Carrie's Adventures

Friday, July 31, 2009

The summer symphony

One of the great things about being in Vancouver in the summer is the Symphony of Lights. When Akis and I returned to Vancouver, I was disappointed to learn that the 4 or 5 nights of Fireworks was going to be cancelled this year. Due to the economy, the companies weren't that excited to have their dollars go up in smoke. Fortunately for the city, there was enough public outcry, that the funds came from somewhere and we once again had 4 spectacular nights of pyrotechnic displays.

There were 4 countries this year ~ Canada, South Africa, the UK and China. There is a local radio station which broadcasts the music so you can sit on the beach and listen to the music along with the display. I was suprised when we went to see the first one to not hear any music ~ I guess the days of portable radios are almost over with the advent of the iPod and the like.

Akis was surprised to see the number of people who attended the event. The roads in front of our house were packed with cars and true to their word, the illegally parted cars were being towed. (If only they did this in Greece!)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

UP ~ and what really matters

Akis and I went to go and see UP last weekend. It has been on my list of movies to see for a while and after friends had gone to see it, I dragged Akis out for 'date night' to see the movie. I already had a pretty good idea of the story line before going to see the movie, and had heard that there are some rather moving messages there.

As I watched the movie, it brought into focus some of the things that I have previously strived for in my life, but perhaps during the course of settling back into a life on land I have forgotten, pushed aside or just failed to make time for.

First is to be thankful for what you have. I realize that I may not be a millionaire, I may not be able to afford everything I want, but what I do have is a steady job where I won't get an ulcer from stress, where I arrive at the office at 9am, I leave the office at 4:30pm, I enjoy the company of my co-workers, and while I may not be the highest paid Software Consultant, I do make enough money to support my family and allow my husband to follow his dream. Akis and I have our health, we have good friends and the means to be able to keep what is important in our life.

Second, I realize that life is short. It may sound a bit cliche, but time is something that you can never get back. So I need to learn to use it more wisely. I need to remember to focus on using this in a way that helps me grow ~ yes that means more Greek lessons ~ using my time in ways that support and nurture my family and friends. Ultimately, it means I should be spending the evenings out on the beach with my husband, having dinner with friends, sharing experiences with others rather than being attracted to the hypnotic fascination of the television. Don't get me wrong, I will still continue to watch my TV, but maybe more in moderation. I don't think I will look back when I'm 80 and recall the great sit-coms I spent hours watching, but I will remember being with friends and family.

Third, Life is an adventure, and even though you may have started with one adventure in mind, you need to be open to what is out there. In the movie, Ellie has an Adventure Book she has had since she was a young girl. The young Ellie shows Carl her book, which is full of pictures of a place called Paradise Falls in South America. After all of the pictures, there is a page with the title "Stuff I'm Going To Do", and several blank pages to document her adventures. Ellie makes Carl cross his heart that they would have an adventure together, flying away to Paradise Falls. Ellie and Carl never make it to Paradise Falls. She becomes ill and passes away. Carl, in an attempt to recognize Ellie's dream, floats the house using balloons to Paradise Falls.

The moment that moved me is best described below:

Carl finally arrives at the falls. He has finally achieved his goal and kept his promise to Ellie, but doesn't feel happy. Carl picks up Ellie's adventure book beside his feet. He flips through the pages, up until the page marked "Stuff I'm Going To Do". Thinking that the pages will be blank, Carl goes to shut it, but is suprised when he notices a bit of picture on the next page: The pages are not empty. They are filled with pictures of Carl and Ellie's life together. The final photo is of them, elderly and in their chairs. Below, in the corner, Ellie has written: "Thanks for the adventure. Now go have a new one. Love, Ellie." Carl learns that Ellie saw their simple life as her adventure.

And from this I have come to remember that we need to go out and live our adventures. Whether it is a trip to the coffee shop for that double/double, a road trip with a friend, or floating to a far off land ~ we need to look for our adventure, and to not be afraid to embrace all that life has to offer. For it is memories of these adventures that will make the great stories you will share when you are 80.

for a long time it seemed to me that
life was about to begin - real life but
there was always some obstacle in the
way, something to be gotten through
first, some unfinished business, time
still to be served, a debt to be paid.
at last it dawned on me that these
obstacles were my life. this perspective
has helped me to see there is no way
to happiness. happiness is the way. so
treasure every moment you have and
remember that time waits for no one.
Happiness is a jouney, not a destination....

There is a student in the house

We have finally done it ~ Akis has made the transition to being a student. I have been trying to encourage him for quite some time to follow his passion, and I'm pleased to see that he is now starting down this path.

Akis officially started school about 3 weeks ago with his first orientation session being held on July 3rd. His schedule included classes every afternoon from 1pm to 5pm.

During Akis' orientation, he was provided with a list of art supplies. So with all the excitement that comes with shopping for new binders, paper and pencils in August, we headed off to the Art Store. Now I am not an artist. To me a pencil is a pencil is a pencil. Well apparently to artists, there are many types of pencils, just like there are many types of cars. They all pretty much do the same thing, but in slightly different ways. To make matters even more challenging and comical, there were supplies that were unidentifiable. What is conte anyway? Anyone? Yes we did need to enlist the help of the store clerk to select a marker, explain what conte was, and select some charcoal for us. What is worse, is that our second trip to the store was no better, as we wandered the isles trying to distinguish the difference between a Gum eraser, a kneaded eraser and vinyl. Who knew there were so many? However armed with supplies, Akis was now ready for class.

The first week was hard for Akis and I think getting back onto a schedule after a year of not needing to be somewhere at a specific time was the biggest challenge. There are a number of foreign students, and Akis has found that there are others there with significantly inferior English skills. His first semester of classes include 5 classes. The most interesting I think is the Life Drawing ~ which I have renamed to 'naked drawing class', cause really that is what it is. The instructor gave a brief pep talk the first class to say that there should be no snickering, comments, laughing while the models are there. Akis still didn't really believe that there would be naked people, however the following 2 classes had 1 lady each time in the buff. I'm just waiting until it is naked man day and find out if Akis likes the class as much!

Both of us have had to adjust our regular schedules and I find that I do miss having Akis come and pick me up every evening. However the flip side of that being that it is nice to sometimes have a few quiet moments to myself at home before Akis gets back.

The surge of excitement for what Akis is doing was heightened the other night after we went to see UP. Seeing what is currently being done in the 3D world and what companies like Pixar are able to accomplish, we are hoping that this will bring great things for Akis and us as a family.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Strawberry picking

With strawberries being one of Akis' favourites, we decided to head out and pick our own berries. Akis had never seen a strawberry plant so this was a completely new experience. Now Akis is wishing Strawberry season was all year long.