Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Wishes

It's amazing how long you can go without blogging and just not realize it! I can't believe I haven't blogged since March/April. And yet, I know I haven't. Lots has been going on.

For one thing, I got laid off from my job in April (just found the post talking about that in my drafts folder and posted it. That's what happens when I "draft" things... they get completely forgotten or I assume that I published them!). I spent a few months collecting Employment Insurance and trying to figure out what to do next. I wanted to take a pastry course at a local vocational school, but by the time I'd made up my mind and decided to register, I was too late for this year's session. But it turns out that that's ok because next year's session is day classes and that's what I wanted anyway. So I am registered for school for fall 2013. Then I needed to find a job until then, with flexibility to allow me to take my trip to Haiti this past July! There aren't a ton of options, and my French isn't on par enough for office settings, so it's really difficult for me to find work in my areas of study (secretarial/accounting).

But a job offer did come up, at the local Women's Centre's social enterprise (Boutique Encore - a high end used clothing shop). It's a project I've been interested in getting involved with since they opened in 2009. So that was good. The only catch is that it's all government funded and a special program, so I had to get special permission from Emploi Quebec to be able to do the job. The agent I was assigned at my local EQ office was really uncooperative and not supportive and kind of discouraging. To sum up the interview, she implied that I was stupid and wasting my time for going back to school again; she basically said that I would fail at this course because of my lack of French (as if working in French would be easier than studying it? I think they're equally difficult...); she told me that if I wanted to do this type of government program that I should do it in French if that's what I need to improve, but she didn't tell me about any job offers in French; she tried to tell me that I wasn't suited for pastry and that there would be no more work for me in that industry than there is in secretarial/accounting. Real helpful gal. In the end, she relented and let me have the permission because I told her I was lacking accounting experience because of my French, and that this job would involve some accounting tasks and give me some experience in a relaxed atmosphere. So she didn't want to give it to me, but eventually did. It was a 30 week program, and I have about 3 weeks left. My boss is going to see if they can extend it for a few more months, but I have my doubts.

In any case, they were super flexible about giving me the time off in January. The Haiti trip was very eye-opening. I met my correspondence child, Ismelanda Jeanty. She's 15, so I wasn't sure what to expect, how she would respond to me. But it was great! It was just like hanging out with a little sister or one of my younger friends from youth group. So it was nice. She's very girly and gave me lots of hugs. I wouldn't say we talked a lot because we're both kind of shy, but I learned quite a bit about her that I hadn't known before, and our relationship has changed. She writes longer letters now that are more personal.

I've been looking forward to Christmas since the middle of October, but I'm starting to not look forward to it anymore. I'm not exactly sure why. We went to Burlington, VT this weekend, just for the fun of it, to do a little shopping and see the sights. Just something to do, you know? But I way overspent. I didn't realize it in the moment, but afterwards as I was counting up the total of my receipts (for customs) and realized that I'd spent as much as the rest of my family, all by myself... that was rather sobering. (On a side note, we didn't have to pay any additional taxes at the border, despite my overspending, so yay!) So I felt bad for having spent so much, and worse because it's not even gifts! It's pretty much all for me! And then as I was trying to "unpack" everything at home, it started to dawn on me just how much of my purchases were impulse buys. So... it was a fun day, and I got some cool things (and I did get a couple gifts), but overall... I'm pretty disappointed in myself and my life in general right now. But, tomorrow's a new day, next week is a new week, and in 3 weeks it will be a new year! Changes can (and will?) be made soon. And that's my Christmas wish. That the New Years Resolutions I'm making will be achievable and that I'll actually stick with them (all) for once! I'm also wishing that I'll be able to get my room in some semblance of order before Christmas.

I guess this better be the end of the post. I should really just blog more frequently instead of writing novels every 9 months... *sigh*

New Direction?

So... I got laid off a few weeks ago. Kind of a shock, but not really. I've been expecting it to happen for ages, so that part wasn't a shock. The shock came when everybody had gone out for lunch together for a coworkers' birthday, had a lovely time, and then we get back and my boss tells me I'm being laid off, effective immediately.

So, I've been home for 3 weeks, this is the 4th. I got to experience the joy of navigating Canada's Employment Insurance program. What a farce. I definitely appreciate the service it offers to workers, don't get me wrong! The principle of it is wonderful. How it actually works out is ridiculous. Their website is a joke. It's impossible to find anything, and you just end up going around and around in circles. Very frustrating. And it's next to impossible to get through on the phone. Doesn't matter what time of day or what day of the week, just about every time I call, I can't get thru at all, or else it's a 45 minute wait. And the automated phone system doesn't answer questions any better than the website. The people I talk to are pleasant enough, when I finally get to talk to somebody, but the whole process has not been a pleasant experience for me. Anyway, I guess it's just another of life's experiences, but one I'd rather not have to deal with for much longer or ever again. I guess once everything with the claim gets finalized and straightened out it's not so bad, but ...

In any case... So what have I been doing with my time at home? Well... not much, unfortunately. I'm a bit disappointed in myself, I had grand ideas of whipping up all kinds of crafty projects and baking and whatnot. In reality, I have read 3 books, made 3 small sewing projects (1 a definite failure, and the others were nothing great), started and (kind of) stuck with the C25K program... and that's about it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lonely...

Last week (or was is 2 weeks ago?) our Bible study teacher on Sunday morning was talking about loneliness. Asking questions like, what is loneliness? what's the difference between being lonely and alone? and can Christians truly be lonely? etc. Well, I don't have all the answers, but I can tell you what I know from experience, and that is that I've spent the greater part of my teen-adult life (16-today) feeling lonely. It comes and it goes. Today, it's here, and it's pretty bad.

Merriam-Webster's definition:
"lonely: 1.a. being without company (lone); 1.b. cut off from others (solitary); 2. not frequented by human beings (desolate); 3. sad from being alone (lonesome); 4. producing a feeling of bleakness or desolation."
Well, my definition isn't quite the same as Mr. Webster's, it's more than that. And it's not from being alone - I am surrounded by people all the time. To me, loneliness is an almost tangible feeling in the center of my being. Like a weight on my chest; it carries with it feelings of depression, exhaustion, betrayal, and a general dullness. Betrayal, at this point in my life, because I have friends, or I used to - why don't they keep in touch with me? Don't they miss me? Why don't they make an effort? Depression because I realize, over and over, that those people I still consider my friends either no longer consider me theirs, or have new friends who have taken my place in the ranks, demoting me to "a friend from the past"; and also realizing that I don't know how, or where to begin, to make new friends. Exhaustion because... well, holding on to the past is exhausting. But how does one move on? I am in the present, but how do I get my relationships to reflect that? Please, by all means, let me know when you've figure it out...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

First Post on a New Blog

(Almost as satisfying as writing on the first page of a new diary/journal!)

Sometimes you just need to be able to share your thoughts with nobody in particular. Just to get them out of your head. I have a few other blogs, but I didn't think these thoughts would be appropriate on them. Not that they are inappropriate thoughts, and I don't have any followers anyway. If anybody reads my blogs, they never comment, so I don't know!

So, I've decided to create this new blog, because I can! This will be my personal Thoughtful Spot where I plan to do all dreaming, babbling, venting, and goal-making that's unrelated to the content of my other blogs. (Also, in case you aren't aware, the "thoughtful spot" phrase comes from the Winnie-the-Pooh books by A.A.Milne. Pooh's thoughtful spot is a secluded spot with a log for sitting on, halfway between his house and his best friend Piglet's, where he does all his important thinking. Thus, My Thoughtful Spot). My blog posts will probably never be very short. I don't have much to say out loud, but I always seem to have a lot to write.

On my mind today: this coming weekend. I'm really excited about visiting my friends Sarah & Angie and their respective husbands Jess & Tim and families. I haven't seen either of them since June, and Sarah & Jess and their gorgeous baby boy are moving across the continent at the end of the month. So I reeeeeeally wanted to make this work. This will be the first time I get to meet C - I'm excited! I've seen lots of pics, of course, but it will be so much fun to actually see his adorable little face in person. Angie also has a new baby, the lovely lady A, and toddler G. :) I'm looking forward to meeting her little princess, too. A precious baby girl in a family of boy grandchildren! I don't have that many (close) friends with girls, so I'm happy to join the masses of friends and relatives who spoil this little one!

I'm not sure what all the weekend will hold, but I do know it's going to go by too quickly. A 4.5 hour drive down on Friday to Sarah's, a get-together Saturday with Angie and some other friends, and a 4.5 hour drive home again Sunday afternoon. *Phew* But it'll be good. I hope. ;) I just hope I'll get home and to bed at a decent time so I won't be too tired for work on Monday after such a whirlwind weekend!

It's really no fun living so far from friends. It's not that far, I know - it's obviously do-able. But it's definitely not a trip you would make every weekend. Facebook is my lifeline in these instances, to be able to keep in touch with these friends and busy moms. But, honestly, I think in the last year I've seen these girls more often than I've seen or heard from the friends that live practically next door to me (Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration...). Life gets pretty hectic when you're married and/or have kids - I get that. People are working or in school, taking care of babies, just living in general, and making time for other, newer, more relevant friendships. This aspect of growing up stinks - plain and simple. Being the friend from the past that your friends have outgrown... but not making new friends yourself. So you're left with... a bunch of friends who don't have time for you anymore and who have moved on.

That's why, when you find yourself a good friend who cares enough to keep in touch on a weekly basis at minimum, no matter where they are... you cling to that friendship for all you're worth! I'm blessed to have one such friend. (It helps that she's also single. Could be a different story if she had a significant other like the rest of my friends). I see her less often than I see any of my other friends because she lives so much farther away - especially this year - but we write all the time, and sometimes that's all you need. Sometimes, tho... you still need someone nearby to go to the movies with, or meet at Tim Hortons, or go shopping with... and I haven't had a person like that around for a long time.

Next subject of discussion: my job. It's the most unstable thing in the world, just about. I've been here just over a year now, and while there are aspects I don't like (as in any job), it's been a pretty good year. I get along well with my coworkers, I like my bosses, but most important to me is the fact that they don't care that I'm not perfectly bilingual, and they're so flexible. It was a God-send when the job came along initially as a 2-week contract in 2010, and it has continued to be that. When they hired me, they told me that they couldn't guarantee a long-term employment because work comes and goes in waves, but they wanted to be able to keep me on as long as possible. What started as 5 days a week, quickly became 4 because of the lack of work, and in the last few months I've been pretty sure that I could easily cut back to 3 days and still not be overwhelmed with work. For the past month (and particularly last week) I've truly feared that the end is here. I spent probably 45% of my time last week looking everywhere for work to do and another 35% entertaining myself by reading blogs and online magazine articles. I started applying for jobs and had an interview... but now, suddenly, this week we are flooded with jobs and there's talk of me going back to 5 days (at least for a little while)! Absolutely unpredictable. I don't really mind, except when it comes to trying to decide whether I need to find another job or not...

Well, I guess that's more than enough information for one post. If anybody's reading this... hi! Leave me a comment. Let me know if you can relate, or not, to these thoughts...