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By Katherine Kiang
KaTsZoNe Newsletters > KaTsZoNe - Issue 108 - A Fresh Start

2 Jan 2014

Hi everyone,

Happy New Year!  I hope you've all had a good start to 2014. 

For me, 2013 will certainly be a memorable year.  My mom was sick for most of the year and then passed away in September.  I quit my job with the Ontario Public Service in May after 14 years.  I've been slowly trying to make plans for my life, and thinking of working on my house.  In December, I figured I would take time to enjoy spending time with friends.  Then, our city was hit with an ice storm which caused the loss of power in much of Toronto, as well as across Ontario, Quebec and to the east coast of Canada. 

Fortunately, after five days, I got power back in my house - otherwise this episode of KaTsZoNe would've been even more delayed!  On New Year's Day, I heard there are still people in Toronto who have no power after 11 days.  Those in the East coast are also waiting for their power to be restored. 

It is certainly not a great feeling to lose power for an extended period of time and especially during a cold winter.  On Day 4, my house was down to 7 degrees Celsius during the day with the sun shining through my window, but, other parts of my house was probably cooler.  Then, after the ice came snow, and a drop in temperature.  Larry's family and I were still in our homes until the third day, and then, Larry's mom (Janet) made arrangements for us to stay at her church on Christmas Eve.  Wow!  How blessed to be staying in God's House!  I slept at the church with Larry's family for two nights.  When I got my power back on Day 5 (Boxing Day), I decided to stay at my house although it was about 11 degrees Celsius when I arrived home that night.  Larry and his family stayed one more night at the church.  I plugged in a portable heater in my room.  I decided to do a couple loads of laundry in the middle of the night and took a nice hot shower.  By 5 a.m., I was finally ready to get to sleep and my house was now about 19-20 Celsius.  It was just about back to normal!  I guess I just wanted to be reassured that power would stay on.  I was still not 100% assured that we would not lose power again.  With high winds, melting ice from the trees, etc., the news warned listeners that the power could go out for some people again.

From the time we lost power, Larry and I were together every day.  Before we moved out of our houses, Larry came over and would light candles for me before I went to bed.  I made him crank my radio so we could listen to the news.  He tried to convince me to buy some large "C" batteries for another radio on Christmas Eve, but, I told him, I would probably not need it when the power came back, which I hoped would be within a day.  So, I made Larry crank my radio for two more nights.  Talk about patience!  By Boxing Day, we were at the mall again, not shopping but just hanging out to stay warm, and that's where I finally LOST IT!  God help the man who has to deal with a woman on the first day of "that time of month" during a power outage AND in a mall on Boxing Day (which is more packed that before Christmas).  But, God bless the man with a sense of humour as he prevents the woman from running him over like a steam roller.   

It is not the way I would've have wanted to end the year, however, I have learned a lot through this experience.  I have more supplies, in case of another power outage.  And, my story is also to remind all of you to make some preparations too, like having candles, batteries for the radio, and perhaps buying a travel charger for phones, in case of a lengthy power outage.  I've learned to fill up pop bottles of hot water to snuggle with in order to stay warm.  And, if you have an actual water bottle, check for leaks - really check - or you might end up getting up in the cold, dark room to change bedsheets - especially your Mr. Grinch bedsheets!  Oh, you don't have Mr. Grinch bedsheets?  Too bad, so sad!  I love my new Mr. Grinch bedsheets!

It's been quite a year, for sure, and in spite of the power outage around Christmas, it was one of the best Christmases I've ever had, which I will remember for years.  I spent lots of time with Larry and also spent time with his family and extended family.  I went to Barrie to celebrate Christmas with Larry's extended family.  Afterwards, Larry and I said, we're grateful we actually had a lovely Christmas turkey dinner even after everything we've been through.

I have friends who felt bad for us because we had no power at home for several days and could not stay home.  Well, "bad" might be one perspective.  I told one friend, the situation is temporary and it will pass.  The power outage and ice storm is nothing compared to losing my mom in 2013.  I was feeling depressed from time to time these past few months.  In the beginning of December, I was dreading Christmas.  People say, when you've lost a loved one, Christmas is one of the toughest times of the year.  I agree.  I told Larry, I wish I could just get away for Christmas!  As Larry said, I got my wish!  It's like we had a mini vacation.  Oh man!  I asked Larry to remind me next year not to make the same wish again - especially if it involves a power outage!!!  I have to say, Larry's humour really helped me through another difficult time.  God bless him!

Some Christmas plans were postponed.  One of those was a Christmas party at one of Larry's relative's house which usually occurs every December 23rd.  Being there this year, I felt different.  I was remembering the past week, and how I felt the love and concern from family and friends, the hospitality offered, and spending time with people instead of a fleeting nod or gift exchange.  The spirit of Christmas was more alive than ever.  We still had reason to celebrate and the date made no difference.  The most important part of Christmas is that Jesus Christ is the reason for the season!  He was born into this world.  He changed the world.  And, when we experience love, giving, hospitality, kindness, and joy, we are experiencing Jesus through people. 

Just as I have not celebrated Christmas with several friends on that day, making a fresh new start in life does not have to start on New Year's Day.  I have battled with my emotions even before my mom passed away. I believe that whenever I am down, something happens in my life, or a stranger or someone I know will say something, or I would come across an article, which would encourage me.  Ignoring people, events, sermons, etc. is the wrong move.  I know it.  I find hope each day as though I am learning something new.  I get a bit more excited and think, I could use that new knowledge one day, and so, I think hope is something I can use tomorrow and into the future.  Hope helps me aim for a more meaningful life.  Without it, I would not look forward to tomorrow.

I hope that whether we are going through an actual storm or a stormy life because of some tough circumstances, that you and I will remember to always keep HOPE in our hearts.  It will usher in other good stuff in life!

Glad you can hang out with me for another episode of KaTsZoNe, especially at the beginning of 2014!  As I say from time to time, I will continue to blog as long as I'm having fun!  I am looking forward to attending the North American International Motorcycle Show on the weekend of January 3-5 at the International Centre. See you in February!  

I wish you all peace, happiness, health and prosperity in 2014!


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