It’s Been a Big Feels Week

I’ve been struggling to write this week, for many reasons. This is my third sincere attempt at it, and I think I’ve finally realized why it’s been so hard to sum up my experiences of the past ten days. There were some fantastic highlights from my visit to Amsterdam, like seeing an old man cycle past wearing naught but a silver speedo; and then there were some difficult times, like following some very troubling world events.

Here’s my attempt to summarize what I’ve been up to, and why it’s been tough to write:

I HAD AN AMAZING TIME IN AMSTERDAM

Let’s just start with the simplest and definitely the most pleasant thing that I’ve experienced this week. My ten-day catsit in Amsterdam was absolutely lovely. The place was incredible, the city was so beautiful, and the cat was such a sweet little weirdo. Plus, my super pal Sophia joined me for the second half of the trip, and we had some epic wanderings and Netflix marathons. I consider myself lucky to have had this opportunity, and I’m trying to focus on my gratitude for the genuine joys of this time.

I AM ALSO PROCESSING SOME TOUGH STUFF

I knew when setting off on this journey that it isn’t really possible to run away from one’s problems… I guess I was just hoping I’d somehow managed to trick the old cosmic jokester into cutting me a break. Between the intense yoga classes I’ve been attending and the self-exploration involved in the Artist’s Way, some deep dark feels have really risen to the surface. It took me a long time to even admit to myself the extent of the traumas I’ve experienced in my life, but this past year definitely takes the cake. And as it turns out, those deep hurts don’t go to bed until they’re good and ready.

PLUS I’VE BEEN OBSESSIVELY FOLLOWING SOME SERIOUS BULLSHIT 

Like the rest of the world, I’ve been obsessed with the Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination amidst Dr. Ford’s sexual assault allegations. Sometimes a world event just strikes a nerve, and this case is so clearly emblematic of a much larger social problem. Even though everything about rape culture is heartbreaking and infuriating, this collective rage we’re feeling can be a hugely powerful tool for change in the face of injustice. Pretty sure we’re all gonna be able to start fires with our minds soon.

So, there you have it. I’m sure there are more stories to be told about my time in Amsterdam, but in the context of these other unravellings, that’s the best I can do.

It’s been a big feels week, for so many people. I hope you’re all doing okay.

-Janice

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Oh Hai, Dream Come True!

I had two very real, very different dreams come to fruition this week.

YOU SHALL NOT PASS WITHOUT TEARS
First, I got to experience the incredible actor Ian McKellen performing onstage, mere meters away from me, in what has got to be a crowning achievement atop an already splendiferous acting career. King Lear had me in tears, partly because it’s such a tragic tale of father and daughter (making me miss my own dad so much), and partly because, as I said, it was an actual dream come true to see, hear, and share space with one of the most revered actors of our time. I kept thinking to myself, “Dad, I saw Gandalf!”

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OH HAI, DREAM COME TRUE
Next, I got to meet Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, stars of The Room, one of my most beloved films. Perhaps not *quite* as revered as Shakespeare, but definitely more significant in my daily life. The film itself was barely audible over the rowdy goons in the crowd – at one point, they even had to call the police to kick out a group of particularly obnoxious men in Hawaiian shirts, who, I kid you not, brought BOXES FULL of plastic spoons to throw at the screen. Watching the film in this environment was memorable enough, but it was completely surreal to meet, greet, and get a photo (I got the picture) with the stars of this film, which has become a cornerstone in my own life.

IN CASE YOU FEEL LIKE PUNCHING ME
Now, if you’re feeling the strong desire to clock me in the face after reading about my incredible week, I don’t blame you. But let me make a few humble suggestions:

  1. Please don’t. I’m not actually as tough as I look.
  2. Think about your own dreams, what they look like, and small ways in which you might make them a priority in your life. (It’s not as impossible as you might think.)
  3. Remember that I also spend good chunks of time fretting about my future, feeling unwell or homesick, missing my dad, and worrying about all sorts of other #HumanProblems that I don’t need to write about here.

In short: everybody hurts sometimes. And other times you just vote for Pedro.

-Janice

Shakespeare and The Room

I’ve been in the U.K. for a week now, and I’m finally starting to feel a bit more settled. This is precisely the time to start having wild adventures! For nerdy lil indoor kids like ourselves, this essentially means going for a walk and grabbing a pint. 🍺

Croydon, in spite of its reputation for being a bit of a rough area, has quite a bit of cool stuff going on. The thing that’s really struck me is all of the amazing graffiti (with a few very interesting pieces going up right in our neighbourhood just a couple days ago).

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Sadly didn’t grab the name of the artist. But I need a house like this someday.

Besides just wandering around our little slice of London, we’ve got some pretty exciting plans this week. First, we’re going to see Sir Ian McKellen perform in the great Shakespearean tragedy, King Lear. I mean, that’s quite simply a dream come true.

Then later in the week, another masterpiece… The Room with Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero! Matt’s been to meet these fellas a couple of times before (which is one of the many things we bonded over in the early days) but this will be my very first time.

What would you say to your hero… particularly if that hero was Tommy Wiseau?

-Janice

First Stop: Croydon!

Here we are, folks. I’m finally in the U.K. at Matt’s place in Croydon (South London). After a day of jetlagged canoodling, I’ve resurfaced feeling like some proximation of my usual self. I’m ripe and ready to explore this first chapter of our travelling journey.

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Two twerps in Croydon are better than one! 🤓 🤓

When I met Matt a year ago (our first date being in a “car park” as the locals would say; our second being a four-day excursion to New York City), I knew I was in for some awesome adventures. But could I have predicted all of the highs and lows of the past year? And that I’d end up here, on the brink of a big ol’ European excursion? No way.

(I mean, I only got my bite plane like a week ago, and I’m fairly certain it’s just enabled my telepathic abilities; I have yet to master clairvoyance, telekinesis, and teleportation.)

I’ve flown to the UK three times in the past year, but this trip over was different. Rather than just a single, fun but hectic week of visiting friends and family, we’re properly together now, after a whole damn year of long-distance love. Way to go, us!

Oh, and of course, there’s also the small fact that for the first time in my life, I’m technically without a home. Or rather, my home will be changing every few weeks for the next several months. But my travels of the past few years have reassured me that no matter what comes my way, I can handle it. Plus, this time I’ll have a loving partner by my side – one who has supported me through some of the most difficult days of my life.

Like all times of transition, it’s scary but exhilarating. I’m grateful to be where I am, both geographically and in life; I’ve just gotta do all the things that keep me grounded, like writing, yoga, and drinking lots of tea (eight times a day, now I’m in England).

What do you do to keep your feet on the ground during ch-ch-changes?

-Janice