Tuesday, December 29, 2015

An Open Letter to the Ones Who Missed Out

Dear Ones­­­ Who Missed Out,
              You have crushed me. You have made me feel completely worthless. You have made me feel like I was never meant to be happy. You have made me cry countless times. You have made me stay in my bed at night cradling my broken heart. You have made me think that I’m not good enough. You have convinced me that I’m not pretty enough. You have made me feel like no one would ever want to fight for me. You have made me think you were the best I was going to get. You made me believe that you were the only one I deserved. But the thing is, you were so wrong to do that.

              I am none of that, but I want to thank you. In crushing me, you helped me build myself back up with experience. In making me unhappy, you helped me find happiness within myself. In making me cry, you helped me grow stronger. In cradling my broken heart, I have restructured it so others like you will never hurt it again. In making me think I’m not good enough, you’ve made me realize my own worth. In making me feel like I’m not pretty, I’ve learned to appreciate my flaws. In not fighting for me, I learned to fight for myself. I now realize you were never the best for me. I now know I deserve so much more than the likes of you. I am happier without you. So thank you. Because of you, I have become a better person. Because of you, it made me ready for someone I do deserve.

              You have missed out. I would never hesitate to show my appreciation for someone I would have cared about. I would do whatever I could to make you happy. I would have listened to everything you said and remembered the littlest details. I would have taken the time to be a part of your interests. I would have been so proud of your accomplishments. I would have accepted all parts of you. Someone else is lucky enough to be in this position now. Someone else saw what you didn’t. Someone else appreciates everything I am. And so, I am proud to say that YOU are the one suffering the loss.

The One that Got Away

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Perfect Holiday Movie Checklist

Well friends, Christmas has passed, and I'm going to be honest: I was not in the Christmas spirit whatsoever. It has been difficult to be away from my family and friends. I missed out on treasured traditions and family time. Most people would have been rushing around to do their shopping and probably ranting about their encounters on Facebook. This time of year, it is of the utmost importance to take the time to relax and watch the adored Christmas movies. For me, it was a good reminder of the Christmas season and the bustle around it. The people at Casper have created my perfect Christmas movie list as an incentive to stay in bed and relax. You don't need to ask me twice! Also, so be sure to check out their Twitter page. You won't regret it - it's highly humorous.
1. An Outrageously Comfortable Mattress
Let me tell you, a comfortable mattress is an amazing thing to find. I miss my bed from home. It has the best mattress. My bed in my university accommodation is a solid okay. I have slept in a few different beds in my time here, and I've realized just how important it is to have a comfortable mattress. Better mattress, better sleep. If you're going to be spending time in bed for a movie night, you want the ideal mattress that puts you in the mood to cuddle up and let all your stresses go.

2. The Perfect Pile of Pillows
The picture below includes the quilt my mom made me for England. She finished it in the airport the day I was leaving. When I got to England, I bought myself to comfiest pillows I could buy. On movie nights, I make myself a nest with piles of pillows and my quilt. Similar to the mattress, this element of a movie night tends to put you in the mood to cuddle up and relax.

3. Holiday PJs
A family tradition we have is Christmas PJs every year. I have so many collected from over the years. This year, my mom bought me some anyway. I, however, chose to curl up in my onesie because nothing beats the comfort of a onesie. It always reminds me of a big hug and makes me feel extra cozy. However, it's always a little odd to walk about the flat in a onesie for the first time.

4. Cocoa
I love hot chocolate. I would say it's one of my favourite parts of winter, but I genuinely drink it all year. It always feels so good when it warms your belly, and it's different than coffee or tea. It purely feels like an indulgence. I'm guessing if you like hot chocolate, you don't mind sugar. If you don't mind extra sugar and like candy canes, then I have the trick for you. HOT CHOCOLATE HACK: put a candy cane in your hot chocolate. Let it melt and you have made yourself a mint hot chocolate. It's one of the best things I have made myself.

5. A Big Plate of Cookies
Usually, I set myself up with a plate of cookies to snack on. At home, we made at least five different types of cookies. This year, I made two batches of fudge for a meet-the-family situation. The night before I left for my Christmas destination, I brought some of the extra fudge into my room and had a lovely evening snacking on my homemade fudge. I missed the cookies, but the fudge was incredible.

6. The Polar Express
The Polar Express is my all time favourite holiday movie. I started watching it every Christmas Eve by myself when my family was napping before Christmas mass. I love everything about it. The music gives me goosebumps, the animation is fabulous, and the plot is entirely feel-good. I missed out on watching it this year and watched the third Star Wars instead (Christmas-y, I know), but nonetheless, this is my favourite film.

So there it is: my holiday movie night essentials. If I could have one more addition, it would be someone to cuddle with. As someone wise once said "winter's a good time to stay in and cuddle."

What makes a perfect holiday movie night for you?


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Lessons Learned: Becoming an Adult Version

I’m back. My life is different, and I’m not surprised that I’ve taken so long to get myself back into blogging. But nonetheless, here I am, and I have lessons to share! The thing is, I’ve been away from home for exactly 83 days now (yes, I’m keeping track), and I have been exploring a brand new version of myself. That new version is adult Daniella. Legally, I am an adult, but I don’t feel that way at all. I feel like I’m in this weird purgatory between teenager and adulthood. I now realize that the adult feeling isn’t going to hit me like a tonne of bricks. It’s going to be a process made up a small “adulting” moments. So in my 83 days in Leeds, this is what I have learned about being an adult so far.

1.       Getting lost is the best way to find your way.

I could get into this meaning in an analytical sense, but I mean this quite literally. A few weekends ago, I went on a weekend trip to Bath with my friends. We were on a walking tour of the city, and they actually ended up leaving me because they got bored. I had no idea where to go, so I wandered my way around for three hours. And by wander, I mean I was lost, and I loved it. Later on, I met up with my friends, and I ended up knowing exactly where we were meeting the group for dinner because of my wanderings. So, in getting lost, I found exactly where I needed to be.

2.       Finding ways to deal with your emotions is going to change throughout your life.

Hard days are going to hit you in every walk of life. The thing about moving away from everyone you love is that you can no longer heavily rely on those people to keep you going. All the people in my life have a specific role, and at the beginning of my time here, I found myself lost without them. Years ago, journaling used to be my way to cope with issues, and I’ve shifted to writing once again. Without my support group close to me, I now find myself writing page after page on my tough days just so I can vent. It wasn’t until recently that I started relying on my writing again, and it has become a crucial daily ritual.

3.       It’s okay to be a different person.

I know I have mentioned this in previous posts, but it still rings true. I’m the kind of person who feels guilty for changing who I am. I’m still coming to terms with the fact that IT IS OKAY TO CHANGE. Change is not a bad thing. I’m not compromising my morals in any way. I’m growing into myself. Being away from home has allowed me to reach my full potential and push past the boundaries I have set for myself. I’m constantly reminding myself that changing is part of becoming an adult.

4.       It’s okay to not be homesick.

Now this is a point that makes me feel guilty quite often. The thing is, this experience has been in the works for six years. I am living my dream. However, I spent the past few months waiting for that wave of homesickness to hit me. The truth is, it hasn’t, and that’s okay. That’s how I know that I am exactly where I need to be. Things are going well here. School is great, I’m thriving in my seminars, my friends are amazing, and everything has fallen into place. Does that mean I don’t miss people? Not at all! Ideally, I want everyone to come here. But I’m so happy here, and it’s okay to not feel homesick because I’ve made myself a new home right here.
London, England via Instagram

5.       Cooking is an amazing way to impress both yourself and other people.

So here’s something new: I can cook. I know I can bake well, but I’ve never really experimented with cooking because I’ve never had to do it. My mom armed me with a handful of recipes, so with that and the help of trusty Pinterest, I figured out how to cook. I can make a great spaghetti sauce, do my own interpretation of garlic parmesan chicken, and I’m incredibly satisfied about making my favourite dish of fettucine alfredo. You get an incredible sense of pride from doing your own cooking. Plus, all my flatmates are impressed with what I can do. I’m not the simple pasta and jars of sauce like they are. And I’m a strong believer that everything tastes better if you make it yourself.

6.       Learning how to maneuver unfamiliar transportation and read maps are important life skills. 

I will never stop being thankful that my mother taught me how to read a map. I was in London a couple weeks ago, and my travel companions were – and let me be direct here – directionally challenged. I was the youngest one there, and I was telling them how to get places. I figured out the tube, I knew the landmarks, and I used the maps. So there I was in big ol’ London, and I found a new sense of confidence. I also have this irrational fear of new transportation, and on this trip, I took the train to London by myself for the first time. I was terrified and anxious and my heart was beating so fast, but I knew once I did it, I would be fine. That trip was a big turnaround for me.

7.       Booking trips and hotels is surprisingly satisfying.

I am going to Amsterdam for Christmas, and I’ve been looking into going to York for New Year’s. I also booked a couple small trips earlier, and altogether, it’s such a freeing feeling. It’s a new freedom to do what you want. I’ve had many adult moments just sitting there at my computer looking at prices of flights versus buses or mapping out the cheapest hotels to where the city centre is. I love it, and I want to do more of it when I get back to Canada!

Every time I have an “adult moment,” I feel a sense of pride, and I always share it with my parents. Growing up is a long process, and the little moments like these matter. These items have been after only two and half months of being away from home, so I cannot wait to see what else is in store for the rest of the year.