Throwing it back

Hey friends! Hope all is well in your crazy lives whether you are back at school or working full time, I hope that you’ve been finding some time here and there to get out and enjoy the last few weeks of sunshine. Summer is slowly on it’s way out…I can feel it in the air! Soon it will be time for ankle boots and blanket scarves and I’m not going to lie, I am pretty excited.

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This is my “loving life” smile

This post is going to be the first of several that are pretty different than what I am usually up to around here. Today I stumbled upon a blogging challenge called “Blog-tember“, run by Bailey Jean at Brave Love. It’s basically a series of prompts, one everyday of the month to get you blogging everyday. I know, I know, I’m a little bit late to the party but hey, September has been a little (read, a lot) busy for me between completing my programming requirements for my job, going to meetings, adjusting to new classes and catching up with all my friends here in Ottawa. Suffice to say, I haven’t been thinking about blogging much. But I’d like that to change, I really would. Blogging is something I do just for me, because I enjoy it. So when I saw this challenge, I was curious. When I saw what the topic was for today, I knew it was meant to be!

See, today’s prompt is: A list of your favourite blog posts you’ve written. 

The reason that made me so excited is that earlier today, I did that. Totally unknowingly. I was updating my “About Me” page and decided to include a list of my personal favourite posts to give new readers a place to start. This challenge was meant to be! So here they are, my favourites from the past couple of years. Some are ones that just mean a lot to me personally and others are ones that I am proud of. It was a good reminder today to read through these posts and see how far I’ve come. It made me remember that writing is a passion God gave me for a reason and that I need to be using it.

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Speaking of throwbacks, here’s one from when I was just starting to explore Ottawa last year

Have a look through if you’d like, before I bombard ya’ll with a new post everyday (!!!) for the rest of the month! Here’s to making habits and forcing myself to do the things I love and often put off.

Monday Morning

Grateful

I Found My New Favourite City

Nepal – Shaken not Shattered

A simple pause

I will remember

15 things I learned in 2015

Crossing Oceans

Like a Bird

5 Things 1st Year Taught Me

Shawarma dajaaj min fadlik – Reflections on learning Arabic

Adventures in tripping – a little flippin’ never hurt!

Leader-what?

Thanks for reading. Praying you’re having a great evening and that something I wrote may make you smile 🙂

Until next time,

-Sam ❤

My Compass Points North

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“Be aware that this area is like ‘Algonquin on steroids’: some lakes are bigger, the portages are tougher and the hills rockier” – The Adventure Map, Temagami 2

About 2 weeks ago, I led my very first canoe trip. It was one of the most intimidating, most exhausting, most inspiring, most challenging and most rewarding things that I have ever done. In about 2 weeks, I’ll be doing the same thing all over again with another group of 15 year old kids. Just the thought of it gives me butterflies….except this time they are butterflies of excitement rather than the nervousness I felt this time last month.

As most of you know, I just did my tripper training in May of this year. I didn’t even get to warm up and lead a trip in the areas around camp that I am familiar with. Instead, I jumped right into a 5 day adventure in Temagami on a rather remote route that I had only paddled once, four years earlier. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. I’m using my journal (which came with me on trip) to help me with the details of this post and looking at the ones leading up to the trip, I wrote almost everyday about my fears before our departure. I think that’s normal though. I was about to have the lives on 18 people in my hands. I was the one calling the shots. I was responsible. And holy hell, I was nervous about it. All I could do was pray for courage, patience and sound judgement.

I’m not going to give you all a play by play of our route because lets be real, you probably don’t care. I am going to try to give you all an insight into my feelings on the trip, as well as the hardest and best moments. Just for some background, I was leading a trip that consisted of myself, my co-faciliatator Liam and 16 of our leadership participants who are 14 and 15 years old. The trip was a loop in the southern part of Temagami that totalled 90km and included 7 portages of varying lengths. Temagami itself is incredibly beautiful…clear blue waters, wind swept old growth pine forests, tall rock faces, small and pristine portage in only lakes. It is the true north and a stunning definition of Canadian wilderness.

Day one was fairly uneventful. We made it to our site in early afternoon and had a lot of fun hanging out, swimming, exploring and getting to know each other (although dinner was a disappointing fail). One of the coolest things about trip is the bonding that happens. Without any outside distractions, you get to know the people you are with very well. Liam and I quickly realized how awesome our trip group was – wonderfully hilarious and so much fun to be with. I can’t brag about my kids enough.

Looking at our map, we knew that day 2 was going to be our longest day on the water so we got to bed early. Sure enough, it dawned a beautiful day but I was really nervous about navigation. Relying solely on a map and compass versus knowing the area like I do around Kitchi was super intimidating. Not to mention, everything looks the same!! The trees, the water, the islands. Looking at the map and then looking up and trying to figure out which little piece of land you are looking at is pretty difficult. Lucky for us, we passed lots of friendly cottagers and between taking bearings, I got into the habit of calling out “Which island are you?” every once in a while to pinpoint where we were on the map. We were never lost but it was a nice way to assure myself we were on the right track.

But day 2 was also my lowest point as a tripper. We were stopped for lunch after our first real portage. It was only about 75m and took us over 40 minutes to accomplish because the kids just didn’t quite get what portaging was all about. The wind was picking up and we were about to head out into the stretch of what I knew was going to be most difficult to navigate. The kids were already complaining about being tired. I was overwhelmed by the weight of it all and truly thought I might cry. Liam looked at me and asked what I wanted to do; I needed to make a call. I knew we had to keep going, and more importantly, I knew that I had to put on a brave face for my team. So that’s what we did. I took a bearing, we packed up the canoes and off we went. That day we were on that water for 11 hours, portaging a total of 5 times and completing a huge chunk of the trip. It was long, it was hard and I was so, so tired. Yet that night I was so proud of myself. We were safe and we had accomplished our goal. I knew then that I could do this.

The next day was the “Death March”. A very long, hilly and rocky portage that is notorious for making L1 trip hell. I don’t want to bore you with the details but it was another long and challenging day. The highlight however was meeting up with the other half of the group and spending the night at a campsite together. We swam at a beach all together with crazy waves – it felt more like we were in the Mediterranean than the Canadian North. Those carefree moments laughing and playing with the kids, all together and relaxed after a couple hard days is something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life. That’s the point after all. That’s why we do this trip. It’s to form connections and make lasting memories. That’s what it’s all about.

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In the past, I don’t think I ever really understood how many things a trip leader has to be thinking about at once…until I was actually doing it. One of the kids made a comment at the site one night that I was making leading look effortless. I mention that only because I remember thinking the same thing about my tripper when I was in L1 and it is only now that I realize just how many things she was juggling at once! From checking the map and compass, to watching the weather and assessing risks, making sure everyone is feeling well, drinking water etc, setting up camp, coordinating food, communicating with camp and still acting like a regular human being who interacts with everyone on the trip…Liam and I both were surprised by how constantly focused and busy we were.

I love being out on the water. I love laughing with kids and cooking outside and the feeling at the end of a portage when your whole body hurts and you have a huge sense of accomplishment. I’m proud. And just to put it out there, it’s in huge part thanks to the amazing instructor I had; more than once i found myself repeating to the kids something he had told me on trip. Marty, if you’re reading this, thank you.

I can’t wait to do the trip again with new dynamics and new adventures. Never stop challenging yourself friends, you can do things you never thought possible. Also, confidence is key; trust your own abilities.

Until next time,

-Sam

p.s. Shoutout to Liam MacLeod…there is no one else I’d have rather had with me on trip. Your humor and support kept me calm and you made me keep going when I was the most overwhelmed. I appreciate you a lot.

 

Adventures in tripping – a little flippin’ never hurt!

If you fall into a river in the middle of May… get back up and do it again??

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Kitchi Tripping Crew ft Marty

That’s right, I was still smiling after 2 dunks in the aptly named Black River on a cloudy May 10th. Following my Switerland post titled “Today, I Fell Down A Mountain“, are we really surprised here? I was not, although I did feel bad for taking my bow paddler Lauren down with me…sorry gf! Honestly though, no one in my life is surprised at this point when absolutely ridiculous things happen to me. And if I’m honest, I kind of love it. I’m really grateful that God gives me so many funny little quirky stories to tell. It keeps me always on my toes, that’s for sure!!

Here’s the thing: those couple slips aside, I had an amazing experience at tripper training. I got a whack load of certifications, made new friends, and spent time with already good friends against the beautiful backdrop of Georgian Bay. I found it challenging to an extent; canoeing isn’t exactly my strongest camp skill. (I was always a sailor when I was a camper.) In fact, until this month, I’d never taken canoeing in any formal setting. Add that to the fact that most of the other participants on the trip had wayyyy more experience in tripping, you could say I was a bit intimidated. Here’s some things I learned from my week in the wilderness, as I worked towards becoming “Tripper Sam”!

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Outdoor Pursuits

Everyone starts somewhere. It was my first time taking any kind of formal canoeing and yet I was putting so much pressure on myself to be perfect, to  be as good as everyone around me. But I was just starting out! All the others had already spent the time perfecting their strokes; they had put the work in. I had to focus on the fact that I was learning every hour I spent in that canoe, rather than on trying to measure up.

On the flip side, don’t make excuses, make opportunities to get better. Although I didn’t have a lot of experience, I wasn’t going to let that stop me or intimidate me; I tried to not make excuses. Instead, I took every opportunity to get better. I sterned (steered) the boat every chance I got. I tried solo carrying canoes on almost every portage. I volunteered to do tasks around camp that I wasn’t really sure I could do, like helping to set up tarps. I learn best by doing, so it was a great opportunity for me! Also, I asked approximately a million questions. About everything. At all hours of the day. Hey, I was trying to glean all I could- from the incredibly knowledgable instructors we had and my peers!

On that note; everyone has something to offer. This is such an important part of a safe and fun trip but it’s also just important in life. In this case, I was pretty good at tying knots. Guess all that sailing paid off! It may seem like a little thing, but I was able to contribute to the group by helping to teach different knots. I also really enjoy cooking on trip so I helped out by being sous-chef for the leaders of the meal. Someone has to cut those peppers! Meanwhile, someone else had to go over navigation and compass use with me. And Lauren had to be patient with me on the river in the rapids. We all learned from each other in some way or another over the week and it was really cool to see everyone step up and take charge in their own way.

Confidence goes a long way! Don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself by trying something new. Laughing off mistakes is the best way to handle them…trust me, I would know by now. Sometimes, you just gotta fake it ’till you make it. A big part of our trip leading certification was being confident. As a leader, sometimes you have to make decisions and just be confident in your own skills. Trust yourself, trust your team, and be willing to make mistakes when the risk is low so that when you’re in a real situation, you’ve already applied your training and are therefore more likely to make the right judgement call.

When it comes down to it, sometimes you just have to get back on the horse…or back in the canoe! My two dips in the river happened on the very first day of a week and a half of training, during the 1st of 5 courses. It would have been pretty easy to get discouraged. I’m not going to lie, heading out to day 2 was rough. I was feeling so defeated from the day before and let me tell you, a 7am start, combined with spilling your breakfast all over yourself (in typical Sam fashion) and then putting on an already wet wetsuit is not exactly a morale booster. However, once I got out there I firmly decided that it was a new day, that I wasn’t going to let anything stand in my way of learning. Fear of failure only makes failure a more real possibility. And guess what? That Sunday on the river was probably the most fun I had in the entire week. Once we started to get a hang out it, running the rapids was SO SICK. Like for real, you should try it. In fact, I’m hoping to take my 2nd white water level at some point soon. What a change from day 1! Even our instructor (who is basically the most impressive canoeist I have ever seen in my life, Marty you are a Jedi) was impressed by my come-back. And I let THAT experience set the precedent for the rest of my week, not the first. Now, I am SO looking forward to being able to take my leadership to Temagami! Can you say dream come true??

Last summer, I started talking about wanting to be a tripper and my campers, as well as some of my fellow staff, started jokingly calling me “Tripper Sam”. While “tripper” may not be my actual job title this summer, and I still need to log some more experience before I get fully certified, I am proud to have kind of accomplished that goal for myself. Thanks to those friends for believing in me before I did! Also, shout-out to the trip team – you guys were so so fun to paddle with, laugh with and learn with.

 

By the way, thanks to any of ya’ll who read this funny little blog on the regular. It may be messy and silly and often irrelevant but it’s my little pet project and I so, so appreciate any of you who take time out of your day to read my thoughts…wow, what an honour!! Thank you dear friends for joining me on my (not so) grand adventures through everyday life.

Until next time, Sam

P.s. Guys. Can we just take in how incredibly beautiful the world God created is? Like holy cow. Several times I made a point to wander off so I could sit by myself and just breath in creation. Get out of the city friends, it’s so so worth it. You’ll never feel more alive than when you watch a sunset beside a set of rapids while eating a dinner that was cooked over the fire.

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RIP Sandy Grey Falls –  p.c. Grant B.

 

 

Shawarma dajaaj min fadlik – Reflections on learning Arabic

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Homework

The first time I ordered shawarma in Arabic, I made sure to go by myself. I’d mentioned it before, as a joke, with a friend from class one night when we decided we desperately needed to go get some chickeny, garlic sausey deliousness. At the time, it had been just that, a joke, but as I sifted through my very limited Arabic vocabulary I realized I had all the words I needed to say “I want a small chicken shawarma with water please”. So I did it. I planned every syllable and still tripped over it.

The first time I spoke in Arabic spontaneously was when I was volunteering, teaching English to kids who had just arrived in Ottawa as refugees from Syria. I’d spent the last half hour trying to teach a table full of 6 year olds how to count and although they could write out the numbers and chant them out in order, I knew they weren’t making the connection with what “One, two, three, four…” actually meant. So I ran my finger down the page saying “Wahid, one. Ithnayn, two” etc. Their eyes lit up with understanding and they immediately starting babbling at me in Arabic. Obviously, I didn’t understand much but for the rest of the time I volunteered there, I would answer questions about my life in Arabic and get taught names of animals or foods by the kids.

I am one (school) year into learning this beautiful language and my life is already richer because of it. Often, when I get asked about my program I hesitate and wonder whether or not I should say my minor as well as my major. Partially because I don’t know if that’s something people do and partially because I know a lot of questions will follow haha.

The first question is usually why. There are so many reasons I chose to study Arabic but even I myself wasn’t sure if it was the right choice. I really considered taking Spanish again as my third language; I had studied and loved it in the past and knew that after 4 years I would be able to have a decent level of fluency. I had this nagging feeling though that if I did that I would regret it. I knew that I would always look back and have a what if moment, wondering if I had missed out on an adventure because of fear and the desire to take the easy way out. I knew Arabic would be difficult and unlike anything I’d ever done. I also knew that the eye-catching script intrigued me, that I wanted to unlock a new part of the world.

In high school I became really interested in language learning, not for the sake of the languages themselves but for the people that each one allowed me to meet. The thought that there were suddenly thousands of people I could connect with with each new language I learned filled me with excitement (and sadness that I can’t learn them all!) I struggled through French, forcing myself to get better, to be able to laugh and joke with my Swiss friends in their native language. I memorized Spanish verb conjugations in the hopes of one day being able to understand some of what my friend Bradley said when he teased me about my accent. I learned songs in American Sign Language, accumulating vocabulary quickly, amazed by Deaf culture. I recently met someone at church who is Deaf and because I knew a little sign, she invited me to have coffee with a group in Ottawa. I didn’t get a chance to go but I’m hoping to in the fall. How cool is it that learning even a few words in a different language creates an opportunity for connection with people that you otherwise may never have even learned the name of?

Learning the language has been difficult, I’m not going to lie. Even just learning the alphabet was hard. I remember that on the first day of class my professor told us that 9 of the letters had no French or English equivalent sounds. And real talk, I probably still sound ridiculous when I speak. But I try to savour the little successes, like handing in my first page long piece of writing, seeing on Memrise that I hit 500 words learned, or ordering shawarma. I’m enjoying it and its connecting me with new people and for me, that’s what it’s about. That’e enough for me.

I’ve also gotten to learn more about Arabic culture, because of conversations sparked when I got asked what I study. Once I mentioned it and the boy I was talking to, who was from Lebanon, sat and talked with me about his country and language, religion, politics and media portrayals for over two hours. How cool is that? Next year, as part of the requirements for my minor, I’ll be taking culture classes as well.

One year in, and swirls and dots that used to mean nothing to me are now sounds, words and names. No, I’m not exactly sure how they will tie into my future career, although yes, I do have some ideas. For now, I’m letting my professor laugh at me as I fall asleep in 8:30am lectures. I’m studying in the laundry room where no one bothers me while I say the same word over and over and over again. I’m writing the same few sentences again and again, still amazed that I can read this script. And yes, I’m eating a whole lot of shawarma dajaaj. Suffice to say, it’s an adventure.

-Unti next time, Sam ❤

Chatter…

The rush of adrenaline, the last minute talking yourself into it, the butterflies and the potential beauty of the unknown. 

Adventure

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I love exploring even if it means getting lost. I love changing scenery, new experiences and the pure fun of muddling through language barriers with new friends. I love unexpected rain and getting on the wrong bus. I love travel too, but that’s not really my point here.

My point is, I am not about living a mundane life. I cannot and will not be satisfied with ordinary. That’s not how God made me. I firmly believe that God gave me a soul that craves adventure and exploration. He gave me a burning curiosity, a relentlessly questioning mind and a desire to experience as much of this world as possible.

Example A: Next week I’m taking canoeing courses to become a certified canoe tripper which is a dream I’ve had for years. I’m going to learn how to paddle rapids, deal with emergencies in the wilderness and lead trips of people. It’s going to be so fun, so challenging and an adventure for sure!

Example B: I don’t have many requirements when it comes to dating but: he’s gotta love Jesus, it’s be nice if he was taller than me and he has to be okay with love seeking out the adventures in life. Because I plan on living this life pursuing God and pursuing the joy of new experiences. Therefore my future husband, whoever he is, is going to have to be cool with that. I plan on living in the mountains of Nepal for goodness sake! Good luck man, whoever you are :’) (yes this was a fairly random point, get over it ya’ll)

To go back to my original point, simply stated, I want to soak up all this world has to offer and try scary things. The comfort zone is not a place I’d like to be familiar with.

So yeah. I don’t really know what this post is about or if it has any point at all. I’m just late night dreaming about how cool our world is and how excited I am to explore it. I mean, I titled a blog about my life “Sam’s Grand Adventure”…can you tell yet that I like excitement and the extraordinary wonders of day to day life? Simply being alive everyday is an adventure in and of itself. No one has ever been Sam before and everyday is an unknown. How absurdly wonderful.

Seriously, I’m pumped! Life is cool, the world is incredible, humans amaze me, and God is good. God is good, always.

Psalm 37:4 says to Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” WOW. How lucky am I to have a God that creates such a magical world and then, because He loves me, fulfills my desire to explore it? Answer: Blessed beyond measure.

For real though, I’ve been pretty blessed so far and I can’t imagine all the things God has up His proverbial sleeve for my future. Ready to climb mountains, stomp in puddles, chat with a stranger in a book store, drink new flavours of tea, laugh until I cry, sit in silence beside a lake and walk through the stalls of a bustling market place.

Yep, I think that’s all I have to say for now. You may return to your regularly scheduled Facebook scrolling. #Sorrynotsorry for interruption. 😉

Until next time, Sam ❤

 

A fresh blog and a messy picture

Tada! New Year, new blog!

My intention with this little impromptu overhaul was simply to make my site more easily navigated. I was constantly getting frustrated by the lack of an archive and bio panel, like the one now to the side, as well the inability to see visibly how posts are organized. I was getting confused and it’s my blog! I know all the little ins and outs and how to find things, so I can only imagine how difficult it was for others to find archives, recent posts and even a simple search bar. I hope this update has made it easier!

The other reason was because I wanted a cleaner, more professional look. I was getting a little tired of the yellow graphic at the top of the page and this theme allows me to have the focus on content and not unnecessary clutter.

It’s still not perfect, but I’m liking it at the moment. I hope you do too! This blog is always changing and evolving as I learn how to use the site better and figure out what I want it to look like. Thanks for bearing with me!

Lastly, a quick note about the photo I’ve chosen as the header. For the longest time, I’ve had a shot there of myself sitting on a wall in Lausanne, Switzerland looking out over the water and the mountains. I LOVE that picture, I really do. That day is such a sweet memory and it reminds me to keep looking forward to new adventures. With my new theme however, I could’t get it to fit quite right and I took it as a sign to try something new. After an annoyingly long time, I finally chose this one.

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It’s from a train trip Amen and I took in Interlaken. Again, a wonderful adventure and fond memory. But that’s not why I chose the picture. I picked it because it’s far from perfect. There are wires everywhere disrupting the view. Amen was calling for me to hurry up and the train was actually in motion when I snapped it. It was cloudy and there are several safety signs making an appearance; not exactly photography gold. Let’s be real, it’s not a great shot. But there’s something about it that screams adventure to me. It’s real. It’s motion and blue sky and messy composition.

It’s adventure. Sam’s Grand Adventure. A name chosen because it sounded regal and, in my humble opinion, rather epic. Grand adventures don’t have to be sailing seas in high winds and climbing mountains with good friends (although that does sound exciting). Grand adventures are long and have many ups and downs. They are chasing trains and finding dusty books in old stores. They are laughing over tea until you have tears in your eyes and worrying about what you want to be when you grow up. Life, life is a grand adventure. And that picture up there, is just one example of how messily perfect grand adventures can be.

I hope you like the new layout. I really wasn’t intending this post to be more than a few words but then again, sometimes words seem to spill out of my fingertips like they have a mind of their own. Maybe I’ve been reading too much Lord of the Rings and have my brain all tangled up in what it must be like to set out on an epic adventure.

Until next time,

-Sam

Gallivanting into the future

Hey friends!

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Long time, no see. Sorry about that. School this year is kind of kicking my butt. Not so much that the workload is bad but that I’m really struggling to find motivation. It’s odd; I love my classes but I wish I could just go and have these long discussions about politics and economics and the world and poetry and not have to do random assignments that have no impact on the real world.

Anyway, not really the point of this. Today was an absolutely lovely day filled with music and good friends and hope for the future, so I figured I’d write a little something even though it’s late and I should be in bed.

Now that I can drive, having the car for a night is such a treat. I love having the freedom to want to do something and then just being able to go and do it. Tonight, I was out with some friends and then decided to stop by another’s house for a quick visit. I had just come to the top of a huge hill in our neighbourhood when I quite literally had my breath taken away by the beauty of the sunset. The entire sky was taken up by it and I felt so glad to be alive in that moment. Lately, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by all the bad taking place in the world.

Last week I visited a courthouse in Toronto and witnessed an hour or so of a murder trial and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. And then there is the earthquake in Nepal which makes my stomach twist and my heart hurt every time I think about. And I don’t know if any of you see it around you, but the people in my life lately seem to be so confused or angry or hurting. But tonight I was reminded that there is so much good in the world. A friend of mine, Lauren, recently came back from doing missions work in India, Scotland and the Congo and was talking about seeing terrible things in the world but still being able to walk away and say “But God is faithful”

But God is faithful

In every situation, in every moment, God is faithful.

There is a verse in Hosea that I absolutely love and it goes

Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth – Hosea 6:3

The sun always rises and God is always faithful. I think one of the things I love most about that verse is that he will come to use like winter rains. Most of us, I think can agree, winter just is not fun. Maybe for a little bit, around Christmas, but mostly, cold, wet and gloomy is not what I prefer. But God comes. In something we may perceive to be bad, God comes.

I guess what I’m getting at is this. There is evil in the world. There is. And you know what? It sucks. But there is also good. There are sunsets and sunrises and good friends and warm tea and laughter and an entire world to discover. And there are people who work towards finding the good like the lawyers at the trial I visited and aid workers trying to help rebuild in Nepal. And there are people who will just give you a hug and tell you that you matter (if you ever need that, just let me know, I really love hugs, and you dear reader). Best of all, there is a God who loves us, fiercely and passionately and relentlessly. I just feel blessed to have been given a shot at life and I can’t wait to explore.

I want this to mark the start of a new beginning for Sam’s Grand Adventure. Because, sorry to say, there are no “adventures” looming in the future. There are no plane tickets booked, no bags waiting to be packed. But there are things to learn and people to talk to and ridiculous situations to get myself into. I’ve been associating adventure with travel but honestly, just living is an adventure. How cool is it that everyday is unique? That today, you had conversations you will never have again, that tomorrow is (as cheesy as it is) is actually a mystery? Not to mention, if you want a real adventure, try giving your future over to God. You’ll end up doing crazy stuff that pushes you out of your comfort zone on a daily basis, like asking a stranger to have coffee with you, or deciding to perform poetry that you wrote live in front of people or acting out life advice in the bookshelves of Chapters. Maybe thats just me, my life is basically a comedy show.

So if you’ve read all the way to the end, koodos to you! I know this has been long, and kind of all over the place. But yeah, that’s where I’m at. I think the whole time I’ve been blogging, I’ve been so worried about making it good and making people want to read it. But it’s called Sam’s Grand Adventure. I’m Sam, and if you stick with me, maybe we’ll learn some things together. I’m going searching for the good and trusting God to help me find it.

I’d be honored if you came along for the ride!unnamed  – Sam

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The Imitation Game

*possible spoilers, proceed with caution!*

“Are you paying attention? Good. If you are not listening carefully, you will miss things.”

The-Imitation-Game-group-shot-600x301This is the opening line of the movie The Imitation Game, which centres itself around the story of Alan Turing, a brilliant mathematician who cracked the Nazi enigma code during WWII. He and a group of other linguists and code breakers spend two years building a machine called Christopher capable of sorting through millions upon millions of possible settings for the enigma machine that could be used to crack intercepted Nazi radio communications.

Turing is an eccentric character to say the least. Incredibly intelligent, fairly arrogant and socially awkward, he reminded me a  bit of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. Played by Benedict Cumberbatch, the acting was really good and I found myself silently egging on the characters, totally engrossed in complexity of the enigma code and the puzzle of trying to solve it. When they finally did, I actually said “wow” aloud in the theatre. The whole concept appealed to my curiosity. The part that broke my heart was at the end. Turing is arrested for being a homosexual, fired from the job he loves, and put on government mandated hormone therapy that changes who he is, to the point where he can’t even complete a crossword puzzle. He ends up killing himself.

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I think we as humans are inherently afraid of the things we don’t understand. Most of us cannot even begin to fathom the way Turing’s brain worked or how he came up with the things he did. Why didn’t I know his name before today? I knew about Einstein and Churchill and Steve Jobs. Historians predict that the cracking of the enigma code ended the war 2 years sooner and saved 14 million lives more than if it had never been solved. And yet I didn’t even know the name of the man who did that, who was the first person to dream of a machine like the one I am writing on at this moment. But he was odd and he was gay. His was judged by his perceived shortcomings rather than praised for his incredible talents and because of that he was lost to our world too soon. Looking at his accomplishments in the 41 years he lived, who knows what he could have done if his life had lasted 60, 70, 80 years? We won’t ever know.

The movie itself was incredible and so interesting to watch however more than that it made me think about the world I live in today. We consistently as a society look for ways to judge each other rather than admire each other. Who cares how talented someone is, they’re ugly. Who cares how intelligent someone is, I don’t agree with their lifestyle. Who cares how kind hearted someone is, they annoy me. And we isolate and push each other away instead of coming together as a community. What if we all helped patch the holes in each other’s weaknesses? Used each other’s strengths to overcome our weaknesses? I’m kind of off on a tangent at this point but it really broke my heart to watch the story of a brilliant man crumble because people couldn’t look past their own bias’ to see the good he brought to the table.

“Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.”

Who are you misjudging?

P.S. It’s a beautiful film. I’ll see it again and I think you should too 🙂

Courageous

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them because the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you” – Deuteronomy 31:6 

It’s January 2015, season of resolutions and fresh starts. While some may approach this with a cynical attitude, I love that people take this opportunity to make changes, to have a benchmark to look back on and to have a timeline for goals. A year seems like a long time in the present but in the grande scheme of things, it is actually just a fraction of life. The last year of my life brought me so many ridiculously amazing opportunities, it sometimes felt like I was living in a dream and I can’t wait to see what 2015 will bring for me in all areas of my life.

Something I did last year for the first time was have a word of the year. I honestly cannot for the life of me remember where I first heard about it but basically the premise is that you pick a word that you want to be representative of your year, something you want to strive for or learn about or focus on or improve. My word of 2014 was chosen on a whim on night early in January and I really had no idea how much of an impact it would have on my growth over the past year. The word was renew.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed, day by day” – 2 Corinthians 4:16

Throughout the year, the word would come up when I would least expect it, in bible verses, in conversation and in my life and I feel like it was truly a year of renewal and growth.

So after last years success, why would I not pick one this year?

Courageous

I don’t think I even know what it means to be courageous, but I’m willing to learn. Here goes nothing. 2015, a year of being courageous

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I’m Not Dead And Neither Is Jesus

I’m back! Hellllo everyone! It’s been a while, I know and I’m sorry. I’ve been a horrible blogger lately and an even worse journal keeper…opps. I know that I’m hurting myself more than anyone else since I really want to remember as much of this trip as possible but it’s difficult between school, weekend adventures and all kinds of other fun stuff. Also, I just wanted to mention, Happy Easter! As you can see from the title, not only am I back, today so is Jesus! His return is  a billion times more amazing than mine and today I am grateful to have a Saviour who loves me as much as Jesus does. Hope you all had a great day with your families and whether you are religious or not, are grateful for the things you’ve been blessed with.

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 “For you have been my hope O Lord, my confidence since my youth” – Psalm 71:5

That all being said, here’s what I’ve been up to! If this is random, choppy or weird I apologize. It’s late, I’m tired and trying to recall these things from a while back!

Two weekends ago I went to a chocolate festival on the Saturday and on the Sunday I visited a  town called Interlaken and took a train ride through the mountains! Also, I am obsessed with The Voice France and if Team Mika doesn’t win, I’m gonna be rattled. That is my every Saturday night. The train ride was seriously so cool and I got some of the best pictures this trip. Amen and I made an attempt at a vlog but it’s literally just me asking her “Et maintenent ou allons nous?” or “Ou sommes nous?” like 20 times, not interesting at all. So these photos will have to do! Overall, it was a fantastic day and I love mountains.

I’m going to tell you everything I do during the school because, to be honest, it’s really not all that interesting! I go to school, just like in Canada and in the afternoons, I work or play on the Internet or go for walks. One interesting thing though was that I went out for dinner this past week with my English class which was fun. I’ve got to say, they are probably the most interesting group of people I’ve met. Between 10 of us, I think there were 12 different languages that could be spoken by at least one person? And also just very nice, friendly, funny people so that was fun.

Last weekend I went to a party with Amen for one of her best friend’s birthday which was interesting to say the least…I think I’ll leave it at that. I also just hung out and read. I’ve finished the first Harry Potter and am well into the sixth….don’t ask why number six, I don’t know. Then on Sunday we went to a pretty little town in France and wandered around for a while. There was a castle and a beautiful lake so I loveeeed taking pictures there even though it was sort of cloudy and rainy. Here are a few (or as many as I can manage to whittle it down to hehe) of my favourites. The first few are actually from a walk I went on!

So that just about catches you up, I am now on vacation for a week for Easter which I am very excited about! Tomorrow we are going to Zermatt for one night which is like the most famous mountain in Switzerland which I’m excited about! We might go skiing or we might just explore, we’re going to play it by ear! Hopefully this super long post didn’t bore you. Oh and one more thing (plus a few more pictures) I went and got a closer look at the famous water jet so those are the pictures. On a bit of a side note, I’ve noticed my French is steadily improving which is awesommmme. It’s not as good as I wish it was but it’s coming more naturally now and I’m catching my own mistakes before other people correct me. I’m not sure if I can call myself fluent since my grammer is still terrible but I can communicate…it’s a work in progress. Au revoir for now!