Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 highs and holidays lows

Winter is reserved for dreamtime in several aboriginal cultures around the world.  A time of reflection, rebuilding, contemplation, planning, cleansing.  As 2014 looms on the horizon for the western world, I, too, am meditating on this past calendar year.

Along with my boyfriend, cousin and friends I hadn't met yet, I journey to the Great Continent after my usual months of Canadian employment.  Stunning diving; sunrises over sand dunes; terrifying car hires or, more specifically passing; seeing amazing creatures rumoured to be and actually in decline from poaching and habitat encroachment; coming face to face with the aftermath and rebuilding efforts of South Africa's apartheid; hilarious hostel mates all awaited.

A proposal to move in with my sweetie came while we were in Johannesburg.  I immediately dismissed it.  I reconsidered after my girlfriend that I usually rent from announced she was selling her house.  Mostly in cohabitation bliss, I was keen to add animals to the mix.  Every other week I was dog sitting, feeding cats or checking on fish but I wanted some critters actually in the house.

Enter: On Our Way Home Animal Rescue.  Within two days of expressing interest in fostering, we had two fraidy cats in the basement hiding in the walls, drawers and under the sofa.  They went to a barn where I hope they're chasing mice and snuggling together.  Two kittens (adopted quickly) and another adult female cat (that we'll likely keep) followed.

It has been my favourite volunteer gig.  There's always the 'isn't it hard to give them away when they're adopted?' question from others outside the Rescue.  Naw, I'm pumped that they're desexed and rehomed to loving and worthy owners.  It's also heartbreaking as hell when parvo rips through a foster's home and puppies die.  Despite the setbacks, it has been very rewarding to be a part of this great organization and watch its influence grow.

A few slow starts and underemployment marked this past summer and I finally had the time to take the Level 3 first aid course.  A rewarding and challenging two-week course that currently has me examining options on the way to paramedic.  Sitting on a construction project from Dawson Creek to Chetwynd reading my weight in novels every two week shift has been the reward.  And a fist full of cashola.

Dan and I recently returned from a great holiday that covered off Victoria and Calgary.  I am consistently blown away by the love within and generosity of his family.  I genuinely attempted to make it to Red Deer but Alberta in the winter still has tricks up her sleeve and our bus was turned around when the highway was closed due to REALLY scary conditions.

Bummed I wouldn't get to spend more time with my mother but also pleased I didn't have to watch my brother treat my mother SO poorly, I see it was a mixed blessing.  How much of Kevin's awfulness is brain injury and how much is him truly being an acewipe I do not know.

More cousin visits and playing pictionary into the night instead.

I have two favourite aunties.  One of them kindly and immediately opened her doors in Calgary when Dan and I were not able to make it to Red Deer.  Her father has been doing poorly for years and he finally passed in to the next world to join his wife.  I didn't know him well but truly I felt the joy and release of his ailing, tired and shell of a physical body.

So, thanks 2013 for new places and faces.

2014, Here's to health, fitness, travel, family, friends, job insecurity and animal rescue!

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