Thursday, 29 April 2010

The Louvre

Sometimes life goes the way you want it to, sometimes it doesnt. Sometimes the monotony and repetition of life is such you cant help but feel tired and worn down from it and somehow life just seems a drowsy and grey. Sometimes life is as confusing and akin to monkey with a tutu and a gun on and rampage with methadrone on a drip ?! ( get my point). I find the older you get and the more and more 'supposively wiser' you get you realise that some of the first things your ever taught are the truest. I dont mean your ABCs or CAT, DOG or DAD, I mean the truisms and old sayings, that often old sayings which my mother told me over and over again like 'pot calling the kettle black', 'I want never gets', 'life is what you make it' and so on. Now I find myself a wanting, hypocratic life junkie....great ha. The subject of this blog is the latter saying of 'life is what you make it'. It is so so true. When you hear that phrase or perhaps say it to yourself, you assume, quite rightly in many ways its meaning refers to going out professionally and making something of yourself, get a good job, have a successful career and so on. That is what I would typically read it as, and I think it would be fair to do so. But if you think about it, it is so much more than that. Life is what you make it is so so many ways. Life is what you make it with everything. literally anything. I think to have that phrase in the back of your mind in everything you do, its a powerful way to think. This blog, like many was prompted by events in my life, some quite significant and some entirely insignificant. For example, I was out at Loughborough union yesterday, waiting in a que. I noticed around me was a rather unusual, significantly larger distribution of superheros...yes surperheros (alarm bells struck at the obvious and imminent event of freshers from falk-egg). Of which I turned around to one in close proximity and asked 'oh, so what is your super power then?' of which she rather unexpectedly replied 'I have the superpower of optimism'. I was rather taken back by that comment, I thought it was genius.

If you ever get a chance to do something that you feel is perhaps out your comfort zone, something which is challenging, something unusual. Just do it. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable (hopwood, 2009). Life really, really is just too short. It is those things which in the end define who you are. They shape and mold you into someone, they fill the void of ignorance. We all start with a blank canvas in life, and it is purely, us and us alone that paints the picture in our own style, feeling and finish. In 2006 I sat in a pub with a very good friend of mine and discussed the possibility of really doing something. Something we considered big. He threw a couple of ideas across the table, one of which was to cycle a long way. By the following week we had begun planning to cycle through France, Calais to Marsailles, and that summer we did exactly that, all 660 painstaking miles. Just a phenomenal experience, I have never felt so free and never felt so amazing in the most purest way possible and yet I had never been through something of such endeavor.

The consequence of this, was that my friend and I then both went off to university. Myself to Loughborough and him to Oxford. In 2008 he was talking to a group of friends at Oxford, of which later transpired and developed into them wanting to cycle London to Paris. He then invited me and another friend to join. That summer 8 of us put two wheels to the road and yet again I found myself cycling through rural france. We I began that cycle, I knew two people. After going through something like that with anyone, you soon grow attached and close to those around you, and I found that. I look back at those times, countless times, countless experiences sitting on a rail in Canterbury, in a fountain at Dover, on top of a shed (after a hill of death), the soggy/diseased dog, ping-pong every single one I look back and remember so very vividly and the people who I went through that with I reflect back so fondly. That week, led me to meet someone who changed my life forever, and will continue to do so undoubtedly. I met Dougal, of whom I dated for just over a year and a half. No words would ever do justice to the story of france and the events that followed and the experiences I had. This blog could try, and it would fail. But this blog, like the Louvre, to me it a symbol and snippet of something I find absolutely beautiful and amazing. That is the power of an idea. All of this, all of what I have just described came from an idea, that I with a friend followed. I would not be who I am, or where I am today without that one decision. That one choice, and for that I could not say and convince you enough that you should always follow your ideas, follow your instinct and how you feel, because without it you only miss out on really what should of been, good or bad. No matter the consequences of events, you reflect back on them and you cant help but think that it was the most amazing thing yo happen to me and you are so glad life took you down that path. I for one, would do it all over again given a split second chance....

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Whats all the fuss ABOOUT?


131 days exactly until I leave to canada ! Yes I have a countdown chart at home now, sad but awesome! Here is a little update on my great alberta adventure, its all I ever think about at the moment, so I figured a little blogging therapy would hopefully do more good them harm (a judgment i reserve until I have finished). A couple of developments have occurred since I last blogged about canada I thought I would tell you with a little (and albeit rather lame story).

Chapter 1- Spilling the beans to Mother Goose:
I told my mother about the whole thing! wow, that was an interesting lunch. I came back from Loughborough just before Easter break and arranged a lunch catch up with the family (mother, brother and me) at the local pub. I told her her that my plans had been realised and that I had been given an offer, and that I really wanted to go. Much to my surprise (perhaps in a naive way on my account) she burst into tears and solitary silence hit the table. A little awkward silence later she responded with yet again something I didn't expect 'you will find a canadian bird (yes bird, she used that word) and never come back!'. Wow. It was actually a heartfelt time and something I didn't expect, I thought the occasion would be a joyous one, yet the outcome was quite the other extreme. That weekend I dabbled around the idea with her, suggesting we talk about the logistics, which we did, but only briefly and still there remained a clear emotion recognition that she was still upset and/or in shock. I went back to Loughborough for three weeks before actually breaking up for Easter. I guess it was just as well, it gave her some time alone to mull the whole thing over. After that she has been increasingly supportive over the whole thing, perhaps in the understanding that it is truly something I really want to do and moreover I think for her to be involved has far more merit and likelihood of a mutual outcome if she is involved in decision-making. If you cant fight it, embrace it that seems her philosophy.

Chapter 2 - the processes with the mostesses :
I have booked my flight! I officially leave on the 24TH AUGUST and I have an induction day on the 25th august. I will be most likely staying ina youth hostel for just under a week until I get settled with a house. I will be flying out from gatwick on an A330 Thompson Cook flight btw. Please also note the usage of the word flight...not plural flight(S), it is in fact, at current a ONE WAY flight, under the decision that flights to and from canada at peak christmas times are seemingly notoriously expensive...of which I just cannot afford to pay a small G' to get back (although watch this space) if I can take a cargo plane back home for christmas, I wold consider it, although currently it looks very unlikely. I am trying to swing it, especially as I have my MSc graduation on the 20th December, so it would be nice to get back for that if I can as well. My mother brought my flight, which I was very appreciative of, not only in the act I simply just dont have £300 quid to buy one, but is a clear indication that she remains, and always will be the best mother in the entire world...fact, and yes in the words of Stewart Lee you really can prove anything with facts...fact! In the mean time I have gone through the EXTREMELY bureaucratic procedure that constitutes a study permit aka VISA. I guess if there is is any more of a cliche and quintessential illustration of bureaucracy it would be the one and only visa wouldn't it. Well the high commission of Canadian held faithful to that assumption, and ive filled in enough forms to constitute a small survey sample population, along with enough photocopying to feel directly responsible for amazonian tree felling. I should get a definitive answer on the VISA within the next 5 weeks now, I left plenty of time because I knew the turn around time of these things equates to the turning of an entire oil tanker with a 5 mile turning circle. I have also realised a series of other things have propped up that needs to be dealt with. Issues like, my car (which I will more than likely sell- do u want a car btw?), my car insurance, my phone; which will have to come of contract and ill have a pay as you go in England, and get another out there. Bank accounts is another issue, Ill have to set up an account as soon as I physically get there. Clearly people can't just get up and leave. guess it makes sense. It just puts it into perspective when you think about changing everything that you really take from granted at the moment, like a mobile, like a car. It will all change, everything will certainly change, and hopefully for the better.

Chapter 3 - Iva(ultion) :
Iva is my newly acquire acquaintance of whom is a second year phd student at the University of Alberta and is under the direct supervision of the same supervisor, the already legendary Marvin Washington.In essence she is my peer and elder self. She was a sports management masters student like I am, and she has been a real comfort to me already. I have bombarded her with a fair few questions about Canada and I have got to know a little about her. It has been really nice to have someone to speak to on a personal level about the whole thing, I get to check out photos and find out what is going on in Edmonton. She seems really awesome and I am sure ill get to know her more once I get out there and find my feet. I just thought she deserved a mention, as really she has been really friendly, reassuring and just a little saint over everything.

Chapter 4 - Enrollment:
I can officially start enrolling on some courses as of the 23rd of April. I have been scrolling through the various (and various indeed!) courses they offer within the physical education and recreation department there. Although they assumed I had not done any research as part of my MSc (which is simply not true), they have required me to go on a couple of research courses PERLS 401 (physical education and recreation leisure studies) and PEDS (physical education studies) 330. I think it will be good to refresh on research methods, and you realise you never really know enough, so I think it will be hugely beneficial. I was scrolling through the list of modules you could take and in particular noted the undergraduate section. Within that section was a module entitled....and I pause for added emphasis and utter of ice hockey. yyyeeeeaaaah ha, unbelievable, it exists, it happens, god they really, really and truly obsessed with ice hockey. amazing. I laughed when I saw it, and might have to sit in on it at least once...if just for amusement if nothing else. But genuinely, I am very excited about receiving lectures from new academics, who will inevitably have new and different ideas, it will be intriguing and I look forward to it. My first year will be just taking courses and starting out, getting used to the system, learning about the system. I start my actual thesis the year after. should be amazing.

Chapter 5- a new perspective directive:
By the way, I have decided, in similar 5th november fashion to develop a list of things to do before I go, they have to be 'typically british' things. Currently I have: eat a roast dinner, have a pint at the pickerel inn, and go watch a game of football with a pukka pie. Any more suggestions for the list? One thing that I have noticed recently, and it has been particularly true whilst back in Cambridge, is how much I have begun to appreciate the smaller things in life. I appreciate Cambridge more than I ever have, I have appreciated the small very finite time I have spent with my close friends recently knowing fully well that this is probably my last true Easter or true summer. It is a compelling feeling which right now drives me to do a lot myself right now. If you around in either Easter or summer please call, lets meet, lets grab coffee, I guarantee you there are few who will appreciate it more than me right now :)

I also promise once in Canada I will blog very frequently to let know know of my adventure, I hope you will continue you read...