Happiness is Not a Fish that You Can Catch

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I Am Thankful For All That I Have

Although I have not made a posting in what has now turned in to a few years, today I felt it needed for me to share what I have experienced in the 5 hours that preceded this post.

Since April 2008 I have been working as a musician aboard a cruise ship. To date, I have traveled down the entire west coast of North American, part of South Central America and through a good chunk of the Caribbean. I have had an absolutely wonderful time exploring many countries and cities, most of which I would have never thought I’d visit during my life. Today, through the thoughtfulness and generosity of our Human Resource Manager here on board, a small group of crew had the opportunity to visit the Queen Elizabeth Home in St. George’s, Grenada. The Queen Elizabeth Home is not an orphanage like many of us first assumed; it is a refuge for children aged 2 – 10 who have been abused by their family either sexually, physically, mentally, socially or any combination thereof. Currently, it is home to 18 children but has seen its numbers rise as high as 61 children in times of hardship, as was the case after the devastating hurricane Ivan back in 2004. It costs almost $40, 000 a month to run the home and they depend on sponsors and donors for the majority of their funding. The government of Granada grants the home $5,000 per month – just enough to cover the costs of food for the children they take care of.

An ongoing drive here on our ship has gathered many articles which today we presented to the home and which was so graciously received. The items included some pots and pans, used clothing, candies, medical supplies, writing utensils, toys and an envelope of cash. Upon arrival to the home, we entered through the front entrance in to a medium sized room with two tables, 3 couches and some stackable chairs. As we took our first glance around, it quickly became evident that this was the only common room in the entire home that served not only as a sitting area, but also as a play area, a meeting room and a dining room. Each bedroom had two bunks, for a total of 4 beds and was accompanied by one closet. There was absolutely no auxiliary furniture – no chest of drawers, no bins of toys, no clothes hampers, no lamps and no pictures. There were three bathrooms in the house; one for the boys, one for the girls and one for the workers. A modest size kitchen had just enough supplies to keep everyone fed and a tiny laundry in the back was home to a newly acquired commercial washer and dryer donated by a family and which is put to use by washing up to 8 loads of laundry daily. As we listened to the chief organizer, Marianne, walk us through the daily life of these children most of us were completely silent, contemplating what it must be like to be living here and to have experienced what these children have at such a young age.

It was evident that the crew that embarked on this journey today all came from fairly privileged backgrounds. A deeper understanding of the difference in our worlds became visible on our faces as we strolled around in our Burberry hats, Gucci sunglasses and Ralph Lauren loafers taking in the sights of their old, broken toys, the absence of books and other forms of entertainment, and the very minimal lifestyle in which they live. Unfortunately, we did not have the opportunity to meet the children that reside at the Queen Elizabeth home because, fortunately, they were at school, being given the opportunity to study at a private institution by way of donations. Once the funding for a child’s education has reached its end, they are put in to a public school where classes are much larger but are placed with the hope that their start at a more specialized institution has provided them with the skills they require to successfully continue within the public system. As the children reach 10 years of age, their time at the Queen Elizabeth Home comes to an end. They are moved to another facility, the Bell Air Home, where they are able to stay up until the age 20. This home, much like the Queen Elizabeth, relies mainly on donations and although we were not able to visit, we were able to send support.

The front entrace.

I have always known, appreciated and never forgotten the fact that I have had a very privileged upbringing. I am still extremely fortunate in all areas of my life and on days like today wish I could give everything I know to help those in need. Although there are always people in need all over the world I feel that the guests that journey to the Eastern Caribbean islands on our ships seem to lose sight of the fact that many islands are still considered 3rd world countries and the fact that most people here struggle on a daily basis just to keep their children fed.

Even though our efforts today may be that of only a few and perhaps a small step towards a very large cause, I know that what we accomplished will help increase the quality of living for many children and let them know that there are people who care and people who are praying for a safe and prosperous future.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Perhaps we can continue to exchange expressions of monosyllabic arrogance in person?

Notice: Update coming soon. Just stuck in limbo for a bit....no, really...I've been floating around from place to place scanning for wireless internet as I go. Will be back to home base soon for satisfying life update and perhaps a rant or two from my inner ramblings.

Ciao for now,

Thursday, July 13, 2006


I know I'm a few days late with this post, but WOO HOO!!! YAY ITALIA!!!!!
I won't bore you with a post-game synopsis/analysis because I know they're currently ubiquitous, but I will make comment on some recurring words from upset France fans. Now I understand the urge of dedicated Les Bleus fans to whine about how they felt that Italy was not the superior team of the match and did not deserve to win it all, but I just want to put out the reminder that Italy was UNDEFEATED throughout the entire tournament. I know France was also "undefeated", but they left group G in second place with only one win, two draws and 5 points. Italy finished atop their group with 7 points, two wins and only one draw. Superior playing? I think so. Enough of that....on to the gloating.
I took the quick trip down to Niagara Falls to watch the World Cup final with my family (for those of you who don't know, my dad's side of the family is hardcore Italian), and as soon as Grosso reached the back of the net with that beautifully stuck ball we were out the door, in the car, and destroying the Niagara noise bylaw. We drove straight to the intersection of Victoria Ave and Clifton Hill where there was already a sea of green, white, and red marching up and down the streets. I had a blast riding out the top of my Zia's (that's "aunt" in Italian) sunroof wearing my blue Italia shirt and waving my partiotic flag. The spirit abound was that of triumph and unbelievable passion for the game, and for the Italian culture. Here are a few pics taken that day:

My cousin Luca proudly waving a flag while riding out the top of the sunroof.

My twin cousins with their father, celebrating at our gelato cafe.

My cousin Nick, posing with the Pope who quite liked our large flag.

And just for good measure, the boys relaxing after the game:

Ah, a beautiful game indeed.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Life is a Highway....with some Sweet Wheels!

I've never really been the type of girl to swoon over the suave guy that drives a hot car, or the bad-ass boy that rides a motorcycle, but on Saturday night I was taken for a spin in a brand new silver Nissan 350z coupe and suddenly understood why it drives some women crazy. First off, the car is so low to the ground that when you sit in it, you feel as if you're only inches from the ground. That's because you are. The first thing I noticed about the interior (other then the soft plush black leather), was that it was a stick shift. Hot. I don't know what it is about a guy that drives standard, but I gotta say - loves it!
So, into reverse and out of the driveway we go. We happend to be in a part of Dundas that has some fairly long, deserted roads (alright, it was 12:30am and ALL streets in Dundas are deserted by this time) so we were able to take full advantage of the car's 300 HP and 250lb-ft torque. I'm not gonna lie - it was a ton of fun - takin' the corners at speeds I dare not come close to in my mum's '97 Ford Escort. Fishtailing has never felt so good. I think I now have a thing for hot cars.
Additionally, the same night, I was offered a ride on a motorcycle. This I declined. Partly because I'm a wuss and too scared of all the potential dangers, and partly because I didn't trust the guy with the bike as I had just met him that night. Perhaps at some point I'll muster up the courage to hop on the back of a hog, but for now I'm content with my new-found admiration for sweet rides.

Pic of the Nissan 350z coupe, courtesy of www.nissan.ca

On a side note, Italy totally kicked ass in World Cup semi-final action today defeating Germany by a score of 2 - nil in a game that lasted two overtime periods for a total of 120 minutes on the pitch. ITALY ALL THE WAY!!!! VIVA ITALIA!!!

#7, Italy's Del Piero

Pic courtesy of www.fifaworldcup.yahoo.com

Monday, June 26, 2006

Just what the doctor ordered.

After an emotionally draining few days (see 2 posts previous), the weekend arrived and things started to look up. With friday's abbreviated funk band rehearsal, I invited the players to come over to my place for foosball (which recently made its way back to my home) and drinks. Before leaving for rehearsal earlier in the evening, Marie came by and we made a large batch of red wine strawberry blueberry sangria. Since it was the first time either of us had attempted to make this particular drink, we weren't sure how well it would turn out and instead of actually measuring the ingredients, we just decided to pour and chop until we filled the bowl. Turns out our strategy worked just fine - by the time we got back to my place, the giant bowl of sangria had simmered quite nicely. Delicious!

Needless to say we didn't play much foosball...drinking became the sport of the evening. Although a couple of the guys left somewhat early, the rest of us partied until about 4am. Now, you may be wondering what sort of antics ensue when a bunch of musicians get together and drink. Although I can't fully recall all the events of the night, I can tell you that for a good 45 mintues we broke out in song and harmonized to such classics as "Lean on Me", and "When the Night Feels my Song". Good thing I had my camera on hand to make brief videos of the spontaneous concert...or not so good. Whomever thinks musicians can still sing drunk - you are wrong! (unless you're a seasoned professional like so many of the now-deceased greats...) I thought about posting one of the videos here, but we decided that only those of us actually present that night should get to view them. Sorry! But I will post one of the fun pics taken that night:

If you can believe it, Marie and I drank almost the entire bowl ourselves! Nicely done, Marie!

The downside of being a partying musician.....being extremely hungover for the 3 hour soundcheck that we had next day. Although we spent a good portion of saturday laughing at our behaviour from the previous evening, we were definitely hurtin' a bit - an 11 piece funk band blasting Tower of Power's "There's Only So Much Oil in the Ground" in a large barn is a tad hard to take after a night of heaving drinking. Don't get me wrong - it was well worth it, and by the time the gig itself came around (about 11:30 at night), we were almost fully recovered and ready to funk out! The gig was a good time, and it was pretty fun watching all the drunk audience member dance and do beer bongs.

Sunday I spent the day moving all my stuff from my student room into storage - I've decided to move back home for July and August a) because my lease is up at the end of the month and I don't have a place to go, and b) with the money I saw I can do lots of shopping!!! yay!

So all in all I'm feeling much better. Still not fully there, obviously, but on my way. And moving back home won't be too bad - I already have lots of plans to visit with friends I haven't seen in a while so I'm actually looking forward to it. :)
Oh ya, and Italy won their game today! Great way to cap off the weekend!
Time for bed now, buona notte

Friday, June 23, 2006

Word of the Day

ADSCITITIOUS • \ad-suh-TISH-us\:
• adjective : derived or acquired from something extrinsic

ex: Jenn's behaviour that evening was a tad wackier than normal, and clearly adscititious.
(see photo below for full context)

Love ya, babycakes!!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Out of Every Sorrow Another Day Will Dawn.

Pic courtesy of http://www.leninimports.com/roy_lichtenstein_gallery_18.html

Nothing much to report tonight. Only the news that my boyfriend ended things with me this evening. I guess it is what it is. Thanks Scott, for being a good friend, coming over to talk, and taking me for some TCBY. Much appreciated.