Jamaican in Hamilton, Ontario – AW Update

What’s up guys? It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on whats going on.  I have been asked several times about the blog and why no updates. I have no excuse except that I have way less time than I had before. I have yet to put out a Ainzlee’s World Youtube video this year and my other projects are moving at a slow pace. In doing this update right now, I have limited time so I promise that I won’t be long. Time seems to be flying along and soon it will be two years since I’ve been in Ontario. I finished school almost a year ago and started working within two weeks of getting my work permit. I’ve been on many adventures but not half as much as I want to be. I’m still trying to adjust to the fact that six months out of the year is extremely cold and all you want to do is hibernate like the animals. The six months good for outdoors doesn’t seem like enough time to do what needs to be done.  This has been a challenge and I’m slowly but surely finding ways to make use of the indoors. For those who know me I’ve always been goal oriented and even though I’ve been making slow progress and I am a bit behind because of unforeseen circumstances I’m not giving up and plan to complete them all before the year ends. I now live in Hamilton which is the fifth largest city in Ontario.  Its referred to as the armpit of Ontario and I’m still trying to figure out why.  All I know is its way cheaper than Toronto and I love the mix of old and new architectural buildings not to mention the ridiculous amount of trails and waterfalls of which I have only been to two.  I plan to extend my work permit as there is so much more to explore and I’ve just started digging in. I also plan on
running in at least two 5k races this year and find time to get to Montreal as well.  Seems easy doesn’t it? It’s not seeing that I work 6 days a week but you only live once so I will make time for it.
Not much more to say at this point so I’ll let the pictures do the rest.

Remember I’m on Twitter and Facebook… let’s chat! Please leave comments as well. Any feedback is welcome.

Until next time, peace….

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Closest park to my apartment

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At work during one of the worst snow storms in years

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Escarpment Rail Trail – One of the many trails in Hamilton

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Further down the Escarpment Rail Trail (Autumn Pic)

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Bay Front Park – The Lake makes it a breathtaking experience

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CorkTown Tavern – One of the many historic buildings found in Hamilton, Ontario. This one is over three hundred years old

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One of the places you will have to use if you live in an apartment and want clean clothes…LOL

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One burger I know that no Jamaican will ever eat…..LOL

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Reflections on my Leadership Passport Journey

Written below is a reflection I did as part of a program at Centennial College. It was considered extra-curricular and would give me extra credit and a distinction in Leadership on my transcript. The program called the Leadership Passport involves being apart of at least seven activities which ranged from working with the school to volunteering for anything that would involve interactions with as many people as possible. I chose a tree planting exercise which was very fulfilling for me.  Along with the seven it was required that we attend two workshops to be the foundation for what we have to do and also to give us an idea of how to write reflection papers and what they were looking for. we could either write a reflection paper for each activity or write one that would cover all. I chose the latter.  I didn’t ask for permission to mention any names in this blog but I want to mention that this program has helped me to grow as a person which is one of the reasons I decided to do it in the first place. Mission accomplished.

My reflection got some recognition and I was chosen as one of three to represent the program in front of the Board of Governors at the Centennial College. It was a great experience and I leave the school proud of myself and of the school who offered such a great program. Below is an edited version of the paper.

My journey for my Leadership Passport began when I came off the plane in Ontario from Jamaica.  I was in a new place and would meet many different people from different cultures. The culmination of all the experiences would change me into a not only a better leader but a better person. Never in my wildest dreams did I think my experiences would be so rich and so deep.  I will leave centennial College with memories that will stay with me forever.

I first started on the journey for my leadership passport after seeing the posting on the school’s website and immediately identifying with it and what they intended for the students who would be involved. I was excited. I immediately started sending letters to the relevant people but actually did not get to start because of the strike at the time. I kept on querying about it until I got a response. I went into the office where I met with Christine and the way the programme was presented to me made it even more appealing. I immediately signed up and attended the relevant workshops which would be my guideline to being a better leader.

By being an international student I qualified for the international education aspect of the program.  This for me was an international experience as I had never left home for so long or interacted with so many cultures.   I was required to work in teams for my course project management which also had a course called Project Leadership where leadership was taught not only from a Canadian perspective but an international one as well. The investment of time into understanding the cultures around is very important.  The interactions with people from Turkey, China, India and from many other places helped me to appreciate even more what I was taught by my parents to be tolerant of others and always look for the advantages of a situation.

As I write this portion I am actually staying with all my Indians friends overnight at their place discussing our cultures, the similarities and differences. Now you may say why did I include that but through interactions with them and others I have learnt that an effective leader understands the difference in culture and that understanding these differences and also the strengths can make him more effective in the way he leads.

My Canadian experience as a student has truly changed my life. At times there was frustration due to language barriers so one thing that I developed for sure during this experience was patience with teachers and students alike.  I also developed close bonds that helped in terms of networking and helped make my transition from home smooth.

My other experience as far as what is categorized on my Leadership passport had to do with working on campus which I did through volunteering.  I worked with the International Department on the occasions I was called upon to represent my country and also Centennial College. This experience was new for me because even though I spend a lot of time with social media I had never been involved with virtual meetings in the form of career fairs and web meetings.

I am a fast learner and within a very short period of time I was able to effectively and efficiently log on and contribute to the virtual meetings.  Another bridge crossed.  I was truly enthusiastic about the whole process.  Being able to help others in achieving their goals while achieving the ones you set for yourself. Isn’t that what leadership is about?  With the use of the school and its resources and making myself available I was able to do just that. It is important that as a leader, you set goals and follow through on them no matter how hard the task.  This is a trait of good leaders and proudly I can say I was tested and achieved what I said I would.  The fruit of your struggles will be always seen as was with the case while working with my beloved school. I have been asked to participate in upcoming events which will take place virtually along with other projects. What other evidence do I need to know that I have overcome and made a positive impact? Purpose is another word that is thrown around but with being given guidelines by the Leadership Passport, I was able to say I worked purposefully towards the goals that needed to be done to not only complete my Leadership passport but become an even better person albeit a better world citizen.

My volunteer experience happened during a time when I was feeling down because of unforeseen circumstances that threatened my course of study. Here is where my perseverance was tested. Would I be able to push through and finish what I started out to do?  Well, I was determined to make sure the answer to that was a resounding yes.  I did 40+ hours working at the Hamilton General Hospital along with a research coordinator who asked me to be in charge of the transferring of data as they were changing the way they handled information that came into their office.   They demanded a high degree of excellence.

My parents had always instilled in me that anything worth doing is worth doing well so that wasn’t the problem.  The challenges with the job were the tight deadlines and unexpected hiccups that caused frustration and exhaustion.  At this point it was one of two things, persevere or give up. I had already gone through a lot to be here in Canada and perseverance was the only way I saw out. You could say my mind was one tracked.

Working with the team at the hospital and finishing the project left me with a feeling of real accomplishment. So much so that this summer I plan to spend time volunteering there while looking for a full-time job. It’s definitely an environment that allows you to interact with a lot of people and at the same time observing different leadership styles.

My Service Learning experience took place at the Morningside Park on April 28th 2012.  I had grown up being a part of the junior naturalist movement but had never gotten the chance to be a part of a plant restoration before. I was extremely excited.   With things affecting the earth such as global warming, planting trees may seem insignificant but is exactly the opposite. Here is a chance to make a BIG impact I thought on the earth and its future.  When the opportunity came up I jumped at it knowing it is through situations like this that leaders make an impact. These leaders not only give orders but lead by example.

After watching Al Gore’s “The Inconvenient Truth” and even experiencing the mild winter that has just passed I saw the urgency of the situation reinforced when we got there and it was explained that the area in which we were going to work had eroded because of the lack of trees. It was up to the group of us to save that area from total destruction.

Another good thing about the tree restoration exercise was the chance to meet up with people who were as passionate about what they were doing as I was.  We have a saying in Jamaica that “one one cocoa full basket” meaning that in this case everybody coming together will make a greater impact.  We as a group shared with each other. I left making new friends and having an even deeper appreciation of teamwork.

To sum it all up the traits of leadership that were observed during all these exercises were not new to me as I had seen them before exhibited at different times in my life.  What was new though were how they were presented and manifested themselves.  I went away from all of them with a paradigm shift in my thinking about leadership and its impact on each one of us.  Integrity, honesty, humility, perseverance, patience and the list goes on, were seen in all to different degrees but showed how important each one is.  None can be considered insignificant.

As I leave Centennial College, I leave happy I saw the post which asked for interest in such a program. I’m happy I sent that email and even happier I got such a warm welcoming reply. My only regret knowing that I have benefitted so much is that more of my classmates didn’t take up the opportunity to be a part of this great program.

Below is just a pic of the group of Project managers of which I was a part. Until the next blog, peace….

Ainz

Changing Seasons

It is spring in Canada but the seasons aren’t the only thing changing.  After going through a year of post graduate studies I am also looking for a change. One that will bring me to a new chance in life.  I haven’t had anything go easy for me but that is not a complaint. It is an acknowledgement that giving up before I get to where I need to be would be borderline crazy.

I’ll be looking for a new lease on life as far as getting a job, and actually setting up some form of foundation up here in the North. I’m actually waiting on my school to clear me for graduation and so I can get the papers I need to get on the fast track.  My graduation doesn’t even matter that much. It is more of a bump in the long road I have decided to take.

My new lease also extends to love. A love I hold close and pray will grow in every aspect possible.  It’s always good to find a partner who is supportive.  Having been through a couple of relationships i find this one very refreshing. Can i exhale? I think I can.

My goals for a new start are also being worked on. The year I started detailed planning my life changed. I find myself on my long walks thinking that I need to start over with the same passion i did back then. It was called Project Hostile Takeover at the time and was a five-year plan.  It worked.  Now after changing certain things including my attitude I have tried other projects based on different approaches. They don’t work. So starting on May 8 (which was my birthday) I have created a new plan with 13 goals called Hostile Takeover 2.

Now that I have certain things off my mental plate I can start piling things I really want to back on.  The more relaxed I am, the more I will get done.  Someone very important said that to me and it turns out I already see and feel the difference.

This is more of a “soft” rant that anything else but the one thing I have learnt is you have to endure no matter what. Remember that as you read this and let it burn into your consciousness. Endure. No matter what it is. Endure. If you give up what you really want and sit there what do you really gain? Think about it.

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

Inspired

I woke up to the warmth of her lips on the back of my neck.  I smiled because I knew it was the start of a good day.  The smell of coffee told me she had been up for a while.  The sun peaked through the window as I rolled over excited to start the day we had planned.  Even Einstein was running in circles from anticipation.

It was the middle of summer and we both had taken the day off to do nothing more than spend time together with our destination not set and the mandatory requirement of it being in wide open spaces. Some place where the only sounds other than our voices would come from the wind in the trees or Einstein barking at a squirrel.

As always, talks are both filled with laughter and serious issues.  Conversations of plans to be intertwined in each others life as our hands were as we walked along the path.  Even in moments of silence our sense of touch communicates our feelings.

I cant help but stare at her from head to toe.  I run my hand through her locks that protects a beautiful mind. I smile for the umpteenth time. I am happy.  As the day slowly turns night, Einstein leads the way home. Time spent was good and I look forward to time away with her soon.

Inspired by CD

Dog’s name changed to protect the innocent

40 years Together : My Parents Answer Some Burning Questions

My parents Donald and Carmen celebrated their fortieth anniversary on December 18, 2011.  Even though this is a feat in a world where 3 month marriages are the rage, the fact that they are still in love with each other makes it an inspiring story. You may say I’m biased  but the stories i have to tell not even Hollywood can top it. I can say that I have seen love expressed in my home since I was a kid till the day I left the shores of Jamaica.  In their house laughter is melody that rings through the windows and playing, walks just for walking sake and kisses for no particular reason are commonplace.

My Dad is a pastor and my mom is a retired teacher and both met in college where they fell in love, got engaged and married in 1971. From that union two boys, Ainsley (that’s me..haha) and Camroy were produced.  I’ve seen my parents upset but have never heard a voice raised or a door slammed from anybody being upset.  My mom would not make decisions without my Dad and vice versa.  i told them once that if I have find hall the love they have I’m on easy street. They always without fail credit their relationship with Jesus as the reason.

I thought I would share a bit of what I experienced growing up in their home so i threw out the idea for the blog on my Facebook page and what is written below are the questions that were raised for me to ask. My parents don’t read blogs at all but I must say before I get into  these questions (which by the way were answered concisely as they both are ones to get to the point) that they have set a standard for me to live by but I know it is well worth the journey to love in the way they do. Hope you guys like it and please leave comments to let me know what you think.

Q. What things did you see in this person that made you want to marry him?

A. Humility was the main thing which i admired but in addition the caring and loving attitude were also good attributes.

Q. How would you describe your spiritual life as a couple?

A. Growing and maturing.

Q. Describe how you and your husband arrive at decisions.

A. We discuss andcome to a common understanding then we make a decision.

Q. Describe how you as a couple resolve conflicts.

A. We allow each other to express how one feels about the grouse and decide on the resolution.

Q. What do you think you need to do as a couple to get from where you are to where you need to be?

A. Set goals and objectives and prioritise as we work towards realizing them.

Q. What have the tough times taught them about one another?

A. We have learned to be satisfied and make the best of every given situation.

Q. Describe how your marriage has changed over the years.

A. Technically our marriage has not changed over the yeaars. It has only grown stronger and with greater appreciation.

Q. How do you communicate dissatisfaction to your spouse? When you are hurt or angry with your spouse, what do you do?

A. Keep silent. Allow for the appropriate time to speak as it is never wise to speak when one is angry.

Q. Do you think living together before marriage works on any level?  Explain.

A. From a christian point of view,it is no. This has often led to mistrust and disrespect.

Q. What is the one thing you both want to do together that you haven’t already done?

A. We want to go on a cruise.

Q. What advice do youhave for people in long distance relationships?

A.  Long distance relationships are never generally prefered because (1) there is a lack of face to face interaction (2) lack of trust can be created. (3) it does not reveal the full character of the person. (4) it does not give the opportunity to learn family background of each person’s family. Even though its hard it can work through the will and determination of both people involved. They have to be mature and know what to expect from their situation.  If they can communicate well then they’ll make it but it should never be a prolonged situation if it can be prevented.

 

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FINAL NOTE : I told myself I’d be the one to send them on that cruise.  That’s a goal for me as well.  Don’t hesitate to hit the like button, comment or subscribe and if you really like it SHARE.  Thanks for reading.

A Whole New World

I don’t like reading long blogs so I’ll try to keep this 500 words or less. Don’t want to dish out what I don’t like so here goes…

I decided to go to Canada for school because of basically being disillusioned by what I left behind. After trying over and over I decided to set a new foundation and God has opened the doors so now I’m enrolling in a post grad course in Project Management and plan to use it for a spring board into a world of possibilities.

I landed last week and became overwhelmed the minute I left the airport.  Now 7 days later I still am being culture shocked around every corner. I was laughing to myself yesterday is culture shock what Jamaican people called “frigthen fa”?  Well if is let the frigth begin. I haven’t been out of Jamaica since I started high school and that was the US and Canada is totally different from what I remember of their close neigbors America.

But like America though they do everything big and maybe i thought to myself if the islands copied some of their architectural ideas we could use less space for more but that’s another blog.

I could sum it up in one word. It’s civilized. Everything in total order. I dropped right in the lap of a very sweet Jamaican who I call Aunt Joyce. I feel so at home that It’s not till I leave the house in the days and look around I realize, “no boss, yu nuh deh a yaad again”. Shopping of course is great but great just in the fact that if you want something you can find it but not in the price factor. I remember going into a store for a hair brush and seeing 24.95 and literally running away saying “Chiney shop have dis fi 150 Ja”.

The whole experience with food has been interesting so far. I’ve had many an indian dish as well as local pizza and yes even KFC (which I will just say want more seasoning).  The Indian food is great but spicy. There was a one pot dish called Chicken Biryani and Haan as well a Greek dish (I think it was called cous cous). Interesting to say the least. As time goes by and I happen to get a job on campus best believe I’ll be trying more whether it sends me to the bathroom or not 🙂

 

I’ve also found a church where I feel comfortable. God is good. Aunt Joyce goes to that church and after meeting everyone I have to say I’m impressed. Everyone is nice and open and it feels like home. Went to the men’s meeting last night and am glad i have brothers here with which i can share and understand certain things. Again, God is good.

Speaking of the people, compared to the aggressive nature that seems to be ingrained in most of our people back home it is a refreshing change. Everyone I’ve met is nice and accommodating but this seems to be the lifestyle of the people, enjoying life and what it has to offer without the “don’t get in my way mentality”. I am either dreaming and if I am I pray it doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

Being here has been fun so far with every step being an adventure.  Hopefully I’ll have the time once school starts to let you know what else I am gong to be up to. Thanking God for guidance so far and praying for continuous help from Him.

Peace.

Below is my first vid on my youtube channel since being here….

Word Count 606..sorry

Fitness, Looking Good and the Summer Body 2

This is my second update on my summer journey to build a better body through exercise and drink.  I’ll try to keep this as short as possible.

The last three weeks have been rough! Not because the workouts have gotten harder but because procrastination and improper eating has crept in.  i haven’t controlled my need for Burger King and the need for five meals a day according to the regimine I’m on I havent been able to keep up with it.  I do get in three meals most days and keeping them as healthy as possible while rehydrating is a job in itself.

I’ve been also waiting until after 11 at night to do my insanity.  Now anyone who has done insanity knows this is insane.  at the time of the day when you’re energy is the lowest.  Because of this by the time I finish the warm up you know who is ready for bed?  Yes, me!

Even through all that I have worked out during the days doing 200 sit-ups a day, 100 pushups (35 consecutive, going for 100 ) and pullups as well as a little work with the weights I have at home!

So even though I could have done better at concentrating on my goal I still am seeing results.  Starting after writing this blog I will be changing some of my workouts (doing the same workout over and over sucks) and spending more time with insanity while trying to consume 5 meals a dat with proper hydration.

I did go to play basketball once during this time but left my camera’s memory card so I didn’t get to videotape my attempt to dunk from under the rim. Next time I promise. Also was trying to find somewhere to run the 100M but for the life of me can’t find one place in my hommetown of Mandeville that has a track marked for that distance.  Now that’s sad.  I haven’t given up on that and will keep you updated in part 3.

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Here is the link to the previous blog, Fitness, Looking Good and the Summer Body 1            https://theainzlee.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/fitness-looking-good-and-the-summer-body/