Friday, December 30, 2011

Today is Different

Something I learned long ago was that no day is like any other. This is something that I learned when I began to journal regularly. There was a girl in my seminary class, and she wondered what she could write in a journal each day, because they all seem pretty much the same. My heart screamed out that they are not! Every day is different. I knew that from writing each day, accounting for the events, looking for those things that were different. No day was ever the same as another.

But it can be easy to get drawn into the routine of life. It can be easy to feel like day by day, we go along doing the same things, and while we may progress toward certain goals in some ways, that our lives are ultimately just a mash and smattering of dull gray days with a sameness about them. I know I've felt like that, and that mentality is and always has been there in varying degrees.

I felt an awakening a little less than two years ago, when I realized the ultimate beauty and importance of the moment. And I've strayed from that a bit through my "survival mode" and adjusting to living in a new place, but it is something I never want to lose sight of for long.

Everything is different today. The patterns of weather, and how they all correspond to each other across the world, will never be exactly the same again. The clouds will never take that same shape again. The grass won't be at that length, with that history of growth. I will never be this age again. This moment is a moment all to me. It is the only moment I have right now, and it is the only time I will ever this moment. In an hour, it will be a different moment.

No day is inconsequential. Lives change every day, all around us. We change. We are who we are today. Today is what matters. Today, at this moment in time, all of the past, and all the possibility of the future converge into this one moment, into this undeniable existence of now. Enjoy it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sometimes I feel like I've woken up in an alternate reality. That is the closest thing to what I think living in another country feels like. The grocery store closes at 9pm every night, so all food items must be bought before then. Any other kind of store closes at 5pm, except Kmart. So if you go into the mall at 8:30pm to wander over to a Kmart, there is this creepy feeling of a zombie apocalypse. Everything is empty, and there is no one there. It feels like the world is dead. I mean, it's weird enough that people actually shop at Kmart.  The only things that exist that remind you of the country you've left are the golden arches, and the Hungry Jack's logo which resembles the 90s Burger King logo. Ketchup doesn't come with fries. Everywhere you go to eat sells schnitzels, but no one serves a steak with steak sauce. Everything has a different name too. The trunk is the boot. The hood is the bonnet. The mall is the shops. Position is posi. The weather is completely different. There are still the same months, and the same dates pass, but they feel completely different. Summer is starting as Christmas comes. There's no snow. The 4th of July was one of the coldest days of the year. Chinese means a nice dinner out with banquets and lots of courses, not quick take-out and cheap delivery. There is no Mexican anywhere. Everything that resembles Mexican has an off taste. The best tasting Mexican I've had here had chicken that tasted distinctly Indian. Amazon doesn't work. I've ordered from Amazon tons of times, always gotten my item within the time, usually for free shipping. I bought something off Amazon, and it was supposed to arrive by today, and they have to ship a new one out. The rental market is ridiculous. You have to supply things that would be required for a police clearance to prove that you should be accepted for a 6 month rental property. Money isn't good enough. Offered to pay however much up front, and people didn't seem to care about that. It is impossible to get a job, for me. I could go back to America, which is nearing a 10% unemployment rate, and be sure that I could find a job, that if I just looked hard enough or lowered my standards that I could find some sort of employment. (This is in large part to do with my visa, which that situation will hopefully change when I get a permanent visa). Everyone works on Thanksgiving. We got one trick-or-treater for Halloween, and people apparently have a backlash against Halloween here because they don't want to be too American, all the while happily chomping down their big macs and whoppers. Swearing is meaningless here. So is making fun of someone. No one takes it seriously, so it is done all the time, about everything. Adult and family culture is dominated by drinking. It's not just a 20s phase that passes for most people.

(I kind of got interrupted while writing this, and never really finished it, and am a bit out of that mode right now but figure I'll post it anyway.)