the man…was very tiny. But that didn’t stop them, each knew the other loved the other and that was all they needed. What was more, they were making out, and my friend and I were quite invisible to them. They were totally wrapped up in each other (literally and physically).
And it was beautiful.
You may think its gross, disgusting, and unwanted. But affection in this country is always given freely and always readily accepted…something we Canadians and Americans don’t see all the time.
What else…

We hailed a taxi the other day, to fit my friends and I in order to go to church. And the taxi driver began to tell us about himself. He asked if we were American, and we said yes…he asked how long we were in Mexico, we said three weeks. He told us that he had been to California to work with his five year old son and wife.
We asked for how long, he said that he was there for about seven years and then immigration sent him home…to Mexico. But his son and wife are staying there, he said that its better in California, than here. He sighed and looked out the window.
“Do you like Mexico?” he asked in English.
“Yes, of course!” we answered.
“Why?” he asked again.
I’m not just writing this for the emotional impact that it might have, but simply for the truth and love that I saw in his face when he talked about his son. It was almost as if he was a zombie, driving around and then his eyes lit up when his family was the topic of conversation. And that is beautiful.
So I’ve decided that I love taking the taxi, because we get to hear these driver’s stories, and each one is different and each one touches my heart in a new way (I know that’s cliche but hey sometimes cliches are the best way to express things). In some ways I think we all kind of metaphorically take a taxi when we give our time to search for beauty and simply listen. Wouldn’t life be much more enjoyable and relaxing if we did?
How can you take a “taxi” today?

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