Of Pirates, Poetry and Prayers

I’m not going to lie, this week and last have been lots of things, but the victory prize goes to exhaustion! Not in a bad way – work has been packed with learning, meeting new people, and creating copious amounts of curriculum leaving little time for anything else. Except that what little time has been leftover, I’ve been filling to the brim with STUFF.  Theatre (the city’s enormous Fringe festival is in town. Read: 155 plays; sleep is on the backburner!); friends from far away staying with us for 2 weeks; weddings, new experiences, and family stuff. It’s left me running on adrenaline, excitement, nerves and of course, way too much coffee, so I think I may be taking a bit of a break from blogging until later next week when I have time to gather my thoughts.  So much stuff has been going on that today’s post is a tad disjointed, so please forgive me!

The Winnipeg Fringe is seriously my absolute favourite time of year. Huge theatre companies, solo shows, musicians, contortionists, comedians… you name it, if it can go on stage and entertain people, it will happen in Winnipeg in July.  Each year’s Fringe also has a theme – we’ve had the frightfest “Night of the Living Fringe”, James Bond, Vegas, a Fringe “Factory”, Cowboys, and this year – everything Science Fiction (I KNOW!).  The Exchange District is a BEAUTIFUL part of town, full of old buildings, ornate architecture, and little boutiques full of vintage clothing and music. But it’s also sadly one of the dodgier areas for most of the year, bridging downtown and the North End (think crime and poverty), and, for the most part, deserted.  Streets are empty and a slight feeling of danger lurks in the air (maybe because I’m a bit of a girl when I walk alone at night!). But in July, everything changes. Hundreds of artists take over the city; dance halls, upstairs book shops, pubs and even the streets become performance spaces, home to a thriving community of arts lovers. Colour and creativity radiate from every corner, and every conceivable surface is turned into prime advertising space for shows ranging from the hilarious to the moving, the haunting to the incredible, the brilliant to the downright bizarre. This week, I’ve seen a one man riot, a brilliant true story of one man’s joke gone wrong that shot him to international stardom, two actors playing one man as they deliver spitfire comedy in Freud vs. His Ego, Cirque du Soleil-esque 19th century pirates, a stunning romantic tale told through tin can radio, described as  “part fairytale, part vaudeville routine, part old-fashioned love story… the theatre show The Decemberists would create if Roald Dahl directed them.” This weekend we have one of the funniest men I’ve ever seen on top of a parody of everything Europop – it’s my favourite two weeks of the year, and this year I’m thrilled a good friend of mine (who visits every year doing shows) happens to be staying with us. All this culture is fantastic, but I’d be lying if I said my sleep pattern hasn’t been affected 🙂

In less than two weeks, I will be heading home to England with Sweet, for his first time to Europe. We’re chiefly going to visit family and friends that won’t be able to make it over for the wedding (it’s a long way, a lot of money, and December in Winnipeg pretty much qualifies for Arctic conditions) – so they get to meet him, and so he gets to see home! I have mixed feelings about the trip – I’m so excited to go home, see friends, see sights and castles and stock up on Angel Delight – but I’m also nervous. I had word earlier in the week that my Nan, who most of you know was in hospital from late 2009 – early summer, doesn’t remember being in there at all, neither does she remember my Dad’s visit from earlier this year. One of my biggest fears is a loved one losing memories of our time together, and worse, forgetting people – my Dad says she remembers we’re coming to visit, but I’m terrified one day she won’t remember me.  It breaks my heart to even think about, and this trip is going to be one of mixed emotions.  If you could spare a thought or prayer for her, I’d really appreciate it.

These past few weeks have also brought about big changes in terms of socialising. I’ve always been a big advocate for putting things out into the Universe, and an even stronger believer that the Universe is pretty amazing when it comes to delivering.  I don’t want to alienate anyone by talking about something that’s very personal to each and every individual, but let’s just say I’ve been very blessed on a number of occasions  over the last few months in which I’ve prayed… and my requests have been fulfilled. I believe more and more that there is a path that’s set for each of us, and sometimes we don’t understand why things happen… but there are certain things that are meant to be, certain people we were meant to meet and share experiences with, and certain people who we’re better off without. Recently I’ve experienced both.

Finding meaningful friendships and people who were genuine, who’d be around for the long haul, was something I’d wished for back in the Spring, and since then, people have arrived in my life who have welcomed me with open arms, talked and shared and listened like good friends, and have just felt 100% natural, fun and comfortable to be around.  I am so lucky to have crossed paths recently with so many awesome people.  On the other hand, people who had been around for previous chapters in my life, who, though still present, brought with them unnecessary disputes, stress, and a feeling of uncertainty, have recently had those doors closed. When we’re younger, I think we place such importance on popularity, sometimes at the expense of sincerity – we’re more content with lots of people who may turn their backs at the drop of a hat than we are with a small handful of amazing souls who’ll stand by through anything. I have a feeling I’m experiencing the tides turning, and I’m beyond excited to be able to start a brand new chapter.

Work! My first month is almost at an end, and it’s been full of training and learning and opportunities to create new and better ways to serve people, to empower them, and to contribute to the community. That’s not to say there haven’t been a few fits of tears worrying about not being good enough, or learning quickly enough, but I have to remember we’re all in the same boat, and we all have the same goal: to work to make people’s lives better. I’m so incredibly fortunate to have been given this opportunity, and though quite possibly the biggest challenge yet, I’m ready for launch come August. I can’t wait to see everything that happens over the course of the next year.

And lastly, there’s less than a week to go until the Weddingbells contest ENDS!! I have been in this competition for eleven months and words cannot come close to doing justice to how much I’ve appreciated everyone who’s stuck by me throughout this journey. Six days left, and trust me, after being in the semi finals I know how quickly a big lead can turn into a close call – I have so much love and appreciation for all your votes so far, and if you could keep spreading the word over the next few days, I promise I’ll never ask you to do anything again! 🙂  You have been absolute STARS!!

I’m off to spend the week soaking up the arts – see you all next week. Have a great one 🙂


  1. Fringe sounds incredible. And a sci-fi theme this year, to boot? No wonder you’re not getting any sleep! Sure wish we had something like that here.

    And it seems like busy-ness is going around lately. Work has been insane, we’ve had houseguests, a family friend dying, roadtrips and weekend getaways. General craziness, basically. I haven’t even managed to keep up with blogging…

    Anyway, seems like it’s shaping up to be an amazing summer all around. Enjoy every minute of it! 😀

    1. Fringe is the best thing ever!! I love that it’s sci fi theme this year. I wanted to get a t-shirt but they went Wars not Trek and they have “may the Fringe be with you” on the back. I was hoping for “Fringe long and prosper” 🙂

      Hope you’re having a lovely summer too!

  2. the fringe sounds like it would be so much fun i’m jealous!!!! i’m so sorry about your nan, make sure you take photos with her and leave them at her house so she will know you were there. it’s so hard when that happens & to see someone you love decline but you said she remembers your coming right, so that at least is something and i’m sure just having you there will do her a world of good. good luck with the new job and i’m really happy to hear about these new people in your life. you’re rihgt – i think ppl do have a tendency to hold onto people just because they were part of your life for awhile and not because they’re actually bringing anything good to it in the present – funny how things work out as you grow up.

    and you are still leading in the competition i’m voting everyday!!!!

    1. Thank you!! I love you for all the support you’ve given throughout this very long process lol 🙂 I hope us being there will help with nan too and taking photos there and leaving them is a really good idea…

  3. I voted! I voted! You’re gonna win! You’re gonna win!! *power of positive thinking at work here*

    Sounds like things are crazy busy for you these days, but in a good way. Miss ya, but completely understand your absence as this little thing we call “LIFE” takes over…. 😉

  4. The Exchange has a worse reputation than it deserves, it’s really cleaned up in the last couple of years, a lot because of Red River College… I love living in the area, I wake up inside a 100 year old building full of heritage and history 🙂 Also BBQ’ing on a Sunday evening is oddly quiet 🙂 Sept when its summer time theres something going on in Market Square nearly everyday 🙂

    1. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the Exchange – I just adore it more at this time of year when it’s full of people and life and creativity everywhere you turn 🙂

  5. This year is my first Fringe Festival and I have to say I was a bit confused about how it all worked at first but we went to see the Bank one you had on your Face Book earlier in the week and you were right it was very good dear! Thank you for introducing me to it. I will have to be a better Fringe Goer next year.

    Very sorry to hear about your Nan dear, but I remember when she showed something similar when she was in the hospital and it turned out she was over medicated and just alone for too long – I am sure that having company again will do lots of good for her well being.

    Nice to hear about these new people as well, great photo you all look so good. Its important to evaluate sometimes if people are bringing good things to your life or not and do a real life Face Book Clean Up!

    Good luck with the Contest you are doing so well so far! I hope you win dear!

    1. YAY I’m so glad you went to Man 1 Bank 0, it’s been my favourite one so far!! Although we went to see Gibberish and Countries Shaped Like Stars too and I absolutely loved them both… I ❤ Fringe!!

      Thanks for all the kind comments and of course for voting, only 5 more days!

  6. Way to go Emily!
    The Universe does provide, and I don’t think it often provides what we can’t handle. So try not to worry too much about being good enough for your job, you wouldn’t have it if you weren’t supposed to.
    Yes, the Fringe is awesome, and the Exchange is not that bad. I’ve worked there for 15 years, and also studied music at the Conservatory for quite a few years. I walk everywhere and have never felt unsafe or had any kind of negative experience. It is a beautiful area and it’s getting better!
    I can’t wait to read your post about how you won the competition!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement on the job front – I need to start listening to that sort of thing! I’m really glad about the Exchange improvements, too – I think it’s a gorgeous area with all the old buildings, and I hope the Cube (though I’m not sure how I feel about it!) is going to start attracting more people and events to the area 🙂 And fingers crossed for Tuesday!!

  7. You have been a busy bee! The festival sounds like all kinds of amazing.

    I am so glad you are making some meaningful social connections. Sometimes all it really just takes putting the message out there and then being an active participant. Meeting new people you get on with and forging new relationships is a natural high.

    I am crossing my fingers that you have a great visit to England, and I’m thrilled you are going to win the Weddingbells contest!

  8. The Fringe festival sounds absolutely amazing! I really wish we had something like that here. I would totally be there! Hahaha. I hope your sleeping gets back to normal soon, but I definitely think it’s good to “shake things up” a bit every now and then. 😉

    I truly hope everything goes well with your Nan, and I am sorry that you are dealing with those worries right now. I hope your trip back to England is enjoyable, and I can’t wait to hear all about it!

    Good luck on the remainder of the contest! I know you’ll do awesome!

    1. Thanks love! Though I think my body has had enough shaking things up this week – I’ve been out of bed for 2 hours now and I still don’t feel like I’m awake yet, haha… but saw a beautiful show last night at the Fringe that was totally worth it 🙂

  9. Oh, it sounds like you’ve definitely have been busy. Although you’ve got some great stuff ahead of you. Fringe sounds like a blast and I’m hoping you have safe travels and a marvelous time in England with your fiance, family, and friends!

  10. I’ve been exhausted this week as well!!!

    England in 2 weeks?!? YAYYYYYYY! Love it there!!

    Of course I will say a prayer for Nan.

  11. Sorry to hear about your Nan. Hope she gets better.

    You know what my favorite quote from this post is? This: “I think we place such importance on popularity, sometimes at the expense of sincerity.” It’s so true.

    Have fun in England!!! 🙂

  12. I love meeting new people & forming new friendships….especially when they stick around. I find myself sometimes struggling since my good girlfriends are not local and it’s hard to catch up sometimes. Indeed…starting a new chapter in your life is always a good thing and it’s nice to know there will be tons of new chapters! 🙂

    AND I hope you win next week!!!!!

    1. Thank you so much!! I can’t even allow myself to think about winning in case it doesn’t happen… but I can’t deny I am very hopeful indeed 🙂

      And it is hard to catch up when friends don’t live nearby – one of the reasons I’m so excited about the trip next month, too 🙂

  13. Hi Emily Jane!

    Love your exuberant post. Fringe festival sounds like a ton of fun! Have got to do a cross-Canada tour. Gorgeous photos of you. Have only been to your wedding blog before. I enjoyed viewing your lush designs and reading your about page. Glad you’re kicking fear in the butt!

    Whatever I feared, I turned around and pursued. It makes for a fabulous life.

    Have a wonderful trip to England with the love of your life …

    Fellow graphic designer, writer and fearbuster!

    1. Hey Giulietta thanks for stopping by – I LOVE that you have the same mentality of turning fears around and pursuing them. It’s a scary task at first but one I’m finding incredibly exciting 🙂

  14. I feel absolutely ran down right now, too. I hate to complain about it because a) I did it to myself, and b) it’s been all fun stuff that has been keeping me busy. But I am worn out and am in need of a giant nap.

    I have continued to vote for you each day & am so thrilled to see that you still have an enormous lead. I hope you can keep that going right up until the end, my dear!

    And eeks! Your England trip is coming up so fast! I can understand why this is a bitter sweet trip for you. I will keep you Nan in my prayers.

    1. We definitely can’t complain too much when it’s all self induced fun – what have you been up to that’s left you so exhausted?? 🙂

      Thank you SO SO much for all your voting, and for your prayers too ❤

  15. The Fringe festival sounds amazing! It must be neat to see your community transformed so much and for such a great experience!

    I’m so excited for your Weddingbells competition! We’re almost done & you have over half the votes! Yay!

    1. Yay!!! 🙂 I’m still nervous though – the results aren’t OFFICIALLY announced until a week after the voting closes… ahhh!!

      And Fringe is definitely the best thing ever 🙂

  16. Happy Weekend, Em!!

    I’ll be thinking of you and your family the next few weeks, hoping that things will take a turn for the best. Be safe on your trip!!

    Fringe sounds AWESOME!! Hopefully, when you’re in CHICAGO with ME and ASHLEY (!!!) we can find a free concert in Millienium Park, or go to Movies in the Park. 🙂


    1. Awwww thanks lovely I’ll try! And YES apparently Chicago has a bit of a festival when we’re there too – I can’t wait for everything we’ll do! Love you!!

  17. 2010 is going to SO be YOUR year – new job, new chances, new husband, winning the ring thingymabob at the jewelry shop and winning the WeddingBells contest!


    But now I’m off to bake cupcakes and miss you! And write a guest post before you strangle me for my procrastination!

    1. Hahaha it WAS kind of a perfect theme… lol!! 🙂 I really hope you’re right – I have a really good feeling about this year 🙂 And I can’t wait to read your guest post! And you know, if you have extras… you can send some more baking up to Canada… those cookies were pretty delicious… 🙂

  18. With adventures like these, exhaustion is a very small tax to pay! I’m with Brittney on this, 2010 is looking forward to a pretty kick-ass Emily Jane.

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