We Picnic!

 

It was a lovely day! Look at those cinnamon buns! The salads cancel them out, right? xo

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Summertime in Canada and My Blogging Hiatus…

Hello my blogging lovelies! I am not going to be one of those people that constantly apologizes for their absence and then does the same thing over again (or maybe I’m already that person, I don’t know!) but it’s been quite the emotional journey to get me to the point where I feel like writing anything here, again.  Actually, I had been thinking of it for a while, and I was so touched by a fellow blogger and followers question, asking me if I was okay because I haven’t posted for a few months! It’s true-I haven’t and I guess I felt like I just needed a bit of a hiatus.  Coming back to Canada for me this time, has been quite a challenge and I finally feel like I’m at a point where I feel a bit more settled, emotionally speaking.  (I know, I know #firstworldproblems, right?) And I guess that’s another reason why I felt it so difficult to write anything.  Sometimes, I have a problem with this blog because I feel like talking about myself and what is going on with me can sound so trite and petty, or self-congratulatory and, well, just plain lame.  Like, really, who cares, right? But I do have to admit there is a certain catharsis to getting it all down on digital paper and sharing it with the people who do follow me.  Sometimes it just helps me organize my thoughts, and stay positive and present.

So, why was coming back such a problem? I don’t know.  I guess it was because it was rather sudden and unexpected.  We were just starting to get settled in Tokyo, meet new friends at our guesthouse and I was just getting used to my job.  We didn’t really want to come back to Canada for a long while and we certainly didn’t want to come back and work for the parents’ biz again.  We, quite admittedly, are too old to be staying with them for such extended periods of time, and as sweet and kind as they are, it always presents a series of challenges.  We love our independence and become quite used to it, since we spend a great portion of our year, out in the big wide world, far away from anyone familiar, other than each other.  We get quite used to it just being the two of us and we get into the routines that are associated with that.  For me, sharing a kitchen and any sort of creative space is quite difficult here.  Coming back here, this time was different.  Gone was all the previous excitement and anticipation I had for all the spare time I would have to work on creative ventures.  In a sense, I had lost all ambition for writing anything here, or designing or making anything for my Etsy shop or anything like that.  Everything felt futile and I felt like I really couldn’t be bothered to drag it all out and pack it all up each time I wanted to do something.  I really didn’t feel like doing anything.  After a while of feeling quite depressed about this, I decided just to accept it, and relax with it a bit and not put any further pressure on myself.  I resolved not to do anything creative for the summer if I didn’t feel like it.  This included taking photos.  I really didn’t feel like doing any of this stuff.  Even cooking lost it’s flavour.  I guess it sounds like I was actually quite depressed.  I started worrying about the indeterminable future.  About why we were doing what we were doing and if we were screwing up our lives and if we were making big mistakes.  This was all coupled with a lot of stress surrounding some health issues I’ve been having…

Finally, after about two months after arriving, I started feeling a bit better.  And then a lot better.  Things started happening for me creatively.  A local shop wanted to carry some of my items on consignment, so I pulled my stuff from Etsy and decided to go exclusive with them.  This eliminated the annoyance I had around selling my stuff online, which was, mainly, that I had no way to promote my stuff and it was very difficult to get new viewers with something as massive at Etsy.  Now my things are on consignment, in a small, beautiful, local store filled with my more amazing and talented artists than myself and this has been humbling and inspiring.  It has given me some ambition to make more.

I am practicing learning how to relax and be present and not worry about the future or what we will do in the fall, this time.  We have lots of ideas but it will depend on our savings and what they will allow.  We are also considering what our plans are AFTER this next winter, which has added some extra pressure, since before, we just assumed we would come back here if all else fails.  I’d really rather not do that, like REALLY, although I am grateful, always, for the option.  I now don’t feel as worried about our choices and options, particularly when I look at other people around me that are doing things more traditional and more “organized” with their lives and I always feel these things are not necessarily for us, or attractive.  Kids, mortgage, etc.  Unconventional, yes, but I’ve never regretted the choices we have made regarding these issues, even though I am happy for my friends and family that are following these paths.  I do not know too many people that have financial stability or overwhelming blissful levels of happiness, so I think we are doing okay.

Regarding my health issues-this is something that continues to worry me, and I suppose I am just going to have to keep telling myself that worrying isn’t going to change anything.  In fact, it will probably just make things worse.  To make a long story short, I had a neurological attack of sorts in April, while in Tokyo, that has symptoms which are now pointing towards Trigeminal Neuralgia.  Known to be one of the most painful conditions a human can experience, I am not particularly excited about this (potential) diagnosis and I am further distressed by the fact that this condition can be a warning sign of Multiple Sclerosis.  Other symptoms I have been experiencing lately, have only served to deepen this concern, although my doctor assured me that it is not necessarily a link to MS and can be it’s own condition on it’s own, with no other problems associated.  I have a neurologist appointment next week and then I’m assuming, an MRI would be the next course of action.  Again, I realize stress and worry does nothing to help this issue and I don’t know how much of these symptoms I’m experiencing are just things I’m noticing because they are on the list of MS symptoms and I’m over associating, or what.  Trying hard not to be neurotic and annoying.

Lack of personal space here means my spiritual practice is currently virtually non existent.  This has been a great contribution for me, I feel, for the levels of angst and depression I’ve had over the past few months.  I’m still working on how to manage this problem as best I can given the tools I am currently working with, while also lowering my expectations on myself, which I am always, in any regard, struggling to meet.  I am my worst enemy and my greatest critic.

So, spending a lot of time trying to relax with myself, accept things as they are now, and enjoy the present.  I am always excited about our unconventional and indeterminable future and there is always a lot of potential there.  In so many ways, the world is always our oyster and things always have a way of working out, to sound cliche.  I am going to spend more time now, taking photos, enjoying the little things, taking time for myself to relax and taking each day as it comes, since that’s truly the only true thing I have right now, is just today. 

Believe it or not, despite the long-windedness of this post, it’s actually quite the summary of a bunch of other little sub-topics that I’ve tried to wrap up as best as possible into something resembling a few clear thoughts.  There have been other struggles and other good things and a lot of ups and downs that have made up the past few months but what I’ve taken from it all is what I always am working on which is to be present and RELAX! Oh, and any advice is always appreciated in this regard.  I am, after all, a work in progress.  Thank you all for sticking with me.

xo

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

August Update…

                                                                                                                                                           Source: Uploaded by user via Leslie on Pinterest

I realize that I haven’t really posted any sort of personal update for a while and I guess it’s just because it’s been a little bit difficult to put it all down succinctly, once too much time has passed.  So I will endeavor here to let you all know what I’ve been up to for the past month and what I am aiming for, for the next month or so!

As mentioned before, this hasn’t been quite as successful a summer, money wise as last year.  The bad weather start to the summer means we were rained out on a lot of events that were previously quite busy for us.  But the summer has slowly picked up and the weather is improving (now that summer is almost over!) and we aren’t doing horrible by any means.  I would be lying if I said that this slower progress hasn’t affected my mood or outlook, though.  I have had a lot of discouragement and worry about how much money we are saving and what we are going to do with it once the summer is over.  More on this in a minute…

So, partially because of this slow start, and partially because I always seem to like to have my plate full to the point of brimming, I have taken on a few more odd jobs here and there.  For starters, I have been doing some childcare for a very good friend of mine who is in town for the summer.  She has two little boys (3 months and 2 years) and I have been with them three days a week.  They keep me very busy for the brief amount of time I am there each day, and they are adorable.  It’s been great getting to know their little personalities and I will be missing them when they go back to NYC very soon!

I work the odd day here and there for a locally made ice cream shop, at a beautiful location down by the river.  This is quite a relaxing place to be and not difficult at all.  I’ve met a lot of great girls down there, and the owners are lovely people who I am happy to help.

Finally, I have just begun to work at a brand new cooperatively run cafe.  I am super pumped to be working for a cooperative, and gain experience working in that kind of environment.  It’s also great for me to work for a cafe from its start up point.  I would love to have a cafe and shop one day (if I ever settle down in one place), and it’s so cool to work with people who are like-minded, politically and socially.  Eco-conscious with a focus on local, handmade and vegetarian, this is one cool place! 

So basically what this amounts to is that I am very busy this month.  All creative projects have gone on the back burner and I’m kind of taking a hiatus this month from all my sewing and crafting to make some coin! Which irritates me as I was kind of starting to get on a roll, but I still have some time before we leave to do some more work.  I have spent some time working on a logo and it’s basically done, but my dilemma lies in the fact that once we leave the country again, it’s kind of hard for me to sell on my Etsy shop.  If I sell something, and I am overseas, it’s kind of tricky getting someone else to handle it for me back at home.  

Regarding this overseas business, that is a situation no more clear to us than at the beginning of the summer.  Particularly because it’s too early to tell how our savings will be by the end of the summer.  This is further complicated by the fact that we need to have reserve funds to set up wherever it is we choose to settle down and work next.  At this point I can’t really for see us coming back here again for another summer, but I didn’t see it before this summer either and yet, here I am.  The prospect of teaching English somewhere isn’t the most exciting for me, as I mentioned before, but if it affords a life less ordinary, then maybe that’s something I just have to suck up.  There are far worse jobs.

I do really miss Japan these days…

A Day at the Fair…

Oh petals! What to do?!  The autofocus on my camera just conked out and stuff I’m reading online said that it could be dust or a dirty sensor but I can’t figure out how I clean this.  I really hope that is all that it is.  It’s probably still under warranty but barely! Crappy!! Anyway, in the meantime, while I figure this out, enjoy my photos (pre-camera crap out) of my day at the fair…

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