Being alone

Note: By “being alone,” I’m not talking directly about being single, but more so about being with and by yourself.
For the longest time, I was perfectly fine with being alone, just spending time by myself and enjoying doing my alone-hobbies, as I call them. But at that point in my life, I had never been in a long-term relationship, and I didn’t fully understand what it was to share your time and your experiences with one person. That being said, I never felt as though I was unable to have “me time,” at any point in my life, but it definitely hit me hard this past month when I realized I was no longer comfortable just being by myself.

It’s different for everyone, and it can change from day to day. I know that some days, I want to be alone. And then some days, I desperately want to be comforted by the presence of others. I suppose being unemployed is definitely not helping my case, but I started to wonder why I felt this way and how I could look at it differently, change my perspective of being alone.

The first cause that comes to mind when someone mentions not wanting to be alone is loneliness. A lot of people might think that it’s the main reason certain people don’t want to be alone, and in some cases that is true, but I think sometimes it can also be because you’re scared to see who you’ve become. Do you like who you are? Are you able to spend time alone and not criticize yourself? Those are questions I asked myself, and I’m glad that I did because it allowed me to take a step back and think about how I perceive myself.

I have been so fortunate to have grown up in the environment that I did, surrounded by wonderful caring friends and family who have done nothing but support me in being myself. Everybody has shitty days where you don’t feel like you like yourself very much, but generally speaking, I love the person I’ve become. I’m proud of who I am, where I come from. I am comfortable in my own skin, and I accept that I have good qualities and bad qualities.

That being said, I realize that in fact neither of the causes mentioned above apply to me. During a long conversation with a good friend, who is also unemployed, it came to me that the discomfort of being alone might be due to restlessness and feeling unaccomplished. Despite the fact that I do try to make to-do lists and give myself goals every day, it’s not quite as satisfying as having specific tasks and responsibilities like you do when working full time.

On the positive side of things, I think this is making me become more aware of what it’s like to be self-employed. Given the fact that I do want to pursue music as a career, this is probably a really big learning curve for me. I’ve always been good at self-discipline, time management, stress management, etc, however, I’ve only had to do so in a structured environment. Now that I’m “working” completely independently, without specific guidelines and timeframes, it’s more difficult to stay motived and focused on your tasks and goals. Even writing blog posts seems more demanding, and all I do is talk about myself!

And speaking of myself, here is a list of the benefits that I feel I have drawn from being alone/being with myself:

  • Self-reflection
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-care
  • Self-acceptance
  • Learning the value of yourself and of your opinions
  • Appreciation of relationships and interactions

“It’s better to be alone than lonely with someone else.”

Travel plans

For those of you who weren’t aware, my roommate Julie and I are doing a cross-country road trip, from Nova Scotia to Alberta, on November 2nd 2015. And given the fact that I have so much free time lately, I’ve decided to do a lot of planning and preparation for this trip. So far, I’ve done research on how and what to pack, I looked up which apps are most useful for road trips, and I found a bunch of games and activities we can play to keep busy when the driving seems unbearable. But my favourite part of trip planning is by far making an itinerary.

We changed it up a few times, and we will probably continue to do so in the coming weeks, but I feel like we’ve got a good itinerary done up for the drive up to Alberta. Here’s a quick list of spots we’ll be visiting during the 5 day trek:

  • Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Edmundston, New Brunswick
  • Montreal, Québec
  • Toronto, Ontatio
  • Windsor, Ontario
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Fargo, North Dakota
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Red Jacket, Saskatchewan
  • Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Edmonton, Alberta (Dropping Julie off here)
  • Grande Prairie, Alberta

Right off the bat, I’d just like to say that if you are located in or nearby any of these regions and that you would like to meet up, please contact us ASAP and we’ll definitely fit you into our itinerary! I’ve contacted a few friends already about finding some places to stay along the way, but if you or anyone you know would be able to accommodate us for a night, please feel free to let us now as well.

As eager as I am, I haven’t started packing quite yet – but I won’t deny that it has crossed my mind more than once while looking through my closet. What I have started doing is gathering up some supplies that we will need for such a long trip. Today’s goal was to get most of the car essentials, such as a gas canister, oil, anti-freeze, windshield washer fluid, lysol wipes, first aid kit, emergency kit, etc. In a week and a half, I’ll be heading to my dad’s to get my inspection done on the car (let’s hope to God everything goes well and that I don’t need to replace some very expensive parts), get the cracked windshield replaced, get my oil changed, and get my winter tires installed. Luckily, my uncle will be doing that work so I don’t have to worry about getting ripped off like in previous years – GM, I’m looking at you.

Aside from getting all the essential items for the car, I also made a packing list for all the stuff we might need during our travels/that I will need during my time in Alberta. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Packing list

If anyone has suggestions on what else to bring or if anyone notices that I’ve forgotten something important, please feel free to let me know in the comment section below.

That’s pretty much where I’m at right now with the whole planning situation. I’ve got another 36 days to get everything organized and then we hit the road!

Being unemployed

Let’s just put it out there: I’m unemployed.

But the weird thing is, I’ve never actually been unemployed until just now. I mean, why would I have been? I had been a student for the majority of my life and always managed to find some kind of work for the summers. And then reality hits you in the face when you – like all the others – come to realize that you have no idea what you’re doing with your life.

Ok, that sounds a bit over-dramatic – for some people. I know myself as a person. I know what I like, what I dislike. I know what kind of jobs I have enjoyed doing, and which ones I have not. I have work experience and 5 years of university studies under my belt. But that doesn’t mean I know what I want to do with all of that baggage.

As soon as I got laid off from my previous job – did I mention it was a full time position with benefits? – I had to begin job hunting. I decided to start with a simple google search for job openings in my area. Of course, numerous job bank websites pop up in the results and you have the debate as to whether or not you want to create a profile on every single one of them. Well, that’s pretty much what I ended up doing. But you know what sucks? There’s still not that much out there.

I will admit that I don’t live in a really big city (population of 60 000) so that might be one of the reasons that job opportunities are limited. But have you ever noticed that every single job posting requires years of experience? How in the hell am I supposed to get a decent paying job when all I have is the experience of two summers as a student employee? Luckily, I am somewhat optimistic and I apply for jobs regardless of my lack of experience. Sometimes, it works out; and sometimes it doesn’t.

Here’s the thing though. I keep thinking about the fact that this is the first time I’ve ever been unemployed, as a non-student adult, and I wonder if there is an advantage to this. I currently don’t have anything tying me down. I can travel, I can write music, I can spend my time doing whatever it is I want to be doing. But on the other hand, the lack of routine stresses me out. I don’t know what to do with myself. How do people make the time go by? I’m still trying to figure that one out.

Those are pretty much my thoughts on unemployment, or at least, my current state of unemployment. I try to take it one day at a time, give myself objectives and daily goals so I don’t go crazy thinking about all the nothingness that lies ahead, and I make plans that I can get excited about.

Life goes on, and I know that good will come from this.

Summer 2015

In two days, summer will officially have come and gone. It really feels as though it’s gone by in the blink of an eye. I must admit that it was quite an eventful summer, compared to previous summers. A lot has happened, and a lot has changed. I’ve traveled, I’ve met new people, I’ve listened to new music and attended numerous concerts. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve been confused and I’ve been upset. I’ve changed and I’ve grown as a person. And today, I take the time to look back at all of my experiences from this summer and how they have shaped me.

The month of June was an exciting one because not only did Richard and I have a trip to Boston planned out, but it also marked the beginning of summer for the kids at the daycare. The beginning of summer at daycare always means a week of jam-packed activities based on a theme, and this year, we chose to do Superheroes VS Supervillains! You can imagine we were pretty busy at work making decorations and planning games and activities for hours on end. We even went in to work the weekend before the first week of summer to get everything set up. As for our trip to Boston, it was actual a lot less expensive that we had budgeted, and we got to see one of his favorite metal bands, Dillinger Escape Plan. Did I also mention that we stayed at a Marriott Hotel and I got the room at half price thanks to Hotwire.com? Yeah, definitely a great way to start the summer!

OH! I almost forgot to mention the biggest highlight of June 2015: After six months, my credit card company finally reimbursed the fraud charges from my trip to India in November/December 2014!!! I can’t even begin to explain the relief that washed over me. It took numerous phone calls, both to the credit card company, and to our contact in India, countless e-mails to the police in India, as well as a well written, detailed complaint to the credit card company. To give you the shortened version of the story, we were victims of a scam the first day we arrived to Delhi and my credit card was charged for $5000 CAD. We only realized what had happened on the second day, and at this point we were 10 hours away from Delhi so we lied to our driver, got him to take us back to the airport where we were picked up by a wonderful gentleman who worked at the hotel that I had initial booked for our first night in Delhi. From there, I called and cancelled my credit card. Then we booked an actual tour for the remainder of our time in India and managed to do even more than we had hoped throughout our five week long trip. I even called the credit card company twice on Skype (thank God for wi-fi!), and both times they had confirmed the fraud charges and told me to go and enjoy the rest of my trip. Two months after we returned to Canada, my bank statement is still showing the fraud charge plus interest for the two months that I hadn’t checked my account. Panic washed over me as I tried to deal with the man who was responsible for my file. He basically told me that the chances of being reimbursed were slim to none. So you can imagine that after finally receiving that sum of money that I closed my account and switched back to my old bank.

In any case, let’s move on to July! The month of July was looking mighty fine. Richard and I made plans to go to a music festival called Afternoon Delight, to go to a good friend’s wedding in Edmundston, and to go down to Sydney, Nova Scotia for my dad and stepmom’s annual family reunion. But due to unforeseen circumstances, everything didn’t go quite as planned. And then a series of misfortunate events happened, and well… you’ll understand once I get into the details of it all.

We did end up going to Afternoon Delight, as planned, but for some reason thought it would be a good idea to come back home the same night instead of camping out like everyone else. Well, the music was pretty amazing all day, and I got to see one of my old friends from Nova Scotia that I hadn’t seen for years! There was also face/body painting being done (oh my god, basically my favorite thing ever!), food vendors, live painting, handmade crafts and clothing for sale, and much much more. The main reason we were going was to see a band called Moon Hooch. If you haven’t heard of these guys, you are obligated to click on the link and take a listen. You won’t regret it. And their live performance was IN-SANE! As exhausted as I was at 2AM, it was all worth it. And I feel incredibly thankful that Richard volunteered to drive all the way back to town. I attempted to stay awake and talk with him on the ride home but passed out cold within the first five minutes. Oops.

On Friday July 10th was our friend Janik’s wedding. I had had a hard time taking the day off work, because the wedding was at 7PM, in a town that was 5 hours away from Moncton. But in the end, I got the day off and was able to go. Richard, on the other hand, had booked a gig with his band in PEI the same night, so fortunately he didn’t need the day off, but was unfortunately unable to join me to go to the wedding. I ended up going with a gang of friends music university and we had a great weekend. The ceremony was absolutely flawless, as could be expected from such a lady. We danced, and laughed, and ate a ton of cake! We also made a fire and sang old acadian songs in four part harmonies. Amazing night. I got a drive back to town the next day with some of my guy friends because I didn’t want to stay in town for an extra night.

The next day, I get a text from my best friend who, at the time, was living out in Alberta. It sounds like something’s wrong, he texted “Gotta talk.” Obviously, as a caring person would do, I called him immediately. He wasn’t answering, which was odd because he usually always answer his phone. I go to hang up and feel suspicious about the way he had been texting and walk to the front door. As soon as I can see out the window, I notice him standing there, a smirk on his face. Typical Max decided to surprise everyone by not telling us he was coming to New Brunswick. He came inside and we talked for a bit while I got stuff ready because I was heading to a party in Cap Pelé that night. It was great catching up because he had been living out West for almost three years now and I only ever got to see him at Christmas time, if we were both around at the same time. It felt like old times telling stories about our family and friends.

And speaking of family, Richard had another gig booked for the same weekend as our annual family reunion on my dad’s side of the family, so I had been planning on making the trip alone. But then when I realized that Max was in town for a few weeks, I figured why not invite to come since he was pretty close with that side of my family. Plus, he was also best friends with my step-sister, who was unaware that he was visiting, so we decided it would be another surprise visit. I even managed to get Monday off work so we could drive down to my hometown in Chéticamp to go watch Ronald Bourgeois (definitely check out his music as well – french musician from my hometown). It was an amazing weekend filled with so many hilarious and beautiful moments.

The following week was a busy one, and led to the series of misfortunate events that was the end of July. I started to question whether or not I was happy with my life. I came to realize that I wasn’t; and it wasn’t easy to admit, neither to the people I cared about most, nor to myself. So after spending some time alone, I came to the conclusion that I needed to make a decision about my relationship. Richard and I had been together for two and a half years. It was coming to the point where I felt like I needed to decide whether or not I was in it for the long run. And sadly, I realized that I was not.

This month was particularly hectic because I had nowhere to live. Fortunately, I have amazing friends (and friends of friends) who graciously accepted to keep me up throughout the entire month. As for work – yes, Richard and I both work at the same daycare – it was a bit awkward to tell our coworkers, but it was going well and we knew how to be professional and to keep our personal matters at home.

Then came August. As hard as the entire month was, I still managed to make some great memories with family and friends: I started dating Max; I took motorcycle rides to visit Shediac, Gordon Falls, and Hopewell Rocks; I played a gig with my band Les imprévus for the acadian festival called Acadie Rock in Moncton on August 15th, which is Acadian Day (Fête des Acadiens); I went to see one of my favorite acadian rock bands, Les Hôtesses d’Hilaire, that same night and celebrated my acadian heritage and culture with all my friends; I got to spend time with my mom, step-dad and my niece who visited me in Moncton; I moved out of my apartment; and I finally moved into my new place.

And so that brings us to September. I was pretty glad when September came around, but the coming of September also meant that Max was going back to Alberta. Good news: that got postponed. Bad news: shortly after the good news, he got a call from a buddy in Alberta who said he found him a job. Max took the afternoon to get some more details on the job, talked to his parents and me about what he should do, and in the end, we all agreed he should take the job. So he booked his plane ticket right away and we drove to meet his parents in Miramichi to get all of his stuff. He was flying out the following day at noon.

Let me tell you that despite the fact that this is a new relationship (we became an official couple on the day he flew out), accepting the fact that we would be apart was so much harder than I had imagined. While we drove to the airport, I came to the realization that I had never had to say goodbye to someone before. I was usually the one who was travelling or leaving. And all of a sudden, I was in someone else’s shoes and I didn’t know how I was going to feel about that. Of course, I knew saying goodbye would not be easy, but I underestimated how much it would weigh on my heart. In the end though, saying goodbye is part of life, and it’s not so much goodbye as it is “See you later.”

About a week later, life decided it was not done giving me bad news. Friday evening, right before we were finished work, my boss asked me to go into her office. She had a very serious look on her face and I began to worry that I had done something wrong, so I prepared for constructive criticism. Unfortunately, that did not prepare me whatsoever for what she actually needed to tell me. I was told that I was being laid off in two weeks time. I talked with her for a bit about what this would entail. I actually ended up crying, and I felt so unprofessional. I asked if I could leave right away despite the fact that it was only 5:20pm, and she said that was alright. I called my family and close friends to tell them, and even texted Richard because I wondered if they had told the other employees already. I was pretty upset – and that is putting it lightly – because I actually loved my job. Not only that, but it paid well, had great hours, and I had benefits. Now I had nothing. I didn’t know how I would be able to face all the kids again, knowing that I would have to leave them in two weeks. I thought about it all weekend, and I called in sick on Monday (As a side note, I had actually been sick for over a week and was still having trouble breathing on Monday because of new medication). I called my employer again later in the day and decided I would prefer to be laid off immediately instead. So that’s what we did.

The next day, I applied for EI and started updating my resume, writing cover letters, and checking for job opportunities. Unfortunately, there aren’t many job offers for which I am qualified here in Moncton, and that was weighing down on me a bit. I called my mom and after talking for a while, she suggested that I could always go to Alberta to work there for a bit to make more money and spend some time with Max. I don’t know why, but the idea had never come to mind. I actual could. I didn’t really have anything holding me here, and I was due for some traveling. I had been checking flight prices for a while now anyway, so I could either get a one-way ticket and then figure out the rest later, or I could drive across Canada, which I had always wanted to do.

When I talked to my roommate Julie about the idea of going out West, she suggested we drive there together and split the gas (booya) and then she could get a flight home and I could stay there for an undetermined amount of time. I actually loved that idea right off the bat and I said let’s do it. So we’re doing it. We leave Sunday November 1st. I guess I’m going to Alberta!

Introductions are in order…

You might be wondering “Who are you?”

Good question, to which I don’t have a definite answer.

But I will do my best to give you a brief description of the person who is writing these blog entries.

I am a 24 year old woman living in Moncton, New-Brunswick, which is in Eastern Canada. I graduated from university in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in music, specifically studying classical guitar. I play in a french band called Les imprévus, but I don’t make a living making music – yet. I am definitely passionate about music and I plan to continue working in that domain for the rest of my life, although I do have a lot of other interests.

In my spare time, which is actually a lot of time because I just recently got laid off from my job at day care due to lack of funding, I love to write. I’ve also been really interested in photography for last 8 years but I feel as though I haven’t given myself the time to explore that domain since I moved to New-Brunswick 6 years ago. Aside that, I also love traveling, reading, doing yoga, meal planning and home organisation.

I’m actually a bit obsessed with planning and organizing in general. Big shout out to Pinterest for all the amazing tips and tricks that motivate me to continue getting into new projects or trying out new meals. And speaking of meals, I LOVE to cook. I’m not great at it, but I love it nevertheless. I even have a blog about the meals I make with my stuffed giraffe, Gary (it’s meant to be comedic). Oh, and I’m vegetarian.

I’m not quite sure what else I could say about myself. I guess I could attempt to describe my personality to you, but then again, it would be quite biased, so I’ll just let you figure that out for yourself.

All in all, I am who I am.