It’s Tuesday morning Oct 10th and I’m on the way back from Montreal with my Mom on the train. We took a few days in Montreal to celebrate her 70th birthday, a belated birthday gift from me and my brothers. We ate, we walked in the rain, we took a bus tour of the city and we had a blast seeing Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull in concert – her choice! Such a fun time!!
It was Canadian Thanksgiving yesterday, my second since my return to Canada last fall. As I reflect on my life and what I’m thankful for (as we sometimes do), I am overwhelmed with gratitude. So. Much. Love. Seriously. I’m humbled and honored to have so many incredible people in my life. I’m so thankful for my family, my friends, my colleagues, my singing peeps, my boyfriend, and for the opportunities that I have been given to grow on my journey.
Life has certainly had its ups and downs this past year. On Oct. 3rd I celebrated my one year anniversary of being in Ottawa / starting my next life chapter with my closest friends and colleagues. We shared drinks, listened to Jazz and ate delicious food together. These friends and many others have been there when I needed hugs, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to drink wine with. They helped me realize the impact I have on others and how to be strong even when I feel I’m not. They lifted me up. They made me laugh. They listened and asked how I was doing when they noticed I was feeling less than my bubbly self.
There’s something special in knowing that your friends, family and colleagues will catch you when you’re having a rough day. It lets us be completely ourselves and to process feelings so they can be released. This allows us to continue moving forward, bounce back and become even more resilient.
I’m proud that Pete and I are still such good friends after everything we’ve been through and I’m so grateful to him for being kind as we worked through everything. He takes such stellar care of our fur baby Zoe, and even though she was recently diagnosed with cancer, she is doing well so far on her medley of meds. It meant so much to have snuggles with her on my visit to DC a few weeks ago. She’s an angel that has brought me so much joy and comfort over the past 14 years of her life. It was hard saying goodbye to her, but I know her daddy will continue to take great care of her. 🙂
Fast forward to today. I’m so grateful for the time I’ve had with my Mom this past week. It’s been a hell of a year for so many of us (illness, stress, etc.) and to have time to spend together when we’re both in a great place has been so wonderful! We watched a hilarious musical called ‘Mothers and Daughters’ written by a local playwright here in Ottawa – it was touching and funny. I introduced Mom to Greek food and she fell in love with spanikopitas. We video chatted with my Dad and my brother’s family… The twins, the adorable bundles of joy who keep us all on our toes. We had pedicures and Mom wowed the estheticians with her knowledge of pop music. We saw the sights of Montreal and went to a concert together. We ate Brazilian meat and saw a live samba show. And we talked about everything. 🙂 I think it was the first time Mom could just be completely herself and enjoy the moment. I had a blast and am so grateful for the time with her.
I truly believe that we can create an environment where people feel safe and able to be completely themselves when we feel complete within. This was evident this weekend as we were talking to the lady who was making up our room. We entered drenched and ready to dry our clothes from touring in the rain, but she was kind and totally welcomed us inside while she finished up. We chatted, and talked candidly about the importance of different cultures working together, and the power of kindness. We really listened to each other and valued each other’s opinions. It was a random encounter that made me realize how alike we are as humans, regardless of race, religion or background.
It’s taken me awhile to rebuild after the life changes I’ve gone through, but I’m proud to say I finally feel like myself again! I may get a Phoenix tattoo soon to celebrate (ya know… Rebirth vs. The awful gov’t pay system). It’s nice to feel balanced again – work is fun, teaching is awesome, I recently got cast in an opera, playing basketball with a bunch of dudes has been great, and I’ve been enjoying time with my family, friends and my boyfriend.
All that to say, I so very much appreciate the support I’ve had from others this past year and I can’t wait to see where life takes me next. I hope that I can continue to give back to others and to keep spreading light and love moving forward. While there’s a lot of horrible things happening in this world lately, I think we all have the power to make things better by treating our fellow humans with kindness and love. Learning how to listen, how to open our minds is SO important. This Oatmeal comic sums it up pretty well: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/believe
Thanks for reading! Continue spreading the love my friends and all the best to you and yours this fall!
With love (and sake),