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Three months! Also read as a million years and enough time for people to stop paying attention. I recently made a vow to myself to start devoting more time to the things I love; one of which is writing and I’m starting right now with this long overdue post.

I could offer you a basket full of excuses as to why I’ve been away so long but there really is no excuse for neglecting the art of writing. I will be straight with you though, the last couple of months have been difficult/stressful and I’m just now feeling like I’m coming out of my psychological funk. I was feeling very frustrated with most aspects of my life, work/career, living situation, relationships and no matter how hard I tried to change my life there just didn’t seem to be a solution. Job opportunities were dangled in front of me, teasing me with their promises of financial freedom, and although I put my all into the interviews there were never any call backs.

Oh, the despair!

I’m convinced now that the timing wasn’t right, I wasn’t meant to move onto another job until the right one came along and it did. I’m working for a wonderful company with a team of fabulous ladies and I love going to and being at work. I have a hard time leaving sometimes! From the get-go, the owner gave us (the six ladies she hired) ownership of the store. She trusted us to sell the products, promote the brand and manage the store without her supervision. It’s been a very long time since I have had any sort of creative control in a job and it feels great. When given the opportunity to express myself and when I don’t feel confined to corporate rules my best ideas and qualities come out. I had a customer ask me today if I was the owner of the store because I talked so passionately about our products. I’ve worked a lot of retail jobs in my life but the difference between this job and the retail environments I’m used to working in is that I believe in the products and my selling points are not forced. It feels really good to sell quality product to people.

Check us out! We have a store in downtown Halifax at the Historic Properties, in downtown Truro and an  online shop!

Now, that I’ve shamelessly promoted my workplace through my blog, I’ll tell you what else has been going on. Remember how I said that the last three months consisted of the job search from hell? Well, at the same time that I was looking for work, I was also looking for a new apartment. Apartment hunting in Halifax is equally as (if not more) frustrating then job hunting. The problem with the apartment hunt was that I was looking for a place to satisfy not only my own but the preferences of two other people. We needed reasonable rent as well as parking, we needed lots of light and lots of space, two bedrooms that was also in a convenience part of town. Phew! Lots of places looked promising in their ads but fell short once I stepped inside. I am happy to say that after viewing a lot of places and being constantly disappointed we finally found one. We found our Buckingham Palace! The security deposit has been paid and the lease was signed today. The best part about finally having a place to move into come September is not the end of the apartment search stress or that I have my free time back, it’s that I can finally put an end to the long-distance part of my relationship. It’s not over yet, we still have a few months to go but with that end in sight it feels like a huge weight has been lifted. Having a long-distance relationship has been incredibly difficult and difficult in ways that I hadn’t imagined, but I’ll save my long-distance relationship advice for another post.

It’s time for me to go to bed. Goodnight, friends!

Now that Burger Week is long over and my body has (mostly) recovered from a diet of meat and very few vegetables, I can recount my delicious journey.

Not even piles of snow and unploughed sidewalks stopped Haligonians from starting Burger Week on March 19th. I feel like even if White Juan junior had hit a day later and as long as pubs/restaurants stayed open Haligonians would’ve trudged through the blowing snow to get that first Burger Week burger. We are Maritimers who are fed up with winter and need those $5 burgers, dammit!

This was my first Burger Week and I was damn excited! But I think I’ll develop a plan of attack (and possibly consult a nutritionist) next year. I fell behind the other Burger Bitches by missing out on a lunch burger the first day but I made up for that rookie mistake by fueling my body with nothing but burgers for the next 5 days. I was inevitably stricken with the worst digestive problems I’ve ever experienced but it was well worth it, I think.

My first burger came from Rogues Roost. We originally decided we would try Krave first but after arriving and seeing the queue we decided to pop across the street to Fickle Frog only to be told that they had already sold out of burgers at 8pm. How do you run out of burgers on the first day!? After that disappointment, we pulled out our Burger Week passport we decided to check out Rogues Roost for their Montreal Smoked meat burger. Once we entered we were greeted by an slightly intoxicated acquaintance of Burger Bitch #1 who gave a less than favorable review of the burger. We were disappointed but decided to go for it anyway, I mean, it’s only $5! It wasn’t as disappointing as our friend had made it out to be but a bit more than one thin slice of smoked meat would’ve been nice.

The other days weren’t as exciting as it became more of a personal challenge than an enjoyable feast.

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BEST PICKLE: Rogues Roost – Montreal Smoked Meat Burger

 

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MOST UNIQUE & TASTIEST: Ardmore Tearoom – Waffle Burger

 

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THE MOST DISAPPOINTING: The Wooden Monkey – Kimchi Haddock Burger

 

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MOST SATISFYING: Krave Burger – w/Smokey Bacon Jam

 

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JUICIEST BURGER: The Fickle Frog – w/Brie and Curry Aioli

*Not pictured here Athens Restaurant – Lamb Burger as it wasn’t anything to write home about.

I Like The Grit

So this is what I woke up to this morning. I literally heard birds singing a few days ago and then all my hopes and dreams of an early spring were crushed.

Snowed In!

Snowed In!

But I don’t want to talk about snow and winter anymore, I’m over it. What I want to talk about is the grittiness of Halifax. For a lot of people, Halifax is an amazing city to live in. It’s ripe with opportunity, it’s people still have a friendly Maritime vibe and it’s just big enough that you can hide under the cover of anonymity, at least for the first year.

Living in Halifax makes me feel like I’m living in RL. Living in Japan was easy, the most stress I endured was that one time I was unemployed and had an expiring visa. It was stressful but in reality if I had not found a job at the international school I could’ve easily picked up a teaching job. Teaching opportunities are everywhere. The stress you feel while living in Japan is nothing compared to the very real stress you feel living and working in your home country. At least for me this is the case. Dealing with Japanese superiors is one thing but dealing with Canadian superiors is a whole other kind of stress.

The other things that make living in Canada so real is the homelessness, the beggars and the crime. Since moving here last September there has been a foiled attempt at a mass shooting at the Halifax Shopping Centre, a bomb threat at the Mic Mac Mall, an armed man running around town, a bomb scare on Spring Garden Road and just yesterday a man was stabbed in the face in front of the new library which also happens to be on Spring Garden Road. I’m sure there have been a lot more incidents but these are the ones that stick out to me because they were the most sensationalized. Maybe these things should scare me but for some reason they don’t, I like hearing about them in some weird way because this is real life. There are individuals out there that want to cause others harm and there’s nothing that you can do about it, it just is. I accept these things as part and parcel of living in a city.

Purging Social Media

Wow! I can’t believe that it’s already the end of February. Where did the time go? The beginning of 2015 has been a whirlwind of me (still) trying to get myself settled and find friends in this fine city. Halifax has been treating me well and I feel like I’m finally starting to dig out my little spot as a Haligonian. I’m already part of the cool kids club because I work at a pretty awesome little cafe downtown which has been a staple in the coffee scene here for well over 20 years.

Winter is still treating us fairly well, but the sidewalks are whole other story. Still being able to walk outside and not instantly regret that decision is a wonderful perk and honestly makes winter more bearable. I don’t feel confined to my house which is more than I can say for the way I was feeling this time last year. That being said, I’m still very much looking forward to spring when I don’t have to don ultra thick layers of winter apparel. Can anyone tell me how to be fashionable in the winter season in Canada because I am still trying to figure that out. My motto is warmth first, fashion later.

For the most part lately I’ve been avoiding social media. I’ve deleted all of the apps off of my phone except for the less distracting ones that keep me connected to friends across the globe. Facebook? Gone. Instagram? Gone. SnapChat? Yup, that’s gone too. I even stopped using Twitter which is one of the ones which I thought I might have continued to use. It’s liberating. Now instead of instantly posting a thought/observation that I think is hilarious to the world I now revel in my own comedic genius, text it to a friend or post it to the blog.

From a career/business standpoint clearing my life of social media might have beeen suicide but I don’t own a business nor am I employed in a field which requires me to connect with the outside world. I’m happy with my circle of friends and coworkers and actually enjoy meeting people the old fashioned way; through mutual friends or randomly. I tried getting rid of social media once before but was unsuccessful. What helped the process this time was an article I read about the way our brain works on social media. Those likes, follows and comments feed us dopamine which before these applications we got from real social interaction and being creative. This video (which you can watch below or at this link) planted a seed and once I realized that I didn’t give a shit about how many likes or follows I had, it was easy to remove the apps. I don’t know if it’s a conspiracy but social media applications do not make it easy to cancel your account hence why I only deleted the apps.

Maybe I’m a hypocrite considering the venue for which I’ve chosen to talk about this decision but for me, blogs (including this one) exist for an entirely different reason than accounts on Facebook, SnapChat or Instagram. I’m not writing here to impress anyone or to receive likes, nor am I here to brag about my life, I’m simply here as a writer, to express myself and my opinions in a safe environment. If I feel like debating an issue I’ll seek that interaction elsewhere on the world wide web. My blog is simply an outlet.

 

Winter Walking

Trekking to and from work and around town has been fun lately.

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My Street

 

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Is it water? Is it ice?

 

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The Life of Winter Pedestrian

 

Wintertime

I gotta say, Halifax, I’m really enjoying your winter weather. We had a couple of “storms” the last few weeks but nothing compared to what I experienced while living in Fredericton last year. That was brutal! Not only have the storms here been weaker but it seems like the sun shines a lot more and that in itself is enough to alleviate the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

With less inclement weather, it’s easier to both get out and be motivated to get out and do things. The best thing about living here is that you can find a lot of free events that aren’t just for kids or families. I ended up at the Casino last Friday night to check out the final installment of Take it To The Tiki, a battle of the bands put on by Music Nova Scotia. The final round featured Quiet Parade, Adam Washburn & The Elements, The Regal Beagle Band and my personal favorite, Like A Motorcycle.

The main reason I wanted to go (aside from the amazing cover charge of free) was to see Like A Motorcycle again. The first time I saw these ladies was during Halifax Pop Explosion and they blew my fuckin’ mind! If there’s one thing that has remained constant in my musical tastes it’s females that rock. Juliette and The Licks, Kilbourne, Tegan and Sara are just a few of the ladies that have graced the playlists of my iTunes and although I still love them all, Like A Motorcycle has stolen my musical heart (I’m also pretty sure that I’m in love with guitarist). It’s bands like this that make me want to be in a band. I could learn to sing…

I’m really excited to be getting to know the vast music scene here in Halifax. There’s a lot to be seen and heard coming out of this city from all genres. The Regal Beagle Band and Adam Washburn & The Elements didn’t disappoint either. Adam Washburn had a very Canadian sound (think Sam Roberts and Joel Plaskett) but was very unique at the same time. They put on an incredibly, energetic show which was a nice change from Quiet Parade who were good but just not what I was feeling that night.

I had heard of The Regal Beagle Band before but hadn’t taken the time to actually check them out. First impressions told me they would be great as they came out dressed to the nines with button-ups, vests and suspenders and one gentleman was carrying a fiddle. Often a fiddle indicates a boring celtic rock band especially when you live on the East Coast but I was pleasantly surprised at the way the fiddle was incorporated into their music. It was played like a guitar and often sounded like a guitar which gave them some cred in my books (not just another celtic rock band, thankfully).

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#wcw Like A Motorcycle

You know what else is free?! Skating at the Emera Oval and they even rent out skates! I love my city! I think the community helps to keep my motivated to get out and do things as well because even when the weather is less than favorable people are still out. There are always people walking, walking where I don’t know but it’s just nice to see that people are not afraid of a little bit of winter and don’t let it ruin their day.

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Skating on The Oval

 

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Rubbish

 

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Renewal

Books & Music

I’m going through a pretty intense reading phase right now. Ever since the new Central Library opened up here in Halifax, I’ve been reading non-stop. It helps that the library is located a block away from my workplace. At least once a week after work, I’ll pop into the library to look for a specific book or nothing specific at all and just wander around the beautiful space.

Holds Section

Holds Section

I’ve been diving into some classic Japanese writing (Murakami) and exploring some different manga themes as well. When I was living in Japan ボーイズ ラブ (Boys love) manga was (and probably still is) extremely popular among women of all ages. The name of it makes it sound like some sort of weird comic that would be written by and targeted at pedophiles but it’s not. Boys love manga is mostly written/drawn by women and the characters are young (20+) kakkoi men who somehow become romantically involved. The popularity of this genre of manga intrigued me enough to actually pick one up at the library and see what all the fuss is about. The one I’m reading, Ichigenme takes place in a law school in Tokyo. I haven’t gotten that far into it, so I can’t yet tell you if I like it.

Here’s an interesting article and interview on boys’ love manga.

I’ve also been thirsty for new music and have been soaking into the new Taylor Swift album which I enjoy much more than I thought I would. It’s a brilliant pop album and I think it’ll be one that will stay relevant and people will still enjoy years from now. I’m also stoked on the new Sleater-Kinney album. I’m just stoked that they’re back together and doing music again. Carrie Brownstein is brilliant and I love her.

The thing that has made me the most happy recently (besides my #CoPilot) is this song. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

 

*I’m totally going to start incorporating the Kendrick Lamar dance into my regular routine

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