Sunday, February 21, 2016


  • D's surgery and recovery went smoothly.  So well, he has been skiing a bunch of times since and just left recently for another 2 week stint.
  • It has been an usually mild winter.  No complaints from me, despite investing in new snow tires.  Went with Continental this time around.  In the couple of times I drove in the messy thick stuff, it has already done better than my previous Pirelli set. 
  • I finally got my hair (10 inches) cut off to donate.  No layers afterwards as the journey to get it back to one uniform length after the last cut took way too long.  Sure, it may have looked better but I hope to still have plenty of time left in my life to be creative with my hair once it no longer qualifies for donation.  In reality, I pull my hair back 90% of the time, so who really cares about layers?
  • After missing a couple of seasons out west, I made sure I was to go this year.  Snow conditions have been great and I'll get to try out a couple of new sports and get to stay for 10 days.
  • I'm happy with the results of my increased strength training (mostly body weight exercises).  It has made a noticeable difference all around and I hope to continue the improvements.
  • Probably due to the heat and physical work load while away as well as the decrease appetite; not surprisingly, I lost almost 5 lbs.  It's totally OK with me as I had gained a few stubborn ones (courtesy of the halva/halawa likely) during my time in Israel and Palestine and could not shake it even with my workouts.  Disturbing how easily that can happen.
  • D's new work position is going really well -- I know I report this every time at the start...But I do feel the difference in him and in me.  Time will tell.  
  • My taxes are ready to go -- Waiting for D to get his info from work. We file separately but I need his net income.  Will be getting some money back -- Part of it due to an over payment of taxes on my part (miscalculation) and from extra charitable donations.  
  • I did catch up with my girlfriend regarding the difficulties of re-entry post volunteer placements.  She has since radically changed her work (self-employed) and has simplified a number of processes there.  The bonus being higher cash flow and less mental worry.  We discussed just how much mental clutter we can needlessly impose on ourselves -- Not much of it all that "real" when it comes right down to it.  I am thrilled at how light she sounds and how her truth and focus just rings out of her voice.
  • This will be a passport renewal year for me.  With most countries in the world requiring expiry dates 6+ months from the date of return, I have to get organized the year before as I have things consistently booked.  Like to give at least a month for it to be done, even though "official" processing time is 10 business days.  I've heard too many stories of people showing up expecting 10 days and finding out that they are experiencing higher than normal volumes...I won't take that risk as there is a lot at stake.   

Monday, February 15, 2016


I reached out to a girlfriend of mine who spent 2 volunteer stints in Haiti shortly after the last earthquake, for advice as I remembered her describing the disorientation she felt after her 2nd return.

It had been a real difference for her compared to the first time when she returned feeling pumped up and raring to go.  Instead, she returned feeling ungrounded and down for at least a few months if my memory serves.

Felt what I think were similar sensations -- Numbness, mental detachment along with profound sadness during and after -- And gave it time to continue working through me once I returned home.  Luckily the worse of it coincided with a non-crazy period at work, thus making my emotional return gentler.

I wonder if this is what I will need to work on next -- The mental-emotional preparation?  Not exactly sure just how to do that, other than to gain more experience and ask others how they cope, which is why I want to talk to her about it.

Situations that lead to the "cleaving open" of oneself emotionally to reveal deep compassion (among other things) can be heart wrenching and uncomfortable.  However, has served to reinforce my deepest foundations as a person.  And this last experience continued to advance that.

And I've noticed how differently being immersed in discomfort play out in people.  From becoming very quiet and literally running away to spend more time alone (me) to feeling the need to talk non stop to acting out negatively when it seems contrary to their persona. Adversity can be such a self discovery process.

My relationship with food shifted on this trip.  I felt a low to low-moderate amount of hunger each day while working abroad.  Coming from a country where I rarely get to feel any real hunger, it was a change.

The heat was certainly a factor but so was the depth of my sadness and guilt.  My appetite during the day wasn't what it usually is, which for me has normally meant 2 meals a day.

For the majority of days, I ate one egg in the morning, not because I was hungry at 6 am, but because I needed something in my stomach before taking my malaria meds.   Then later, would pick through lunch after rejecting any snacks and have 1/3rd of what my normal dinner serving would be. 

Seriously, I felt quite good doing the above.  I found eating vegetarian when I did eat lunch made me more physically productive afterwards in the heat compared to the days I would eat a small piece of chicken or fish, for example. 

Having been home for a while, I initially continued the lower caloric intake out of habit but am missing the amount of physical activity.  My workouts and paid work, despite them rating much harder in a number of ways, also doesn't seem enough.  Am missing the slow burn.  Maybe I need to start volunteering on a farm?

D and I discussed the number of food things we habitually do because we "can", because it is convenient, serves as a treat etc. when in reality those things don't necessarily rank very high in our experience scale to be worth putting in our mouth or spending any money on.

It's not a frugality move as much as a further questioning of our inner motives, including the habits of eating because it is a certain time, before any signs of hunger.  D and I can have quite different eating cycles and for the sake of eating together, one or both of us may not be feeling any real need to eat but will because it is close enough or we are in a social setting or it has just been prepared.

At first, coming back from a place where true hunger is a reality of daily living, our seemingly benign habits at home literally turned my stomach and to be honest, disgusted me -- Even though I'd hardly describe our daily lifestyle as food indulgent. 

So moving forward, we are committed to becoming more conscious of our decision making with respect to our relationship with food.  If I am going to eat out, I want to feel a real hunger for it -- The experience, the type of food, not just because I'm feeling hungry.  There is a difference. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Let's Begin

My sense of time is off.  It's only February and I feel like far more of the year have passed.  I'm currently fighting with myself and the perpetual temptation to fit in more to an already beautifully balanced year (if I do say so myself).  That's nothing new.

Call it delusional or optimistic.  Either way it is distracting and I've already spent too much time already and it is only February.  I need to stop, step back and get present again.  There's a lot of cool things to look forward to this year that require my immediate attention.

I've been missing on what I'm going to call "developed beauty".  Beauty that has space to grow from having basic needs met.  Architecture, art, music.  I'm missing the best of human development. And also the light of the far north -- Unfortunately no plans there this year.  It's not from lack of trying.  Some things just fall in place and others just don't despite the wanting.

I've spent the last few years immersing myself in high density chaos, learning to thrive and adapt to it.  Grateful for the opportunities that have presented itself which have far exceeded my widest expectations.  Couldn't have been able to dream up anything near the depth of what I've experienced.

Looks like I may have finally figured out what works for me in high heat and humidity.  Am still in disbelief with how well I did last time.  Worked hard for long hours with no negative fall out after.  It has taken 7 visits over 2 years to high temperature places but it appears my system is finally showing signs of quick adaptation.

Glad I didn't give up.  The last set of pictures would have never happened had I did.