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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Be Cheerful

Max Ehrmann


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

I found a copy of this poem in my wardrobe. I had written it out in a letter for a friend but never got round to posting it. I'm kinda glad I didn't though as I'd have forgotten about it for another 10 years and it's too good a poem to be forgotten. I'm not a particularly religious person but that's why I like the line "Therefore, be at peace with God, Whatever you conceive Him to be". I guess I like it because it's good advice for life in general, especially the last line "Be cheerful, Strive to be happy".

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Boy's Got Bill Payer's Rights

I met the infamous Shovel Hands McKee on Friday night. His hands are huuuge, hence the name Shovel Hands McKee. I'm pretty sure that every time there's an eclipse it's because this guy is waving at his friends. Also, when we were leaving the pub on Friday night my boyfriend, who was a leetle beet drunken, pointed at a policeman and shouted out "Is that a real peeler?" to which I replied "I think the fact that he's wearing a uniform with POLICE written on it would suggest that, yes, he is a real peeler" I'm not sure why he thought there would be fake peelers hanging around on a Friday night but he does get silly notions when he's intoxicated. He was also proudly announcing to me that because he paid for electricity he had Bill Payer's Rights. This meant he was justified in turning the lights on and off repeatedly while I tried to sleep. Oh how I missed that drunken fool!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Missed My Pub

Well, Ballymena hasn't changed much since I left. But that's how I wanted it to be. Just the same. It was lovely seeing my man for the first time in 7 weeks. I was so nervous about seeing him it felt like a first date, which we never really had before so that was a whole new experience. He had an assortment of malty treats waiting for me which, of course, included a Malteaster Bunny. I went to my local pub on Friday and caught up with a lot of friendly faces. If only I could have taken that pub, and the people in it, to South America! Everyone was glad to see me home safe and sound.

My time this week has been dedicated to building a set of drawers. The task itself was easy enough but it took me a couple of days because of extended breaks for drinking coffee with guests and babysitting Martha Amy. My beautiful niece seems to think I'm an alright person now and doesn't cry immediately after being placed in my arms. She has grown quite a bit since I last seen her and is at the stage where everything has to be looked at, felt and then put in her mouth to see how it tastes. Zoe, Martha and I have a trip to Dublin planned in April. I realised that there's so much of Ireland I want to see let alone the rest of the world.

Pearlie seems suitably pleased to have me back. I don't think I actually gave her time to miss me properly but she is pleased that I'm back all the same. The dogs are glad to have another feeder on hand. Bonnie isn't shy about letting me know that she's hungry. Neither are the cats. Fat Face Freddy spent my first night here lying at the bottom of my bed. He must have known that I'd missed him.

So all in all I'm glad to be home. All of a sudden the days are much shorter. I'm not worrying about what I can do to fill my time. I've got an application form for Student Support up at Queen's. I used to do this job in Stoke and I really loved it so if I could get a wee gig here, even if it's up in Belfast, I'd love it. It's kinda the wrong time of year because student's don't have much need for support worker's in the summer but if I can get my foot in the door for September it would be fine. I could get a temporary job for the summer doing whatever. I'm sure things will all fall into place for me.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Home, Sweet Home

After only 7 weeks away I've decided to go home. The truth is I wasn't really enjoying myself. Also, I feel too vulnerable traveling on my own. Men out here are predators. I feel like it's too easy for someone to take advantage of me. I've had a few scary experiences out here and the last one, in Lima, was the final straw. But it's not just that. I found myself continuously disappointed with the places I visited (with the exception of Oaxaca and Banos) and the people I met. I'm glad to be going home to people who know and love me.

I'm glad that I took a chance. I had such a burning desire to come here and I had to get it out of my system. And I have learnt a valuable lesson about myself, I am not cut out for being on my own. I have not been able to make anyone happy out here and therefore I can't be happy. I can't wait to get back to my darling boyfriend, to cuddle my darling cats and dogs, to help mum with the housework. I have also learnt that I do not suit unemployment. A day is too long when you've nothing to do. I need to be busy, I need to be useful, I need to be needed. So I don't regret my premature departure. I don't care that I have wasted a lot of money that I worked hard to get. The only thing that is important now is that I feel safe and happy. Maybe I will come back one day but not on my own. The good experiences I did have were tainted by the fact that I had no one to share them with.

Maybe a lot of people will think that I'm rash in my decision, that I should give it time and things will improve. The fact is rhat these 7 weeks have been the longest of my life. And that is only half the reason why I'm going home. I thought I was brave but I had no idea how uncomfortable I would feel by the men out here. A lone woman is an easy target. I know from the times I did spend with other people the men will largely ignore you. But everytime I was on my own I received unwanted attention. Even men who were meant to be in a position of trust. I woke up in the early hours of the morning to find a guy who worked at the hostel I was staying at had used a key to let himself into my room. If there had been even one other person sharing with me this wouldn't have happened. I was lucky, I told him sternly to leave and thankfully, after a while, he did. But it is scary to think what could have happened.

So for anyone who does feel like I'm making a mistake, believe me, I know myself better than anyone and I know in my heart that that this is the right decision. The more scared and vulnerable I feel out here the more of a target I am. And of course, I was warned about all the scary situations I could possibly face but I was naive and I had to find out for myself. For that, I'm proud of myself. That I never let anybody else's apprehensions put me off what I wanted to do. But I also know when I've had enough, and I've had enough. There's a reason why people say home, sweet home and that's exactly where I'm going.