Travelling Tuesday: The Road Trip

So today, I finally got the details of my road trip confirmed. I can’t believe how quickly it’s all come around, and that if everything goes to plan, I’ll be setting off on Saturday!

Saturday 3rd July – I head to Newcastle Upon Tyne to meet @flinderella and then staying in some random place in North Yorkshire.

Sunday 4th July – I hope to stop in York briefly (though if the weather sucks, I may avoid it) and then head to Norfolk to stay with the Payne Family!

Monday 5th July – I’m hoping to visit some pregnancy crisis centres in Norfolk

Tuesday 6th July – I’m heading to Bedford to see a pregnancy crisis centre and then staying with friends in Milton Keynes (roundabout centre of the universe)

Wednesday 7th July – I’m at a work away day in Hertfordshire

Thursday 8th July – Once the work away day finishes I head to Oxford to see Nicola & Ben!

Friday 9th July – I’m heading North West to stay with the lovely Hannah in Manchester.

Saturday 10th July – I’m heading West to North Wales to stay with the Gill Family

Sunday 11th July – I’ll be hanging out with the folks at i61 church and then heading back up to Scotland

Please Pray…

1. That all of us will stay healthy

2. For protection over Cassie the Corsa that she’ll cope with the long motorway journeys as she’s not getting any younger.

3. For finances – the petrol, the TomTom, food and the rest!

4. Wisdom in this whole TomTom purchasing malarky. (Yes. I still don’t understand or have a clue which one to buy. Plus they are soooo expensive! But I know I need Sat Nav driving on my own around towns, rural areas and cities I’ve never visited before).

5. For lots of good times to be had…fun banter, conversations and wisdom to be shared!

My laptop will be coming with me, and I will be looking out for Starbucks outlets with free wi-fi as much as I can to keep you posted so I’ll share all I can.

But for now, I’m off to pick up @Rubaloo so we can go to the cinema & have some fun!

Nutella makes the world substantially better

This weekend has been tough. It ended with me, sobbing down my phone to one of my oldest (as in we’ve been friends for a very long time) friends at 1 a.m. while parked in the North of the city having driven around blindly for a good 30 minutes.

I woke up feeling like I’d been run over by a truck this morning – I felt physically sick, and couldn’t eat breakfast without feeling like I might just see it in reverse seconds later.

But I knew today would be busy at work so I couldn’t call in sick. Sure enough, I came into many e-mails, calls and I’m so very thankful that Sarah and one of our volunteers were able to do the in-person counselling with clients in the centre and let me be distracted by responding to e-mails and calls and other admin stuff on my urgent to-do list.

I know that my next meeting with my counselling supervisor will be very interesting and is much needed.

I’m so thankful to be part of a team who were able to do the things I couldn’t possibly have done today, and let me do the things that I could do (hindered eversoslightly by our office PC – I think the machine may be demon possessed…)

I’m looking forward to getting away next week, and hope that the time on the road will be refreshing and inspiring as I get to meet and hang out with some wonderful people. I have to admit that right now, I’m most looking forward to being in Oxford to see my uni friends, Ben & Nicola. I get the feeling there’ll be silly banter, and I might have to find Sainsbury’s in Oxford to get the all-important chocolate log. And me and Nikki can wallow in the demise of One Tree Hill (we are sorely disappointed about how downhill our favourite American Teen Drama has gone). Plus it’s been far too long since I last saw them!

I also love nutella. Nutella and Digestive biscuits.

They make the world seem like a better place. :)

Plus, my friend has taped Top Gear for me – I missed the first episode of the brand new series on Sunday evening!

Being a background soap opera character

They had a fight, he’s hysterical, please come now.

They don’t want you to come.

We’ll meet you there.

….

Yes, I’m coming to Scotland.

No I’m not.

He had an affair.

No I didn’t.

I didn’t know anything about it.

He is living with them.

He hasn’t missed that much school.

He’s had the worst report he’s ever had.

We don’t know what’s going on.

He assalted me.

No, he didn’t.

I can’t go home.

She basically chose him over me.

He’s been arrested.

No, he’s living back there again.

I want to see if I can have a relationship with them again.

He’ll be getting out now.

I don’t know.

I’m living here.

No I’m living here now.

I had to change the phone again.

I think I might be….

He tried to beat him up when he was drunk.

She’s trying to say…

I’m going to…

No, I was never doing that.

Confused? This has been my life for the last 2.5 years. Someone once told me I should write a book one day, though as time goes on the Soap Opera seems more approrpiate. The point is, that I don’t think any of us know where we are or where we stand. There have been lots of lies, half-truths, omissions and blind eyes turned.

After my teenage years, it should be water off a duck’s back to me.

But it’s not.

Because now, I don’t have my chosen family anymore. The people who would be my emergency contact. The people who I’d stay with when things got ugly. The people who would just simply wrap me up in a huge hug instead of trying to ‘fix it’ or offer perfectly well-meaning platitudes to try and make sense of it all. I always had an alternative.

It used to be my girl friends in high school, then Sophie’s father’s family. Then it was my friends in halls. My uni  boyfriend’s family. And then it was the lovely family from my cellgroup in Aberdeen.

Now I’m in the city that I cut myself off from in the summer of 2001.

I’m stuck back here now, and I can’t remember the last time I felt so incredibly alone.

I’m perfectly sure that there are the people who would say ‘oh, but God is with you‘. I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t cut it. We were made for people, not just a God who is like the wind. There are the people that would recommend counselling. But I know what caused this, how we got here, and the rest. I know exactly why I feel the way I feel.

I’m not little miss independent like I was when I was 15 or 16.

I soooooo wish I was!

Unfortunately, I’m a person that cares.

Gone is the girl who ‘just wants to die’ so the pain will go away. I care.

I guess I just want to live, rather than every day feel like it is to be survived.

Secret Project Update

Last month, a group of us were in the pub celebrating our friend’s 26th birthday. I was about to move to my temporary summer home, and got asked about the bike. In front of EVERYONE my friend says to me…so…I’m thinking we should do the Edinburgh-Glasgow cycle in September. It’s really easy. Mostly flat, and it’s only 40 miles.

I think we’ve already established that I’m still struggling to cycle within small parts of Edinburgh.

So I just gaped at him like he was completely crazy… ok?

Oh, it’s easy. Children do it.

So I went….ok….well…maybe I can… :?

And by chance, while trying to do some research for trying to come up with some kind of fundraising strategy for the pregnancy crisis centre, I discover the event my friend is talking about.

1. The kids cycle 3 miles around Glasgow Green. That is not the same.

2. It’s not 40 miles. It’s 51 miles.

And I’ve seen where the checkpoints are along the route. I wouldn’t even survive the cycle to the 1st checkpoint.

Plus, it turns out that if you do it, you have to cycle for one of the charities that have (probably paid) them to be the ones people can cycle for. So I can’t do it for the reasons I wanted to do it in the first place.

Am I ticked off? Yes sir.

I can’t believe for an event like this you can’t do it for any charity that you choose.

So I have reached a huge obstacle in the way of my “secret project”, and I’ve got to admit I’m a little discouraged. All of it has been much tougher than I thought it would be. The weather has been great this week, but my bike is in a totally different part of the city from me, so I’ve only made it out twice this week.

Part of me just wants to give up and cut my losses. I wish I’d never told anyone about it.

The other part of me refuses to quit, even if I’m so behind on where I hoped to be by now.

What do you reckon?

Summer Blogroll Clean-up

Hi Folks,

So I’m going to be updating my blogroll….any blogs that haven’t posted in 2010 will be removed from my blogroll (sorry about that). But also if your blog isn’t linked up and you’d like it to be, or it needs updating…please let me know…now is your chance!

You also might have noticed that you can now access this blog with the nicer URL of learningfromsophie.com

If someone can help me with the whole web host and wordpress.org thing I would be eternally grateful to them. Just getting the new URL was drama enough for me…managing to take down my blog for a good few hours and having to call in WordPress support (thanks for your help Naoko!)

:)

The Llama Song

After some quality puppy time yesterday, my friend, his sister and I took advantage of the Domino ‘2 for Tuesday’ offer and watched The Emperor’s New Groove. The Emperor gets turned into a llama.

It reminded me of a video that went viral around my uni ‘back in the day’ which my friends spent many hours laughing about. And trying to sing…so I give you…The Llama Song

Puppy Power

If you had a choice between working alone in a dark, dingy, cold office today OR spending an afternoon in the sunshine with the world’s cutest puppy and working tomorrow instead…which would you pick?

Yeah, I’d pick the former too…this is my friend’s puppy, Cleo. She was the star of the birthday BBQ my friend hosted on Saturday evening. She’s a cute spaniel, and when she growls she sounds exactly like Lady from Lady and the Tramp.

She even used her paw to take her own picture using the PhotoBooth App on my mac! (Clever Cleo!)

I promise to work hard to make up for my skiving time spent with cute puppies tomorrow.

:)

Hypoglycaemic Cyclist turned Miscreant

So I had a meeting this morning in Haymarket. I decided, to stay at Chez Mammy last night since she lives in a location much more accessible to Haymarket that where I’m currently living.

And then I decided to do something brave….cycle to the work meeting.

Turns out I wasn’t just being brave but incredibly dumb.

So the lessons I learned today…

1. It is depressing when other cyclists overtake you on the roads.

2. I must have the world’s most senstive ears – the sun was baking hot, yet the wind breezing past as I cycled gave me earache (I usually wear my buff as a headband over my ears & under my helmet to deal with this….but I’d left it at home by mistake)

3. It doesn’t take much for my blood sugar to crash and burn…..(cycling for 3.2 miles should do the trick)

4. Emergency lucozade sport purchases from the ‘local corner shop’ may turn you into a miscreant without your knowledge (see photo)

5. If I wear a backpack my back of my top gets kinda soggy and sticky….which is gross

6. I don’t really sweat apart from under my helmet so my hair gets seriously gross and ‘fooved’

7. A sticky, gross haired, jelly legged Laura Anne is really not the way to go into a meeting with people you’ve never met in your life before.

8. I hope that even if I was a bit ‘ew’ they appreciated my good example of cycling to work since they are all in the business of Health Promotion.

9. Thanks to some…uh…scenic routes on the return trip (which included scaring a few bunnies and almost running over a couple of dogs) I cycled 7 miles today.

10. It’s really discouraging to see tweets from other cycling tweeples telling you they cycled 32 miles (or more). It sure does kill your buzz caused by tragic excitement about having accomplished cycling to a meeting and back. :)

Father’s Day: the heart of the matter

After being down on the North side of town to celebrate a friend’s birthday (which resulted in my 4 a.m. bedtime…eek!), I didn’t realise until I rolled out of bed at 11 a.m. to check e-mail, facebook, twitter that it was Father’s Day.

There was a lot of discussion last night about fathers, children, pregnancy, learning disabilities, abortion and parenting.

(I think it’s the affect I bring into a room now…oh dear!)

The simple fact is I don’t celebrate Father’s Day. 6 years in Aberdeen meant I was rarely at home for either Mother’s Day or Father’s Day anyway so I’m not in the habit of doing the whole celebrating thing.

The relationship between me and my earthly father is complicated to say the least. I have been rejected, ignored and abandoned by him in various ways and levels more times than I care to count.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my Dad, and I think he’d like to think he loves me. The problem is that he just doesn’t know how to.

He has never really got how to be a parent.

After 2 years of no communication, he has chosen to pretend like nothing has ever happened, and in April walked back into my life when I went to meet my younger sister in London. He didn’t arrange to meet me, he didn’t call or write or anything. He just manipulated my sister into telling him where she would be meeting me.

He’s even been in Scotland and made no effort to see me.

He’s tried to get me to lie to my sister, and my sister to lie to me.

He’s kept them from me, made choices that have ruined their lives (quite literally). And now he wants to speak he tries to get me to lecture my sister and parent her.

And it’s hurt me. It’s hurt not just because of what he’s done (or not done), but also to have watched him hurt my sister and brother who I love more than words. I got hurt. They got hurt. Badly. Possibly beyond repair. And that’s the reality.

I could talk about forgiveness, and I know it’s important.

I’m not sure I’m totally there yet, but I’m getting there.

One thing I do know is that forgiveness does not mean I have to trust him or let him back into my life too far.

It does not mean I have to pretend and make out and call him ‘the best Dad in the world‘ just because a bunch of card companies have decided that once a year in June that’s what sons and daughters should do.

Forgiveness does not have to be earned. It is the very beauty of grace.

But trust does have to be earned back.

To continue having a soft heart, I have to protect it, so I don’t have to harden it.

It means protecting my heart from people that might smash it to pieces.

For sure when we have a soft and open heart, we are liable to get hurt.

For example…

When I go out on my bike, I run the risk of getting hurt. I could fall off my bike. I could get hit by a car (or bus, or truck).

Now I could just not cycle so this doesn’t happen.

Or I could wear a helmet to protect myself. I can look around before I pull out or turn right into a road so I’m not cycling into oncoming traffic. I can choose to cycle on paths or roads that are safer as I get used to cycling again.

I still run the risk of getting hurt or hurting someone else while I cycle. But it reduces the severity of the hurt if it comes.

It is the same with my heart…

I could choose to protect myself against who I let in by letting no one in.

Or I could choose who I let in very carefully to keep myself safer, but not miss out on the joy there is loving, caring and being loved and cared about in return.

One of the last days I had with the PCC trainees, I played them this song sung by India Arie in our personal preparation time before one of the final sessions. It’s gone round my head for many months now, much like the Leigh Nash song did leading up to Christmas. A little bit hard to swallow sometimes…but wise words all the same…