First Post Since My Move to Ottawa

Hi everyone, wow. It’s been a long time! There’s so much to update you all on, so this post is just to catch up. I moved to Ottawa on December 29th, 2017, and it’s been almost two months but so much has happened!

The first night at my new place I got locked out of my room… no joke. I had to wait outside until 1:30 a.m. for the locksmith to show up and tell me the battery in the automatic lock was dead. Thank you for your $115 service, sir. Anyway, after that whole ordeal things were a lot smoother.

My parents and gramma stuck around my first weekend here and helped me clean my place and set everything up. When they went back to the GTA I did feel a sad but I had quite a few visits back home since then to help push down the homesick feeling I had at the bottom of my stomach.

Visiting home is something I really treasure. The other day I sat and wrote down some things I miss about living at home with my family:

  • Saturday morning breakfasts and dance offs in the kitchen
  • Drives home from my old job with my mom–napping while she drives
  • Mom’s cooking
  • Random walks with mom and dad around the block in the spring and fall
  • The smell of dad’s coffee in the morning and his habit of watching CNN
  • Sunday siestas after lunch
  • Adventures to local parks together
  • Being around those four crazy, loud, amazing people
  • Mom’s candles and music
  • Dad’s greetings when I walk in the front door
  • Jasper (our cat)

Even with missing home, moving out on my own has been a lot easier than I thought. Aside from some minor challenges, I’ve been successful with staying under budget, cooking healthy food, getting enough sleep, being productive with work, and motivated by spiritual goals. Especially for the spiritual/emotional/personal goals part, having my boyfriend in the neighbourhood has really helped me. Aside from the church members here, he’s pretty much my only friend in the city, and he’s been so vital to my happiness, being so far away from everything I know. Thinking about this now, I’m really excited for winter to end and spring to arrive–there are so many beautiful places to see in Ottawa. I’ll be spending so much time outside… I can’t wait!

There are so many exciting things coming up! Concerts, trying out new restaurants, going for long adventures in local parks, and checking out city events… I’m so grateful for everything this move has already brought me, and excited for all the things ahead.

Without God’s provision and direction, I wouldn’t have transitioned to Ottawa this easily. He’s blessed me with so many supportive friends, and my family, to help me adjust to the change. He’s blessed me with a great job that is so flexible to allow me to work remotely. He’s blessed me with good health so I could make this move (although since I’ve been in Ottawa I’ve already had the flu three times, yikes!). He’s blessed me with an encouraging, supportive, loving, generous, considerate friend who’s become so much more than that, and makes it so I never feel alone here. Moving to a new city has been a great experience so far, and I’m still challenging myself to be more confident in who I am. The purpose of this move is a work in progress but with Christ all things are possible, and hope can always be found.

Well, that’s my update! I hope your 2018 is off to a good start too 🙂 What have you been up to?

Love, Sarah xoxo

“Who”

Adia’s hands were covered in bubbles. She swished her hands in the soapy water, reaching for a spoon somewhere at the bottom of the warm suds. She gazed and squinted as she observed the hazy summer afternoon out the window in front of her. The wind had gone elsewhere, and left the world outside in a hot, motionless state. The window frame’s view reminded her of the painting hanging in the bathroom–a thorny rose bush in a desert. “Ouch!” She yelled, as a knife at the bottom of the sink stabbed her palm. Ejecting her hand from the water she thumbed the area to check for blood. There was none. A knock on the door was the next interruption, causing a toothy smile to flash across her face. Wiping her hands in a towel she rushed over expectantly, heart pounding, and she could feel warmth rising to her cheeks as she grinned. She twisted the doorknob, and swung open the door, arms prepared to embrace. But the person she saw was not whom she expected. Her face flushed, her crescent smile became a hard line, and her hands suddenly turned ice cold. “…Who are you?”

 

Suggested by: P. Babs

Gratitober: Entry 22

22. I’m grateful for books.

When my family and I first moved to Canada, my mom used to stay home with us. She would take us to the library so that we could check out different books and learn new things. At school, I would always want to get new books from the Scholastic sales and I would spend a lot of my spare time reading books. However, high school changed that and I pretty much stopped reading books altogether–I didn’t have the attention span, discipline or interest, I just wanted to go outside and hang out with my friends! University made me need to read books, sometimes turning it into a chore, but definitely expanding my vocabulary and knowledge.

Now, I’m out of school, I have a steady job, and I’ve been thinking about ways to be more productive in my spare time. This summer has been life changing for me. I have a vision for my life that I never really had before, and I’m willing to make changes in my life so that I can achieve those goals. Books have been helping me so much.

Most of the problems I’ve learned about myself, I learned from reading the Bible. It has a way of almost helping you look into yourself, encouraging you to dig up the weeds and plant better seeds. I’ve been doing a lot of that recently, too. I’ve also been reading books that relate to my current situation in my personal life.

Some of the books I’ve been reading, lead me to ask questions about myself that I would never have considered to ask. They really dig deep and reveal things about me that I never noticed before. It’s a very scary and also empowering experience because now that I know what I need to change, and I can learn how to change those things and grow as a person.

I’m also more excited about my future because I’m currently in a situation where anything is possible. All the plans I had before have been wiped clean–the way I used to do things has failed me and now I get a fresh start to do things right. To make better choices, focus more time on the quality friendships I have, serve my church more, make a difference in the lives of the young women around me. There’s so much I can do! Even for myself. I’m so excited for this opportunity and I’m grateful for the books that help me stay aware, and take those baby steps to get where I aspire to be.

Gratitober: Entry 20

20.  I’m grateful for technology.

There are definite ways to abuse technology but considering all it allows us to do, I’m pretty grateful. For example, social media and email lets me stay in touch with my family from back home. My gramma and I can have video calls wherever we are, whenever we want, and give quick hellos every day. Technology also allows me to get inspired by giving me access to Google! I can learn all kinds of things, even from websites like YouTube and Instagram. I’m also grateful for the technology that provides good transportation. Cars, busses, trains, and planes, all allow us to explore new places in a matter of hours, and see all of the beautiful things this world has to offer. Being able to get around is huge for connecting people from all around the world, and helps us to be more open minded, accepting, and appreciative of the qualities that make each of us so unique. There are many reasons why technology can also be a bad thing, especially if we get consumed in it and don’t take time to explore other areas of life, but generally I think tech is intended to make communication and transportation easier. It’s meant to expand our reach and allow us to do things we never could before. I’m grateful for that and I wonder what other advancements I’ll see in my lifetime…

Gratitober: Entry 8

8. I’m grateful for crazy sing/dance-offs.

There’s a time to be mature and a time to be a little silly and this weekend was time for the latter! Saturday morning I woke up early for some reason and went downstairs to eat breakfast and started playing music. Before long, I got my siblings involved in a sing/dance-off and we did that for a few hours haha. Then after getting ready for my cousin’s wedding, we headed over to the Royal Botanical Gardens and of course, as soon as the music started to play after dinner I was the first out there, bringing my family friends out to join me and the floor began to fill up. I love dances! And weddings. (It’s always such a beautiful time seeing couples share their vows and beam with excitement over this new adventure, especially people you really care about.) And there’s been lots of food this weekend, which was amazing. Great job to my mama bear for cooking Thanksgiving dinner like a pro, as always! ❤ Then, after a short food coma nap, I played cards with my brother and some friends, and then we put music on and starting singing really obnoxiously. It’s been a really nice, social weekend. Lots of music and singing and dancing. Just what I needed. 🙂

Gratitober: Entry 4

4. I am grateful for second chances (and third, and fourth…).

There were a lot of things I took for granted as I was growing up. I didn’t really take high school seriously… I wasn’t a bad student but I just didn’t push myself to do my best all the time. When I applied for university, I picked two of my favourites subjects and applied for their degree programs, but never really considered if they would actually lead me to a successful career path. I didn’t even consider if those careers were where I really wanted to be. Additionally, I always loved languages, but I let stupid things hold me back from going on exchange trips, and studying second languages more in my spare time.

When I graduated and it came time to look for jobs, I had a really hard time, so after a year I decided to go back to get a post graduate diploma in Journalism, because my BA English degree didn’t cut it with employers. Oh, and I didn’t really do any volunteer work or extra curricular writing while I was in university to help my chances–never thought I would need to.

After graduating from Journalism New Media, I was probably my most ambitious self. I hustled to get more experience. I worked crazy retail hours to save money, sacrificed financial stability for full time internships, and would even stay out late on weeknights in Toronto to network at events. I spent most of my money on transportation to get around and I lived off of very little sleep. It was a hectic but rewarding year but, unfortunately, none of my references or connections gave me a foot in the door to secure a career. So I did what any miserable and disappointed graduate would do and settled for something secure and comfortable. I worked as a receptionist for two years, before moving into a writing job. While it provides well for my current living situation, there isn’t much room for growth, so once again I feel stuck and hindered from getting where I want to be in my career. Almost a decade of pursuing this field and I’m still not there.

Okay, so far, this entry seems quite depressing… But what I’m getting at is that it’s ok things didn’t work out. Yeah. Because although my plans didn’t work the way I expected, I can still get a new plan. I am still able to turn my life around from here, following one road or another. Whether that means applying for more jobs and hoping for something with more growth opportunities, or switching my career completely and going back to uni/college, again. Whatever I decide to do, I have another chance. A chance to be a better student, do more research to find out if the program will get me to the career that I want to pursue, and have a different perspective about the whole shebang. So do you.

After my undergrad I kept telling myself that I was too old to do this, or that it was too late to do that. Now I’m a few years shy of 30 and the truth is, it’s never too late! That kind of thinking got me nowhere, so it’s time to change it. I’m grateful for second chances because even when it feels like life is nothing like we wanted it to be, it can still be a good life. It can get better, we can do better, and God can provide a completely different direction that fills our lives with more amazing things than our original plans ever could. What second chances changed your life?