Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Paperback Writer

 Well, it's been a year since my last blog. A lot in my life has changed since I wrote that last post about eagerly anticipating coming home from my eight months in Scotland. My main focuses in life have changed. While living in Scotland I was mainly focusing on getting the most out of my time there and doing as much as I could to build and maintain a positive life experience within that time frame. Obviously, being home, that focus has drastically shifted. I no longer have that feeling of a limited timeline in which I need to experience things. Naturally, I am still focused on maintaining a positive outlook on life and create positive experiences for myself, but I am no longer burdened with the restrictions of time boundaries. The opportunities to create positive life experiences and maintaining an exciting lifestyle seems limitless. When I was in Scotland I was determined to build a life in Scotland. Now I'm just determined to build a life.

Well, I've got my whole life in front of me and I'm ready to start building.

Which brings me to my decision to start blogging again.
When I was living in Scotland I kept a blog so that I could write about my experiences living abroad and keep people updated. As someone who finds comfort in talking things out, I also found it very helpful to write about my ideas having no one close to me present to do so in person.
Once I got home and resumed my normal life, I was without reason to keep blogging. I didn't need to keep people back home updated on my life because I was home and it would be very boring for these people to read about my everyday life experiences.
A blog needs a focus - a certain topic or subject to be centered on.
Well, as I said, my life focus has changed - and so - my blog's focus has changed.

"Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?"
                                                 - Paperback Writer by The Beatles

The new topic of discussion: My writing. Yup, I'm writing about my writing. More specifically, my children's books. Well, as of now, just book. 

The cover of my book
I have written and published a children's book. My lovely friend, Samantha Granger, did the awesome illustrations.

I used a self-publishing, print-on-demand company called AuthorHouse.  This company has published some famous books such as Legally Blonde and has worked with some famous people; my personal favourite, John Mellencamp. The people that work with you in submitting, designing, and ordering your book are very helpful and all seem genuinely interested in creating the best results for you.
As of now, there is only one hard copy of the published book. However, today I purchased 165 copies through the company and they are supposed to be mailed to me within the next two weeks.

"I need a break and I want to be a paperback writer"

I have been working in the food service industry for - what it seems like - my whole life and I although I love a lot of aspects of the work, it is not my passion; not the career I want for myself. I am not sure if I'll be able to make a career out of being a children's book author but I am going to take a stab at it. Who knows, I could become the next Robert Munsch or, even better, J.K. Rowling.

So, I will now be using this writing space to record all of my experiences in the journey towards becoming a successful, published author.

If you are interested in purchasing my book online please visit my book's page on the AuthorHouse website.

Or you can wait until I get the copies I have ordered in the mail and get a signed copy personally from the author!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Take Me Home Country Roads

"Country Roads, take me home
To the place I belong"
                  - Take Me Home Country Roads by John Denver

I am coming home in 3 days!

Just for a short visit, but still, I am super excited!

In addition to spending time with my wonderful friends and family there is one thing that I am dying to do when I get back - drive my dad's truck down the dirt roads, in my bare feet, with the windows down, blaring country music, taking in the beautiful scenery and fresh air of Wolfe Island.

"The radio reminds me of my home far away
And drivin down the road I get a feelin
That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday"

It sounds a bit silly, I know, but driving down those country roads is something that I can't get enough of. When I am away from home and listen to country music I picture myself behind the wheel and cruising alongside fields and farmhouses. When I am home and able to bring that dream back to life I can't ignore the fact that it gives me this indescribable euphoric feeling. I just belt out that Faith Hill song with a big smile on my face like nothing could ever go wrong. (Well, unless some sort of wildlife decides to jump out of the bush.)

So, I am coming home! Can't wait for all that is in store! Babies! Bonfires! Friends! Family! The Farm! The Fields! The Food I miss! Like chocolate milk! Man, I could go for some good chocolate milk right now.

I'm just so excited for the comfortable feeling that being home gives me.

"Life is old there
Older than the trees
Younger than the mountains
Growin like a breeze"

It's this same kind of feeling of being old but new at the same time. The Wolfe Island lifestyle feels old because it's a small, tight-knit community where everyone knows everyone's business and no one is too busy to lend a helping hand. But it also brings me a feeling of youth because when I am home I am the farmer's daughter, just another kid from that large, farming, Dutch family up the road. I love the idea that on those country roads I have a clear sense of who I am as who everyone knows me to be. It's easy to lose that sense of self when you're off living in a new place surrounded by new people.

So, I am going home! I'm ready for a good dosage of all the good things that home has to offer. I am ready to feel completely comfortable in my surroundings. I am ready to have fun! And I am ready to leave again to come back to Scotland with a renewed self-awareness and confidence.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Somebody's Hero

"The voice that brings Snow White to life
Bedtime stories every night
And that smile lets her know
She's somebody's hero
                          - Somebody's Hero by Jamie O'Neal

In light of this weekend's celebrated Mother's Day I have decided to write a blog post about my loving and beautiful mother!

My Beautiful Mother
My mom is my hero. For my reasoning behind this, I know I wouldn't have to go any further than saying that she has given birth to and raised eleven children. But, I will, because beyond that unbelievable feat she has conquered so many of life's challenges and has still managed to hold on to her graceful demeanour, let alone her sanity!

"She's never pulled anyone from a burning building
She's never rocked Central Park to a half a million fans, screaming out her name
She's never hit a shot to win the game
She's never left her footprints on the moon
She's never made a solo hot air balloon ride, around the world"

The main message of this song is that motherhood is on par with - if not more admirable than - all of the courageous, fulfilling, victorious, ground-breaking, dedicated lifestyles that exist in this world. Not only do I stand behind the fact that my mom holds true to this statement, but I also know that she whole-heartedly believes in this too. That's what makes her such a devout and caring mother.

Just as it says in these lyrics, my mom hasn't done any of these single life-altering acts. Rather, ever since she became pregnant with her first child 38 years ago, she has and will always continue to live her life filled with these types acts and choices that influence so many lives around her, especially her children.

"She didn't get a check every week like a nine-to fiver
But she's been a waiter, and a cook and a taxi driver

Living the life of a stay-at-home mom was no doubt a difficult job as a mother of so many children. But my mom did it and I could not be more grateful, amazed, and inspired! When I think about all of the things and people she had to tend to at any given time on any given day it blows my mind.

She told me a story once about when I was one year old and I wasn't eating as much as she knew to be healthy. She brought me to the doctor who ordered her to write down every food and drink that I was offered and did or did not consume. She was to bring this to a pediatrician in something like a week or two's time. As you can imagine, with me being the eighth child to tend to, this was a rather inconvenient and painstaking task. But, being the fabulously dedicated mother that she is, she took note of everything and reported to the pediatrician with a detailed list in hand. Unfortunately, in spite of her concerns and enduring efforts, the pediatrician quickly came to the conclusion that I was simply not interested in food at this point in time, and that I'll gradually grow out of it.
Me and Mom havin' a ball!
I love this story because it shows how much my mom was dedicated to the well being of her children and it just adds to my amazement that she is still such a kind, easy-going lady after having had to deal with countless frustrating scenarios such as this one.

"Giving all her love to her was her life's ambition"

This line couldn't be more true when talking about my mom. Mom's greatest attribute, as well as ambition, was giving all of her love to all of the ones she cared about. Writing this post reminds me of the one I wrote not too long ago about my sister. Alicia obviously learned a lot from my mom and the path that she chose to follow surely was influenced and inspired by the life of my mother's. Both my mom and Alicia have dedicated their lives to love. Giving love and teaching love. Both choosing a life that is fulfilling beyond any other and carrying out the dream that they have always dreamed of.

As much as I aspire to live this dream life at some point in the future as well, I'd like to think that I am a living reflection of another side of my mom. There is a part of my mom that gets so excited for me when I decide to venture off on my travels and, I don't know, maybe wishes a little that she was tagging along too. When I see that part of her come out I resist the feeling of guilt and replace it with pride. I don't believe that I should feel bad that I am doing these things and she isn't. I am proud that I can bring to life that dream that she didn't have the means to bring to life herself. I know that, just like Alicia, my mom is a hundred percent happy with the life decisions she has made and God knows she has made for a great role model in so many lives. So maybe it's a bit audacious of me to assume that I am a daughter carrying out her mother's dream - but it kinda makes it seem a little more worth it, you know. It makes me feel that much more excited to tell her about my experiences, and that much more eager to add more and more to the list. 

But, with all that aside, I can say with out a doubt that my mom is the number one woman who will not only always inspire and amaze me but will also drop anything to lend me a helping hand. Whether it be providing me with advice on how to get stains out or advice on how to deal with various relationship problems; or whether it be providing me with a vehicle to help me move or a joke to help me laugh, that lady is one outstanding mother!
I Love You, Mom!

"She's somebody's hero
A hero to her baby with a skinned up knee
A little kiss is all she needs"

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sun Giant

"What a life I lead in the summer
What a life I lead in the spring
What a life I lead when the wind, it breathes
What a life I lead in the spring"
                           - Sun Giant by Fleet Foxes

I have recently fallen in love with this band, Fleet Foxes. I am going to see them play in Edinburgh on June 29th! So excited!

This particular song is very short and to the point, dedicated to the undeniable fact of how great life is. I wanted to use this one for my post today because I am very pleased with my life right now.

This thought came to me a few days ago, as my friend Natalie drove me to a train station in the south of France (I'll get to that trip in a minute). She said, "We lead such crazy lives! Next time we see each other we will be in Germany!" (I'll get to that later too.)

As you may have noticed, I haven't been keeping up on my blogging. I apologize for not providing you readers with the riveting tales of my life but the truth is, the past couple of months haven't really been all too exciting. I didn't want to write posts just for the sake of writing when I really didn't have anything of value to talk about. That's why I am glad I had those people dedication posts to write, it kept the focus off the fact that I had nothing to talk about in my present life.

But, things are a-changin'!

Firstly, let me tell you about my traveling plans!

"What a life I lead when the sun breaks free
As a giant torn from the clouds"

Eiffel Tower and Sunset!
Natalia and I at the base of the Eiffel Tower
So last week I went to France. I left Edinburgh at around 2:00pm on Wednesday and arrived in Paris at around 6:00pm. I then had all of that night and the majority of the day on Thursday to see as much of Paris as I could.  I was there to see my lovely friend Natalia who is doing an exchange in Paris and also meet up with my friend Steph who was finishing a three-week backpacking trip on the night I arrived. It was kind of fun being on such a tight schedule - running around the city, snapping photographs and taking in as much of the Parisian lifestyle as possible (ie: eating crepes for every meal haha).
At around 7:00pm on Thursday I got on a train headed south to the city of Montpelier. There, I met up with my friend Natalie who is currently an Au pair for a little French family. I had a full day on Friday to hang out on a white sandy beach and catch up with Natalie (after not seeing her since Christmas in London). But before I knew it, I was back at the airport headed back to Scotland.

Natalie and I in Grande-Motte, France
It was a very short trip but I am really glad I did it. After living a relatively uneventful life for the past couple months, I needed something to look forward to as well as a reminder of what I am doing here. It has taken me quite a while but I am finally starting to focus more on the positive results of this whole life decision. Although March and April were a tad bit boring - basically just going from work to home and back again, I haven't been as unsure of everything as

I had been a while back. I am always trying to keep myself occupied with going for walks around this beautiful city, going for runs, and one time I went on a little adventure to a small coastal town and wandered around in a castle. Sometimes I wish I would just be more happy to sleep in on my day off and not be so keen on getting out and doing things. But alas, I demand myself to enjoy my time in Scotland because even though sometimes the present Becca is content in staying under the covers, I know the future Becca is going to be kicking herself for not living more while I am in such a beautiful country.
Me in Dirleton Castle

"What a life I lead when the wind, it breathes"

It's funny how much I have realized about myself since having moved here and finding myself on my own a lot. Recently, I have recognized this constant need for variety in life, and quite frankly I am sort of annoyed with myself about it. I have always believed that I am not one for living a structured lifestyle - you know, with a 9-5 job. I've had this vision of being a bit more nomadic and free of routine. So when I do find myself in anything resembling structured I try to find a way to hold on to this vision. If I don't have something to look forward to, or I am not in the middle of a project I am passionate about, or I am not completely satisfied with what's going on in my everyday life, I need change immediately. I think the reason why I have never really taken notice of this trait is because, prior to this year, I have always been in school. Living the structured lifestyle of a student doesn't really accommodate to a strong desire to change; and I guess I always had graduation to look forward to. But now, I have so much freedom I feel the need to use it in any and every way that I want to. So, I have come to conclusion that I am too obsessed with being happy in the present that it distracts me from actually doing so... if that makes any sense at all. This realization has also made me come to the conclusion that I can indulge in this constant need for variety while simultaneously living a structured lifestyle. As long as I have little things like projects or organizing trips or gatherings I can live in a routine with work and other everyday things. For now anyways (I still think my career is going to tend to my free-bird and nomadic needs).

Okay, so I just went on a bit of tangent there, that was supposed to be a kind of side note acting as a segue into my exciting news about my future...

"What a life I lead in the spring"

So, I'm moving!! I am super excited for this move because it's getting me out of this not so aesthetically pleasing flat with a tad-bit dysfunctional flat-share system, some disrespectful flatmates, and a crummy landlord to a beautiful, homey flat with one very cool young woman. I am so so so excited to get settled into my new flat! It's going to make a world of difference in my whole Scottish experience. So that is something I am very much looking forward to. Another great thing happening in the near future is my friend Chance's visit! After having her stay with me for a few days I will have reunited with all of my closest university friends on this side of the Atlantic! How exciting! AND I am going home to Canada for a short visit at the end of this month too! So incredibly thrilled to see my family and friends soon!

"What a life I lead in the summer"

In June, my friends Gillian and Courtney are also planning visits to see me. So I am super pumped for the great times we will share! NYE in NYC 2008 does Scotland 2011!
I am also looking forward to my trip in July. As I briefly mentioned before, me and Natalie are meeting up to do some backpacking throughout all of Germany and the Netherlands. I am not quite sure how long this trip will be yet but some of the planning has already been set in motion and it's going to be awesome!

Then it's the famous Fringe Festival in August here in Edinburgh which I am also so intrigued about after hearing so much about it.

Then sometime in September I am moving back to Canada!

So, as I said, things are a-changin' and I couldn't be happier!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Something In The Way She Moves

"And I feel fine anytime she's around me now,
She's around me now
Almost all the time.
And If I'm well you can tell that she's been with me now"
                                            - Something in the Way She Moves by James Taylor

This song by James Taylor is essentially a love song written about a woman from a man's perspective but that doesn't mean that it can't describe the loving relationship between two friends, right? It's a song about how at ease and happy someone in your life can make you feel and that's exactly what I want to say in this post about my fabulous friend, Cait.
Like it says in the song, any time I am around her I feel fine! Cait's happiness is contagious and you can always be sure to walk away from any time spent with her with a smile on your face. It is always nice to be around Cait because she is the kind of person who likes to see the good in every person and every situation.

"There's something in
the way she moves,
Or looks my way,
or calls my name,
That seems to leave this troubled world behind."

She truly is a breath of fresh air.

And I knew this the moment I met her. I knew right away that we were going to be friends because she is one of my favourite type of people: the type who instantly become your best friend after meeting you! I love those kinds of people! (I have met a few in Scotland too.) With Cait, I had no doubt that we would become best friends and I see no reason how that could ever change.

Thinking about it now, I feel like Cait is my sister - the fourth sister I never had, if you will. We have that kind of indestructible connection that sisters share in the sense that I know, no matter what happens in our lives, we will always be there for each other. Sisters are always sisters no matter what happens just like Cait and I will always be friends no matter where our lives take us.

The more I think about this the more I realize how fitting it is. I have gladly taken on the role of being a sister-like friend to Cait without really recognizing that I was doing so until now. I feel the need to protect her from getting hurt. I am also completely comfortable being brutally honest to her when I believe what I am saying is helpful advice.  Just as a sister does, I try to stand behind Cait in everything that she does and I know that she does the same for me. At the same time, neither of us are afraid to speak up when we disagree with the actions or ideas of the other. I have only known this girl for three years and I have this strong belief that I know what's good for her. If that's not a sisterly relationship than I don't know what is!
I think the fact that we share such a great friendship after a considerably short time of knowing each other can be attributed to the combination of all these characteristics; they all add up to make for one extremely honest and supportive relationship.

"If I'm feeling down and blue,
Or troubled by some foolish game,
She always seems to make me change my mind."

It's this awesome relationship that we have that allows us to spend every minute we are together with smiles on our faces. If one of us is upset about something, we both know that its only a matter of seconds before a shared burst of laughter is in the air. That's what keeps us strong. The way I see it, when you're feeling down, some people have friends they go to to bury their problems, some they go to in search of pity or sympathy, some they go to to confide in. Every one of these are attempts at finding a means to the hopeful end of alleviating one's pain - whatever the nature of that pain may be. I go to Cait to make me feel better - plain and simple. Any of her friends would contest to the fact that being around Cait just makes you feel better. I don't know how else to put it. Hence why I brought in the genius lyrics of the great James Taylor!

"She has the power to go where no one else can find me,
Yes, and to silently remind me
Of the happiness and good times that I know"

Cait isn't afraid to express affection. She isn't afraid to tell me what she thinks I should do in any given situation. Cait carries her maturity well, whilst never letting go of her child within. She wants everyone around her to be happy. She radiates in beams of love and smiles and small acts of kindness. Cait loves going on adventures. And is happy to do whatever will make her friends happy.  And for all of these things, I love her to death! 

And that's why,

"If I'm well you can tell that she's been with me now,
And she's been with me now
Quite a long, long time
And I feel fine."

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Charmed Life

"It's a charmed life
Unexplainable grace
Stumbling, you fall right into place"
                                     - Charmed Life by Leigh Nash

This post is dedicated to my wonderful big sister, Alicia. I chose this song because I truly think Alicia is living a charmed life. It's the classic (and I'd say ideal) case of a girl who falls in love with her high school sweetheart and establishes for herself a successful life comprised of a career, a home, and a loving family. I have to say, I am jealous of how easily my sister was able to "stumble" into this perfect existence. Her life encompasses so many things that I hope to have in the future.

But that's not to say that I am unhappy with where I am now. You see, her life and my life went in very different directions but despite that we are both very happy where we are at the moment.

"Who needs to know
When it all comes and where it all goes
Who needs to know just where
Fate will take you there"

This past summer I made friends with lots of travelers when I was cherry picking in the Okanagan in British Columbia. I remember having a conversation about traveling with a couple of younger friends who held a very strong judgment against those who choose not to venture. They felt as though they should feel sorry for the people who weren't interested in traveling because they are missing out on so much. They didn't understand how people wouldn't want to see the world. I recall confronting them in an attempt to show them that there are different ways of looking at life and that each individual wants different things. I used Alicia as an example. As I said, she married her high school sweetheart and is now living a stable and happy life. This is obviously where she wants to be in life, otherwise she wouldn't have taken all of the life-changing steps to get here. Sure, she hasn't done much traveling of the kind that my cherry picking friends were alluding to, but she didn't need that to be happy. The way I see it is that each person knows what will make them happy. Therefore no one else has the right to judge them or take pity on their life choices. At the end of the day as long as everyone is content in what they are doing that is all that matters.

As I have come to learn, - and I am continuing to learn - traveling is a lot more than just sightseeing; there is a lot of soul-searching and character-building involved in venturing off into the world. But, the sorts of life-altering experiences that shape our character and help us discover ourselves aren't solely found over the course of globe-trotting. I know that I have learned so much about who I am and who I want to be since embarking on my traveling adventures but I am positive that Alicia probably knows a lot more about herself than I do about myself. I say this because, she has had her soulmate, her "other half", riding along through life with her for the past ten years! Being in a relationship also involves a lot of soul-searching and character-building I am sure. Not only that, she has also given birth and is raising a child. That opens a whole other can of worms when it comes to life-changing experiences that shape you.

"It's a childlike world and you can feel the magic
Far from the typically tragic
That's the beauty of a charmed life"

So, what I'd say to those who think that Alicia and others like her are missing out is a quotation used at the epic traveling movie, "Into the Wild" - "Happiness only exists when shared." When all is said and done, it doesn't matter where we have been or what we have seen, those experiences can't hold a candle to the tangible gift of being with the people you love.

"It's a good life in the happily ever after
Last page of a very last chapter
It's the story of a charmed life"

So, kudos to you Alicia! You have found your happy place and you didn't need to go on any soul-searching journeys or waste any time questioning what you want in life. You knew what you wanted and you got it and I am so proud of you! You are a fabulous big sister who I know I can always count on for life advice because you obviously know what you are doing. You're doing this little sister good by showing her how it's done! With any luck I'll soon be walking in your footsteps and finding my happily ever after.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

You're All I Need To Get By

"You're all I need to get by.
Like the sweet morning dew, I took one look at you,
And it was plain to see, you were my destiny."
                          - You're All I Need To Get By by Marvin Gaye

Knowing someone for as long as I have known Sam, it was hard to choose a song that encompasses ALL of the things that our relationship is about. There are so many different parts to our friendship that I would like to explore in this post, but it would take a lifetime to write (let alone read). I have found that this song speaks to the fact that she is such a large influence in my life. But, in an attempt to keep this just a post and not a novel I have chose to focus on one very, very important aspect of our relationship.

I became friends with Samantha Granger in grade ten and we have been inseparable ever since. It's been almost ten years and our friendship has seen its ups and downs but I know, without any doubt, that she is all I need to get by.

In writing these blog posts dedicated to people in my life I try to pick a song that I know each person enjoys listening too. Sam definitely enjoys the musical talents of the great Marvin Gaye so I am happy to dedicate a post to her using one of his songs.

So, why is Samantha all I need to get by? Well, it's simple really. Remember that post I wrote when I was getting a bit discouraged with my life decisions and I said that there was that voice in my head encouraging me to go on and telling me everything was alright? Basically, Sam is that voice. She keeps me sane. Those of you who know Sam, you might chuckle at this sentiment, because we all know she is a bit off her rocker sometimes. But, the truth of the matter is she is one of the most down-to-earth and levelheaded people I know. Sam has a great attitude towards life. She has fun as often as she can and I have learned so much from her.

I truly believe that a large part of the person I am today can be attributed to the friendship I have maintained with Samantha. I remember when I was in high school - just a shy, soft-spoken girl - I used to find myself in situations where I wanted to step out of my comfort zone to do something and I would convince myself that I should because I would think to myself, If Sam was here, she would do it. I have admired Samantha's fearlessness ever since the moment I met her. She inspired me to create my own unique character. The outgoing, outspoken (and any other adjective you choose to use) girl that I am now has been greatly influenced by my friendship with Miss. Samantha Granger.

"I will go where you lead
Always there in time of need
And when I lose my will
You'll be there to push me up the hill"

Samantha inspired me to discover my true self when I was younger and now she motivates me to stay true to who that person is. She is never short of an encouraging word whenever I am feeling disheartened or frustrated. She always stands behind me in all of my decisions. But it's not because she is one of those flakes who just tell you what you want to hear. I think it's because she trusts that I know what I am doing and she knows that all I need is that little extra boost of confidence to actually carry out whatever it is I was hesitant to do in the first place. See what I mean when I say she is that angelic, uplifting voice in my head?!

"You're all I need to get by.
Like an eagle protects his nest, for you I'll do my best,
Stand by you like a tree, dare anybody to try and move me"

Sam has been such a wonderful, constantly positive influence in my life and as her best friend I do my best to reciprocate her kind efforts. That is why I have always stood by her in everything she goes through in life and vow to keep doing so forever. No matter who walks in and out of our lives, we both know that no one can mess with what we got.

"Don't know what's in store but together we can open any door
Just to do what's good for you and inspire you a little higher"

I can only hope that I am just as good of a friend to you as you are to me, Sam. And I hope that I can give back to you the amount of inspiration that you have given to me.