Monday, July 5, 2010

Cheer and Breaks

It is 33 degrees celsius outside right now. What?! I hate the heat, so I'm staying inside. To remind myself that it's summer, what with the curtains closed and the air conditioning on, I ate strawberries and clementines. I read the labels: strawberries from California and clementines from South Africa. I've often wondered how the fruit gets to the grocery store so quickly and safely. I also think about all the gas used to transport them. Can't be good for the environment! So for a moment in my kitchen I decided to try to eat more local ingredients.

Then it made me realize that most things I wear and use were not made in my country. I think all or at least most of the toys I played with were made in China. Naturally, this made me consider the conditions under which these things were made. In factories. Most likely by people making very small wages. It's so sad. It's not like it's just one item or company that does this. So how can we avoid it all? I don't intend to try. It hardly seems possible.

I just feel so lucky to live in Canada because I have rights, healthcare an education -- I consider myself wealthy in every way that counts.

But Canada has its issues too. When I go to restaurants or fast food joints, I think about the minimum wage the employees have to make do with. The rationale for such poor wages for waiters and waitresses is that they get tips. That's terrible. What excuse do these businesses have for not paying their staff properly? And why are customers expected to supplement the staffs' income? It's all so wrong. All I can think of are the huge wages the executives and owners must be making off the backs of their employees. It's disgusting. It's been said many times, but many corporations are evil.

I've written this here before, but from January to April of this year, I did a semester of a post-graduate program in Corporate Communications. This is essentially public relations, which is the practice of building relationships between businesses and the public. Well, I don't intend to work for a corporation, mainly because I disapprove of the way they are run, but also because I do not want to defend their actions to the public. I also don't want to have to brag about the company's supposed green initiatives which, for some reason, big wigs at corporations seem to think will deflect attention from their wrongdoings or even make up for them.

I started the Corporate Communications program because I wanted to learn how to write for not-for-profit organizations, preferably those who handle social health issues. My main interests are in awareness and advocacy. To my regulars here, it's probably obvious why I'm attracted to these things. I know from personal experience that these things are very important and make a huge difference. Working at a place like this will allow me to write persuasively (which I find very fun!) AND make a difference! I will likely write press releases, letters to accompany information packages, annual reports, brochures, magazines, newsletters, website information. Ah! It's so exciting.

I was relieved to find that all of my professors in the program were ethically minded. We were encouraged and taught how to do important work. I'm excited to go back in January when the second semester will be offered again. I deferred it to rest as I am often sick and the program and internship requires a lot of energy! It is also stressful at times -- yes, even for laid back me. Haha, although in this block maybe I don't come off as being laid back. I assure you I am!

I was definitely not up to doing the first semester. I missed a lot of classes and had to get several extensions for assignments near the end. When I applied to the program, I just figured I'd be better by January. Then January came and I was so sick of being at home for seven months, so I went through with it. I was also anxious to get a job and move out -- getting my certificate was my last step before doing that. I'm definitely annoyed that I've had to postpone everything, but I must admit that I really enjoy sleeping in and not having to talk to anyone or do anything when I don't feel well.

I feel great right now, aside from being tired. I think that's why I'm thinking about my future. I have great potential!

But even when I'm sick, I can function very well -- sometimes I feel like I can do anything. I was short of breath and coughing for much of Saturday, but still I dressed up, put on a lot of make-up, then went to my cousin's wedding ceremony and reception, enjoyed the open bar, the great food and the dance floor! These are all things I hadn't done in ages, or at least not much since I got sick. I had a wonderful time with my family and the new people I met. I felt beautiful and confident.

Sometimes I feel bad about being out of school and not working, since I can often function while I'm sick. It's not like I'm bedridden. I feel like a wimp for letting this control my life. The truth is, I need to rest even if I can usually function. This was the best decision for me. So for now I guess I'll just have to dream about the future and start playing video games. Haha. That's not so bad is it? Plus, I also have my fruit and my Pounce.


  1. I like your ideas and think you have a great attitude toward life! And it is important that you do rest so you can be well, and it is good that you recognize that and put YOU first!

    I would love to " go local" with as much as I can, but you're right, it is hard. Still, I try my best each day.

  2. Wow! That is a lot of thought! A lot of sensible thought.

    I loved reading all the good things you had to say about yourself! It made me smile :)

    The cousin's wedding part made me happy! A big high-five!

    Enjoy your day today!

  3. So happy for you that you have been feeling better! That's great!


  4. I hate the heat too! Fall is my favorite time of year...bring it on!

  5. Great blog. I like your choice of career and wish you well with it! I know that you will be a big success and a great help to those who seek your services and support.


  6. It's friggin freezing down under! Need a water bottle and a snuggie blanket to get me through the day. Sheez, who am I kidding....I'd break my neck using a snuggie. But it is friggin freezing.

  7. Hi Ashley, dropping by to see your side of the blogging world, and also a big thanks for visiting my Story Blob. So we are neighbors, lol, Toronto isn't that far from Aurora. Sorry to hear about your asthma, I can only imagine what you are going through, but you keep up the good spirits girl, it always helps.

    Good luck with your studies, and I will be back. Anna :)

  8. Kristen - Thanks, these are such nice things to say! I try to think positively. I'm a happy person. Thanks for your reassurance that I should rest because it's important.

    Feeling - Yes, writing helps me think actually. I wasn't planning to write most of that. It just came to me as I wrote, some of it I hadn't really even thought about until I wrote it. I did enjoy my day, thank you! The wedding was a blast!

    Robin - Thanks for being happy for me!

    Joe - Ah, yes I prefer milder temperatures too. Spring is my fav!

    Jane - Welcome! Thanks for the compliments and I'm glad you enjoy my blog. It's kind of a unique, focused career goal, but I agree that it will really help me help people.

    Friggin - I'm sorry you're cold! I don't see the need for Snuggies. I have three housecoats I wear regularly. They do just fine! Thanks for stopping by! Welcome!

    Anna - Welcome! Yes, we are neighbors. Haha. So you must understand my pain from this heatwave! My asthma symptoms are still despite it, though.Yay! Thanks for your sympathy. You may notice that I get a lot of support here. It's so wonderful!

  9. I'm sure you will be great in your chosen career. Good luck getting back for the next semester. I did Corporate Communications I was going to say a few years ago but it is more like 15! What you learn about communications is applicable to all facets of life.

    You have a wonderful spirit!

  10. And you also have your blog!

    I came by to peek in yesterday, Ashley, but something was up with comments on Blogger and I thought I would wait until they fixed the issue before dropping you a line.

    You write with an "off the cuff" style that is honest and pure and sincere, and I like that. I also like that you analyze things around you... events, people, life in general. It's such a huge part of self-awareness, and it seems like you have a lot of that. So, it will be a pleasure to take plunges into your mind and join your conversations, here.

    Thank you for leaving me your trail, Ashley.


  11. Ashley, you have great insight into this corporate business & the public. You're a kind-hearted person! I wish you all the best for writing persuasively, you're already doing so, just keep writing from your heart! It's great you're resting for your health's sake and dreaming at the same time!

  12. Pauline - Thank you for your words of encouragement! Your compliment that I have a "wonderful spirit" is especially meaningful since you also possess this beautiful quality. Thanks for visiting! It's always a pleasure.

    Nevine - Thank you for pointing out that my blog can also help people! Yes, blogspot seems to have some kinks to work out, what with the discrepency of "five comments" when there are really six. Sometimes it also tells me I have a comment to moderate when I really don't.

    It's so great that you felt my style is off-the-cuff because it really is! Writing for me is thinking. Words often come as I write them. It's a wonderful way to dig up the whole emotion. Thinking or talking even only seem to reveal part of it.

    I am very honest here. I am glad you noticed because honesty is hard! It makes me feel vulnerable, sometimes even sad because it makes me think hard about hard things. But it's important work for me, so I'm glad you think it will also be important for others. That is a huge payout.

    You are a wonderful writer with a fantastic insight, so I'm so glad that you will return!

    Jinnia - Welcome! As you know, insight is so important in writing, so to have a writer I respect notice my insight is a great compliment. I agree that writing must continue to come from my heart which should be easy given the great challenges I will likely continue to endure. Dreams make it easier for sure, as does writing here.