Monday, December 26, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I am not going to lie, this past week has been a challenge. It is always a gamble opening yourself up to help strangers. As a guest into someone else's home you have to take what you get. Sometimes that get can be filled with tensions and power trips that you, as a guest, have to be present to without getting tangled up and involved in. This can be stressful, and a toxic environmental, yet it can also be a learning experience. Being on the other side of toxicity can help you put it in perspective when you are faced with moments when you want to be a real scrooge to others. Anyways, this is what I faced on the farm. I learned a lot, and enjoyed spending time with the family over thanksgiving (American that is) and other times, but it was definitely a challenge.
Yeah to Vancouver! Now in Van, and with my bike fixed (Took it to Our Community Bikes yesterday and it was the easiest fix, 30 minutes later Bessy is cruisin the streets), I was able to ride high. Yesterday was overcast and drizzle, but today is glorious out there! So don't wait up, I am going to hit the parks, the art, the food, and cruise! I have also started spreading bike love, little cards of appreciation for bikers, so if you got one, I thought you rocked! And if you want, say why you bike here in the comments, I would love your feedback!
OK, I'm out, tomorrow I am leaving Vancouver for Victoria, it turns out it will be a fairly long biking day, 80 km, I hope my legs still know how to do that kinda distance!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
I am on a permaculture farm right now, lending a helping hand to the family that owns it...although really I just feel like I am eating there food and sleeping under their roof. There is not a lot of stuff to do outside (as one would expect being the start of winter), yet there is a lot of kitchen stuff, mostly food prep stuff concerning the large amount of quince I gathered from the tree yesterday. Whats one to do with all that quince? Some would even ask, what is quince? Quince, in my opinion is wonderful fruit in jams, crisps, etc., but one can only make so much jam. So, I am about to google those silly little quinces.
But back to thinking, I have been thinking a lot about life, why we are here living, what life brings, why we run around in circles chasing things, I don't know if I have come up with many (if any) answers, but I have become (for now) more comfortable with the presents of unanswered questions.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Before heading south on our bikes, I needed to get bike lights, since someone had stolen mine (I hope they use them!). So seeing no opportunity to get used ones, I had to purchase some, although I did get rechargable ones. If anyone has ideas how this could have been avoided, please let me know! Also, Kayla's helmet broke, so she had to buy a new one as well...we decided both of these purchases fall under the exception "safety first".
However, I also broke down the other day and bought some stickers...they are really cool! They promote veganism in a really cute way! But yes, they are new. Also, I was wondering, if you get something for free (i.e. stickers a store is giving away for free) does that count as getting something new too??
And, although we did not include food, I still feel challenged by the amount of packaging that the food industry (can you call it an industry?) produces! Just walk into Trader Joes (which I frequent for free samples) and you will see aisles and aisles of packages...and this is often the case in many other grocery stores. Anyways, just some stuff to think about.
Why do shiny new things make us feel good? If we actually thought about the bigger picture of what all of these new things are doing to the world, would they still make us feel good?
I went for a run this morning, and it was glorious! I have really been missing running, but this week I have already gone on two, and its been so nice. For those of you that know me, I love running...don't give me those crazy eyes! I swear I am not crazy! Anyways, so running was great, and then I decided to head to the pearl district. I was hoping to hit some free independent galleries, however, that didn't really happen. I thought it would be like Queen St. in Toronto where you can just pop in and out of lots of little galleries...nope!
Instead it rained on and off all day (Oh Portland) leading to my currently crazy wet socks and really gross smelling bike gloves. I popped into a cafe to warm-up and felt like I had entered the movie "Gossip Girls". Everyone in the cafe looked like they had just jumped out of a fashion magazine and were drinking skinny lates and eating salads and talking about how the new boots they just bought were such a deal...only $1000! I forget that people live like this, I don't understand it, probably about as much as they don't understand how I live. We should talk, but would they be open to that?
So, I spent the day walking with Bessy, and with practice, I learned to walk with her holding the seat! To those of you that don't bike a lot, you may be thinking..."so what?!", but those bikers out there know how challenging this can be, so please join me in my excitment!
Monday, November 14, 2011
I hang at the libraries, typing with lighting speed and hanging out with the other library bums. Yes, its funny how we all congregate at the library. A lot of the people that I see here you can tell are homeless, which my journey, jumping from house to house, not always knowing where I will be sleeping the next night, has given me a superficial taste of what being homeless must be like! Its Stressful! And I dont even have to worry about food. But anyways, today I almost didn't come to library, but I decided y'all deserved an update.
Today I spent, as I do most days, a good chunk of the day with Bessy (my bike for those of you that have not been introduced to her). We cruised the east side of Portland, and visited an urban education farm called Zieger's farm. it was pretty rad. I wish I could have helped out during the work party on friday but I was not here, and wont be here this friday either. Why not? Because I am heading to my next location: a farm just outside of Mt. Vernon, WA. More on that later though.
Back to today, it started off foggy and cold but by some stroke of luck it cleared up as soon as Bessy and I got to the farm. So we spent a lovely time wantering the area, eating my lunch under an old willow tree and just enjoying the sunshine. Unfortunately Bessy was locked up to a bike rack (although she had a friend there...rairly is Bessy ever alone in Portland, she's spoiled here) during my time on the farm, so I took her out for a ride after. We cruised the city, came across other cyclists (surprise, surprise) and then came to the library! So it was good times.
I have been thinking about why Portland is so rad to cycle in and the reason is, as a cyclist (and I am sure Bessy would agree) I feel respected. There is infastructure in place that respects both cars and BIKES as vehicles that deserve to be on the road, and others (including car drivers) respect that. A little respect goes a long way. Thanks Portland, OR!
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Let me just highlight a few things I have been loving: bike lanes everywhere, respect from drivers towards bikers, the saturday farmers market that is full of yummy breads, apples and samples, independent cafes everywhere, movie theatres with pizza, beer and wine for you to chow down on while watching the movie, leaves changing colours, vegan treats everywhere (scones, quiche, crepes, pie, mac and uncheese, cupcakes, etc.), bike love everywhere!!
My time is able to run out (I am at the library) so I will write more later...get excited!
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
It is really weird to no longer have 13 other beautiful, awesome, moody, passionate, hilarious females surrounding me and reminding me of why I live the way I live! Reminding me that I am not crazy for having the dreams that I have, and reminding me that anything really is possible. Its exciting to be independent again, but also hard. I didn't think it would be, but its hard to go to the grocery store and me able to choose ANYTHING to eat, because I no longer have a food mandate to obied by. Obviously I still have my values that control my choices, but I don't have 13 others to consider too. Its weird to think that tomorrow I wont wake up on the ground crammed into a small room with 13 other females sleeping head to toe all around me. Its weird.
But its part of the process. Its part of life to have ebbs and flows. So I embrace it. I am excited to have friends all over the country that I can call on when my strength falters. Who I can call on when I start to doubt myself. Who can call on me when they need someone too.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Now its saturday, and there was an amazing farmers market we went to! It was great! I really enjoy how many artists and amazingly grounded people there are. I also really love how people hang our so inter-generationally, grandparents with parents and little kids! Its pretty cool. We also went swimming in the lake, visits some stores, and had a pretty rad picnic. I have also notices how we work together so much better with 10 instead of 15 people. Its interesting how life is so much easier when there are less opinions to take into consideration. How would one ever make any decisions if you had to consider 100s of opinions? Perhaps thats why everyone never seems to be satisfied with the government?
We also went to a wine test, and now I have insane stomach cramps from something, I think its an allergic reaction, but I don't know from what. I have never had so many issues with digestion till this trip! Soo weird. Oh Im going to miss this community I have found through this tour.
We have one more day in Saltspring, then we leave monday for Duncan. And now Im going to sign off to drink some more tea.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Today is thanksgiving Monday, we FINALLY have a day off, its been a long time since our last one, so its nice to have time to chill and reflect, unfortunately its been crazy rainy all day. Actually all three of our days off have been rainy, its kinda disappointing, since we are currently on Hornby Island and its beautiful here, but we don’t really have a chance to explore it. I popped out for a short (1.5 hr) ride around the island though, so I got to check out a bit of it. I went down to an area called Ford's Cove, which was beautiful. It had all of this big leaf maple trees lining the road, and then there were pastures lined by a rocky seashore and the sea rolling away in the distance with the rainy-stormy day. It was so beautiful, and the rain almost added to it because of the fog in the air.
Yesterday was thanksgiving and now that I am reflecting on this (although I have been reflecting on this all weekend) I am aware of how lucky I am. There are so many things that I am thankful for in my life, so many things that i often forget about! First of all, its amazing that I am able to be here right now, on this trip! Its definitely challenging, I never knew how hard it is to make all decisions with consensus is, it makes me realize how impatient I am! Its amazing to be meeting all of these amazing other females, discovering passions in them, and discovering that I am not alone with my passions, and goals in life. Swimming against the norm, working towards creating a more enviro. Sustainable future, ignoring what mass media often insists we must buy and consume, tends to isolate me (and others) and cause doubts to arise. However this experience has helped me see that those doubts have no place in my life, everything will work out, all I have to do is trust myself. So I am also thankful for myself and ability to listen (sometimes) to myself.
Yesterday I also got to talk to my family on the phone, which was really special for me. It was great to chat to mom, dad, brother, and sister, and for some reason it felt really special. I really appreciate having a family that is so supportive of what I am doing, especially when my life choices tend to challenge my families norms. Its nice to know whatever happens, we are still a family that loves and values one another. Thanks family!
I could go on and on about what I am thankful for, but I will stop here because...I want to get back to reading my book ( the birth house) and play games with my tour mates! So I end here, we have an 80 km bike ride tomorrow, along with 2 ferry rides! Then we arrive in Naniamo on Wednesday (we also have 2 performances Wednesday). So stay tuned!
Thanks for listening to my ramble and I hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving as well!
The intensity of this trip makes me feel like i am living a lifetime of emotions, experiences, aches, pains, laughs, joys, and sorrows all in two months. Meaning the experience is really intense!
I have recently been feeling really sick: achy limbs (not from biking), stuffy and runny nose, sore throat and congested head! Let alone that I have been hacking up a lung! But I am not complaining! I am observing how a situation (like biking in the rain all day, being wet and cold, and having to then set up tent and cook for 14 other bikers) that is challenging but do-able is intolerable and causes exhaustion and a need for me to retreat! Living in an intentional community has caused me to sacrifice a lot of personal comforts and things that I usually rely on to define me (regular running routine, cooking, etc.) which has opened me to see the potential I have beyond these “items of definition”. However, it has also caused me to sacrifice myself, to the extent that i feel guilty if I take time for myself away from the group(like what I am doing right now). It is always a struggle to find balance between nurturing our inner and outer world, and I find that I tend to neglect my inner world, as many activists do, in hopes to find belonging, happiness, and/or fulfilment in life through my outer world. However, as one of my tour mates constantly reminds us: taking care of yourself is the most important priority and everything else comes second. This is a “rule”that we have even stated as a group during the tour, yet it still makes me feel guilty to leave the group for a warm, dry place to reflect, why?
Perhaps I feel guilty (which I think is a useless feeling, along with worry) because of how lucky I am and yet how I am still not satisfied. I may have been sick, wet, cold, and tired earlier, yet I was also fed, had friends and shelter (of one form or another), which many people would consider luxuries. Yet my luxuries still did not satisfy me, I wanted to be dry, warm, and healthy, all valid desires, yet also most likely the source of my guilt. Knowing what my needs, as an individual, where, I took it upon myself to leave (with another teammate) and act on these needs. This was not a gesture of hate or disdain towards the group, but rather an act of love towards myself, because without me there is no we.
I end with a reflection on the group and the time we have left. There is three weeks left and I am excited, I love everyone on the trip, however I am also scared that we will start to lose ourselves (due to lack of individual time) and begin to dispose the group. I am also worried that we will continue to be over stressed by the weather, biking, performing, nomadic living and group dynamics. We will see what happens, I hope for the best and will try my best to bring positive energy to the group!
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Along the way, my bike partner and I also made the decision to stop in at cool looking roadside things, because whats the point in making the journey if you don't take advantage of it, and all the perks of going slow (biking vs driving) holds! So we stopped in at a farm produce stand, a sculptor who showed us his working area (in BC there are road signs to indicate whenever an artists, its pretty sweet....Ontario learn from BC!), and a road sign with my last name on it! The sculptor did really cool stuff! He designed and made fountains out of copper and old instruments, it was really neat. I doubt we would have seen him/his work if we were driving.
Our lunch was on the water, soo beautiful! We walked along the water checking out jellyfish and a crazy orange coral. It was really relaxing to just sit and eat and chat about what we want to do with our lives, what we foresee for our futures and all that jazz.
We don't have much else tonight, we may practice the play, we are currently making changes to it, but thats it. I am guessing we are all going to be pretty tired, I know my legs sure are! We have a performance tomorrow, and then another long (60 km) bikeride, and then my cooking group is also cooking dinner! Yikes!
So I am sitting at the library with my biking buddy using the internet!! yippee!! Anyways, I will end here. Thanks for listening, and following my ventures through stiff hip flexures, many sleep days, school presentations, and beautiful scenery!
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
I biked out to the north shore of vancouver this morning and its SOO BEAUTIFUL!! I don't know what it but its so calming to be by the water. The view is beautiful, but the juxtaposition of man-made with natural is interesting. A lot of the "man-made" is destructive to the natural surroundings, like the large cargo ships. This contrast is beautiful although also scary.
Today is our day off so I biked to a cafe and had a lovely time. It was super cute and had fair-trade coffee and vegan muffins! Yippee! I love Birtish Columbia!
Today is the day for our premiere performance so I will keep it short! There is a lot of rehersing going down, so its intense but also exciting. We are still doing training week, but its the last day of training week which is sad but also exciting too.
Potluck! Everyone that came to see the performance brought food and its all vegan!! SOO nice to not have to eat rice and beans for dinner. Don't get me wrong, I love them, but....I need aq change!
Today is our official first day of the tour. The other tour group left and we are about to leave for our first "real"performance at the Science Center. Its pretty amazing thinking about all of the experiences and accompilishments I have had in the past year, and here comes another!
We are moving out of Southlands farm and going to sleep on a school gym floor.
Today was our first cloudy day. We had two performances and some workshops and they all went well. We are still in need of practicing because all of us forget our lines here and there, but we are also pretty good at improve, so most the time the audience can't tell that we are saying different lines. We do need to work on our transitions though.
Its our food day today! we have broken up our food chores into groups. so we have 5 different cooking groups and eat team does a whole day, starting with dinner (so dinner, breakfast, lunch), so we are today. We have a lot of left overs to use, we also got a lot of veggies for free by asking a few natural grocers, YES! We also are aware of the need for awesome food, people need food joy, so....lentil loaf with stir-fried veggies and I am going to make giant oatmeal choc. chip cookies for everyone and our long bike ride tomorrow. I LOVE COOKING FOR PEOPLE!!
P.s. Everyone LOVED the food!
Our first big bike ride. We are leaving vancouver (woohoo), we are biking to gibsons. Not very far, about 35 km, but it was still a challenge with all the hills and all our stuff to carry. We also had to take a ferry, which was really nice to ride at the end of our bike ride. AND the scenery is SOO BEAUTIFUL!!! We are staying at a camp. and we did a performance there, and they fed us!
Sept 16, 17, and 18 to come. I am tired of typing...sorry!!
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Today is the 1st day of training week and I am super tired, although excited for it all to begin. I met everyone and we are all super interesting, although I can see where some friction may arise, hopefully it doesn't though. When there is friction I find the best solution is trying to see where the other person is coming from.
Day 2, I just snuck away for a little me and relaxation time. Its been a good day, although I underwent an emotional and energy roller-coaster. But all and all its been good. This was the first day that our tour group (sunshine coast) got to spend some time just with us (there are two tour groups training together this week). It was a really great bonding experience.
Today we start work on the food mandate. I am excited to see how it to goes, although nervous too. Its a great chance to experiment with our values, but I also don't want others to feel like I am imposing my values on them. Its sometimes hard to hold true to your own beliefs while also remaining open to others.
I am pretty tired, and I'll be honest, right now I don't really want to be here. I need some time for my batteries to recharge: to run, journal, and reflect on whats been going on so far. Surrendering control over your life is really hard, even if it for 4 days. We did do a hugging experience today though, which was amazing! Half of us closed our eyes while the other half went around and hugged the people with closed eyes and then we switched. It was fabulous, made me cry, all that love!
Biked to a coffee shop near the farm with a bunch of the girls that I am going on tour with before our day began. I had a really good conversation with one of the girls about food and making the choice to eat animal products or not to, it seems to be a topic that will forever be popping up. Its only the 5th day, but it feels like we have been here for forever already.
Day off (well, not full day, it starts at noon). We finally got through the full play this morning, I am a little concerned about it, since our first performance is on Saturday. Somehow we will make it work. I am so excited for free time too: I need to wash my clothes (and myself!), buy a few things and do a little interneting.
Well I hope you enjoyed those snap shots from my days, if you have suggestions or comments I would love to hear them!