Would Alanis Morissette Call This Irony?

Let’s start at the beginning.
Its April and I am writing my final exam before being titled a massage therapist. I have a thought that if I wait to get licensed and just keep serving for a little longer I can serve over stampede, make some money for student loans, and then find a job at a massage clinic.
Its June and I am sweating under a cowboy hat and regretting my choice of stampede work. The economy is bad, the crowds are bad, the money is bad, and the hours or working in a club are just plain awful. (new respect to all club bartenders and servers.) The month goes by and I begin applying for my registration. It should take a month. First step, Get a background check from my city police. Estimated time: 2 – 3 weeks. On the 25th I apply to a massage clinic that I am really interested in and I am told I get the job.
Its July. Three weeks have passed since I’ve applied for my background check and I start trying to track mine down. A friend tells me that I can go online and see when they processed my application. When I check, it tells me that they are still processing applications submitted three days before I submitted mine.
Its August and I get my background check back. I gather together all the papers I need and apply for registration. Estimated time: 2-3 weeks. Four days later I receive an email saying I am now an RMT and links to all my information. Ecstatic, I email my new bosses and say I’m ready.
Its September and I get home from a closing shift at the restaurant. I check my emails and see that I have a new one about an orientation date at the massage clinic. It lists a time for the following day and says “Please bring a copy of your first aid, registration, bank deposit slip, and city license.”
What the hell is a city license, I ask myself.
Thanks to google I find out that as a massage practitioner I have to have not just my insurance and association registration, but also a city licence. I call the next morning as soon as the office opens to apply. Estimated time: 20-30 minutes.
Wrong. The city has to do their own police background check on me. Actual estimated time: 2-3 weeks.
I cry. I’m so over waiting. I feel as though my whole summer I’ve been waiting for a door to  open but it just keeps opening to another locked door.
Its October  and I’ve settled into waiting by working extra shifts at the restaurant. I don’t work Mondays. Ever. Then my manager calls and says if I help them out and work all day Monday she will give me the whole weekend off. I agree, I make plans to leave town with friends, I get excited at the idea of a mini adventure.
I get a phone call from the city informing me my licence is in. I write to the clinic and tell them “I can start Monday!”
Its perfect. I get a weekend off as a last hurrah, and then I start my career.

Silly Sarah. Its the long weekend. They are short staffed and super busy. What better of an opportunity to network, let people know what I can do, and make money doing something that I love?
I start Friday.

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Adulting

Sometimes, the day is nothing but clear skies, sunshine, and chirping birds. You do your school and you walk to your job and you think about the fact that you live in an entirely different province than your parents. You’re adulting. You pay your bills, you buy your groceries, and you are entirely responsible for watering the plants and making sure they don’t die. But even adulting young adults miss their parents. On the nicest days, you miss them the most. Back home on a day like this, you might take a walk to the river, waving at the train conductor as they pass on the tracks through the fields. You might jump on a tractor and start getting the fields ready for planting. You might do a butt-ton of baking because nothing feels as Laura-Ingles  as baking pies from scratch and setting them on the front porch to cool on a sunny day. Whatever it is you would do, its not what you do when you no longer live at home.
Then you go home and lots has changed. You go from house to house to house trying to visit everyone you want to see. You sleep on the floor or the couch because one of your younger siblings has taken over your room. You bake, and you can’t find the things in the places that they were four years ago. You go to the barnyard and realize its different. The barn is gone. You go for a drive instead of a walk because your little brother finally has his license.
Adulting is scary and sad and adventurous and amazing in one mixed emotion that has yet to be given a singular name. Or maybe “adulting” is that emotion. Today, I’m feeling it. Its not quite “homesick” and its not one-hundered-percent “I miss you.” It is the nostalgic feeling that you can always go home but you can’t go back to the way things were. It’s trying to recreate the best memories that live in your highlight reel, and realizing that its time to stop recreating and start making new ones. Its calling your friends and family asking every question under the sun in an attempt to not miss out on the ever-changing lives of the ones who have yet to leave.
Its not a bad feeling or necessarily a happy feeling. It just is.

*Dear world, I don’t remember the last time I wrote. Well, the last time I wrote and posted. I’m way out of practice. I have 17 drafts saved that I started, lost inspiration, and dropped it. Have a lovely day, no matter where you are adulting.
All my love,
Sarah

Winter Writings

Today, I chose to make it a great day. It began last night.
I got off work and came home to my chilly house, feeling ill and grumpy for no reason other than the fact that I did. My boyfriend and I skyped for an hour, during which he played me songs on the guitar, made me laugh, and set up a date for coffee this afternoon before I go to work. Later on, as I drifted off to sleep with a smile on my face, I decided that when I woke up I would be productive. I turned on my light, grabbed pen and paper, and wrote a to-do list. I feel asleep with strange dreams of many of these tasks being complicated and ruled by my landlord.

When I first woke up, I stayed in bed, browsing youtube and Facebook on my phone. Setting my alarm for an hour early allowed me the luxury of doing this without feeling like I was wasting my day. When I did get up, I made the bed, got dressed, did my makeup and hair, and then began assessing my to-do list. Now, normally when I have a home-day with no plans within the hour, I stay make-free  in my pajamas. It was a feel good moment when, a few moments later, I was washing my breakfast dishes and cleaning my kitchen and I glanced at the mirror in front of my sink. I was the best looking dishwasher in the house and I knew it. (Ignore the fact that I live alone and am the only dishwasher in the house. I looked fly.) It was 10:30 in the morning and I was dressed, I’d had breakfast and washed those dishes, and made my bed. When I don’t work until 5, I usually am blinking my eyes open around 11:30 or so.

Then the house cleaning and to-do-list checking began.
Fold Laundry: check
Put Away Dishes: Check
Write Response Letters from November: check
Tidy Room/House: double check

This went on until everything was checked off and it was only noon. Since I have a man who makes me smile, I thought I should make him cookies, so chocolate chip cookies were mixed while I helped my brain growth by watching TedTalks.
Multi-tasking. With the smell of cookies filling my kitchen, and a bajilion candles lit to try to generate some heat, I turned TedTalks into quiet instrumental music, and I traded the mixing spoon for a book. Then I sat in my favourite kitchen chair next to the coldest, yet prettiest, window in my house. This window doesn’t close properly and even if it did, there are three holes in the outside panel. The frost on the window is in magical, pretty patterns, and the sun-catcher hanging in front helps create these amazing, intriguing light paths. Upon first glance, it seems cozy. Cookies, both fresh out of the oven and baking in the oven; a new book about places I’ve never been; classical music to set a background for my imagination as I read; hot coffee in a little blue mug; me, with make-up accentuating my eyes and hair pulled into a messy french braid. All this, set next to a frost patterned window looking out into the neighbour’s snow-covered yard.
The coziness is fake. It is freezing near this window; and yet, I still sit here typing in hopes that the romanticism of the idea will turn into reality.

Today, I am productive at home and at work. Tomorrow, I enjoy a day of downtime with my dude. Then, on Monday,
I. Start. School. I’m excited for the classroom and knowledge. I’m not so stoked on walking 3 kilometres in -20 every morning. Busses don’t go in my direction.
A couple positives in my situation are 1) I am starting my 8 month course in January instead of September which means I get more walks to school in warm spring and summer weather than the colder fall and winter weather, and 2) without the option of replying on busses to get me places I am responsible for my own timing of when I arrive to school. I don’t have to stand in the cold waiting for a warm bus to come along. There is no bus coming! Instead, I simply walk at a brisk pace that keeps the blood flowing but doesn’t cause me to break a sweat. (This is difficult as I sweat easily and also walk quickly. Its normal for me to look amazing leaving the house and upon arrival to my destination I appear to have just run 10k.) School is going to be fun. There’s a quote that says
“The one who chooses not to read has no advantage over the one who cannot read.”
From this I take the matter of education as a requirement, not a choice. Thanks to Malala, I’m aware that far too many don’t get a choice for education. Better yourself and you better the world.

In the words of my father, Keith, “AAAANYway.”

I have a handsome man picking me up in 25 minutes and I still have to pack up the cookies.
Happy New Year, World! I can’t wait to find out what part of you I meet this year.
All my Love,
Sarah

I should be in New York Right Now

“Come visit me in Boston, and then we will go to New York for the American Thanksgiving together!”
The planning to visit my sister began and I scoured ticket prices online. A week later I bailed, knowing I had rent and school to pay for. And now that my ex-departure date has arrived, I am slightly heartbroken. There will be no christmas shopping in The Big Apple, no new cities scratched off on my map, and no gym time with my sister followed by binging on NY pizza and hotdogs. And, in general, no New York or Boston.
Instead, I am here in my apartment basking in my newly installed wifi and watching travel and adventure videos on youtube. Not shockingly, it isn’t helping cure this case of wanderlust/ cabin fever.
I miss my family. My sisters and their laughter, and my brothers and their really dumb jokes that still make me laugh. I would like to go travel for another 4 or 5 months and then come home to the farm and my siblings. Travel followed by vacation, followed by reality. Alas, Reality is what I’m stuck in right now and it doesn’t have me learning a new language in a foreign country while embracing a bizarre culture. (Unless you count learning medical terms in a classroom.)
I should be in New York right now.
All my love, World.
I promise, I will be back and exploring you soon.
Sarah.

Before 9 A.M.

Darkness fills the room as my bleary eyes blink back the sandman’s gifts and my hand fumbles with the buzzing alarm.
I roll and flip and stretch; it’s not a circus act, just my body getting ready for the mobility of the day.
I find my jeans on the floor, pull them on, zip them up.
Pull a hoodie over my unbrushed hair;
a second hoodie over the first.
Socks.

I run my fingers all the wall as I make my way to the washroom with my eyes closed.
I don’t need the wall to find my way, but its nice to know its there if I do.
Fumbling my hand along the bathroom wall I flip a switch up and behind my closed eyelids I can see the light.
Turning to the mirror, my hands on either side of the sink, I look at my self, opening one eye at a time, bracing myself for the disastrous hair-do and displeased look on my face.
I follow through my morning routine in 5 minutes. No less, no more.
Brushing teeth: 1.5 minutes.
Applying foundation, eyeliner, and mascara: 2 minutes.
Fiddling with my hair, seeing what its going to do today, throwing it back into a ponytail: 1.5 minutes.
I’m done. Lets go.
I scrounge my change from the depths of my bottomless bag as I walk to the train station that will take me downtown.
I never mind paying the 3 dollar train fair because paying a 150 dollar fine would make me cry and I don’t like to cry.
Wrong reasons, I know. But I don’t think the commute system really cares.
My face and persona let me pass as simply another commuter about to go to work and as long as no-one attempts conversation with me before 10 A.M. I won’t snap.
My cheery disposition has to warm up every morning as it is usually frozen solid in the course of sleep.
(Like mother, like daughter.)
On the train, I miraculously find an empty seat, so I take it and read a book for the entire 27 minutes of my ride.
Immersed in the novel, I almost miss my stop.

The train doors slide open and I am pushed into the crowd. I am the crowd.
The traffic of people and I make our way through the station, up the stairs, through the doors that are always automatically closed. We go down the hallway and everyone scatters off in their own directions absentmindedly getting prepared for their own monday.
It’s barely 7:30.
I am on my own now, I’ve lost the crowd that exited the train with me.
I walk in a daze; awake and yet not ready to make eye contact or speak.
Pushing open the last set of doors, I take a breath of the crisp morning air.
“It’s such a cliche”, I think to myself. “Crisp morning air.”
But it’s true. The air has a refreshing bite to it.
November has come and put a touch of frost on everything and in the distance I can see the tall buildings of the core of the city standing in front of the rising sun.
I see a dark try sky above me, stretching behind me and in front. It is cut off within two feet of the ground where my world curves over into something I don’t know.
A screaming orange mixed with dashes of blue spreads itself between the ground and the sky, easing the grey and the moon up and over.
If I was to watch it for a while I would see it move and feel awed and happy, but it’s still cold and I don’t want to stand here for long, romanticizing the new day.
It can do that on its own for anyone who’ll listen.
I blink to pretend I took a picture and I walk on.
I find an empty coffee shop. It’s not really a coffee shop.
It’s just Starbucks. It is empty.
I get my favourite table: Back to the window, face to the door, corner table. People-watching table.
I have yoghurt and green tea because after seeing the sliver of light thats on its way to guide my day, I can’t justify bogging myself down with heavy food and more coffee.
My usual internet sites are browsed and read and saved and then its 8:49. I feel heat on my back as the sun beams through the window.
Outside, the grey is streaked with baby blue and the screaming orange takes up the entire eastern side of the prarie-city sky.
The kids are in schools. The business people are in their offices. The construction workers have their coffees and are beginning their day, thankful that its not as cold as it could be.

Monday has begun, and it’s beautiful before 9 A.M.

Happy Monday, world.
All my love, Sarah

The Broke, Wanderlust Student Soul’s Christmas Wish-list

  • Your Favourite Book. 
    Rather, a copy of your favourite book. Or a Value Village Special of a $2 book that has an interesting cover or look. 
  • Pens.
    All kinds of pens. Ballpoint, felt, blue, red, black. I don’t have ’em; I need ’em.
  • Patience and Understanding.
    Your gifts from me will more likely than not be sentimental, handmade, homemade thingamabobs. These are not fun gifts. These are “oh. She’s an adult now and gives us socks and underwear because she longs for the days when she got such items of necessity.” I am a really bad fun-gift giver, unless you’re five years old. In that case you get the coolest gift because our entertainment value levels are equal. 
  • Groceries.
    On my last birthday, my mom sent me $100 worth of gift cards for Safeway. My excitement and exclamations of “YES!!!! Perfect gift!” showed me just how real my twenty-something’s life is. I get excited for free groceries. 
  • Your best piece of advice.
    Whether you gave it or received it, I want it. I have so much wall space that is really requiring some more inspirational quotes and thoughts to ponder. 
  • A Genie.
    My wishes in no particular order: 
    1. Wisdom to understand the medical terms I’m learning for school. 
    2. Peace of mind that I am smart enough to learn these major big words for school. 
    3. Money to ease the stress that is caused by the cool decision of going back to school. 
  • Mostly I’d love a copy of your favourite book.
    Please note I have a Bible, and journals galore. But cook books! now those I can always use more of.Happy Middle of FREAKING OCTOBER! where the darn heck did 2014 go?
    I miss you world.
    All my love, Sarah

The Scholastic Adventure

            In two and a half months I will embark on a journey I have successfully remained distanced from until now. I will go back to school. Between rent and travel and eating, my tips from serving are stretched pretty thin. My solution was scholarships. So I signed up on websites and started doing surveys and applying. After two hours of all this I realized that most of what I was applicable for had a deadline of last week. I literally missed things by a week.
So heres praying that I win something from the two or three that I was still able to apply for.

Just think how great it would be if we could make a living just by being good at something. I could sing! I could dance and act! I was the redheaded trifecta growing up and now I can’t use any of that to make me money. (On second thought, I could. But I think I’d be broken up with and disowned. Darn.) Mostly it costs me money. I now understand the bitterness and jealousy that my studying friends seethed with when they talked about the girls partying away their free ride through college. And I haven’t even started!

I’m confident though that things will all work out. Someone once used words to hurt me by saying
“Your dad told me you never finish anything you start. I don’t know why I thought this time would be different.”
Although those words stung, I’ve been more conscious of the things I do and discontinue. For school, quitting or backing out isn’t an option. I know I will get out what I put in, so focus and hard work will have to be the forefront of my life. Balancing school and work and not losing my cool will take a lot of discipline; but hey, self improvement is always a good adventure.

All of my fun life changes start around January.
In 2013 I went to Spain and traveled for 6 months by myself. I came home, got a couple jobs, and began a new life in a new city.
In 2014 I was a month into cautiously stepping towards a new relationship. Now I have the greatest friend I could imagine and I’ve laughed more this year than I have in the past three.
In 2015 I’m going to school. I’m probably going to cry and rip my hair out find unique adult solutions to  dealing with stress more next year than I have the past three.
One day I’ll be pushing my darling munchkins out the door into the big world and I will get to tell them
“It’s not as scary as you think it is. Even when you think you’re done for, you can get up and keep going. I did.”

Cheers to planning things that seem way over our heads and jumping into them with all of our hearts.
Happy Thanksgiving, Canada. Top-o-the-mornin’ to you, World.
All my love, Sarah