23 March 2014

How Far We Come

A couple weeks ago I finally got over my writer's block. Helping to identify and verbalize my dissatisfaction with my blog helped tremendously and since then I've been able to make a few changes visually. That still doesn't mean that I've figured it all out, I still look in disdain at my blog.

After coming across a few blog posts about "archive" posts, posts you've written a long time ago or not so long ago, I thought I'd give my archives a gander. I never had any "how-to" or "10 things to make life easier" posts, but I realized had a much firmer list of goals when I started this blog. Reading back over these posts has been a bit of a strange journey too: I never anticipated the nostalgia that would accompany it. Or the groan worthy quality of some blog posts.

I keep trying to reassure myself that I know better now and I have the ability to edit, or even delete, many of these posts.

As I mentioned, a sense of nostalgia has been felt while reading these entries along with a recurring thought of "Wow, things have changed in the last four years." I mean, I knew things had changed in my life, but it didn't strike me exactly HOW much things have changed since I started this blog. The post that had set it off was when I got my first pair of fashion frames.

At the time it sort of marked that I was more or less financially independent from my parents, and if I wanted to spend more money than they had the budget for, I had the freedom to do so. It was also the first time in my life I had the ability to become not only fashion conscious, but a fashion consumer and develop a style. Not surprisingly, looking back over the pictures and the years my style has changed considerably.

I won't bore you with a total recap, but just trust me that in my self-reflection I have become a better and happier person. Two years ago, when I moved to the UK I was unhappy, weighed 68kg, and still had an unhealthy relationship with food. I feel far more settled today, I have my sport, and while I am cutting for a competition my pre-breakfast weight is 62.2kg, I would never have had the confidence to attempt something like this with an unhealthy relationship with food. While I have always been an advocate of going beyond superficial or physical markers to measure progress, sometimes that's all a person has.

Old pair of fashion frames in Oct 2012.
I'm smiling because I got ripped off so badly for airport coffee...

New pair of fashion frames.
Not the best idea to take a selfie following a night shift...

My head is still a block, just a smaller one.

My weight still has to come down to below 61kg by Fri March 28 for the weigh in for the Taekwondo International European Championships. 1.2kg feels like a lot of work at the moment, but when I look back at how far I've come I feel really proud of where I've gotten to.

05 March 2014

Thoughts on Sochi 2014 Pt 2: It's Not Over Until It's Over

 My absolute favourite moment, as a Canadian and particularly as a woman, was watching the Women's Hockey final between Canada and USA. Up until this point, trying to watch Olympic hockey had been frustrating as the BBC failed to broadcast/cover Canada's matches in favour of other events. It's my opinion that hockey is a tad more exciting than watching tea tray racing or sliding across 10+ km of snow. I digress. My point is that the Canadian Women's hockey team made it to the final and I just really wanted to ask the BBC, "What made you think that this wasn't the team to follow?"

So yes, oh em gee, I was excited when the final FINALLY was broadcasted. And double-you tee eff, what a GAME. If you watched the game, you'd know, if you can watch the game, or at least the highlights online, you can get an idea. The outcome for Team Canada looked dismal for this game, ending their winning streak that went back to the 2002 Olympics. But after 56 minutes and some seconds of running game time Canada finally scored a goal, and with LESS THAN ONE MINUTE of game time Canada TIED the final. AND THEN, Canada scored a goal to win the game in overtime.

Players and spectators alike didn't know what hit them. But this moment is going down in hockey history, not just women's sports history, and exemplary of the motto "Anything can happen."

When I met my Spitfire Taekwondo coach Mark, one of the first lessons I ever got from him was "The game's not over until it's over." Meaning, until that timer has stopped, you're still playing, and you still have a chance to make your mark. If you think you have lost after your opponents scores the first point, then you have, and if you think you've won because you've scored first, then you could be in for a surprise. It's something I've taken on board over the last year but it never hit home until I watched this game.

The following day was the men's Olympic hockey match between USA and Canada, and while it was a semi-final according to the schedule, it may as well have  been a final for all the rivalry that was involved. Canada ended up scoring the first and only goal of the game, but they had to fight to hold tight to that lead. Everybody had in their mind of what the Canada women's hockey team managed to achieve while they were TWO points down, so everybody on that ice was aware that if one hockey team could pull that off, then ANY team could pull off that sort of feat.

I think it was a testament to the Canadian men as well that they didn't let their win over USA cloud their focus when they played Sweden on the last day of Sochi 2014. Team Canada was confident but knew not to underestimate a team that had also earned its place to be in the final. It's safe to say the Canada Women's hockey team really drove home that it's not over until it's over.

Did you watch the Sochi 2014 Olympics? Any favourite moments?

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Part One - Part Two

03 March 2014

Thoughts on Sochi 2014 Pt 1: Proud to be Canadian

I know the Olympics has come and gone for over a week now, but there are thoughts that are still resonating with me. Sochi 2014 has been surrounded with a lot of controversy and I get the impression that it's been difficult to say whether it's been a "successful" winter games or not. By the medal table, Canada has done well, coming in third where gold medals are concerned, and fourth where total medals are concerned.

Screen shot of http://www.sochi2014.com/en/medals

Everyone wants to be a winner, and when they're not, critics are the first to raise their voice over the crowd at how a country or a team didn't live up to expectations. I'm pretty sure whatever athlete that participated is already hard on themselves for not having performed as well as they might have hoped, or performed well and still not have placed. It's always easy to forget at what calibre the Olympics are at, so I was a little disappointed when I read an article critisizing Team Canada's outcome at Sochi 2014.

Screen shot of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Winter_Olympics_medal_table

Yes, Canada got 3 more gold medals at Vancouver 2010. Yes, Team Canada got 1 more total medal at Vancouver 2010. And yes, I think we are losing sight of what the Olympics represents. Like I said, everybody wants to be a winner (I'm no exception), but what about how great it is that the participating countries can still get together from around the world? What about all the other moments of sportsmanship, triumph, and national pride that leave us with lasting impressions of how great the Olympics are?

Very early on in the Games a BuzzFeed article came out, 10 Ways Canada Has Already Won the Olympics. My favourite moment was #4 when the article was published, when Canadian Coach Justin Wadsworth gave a spare ski to the Russian competitor. To me, nothing could epitomize sportsmanship more, and again, for the Olympics being a platform to allow people to overlook nationalistic rivalry.

From this side of the pond, whatever was broadcast concerning Team Canada was positive and it made me super proud to be a Canadian living in the UK, never mind wearing my Team Canada t-shirts from Olympics past. Even the BBC reported on my next favourite moment that surrounds the Dufour-Lapointe sisters. Two sisters took first and second in freestyle skiing and sadly the third sister ended up in 12th. You could really feel for the sister that didn't get to the podium but you could also really feel the family support: It's pretty special that a family can train, support, and compete against each other and still be family.

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Part One - Part Two