I’m back! Hi!

It’s been over a year since my last blog. I was thinking of giving up on this blog for good.

Life took over, work took over, and a British winter is just about dreary and sad enough to put anyone off living here, so that being said, I felt no inspiration to write about it. I remember one day the sun set at 3:30 in the afternoon. It was the shortest day of the year and I was questioning why we left Mexico for this. That first winter in England was horrible. We were completely broke and our apartment was cold and mouldy. We didn’t have many friends and (I for one) was so completely sick of the rain.

They say your first year abroad is the hardest. It didn’t feel like that in Mexico. It was the first time I truly understood what they meant by that statement. That Christmas we stayed in London. We wanted to go somewhere but as was the norm that winter, the money ran dry. There was no turkey, no tree, no family. I had the worst cold I think I’ve ever had, which we later found out was because of the awful mould problem in the flat. New Year’s Eve, I sat curled up on the couch with my friend Leslie on the phone, listening to the cheering and fireworks from the London Eye. I was sicker than a dog and feeling majorly depressed. I so wanted to be out there celebrating our first NYE in London!

 

After that Christmas B got his first job in the UK and things started to pick up. We had just enough of the British winter and took off for a long weekend in the Costa del Sol, on the south coast of Spain. It was amazing. It was everything we needed…sun, beaches, margaritas and a change of scenery. It reminded us of the way life was in Mexico, which quickly feels like a dream after a few months in the big city.

 

As the winter drizzle lifted, so did our spirits. In April we spent 5 days in Ibiza with K&A, who have now become two of our best friends. I love every moment we spend with these two. It was such a great trip. I took advantage of every single second I could basking in the sun, often laughing to myself about how all I did was try to avoid the sun months earlier in Mexico.  The things we take for granted.

Life got better and better over the year. Living in London does get easier!

Most weekends we spent exploring England or heading to the beach. In August I spent a glorious 3 weeks in Canada. I spent an amazing long weekend in BC for a friend’s wedding. It was incredible and probably the most fun I’ve had in years. I then spent a week in Kelowna with my family where it was 34 degrees! We bummed around at the lake and drank beer on sunny patios. We got too much sun and took a billion pictures. It was completely perfect. I spent a week in Calgary trying to squeeze in every minute I could with the most important people in my life. It’s never enough time when you know you’re leaving for at least a year again, but I’m so grateful for that time. It was like no time had gone by and it felt like a trip back in time, to what a summer would have been like a few years ago. Leaving was hard and made me think really hard about the end goal  – why I’m choosing to live thousands of miles away from so many loved ones.

After last winter we promised ourselves we would do something different next year. If we came here to travel then Christmas would be somewhere different and somewhere amazing. This Christmas we’re going to be in Malta for 11 days.

We’re also planning a trip to Italy for our 3 year anniversary in the spring! And I promise this time, I will blog about it all, including stuff in-between.

Xo

L

Finding balance

I immediately feel spoilt writing this blog, but I’m going to write it anyway.

 I feel spoilt for already missing Mexico and looking up flights to go back on my lunch break. I love London, I do. This first month has been wonderful. But it’s been wonderful in a different way.

Mexico was unpredictable, spontaneous, and constantly surprising, which is all very refreshing stuff for a girl who is used to planning every last detail of life (even by the very name of my chosen career, event planner…) so, as you can imagine, Mexico where nothing can possibly be planned for was a lovely change.

Although living in Mexico was not practical for long term life sustainability, it’s definitely something I recommend for every woman who lives vicariously through their lists and Outlook calendars (like me).

Allowing myself to be completely consumed by the tropical life gave me a new perspective on life. I allowed myself to get fat, and lazy. I got too much sun and I drank too much beer. I ate too many tacos and spent too many lazy days lying on the beach just because I can. I let my calendar collect dust and I left e-mails unreturned.  I wandered through un-planned areas and had un-planned adventures and I don’t regret a second of it.

Coming to London was our compromise between giving up our opportunity to travel and have adventures in life, and handing over our souls to western society’s expectations of us, (Or, to the ‘man’ as they say).

It’s not hot, sunny, beachy and tropical, but it’s 1 hour away from Paris, and a cheap flight away from destinations I’ve always dreamt of seeing. The job isn’t weddings and sand, but it’s practical, a good step in the career ladder, and pays enough for a nice flat in a nice neighbourhood, and affords us a few holidays a year.

That being said I believe we have found an excellent balance between, Mexico, and Canada.

It’s stable and practical, while still allows us to travel and have new adventures.

And, I do have to admit, it’s really nice to have an office to go to, a real paycheck to look forward to, and the financial stability to plan trips to Europe.

But Mexico has a special place in my heart and I still believe that no matter how much of the world I experience,  there’s no place quite like Tropical paradise.

Portobello Market

 

On Saturday we went to the world famous Portobello market in Notting Hill.

This market is complete indulgent, overwhelming, and has the power to take you to another time, another land.

I’ve seen a market or two in my day, and this Portobello market land goes really far beyond expectations.

It is every single kind of market you can think of in one (And the sub categories of market type were extremely organized for an early 1730’s originated market that used to be farm, I must add).

The market starts with endless antiques, silver goods of every kind, old maps, old art, old furniture, it’s like being at Antique road show, but so much better, then it  goes into european modern fashion, followed by the most fantastic vintage fashion selection. Which then turns into the most amazing array of fresh foods from all over the world, an over the top impressive selection of farmers market options, coffee shops, pubs, restaurants, gelato, Paella, used items for everyone in the family and every room in the house, everything for the home, for the garden, for the bike lover, for the jewelry lover and on and on and on. It took us 4 hours to walk the whole market, and we skipped a lot of it because it was just so much of everything and we were a little overwhelmed by the whole thing to be honest.

It had absolutely everything, and a completely excited and in awe crowd to boot.

The ambiance is lovely, a gorgeous mix of modern and old and trendy and vintage. Talented artists played on the corners, filling the streets with their voices and sounds, from everything to indie artists, reggae, to a lady on the corner with a microphone singing Aretha Franklin. The market is a truly inspiring experience that will have any non history enthusiast see London’s history come into modern day in the most fantastic way. I bought a few things, but as we are trying to furnish a new flat we are trying to be as frugal as possible. But I did get one of those small clocks on a necklace, so adorable. I also got a 2 pound pajminas as well as a 2 pound top for work.

What a magical place. And the market runs every week, almost everyday.

Today we didn’t get so lucky. We were so excited about all the market fun that we decided to check out another London market, which resulted in us eating second breakfast at a cafe waiting for the rain to pass, which didn’t let up after 40 minutes, so we just went back to the bus stop in the rain.

However the rain did eventually let up and we spend a nice afternoon in Wimbledon shopping for things for the new place! We got a great coffee table from a charity shop for only 15 pounds! Who says London is expensive.

Tomorrow is back to work for me, and I will write more and update you on the job as I realized I haven’t written anything about this job which is the whole reason we moved here!

But that’s for another day. Right now I have a new leather couch and a glass of Merlot waiting for me.

Ta for now
xoxo
L

We moved to London!!

I have the blogger guilt again. The one where you don’t write for so long and then you just keep prolonging writing because you feel like it’s been too long and everyday you just feel less and less like writing. Bad blogging habit! I must start writing just a little bit every day. And if you read the bit of the blog that is left, you know that every second blog starts with this kind of ‘oh man, I never write anymore and feel so bad about it’. All that same jazz. But at least I have a good excuse this time. Just a little moving to London!!

So, here’s the low down. We left Mexico in June and I felt increasingly depressed about that every single day and tried to fill the gap of depression with applying for dream jobs in London online and dreaming of one day doing the expat thing again but this time in jolly old England. Then one day (One gorgeous Calgary day that I got to enjoy the entirety of as I was not working at the time, I might add), I got an email from an international humanitarian charity in London looking for a Major gifts and corporate events person and they said that they would like to interview me over Skype and of course I said omgzz yes even though at my time it would have been 4:30 in the morning but I didn’t care. I wanted this job more than anything. So interview morning comes around and I sleep in and throw a blazer over my pyjamas and make a pot of coffee with the 4 minutes I had remaining as oppose to putting some make-up on and brushing my teeth. A girls gotta have priorities right? So the first hour of the interview was us trouble shooting skypes audio settings and me trying not to look completely terrified and on the verge of a meltdown and wondering what I am doing here with a blazer and pyjamas trying to have a skype interview that I am clearly not prepared for. Augh. Anyway so we finally work out the audio settings and everything goes well and I give this presentation and they say things like ‘marvellous’ and ‘that’s wonderful’ and all the english expressions of approval and happiness.

So 6:30am I fall back asleep dreaming of pubs and sheep and castles and all things english. 3 days later I get an e-mail saying they would be delighted to offer me the job and I throw myself on the ground like this dramatic little teenager. It was the most exciting feeling I’ve ever had and I felt more accomplishment right then and there than I ever had in my life. (Regardless of the fact that I was in my pyjamas, unemployed, crashing at a friends place for the entire summer).

So I Facebook B as he is out of town working and I write something about how we are moving to England on his Facebook wall, and now, I kind of regret telling him like that because I never got to see his reaction.

Anyway the thing was that they didn’t want me to start right away and I needed to make some serious money before I went. So, after a long weekend helping my sister and her family move to Victoria, I then took a job as a cleaning lady at my sisters cleaning company and cleaned 3 houses a day for 3 weeks and got in the best shape of my life doing that. So that was actually a good experience. I made some cash, I got the good abs, and I learnt how to clean the real way which I a bit embarrassed to admit I am just learning at 28 years old.

So then the time came to move to England. I said goodbye (again) to all my family and friends, which to my surprise and dismay, was actually somehow much harder the second time. Perhaps it has something to do with how far it is, how expensive it is, the 2 year work contract, I’m not sure. But I cried my face off for a full week and am still recovering from the sadness of saying goodbye to them all.

So, off we went to London and we spent the first week living half the time in a Travel lodge, then living in some strange little room while we looked for the perfect flat.

So we found the perfect flat and moved in 2 days ago!! It’s so dreamy. It is 10 minutes away from my office and it’s 15 minutes away from downtown London. It has a big closet, it’s completely renovated on the inside, yet old as ever on the outside, which is typical for London.

I have been at the new job for a week and it’s actually really overwhelming. The whole world of international development and humanitarianism is something I have absolutely no experience in and every day is a ridiculous amount of learning.

In all the craziness of this move we’ve taken little breaks to enjoy local pubs, explore Hyde park, Trafalgar square, and Buckingham palace and the Natural History Museum.

So, that’s where we are at. London is magical. I forgot how much I loved this place. From everything to the cheese and pickle sandwiches, the fish and chips, the smell of fresh rain and the old markets, to the bustling city, the history, the culture and the lovely afternoon at pubs.

It’s funny how as a 9 year old I completely loved the very same things here as I do 19 years later….
I guess some things never change.

More on London soon!! Maybe B will write a blog next time! That’s why it’s called L & B, is because we are both supposed to write…(hint hint🙂

L

 

Blueberry pancakes and Top Gear

This morning was one of those gorgeous Sunday mornings full of sleep. I slept in until around 11, and then Skyped with my 6 year old niece in Wales, she was so grown up and amazing.

When I go to London, we are going to visit and make magic wands, of course in honour of the last film, The Deathly Hallows: Part 2. She said she would find sticks and I will bring magical glitter.

Then I went upstairs and Tara was making homemade blueberry pancakes. With actual blueberries on top, and there was powered sugar as well. We sat outside in the hot sun, watching cows, eating pancakes and being blissfully lazy and indulgent.  After breakfast Aaron watched Top Gear and laughed his face off the whole time. It was awesome to see him so happy and relaxed, he works so hard.

The only thing missing from this morning was B. I haven’t really talked much about the work that he does. He works doing video production for Aaron’s company that does big shows all across Canada. In this instance the show was Tragically Hip in Vancouver. All summer, B jumps from show to show all over the place. I haven’t really seen him much since we got back from Mexico, and we haven’t even really celebrated the fact that we are moving to England together yet. We had one night that he had off, and we drank beer and ate so much food at this stinky old pub. He talked about how much he loves his work, and I talked about England, and I got to feel like we were on a real date again.

I felt a bit sad this morning that he was not able to be here to enjoy all of these simple, yet awesome times. He loves pancakes, and he really loves Top Gear.  He is so passionate about his work and puts his whole heart and everything into it. Just the way he does with everything else. He inspires me and challenges me to be better everyday. He is my best friend, and I wish him years of lazy mornings with Blueberry pancakes and Top Gear. Because he really deserves it.

 

Perfect flat, where are you?

So another morning of searching the web for the perfect flat in London.

I’m staying with my friends. They have a fancy coffee maker, it makes cappuccinos and everything. Except I tried to froth the milk this morning and made a big mess.

Anyway I’m getting off track. I’m searching for apartments in an area called Putney in Greater London.

They have shopping, pubs, parks, a tube station near by, and lots of European type looking flats. It’s close to my work, it’s closer to the Thames River, and all the attractions of downtown London.

Putney High Street

The search has been a bit daunting. I’m trying not to sound too much like a foreigner when I inquire. So I’m trying to use as many English sounding words and phrases like “I do not wish to have a flat mate” and “I’d be delighted to arrange a viewing”.

Searching for a place to live over there is different.

They have all these …’Maisonettes’. What is that? I’m not sure. I would have guessed a small mansion. But it looks more like a shared dorm room to me.

And, they have many studios. In London, a studio typically isn’t an open concept sexy loft type place that you can bring your friends to and show off how unconsciously trendy you are .

The studios are even smaller than my current bedroom and questionable on if they would  pass as an actual ‘suite’, and are usually just a room in someones house. Just because your kids moved out of your house, it doesn’t mean you can put a sink in there and turn their old room into a ‘cozy studio or lovely maisonette’.

I am learning that by moving to London, although a life long dream come true, I am giving up any hopes of having a decent sized closet, any real privacy, or a proper kitchen to practice my sort of new found cooking skills in. (Yes, that happened).

Also, of course a necessary step to considering a flat is how close it is to the tube station. Just to give you an idea of HOW MUCH FUN this particular step is, here is the tube map…for your reference…

Are they actually being real?

But despite all of this, there’s still this kid like excitement when I look on google street views and it’s all black cabs, red double deckers, pubs, post boxes & everything is just oozing with so much awesome British-ness at every corner that it makes me want to frolic in puddles!!

I’m putting the laptop down now and am heading to the Stampede Round-Up to escape the virtual land of London and join the thousands of other Calgarians bring out their inner cowboy-girl!

 

Going back to London

Moving to London has been a dream of mine for over 12 years now. I was born in a town named Bedford in 1983, which is a town about half an hour north of London. Up until I was 9 years old, I lived in different areas of London, mainly an area in North London called Finchley. My sister and I lived there with my Nana, and Uncle Robert. It was a small apartment, but there was lots of them, so we had a lot of friends there.

It wasn’t a typical upbringing. An enjoyable weekend for all of us was hours at the local pub, the grown ups soaking in the sun over a pint of beer, and us kids playing on the bouncy castle, and this big wall that you could throw yourself up against while wearing a velcro suit.

It wasn’t what many Canadians would consider a ‘normal’ upbringing, but it was normal to me. I remember eating saveloy sausages and chips out of malt vinegar soaked newspapers, while watching the Lacrosse guys play in their bleach white suits. I remember walking through Regents part on the way to school, counting squirrels, wearing wellingtons, and twirling my umbrella. I remember having afternoon tea and baked beans on toast.

We didn’t have much money as my Nana was raising us alone, but we had big imaginations, and that kept us busy, and happy. There was nothing exotic or luxurious about my upbringing in London, but it was home.

After we moved to Canada when I was 9 years old, life got better and better. Our house was bigger, my sister and I had our own rooms, and everything was bigger, everything. I grew up with more and more friends and better and better jobs. I can’t really complain about the 18 years that I spent in Canada. But I can say that it never really felt like home. Even at 10 years old I completely felt how conservative the people where, and at that age I couldn’t even tell you what conservative meant. I felt like an outsider from day one. Partially due to the kids at school that didn’t like my funny accent and fancy clothes. As a new kid in Canada, I never felt comfortable with their sub-par use of the English language and over sized hoodies paired with baggy jeans.

I remember how hard it was for me to donate my little blue sailor dress with the matching white hat. That just wasn’t going to fly in Canada. I never understood why it wasn’t okay for me to wear that dress and be different, but at that time, it was just easier to be like the other kids.

We visited England many times in that 18 years and each time felt magical to me. I loved the rain, the smell of fresh cut grass, the fresh fish, the markets, the pubs, the castles, the rolling hills that made me feel more free and more myself every time than I ever did in Canada.

I learnt more and more about the family we left behind there over the years, and as I got older I realized what a blessing it was to leave England and move to Canada.

While we were living in Mexico, B and I started talking about England. My face lit up as I showed him all my pictures from previous visits. We spent most of the afternoon having the ‘what are we doing here and where to we want to be’ talk. We didn’t feel challenged, or motivated. We felt an intense desire to experience something new, and to see other parts of the world. We decided that day that we would move to England. We didn’t know how or when. But we knew it, the same way we knew we needed to go to Mexico.

The last week in Mexico I applied for a few jobs in London. One in particular that really excited me. I didn’t get my hopes up, but I did rush to the laptop every morning with a bit of sadness when nothing had come in. I didn’t apply for too many jobs. It was my last few weeks in Mexico and I didn’t want to waste it on the computer. We spent the last of our time in Mexico being completely indulgent. At the beach, at Casa Isabel, drinking and eating whatever and whenever we wanted. It was the best way I could think to spend the last of our time in Mexico.

When we got back to Canada. B went strait to BC to see his family, and I went to my grandpas house. I immediately fell into the deepest post Mexico depression. I went from having an apartment 2 blocks away from the beach in paradise, to sleeping in my old room again. I went from having an amazing job to no job at all and no money. I went from having all the freedom and fun I could ever ask for…to being back where I started in Canada when I was 9 years old.

Despite how unbelievably hospitable my Grandpa was, the depression was super intense. I didn’t know where my life was going and I felt like a failure. I felt silly for thinking I could just….leave Mexico and move to England. I felt defeated by life and like I had lost everything because my ridiculous ideas. 4 days into this, and I am actually contemplating taking up drinking full time.

B texted me that night from BC after I had too many beers and was living vicariously through my past in Mexico by sobbing over all the paradise like pictures. He asked me to come to BC and spend the weekend with his family. It’s amazing how easily B can turn my mood, and my life right around in moments. That’s not always a good thing, but in this instance, it was exactly what I needed.

The next morning I boarded the 8:30am flight to Kamloops and spent a lovely few days in BC with his family. One morning I woke up in the loft of his parents Cabin like home and received an e-mail from that one exciting job I applied for, asking for an interview. My heart starting beating faster and I felt melty. I felt like screaming and jumping and running. I can’t remember ever having so much energy and excitement.

All I could think for the next week was about this interview. About how this amazing job in London could change my whole life. About what I would do if I didn’t get the job. With no job, no money, no home…I didn’t even want to consider that a possibility. The next week I spent completely obsessing about this interview. I perfected the presentation they asked me to give, after changing it about 23 times.

That Friday morning I woke up at 4:15am to make it to my 4:30 skype interview. I didn’t care that perhaps they didn’t consider the time change. I wanted this job more than ANYTHING. I was surprisingly calm during the interview. Especially considering we had spent the first  hour of the interview troubleshooting skypes audio settings. But during the interview I didn’t feel nervous at all. I felt like I actually had answers to everything they asked, and felt excited to share with them my experiences.

After the interview I laid in bed. 5:30…6:30…7:30…8:30..I just laid there. But I couldn’t sleep. I was imaging B and I holding hands walking along the Thames river. I was thinking about me doing life changing work for this amazing organization, and all the poor people I was going to help. I was thinking about traveling through Europe, showing B where I grew up, the best pubs, the Westminster Abbey, the Big Ben, The London Bridge, driving through rolling hills and exploring castles on the weekends. I started to get completely crazy and thought about exactly how I would like to decorate my small yet cozy European style flat in London.

They said they would let me know Wednesday. It was only Friday morning. That weekend I pretended to listen to a lot of people I wasn’t actually listening too. Which is actually quite awful because I saw many awesome friends that weekend that I hadn’t seen since before Mexico. But I couldn’t help myself.

I could not stop thinking about English markets, art galleries, architecture, and experiencing real culture in a magical country. I daydreamed and imagined B and I just taking the train over to Paris for the weekend, just because we could. It was getting VERY out of control, but I maintained my composure, and mentioned it briefly in small talk at gatherings that weekend.

Monday morning I woke up and saw an e-mail titled “Major gifts and Corporate Events Executive – Offer”.

Before even opening the e-mail I quite literally dropped the phone, and unconsciously let my entire body fall to the floor, and cried the most dramatic cry I have had in years. I didn’t know why I had to cry like that, but I guess you never really know how you’re going to react when all your dreams have just come true.

I opened the e-mail to just confirm that it was indeed a job offer. That would have been tragic. But it was the job offer. It said ‘We would be delighted to offer you the position”. I laughed at how adorable their British charm was, and felt so excited to meet the team.

As B was on the road at the time, he sadly found out via e-mail, or Facebook, I’m not sure which one. I booked my flight for August 18th which gives me 3 days before I start work to look for the perfect flat.

Searching for a flat in a city of 15 million is overwhelming, to say the least. But of course it’s fun that my search for a flat in London is the most overwhelming struggle in my life right now. It still doesn’t feel real. I feel like the luckiest lady in the world.

However, I am not going for 45 days from now. So… that gives me lots of time to enjoy a Calgary summer before starting a our new life in England.


Goodbye Mexico

This blog took me a very long time to write, and was the hardest blog I have ever had to write to date.

After months of job hunting, many late nights of brainstorming sessions, thinking outside the box, and other such attempts at staying above in a developing country, B and I have decided to pull the plug on living in Mexico. At least for this point in our lives.

We have been in Calgary now for two weeks, and although we miss living in Paradise tremendously, we had the time of our lives, are looking forward to new adventures.

We went to Mexico to discover a new culture and live a better life, and we did just that.

It was an amazing experience and I have no regrets.

I have seen and done things that I never in a million years thought I would have the opportunity to do.

I have spent more time relaxing on the beach than most do in a lifetime.

I have worked in a resort, and have seen exactly what happens behind the scene and exactly how hard everyone has to work to provide you with that 7 day all inclusive paradise experience.

I have kicked my fears in the shin time and time again and overcome things that held me back for years in the past.

I have met so many amazing people whose love for life and adventure has inspired me to always grow, always move, and always try something new no matter how scary it sounds and no matter what society expects of me.

I have made more friends in our 7 months in Mexico, than I had in 10 years before I came. These friendships are so special to me, because we experienced something together that most never have the chance to do.
I’ve learnt exactly how to completely design the life I want from the ground up, as oppose to living the life that I feel like I ‘should’ be living.

I have learnt that being ‘broke’ as we say in Canada is a ridiculous term, after seeing what people who actually have no money have to endure.

I have learnt that I do not have a hard life. I have been given the chance to live a good, comfortable life with endless opportunity. Most here will never have that luxury.
I’ve learnt from the poorest and happiest people I have ever known that happiness is from within, that life is what you perceive it to be, and that you always have a choice to be happy or not to be happy.

I had the most amazing time in Vallarta and fell in love with the special little town every single day.

Puerto Vallarta will always hold a special place in my heart, and I know without a doubt that B and I will be back. To live or to visit, I am not sure. But we will be back.

And, to answer your next two questions….

Yes I will definitely continue to blog.
About what?

About our new life in London, England. As I start my new job in Major Gifts and Corporate Events there on August 23rd.

Stay tuned, and thanks for following our adventure.

And, as pictures can tell the story that my pre-coffee 8am blogging just can’t right now, here is an idea of how we spent the last of our time in Mexico, just in case you were wondering.🙂

We certainly took advantage of the time we had….

xoxo

L












Preparing for a Mexican Summer….

As the thunder and lightening rolled over our once perfect and paradisey skies here in Puerto Vallarta, I am reminded of the ever so dreaded summer that is to come.

Summers here consists of flooding, hills turning into downward rivers, absolutely unbearable heat paired with an exhausting amount of humidity, topped off with a daily dose of intense tropical rains, which are a welcome change that cools everything off in the late afternoon.

However, last year the rain created horrible flooding that did some major damage to some crucial infrastructure that the locals heavily rely on, such as 2 of the largest bridges.

Perhaps my winters may have gone from 7 strait months of  −30 degrees and snow storms to a perfect high 20 somethings with a lovely ocean breeze surrounded by jungle tropical happiness.

But in good balance, I am now preparing to trade my summers of camping with friends and family, mountain adventures, Folk Fest, floating down the Bow River, and spending memorable afternoons on the Ship & Anchor Pub, with the harsh reality of a tropical location in rainy season. (Or as actually described by a few of my good friends here, ‘a complete mess’, ‘totally brutal’,  ‘so humid you never dry off after a shower’ or ‘so rainy, you could kayak down to the grocery store’). That being said, people spend the months anywhere there is air conditioning, and I hear the movie theaters do very well during those months.

It was easy to not miss Calgary when I clearly had the advantage when it comes to weather and lifestyle, but now the tables are about to turn, I am flooded (no pun intended) with so many wonderful memories of Calgary in the summer.

And their summer up there are really heavily celebrated by all as they have suffered such a long and harsh winter. So, when summer happens up north, the city completely comes alive with  BBQ’s,  hikes, zoo trips, river floating, walking, biking, rollerblading, shopping, actually enjoying 17th avenue, perusing farmers markets, outdoor festivals, concerts, plays, and simply soaking in and indulging in every gorgeous day they have.
That’s the great thing about only having 2 or 3 months of nice weather, the people really soak it in.

Here in Vallarta, there is not the same kind of excitement about the weather, as it is hot year round. As well, many folk who live here, myself now included do not have the money for fun and adventure.
I feel trapped by my lack of financial independence, and am feeling an overwhelming amount of sadness that I will not be able to spend summer with my friends and family, and Canada.

Like any good Canadian, I took summer very seriously. Before the end of April, I had always completed a calendar and lists packed full of my hopes and dreams for the summer. Then at the end of September I would look back and the mostly crossed off list, stained with iced tea rings and sun. I would always have hundreds of new photos and a kind of happiness that I can honestly say I have not yet felt here in Vallarta.

My summers usually went something like this (In no particular order):

– Trips to BC
– Trips to Canmore and Banff
– A weekend at Jackie’s Cabin in BC with the girls
– 4 days of amazing music, friends, beer, and sunshine at Folk Fest
– Many BBQ’s and days in the sun with my family and little niece
– Rollerblading around the bike paths with B
– Meandering around the shops in Kensington with a caramel frappachino and treating myself to a bit of shopping
– Afternoons with Jenn at the Ship & Anchor pub
– Shopping on 17th Ave, constantly.
– Trips to the Zoo
– Sitting by the fire in Tammy’s backyard
– Spending afternoons in the back yard, soaking in the sun, usually with a chilled chardonnay
– Sun and Salsa festival in Kensington
– Patios, beers on patios, many many patios
– Running through Marda Loop and Mission or wherever else I felt like running
– Backyard dinners and parties with music and friends at Bradon’s house
– General backyard relaxing at Bradon’s house
– Hours of reading in the sun

So, there is my fast point form rendition of what summers used to mean to me, and I know I am missing tons. And this summer I will be hiding in random air conditioned spots, trying not to go out much, trying to stay dry, trying to stay cool. And, all the while being completely broke and having very few people around, as most here had to good sense to go home, be with their friends and family, and make some real money and enjoy a real summer back home, wherever back home is. And to add to that, B will be in Canada for 1 month in July, to make some real Canadian money.

I have entertained the idea of going home for a little while, however B thinks it will be too expensive for me to go back, with me not having a job. He is probably right.

I think to make the best of the situation I will spend the summer working on getting Mi Amor Occasions off the ground, and practicing my Spanish, so when fall comes again, I will hopefully have more money, and the language won’t be such a constant struggle for me.

To all my peeps up north, I hope you all have the most amazing summer and soak in every last beautiful warm moment. You know I will be thinking of all of you.

Some of my favourite Canadian summer moments:

Camping in BC. Here Vicky and I are froliking through feilds.

Girls weekend at Jackie's Cabin

May Long Weekend in BC

Folk Fest!

Jackies Cabin

Summer BBQ in Bridgeland

Finding my own way

Yesterday, I quit my job in rentals.

Without going into detail, and in the interest of keeping everything anonymous, there was a situation that forced me to really think about what I want and what steps I need to take to be successful here in Puerto Vallarta.

I have no regret and I am glad that I tried something new and I met some really great people along the way.

I am focusing a lot of where my strengths are career wise, and what my best attribute are that I can share and contribute to society.

No matter how many different avenues of careers I try, and as you know, I am always trying something new, I always find myself back in the same 3 areas: Weddings, events and fundraisers. Or to summarize that, just events. Planning them, bringing an idea to life.

I love doing all of these things, they are all familiar, yet challenging and I can spend a lifetime in growing and improving myself, which for me is very important for my happiness with my career. New challenges that force me to grow not only professionally, but as a person. I would never have moved here in the first place if I was okay with a non challenging 9 to 5 job that won’t take me anywhere.

I don’t want to be type-casted in my own life as being or doing one or two things. I want to create a life for myself that is versatile, adventurous, unique, new, and always pushing me more and more to be better at everything I do.

What I do know so far is that I am going to be doing my own weddings and other events, which is something I have wanted to do since the beginning, but have approached the idea very slowly, and with much caution. I always knew that when the time was right and when I was truly ready to make the leap, that I would just know.

Considering everything that happened with this recent..change..I believe that was the go ahead for me to find the entrepreneurial spirit and passion that I left behind in Calgary. There are a few integral people in my life here that have really pushed me to be a better wedding coordinator, and have taught me the fundamentals of destination weddings, as well as people who have constantly reminded me that I can do anything I put my mind to and will always succeed when I put my heart into it. (you know who you are, and thank you for all your support). So, all that being said, here is a mock-up of the beginning stages of that project. Okay I know that is just a logo but it’s pretty and it’s one little baby step in the right direction.

Poco a poco as they say around here. Things like facturas, accounting and banking are all still things that I haven’t even began to scratch the surface of. I am first focusing on a business plan that makes sense for me and that reflects my goals as an entrepreneur. Once I complete that, I will get into the nitty gritty, one step at a time.

http://www.miamoroccasions.com

I am going to take my time is bringing this project to life, and I am going to keep all my past experience in mind with everything, what worked, and the many things that didn’t work. This time around I want to really dig into my creativity and improve my processes.

I think these changes that happen in life, are always a gateway to something better, and a sign that I am not on the right track, and an opportunity to either get back on track, or create a new track that will take me to exactly where I want to go.

Aside from the events and wedding, I want to really focus on my Spanish, and have even (drum roll please) found a bit of a love for cooking these days. Also, I want to learn how to scuba dive, explore more of Mexico, and plan another trip to Canada.

I have also been working on a Fundraiser for the local cat shelter, it’s going to be a Salsa and Margarita tasting, with an auction and live music! It’s been a fun little project and just makes me feel kind of fuzzy inside that I can do a small part to help a very important cause around here.

I am also reading Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour work week again. This is my favorite book and the one book that I read over and over again. It reminds me of what’s important to me, the life I want to create for myself, and also reminds me of why I am in Mexico, and what I came here to do!

L

A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have _Timothy Ferriss