Awesome # 121: Surprises

Yesterday, as I was doing some organizing around my house, I found some stamps and envelopes that were leftover from Christmas. This inspired me to spend part of my afternoon putting together little surprises to mail out to a few people who won’t know it’s coming.

Surprises are awesome. They’re awesome when you’re the recipient of the surprise, and they’re awesome when you’re the giver of the surprise – whether you’re the giver or the receiver, surprises make you feel good. Surprises are exciting, they’re touching and they’re fun. Especially when they’re just out of the blue, for no reason at all.


Awesome # 120: Really Level-Headed People

Regardless of the situation, when you’re in the thick of things, an objective point of view is sometimes hard to ascertain. You see things subjectively and you consider only what’s immediately “visible” from your limited vantage point. If you’re not careful, ignorance can breed anxiety, and this is never healthy.

That’s why I think everyone needs a really level-headed person in their life. Really level-headed people are awesome because they’re very good at providing you with an objective point of view. I’m fortunate enough to currently have 2.

Awesome # 119: Saturday Sleep Ins

For the first time in ages, I slept past 8:00 AM.

I woke up at 9:00 AM – not significantly later, but it’s late enough for this typically morning gal. And unlike most “sleep ins”, I woke up this morning feeling simply refreshed and satisfied, rather than in a panic about one “to do” list or another (whether or not I’ve written one). It was a wonderful Saturday sleep in, and that’s just awesome.

Awesome # 118: Acts of Neighbourly Kindness

I have a neighbour who has, on occasion, brought me food as an act of neighbourly kindness.

This is something that seems to happen far too infrequently these days – especially in large metropolises – as people become more engrossed in social media and less trusting of the real people around them. Neighbours just don’t seem to really interact anymore.

When I moved away from home, I imagined my neighbourly relations to be like they are on television. I imagined having neighbours like wise Wilson from Home Improvement, quirky Kramer from Seinfeld or generous Ned Flanders from The Simpsons. I imagined neighbours who would come visit, neighbours with whom I could have a hallway, driveway or backyard conversation, neighbours who would shovel my driveway just because they were shovelling theirs anyway (or a variety of other acts of neighbourly kindness) and neighbours for whom I could do the same.

This didn’t happen so much in real life until recently. Maybe it’s an grown-up thing, or maybe I’m actually experiencing northern hospitality. Either way, acts of neighbourly kindness are awesome, and this is an awesome I want to put more effort into reviving.


Awesome # 117: Sweater Weather

I’ve been going for a lot of walks and hikes with a few colleagues lately and, with the exception of Tuesday evening (which was cold, windy and snowy), the weather has been fairly nice.

However, last night was the first night that I could go outside and wear only a sweater. Last night was the first night that the temperature was above 0 degrees Celsius.

Last night was my first experience of sweater weather this year. After a long winter, parka-clad and bogged-down by pualuuk, scarves, toques and the like, shedding layers feels liberating. Sweater weather is my favourite kind of weather – it’s not too hot, it’s not too cold – it’s just right – and if I could live somewhere where the temperature was consistently between 5 and 15 degrees Celsius, I would be perfectly content.

Awesome # 116: Reaching A Deadline

You take on something feeling good – ambitious, confident, able. You conceptualize just how beautifully and smoothly things will work out and chip away at it bit-by-bit, nonchalant.

Then, the deadline approaches. You’ve underestimated timing and regret immediately not starting sooner, and you become unsure if you’ll make it. A number of hiccups interrupt the flow of the beautiful and smooth process that you’d originally conceptualized, which seem to be directly proportionate to how long you’d procrastinated (and this is based on 7 years of university experience). It’s as if someone’s mocking you for your procrastination. You stress – maybe even panic a little – and you come inches away from giving up (whether it’s on doing a good job, or doing it altogether).

But then, the sky clears, stars align, and your beautiful and smooth process gone awry goes right again and everything works out swimmingly in the end.

Yesterday I reached a deadline and it felt awesome.

Note: I’m usually much more organized and “on the ball” when it comes to deadlines. But, having not had many for quite awhile, I’d fallen out of practice.

Awesome # 115: Friendly Competition

Teachers, staff and students in schools all around Nunavik are participating in the Get Up And Move competition, which is part of le Grand Defí Pierre Lavoie.

Pierre Lavoie is a Québec triathlon athlete who cofounded le Grand Defí with the aim of promoting healthier lifestyles for young people, and to help to raise awareness of lactic acidosis – a rare hereditary illness that took the lives of 2 of his children. This year, Lavoie and a team of cyclists will cycle 1000 kilometres, beginning on June 15th at Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean finishing on June 17th in Montréal.

During a 4-week period, participants can earn points – “energy cubes” – for physical activity. Fifteen minutes of physical activity equals 1 point. At the end of the 4-week period, students with the most points have a chance to win a trip to Montréal to see the Lavoie and his team of cyclists cross the finish line, and to be part of a 2-day celebration consisting of a trip to La Ronde, a concert and a grand finale ceremony.

In each village, 6 students will be chosen.

My colleagues and I have been working hard accumulating our energy cubes, which go toward our students’ totals, and give us a chance to win a prize as well. Friendly competition is my awesome of the day because this contest is not only getting everybody moving a little more, but it’s bringing people together as we go for walks and hikes together in the evenings and on the weekends – something we didn’t do so often before.