On not having a plan

On not having a plan

When I moved to Toronto to pursue acting two years ago I was wildly optimistic. I envisioned talk show interviews, red carpets, sparkly lights, glam dresses, set life— actually wait a minute, HAHAHA. No I didn’t. I’m a dreamer, but also a realist… which is maybe a bit contradictory. I didn’t imagine being the next insert-actor-name-here, that’s never been my goal. I did, however, imagine being able to support myself a little more comfortably with the help of the odd job here and there. I did imagine booking real acting roles with substance that were both fun and challenging to perform. I imagined that the arts culture here would help me to discover and shape my craft.

Some of these visions have come true, and others not so much. Most of my circle is comprised of like-minded souls who are in the arts community in some form or another. Lots of actors, musicians, dancers, artists, writers. We’re all here for the same reason— for the opportunity to share our stories and our talents with a community that cares. We’re here to be discovered, to create, and to have a voice.

The past few months have been very introspective for me. To be perfectly honest they’ve been a bit of a struggle. I only have myself to blame, I mean, who goes galavanting around Europe for two months knowing they’d be coming home broke and stressed and still goes anyway? I have no regrets. But it does mean that I’m looking objectively at my life choice of pursuing acting and what that means for me in terms of being able to actually support myself— while ideally maintaining some form of sanity. Not to mention trying to maintain my creative charge. Life can be pretty difficult in this concrete jungle which is one of the most expensive cities in Canada. On the plus side, one of the great things about being an actor is that when you do book jobs they pay very well. I have paid an entire month’s rent based off of one commercial booking which was just a day’s work. Print jobs are nothing to shake your head at either. The reality, unfortunately, is that most of the time I’m not working. Acting jobs are not something you can count on. And in that sense, a large part of this career that I’m after is totally out of my control. Yes, I can work on my own projects and hone the craft without a booking. But I’m talking straight up just surviving in the city without losing my mind.

It feels like the plan to be an actor translates into not having a plan at all.

A lot of us turn to restaurant jobs to pull us through. I did that for my first year here, but not again. It wasn’t for me. Each day I could feel my soul abandoning my body due to the sheer monotony. I said goodbye to that job and started something else, another pursuit which also didn’t work out. I stressed so much about what to do. Then 2018 rolled in and I made a promise to myself that no matter what I wouldn’t spend any time in a job that didn’t in some way satisfy my soul. If I wasn’t working as an actor, then I would be working in the field of some of my other interests.

I decided to start my own business. It’s very slow and not bringing in much more than pennies at the moment, but I hope that with my dedication and hard work I can see it grow throughout 2018. I’m also going back to my roots this year— teaching yoga and dance— and as an added bonus, as I mentioned in the previous post, I’m also starting a few photography projects.

Where will it all lead? I have no idea. But I feel a lot better now in not having a plan and instead having many plans. Because, why not? Life is not a cookie cutter event, it’s in our own hands and in our own power to mold into whatever cookie shape we want. When times are tough, I can still smile. When times aren’t tough, I’ll appreciate it more.

Someone once told me that if my life were easy, then I probably wasn’t on my own path. Well, things aren’t easy. So I guess that means I’m headed in the right direction.

If you have any thoughts on the subject I’d be interested in hearing them.

As always, thank you for reading.

bright blue hue

Today the sky decided to cooperate for once. Rather than showing us its usual grey and dank disposition it decided to show off with it’s brightest blue. I decided to celebrate the sky with a little walk and thought I’d better take some photos while I was at it.

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Another new year is here and to mark the occasion that is 2018, I decided to pick up a couple of new hobbies. One of those is photography and the other is water colour painting. I’m not sure why I decided on the latter because I have never really had any artistic talent (which has been made evident by my first few attempts), but I figure I don’t have anything to lose and it’s something I’ve often wanted to try, so… why not?

I’ve also toyed with the idea of deleting this blog lately because I neglect it so much. Most often it manifests in my life as a source of confusion and guilt. Guilt because I’ve never been able to find the passion for it that I once had, and confusion because I can’t quite bring myself to get rid of it despite never updating it.

Where do you guys find the motivation to write and share? Is blogging dead? Should we all just start youtube channels? What is life?

Please leave your answers in the comments, especially for that last one because I so often wonder 😉

And oh yes, Happy belated new year wordpress fam ❤

 

 

Magic is a midnight lightning storm – Switzerland Part 2

Magic is a midnight lightning storm – Switzerland Part 2

You know when you’re reading a book or watching a movie and something absolutely magical happens that literally gives you tingles? And you sit there in complete awe of how beautiful the universe can be, thinking about how you’d love for things like that to happen way more often in real life?

I believe these magical moments are all around us, all the time, and we just have to keep our eyes open to see them. They can even come in the form of really small/mundane things like not getting a ticket even through you left your car parked illegally for hours at a time, or finding a pair of jeans that actually feel comfortable, or maybe just witnessing the barista getting your order right for once at Starbucks.  Maybe you’re really moved by Christmas lights, or gingerbread, or snow, and you love the whimsical energy that December inevitably brings. Whatever your magic, I know I’m not the only one that celebrates these little day-to-day victories, but I want to tell you about one of the more grandiose victories that I experienced on my recent jaunt through Europe, so let’s go back to Switzerland again.

One of the main reasons we decided to start in Switzerland (because it’s crazy to start there in the land of everything-is-more-expensive-than-you’ve-ever-seen-it) is because of a waterline tour that was taking place. What’s that, you ask?  The waterline tour is this beautiful gathering of slack liners from all over the world who come together to (you guessed it!) slackline! The difference being that these lines are rigged over water. You get on, fall off, get wet, level up, meet new friends, and experience a week of infinite adventure. When you’re not from Switzerland, that sense of adventure is amped up 100 fold and reinforced by how beautiful the landscape is. Honestly, it’s so surreal. Let me show you what I mean, just take a look at how gorgeous this place is…

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This enchanting place is called Sion– it’s surrounded by mountains and decorated by not one, but two castles. It was our first stop on the tour and the place where we pitched our tent for the first (of many) nights. Being there felt like being at camp and also a little awkward for me because I felt like the new kid tossed in amongst a bunch of old friends… because I was. To be honest I’m a bit of a shy person, especially in overwhelming groups where everyone knows each other except me. Having said that, people were beyond welcoming and lovely, and even though I was a bit out of sorts I knew I was amongst a wonderful group of people.

On the third day we were there we decided to take the train into town to do a little exploring and take a peak at one of the castles. Being from Canada, I was beyond excited to get a look at some castles…those things that people used to build, but don’t anymore, and don’t exist in North America. It’s all part of the Eurotrip, you know?

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We wandered through town and trekked up and up and up the hill toward the castle. Since this was the first week of the trip, I was just brimming with energy and stopping every few metres to snap a million photos. The trek was harder than you might think, made harder by the fact that the sun was swelteringly hot, but the reward was incredible…

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As I sit here back in my apartment a few months later, reliving this day, I can’t help but feel swept away by just how extraordinary it really was. Thinking of the me from that day, knowing now all the wild and crazy things that were to come, I just feel really proud of myself for finally making a trip like this happen. And this place, this moment, feels like the start of it all. This was magic and magic enough, but it wasn’t even the moment that I was talking about earlier. Yes! It goes on.

After we were done in town we headed back to camp for what was to be our last evening in Sion before moving onto Flims. That’s when we ran into one of our first obstacles: getting there. With no car, and a small budget, and not knowing anyone, this was proving to be tricky. The trouble was that taking the train wasn’t really an option. Well, it wasn’t a good option. Taking the train in Switzerland will drain your pocket faster than you can say please don’t. We discovered that when we initially tried to get to Sion from Zurich, which was far and beyond what we fathomed spending (we ended up taking a blablacar instead). And the trouble was worse because even if we could resort to the train, which we couldn’t, there’s no direct route from Sion to Flims. You have to go all the way back to Zurich first and around because of the mountain passes that prevent a train from being able to run in that direction.

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As you can see it’s just ridiculous to go around– even if you can afford it. Much better to go straight through if you can. We had to ask around and try to find a ride from the many strangers at our camp, most of whom already had full cars, whether with humans or slackline equipment.

It seemed like we were out of luck. My boyfriend kept wandering around trying to see if anyone could squeeze us in, and I went online to try to find us another blablacar, wondering if it was time for us to try our hand at hitchhiking…

When I saw my boyfriend returning I could read on his face immediately that something was up.

“I have good news and bad news,” he said, “I found us rides, but not together. I’ll be leaving tomorrow morning, and you’ll be leaving in about 20 minutes.”

I was a bit taken aback by that. I mean, we only had one tent… if I went that night where was I going to sleep? If I take the tent where does he sleep? Generally I just wasn’t happy about the situation because I think it’s best to stick together and we had only been abroad for a few days, not long enough to feel comfortable just yet. But, thinking about it- hitchhiking wasn’t really an option. Neither was the train. Walking was definitely out, so… that was pretty much that. We started googling reasonably priced hotels (which so far as I know do not exist in Switzerland)  for me to stay at for one night. I packed up all my stuff and walked across the campground to meet the people I would be traveling with to Flims. There was a group traveling together that night, probably about 4 vehicles full of people, and luckily for me, there was space in one of the vans for me to squeeze into. Introductions were made and we started talking about departure, etc. That’s when one of the guys said to me,

“By the way, we’re not going all the way to Flims tonight, we’ll be wild camping and driving the rest of the way there tomorrow.”

………

but… I don’t have a tent.” I said meekly.

and he just said, “No worries, we’ll sort you out.”

At this point I was pretty nervous. I mean I had that one rogue camping adventure which I thoroughly enjoyed, but that was with my boyfriend and two of our best friends, and in my own tent. This was driving through the swiss alps in the middle of the night with a group of strangers, without my boyfriend, having none of my own equipment, with no mobile communication, and sleeping I-didn’t-know-where in I-didn’t-know-what. The stress is understandable, right?  But, that was the situation so I gave them my bag, kissed my boyfriend goodbye, and got in the van.

Off we went, driving through the swiss alps in the middle of the night in a great big van. It was too dark for me to see anything, which I regretted, but as the night went on it started to rain and we found ourselves driving through one of the most tremendous lightning storms I’d ever seen. After many hours of this, the group (all the cars) took a little stop at the top of one of the mountain passes. The rain had subsided somewhat and everyone was deciding where we would sleep. We were in an oddball parking lot of a restaurant which had long since closed as it was probably around 1 or 2 in the morning at this time. With the rain relenting somewhat, everyone took the opportunity to get out of the car and stretch their legs. The parking lot overlooked the town below which was crested in valley and which, I imagined, showcased an enormously stunning view during the day. I walked over to the edge to look into the darkness in front of me, and what came next was the magical moment.

It was the lightning. It was like nothing I had ever seen. Each strike was wild and bold, and every time they burst out of the sky they cast a fleeting blaze of light over the valley below such that I could see the buildings and shape of it all. Flash after flash ignited like this, allowing me one of the most unique viewing experiences of a place I’d ever seen. It was captivating. Everyone was drawn in by the sheer magnificence of the show, and we all stood there admiring it. I was shivering somewhat from the cold so one of the guys came over to me and, without saying a word, cocooned me in a sleeping bag that he was already sharing with someone else. The three of us huddled together on that mountain and watched the sky explode. All was silent except for the the roar of the thunder, and the sound of the rain as it began to creep back in. It gave me all the tingles.

I think that one will go down in my memory bank hall of fame.

Thanks for reading guys, I know it was a long one. Hope you enjoyed.

xoxo

 

Rescuing a bunny

Rescuing a bunny

A few weeks ago I got in touch with my local rabbit rescue about fostering a bunny in need. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but with being away for traveling and working like crazy, it was just never the right time. But then the time is never right, is it?

There are always valid reasons not to do something, but none so valid as the reason for doing the thing… if that makes sense. I was sitting in my tiny apartment thinking about how little room there was for a rabbit (there already isn’t much room for the stuff that’s in there now), and imagining a bunny on top of it all seemed a little cramped. But then it dawned on me…. So what? Who cares if the area becomes cramped if it means that I can rescue a rabbit. I was sure the rabbit wouldn’t mind. So I made my mind up to go ahead and fill out my application to become a foster.

A little history on the topic of Heather and bunnies: When I was a teenager I very much wanted a rabbit. Specifically I wanted a little holland lop rabbit which is more or less the most adorable type of bunny you can get (in my opinion). I remember getting really close to adopting this little lop named Bambi who looked something like this:

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If your insides are screaming from the cuteness, you are not alone. I was obsessed with the idea of bringing Bambi home until I finally voiced the idea to my mother who kindly reminded me that our dogs would give him a heart attack if he was lucky enough not to be eaten by them first.

Ohhhh yeah… okay probably not the best idea after all. So little Bambi hopped out his life with someone else and the idea faded away, although never completely. Fast forward to present day and getting a bunny still seems like a bad idea. BUT, a foster bunny, that’s totally doable.

So I filled out the application, waited around a few days, did a phone interview, waited a bit more, and then at last I got approved! It was time to get a bunny. I wanted to request a lop, like the one I always wanted as a teenager, thus fulfilling a long standing childhood dream. The rescue worker I was in touch with said she did have some lops available, but that there was another bunny who they were trying to place more quickly, she sent me some photos…

It was this guy…

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This is the photo originally sent by his owner who was surrendering him. His name was Hubble, and he’d spent most of his life living in his tiny rabbit cage. He wasn’t being given attention, nor treats, nor vegetables, nor time outside his cage. Hubble’s owner knew that he wasn’t giving Hubble the life he deserved. It was a sad story, the man’s wife had died a few years ago, and Hubble was her rabbit. I think in Hubble’s early life he must have been well loved and cared for, but after the wife’s passing there just wasn’t time for him anymore.  His owner was not a bad person, it was just a really unfortunate circumstance. He took Hubble out of his cage for a few more photos:

The night I received that email I just stared at these photos of Hubble. He was not the adorable tiny lop rabbit of my childhood dreams, and yet none of that mattered because he was the bunny who needed me. Bunnies are just like us, born how they are born. People generally want the most obviously cute rabbit (as I said, I’m no exception), but perspective was slapping me in the face: fostering was about helping a rabbit, not about helping the cutest rabbit. DUH. That was that. I started to fall in love with Hubble. I wanted to bring him home as soon as possible and I literally couldn’t stop thinking about him. Knowing that he was out there somewhere, in his cage, all alone… no treats, no play, no fun. It killed me. I told the rescue I didn’t need to see any other bunnies, Hubble was the foster for me.

A couple days passed by with me just wondering when they would bring him to me. In the meantime I was learning everything I could about rabbit care, watching rabbit youtube videos, and just generally obsessing. Then I got a phone call- Hubble lived quite far away. Like a 2 1/2 hr drive… they wouldn’t be able to get him to me for quite a while.

I thought about having to wait that long, actually mostly I thought about Hubble having to wait that long, and decided that was totally unacceptable. They said if I wanted and was willing to drive then I could go get him myself, and so that’s exactly what I did. His owner and I got in touch and agreed to meet halfway. So on Saturday morning my boyfriend and I woke up, got in the car, and got on the highway. An hour or so of driving later, there he was: scared little Hubble with no idea what was happening or how much his life was about to change. His owner said goodbye and we transferred him to my car and then drove him home where his life was about to be turned upside down.

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When we finally got him into the apartment he was too terrified to even move. We went very easy on him. I just opened the door to his cage expecting that he would hop out. He didn’t. I sat on the floor opposite him, just waiting. I offered him some banana and a carrot and a bowl of greens and he didn’t so much as sneak out to sniff them or anything. He just stayed perfectly still, pretending to be invisible.

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After about an hour and a half I wanted to show him that he could hop around, that he wasn’t confined to his cage anymore, and so I took the top off. Now he was sitting there like this…

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“Okay they can’t see me if I just stay still. They can’t see me if I just stay still.”

I read that rabbits need a lot of patience and that if you want to earn their trust you need to get on their level. I spent hours on Saturday just lying on the kitchen floor across from his cage. A couple times he poked his head out but he didn’t dare to actually hop out. That night we left him and went to bed hoping that without interference he would feel bold enough to venture out. When I woke up the next day he was in the exact same position and there were no shavings whatsoever on the floor to indicate that he had traveled at all. I spent another long while just waiting patiently, but to no avail.

I thought it was time to make a move. I wanted to clean out his box and get him sorted in his new space and so we decided to make the big decision for him. We picked him up out of his box and put him on the floor. I took his box away and got to work scrubbing it clean and replacing his hay and litter. This seemed to be the impetus he needed to start adjusting to his new life. With no choice in the matter, Hubble started hopping around and exploring the strange new area which was his new home. I left him a cardboard box to have some shelter in, and a bunch of toys (which he couldn’t make heads or tails of) and I prepared his area.

And to my supreme happiness and joy, Hubble has quickly been coming out of his shell and showing us his personality. He’s a really cool little bunny! I think he’s a bit overwhelmed with all the attention he’s getting, so I’m trying to leave him to his bunny time… but it’s amazing to see how quickly he’s adjusting and how brave he really is. He’s very sweet and friendly and loves to hop right up to my face and give me a sniff. He’s already become used to my pats and seems to love being scratched between the ears and having his fur stroked.

It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve done and such a joy to see him hopping around, playing, and discovering. I’m completely in love with this little bunny and it feels so good to be able to give this kind of life to him.

Do any of you guys have experience with rabbits? Or rescue animals in general? What was it like for you?

I’ll end this with a few photos of him curled up in his favourite spot.

And of course, because I’m a huge nerd, I also started an instagram page for him. If any of you guys are interested (I don’t know why you wouldn’t be) you can follow him @hubblethebunny!

Okay that’s it for today. Hoppy Tuesday everyone!

(don’t mind the bunny pun)

xo