Friday, 19 September 2014

Practically Making Time

I love quotes but I love far too many, to actually manage to recall them all. There is one though that always stands out, since it is the most prevailent in a life of an anyone who must work in order to attend to basic needs.

It goes as follows:

"Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."
~Gene Fowler

If the world is a grain of sand, so too, is it in a flower. And yet, Work makes us forget those colourful bits.

Though, I must admit, the way it tends to run through my head, it goes more like this:

"I like work. I can stare at it for hours. Until blood drips from my head."

Just as much sarcasm but with a slightly more all-encompassing twist.

Either way, however I choose to remember the quote, the key phrase is essentially that you can literally spend your life working and working and working and in the end, what is there to show from it?

I had a most wonderful dinner with my landlady/bnb host. I should note I am not sure what to define her as seeing as she runs a bnb but I am staying here long term. I use the kitchen and all that jazz as I would in a flatshare, except the flatmates change on a regular basis; for a day or so there seems to be no one at all, and a few times over the next months I will have to shift to another room simply because some people need to (and do) book six months to a year in advance. Fair enough. Plus, I get my sheets done, I can have my laundry done too and there is a tidy collection of tea bags, instant coffee and milk always. I feel ridiculously fortunate and more than a bit horrible that I cannot seem to be very good at obviously expressing my gratitude. I am though, grateful, beyond words. It's little things like tonights dinner that remind me I was right in my feelings to not take a room on one of the shifty estates or that it was okay the gentleman with the room I initially found, basically dropped me without notice for an older and more settled nurse.

But none of that is particularly on poise for the purpose of this post. Though it is a rather perfect presentation of one of my problems. I ramble. Horribly. Which often leads to me getting lost in both figurative and literal corners. Bury St Edmunds was a bit of a nightmare the first day I wandered. I was lost within seconds. Mostly because my sense of direction is not used to factoring in little alley ways, side streets and the sort of detours that are literal holes in brick walls that you think will just get you straight out to the other end but really take you 'round the opposite.

That being said, I am also a very driven and goal oriented individual, when it comes to material goals and achievements.

My move to England however, was one of those rare things that essentially made a disreputable hash of oil and vinegar (the bad sorts filled with factory chemicals I mean) in terms of my goal-orientation clashing with my butterfly imaginism. It took me just wanting to get the flipping fudge out of Vernon, because Victoria, as adorable, artsy and quaintly British as it tried to be, was still Canadian, and therefore Not British. No matter how many times you walk past the Empress, the Parliament buildings, grab tea at Murchies or have clotted cream and scones. There are still those silly tourist shops selling carry-on sized maple syrup bottles, maple fudge, the Bay, and that hilarious black bear, or maybe it was a moose, that sat outside of one of the shops in a Mounty's hat. (See I can't even remember it's just so stereotyped). Then though you have the gorgeous totem poles, the orca statues and well, double decker buses with the blue and green British Columbia logos all over (I'd almost say they were copying London, except that all of BC has double deckers in the larger towns...except Vancouver, Vancouver is in a class of its own). 

England though is England, in all its mist-rain, whinging-is-a-national-sport (complaining) and excess of packaging and pennies. Their rudeness knows no bounds in one area and the next second they are all a mask of rock, politeness. Also, their driving is terrifying but their public transit is peachy.

Either way, I am here. I am experiencing. I am here for experience. Lots of it. But when you spend most of your days staring at work for hours, until blood drips from your forehead because you are racking your brains on the laundry wires until they are parched, your mind wonders what the flack you're doing. Well, that and the usual questions of how will you be more successful? How will you feel less tired? How will you be more happy?

I've just been falling back on, "it's experience. Live and let live. The day is over. It has passed. Move on. Breathe. Trust. Relax. Enjoy."

I panicked this morning because I had to take my form group out for a fire drill and I hadn't a moment to preview the path the group was meant to take from their room (which is not my usual classroom). They though, being Year 11's had more experience than me, and anyway, I had a moment before the start to vaguely glance over the email with the map. But I still used time panicking. Or, in other words. I let blood drip from my forehead and wasted too many ticks of the clocks (which still aren't matchin up in the school, anywhere).

Time. It goes by fast. Everyone knows that. But you don't really *know* it until you are near the end of it, something, or a particular stage. I have been in England for one month and three days. I didn't even note the passing of the full month. I was focused on the end of September itself. Either way, time has moved. Fast. And here I am, for experience. What have I experienced? Loads. Of course I have. It's a new country after all. Except there is still loads more. What I have experienced feels like poking my toe into the water at Long Beach (Tofino, BC) when I was eleven (or something, that first time) and then I finally stood up to my ankles in the ice water and let the tide slurp my feet down in a miniature version of a sinkhole, before jumping out of it with a giggle. Child's play.

The loads more I have to experience is that little something called travel. The little bit that sparks the desire to move to a different country in most people. I am most people in that regard. I came here to see many different places, most of which I have only seen pictures of, as a film set or read in books or on the internet. In short, from that intangible distance is a puzzle of experience that cannot be solved until you are breathing the same air as the person you idolize or that which various buildings or mountains were formed in.

Which brings me back to the dinner with my landlady. Uttler lovely. But you'd be bored out of your mind. The key bit I do want to leave you with is something I am also challenging myself to do now.

I am going to call on my practical side. I am going to call on my creative side. I am going to combine the two and practically make time.

Or, in more mundane language, I am going to make lists. I am going to make lists of all the places I want to visit, all the locations in the places I want to visit, all the things I want my camera to snap, all the foods I want to try and whatever else I can potentially dredge up as I make linear lists.

Then, applying myself religiously to the perusal of airlines, trains and coaches, I will be setting aside one weekend per month in which I go somewhere.

September, though nearly done, is basically set on me possibly getting to Cambridge and at least, very definitely going down to London again to visit a cohort who came to teach in England back in April. 

Making lists is difficult and it is still very easy to forget to add something, which makes me feel it to be restrictive. Then again, if I want to achieve anything, if anyone wants to achieve anything, lists are one of those necessary evils that act a bit like fabric bandages. They stop the bleeding forehead when you've been at work too long but the act of pulling them off (ie: getting them done), is on the list of distateful tasks that remind me of cleaning bathrooms with bleach back in the days when my mom hadn't twigged on the natural cleaners that one, did not smell of deadly chemicals and two, were a million times healthier and better cleaners anyway; being natural, non-deadly chemicals. She has me to thank for her being, if still a crazy cleaner, at least an environmentally friendly, crazy cleaner.

Will you be practical this weekend and make a list of goals to get accomplished and time frames by which they must be accomplished in?

I've got enough to practically make more time than eternity.

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