Monday, 30 August 2010

"Tu vuo fa l'Canadiano"

As the title suggests, yes today I officially pretend that I am Canadian. I moved into my lovely abode. I officially moved into my first (maybe last) canadian home (who knows). Wow, a scary notion that one. I keep saying it to myself and the reality never really kicked in until now. I in Canada. Nonetheless I am still very much not feeling canadian. The everyday colloquialisms are an endless treat and they regularly amuse me as they frequent my daily conversations. I went food shopping for the first time today. Was actually more of a big deal than I generally would have thought. I had no expectation about it, getting food was and still is something that was waayyy wayyyy down the list of things to 'give a damn about right now', so I hadnt really thought about it. Food generally, is expensive here. Meat, cheese, bread and cereal all generally speaking expensive products. DAAMMNN it, my staple diet! I guess because of the limited number of stores in addition to the transportation allows for a price premium (basic principles of supply and demand at its best). Most canadians seem to blame such prices on the recession and state of the economy.

I woke up this morning, after about a 14 hour sleep due to some (really not so exciting) Canadian bug. I was bed ridden for 24 hours, much to my annoyance. If there is anything I hate more in the world, it is being ill. Its that feeling of helplessness and the necessity to do nothing apart from sit and wait and let your body take its natural course. Frustrating one which I hate not having any direct, immediate control over. So where was I...oh yes. I woke up early and checked out of the youth hostel first thing. I headed straight onto campus to finally get my student ID card (yeeeh, part of the system now fellas!). They call it the 'one card'. As in the ONE card that solves all your problems in life, poverty, famine, slavery, obesity the works. A truly remarkable and life changing card for those who seek a pilgrimage of knowledge....ok, im playing this up a little. I found the name rather ironic on the basis that we were told 'you need to get this one card, you can do everything on it', shortly followed by a talk that began with 'oh, and you need this card as a swipe card to get into your building in the evenings and weekends'. Oh how I was tempted to be the cynical at the back of the home and go 'well, you said it was a ONE card, this is quite clearly and inevitably TWO cards', but apparently Canadians don't appreciate such dry and inappropriately blunt British humour (its something I will have to work on).

   /kəˈloʊkwiəˌlɪzəm/[kuh-loh-kwee-uh-liz-uhm] –noun
1.a colloquial expression.
2.colloquial style or usage.

Recently (and to psycho-analyse myself) I seem to be going through a stage of Canadian mockery. I have no idea why and perhaps one of the many PhD (goers) whom shall inevitably read this, might be able to shed some light on such anecdotal behaviour. Something to do with the breaking down of one identity to form another, perhaps some attempt to protect my discontent for acceptance of another hegemonic culture...I dunno. Nonetheless, I find it fun and relatively good banter with some of my acquaintances.

By noon, I had, had (the double had's just annoy me) coffee with my 'buddy' which was nice. It was nice to speak a little more bluntly than usual. I took my daily dosage of skype and facebook (which is a little more extensive than usual) except, I still end doing less actually 'doing' and just staring blankly. Its a nice brain freezer, I dunno. I have too many people I wnat to keep in touch with, tell then about my days and ask them about theirs at the moment. Funny how it takes you to go half way around the world before you want to say HI again isnt it? Such is life.

Then then got my arse into gear a little and went to move into my new house! yyyeeyyy. I am living in a nice basement apartment just off the university. Apparently a stones throw away, but this is a theory that I shall definitely test when I get some down time (I endeavour to literally throw a stone). I have a wooden (laminate) flooring (apparently according to my mother, thats stereotypical canadian, alright mother 1-0), a double bed, my own bathroom (so I can sit and stare at the mirror and self-loath). Its a lovely apartment, great location. The location thing will certainly earn its looney (thats a dollar for the non-cool kids-great example of my colloquialism banter) come november when the 'great chill' shall covet thy earth and all shall be banquished to the world of snow, snow and more snow. Oh yes england, the difference between canada and the UK is that canada just knows its coming every year. England just blindly believes snow doesnt exist until it suddenly becomes a great excuse not to go to work for a day and take a long weekend off. My housemates are very nice, Brena (Canadian) and Lauren (American). That's right, the power three house. UK, America and Canada. A good combination if you ask me and they shall be awesome to live with im sure. Both friendly and chatty. I have finally, at lllllaasssst been able to just spread my life about. There is nothing more enjoyable than simply providing objects that you own, just a little personal space. Space that you have decided it deserves, a book here and mug there. A shirt in here, oh and my toothbrush there. Odd behaviour and a rather instinctive one. Yet highly enjoyable. So tonight I sleep in my castle. My world and content in the knowledge that my world shall not be rudely invaded and awaken by 7 other men snoring, packing bags and shifting places. Sound in the knowledge I no longer have to padlock my belongings in the fear that just maybe, JUST MAYBE tommorrow that passport and wallet just might not be there. OK (im sounding so very middle class right now). You catch my drift, and although seemingly little to most, its a very liberating feeling.

So what have I got lined up. The fun doesnt stop. I have a MASSIVE meeting tomorrow at 11am (8pm GMT). Should be really interesting. Banging my supervisors head with another big wig academic within my department to see what direction my phd might take and how I can get involved with a bigger research consortium (named SPLISS). Shall be interesting, in a I like this sports policy crap although its kinda geeky, sort of way. I have lunch planned with another friend of mine, always good times. She makes me smile. With the possibility of a BBQ later, depending on whether this stuuuppid and unwelcomed canadian bug checks-out early. It better. I also need to acquint myself with my new office, along with a 20 item long 'do-to list' which I shall definitely start to chop down. I can feel like, I am nearly at a stage whereby I can function, you know? I can actually organise and arrange my life and start to have some sort of valued output. Friday I shall be FINALLY attending the infamous WEST EDMONTON MALL, this shall be an epic day out (and yes, the mall is soooo BIGGG it constitutes an entire day out)
I shall blog about this particular venture alone.

"In fact something quite amusing I found out today:

Google--> Edmonton
Look at images

From it:
you get a picture of the west edmonton mall.

Yeh, not the first one, that is pretty standard. Yeh... that is right, the second one, yeh the one with all the slides and rubber dingy's. Yeh that is how canadians shop, apparently...kinda cool huh?"

Well, for the first time, this (for now) faux canadian wishes you good song and cheers. As you might infere from this blog, my mood is somewhat brightened and less anxious than the previous. Hopefully this is the start of actually getting into the ryhthem a little more, finding myself and actually settling down so I can go and have some fun. Cant wait.. roll on tomorrow...


Dr [in search of a...] House, MD

So...Next blog. Busting these out left, right and centre now. Days are starting to role quicker and blur into each other, with my thoughts are still trying to keep up. Lets have an update of the past couple of days. Crazy days (standard) OK, so yesterday. The sabbath day, I spent profoundly house hunting. I found out in the morning that my initial plan 'a' house fell through. I had (perhaps rather naively) spent the past three days under the belief that plan 'a' would work. It didn't. So I resorted to the house hunting search plan 'b'. Plan 'B', although a good musician, is a rather strenuous activity. For those who have yet to experience such an episode, house hunting is very much aided by the tow prerequisites of a car and a mobile phone. I had neither. I was fortunate enough to have a couple of newly acquired friends who offered both their time, car and land line to help. I had been scrolling through roughly 4 house renting websites and set to work calling and viewing in a rather ad hoc fashion (believe me, it was ad hoc). I saw 5 houses in the morning and a further 3 more in the afternoon. Given my (very wishful) budget the majority of houses were either too longer contract, poor locations, unfurnished or just plain simply..ugly dives.

My shortlist consisted of two houses:

House (A): only 4 years old, 5 mins from the U of A, basement apartment, shared with 2 medical (female) students, next to a coffee shop. Which all sounds great but came with a price tag of $750 per month. Tres expensive

House (B): I guesstimate 400 years old :P, about 10 minutes on the south side of campus, cute Chinese landlady, five other international students, run down house, but $400 per month and an 8 month lease.

Choice was live rough and on budget but possibly freeze, or splash out and be safe, but feel the bite of the financial burden the rest of the year. After much venting and deliberation with my mother over Skye (thank you mom, you're awesome:standard). I decided to take option A. So that evening I trekked (again) across town. I swear I had walked over 20 miles all over university area of Edmonton. I was knackered. I signed the lease and I gave my landlord my last remaining $500. He dropped me back at the youth hostel. As I stepped out of the car and he drove off, a sudden and overwhelming serge of financial fear and worry. So overwhelming in fact I went and put my back back in my locker headed out to the nearest local Tim Horton's (this is about 10.45pm) and ordered an extra-large hot chocolate and just sat starring into the abyss thinking of the huge decision I had just made and the implications of it. House hunting is a stressful ordeal and I dont wish it upon anyone, tenfold for those who take it on by themselves. At least in previous years, I had done it with a number of other people and psychologically the burden is spread across everyone. This was me, my money and my place, quite possibly for a significant period of time.Here I was in a foreign country, making huge financial commitments to someone I had met that very day. Nonetheless, I am pleased and comforted by the fact that,. although i spent far more than I had hoped. I will sleep in the comfort I shall be safe and warm and given my present situation I felt that really is paramount. The winter looms and I know its going to be COOOOLLLLDDD. Everyone harks on about it and its just going to happen, so I just want to know I will be warm. I dont think I could handle my first winter, in a house that I dint feel comfortable in, with strangers, in a country hundreds of miles away from home, freezing and feeling miserable. So I guess in that respect, its money well spent. The picture on the top is it! Its there for all you viewing pleasure, I hope some of you might grace its presence in the near (or distant) future

Well I move into my first Canadian dwelling on midday Wednesday (1st sept). There I shall finally have somewhere to stretch my legs. I shall meet my housemates for the whole year (like them or lump them...sure they will be amazing). As of then I shall officially be living in Canada. I will have finally moved to Canada. Then I can really start to sink my teeth into all the academic demands I have (courses, admin, publications, conference preparation, proposal development etc) Of which I haven't even written one word. A scary thought. Cant wait though. They say that a PhD is a roller coaster with more downs than ups, but in the end its worth it. I fully respect I am in that naive, motivated and raw setting all those who set forth to begin the extremely lengthy and challenging pursuit that is a PhD. For now I should use that energy and positivism to my advantage, get things sorted and start to spread my wings.

Today I had yet more orientations. This one was the international orientation. Smaller is size, but it did no harm to go over what was said in the graduate orientation, so that I fully understood it and finally understand stuff that I was not clear about. We then had a mini tour around campus, we hit the international centre. I still find it an abstract reality that I am in fact now an 'international student'. I know I am, buts it's weird to consider yourself in such a way. I shall learn. We grabbed a rather overly large Chinese lunch (On the house with the cheque picked up by the phys ed & rec department- thank you indeed). After filling our stomachs, I certainly wobbled to the LRT (local rapid transit). Edmonton's metro service and headed downtown to 'Canada Place' (the government centre) to get our Social Insurance Number (SIN). I am now officially entitled to work in Canada. I am now apart of the system... taxes and all. pppfffftttt. Since then I have 'hung out' with some friends, we went on a tour/coffee crawl in and around Edmonton (was fun and good company), got massive ice cream at the 'marble slab' (of which I could write an entire blog on in its own right), a little sushi and a little billiards.

Tomorrow I conquer the bank account and try organise my life a little more. It currently feels like a freight train heading in every direction away from me. I shall pull in the reins a little. Wednesday is the big move, coffee with my newly acquired'buddy' (as apart of the buddy system) and I want to attend a workshop on cellphones (yes a workshop on cellphones) so that I will be more informed of the Canadian mobile phone market before Thursday where I shall grace and explore the great West Edmonton Mall (WEM), the single largest indoor mall in the world (apparently). I shall inform you in subsequent blogs no doubt. Well I bid you a Good evening. If you'd like my new address just contact me and I shall provide.

Roll on another day of action! x9

Friday, 27 August 2010

Tim Hortons & 'Godfather' Marvin

Second blog. Third day in Canaidia! Things are all still new. I have finished my two days of orientations now. I have international orientation on monday (30th), so yet more admin. Last night there was a Physical Education & Recreation Graduate Student (PERGS) meal down Whyte Avenue. It was a nice italian resturant, that was reasonably priced. Really nice and diverse bunch of guys consising of fire fighter trainers, yoga instructors, economists and rural landscape phd students, along with a couple of sports management guys (self-included). I sampled a typical canadian beer, my plan by the time I leave canada is to try every beer possible. I am currently on two and counting. The meal was short but sweet. Met a really cool girl called jenny, a fellow english(person), she was from Bath, she was bubbly and full of banter. She pronounced bath properly (as in bbaaarrrth), yet said bathroom (in a northern town), this led to Bethan, one of the girls on our table to state the quote of the night "you say barrrtth, but you say BATHroom?". It was perfectly delivered and had me in stitches. After I headed back to the youth hostel, I walked by a coffee shop called 'Tim Horton's', I couldnt resist and decided to go in for an XL hot chocolate. Their hot chocolate can only be described as 'divine'. So so awesome. I have to tell you a little about Tim Hortons.Its basically the equivilent of costa combined with the bakers oven or greggs. Its very cheap and seems quite a popular novelty in canada. On my very first day on the way to orientation, I had some time to kill, and coincidently their is a Tim Horton's on route to the general services building. Everymorning since, I have gone via Tim Hortons (aka my little morning sanctuary) for a plain, buttered bagel and a large hot chocolate. (There is an x-large, but I only get that if I just get a hot chocolate. The hot chocolate itself, I swear is genuinely addictive. It doesnt have an ingredients label on it, but if it did, if it said "cocaine 25g: 300% of your GDA", I would not be in the least surprised. The sugar levels I swear are somewhat enviable at minimum. Anyways, enough about my rant of Tim Horton;s.

After I got my hot chocolate, one of my room mates from the youth hostel coincidently caught me in the window whilst walking by, we walked back and I proposed a game of pool as it was his last day in edomonton. He was from Dubai, about 35 years old , clever and looking for a job in finance adminstration, but lucky for me his pool skills werent up to par with the rest of his personal portfolio.

This morning I went to see my new supervisor. The godfather that ius Dr Marvin Washington (such a cool name, for such a cool guy).Despite the fact a note that said "back in 5 mins" on his door, infact more accurately resulting in a 45 minute wait, he was really nice. A very casual and laid back, yet intelligent guy (that combination in my eyes is a very powerful one. He told me a little about himself, his expectations (which were minimal, but firm). He very much suggested a have free reign of my thesis, and suggested I speak to a couple of key academics, to both say hi and also to try get the ball rolling for starting some side projects and work to crack on publishing. I have a desk. Its a large desk, in an open plan space, like an office I guess. We are on the 6th floor of the General Services Building. He said he was keen for me to write some abstracts in order to get to some conferences. He was highly inviting and positive. He will be great to work with over the next four years no doubt.

Since then, ive been sending emails left, right and centre. Getting some ideas out. Working on possible leads for funding and updating marvin. Tonight im going to a BBQ, should be good. Marvin also suggested that I go explore edmonton I little, since right now I have time and once things get going I wont. I think this weekend I shall do exactly that. I will go to the west edmonton mall (the largest indoor mall in the world) and go explore I little.

Generally things are going well. They are going a little slower than I would like to be honest. I've had a lot of free time to sit and write these blogs and be on facebook a little. Which is nice, but I am getting itchy feet to jujst get on with something. I'm sure I will in due course. The term all kicks off on the 8th september. That is when the undergraduate masses invade campuys and when my two modules begin. Marvin also encouraged me as part of my modules I take, if I write essays to develop them into research exciting prospect. I cant wait until the 8th too because that is when all the sports kicks off. The basic deal here is that $5 gets you into any game/event on campus. Really looking forward to the basketball and ice hockey games now! they will be amazing. Right i'm going to go to the gym before the bbq, burnt it off before I put it back on again.

Thanks for your messages guys. To be honest, I am feeling really home sick at the moment, I havent really made any friends yet and feel a little isolated, despite things happening slowly. I miss england and everyone there massively at the moment. So thanks again so much for the messages. Love you all.

Mat x

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

"Tired, Overwelmed and Dirty..."

Ok, quick blog. My first blog from caniadia! whoop whoop! How to sum up how I feel right now...well. I feel tired, overwhelmed and dirty...but in a good way. I landed yesterday after a 9 hour flight. On the flight I spoke for about 4 hours to a couple of teachers from alberta. Keith and Erin. They were lovely. Our conversation mainly consisted of what advice to give to a UK student going to canada. Which was useful, but admittedly a little one sided. I landed and walked through the terminal. Travelling alone, when tired is a scary feet. I went through customs and spent an hour getting my study visa. They officially gave it to me and stapled it to my passport. I walked out of the doors feeling somewhat liberated by the thought that I officially had the right and priviellage to study for four years here. I found the U of A small kiosk, no one was there so I signed myself in and took their instructions. I jumped on the $18 shuttle service, the driver was a skinny japanese man, who amusingly tired to help me with my luggage. Nice man, but unable to lift 21 kg. I got chatting to a fellow U of A student (oh yeh, im now a U of A student i thought to myself). She was called Jenny. we chatted and she offered me a place 2 crash if I needed it. We exchanged numbers...well I got hers, cos I dont currently have a mobile (cellphone as the cool kids call it). Not a bad start if you ask me). The japanese man dumped me off at the Hi youth hostel where I was checked in by a rather attractive half-canadian, half danish women. She was nice, but seemed the type that would flirt with a lot of people. Im currently staying at w201 with 8 others, all guys and all as random as each other. I met a man from trinidad (who's story was he was waiting 2 retire). Other man was from india, he was nice, he was here for a job interview. The outcome I eargly await this fine evening. I then proceeded to take a shower and panic that I hadnt contacted my mother. I spend a good part of 2.5 hours trying 2 get my laptop to work in the hostel, which apparently was easy (i disagree). I got flustered and tried to use the phones. No luck, so I decided to venture out for the nearest internet cafe. I found one and finally, in the words of ET 'phoned home'. After which I relaxed mentally. Still the whole place was very still is. Everything here is very americanised. I know the canadians hate being compared to, let alone in the same breath as americans. But the bloody well are americans. The fast food, the massive dodge rams. just american. I then proceeded to spend the next 3 hours walking up and down, up and down, up and down what is called Whyte Avenue. It is a rarity because it actually has a name for a road rather than a number. It is apparently the 'place to be' in terms of bars, clubs and resturants. It was nice. I loved it because it was just all very new, everything, everyu shop to me was just ...novel. I got hungry and headed to a typical american pizza joint and destroyed a 12 inch pizza. I plodded on back to the hostel and crashed for the night. I was awoken about 6am, by the indian man going to his job interview. I asked him 'mate, what time is it?' of which he replied '6am you idiot, go back to bed!'. I didnt. My bodyclock is messed up. I got up and headed to orientations. Orientations ran aaaaaalllll day. Standard as orientations go. There was a small humnber of us. 30 total postgrads in the whole faculty. Amsuing considering that my sports management MSc at Loughborough had 50 alone. Size wise, it was microcosmic. We had numberous speakers come in and tell us about the tiniest niche that was essentially their live (the IT man, the student activities woman etc) somehow important to us in someway. We also introduced ourselves. I introduced myself as Mat Dowling, studied at Loughborough for four years, my interests are mainly basketball and squash, im jetlagged and I also need a place to stay, so if anyone your guy'. We had lunch upstairs in the graduate lounge above what they call the 'butterdome'.(for the reason that from the outside it looks like a giant slab of butter i.e. yellow and rectangle shaped). The 'butterdome' from what I can currently establlish is the nickname for the sports stadium facility in which most of the physical education and recreation faculty is based . For the U of A the faculty of physical education and recreation is co-existent in terms of providing recreation and elite sport and studying it academically. Interesting model compared to Loughborough whom very much seperate the work from play. I am one of seven PHD starters this year and being an international student I am somewhat of a novelty. Hopefully I shall be a nice novelty and they shall be impressed with my work.

After that, more orientations of varying degrees of boredom and standard administrative importance. I then took a stroll to work out where my supervisor is based. 6th floor...ironic or deliberate for the phys ed & rec people? mmmm. Unfortunately he wasnt in but, I have just arranged my official first meet on friday at 9am. Should be interesting. I then walked around a little until I accidently walked into what I believe is the students union hub, and here I am! Things are going well, but I'm very tired and very overwelmed and oddly in need of a familiar face or someone to go through all this with. Hopefully with more time that will happen. Much canadian love. blog soon. please do keep in touch guys. I feel like I need it. Miss you all.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Canadian fixation: 'T' minus 2 days

Ok. I cant sleep. My brain is in overdrive. My world is in overdrive. I feel nervous. I feel confused. I feel bloody excited. I just feel emotional and oddly I bloody love it. Canada is now two days away. Come tuesday morning, my life entirely changes. I am off on what can only be described as a journey of a life time. For me it cant really come quicker enough, I really cant wait, but at the same time I feel I have so much to do with not enough time to do it all. Funnily enough and I guess not surprisingly Canada is literally constantly on my mind. I can think of nothing else. If I think of something else, it is usually in relation to Canada in some way. This is all new, its crazy. This is not the kind of shit my family do. Saying that, I cant help, deep down that this is something dad would of approved of. Moving across the pond is in my blood in that respect. Its just going to be life changing. A new world, new people and I really just have the absolute mentality of 'fuck it', lets do it all, lets take on the world, lets go with nothing and no one and make something or yourself. But just something, something wicked...something pure...and something that just ticks everything for me and makes me truly happy. I had a small, yet elite, gathering of mates yesterday, they were all amazing. I genuinely wish the night didnt have to end. I've had some amazing texts, amazing facebook posts and some amazing cards that I have massively appreciated and really touched me. It showed me two things. Firstly the obvious apparency that those whom I associate with are and forever will be, just awesome. Secondly that these awesome people are inevitably going to be missed deeply and unimaginably so. A good friend of mine recently said to me that 'mat you don't have to worry about us (your friends), the good friends will be the ones that are still there for you when you get back'. This sentiment stuck in my mind as being entirely true. I genuinely feel that. I know these are the boys who will always and forever be there for me and vice versa. Thank you guys. Your colours were truly shown and you definitively represented. I will miss you all so so much, but I shall always be on the email of a call or the end of a letter. You al have my cards- use it.

I have so much to do! I must crack on. I bid you a fair evening and thanks again.

My life is remarkable. Thanks to you.


Monday, 9 August 2010

Our Ships; Our Islands

OK, I cant sleep, so I thought I would blog nostalgically and share an old extract from my very first journal. It is written by past matty, I wrote this when I was 17. Its random and free written. I like some of the ideas within it. Some of it even I find incomprehendable and have no idea why I wrote bits or what they mean. I assume I wrote it in reference to continuing education and probably watched "about a boy" that night or something. But its what i like about journals. I think its what they are all about, just writing whatever comes into your head.

Thought it was very apt given my up and coming (all too soon) move to canada in two weeks today! So without any further a due:

Our Ships; Our Islands

"Our lives are driven by the opportunities we take. The paths we choose to follow through with our own ambitions and self-belief. We really must believe. Believe in our self, and our actions through ourselves. Have the confidence to follow our hearts for a change. Our heads are governed and rules by our logic and organised through our cognition. We rarely act on impulse...why? Perhaps through an inherent fear of failure, fear of being somewhere you initial didnt't intend to be; this place that you could never imagine. Why cant you imagine this place when this dream is idealic but achieveble. Well...if the truth be told it is because you haven't seen it. It is in effect just an idea, not yet a physical landscape. Yet, we conceptually believe it is the landscape we have in our heads, so why don't we try more? Why are we so scared to fail? Is it because we will find it impossible or essentially too hard to escape from? It is exactly that attitude one must question. It is that conjuction with timing. You cannot jump off the ship too early, you must leave port and set sail and travel to be taken to the islands of opportunity. They only exist as a concept, but still we phsyically know them as the horizon. Bring me that horizon. The fine line between what is real and what could be possible. This ship contains all those with the will to see new lands, those ambitious enough to float on wood for a while. These select profile pf individuals have the motivation to take the boat ride, but the jump off is the skill and the sort after ability. When and how does one jump? What island is better than the other? Do you compare by appearance? If you wait too long the ship simply turns aound and goes back home. Is that a mature approach to take? Of course to jump off this ship could well mean death by drowing. The island is hard to reach, depending on the current, the weather, your personal fitness and motivation all contribute to the success of reaching that island. There are those who just go for the ride and the experience of sailing, perhaps to then sail their own ship. Man is an island. Well, man is an island chaser more accurately. We all want our paradise islands complete with our dreams on top. Those islands constitute every desire, want or need of a given person. It stands for everything you literally stand for. Your island is waiting and forever changing. It changes even after attainment. Is is the ship which I stand and I still want. I am educating myself on board, visiting far lands, watching out for my island and my horizon. I know it is there, somewhere beyond that horizon. Still I cannot see it, but I know it is there. For me I still sail and I will continue to do so until my heart tells me... now. NOW! DO IT NOW... JUMP!"


a short reflection...

"It is easy to be the person you have always been, for it requires no change, no self-reflection, and no growth. It may appear that changing yourself requires giving up something. In reality, there is no need to give up anything- you must simply add to what has been" Anon

- I am sick of the norm of mediocrity...

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Costa moments (part #2)

"Friendship is for life. It involves an exercise of choice not compulsion. This is what makes it the purest of all relationships. However, you must choose your friends carefully. And cherish and nurture the friendship for a lifetime. It is not difficult to find friends. The tough part is to honor the friendship" -Anon

Most recently I have been thinking a lot about friendship. This is a continuation of my last blog. if you consider the analogy of my last blog akin to a 'cover letter' into my feelings of friendship this blog as somewhat of a 'footnote' to my feelings on friendship. Something that provides a little more clarity, intrigue and in all honesty a dash of cynicism.
My true friends inspire me, they comfort me and they are most precious to me. I have always said, and I am sure many of you have heard me say this, that friends should add to your life. What I mean by that is that a good friend will, in some way shape or form, provide you something you don't have. This does not imply you take from friends, far from it. Just as you gain something from them, you should try your up most to give as much as possible to them, far more so than you receive. For me friendship is not false, it is as honest, patient and kind as love itself. For that reason I keep a small, but elite, group of very close friends who mean the most to me. I am not the type to keep up pretenses or pretend to keep up with the jones's (mr or mrs). I am who I am and I expect the same honesty back. To me the best friends are those who tell you straight, even when what they tell you is not what you want to here. In fact, my best friends are those who do this best. They tell me the cold, honest and bitter truth even if at the time I dont want to here it and I love them more it, because that
is there opinion, it is the truth and a true friend tells you entirely straight (like pear cider, made from 100% pear(s)!) - if you get that reference, you are one of them.

I find that all far too often people are friends with people who do quite the opposite. They simply suck the soul out of you, often for selfless and self-defensively through often irrational motives normally due to their own insecurities, obscurities and absurdities. They bring you down, the suck like a leech every feeling of good-will, compassion and empathy leaving with either angry, uncompassionate, irrational and frustrated. I never do understand why people still remain friends with people like that. Oten because 'they have history' and go way back or because you almost feel sorry for the inidvidual and feel a sense of responsibility to try help them. If friendship drag you down, them they aren't friends. Because that is not what friends do. OK, they occassionally lean on you, but everyone needs a little support every now and then. We are all human, some more than others perhaps. I have a really diverse and often conflicting friendship 'circle'. [I love the usage of friendship 'circle' implies a continue loop or fence] Reminds me of a great quote I was told recently about friends. "one should not circle themselves with a fence, but rather friends". nice isn't it? Implies that friends are the very insultation of you to the world, they are the boundary, your communication, your connection with the real world. Nice analogy.

Anyways [coming back from the circle tangent], friends are diverse and often to conflict. I dont mind that. In fact I applaud that to some degree. My friends all add to my life in their own, special, unique and gifted way (and trust me they are extremely unique and gifted- some more 'special' than others ;) :p ) . Some are into music, some into sport. Some into numbers some into narratives and so on and so forth.

I have no concept of time with friends. Albeit some of my closest friends have known me the longest and thus know me very well. Saying that, I have some close friends in my life that have known me in my entirety for a relatively microscopic period of time. I have always been intrigued by the link between time and influence, in that time, although does somewhat induce inlfuence, it is not casual. Some friends I have 'acquired' (for want of a horrific use of a word) have been so so influential on my life and interestingly they are people who I never originally thought they would. How wrong I was and how amazing that is. I also find that with find you realy and truly realise who your friends are. You realise of those who are selfless and selfish in their own right. Those who give more than they receive and those who change their face like the wind changes direction. I accept as much as the next person that friends fault. They occassionally fail as we all do. Its what makes us human after all. I accept that. What I don't accept is living lies. Living a fallacy, one after another. I am not angry, it is not in my nature. I read recently whilst walking through the city of london a quote which I shall leave you with. A quote that rather sums up my thoughts on my life at the moment and in particular this blog

"There is nothing in the world to be feared; but only understood" Marie Curie

To whom it may concern, from this I hope that you and I better understand the value of (our) friendship and from it the true value of those around us which of we should consider and accept as unfortunately imperfect, but most precious. We all have choice; so until next time...