Sunday, January 29, 2012

Can you have too many friends???

"Some of us are lucky enough to be born with sisters and some of us just had to find our own" Anonymous

I think a friendship between girlfriends is special. One of my favorite quotes from Sex and the City was "Maybe our girlfriends can be our soul mates and men can just be people we have fun with". I am lucky enough to have two wonderful sisters and a mother who I can call my friends. I feel comfortable to share everything with them and I hope they feel the same way about me. They say you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family. I feel blessed to be able to say if I had the choice I would have chosen them :)
I have some amazing groups of girlfriends at home in Canada. My grade school and high school girlfriends," the core" as we call ourselves, have been a close knit group of "sisters" for the majority of our lives. The core has been there to support me through all the major events in my life and I have been there for them; heart breaks, parties, boys, school, marriage and now babies. No mom, I'm not pregnant! They've been there for it all! I know in my heart that these friendships are my forever friendships. After a year living across the world I know that as soon as we come together it will be as if we never skipped a beat. My University girlfriends - we B. ROCK'n - are amazing! Strong, confident, intelligent and beautiful women. Man, we've come a long way since DeQew residence! Again, these are forever and for always friends. We took for granted that we got to spend so much time together during our four year degrees and have just now started to put more effort into getting together. I love our girls weekends :) Throughout my post University days I became a workaholic. I'm not proud of this but I am able to acknowledge my mistakes and have made the necessary changes to ensure I do not return to my workaholic ways :) Even with my addiction to work many special people came into my life and left footprints on my heart. I feel like these friendships were ones I was blessed to have because these friends made the effort. I believe in surrounding yourself with people who inspire, motivate and challenge you and these people definitely did that for me.
When I came to the Netherlands I expected to meet many new people but the number of meaningful relationships that i have developed here have been a wonderful surprise. I really believe that the reason I have been able to develop these friendships is because I have time. I have time to be genuinely interested in other people. I go for coffee, I do girls nights, I stay after my fitness classes to talk to the participants. When people talk to me I don't have a million other thoughts in my head and I can just be in the moment. People are awesome! Not all people, some people kind of suck but many people are great if you give them the chance to show themselves to you. So in response to my title, I don't think you can ever have too many friends. Friends will come in and out of your life but if you are able to be present when they need you and they make you a better person then I think the more the merrier. Different friends make you a better person in different ways so let the diversity of your friendships enrich your life and the friendship that you are able to provide to others enrich theirs.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lunges for a Quarter Mile

"Back in 82' I could throw a pigskin a quarter mile."

Well if you can throw a pigskin a quarter mile why not do lunges for a quarter mile. Eight sets of twenty to be exact!!! Another week in Switzerland for school. What can I say, life is tough!!! At school our classes start at 8:30am and we finish at 6pm. We get 90-minutes for lunch but it takes that much time for them to serve us lunch here. We really savour every bite :) Things are done at a much more leisurely pace then what I am accustomed to. This makes for a very long day with very little movement. As a movement junkie this leaves me in a state of with drawl. I have to move! So I have tried to get creative with my exercise. With a start time of 8:30am it is dark when we start and at 6pm it is still dark as if day never even happend. I have run in the morning with a bike light but realized this wasn't the safest option. I have done aerobics, pilates, body weight exercises and yoga in my room. I have done some long walks with class mates and this morning I thought to myself...I wonder if I can do lunges from the front door of the school all the way to the lake. I decided I would do 20 lunges and then walk for 20-steps. By the third set of 20 lunges my legs were burning, I was sweating and I wasn't even half way! When I arrived at the lake I was so proud of my accomplishment. I lunged for a quarter of a mile :) I got a funny look from the post man and the dog that lives in the barn, I call him Brian. On my walk I found a spot in the village to do pull-ups... there is a trellis with a bench that makes it the perfect height and grip width...we'll see how many I can do tonight! I imagine people will think I look really strange hanging from a trellis in the middle of town :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It's not mine, it must be urine

Another eventful weekend here in Maastricht!
On Friday night Nick and I went out with our friends Laura and Richard to our favorite thai restaurant "Pet Thai". Laura and Richard got engaged over Christmas so we were celebrating. Nick bought Richard a celebratory bottle of Wild Turkey - that never ends well, and I bought Laura some organic body products. Vanilla-coconut....smells so good!
I had to teach until 7:15pm so we had a late dinner reservation for 8:30pm. When we arrived Richard and Laura were waiting for us. We quickly joined them and started discussing potential dishes. Suddenly, standing to the left of our table a conversation between the manager and a "gentlemen" I use the term loosely, became quite heated. The whole restaurant got very quiet as the argument escalated, ending about 5-minutes later with the manager escorting the man to the door. When they got to the door things got a bit physical. A few shoves were exchanged and the man was pushed outside. He proceeded to bang and throw himself against the door. It went on like this for some time. Finally, the man left. Minutes later, we heard a bang at the door and the sound of what we found out to be the man urinating against the front door of the restaurant. At this point the manager lost his cool and grabbed a bottle from the bar. He proceeded to run into the street with what seemed to be the goal of beating the man with the bottle. He came back to the restaurant about 10-minutes later with a broken bottle in hand. The manager didn't apologize, he simply walked to the bar and continued on with his business as if nothing had happend. What a strange experience? It was very odd and I felt nervous throughout dinner but we decided that at least it had made for an interesting night. It was really uncomfortable to witness the confrontation because the man was clearly under the influence of drugs or alcohol but the manager fed the fire and instead of deescalating the situation he took it to a whole other level. Needless to say, I think he made it clear that he did not appreciate the manager or the establishment. Sometimes non-verbal forms of communication can be very powerful, yuck!
We walked home with Laura and Richard to enjoy a celebratory taste of the "Thunder Chicken", as Nick likes to call it. It was great to share the tradition of Wild Turkey with two great friends.
On Saturday I taught a class in the morning and had my photo shoot for my website. My friend Sandra mentioned that her fiance Stefan does photography as a hobby and would be happy to take some photos for me.
I was very excited and so thankful that she offered and I quickly recruited her to be in the photos with me. When I arrived at their house I realized he was hardly an amateur, he had all the equipment set-up and special lighting. It was a great experience and he got some wonderful shots. He did a great job making the shoot fun, creative and in line with my vision. He was exceptionally talented! Thanks Sandra and Stefan :)
Saturday night we had a fabulous dinner of Indian food with our friends Ben and Mandy. Homemade curry dishes, one meat dish for Nick and Ben and one veggie dish for Mandy and I...mmmmmm, so good. They did an amazing job! We are so spoiled to have such great friends. We got home around 1am and I had to teach again this morning. I'm lucky I have such a wonderful group on Sunday mornings or I would have had a tough time getting up this morning. I love my 8 hours of sleep! Nick and I spent a relaxing Sunday together. A run before lunch and a walk in the afternoon, chilling on the coach and hanging out with the cats was the extent of our activity today.
It was uneventful and exactly what we needed!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

It's a new beginning..

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end."

Happy New Year!!!! It's a New Year and this is your chance to be a new you, a better version of your wonderful self.
I have always felt that the New Year is an opportunity to start fresh, to have a clean slate, to dream big, set goals and go after the you that you have always wanted to be. Throughout my life I feel as though I have been building, adding or acquiring new responsibilities, new certifications, education, qualifications, belongings..... I feel like I have reached the point when it's time to break down, purge, simplify and let some things go. In order to have a new beginning sometimes something else has to end. So is it true, does this mean less is sometimes more???? Does every new beginning come from some other beginnings end??? In my case, I realize somethings gotta give.
I feel as though the last 12-months have been jam packed with "new". So many new experiences, a brand new place, as a newly married couple to name just a few! New, has proven to be both exciting and scary all at once. Living in Europe has been a wonderful journey - I have enjoyed seeing this part of the world, going to school and having some time away from my busy career but it has also brought to my attention how much I identified myself with my work. I was really comfortable with what I was doing and the people I worked with and the life I had created for myself. So much so that I didn't really have an identity outside of my job and who I was at work.
In the short 6-months that we've been here I feel as though I've grown exponentially as a person. I have taken time to reflect on what things I love to do, what I like to do and what I want to do in the future. I have improved as a teacher and a student. I have taken time for myself; which has been really difficult. There have been moments where I have felt guilty, unworthy and lazy for not being a shadow of the workaholic I once was. But I have also recognized that taking this time has resulted in my most creative and focused efforts in a long time. Instead of spreading myself so thin and getting by with doing enough, I have been able to give 100% of myself. I once received feedback from one of my students at McMaster, she was a fitness instructor on my staff, she said that she felt I did a great job and she enjoyed working with me but that I had more to give. More to give???? At the time I didn't think much of it because I was working as many hours as I possibly could. I thought it was feedback for the sake of feedback but looking back it wasn't about the hours it was about being present. I get that now!!!!
To mark the New Year I have made a few goals and one of the most powerful things that you can do to achieve your goals is to share them with others, so here they are;

1) Improve as a Yoga and Pilates instructor - teach once per week, spend 20-min each morning on my personal practice and attend another teachers class once per week
2) Continue to develop as a fitness and spin instructor - teach my 10-classes each week and take advantage of the opportunity to receive feedback from managers, senior instructors and participants (something coming here has afforded me the opportunity to do)
3) Successfully complete my 3rd year Osteopathy exams - grade of 70% on both the theory and practical
4) Grow my business, empower.ed bodhi, to be self sustaining over the next 3-months
5) Hug Nick, Maggie, Gizmo and Pumpkin everyday :)

Do you believe in me??? I believe in me and I believe in you!