Cold & Culture 

So I have been meeting people here. And oh one thing I have learnt- people  love to talk, so if you don’t want to talk stay inside and if you dont want everyone to know, just inside. Culture is a helluva thing. Which is better? Mine, which teaches us to keep everything shrouded in secrecy and gossip, or this one which promotes openness and less privacy?  But then, both sets of people have depression issues anyway, so oh well. And because of or despite the cosmopolitan nature of the populace, you will fit in some where along the spectrum. The old adage rings true…..tek you time and sieve out people….

So, everyone ask questions.  How long have you been here? When did you come? Why Edmonton? And then invariably it ends with the weather………

Thus, it goes without saying that I have been waiting, actually anticipating winter- as I need to see what everyone is talking about- no, complaining about. But you know what is weird, I think Edmontonians actually love their weather……I guess as humans we love superlatives……

I didn’t  have to wait long- yes it is brutal. In fact I don’t think anyone is capable of putting it in words- “horrifically brutal” (to quote a friend). No matter how much clothes, how many layers you don’t escape the wind chill. I have seen some weird attire too , men with ski masks covering their faces which I get, trust me, but it still gives me the chills. And girls in summer tights, mini skirts and dresses, sneakers- now that,  I don’t get in -25 and below weather. Are they machines or something?  Or are they just trying to prove a point? Either way it’s just plain stupid, (in my mind of course). A friend of mine asked me if I am sure this weather is for humans, I have been wondering that myself. Luckily Mother Nature, like any good mother varies her tempo…….

And I have been waiting to make a snowman, hence I decided on a whim on Christmas Day (of all the days) that I would make my very own snow man. I got his hat, a scarf, a pair of earrings for his eyes and set off for the park. I chose my spot, located a tree from which I would break branches for his arms, and just as I was set to begin to work, it occurred to me that I had no idea how this was done. You would think I would find that out first……😁Well that’s why I don’t normally do things impromptu……I plan almost everything. I discovered, first and foremost that you need wet snow for a snowman, the snow was very dry on Christmas Day. This is what happens when you are way in over your head 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

The other things that I have been pondering is violence…… yes it’s here too. After all, if you watch Investigation Discovery and 48 Hours and the myriad other shows like these, I am sure you have never seen an episode which relates to outside of North America, and they run the full gamut of human nature. Envy, pride, greed, jealousy, revenge……yes those things know no bias.

But coming from home, I naively felt safe and found myself talking unnecessary and foolish risks……two things jolted me to reality. The evening news and my bible study. And when I think of it, although the streets are well lit, and although the houses are close to the roads and although the area is densely populated, if I were attacked would anyone even hear me crying for help, or if they hear would they come to my rescue? I really don’t know, and I tend to believe I would be doomed because I don’t see that neighbourly behavior been exhibited in other ways…..so now I don’t throw caution to the wind for the most part.

People give you more than a second glance when you enter a shop, the nervous twitch or the eyes that glance away a little too suddenly. No one chooses to sit beside you first on the bus or train, and you are first considered stupid or violent, lazy or incompetent …….just because of the color of your skin. On an episode of ‘This American Life’, one of the interviewees said once ” of all the reasons to hate someone, you choose their color of their skin”. The strange thing is I feel none of that, I have met some lovely caring people from all races and ethnicity……but I must tell you I sometimes feel afraid of my fellow black folk.  I am not proud of myself for this one, but being afraid is a real thing. I feel it and face it all the time. I won’t lie to you, sometimes we look scary, suspicious and seem to be up to nothing good. I feel bad to be judging another black person, but it’s true, and we may have no good reason to feel this way except natural instinct and the crime reports.  When that happens, I get a peek into the mind of those who stereotype and put all black people in the same box, justifiably or not. Now we can call the sociologist to explain all the good reasons why blacks commit the most crimes and makes up the majority of the prison population- but that’s for another time. That is a complex web, which cannot be simplified.

Don’t get me wrong I sometimes feel trepidation too for the white or Asian folk who speaks a little too loudly, or walk around ragged and dirty, or who approaches me to ask me a question that is way too normal, or beg me money…….yes, prejudice cuts deeper than we think. It freaks me out when they ask me. “Why choose me, of all the people on the train platform or on the bus, why pick me?”
And I must tell you, I don’t like the turkey. I just see it as an oversized fowl, that is way too hard and a little too dry for my liking- yes me a J’can we love tender, we love gravy and meat a drop off the bone, so not me and the turkey.  December 31 is my anniversary. One year away from home, one year since I am fully responsible for my self, one year of not seeing family and friends, one year of adjustment……..one year older and many years wiser. One year later, and I am finally look into the ‘right’ direction when I am crossing the street. Most people exclaim that I made a brave decision, sometimes I wonder if it wasn’t just plain stupid.

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November 2016

“When you get to the heart of evil, there is nothing there”(adopted). I oft repeat that line, but each time I use it, it takes on added significance and truth.

I am still missing home, how long does homesickness take to heal? And there have been some unexpected occurences- not even if I were clairvoyant could I have seen them coming. But they came…….

The shine has rubbed off at work too, some days I get overwhelmed other days are just ordinary, other days I could be contented. It’s all in a day’s work, I learn not to bellyache about that, but most days me miss the food at home. Although I am not a ‘foodie’, I have found a few things I like to indulge in. Persimmons, Blueberries, dried mango, samosas and of course the usual- ice cream, stew peas and tuna sandwiches.

The weather is back to normal, for it seems summer is an anomaly here. Even so, I have found reason to enjoy. I do a lot of walking, mostly because I have no choice, and not only because I enjoy the clean and crisp air, but also because I get inspiration from just walking. While I walk, I also search for interesting things to photograph. Somehow these things relax me.

I am trying to engender a spiritual as well as a physical lifestyle- to develop the whole person, mind and body equilibrium………and truth be told, had it not been for the spiritual routine, I wouldn’t have made it thus far. I need to make a final decision though about my spiritual home, and really put shoulder to the wheel on my mission.

I have not been to one funeral since I am here and it’s not because people aren’t dying. It’s more like it’s a private affair (I have heard of the death of strangers but haven’t seen an actual procession, unless there isn’t any). No am not morbid and missing funerals, but then I don’t believe anyone mourns the way we do at home.

My hair has been doing fairly well too, knock pon wood.

I guess me need fi get a drivers license sorted out, will tell you when I do. I can find a million reasons not to, and a million more to get it done.

The mall….I am seeing that in a whole new light. And it’s not through the normal lens. Retail therapy is a real and necessary concept, aside from the whole heap of land space that justifies building massive shopping malls. Even when a man has an abundance, his life does not result from his possessions, Luke 12 v 15. This is a profound lesson especially in a land of plenty. I can think of many more apt adages and bible verses too . ‘ Waste not want not’ for example, and ‘sheep a sweat long hair a hide it’ and also, ‘ we want what everyone else wants, and don’t want what nobody else wants’. But what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul….Mark 8 v 36. Eventually, there will be some big garage sales anyhow.

Its harder for me to be my brothers keeper here, I don’t know how you do that when you don’t know your neighbour. I guess it means you leave your comfort zone (dunno). After all, the Good Samaritan was a stranger. The other thing is the race issue, which is never far from my mind. It seems to put a colour on everything I say or do. I was a skeptic before, this has taken it to another level. I have to be fighting with this one, telling myself not to impugn motive or cast aspersions. I have a post on my desk ….. that I must never conclude for others!!! After all, I am the one who said some things know no bias….. and furthermore so far, It has been way better than anticipated. In fact, it has come from unexpected places.

It is easy for us to believe too that everything is about us. In fact, most of the times the way a person behaves has nothing to do with you, although sometimes it is indeed a reflection of you. It’s not easy to know the difference but it’s necessary to learn. The old adage rings true again, ‘you don’t like me- it’s because you don’t know me’.

I have ventured outside of the city walls a bit- to Onoway, and Calgary . I have never before seen such a wide expanse of open land space, without concrete and steel. It is both refreshing and scary. Cattle grazing, horses, barns & bales and bales of hay (the type I usually see in story books), farms (apparently for hay), lakes and oil drills. Yes those are just littered here and there. Lakes not beaches…….makes me wonder if they are fake. The concept of a remote location is quite different here too, back home I lived in quite a remote location and I loved it. But I wouldn’t want to live remotely here, no sir.

And I must speak about St. Albert separately. Tree-lined roads, parks, bus system, stores and shops, houses and communities just the same, but there is a palpable difference- felt not seen. It’s as if the air is crisper and cleaner, there is an aura of security and safety, a breath of genteelness and friendliness, maybe this is a hint of what a paradise is like, without the waterfalls and beaches of course. Places like these make me understand what the sociologists mean when they say your environment impacts your behavior. Places like these  also make me understand why some people abhor big cities, but more than that it reminds me too that big cities come with certain costs- the bigger the city the higher those costs. Another fine example, of how we can’t have our cake and eat it too. I felt different I tell you when I crossed the border back  into Edmonton, and it wasn’t better.
Now this one shocked and annoyed me at the same time, man. Let me clear the air,  I really and truly have a soft spot for animals and I still do because I can’t lay any blame at their feet for this. One day me decide not to walk on the concrete pavement going across a park but to walk across the green lush manicured grass. BIG MISTAKE!!!!! Me haffi start play hop scotch in the grass as me a tell you, me couldn’t find a spot fi walk that don’t have dog s@$%#t. I was appalled, for I don’t see anyone walking their dogs without a bag to clean up after them….. can anyone explain to me what happens here? I saw the same thing another evening while at the bus stop, while walking to the house too.  There is not a spot in the grass that wasn’t decorated……. Please tell me its a form of fertilization, please…………

And of course, I cracked my phone screen twice, and left my lunch bag on a bus twice……… but it’s all good. All in the name of the game.

I wonder…

I wonder why the grass is green, and why the wind is never seen? Who tell the birds to build a nest? And tells the trees to take a rest? And when the moon is not quite round, where can the missing piece be found?……..Excerpts from Jeanne Kirby’s, ‘I Wonder’

The Pet Industry

Home and abroad…….. pets are ubiquitous, although I suspect for different reasons at home. Petland, pet adoption agencies, professional pet stylists and groomers, veterinarians all are some ‘big money’ businesses abroad. Pet hospitals, pet food, pet clothes and accessories…..What is the monthly budget for maintaining a pet?

There has to be some very important reasons for this sacrifice- financial and non-financial. They have their seats in the car and they need their exercise, yes even in the less than bearable weather. Then there is the added criterion of ensuring there is pet accessibility- in the apartment building, at your club….. church & school??? Dunno, maybe……and you must pick up after him/her…..

Pet insurance- of course, why not? How else will you pay for the blood tests, medicines, chemotherapy or provide for them in the event of your death or disability?

Cruelty to Pets!!!!! I know of a quite a few people at home who would be caught in this drag net. Speaking of this, I met a beautiful lady who dedicates her life to animal rights. She doesn’t eat meat, she doesn’t wear hide or leather, doesn’t use products that rely on animal testing….now that’s commitment to a cause. I admire her. Pet Shelters, Pet rescuers too….. profession or hobby?

So my question is, what is the real reason why we have or need pets? Love & affection, acceptance, control, loyalty, companionship, competition, social status, or is it just a cool thing to have?

Generation X- The teenagers on the bus

A diverse mix of black, whites and asian…… Was this tokenism or are they naturally liberal and inclusive? The conversation flowed freely and openly on a crowded bus- that’s (one tick) for liberalism.

First topic of conversation was the latest gadgets at our disposal. One person had the latest iPhone (newest version came out a few days before) which was a reason for much excitement. I must say though there seemed to be no malice or envy or malcontent about this among them (tick #2)…… After all they know so much about these things they realize they are all the same or is it that each will eventually get one anyway?

Everyone was dressed alike, do you think they compared notes before? (tick for this one too?)

Shopping ……. the GUESS bag on sale for $40 on Guess.com; originally for $200, was a topic of conversation as well. Do they have credit and debit cards? Maybe- they work and or get allowances and are taught about money management, right? And they live at home and don’t pay bills or send kids to school….. , or are just overspending, or maybe they are just rich.        P.S. the collections already have MK bags…… (Does this earn another tick?)

Eye tattoos, eye brow threading and waxing, manicures & nail art…….one or the other seems mandatory. At what age did I get my first eye brow job- have no idea!!! And of course, the one that is time immemorial- some cute boy on a TV show, well at least that’s familiar territory …..

Hair

Long hair- straight or curly, it is more often than not loose over shoulders…irrespective of weather, why? I mean, the weather dictates with everything else; from restaurant menus to the mode of dress to events planning, building codes……Isn’t long hair a hassle sometimes? I mean when its all out, it constantly fall in your face, it gets tangled easily, it doesn’t maintain its lustre etc. Am I the only one who hates my hair unkempt? But then if it’s not out, there will be no excuse to toss the heads back and run the fingers through it anyway….. and black people do it too, although we hardly have straight or curly, long hair…. or do we?(wink, wink).  And me hear say, so me hear- seh straight long hair people support the business heavily too. And why isn’t the pixie cut more popular?  Hey, am not a hater just an observer as I have heard and seen too that it’s difficult to get that hair type into plaits…..and you have no real struggle with washing and drying and styling your hair, so there- am not judging.  Needlessly, I am loving the celebration of Nubian knots and black natural hair now though…..yes its been worn loose and out as well.

 

JAPAN

Someone visited and when she came back…. she said she has to ask if the Japanese even remember how to wipe their asses……..No need to elaborate.

By now you must consider me one of those wooey gooeies, who lives in their head!!! But lets press on.

Ignorance

I constantly think about how it feels to be illiterate….. so when I hear persons conversing fluently in another language, I ask myself if that’s what it is like. Sometimes too I consider that it may be more than just not understanding, but like not having the ability to. If that is so or not so, these are murky waters.

The World

Yours or mine may be falling apart and yet for others its honky dory and going according to plan, falling into place. And the earth- well in all of that it continues to spin on its axis, at its normal speed and in the natural way. I consider this as I heard the news of the 17 year old who collapsed in his football training session- just like that. An only child- my heart bleeds for his parents, family- biological and at school, as well as friends. Who will answer all their whys????

We are not gravity, neither are we the wind, rain or sunshine….Things grow and stay in place and exist without us and outside of us- whether we like it or not, whether we know or not (thanks for reminding me of this Twinny). People are hurting and in need of help, all around us-just look a little longer and closer. So let us resolve to do what we can, for whoever we can, whenever we can. In fact, in my mind, that’s the only way we can have any impact on this world.

Perception

Ever notice that sometimes you are freezing or suffocating from heat, while others are not experiencing the same sensations…menopause and fever aside. Ever hear some persons describe a location for you….how beautiful or uninteresting it is and when you see it its either way worse or way better…..How about a person’s physical features or the food at a particular restaurant, and colours. Huh, the latter is a biggie especially with the new shades….teal, aqua, turquoise, plum, lime, fuchsia, peach, burnt orange, eggnog, amber, magenta……men are not the only ones who are colour blind.

Time freedom

Prisoners and former prisoners will tell you that the deprivation of your freedom is one of the worst human experiences. But the flip side to this is that this gives you a lot of time on your hands. Time in the ‘free’ world is a scarce commodity, we don’t seem to have enough of it. Too much freedom- no time. A lot of time- no freedom. Either extreme is undesirable, why can’t we have it all?

Courtesy
Some people don’t practice’ Good Morning/Day/Evening/Night’,  ‘Please’, ‘Thank you’, ‘Excuse me’ or smile. Does this have some merit?

You

This one is a biggie……. I have always wanted to know what I look like, and I don’t mean when I look in the mirror or look at a picture. I mean when someone looks at me, who or what do they see? I had a friend bring this to light for me one day. He said he remembers clearly the first time he was been video-graphed and he couldn’t for the life of him get this nagging question from his head “How will I know which boy I am??”

I will stop wondering…………for now at least. 

Ms Good Deeds?????

It is J. K. Rowling who said, ” it’s our choices not our abilities, that show who we really are”

If this is true, then anyone is capable of doing something spectacular, something extraordinary, something special. We can all be magnanimous and virtuous, if we want to be. That is important because learning this means we have no reason to boast, for discriminating, for separating or elevating ourselves, for denigrating others – as we are all able to accomplish and to undertake the same tasks.

Young and old, slave or free, black, white or in-between, male or female, rich or poor, wise or foolish- it makes sense, because the force behind all these acts is Grace- and this is given freely and evenly to us all….. We just have to reach out and take it… What a gift🎀🎀🎀🎀🎀

Well knowing this led me to made a resolve some time ago, to do something good for someone each day, and if I fail to do that, then I must at least do one thing right. How am I doing in this regard? Some days I am consciously doing good and right- other days I don’t even remember and then some other days I am raw and human and in need of forgiveness.

Paul, of all persons, did say….. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil that I do not want to do, that I practice….. Read Romans 7 v 19-21

#1

So the other day I went to Safeway, to buy dinner. My food was packaged and priced and as I went to pay, it occurred to me that dinner was indeed reasonable, right then and there I realized that one of the items was not cashed. I said nothing to the cashier, I paid and left. Upon reaching the exit however I was stopped dead in my tracks by this thought, “how much better or worse off can $5 make me?”

I turned around, found my cashier and paid for my food. I have no way of knowing what would have happened to him, or how I would have felt if I didn’t return to pay, but what I can say is I loved myself a little more for returning. That’s the thing with a choice, you can’t undo it to find out what the alternative would have been like.

#2

So I was on the train- heading home from an evening stroll………….and in the rush to switch trains a young lad traipse out of my carriage without his phone. Now you know how our phones are to us these days, to lose it is to maim oneself- like losing a limb…….and it’s not because they are not cheap. Suffice to say, they are gold in the eyes of the wrong person- ever wonder when they will be smart enough- to not get lost.  Now all that aside, I wasn’t the only one who noticed his mishap. The phone however was directly in front of my seat and I was alone on that space.

“What to do”, I thought. “If I take it up will they think I am stealing the phone?” I am acutely aware of some facts.

“But how could I just pretend I don’t see it and allow someone else to pick it up?”  Poor lad, he must be bellyaching for his phone, as I know it’s not long before you miss a limb.

” I certainly would want someone to rescue my phone” , I thought.

So bravely, I took the phone up, and immediately the ‘black’ faces focused on me- I looked straight ahead.

” Is there a lost and found?” I asked of the same penetrating eyes after a few minutes- or maybe “I will give the train driver” I thought…….”Can I even get into this fortress so I can get a contact for the owner” … I wondered.

My thoughts were then interrupted by the vibrating phone- I didn’t answer…. A second ring – this time is answered. ” do you have my phone? ” he sounded anxious, relieved, scared and ungrateful all at once. ” yes” I said-” but you will have to meet me at my bus stop”  I replied. “No problem” he said- “I am on my way”

Long story short- when he was almost at my stop he called back…

“Where are you”, I asked. “Am going to miss my bus”

” I give you $40 to miss your bus ” he responded. “Okay” I said.

$40, I started thinking of all the things I could do with that…. Treat myself to dinner, shoes perhaps… Give my roomie $20 – “that would make taking it a little more palatable” I thought. My good deed is indeed paying off, but then I said “no sah, what if that were me.” Would I want to pay? Could I afford to pay? Is it right to profit from doing something good/kind? No I decided – I won’t take his money- or at least all of it- maybe just $20.

“$20″ I said- surely he will be happy for that-” that’s reasonable”, this trajectory continued and then the next thing I knew- he was standing right there in front of me . “Okay- thank you so so much- in true deferential style -I will have to go to  the banking machine” he says- “you’ll have to follow me?”

” It’s okay”, I replied- “no need to pay” and I walked away with him standing in awe……. Now, I don’t know why I changed my mind- if it’s the long walk to the ATM, the look on his face, the shoes on his feet, or if it’s just good sense prevailing…… But am happy I didn’t take his $40, or $20.

#3

Should I tell her? I was sitting and she was pacing, it was the first day of school and of course everyone was new. I looked around- no one else seemed to notice or at least if they did, they acted as if it were nothing or as if they didn’t care. I looked again- just to make sure I was seeing correctly. Yes I was – outline, colour, pattern it was there for all to see. ” A whole day at school” I thought….. Wonder how far away she lives? Did no one see before she left home? Or is this normal, some new fad I am unaware of? Now where I come from, or at least what I was taught is that underwear are just that- clothes worn underneath and thus it should be hidden from plain sight. I was in a quandary…… Then I looked at the clock on the wall, 10 mins for my bus- I had no idea which bus she was waiting on. “Does she understand English?” I pondered. I will leave her alone – I said, but I couldn’t….

So I mustered some courage and touched her. She spun around.. ” your underwear is showing” I said-” what?”she retorted but not in a hostile way. I repeated myself. ” I don’t understand you” she replied…….

Okay- I backed off. I am still wondering if that was a genuine comment, or a diplomatic way of telling me to mind my own business……Either way- I learnt some valuable lessons.

#4

I was very generous with giving a ride back home when I had my car…….. And it always turned out well, except on those occasions when I wanted to chat on my phone or just have some solitude, which was more often than not. To be honest, I couldn’t pass someone I knew on the street, can’t have my cake and eat it -So I chose to delay gratification- happily and sadly too.

I am sure there are many other examples that so many of us can relay, of the times when we choose to do right- with good or bad intentions. The thing is, it is the action that humans judge, and to be fair to man- that’s all he really sees. Good thing God is not like man.

#5

I love to people watch, no am not a voyeur neither do I live vicariously- there is a difference (lol). Anyhow, I was sitting and waiting in the bus station the other day-minding my business (wink, wink) when I saw an Asian mother daughter (I am assuming) spectacle unfold. Both stormed in and took a seat directly opposite to me, right in my line of sight. See I told you I was minding my business. The mother was peeved…I know this from the facial expression, body language and the intense and fierce speech leaving her mouth- mind you I did not understand a word she spoke. The girl(a teenager I surmised) was on her phone (of course) and not paying her much attention (mind you) with her ‘ten cut’. Mother had her outburst of anger ever couple seconds. Now if they were not in my line of sight (wink wink) I would have thought she was rattling on to herself, as the girl was almost oblivious to her obvious rage.

Things took a turn, when girl (daughter) finally decided to say something, before pushing an open palm before the mom’s face. Mom’s voice took on a few extra decibels and she grabbed her purse, securely under her arm. Girl, finally got mad said something picked herself up and went flying through the door, mom went on and on without missing a beat or taking a step. Girl, did not look back or return she kept walking farther and farther away. Mom was secretly watching her every move, until…..she was out of sight. Mom took her phone and placed two calls….. no answer. That was enough- Mom went flying through the door… guess who followed?

Anyhow, by now she was running and walking, still trying to get some response from her via phone. Nothing……. Mom started running and calling….. daughter by now had totally disappeared…. Mom was in a frenzy….Such a pity I had to get to church or I could tell you how that story ended. But it left me wondering about raising a child; balancing discipline with love and entitlement with responsibility. We have a way of ‘ righting’ wrong and ‘wronging’ right. I am no parent- so I reserve judgement. But exactly, how should this mom have responded? What had happened before? Was the mom right/ wrong? Was the daughter wrong/right? Is it harder to raise kids in a world of abundance? Who won?

I need a parent to explain this one to me.

 

June 2016

It has been six months, and I figure it’s enough of a milestone for me to blog about my time so far.  So I have broken myself into a workable routine and of course so have all my peeps. The beauty of the human experience.  I have a 9-5 with weekends off. A luxury not shared by many here as you know, so I count my many blessings one by one. An easy commute, a work space and environment that allows me autonomy, solitude, and most importantly I enjoy work-life balance. This was a non-negotiable for me (God is good to me) and I will not elaborate ……………….you can fill in the blanks.

I have figured out my way around my area pretty well, but I challenge myself every now and then when I take my walks or go for a random bus ride. Speaking of walks, I have been walking more and farther these days…..it gives me peace, helps me to relax and tires me out enough so that I can avoid the drudgery of nights, I will expound on the latter later. Add to that, I have changed by diet somewhat, I eat better portions, less meat and carbs (never mind it’s all hormone imbalanced and deeply preserved non-fresh food) and of course the same amount of junk. Hey, we win some we lose some- it’s complex being a human being these days.

So we have moved- at first I was tentative and apprehensive. I had gotten accustomed to the train, mall, post office, junk food , Safeway, Bank, pharmacy -all available at my fingertips. I didn’t want to leave that- did you hear that? This is someone who is coming from rural St. Elizabeth and just a couple months ago. Suffice to say, the move took place and I am loving it – not missing for a moment all the amenities I thought I would, but instead I am enjoying the quiet and peaceful surroundings- especially because it’s motivation for the walks. Makes me reflect on how easily we adapt, even though it is difficult to embrace change.

Although I can’t quite put a finger on the reason why, each day I become more and more comfortable in my size 14 skin- no I am not walking to lose weight. Maybe it’s all the courageous acts I have been forced to undertake, like leaving my mom ( still miss her, family, home and my friends) finding a new church, staring prejudice squarely in the face and not flinching or bellyaching, standing up for myself, accepting incomprehensible choices and making difficult decisions. Either way it all redounds to good-and now I do not have a plausible excuse to buy clothes.

I have had a few gaffs- of course. Like the morning I was busy doing what I do best- ‘puss in new boots’ quite forgetting I was a novice. I fell flat out in the middle of the road in all that mush- yuk, yuk.  Thankfully, it melts and I was in black. But more importantly I was not jaywalking, as I would have been mowed over for sure. These drivers don’t play- of course this is not NYC but still. A kindly gent stopped to help, but I was up before he could reach out a hand- you know how it is when you fall. My conversation continued unabated, he been unaware of my most unfortunate demise.

Then there was the other morning when I became so engrossed in the paper, that I walked out of the bus centre without my lunch bag. So deeply engrossed I was, that I didn’t even realize until we were well on our way. Now what could I do? Makes no sense I call out ‘ one stop driver’- in times like these you see the perils of discipline and decency and you miss home for sure. Thankfully again, I found it quite in tact when I made the return trip. I said ‘ thank you God’ it was there and that it wasn’t my hand bag. I know for sure,I would not have been so fortunate. I don’t care where you live- some things are universal. And what a good thing they are not so paranoid about terror…….

And then there is the matter of the hairdresser, no sah, I haven’t stepped into a salon since I am here. I improvise, yes man that’s the beauty of ingenuity. For as you know, the salon a dem yah place is where you really understand the price of beauty.

So the issue of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I didn’t even know the thing had a name. But this is how it came on the horizon. I got a ride to church this morning and polite me proceeded to ask my kind host how her week was. Yes when in Rome we do as the Romans do …..

Host: ” it was good not quite busy now as we don’t have many patients and many of the doctors take vacation now”

Me: ” oh really, so are you saying less people are sick in the summer?”

Host: ” well yes it seems so, people refuse to be sick in the summer, weather is too good for that.” ” We seem to be solar- powered you see, and when you live in the most northerly city in the world ( I need to confirm his) we make the most of our summers”

Me: ” that’s really interesting, you really see more sick people in winter?”

Host: ” oh yes, and remember a lot of people are affected by SAD”

S.A.D is it really a coincidence that this thing spells ‘ Sad’. So I started wondering whether I will suffer from SAD. “Quite likely” I thought, as from every since I can remember, I am not a friend of the darkness. No sir, Oh my gosh, I hate nights and that’s a big reason why I don’t nap during day time, why I walk and also why I go to my bed early. I can’t wait for nights to end and for mornings to come, so I do all I can to make sure I sleep right through. Does it always work? As often as we get what we want”, I would say.  Darkness, by the way is also the reason I don’t like the ‘underground’.

So daylight, sunshine, blooms, trees, faces, light, colours, oh those make me so happy and alive. So what will I do when night comes at 5pm and ends at 9 am? When the only colours around are black, grey and white? When sun is accompanied by frigid temperatures? When trees and grass and blooms go dead and nothing grows.  Am no bear, I can’t hibernate. I will take seriously that light therapy thing a friend of mine told me about when I just came, as well some positive therapy and in the meantime strike two items off my bucket list- making a snowman and skiing. Maybe wearing bright colours will help too??? Wish me luck !!!!! Afterall, I mustn’t complain a me tek up and lef mi yaaad. 🤐🤐🤐

I must mention too, that I have discovered some very pristine sobering friendships and have deepened existing ones ( priceless combination)- funny how some things happen. Absence makes the heart fonder they say and truth is stranger than fiction. But they are really awesome friends and I am so grateful for them-it would have been so grey and bitter here without them- no need for me to be any more candid.

Is it a shame that I grew up on an island and spent my lifetime there thus far and can’t swim? Well, the community centre is close by and they have a swim program- it’s called Scared Stiff. So you think I should enroll? Oh one more thing, I have heard of people who have completed the program and still can’t swim- because they are scared stiff for sure.

And I forgot to mention, that the one thing I like so far about here is Anonymity- I love it. And yes me love the free health care system too………but tell me isn’t it a waste for it to be raining and I don’t hear the drops on my roof top!!!!! Uggggghhhhhh- I hate that.

‘The Good Old Days’

magic-school-bus-featured-art-ostromWho gave them the script?

As I watch the scenes unfold,I am writing the ending too.

Adolescence, oh what a tumultuous time.

I really look forward, it’s my morning entertainment while I wait. The plot is created at the bus center as two high schools are in close vicinity. Blacks, whites, Asians; varying ethnicity, different ages, males and females- Some waiting on friends, others killing time, while some are actually waiting for the bus.

The Girls….. 2016

Typical girls, they greet each other with hugs and screams, giggle constantly (apparently not cool to laugh), incessant chatter- no one else matters. But there is so much to catch up on (from the last conversation five minutes ago) and of course their is subtle competition for the attention of the ‘queen bee’ or the ‘bad’ boys. Some offer to carry the books, “Let’s walk” one says, “No, let wait on the bus” says another, invariably they walk of course. They are the center of the universe.

All made up, hair never out of place, piercings, scantily clad, books in hand and bags on back (are those packed with books?). Fashion is homogeneous, you dare not stand out…..God help you if you do. Its not hard to discern who thinks she is it, and who feels they are not, those most uncomfortable in their skin, the bespectacled ‘nerds’, those who are going because they are sent or for whatever other reason, the geniuses, and those who don’t give a damn about those around them. Miss Popularity, everyone wants that crown. Ugggghhhhh its so familiar, Its insane.

The Boys………2016

Hi fives or whatever you call those new hand gestures, baggy elastic-legged pants on hip, way too much clothes, black hair unkempt, curly hair gelled in place. Bags on back, but whats inside? Chatter is less-I guess not macho. It seems to be about standing out- being different, who can be most creative with hair, headbands, sneakers and outfit. The lead ‘wolf’ is evident, no mistaking- he has a follower ship- loyal by deference and competing for eye contact. His colour is not rocket science!!!! Everyone, you can tell wants to be him, but if not-at least his friend. Those who are not in this pack, are ignored, heckled, dismissed and scoffed at. Can you imagine the horror at school? Mr Nice Guy, that’s just not cool….

So I know that Bullying- that’s nothing new and it wont go away either
And gender neutral bathrooms- we don’t need them… let girls be girls and boys be boys don’t confuse them any further.
Set Rules for kids- its not inhumane, its loving.
2026, 2036…… They will get there and they will look back and laugh at their good old days!!!!!

The Walk

Man on porch-book in hand, kids at play……
Today its a busy, but rainy and sunny day……
Gulping clean fresh spring air, from a subtle chill
Couples, joggers, bikers, strollers like me and dog-walkers too
Lady tending to her flower patch, as sun hide away in the sky
more hours to come before the night draws nigh.

Gingerbread houses, Georgian too……
Chimneys and Colonial architecture, no two are alike…..
Brick and board, stucco and wood, hardly cement but
hey the seasons decide.
Cobble-stoned squares join pavements, paths, trails and grass,
Picket fences, park benches, rock gardens with brass
Churches, mini-marts, clinics and stores… Little communities in between the view

Crescents, lanes, ways and parks
Ponds with ducks and lakes with larks
Flower pots, shrubs, peonies, daisies, roses in bloom
Pink, yellow, mauves, reds and blues
For sale, sold and rentals inside,
Lampposts and other signs of various kinds.
Tree-lined streets with cars parked in rows
Patios, decks, manicuring, all aligned as pews

Variety, diversity, wonder and awe
It keeps me calm, its done too soon.
How grateful I am…… for eyes to see, ears to hear
Sensation to feel, so much to do I can’t get to chew.
Dear creator, please keep me sane, grounded and true
I never want to grow tired of spring with its cues.