Things you may not know about me

In a course I am taking right now one of the suggestions for a blog post was this suggestion. So after I read what some of the other members of the group have written I thought I would write it.
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1. I was born in Kelvington, Saskatchewan in the middle of the winter.
2. My full name is Enid Heather Laura Reddaway Davis – there is family history mixed in there.
3. I have a received two degrees since I turned 40 – a Bachelor of Theology and a Master’s Degree in Integrated Technology.
4. My first new car was a red mustang.
5. I had a white car in college called Agatha.
6. I used the name Esmerelda Popaloskavitch when I lived in Toronto whenever I didn’t want to give my own name.
7. My friends and I used to hitchhike when we lived in Toronto. (It was a lot safer those days – it makes me shudder to think about it now.)
8. I was a dog person before I became a passionate cat person.
9. I have been a bridesmaid in 7 weddings.
10. When I was very young I memorized a lot of the Psalms and New Testament in the Bible.
11. One time I dyed my hair black and forgot to wear plastic gloves. My hands and wrists were grey for over a week.
12. As a child I traveled across Canada by train – two trips. I was under 6.
13. My family moved to Los Angeles when I was in college but left before I ever went to visit.

Well, that is all for right now.

When reality becomes real

I have been enjoying my holiday time home in Canada. I have been walking, reading, doing a lot of eating and visiting my family. Part of my job was to sort through all my stuff that has been sitting in my sister's storage unit for the past several years as I have lived Beijing and then Guatemala. She is planning a move and so asked that I go through everything. I did it last Monday and was amazed how little I decided was important. I will write more about that later.

I found a lot of pictures and cards that I have had a lot of fun going through. Reliving memories of college and friends has been wonderful. I graduated in 1974 and for the past three years we have all been reconnected through Facebook. I have been busy scanning the pictures with my iPad so I have a digital copy.

While I was enjoying this walk down memory lane the Breaking News came on and announced that a plane had gone down in Ukraine and it was feared it had been shot down. All work stopped as I listened to the report and couldn't believe that something had happened to another Malaysia Air plane. I was stunned that something could happen again to this airline. I got as must information as possible but as soon as the news descended into speculation I quit watching. Periodically, I would check the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) for the updates but kept on with my activities. I watched the short videos that showed the smoke and passports but in all honesty other than feeling sad that this had happened I kept doing my day to day things.

This all changed yesterday (Friday, July 18th) when I got a call from a friend in Beijing telling me the aunt and uncle of another close friend, who now resides back home in Australia, had been on the flight. Everything seemed to stop. I didn't know these people at all and yet their niece is a very dear friend and her lose almost feels like my loss. It is the first time that something like this has happened to me.

I am sad and angry. I no longer can listen to the “talking heads” on the TV and their endless rhetoric and blame game. 289 people have been senseless killed. Their only crime? Getting on board an airplane to do their job, go home, on vacation, to a conference or a dozen other reasons. I can't look at pictures of passports, black smoke, piles of suitcases without the sense of such terrible loss. I have always understood that families are tragically affected but until this time when it has come to one degree of separation am I beginning to understand how much each life that was lost affects so many. Like a stone thrown into a pond creating endless ripples and circles this crash has reached around the world bringing so many people and now me included to a partial understanding of the loss.

My love and prayers go out to wonderful friend Imelda and her family as they deal with an event that no one should be called on to bear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Potter and more..

pottermore-8I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Always have been, though I certainly wouldn’t fall into the stand in line for hours at midnight group. I am more the preorder through Amazon to get the book delivered on first day. Actually, in my case it was usually the second day as I was home in Canada both times I did that. I have also been known to have spent three days of my Vietnam vacation sitting by the fabulous pool, listening to the sound of the ocean in the background as it rolls into the beach, reading one of the books from cover to cover. I think it was the one where (spoiler alert) Dumbledore dies but I am not sure except it was a long one.

Anyway, I digress…. I got started reading Harry Potter when it first came out and I was teaching at Kindergarten at a christian school. Parents started asking me what I thought about Harry Potter and was it appropriate. At that time I didn’t even know who or what a Harry Potter was. So not having an answer I did what I always do when there are controversies, I investigate on my own. So I drove one afternoon to Costco went directly to the book section and bought Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It was a relatively thin, soft covered book with a painting of a young boy with a scar on his forehead. Little did I know that I was starting on an adventure that would last for over a decade.

I loved the world created by the author and hoped there would be more books. :)
In answer to the question the parents were asking me I now had an opinion and while I always answered honestly. One of the families I taught for a number of years, meaning I taught three of their kids in kindergarten, drove from Ontario to Florida every Christmas and the books were read to the three kids in the back seat and the driver. (This was long before there were iPads, tablets, smartphones.) Kids were expected to entertain themselves on long trips. Fighting was not allowed. I loved the idea.

Anyway, why am I sharing this walk down memory lane? Because, though I am probably late to the party, JK Rowling has just published a short story about Harry Potter and his family on her incredible website. I read about it on one of my favourite blogs HGTV.
http://blog.hgtv.com/design/2014/07/10/harry-potter-decor/

So in case anyone is wanting me this afternoon I will be downstairs sitting outside (they have wireless) at the coffee shop reading the story and catching up with old friends.

I think this is a great distraction after the morning frustrations of applying for a Visa for entrance to the country of my new adventure. :)

Monday morning musings

I was sitting at the coffee shop below my summer apartment looking around and writing I my journal. As I noticed the nice area where I was sitting I was reminded of how I had been encouraged by the courses I have been taking over the past several months to see the world around me. Not having my camera with me but just my iPad I took some pictures to include in my blog.

Looking across Harmony Square
Beautiful flowers.

 

Dancing water fountain. On hot humid days it is full of children squealing, running through the fountain. Today it is only 23 degrees so much quieter.
Brantford is full of century old buildings that have been repurposed. I love this architecture, the old clock that is only right twice a day and our bright flag blowing in the strong breeze.

 

Blogging from the Heart

I am so excited that I have joined Susannah Conway’s course Blogging from the Heart. This is the third course I have taken with her during the past several months and they have all been terrific.

I have three blogs – personal (this one), a professional blog and a spiritual blog. While I am a big believer in blogs and blogging recently I have been feeling that I have not yet found “my voice” or really what I want to focus on in blogging.

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I struggle the most with my professional blog as I often feel I do not have anything new to share. This past year at work was a huge struggle and I feel that I am a bit ground down on the professional side though the work I am doing with PLP Connected Coaching is excellent and exciting. My spiritual or faith journey blog is the one I feel the most emotion when I write though I frequently avoid it as I do not want to drag up a lot of feelings.

I was going to create another blog for the course but I think I will stick with this one and see where it takes me. I did change the colour and added my middle name to the title. We will see….

 
photo credit: gonzalo_ar via photopin cc  

Adios Guate

Well, June 25th finally rolled around and I am on board the plane heading for Miami on my way home to Toronto for the summer. I will not be returning but am moving on to a new adventure for the next school year in Vietnam.

For some reason I have been extremely stressed about this flight. I think one of the reasons was probably because of the early start. I left for the airport at 4:30 AM after a sleepless night. At this point in time I have been awake for 24 hours and it will be close to another 12 before I am in able to crawl into a comfortable hotel bed. What is it about nice hotel rooms with their great sheets, soft pillows and black out curtains that are such a treat? Probably those things I just mentioned. :) after having slept on a hard mattress for the past 2 years I am looking forward to the mattress.

Added to the early start was the large amount of luggage I was carrying or checking. Five pieces with a total weight of over 300 pounds. The cost was about what I had figured. Unfortunately, when I arrive in Miami I have to go and get those five pieces and recheck them through customs as I am going to Canada. Along with those five pieces I have my leather back pack that I bought in Beijing six years ago and a brand new carry on that at the moment is stuffed with clothes for tomorrow and two laptops. Moving my whole life is never easy, cheap or light.

 

I am extremely tired and will write another post about leaving Guate when I am more focused but I thought it was important to at least recognize the fact that I am in the air wending my way home. Tomorrow I will see my sister and other assorted family members. Hopefully, see how much the three boys have grown and check out my niece and nephew’s new house. Friday I will drive over and see Mom.

Other than seeing my family I am really looking forward to being in a country where I understand the language. In fact, after I am through customs in Miami I am heading for a bookstore to just walk around and read the titles and know I can buy a book that I will understand. I won’t buy anything as I do everything pretty well online and digital now but I love the fact that the option is there.

Well, that is about all for now. I am not feeling well and so did not eat the breakfast that was provided which is a shame as it is linen service as I am flying First Class, thanks to the school. Hopefully, I will feel better on the second leg of the trip so I can have lunch. I know it is airplane food but it is First Class.

One Hour Later:

We have landed in Miami but are sitting on the tarmack as the plane that is supposed to be gone from our slot is still sitting there. Doesn’t really matter to me as I have a four hour layover before boarding the flight to Toronto. Good news is that I am feeling much better than I did before.

Five hours later:

What an unbelievable, stressful and tiring couple of hours I had once I arrived. I was the first person off of the plane but wasn’t in any hurry as my flight didn’t leave for four hours. We walked and walked and finally arrived at Passport Control. All the Americans were sent to kiosks where they could go through themselves. The rest of us were sent to go through one at a time. I had good hope when it started because the lines were long but winding around quite quickly. I finally got in a short line to go through with an officer. I was 5th in line and it took over 30 minutes for me to get through. I am always surprised that when I go through and hand over my Canadian passport that I do. It have to fingerprinted or have my picture taken like everyone else. It may be that my picture and fingerprints are already on file. I don’t know.

After PC there was another long walk to get my luggage. What a flight to be carrying five suitcases. There was no one around to help as I lifted the heavy suitcases off and put two on the cart. I finally was able to get a Jan’s attention and he lifted the other three pieces on for me. Only problem was I now could not see over the pile of luggage. My cart looked like it was floating along without anyone pushing it. :). I could look around the left or the right but not over the top.

I slowly made my way to my next location was the luggage check. No one offered to help me but did provide guidance and encouragement as I slowly and carefully made my way along. The only person I bumped into was airport police officer but she was very good natured and told me I was doing a good job. I wish I could have got a picture but that would have involved finding my iPad or phone in my backpack that was underneath my carry on. I probably wouldn’t have been able to as I was in restricted area. I happily turned my luggage over to the two gentlemen who were tasked with the job of getting my luggage on the right conveyor belt to Toronto. They promised me they could do it without my help and sent me on my way.

Another check of my passport and ticket and yet another security check but this time we didn’t have to take out our electronics, take off shoes or belts. I hade it through collected my belongings and headed for my gate. It wasn’t very far in airport terms and so once I got close to the gate I stopped at The Irish Pub for a burger. Unfortunately, though my stomach was settled down I could only eat a few bites. It was fun being part of the group watching the Nigeria vs Argentina game. I then strolled through some of the stores on my way to the gate and did go through a bookstore as I had promised myself. It was nice. Two more hours and it was time to board. I was on my way HOME!!!!!

 

Much later:

Well, we had a good flight from Miami to Toronto but imagine our surprise when the captain announced that instead of landing in Toronto we were landing in Buffalo. There is a storm over Toronto and so we circled for while until we were low on gas so they sent us to Buffalo to get gas. We will fly back and continue to circle until we can land.

I am hanging in there but just barely. Right now everything seems like a huge task. Once we land and go through Customs then it is off to get the five pieces of luggage. I think I am going to get a Red Cap. I cannot see over the top of the suitcases when they are all on the cart and I don’t want to go to wherever the car rental is like that. Get there, get the car hopefully without problems and then drive to Brampton to the hotel.

Conclusion – three days later

I arrived and it was a breeze entering a country where you belong. Through the kiosks, turn in papers, hire a Red Cap who not only loaded my luggage with one arm but took we directly to the car rental place, waited while I got my car, loaded my luggage and sent me on my way. It was worth all the money I paid him as a tip. Checked into the hotel only 3 hours late and after going to get something to eat crawled into a comfortable bed, with pure white sheets and fell asleep – back in Canada finally.

So that is the story of my move from Guate to Canada. I am sure there will be more to come.

Tears and Joy – Proud to be Canadian

I tend to be a person who tries to find links between events especially when two powerful things are happening at virtually the same time. Sometimes it is a bit of a stretch but today I don’t think so.

For the past two days Canadians have been horrified by the events that transpired in Moncton, New Brunswick.  For the uninitiated, a gunman dressed camouflage and carrying weapons was in a shoot out with the RCMP.  During this battle which happened in quiet neighbourhoods three officers were killed and two more were seriously, but not critically wounded. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are our federal police force.  You would probably recognize them from their red and black dress uniforms.  In many provinces in Canada they are also the provincial police.  This is the case in New Brunswick.
RCMP

All of Moncton went on alert and the people and media followed the requests of the police.  Stay at home, leave your porch light on at night, lock your doors and stay alert.  Schools were closed, malls did not open, government buildings were closed.  There was no bus service or mail service.  Many restaurants stayed closed.  Hospitals were closed except for emergency rooms and for people visiting the critically ill.  The police requested that information about where the police were searching not show up on social media and it did not.  Fear was rampant, police exhausted as the search continued. Yet Moncton and Canadians stood firm in the believe that the men and women who were dedicated to protect us would bring this to a close.

Thankfully, this morning June 6, 2014 just after midnight Atlantic time, the killer was arrested in the backyard of a home.  There wasn’t a shoot out, just a man walking out with his hands up saying “I’m done.” when he was surrounded by the police.  He is now in police custody waiting to be charged.  Enough about him.

As soon as the arrest was completed the names of the three RCMP officers who had been killed and the two who were injured were released to the media.  They are heroes.  They were doing their job.  A job that they knew could be dangerous but they did it anyway.

At the same time this was happening on the east coast of Canada the sun was rising over the coast of France as the 70th Anniversary of D-Day dawned.  Thousands of people have been part of the celebration remembrance of what began on that day.  A massive exercise involving British, American and Canadian soldiers stormed the beaches at Normandy and began the drive that would turn the tide of World War II from a victory for the Nazis to a victory for the Allies.

The cost was great among all the countries that were involved over those first days.  150,000 men stormed the beaches, over 10,000 were casualties, 4, 414 killed the first couple of days yet they kept coming and fighting with a determination never seen before. Omaha, Juno, Utah, Silver and Gold were the code names for the beaches that would become infamous as thousands gave their all.

The Canadians landed on Juno beach and began their move inland.  Soldiers died or were seriously injured before they even reached the beach and yet they kept moving.

Today marks the 70th anniversary of something I have only ready in history books and yet I have been fascinated as I have watched the different activities.  A few men who had survived those beaches have returned.  They are men in their 90’s now.  This will be their last time to see these shores.  They talk about those hours and days as if they happened yesterday.  Vivid images and memories forever branded in their minds.  They talk about lost friends and comrades who had one thought – to free France…regardless of the cost.  They did it!!!!

 

How have I made a link between these two events?  I am looking at the bravery and diligence of those that do their job each day regardless of the danger and possible cost.  They don’t do it for glory they do it because of a belief in safety and freedom for all.  The police officers who were killed and injured two days ago were not alive when the young Canadian soldiers hit Juno Beach and yet they are tied together in my mind.  They did their job.  They did it well. The police officers got up the other morning and while they were aware that something could happen it was not first in their minds.  They went out to do their job of keeping the peace in their community and protecting the citizens of Moncton.  The soldiers knew they were putting their lives on the line and still they did their job.  For some they paid the ultimate price and their friends and families have mourned their loss and dreams for 70 years.  For the families of the RCMP officers murdered they are just beginning this unwanted journey.  My thoughts and prayers are with them.

They all did their job…..I am so proud to be a Canadian.