Summer Highlights 2016

Hey guys. I know it’s been a while since I last posted. Yeah, I’ve been busy, but not that busy. The truth is, every time I’ve gone on my blog for the past year, I’ve be completely turned off by its appearance. I mean, I created it when I was 14. The theme I used was the best of the best… six years ago. As of yesterday, it was gray, poorly put together, just OLD. I’ve given it a reboot. I’d like to invest a little more time (and more importantly, money) in it sometime in the future, but this will have to do for now.

So, hello again! I can’t wait to tell you about the past few months!

I finished my first year of university with fairly good grades. I’ll admit, I’m a straight A student no more. What with having my classes set to someone else’s schedule, it’s not as easy to work and learn on my own time and in my own way. That said, I’m happy with how my first year went. I’m on the right track.

On the road again.
On the road again.

Summer has been a long, lovely stretch of bright, warm days full of adventure. I flew to Guatemala early in the summer to help lead a girl’s trip. We spent two weeks riding chicken buses, exploring towns, swimming in a high altitude lake, and climbing volcanoes. These girls rocked. For most of them, this was their first international trip. And yet, they transitioned more easily than I’ve ever seen another first time traveler do. They ate everything put in front of them, they dove into Spanish conversations fearlessly, they gamely went on every adventure, no matter how far out of their comfort zones they felt. It was so inspiring to see Guatemala for the first time all over again through their eyes. Aspects of travel that I take for granted and find homelike astonished and impressed them, and through that I felt the excitement of taking a new journey all over again. It was a joy to be with them.

The Guatemala Girls
The Guatemala Girls

Of course, the trip had its downsides as well. Early on, an obnoxious backpacker broke into my room late at night, lost, and slept in a bed that didn’t belong to him. It happens. It wouldn’t have been a big deal, had he not been wildly contagious. He got me sick, and I spent the rest of the trip dealing with every symptom under the sun. Hives, fever, unmentionables, everything. Thanks a lot, guy.

After that, I went on a road trip with my Manlet (yep, we’re still a thing) down through the States. We visited his extended family, which was lovely. Also, we went to Cedar Point! I think I’ve mentioned that my love for roller coasters knows no bounds? :D

Road trip!
Road trip!

After returning home to Kingston, Ontario, I started looking for a “real” job. The summer is a terrible time for me, financially. A good chunk of my income comes from teaching creative writing lessons. Obviously, those end for the summer, and for a few months I end up barely making it. “I’ll just get a summer job,” I thought. “Easy, right?” Good Lord. Not easy. Not in a university town. I did end up finally landing a job at a Girl Guide’s summer camp. I aced the interview, bought some sunscreen and an ugly hat, and went to a week of training.

In vain. The night before my first day of work, I dislocated my hip while wrestling a bear.

I wish I actually had a great story like that… in reality, I sat up from watching a TV show in bed and suddenly I was in agony. Do you like that story better? I didn’t think so.

I fixed the dislocation myself, since I dislocate on a fairly regular basis and have been taught the fixes. Unfortunately, the pain was still intense. Off I went to the hospital, my boyfriend helping me hobble down the street. A few hours and an x-ray later, I was free to go. No exorbitant hospital fees! Yay, Canada! I called work up and let them know, and a fiasco ensued. I wasn’t allowed to come back to work for a week. Fine. A week later, they called to let me know they thought I should take another two weeks.

It was time to find another solution. I quit. I had to. After spending a day in self-pity at home and two days on the streets and the internet searching for a solution, this is what I came up with:

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Yep. The Fiddling Fairy. I donned my wings, applied for a busking license at the City Hall, and got to it. I made three days wages in an afternoon and had the time of my life. I did it for the rest of the summer. Here’s a journal note from that first day:

My day has been phenomenal, weird, unexpected, and awesome! Some highlights / stories:

– The little girl who shyly came up to tell me she’s been reading Peter Pan for the first time and hopes I can find my way back to Neverland soon.

– The very sick lady who sat with me for at least half an hour and insisted I play “Daisy” for her. She sang along, and tipped me a ten, “just in case you’re homeless and really need it.”

– The autistic man who clapped for me and asked if I’d be his girlfriend.

– The winks and nods and smiles and high fives I got from passerby.

– The two slightly unkempt band guys who invited me to join their band “because they need a chick to be official” and gave me their info. Uh, thanks?

– The man who, with a tear in his eye, said that I reminded him of his brother who used to play violin.

– The preteen with the blue braces who walked by five times before she got up the courage to say hi and tell me that she just started playing a few months ago and I’ve inspired her to work through the miserable hard beginning part.

– The baby that stopped crying to watch with wide eyes. His parents tipped me a five.

– The woman who invited me to play on Wednesday and Thursday at a fairy festival. She says she’ll pay me. (note: I ended up working as a “fairy nanny” for this woman’s two daughters off and on for the rest of the summer)

I worked for 2.5 hours and made 2.5 times what I typically make for one full day of “real” work. Plus, I brought a little weirdness and beauty to the world, and I made people smile, remember, and care. I feel pretty satisfied with today, and I think I may have found something I really love.

Artwork from a friend.
Artwork from a friend.

Today is the last day of my summer. Tomorrow my third year of university (the second at Queen’s) begins. My schedule for the year looks insane. I’ll be teaching, freelancing, taking as many classes as I can manage, and working with WUSC to help mentor refugee students at Queen’s. I’m looking forward to it!

I’ve put together a photo essay with these and other highlights. Check it out! :)

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