Nicole's Engl blog

Archive for September 2012

A time I didn’t fit in, well no moment sticks
out more to me than starting at a new school. I have never moved I’ve grown up in
the same house my whole life, and I always felt bad when a new kid came into my
class who had been switched to this school because there parents moved, so I
always made a point to be nice to them, because I would never want to be in
there situation. Then when I was in grade 6 at the school I had been in since
kindergarten I found out my school was shutting down at the end of the year.
Everyone of us was going to have to go to a new school, and to make things
worse we were being split up based on where we lived. I was going to be going a
different school than all my friends in an area of town didn’t know. So I chose
to go the public school in my area that actually was right next to my old
school. None of my close friends were doing the same, but at least I would be
in the same area as before. On the first day the hundreds of new kids were
placed in the gym at this new school. We learned we were not going to be split
up but that all the new kids would be in the same class with some of the
students who had always gone here. I was excited, there was lots of familiar
faces, but as we were separated and brought to our new rooms something became
very clear to me, I was the only new girl. Yah there was lots of other new kids
from my old school but I was the only girl in my grade that had chosen to go to
the public school. When we got to the class room all the “original” kids of the
school stared at us as we took seats in the back of the class. As we waited for
the teacher to begin we all chatted away, so I talked to the boys from my old
school that I knew. Well that was a huge mistake. Being in grade 7 all the
girls in the new school were excited to get a whole bunch of new guys in their
grade to flirt with and have crushes on, but they had a territorial view point about
the new girls taking away the guys they had grew up with. When we all walked in
the first day they were happy to see their girl competition wasn’t as bad as
they thought since I was the only one. But I had come in and with one small
conversation instantly became the enemy. They saw me as the new girl who was
friends with all the new boys and instantly a threat to their potential new
crushes. For the first few days I got quite a few dirty looks, and snide
comments. I didn’t understand what I had done to make these girls dislike me.
So for the beginning of the school year the girls in my grade would not accept
me, so I was left out of the gossip at recess, or sleepover and movie dates
they went on. It wasn’t until later when the girls accepted me and I began to
fit in at my new school that someone told me the fears these girls had dreamed
up about me, what was silly was that I had no romantic interest in boys at the
time anyway

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A picture is suppose to be worth a thousand words, well this picture really is to me. I think what I like most about it I don’t remember it so I have to take it at the face value, for exactly what’s in it and every little clue I can take from it. As well it was a picture I had never seen before, when you see a picture over and over if its hanging on a wall, or in a photo album you often look it tends to loose its value, if you wanted to you could picture it on command in your head. But this wasn’t like that at all. When I found it also plays a big role in its importance. After my Grandmother passed away we searched for picture to create a slideshow for the visitation I don’t know who contributed this picture but I knew I had to have it. My grandmothers birthday was the day after mine and later my younger cousins was a few day after hers so we always had celebrations together. In the picture this is one of those celebrations pre my youngest cousin. I’m sitting on my grandma’s lap as we blow out our birthday candles together. My grandpa is sitting next to us looking silly with birthday hat on, and my cousins on the other side all watching. When I see this picture it reminds me not only of my grandma but of all the birthday’s we shared together and that was something special. When I look at the picture I’m not drawn to how silly everyone looks with their big glasses or crazy styles of the 90’s but I’m drawn to how beautiful my Grandma looks and how you can see the love she had for me. If any stranger were to look at this photo it merely looks like a 3 year old sitting on her grandmas lap blowing out the candles on her birthday cake. But to me it’s a symbol of how we will always be bonded with our early august birthdays. I was to young to remember this particular birthday (I think I was turning three) but I will always keep this picture. As every year after we took an awkwardly posed group shot of the three girls and their birthdays which never turned out nice, this picture just encompasses so much more to me, in all the it represents. Its worth more to me know than when I found it as my grandfather who is in the picture has also since passed away, and this may be the only picture of just me with them. Today a copy of this picture is placed on my mirror so I see it everyday as I get ready to start my day or as my day comes to an end. And like I previously mentioned pictures loosing value the more you see them this one never will because to me it is so much more than a picture.

As someone who has chosen to devote a large part of their post secondary education to English literature, I can say I thoroughly enjoy books and reading in general. I read tons of books for class and have been for years, but in my spare time guess what more book reading. So if I took a rough estimate I would say I’ve read probably around 200 books. I guess what books are my favourite or that I deem great will probably change as the number of books I read grows but currently there are two that come to mind.

When I read books for class it goes one of two ways, I am totally impressed in the book and love it, or it’s a slow and painful death to finish it (if I do finish it). This is interesting because the two books I find the “greatest” right now are two I read in class, also interesting I knew I liked them off the bat but I grew to love them more as we discussed their content in class.

The first one is Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, yes this is a book intended for children but I read it in a children literature course so that’s fair. One of the reasons this book sticks out to me is that I had seen the movie prior to reading the book, although it was years ago an all I remembered from it was the basic plot (they can live forever) and the fact that Alexis Bledel stared in it. But after reading the book I completely fell in love with the story, the characters, everything about it. At the time I couldn’t really pinpoint what was so great about but just that I loved it. After going to class my infatuation grew upon becoming more aware of some of the devices used throughout the work as well as looking in detail at some of the images created. I walked away from class thinking so much more of this book, and I had come to realize that Natalie Babbitt writes beautifully in this book, don’t ask me what that means but it is the only way I can describe the writing in this book just beautiful oh and lovely. In my eyes this book is world class literature not children’s literature anymore.

The second book I read for my contemporary Canadian literature course, it is Oryx and Crake by Margret Attwood. This is the first book I had read by the famous Canadian literary figure so I already had high expectations. But I was immediately involved in the characters and the way the story was presented by a character called Snowman who was the only human left on earth looking back on the events that led him to this time. I’ve always enjoyed books that take this looking back approach while still narrating the present moment, I see them as a puzzle to figure out how the character got here. Regardless this book had so much more, I later learned in class it belongs to genre of futuristic fiction, the book is based completely on exaggerations of current things in our present day this fascinated me. One image I will never see gone from my mind is the idea of chiki-noobs they are genetically modified chickens that  only comprised of the parts of the chicken you would eat, so they have no face only a small hole of mouth for feeding. IT was completely disturbing regardless this book keeps you thinking about the content within it and then later leads you to greater question the society you live in. Also a reason I cant get it out of my head is it is the first in a trilogy in which the third book is yet to be released or have a release date.

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Things in front of me… the computer I write this on, white key board and touch pad, light up keys, on the computer the OFFA prompt End I just wrote its still on the screen directly below this I can’t stop thinking about its giving me chills, and there is right in front me while I try to focus on something else.

Red cup sitting next to me plastic transparent filled half way with water (half full not empty) formerly it resided in the decew cafeteria but its my token from first year. Both these object sit on a table. A fold up wooden table I recently took from my grandparents house. It folds up nicely and slides away when I don’t need it for my computer or food.

We use to use these at my grandparents, sometimes when I was younger and I was sick, I would lay on the couch and my grandma would set one of these table up in front of me with some type of snack or flat pop to settle my stomach. Or on holidays sometimes we would set up appetizers on them in the living room. Or when my grandma got sick, it was ahrd for her to walk from room to room, so we would set this up  in front of the couch for her and she could just sit up and eat off it. Wow all that from a table I guess its one of the more meaning ful pieces of furniture I own.

My feet are on this blue shag rug, my mom got it for me for Christmas last year, it was one of the only things she got me that I didn’t ask for, therefore she was most excited to give it tome. She couldn’t wrap it its too big, so she scrunched it up and tucked it in a bag so she could still get the satisfaction of watching me open it. It was perfect it fit with my then blue room at school perfectly. She was so proud of herself. Now its awfully dirty, we don’t have a vacuum and the long hairs hold onto everything so shaking it out doesn’t do much. But the hairs are everywhere I find them on my cloths in my hair on my books, at my boyfriends house in the car. Its like it sheds, but its somehow not bald yet. How can it track all these hairs all over the place but still maintain it s shaggy like quality. This I will never understand.

I’m sitting on the couch my moms cousin Pattie gave me. It has the most ridiculous pattern I don’t think I can do it justice by describing it. Well I guess the background colour would be a cream/almost light yellow (where’s my dad with his perfect colour descriptions when you need him) then it has a series of vines and leaves all over it I’d say the dominate colour is yellow, but these red, green blue  pink leaves on it. Really you will never understand this without a visual. Any way it’s from IKEA and the only reason I wanted it is that its so bizarre no one will ever have the same one, oh and it fold out to a bed, not a pull out bed but the cushions just unfold into a bed.

(I was going to attach a picture but I just can’t give you the satisfaction of knowing the awesomeness of this couch, because despite its ridiculous description and appearance on first glance its is awesome)

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There wasn’t really a point where it ended it just kind of did, it was death by natural causes I would say. There were things you did I didn’t like, the way you treated me and others, I mean were suppose to be growing up but that didn’t seem to be happening on your end. Maybe that stuff was more acceptable in high school, or maybe I just have a little bit more self respect than I did then to realize that this isn’t how friends should treat each other. So I did what I thought was right, I called you out, “your being a shitty friend”, “I would never do that to you” these things I said each time you went back into your cycle of only caring about yourself, or the attention you got or being where everyone else was. You didn’t like it, you clearly couldn’t take someone calling you out on your shit, making it more  obvious you knew you weren’t making the best decisions when it came to your friends, especially me you best friend. You knew I would never do that to you, but instead of trying to change you lashed out. “I can’t believe you think that” “Its not my fault” you started to sound like a broken record. You always tried to turn it around so that I was the bad guy for drawing attention to you lack of respect for your friends.

So we drifted, I mean technically it was a long distance relationship, these things happen. Less phone calls, or texts, we never skyped any more. All I knew of you life was what you chose to post on Facebook. If someone asked I always said yah were still good friends, I don’t know if I wasn’t aware of us drifting apart of if I chose to ignore it becuase I thought it would get better. Then Thanksgiving came around, everyone’s back in town and you couldn’t make time for me it wasn’t on the agenda,  well you just are furthering the distance between us.

Then one day I got a call, something no one could have predicted, and even tho everyone from home knew it happened no one knew my connection to him, we didn’t have the last name no one would even question we were related. But that circle of friends they knew, and slowly it spread around that he was a part of my family. One by one the messages, and phone calls came, “I had no idea, I’m so sorry for you loss”. It was nice of them to reach out these people I didn’t speak to or see often. But I waited and waited and from you I heard nothing. When I started to pick myself up and get back to my life I knew it was over. You were my best friend but you couldn’t be there for me in the hardest days I had ever experienced. I had no desire to see you or hear from you it was a clean cute, no mess no fuss. There was no excuse for this you had no reason not to reach out and this is the time when a response to defend yourself would have done some justice, but I never confronted you. But when I see the way you can’t look at me in public and you avoid my gaze or my presence I know you know this is your fault now.

What will I miss when I die? Well first off will I know I miss it? I really don’t know but for the point of this exercise: I will miss the people I love, the people I care for, the people who are in my daily life. I hope I will miss my children and my grandchildren and my wonderful husband I have been married to for many happy years. I hope I will miss the house we’ve lived in for years that we all grew in my children growing in to adults, and my grandchildren spending holidays, birthday maybe sick days in. I hope I will miss my life in general I hope that when I die I have a full and happy life to miss.

When I die I will miss food, will they have food where I will go when I’m dead? I have always found people take so much pleasure from food we will turn to it when were sad, or happy or coming together. I will miss the way people come together around food. And the way you can make food for someone and the look of delight and joy you see on their face. I will miss those little moments of joy and perfection that you encounter, that in the moment you don’t think much of, but later you see the importance of these memories to you and to whom you have grown to become.

I think I will miss everything not just these few items that pop off the top of my head but I will miss life in general. I try to live each day in  way that allows me to love life, a quote I have permanently tattooed I my side as I way to remind me that you just need to love life. Its hard to pick specific moments, objects or people I will miss because I will just miss life as it is a love of mine

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When was the last time I was really happy? This past summer, not any specific day but honestly just most of it. I took a spring course so I shortened my summer vacation by a month which I think made me appreciate it a little more. Not that a three month summer is too short or anything. But this summer was something completely different than any other summer. I was free from the stress of school and assignments and balancing my whole life like I attempt to do during the school year. I didn’t have to fear that one thing going wrong could tip this whole balancing act I had going on. No not at all this summer was unlike any other one.

Every summer previous since I have been in university has gone two ways, I either had a full time job that consumed all my time and energy i.e. year after first year I worked construction at a solar farm in Sarnia which is now the biggest solar farm in north America (google it), or other years where I like many other university students struggled to find summer employment and therefore spent my summer laying around my parents house like a waste of space with absolutely no purpose. But not this summer I was proactive to prevent the later from happening and in turn created an ideal summer.

While many people view summer for university student as the time when you work as many hours as you can handle to make as much money as you need to get you through the next year,  I didn’t do that. I chose to stay in St.Catharines and remain at my part-time job I hold during the year, while I did intend to find another job it just didn’t work out that way. So I lived alone in a house normally filled with 4 other girls. This was my first time living alone and for a girl who hates spending a night alone in her parents home which she grew up in this was a scary prospect. But I survived as I knew I would and I learned to be more independent. As well I had found the perfect balance in my summer, I worked any where from 15- 40 hours  a week at a job I loved with coworkers who respected me and my time. I had a new relationship which was still in the honeymoon phase which was multiplied by the carelessness of summer love. I had a few friends in the area to spend free time with but who had busy lives of their own and didn’t feel the need to hang out at all hours of the day. Therefore this summer allowed me to grow as a person and get to know myself better, as well earn money to cover my costs of living as well as a potential reading week trip this year. I felt at ease all summer no real pressing worries were upon me but I had things to do and people to see. This is how I see happiness as having this perfect balance in my life where I can be at ease in my life and confident in myself. But maybe the next time I find my self truly happy it will be a completely different kind of happy.

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