Why so shy??

Talking as a current bride-to-be who is going through the first stages of wedding planning, I have noticed a trend. A really super frustrating, annoying trend that is making my life harder than it needs to be, and that is this:

NO ONE PUTS THEIR PRICES ON ANYTHING!!!!!

We live in the age of blogs and websites and company Facebook pages – there is so much information available about a company online but you would NOT believe how hard it is to find information on prices, without having to send an email with your contact info/fiancees name/wedding date/zodiac sign/name of first born child/etc.. It’s hugely annoying, and makes it much more difficult to get an idea of budget needs.

I know, I know – the whole “contact us for more information” idea is probably good for marketing. You get someone’s contact info and you can pester them for months with info and hot offers and special deals as you make them up. But from my perspective, that is NOT what I want. I am much LESS likely to contact you if I don’t already have a decent idea of how much it’s going to cost me. I may even end up spending more on someone else, mainly because I could see their pricing list on their website WHERE THE REST OF THEIR INFORMATION IS!!

Rant almost over I promise.

I’m hoping that further research will let me find some upfront vendors, who give me the information I need at the click of a button. That’s the dream anyways, otherwise my junk folder on my email will be getting real full real quick. I’m starting to understand why people say you should set up a new email specifically for wedding planning!!! So far I’ve found a few websites and vendors that show you exactly what to expect from their pricing, and, to be honest, these are the guys I’m leaning towards right now – for pretty much that exact reason!!

Photography: White Sneaker Wedding – http://www.whitesneakerweddings.com

Venue: Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant – http://www.bvrrestaurant.com/content/32-event-package

Cakes: Crave Cupcakes – http://www.cravecupcakes.ca/menu/special-events.html

The times they are a’changing.

Did you miss me?

It’s been a while since my last post… Lots has been happening, lots of changes and developments.

The biggest new development is: I am now engaged to the aforementioned lovely gamer geek boyfriend of mine!!

Very excited, very happy, very interested at the overall reactions from people. Lots of congratulations and celebrations, but some very unnerving responses too – and it’s made me realize how much things have changed since my parents or grandparents were my age… It used to be that a young woman was expected to be betrothed before her twentieth birthday. Twenty-two and unmarried was dreadfully embarrassing, such a shame to the family, blah blah blah patriarchy patriarchy patriarchy etc.

Nowadays young women in this society have so many more freedoms. As a young, Western woman I am constantly reminded of how fortunate I am to have been raised in the environment I was raised in – I was sent to school, I was encouraged to continue on in higher education, I can apply for any job that I want to, my parents never made me feel like the inferior child because I was the girl, I can drive and vote and not plan my life around being a stay at home housewife mother of five.

However.

Is it possible that we have gone too far? Not too far in the sense of equal opportunities and equal treatment, I personally think that while we may applaud our progress we still have a long way to go before we reach total equilibrium (For example, Canadian parliament has under 25% female representation… What’s up with that?). I mean too far in the sense that expectations and ideas that are socially acceptable for women may have changed, but are these new ideas simply a replacement for another way to control how we live our lives?

Since becoming engaged I have received several messages of concern from various friends and family members, all revolving around the theme of “Why on Earth are you getting married when you could be doing so much else with your life?”

From what I have experienced, it seems to be assumed that nowadays a young woman would only become engaged at such an early age if she was giving up on everything else and “settling” for marriage as a replacement for other things. Maybe this attitude originates from centuries of women being trapped in early marriages, of spouses stomping on their wives’ dreams and ideas in order to squash any desire for female autonomy, of young girls being pawned off to husbands in order to cement them into the societal uniform of wife and mother. To a certain extent I understand – if that was what marriage was like then believe me, I wouldn’t be going near it with a 5 foot pole.

But – and this is my great issue – while there have been many many many changes in the quality of life and opportunities that women can expect, there has also been a change in the mental attitude towards “the roles of the spouses”. Marriage is no longer a relationship of dominance where the man is the breadwinner and the woman stays at home knitting – not for everyone. If that’s what works for you then fine, you go ahead and do that, but in many cases marriage is a partnership, with both parties working hard both inside and outside of the home in order to keep up the life that they build together.

I am engaged to my best friend – he is my ultimate partner in crime and everything else and I cannot wait to build my life with him. And for me, that is the greatest opportunity – to do everything else that I can in this world, with an amazing man standing by my side, ready and waiting to offer help if I need it, and offering admiration and applause for the hard work that I do by and for myself.

The reactions I have seen from some people have really shown me the twist of this modern day age. Engaged at twenty-two? Oh how embarrassing, how shameful, your parents must be so disappointed, I’m sure they wanted so much more for you, etc. etc. People seem to believe that as a young woman who has completed a university degree, I am selling myself short by getting engaged – but none of them ever stopped to ask me what my plans were next. I didn’t realize that by saying yes to K’s proposal, I was also saying yes to a life of boredom – no one ever told me there was fine print saying that I had to give up on all my other dreams and ambitions… You know why no one told me that? Because it’s not true.

I am just as capable of travelling and building a career and finding new and wonderful adventures with or without a ring on my finger. I just happen to have found a man who will do all of that alongside me, and in these days of serial dating and casual flings, I am honestly honoured to have found someone who is willing to hold onto me as tightly as I will hold onto him.

Private Fears in Public Places

So other than having an outlet for the endless monologue inside my head (I’m not crazy I promise!!) the purpose of setting up my own blog was to get feedback and inspiration for my writing.

At the moment I’m working on a book called “Private Fears in Public Places” – it’s a collection of short stories, so far based on my own observations and experiences, of events that would really be better behind closer doors. Some are entertaining, some are heartbreaking.

One of the things I love about writing is that I have the power to immortalize: I can write something down and print it and it lasts forever.

I would normally take inspiration from my friends and family for my work, but in this case I am looking for a wider field of experience!
I would greatly appreciate anyone who wanted to post a “scenario” in my comments section, briefly describing an event that you either experienced or witnessed that you think would be suitable for this title.

Much love,
R

When I Grow Up…

Did anyone else ever have to do that assignment when you were like four, when your teacher gave everyone a sheet of paper that said “When I Grow Up, I….” And you had to fill in the blank?

I hated that assignment.

All my friends knew what they wanted to do – they wanted to be vets, astronauts, football stars, dancers, actors, singers, zoo keepers, one girl even wanted to be a lawyer. No matter how unfeasible these childhood dreams were – none of my friends are on the path for NASA’s next space mission, that I know of – they were still there. They had a goal. I sat for about twenty minutes staring at a piece of blank paper until my teacher came over and asked me what was wrong.

To be honest, I had never liked that teacher and she never liked me – I like to think she suspected that I was smarter than she was. When I told her I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up she told me to stop being silly and write something. Very emotionally nurturing for a year 1 teacher. Needless to say, I was hardly encouraged and continued to sit and stare at the table.

Now, almost two decades later, I still get that overwhelming feeling of directionless confusion – an endless sort of “well, now what…?” feeling. It’s still a little bit terrifying, also exhilarating and nauseating and exciting. Entering my final year of my university degree is bringing a lot of this home to me – my “what next” could be anything and anywhere.

The ability to describe this feeling definitely gives more security than when I was a kid and thought I was just a little bit boring compared to my friends… Now I can vocalize the fact that it’s not that I have no idea what I want to do next, it’s that I have too many ideas and I can’t decide on one thing for long enough to plan around it! Some people are the settle down and plant roots type – I am not. There are so many people and places and opportunities in the world, I don’t think I could ever get bored of seeing and doing and experiencing new things. The office life is, unfortunately for my bank account, not for me.

I want to spend a year teaching English in South America.
I want to be a travel writer for some fancy wilderness magazine.
I want to teach guitar lessons to kids.
I want to rejoin the RNLI and put years of ocean experience to good use.
I want to have photo albums that are full of Australia, Cambodia, Finland, Jamaica, Zambia, wherever else a plane can take me.

When I was younger, sitting in front of that blank assignment, I didn’t write anything because I thought I had to choose one thing, not five or ten or twenty things. All of my friends had one plan and, even though those plans have changed, most of the people I’m around still have a pretty solid idea of where they’re headed. Law school, med school, interning with an oil and gas company, going to teach abroad for a year, starting their own company (over achievers…), whatever. To be completely honest I still feel like a bit of a five year old when people ask me (as they inevitably do as soon as they find out I’m graduating this year) where I’m heading next. Somehow I doubt “I want to be an astronaut rock star wilderness explorer” would be a socially suitable answer anymore, but maybe that’s what I want to do!

At least now, if someone sat me down with a piece of paper and a “When I Grow Up, I…” assignment I know my page wouldn’t be totally empty – I doubt I would have enough space to write it all down!

A Brief History

Before I start posting the rambling thoughts of my weird and wonderful life, I thought I’d give a brief backdrop to me. This is my first attempt at writing a blog but I have always been a religious documenter: diaries, journals, albums full of candid photos. Finally decided to join the 21st century and take the journalizing of my life to the big bad internet – so here we go! 1. I am a twenty-something wanderer who rarely stays in the same place for more than 2 years at a time. 2. I am a total bookworm. 3. My dad was in the British Royal Navy for the first eight years of my life, we moved around a lot. Moved out of my parents house when I was 16, moved alone from the UK to Canada when I was 18. I am adaptable to change. 4. I have been dating my lovely gamer geek of a boyfriend for about a year and I am disgustingly happy. 5. I am an awful cook – except lasagna. I can make lasagna. 6. I have an overactive imagination and can think through any possible outcome of any possible situation within five minutes flat. 7. I am addicted to Diet Coke. 8. I suffer from insomnia. 9. I will be graduating university in June 2015, I have no idea what I want to do next – that terrifies me. 10. Most days, I am a complete normal human being. Sometimes I feel extraordinary, sometimes I feel like I could disappear and no one would notice. I guess that’s how everyone feels, right?

A collection of ordinary moments making up an extraordinary world.