Buoy and Bauble

My favourite store at Peggy’s Cove was one that seemed rather like nothing from the outside. Maybe that’s why I loved it so much.

From the outside I saw only hints of glass and flashes of colour. The building itself looked rather shabby, with peeling paint and dirty windows. But inside lay a sea of treasures.

The ceiling is low and covered in fishing net that is attached to the wall by dried starfish and shells. Many of the items for sale were truly vintage – well worn from years of hard work.

A small stack of used books greeted me first. Then I looked up and saw the bold colours of painted buoys. They hung wherever there was space, all dressed up in maritime colours.

More subdued were the retired lobster cages, sun bleached and aged with sea water. Driftwood, coral stones, and rusty anchors gave the place a certain unexpected appeal.

A large whale jawbone drew the clicks of many cameras – mine included.

At the entrance an old man sat, whittling away at small piece of wood. He was polite and cheerful, with the patience of a seasoned fisherman.

Perhaps my favourite aspect was the old glass bottles that lined the window. Some were chipped, and most of them were a little bit dirty. I like to think that they were found objects – bits and pieces that he had collected through his years out on the ocean and along the beaches. Or perhaps they were old bottles that he had collected over time. Medicine, alcohol, pills… I think they are my favourite because there is a kind of curiosity behind them.

As I left I passed by his front desk where the old man sat. The table was covered in large sea shells and small hand-painted buoys. Five dollars. They were simple. It wouldn’t be hard to make one myself. But I handed over the money with a delighted smile.

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Whirlwind

Life has been a bit of a whirlwind lately, what with the wedding coming up and all.

Most weekends have been spent away from home, helping with venue renovations. The rest of the time has been spent either working or doing something wedding-related.

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Testing out the Polaroid for the wedding. Took pictures of my cat, of course.

It’s a small wedding, but wow do these take a lot of time and effort.

It will all be worth it, of course, and as it gets closer, I keep getting more and more excited about it.

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Progress! The windows are in and it’s been cleared out. 

And I have to admit that I love spending time at the venue. The farm is gorgeous and the people are wonderful. It’s busy and tiring, but I always leave feeling refreshed.

The other weekend I had the task of shining up a bunch of antique window locks. They were incredibly rusted, so I scrubbed and oiled and baked and they turned out gorgeously.

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We’ll actually be able to open windows now!

Little by little the venue is coming together. I feel like there’s something special about a place that both my fiancé and I have worked on together. A place filled with the hard work, dedication, and love of so many people.

We’re almost there, and I couldn’t be more excited.

A World Away from Home: And the Last

Our last day in Zurich, we decided to actually go hiking this time. We went on a short hike up a local mountain, and were rewarded with a spectacular view of the city and the far mountains. It really is beautiful.

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Peekaboo view along the way.

We also met up with a friend I’ve known since elementary school who happened to have moved to Switzerland recently. It was really nice to catch up, since I hadn’t seen her since I graduated high school.

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Apparently it was a bit hazy so we couldn’t see all the mountains. Still beautiful.

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Countryside on this side.

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My sister forbade me from yodelling.

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There was a nice cafe at the top.

We took our time hiking, since my sister had previously managed to pull a muscle, but it was nice not to be in a rush. It was a popular trail, and the locals also used it for jogging. Definitely felt a lot like home.

Afterwards we decided to go into the city to do a little bit of shopping. And of course, since we were in Switzerland, we had to go get some Swiss army knives! And kitchen knives. Because it was about time we upgraded from cheap Costco knives to proper knives that cut rather than squish tomatoes (no more sad salads).

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Swiss army knives.

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LOTS of Swiss army knives.

The store was quite big, and had very impressive displays. I decided to get a cute little Swiss army knife to put on my keychain, and Ryan decided to get the actual Swiss army knife. A little bit of his and hers, I suppose.

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I can’t say I didn’t get it because the cat looks like Jerry

We also got some delicious Sprungli chocolate. The white chocolate was my favourite. It wasn’t overly sweet, as most white chocolate is. And it had a hint of a grassy taste from the type of cows they use. I should have bought more than one bar. It’s not cheap, but well worth it.

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Super cute little Sprungli cows.

Then we had to say goodbye to my friend as she headed home and we wandered back to my sister’s apartment to get ready for dinner. We went to her friend’s place for a barbecue dinner which consisted of lots of meat, bread, and delicious homemade garlic butter. Also two salads and tons of ice cream. (We tried to make oreo milkshakes but ended up with a kind of soft serve. Wasn’t complaining.)

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It was a wonderful day to be out and about, and a great way to end the trip. A week was way too short, but I’m glad that we went. Seeing family is always worth it.

Now that I’m home, I definitely miss Europe, and I miss the family I have there. But it’s also nice to be back in my own place, still surrounded by family and loved ones. It’s quite incredible, to be able to have important people in so many different places. There are so many trips to be had. So many places to see, and never enough time.

Until next time, Europe.

Washi Tape

Life has definitely taken a turn for the busier. Between settling into a new job (which I absolutely love), wedding planning, and trying to make it out to the island as often as possible to help out with renovations, my writing has been slightly neglected.

So while I do have a few posts drafted, I haven’t been posting nearly as much as I want to.

I did, however, want to do a very short post about my new discovery: Washi Tape!

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Gorgeous details on the tape!

It’s nothing new to many people, but it’s something I had never even heard of before. It’s a papery tape that’s slightly translucent and can be used for decorating and labelling. It’s so versatile and incredibly fun! Since I started working at my new job, I’ve been extremely inspired to be as creative as possible.

So I decided to try using washi tape to decorate my wedding invites, and I really love the results! I’ll definitely be using it a lot in the future.

 

Little Creations

I try, as much as possible, to make my cards by hand. I don’t always have the time, and I’m a sucker for Papyrus cards… but most of the time I like adding that extra personal touch.

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My most recent card.

After a bit of a break from painting, I’m still getting back into using watercolour and remembering its unpredictable and finicky tendencies. But I love how calming it is. How much fun it is to play around with colours and watch as they interact.

This card took me two tries. The first one didn’t turn out so well, but allowed me to get a feel for the way I wanted the colours to move. I find that, much like writing, the second drafts and those thereafter are much more refined.

I am hoping that eventually I’ll paint cards that I can sell on Etsy or in local stores. Cards that are heartfelt in their colours and messages. Because we don’t always have the time to make our own, but sometimes we want to show people just how much we care. And I believe that art can do just that.

That is

A presence, everlasting.

Love and wisdom. Knowledge in their eyes.

With each word, we change. Slightly, subtly.

Sometimes it is blood that binds us. Sometimes it is choice. Love transcends blood; cements what choice connects.

Nature’s hold is tangible in the increasing lines and slowing motions. But even She does not hold back our souls.

Sometimes a single glance. A clasping of hands.

“I know.”

Is all that is needed.

Potential

We met twice in that moment.

Once as our eyes registered. Twice as our souls resonated in waves that we could not, at the time, comprehend.

It was only as we walked away, lonely souls forever lost in the crowds, that we realized what we had missed.

Do you sometimes wonder what would have happened if you had stopped to say hi?

Thief

 

There’s a darkness in this room now. The taint spreads from the corner. The window through which you violated my sanctuary. You oozed your way in, desperate, thieving.

You snatched memories from my shelves, cruel in your careless swipes and disregard. Your selfish desire.

You linger even after you sprint away from the crime. Your greedy hands pilfer the happiness from my mind. I can feel you staring, a faceless shadow.

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You don’t realize how much of a violation it is until it’s your home that’s broken into. It was only amazing support from family and friends that got me out of the strange funk I was in after it happened. 

But if he was so desperate to break into a house and steal, then he must be at a low point in his life. 

The sentimental value was the hardest blow. Items I can always replace. 

But his actions will follow him for the rest of his life. And with these thoughts, the anger drains. And all I can do now is hope that he finds a better path.

Blended

Christine Fichtner Vancouver Chinatown

I love the blending of styles within the city. Face the tall, glass buildings, the busy streets. Then turn and breathe in the serenity of the gardens and koi pond.

There are small nuggets to find buried within the city. In the middle of everything, and yet cut off and bubbled in its own unique tranquility.

There’s always some place to go when you need to relax, to get away, even if you cannot leave the city.

 

Balance

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Balance, I have found, is one of the hardest things to maintain in life.

On one hand, but on the other. How do I find a good medium?

Though I don’t think about it very often, and perhaps compared to others it’s not as bad, but I am a rather work-driven person.

The idea of having not working is so foreign that I cannot even consider it. When I came back from Korea, I immediately started teaching after only one and a half days. Never mind jetlag, never mind vacation. I had to work.

I want to work more on my writing, but how can I not teach as many hours as possible during the week?

So I fill my hours with teaching, and the rest with writing, and the next thing I know I’m exhausted and haven’t taken a break in weeks.

I love writing. It’s a huge passion. And I love teaching, too. But they’re work, no matter what I might think otherwise. And yet if I’m not teaching, then I should be writing. if I’m not writing during my free time, I’m wasting precious hours. I’m slacking off.

So where do I find a balance?

I’m still searching for it.

It’s all a state of mind, for me. I have to remember that I need breaks, too. I can’t work nonstop, even if I enjoy it. The exhaustion is crippling and unhealthy.

Moderation. Balance.

I’m working on it.

 

A World of Comings and Goings

One of the hardest things about working abroad is the rate at which people come and go.

There are 5 foreign teachers at my school, and so far the other 4 have all left, and been replaced by 4 more.

On one hand I’ve met 8 people, which is wonderful. They have been, for the most part, pretty cool.

On the other hand, I have had some very sad and teary goodbyes. One of which happened yesterday.

It’s rare to feel such a strong connection with someone in such a short amount of time, but it happened to me, and I’m so sad that they’re gone.

Now they live halfway across the world, and it seems like forever and a day until I’ll get to see them again. But I remind myself that I have formed a lifelong friendship, and this means that no matter where we are, we will find a way to meet again.

Sharing a friendship, a connection, is beautiful. Beautiful in the sorrow of parting, for it reminds us how much we cherish each other. And beautiful in the joy we feel in greeting them after so long. I am so lucky to have met the people I have, and that is what keeps me going in a life of comings and goings.

When you finally spring to life

It’s the breeze that first tells you that today you won’t freeze. It caresses soft whispers into your ear. No longer does it bite your chin when you walk away, nor crawl under your clothes to thief away your warmth.

Suddenly your steps are lighter, quicker. The ends of your lips curl infinitesimally upwards. Deep within your eyes, hope flares to life.

Already the memories of past discomfort are fading. Of frozen toes and red-tipped noses. Of chunks of frozen hair lost with a careless gesture. Of hands permanently stuck in coat pockets, and shoulders hunched forward, defensively, resignedly.

Already you envision your winter coat hung up in the closet. Your thick socks rolled up at the back of the drawer. Your woolen sweaters guarded by mothballs.

You look up as the sound of a small bird’s chirp prods your soul. The tree’s branches are still bare, but that will change soon. Though the bird blends in well, your eager eye is quick to spot it. You reluctantly move on, aware that, should you linger too long, your boss will not be pleased. Alas, not everyone is cheered by the lively hints of spring.

You stare wistfully at the deceptive, blue sky.

A particularly strong gust of wind sneaks down the back of your coat. You shiver.

Soon the wind croons.

Soon. Not quite yet, but soon.

And Then I Dreamed: Hellhounds

They’re chasing after her, those red-eyed hellhounds in skins of man. She darts away, barely ahead. Her eyes are wide, her breaths released in sobs. Her long hair is taunting as it narrowly escapes the hungered reaches of her pursuers.

I cannot lie still and do nothing.

The hunters are gaining. Their eyes are gleaming. Tongues slide across bloodied teeth. They whip their horses with cruel strokes, cutting into skin, and red droplets are trampled under death dealing hooves.

Squeals are drawn from the worn steeds. Whites show as eyes roll and froth drips from chained mouths.

My heart clenches at the thought of their success. To see her fall, her red life trampled and bleeding into the ground, the notion alone makes me feel sick.

I reach out my hand, and her eyes meet mine. They’re wild, untamed. For a moment the glowing orbs rebel, until hungry cries behind her relieve her of choice. She changes direction, eyes locked with mine, and I, too, begin my journey forward.

But she is not the only one who has spotted me. The hunters renew their efforts. Now they hunt not one, but two prey.

A spike of fear runs me through. But the mere thought of them succeeding burns away the hesitation that threatened my limbs.

I can feel the tremors of the deadly hooves hitting the ground, approaching; the pounding drums that herald death.

Desperation fuels us, and finally we clasp hands. A relieved sob caresses my lips. I wrap my arms around her, and we fall to the ground. Above us the hunters triumph, horses rearing, hooves flailing, readying to execute the final note of the hunters’ drums.

But when the beat sounds, we are no longer there. For up we have flown, past the reaching hands, past the drumming hooves.

Shadowy in form, we race for the sky. Arms like wings we flap, fighting to go higher, higher. And then we begin to fall, and desperation once again claws at my heart. This wasn’t right. We had to go up. We had to. And so we rise, up and up, so light, ‘till the scene below feels like naught but a mere dream.

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I often have these adventure dreams where I’m on a quest to save someone. I’m not quite sure why. I guess I fancy myself a hero. Ha.