I am back in my hometown of Sicamous after being away for fifteen years. I originally left to go to school and then stuck around after I started working. I had lots of adventures while living away but when my landlords decided in their wisdom to kick my roommate and me out so that they could put their daughter into our place, I decided that it was time to pull back away from my life in Kelowna.

So, I am back home with my parents and working remotely for my job. It’s nice having a quiet place to work. I have a nice desk and computer to work on and the constant company of Dexter, my dog. He’s loving being out here in the countryside. He’s got so much more room to run around and there are people around him all the time. He doesn’t have the hours of loneliness that he had when I worked out of the office.

I finally have stable ground by which to stand on in order to continue on with my schooling. I had planned on going back this fall for classes but this move ended up being a bit more costly than had thought it would. It took three truckloads, one large trailer, and about five full carloads to get me moved. The longer you stay in one place, the more stuff you collect. I ended up with a lot of stuff to deal with after being in Kelowna for fifteen years. I don’t intend to pick up any more stuff while I am settled in Sicamous, I don’t really need it.

I have been settled in for a week now and it’s a little strange still being back. I had never intended on returning here but here I am. It was blazing hot yesterday and so I drove to Silver Sands Beach Park just to take a quick dip in the lake. I haven’t been able to enjoy this summer at all since this whole movement started. It was the first time I feel the freedom to enjoy myself.

The term “boomerang” in regards to children who move home after living away, has been used in a negative way. I can understand why since there’s a huge stigma attached to moving back in with your parents once you have been on your own for a while. It’s seen as a “failure”, like you can’t make it on your own. Yeah, I can’t make it on my own and I didn’t have any support from my network in Kelowna who could help me because most of them are in a similar situation. So instead of making my life harder and stressing me out more, I pulled back to a place of safety and if you think for one moment that I regret this, you couldn’t be more wrong.

I knew that change was coming for me for a while now and I just needed a catalyst that I could not control to make it happen. I had been planning on joining the RCMP in the coming year but that changed once I completed my research on it. I won’t be joining as an officer but my goal is still to join them as a civilian. Once I get enough saved up, I will be returning to the UBC-O to complete the archeology training that I didn’t get to do when I was in school. I already have a degree so everything that I take from here on out will just be adding to that degree. The end game is to continue living at home, commute to school, and work part-time on the weekends.

In the meantime, I am paying off my car and settling into a more quiet life. Well, quiet enough for someone who enjoys going on road trips and camping.

Moving Update

After much thought and planning, I will being moving back into my family home and I will be working remotely. It all came down to a matter of numbers and cost of living. To be frank, Kelowna is just to damn expensive to live in. The rent is insane, the utilities are outrageously expensive in West Kelowna, and the traffic is getting to be a headache.

By moving home, I will be able to reduce my cost of living to a fraction of what I have been paying in Kelowna that last eight years. This will give me the ability to drop more into my monthly payments on my car to get it paid off faster. I only have 2.5 years left on it on my current payments, which I can then drop to a year if I double my current payments.

Working from home will also drop my others costs. I will no longer need to pay the extra insures for to and from work, I won’t need to pay the gas for commuting. Not to mention it will cut down on my habit of eating out at lunch. I can reduce my phone plan since I will have a landline with a good long distance plan. There only one major utility to pay for.

I moved to Kelowna in the fall of 2003 and I have been here since. I had been feeling like Kelowna is getting to be too expensive for a long time now but my job didn’t have the option to go remote before. We only recently started offering it and while I was resistance to the idea of moving home due to the stigma attached to it, I am actually looking forward to getting out of Kelowna for a while.

It’s going to be a bit of a major lifestyle change for me, going back to living a little more remote and not in a urban setting. Working from home will be the first major change. I am working with my parents to set up a special room in our house for an office for me. They have been busy getting it cleaned up and painted. Considering that it hasn’t been painted since we built the place in 1986, it’s long overdue for a renovation. This move gave us the excuse to do it.

The second major change will be the shift from independent living to living with my family again. I have been so used to doing everything on my own for so long that it will be nice to be a part of a team again. As much as I enjoyed living with friends, there wasn’t the same sense of responsibility with my friends as there is with family. Taking care of a house is a lot of work and it takes a team effort. It would have been different if I had lived alone and making my own mess but when you have more than one person, it takes everyone to do that part.

There is some strange anxiety over this move. I am going to be downsizing my belongings that I have needed to keep a whole household but I will be moving into a much larger space. It’s kind of nice getting rid of the things I no longer need but I will miss having my own space. I don’t know what my future will be or how things are going to play out.

A change in the wind

For all my best laid plans for 2018, they all just got a serious blow. I was issued a end of tenancy from my landlords because they want to move their daughter into our place. They said that they looked for a different place for her for September but couldn’t find anything. Of course they couldn’t, there won’t be any places up for September until at least July or August.

Kelowna is a hell of a town for trying to find a decent place to live for a decent rent. I love my current place and and I have been there for six years now. I am very upset to be moved out because of this. I have three months to find a unicorn of a new place to live.

That all being said, I have a backup plan. I just happen to work for a company that has the ability for me to work remotely. If I can secure a remote position, even just for a short time, it will allow me to move back in with my family in Sicamous. While I am there, I can put more focus on paying off my debt and help my parents out while I am there.

While I will definitely try to find a place in Kelowna, I no longer need to stress about not having a roof over my head or having to find a place for Dexter, my dog. This is a good place to move forward from.

So, if you are one of my old friends from Sicamous, this is a heads up! You might be seeing me around again and I would very much like to touch base with you.

Nature Connection

Understanding our biology as humans is incredibly important to me. Our bodies are our best teachers in how we connect to our environments. Recent studies show that our bodies are not as equipped to handle the daily stresses we have been putting them into in our new technological and developed age. It’s starting to manifest in symptoms of mental illness such as anxiety.

These days, a doctor will try to subscribe to you a pill to cure your mental illness and treat the symptoms of it rather than trying to figure out what is causing the illness at the root. Now, this is not to discredit some of the more serious mental illnesses that are caused by chemical and hormonal imbalances which do require some more advanced medical help. That being said, those serious mental illnesses still need a deeper level of therapy and understanding in order to cope with them.

I do not have a diagnosed mental illness but I can recognise that I have the symptoms of anxiety and depression. I have seen varying degrees of these symptoms in others and can place myself on a scale of sorts. There are times when I don’t want to leave my house because my will to do so is just not there. Then there are days when all I want to do is be around people, talk with them, and socialize. I am thankful that I am starting to recognize my patterns.

I have been doing some reflecting on where I grew up and what kind of a life I lived in my formative years. I lived out in the countryside and a fairly remote area of my hometown. I spent a lot of time on my own keeping myself company. This is where I developed a very active imagination and a knack for storytelling. The upside to this lifestyle was that I feel very at home with myself and moreover, when I am out in nature. I cannot tell you how many hours I spent outdoors growing up.

Whenever life got too stressful, I would take a walk and sit down by the river that was only a mile away from my home. I would take my dog for protection and that’s it. Somethings don’t change, I still go out into nature with my dog when I need to ground myself. These days, I tend to go to a dog park so that my dog can run around while I sit and meditate. There’s a great one next to a creek just on the outside of town.

Sometimes, all I need is to just sit outside on my patio in order to ground myself after a long stressful day at work. Just sitting and watching my dog play in the backyard or listening to the breeze through the wind chimes is enough for me to feel more relaxed. I will miss being able to do that once winter settles in. Granted, if I wanted to fire up my propane fire pit, I can do that and enjoy the warmth of the fire while listening to the stillness that snow brings.

It’s spring now and the long dark of winter is over. It was a hard winter for me and my dog. We didn’t get outside very much because it was too cold. I managed to escape the worst of winter and go on a trip to Hawai’i with my family. It was nice to get out of the wet and damp for a while. The last few months have been hard though, trying to get out of the slump of winter and a rainy spring.

Today, it was warm enough for me to pull out one of my dresses to wear. I knew that it was a bit of a gamble because of how quickly the weather can change in the spring. I have been able to go outside without a long sleeve shirt or a jacket the past new days. I look forward to getting out to my favorite hiking locations this week to enjoy being out in nature again. I want to reclaim for the areas that I missed due to my depression last spring and summer. I can’t wait until it’s warm enough to go swimming in the lake!

RCMP Career Update

I had my recruitment meeting today. The two recruitment officers were both women which I felt was good for me to hear about their experiences over the last 15-20 years in the RCMP.

Good news, I don’t have to to the exam because I have my degree. Bad news, the application process takes a full year to complete after you have put in your application.

I also don’t have to do the PARE until after I have finished cadet training, which takes 26 weeks to complete. I will need to still bring myself up to a more healthy standard. Now that I know it’s going to take a year to complete the application, I have time to do that. I will just keep on my current regiment of gym activity and keep increasing it over the next few months. I don’t think I will need a personal trainer to do that but I may take a practice exam just to see if I am close to the PARE level before I get into it. Now where am I going to find a 100 lbs bag to carry around?

I will need to study for the aptitude test and get ready for it. There’s also a polygraph test, which is both cool and scary. There’s a few other things that I will have to do as well but it’s all part of the application process.

This is all feeling very real now and I am glad that I went to the recruitment meeting today. The room was packed with people and most of them were women. I was glad to not be the only woman there. I gained a lot of personal insight as to what my life will be like in the RCMP and to be honest, I am pretty excited about it. It’s going to be a major change in my life but if I don’t do it now, I won’t do it at all.


Down the Reddit Rabbit Hole

I have been resisting creating a Reddit account for a few years now because I am one of those people who has a tendency to “Follow the White Rabbit” all the way down the hole of the internet. I cannot tell you how many days of my life I have lost to following links on Wikipedia alone.

I recently came to the conclusion that browser and Pinterest searches only end up yielding the same results time and time again. I decided it was time to give Reddit a try and holy hell, I think I am in love, I mean, as much as one can be in love with a web forum.

I have been keeping my interests specific for the time being. There’s a project that I have been working on for a few months now that I have not talked about to anyone. It’s sort of a pet project that I hope to build up some more content for before I start sharing it. I don’t want to give anything away about it yet.

Yes, I am still working on my career path towards joining the RCMP but I am one of those people who needs a creative outlet. Blogging only takes me so far when it comes to stretching my writing legs. After completing the NaNoWriMo project last November, I built up enough confidence that I can follow a writing project through to the end.

What I am working on will be a multimedia project that will include writing, photography, music, and maybe even film. The end goal of the project is to create a multilevel experience. I have even been playing with the idea of building a mobile app to go along with it. I found a great MIT site that makes it easy to learn to code. I have also been doing some research for it on Reddit and have picked some specific subcategories that are related to the theme/setting of the project.

I can give you a hint as to what I am working on. The inspiration for is coming from authors like George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, and Isaac Asimov. Also, I have already begun to publish it on a top secret website under a nom de plume. So hiding somewhere on the internet is this pet project.

I will have more on this as soon as I feel that there is something worth sharing.

Career Planning: Part III

I had a successful meeting with the academic planner at the Okanagan College a couple of weeks back. There was good news and bad news though. The bad news was that none of the courses I took are eligible for transfer to the Okanagan College (lame). The good news is that I don’t actually need to go back to school to apply at the RCMP or other police forces.

I have a new plan of action as a result of this information:

  1. Increase physical fitness to pass the PARE test
  2. Study for the entrance exam
  3. Attend the recruiter meetings for RCMP
  4. Do the practice exams
  5. Do the practice PARE tests
  6. Apply at RCMP

The time scale for this is to apply by no later than next year. Ideally, I would like to start as soon as possible but I know that I need a great deal of physical training in order to prepare for this.

The academic advisor recommended that I get accepted to the police force first then use opportunities with the force to go back to school to upgrade. I think it is a brilliant idea. I still want to take criminology studies and there’s opportunities to take courses online through Thompson River University.

So, I am going “back to school” right away but it’s a school of my own curriculum. I have a study guide for the written exam and I might be hiring a personal trainer for the PARE exam. I will have to weigh that out as a trainer is costly. For the most part, I know what I need to do and I have friends who have offered to help me train (bonus for them because they get to train too). I am currently doing my own 12 week plan for increasing my fitness level.

I have not ruled out taking a few courses up at UBC-O though. I am currently enrolled as an “unclassified student”, which means that I can register for regular classes after all the current undergrads have registered for theirs. I am looking at taking some sociology and psychology courses that fit in with criminology studies. If I have not made any significant advancements in applying to the RCMP, then I will take one or two classes from UBC-O and just juggle my work schedule around them.

I have to say thank you to everyone who has been supportive of my plans to return to school and apply at the RCMP. For some, it was a surprise that I would be making this dramatic of a career change and I understand that. Those of you who have known me the longest weren’t all that surprised more like, about time!

I feel good about my future plans and to be honest, I like having a plan. For the last few years, I haven’t had any long term plans about my life and working career. I had some financial plans which I have managed to complete. The only thing that I feel a little apprehensive about is my age. While I know that thirty five is not that old, I still feel like I am a little late coming to the game. I had never planned on making a career out of working in the tech or gaming industry, I don’t have a passion for it.

My goals in life are not based around making money, buying a house, or getting married. I have always been driven by creativity, learning, and discovery. Jobs that offer those are few and far between. Working in law enforcement isn’t about catching criminals, it’s about upholding the laws of the nation I live in. There’s a deeper root to the job than making money and that’s what is appealing to me. I only wish I could start tomorrow.

Getting Down to the Nitty Gritty

It’s almost incomprehensible how much work I have ahead of me in applying to the RCMP. I have been going over the application process and there’s so much more involved than I had even imagined previously. First off, the screening process alone is intensive and then there’s the aptitude testing and physical requirements.

I imagine that if my whole life had been based around getting ready for this, I would have a much easier time of it. There’s a ton of resources available on the RCMP website in regards to what I need to know in order to apply. Whoever has been building up this site has done a pretty good job of making the process transparent. As of right now, I am not %100 sure that I have all the it takes to be an RCMP officer but I have some pretty good ideas on how I can get myself there. I think that I will start with the application process, at the very worst, I find out what I am currently lacking and at best, I get to start in on training right away.

Back up to this, would be attending school in the new year with the Okanagan College for the criminology and social justice program. All the while, keep up with my physical fitness training and then try applying again the following year with the RCMP. There’s about a six month application process for getting into the RCMP and it doesn’t cost me anything to try.

If I do manage to make it into the RCMP, I will be the first one in my family to have gone into law enforcement. From a clan that became famous for setting up the Black Watch in Scotland, it seems only natural that eventually, someone would want to return to those roots. I always have had an overdeveloped sense of justice and a firm believe in the rule of law. Not that I think those laws could stand a little changing now and then. Laws themselves are often political in nature and it’s up to the people to decide when it’s time to change those laws. Officers just need to make sure that while they are in action, the laws are enforced.

There are some opportunities to work with the RCMP in a civilian capacity that I am looking into. All of them would require me to move someplace remote. While not ideal, I can see myself doing that. There’s a telecommunications training opportunity that looks promising. Not to mention, I already have ten years of experience in the field.

In the meantime, I am using my current gym membership time to get ready for the Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation (PARE). They have a great outline of how to train for PARE on the RCMP website.

I am currently working on strengthening my right hamstring which was weakened from an injury in 2013. It’s only been two weeks and I already notice a big change in my leg. I need to work up to being able to run for 60 minutes a week. Right now, I am spending time on the electric bike and the elliptical machine. It’s my plan to alternate between days at the gym and yoga at home.

I have a feeling that my yoga training is going to be a big help in a career in law enforcement. While I may never see a return income directly for my training, I think that the valuable content that I learned in both regards to mental and physical health. It may even be more beneficial than my degree.

Clara D Munro

Deactivating Facebook

The time has come to deactivate my Facebook account. After the recent whistleblower and the amount of advertising I have been seeing, I rarely see anything positive being shared on Facebook anymore. I might have grown beyond the uses of Facebook and perhaps shortly following, Instagram.

I realize that many of my contacts, both family and friends, are on Facebook but I have decided that if they truly need to contact me, they can do it through phone, text, or email. I have also left it open for access to the Messenger app on my phone. I realize that 90% of my contacts were on the Messenger app and it makes sense to keep that. I didn’t make any kind of dramatic announcement on Facebook about it, I just decided enough was enough and closed the account.

After 30 days, all of my information will be gone from the account and unless Facebook starts putting up some stronger personal information protections, I will not be rejoining it. I doubt at this point that I will even after that. Too many years of bad experiences has left the platform with a bad taste in my mouth.

I have a feeling that more and more people will be doing exactly that I have done and removed themselves from Facebook. It’s been a dying platform for a long time now. If more scandals and breaches of privacy show up, you will likely see more people cutting their losses with the service.

I am testing out a new kind of social media, Vero, which will be using a subscription basis for their platform. Currently, I use a subscription to watch movies/TV online and stream music, so it’s not much of a leap for me looking to try that same model for social media. I have no idea if this platform will take off but if it does, it might just be what our future needs. I recommend that you try the app out to see if you like it. You can look me up at Clara D. Munro.

Back on Campus

I made my way back up to my old university campus today. It was the first time I had been back there since my graduation in 2008. I had an enlightening conversation with an academic adviser about my previous degree and my plans for going into law enforcement. I also picked up my alumni card and updated my campus login information.

I was able to review both my high school and university transcripts. They paint an interesting picture about my academic career. I did not recall graduating high school with honors, so that was a nice surprise. Those marks are so good, that I could apply to pretty much any university in the country on them alone.

The first part of my university transcript reflects that stellar academic record but the second half, well, let’s just say I was going through some serious young adult shit at the time. I even had an entire class that I forgot to go to. I mean, that’s the kind of nightmares people have about school but me, I actually did it. I should be horrified that I managed to screw up a perfectly good transcript but it’s been ten years, what the fuck am I going to do about it now? The adviser says that I only need to get ten more credits in 300 or 400 level courses to make up for those marks. Which is good because I found out that I am eligible to take 3rd and 4th years psychology and sociology courses.

I have one more academic adviser meeting at the Okanagan College regarding the criminology and social justice diploma program. After taking a look at my old OUC transcript, I have a good portion of the first and second semester sociology, psychology, and English requirements completed. I just hope that the credits are transferable. It would be nice not to have to redo any of those courses. Mind you, it wouldn’t be so bad to have a refresher in both sociology and psychology.

The best part of the conversation was finding out about a contact with the RCMP recruiter and advise on how to find out what they are looking for. I may not need to actually go back to school because my previous degree might be enough when combined with my current work experience. While I have the option to return to school, I may not need to if I happen to have what the RCMP are looking for right now. Any if I don’t, I have an action plan to get there. Either way, I win.