I only got back from Nepal a few months ago, and I’ve literally been working at my new job since the day after my previous contract ended. Now that I’m finally feeling a bit more settled, I’m off again on a new adventure (moving to Bolivia for a year). My life is going a million miles a minute and I can’t always wrap my head around it in words. That’s why I thought I’d give it to you in song.
I was recently attending a Hedley concert in Ottawa with Steve, and I just found that parts of a lot of their songs really resonated with me and how I was feeling about my life at that time. Some are silly, some are sad, some are happy, some are serious. Either way, I hope you can enjoy and get a small impression of who I am (through music).
Please note: Most of the content of this blog is Hedley (a Canadian Band) song lyrics (in blue), so most spelling mistakes, slang, grammar problems, etc. can likely be explained by that. Also, the pictures included in this blog were taken by myself (Amanda Cox) at a Hedley concert in Ottawa in Spring 2016.
1) How I feel as a woman in other countries: As a foreign (aka. Western, white) woman in other countries, it’s really easy to get hit on constantly. I understand why, but it can be uncomfortable or even scary at times. Many men in other countries assume that if they marry you they’ll have a better life since you can bring them to Canada (or whatever country you’re from). They’re looking for a better life, but it’s not really conducive to romance….
I’ll go down on one knee if I have to. Gotta learn a 2nd language just to flatter you. What’s your favourite food? What’s your daddy do? Make my heart stop call the coroner. Mixing coca cola drinks like a foreigner She’s not a local girl all these boys boring her? I don’t blame em though ain’t no ignoring her. – “Lost In Translation”
2) When I return home from another country and get to see all my friends again: It’s always bitter-sweet to leave another country, but returning home and seeing everyone is definitely the best part. Some of my friends I’ve known for over 20 years – so it’s always great to see them again. I always think it’s amazing that we can catch up where we left off, even if it was a year ago.
It’s been awhile ,I can’t remember, since I been home. I think I missed your birthday. I promise I can make it up when I get back. We can kick it on the block, grab a drink if you’re thirsty. You’re still the best I ever had. I know I haven’t been around in a minute. Now we’re picking it up where we left off. It’s been awhile. All the faces, people, and the places. – “Back To Basics”
3) How my friends must feel when I leave again: I know it’s hard on my friends when I leave. They’re happy I’m following my dreams but they’re sad we won’t be able to hang out, and that I might miss their important life events like birthdays and weddings. So thanks everyone – for being so supportive even when it’s hard for you.
When I saw you wave goodbye, it made me smile while it made me cry. I never thought I’d see the day, I never thought you’d walk a million miles away. But I know we all gotta grow so. And I know as time goes but we’re never gonna pretend, Cause you and me will always be friends. So if you’re feeling all alone remember good times or remember home, And if you question all that you see remember that you always got a friend in me, Cause I know we all gotta grow. But you and me will always be… Yeah you and me will always be friends – “Friends”
4) How it felt to be leaving Bangladesh due to safety concerns: As most of you know, I was supposed to spend 6 months in Bangladesh, but had to be relocated to Nepal half-way through because of increasing tensions in the country and threats of violence to foreigners. That was a really tough situation, and I debated putting this song as my Facebook status on an occasion or two. It was also a bitter-sweet situation, since we didn’t want to leave, but staying was also hard due to all the restrictions.
Another night and who can say if leaving is better, Than living in fear. Here’s to all the broken hearts tonight. Here’s to all the “fall-a-parts” tonight. Here’s to every girl and boy who lost their joy, They let it get away. It’s been too long and we’ve been down and out without laughter, No smiling just tears We’re tired of falling down and being such a disaster, We’ve been here for years. I’m gone, I’m gone, there’s got to be a better way, I’m gone. – “Never Too Late”
5) When I arrived in Nepal (and got some freedom): Arriving in Nepal felt like freedom. Wow, I can walk down the street by myself, and go to the corner store, and have a drink of wine, and even go dancing at the club with my friends! This must be paradise. We probably partied a bit too hard when we first arrived to make up for lost time over the previous few months…
Temptation, vacation. I need a little break, but I’m surrounded. Astounded, it’s more than I can take. And it’s not fair, but I don’t care I’m chasing every little thrill I’m seeking, that’s the reason I’m having too much fun. Hey, I tried to take it easy, But baby, it ain’t easy Distracted by beautiful things. – “Sympathy”
6) How I feel when I get a little jaded about an international development project: Sometimes working in development is really hard. You have to answer to donors who don’t know the situation on the ground. Or you have an amazing project but no one to fund it. Or you’re expected to be sustainable even though it doesn’t make sense with your original business model. It’s easy to become jaded from time to time.
It’s worse to finish then to start all over and never let it lie. I’m not perfect but I keep trying, ‘cause that’s what I said I would do from the start. – “Perfect”
Stayed awake all night tossin’, turnin’ Now my blood shot eyes are burnin’ Workin’ out why this ain’t workin’ Fight after fight after fight And now it’s killin’ me I’ll always take the harder road. Gets better every day That I don’t have to say I’m sorry I’m coming home. How’d you end up oh so jaded? Cynical and so sedated Can’t live in this world you created I’ll make it on my own. – “On My Own”
7) When I’m feeling a bit homesick: Everyone gets homesick. Some people miss their friends, or their family, or their cat. It’s also really easy to miss amenities and things – like a hot cup of tea, a cold beer, Kraft dinner, or your favourite outfit. It’s even harder when you have trouble communicating with people at home due to technology problems and time zones.
I’m so cold and far away from home You’re so tired and so damn alone. It’s darker and much harder to be me, So far away from my reality. – “Villain”
Is anybody listening now? Does anybody miss me now? What can I do To get through to you. Cutting through the static and noise I really wanna hear your voice. Need you tonight. Thinking of the last time I saw you smiling, I know it’s been a while. And I could use a little facetime .So just pick up the phone, And say hello, It’s okay Don’t be sad don’t let go Don’t say goodbye Just say hello It gets better don’t ever lose hope Never giving up No I don’t wanna be, Nobody wants to be alone. – “Hello”
8) How I imagine Steve feels when I’m away…: Being the person left behind in a relationship can’t be easy. All of a sudden you have the same life but you’re missing a big part of it. Everything in the apartment reminds you of them, and it’s easy to get lonely.
I never wanna be the one waiting. Would you just come home? I can’t help you anymore. You’re going faster than me. Too little too late I don’t think I’m gonna stay I don’t think you’re gonna change There’s a cost, there’s a price – “Can’t Slow Down”
9) When I’m grateful that Steve’s willing to do the “long distance thing”: Even though long-distance is hard, we wanted to try (even though I never thought it would work). Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised! And after 2 6 month internships, we’re still together (almost 3 years later).
Holding back till I come around. Time and time again you wait for me to come in. Me, I’m used to being tired and bloody, But you believed that I could be somebody. You put your world on hold for me. Gave away to follow failure through the fire. I need you to know I will. Believe me girl I’m so tired of running. I just wanna hold your hand, Stare at you like you’ve got everything I need. – “For The Nights I Can’t Remember”
10) How it feels to leave for, be in, and return from being abroad when you’re in a long-distance relationship: Like I said, it’s hard. But communication is essential. Every little call, instant message, or letter, really makes a huge difference. Plus coming home is amazing! I was worried we’d have nothing to talk about and not be on the same page – I was totally wrong!
She said, ‘Baby, don’t leave. Be home, stay close, be close to me Boy, don’t be gone, boy, don’t be gone.’ He said, ‘Baby, you know I gotta run, I gotta go I won’t be long, girl, I won’t be long.’
She ran picked up the phone Said, ‘Babe, I miss you, come back home, It can’t be long, boy, it can’t be long.’ He said, ‘I hate this place. I miss your smile, I miss your face I wrote a song, girl, I wrote a song.’ She said, ‘You make me better, boy. I just mailed you a letter, boy.
He said, ‘You’re looking great I’m home, I’m back, I couldn’t wait Girl, way too long, that was way too long.’ She said, ‘Get over here. I crave you close, I need you near Now play that song, boy, play me our song.’ – “Sweater Song“
11) How I feel when Steve finally gets to come with me this time: I’ve been trying and trying to get a 1 year contract. When I leave for 3-6 months it makes no sense for Steve to drop his good job and follow along. However, now that I have a longer contract, my organization will help support Steve with things like flights and medical insurance. I’m so excited to go on this new adventure together! 🙂
It’s stormy out so baby let me in I can help I know I can Together we’re never gonna fall Its stormy now but the sun’s gonna shine again Even the worst storms gotta end We’re better if we weather it all (yeah) Together we’re never gonna fall. – “Stormy”
12) What I try to tell myself when times are tough: Life can be hard some times. Hard times come even more when you’re away from the security of home. When times are tough, I try to be positive, or cry and call my mom. You know, one of those :p
You know it’s never too late Get up and start all over again You know it’s never too late There’s got to be a better way Don’t settle for the cold and rain It’s not too late to start again Find a way to smile and never let it get away! – “Never Too Late”
13) When I’m working ANOTHER entry-level internship: International development is known for something that’s becoming more and more common. Needing 3-5 years experience to get an entry-level job (which obviously makes no sense). Therefore, a lot of people have to do many internships before they finally get a foot in the door.
Took a long hard look at my life. Lost my way while I was fighting the time. A big black cloud, stormy sky Followed me while I was living a lie. You’re running outta hope. I’ve come so far with nothing to show This story’s getting old. So I found the strength inside to see, From the better part of me, And I’ll never let it go. I’ve come a long, long way, Made a lot of mistakes, But I’m breathing, breathing, I’m a little run down, I’ve been living out loud. I can beat it, beat it. – “Invincible”
14) When I’m not sure about my career choices…: My background is in design, or maybe development, but I work in communications, at the government. What do I even wanna do with my life? That’s a great question!
Everybody said, you better stay in school, Get a real job, boy, don’t be a fool, Burn that guitar, you can never be a star, I can, I can, I can, Never try, never win, never get a break, You miss a hundred percent of the shots you never take. – “Anything”
15) When I just need a minute of “Amanda time” to chill out: When I’m in a place where they think being alone is the same thing as being lonely (and so they won’t leave you alone), it can get a bit claustrophobic. Sometimes you don’t want people to be constantly yelling “obruni” at you (white person). So sometimes I walk down the street with my headphones on – just to get a little quiet in my head.
I need a moment for me and myself I’m feelin’ this mixtape, fixin’ my headache, shut the world out. Yeah, I got problems but I got melodies to solve them When the world gets loud, I get louder I put my headphones on and go. Another state of mind, forget about the time Where nobody can find me, leave the world behind me, I put my headphones on and go, Far away – “Headphones”
16) When I know I need to follow my dreams: Despite all my worries, I know that I’m passionate about helping out in marginalized communities. I get excited about travelling and learning about new cultures. I get excited about solving problems and working with groups of people. I’ve never been one to regret the choices I’ve made – because I always know I’m working towards following my dreams (even though those change every day).
But I don’t wanna die before I start living. So there’s some things I gotta change – “Back To Basics”
17) When I’m not so sure about following my dreams…: Sometimes I have doubt. Especially when society says I should be married with a mortgage and a car and 2.5 kids by now. That’s never been my dream, but sometimes I worry about making the wrong choices (as I think everyone does).
It’s a strange thing in life When you’re chasing your dreams And it’s not what it seems And your heart’s on the line I never wanna be the one fading. Am I out of my mind? Do I got it all wrong? Don’t I have what I want? Gotta try to make it right. Night after night When all you ever wanted was some home time. – “Can’t Slow Down”
18) When I think about the possibility of a 9-5 government job as my whole future…: After thinking about what society wants I realize that it’s not my path right now. I don’t need to settle down and do what’s expected, because right now that won’t make me happy.
I’m tired of waking up at 5AM My boss has lost his freaking mind again I’m getting so sick of the same routine And living out somebody else’s dream Another zombie coming back to life, Only 20 but I’m feeling like I’m 45. Better burn out than fade away Kicking and screaming inside my head A white picket fence, you blink you’re dead. – “Young”
It’s a great big world and you’ll see It could pass you by at light speed You got one life, one life If it’s the last night in these streets You’d be a fool to take a seat Don’t stop; live it up – “One Life”
19) When I’m grateful for the life I have (or working on it): Gratitude is so important. I’m working on it – in bits and pieces. But living in places where there’s not always electricity or consistent access to running water really helps you realize all the things you take for granted.
And I’m stronger now than I ever was before. You think I never could have seen it all. – “Villain”
Kinda feel like a miracle I can be so cynical, no more Life can seem too typical, too digital Lord I don’t wanna be so invisible. – “Alive”
20) How I feel when I try to plan my future: The future is a hard to thing to figure out. No idea where I’m going to be in a year from now, but I know that I’m headed in the right direction! 🙂
Even God don’t know where we’re goin’, And I sure as hell don’t care. ‘Cause if you and I could stay this high with heaven in our headlights, I swear that we can make it anywhere. – “Heaven In Our Headlights”