Category: Chandra

Weddings

I’ve sort of become part of a wedding culture in the last few months.

Last year I didn’t know anyone (in my peer group) who was married or getting married. Now I know 8 people who are engaged and getting married in the next two years.

I can now sustain a very long conversation about wedding plans, guests, venues, food, invitations and engagement rings.

And it’s seriously fun.

In the spring, Quonya and Doug who I met in Newcastle are getting married in Edinburgh. This summer my friend Annie from high school is getting married in Ottawa. My old roommate Taylor’s wedding is in July, and both Kristen and The Chris are bridesmaids.

And in October of 2012, Chandra is getting married and I’m a bridesmaid. Seriously, I couldn’t be more excited. It’s like a big party that you spend two years planning! And I get to help! I get to make invitations and help pick a photographer and watch Chandra try on beautiful dresses! And then I get to wear a beautiful dress too, and sit at the important wedding table! I feel like such a grown up!

I’m in no hurry at all to plan a wedding of my own, but I’m really happy that close friends of mine are getting married soon and I get to experience it all. And then I’ll have lots of ideas in five years when I might start thinking about doing it myself. Maybe.

For now I’m just excited for all my friends. And the parties.

Friendship

December 16 – Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

I’m going to start sounding like a broken record here. My friends are pretty amazing, and all for different reasons.

I don’t like people much in general, so the ones I eventually choose as friends tend to be quite awesome.

It’s a hard question because all of my friends have changed me and are constantly changing me. But since this is supposed to be about this year specifically, I’m going to dedicate it to one of my newest friends.

I’ve heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn. And we are led to those who help us must to grow, if we let them and we help them in return.

Chandra is the most optimistic, enthusiastic person I’ve ever met. Her love of life is contagious, and it was exactly what I needed this year to learn how to love life myself.

Chandra and I at the Parthenon

She taught me so many things: to bounce, to run, to eat dessert. Her infallible belief in me, her constant belief that I was a great person, let me believe in myself for the first time in a long time.

I believe that we meet people in our lives at the time that we need them most. And I needed Chandra this year, so that I could see everything as a good story. Every misadventure as an adventure.

Chandra and I made a pact to spend our year seeing new things and new places. We used to go somewhere new every weekend, whether it was somewhere nearby or a whole new city. Because of this we saw so much and learned so much, together. She was my partner in crime and we were, quite literally, joined at the head for the year.

Chandra and I in London

I love Chandra most for her hugs and smiles and her ability to turn almost anything into a positive. I love her for giving life to the optimist in me.

Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.

Chandra and I in Delphi

Body integration

December 12 – Body Integration This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

With rasping breath I sang out a few bars from the theme to Chariots of Fire. I could hear my heart beating in my ears, my legs struggled to keep moving, one step at a time. I could see my doorstep in the distance, as my muscles screamed out in protest. Finally, we arrived at my doorstep. I nearly collapsed on the step but not before giving Chandra a high five.

It was my first 5k, and I made it through. My body was complaining but I was hyped, full of adrenaline and a sense of accomplishment. I could call myself a runner now, at least a recreational one. I don’t love running, but I love the way it makes me feel; as if I could do anything, as if I have control over my body.

This from the girl who was allowed to run half as many laps in gr. 5 gym because her teacher was tired of waiting for her to finish after everyone else.

Since then I’ve become a bit addicted to the feeling of running. My days are so much better when I run. I’ll never be a natural runner, it’s a struggle still for me to get to 5k. But it keeps me more fit and healthy, and most importantly happier. Alive. Present. Connected to my body.

Moments

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

Chandra and I had spent the last few hours walking around Knossos, an extraordinary place that we’d both read about in text books for years. It was our first full day in Greece. I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the amazing experience of finally visiting a place I’d been studying for years. To actually see the evidence of a civilization from thousands of years ago. To see one of the first and most controversial archaeological sites in the world.

My mind was full of all of these thoughts. It was blissfully hot. I could feel my bare legs tanning in the sun. I smelt of sun screen. We ordered fresh orange juice and sat on a terrace. It was so refreshing, easily the best juice I’ve ever tasted. And it was so perfect, and pure on a hot lazy afternoon. We drank it while discussing history. Maybe I didn’t feel so much alive as right. It just felt right.

In truth, there are so many more moments I could write about. So many times I felt more deeply than I have for most of my life. It was definitely a year of spectacular moments.

Me, in Knossos

Korinthos

Our destination after Delphi was the city of Corinth, called Korinthos in modern Greek.

Modern and ancient Korinthos shared the same prime geographical location - the Isthmus of Corinth is the narrowest stretch of land on the Peloponnese, the shortest passage between the Gulf of Corinth and the Saronic Gulf - from the Ionian Sea to the Aegean Sea.

It’s largely because of the Isthmus that Corinth became an important Greek city. In fact, it was one of the most important city states in Classical Greece. And it was the capital of the Roman Province of Greece during the Empire.

The modern city of Korinthos is largely an industrial hub, shaped by the Corinth Canal, which was cut across the Isthmus in 1881. But the idea of the Corinth Canal originated much earlier, with Nero. He ordered the building of a canal across the Isthmus in 67 CE, but died soon after and his plans were scrapped by Galba.

We stayed in the modern city of Korinthos, unfortunately. It wasn’t a terribly nice place and there didn’t seem to be anywhere at all to eat. I’m also fairly sure we were the only people staying in our giant hotel. There were tons of stray dogs, and if you were nice to them they followed you around.

Chandra making nice to some dogs in Korinthos, photo by me

We escaped to the ancient city as soon as possible in the morning. It turned out to be a much nicer place.

Ancient Corinth, photo by me

What remains of Ancient Corinth is mostly Roman. We didn’t see much of the Greek city. It was heavily redeveloped as the Roman capital of Greece, and therefore boasts of Roman style forum and some really great plumbing.

The remains of Roman buildings, photo by me

It’s amazing how much of the city still remains. There was so much to see. I hadn’t been to an archaeological site this big since I was in Pompeii and Ostia.A Corinthian column in Corinth - I couldn't resist, photo by me

It was an incredibly rainy day - which really threw us off after nearly a week of intense heat - but it was a great site to visit. I think next time, though, I’d stay in Ancient Corinth instead.

There's a mountain back there, I swear, photo by me