Friday, September 30, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Appreciation

Today, my heart aches for Jamaica. All I can think about is that tropical sea breeze, the sound of soothing Reggae music and the smell of those crystal clear waters. The freedom of waking up whenever your heart desires, and having nothing to do all day but read a book and soak up the sun. I can almost taste the fresh squeezed orange juice that was was my breakfast each morning, and I can almost feel the sand on my bare feet as I walk along the beach.

On another note; something else that's been on my mind a lot recently is the "Once Upon A Cure" gala. It was this past Saturday at the Sutton Place Hotel. And let me tell you; it was an INCREDIBLE event. The tallies aren't even finalized yet, but we're at $90 000 raised!! Aside from the fact that the majority of Vancouver's big actors and actresses were there, and that the event was being filmed for an episode of "Cupcake Girls", the vibes of the place was just inspiring. There was so much positive energy and hope towards a brighter future for children with Hunter Syndrome. I was blown away by the generosity of everyone; from raffle tickets, 50/50's, auction items and general donations, people were spitting out their cash like there's no tomorrow. In particular some of the big name celebrities, who not only agreed to come to the event, but tweeted about it leading up, cheerfully took pictures with die-hard fans, and bid $1000 on a silent auction item valued at $65. When a group of people so dedicated and passionate come together to create change, they are a force to be reckoned with. I myself was even emotional that night, so I was amazed by how well Deb, Ryan, Heather and others held their composure. The amount of work put into this event was grueling. The hours and hours spent getting sponsors, special guests, decorations, auction items, a venue... it really was an unfathomable amount of work. The fact that so many people; from friends and family of the Purcells to complete strangers came together to make this happen, restores my faith in mankind. SO much effort went into the gala, and it was absolutely worth every second. I honestly can say that I didn't even imagine the event to be as huge of a success as it was. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!
Here is a wonderful video on the event.

And the last topic on my blogging agenda today, is my knee. My poor right knee. Yesterday during my hockey practice, I fell in an ever so graceful manner and ended up twisting my knee in a way it is not supposed to go. At the time of the injury, it didn't actually hurt all that much. I could skate just fine, only with a little bit of pain. It wasn't until later that night when I was doing homework, sitting in the same position for hours on end, that it really began to hurt. When I got up to make myself a cup of tea, I could barely even walk to the kettle. Moral of the story is that after the pain I endured last night, I need to start being thankful when my body is at full strength. It's just like when I got my wisdom teeth out and thought of how thankful I will be when I can eat without pain again. But nothing really changed. Or when I got home from Quebec, and I thought I'd have a new appreciation for being able to communicate effortlessly. That only lasted a few hours. But it's true that I don't often realize how lucky I am to have a body that allows me to do all the things I want to do.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

When life gives you lemons.

What a day.

I ended up being late for my "Once Upon A Cure" volunteer orientation, a project I have been working on for close to 9 months now because I got caught up in the thrift store finding a Halloween costume that I just couldn't let go.

After missing the sea bus I had intended on taking, I ended up on the next one... right beside the new born baby who didn't seem to be happy with the way things were going. And on came the headache; probably partially from lack of sleep the night before, partially from dehydration, and without a doubt, largely caused by this young child's piercing scream.

I figured the responsible thing to do would be to call and let someone know that I was running a little bit late. To my pleasant surprise, when I took my phone out of my pocket, the screen was black. Lately it has enjoyed randomly shutting off and not turning back on until it's inconveniently plugged back into a power source.

The skytrain was my next adventure. That went fairly smoothly, except for the old lady who spilled hot coffee on my arm; and that I was just about a strand of hair away from being slammed by the doors of the skytrain because I was caught in a daydream when we reached my stop.

I arrived at the Sutton Place Hotel surprisingly not too behind schedule. I was a little wet for my liking, however, and not exactly wearing the proper footwear for the amount of rain Vancouver can douse. As all the volunteers stood in a circle learning about what our jobs entail, I was looking around the floor at people's foot attire. Plenty of UGGS, some gumboots, leather boots, and the odd Toms. There I stood with red, numb toes in my ever so suitable Birkenstocks.

The rest of the meeting went fine. Might I add that I am super excited to finally see this thing happen. I've seen all the sweat and tears (hopefully no blood) that the Purcell family, and so many others have put into this. Endless newspaper articles, television news features, tweets, statuses and blog updates about finding a cure for the monster we call MPS-II. Compared to the work everyone else has put in, what I've done seems quite minimal, but I am proud of the contribution I've made.

On the way home I decided it might be faster to bus home rather than hop aboard the sea bus. Much to my surprise as I approached the bus stop, my bus was there- almost as if it were waiting for me. Maybe the first thing that had gone my way this entire day. Turns out the reason the bus was waiting there, for me, was because it was out of service; having technical difficulties.

I'm a pretty patient person, but here's where you would start to loose it. I took a few deep breaths and took a seat under shelter. The worst case scenario would be waiting 20 minutes for the next bus, and that was if this bus wasn't fixed before that. Twenty minutes was the perfect amount of time to do the assigned reading for my Lit class.

I sat there trying to read. The bus driver was near by having a smoke when a curious commuter began asking questions about Translink, Bombardier, trolley-cars and subway stations. From a passer-by, these two middle aged men could have looked to be lifelong friends. Moving into conversation about German engineering, the economy in the United States and even night life in Vancouver. I learned a thing or two as well. Who would have guessed that the new Translink buses cost $500 000 a piece. With his Eastern-European accent, this bus driver explained the new transportation route that may possibly go in to conveniently connect UBC with downtown Vancouver.

For me, this was one of those moments that makes you smile. I sat there in the pouring rain, waiting for a bus that was shut down, pretending to read a book while actually eavesdropping on a conversation between two random strangers who could have been cursing the circumstances, but instead took it as an opportunity for conversation and learning. After all that had gone wrong in my day, I found something to smile about. I love Vancouver. The sound of those rain drops on the bus stop's roof, and watching the hustle and bustle of the West Coast's jewel was a moment to cherish. People rushed by. Up and down the staircase leading to the underground skytrain station. Lots of business people carrying briefcases, families with kids in strollers, and what you could call the dread-locked, sustainably conscious hippies.

That wasn't the end of my bad luck, karma, stupidity; whatever you want to call it. About 10 minutes into my bus ride, it occurred to me that the bus I was on was heading to the North Shore all right, but not via the Lions Gate Bridge; therefore not by Lonsdale Quay where I had left the car. By this point, a realization like that doesn't even begin to get to me. I guess I will just have to catch the 239 Park Royal upon my arrival at Phibbs. Lets consider it taking the scenic route.

I finally made the trek back up (in the rain; without an umbrella) to the car parked on Lonsdale and 6th. Now I am absolutely starving, and some liquids in me wouldn't hurt either. As I drove back home; roof over my head, good music in my ears- I let out a deep sigh. Everything is okay. After all that; what some might have considered to be an obviously horrible day, I have nothing to complain about. My life is absolutely fine. And can a day be really all that horrible if you're coming out of it with a little extra knowledge?

So since I started writing this, my little brother has deleted a good half an hour of my hard work right off my computer. Better than 3 hours, I guess. And I couldn't help but feel, as I stuck my hand in my backpack to take out some books, that a bottle of shampoo and conditioner have leaked everywhere. First off, who keeps shampoo and conditioner in their backpacks? And secondly, I guess out of anything that could have spilled, shampoo and conditioner are some of your better options.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Growing Up..

Today as I sat in the backyard I've grown up playing in, I listened to the neighbors music. The same neighbors that have also been my best friends since day one.

I read a book in the sun, but found it very hard to concentrate. Not only because of the scorching sun, but also because every time I had enough focus to get through a paragraph, that question would come up again. It's a question that has been far too familiar with me lately. At the dentist office, and the hockey rink, at the airport and in my own house: "Do you know what you want to do after high school?"

The answer is always the same. "I have no idea." or sometimes it's "Well I know nothing to do with sciences."

I've always been told that you never really need to know. It's ridiculous that society expects 17 year olds to decide what they're going to be doing for the rest of their lives. But judging by the frequency I receive this question; I'm starting to think it's an important one. And I need an answer. Soon.

But I don't have that answer, as much as I wish I did. And it's not the kind of question that you can give a half-ass answer to. This is the rest of your life we're dealing with here.

In exactly 12 months I will be beginning the next chapter of my life. Maybe moving out and going to school. Maybe traveling or working. I'm not even sure what the possibilities are, but I guess that is something I will be figuring out soon enough. Or more realistically, I'll probably never know.