frances’ thoughts…

+ on traveling

Now that school is pretty much over for me, my greatest desire is to spend some time traveling. For years I’ve been tied down by school and work. I feel that right now is the best time. Right now when I’m not committed to a full-time job, a relationship, or a family. With a ft job, it’s harder to take long periods of time off. When you’re engaged in a relationship, it’s no guarantee that your companion will enjoy traveling as much as you do. And when you have a family, have children, traveling is just not the same.

With my dad in Asia visiting family right now, I was expected to join him for the later half of September. But with my cruise plans in play for October/November, I’ve decided to re-work that. My dad will be returning to Xian in the Spring to finish with his examinations (for his Chinese medical course). The plan is to travel with my mom to Hong Kong at that time before we reunite with my dad in Xian. At that time, we’ll visit some of the other Chinese cities (i.e. Beijing) and hopefully some other Asian countries as well.

+ on relocating

It had never ever crossed my mind before. There has always been something about this city that kept me tied down. Maybe because I’ve never lived anywhere else before, my entire family is here and I thought that they would want me to stay.

I had a conversation with my mom a few weeks ago. I was shocked when she encouraged me to consider relocating. After our talk, I could only think of one thing. Could it be that, all this time, I just didn’t like the thought of change? Could it be that the only person who had me tied down was…myself? Did I just make another assumption that this is where I should be?

I had many questions, and I didn’t have any answers for them. But what I did know was that my mind was open to this new idea. And for the first time, I actively thought about where I wanted to go. I keep telling Vanesa and Tim that if (and when) they move to New Zealand, I’d jump on the plane with them in a heartbeat. But until then, I’m not sure I want to stay in this city. It stirs up one too many memories.

+ on being stubborn

When I told my mom about my plans for the cruise, I asked her what she thought. Her response was silent. When I asked again, she looked at me and said, “You are just like me when I was young.”

She went on to explain that I am similiar to her in the sense that when I have my heart set on something, it cannot be easily altered. For some people, this is known as “holding your own”, but bluntly put I’m just plain old stubborn. She knew that I was determined to go on this cruise and that her efforts to convince me out of it would be useless. So instead, she became supportive.

This made me realize that I AM a very stubborn person. For almost 5 and a half years, I convinced myself that he was the one thing I wanted in life. No matter how hard people tried to change what I thought, I stood by my belief. I was stubborn. But now I’m realizing that the ONE thing I want is the one thing I’m never going to have. So instead of being stubborn, maybe it’s time I move on from it.

i can relax now

Our flights to New York were booked today.  Besides making reservations for our shore excursions, planning what lectures we’ll want to attend, and what other activites we’ll be participating while on the cruise, everything is pretty much set.  We have just over two months to get our suitcases filled.  I can’t wait!!! :D

I am so exhausted!  I’ve spent most of this week trying to finish the video project for my co-worker.  With my computer restarting itself at irregular intervals, it’s made life very difficult for me.  Luckily, Vanesa and Tim were happy to lend me a hand.  While Vanesa worked during the morning on Thursday, I went over to Tim’s to borrow his computer.  Unfortunately, due to some odd unresolvable issue, we couldn’t get things to work properly and I eventually gave up on it.  Nonetheless, I appreciate all the help.  We went to pick up Vanesa at noon, and then we all went for dim sum at Pacific Mall.  Chicken feet were Vanesa’s favourite, while Tim got his fix of bbq pork.  And as for me, I was happy with my hot sauce.  lol

After lunch, we spent hours walking through the mall.  Vanesa acted as my personal shopper by looking through every article of clothing on every shelf in every store in the entire mall.  Then when we finished, we went up to First Markham Place for more shopping.  The Jacob Outlet there is having a really good sale; I got two pairs of really good quality dress pants for $10 each.  I’ve NEVER had such a good deal in my life.  All you ladies should check it out.

So yeah, I had a really good time with my best friend and her boyfriend.  I can’t be more thankful to have had their support in these last two months.  I can’t thank them enough.  And at the same time, I am SO happy that THEY are so happy together.  Tim, you’re lucky to have her.  And Vanesa, you’re even MORE lucky to have him.  From the bottom of my heart, I’m really happy for the both of you and hope that you will both cherish each other  :)

On a different note, I was on Facebook the other day and when I took a glance at my horoscope I laughed when I saw this:

The video is finally done and that means I FINALLY have some time to relax.  Before I start making any plans to keep myself occupied again, I need a few nights of quality sleep.++ In the next entry, thoughts on:
the future, relationships, relocating, self-reflection, travel plans

when it’s meant to be

Last year, my cousin invited me to travel on a cruise with her and her family aboard the Queen Mary 2.  Despite the great deal she was getting, I had to turn down the invitation because it was difficult booking time off between my two jobs (in short notice) and I didn’t want to miss the first week of classes.  I’ve always believed that if something is meant to be, in the end it will be.  All you need is patience.  And so I waited.

The time has finally come.  It took Georgia and I just over 5 hours on Sunday to sift through all our sailing options and to plan out our trip, but it’s done.  Our cruise is booked! 

On October 31st, we’ll be flying to New York to board the infamous Queen Mary 2, the world’s largest ocean liner.  After 10 days of sailing in the Caribbean we’ll return to NY to catch a matinee show of Wicked (we’ve already got the tickets!!!).

I am SO excited!!!

Unlike the popular “fun ships”, this one is characterized by class and luxury.  The specs of this ship is pretty impressive; gross tonnage is about 150,000 (compared to many of the other ships offered by other cruise lines that are about 90,000 tonnes).  Sure, the crowd is going to be much much older so it won’t be as “fun”, but the experience on such a grand scale will definitely be worth it.

I have never had such a great desire to go away.  After all these years of work, school, heartaches and stress, I really need to get away from everything and give myself some time to clear my mind.  For once, I’m going to do something for myself.  I hope that when I come back from the trip, I’ll have gained a newfound perspective and it’ll help light my way into the future.

it’s OVER!

This last week had to be one of the worst weeks ever.  I started stressing really badly three days prior to my exams; I couldn’t focus at all while on that emotional rollercoaster (blame those hormones).  The stress actually made me feel really sick in the stomach.  I finally wrote my exams on Thursday.  The first one (Psychology) went well.  Then I did horribly on the second one (Children’s Literature), but I didn’t even care.  I dreaded every minute in that test centre and just wanted it to be over.

I came home, quickly showered, and then went to pick up Jacky’s birthday present before meeting up with Edison.  We met up with the rest of the gang at BriX for dinner to celebrate Jacky’s birthday.  It was also a farewell for Kevin and Winnie since they are both leaving for New York this week; they’re both working in NY for their work term.  Jacky also had a flight off to London on Friday.  He’ll be back in three weeks, but it’s going to be some time before all six of us reunite again.

After dinner, we went over to Jacky’s place to make chocolate fondue.  Besides almost setting off the fire alarm, it turned out pretty well.  We hung out, played darts, played on the turntable, told jokes (many of which were really dirty hahaha), and then tried to lock Jacky in his basement while we all hid upstairs.  His house is so big it’s perfect for hide and seek.  lol

So I ended up having a good time in celebration of finishing exams.  Now I’m concentrating on finishing up a video project that I need done for next weekend, as well as starting research for my vacation.  I’ll blog more about that next time.

what a weekend!

I’m literally 3 days away from writing my exams, yet I’ve barely looked over my texts.  This totally relaxed attitude is out of the norm for me and I’m beginning to feel nervous about the fact that I’m not stressed about this at all.

I caught up with a lot of people this weekend.

Friday, I worked my regular 5 hour shift at Chapters and Danny came by to pick up a book.  Then I met up with Vanesa and Tim for lunch.  Initially, we went to Yorkdale because we wanted to have lunch at Pickle Barrel.  But after waiting a good 7 minutes for someone to acknowledge that we were waiting to be seated, we decided to head over to the Rainforest Cafe instead.  After lunch, followed by some shopping, they dropped me home just in time for Mel to come pick me up.  We went to see No Reservations.

Despite what others may think about this romantic comedy, I actually really enjoyed it.  It’s a really cute movie.  I like the fact that this movie isn’t just about romance.  Sure, it was painful to watch Zoe (Abigail Breslin) lose her mother, but it was so nice to see her slowly accept the truth and learn to live with her Aunt Kate (Catherine Zeta-Jones).  There were many elements of the movie (besides the storyline) that I liked too: Catherine Zeta-Jones’ costumes, her house in Manhattan, Zoe speaking like an adult, and Nick (Aaron Eckhart).  His character was funny.  I can easily see myself as Kate; a total perfectionist who falls in love with someone who is so much the opposite.  The movie also reminded me of Little Manhattan since it also takes place there.

Kate: “Did you learn anything interesting at school today?”
Zoe:  “No.”
Kate: “Did you learn anything not interesting?”
Zoe: “No.”
Kate: “How was your teacher?”
Zoe:  “Bald.”

After the movie, Mel and I went for Starbucks and Dairy Queen.  Mmmmm, oreo blizzard….

Believe it or not, I actually had the entire weekend off.  But I ended up waking up early on Saturday morning anyway.  Georgia came to pick me up at 8:30am and we drove an hour west to St. Jacobs. We’ve been talking about going there for months, as it is popular for it’s Mennonite heritage.  We spent about 3 hours at the Farmers’ Market, and I ended up buying fresh corn and cucumbers there.  We had THE BEST sausage on a bun for lunch before leaving for a drive around the small town.  It was so quiet and peaceful on the roads out in the country.  We even drove by Mennonites who rode in a buggy.  And there were corn fields everywhere, I mean EVERWHERE.

On our way back to the city, we spontaneously decided to go to African Lion Safari since I’ve never been.  I was a bit nervous about it at first, but I ended up having a lot of fun seeing the animals.  We had a monkey jump on our car, and I caught a picture of him scratching his butt.  hehehe

I got home just in time to make it to my aunt’s for a BBQ/family gathering.  It was nice seeing family again since the last time I saw them was just over a year ago.  There was a lot of food and it was all really good too.  Afterwards, we went upstairs and watched my cousins’ kids dance to “My Humps”.  lol  I thought it was really funny, until I was forced to teach them and dance along with them.  That totally drained me.  Before I left, my cousin (the one who’s fighting cancer) showed me his portfolio from back in the day.  His portfolio included the 1989 Miss Canada beauty pageant, along with a variety of fashion and product shoots.  I’d almost forgotten that he used to be a photographer, and he was really good at it too.  I guess I was way too young then.

Alrighty, I must wrap up and get crackin’ on my studying.  Have a good week, y’all!

a quickie

I’m in the midst of writing my major essay for my Children’s Literature course.  It’s the last essay before exams, and exams are next week.  Technically, I should be stressing right about now.  But for some odd reason, I haven’t been the least bit worried (hence why I’m taking a break to update now).  Graduating or not, I’m eager for this summer to be over.  I’ve been thinking through A LOT over the last week, including plans for the upcoming months.  I’m pretty set on doing some traveling, but the details are still in the works.  I’ll keep you guys posted.

I went to see The Simpsons Movie on Saturday with Georgia…and Omar, except Omar came late and he ended up watching it in a theatre across from us half an hour before we did.  Long story.  hahaha  The movie was hilarious.  “Smithers…I’ve never believed in suicide, but it might cheer me up to watch you do it.”  “Of course I’ve gone mad with power! Have you ever tried going mad without power? It’s boring and no one listens to you!”  Spider Pig!!!  And yes, I can’t believe I actually paid to watch something I could see on tv for free!  hahah

Last Thursday night was Mel’s farewell dinner at Originals.  It wasn’t at all sad to see her leave considering she got a head office position.  But nonetheless, it’ll be different without her.  It was so nice to see Zahra again (my old manager) and to know that she’s doing well at an importing company downtown.  I’m happy for her.  It was also nice to hear that her daughter and son are both doing well.  Even though I’ve only seen her son the few times he was here to visit Zahra from Cali, we’ve always had a good time chatting.

Oh yes, and I made a trip to Indigo @ Eaton Centre to visit Geoffrey yesterday.  I’ve really missed him; he’s my mentor.  I had a nice chat with him, told him about my plans, and was happy to hear that he’d welcome me to his store if I ever opted for a change.

Speaking of changes there’s a lot happening within our store at Bayview, one of which is our general manager transferring to a different store by the end of the month.  There’ll be movement around the store as people are also expecting to leave soon.  I see this as only the beginning of all the changes around me.  I have been considering different things myself.  So I guess we’ll just have to see how things work out.

back with a tan

DAY 1

Our weekend actually began on Thursday night. The six of us met up to do our grocery shopping just before midnight. Then we all crashed at Jacky’s for the night; much thanks to him for accomodating all of us. Friday morning, we went for breakfast before beginning our journey. It was a bit gloomy out and it even rained in certain areas as we were driving up north, but by the time we got to the resort the sun had reappeared and was on full blast.

It was just after 2pm when we got ourselves settled in. We decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather first by hitting up the beach and waterpark. I took some time for a tan before joining the guys at the pool. Afterwards, we went canoeing. It felt nice being out in the lake, feeling the light breeze, and soaking in the warm afternoon sun. We even played games in the middle of the lake. Those were good times.

We stayed in for dinner that night because we were all drained. While the guys went to play basketball, I went for a short walk before squeezing in some time at the gym. That night, we all piled on our two ultra comfy beds and played games while munching on snacks. We had fun playing Killer and guessing/acting the names of movies. By the time we all went to bed, it had been a very long day.

DAY 2

We woke up early the next morning and went outside to play beach volleyball. Our teams doubled by the time we finished playing as people came to join us. After a brief lunch, the guys went to play basketball. I decided to use that time to do a little exploring on my own. Alone with my camera, I went on a long walk around the resort. The weather was perfect, the scenery was beautiful. It was a time for me to truly enjoy myself. I even stopped off at the ice cream parlour and bought myself a scoop of ice cream, except their single scoop translated to what I usually regard as 4 scoops.  But whatever, I figured if I was going to enjoy myself that weekend I’d go all out.

In my travels, I captured many beautiful images. I also stumbled upon a groundhog. Two, actually. And of course, I just had to stop for photos of the cute little one.  After reuniting with the group, we hung out at the pool for a couple hours.  I relaxed and watched the guys play cards before jumping in for a quick dip.  When we were all hungry, we drove out for dinner.  We ended up at a restaurant called The Cottage which was right on the side of the river, and we were lucky to get the seat in the gazebo.  We had a fanastic view and a nice jazz band accompanying our amazingly delicious dinner.

After dinner, we walked along Main St. and discovered The Nutty Chocolatier.  We all became kids in this candy shop as the chocolates and candies filled our senses.  After our short walk, we went back to our home at the resort.  We spent the remainder of the night playing a dozen drinking games, munching on chips, and laughing until our tummies hurt.

DAY 3

Sunday morning came sooner than we wanted it to.  We packed up and checked-out by noon, before heading to the driving range.  After spending some time there, we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon at the pool.  When evening hit, we left the resort and drove to Casino Rama.  There we had our filling buffet dinner and hung around for some time before calling it a night.  Much thanks to Kevin for all the driving throughout the trip.

So the much anticipated weekend has come and gone. I must say it was quite an enjoyable trip. Short, but fun and enjoyable. We had ample bonding time and I had sufficient time alone as well. It was just nice being away from the city, away from stress, away from the work. And despite carrying quite an emotional burden with me, I still managed to find some peace.