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mornings in the shelter

November 21, 2013

It’s slow going these days. Jesse is still in Beech 1900 training in Toronto, and I’m passing time at a wonderful friend’s home in Calgary. Things are a little disjointed while we sort out things like a home, friends, a church, employment, time together in the same city.

In contrast to my thumb-twiddling-first-few-weeks in Calgary, this last week has seen some busy days with early starts (my alarm dings while in the 4 hour). Walking to the bus stop well before dawn has exposed something about the city I hadn’t thought of before: it doesn’t ever get truly dark. The city lights cast an eery pink glow over the entire sky, making it well possible to clearly see the end of the street. 5 o’clock is a morning hour I haven’t given much credit. But instead of cursing lack of sleep (and the fact that it’s -20˚C) I’m enjoying the calm of the morning, the first light (albeit artificial city light), the buzz of workers on the bus while I enjoy my breakfast from a jar, the half hour ride passing flashing billboards and 24/7 drive-thrus. All to arrive at a local shelter, greeted by staff who have worked all night providing a welcoming, comfortable home to those without homes.

After a sometimes hectic (but incredibly satisfying) day in the kitchen volunteering alongside chefs with a heart to feed those without food, I have begun to cherish my down time in the afternoons. A chance to curl up on a cafe’s couch with a good book and a hot Phil & Sebastian Tea…

phil and seb tea

Or mix it up with a Phil & Sebastian mochaccino (using local Calgarian dark chocolate)..

phil and seb mocha

Sometimes, a sweet treat instead. Cheesecake in a jar with rhubarb raspberry topping.

cheesecake in a jar with rhubarb and raspberry topping

And a chance to count my blessings. The blessing of a warm comfortable place to come home to, where dear friends welcome us with open arms. Access to excellent, nourishing and fresh food. The option even, to beeline from a homeless shelter to find myself a top quality espresso bar. The blessing of a relationship that withstands, even grows from, such ongoing time apart.
Most importantly, and sadly the one I see lacking in so many of the faces I see each day at the shelter, the blessing of hope and a future – whatever it is that unfolds over this next season.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2013 10:39 pm

    What a wonderful idea to volunteer at a shelter kitchen – a very different way to get to know a new city, for sure.

  2. November 21, 2013 11:11 pm

    Christina, you are hard-core. Seriously admire your commitment and go-get’em attitude with getting up in the 4 digits (in the cold) to go volunteer. Thinking of you guys as you sort out all that needs to be sorted in this time… hoping things will fall into place and that you’ll find that settled feeling again soon. Looking forward to seeing you soon! xx

  3. November 22, 2013 12:58 am

    Beautiful words Christina. And what a wonderful experience of giving your time to help others. I am sure you will grow and learn from this. Keep warm :)

  4. November 22, 2013 9:08 pm

    p.s: Have been looking for a good cheesecake in a jar recipe. Might have to get yours! Also, glad you could experience the beauty of the morning in the city. I, too, have been marvelling at how light out it can be while it’s dark… amazing.

    • November 22, 2013 10:25 pm

      That one is from Gravity in Inglewood! I’d love to make them sometime – how neat for a dinner party huh! I believe you can buy those tiny jars from Costco. Looking forward to hanging out and see the mountainous part of this area!

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