How to Kill a Summer and Move On…

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Fall is here in this “Paris of the Prairies” and another summer has more than wrapped up, with already one below 0c night that I can think of.  My garden is all pulled up and it’s definitely around this time of year that my mind starts turning Westward.  Or Eastward.  Or anywhere that isn’t this bloody cold! I am usually lamenting the end of the summer here and all the beautiful hot, dry weather that comes with it.  But let’s face it, this summer has been shit.  I am so glad it’s over and I am able to MOVE ON.

As I’ve touched on before, this summer has been completely dominated by my health problems/health scare.  Doctor appointments, neurologists and trips to the University, blood tests, and finally an MRI all to determine what happened in my head back in April where I had “sort of” symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia, but not really.  The more the tests and time wore on, the more I started to get really freaked out that I had MS or something else.  My symptoms were quite bad at some times and I was usually crippled with a near debilitating exhaustion.  Numbness and tingling in my face and fingers and arm, dizziness.  It’s all been very annoying, but mostly just blindingly stressful.  For both of us.  And my family.  What would happen if I had some disease that was going to be here for the long haul? What about our long term career options? My husband is an artist.  What about him? What about travel? Would he have to eventually take care of me? What was going on in my brain RIGHT NOW? 

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Fortunately, to make a long story short, my MRI turned out okay and there are no signs of any lesions or tumors.  I do have some small, minor birth defect whereby a blood vessel didn’t form properly but it’s completely unrelated and won’t cause any problems down the road.  So while I don’t know why I had the initial nerve pain and the fallout from all of that, I am obviously elated that it’s nothing too serious.  I have one more neurologist appointment in November so maybe he can shed some light on what I should do if I am abroad and this happens again. 

Sooooo…..Now that all THAT is over, for the first time, I’m and WE are actually able to start looking forward at what is next for us and what our next travel plans shall be! This has all put a huge new level of excitement on travel for me.  I mean, for a while there, I didn’t know when and if I’d be able to be away for a longer trip again or if I’d need to hang around here for more tests or what.  Nothing had flavour or interest to me during those months and the prospect of travel didn’t really interest me because I wouldn’t allow myself to think of anything that far in advance. 

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We have all sorts of ideas of what we want to do and where we want to go and because of the above mentioned sidetracking, it looks like we will probably be leaving about a month later than we normally do, which is okay because we get a chance to save a bit more.  We’ve started getting some ideas together and budgeting out what would be viable.  Ultimately, as much as we could keep on going and doing this every summer, we feel that this could be our last “big” trip for a while.  We are playing around with the idea of going away until next summer again, coming back here and working another summer and using the money to move to Toronto.  It’s not something we are super pumped about, but opportunity wise, it might be best for us.  But that is a ways away, so who knows yet! It would be kind of nice to unpack some boxes that have been in storage since 2011 and to have my own kitchen again.  But once I start travelling, I don’t worry too much about that so I wouldn’t be surprised if we change our mind again. At any rate, as far as locales and dates we don’t have anything set in stone yet.  I am trying to swing a flight through Vancouver so I can see my family and friends, which would be so great.

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We are also hoping to do some house sitting to cut costs.  Not having to pay for accommodation is a huge deal while travelling and we are looking at joining a particular house sitting website that has great reviews.  This could open up some potential places to use that would otherwise have to be pretty short visits.  I would really love to go back to London and to be able to spend more time there than last time. 

So really, one of the only other positive highlights of the otherwise “heavy”  summer has been my creative ventures.  I’ve managed to fill quite a few personal orders for my handmade items as well as sell a few things a local store.  I’m not sure if I will leave my stuff in there while I am away or take it out.  It has been really fulfilling making things for people and making people happy with things that I can create.  Working on these things has been a great way to take my mind off of stuff when I was so worried about my health.  Apart from this I have been working here and there for a few local businesses with friends either in the local homemade ice cream stand, which I always love, and more recently for a catering gig through the Co-operative Cafe I worked for last year when I was here.  I love being able to use any creativity, through work and get paid for it too.  Now I am trying to finish up some stuff that people have requested I make for Xmas gifts, so that has been keeping me quite busy.  I am always up for more orders though, which I can do up until I leave, of course…more soon, maybe?

 

Intro to Autumn and Upcoming Travel Plans…

                                                                                                 Utrecht, Netherlands in the Fall from vsmachine.tumblr.com via Leah on Pinterest

Fall has definitely hit this little Prairie town and it is getting COLD.  I haven’t really given a proper update here as to what all I’ve been up to these days, so I thought I should do that soon as I will soon be leaving the country again!

Of course summer went to fast, as it always does for everyone, but I have to say, fall can be really beautiful here.  There are way more deciduous tress here than my native west coast where everything stays green and the riverbanks are a flood of colour.  The leaves are already falling off the trees big time, though, and I’m sure after this next rain comes, there will be hardly any leaves left.  In fact, we are expecting lows of -7c this week, overnight, which is WAY too cold for me, particularly since we missed last winter and went to SouthEast Asia and it’s been a while since I’ve felt weather that cold!

I feel like I accomplished a lot this summer, although with me, it is never enough.  I’m trying not to focus so much on things I *didn’t* get done and instead think about what I *have* done.  Some highlights include: working on my bike and painting it.  With that came oodles of bike rides around the city which is one of my favourite things in the world to do.  Lots of sewing and crafting (this is where I start to get down on myself-I wanted to do so much more-I had a local store interested in my stuff and I didn’t get enough time to do any local selling or really get my Etsy shop going to the capacity that I wanted).  But I did make a few new patterns and I hope to still get a few more things done before we go.  I’ll make another post here where I show you some of the things I have currently for sale.

I learned basic ukulele which was one of my big summer goals.  I can play a couple of songs and I know a few chords.  I’m not great, but it’s a start!

Saskatchewan Riverbank in the Fall from via Andre on Pinterest

I became TESL certified just last week after taking a 120 course and I am now doing my Teaching Business English certificate.

I worked a lot, both for my in-laws and for a new co-operative cafe operating here in the city.  I’ve met so many great people who are so smart and so talented and for this I am truly grateful.  I got hands on restaurant experience and it gave me a better idea of what I would and would not like should I ever do something like that myself. I also worked a few shifts at a local ice cream shop by the river and I babysat for about three weeks too! Basically just tried to save up money, meet people and stay busy.

We successfully saved up enough money for another trip, despite the soggy wet start to the summer season.  We have a way tighter budget this time and we are going to Europe which is way more expensive than SouthEast Asia but I am super excited.  If there is one thing we know how to do, it’s stretch a budget so I’m sure we’ll be fine.  We are planning for an extended absence this time which means work overseas.  As much as we’d love to stay and work in Europe, I know it’s not very likely.  It’s very competitive and without EU passports, we just aren’t as attractive as a British citizen or someone else that doesn’t require a Work Visa.  Still, it’s not impossible and we’ll give it a try.  Otherwise, we’ll be Asia bound, I’m thinking! Which presents all the dilemmas that the last trip did (see old posts for rantings on this topic).  Once again, we really don’t know what our future holds and this is exciting, scary and fun!

So that’s what I’ve been up to the last little while.  I’ve only been back in the country under five months so for me, if feels like a lot! We are moving into Canadian Thanksgiving and that means lots of good food.  I’ve started cooking now so I won’t be in the way in the kitchen come Sunday.  Some can go in the freezer and some will last in the fridge till the big meal. Veggie Seitan Loaf with Stuffing Inside, Miso Gravy and a Kabocha Tofu Pie.  I still have to whip up a chocolate tofu pie and maybe some cocoa white chocolate cookies! Check out the links for the recipes I used!

Once again, soon my blog will shift to a more travel focused blog and I look forward to sharing my travel photos and discoveries with you! Thanks to my readers for sticking with me through my flakey, erratic postings!

xo

Apple Walnut Scones…

I keep saying this will be my last recipe and then I get a chance to post something else.  We are leaving the Prairies in 10 days for the coast.  After that, this will turn into a bit of a travel diary for a while.  I can’t believe it.  Time is going really fast right now.  I’ve started to make my list of things to pack, adding to it as I remember something.  It is very much fall here now.  The leaves are mostly off of the trees and it is getting down to 3c or 4c overnight.  Fall means apples and moving into more “comfort” foods and one morning I got the urge to make scones.  This is a fully adaptable recipe and you can use the fillings of your choosing.  A favourite scone I like to make has raspberries with a lemon glaze.  These are great re-warmed with a bit of butter and jam.  Don’t worry if they look really tiny when you cut the dough.  They will puff up in the oven.

Recipe:

  • 2c. flour
  • 1/3 c. sugar + more to sprinkle on top
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (omit if you are using salted butter)
  • 1/4c. cold butter, cubed
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4c. walnuts, crushed with the back of a spoon or chopped
  • 1/2c. raw apple, diced small (don’t bother peeling if it’s organic)
Preheat oven to 400F.  Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add butter and work with hands until you get small crumbs.  Add diced apple and walnuts and toss thoroughly.  In a separate small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and egg.  Add to dry ingredients bowl and mix together with hands until you get a soft dough that is slightly sticky.  Turn out onto floured surface and knead several times until dough comes together nicely into a round ball.  Pat down round ball until you have an 8″ round.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Cut into 8 pieces like a pie.  Place slices on an ungreased cookie sheet (preferably with parchment paper) and bake for 17 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.  Let cool for 5 minutes before eating.  Voila!