Every year, I find a Christmas ornament to represent something meaningful from the year.  Sometimes it’s external (like a new job), many times it’s internal (highlights from my rambling thoughts).  Sometimes the ornaments are literal representations, sometimes only I know the connection.  I thought I would share the ornaments from the last 6 years with you.

2012 Ornament

In 2012, I started working for Visual Eyes as a trainer, so the computer was a pretty obvious choice.  It was a big year.  I moved from Vancouver, where I had lived for 16 years, to Red Deer, Alberta.  I also switched careers from optometric assistant to software trainer.  It was a huge learning curve, both at the job and in my move to the Prairies.  Sometimes, I wonder if I made the right decision back then.  I miss Vancouver a lot.  Then again, I suppose things happen for a reason, and where I am in my life now may not have happened if I had stayed where I was.  In the end, the ornament represents the fact I was brave enough to move to a city where I knew no one and start a completely different job.

2013 Ornament
I bought this German glass bird from The Original Christmas Village in Victoria, BC while I was there for a work trip in 2013.  To me, birds represent freedom, and this was one of my first solo training trips. This little red bird marked a bit of a milestone in that I was trusted to do this training project on my own. The staff at both clinics were so fun to work with, and I really enjoyed being out on Vancouver Island. Even though I was born and raised in the Prairies, I think I’m a West Coast girl at heart. It’s why I still would love to move back to Vancouver if the chance ever comes around. I just found out that the Christmas store closed 2 years later, so I’m glad I got the chance to see it.

48987517_10156627153110837_2870284080790896640_oIn the fall of 2014, I was on a work trip to Middleton, Nova Scotia. It was my first time in the Annapolis Valley, and I loved the people and the surroundings.  Since I love artisan-made crafts, I had to buy this little angel made from a piece of an old saucer.  The meaning behind the ornament though is more personal.  I was struggling with burnout by that point, and I started wondering if this was really what I wanted my life to be.  I was on the road so much for work that my place in Red Deer had become a glorified storage closet.  And the people caring for my cats while I was away were concerned about how much time they were spending alone.  By the end of the year, I made the decision to leave my job and move to Edmonton.

48397608_10156627153025837_3078661046290874368_oAugust 2015: I started my job as a trainer with Eye Recommend. On the back of the ornament (which was made by GRO Porcelain of Sherwood Park), I wrote “Spread your wings and fly!”  I wasn’t particularly happy in the work I was doing after I moved to Edmonton.  Then this opportunity came up.  It’s close to my dream job: I’m working in optometry, and I get to teach and help guide fellow eyecare professionals.  I really felt like I was finally free to do what I wanted to do with my work life.  From the first field and office team meeting that summer, I knew I was working with an amazing group of people.  (And I’m not just saying that because I know some of my coworkers will end up reading this!)  This little dove represents a turning point in my work life that means a lot to me to this day.

48417054_10156627152945837_8760444935385120768_oIn 2016, the training team created and delivered the Eye Recommend regional training program. It was hard work; we traveled to 8 cities in 8 days (4 in the spring and 4 in the fall) to deliver the 3 hour presentation.  The experience really bonded us as a team, and it was crazy fun to travel together.  I am proud to be a part of the Dream Team Training Machine™, now with 4 members because we are that busy.    I also learned a lot about how to create a presentation and work in PowerPoint.  The work confirmed my feeling that I was in the right job with the right people.  Joyce, Nathan, and LeAnne, if you guys are reading this, I want to say that you are all so awesome and I’m grateful for everything you do to make this team the best training team ever!

48996071_10156627152880837_7135924322186559488_oI visited the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in Lethbridge, Alberta in the spring of 2017. I have to laugh when I think back to what I tried to do. I had just finished 2 days of workshops, and I had a 5 hour drive home that day. My plan was to blast through the garden in about 15 minutes because I really wanted to see it, but I knew I had to get going.  As I walked through the paths, I felt myself slowing down and thinking about what I was doing.  Rushing through a garden that is designed for quiet contemplation!  I was nearing that burnout stage again, and I ended up sitting in the garden for an hour and a half trying to figure out why I keep pushing myself so much.  I can’t lie; I still do it.  The origami flowers are meant to remind me about the ridiculousness of my crazy life, and to slow down already.

48415383_10156627152795837_3115358745811484672_oThe highlight this year was definitely my trip to Costa Rica with Third World Eyecare Society.  I had meant to blog about it while I was there, but somehow the words didn’t come.  I wanted to simply experience the work and the people and the places, and I figured that I would write about it afterwards.  This little frog on a leaf was made by one of the Nicaraguan refugees we helped in La Carpio, a slum area of San José.  Just like some of the previous ornaments, it also represents a change in my thoughts about my life.  This time it’s about my personal values and the life I’ve been living.  Going back to the volunteer work that I haven’t done in 11 years reminded me about my true dream job and how I feel when I’m out there helping people.

I’m planning to get my stuff out of storage next summer, so next year I hopefully will get to share the stories behind the older ornaments.

Merry Christmas everyone!

December 22, 2018
© All rights reserved, missmylin 2018

1 Response to “Memories”

  1. 1 Jen W
    2018/12/23 at 2:37 pm

    Thank you for sharing your journey and your beautiful ornaments, Myra! Much love and a big hug to you. Merry Christmas. ❤️🎄

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© Myra Madrilejos, missmylin and "itaga sa bato", 2010 to present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. All photography on this blog is copyright protected. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Myra Madrilejos and itaga sa bato with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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