California Dreaming

Good morning all!

Maybe there are better things to do than to update your blog, right before you start work.  And looking at my e-mails and my to-do lists make me feel like this will be a long day.  But considering my recent silence I thought an update on me is in order.  Plus if blogging doesn’t get my creative energies flowing… I’m not sure what will.

As I sit at the table of my hotel room, I can not but be amazed.  For a little over a month, I started a new job and showed up at my client’s office.  My client being located in the south San Francisco Bay area.  The first week I felt overwhelmed by the prospect of travelling, working on a serious project for a serious client and living on my own.  While the initial shock wore off, I am still overwhelmed both in the good and bad sense.

A month later I still love the travelling aspect.  Visiting San Francisco and Los Angeles all were worthwhile.  Flying never gets old, but I could do without the insane travel “security” at the airports.  Everyday I still can not believe that I am in California, right smack in the middle of Silicon Valley.  The fact that my client wanted to fly me in from Toronto to Silicon Valley is amazing.  A huge ego boost.  This is me making it in my career.  Sort of like an actor ending up in Hollywood or performer on Broadway.  Plus I get to work on Android development and build a tablet system from the ground up.  All of this overwhelms me in a good way.

Living on my own in a new city, without a car overwhelms me in a bad way.  Living out here, away from the inner-city makes everything so far and inconvenient.  Groceries, getting places, and all that jazz is tricky and time-consuming.  Taxies take too long, and the only real viable option is biking.  Unfortunately I bought a bike that just broke down on me the same day.  Plus since I will not be living here for longer, it doesn’t make sense to plan too long term.  Being away from friends and family also takes its toll.  Originally I assumed I would at least be able to catch up on my long overdue work.  That is partially true, but I still struggle with that.

Still as with anything in life, there are pros and cons.  Overall I’ve learned a lot, and have a greater appreciation of life’s small things.  I do miss Toronto, but I love also living here.  Flying solo does have its advantages.  And I’ve never been able to take the initiative and be more spontaneous like I can now.  I have learned to be truly independent in work and in life.  And I have started to make friends here too.  Now if only the weather here started being more like stereotypical Californian, as in warm and sunny.  Even the Sun has been shy recently.  But other than that–and if the overwhelming amount of catch-up work would just go away–I am happily dreaming big dreams and living it up down here in California.

A Time for Silence

We live in a busy, bustling and noisy world.  Ever since the industrial revolution and the explosion of commerce and industry, we have learned to make more and more noise.  To the point, we get uncomfortable as my friend Marika pointed out.  We get so used to the background chatter and noise, that when it disappears we feel lost.  But should we?

Silence when not permanent, is as need as the darkness at night.  At night we need to relax.  We need the lack of visual stimuli (in the form of the lack of light) to properly function. Our eyes relax, recalibrate themselves.  Our brains go into organization mode and sort out the events of our day.  Silence lets us to look into ourselves and shut away the noise in our life.  Should one fear silence like one fears the absence of light, when all you need to do is speak or flick a switch to bring back sound or light?  Silence can be oppressive and harsh.  Sitting in a room with a stranger can be hard.  Your mind tries to figure the stranger’s thoughts and intentions.  Sitting in a room with a friend, who you deeply trust is different.  In this case, you share a delicate, intimate and vulnerable moment of introspection where you both trust each other enough to let your guard down.

Learning to accept and embrace silence is difficult.  I learned to start to accept silence two years ago I went on a Taize retreat in Montreal.  I remember sitting on the floor of an ancient-looking church.  All around me hundreds of other people sat around me.  Between each hymn we sung, we sat in silence.  People, strangers from different Christian denominations all sitting in silence in a church.  At first the moments of silence felt oppressive, alien, cold and unwelcoming.  But after each hymn belted out at the top of our lungs, the silence become welcome.  Silence became a  time of peace, relaxation and reflection upon the reason on why we had all gathered here.  We came together to be friends and neighbours.  And to come a step closer to be closer to God.  Ever since I tried to set aside a time for silence, for prayer and for reflection.  It is still something I struggle and wrestle with.

Today, I’ll be going to a Latin Tridentine mass held at the Newman Centre at Uof T.  From what I’ve been told the experience of attending such a mass is very uplifting.  One reasons why are the moments of total silence and solemnity in it.