October 22, 2016

We're Baaaaack!

Hey everyone! Jarryd and I are officially back from our 2016 Canadian Thanksgiving trip! Well, we've actually been back since this past Monday but who's keeping track?

The first indication that we were back in America was the weather. Holy smokes--it was wonderful stepping off the plane to feel the warm, humid air soak into my face like a sponge! (This is a no-sarcasm zone, by the way. I'm being completely serious when I say I love humidity!)

And then, driving on the interstate felt SO good. My Canadian hometown has nothing even close to an Interstate so driving in the US is such a treat for me! I often feel the need for speed and after a long flight it was just what I needed. I love going 130 km/hr in my little white honda. It was great, UNTIL we came to a complete stop as there was an accident ahead of us. Instead of a 45 minute drive back to our apartment, it was a 2 hour drive back. And what's worse is we got home at 8 pm and had to ready ourselves for work the next day. Ugh. And I'll have you know, we were SO smart when planning this trip. Our return flight was for Saturday, which would have given us a whole day of rest before we had to go back to work. But, when our return flight got cancelled due to "lavatory maintenance" (whatever that means), our careful planning all went out the window! But it was a TOTAL blessing because we got to spend more time in Canada with friends and family. (Also, missing work on Monday meant a short work week too! Yay!)

I finally unpacked my suitcase. Can somebody please give me a reward for this? In Starbucks PSL form? Unpacking is hard, especially when you leave it for almost a week and you forget what's clean and what's dirty. Although, unpacking this time around was kinda fun because one of my best friends (who has a killer sense of style!) gave me a truckload of her old clothes, so it was like unwrapping a giant suitcase-shaped present full of gorgeous "new" clothes!  * heart eyes *

Oh, and did I mention that I'm sick with a cold? I have visited Canada a total of 3 times since moving to the US and I have gotten sick a total of 3 times on these trips. Can you believe it?! Every. Single. Time. It never fails!
Honestly, I fully expected to be sick this time, so halfway through the trip when I woke up with a scratchy throat, I rolled my eyes and said "here we go, again!". "See ya in a few days, voice. I'll miss you!" And when I say sick, I mean getting an awful hacking-type-of-cold and losing my voice.
I'm either getting sick from the humid US-to-dry Canada climate change, or I'm getting sick from sitting in a winged-germ-tube airplane where you breathe everyone elses air for several hours. :P

You guys, I definitely experienced my introvert hangover in the middle of our trip. IN THE MIDDLE. How awful is that? Introvert hangover = "a withdrawal into oneself brought on by overstimulation" (as said by Introvert Dear). Making plans to see so many different people and never having a moment alone during the day can be pretty exhausting (especially when you're sick with a real hoarse voice!). I mean, we were dividing our days into 3+ sections just to make time to see everyone! I definitely started feeling stressed about my lack of time/energy/health. But what I've learned over the years is that you can't use your introversion as a crutch or an excuse. For example, I could have cancelled plans with people, but that would have been SO dumb. (I'm sorry but "dumb" is the only word I could think of right now). I would have come back to the US with so much guilt and regret for choosing to recharge over seeing people I haven't seen in MONTHS. It's honestly just a conscious choice you have to make, a choice to just get over your exhaustion, because by the time you lay eyes on your long-distance friends all of the tiredness instantly disappears! :) Can anyone else relate with me on this one? I'm so proud of myself for not letting it get to me either, all I did was say to my Mom "I'm stressed", and that was that! High five to myself!

On a lighter, less phlegmy note, it's so nice coming back to colourful leaves on the trees! Where we were, (near Winnipeg), a majority of the fall leaves were already off the trees and on the ground. :'( Fall literally lasts a second there, haha! And I feel like it's just beginning here in Maryland! YAY!

What's also cool is that I used PAID VACATION. Haha I know I know, I'm 25 and only experiencing the joys of paid vacation now, blah blah. But it's a big deal to me! A whole week off of work and I'm still getting paid for it?! Amazing! (I'm such an adult now, it's nuts!) The unfortunate part is that I used up all of my vacation until next October. LOL. It's going to be a loooong year guys...

Also, a whole week without having to go to work = a whole week of being able to do my hair and makeup and wear nice clothes during the day and feel pretty again! And LIPSTICK--I got to wear lipstick like everyday! But Jenny, why don't you wear makeup to work? Trust me, in my profession there's absolutely no point. Why would I wake up any earlier than I have to just so I can wear makeup that's going to get sweated off? This paragraph would be what I'd give the #itsthelittlethings hashtag to. It's the little things in life that can give one joy.
I hung out with 4 babies and 1 toddler on this trip (all girls, by the way), and I think I'm officially ready to be a mom. Hahah. Now, don't you dare take me the wrong way! :P I'm not saying that we're "trying" or whatever; what I'm saying is that it doesn't seem so far-fetched anymore. Here in Maryland, we have only 1 friend who has a kid. Back in Canada, we have only 1 friend who DOESN'T have a kid. When you're surrounded by a huge community of young parents with babies you definitely start to feel the "itch", you know? LOL. I'll let y'all know what happens...

Anyway, after a pretty good four days of work, today is Saturday and I've been doing absolutely nothing! Nothing, except for sleeping in, unpacking, two loads of laundry, two cups of coffee, grocery shopping, replacing my MacBook Pro battery (all by myself, thank you very much!), dishes, cleaning, and now---blogging! OH and how could I forget: Hallmark channel has been playing in the background all afternoon. Hee Hee.

It's good to be back, friends! :) OH and I plan to post a blog entry about our trip with all kinds of photos. Stay tuned.

October 2, 2016

Thank You.

It's been a strange week, inside of the mind of Jenny, that is. No odd events have occurred and nothing out of the ordinary has sprung up in my life; it's all just been weird inside of my head.

Being a hopeless introvert I tend to live inside of my head. I tend to pull up a chair and stay for awhile within the "comforts" of my own brain and then get up and leave when I feel ready and satisfyingly rejuvenated. But this week, I actually pitched a tent in my head (and I do not fancy camping in the least so I don't know why I'd ever even consider pitching a tent, but it's my brain, what can I do?), and stayed inside the walls of my skull for a very long time. Too long, in fact.

Introspection is a good thing. It's healthy to examine your own mental and emotional wellbeing and work to keep it intact. But too much dwelling within-the-minds-eye is when things get a little crazy. Trust me, I LOVE to be inside of my head. I love to process the interactions I have with people or events, envision the potentials of my future, seek out new dreams and goals, and just mull over my current life just as everything is. I enjoy all of this so much, in fact I NEED to do this in order to stay sane, but when I spend too much time analyzing and questioning anything and everything, that is when my joy takes a dangerous turn into bitterness, worry, grief, anxiety, and just plain unhappiness.

Is there anyone out there who can relate with me on this? (I know you're out there somewhere!)

An example of something in my life that I allowed to go from a joyful event to sorrowful one, is my upcoming trip to Canada. (If you didn't know, Canadian Thanksgiving is coming up quick and Jarryd and I are vacationing there for a week! YAY!) Anybody who knows me KNOWS that I am crazy excited for this trip. But a few days ago I found myself DREADING it. DREAD-ING. How?! Why?! This is going to sound so silly to you guys, but I knew that going back to Canada and enjoying my time seeing my family and my best friends again...meant saying goodbye AGAIN. And because it's Maryland's turn for Christmas holidays this year, it would be one of those "goodbye, I don't know when I'll ever see you again so...until who-knows-when so take care of yourself! See ya?!" :(

I honestly could cry right now as I've been typing all of this out, but I'm gonna keep it together, people!

My mind takes me on such insane trails that my sad obsession with the future goodbyes completely overshadowed how GOOD this trip is going to be. I shouldn't be dreading something I should be thankful for. And believe me, I'm so excited, thankful to God, and so happy that Jarryd and I get to spend an entire week in the best country ever  Canada. ;) <3 This whole ordeal was one of those times where I just needed to tell my brain to "shut up" and allow my heart to be a heart of thankfulness again.

So there was that. And then there was this overwhelming feeling of lostness...


I've lived here in Maryland for over two years and quite often feel all-of-the-above. (Is that too honest, or what?) I don't feel like I've found my place. I don't feel like I fit in. Amidst unattractive wet sobs I have said to Jarryd, "I've never felt so different in my life". To be honest I didn't think I'd feel much culture-shock moving here, but I feel it now, two years in more than ever.

When I feel like I'm different from everyone else and out of place, I begin to question everything about myself and my identity. I begin to feel like I'm losing who I am because I feel like familiarity is far and few between.

Fortunately, there are these times though when I meet someone new and feel a wonderful and warm connection with them and then I instantly have so much joy because I don't feel so out of place anymore. It feels like familiarity. It feels like my desire to know and especially be known is being fulfilled. I feel that sense of belonging that every soul on earth craves. There are seriously some wonderful people out there and I wish I could be surrounded by them all of the time.

Alas, I wish I felt that welcoming feeling from everyone I encountered. Unfortunately, many people I interact with make me feel like I'm too quiet. I'm too young. Like I need to build myself some thicker skin. Like I need to be more sarcastic, more obnoxious, and more aggressive in the way I speak. More crude. Never keep a serious conversation. Make everything a joke, yet don't smile too much. Make fun of everyone around me. Stop being so joyful. Keep a record of wrongs of every single person. Swing your moods a little more. Rid myself of all gentleness and learn to fight a good verbal fight.

I'm sure I've shared this quote before but I'm going to share it again because I LOVE IT:
I begin to question my talents, gifts, and skills until my mind decides for me that they're not actually talents, gifts, and skills. That I'm just a fake, pretending like I know what I'm doing. Or that I'm just kidding myself! But I know my God is bigger than my doubts, and according to Him I'm work of art and can create works of art. Please brain, you need to quiet down!

I know there are people out there like me, who feel the same way I do. Who believe that yes, the world is beautiful and that kindness, warmth, and welcoming-ness all go a long way.

As found in Galatians 5:22-23 But the Fruit of the Spirit is:

Instead of feeling lost, I want to feel all of the things above! I want to be the Fruits of the Spirit. And I can because my identity and sense of belonging are not found in where I live, who I know, or what I do. My identity is in Jesus and I absolutely refuse to let anyone around me change that, because they can't.

I'm thankful for the little BIG thoughts that God pops into my head to remind me of His promises.
I'm thankful to Jarryd for always always always being my proverbial "home away from home", he is my biggest sense of familiarity here in Maryland, and my best friend in the whole entire world.
I'm thankful to the people who have shown such great kindness to me, for giving me "mom hugs" and making me giggle with their "dad jokes".
I'm thankful for the--seldom--cashiers who carry on a conversation with me as if we've known each other forever (Dear Starbucks cashier, I don't even know your name but I'm pretty sure we're best friends. Thank you for bonding with me over Pumpkin Spice Lattes).
Thank you to the friends who aren't afraid to talk about the hard things. Thank you for your authenticity and not pretending to be perfect.
Thank you to the people who SMILE and say HELLO.
Thank you to the few people here who actually get my sense of humour. (It's a rare humour but it's actually the best, hee hee!)
Thank you to the girls who let me into the soccer game for free because I forgot to bring cash. Your act of kindness blew me away and it's not forgotten.
Thank you to my long-distance friends/sisters/family who don't mind me venting to them about how hard it gets here sometimes. Thank you for listening, encouraging, and always pointing me to the Truth! (You know who you are!!)
And thank you to the ones who take the time to read my blog. I know I don't always make alot of sense. I know I can be quite vague at times, more mysterious than I'd like to be, but I appreciate you guys hearing reading me out. I get so much joy out of blogging and I appreciate each and every one of you and the encouraging comments and private messages you send me. Your words seriously make my day!! <3

See brain! There's always SOMETHING to be thankful for. Always something to feel joy about. God is so good. :)