Have fun when you can. Think all the time.

Music, Trees, Environment, BBC, Hardwood floors, Storytelling, Adventures, International development, Learning new things, Getting new perspectives, Writing essays, Water, Road trips, Photography, Spaghetti squash, Art, Books, Getting involved, Gingerbread lattes,(Not)Sleeping, Reading, Poetry, Falling leaves, Aging, Monologues, Prickly pear tea, Making lists, Politics, New ideas, Exploring, Traveling, Dinosaurs, Killer whales, Sushi, Pop Culture, Meeting new people, Barbequing with friends, Tubing down the river, Waking up early, Discovering new things, Trees, Empathy, Believing in the Power of Love

April 30, 2011

Bangla Bound!

I'm leaving on a jet plane (again)! At this time tomorrow I will be well on my way (along with the wonderful Bilan Artes, Kaitlan Robertson, Lauren Reeves, and Lindsay Graham)to Bangladesh where we will spend 5-weeks traveling throughout Northern Bangladesh with the non-governmental organization (NGO) RDRS, learning about the different development projects that RDRS facilitates. This program differs from my experience in El Salavador as there is no physical component, and Honduras as I am going as a student mentor/facilitator of an amazing group of girls from the University of Manitoba and will not be 'working' while I'm there. Also Bangladesh is very different than both Honduras and El Salvador and I am looking forward to the opportunity to draw some parallels and make some comparisons.

Once again I am thrilled to have the opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture, travel to a new part of the world and gain new perspectives, and learn more about development and of course myself :)

I am excited to be traveling with such a dynamic and diverse group and I am sure that each one of the girls will bring a unique perspective that I am excited to have the opportunity to have shared with me, and foresee some awesome (and challenging) conversations.

I love being part of a team, I love being around people, but I do think I will have to work (at least a little bit) to switch gears from my last time abroad when I was alone the whole time.

I'm excited to see what lays ahead.
Bring it on!

Delaney C.

PS: If you haven't voted, make sure you vote on Monday!!!!!!!

April 11, 2011

Oh! The Places You'll Go
Dr. Seuss

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.

And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. It’s opener there in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.
You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And if you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

**When I graduated high-school my parents gave me a copy of Oh! The Places You'll Go, I think they knew something I didn't at the time, and I'm only now figuring it out.**

April 10, 2011

Right here, Right now

I've been back from Honduras for just under two and a half months now, and I'm long over due for a blog.

In typical Delaney fashion, I had a job arranged for myself before I left Honduras, because heaven forbid I 'chill' for even a minute. I got a job working as a legal assistant for the Tribal Corporation Investment Group, and then decided it would be a good idea to run for President in the University of Manitoba Students Union Election, with some amazing people who I have grown so close with in a matter of only a few weeks. Needless to say, all of you that know me, and know me well, know that I keep busy and I love what I do (that's why I do it) but I also know that sometimes I like to keep busy in order to avoid certain things I would rather not think too much about. In this case, my time in Honduras, and what it means now that I am back in Canada.

Coming back to Winnipeg has required (re)adjustment, and has proved to be a challenge in itself, perhaps only harder to deal with because I wasn't necessarily expecting it to be as difficult as it has been. Why would coming home to a familiar place, a city where I have lived nearly my entire life, a community that I am involved in, and friends and family who never let me doubt just how much love surrounds me. How could that be hard....right?

In five months I saw a lot. I experienced a lot. I learned a lot. I changed a lot. And as I was seeing, experiencing, learning, an changing so was everyone who was a part of my world in Winnipeg (and Canada), and we weren't necessarily moving in the same direction. My first week back I was talking to a good friend of mine and he mentioned the term 'Relationship Shock', and it was like a light bulb turned on for me. I had heard of culture shock before, and re-entry shock and experienced those both, but was at a loss trying to articulate the growing tension that I could feel surfacing in many of my relationships, but even knowing what to call the phenomenon I was experiencing. Knowing that I wasn't alone (as cliche as that sounds) relieved a little bit of the pressure.

I still feel the need to 'compartmentalize' the Delaney that lives abroad, that does these things that I cannot even begin to explain with any justice to those of you that know and love me but haven't been there with me. I find myself torn between not knowing what to say when people ask me how my 'trip' was, and finding the line between giving enough details to satisfy them without diving completely off the deep end boring them...or scaring them away with an out of context rant. So usually I keep my mouth shut, smile, say it was great--life changing even, and wait for follow up questions if they choose to probe deeper.

Although the 'compartmentalizing' works so to speak, I feel like I have to choose between the Delaney that lives and exists in Canada, and the Delaney that does this other 'stuff'. Essentially being forced to turn my back on whichever I am choosing not to "be" in that moment--which also feels like I am lying about myself (and to myself) and separating two very real and crucial parts of who I am and what makes me who I am, and I can't help but think (and feel) that by denying myself that other 'part' I am weakening myself, and I'm not sure that's fair.

I also haven't let myself be angry. And i am angry--although this is a very unnatural feeling for me. I'm also frustrated, and confused but I haven't been able to deal with these emotions 1) because I have made myself so busy that it is impossible to do so 2) I haven't been able to find ab outlet in which to do so and 3) I want to talk about these angry/frustrating/not beautiful perfect things but i haven't been able to do so in a constructive way (or any way for that matter) so I have decided to be mature and completely ignore the situation....but maybe that's what I needed to do.

Not everything in Honduras was great, and wonderful, and amazing. There were times when I would try to call Canada, and all I wanted to hear was a friendly voice and I would end up so frustrated I burst into tears because the connection was so awful that when all I wanted was for whatever poor soul waited on the other line was to tell me to take a deep breath, snap out of it, and that it would be okay I had to instead deal with whatever demons I was battling that day. I spent a week in my room, listening to music and reading books, only leaving to go to my office and return straight home because getting yelled at and whistled at and being frustrated with not speaking Spanish made me not want to venture into town. Arriving in a country where I knew no one and foolishly didn't speak the language might have been one of the stupidest and most ballsy ideas I may have ever had, and proved to be one of the most obvious challenges and at many times I felt like a child, knowing what I wanted to say but unable to find the words to express myself.

On the other hand, its is hard to explain, that the times I was so frustrated, and confused, were also some of the best times of my life, and I am happy that I was so foolish...in a weird incomprehensible way.

I've also had trouble explaining what I did in Honduras. On paper it doesn't look like much, and that the problem with trying to quantify my experience and 'prove' that what I did was valuable and worth while. I worked with LWF (specifically Jose Luis) in the area of natural resource protection and illegal deforestation providing information and education while trying to engage youth and women in the process of environmental protection, but really what I did was much much more that the charlas and tallers I delivered, but to someone looking from the outside, judging my experience, it would be easy for them to say "Well. that's it. That's all you accomplished in 5 months?", and its even harder for me to defend myself.

I'm really not sure if this blog is coherent at all but it's gotten the dialogue ball rolling so to speak, and for right now that's all I can ask for.

While I sleep, the world is changing,
Delaney C.