Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ForeignPolicyCamp 2009

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Current Mood: Meh...

Current Song: Blame it on the Rain (which I totally am) by Milli Vanilli
I just wanted to write a short note that next week, there's a great event coming up for folks who are development/ foreign policy nerds like myself. ForeignPolicyCamp will be taking place next Monday November 30th from 9-5. In Vancouver, they'll be at Harbour Centre.

This event is being put on by Canada's World, a wonderful organization. The camp is basically going to be asking questions about Canada's role in the world, and the direction of Canadian Foreign Policy. For those of you who don't know what a camp is, there are no tents or marshmallows involved. It's an unconference that will have open sessions, a media lab and case studies. You can choose what you'd like to attend. Some of the topics include engagement in Afghanistan, Africa, Arctic Security, The role of Artists on the international front and tons more.

If you're not in Vancity, there are camps also happening in Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal. We'll all be connected virtually, and it'll be a really fun learning experience. Information about tickets and registration is available on the website http://www.rethinkforeignpolicy.ca/.

There is also a cool flickr campaign where you can add your policy priorities on to a joint flickr group.

I'll be attending. And hopefully be reporting back the following day. Just a word in. Please let your fellow policy nerdlies know :)


Thanks Blogosphere!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Open to Opportunity: What I Admire about Oprah and Kristin Cavallari

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Current Mood: Not yet decided. It's only monday.

Current Song: Worn Me Down by Rachel Yamagata.

I've been mulling over this post for a few days and I finally decided to sit down and write it.

I know you all heard last week that Oprah Winfrey will be retiring her show in September 2011. She says that she can feel in her bones that it's time for a change and that this feels like a good thing to be doing. This must be hard after 25 years, I'm sure. It's practically your child by that point.

So then you must be wondering why I would dare put Television Royalty's name next to Television common folk, often starring in the lowest common denominator available: reality TV. But you all know that I'm a fan of reality TV and my life is (thankfully) not nearly enough drama as that.

Some of you may know Kristin Cavallari from MTV's The Hills. She joined the cast after the departure of Lauren Conrad as the new crap stirrer.

There is something I think the two women have in common. Their ability to be open to new opportunities. While this may be different types of opportunity (new media endeavours and new men, respectively), you have to admire the fact that they realize when something has reached its expiry date. They create a space for something else at that point.

We could all stand to learn a few things from that. No matter how long we've been attached to an idea, be it 25 years or less, sometimes it's important to put the security blanket of an idea aside so you can be open to new things in your life, even if they're a bit scary. It's not only important for personal growth, it allows you the option of different perspectives and helps you step out of the box.

After all, you wouldn't hang on to stale bread forever, would you? So why hang on to a stale idea?

It's one of the lessons I've learned this year, and plan to take with me into 2010, which, I hope will suck a little less.

There are two steps to the process of letting go: one is actually letting go, and the second is being open to the possibility of new, wonderful things happening to you.

Okay, I've said my bit. I'm off to do some work now :) Later taters!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Happy Place

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Current Mood: not bad despite the fact that it's pouring buckets out there

Current Song: Laschia Chio Pianga from Farinelli.

We always hear about Happy Places on television. Usually they're in the context of someone having some sort of major crisis and closing their eyes, standing still and saying something like "still blue pond, still blue pond". But I think each one of us has a happy place that they go to in real life. It's the place where you feel top-notch and where you could come away from smiling for days. You feel the most comfortable there and it brings out the best in you. You're automatically more approachable, more light-hearted, more mellifluous.

Today, I'll tell you about my happy place.

It's a little place at a very large intersection. It's a good 10 minute walk away from public transit, but well worth it. A favourite Italian coffee shop that was re-introduced to me by a friend from my graduate program. There is a giant gellato cone flanking the door. The place blares loud Italian music and is full of kitschy statues of naked men (not complaining, just saying). The tables are glass, and the chairs are meta covered with vinyl cushioning and the biscotti is to die for. It faces on to a very busy street, right across from a Starbucks if you can believe it. It's family owned and the older gentleman that works there calls you "darling" and "honey" when you place your order. The younger one - his son - calls you "sweetheart". They're loud folks and sometimes it's hard to hear your partner.

When I walk in to the mixed air of brewed coffee and moisture left over from the rain, I feel happy. It's dark and warm and a wonderful solace away from busy rattle of daily life. The regulars are always milling around, going from one table to another: old couples, a photographer, young families who walk in with their many children. They all know each other and sometimes I know them too. I smile at them in greeting. When I leave, my jacket smells like the cappuccino I just drank that's giving me the shakes. I walk back down another 10 minutes in the rain. I don't mind.

Such places are just a reminder that when you're down or wanting to escape, find your happy place, in real life, and go there. You'll feel better for it.

Do you have a happy place?

(The rain is subsiding, I must away to my erranding. Later taters!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sometimes the Abyss is Okay.

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Current Mood: Got lots done today. Writing, however, is an epic fail

Current Song: Fireflies by Owl City.

Ever totally felt empty? Like it's all for naught? Sometimes there just isn't the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. It's dark when you get up, it's dark when you to sleep. Nobody calls. The only emails you get are reminders of the perfunctory variety. Life is just bland. Where is the fire? Yeah it's depressing isn't it?

But it's also okay.

I've been having that kind of a couple of months where I feel like I'm sitting around for far too much time. And what's worse is sometimes I don't want to be left alone with my own thoughts. They just go around in circles. And when they do that, they drive me crazy.

But that's fine. I can live with it. I can give myself time to stare into the abyss until I've had enough and then I'll get up and move on.

I sometimes have to remind myself that lying in wait is what's expected of you, when everything is out of your hands. And what you should do when you are waiting is make yourself useful to someone. Or in the very least, make a difference to someone. Send a "just because" text to someone. Be someone's light when you're not feeling particularly illuminated yourself.

Trust me. Sometimes it's worth lighting someone else's path. And leaving the dark to do what it might behind you. Trust that someone will light your path at some point.

For now, just wait. And be alright about it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Giving Thanks on The Examiner!

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Current Mood: a little screamy, but i'll manage.

Current Song: The Sesame Street theme.

I'm lucky enough to know a bunch of really cool folks on Brazen Careerist this year. Over the year that I have been interacting with Brazen, I have gotten to know lots of interesting folks. One of my fellow Brazens, Sharalyn Hartwell, who works as a columnist for The Examiner is doing a fabulous project in honour of Thanksgiving Day. You can read all about it in her column.

Now I know it's not the Thanksgiving Day holiday for us folks up here in Canada, but there's always a reason to be grateful. Today, I'm a featured blogger on the Gen Y Gives Thanks project. You can read all about what I'm thankful for here.

And of course a big gob of gratitude to Sharalyn, who is working so hard to put these out every day. Please do check in with her column often as she has lots of fabulous posts from bloggers just like me :)

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

High School High?

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Current Mood: a tad curmudgeonly.

Current Song: Walking With a Ghost by Tegan and Sara (good song!)

As in my usual way, I sat down at my computer yesterday morning. I am not a morning person and the fog of sleep hadn't yet lifted. I signed on to messenger as per usual and suddenly at 7:30 in the morning, I get a message from a friend : "Did you get the invite??"

"What invite? what are you talking about? I don't even know what your name is, it's so early."

"Check your email!" He says.

Clearly something exciting is going on. Some people have abnormal levels of enthusiasm in the morning. So I check my email.

Sure enough, I have a Facebook invite waiting in my inbox.

For my Highschool Reunion.

That's right. Apparently a decade went by while I was asleep.

I've grappled with the question practically since graduation about whether to go or not. Usually I sided on the "go" team. Part of me feels like being selfish and bragging. About what? I'm not sure. There must be something.

Then there's the grumpy teenager that still lurks around from time to time, that can't be bothered with it. Don't get me wrong. High school wasn't a total waste of time. I had some good friends. And then there were those atrocious moments *cough* gym class *cough* I was happy to start my new life once I graduated.

When I was younger, I had assumed, I might have all the necessary things in place. Now that I'm less than a year away, I realize it might take me a little while until the UN hires me. And probably a little while longer to be in escrow. And maybe a few years still until I win the Pulitzer. Ah the pipe dreams of a young idealist.

I haven't gone at all the way I thought I would be going. Not that I'm not proud of myself. Sometimes it takes a while to believe I've accomplished something in my life. We never really look at the whole retrospective at once do we? I'm sure there are highlights in there somewhere. Perhaps the publishing and the grad degree could stand on their own.

So at the end of it all, I joined the group. I might go. If I can find something nice to wear.