Raised on Promises (Repost)

I wrote this six years ago. Still love it! (original post here)

When I think of the USA, I am happy. It was happiness, adventure, belonging.

When I think of it now, I first remember the heat. The warmth was so that the mountains became a haze of blue on the horizon, the lake was a cool relief, the tarmac burning the soles of my feet. The flavour of barbecues. The cool sweep of sunscreen down my arms. I remember being surprised at the French words on the signs. Anxiety about visas, phone calls, insurance. New friends. Pizza. Budweiser. Stars and stripes; more flags than I’ve ever seen in other countries. I don’t disdain the patriotism, I admire it. I love it.

Then I remember the cold. So much colour when the leaves turned. Walks to the park. Halloween. Pumpkins, and dress up, and twinkle lights. First snow, laying in it, falling in it, laughing at it. Winter coats. Lots of them. Snow boots, jumpers, so many layers and getting overheated inside the buildings. Cheeks blushed from cold. Underground tunnels to avoid the bitterness. Cups of tea; stealing out into the cold to get them and hurrying back into the warmth to drink. Being told the weather is ‘mild, this year.’ Loving how different it is. Sneaking into bars, feeling like a 15 year old. Tyre swings in the twilight. Feeling like my accent is a novelty. Taxis on Christmas Eve. Continue reading

When You / I Wish

I don’t think about you that often. (Really). But when I do, I think about what you would do if you were faced with the person I am today, rather than an easy mark you could control.

When you demanded all my online passwords, I wish I had been grown up enough to say, ‘who the fuck do you think you are?’

When you told me what to wear, I wish I could have told you to get a life and worn what I wanted.

When you told me I really needed to lose weight, or that you were the only one who could think I was pretty, I wish I could have said that I like the way I look and you should too. Continue reading

Travelog: Copenhagen, Denmark

My favourite thing about Denmark was Mexico. Wait, let me explain.

It was my first trip to Copenhagen, my first trip out to Scandinavia at all, this past spring. We walked everywhere, as my awkwardness is not fit for cycling, saw the Little Mermaid, strolled down Hans Christian Andersen Boulevard, ate wienerbrød (they don’t call them Danishes!)… We walked the grounds of Rosenborg castle (too skint to see inside) and got lost in botanical gardens, flush with lakes and native greenery. I delighted in recognising words in Danish, like Kobenhaven, kaffe and kolde-drikke. In the happiest country in the world I was taken in by the legion of bicycles, the old world buildings fleeced with neon advertising, the twilight evenings illuminating the sea of tall blondes.

It was on one of these pale evenings that we discovered the secluded doorway to South America. ‘Why are you going into that tattoo parlour?’ asked my traveling companion as I stepped down below street-level into the restaurant. Noise and warmth and aromas beckoned. Continue reading

Out of the Comfort Zone

I’m really not an adrenaline junkie. I’m a quiet person who likes to read, curl up in bed or by the fire, walk my dog and eat delicious food. That would seriously be my ideal day. But a couple of months ago I decided I was going to do a sponsored skydive for the charity I work for – the Carers’ Centre.

I had considered the skydive the morning we started to look into it as a fundraising initiative, and already discarded the idea by lunch. But a couple of months later as the excitement began to build and we had a few willing participants, I suddenly decided I was just going to DO IT.

There was a couple of weeks where I had said I was going to do it but hadn’t taken any action – I hadn’t signed the forms or purchased my insurance (eek!!) and there was a moment there when I thought I was all talk and no action. But when have I been one to say no to new experiences?! Introverted as I may be, I went to France for four weeks at sixteen with my school, got a black belt in karate by grade 12 and lived in the States for a year at nineteen. I think I can do a little parachute jump from 10,000 feet. Continue reading

Websites for Non-Profits

Having worked at a couple of non-profit organisations, I can tell you that a new website has undoubtedly been on the list of your ‘things to do’ since about 1996. Your small, community based organisation with a board of trustees whose average age is probably 60+ probably don’t put much stock in ‘The World Wide Web’. (This is a generalisation. I know plenty of tech-savvy seniors but I think it’s safe to say they are in the minority).

But inevitably someone will come on board and talk about fancy digital strategies and social media and user interfaces and it’s at this point that someone with the purse strings says, ‘Let’s get a new website! Can we get it up and running this quarter?’

No. No you cannot. The number one thing I have learned from managing website development is that it’s very much like building a house. Everything takes longer than expected. You will not be in by Christmas. Some additional things I have learned along the way that may assist you in your (long, always-more-complicated-than-you-thought) journey: Continue reading

The Girl On The Train: Book Review

So ideally I would like to read at least one book a month this year. Unfortunately my plans for January were foiled as the book I ordered from Amazon got eaten by the golden retriever I live with. Then I tried again with Stephen King’s The Stand, which I have been attempting to read for about six months. That didn’t go so well. I love Stephen King but something about this one I just can’t get into. So I downloaded an E-book. I find it quite enjoyable to read on my iPad, despite my initial meanderings about how it’s ‘just not the same as real book’. I figure anything that allows me and encourages me to read is a good thing.

So, the book. The Girl on The Train. It’s interesting because the main character is both pathetic and endearing. An alcoholic, she obsesses about her ex, drinks too much and makes repeated phone calls to him. I feel sorry for her and annoyed with her – get a grip, woman! But then she turns around and is funny and charming and a survivor so I can see where she’s coming from. The book investigates the [spoilers ahead] … Continue reading

To 2015

I got teared up today watching Google’s 2014 year in search video. (It’s worth a watch!) Now, I know it’s an ad for Google. A beautifully directed, polished ad but an ad nonetheless. I know Google is a huge multi-billion dollar for-profit company. Still, though. It’s a great video and it made me feel happy about 2014 – despite all the horror, the air crashes, the epidemics, the terror, the unfairness… there were advancements, discoveries, proposals, weddings, children, kittens, and puppies. There were amazing moments in a billion different lives and it made me feel like I am part of something that’s not so bad. Continue reading

2014 Wrap Up

It’s the penultimate day of 2014 and it has been such an incredible year for me. In January I came back from my first visit to my parents’ new house in England, and B’s first trip to England, and we started to think about the possibility of moving here! Then we decided to just go for it.

Moving was a stressful and exhausting process that seemed to take up much of the year;packing, deciding what to take, booking flights, organising passports – there was much debate (and stress, and tears) on whether B’s passport would arrive in time – organising Harley’s travel, selling our cars, quitting our jobs… It was a big deal. Having time off from work was great though and I went out for long walks every day with Harley. Continue reading