Monday, December 30, 2013

13 in 2013...


1. Spent New Year's with a pretty bad concussion, barely able to pin my hair back because of the gash in my forehead/scalp.

2. Applied to the Royal Military College of Canada to finish my schooling in Engineering... Only to be told I could not be accepted this year because of my head injury.

3. Made plans to move to Kelowna & attend the University of British Columbia instead.

4. Adopted a Tamaskan, who we named Bourbon... & who played a huge part in my happiness this year. I will forever be grateful for him.

5. Spent a much-needed weekend getaway in Quebec at my Aunt's cottage in Mont Tremblant... For my 21st birthday.

6. Had a total of four jobs, only two of which I actually enjoyed, the last one thankfully being my current job!

7. Fell in & not so out of love, with a best friend.

8. Had an incredible Summer with both old & new friends... No, make that year.

9. Celebrated my favourite holiday by becoming a zombie nurse, two-face & Odlaw (Waldo's evil twin)... Taking Halloween entirely too seriously. If that's at all possible?!

10. Went through the ridiculous yet rewarding journey of moving to Dublin... & vowed to stop ignoring my passion of travelling & instead focus on my happiness.

11. Said see you soon (not goodbye) to amazing people & hello to new ones!

12. Had my first American Thanksgiving & pub crawl, among many other firsts.

13. Perfected the art of instant mash at xmas. This being quite serious for someone who lives off Kraft Dinner.

A somewhat serious, somewhat silly take on my 2013... & my resolutions?
  • Go dairy-free & exercise at least once a week... I have only one body & it's going to have to carry me through a hell of a lot in life, so I'm determined to start taking better care of it. Plus, let's get real, I figure once a week workouts are much more realistic than daily.
  • Visit 14 countries... & the friends in those countries. Also, stay in touch with friends back home!
  • Take time out of busy life for things that will help me grow... Yoga, painting, playing the saxophone, reading & writing to name a few. Focus on finding what will genuinely continue to make me happy in a career. Also, be okay if I don't decide on a career by the end of the year.

What are your favourite moments from 2013? Or even your New Year's resolutions? Ones you plan to keep (or not!) haha.

Wishing you all the best of luck in 2014!

Friday, December 27, 2013

'You're So Lucky!'... My Perspective

It's been about a month & a half since I boarded my plane to Dublin in the Toronto Pearson Airport. There are days where I wonder what life would be like if I stayed at home... If I had chose to finish my last year of school. If I was still working full-time to pay off my student debt. If I was spending my earnings on partying every weekend instead of paying off that debt. If I was still settling for guys who, deep down, I knew were not meant for me... & friends who led to more stress than well-being. I think of the what ifs, the could haves & maybe even the should haves & can genuinely say that while of course I miss maple syrup, hockey & snowboarding, this move to Ireland is possibly the best decision I've made in my entire life.

Maybe I'm being melodramatic with that statement, but in the month & a half I've been here I have been smiling for no reason, stopping dead in the street to admire my surroundings & have met others with the same passion for travel I have, who I am entirely grateful for. I worked ridiculously hard to make this dream happen, with more pitfalls than usual along the way. I honestly cannot say that luck played any part in this process. 

U ARE ALIVE*, Street Art, Portobello

The visa offices in Canada went on strike, delaying my visa. Due to this & my refusal to buy cancellation insurance (in fear that this meant there would be a possibility the trip wouldn't happen), I lost a flight. This meant delaying my move & working for another month in a job I honestly dreaded. This also meant finding another job in Ireland... I chose Dublin. Realistically I could have kept with my original plan & visa application for Belfast, but chose to start entirely over. Why? I can't say I'm sure. But I do not regret the decision whatsoever & instead am happier than ever that I put myself & my poor fam through the agony of overhauling my game plan. In the excitement, I also left my laptop with airport security. Needless to say, this is why luck did not play a part in my move abroad.

The seafront of my new home

To be completely honest, I'm not alone among many others who've stories I've read, in the fact that I tend to be peeved when the comment, 'You're so lucky!' is made. Going after your real passion, putting your all into making it come to life & giving up an easy, comfortable life & the potential for a well-paying career in order to do so, is not luck. I chose travel over what was expected of me & many other twenty somethings. I was expected to finish school, settle down with someone from high school, plan my career goals & begin investing into a home. What would've been missing in that life? Happiness.

I may not finish school until I'm 30... I may not find a guy who's willing to accept the fact that I don't want to settle down. Hell, I may never stop travelling. I may have broken my Mum's heart & I may miss my brother & Bourbon on a daily basis... Also, my friends. I may spend all of my money on experiences & not possessions. I may spend my Summers backpacking instead of renovating a new home. But, I will meet people with gorgeous souls. I will gain a pound in each country I visit discovering incredible food. I will be so exhausted from flying I will sleep on airport benches. I will learn how to say thank you in every language I'll need. I will take the bus home at 9am, not having slept, after a night out with new friends. Now that, is what I call lucky. Cheers!

& remember... 'If it is important to you, you'll find a way. If not, you'll find an excuse.'

Friday, December 13, 2013

Oh Canada!

So I've fallen off the face of the Earth lately in terms of blogging... Due to a valid reason though of course. I've been in Dublin now for a month this Wednesday & can easily say I'm enjoying every second of it. Before I get cheesy though with my love of Ireland, I'll just say that being an expat always makes me appreciate my home country, Canada! What I'm missing...

A Trenton Police badge in the oldest pub in Ireland... Trenton's close to where my Mum lives.

Kraft Peanut Butter & Dinner, need I say more?! Though I did find what looks like a sketchy box of Kraft Dinner at one of the grocery stores here, at 4 Euro a box I think I'll pass.

Maple Syrup... All the 'Canadian' ones here are made in Ireland haha, but s'pose I'll survive! My first Irish breakfast with the fam, they literally gaped, mouths wide open gaped, at the fact that I poured maple syrup over their hard work. I'm determined to get the kids hooked already... Hahaha.

As much as I miss Canadian food, you can never go wrong with a home cooked Irish dish from what I've learned. Bangers & mash is my current favourite.

All Day Breakfast Buffets! I've yet to find one, but if anyone at all knows of one in the Dublin area I will buy your breakfast. Seriously though. Also I haven't found anywhere who does decent pancakes yet, so it's a good thing I'm a pro at home made. When I think about it, the pubs may just make up for it though & that's a bold statement...

Canadian Whiskey & Beer. I've found a few labels at the Celtic Whiskey place on Dawson Street, which is actually incredible for their selection, but there are still a few I've yet to find... Kokanee anyone? Guinness will happily do for now.

Swear one pint always seems to turn into ten though, a vicious cycle ha!

Poutine! No-one knows what it is here?! Not even my American friends, so I'm determined to make it for them at xmas... One major food group for Canadians that can't be replaced.

Timmy's of course. Though I've heard some Spars have them, I'm still on the hunt. I was actually debating on whether I should make a day out of it or not, too far? Not for good coffee.

Driving... I do miss having my own vehicle dearly. Also, trucks. Real trucks. I miss them too. Luckily the public transpo is something Europeans do well.

Sephora. Boots will do, but it's no Sephora. Though my wallet's not complaining whatsoever & I definitely have a soft spot for British cosmetics.

Snow/Ice Hockey/Snowboarding is one aspect I miss about home that I probably always will. Being able to go night riding on a whim & drive 15 minutes to the hill is now considered a luxury. Thankfully I have trips already planned to Norway (booked!), Austria & Finland for the season or else I'd probably go mad. 

A photo of our backyard my Mum sent me.

The palm trees here are lovely though & oddly enough I'm in love with the gloomy/drizzly weather. Also, I've been walking about in a t-shirt these past few days! IN DECEMBER. This is unheard of back home. Come to think of it I've got a few funny stares here, but it's warm. Rugby will never replace ice hockey for me, but I can deal! Already love the atmosphere rugby creates here, literally everywhere. When New Zealand won against Ireland the other weekend there were literally men in tears at the pubs, was brilliant. No sarcasm either.

Am I the only one who thinks it's bizarre & incredible cool that Ireland has palm trees? How did I not notice these on my last trip?!

Lastly... Medical Care!!! 50 Euro for a visit to the doctor here?! Um, no thanks, think I'll suffer. I admit Canadians are spoiled when it comes to our health & I'll always be grateful knowing that my friends & fam back home are well taken care of. They're the biggest part of what I miss back home & to add more sap to the mix, I'm ridiculously lucky to even have people I can say I miss. Bisous.

Seemed fitting.

Can I just end this by saying that as much as I already do & will miss Canada, the accent & genuinely nice people here make it easy to call Ireland my new home. What do y'all miss?! When you're an expat, when you're long-term travelling or even on vacation? I think it'd be interesting to know everyone's home comforts depending on where they're from & where they are now. Also, I have to add that I found it incredibly hard not to fill this entire post with hilarious Canadians memes. Google them for your own enjoyment, please! But I will leave you with this...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Glendalough - Wicklow Mountains National Park

So I've arrived & have been absolutely loving every second of life here so far, more on that later. To get back into posting I figured I'd just show you the Wicklow Mountains! South of Dublin, about an hour or so, lies these gorgeous hills. Well, being a Canadian we would call them hills at least. The working holiday program organized a trip for us Canadians, Americans & Germans & I have to say the hike has been my favourite part of the past two weeks. I'll let the photos speak for themselves though!

Yes, this crazy f!@#er is swimming.

We actually were drinking this water, incredibly good.