Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Missed Relationships and my Nonna

For many years, I completely missed out on knowing family members who were living in the same city as us. It's the worst feeling in the world to have someone else make decisions for you that will impact your life for years to come in such a huge way.  Both sides thinking they were doing what's right, but I was the one that got hurt. It was done supposedly for my best to be kept away from certain people, for my own good, protecting me from some super evil villans that were called other family members.  I think at my First Communion, one side wouldn't come if the other side was going to, so no side ended up coming.  I remember seeing pictures of just myself and my mom and dad and brothers.  I never thought much of it, as I loved my family, but just thought I had a super small one with only an aunt and some cousins.  But flesh and blood is a pretty strong bond, and if you miss out on even some of it, you can feel that something is just wrong, even if no one wants to talk about it.  Sometimes it still makes me mad and gets the best of my feelings, but then as I sit here writing, it reminds me never to get so mad at someone that I don't want them in my life anymore. 

One of the happiest days of my life was when I was in Grade 7 and my Nonna (Grandma) and one of my Zias (Aunts) all of a sudden showed up at my classroom door to introduce themselves to me.  I was in shock, but all I remember was feeling a sense of awe and belonging and love. Then I met way more aunts and uncles and cousins, that are still such a permanent and awesome part of my life.  I started to see lots of family traits that we all shared, which was kinda funny. Thank God that my Nonna came to hunt me down as I had a lot of happy years with her after that.  We became close buddies and everyone says that I looked so much like her and that I have some of her creative qualities, like writing. 

But it still seemed all too short for me, this slow at first making up for lost time, even though she lived to be just shy of 100.  It breaks my heart thinking that there was a big chance that that could have never happened.  And for what.  Absolutely no good reason. She was a super funny but super tough lady that I admired for letting NO one push her around. She always said what was on her mind, even to the end, I am told.  I still laugh when I think of her out of tune loud voice when she would sing her Italian songs at the top of her lungs.  Even in the senior's home at the Italian Center in Vancouver, in the main room where everyone sat and had lunch.  (Much to the possible annoyance of the staff?) She loved her Italy and her family and she never laughed at me when I tried to talk to her in my broken Italian and I loved her very broken English.  I loved the way that she looked at me, like no one else did.

How does relationship damage start? Before you know it so many years go by and nothing gets better if you continue on the same way as things have just always been done.  You don't even know why you have trouble getting close to others, because you have missed alot of that closeness yourself and you couldn't even help it. There are new generations that don't even know why the pattern continues and they don't even know relatives that they would get along with amazingly good. It's like a special closeness that many people miss, but no one is even able to put a finger on it or see clearly to do anything about it.  Or know where to start, for that matter. It's like people missing in your life, like a death in the family that not many people talk about. 

Too often we really don't look at our adult selves and how we are such a part of our younger self. Good or bad (which we can change, by the way.) Our environment, our family, our genes, our friends, every experience or thought or feeling that we have ever had in our whole entire life makes us who we are today.  You can't run from it anymore than you can run from the rain in Vancouver. Sometimes the people closest to us that we love can hurt us more than complete strangers.  Why is that?  Shouldn't they be the ones always ready to defend us and the ones that we never ever want to hurt us.  Of all people, they should know best what hurts us and therefore never ever do it. But it happens.  Its inevitable.

It hurts my heart to think about wasted years and wasted relationships.  I have had more than enough of that.  Who cares who said what, who did what, who hurt who.  In the end no one at all wins and everyone looses. Family is a treasure, even if it comes in the form of replacements like super close friends or adopted family that becomes even closer than a birth family.  Family doesn't mean that we are always going to get along and like everybody and want to spend time with everyone just because we are related in name.  But family is indeed a bond that is like no other.  There is love that runs in the veins from start to finish and beyond.  No matter what, you cannot replace the void that family leaves, as it will always be part of who you are.  Think of all the memories that you will always keep close in your heart.  I guess I have to constantly remind myself of that instead of any wasted years.

Monday, May 20, 2013

"If I could turn back time...."

    "Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it.  You can't keep it, but you can spend it.  Once you've lost it you can never get it back." 

"You can't change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future."

"Don't count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count."

When you're young, you want to grow up.  When you grow up, you want to go back to when you were younger.  Well maybe sometimes you really don't, depending on your past years.  Sometimes the older you get, the better life becomes. There was a super long period in my life where I was stuck in time which didn't seem to move and nothing got better.  Then when I finally came out of it, I wanted to go back and start over and erase certain years.  But that was never meant to be and when I learnt to deal with the reality of it and accept it, I was able to move on.  In a really good way. I went from wishing that I never had "wasted" years to really appreciating my life and myself.  To actually wanting to look ahead to my future and a fresh new period of time.  Its all about time.  Time just cannot be rushed, no matter how hard you try.

They say time heals all wounds, and there is a lot of truth to that saying.  It's amazing how you think you will never recover from something, and then down the road you look back in wonder at how far you've come and how that thing is almost a distant memory.  Not everything that happens in life works like that though. What really helps is not the looking back in nostalgia, regret, anger, or waste, but looking back and remembering the good memories and actually looking at photos and knowing that the person you were at that time doesn't even exist anymore. That you are better and stronger and a different person in a really good way that you never thought possible. That you are a "new creation." Time brings hope and new life and new beginnings. Don't try to erase it, just try to deal with it. It's never too late for anything.

When I was 5 and my oldest brother was 20, my mom says that I used to cry "I want to be 20!!!" That is just crazy, as I'm sure when I was 20 I wanted to cry that I actually wanted to go back to being 5!!!  My amazingly mature character trait is definately not one of patience, I have to say.  Remember kindergarten when everyone was supposed to learn patience? or gardening? by dropping a seed in some dirt and putting it in a styrofoam cup and waiting for a cute little plant to grow? Well, I'm pretty sure that I took a spoon or my fingers to it to see if the seed would have grown in only 5 seconds.  That's me. Actually, that's still me. My mom tried to teach me to crochet when I was younger.  I only remember going outside and throwing my crochet hooks over the fence into the blue yonder of the neighbours yard in frustration.  Have I tried since then.  No.

Would the impatient Maria turn back time if I could?  That is a pretty tempting thought in many ways.  But every little thing and every single second of life that has happened to me has made me into who I am right now at this very second. It's not all good, but it's not all bad either. Growth is when you can finally look back and say that I can't turn back time, I can't live in regret, and I am looking to my future with actual hope and faith.  Seeing it all through the eyes of faith is the one thread that ties it all together.  Past, present, and future.  God was there, he is here, and he will be there ahead of me.  With or without me.  That gives me comfort.  That makes me think of time as my friend and not my enemy.  There are still many fears and uncertainties that I have about the future, like I'm sure everyone has that are pretty common.  Things no one can control, no matter who you are. You know what I'm talking about.

I have to remember to live in the moment.  I have to remember to cherish the time I've been given.  I have to practice better how to let go and let God sometimes, because a thousand years are like a blink of the eye in God's time.  Not my time.  And moving ahead to better things.  I think it was C.S. Lewis that wrote "there are far better things ahead then what we leave behind...."

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Before you go much further, you have to watch this.  It's cute and funny and will shock you how it will make you cry your eyes out as it moves your very heart and soul.  Well, at least that's how I felt.  I was really surprised, as I thought nothing could top the 12 times I had cried at the end of Wedding Singer.

Over 4 hours later, I still feel such bitter sweet emotion in my heart.  Life will have its joy, but it helps us with the pain. What can I say after watching something like this? The best part was some of the comments below the video, especially from guys! It really made me think of all the sweet genuine guys I know and that there is hope for single ladies that haven't found the love of their life that will be their Danny. Gives a girl hope.

I'm gonna go outside. Throw some rocks feel more man like.

Well done, you've made an Englishman cry. The emotion police are coming to take me away. I hope you're all happy with yourselves. (Seriously, if I can ever have but a fraction of what they had, I will die happy.)

Oh shit I'm already crying

i cannot count the number of times i have come back to this video. it warms my heart as it brings tears to my eyes. it gives me hope.

Patrick Johnson 2 months ago
man,you could show this to the hardist convict,vet,MMA fighter or any person and thay will cry. RIP Danny hope you are in a better place now.

I cried because this was so beautiful. And i never cry.

I really loved the girls comment below. Sometimes we are in a hurry for whatever reason and settle for Mr. Right Now, when this whole thing proves that it is worth everything in the world to be patient and keep your heart for Mr. Right.  It's not always easy, but I would much rather give my entire heart and everything I am to the one man that will capture my attention and my love forever.  I will be the only woman in the entire world that he could see himself spending his life with and he will be the only guy that I would move heaven and earth for.  I don't think that's hard to comprehend.

People ask me when I'm more selective when it comes to guys. This is why. Because there's someone like this out there for me, and I when I know a guy is not him, well I say goodbye

Because love and marriage and all that stuff in the end has nothing whatsoever to do with how big and expensive your ring is, how much you go into debt to have the fairytale wedding, how much your dress costs, or where you got it. You could have someone that makes tons of money, has a car that is the envy of everyone,  a massive rich house, or the body of a chiseled athlete. What happens in the blink of an eye if all that disappears? When it's all stripped away, who are you really under it all? It's about the very heart of that special someone and why you stay through the good times and the bad.  Not just the good. Actions that show it and not just words. More spent on the actual relationship that lasts well after your one day of wedding is long gone.

I am not down on having the ultimate wedding of your dreams, as it should be the most amazing day of your entire life in every single way.  That should be the plan anyhow. But I would much rather have a $100 cubic zirconia ring, a wedding in the smallest chapel in the world, and a pizza buffet, if the trade off was even a short time of real love like this Danny and Annie.

I don't know.  You tell me.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Moving on....With my Heart

Off my wall but not off my heart???
After I finished my earlier post of the evening, and in the middle of some more packing (actually), I realized something that I had to take down off my wall, but more so off my heart.
 I am not great at interior decorating, so I have usually always left my walls sort of bare until I moved in here.  I did this as a tribute to my Dad; my Papa or Pa as we always called him. I am a stone mason's daughter, who loves any kind of stone "art". I got these beautiful assorted removable stones that I stuck to my wall, ending with this hockey puck with a special Montreal Canadiens toonie nestled inside that I had sent my dad from the Winnipeg mint. 
After he passed away and on one of my first visits back to the house, I really wanted something of his as a keepsake.  He had knicknacks galore on mantles, bookshelves, and fireplaces, and collected things even as far back as I can remember as a kid. Anything to do with Italy, soccer, and bocce; that much I remember. I picked a bocce trophy (as he was always close but this one was actually 1st place) and this hockey puck for some reason.
It has been over 3 years since he passed away, and I have mostly good days now.  Every so often I will see something so random though that gets me.  It could be a little Italian old man that resembles him or a container of Unico tuna in olive oil that he used to get from the Italian store. Or an Italian song like the ones he used to belt out in his rich loud voice in church. Or hearing a harmonica or accordian. 
But now, my wall caught my eye as in my head repeated the words....moving on....moving on....
I know I have to take this memoir down from my wall, but I think that God was using this moment in time to help me move on a little more with my heart and my head. It's hard when you loose a loved one, because your life will never be the same.  But there are moments that you know God is smiling at you and helping you really and truly move on a little more. Healing for your heart in whatever your pain and hope in all things eternal that will never leave you lonely.


C.S. Lewis wrote: "There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind."  That is really proving to be true in my life in the last few years.  Sometimes we resist the change of life moving us forward and we find it so hard to let go of certain things.  They could be good things or bad things or both. Like relationships, homes, jobs, schools, friends.  For example, moving to another place, which is only 3 sleeps away for me. Even though it's a good change and super close to my current place, it's still hard to step into the unknown. There are things I liked about my place and my landlords, but ultimately I'm making a good decision that fell into place for all the right reasons. 

It made me think about the last 2 years and coming back to Langley, BC (home for me.) I had another job before my current one that I thought would be my ultimate dream job: Assistant Manager at a big Music & Dance studio.  Wonderful turned into a nightmare pretty fast when it was clear that I would be doing no assistant managing and I was in a work environment where many of the people I worked with seemed to hate their job with a passion.  I felt so trapped and so disillusioned.  I truly felt that it was the most perfect job for me and the best fit, and time and soul searching proved the opposite.

By a "random" happening and right after some horrible work situations, I came across the job posting for my current job.  (I have many job titles, but I am officially the Executive Assistant for a Catholic college, which is part of a large Protestant University.)  I didn't know what I was in for until I actually started there (haha), but I soon realized that this was actually the dream job in the environment that I had wanted to be in my whole entire life.  All my work experiences, even the very worst ones, had truly prepared me for this job.  I love it so much, that it would be hard for someone to grasp that has never been to the college.  We work hard, we play hard, we pray hard.  It is awesome.  That is FAR better than anything that I had to give up.  Like being rich or famous.  Ah, no.  Being happy is a far better thing than what I left behind.

It also makes me think about moving.  I am so good at moving, that right now I am sitting here typing while it looks like to the untrained eye that I have not really been packing.  I do my best work under pressure, so it's all good.  That's all I will say about that.  This is my 5th move in the last 2 years and I'm a pro at living out of suitcases, till just a while ago. Some people don't get my life.  They will never understand all the reasons I have not had a chance to have much stability and they will probably judge me because they have had the same career their whole life or lived in the same place forever or have been married with kids for a while now.  It doesn't bother me whatsoever, but being ok with myself and not being so hard on myself took alot of time. Some people take a while to get to the place they are meant to be at, or with the person they are meant to be with.  That's just life.  Plus for some reason, even though I like stability and things staying consistent, I equally like change in a weird way.  Like fresh starts over and over.  Well, it's true.  Gotta look on the bright side.

Every place I moved to though in the past 2 years did get better and better.  What started off as jumping on a greyhound bus from Manitoba (Canada) with just 2 suitcases and my guitar slowly progressed to where I am right now.  It took so many ups and downs (mostly downs) and I never thought I would see any hope in some pretty dire situations.  It was hard to leave everything behind and not even know what the next day would hold.  But it proved to be one of the best decisions I had ever made.  Time, God, family, old friends, new friends etc. etc. helped to grow me into the person that has been through things and lived to tell about them.  Things were so bad before I moved back, but I was resisting everything that was pretty much pushing me out of that town.  I tried to make it all work in about a million different ways. But we can only control our lives sometimes as much as we can control a rainy windstorm in BC (like today.)

I cannot even comprehend what my life would be like right now if I had resisted the many changes that happened in these 2 years. Even when bad things happened, good things did follow after. Like it always does. Well, back to packing. Or not....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

THANK YOU to my readers and more thoughts from Maria...

Writing and exposing your personal life to the entire world (not only to friends but also complete strangers) is a very humbling and sometimes scary thing. It has officially been 3 years since I started this blog and to date, I cannot even fathom how I have 3,794 page views, and that has only been since I started tracking it. "Amazing" is how I feel when I think about the fact that I have readers from the U.S (my biggest audience), Canada, UK, Germany, Russia, Brazil, Slovenia, France, India, Africa, and Poland!  Thank you all!

Experiences in life are universal, no matter your age, race, status, or religion.  My readers (and probably my own family!) have come to know me in some deeper ways and have had a chance to experience life through my eyes. Three years of ups and downs, sicknesses, health, death, life, love, loss, moving, settling, unemployment, jobs, doubt, faith, grief, joy, heartache, happiness.  I'm sure there's about a million other really great words I could use too. There were times when I never thought I would get through something and was in the deepest despair of my life and there were times when I was confident and feeling on top of the world and completely hopeful.

The truth is that this makes me think of many really good people that showed they loved me in words and in actions.  It could have been a listening ear, a comforting hug, heart-warming words or most importantly, prayers. Prayers from the heart.  It doesn't matter to God what words you like using, what prayer books or not you like using, or even if you use no words at all.  God takes it all and holds it close to himself.  The times you are happy and have such a thankful grateful heart for what God brought you through, or the times you are so utterly lost and hopeless and there are no words that can possibly help.

My dad used to say, "Baby Jesus says, NEVER GIVE UP!!!" He could love and relate to the cute little baby Jesus in the crib but not to the grownup man on the cross for some reason.  Sometimes it's hard to go on. We feel sick, lonely, sad, tired, worried, poor, unloved, miserable.  The weight of the world is pretty much on our shoulders and we feel as if we just can't do it anymore. We can't take another step up the very steep hill in front of us.  We only see the dismal grey storm clouds in front of us that actually block our view of the gorgeous sunshine with beautiful blue skies and puffy white clouds behind it.  My faith and my experiences have always shown me that at the very worst of life when I have no possible options left, I have no choice but to just give up and give all my control over to God.  So that he can just take it out of my hands completely and do something great with something horrible.  Then there is always a miracle that happens, somehow that just can't be explained.

I guess I should really write about those times more often.

When my parents and I were living in Burnaby, it got to the point that there was no way my dad could continue to pay the mortgage and property taxes on our house; the house I was in since I was about 1 year old and the house that I had just graduated high school in.  We had no choice but to sell it and move to Langley, where we had only really visited once.  We only knew it was super cheap out there and they had a little (at the time) St. Joseph's church. Little did we know how much it would change our lives. It took a massive leap of faith and encouragement from my "uncle" Fr. Joe to make that tough decision. We started fresh and left behind a lot of our past, which I think was pretty wise in the long run.

If we had not moved to Langley, I would not have been part of the most amazing youth group that had a hand in such a big part of my spiritual growth.  I would have not met the most wonderful friends that I still have almost 2 decades later.  I would not have been challenged and encouraged to stay on the right path and I would not have ever felt that I belonged anywhere or that I was truly valued as a person.  And even with moving around a million times since (even to Manitoba), it was Langley that I came back home to and where I discovered so many blessings (and people) hat I would have probably missed out on.

It was not all sunshine and roses and happy faces. But don't worry.  God sees where you are right now at this very second.  And he will NEVER leave you or give up on you.  That is for sure and that is for real.