Anyone missing a foot?

One of the few perks of having nothing to do from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, is that I get to catch up with my online reading. Mostly I read blogs and newspapers, and most of the newspapers are Canadian. The first newspaper I read each day is the Globe. I follow that up with a little Times Colonist, some Ottawa Citizen, a dash of New York Times and finally, check out the Google News headlines, in case any of the above have left out anything important. After that, I spend approximately 5 minutes scanning the local "newspaper" which mostly just makes me mad. In the afternoon, I repeat the above process, because a lot happens during the day, you know.

$#%@... I AM SO BORED. And I've been informed that the boredom will continue at least through next week, which is just fantastic. Seriously. This is ridiculous. I am so tired of the pity party going on in the office behind me...and even happier about my decision to get out of here.

I digress.

The plus side of getting all of this reading done each day is that I'm probably better informed on national and world events than I've ever been. Besides the articles themselves, I always scan the reader comments as well, which are mostly a combination of insightful and completely idiotic. However, with the right topic, they can number into the hundreds, which is a great way to pass time NOT on Facebook.

Lately, I've been following (as has everyone, I believe) the story of the feet, encased in running shoes, washing up on various beaches along the B.C. coastline. Two more feet have been found this week, bringing the total to six feet - five right, one left. With the announcement of the finding of the sixth foot yesterday in Campbell River, the articles finally used the term "suspicious", as opposed to chalking the feet up to a bizarre coincidence.

There are a lot of theories out there with regards to the origins of the feet. Some thought that they were the feet of plane crash victims, but I believe that the sixth foot blew that theory out of the water (so to speak) because there were only four passengers and now five right feet. Others think that the feet have something to do with illegal Chinese immigrants (I don't understand the correlation there, but some people are all over this). Another theory is that they are linked to some sort of large-scale organized crime - bikers, drug lords, organ harvesting, etc. The RCMP aren't saying much about any of the feet, since releasing too many details about what they might know could obviously compromise the investigation, but I do know that they are treating all six feet as separate files. For now.

My own theory? I think B.C. has itself a new serial killer on the loose. While they had said a few weeks back that the bones did not show signs of being severed, the latest ones apparently have been obviously cut, and the sixth shoe was brand spankin' new.

Whatever really is going's gone from being odd to scary. How many more will wash up before they figure out where and who the feet are coming from? All of the many obvious foot jokes aside (refer to the Globe's comment sections for those...they are plentiful), there are families out there with missing loved ones. Every new foot brings for them a new fear that it could be a link.

And besides all that...washed up feet are seriously gross. I won't be doing much beachcombing while I'm home.

Soundtrack: Missing.

I've always taken radio for granted. It's there, or not, depending on which way I've turned the knob, and's never been a huge part of my life. Or has it?

When I was in Grade 8, I really started getting "into" music. In Victoria, the best stations at the time (and probably still? I have no idea...) were from either Seattle or Vancouver and my personal favorite, if I remember correctly, was KUBE 93.3 FM from Seattle. I loved it. I made approximately a million mix tapes from it, carefully pressing the PAUSE button after each song instead of STOP to keep my mixes from having those annoying button-pressing gaps. I wish I could listen to these tapes now...I'm sure they're full of winners...but unfortunately, I no longer own or even know of a cassette player which I could use. Does anyone?

A couple of years ago, Kurt's Dad came home from the States with an XM Satellite radio receiver for us. I had never even heard of it (it wouldn't come to Canada until a year later), and was a bit skeptical but quickly jumped on the satellite radio train when I realized that there are no (or very few) commercials and that I could very easily avoid all instances of Celine Dion with the flick of my finger. Genius! We (Kurt) mounted it in the car and off we went, enjoying uninterrupted music-listening bliss, up-to-date tunes, and nearly zero long as we avoided very tall buildings. It was fantastic.

Unfortunately, we left it behind when we moved, thinking that it was unlikely that it would work on the Rock. As it turns out, it would have, and given the radio selection we currently have, we really should have brought it with us. Because the Rock's radio is, in a word, awful.

My alarm clock, a General Electric relic from my sixth birthday (no joke - it even has the fake wood look), has travelled with me through multiple moves in Victoria, to Ottawa, and now to the Rock. I just can't leave it behind. It has woken me up precisely on time every morning that it has needed to (I am knocking on real wood right now) and even without an antenna, has always had decent radio reception. When we arrived, I put Kurt in charge of establishing a radio station suitable to wake us each morning, which he did. Or so he thought. The first morning, we awoke to some casual easy listening, a la Celine Dion. One note from her is all it takes to start my day off on the wrong foot (or note), so that station was immediately replaced with another, which seemed promising when we were setting it the night before, but which turned out to be, quite possibly, the worst radio station of all time. The songs stopped halfway through, the announcer was clearly eating his breakfast while reading the news, and there are some pretty serious racist undertones which I'm not really into at 7:30 a.m. Or any time, for that matter. The only upside were the advertisements, which were all for skanky clothing stores, acrylic nail salons and hair salons advertising a huge selection of weaves. NEXT.

And so we've landed at our final destination, which also happens to be the only other choice. We now wake up to religious/inspirational music which, as it so happens, is the best we can do on the Rock. How lovely for me. The advertisements are all for churches, church groups, Jesus crusades, church luncheons, fundraisers for churches, and church meetings. The songs all include messages about Jesus and his various associates. I suppose there are worse ways to start your morning than with a little Jesus. On some subconscious level, this is probably doing me some good. At least I'm not listening to some dude chewing on his breakfast steak.

However, we've begun to notice the lack of new music in our lives. The stereo in our car (of course) doesn't work, so unless we get onto the internet radio scene, we're out of the loop. I was just informed by a friend that the New Kids on the Block have not only regrouped, but have released a single, a fact which I was completely unaware of until her email. When we were in Toronto, my four year old cousin did a song-and-dance routine to some song about jeans and boots with fur that is apparently really popular but which I've never heard of. We feel very out of the loop, music-wise. We had a rental car for the weekend, which happened to be equipped with satellite radio, so we spent the entire weekend trying to "catch up" but we were a bit of a lost cause...we didn't know any of the songs in the Top 20 except the ones that have been there since before we left Canada.

We also have no idea of what people are talking about when they mention new movies or new TV shows...we're like aliens. I don't know what's more sad...the fact that we are so out of the loop, or the fact that we get all wistful whenever we think of our little satellite radio receiver, sitting in a box back in Ottawa. I suppose there are worse things.

It's all fun and games until Tuesday arrives...

Yet another long weekend on the Rock (this time in celebration of our Monarch's birthday, though this is the last year that the Rock will recognize her birthday with a national holiday). I have to much as I love long weekends, the Monday night before work is always pretty depressing. I guess that's just a testament to how great the weekend was, though, so I shouldn't complain.

With three days off and some busy weeks ahead of us, Kurt and I decided to take it easy on Saturday and to do as little as possible. It was nice. We accomplished absolutely nothing except for groceries, and even that was a bit half-hearted. We were also gearing up for Sunday, which turned out to be one of the best days we've had so far this year.

On Sunday morning, we set out with 8 of our friends on a pontoon boat we had rented for the day. By the way, 10 people and five gallons of rum swizzle makes for a pretty great time out on the open water...we had a blast. We set out towards our place, stopped to feed a huge swarm of snappers some of our Doritos (they loved Spicy Habenero but were not very impressed with salt and vinegar), and did some exploring, diving off the side of the boat whenever it got too hot. The water is very close to the temperature of the air now, which is somewhere near 80 degrees (or 26, depending on which side of the thermometre you're more interested in). It was still refreshing though and there was just enough of a breeze that we didn't completely roast ourselves.

We also did some cliff jumping, which I haven't done for years. I wasn't totally sure that I would participate, but one more glass of rum swizzle was all I needed. It was awesome. The cliffs are on top of these caves, which you have to swim and climb through to find your way to the top. It's really cool...these natural little caverns and "stairways"...almost like Mother Nature deliberately set up a diving spot for us.

By the afternoon, we were less interested in exploring and more interested in just lazing around, so we found a quiet spot between a couple of little islands, dropped the anchor and just hung out until it was time to return the boat. It was a great great in fact that we immediately booked it again for a weekend when Laila and Dallas are here. It's so neat to see the Rock from a different perspective and find these little spots that are impossible to see, even from the ferry.

No one does a long weekend like the Rock. People here take their weekends VERY seriously. I think there must be nearly as many boats as there are people here, ranging from rubber dinghys to gigantic yachts, and every single one of them was out on Sunday, mooring up together, BBQing on the little beaches, playing soccer in the open spaces on all of the little islands, and really making the most of their weekend off. It's neat to see everyone treat it like such a vacation...especially when you know that no one is more than a few minutes from home.

After such an awesome Sunday, it was only fitting that Monday was a bit...lacklustre. After a slow start, we headed out to visit a friend of ours on the other end of the Rock (about an hour's drive) when the Vespa decided that it had other plans for us. The belt snapped off and the scooter just stopped, right in the middle of the road. Kurt pulled over right away to see what had happened and sure enough, there were little chunks of the belt all over the road. Awesome! Thankfully (we were SO lucky), we were only about a 10 minute walk from our house. Had it happened even 10 minutes later, we would have been seriously screwed. We walked it home, hopped in the car and headed to the beach to meet up with our friends. Unfortunately, every single other person on the island was at the same beach, so the parking situation was lousy, the beach was crowded, and there was just enough wind blowing to make you feel like you were being sandblasted as you laid on the towel. Unpleasant. We didn't stay long...maybe an hour or so...just long enough to gather enough sand on our persons to leave trails through the apartment when we got home. Oh well. There will be more successful beach days in our future.

Now I'm back at work, commencing Week 2 of Awkward Four Week Notice Period. My boss is absent today, meaning that it's somewhat less awkward, though I still have nothing to do which means that the next 6.25 hours are going to pass by very. very. slowly.

Only three sleeps until the next weekend...(my weekends start at 5 on Fridays).

Just some stuff.

Today is setting itself up to be another scorcher. It has gotten very hot very quickly on the Rock. Last night, we returned home at about 9:00 from our first beach volleyball night (where we shocked everyone...including actually winning some games) to an 82-degree apartment. It was dry, but it was hot. Last Sunday, we came home from the beach to about 80 degrees, so we decided to cave and fire up the A/C, which we've been doing every night since. Since the maximum temperature at which we can be comfortable and actually sleep well is really only a couple of degrees lower, we only have to run it for a few minutes before relief sets in, thanks to those powerful ceiling fans. Central air...gotta love it.

As the temperatures rise, so does the humidity, just like in Ottawa. However, unlike Ottawa, the Rock frequently experiences humidity levels of 100%. Now, to me, 100% humidity sounds like rain, but it is not. It means that the air is so thick with water that you can actually see large water droplets sparkling in the sun, and they leave your skin, clothes and hair damp in just seconds. It feels like rain, but instead of falling on you, you walk through it. It's whack. My hair went from sleek and straight to an unruly mess in about 2.5 seconds, so I think the straightener is going on hiatus for the summer. I think August is going to be kind of gross.

Today is Day 2 of Awkward Four Week Notice Period. I am just waiting for a tap on the shoulder to tell me to move on and believe can not come fast enough. My boss, unique man that he is, is "punishing" me for leaving by boycotting me from all file-related work. The funny thing is, he so rarely gave me work anyways that I didn't even notice the difference until I noticed that I wasn't being copied on emails anymore. We have gotten along well in the months we've worked together, but I do know him well enough to have anticipated his reaction to my news. Everyone else, however, has been great. Even HR congratulated me and told me that I was making a good move, so that was nice. I'm guessing that this is because everyone else knows that I have spent the past seven months on F-book and the internet. I figure that, at 27, I am in the years of my life when I should be working the hardest to move myself along, career-wise. There's no time to stalemate now. If I wanted to just hit cruise-control and collect a paycheque, I'd stay put but unfortunately, after a few years of four-minute work weeks, I would be totally unemployable anywhere else and, essentially, erasing everything I've worked so hard to put on my resumé. Time to pack it up and move on.

Speaking of packing, I have packed up my desk in anticipation of being "redistributed" when my boss replaces me. Everything has gone home...including my new mug. So, I'm toying with the idea of tracking down that Vegas mug, using it for the remainder of my time here, just to stick it to that evil woman who yelled at me a few months ago. I have nothing to lose now. I may even hide it when I leave in some remote cabinet. not $#%@ with me.

And on a happier note...

My very good friends, Shane and Kelly, are the proud new parents to Zachary David, born on June 9th. He weighed 6 lb. 6 oz. and is beautiful (I've seen photos, so this is not just relying on a somewhat biased parental email) with perfect little cheeks and dark hair. He's adorable. He's Shane and Kelly's first baby too, and the first grandchild on Shane's side, so he's going to be spoiled rotten! I've known Shane since college and met Kelly when Shane, Kathie and I moved to Ottawa together in 2002 and her and Shane had started dating. We were at their wedding last summer and are now looking forward to seeing them (hopefully) in July and meeting their new munchkin. Congrats, guys! Another pseudo-nephew to add to my ever-growing and increasingly cute collection.

And on another happy note...

We're finally, FINALLY, getting the chance to get out on a boat for a day this coming long weekend. Friends of ours have rented a pontoon boat and so we're heading out on Sunday to do some cliff jumping, some exploring, and to find some elusive yet apparently awesome underwater trampolines. Snacks, cold drinks, new friends, and an iPod jack for the boat's speaker system...what is better than that?

And then next weekend, before Lai and Dal arrive, we're going out on another boat to go deep sea fishing for the day, for tuna, wahoo and snapper. Last year, our friends each came home from this trip with 10 lbs. of fish, so I'm hoping for a similar experience...I'd love to have a freezer full of fresh, local, healthy fish. Yum. Lai and Dal have timed their vacation very, very well I think...


Thanks to the timing of my end date at my current job and my start date at my new job, I was able to score an extra six days in Victoria, giving me a full THREE WEEKS OFF, 16 days of which will be in Victoria. Seriously...this is the best news ever. What had been shaping up to be two kind of rushed and crazy weeks full of wedding planning, work on our house (ugh) and flying around trying to see everyone has now turned into an extended, far more relaxed vacation. I'll still only have 5 (busy) days in Ottawa, but with over two weeks in Victoria, that busy isn't going to feel so stressful. And really, I can't wait to get to either city...our Ottawa "to do" list is long, but fun, and our Victoria "to do" list includes sampling wedding cake, so it's not going to be terrible either. Plus, the extra time might just buy me a few days at Hornby, which was worth the 45 minutes I spent on hold with Air Canada to change my flight, all in itself.


At long last, I can spill the beans.

Remember when I mentioned that job opportunity that came up which I couldn't take for multiple reasons? Well, it found me again and I took it. Today I gave my four week's notice to my current employer, making July 8th my very last day.

I could not be happier.

The new job means big things for me/us and though it's going to be a total challenge, I'm so ready for it. That is, if I can train my brain to respond to directions after laying dormant for the past eight months.


Bad wine and other things...

At about this time yesterday, I was dealing with a pretty severe hangover. The unfair part about the whole thing, is that all I had to drink the night before was a dark 'n stormy and half a glass of (apparently rancid) white wine. I remember thinking as I was drinking the wine that something It just didn't taste right. I like wine, and I actually had a hard time drinking it, which is why after gagging down half a glass (mostly to be polite to the person who bought it for me), I conveniently "left" it by the pool table and "forgot" to reclaim it before it was picked up by the bar staff. Unfortunately, that half glass was all it took to leave me horizontal until about 3:00 yesterday afternoon, when I finally peeled myself away from my pillow and hauled my pounding head to the beach for a swim. Swimming in the ocean, by the way, is an excellent hangover cure. It was such a waste of a Sunday, minus the beach part, and has totally put me off wine altogether.

Even more unfair? My boss, who had spent the ENTIRE evening and night pounding tequila shots, felt totally fine the next day. It's just not right.

The weekend, as usual, flew by far too quickly. Thanks in part, I suppose, to me sleeping half of Sunday away. The weather is AMAZING right now. Laila and Dallas are in for one hot vacation. Even at 3 p.m. yesterday, with clouds rolling in from every direction, the beach was hot, the water was warm and both of us got some (more) sun. It's just getting better and better too, though I'm starting to get a little worried about what July and August feel like around these parts. With the windows open and the ceiling fans going full-blast, our place is still pretty warm. Warm enough that I wake up a few times each night to readjust myself to a cooler part of the bed (a.k.a. far away from Kurtis, who is like a furnace when he sleeps).

We did some exploring on Saturday and found a hiking trail near our house that took us down to a very secluded beach with a long stretch of pink sand and reefs just a few metres out into the water. We're going to go back with our snorkels and see what's up down under, but we were told that there are some barracudas laying eggs there right now, so maybe this can wait for a few weeks. I'm not super interested in getting up close and personal with barracudas.

I missed my 10 year high school reunion on Saturday night. Before Facebook came along, I would have made every effort to be there for it, but now that I've already caught up with 90% of the people I'd lost touch with, I didn't feel too sad about missing out. It feels strange that 10 years have gone by since I roamed those halls (or the parking lot, as the case may be) certainly doesn't seem like that long. Anyways, I have a little mini-reunion planned with some of my favorite MD Grad 98's for when I'm home in July. There will be some Boyz 2 Men involved.

This week is shaping up to be an interesting one. I can't say more than that until Thursday or Friday, but I have some big news coming down the pipes...stay tuned.


For the past week, I've been following Heather as she embarked upon a 7 day cleanse. She's now on Day 7 and has concluded that ultimately it was a successful venture. So, first of all, kudos to Heather for sticking with it. She has a few more hurdles than most of us (and that's not meant to make her sound mentally challenged, just digestively so), and a cleanse is difficult enough under normal circumstances.


Her week has made me think a lot about my diet in the recent months. It has fallen by the wayside as our lives have gotten busier and I feel as though it's time for another overhaul, as was done circa November of 2007, January of 2007, and multiple, multiple times before that.

By keeping a closer eye on my routines and habits, including diet, I've made some very useful observations:

1. I appear to be allergic to dairy. It only took 27 years to nail this one down.

2. Since my reaction to dairy is not very severe, it's easy to "forget" about above-noted allergy when near the local Haagan Dazs store. It is also easy to "forget" that dairy exists in chocolate.

3. When we're making our own meals and have lunches packed for the week, I feel great. I feel organized, efficient, and like I'm making a difference for both of us. I also enjoy knowing exactly what I am putting into my body. Last week, our volleyball team had a pizza dinner and I nearly bit into a cockroach, encased in cheese, hiding under an onion. Not only am I now off pizza, but I'm a little bit off anything not cooked in my own (cockroach-free) house, actually. It was effin' gross.

4. As soon as there is the smallest disruption to our routine (a weekend away, a visitor, etc.), all of the above-noted good feelings fly out the window as we find excuse after excuse to eat restaurant food or cook things that aren't so great for us. Case in point: we actually ate KD for dinner last night. I don't think I've eaten it since approximately 2004, but yes...we had it for dinner. It's just wrong on so many levels.

5. My vice is sweets. I love chocolate and ice cream and, while I was able to ignore them or avoid them easily for years, they find ways to creep into my life now in ways they never did before.

6. Deep fried foods used to make me physically ill. Now that I'm living in a country which actually named mayo as their "national sauce", deep fried foods obviously turn up everywhere, including the unexpected. Like sushi. And I'm not talking about tempura. MUST. STAY. AWAY.

So, the time has come to recommit to my health, as opposed to my schedule. Things aren't going to get any less busy for us as we move into summer, but somehow I have to make myself more adaptable to change. While my running has had to take a backseat for now until my knee can handle it again, there are other ways to get exercise in. Tonight, for example, we're going to the beach after work to go swimming. And, in the near future, I'm going to have access to a fully-equipped gym, which will also solve the problem of what to do with a 1.25 lunch hour in the sweltering heat.

Did I mention that the weather shot up from 21 degree averages to 27, in just a week? We're boiling, and it's not even summer yet. Yikes.

Anyways, whether she likes it or not (and she likes it), I'm joining Heather in her healthful mission to pull things together this summer and head into fall healthier, in better shape, and feeling good. find a bamboo steamer on this island...this might be mission impossible.

Commuting Fun.

There is usually one morning each week where Kurt and I drive the scooter into town, as opposed to taking the ferry. Nights where we have volleyball or other plans after work mean that the scooter is a better option, so we're not stuck waiting (or missing) the ferry to take us home again. I don't mind the ride. There are a lot of worse ways to start your morning than cruising along beside the aqua-coloured water and breathing in the fresh ocean air. Or gas fumes, depending on who or what is driving in front of you. Anyways, I kind of look forward to these mornings. It's relaxing...until we get into traffic.

Morning (and afternoon) traffic on the Rock is, in a word, ridiculous. There are two main roads, and everyone is on them. On scooters, in cars, in bigger cars, whatever. Everyone is heading in the same direction and no one is getting there quickly. The roads are very narrow, but as the cars stick to the lanes (no choice, really), the scooters are able to cruise down the centre lane, dodging around vehicles, getting into town much faster. Of course, there are sometimes quick judgement calls to be made when we're going around a corner and a huge water truck or moving truck is coming the other way. I've actually had my shoulder skimmed by a side mirror or two, because even though Kurt is a fantastic driver (seriously...he is excellent), it's sometimes unavoidable. There is just no wiggle room at all.

Right before entering the "downtown core", there's a roundabout. There are quite a few on the island, and it boggles my mind that the locals have nearly mastered it, while they actually had to remove them from large intersections in Victoria because no one "got" it. Yield to the right. Or left, if that's how you roll. It's not hard. In fact, they're kind of fun. I digress.

At this particular intersection, there is a little man in a straw hat, frantically waving, blowing kisses and shouting "I love you" to all of the passing vehicles and cars. He is very well known on the island. EVERYONE knows who he is. He is somewhat of a local legend and for good reason. You can't help but smile when you see his face...he is a very lovable character. So lovable, in fact, that there is a life-size bronze statue of him standing 20 feet away from where he's doing his thing. I personally think that this is a bit premature, since he is clearly not dead, but whatever.

Still, a small part of me can't help but think that it's strange. I'd heard about him for ages, but just couldn't grasp that there is a man, standing on a curb, waving and shouting pleasantries at people every single weekday morning, rain, sun, hurricane, whatever, without so much as a donation basket at his feet. What is his deal? And how long could he possibly have kept this up?

A little research and I found the shocking answer. He has been standing there every morning waving, smiling, blowing kisses and what have you, since...get ready for this...1941. NINETEEN FOURTY ONE. My calculator tells me that this equals 67 years. I suppose he is yet another example of how the locals age gracefully, since I wouldn't have put his age at much past that, but I suspect he was a young adult when he started. Of course, his "mission" has something to do with God, or perhaps his son, or some combination of the two, telling him that his purpose was to make people smile. And so, every weekday morning, he makes his way to the roundabout at 3:30 a.m. and stands there making people smile until about 10:00. What he does after this I don't know, but I'm hoping that it involves sleep. He must have wicked arm and back muscles...have you ever tried to wave for six and half hours straight? Didn't think so.

He has succeeded in his purpose brilliantly. We beep and wave at him whenever we pass and he always, always makes me smile. I'm not sure if he's now paid to stand there, or whether his only payment is the satisfaction of knowing that he's fulfilled what he set out to do so many years ago, but I know that the first morning he is not standing there will be a very sad day for many locals who have come to know and love his presence in their otherwise dull commutes.

Good on you, JB.

7 Months: Reflections.

If I could have a photo of one moment over the past year, it would have been a photo of me, coming through the gates with all my luggage when I first moved to the Rock. I was (literally) the very last person to go through them, thanks to the household worth of stuff travelling with me, and I hadn't seen Kurt in a week, so that moment when I walked through the doors and saw him standing there on the other side, in our new home country, was a big one.

May 30th marked 7 months since that day, which is pretty unbelievable to me. It doesn't feel like we've been gone that long, but then when I think of everything that has happened during that time, I realize that it's been a pretty packed 7 months. Maybe that's why it felt so quick.

When I got off that plane, I really had very little idea of what I was in for. I was lucky enough to have had Kurt's parents brief me on life here, but it took months before I felt like I'd figured this place out. Actually...that's a lie...there's still a lot I haven't figured out and plenty more I'm probably not supposed to figure out. It is nothing if not a strange little place.

Now that June has arrived, I realize just how quickly time has passed. Originally, I had requested a one year work permit, which would have meant that we would have been already setting ourselves up to go home. The plus would have been that I would be spending Christmas at HOME in Victoria, for the first time in 6 years, but honestly, I'm so glad that they wouldn't sponsor a one year permit and put me on two instead, because one year would simply not have been enough time.

Our original goal was to save money. With a goal to purchase real estate in the hottest market in the country, we weren't getting anywhere in Ottawa. Every penny was going into the house, the car, and God knows what else but it didn't leave much behind. I was stressed about money all the time, realizing how far short of our goals we were falling.

Once we'd established that it would/could be a good move financially, we really started to think about other ways in which our lives would change. Geography was obvious, but what about friends, family, etc.? I'd done a big move already, but Kurt never had. We've actually never been anywhere on our own, without family around (sad, sad, sad), so we really didn't know what it would mean for us, both individually and as a couple. Would we be lonely? What if we weren't enough company for each other?

And finally, perhaps the most important consideration of all for this time in our lives, what would this move mean for our careers? We wanted to make the most of it in every way, adding value to our resumes (it really pisses me off that this keyboard doesn't speak French, and I can't add accents) so that, when we returned, we'd at least take some sort of step upward from what we were both doing before. I had a job when we arrived...Kurt didn't. While we were positive that he would find something, whether or not it would be what he was hoping was another question. In short, it was a half-blind decision. have we done?

Financially...jury is still out, but only because of airfare. For whatever reason, when we were figuring out how much we potentially could save, we completely neglected to factor airline tickets into our calculations, or furniture, for that matter. So, now that we're set up and our jet-setting year is almost over (our summer trip will likely be our last for 2008, unless we can score some sort of sweet fall weekend deal to Boston or something), we can finally start chipping away at that first goal. I'm so excited for that day, by the way. And I'm hoping for either the USD to surge or the CAD to tank, but that's neither here nor there.

As far as our questions about how the move might change our relationship or what it would mean for us individually, I'm pretty sure that leaving Ottawa turned out to be the best decision we could have made for ourselves at the time. Not that we were struggling, but we were definitely in a rut and living a life that we weren't suited for at the time. Both of us were constantly talking about changes, moves, trips, was pretty obvious that some sort of ball had to drop. 7 months on the Rock has done wonders for both of us. We're healthier, we're happier, and we're a better couple because of this. The stresses are gone, left thousands of kilometres behind, and there's much more of a sense of togetherness because of where and how we now live. It's nice. It might not work for everyone, but it's working for us.

As far as our careers go, the jury remains out on that one as well, at least in my case. While Kurt has landed himself in, perhaps, the best place possible, I have hit a stalemate. It turned out to be not even a lateral move, but a huge step backwards from what I was doing in Ottawa. I adore my boss, and the Firm is fine, but the responsibilities are missing and so my motivation is dwindling fast. Kurt, on the other hand, is very happy where he is. After watching him spend 14 years in one job, there were people who just could not picture Kurt doing anything else or being anything more than what he was doing in Ottawa. I was really disappointed by this, but have come to realize that sometimes, some people are simply incapable of being happy for anyone else, and just made sure that the supportive people were louder than the unsupportive ones when we were considering this move. As it turns out, we were right and he has ended up in a position that would have required years of training (or a university degree) in Canada and, most importantly, in a job that he is interested in and in which he can see a future for himself. A bright one. That alone, for me, was worth the move. Despite my own job woes, watching Kurt have this experience has been amazing. He is like a different person. A much happier one. It's so great.

In short, we're happy and doing well. People ask all the time how things are going out here, and really...things are going better than planned. We have a huge list of things that we miss, variety and options being at the top of it, along with friends and family, but the things we have gained from this experience far outweigh missing Farm Boy and Second Cup. We really do live for each trip off the Rock, but life in between the trips is pretty decent. We've had visitors (and more to come) and have some pretty big things to look forward to in the coming months.

I don't think everyone would love this life, as amazing as it sounds to live on a semi-tropical island. I don't know if I would be gearing up for Year #2 if I'd come alone, and I'm not sure I would have lasted this long here without those trips to dry land. It's not perfect...but no place is...but we're making the very best of it and what it has to offer us.

OK, my reflective mood has passed.


Well, we got back on Monday, actually, but this is the first chance I've had to blog about our little trip. OK, that's a lie. I was just being lazy.

Our first trip back to Canadian soil since we moved was a success. Short, sweet, and full of many of the many things we miss. Unfortunately, if I listed those things, I would come across as a raging consumerist freak, which is really only the case when I'm in civilization for a short period of time. Case in point: Easter in New York. When you are cut off from the rest of the world (by choice, mind you, it's not like I'm in jail or living in the Kalahari), things like strip malls are very exciting. Especially when they include stores like Winners.

Ah...Winners. In Ottawa, there was a Winners 5 minutes away, but I hardly ever went. See, the thing about Winners is that you have to go with an open mind, the willingness to pick through the racks and the patience needed to weed that 100% cashmere sweater out of a rack of acrylic. I very rarely have any of these things, but this past weekend was an exception and I ended up with the mother load. I was like a rabid dog.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Saturday was the wedding, which was beautiful, emotional, fun...etc. etc....everything a wedding should be. We caught up with old friends, made plans for the summer, and left feeling homesick for our Ottawa life...just a bit. Just until we woke up the next morning to drizzly rain and cold wind and remembered that we live on the beach.

On Sunday, we headed into Mississauga (the wedding was in Orangeville) for some shopping at Square One and to meet up with some of my family for dinner. I don't see this segment of my family often and it happens to include two of my favorite cousins, so it was great to see them and enjoy a family BBQ on a Sunday evening. On Monday morning, bright and early, we headed back to the airport and (somewhat reluctantly) got on the plane.

It was a great weekend and I'm really glad we went. It did make us realize just how much we both miss Ottawa, though.