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Aloha Hawaii

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Cross Country Skiing & Miscommunication

Montana has always been a second home to me. When I turned 9, my parents asked me what I wanted to do for my golden birthday (9 on February 9th of 1999). I, of course, had only one thing in mind, to go skiing in Whitefish. Every year we make it down here, either to ski in the winter or golf in the summer. Before departing on my big adventure, I wanted to make it down to our neighbours to the south, but since we came down during the long weekend, we knew the ski hill was going to be packed. There are two options for something to do in Whitefish at this time of year, 1. skiing and 2. shopping. I know there are other winter activities which can be done, but this is the norm for most Canadians who come down here. Since we had already spent one day shopping, and the hill was too busy to spend another day skiing, we decided to do something different, cross country skiing. 

The first time I went cross country skiing was in Manitoba on a leadership retreat. It was cold, the snow was deep, but it was fun. I quickly learned how hard cross country skiing was, and every time we had to go downhill, I lost faith in the thin skis beneath my boots and bailed in the snow. This time around, I was confident, and willing to prove myself as a cross country athlete to the members of my family who tend to call me “Cautious Kyla” whenever we go skiing. 

My first time cross country skiing.

My first time cross country skiing.

After sorting out boots and shamefully admitting our weight to the lady picking out our skis, we waited outside the Nordic Ski Shop and practiced cross country skiing without the skis.

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“It’s good to see you all know how to walk with poles.” the lady joked when she came out with our skis. Not at all embarrassed, we clipped our boots into our skis and were off. I wish I would’ve asked the name of the lady helping us. She was kind, funny, and made absolutely sure we knew how to hold the poles properly. 

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Now, when I think of cross country skiing, I picture skiing through the trees, enjoying the beautiful, winter surroundings. My family had another idea in mind. Very early on, I realized it wasn’t going to be like my last time, it was going to be a competition. All I wanted to do was improve my technique a little, but my family wanted to see how fast they could go. I think this had to do with the fact we had just watched Olympic cross country skiing. I don’t know what it is about the Olympics that brings out the athlete in all of us.

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No matter how fast we thought we were going, our speed could not compare to the regular cross country skiers who lapped us a couple times. With the amount of uphills on this course, our amateur skills were displayed as we wobbled up like penguins, slowing us down significantly. 

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If I was scared of the little downhills I experienced while skiing in Manitoba, you can imagine my fear with the downhills on this golf course. I never did fall, but felt a little awkward having to resort to the pizza snow plow to slow myself down.

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Eventually we made it to the view of Whitefish lake where Taryn and I dubbed my dad as a photographer, and tried our best to photo bomb cute couple shots of my brother and his girlfriend. 

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Can you see us?

Can you see us?

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Montana has just as unpredictable weather as Alberta because at one moment there would be blowing snow, and the next the sun would come out, forcing us to sweat underneath our heavy jackets and warm toques. After only an hour and a half of ski rental, we decided to head back in due to the hot sun and Jono’s useless skis. Back at the shop, we were charmed by the new Nordic Ski Shop greeter. 

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Since my mom and Chelsey didn’t go with us, they took my dad’s vehicle downtown Whitefish to shop. This was fine considering we had Jono’s vehicle in case we finished early. However, as soon as we took off our skis and returned our equipment to the lady at the shop, we were informed by Jono that he had given his keys to my mom, thinking they would take his vehicle instead.

We had two options. 1. Wait at the course for a couple hours, hoping mom would realize she had Jono’s keys and we had no way of going anywhere or 2. walk to downtown and find them by way of foot. Typical of North American culture, we chose the latter due to our impatience. Taking a piece of gum and liquorice to ration, we left them a note on the back window in case they came back, and made our way to where we believed they were.

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Somehow my family always falls in this type of situation while we are in the States. You don’t realize how much you depend on your phone until you absolutely need to get in touch. It was a great way of getting exercise in that day since we skied a few miles and then walked a couple more. Mom found us on the road when she decided it was best to go back to the course early, but we were already close to downtown at that point, so we walked to rest of the way. 

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One thing we learned on our unexpected walk was snow removal is not as enforced in Whitefish as it is in bigger city centres, like Calgary. For the entire walk the sidewalk was covered in mounds of dirty snow, making it less of a leisurely stroll and more of a strenuous hike. But we’ve been in situations like this before, so we made up a clever rap, and kept walking. Thank goodness for the warm weather and our conclusion that sidewalks suck anyways. 

 

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Goodbye Calgary : Cibo Eats and Tinkerbell Treats

I want to share the above picture with you for two main reasons.1. I was adorable 2. This was taken two decades ago. That’s right, I was 4 there and yesterday, I celebrated my 24th. 

After the wild Saturday night of raining American money, abducting a stranger, and losing the entire sole of my right boot, I was happy to spend some down time birthday time with the people I love most, my family. It was an all around great weekend, but what made it special was having everyone together, sharing a meal which is so dear to my heart, pizza.

Since Taryn (oldest sister) and her husband, Jono, knew there are a few places in Calgary left for me to taste test, they decided to take me and the rest of the family to Cibo for my birthday lunch. Nestled on 17th Ave is a rustic brick building home to this urban, Italian restaurant. Although the building appears small on the outside, the two-level layout surprises you with its wooden beams, barnyard decor and vintage chandeliers; taking you out of the city and directly to a spacious vineyard in Italy.

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Already impressed by the design, I had high expectations for the food, which was met ten-fold. For a group of eight, this was the perfect place to eat considering the dining is family style, meaning dishes are meant to be shared. We weren’t exactly keen on passing around bowls of pasta, but we did order 6 different kinds of pizzas, each highlighted with a distinct topping and complimented with various other ingredients. I had fun trying one piece of every kind, but kept my hands away from the Wild Boar Bacon. I hate bacon.

Just another unattractive eating photo to add to the millions taken over the extent of our lives.

Just another unattractive eating photo to add to the millions taken over the extent of our lives.

The fire roasted pizza made my mouth water and stomach smile, but mixed with the cozy environment and humorous people, it made me a very happy birthday girl. I love these seven people who make up my family. Whenever we get together, our conversations may get out of hand, but I am always reminded of how lucky I am to have each of them in my life. With every passing birthday, I want to make a point of seeing the positive all around me. On Sunday, I saw this clearly in the people surrounding me, people who have inspired, supported and loved me through all these years.

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For me, Taryn and Jono have been a source of inspiration over the years they have been married. I have always looked up to my older sister, but now, as a unit with Jono, they encourage me with their outlook on life. Together they have drive, dedication and discipline because they understand the importance of making a life and not just making a living. I cannot believe the leaders they have become and the lives they have been changing, including my own. Both have been huge supporters in my decision to search for something different to do. I appreciate every piece of advice, crave every concoction Jono cooks, and know the secrets of Calgary thanks to these two.

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Although Eric and Holly live in Lethbridge and I do not get to see them as often as I want, when I do, it is always met with laughter and good times. Holly is such a special addition to our family. When we were bunk mates at camp a few years ago, I was shown how down to earth and compassionate she is. I wish I could’ve been the one to set them up, but it happened all on its own and I am so thankful it did. My friends probably get sick of how often I talk up my brother. I can’t help it. He has so many good qualities, and I always wanted him to find someone to match how outstanding he is. Holly does and the more I get to know her, the more I see how well she fits with my brother. In fact, recently I’ve seen how clever and witty her sense of humour can be, and she might just beat Eric in this field…

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With the four year gap between me and my youngest sister, we haven’t always been the closest in the family. By the time she reached high school, we found more in common, and now, I consider her a best friend. I love spending time with Chelsey. Her stories are getting more interesting and I am starting to laugh at more things she says. All joking aside, she is talented in so many ways and displays such confidence and grace. More often than not, she is the one giving me advice, which humbles me as an older sister, but also shows me how mature she has grown to be.

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All credit for our close knit family is due to my parents. I honestly think growing up on a farm was the best thing for us since we only had each other to hang out with after school and on weekends. Now that we are all adults, it has been interesting to experience the shift in seeing mom and dad not only as parents, but friends. My parents will always be parents, they’ll worry about my well-being and happiness, but now we can joke around and hang out like old pals and for me, this new nature of our relationship is invaluable.

Being two weeks away from leaving has made me a little sentimental and I apologize this post has been somewhat cheesy. Spending my birthday with everyone in my family meant a lot, and it is going to be a hard time travelling without them. Each of them mean the world to me, but I am thankful they support me in wanting to see the actual world. Next weekend, we will all be together again at our second home in Montana, and I am more than excited to go skiing, shopping and whatever else you might do in Whitefish with them.

The cake is supposed to represent Thailand. Not sure how Tinkerbell fits into that. Haha

The cake is supposed to represent Thailand. Not sure how Tinkerbell fits into that. Haha

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Goodbye Calgary : Goodbye Wisdom

Little update here. My passport is now decorated with a pretty Thai Non-Immigrant Visa which means I can stay in Thailand for up to 3 months! If you don’t know what’s happening in Thailand, this long stay of mine may not be a good thing, but the lady at the Embassy told me to not wear red or yellow and I’ll be fine. I can do that. I am not a fan of wearing condiments as colours anyway.

It hasn’t even been a full week yet, but already I am feeling the boredom of being unemployed. If it weren’t for the trip up to Edmonton on Monday, I’d be watching way too much TV, checking Facebook far too often, and sleeping in much too late. This is unemployment and I can see why retired people end up missing their jobs. The good news however, is soon I will be down in Montana and then off to the other side of the world.

Unemployment. Every time I utter this word I feel my gut drop a little. No longer having a source of income is humbling, even if I do have travel plans as an excuse. More and more I have been going over in my head if this is a good decision I have made. Recently, my dad showed me how much I have left to pay on my student loans and considering how much I have saved for this trip, I could’ve easily paid it all off by now and been debt free already. Is this adventure I am about to embark on even wise? Especially when the place I am flying to is going through political turmoil? Well, if you care about irony at all, then I’ll tell you this. I surrendered my wisdom on my last day of work, not only by leaving my job, but by allowing my Dentist to pull out every single one of my wisdom teeth.

Leading up to my Dental appointment, I wasn’t too worried about the process. All of my teeth were exposed and I had been assured by many people who have had their teeth pulled that I wouldn’t feel a thing. Though, I was worried about the outcome, looking like a chipmunk and not being able to eat solids for a few days. But I needed to get it over with. Considering I had a painful experience with one wisdom tooth on my trip to Seattle in the summer, I knew they all had to go.

Sitting in the aquamarine chair, I stared at the wall in front of me, waiting in anticipation for Dr. Cho to start the numbing process. In front of me, taking up the majority of the wall, was a stock photo of two girls, laughing. It must be a requirement for all dentists to decorate the walls with this type of “in your face” art. Look how happy you can be if you have straight, white teeth. Instead of looking at their perfect smiles, I couldn’t help but notice they were naked! Not entirely naked, but the photograph was a portrait taken of their bare shoulders and up, so one must use their imagination for the rest. What was the photographer thinking? Couldn’t they have at least dressed those girls in black shirts or something? I am sure they were going for the natural look, but why have two people in it, why not photograph just one then? All of these questions were going through my head until Dr. Cho rolled beside me on his chair to start lowering mine.

After the pinching of the needles (probably the worst part of the entire procedure), I was left alone again to allow the numbing to set in. Despising the photo of the girls even more, I continued to press my fingers against my lips, horrified by the belief my cheeks and lips had doubled in size. Since there are no mirrors to confirm whether or not I had turned into an ogre, I was left wallowing in my own vanity. Soon however, I forgot about my appearance and realized it was difficult to swallow. My whole mouth was numb making it impossible to feel where the saliva was in my mouth. I don’t know if anyone has had this problem before at the dentist, but I started to panic, overthinking how to swallow. When the Dental Assistant returned and asked me how I was doing, I replied with a mumbled, “It’s hard to swallow.” Either she couldn’t understand me or didn’t care because Dr. Cho was back, and I was being lowered again, feeling doomed. I kept telling myself I wouldn’t drown in my own spit because I still had my nose to breathe.

One by one, he pulled each tooth out. Everyone was right, I didn’t feel a thing other than the pressure Dr. Cho exuded while trying his best to force each one out. Before the procedure, the Dental Assistant told me my top ones would come out easily, but after how long it took with the first one, and watching my dentist wipe his brow from his failed efforts, I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task. Finally, the first one came out after he cut the tooth in half. “You have well-developed roots” he said, and when I saw the bloody tooth hover above me as it was handed over to the assistant, I could see why. The root was as long as a crack addict’s pinky nail. With every one he pulled, Dr. Cho commented on the length of the root, and for my top left one, he even said, “I want to do a study on that one.” I don’t know if this is something to be proud of, but apparently I have good genes for root development.

Notice my lips are coated in blood. Yummy.

Notice my lips are coated in blood. Yummy.

After every single one was finally extracted, I left the office with gauze layered in my mouth, and a feeling of relief because I never have to worry about those bad boys again. Doping up on a T3, I tried to stay ahead of the pain, but it hit me on the ride home. The pain in my jaw made my whole skull feel like it was going to split in half. So, I popped another one, felt better moments later, and asked dad to buy me ice cream at the Esso in Vulcan. Although I specified to have it in a cup, I laughed hopelessly when he came back with an ice cream cone. Awesome. However, I pride myself on being able to think outside the box and so, to finish off the rest of the ice cream once I reached the cone, I risked taking one bite of it, let it melt in my mouth, and then scooped the rest of the ice cream in the cone with my tongue. Mission accomplished.

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If it weren’t for the bit of pain I felt on the first day, it would seem like I never had my wisdom teeth pulled in the first place. By the second day, I was eating chicken for supper, the Monday after I was headed up to Edmonton to get my Thai visa, and yesterday, I had rice. There you go. My recovery went insanely well, but thankfully, like chicken pox, it is something I will never have to do again.

 

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Goodbye Calgary : Flames for the Win

Let me introduce you to one of my best friends: Rachelle. A little bit of history here, my first memory of Rachelle occurred on our first day of kindergarten. I was a little nervous and of course, a little shy, so when I walked into the kindergarten room, any introvert knows you always beeline to the first person you know. This is what I did. I saw my friend sitting at a table at the end of the room and walked straight to her. Needless to say, I was interrupted by Rachelle who was sitting at a table full of other girls I hardly knew yet. “Come sit with us!” she said, inviting me with a kind smile. Although I pride myself on being a sweet girl, this very moment will go down in history of one of the meanest things I have ever done. I replied with a loud, rude, “NO!”

Napping in Waterton when we should be doing more adventurous things, like hiking.

Napping in Waterton when we should be doing more adventurous things, like hiking.

Somehow, Rachelle managed to forgive my cold first impression and somewhere down the line, we became like the Fox and the Hound, the best of friends. I am not sure when this turning point happened since I had a new best friend almost every year growing up, but I am almost sure it was during Junior High when the Pleather Jacket club no longer existed; an elitist club Rachelle was a member of. See, Rachelle didn’t stay the sweet, accepting girl she was in kindergarten. HA!

All jokes aside, she is the type of friend I can go long periods without seeing and then reunite with like nothing has changed. After high school, I left her for Manitoba and when I came back, she left me for Poland. In all of our separation, I still know everything about her and she is the one I tell everything to. I think we can all name friends that fit in the category, BFF. And to me, Rachelle does.

Adventures in Fish Creek.

Adventures in Fish Creek.

As a birthday present, Rachelle decided to surprise me with Flames tickets. However, it wasn’t a surprise since she asked me if I’d like to go well in advance, but I didn’t mind because it gave me enough time to borrow a jersey from a friend. What? I don’t own a Flames jersey? In all honesty, I’ve only been to a Flames game once before, and then this year, I managed to go to two FREE ones in one month. Maybe I’ll purchase one in the far future, when they actually have a chance at the cup.

All week I had been looking forward to going to this game. Part of me was excited to see another game, but mostly I was excited to spend time with my bestie. Every week we have a Sunday Funday tradition of hitting up Brewster’s for Fish Tacos (my choice) and then wind up back at her place to watch some movie we’ve both seen a million times. (cough cough Elf). So, this was out of the ordinary for us because we usually don’t see each other during week nights since she moved to the southern outskirts of Calgary and I lived in the North. (Notice I said lived, still hasn’t set in for me I am no longer a Calgarian). Well, the night did not disappoint as we had our fair share of drinks, greasy food and bad tasting ice cream. My wallet was feeling a little lighter after that night even though my stomach did not.

Can't wait to eat your fries? No worries! This girl shows a true Canadian juggling act.

Can’t wait to eat your fries? No worries! This girl shows a true Canadian juggling act.

Even though the game itself wasn’t a surprise, where we were sitting was and Rachelle did her best to keep the tickets hidden from me until it was time to find our seats. “Are we in the nosebleeds?” I kept asking, and Rachelle would laugh and say, “you’ll see.” I honestly thought we were maybe in the 2nd floor section, but our seating really was a surprise since she got us seats in the 6th row! I haven’t sat that close in an NHL game before! I could seriously see every face of every player and by the end of the night, I had the cutest player of the Flames team picked out for me. Ladies of Calgary, Colborne (#8) is mine.

Now here is a little bit of an embarrassing story. When we were looking for the seats, I was in the lead and took us to where I thought we were supposed to sit. A little into the first period, season ticket holders showed up and told us we were sitting in their seats. Rachelle immediately panicked and checked her tickets once more, thinking she had been scammed. Finally, she asked what row we were in and they said “9”. Rachelle looked at me, I mistook a 9 for a 6. The guys had a good laugh as we shamefully walked out of the row and found our designated seat a few rows ahead. In my defence, it was dark when we were looking for our seats, and I was one beer in.

Flames vs Sharks

Flames vs Sharks

Rachelle didn’t really care about this irony, but I thought it to be hilarious. Out of all the games, we went to a Sharks game, and in a couple months I will be swimming with sharks. Thought I would throw this little coincidence into my blog.

It is really too bad I wasn’t more prepared for this game however. During our Tom Boy years, while I sported Toronto Raptors wear, my older sister had a matching San Jose Sharks winter coat and toque. I would’ve loved to wear that old toque for the game, but was happy to match Rachelle in our jerseys. Another embarrassing thing, my friend gave me Phaneuf’s jersey, and before the game, I had to Google who Phaneuf actually is. Trevor, if you read this, please do not unfriend me.

Twinsies.

Twinsies.

The game was such a great way to end my time in Calgary. Yes, they surprisingly won and what I did watch of the game, they seemed to play pretty well. I have to admit, I watched maybe 50% of the game. The other half was spent people watching other fans. I love people watching and I can’t help myself in a crowded area such as that. Have you noticed how many men are sporting the comb over crew cut nowadays? (not sure what it’s actually called, the 1960s look?) Well, I noticed, and I counted about twenty of them in my relative area. I would’ve liked to spot more guys with rustic beards at a hockey game, but no, I was surrounded by Corpse’s (my name for men in Corporate Calgary). And I am pretty sure Rachelle couldn’t take her wary eye off the kid in the creepy mask a couple rows ahead of us. All in all, the game was fun and I give a million thanks to Rachelle for making my last official night in Calgary special. (I say official because I will have a couple more nights in Calgary, aka my birthday!!).

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Goodbye Calgary : Buon Voyage, Kyla

Please do not freak out about the spelling in the title. There’s a reason for it and I will get to that later in this post. 

I’m done! I am officially jobless, homeless, but not hopeless! When I came home from Hawaii, I knew I had a month left to soak up every moment of a job I fell quietly in love with. However, the month went by faster than I expected and now I am here, sitting at home, caring less about the pain in my jaw (just surrendered my wisdom teeth, post to come) and more about the sadness I am feeling for saying goodbye to the old St. Regis.

How is it possible to fall in love with administration work? Well, I didn’t fall in love with the work I was doing (paper, paper and more paper), but I did with the environment, with what we consider, the Bow family. When you spend 40 hours a week in the same building with the same people, it can go one of two ways. Either everyone ends up driving you completely insane, or you end up finding joy in all the little things. I am fortunate to have the latter happen to me, but I don’t think it is hard to come by when you work in an office environment where every person is easy going, friendly and cares about who you are, what your passions are, and what makes you uniquely you.

For my last week, I almost didn’t want it to end. I tried to appreciate every conversation I had, every piece of advice given to me from former SE Asia travellers, and especially, tried to memorize every detail of my desk. Without a doubt, I will miss my desk. Yes, I know, it is strange, but anyone who works in an office knows that your desk somehow becomes an extension of yourself. You decorate it the way you want, guard your favourite pens with your life, checking and double checking to make sure they are still in the pen holder, and you change your desktop background once a month just to keep things interesting and new. I had three desks in total (four if you count Reception), but none felt better than the one I said goodbye to today. Maybe it’s because I sat there the longest, or maybe it’s because I had the best office mates nearby to keep work upbeat and enjoyable.

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On my second last day of work, the ladies in Accounting took me out for lunch to have my favourite, Vietnamese. Stabbing the spring rolls and scooping up my vermicelli with my chopsticks, I realized how overjoyed I was to be eating a meal with my co-workers, a meal I will be soon be having in the country it originated from. They decided to go around the table and say a nice thing about me, and I can honestly say, after the last two days, my head is full of compliments and my ego has doubled in size.

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The embarrassment didn’t stop there. When we returned to the office, I was surprised with a going away party, which wasn’t really a surprise since the beans were spilled the week before. However, it didn’t matter because the cake in itself was a surprise. Big, chocolaty, and made at my favourite market in Calgary, Lena’s. Side note: If you currently live in Calgary, you absolutely must visit this Italian market on Centre Street, the homemade bruschetta is outstanding!  Yes, the spelling was incorrect, but it made for a good laugh and added a special flair. I also thought it was funny the knife used to cut the cake was a plastic saw. Perfect for a construction company!

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Come Monday it is going to feel somewhat strange to not wake up at 6:00am, not take the bus into the fishbowl that is downtown, and not hear the C-train rumble by as I fight with my worst enemy, the Ricoh printer. I’m not bitter or anything, but we got a new printer just when I left. Guess that is the way it works. When the bad guy (printer) eventually dies, anointing me the victor, then the good guy’s job is done. I am no longer needed to unjam every nook and cranny of that beastly machine.

The new kid in town.

The new kid in town.

Truly though, I am going to miss this place.

I am going to miss the post-it cupboard us receptionists created when we left something humorous or inspirational for the next person who had to cover.

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I am going to miss eating pancakes everyday during Stampede week.

Our view of the annual Stampede Parade. Good seats I must say!

Our view of the annual Stampede Parade. Good seats I must say!

And most of all, I am going to miss the people!

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25 Before 25

Every year when my birthday arrives, I place certain expectations on the year to come. Love, finances, fitness—I expect all to fall into place with each year that passes. However, as the world turns and February somehow appears out of thing air, I find I am still in the same place I was the year before. Yet, I make the same promises to myself that this year will be different, this year I will find love, save money and lose weight. I hate these expectations. They are naive, shallow and frankly, overrated. (Okay, that’s a lie. Saving money is never overrated. Worrying constantly about money is however).

When I first moved to Calgary, I was full of expectations. Still missing Winnipeg and the friends I made there, I decided to give Calgary a chance anyway. Being 22 at the time, I decided to make a list of 25 things I wanted to do before I turned 25, expecting to still be in Calgary by the time I turned 25. In my old, run down apartment I first moved into back in November 2011, I wrote this list. Recently, I found this list and had a good laugh. I haven’t even come close to crossing everything off. Clearly, I suck at committing to Bucket Lists.

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Do you want to know why I never attempted to complete anything on this list? The only answer I can come up with is most of the items are mundane, boring, not even worth doing. Make a gingerbread house? I’ve never had the desire to make a gingerbread house. Memorize a song on the piano? Why would I put myself through that type of torture? I hated piano lessons growing up. Everything about this list is lacking ambition. Nothing on this list is challenging, not even Write a Novel because I didn’t list Complete a Novel, I said, “write”, and that in itself isn’t ambitious at all. Anyone can write a novel, but not everyone can complete it. Finally, I scoffed at the sunday school items I listed, Tell a Stranger About Christ, Go on a Mission’s Trip, Sponsor a Child. I’m sorry if this makes me a bad Christian if I say this, but these items on the list remind me of the obnoxious Christians on the streets who shout at passerbys about Hell, Jesus, and repentance. Let’s just say I am lucky to have an image copy of this list because when I found it this year while moving, I ripped it up and threw it away.

However, I still like lists. I like setting goals, but this time around, the goals I set should be adventurous since this year is centered around adventure. I want to challenge some of my fears. I want to knock some things I really want to do off my bucket list. And especially, I want to dream big.

So, here is my list of 25 things I want to do before I turn 25. My 24th birthday is in a couple weeks here, so I only have one year to cross everything off. Thank goodness I’m going to be free from a 9-5 job with time to complete these things.

25. Cut Someone Else’s Hair/Have Someone Cut Mine

I won’t have my personal hair dresser (my mom) on the road with me, so if I have to recruit someone else to cut my hair, I very much will and I will try not to freak out when it goes horribly wrong. And vice versa. If I cut someone else’s hair, and it turns into a wonderful disaster, if anything, it will be a great story to tell and something to laugh later about.

24. Tour a place via Dirt Bike

My dad is going to cringe when he reads this. Well, he is going to cringe when he reads most of the things on this list, but he should feel a little less worried about this one since he has already taught me how to ride a dirt bike. A couple summers ago, my dad not so willingly watched as I mounted our old dirt bike and attempted to release the clutch slowly. Let’s just say I gave him a couple mini heart attacks, but once I learned, there was no going back. I love dirt biking, even if it’s on a gravel road with no turns, shifting to see how fast I can go. Therefore, I want to tour the island of Koh Tao on a dirt bike, even if I am only the passenger.

23. Get an Ear Tattoo

My dad is really, really going to cringe when he reads this and I expect a phone call from my mom immediately after to tell me how ridiculous of an idea this is, but for a while now, I have wanted an ear tattoo. Not a tattoo behind my ear, but one on the front, on the hard surface underneath the ear flap. I don’t know what I want it to be, whether a word or symbol (since it has to be small and dainty), but I want it to mean something, and I’m hoping I will think of what that can be in this coming year.

22. Eat Pad Thai

Okay, this item isn’t ambitious at all because it will probably be the first meal I try in Thailand, but I wanted to list it anyway to highlight the fact that A. I’ve never tried it and B. I’ve been holding out to try it in Canada, just so my first time can be authentic in Thailand.

21. Spend the Night on a Beach

Countless times growing up, my siblings and I used to sleep in sleeping bags on the trampoline in our back yard. It always made for a great summer night. Therefore, I just want one night where I fall asleep on a beach and wake up with sand in my ears and the ocean to rinse myself off.

20. Have a Roof Top Dinner with New Friends

This is going to be another easy one to complete. I just need to find a roof top and new friends. Easy, right?

19. Celebrate a New Year in a New Land

By this I mean, celebrate another culture’s New Year. And, I wrote this because I know I will complete it come April when I celebrate Songkran, Thailand’s New Year! All I know about it is it involves water, water and more water. I might have to invest in a water gun.

18. Attend a Muay Thai Boxing Match/Learn

You may think it strange, but I love Tae Bo. Billy Blanks is my personal trainer. Haha, well I workout to his videos anyway. So, I’m thinking I would like to have Muay Thai Boxing lessons because honestly, punching/kicking makes me feel pretty BA.

17. Meet up with Old Friends Overseas

I have quite a few friends travelling/living overseas right now, and they all seem to be on the same side of the world. I want to meet up with my old roommate, Zibia in Hong Kong when she goes back home for the summer, and I am hoping to make my way up to South Korea if I am able to afford it to see some old College friends.

16. Have a Conversation with Someone without Talking

I had a good chuckle with my best friend recently when she told me a story of her time in Poland when an old Polish lady was talking to her and all Rachelle could do was reply with sounds and gestures. I think it would be the best thing ever to have a successful full conversation with someone without speaking at all because we don’t know eachother’s language.

15. Keep a Handwritten Journal

Okay, I am scrapping the handwritten part, but I do want to keep a journal. Yes, I know I have this blog to collect my thoughts and experiences but I am very sentimental and I think it would be neat to have a hard copy of my memories in word form.

journal

14. Attempt Stand Up

I see an old friend of mine has been trying his hand at stand up, and I have to admit, I’ve always been tempted to try. I think I am funny (ish) and I am not afraid of public speaking, so whether it be overseas or back at home, might be worth a shot. The worst that can happen is being laughed off stage, but at least the audience is laughing, right?

13. Share an Ice Cream Cone

This seems stupid and silly, but this would be a HUGE feat for me. I am a germ freak, well, let me rephrase that, I hate saliva. I hate when people spit, slurp up their spit from their retainer as they pull it out of their mouth, or drool in their sleep. So, ice cream cones represent saliva mixed with ice cream. I’m vomiting in my mouth just thinking about it. I know this is such a weird thing to post, but it would be such an accomplishment for me if I could do something like this without getting grossed out. I’m just thinking about my future, you know, when I have kids and have to finish their ice cream cones. Might as well get used to it now.

Not Sharing

Not Sharing

12. Ditch WordPress in my domain name and make an Income Online

It’s possible. I’ve researched it. I’ve seen enough travel bloggers live off it. I want to do it. Please keep reading. Please.

11. Throw a Surprise Party for Someone

I’ve only done this once, and that was for my younger sister when we were on vacation in Arizona. It was her birthday, she left the house to go to a Music Museum for a couple hours, so we bought silly string and sparkling wine and surprised her when she came back. It was great.

surprise

10. Cliff Jump

I am finding out how scared of heights I actually am. The cliff jumping I have done has been pathetic. Kids jump from the same height I do. I want to be terrified out of my wits during that split second before I am about to jump.I want to feel that pause in the air because I still have a ways to fall. And most of all, I want to emerge from the water, look up at the cliff I just jumped from and say “never again.”

Barely a Cliff Jump

Barely a Cliff Jump

9. Make an Underwater Documentary

Call me a geek. I don’t care. I want to learn underwater videography and I want to make an educational video about the ocean, even if it is short and only premieres on this blog.

8. Sell a Stock Photo

It would be amazing to have that one photo, even if it is only one, that is outstanding enough to sell.

7. Take Someone Home

Woah, it’s not what you think. If I can convince some other traveller to come back to Canada with me for the last bit of summer and have them fall in love with the prairies, then my mission in life will be complete. That, and I get them to sing along to Keith Urban’s “Days Go By” with their hand out the window in the wind while we drive.

6. Convince Someone from Home to Uproot

Flip 7 around and have it be that someone from home follows me overseas, whether it be a friend or a family member. I feel like I can be pretty persuasive and if I can persuade someone to join me, at least for a couple weeks on my adventure, then I will feel like a winner.

5. Make a Faces Video

I’ve had this idea to make a video of every face that I meet while overseas. Seems a bit overwhelming, but it might not be every face, just people I have experiences with. Might turn out to be a rather lame video, or it could be pretty cool.

4. Take a Pottery Class

This is the one item from my list before that I want to keep.

3. Take a Friend Scuba Diving

This is along the same lines of #6. If any of my friends/family members do come and visit, I want to take them scuba diving. I wish I could teach them, but I am not going to become an instructor (yet, maybe in the future), but I am sure I can tag along while they go on a DSD (Discover Scuba Diving). This will even apply to new friends since I am positive no one from home will make the long flight over just to knock #3 AND #6 off my list.

2. Write an article to be feautred on another Travel Blog.

Since deciding to blog about my big adventure coming up, I started to follow a couple other travel blogs to keep me inspired. One of which has been a go-to read for me, mainly because she has gone through exactly what I am about to go through. She is an underwater videographer who fell in love with the island of Koh Tao in Thailand. Also, she has managed to make her life nomadic and this is precisely the life I want (at least for the years in my twenties). I want adventures to write about, and it would be incredible if my blog gained that much traction to get noticed. If you want to check out my daily read, visit Alex in Wanderland.

1. Swim with Sharks

Sharks terrify me. When I was little, I used to think sharks were going to magically make their way out of the drain and gobble me whole. I’m still scared of them, but I am also intrigued by them. They are fascinating, and after watching the documentary, Shark Water and hearing countless times by people that sharks are nothing to fear, I want to settle this for myself and find out by getting up close and personal.

shark

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Hi Hawaii : Video Shows All

Yes! I am finally done editing the video recap of my Hawaii trip. It has been agonzing and frustrating, what with my hard drive crashing, and then final cut giving me problems, and then the exporting giving me problems…ugh! Really, I would’ve had it posted a while ago if it weren’t for technology. I have to say it, technology, you are not my friend.

Before I unleash this video to my readers, I want to first give a shout out to my brother, Eric!

eric

It is his 22nd birthday today! I want to wish him an amazing birthday because he is truly an amazing man. I love my brother so much. His sense of humour is addicting. His insight is inspiring. And as I have mentioned before, he doesn’t care what others think and that makes hanging out with him easy and care free. I cannot say this about a lot of men my age, but my brother is a leader, one with a good head on his shoulders. This might make him embarrassed to read this, but I honestly admire him. I watch how he is with others, so kind, so friendly, so genuinely interested in their lives. People light up when my brother is around. Not many people are like that, but he has that gift of making people feel valued. In my post, A Beard does not make a Man, I wrote about my perspective of the main men in my life and of course, these men are my father and my brother. Although my brother sometimes sports a neck beard, he looks very distinguished when he is clean shaven, and every quality I listed of what actually makes a man, he and my father meet. So Eric, here is to you and your birthday and the man you became by the early age of 22.

Now, since I was busy writing posts about Hawaii in early January, I forgot to dedicate a post to my little sister, Chelsey. She too is a January baby and more so, a New Year’s baby!

Chelsey

Chelsey has now left her teen years and has joined the rest of us in our twenties. I don’t admit this to many, but I have always been jealous of my younger sister. She is a beautiful girl, both inside and out (I hate saying that, so cheesy, but true). I am jealous of her style because yes, it has been known I dress pretty frumpy and boyish, but she has great taste and a huge wardrobe to prove it. I am jealous of her talents. If you haven’t heard my sister sing, you absolutley must! Her voice gives me chills, goosebumps, shivers, etc, etc. And most of all, I am jealous of her confidence. She has always carried herself so well, no matter how many times Eric and I try to put her in her place with our sometimes mean sense of humour. She seems so unstoppable to me, like if she wanted to do anything, she could very well do it. And I truly believe that no matter what she does, she will be amazing at it.

So, happy birthday to my two beloved siblings! My turn is next, and I expect a beautifully written message about me somewhere on the internet!

Here is the video. As a disclaimer, the quality isn’t up to par after being uploaded to youtube, but I still love it anyway. I love my goofy family. I love the adventures we went on. I love the scenery we gawked at and I love the memories we shared, which I am now going to share with you! Enjoy!