I can't wait for the weekend to begin!

Trip Start Sep 08, 2009
Trip End Jun 07, 2010

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Friday, December 4, 2009

This week has been epic, there's so much to tell it's a bit of a daunting task! Plus the fact that I'm writing this sitting on the coach back to Vancouver after an exhausting weekend of skiing isn't helping, but more on that later.

I started off the week with a swim and jacuzzi, early doors on Monday morning before class. After last week I'm trying to do more exercise since we spend most of the week sitting around. This week we had Karen Padgett speaking on relationships... except she never really mentioned relationships! Instead did a lot of 'personality' exercises, to try and work out who we really are, and to be free in that.

Monday we looked at the different internal languages; hearing/knowing, seeing and feeling. You can tell someone's internal language by just listening to their word choices: 'Do you know what I mean?' 'Do you see what I mean?' 'Do you understand how I feel?' The best way to connect to someone and communicate clearly is to use their internal language. Then we moved onto the different domains of listening; for evaluation, for use, to relate and one more which escapes me right now. There was a lot of discussion, talking in small groups etc which helped make the week fresh and exciting. And Karen is so bubbly and full of life the class really came alive, it was awesome. One of the biggest points she made was just giving us permission to be ourselves- to be comfortable and confident in the way we deal with situations, act, think and so on, and not to feel like we have to try and make ourselves like anyone else. Sounds kinda obvious, but its amazing the subtle ways we can be duped into thinking one way is better than another. Of course, it's OK to aspire to be like someone, and to admire certain qualities or activities they do but the vital difference is between whether you could or should try and mirror that.

Tuesday morning probably had the biggest impact on the group. We had to write down 4 of our heroes (on the spot, it's so hard to think of people!) And then write down the 4 main reasons we put them do- what is it we admire about them? We then handed them into Karen and after reading each one for maybe a minute (and knowing us for all of half a day), she spoke to us in such a direct way about things we maybe struggled with, or fears we had, or suppressed characteristics. The reasoning being that you cannot admire something in someone if you don't on some level relate to it and have it inside of you. For example lots of people put Bono (U2) down. For some, one of the primary reasons for putting him down would be that he's a great singer. But for me, I don't have any desire to be a great singer- so that wouldn't be a primary reason for admiring him for me. I'd probably say something about his willingness to try and make a difference. 

Anyway after that we had prayer stations. It was mighty cold standing there again, and we only had 1 person come to pray with us. BUT it was sunny, I was in a good mood, and I got the sense we were there to just be a Christian presence in the neighbourhood, and to remind people they can pray if they want to! We were standing right by some traffic lights, so I had great fun watching the drivers stop, read our sign, and look up sceptically at me, and which point I'd grin at them. I find it fascinating how most people find that uncomfortable, and hastily look away rather than just smile back. 

That evening, I went to hang out in the park with the Chilliwagon guys again, and just had a great time (again!) I pretty much bounced from friend to friend, catching up on their week, barely even noticing the rest of our team serving the chilli. Before I knew it, the hour was up and it was time for us to go. 

Come Wednesday afternoon, we were ready for another dose of Karen. This time we had to place ourselves into Personality type 1-5, based on our answers to a couple of questions. These personalities were: Inventors, Poets, Superheros, Mayors, and Champions. I would up in the Mayor category- and as Karen described the personality type, I associated myself with a lot of it. I think everyone likes learning more about themselves and what makes them tick, we'd all laugh in recognition of the statements Karen would say to each of us. And sure enough, during the break, I had about 5 people come and say every single thing Karen had said about the Mayors could be applied to me! So the main thing is being a facilitator, leader, making sure everyone's catered for and happy, taking on lots of jobs to ensure the whole system runs smoothly. They make good mayors, team managers, pastors (eek!) etc, anything to do with managing several resources, people and systems.

On Wednesday evening, I went over to my small group from church which was great- we had a really good discussion and put together the hamper I'd bought all the food and gifts for last Sunday. I was going to contribute some money towards the hamper, but when I tried, Mark (leading the group) insisted that I'd paid enough with my time, and even gave me an extra $5! Their appreciation meant loads. Also, very exciting news on Wed night, I got an email from this guy on Craigslist who was selling some skis saying they were still available if I wanted to go and have a look at them.

So Thursday was our last day with Karen, and she talked about conflict resolution- how most people fall into one of two camps: the 'deal with it now's and the 'deal with it later's. The Nows are those who will confront someone as soon as there's a problem, and have a fully blown argument to come to a conclusion; the Laters tend to go silent if confronted unexpectedly, and will go away, think about their argument, and then go back later to discuss and come to a conclusion. We had to write our impressions of the other group- and then share them with each other. It was fascinating to see how misconceived we all are- it's no wonder we find conflict resolution difficult if we're starting off with all these preconceptions! I'm firmly in the Later camp, by the way, but I was amazed to hear that the Nows felt we were selfishly witholding the solution to the problem by being quiet and waiting, that we were cold and unemotional by going quiet, and were being two-faced by going to ask someone else for advice first. So we were able to explain ourselves in response to the accusations, and hopefully come to some resolution(!) It was so interesting, and made me realise I have to firstly, stop avoiding conflict all together and secondly, be sensitive to how my actions might appear to other people. 

I went for coffee with Anne after class, which was good to have a chat- and then after dinner, I set off on my ski-buying adventure. I was to meet this guy on the North Shore, so I had to get the sea bus across the harbour. 'Twas mighty weird, meeting up with someone from the internet, but as I got off the ferry, sure enough there he was, with the skis in the back of the car. I'd been searching for skis for the last few weeks, and these were the perfect length, in good condition, had good reviews, and he was selling them for just $125 (75). When I got there, they looked great, and then just to make them even better, he said $100 would be fine. I didn't even try and bargain, he just offered! So another delightful surprise- skis for 60? Yes please! 

By the time I'd got the skis, I'd just missed the Seabus back, so I sat and watched the city skyline lights for half an hour. Wish I'd had my camera, you'll just have to imagine it for the time being. It was beautiful, made all the better by my new skis in the foreground resting up against the railings! I pretty much grinned the whole way home, SO excited to be going skiing at the weekend!

We finished class early on Friday, so Jenny, Rebekka, Alex, Trix and I took a trip down to Gastown, the historic (touristy) street where Jack 'Gassy' Someone-or-other started the little village of gastown in... I'm gonna say 1870, might want to check that one. Before Vancouver was founded, anyway. First stop: John Fluevog shoes. Karen's the national retail manager for this uber-cool shoe designer, and the store was amazing. Triple story, all open, brick walls, lots of glass, cool shoes (of course) if a little out of my pricerange right now. We continued down Waterstreet, and walked through a film set (this Vancouver, 3rd biggest film centre of the world, remember!) They were filming the TV show Fringe- it was cool to see the story board, roadies in their puffa jackets with walkie talkies and coffee, and the huge floodlights lighting up the whole street. 

After a short detour home to pick up the skis (whoo!) and my ski boots, I took them down to this great second hand sports equipment store to get adjusted. They said it cost $20, which was OK, but also that there was a 3 day turnaround, which was not OK- I left for Whistler in 12 hours! So I took them to the store next door (Sportchek), who did them on the spot for $10. I was a happy bunny. While I was there though, I thought I'd ask their opinion on helmets- to which they started discussing the difference between men's and women's. I interrupted- I meant to wear or not to wear - at which they looked at me like I was kinda crazy and said I'd be crazy not to wear one, and even said they were compulsory on Whistler! I doubted this very much, but thought the time had come to get a helmet- there's no harm in wearing one, after all, and it'll certainly help protect my noggin if (when!) I fall! I was about to get a mid-range one, but at a $100 (yes, same price as the skis), I thought I'd check at the second hand store again. SO glad I did- in the end I picked up a helmet, goggles, poles and ski bag for the same price. So now I am fully kitted out, no more ski rental for the next 10 years at least whoop whoop.
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