Just keep swimming.

 If you have followed this blog for awhile, these girls must look familiar to you. My friendship with them began 3 years ago when I moved to Pikangikum.

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The desire to keep to myself in the first few weeks of arriving in a new place is very strong. Especially when I don’t know anyone and I am the only black person for miles! Because of this, I push myself to do the very opposite of what my mind is telling me to do. I purposefully put myself out there and go make friends. It is with this determination to make friends that I walked over to their home unannounced, not quite sure how I would explain my sudden appearance. By the time I was at their doorstep I had decided to go with the typical greeting that everybody back home will use when they rock up announced, ” I have come to visit.” I wasn’t quite sure what to say after that but my determination to make friends was stronger than my fear to stay away.

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These girls decided they did not like me the moment they saw me. Their first reaction to seeing me was a lot of screaming, crying and hiding away. The panic lasted awhile but their grandmother was very accommodating and in the midst of the wails and calls for grandma to come to where they where we tentatively held a conversation of two people getting to know each other. I must have spent an hour in their home that day and thankfully by the time I left, the girls had calmed down completely. Even after they realised I was quite harmless, they would not come any closer to me. I  assured grandma I was not bothered and confidently told her, eventually, the girls would warm up to me.

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I made a point of visiting the family once a week, a month went by and the girl’s reaction remained the same. That month turned to two then three, rolled into four, passed five and still the girls would not accept me. On my part, I did not impose myself on them, I waited. It was sometime in my sixth month of knowing the family when the change occurred,  by this time grandma and I were very comfortable with each other. That afternoon, I walked into their home fully expecting the usual cries but instead, I was greeted with three toddlers joyously shouting my name, running towards me each clamouring to give me a hug. I was amazed. I knew there and then, I had just made life long friends.

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I have often times found that we long for the fruit that comes with genuine friendships but we cringe and hide away from the work that needs to be put into making community happen. Obviously, my case with these adorable girls is extreme but the lesson is still the same. Healthy, long-lasting relationships are hard work, there is just no way around it. Most times pursuing friendships takes patience, sometimes it is messy and occasionally the temptation to walk away is strong. The Bible shares an incident when one of Jesus friends asked him how many time he had to forgive his friend.The Bible does not give a back story to his question but I can only assume the man was deeply offended with his friend and wanted nothing more to do with him. Jesus answer raised the bar for any of his followers, his response to the question was, he had to forgive 70 times 7. In other words, you never stop forgiving and you never tire of loving.

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When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone and pursued a friendship that you know would stretch you to the limit? Sometimes some of the best relationships are made when we courageously step out in faith even when we are afraid and have no control of the outcome.

confessions

 

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The very rare occasions when I unleash the beast and she does as she pleases.

 

It all started several days into my trip back home, my dear sister in law and I were chatting about all black women’s favourite topics, hair care. I was feeling a tad bit proud of myself as we talked because I had successfully gone three years of resisting the temptation of trying out some strange hair remedy. The only reason I had lasted so long was because with my last experiment my hair had literally fallen out in chunks … shudder …

Jessi spoke in passing that her hair stylist often mentioned the miraculous powers of eggs in hair, and just like that, I was intrigued! Friend, you would think after my last experience with eggs that I would leave well enough alone but nope, that fiasco was a distant memory and I was quite confident this time around, it would be different, I would attain the holy grail of all black women’s desires when it comes to hair: silky soft to the touch, lush and luminous to the eyes!

So the next day armed with determination and visions of luxurious hair, I got the eggs out. My first mistake was doing this “treatment” when my mum was out, in the past, she has always been there to save my hair from myself. I should have waited for her return but I was so sure this time I would be the envy of the women in my family. My second mistake was completely forgetting to factor in the heat that day, it was 40C with 200% humidity ( yes, yes I know there is nothing like that but you get the idea)  I whipped two eggs in a plastic cup set it aside for ten minutes as I rummaged around for a towel in my sisters rather untidy room. Well unbeknownst to me, ten minutes was enough time for the eggs to start cooking whilst in the plastic cup next to the tub, that’s how hot it was! Before pouring the mixture ( I had added conditioner and olive oil) I smelt it and something told me the “treatment” didn’t smell right, ignoring my suspicions I forged on, pouring it into my hair. I was in it to win it, that silky hair was just 30 mins away.

As the smelly lumpy concoction slide down my face, it became quite apparent that my suspicions had been correct, the eggs had partially cooked. But I still refused to believe that was possible and even went as far as massaging the gunk deeper into my very thick and nappy hair. I finished the whole procedure by putting a bag over my head and letting the stuff stay in my hair for another 30 minutes. When it came time to wash my hair I was practically gagging, wondering who would do this to themselves?
I hurriedly tried to wash it out with cold water and that’s when I realised I had made my third mistake, in my excitement I had forgotten that the heat of the day had warmed up the pipes so that only warm and hot water was available. Standing in front of the bathroom mirror, looking at my hair covered in scrambled eggs and all I could think of was how brutal my sibling’s reaction would be to my latest experiment. And oh how they laughed at me! I tried to wash the gunk out of my hair with more conditioner but to no avail. My hair stunk so bad for days and whenever I would comb it, white flecks would fall out. It didn’t help much that my brother took it upon himself to ask on a regular basis if I still had egg in my hair. With the memory of my family’s reactions planted firmly in my mind, I promised myself this was the very last time I would ever do that.Then Toronto airport happened.

On my return to Red Lake I had a four-hour layover in Toronto, in order to stay awake after a non-stop 17-hour flight ( with two toddlers screaming much of the way) I ambled around the airport and came across a store that sold hair products. I couldn’t help myself, I just had to take a peak. As I browsed through their products, I hit it off with the Indian lady at the till . With great animation, she started sharing with me all the wonders of using natural products in ones hair. You guessed right, eggs were on top of her list.

 

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I am going to behave myself and stay away from eggs …  but who knows … you know what they say, third time is a charm!

 

 

Times are changing

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There was a time when I didn’t value rest as much as I did work. It took a couple of burnouts, lots of reading and taking the time to listen to words of wisdom from others that I finally understood. Guarding my time of rest helps me perform better at everything else in my life. Progress has been slow but over the years I have got better at saying no to friends and not feeling guilty about it. There is still so much more I need to learn when it comes to resting and the art of being still. I am at least thankful that I pursue rest almost as much as I do serving others with excellence. One day I will get the balance just right.

Today I spent close to three hours at the local park, my mind and body enjoying the sun rays. As I walked to the park, I assumed that I would see lots of people out and about seeing as the sun has been hiding for over a week but that was not the case. Maybe they were taking advantage of the warm day in their backyards.

Winter is coming.

Story telling.

It’s been awhile since my last post, life has been sooo busy! More details about that in my next post.

The Cliff

She stands alone at the edge of the cliff. The wind softly whispers secrets into her ears as her eyes drink in the view before and around her. The bluff nestled in rolling hills of emerald green is shaped like a crescent moon creating a hidden cove. The colours of the swells below play tricks with her eyes, are they turquoise or black? Maybe both? Frothy ribbons of white appear and disappear at will. A couple of Black African Swifts fleet over the cove, the female teasing her partner in their secret dance of love. Shiny dark rocks cover the face of the cliff, some are smooth others have jagged edges. What stories of raging storms from the sky above and the waters below would they share if they could she wonders? Immovable they have remained through the years, a buttress of refuge for the solitary falcon that makes its rest within its face. She takes a deep breath, the fragrant scent of the wild flowers growing abundantly around her a sure sign that the bees will not be disappointed. Tufts of grass and bouquet of fairy bells and wild violets dot the crescent face brightening the sombre rock. Beneath her feet, the morning mist drenches the intermingled grass and moss creating a moist spongy carpet, with a deep sigh of contentment, her bare feet sink deeper into the ground. Above her the skies grey-white canopy is within her reach, the descending clouds give the cliff an aura of heavenly peace. Intermittently, beams of sunlight pierce through the canopy causing the bright pink Everlastings to raise their heads in jubilation as they slow dance to the wind and bow in gratitude each time misty spray falls on them.

She inches closer to the edge, complete silence descends on the ridge, its time, she takes the leap.

My youngest sister was very upset that I ended it so abruptly so now I am thinking of expanding the story just for her.lol. Personally, I don’t mind when some stories are left unfinished.

This and that

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Last Sunday I helped decorate for a local wedding. I took pictures of it too.

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Kindergarten was having a family thing going on ( I forget what they called it) My friend asked if I could come with her and her daughter as part of their family.

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My friends took this pic of me and I didn’t know it was on my camera till later. I like it.

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A big part of what I do is visiting families. An average visit will last at least 2 hours. There is no agenda, I am getting to know people at an easy pace. When I am asked how I go about getting invited into peoples homes, my response is: ” Of all the families I regularly visit now, I did not wait for an invitation( I still don’t), I just rocked up and didn’t stop randomly visiting them, now they ask when I will be coming by.” I guess if I think about it, it takes some courage to do this … I  never did think much about it, when I started, I thought it was the most logical way to make friends.

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The view from my trailer.

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An aunt with her nephews.This family is full of laughs.

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The lake has become a busy highway these days. Did you know this area has the longest ice road in North America? The kids are busy clearing snow to make an ice rink. I live in the trailer that is close to that orange building. Its obscured by the trees.

Bouquet

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My sense of smell and taste have been on a hiatus going on two weeks now. Last week it was because of a bad cold this week, strep throat … oh joy!

I took these photos with two reasons in mind, firstly I really think the roses look even more beautiful now than when they were fresh and secondly, I want when you look at them you smell them! Go on, indulge me and take a whiff 🙂