Today, for the first time, I got why everyone calls Canadians so nice. It's not that I've encountered rudeness before, it's just never been anything more than I've seen in NZ.

Today, I left Victoria: headed East for a month, back West for a month, then home to NZ. Through a mix up, my ride to Victoria airport fell through. I ended up taking a cab and arriving 13 minutes after check in closed. I'd checked in online, but I had a bag to drop.

Here's the nice: I arrived late, and the guy at the desk told me so. But he didn't give me any "rules are rules", and neither did any of his colleagues. Instead, he radioed through to check if my bag could still be put on the plane. It could, he did, and I got on the flight.

I don't know what I would've done if I couldn't make the flight but I didn't have to find out. There was no rigid enforcement of the rules I had so clearly broken, and no sneaky "let's see if we can bend the rules, just this once". There was simply an understanding that the rules are there for a reason, and if I could be accommodated without putting everyone else out, I would be.

Maybe I've overstated this. Maybe this is completely mundane and not really worthy of a blog post. But to a poor student who really can't afford to buy another flight and expect to eat this month, it matters to me.
Some six or so years ago, just after massive upheaval in my life, a man I respect offered me the following advice: learn how to ask for help. At the time, I had no idea what he was talking about. I didn't need help! I was fine! Yeah nah I totally wasn't.

Fast forward three years, I needed help. I'd needed help all along, but it took me a while to ask for it. Having others to shoulder the load made it so much lighter, even if they did nothing but offer moral support and an abundance of hugs. Over the next few years, I thought I'd mastered the art of asking for help. Yeah nah not yet.

Today, I asked for help again. I need a ride to the airport. Most of my friends have already left town, the others don't have cars or I'm too shy to ask directly for fear of putting them under pressure. That didn't stop me from hinting and hoping someone would offer. Yeah nah no joy.

I'm embarrassed to ask for help. I don't like being vulnerable. I'm better than I was; I know better than to hide when I'm helpless. But when I'm kinda able to handle it myself, I don't like imposing my needs on others. I consciously have to remember that people actually like me and want to be involved in my life. That people actually like to help (I know I do, which makes this omission rather selfish, if not hypocritical).

At least four people offered me a ride to the airport. I probably could've avoided asking everyone if I'd asked the guy who offered a ride first. But I asked for help eventually. I'm learning!

March 2016

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