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 ūüôā

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.

 

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. ūüôā

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¬† ‚ąí30 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

The rentals job. And my friend Zach.

So I have been working in Vacation Rentals for about 1 month now. It is a commission only job, meaning I get a small percentage of the vacation rentals I secure. There wasn’t a ton of training or support when I started. It was mostly…..here is the owners list, here is the contract and here are a few leads …and go.

They have sent me quite a few leads, and some of the leads show a bit of interest, some say they are going to book and don’t, some write and say they booked elsewhere, and most just don’t even write back!

These cases make me want to send a follow up email stating that I spent a good 4 hours searching for those places I sent and did NOT get paid for that 4 hours!! How rude are these people!?

I suppose I am just frustrated because I feel like I keep trying and trying and I have yet to make a cent. And its mega stressful because, we are quickly running out of money!
B is working a really great job doing photography for an up and coming company here in PV. He gets a paycheck every 2 weeks and that covers exactly what our rent is per month. So, my job is to make enough money to pay for our bills, groceries, and lifey-ness all around. I am not doing that at all. I am using my visa and spending our savings. Augh. So it is very frustrating for me to go in to that office every day and work and work and work and never make a penny!

I still have my part time wedding coordination job, and thank GOD for them because that paycheck is feeding us right now. And I really enjoy that job too. The people are great, and I enjoy helping at their weddings.

I have started to work my rentals job from home as I have a hard time justifying going all the way to the office everyday. I am all set up here in my office, I have free long distance, a great macbook pro, and peace and quiet all day. (As well as unlimited food and coffee that I do not have to pay for).
But still I am making no money at it. The worst part is when I talk to experienced people in the industry about this they say¬† ‘Don’t worry, this is normal, it usually takes a good 1 or 2 years to really get good at this”.
WHAT!? Who can just not make money for 1 or 2 years?? How do these people pay bills?

I am going to keep at it and stay positive. But I refuse to accept that I will work for a year and not make money.
I am going to give it all I have and I am going to make some money doing that.

And if I don’t, well…then I will have to re-evaluate this whole thing.
And as always I will continue to update you all on how things come along.

Oh great news too my good long time friend Zach is coming to visit me!!! I am so so excited! Zach is a pilot, and one of those all around cool and really down to earth, nice people. We have been friends for over 14 years!! Well, with gaps of course. But we have always just, gone for coffee, and sat in the car and talked. We have never had the opportunity to frolick on the beach and go on boat rides together!!! EEEP it is so wonderful when friends visit!!

Happy Friday friends!

L

p.s – This is the view from my apartment right now. I do not like those clouds.

Scary looking clouds outside

The Malecon Project in Puerto Vallarta

A lot of controversy has risen in the past week in Puerto Vallarta as the locals watch our old world famous Malecon totally demolished and is now in process of being modernized and re-created into a safer, cleaner and more attractive design.

The city decided to implement the project for a few reasons.

First being that it needs to be fixed as the beach facing wall was damaged in the flooding last year. Second, to create a new modern look to attract tourism and generate more business for the locals.

Locals are angry because the vendors that make all their money on the Malecon were given no notice, and now their hub for making money this summer is not available to them.

They are also angry because the Malecon is a historical part of Vallartas history and charm, and some want to leave it un-touched.

So, days after production began,  a large group of protesters, made up of locals living here in Pv, marched through the streets with signs and a statement to make. (The streets they marched through were cleared for them by the city, which ironically enough, is who they are protesting against. Just saying).

I may get in quite a bit of trouble for saying this, but I don’t agree at all with all this anger and protesting.

I am personally all for this project!

I can definitely understand where the anger and opposition is coming from, and I also understand the argument that the funds could go towards other projects, like the bridge that needs to be rebuilt.

But here are my thoughts about the Malecon:

1) Yes it is affecting local vendors who sell their products, services, entertainment on the Malecon, but first, they are doing everything they can do to do it as fast as possible, as we have seen over the last few days, and it will be a far more attractive and functional boardwalk afterwards which I believe will increase tourism, therefore benefiting them in the long run. And, by working in a public space like that, you do run that risk of having construction projects affect your work, and it will happen at some point, no matter what city you work in, as most popular tourists destinations are constantly working on modernizing¬† and improving the architecture and developments of their city to increase tourism. So, it’s not that the city is plotting against you and doesn’t care about you, but construction is kind of a constant in a growing city, it is bound to happen at some point.

2) I don’t really believe that this is affecting anything about Vallartas history or culture. The history and culture on the Malecon is in the art, the vendors, the people, the entertainment, the vendors, the business. Not in the layout and structure of the ground people are walking on. The Malecon as they had it before actually separated the Malecon walkers from the businesses with a heavy stream of traffic. And this way there will actually be more space for all those who utilize that space for lucrative means.

3) Protesting after they have already started the project I believe is sort of pointless.¬† I fully believe that everyone has the right to have their voice heard by the city they pay taxes in, and I believe that it would have been very easy for the city to not cooperate and not close down the streets for this protest, but they did. And even if the protest was powerful enough that they were able to convince the city to go back on the project, the Malecon has quite literally been torn up, jack hammered, etc. They are already fully amidst production, they can’t just ‘put it all back’. They have made an impressive amount of progress in the time they have had, and they have no choice but to move forward at this point.

4) As one of the top tropical destinations in the world, Puerto Vallarta will continue to modernize as any major tourist destination is constantly doing. This has shown to be successful in other popular destinations such as London, Sydney, Dubai, etc. where some of the most outstanding architecture and modern city developments have attracted more and more tourists over the years.¬† I honestly believe that Puerto Vallarta is smart to stay on top projects that continue to increase tourism. And as tourism is the bread and butter for most of us that live here, isn’t that in turn taking care of us locals?

The malecon before

Construction

Protestors

Police blocking the streets for the protest

The design plans

Yoga and the noises in the morning. With video!

It is 7am. I am yet again awake at this ridiculous hour of the morning. Yesterday it was the neighbors dog that woke me up. Today it was either a pack of crying babies, or a bunch of cats in heat. I can’t decide which one. But the sound was awful enough to end my peaceful slumber. There is always a wide variety of noises around here in the morning. Amongst cats and babies are dogs, roosters, horses, cars, tropical birds of all kinds, people still partying, random Mexicans yelling, and of course, the church bells. All these noises were charming, for about our first week in Mexico.

Anyway so it’s 7am and I have decided that I am awake and I must stay awake. If I go back to sleep now, I will not wake up until 11am, that is so me.

And I can’t anyway. Today is kind of a big day for me! Today is the first day of my personal 30 day yoga challenge! I have loved yoga for a long time, and to be honest, I haven’t done any yoga here in Mexico yet. I went to one class, but it was all in Spanish and I was too busy trying to copy the girl next to me to really find my zen.

Also, I tried doing yoga at home but I found I had a really hard time focusing. We live on a pretty noisy street and it’s very difficult to calm my mind and really focus. And above all, I am been very lazy the past few months. I have done a little work, a few weddings, seen a few friends, but other than that, I haven’t really done much at all. Sleeping more, eating out, drinking margeritas, and just spending many many lazy afternoons with B doing nothing, walking around, napping, watching movies, etc.

I’ve been trying not to feel guilty about it and trying to remember that, that is why I came to Mexico! Because living shouldn’t be about having 2 jobs and filling every day and weekend with more and more and more. However, I have been feeling very out of shape, and very tired. I suppose that’s what too many lazy afternoons and too many margaritas do to a girl.

So, a perfect opportunity came up through this coupon company that B works for here! 1 month of Yoga at Yoga Vallarta (The only place in Vallarta that does english taught classes!) so you get 1 month of unlimited yoga for only $325 pesos, which is appx $27!

Also, my friend Shannon signed up for the month too, so I have a yoga freind! Yay!

So I will be blogging about my 30 days of yoga, not that anyone would find it that interesting, but then at least I would have some kind of illusion of accountability.

So, here we go, day 1 yoga challenge!

Also, I took a video to try to capture some of those morning noises I was telling you about! It actually sounds quite peaceful in the video, but I’ll have to get it on a day where its even earlier with babies and dogs and the pack of heat cats, haha!

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5299089/MOV01120.MPG

xoxo

L

10 ways to keep in touch and feel more at home when living abroad

Before moving to Mexico, I had never lived further than 30 minutes away from my best friends and closest family, so naturally it was a difficult adjustment coming here, where I knew no one.

Here are the top then things that have helped me keep in touch and feel at home while living here in Mexico.

10) Skype  РAnyone, regardless of what country you live in, should have skype. How amazing is it that I can have face to face wine dates with my sister, and hang out with my niece, watching her draw pictures for me! And, for FREE! Being able to talk to anyone like they are in the room always makes me forget the distance between us.

9) Magic Jack¬† – Magic Jack is like having a phone on your computer. First, it allows us to make any call to Canada or the US for free, and talk for an unlimited amount of time any time day or night, always for free. And, it also allows us to have a Calgary #, so anyone back home can call us just like they are calling someone else in Calgary. We have not paid 1 long distance phone bill, and neither has anyone who has called us. Also, we can’t exactly give our bank, doctors, and Alberta Health Care our # in Mexico, that wouldn’t go over well, so it just makes everything so much easier that way too. I think we paid something like $100 for 5 years. I heart my Magic Jack!! However, your computer has to be on for you to receive calls and there is no magic jack for the iPhone yet. However….

8) Net talk – Net talk is a free app on the iPhone that allows you to make free calls anywhere in Canada and the US for free, for any amount of time, any day or night. Anywhere you can get wifi (which in Puerto vallarta, is pretty much anywhere, and for free as well), you can use Net talk. Now, it doesn’t give you a phone number to receive calls, but its a FREE app! I can be sitting at any restaurant or coffee shop with wifi, and talk to any one in Calgary, for free! Hmm, now if only you text with anyone in Canada and the US, that would be ideal….

7) TextPlus4¬† – Another free app for the iPhone that allows you to text message with anyone in Canada or the US as much as you want for FREE. You just download the app, it downloads your contacts book, and you text away! It doesn’t give you a #, so they just have to reply to your last text to text you. But of course, this is in wifi zones as well. *Unless you have a local phone plan, which surprisingly down here are very expensive! So, now I can talk face to face, for free, for as long as I want, and talk and text on my cell phone all for FREE!! Ahh, the pleasures of technology.

6) Starbucks – Starbucks is reliable, consistent, air conditioned, and for me, full of memories of back home. Having the chance to spend an afternoon in Starbucks with my same old Cinnamon Dulche latte and lose myself in the afternoon really makes me forget where I am and always leaves me with wonderful warm thoughts of home. What if you moved somewhere without a Starbucks? Then you are much braver than I am, that’s my limit, if there is no Starbucks, it’s far too scary and different for me! I joke. Sort of.

5) Visiting home  РWhere do those that live in Mexico go on Vacation? Back home to see their friends and family of course! Every one living abroad should have holidays just like everyone else. I planned a trip to Calgary in February after being here for 5 months, and organized the whole thing just like a trip to Mexico, but the itinerary was a little different. (Monday-lunch with family, Tuesday-shopping with sister, Wednesday-Sleepover with best friends, Weekend РTrip to Canmore with the family). Make sure to budget at least 1 holiday home a year.

4) Have friends and family visit you – The good thing about moving to somewhere like Puerto Vallarta, is it’s not hard to convince friends and family to come and visit you. One of my best friends came last month with 3 other great friends, and we did all the Mexican touristy things all over again, and had an amazing week! Being able to share your new life with your besties and family back home is always the best experience!!

3) Wal-Mart and Costco – So convenient, so cheap, always reliable, always the same. I absolutely love perusing the Wal-Mart and Costco. I can spend hours inside just like I used too, and forget everything about the outside world. Nothing better than just a regular Saturday afternoon at Costco!

2) Sex and the City – As many young women do, I have every single episode of SATC, and watch them on a regular basis. Having a SATC night with some wine makes me feel soo at home and happy!! It’s a nice break from Mexico land.

1) Spending time with new friends – This is probably the most important way to feel at home. Going for lunch with some girlfriends, volunteering at charity events, meeting new people, drinking wine and listening to salsa music with amazing people, that you never would have had the chance to meet. These experiences help you understand why you moved abroad, and helps you understand that anywhere you can make really great friends, is somewhere you can call home.

Feel happy living abroad!