5 months

A new person

Tomorrow please God I will be going to visit the Niagara Falls for the first time. I’m going with my aunt and her friend. We are driving there from Scarborough, which is where we live. I have to wake up and be ready to leave the house at 8:30am. I don’t have an alarm because I sent my phone to fix today and I’m nervous that I won’t wake up in time. My aunt also seems to be a bit displeased with me and I’m not sure why. She told one of her friend’s on the phone that she had a long day and that she was tired hopefully that is it and not me. Up until a few moments ago I thought that tomorrow was also going to be the 26th of February. Knowing that it’s not sort of changes things but I’ll write this nonetheless. On the 26th February will be 5 months since I’ve given my life to Jesus. Five months since I asked Jesus into my life; opened the door that God had been knocking on. To be honest, I don’t know what is going on.

My friend who was there with me when I first believed told me that as a result there will be temptations. There were and I succumbed, like literally the very next day. In the beginning I knew that I was making the right decision but it was all very weird. I read the bible, I tried to change my ways sometimes but mostly I still sucked (hindsight) and I didn’t hear from God. Then one night I did, He said that He missed me. That was it, no more. It was enough for me though; I was really excited and felt good. I was getting better at following Jesus in some ways but mostly I continued to stuck and still do mostly. I was pretty excited because I thought that five months after accepting Jesus that I was going to be visiting a wonderful creation; turns out I’m not, I got my dates mixed up.

I have since left university and returned home to Trinidad, now I’m on vacation in Canada. Back at school I often got guidance from the Holy Spirit but back in Trinidad my life was very noisy and I rarely heard Him. Now I’m in Canada and I still rarely hear Him. I want to go and tell the Good News to others but I don’t know how to. I want to do what I ought to. I want to follow Jesus’ directions and instructions but I haven’t been.

When I die and God asks me what I did with my life right now my answer would most likely be that I wasted it. I did good deeds here and there. I didn’t go out and tell people of God’s great love for us or Jesus’ willing sacrifice, I didn’t always treat the least of us as I would Jesus nor did I always love my neighbour as myself. I didn’t always see that I am a wonderful creation of God and that He knows me in and out, my most private thoughts and more so the many fragments of thoughts that summarise my consciousness. I didn’t go where He lead me or listen out for Him in the quietness of my heart. I tried to do things that would please Him whenever I remembered or felt comfortable. Mostly though, I sat around being upset that I couldn’t connect with him. I read numerous other Christian books but I didn’t read the Bible as much. I was melancholy because I didn’t know where He was leading me. I know that He didn’t forget about me or not have a plan for me but I didn’t know where to make my next step.

As it is, five months later (almost) I am hoping that this pregnancy will soon end and that I am able to partake in this new life.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”  Corinthians 5:17

Here’s a picture of a sunset that I took. I hope you enjoy it.
Rushell
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Soothing Sounds of the Subway

Its quarter past ten in the night on Thursday, I’m on the leaving Eaton Centre heading back to my aunt’s condo in Scarborough. My hands are filled; American Eagles Outfitters, Aeropostale, Sephora, Forever 21, Starbucks, La Senza, bags are everywhere. Sure these aren’t necessities but they are items that I planned to buy on my trip here and the majority are not made in sweatshops in the East. I felt the weight of the bags in my hands and mused on the fact that belongings don’t make us happy. Sure upon receiving them we tend to me overcome with euphoria but it’s not happiness; it’s short-lived.  Since I’m now following the path that I always encouraged others to walk I am a lot more at peace with myself and decisions. Sure my new belongings and gifts to my family were wonderful but they were not responsible for the smile on my face. The peace and reassurance of my life did. Into the subway I went after compressing the numerous bags, lightening my load and managing not to get lost.

Clearly rush hour extended way past 8pm here, the subway was crowded. From somewhere yonder came a comforting sound, not the usual subway station intercom music but smooth strumming that brought a pleasant smile to my face. As I walked closer to my stop it got louder, I got happier. As I turned the corner I saw him. He was average height white guy, possibly around my dad’s age or a bit older with long wavy hair that placed him way back in time. He strummed with a content look on his face while his guitar case lay open at his feet collecting change. I slowed my subway sprint to a stroll to take in the tune. I told him good night and great music, I walked on then down the escalator.

Brian Moore  Guitarist of the subway
Brian Moore
Guitarist of the subway

In those moments I laughed at the irony of my possession and what brought a fire of happiness into me.  It was the strumming that captivated me. Meanwhile the next train to leave the station for my stop was filling up quickly and people swarmed around me. Coming on the bone chilling breeze through the unheated station was that sweet, sweet strumming. Did I get onto the train and join the sea of private lives and blank expressions? No. I skipped that train and stayed there mesmerised by the wonders of a single man, his instrument and the overwhelming joy that I received. Surely this would be worth it. Another train came, I did not get onto it either, partially because I didn’t want to and also because I could not. Have you ever tried walking away from a breathing sunset or turning away from the sparkle in a child’s eye? There are some things that can’t be done and we should give into these.

I wanted to leave some money for him but I had no change and, with that melodious sound drifting down the staircase, neither was I in a hurry. I paid for water in the Afghan subway store and gave him the change in the guitar case. He had just about finished a song and stopped playing. When he saw the money he questioned it, then was thankful and gave me a CD with his songs. I’m really glad that he did that because otherwise I would have no clue about his name or where to find his music. Unfortunately I forgot to ask him the name of the first song that I heard, hopefully I will find it.

Money has its purpose which it readily fulfils but sometimes we base so much of our lives on gaining it and the ways that it facilitates us that we forget to separate ourselves from it. Sure we don’t wear money, we are separate in that sense, yet we identify ourselves in alignment to our monetary successes. If only it was possible that we would let loose of that final tie, the beauty of this would become that much clearer in our eyes.  I didn’t go shopping to make myself happy but there are numerous ads around us depicting girls leaving malls grinning and laughing, evidently happy with numerous large brand name shopping bags. We, mainly girls, are taught that shopping heals. I’m sharing this because after a long day and a few hundred dollars later it was a free experience that fuelled a wonderful feeling of happiness.

(Okay so technically it is not free since I paid $40 Canadian for a week pass. Nonetheless it comes really close to free because if we divide forty by seven then by eight you would get how much that single trip cost. So I paid $0.78 and two days later I’m still smiling.)

The guy’s name is Brian Moore and he has a CD as well as a profile on soundclick.com. He isn’t signed and he claims to be a regular in the Toronto Subway Station. I definitely look forward to seeing him in such a wonderful capacity again. Thank God for the gifts of talent and willingness of such talented individuals to share. You should check out his work here, I like the tracks ‘Thank You’ and ‘Circle of Light.’ I still can’t find the one that I love as yet though.
Sincerely,
Rushell Rousseau
Living the Great Perhaps

Lake Ontario, Toronto Island

I am in Toronto on vacation, yesterday I went to Toronto Island late in the evening and took a few shots with my Nikon D3200 18-55mm lens. After many below zero days the city warmed up to 0 on Wednesday, my friend and I decided to make the most of it and headed over to the beautiful island. 
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The sunsetting West of the city of Toronto over a frozen part of Lake Ontario yesterday. 

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The path cut by the ice breaker to allow the ferry to move between the city and Toronto Island

 

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A tree hanging over frozen sections of Lake Ontario on the Eastern section of Toronto Island at sunset.

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Some warm homemade cappuccino!
Hope you enjoyed! If you did leave a comment or recommendation or share with a friend. 
Wishing you a happy day! 

Sincerely,
Rushell 

 

What I’ve learned. What I’m thankful for. What I’ve come to appreciate. First semester at university.

On August 26th, 2013, I started my university experience at University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, in Barbados. (Caribbean island) It was my first time living away from home independently. My last exam is in a few hours, soon I would have completed my first semester at university!  What a challenge it has been.
What was your university/ tertiary education experience like? Were there any significant differences or lesson that would help post first semester? Leave a comment below, let me know. 

What I’ve learned:

Twenty minutes is actually an hour here in Barbados

If you buy green bananas you cannot eat them the same night

When you buy green bananas, which you most certainly would, wrap them in newspapers so they get ripe faster.

Sunscreen helps

Umbrellas keep your face dry; not much else.

Verify all bus directions, even if a bus driver gives them to you

Living on campus is more convenient than living off campus.

Campus food will not taste like home food.

When you lend someone your pen you are not getting it back.

Charge you cell phone if you intend to use it.

My accent is not the typical accent of Trinidadians.

Don’t buy groceries for three weeks in advance

Don’t sit on the gallery at 1am with a Mac Book

Living a 40 minute walk from campus means that you have to make a 40 minute walk everyday, 80 minutes if you don’t get the campus shuttle back.

Not walking 40 minutes each way every day because you have moved on campus while maintaining you eating habits and not adding extra exercise leads to an inevitable weight gain.

Don’t rent an apartment based on pictures; go see it.

The fairer your skin the better you are treated and the higher the price of vendor’s goods rise.

If you like looking at sunsets then don’t take classes at that time; you’ll miss either the sunset or class

You will meet people that I would want to be near to for life; life doesn’t work that way and if it does you would not know until it’s happening.

You’ll meet friends from around the world if you speak to the exchange students.

It’s easy to just stick with your native people if you’re at a school away from home.

When mom says that she’ll call me later it’s comfort to her, not an action that’s going to come to pass.

If you break the rules you’ll get the consequences.

Remember the rules; act accordingly.

Be accountable for yourself.

Laundry doesn’t wash itself. Mentally doing it doesn’t clean it either.

Your favourite towel will get stolen if you leave your clothes in the machines unattended.

Housemates may be fun or they may not be fun.

People will remember your actions both good and bad.

Year 3 students and Intro year students have different priorities, very different priorities.

They (the guys) will know that you are a freshman.

Your party people most likely aren’t going to be there when it’s time to study.

You can be part of many different social circles at university, unlike at secondary school.

Learn to say “No!” Learn to say it in a variety of manners to apply to different situations.

Everyone has a secret, a back story, a problem; treat each other endearingly and with compassion. We’re pretty much fragile.

You will make friends so different to others that you’ve had.

What I’m thankful for:

>Snapchat 

>Supportive parents

>Second chances

>Finding a friend who is different from the others and embraces that

>Letting God enter my life

> Meeting people from many of the Caribbean islands and across the world

>Beautiful, white sand, blue water beaches

>My granny who prayed for me ceaselessly over the past four months

>The one time I got to sail

>Shady trees

>A lookout over the sea, an ideal study spot that no one uses besides me

>The University of California Study Room

> The cricket oval

>Warm weather; most of my friends are in Canada, England and Northern USA

>New music from the world across

>Campus Crusade for Christ

>Exchange Students

>Making dinner with friends

>Google Docs

>Breezy nights

>Starting to learn to surf, yet again.

>ESSO 24 hour gas station. Good for: post party pizza, study break pizza and ‘I’m having a bad night’ pizza. Also any other excuse for 3am pizza.

> A surf break down the hill from my school.

What I’ve come to appreciate:

> My truck back at home.

>Mountains

>Sitting together as a family to eat dinner.

>Friends who don’t have accent

>Friends who understand my speech  >A bedroom that I can do a cartwheel in

>Warm meals that taste good

>A bathroom for myself

>Spontaneous family sailing trips to the other islands; Grenada especially

>A sound secondary school education

>Inexpensive food, fuel, utilities, inexpensive everything!

>My wealth of knowledge of Caribbean history

>My brother

>Fruits that can be consumed on the same day they were bought

>My Bible

>Doing laundry for free

>Having a drier that dries laundry on one cycle.

>Predictable weather