My Trip To Canada [Life]

If any of you follow me on Twitter, I’m sure you saw a couple of tweets from me at the beginning of the month about me being away. My blog was still running as scheduled, but I wasn’t reading or commenting on anyone else’s blogs. I wasn’t answering comments on this blog and I was barely on social media.

I was in Canada for EGLX – Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo – for my other blog, Double Jump, and also for myself.

My sister Kris and I have been wanting to go to a gaming convention or expo for a really long time now. Pretty much all of the YouTube gamers we watch was going to be there. They ran a couple of panels and put on a show. This was an opportunity we knew we couldn’t pass up.

I don’t do anything spontaneous. I’m an organized person, I have slight OCD, and I need to have a plan for the day, the week, the future, everything. I know plans change and things come up and I’m a pretty flexible person, but I’ll admit there have been a few situations where I’ve been agitated or upset because something didn’t go as I planned.

Being spontaneous is a good thing, shaking things up is a good thing. But sometimes my brain doesn’t think so.

I haven’t been on an airplane since I was 3. I don’t remember it and just tell people I’ve never flown before. So many things have changed since then anyway. I also have never been out of the country. I’ve never taken a trip without my parents. Yes, I’m 24, but I still need my mom and dad.

So you can imagine my reaction when Kris burst into our office one day and said, “By the way, we’re going to Canada!”

I should also mention I’ve never really planned a vacation either. I mean, I have, but with my parent’s help or my aunt and uncle’s help from the times we’ve gone to Disney with them.

Kris and I had to figure out how to book a flight, get our passports, figure out money and currency exchange, find our way around the airport, decide how to get from the airport to the hotel, the hotel to the convention center, and back again. It’s a lot. I knew it was going to be a lot but it’s one of those things you don’t realize how much work it is until you actually do it yourself.

But I did it. Kris and I did it.

Canada EGLX | Video Games | Gaming | Travel | RachelPoli.com

Why am I explaining all of this even though this trip was mainly for my video game blog? Well, I wanted to explain that we’re capable of doing much more than we think. This trip was a huge eye-opener for me.

I have generalized anxiety disorder. I won’t go into too much detail about it. Maybe someday I will, but for now, I’ll leave you with this: some days I do well, other days it kills me.

Being on an airplane, for example, flares up my anxiety. I know a lot of people get like this with flying, so it’s pretty common.

I’m going to Disney in April where I will have to go on an airplane. The last few times I’ve gone, we’ve driven down there. I’ve been panicking and sometimes dreading going to Disney, the happiest place on earth because I need to go on an airplane.

What if the plane crashes? What if we, for some reason, can’t get home? What if I get claustrophobic? What if I have an anxiety attack in the middle of the flight? What if I have to go to the bathroom or start to feel sick? What if someone else on the plane gets sick?

There’s always that “what if” for everything in life, but now I know what to expect. Now I’m actually excited to go.

I had a great time on the plane. The flight was only an hour and a half and it went by so fast. Yes, I did have an anxiety pill, but I honestly don’t know if I really needed it. I got cookies and apple juice on the flight which was really good. I watched the map and followed where the plane was and where it was going on the way there. On the way back I watched Mrs. Doubtfire and had pretzels and apple juice.

On the way to Canada, I sat in the aisle because I was nervous the window would make me sick. I didn’t want to stare into the abyss to remind me of how high we were. On the way back, I sat by the window and loved watching the plane ascend and descend. I loved seeing the buildings from above. We were also sitting right next to the plane’s wing both ways so that was certainly cool to see as well. I’ve never seen a plane up close before.

I was also nervous about the expo itself. Kris and I were going to be in an unfamiliar place, a large room filled with, what seemed to be, a thousand people. It was crowded. It was loud. There was a lot going on. I don’t do well in those situations.

But I did it. I was fine and I had a good time. Sure, there were some moments I felt claustrophobic, but there were so many things to do and games to play, I was able to keep my mind off it and just focus on the good.

And I did this for three days in a row.

EGLX in Canada | Gaming | Travel | RachelPoli.com

I’ve realized something important about myself while going on that trip. I knew my anxiety was all in my mind, but this proved that it really is just in my mind.

I’ve always wanted to travel but never have because I was afraid to leave my house. I was afraid I’d die on the plane.

It was amazing to see all the art and talent of various people who share a love of video games. It was fantastic to see the YouTubers who have inspired me to do what I do today. (Our hotel room was right next door and across the hall from a couple of them!)

It may seem kind of silly, but even though I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in elementary school, these YouTubers have changed my life.

A few of them have anxiety and/or depression and talk openly about it which has helped me a lot. Their videos are funny and entertaining that I’ve watched them in the middle of the night a few times when I had too much anxiety and couldn’t sleep. They’re very open, kind, and welcoming to anyone and everyone no matter their race, sexuality, mental health, or anything.

They’re just a group of friends who do what they love for a living and that’s exactly what I’m trying to do – what I am doing.

I can relate to them on so many levels: working from home, doing what I love for a living, my mental health issues, my overall goals for why I do what I do, and more.

I want to inspire people the way they have inspired me. I want to make people laugh. I want to make people feel loved and welcome in this community I’ve been building with my blog (and beyond). I want people to feel safe and comfortable when they read my work or watch my videos (when I get the channel up and running).

I want people to look at me say, “If she can do that, I can do that” just like I’ve done with these YouTubers.

I want to explore the world and before going to Canada I didn’t realize that was a thing I could do. I did it because I wanted to see those YouTubers in person. (And also because Kris was able to pay for me… Thank you, Kris!)

I want to teach myself new things and I have been. I’ve been teaching myself filmmaking and video editing so I can start a YouTube channel for this blog (and also for Double Jump down the road). I’ve been drawing more. I’m not very good, but maybe I’ll get there in time. I want to publish books. I want to create a literary magazine or something similar. I want to create a video game.

That’s not even the half of it. There’s so much I want to do. I want to do it all. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. But the possibilities are endless and my creativity can go as far as my imagination, which, I’ve come to realize, is pretty endless itself.

Canada seemed to be the first step for me. It opened a new world for me and I came to realize I can do more than what I think I can do.

Maybe someday Double Jump will have its own panel at a convention. No, I don’t want to be rich or famous, but I’d like to make an impact on people’s lives. (As well as make a living off it because… bills.)

Maybe someday my creative works – no matter what form, video, blog, writing, etc. – will inspire and help others.

Of course, I can’t give all the credit to those YouTubers and to the fact I went to Canada. I went to Canada and I do what I do because of the choices I’ve made and the way I’ve decided to spend my time.

I do what I do because there are so many people who visit my blog on a daily basis and actually care about what I have to say.

Canada's EGLX | Gaming | Travel | RachelPoli.com

This is a long post, probably the longest I’ve ever written on this blog. If you’ve read this far and you’re still reading, I applaud you. Thank you for reading this through.

I didn’t mean for this to be so long and corny, but it’s the truth and I felt it needed to be said. I had this realization through my trip and breaking out of my comfort zone, but there was also something else that happened to make me realize this.

The other thing that made me realize all this isn’t a happy story like Canada. It’s gotten me down for quite a while now. Though that’s a story for another day.

I’ll say this though: I’m happy where I am in life. I’m happy with the things I’m doing and the things I’m trying to do. My anxiety holds me back sometimes, but I figure it out. I have a good head on my shoulders (I think so, anyway). I have a good support system with friends and family who love and encourage me to do what I do. I’m a pretty lucky person.

But I guess I’ve rambled enough. Thank you for reading. Thanks for listening. Thanks for being here and taking this journey with me.

Have you ever taken a risk in life? Done something you didn’t think you could? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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One Month

It’s Been Almost A Whole Month…

I fell off the face of the earth again, haven’t I? Sorry about that. Things have been so hectic lately that I haven’t had too much time to do things for myself…like write. Every since school and work started back up again, that’s all I’ve had time to do and to think about.

I got promoted at work. I am now a lead teacher in the classrooms. This also means I’m 40 hours a week. I work 10-6 Monday-Friday. I love it, but it makes me extremely tired at the end of the day. I’m not in the mood to do anything–write, homework–all I want to do is sit on the couch, put my feet up, and pig out while watching TV or playing video games. I don’t want to do anything that requires thinking.

School has been a lot…even though it’s not. I’m taking five online classes. I’m majoring in English, and so far it’s just been a whole lot of reading and no writing. It’s not bad…when you look at the assignments on paper, it looks like a lot, but it’s really not. The only bad thing about it was that school started September 4 and I just finished all my homework for weeks one and two. We just started week three. The reason for this is because my textbooks didn’t come…and I’m still missing one. So it’s not a lot of homework, but it kind of was because I had double homework. As soon as one of my professors found out I had gotten my book, he said, “Great! You should have no problem getting all the assignments done by tomorrow morning.” Um…I had to read like 600 pages, take a quiz, two discussion boards…it was a lot. How am I supposed to get that all done?

But now I’m hoping things will calm down a bit now I have my textbooks. Well…except one. I have five classes, all the homework for each class is due on Sundays, so I decided to work on one class each day. That would mean I would finish my homework for all five classes by Friday night. Not only would I get my assignments done and in early, but this will also give me Saturdays and Sundays off.

Sunday school started, too. Sunday afternoons are going to be spent preparing for the following Sunday. So I guess I really only Saturdays off to do literally whatever I want–whether it be writing or some sort of excuse to not write even more than I already have been not writing.

So, this is what my schedule looks like:

Sunday — Church 9-11:30, plan next week
Monday — Wake at 5:30/5:45am, homework, get cousins ready for school, homework, work 10-6, homework, dinner, homework, bed
Tuesday-Friday — See Monday
Saturday — Hopefully do whatever I want

Seriously, that’s why I have not been writing or updating this thing at all. My life does not include me having a social aspect or creative aspect to it.

With my textbooks and this plan I have for my classes and homework I should find time to write and such. I am going to be writing for at least a half hour a day, though. I have a half hour break at work so I decided to spend it by writing something–anything–in a notebook.

This is all the updates I have for now. I have to get ready for work soon. But I do hope I’m able to start updating this regularly again. I want to get back into the swing of things…that does not include school, but what can you do about that?

The Babysitting Adventures of Rachel

It’s Gonna Be A Best-Seller…

Starting back in the summer of 2010, I started babysitting two boys. I only watch them during the summer as both of their parents work while the kids are at school, which is nice. They’re one of the few families that actually have the parents home when the kids are home that I know of.

So this is the third summer I’m watching them. The oldest, Jack, is now 13 and the youngest, Sam, is 11. The oldest has ADD while the youngest has ADD and a touch of Autism. They get along really well, but…you know, they’re brothers. Despite their special needs, Jack is actually capable of being home alone for a few hours and watching his little brother. However, he torments poor Sam half of the time. So instead of actually “babysitting” I get paid to “referee.” And it’s funny because last summer was horrible, but Jack has actually matured with age…for a boy. I honestly don’t think I need to be there. But I love hanging out with the two of them, so why not?

Anyway, the whole point of this post is to talk about what Sam wants me to do. We drove my cousin and her friend to their swimming lesson a few weeks ago. The swim lesson was only a half hour long so we stayed there to watch. Sam had his Nintendo DS and his Pokemon to keep himself company. I planned on playing my game, but I found myself caught up in watching the kids swim. But somehow Sam got a hold of my iPod and was looking at my calendar.

“Camp NoNoWr…what?” Sam stammered to read my July entries.

“Camp NaNoWriMo. It stands for National Novel Writing Month.” I laughed at his pronunciation and corrected him.

Of course, Sam has no idea what that is. So I explained the whole thing to him simply. Judging by the look on his face, he wasn’t all that impressed.

“Geez, Rachel…I knew you were a geek, but I didn’t think you were that much of a geek.” he scoffed.

Honestly, I was kind of surprised at how offended I got. Of course I was laughing, but I never really thought writing would be categorized as being a geek. That was certainly the first time I heard that, but I just don’t think Sam knew what to think about it.

“Hey, it’s writing. Writing is my career.” I replied and he stared at me funny. “Well…I want it to be my career. I want to be an author someday…sooner rather than later, I mean. NaNo is something that helps me get closer to that goal.”

From the look on Sam’s face, I now had his attention. And he seemed to understand, too. Yet, he was still confused because he knew I’m going to school to be a teacher and he knows I’m a teacher at a preschool. I explained I went to school for teaching as a day job just in case selling books doesn’t bring in enough money. But I am going to get my Bachelor’s in English. Being with children and writing are two of my favorite things to do. I can easily do both and if writing becomes more of a priority…well, my books are all picture books, middle grade, or young adult. It’s still kid stuff. He nodded an approval at my plan.

Then the wheels in his head began to squeak. Then they moved slowly and before I knew it, the rust was dusted off and the wheels were turning five miles per second.

“The Babysitting Adventures of Rachel!” he exclaimed. “You should write a book all about you and me and all the fun we have together! I bet you it will be a big hit!”

I found this amusing. Sam texts me throughout the school year every once in a while and when the summer nears and his mom and I start planning a schedule for me to babysit, he’s always calling me on the phone super excited. His mom tells me he constantly talks about me and she’s so happy by how much he loves me. If the child is not happy about the babysitter, then there’s an issue somewhere. But I was excited that Sam took an interest in my writing and he was trying to help me out. Although, at first I thought it was just him being 11, but then I realized he was serious.

“You can talk about me and you and Chance!” he continued on and on. “I guess Jack can be in there…maybe you can put Jackie and Katherine in there, too.” Then he whispers: “You know, just to be nice.”

–Let me stop to explain for a moment: Chance is his dog, Jack is his brother (as previously mentioned), Jackie is my cousin (the one who was swimming), and Kat is my other cousin (Jackie’s little sister). Continuing on…–

Then I asked a question I shouldn’t have (but I still thought he was joking): “How long should this book be?”

“Um…100 pages!”

Uh…what? Wow, he really thought this through in the past five minutes, didn’t he? Then he stuck out his hand and I shook it.

“What’s this for?” I asked.

“So I know you’ll definitely do it.”

Well, crap. Now I’m stuck. I have an 11-year-old wanting me to write 100 pages all about our fun together. How was I going to pull this one off? He had to be kidding, right? He was probably going to forget about this whole thing by tomorrow, anyway…right?

After I finished babysitting that day I thought long and hard about our conversation. I began laughing to myself and thought: challenge accepted.

A few days later (yes, he remembered), he told me that he wants it to be 256 pages now. Random number, right? I don’t get it, either. However, I did say challenge accepted, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to write that much about us. All we really do is go in the pool, play with the dog, and play Pokemon. Seriously. I’ll make the story 100-256 pages. No less than 100, no more than 256. But I doubt I’ll get to 256 pages.

I realized that I am probably going to make Sam’s life when I write this book. Of course I’m not going to write it ready for publication, but it helped spark a middle grade series idea (with the help of Kris when I told her this story) that I think I am going to write. And who knows? Maybe it will be the “next big thing.”

Back To Reality

I Can’t Type…

 

I disappeared for a week, yes. I can’t remember if I mentioned it or not, but I went away on vacation. It was very nice to get away. We had a cottage by the lake, but we didn’t swim very often. The weather was not on our side last week. But it was all good because Kris and I stayed in our room most of the week playing Pokemon and watching movies. We watched Wreck-It Ralph twice, Tangled about four or five times, and the Winnie the Pooh movie about four or five times. It was a good week. That, and we finally got our two cousins into Pokemon. They’re 11 and 9 and we’ve tried to get them into it before, but it never worked because they didn’t understand anything that was going on. They still don’t, but they’re getting through it.

It’s funny because Jackie, the one who is 11, pesters us with questions. She wants to learn everything about Pokemon and wants to do it right. If we tell her to do something differently, she hears us and tries not to do it anymore. For example, leveling up only one Pokemon instead of her whole team. Whereas, Katherine…she’s just going to have to learn the hard way. No matter how many times Kris and I try to tell her that she needs to level up all her Pokemon…let’s put it this way: she was in a battle with an NPC trainer for about two hours. Her highest level Pokemon fainted and the rest of her team weren’t at a high enough level. Not only that, but she does’t understand that she needs to go to the Pokemon Center before they faint. She thinks she’s not allowed to go there unless she entire team has fainted.

This just goes to show that slow and steady does in fact win the race. Whereas Kat is farther along in the game than Jackie, Jackie will probably be the first to beat the game because she’s actually going about it the right way. But at least they’ll both learn…eventually.

Anyway, the sub-title says “I can’t type.” Seriously, you have no idea how long it has taken me to write this post so far…being away from a computer for a whole week really takes a toll on my fingers. I checked my FanFiction e-mail and I have a lot of stories to catch up on for my beta-reading. I didn’t open a single one. I can’t type. How am I supposed to correct stories if I can’t type?

There was no wi-fi at the cottage, but my phone still gave me internet. It was great because I ended up playing my HeartGold version of Pokemon all week and I left the guide at home. I brought my Ruby and Sapphire guide because I had just started playing my Ruby over again. Apparently, I changed my mind. But I had my phone to look up the levels of the gym leaders and such. So I was saved.

But that’s not really the point. I was on the internet a great deal, but it was only my thumbs doing the typing. My other fingers got a vacation and now I’m paying the price. I have a lot of correcting to do for FanFiction, I have my own FanFiction to write and I have my own original novels to write. Of course, none of this is going to happen until tomorrow (at least) because my fingers need to get back into the groove of things.

Speaking of writing…Camp NaNoWriMo? What is that again…?

Ugh, yes, I know. I fail. But at least I got something written. Something is better than nothing, I guess. There’s always November…then April…then July again…and so on and so forth.

Well, I’m home now and it’s back to reality…starting tomorrow.

Too Busy For My Own Good

I Have Too Much To Do….

 

I believe in my last post I was complaining about everything that I had to get done instead of actually talking about my writing. Yeah…the problem is, I can’t really talk about my writing when I haven’t really been writing.

This past weekend was pretty busy. I can’t remember what I did Friday (isn’t that sad?), but I know that I was at work all day. Saturday morning I had to help my sister move into her new apartment. That didn’t take up too much of the day. Sunday, yesterday, was Father’s Day and the last day of Sunday school. So I had church in the morning and then I had my mom’s side over for a cook out. Then Kris and I  kicked back at the end of the night and played Super Smash Brothers Brawl together as we were both too exhausted to do anything productive.

I still have to start the websites for my work and for my church. I still have to start writing lesson plans for Sunday school next year. I have to clean my areas of the house and I have to continue writing. I have to study for my MTEL. I have to send in my lead teacher certification application. But wait, there’s more! …I’m not going to list any of the rest, though. None of this needs to get done as soon as possible or anything like that, but it would be nice to get them all finished sooner rather than later.

I did get a little writing done yesterday, though. Kris and I decided that we’re slowly going to work on a book together. So I wrote the prologue. Now she just has to write the first chapter. By the way, whenever this book is finished, it’s going to take a really long time to edit. Not because there are two people working on it; therefore there are two different opinions on what should happen, but we have no plot in mind. We are literally just going with the flow. Currently, the novel is called Titleless. Yep.

So I’m working on that, I’m still working on editing Hunter, I have to figure out what I’m doing for Camp NaNo next month, I have been beta-reading a lot of stories lately on FanFiction, and I have been kind of wanting to get back to writing FanFiction. I think I’m going to try working on that soon.

I do know what I am going to be writing for Camp, but I have a lot of kinks that need to be worked out. It’s a superhero novel called Cybertra. I think I have mentioned this idea before on here because I thought of it a long time ago. I just never went through with it. However, after seeing Iron Man 3 in theaters a few weeks ago, it’s put me in the mood to begin the series. I just have to plan a few things out first.

Other than me being ridiculously busy, I don’t think I have too much else to say since I haven’t really been writing too much lately. I plan on getting as much done as I can this week (this week is my last week of work). Then I can focus on babysitting (since I will have no work all summer, I’m going to need as many babysitting jobs as I can get) and writing. So, naturally, I spent all morning before work playing Pokemon and then Super Smash Brothers Brawl online with my boyfriend. Great morning, huh?

But at least I’m updating my blog. That’s technically writing, isn’t it?