Monday, July 4, 2022

Dear Austin and Ally

Over four years ago, my dear Austin passed away in our arms. It was the first time I had ever experienced true loss. I loved her deeply. And I began writing a letter in memory of her. But each time I started typing, I would be so overcome with emotions and could not stop crying. Time passed and to soon, our dear Ally passed away while I was at university. I miss my sugar bebz dearly. 

There are numerous drafts that live on this blog and sometimes I like to go through them just to see if there are any worth getting back to. I really wish I had pushed on an continued writing this post four years ago as now my memory and emotions are not as fresh. But reading what I initially wrote, really brought me back to when Austin was in my life. It deserves a place in this blog. 

Here it was:

I know these past couple of months have been rough on you. It hurt to see your sick and struggling to keep of with your normal regime. I am forever thankful for your presence, companionship, and love. The days I will remember the most were our walks around the block. The fact that you knew when we were nearing home and would start walking down my shoulder to get cloer to the door. My shoulder. That was your place. Where you felt the most safe and at home. 

And I’d just like to add:

Austin, even after four years has passed I still think about you fondly. You and Ally. My dear Ally, you left us a few months after Austin and I was so grateful for the precious time I got to spend with you. I cherished your presence and the impact you had on my life. I still speak fondly about Austin and Ally to this very day. You are both forever in my hearts. I didn’t know what it was like to love so deeply and experience such a tragic loss until. 

There are times that I wish I could lay on my back and have you crawl up to my neck and lay there. I miss your boggles, the head scratches, and the softness of your fur. You were both my safe haven. 

JP13: Are you like your family? How so? How not?

June 23, 2022 | Sherbrooke, QC

*Two years later and I'm finally continuing Jo Franco's Journal Prompt series oops.

JP 13: Are you like your family?  How so?  How not?

A few years ago, I had decided that getting married and having kids was an aspect of life that I was perfectly fine with not partaking in. For one, I feel as though many people want to get married and have kids for all the wrong reasons.

When it comes to marriage, there's a big part of me that doesn't care for the title of being married. That's not to say I don't want to find the right partner to spend the rest of my life with. I would absolutely love that! I want nothing more than to be in a healthy, loving, relationship. I’m just very aware that I don’t want to settle or rush into things because I feel pressured to. 

Right now, I don’t feel like I have the emotional intelligence to care for a child the way they deserve to be cared for, especially since they do not have a say in being born. I take that responsibly very seriously and I’m scared of not being able to be emotionally present for my child. I want my child and my partner to know and feel that they are loved deeply and endlessly and that I want nothing more than for them to be happy and good people. On the other hand, I do realize that I tend to talk down on my self and not give myself credit for the good in me. 

Some of the things that I love about myself are things that I only realized recently. I love that I’m caring, empathetic, and loving. I show my love through spending quality time and and physical affection. I think I need more time learning how to love myself and love others so that I don’t repeat things that I saw and internalized growing up. 
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1PVOju2xA6_AmpBhp2CQ439MO4VmIf9cn

Thursday, June 9, 2022

A Year of Silence.

I write this as I sit on my balcony in my Montreal apartment. Yes, I'm currently living in Montreal! The light is starting to fade and there's a cool breeze drifting through the courtyard. Has it really been 10 months since I last posted on my blog?! Who am I kidding, it's not like I haven't taken an extended absence from posting. Just know that every month that passes when I'm not blogging, I'm thinking about this blog and how backlogged I'm going to feel when I get around to it. You are never forgotten ;) Thankfully, I finally wrapped up The Rockies Diary series.

Before I start posting current content, I feel like I owe it to myself to post a written reflection on the last year. That's going to be quite the challenge as a lot has happened and I have to be purposeful in what I wish to share. The last year was filled with a lot of highs and lows. A lot of personal growth, but also realizing there's more work to be done. So where do I start?

I learned the good and the bad...

After experiencing my third year of university fully online, I was more than ready to step back on to campus and meet new people. As much as I loved my friends, who were also my roommates, I was almost desperate in wanting to make new friends before my final year was over. I must have been very desperate because I ended up meeting lots of new people. I loved the newness... at first. One person would introduce me to another who'd introduce me to another group. Everyone knew everyone. It was like being back in high school.

There was a certain confidence I experienced when I would walk onto campus and immediately know a bunch of people. At the same time, I felt extremely vulnerable. It was a kind of vulnerability that I had never experienced before. I didn't actually know these people despite seeing them every day. And in the end, I put trust in the wrong people, confided in the wrong people, sought comfort in the wrong people.

There's a reason why I have a small group of friends. The people closest to me have become so close because we took time to built trust and a safe space to open up emotionally. We stay loyal and true to our friendships. When I needed advice or a shoulder to cry on, my closest friends remained by my side and we've grown even closer because of it all. It took a year of hurt for me to realize just how thankful I am to have good friends in my life. It turns out, I don't need new friends. I can cherish the ones I already have.

I  know that over the last couple years, I've become more aware of who I am; the way I react or don't react to certain situations, and what I like and don't like - and that's largely thanks to my friends. Because of that, I thought that I knew myself better than I actually did. This last year truly shone a light on not only my ugly truths, but also reasons to be proud of myself. I did the best I could in the situations I found myself in and always acted with the best of intentions. That I do know.

Perhaps this is me being too open...

But I've always felt like I had this unloveable, cold heartedness about me that scared people away. It's not that I was telling myself this, but I have been told this before. I didn't realize until this last year just how much I had internalized these sentiments. One thing I know now and am extremely proud of is the fact that I learned that I do have these maternal instincts and the ability to love and care. Even friends noticed that I've become more affectionate and less closed of. And while I'm still not the best at communicating my feelings and needs, I've been pushing myself to do so. I've gotten better.

But what scares me is the realization that I lack an ability to set boundaries and to trust my gut instincts. It's one thing to lose trust in a person, but it's even scarier when you realize that you don't even trust yourself.

Music found the words I couldn't...

You know that feeling you get when the lyrics of a particular song resonate with you so strongly? Earlier this year, I found myself struggling to express my feelings. I didn't want to necessarily express them to someone, moreso I wanted to get it out in the world. For that reason, I created a playlist* with the intention to add one song a day - my personal project; an archive representing how I was feeling that day. I want it to live on my blog, almost like they're extensions of each other. I've put the link in the sidebar as well :)

*Sorry I only have Apple Music (yes I know it's inferior to Spotify lol).

TAPIF...

While all this was going on, I had applied to and was waiting to hear back from TAPIF. As you may know, I was supposed to study abroad in France last year and was devastated when I learned that it was canceled. At the time, my life felt like it came to a complete stop. When you build up years of anticipation for something that ends up never happening, it's like a part of you is missing. I was lost and felt hopeless.

I knew I wanted nothing more than to live in France. The question was how I would get there other than through an exchange program. One option was to apply for my masters in France, but I was not confident in what I wanted to do my masters on. So instead I decided to apply to TAPIF. In march I sent in my application and was expecting to get the results of whether or not I was accepted into the program by mid April. In the mean time, I had found a summer sublet in Montreal. 

April goes by without a response and I'm starting to get stressed. I had moved to Montreal with the help of my mom was still waiting to here back! Finally in mid May (a month delayed) we get our results back and I was placed in Nantes, France!

Now...

It's been just over a month since moving from Peterborough to Montreal. I have been working from home full time and exploring the city when I can. Some days are harder than others, but I'm doing the best that I can for myself. I've moved on.

One Thing

One thing I absolutely love and adore about myself is, no matter how bad I've been treated, no matter how I'm feeling, no matter what I've been through or what I'm going through, I still have a heart of gold and endless love to give. That's one thing no one can ever take from me.

Monday, June 6, 2022

The Rockies Diary, Week 17 - 19: Aylmer Lookout and the End of a Chapter

*After nearly a year later, I'm writing the last post in The Rockies Diary series. I remember wanting to finish the write up in October, 2021. But, a lot has happened in my life since then and my blog took a backseat, unfortunately. I came back to this post in December, 2021 thinking that I would finally be able to finish it before the year ends, but once again my mind was elsewhere and I just couldn't find the right words to say. There's so much to update you on and yet so much of what I want to write about is too personal (somethings are better left off the Internet). Perhaps as I get into writing more posts (hopefully) I'll figure out what I'm comfortable with sharing. Until then, enjoy the long overdue post!

A look back...

Several instances throughout the summer I took a step back from being in the moment to realize that I really did just move across Canada to live in the mountains. It was easy to get absorbed in the everyday details because my roommates and I spent five out of the seven days working full-time at the ice cream shop. I have to remind myself of how big a leap of faith it was and how grateful I am that things worked themselves out in the end.

Writing this wrap-up post, nearly 4 months (oops more like 10 months!) since being in Canmore, I still talk fondly about my time spent there. I learned and grew so much over the summer just by doing things I've never done before, pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and being open to meeting new people. 

I have always prided myself on being independent. And yet, it was only this summer that I felt comfortable dinning at a restaurant by myself. I finally understood what it was like to be completely happy  being in my own company and to not feel undeserving for treating myself.

One of my proudest moments was renting a car for two days and driving over 800km around the Yoho and Jasper national parks.  I proved to myself that solo traveling can be fun and fulfilling and not as impossible as it seems.  It's almost surreal now because I'm back in school (update: I've graduated) and just focused on doing well in my classes - the same as before I left for my trip.

"I think we're at that weird age where life can change a lot from small decisions." - Sally Rooney's Normal People

I am so thankful for pushing myself into unknown territory and for the people I've met along the way.  That summer could have gone in so many directions.  I might have even stayed in Peterborough and never got to experience the beauty that Canada has to offer.  I never would have met Kate and Nicole...

In these last three weeks, my emotions were running high from the overwhelming thoughts of this chapter ending, and yet at times I felt numb to the idea that I would be leaving. Did the last four months even happen? It felt so fast. Especially since I was the last one to move back to Ontario. One goodbye after another, the apartment started to feel desolate, almost too big for just one person. It felt hollow. And going to work began to feel like a solemn chore. Yet, I still managed to find new adventures and meet more people.

My most notable adventure was when I did a 22km hike to the Aylmer Lookout. I had made a Facebook post in some hiking groups hoping to get one final hike in before my plane ride. To my delight, I managed to put together a solid group of people and I am so glad for the beautiful hike we completed together.

I'm glad to have finally closed this chapter. It was like a small knot in my back these last 10 months. Anytime I start a series on my blog, part of me feels like I can't truly move on until I finally wrap it up. I have a lot of updating to do, and I felt like I couldn't do so until I closed this chapter. 

Thank you for reading,
Sophia

August 16, 2021 - August 22, 2021

August 23, 2021 - August 29, 2021

August 30, 2021 - September 5, 2021