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Archive for the ‘Canadian Life’ Category

I’ve gotten away from writing. This happens a lot. I never plan to stop writing but it always happens and by the time that I realize I’ve stopped it’s already been a month or two since I’ve put a pen to paper or in this case my fingers to the keyboard. I don’t solely blame social media but I think it does plays a part in my lack of motivation and inspiration.

There are so many different platforms we have access to that help us connect with friends, family and strangers and help tell the stories of our lives but I haven’t found any that are quite as authentic or thoughtful as blogging.*

The reason I started this blog was to keep in touch with family and friends in Canada while I was living abroad. Then along came Facebook. I connected my blog to Facebook because let’s be honest who is actually going to go out of their way to read my blog when they can just get the Coles notes version of my life from my Facebook feed. And I wasn’t willing to give up writing stories about my life.

Instagram came on the scene next and again I connected that social media to Facebook because many of the friends (mom) I have on Facebook don’t have Instagram and I was no longer using Facebook to post pictures. I noticed that Instagram was becoming my go-to social media for connecting with others and it started making me sad because posting to Instagram doesn’t take any effort. Is this what friendships have become? Do my friends not deserve a solid heartfelt effort from me when I’m sharing stories from my life? We’re all too focused on making our lives look flawless and full of adventure to make any real connections.

Online dating has been reduced to superficial first impressions based solely on a picture rather than an introduction. And friendships have been reduced to 15 second videos and instant snapshots of our staged lives. Does anyone actually use the call function of their phones anymore? Are we heading towards a world where that function will become obsolete? I don’t want to live in that world. Maybe I am of a different generation but I love phone calls. They may not be convenient but they’re more efficient and I believe that they help build relationships and secure bonds. By not calling each other we are slowly putting more distance between ourselves and that worries me.

To any of my friends reading this, CALL ME!

#truelove

#truelove

*Tumblr does not count as blogging.

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2016-03-27 17.13.05

I can’t say that my life in Halifax is perfect or without it’s frustrations, sadness and stress but I make the most of it. I’d be lying if I said that my heart strings weren’t still tightly tied to living abroad. There’s something about living in another country that makes your life feel more purposeful and the human connections made more genuine and special. That is something that has been lacking since my return to Canada. I have met some truly amazing people and have formed some good friendships but I hadn’t felt that real connection with someone until recently.

Those of you that have been abroad for any length of time know what connection I’m referring to, it’s the one that’s instant and the more you get to know each other the more you see how similar you are and the more you grow to love each other as unique and special people. These are the connections that help you grow in obvious ways and teach you to be a better person. I find these connections usually happen with people who are also foreigners they are not necessarily from the same country as you they could be from anywhere but because you share this unique (and often frustrating) experience of being a foreigner you are connected.

I didn’t think that I would ever experience this sort of human connection with anyone again until the next time I went abroad but I was wrong and so glad that I was. Thanks to an inexperienced manager I ended up leaving a full-time job I had at the end of December and it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I was feeling fulfilled and as though my life had no meaning so I started searching out meaningful volunteer opportunities and that’s when I came across the English language learning program at the Halifax public libraries. I thought that I would be a great teacher because not only did I have the experience of teaching EFL (English as a Foreign Language) but I also understand what it’s like to live in a foreign country and struggle to understand both the culture and the language. The student I was assigned to is an incredible Brazilian woman who moved here with her husband in December. Over the short time that I have been teaching her we have connected on more than one level. Even though we come from completely different countries and our lives are different, we understand each other and to me that’s the beauty of friendship

I admit I have been living my life in Canada with a somewhat closed heart which has made it difficult to find genuine connections. I think I live this way because there is a part of me that always wants to leave, the same part of me that feels disconnected from Canada yet will always feel connected to Japan.

 

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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.

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The craziness that is Christmas is beginning to wind down. After a wonderful visit, my mom has gone back to the island and I’ve got the place to myself for an undetermined amount of time until my roommates return. This holiday season has been more introspective than years passed and I’ve learned a lot about myself and even had a few epiphanies.

I’m going to recap and reminisce about the year the old fashioned way instead of relying on Facebook or some other form of social media to recap the year for me. In reality all of the most significant moments that occurred in my life this year were not posted to Facebook or Instagramed or even tweeted, they were experienced and shared with some very special people.

I’ve heard that whatever you’re doing as the old year rolls into the new year is what you’ll be doing for the rest of the year. Well, last year I was ringing in the New Year with drinks in Halifax and now Halifax is my home.

It was right around the beginning of 2014 that I had enough of the endless, depressing winter in Fredericton and decided to do something about my life. I convinced myself that moving back to Japan would be the best thing for me and I got the ball rolling. As you already know, this didn’t work out the way I expected but am very happy with the way that it did. I’m working as a baker and have a pastry school goal in mind and am able to spend more time with a special someone that came into my life this year.

All of the significant events of 2014 came unexpectedly and unplanned, as if the universe was forcing things into my life. So even though 2014 started out a bit sad and stressful, I’m sailing into 2015 with nothing but positive things and people in my life and I couldn’t be happier.

Here’s to all the wonderful people that came into my life in 2014 and to those that never left, you know who you are.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

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After a very long absence from anything that even slightly resembled healthy eating or exercise I’m back at it again. I’m only two days in but I already feel better psychologically and that will keep me motivated until I start to feel the physical benefits.

In the spring of 2012 I joined a derby team in Tokyo in an effort to get more exercise without going to the gym (I loathe the gym atmosphere) and to meet people. At some point during my short lived derby career I found out about The Whole 30 Challenge and the book that goes along with it, It Starts With Food. I’m not a fad dieter, never have been because they’re all ridiculous (see The Banana Diet, The Blood Type Diet, Atkins Diet) but from the research I had read this Whole 30 business seemed to have some weight and made sense. Cut out all the stuff that’s fucking with your bodies natural chemistry (dairy, sugar, legumes, alcohol, grains) for 30 days, basically eat good food. Living in Japan at the time I decided to try this out made it difficult to eat Japanese food or eat out anywhere unless I had a salad with no dressing. But, I pressed on and was determined to finish at least the 30 days and reintroduce foods on a weekly basis to see what the effects were.

What did I learn? I actually am a lactard (aka lactose intolerant). I had issues with lactose when I was in high school and university but the side effects seemed to subside so in my late 20’s up until this experiment I thought that I was cured of my lactose intolerance. Boy, was I wrong! Week 1 after the 30 days of avoidance is reserved for dairy. Even slowly introducing dairy back into my body had adverse affects. I also learned that by eating REAL food I felt physically and mentally better even without stepping foot into a gym. I slept better, my energy was sustained for longer periods of time, hunger pangs went away and my body started to tell me I was hungry in a more subdued way. It was also amazing to be able to eat a meal and know when you were full before it got to the, “ugh” stage and be satisfied/full for longer (oh how I love protein packed foods).

During my Whole 30 research, Paleo diet websites and blogs kept popping up which a friend in Tokyo said had changed his life. Even though I’m not into extreme sports like my friend, the Paleo diet is more in line with my beliefs about food and has had more positive effects on my body than I can even count.

So why am I starting over from scratch? When I started the Whole 30 I did pretty good at staying on the wagon up until a few months ago when stress was at a high point for me and it has been a serious uphill struggle to get back on track. I started pilates a year ago but only did it consistently for a few months. That is something else I am easing myself back into through Blogilates which is the website I was following for my routines last year but now I’m back to the beginner calender but soon I’ll be in shape again and I can’t wait!

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Mini-vacation and Cakes

I didn’t go far and I didn’t see much but my extended long weekend seemed to be just what I needed.

As the responsibilities of one job ramps up for the holidays and the other winds down I thought it would be a good idea to get out of Halifax for a few days and spend some much needed time away from the city and roommates and spend some quality time with Fredericton peeps. I felt completely rested and connected with myself again after those few days.

I headed right into a bit of insanity as I returned to work on Wednesday. Being a stock girl is not a glamorous job, it’s far from it. It’s also not intellectually challenging or satisfying which is why I’m contemplating finding another job (in place of this one), one that is more socially and intellectually engaging. I’m leaning towards restaurant work to get more experience in the food industry. I still have some time left on my contract so I won’t be leaving just yet.

I am thankful for the job though as it has not only been supplementing my income it has brought me a Love Hate Bakery customer. Hooray! I didn’t even have to try, I mentioned in passing to a coworker that I bake and the immediately put in an order for a birthday cake, a 420/mermaid themed birthday cake. This one is going to be fun. I’ve already sketched out my design for the cake and the fondant mermaid and can’t wait to get started! The cake will take most of my time this weekend but I will be popping out Saturday evening to check out the Christmas parade downtown. There’s nothing like a festive parade to put you in the spirit!

 

 

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Full Circle

My life has come full circle, or as close to a circle as a trek from Nova Scotia to New Brunswick to Japan, back to New Brunswick, then Nova Scotia can look. I guess that would look more like a straight line than anything. That’s a whole lot of backtracking but it’s all been done in order to move forward.

I’m back in my birthplace to find myself once again and really dig deep into myself and find out who I am and who I want to be.

Having two jobs that both require me to challenge myself and be self-sufficient has taught me a lot about myself; likes and dislikes within a working environment, who and what motivates me.

My partner and I took a drive to where I grew up last weekend and it was amazing to see how much has changed. So many long forgotten memories of places, people and experiences came flooding back to me and I found myself feeling very grateful for all of those things and especially grateful to be living in Nova Scotia again. I was in such a hurry to get out of Nova Scotia when I was in high school that I wasn’t able to appreciate it’s beauty and all it has to offer. I guess sometimes it takes an extended absence in order to appreciate what is there.

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