Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Little Lioness

This is a perfect example of what I do instead of what I should be doing. 
I'm a world class procrastinator. This blog only exists because of my procrastination.
This particular post is also further evidence of how badly I need an artistic outlet... one that will satisfy me more then the odd iMovie project or solo late-night dance party.

I will admit that I've been avoiding important matters, like studying for my differed exams, writing my differed essays or creating a flexible itinerary for my 6 weeks of backpacking throughout East Africa. I have been getting other things done slowly but surely. A lot of important miscellaneous paperwork, fundraising... and progressing through difficult matters that cannot be specifically defined, like grief, PTSD,... mental growth which I am still trying to put more outward emphasis on. 

I have ONE MONTH until I leave for Tanzania! Unfortunately for me, (with my procrastinating ways / productivity interfering PTSD ) my To-Do list in the next month would make an excellent plot for Mission Impossible 4. Fuck. 

I am capable.
I am motivated.
I have a large and long-awaited award at the end.
I must make those my affirmations... to encourage myself.

It's officially Christmas Eve Eve. December 23rd. I am nearly done my Christmas shopping. Frankly, I am spending money I don't have, but I can't help it. 
Although I know my family and friends are not superficial, and don't measure how much I appreciate them with how much I spend on them, I have still chosen to take on the impossible task of trying to find something material that can accurately symbolize just how much that is... on a budget. Uhhh. I've found some nice things that I hope they will enjoy.

Anyhow, I will keep this short for I am trying to get my sleep schedule back on track.
I will try to post back in a few days. It will include my fundraising video!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Restore Your Faith In Humanity

I love what I study. I love everything about it. 
It can get difficult and depressing pretty easily, however. 

The sad reality is that their is tons of negativity in our beautiful and rapidly globalizing world. Stats on poverty, diseases rates, genocides, corrupt bureaucracies, nefarious governments, human rights violations, consequences of extreme capitalism,... to more specified issues like sex-selective abortion, child soldier use or sweat shops,... the list is nearly endless.

I am reminded of the worlds serious challenges on a daily basis in my studies. As someone who is so committed to making a career in the realm of development, I can't help but feel a certain amount of responsibility and by extension of that hopelessness.

But their are moments when I come across something truly inspiring. 
Something filled with genuine kindness.
Something that puts the "humane" aspect back into "humanitarianism".
Something that stands out, metaphorically, as a diamond in the rough and brings me hope.

This video is one of those things.
Please, please watch.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Self-Fulfilling Prophecies DO Exist Afterall!

This is a video I made back in September after my birthday as an update for Andrew who had recently left for Ghana. It's about my hopes and fears for the next year; A self-proclaimed start to what I dubbed "Andie's Renaissance".  

Although I've posted this on Facebook, I wanted to give it a more permanent home on this blog.

Watching it back makes me proud of my own positive revelations and gives me courage to continue to pursue my happiness. Although my intense sense of self-awareness can cause me stress and perhaps be self-sabotaging at times, it does come in handy when I need to understand and make sense of difficult emotions. I can't say honestly that I am fully over some of the hang-ups I mention in the video, but I'm certainly further along in the process of going from knowing what the solutions are to truly believing AND living what I feel the solutions to these problems are.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Honorary African Vagabond

It's official! I bought my airplanes tickets tonight! On January 23rd, I'll be flying from Montreal to Zurich then from Zurich to Dar es Salaam! In addition to that I have also managed to catch up on 11 other YCI deadlines!

I promised myself this summer, that I would make a more conscience effort to be more aware of when I seem to be standing in my own way. I realized this was becoming a problem of mine when I began to seriously assess where some of my stress was coming from: the amount of pressure I put on myself and how impatient I can be with myself. 

My solution to this was to more of a realist than an idealist for the time being... And be on the pursuit of happiness, not matter how unconventional the means!

Ideally, I would be able to make my typical ambitions come to fruition... Be really involved in university life, in different clubs, volunteer, maybe hold a simple job to gain transferable skills and experience for my foreseeable career... Live a balance and healthy life.

Realistically, I'm aware that I'm still grieving and dealing with a lot of complex emotions including unpredictable episodes of PTSD. As a result of this am not 100% as capable as I may have been three years ago to balance the type of schedule I'd like or produce the quality of work I'd like at school. While emotionally compromised, it's only fair to reevaluate my expectations. Keeping them up high would only guarantee disappointment; a very counterproductive feeling to give yourself when your striving to feel more fulfilled!

I needed to be more kind to myself. The first thing I opted to tackle was my academic path.  My strong distain for Ottawa U has been getting stronger and stronger by the day. Administratively speaking, they have caused nothing but problems. To make a long rant short, it's simply not the place for me. 

You wouldn't guess it by how I am at Ottawa U, but I love being a student. Post-secondary education should be an enjoyable experience! Especially since all the material people are studying are subjects they chose and are passionate enough to make a career out of! I'm an enthusiastic person and don't want to do anything I don't have a certain zeal for! With that in mind... that is precisely why I reassessed my own academic path. Knowing that Ottawa U wasn't for me, I began to search for alternatives, applying to anything and everything just to create options and opportunity for myself.

Enter Youth Challenge International. One long application process later, I become a Youth Ambassador for an international development project based in Tanzania with a special focus on youth health. A chance to get hands on experience with experienced people in the environment I hope to work in someday. The first thing I've had to look forward to in YEARS. Not weeks. Not months. YEARS. After a rough October and November of struggling to get through what will hopefully be my last semester at Ottawa U, the only thing giving me energy or bringing me happiness was this trip which served as a light at the end of my dark tunnel.

I'm proud of myself for following through on a promise I made to myself... 
to better my life, live at my own pace and on my terms. 

In many ways, it's easy to be skeptical that it may not be the best time for me to embark on this journey for fear that I still may not be able to deal with the stresses that come along with moving into a third world country, in the home of locals, living authentically without basic necessities, in a dramatically different culture where even the language is foreign. Yes, it's easy to be skeptical. Although that may scare most people, it exhilarates me! I'm voluntarily putting myself in that position for upwards of half a year and I haven't been happier. I'm so eager to learn to in every sense and feel like I have purpose!

I deserve this adventure.
It's the stuff my dreams are made of.

I'll end this with a snapshot from one of my virtual trips to Zanzibar, curtosy of the streetview function on Google Maps: