Thursday, March 26, 2015

Coming out of a LDR (Long Distance Relationship) stronger than ever

     Disclaimer: I am in no way an expert in relationships. What works for my relationship may not for yours. However, I don't know about all of you out there in a LDR, but I know reading about other people in the same situation and how they deal with it helps me a lot. It allows me to see past the loneliness and the waiting game, and it enables me to focus on the big picture, which is the moment I'll finally be able to be with my man forever.

     My fiancé and I are now on our third session apart. I know... compared to many other people out there, it's not the worst. It is only a couple months at a time, but regardless of how much time being apart lasts, every LDR have that one thing in common: being appart sucks. Big Time. You'd think that it would get easier every time, but it doesn't. It actually feels like it's doing the complete opposite. Every time, the loneliness and the missing of each other only get worst and worst.

     This is why I thought about writing this post: this is more of a therapeutic list making than an advise column, but if it can help any of you get through your waiting time until you next see your hunny, then all the better.

Let your someone special know about the small things
The first time we time we were apart, Shane and I would only Skype every other day because we felt like we had nothing "important" to say. I think what happened was that we felt like we only needed to share the big things going on in our lives. However, after the second time we spent apart, we started talking about the small, "unimportant" things because that's what we would do when we were around. one another. I now sometimes send him pictures of random things such as the food I'm be eating, tell him funny things I witnessed, send him little videos of my godson, etc... Somehow, it's these little "unimportant" moments that keeps us closer and that makes the distance feel smaller.

Keep the romance alive
Just because you can't physically touch, hug and kiss each other doesn't mean you can't be romantic. This is the perfect opportunity to come out of your shell! Write little love letters, send postcards sprayed with perfume, send funny little videos, etc. Nothing is too corny! I'll admit that I have made a lip sync video a few months back, and while it may make some people vomit from the corniness, I'm still quite proud of the final product. It's just a nice, creative way of letting your someone special that they're on your mind.

Care packages
Since we had to spend last Christmas apart, I sent Shane a care package about a month before which was loosely based on advent calendars. Included was a letter with loads of cheesy and corny passages, as well as the rules for how the package worked. Basically I had created a little countdown calendar that had an activity for Shane to do each day. The activities varied from day to day and included stuff like "go out with the lads tonight and have fun!", "send me a video of your sexy dance", "tell me 5 reasons why you love me", etc. And then for the last ten days before we were to be reunited, he had a small daily gift to open. The gifts themselves were small and nothing fancy, but they were representations of little inside jokes and a lot of thought were put into them, which made them that much more special.

Keep busy
This is basically a given, but I cannot stress this enough. Keep yourself busy! I used to work two jobs so that the days would fly by! I spent extra time with my nieces and nephews, taking them out skating, to the movies, etc. I made plans with friends and colleagues outside of work. My worst enemy is getting bored. That's when my mind starts turning and thinking, and rethink and then thinking some more. And then the hours drag and days seem to be never ending! I don't advise you to burn yourselves out, but even if it means taking up an extra hobby, do it! It's so easy to stay in bed in your pyjamas, watching Netflix and eating junk food. Instead, go out, socialise, take a new class, anything to simply get yourself out of the house.

Stay positive
Finally, keep remembering about the big picture. At the moment, if might feel like you haven't seen your other half in ages and that your reunion date is forever away. But keep in mind that this won't be forever. Eventually, you'll be able to be together for good. This lesson is actually brought on by Shane who keeps reminding me of this. He keeps telling me that this is only temporary and there will come the day where we won't have to be apart anymore and that all of this will be worth it. We simply need to keep looking at what's ahead of us, which is a lifelong time of happiness.

For all of you out there that are living the same situation, what else do you do to make the waiting and the distance easier?

Now, I'm actually unsure about whether or not I should include the video I was taking about earlier, but why not? As you will see, it's cheesy to the point of being cringy, but it was made out of love, which is kind of the point. It might also inspire you to made a special video for your own partner... either that or it will inspire to never make one! Haha! Anyways, do enjoy!

Yours truly, Bien la vôtre,

Sunday, March 22, 2015

When your dream turn out to be not so dreamy

     All my life, I have had one ultimate goal: to live in Europe. Originally, I was going to move to Paris, have a cool job in the fashion world and live happily ever after. However, as I got older things changed. I travelled to Ireland and ended loving it so much that I moved there instead of Paris. Also, I ended up studying to be a teacher, so that became the career I wanted to practice.

     In November 2014, I was offered the opportunity of my dreams: teaching in England. As you can see, it ticked all the boxes of my lifelong goal. So I embarked on this new adventure that was to move to East London and become a Year 4 classroom teacher. It should have been the happiest time of my life, I finally had everything I ever wanted. And yet, it wasn't...

     I can't put my finger on what exactly went wrong. It wasn't really one big thing, it was more like an accumulation of many smaller things. First, the area we lived in was scary. There was not one time that Shane let me walk in my own due to the dodgy feeling of the place. And then, teaching in the English system wasn't what I had expected at all. It was simply so different than what I was used to and while that was kind of the poing (I had actively worked to teach in a different country!), I did not expect to feel so put out by it and to become so doubtful and unsure of my own teaching skills. While there are so many different things done that I will incorporate in my future classroom, many other things went against how I think teaching should be done, to the point where I was questioning whether or not I wanted to continue being a teacher.

     Before we had moved to England, Shane and I said that if either one of was were unhappy, we'd go back home and figure out a new plan. So with everything going the way it was, we came to the conclusion that the both of us were unhappy. This brought on the decision that our time in England had already come to an end.

     This must have been one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, because I had to decide whether or not to give up on my dream. I felt like a failure for giving up. I was afraid of what others would think of me. Even after I gave my notice of resignation to the school, it took me so long to actually tell people about it because I felt ashamed.

     But then, after a lot of thinking (and with the help of my ever-so-smart fiancé!), I was finally able to come to the conclusion that all of that doesn't matter. Not what others think and not any of those little voices in my head telling me I was a failure. What mattered was not the fact that I was unable to stay in England until the end of the school year, but rather that I tried. And because I tried, I will never have to ask myself "what if...".

     Sometimes, things don't turn out the way we planned, or wanted, or hoped. Sometimes, dreams are meant to be just that... dreams. Unfortunately, when dreams come true, there is always a chance that the reality of it will just not be what you expected. Sadly, my dream vision of teaching in Europe did not reflect the reality of it. Although I am quite sad that teaching in England didn't work out, at least I am proud that I was brave enough to try it. I tried teaching and living in the UK and it was an experiment, one that has taught me so much about myself on a personal and professional level. So really, it wasn't a failure but rather a success, would't you say?

Yours truly,
Bien la vôtre,

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dedicated to all the friendships out there

Isn't love just the greatest? Is there really anything that feels better than loving someone and being loved in return? No wonder hundreds of artists, poets, writers and songwriters have spent centuries trying to depict it. And what's even better about it, it's that it's not a feeling that is specifically for just one person. Indeed, love is more than just a romantic feeling. It's a feeling also reserved for family and friends, which brought me to today's subject: friendship.

I believe that everyone should have that one person who, no matter how long it has been since you've last seen each other, can pick up with you right where you left off. I am one of those lucky enough to have that type of friendship. A friendship that isn't based on the amount of years that you've both known each other, or which friends or interests you have in common, but rather on a genuine connection that runs deep in the core of your being. 

My best friend, Mireille, whom I have known for roughly twelve years now, is that one kindred spirit that I am fortunate enough to have in my life. Wherever she goes she attracts friends, positivity and laughter. She is the bubbliest, softest, most caring person I know and I could not imagine my life without her in it. 

In the summer of 2012, Mireille and I decided to go backpacking across Europe, which was a life changing experience in more ways than I could ever imagine. While some might be cautious about travelling with their friend out of fear of discovering traits that would have best been kept in the dark, travelling with Mireille was the best decision I could ever have taken. She showed me how to be more spontaneous and got me to come out of my shell; she helped me become the woman I am today. Because of her, I discovered my love of Ireland and helped me achieve my life long dream of moving to Europe. She encouraged me to follow my dreams and to not be afraid of trying new things. She shared with me her gift of not always taking yourself so seriously and of living life to the fullest. But perhaps the biggest gift she has ever given me was to introduce me to another friend... Who eventually became my fiancé.  

So many incredibly good things in my life, I owe to this fabulous lady, this charming, funny, beautiful woman. So Mireille, I do believe you are one of my soul mates and I am the luckiest gal in the world to have you in my life.

Amsterdam, Netherlands
Paris, France
Venice, Italy
Pisa, Italy
Pompei, Italy
Somewhere, Ireland
Wicklow, Ireland
Sligo, Ireland

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Miss Selfridge - Paisley Neon Scarf

Yesterday was my last day teaching in England. While the day was very much bitter sweet, I did leave the school feeling relieved and positive about my decision to go back home to Canada. If there is one important lesson that I have learned from this experience, it's to always follow your gut feeling. I have always prized myself on the fact that I do know myself well enough that I quick to realise when something will work out or not and I have always trusted that feeling. I truly believe that it's for that reason that I can confidently say that so far, I have lived a life of no regrets. Every decision I have made has always been made in order to achieve true happiness and really, with that frame of mind, how can I go wrong?

I have never been good at goodbyes and yesterday was no different. As the end of the day came closer and closer, I could feel my heartbeat race quicker and quicker as I dreaded the round of goodbyes I would have to go through. The staff I have had the chance to work with have been so amazing, friendly and inviting. I have truly learned a lot from them and the past couple months in their company have opened my eyes to different ways of teaching.

One person that has truly stood out was the Head Deputy at the school. She is such a lovely person and has been an amazing mentor. She is one of the sweetest persons I have ever had chance to meet and I very much hope to see her again someday. She truly cares for her staff and only wants the best for them. When I came by her office to bid her farewell, she surprised me with one of the most gorgeous scarves I have ever seen. She had noticed how much I love scarves and how I'm almost always wearing one, so she went and bough one from Miss Selfridge as a parting gift for me. I was truly touched by her thoughtful gesture and am so grateful for it.

Since I don't have my good camera here with me, I can't take a proper photograph of an outfit. However, I do have a similar dress as in the picture below and the scarf is actually the one that was given to me. The only item I don't have would be the mint coloured shoes, but these have been on my wish list for quite a while, so very soon...

Paisley Neon Scarf

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Wedding dresses and big decisions

Four months into our engagement, you might think that I would at least have some sort of vision as to what our wedding day will look like. Well, it turns out that it's not as easy as I thought it would be. After all, I have pretty much imagined what this special day would be like since I was a little girl and yet, it's as if that because I can officially start planning it, I actually can't make my mind up on anything!

Let's take the dress for example. While I know what I don't like, finding what I actually like and want in my wedding dress is a lot more complicated than I expected. I definitely know that I don't want the typical sleeveless, white, A-line dress. While those dresses are very flattering and gorgeous, I simply want something that's a bit more unique. At the moment, I would like a gown with long sleeves, an open back, lace, unique details and light and flowy material. Now, finding something with all those elements is much harder than I thought it would be. On top of it all, I'd like for the material to have a light blue-ish tint to it because according to old Irish traditions, brides used to get married in blue dresses.

The following gowns all have details that I'd like to incorporate in my dress, but I fear that I'll never be able to find The Dress that actually will. The fact that there are so many incredibly gorgeous options doesn't help either. Maybe that is the problem? Too many choices?

Any ladies out there that are going or have gone through the same thing? And to those who already have chosen their wedding dress, how did you know that it was The One?