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I first saw the Grand Canyon out the window of a plane….a small plane.

In 2010 I spoilt myself with an hour and a half flight in a little 10 seater aeroplane.  Back then though I thought that I was landing at the Grand Canyon and that I would get to spend the day taking in all the wonderful and amazing views.  It was not to be.  Somehow I had incorrectly selected the ‘flight only’ option which included simply, just that.

At the time I was disappointed.  Really disappointed, but I have since learnt that there is a reason why these things happen and in late September I found out why!.

After exploring the Valley of Fire with Fi, I got to spend the next day exploring the West Rim of the Grand Canyon with Laura.  And what a day it was.  I’m not sure how many times we said ‘this is amazing’ to each other as we wandered around the various points at Eagle Point (see above – can you spot the Eagle Kaylene??) and Grotto Point. But they simply were and I thought that I’d share some with you, just so you can see for yourself.e

(Test yourself on the first pic.. once you spot the eagle, can you spot the dog and his ball – it’s amazing what the natives can see!)

First stop – The Ranch.. complete with snake warnings.. thank goodness I never heard any ‘rattling’

Always the way! 

The Grand Canyon Skywalk.. Yes we did!

Enjoying unbelievable views at Grotto Point

 

Quite simply ‘Trail Closed’

Some places are just made to meditate

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I have come to realise that sometimes you just have to stop.

You have to stop living the fast paced life that you live. You have to cherish every moment and you have to live. You have to take the time to ‘smell the roses’ as they say.. take the time to enjoy.

Recently I was in Las Vegas for the wedding of my friends, Tannis and Dave (watch for post to come) and decided that sometimes there is more to Las Vegas than just the neon lights and high rolling gambling tables (yes there is also awesome premium outlet shopping too).  But the ‘more’ that I’m talking about is the beautiful nature that lies within the desert not to far from Sin City.  The beautiful, amazing ‘Valley of Fire‘.

I won’t lie.  When most people think of Las Vegas they think of The Grand Canyon and I did too the first time I went there.  But some other friends had also told me about the Valley of Fire.  A smaller park not to far from Vegas that was full of stunning red rocks and simply one hell of an amazing drive.

Given that I had been to Vegas twice before and this time I was staying for a week. I didn’t fancy my chances of enjoying the full week on the strip so I suggested to Fi that perhaps we get out-of-town one day and take a road trip.    Well, plus there was the added incentive of this:

Living Life

Who says you can’t live the life of luxury in Vegas.. after all, what happens in Vegas…..

Quite simply our day was truly amazing. I flick back over all the photographs and am still amazed that I have been lucky enough to have witnessed such amazing scenery and I live in awe that landscapes such as this. In such an unknown place exist.

I am simply grateful for the opportunities, the sights and the ability to be able to enjoy such amazing landscapes..

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Rockin’ the Mo..

Life should never be taken too seriously..

No matter what happens in life there are always people there that can cheer you up and be there to lift your spirits.  It’s hard to believe that one of those in the pic above is now a mum and the other is studying law.. I’m not sure I would trust either of them.  But they have taught me to laugh again when I thought things got hard and  have taught me not to take life too seriously.. (with them around it’s not that hard).

For some reason life leads us in a direction that allows us to cross paths with people that we would never have otherwise met and circumstance leads us to become friends when perhaps in normal surroundings we may not have stepped out of our comfort zones to talk with one another.

In October 2010 I had been in Calgary for 7 months and with my first winter on the verge of arriving, I was seriously considering whether or not I could handle living in this place for much longer. Then I made the decision to step out of my comfort zone and meet some like-minded people.  Yes they were ex-pats, and yes they were Australian, but they understood what it was like to be in a new place and to be the odd ones out.  And that changed everything.  I have ‘mum (tiger) and dad (lurking zombie)’ to thank for all the amazing people who I have met while I have been in Calgary.

It will be hard to say farewell to them, and little bean in a week or so, but am I ever grateful that they came into my life.xx

The Pirate, Tiger and the Disco Diva (with the Zombie lurking in the background)

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No. 1 Roughneck Fans
Ben, Lee, Me, Dave & Tannis

q. What do you get when you mix the throwing actions of Irish Hurling, the punch ups of 80’s Aussie Rules football, penalty boxes of Ice Hockey, set plays of Basketball and an indoor field the size of a hockey rink?

a. An absolutely AWESOME game!! also known as Box Lacrosse / Indoor Lacrosse and simply Lacrosse

Everyone knows that I’m pretty much an ‘any sports’ fan. With four brothers to influence me, usually the rougher and tougher the better and if there was also a chance for speed.. you beauty. So in early 2011 when Ben, Lee and I were introduced to this crazy sport, by our Canyankie friends, Tannis and Dave, how could I not love it?

I had managed to watch one game of Hockey since I had been in Calgary, but with the price of Hockey tickets practically unaffordable to the average Joe here (and all the good seats brought out by Oil and Gas companies) , Lacrosse became the sporting game of choice. Afterall what other choices did I have? Canadian or American football (pansies!!) or Baseball (hmmmm nah!)? Not only was the game fast, rough and totally full of fights, the entire crowd got behind our beloved ‘Neck’s and spurred them on.

With the music pumping, with every pass, with every shot at goal and with every goal saved, the crowd brought the roof down with the ringing of cowbells and the sounds of ‘What’s he got?…. N.O.T.H.I.N.G’.

Needless to say our weekly tradition become an outting to the lacrosse, which also continued this year, albeit with lots of additional new faces.

I’ll miss the Lacrosse.. but not just for the game, but also for the chance to enjoy being with friends, socializing.. and seeing a damn good fight!..

Go Necks Go

(ps.. my hat and jersey will take pride and place at the farm)

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I don’t even know where to begin this blog!.

Everything about today has seemed dark and gloomy and honestly… the longer it went on.. the worse it got.

Ok, it’s true.  My secret is out.  Not everything about living overseas, on the opposite side of the world is all rosy and amazing.  There are dark days too.  Days when you wish that it wasn’t a 24 hour plus flight home.  When you wish that you could simply skip home for the weekend, get your family, your friend and your Mum’s fix of happiness, joy and laughter and return back to what is, otherwise an awesome opportunity.  But it’s simply not that easy.

I never expected it to be, and trust me, there have been many a dark days in the last 2 and a half years.  I’ve just never really spoken openly about them, nor have I allowed my family to see just how much it affects me.. perhaps today is some kind of reckoning that I am feeling. Perhaps I’m just sick of having this pent-up feeling inside of me and I simply wish that I could jump in a car and drive down the road, around the corner.. 10 – 20 hours, just to see those that I love… trust me.. if it was that easy and cheap.. I would do it.

To be able to meet my beautiful new niece who is now 5 months old, who is smiling and being pestered by two bigger and loving brothers each and every day.  To join in the 10-year-old birthday celebrations for my not so young niece who is growing up oh so quickly and to be able to celebrate my nephews 18th birthday.  To go to the footy each weekend and watch my nephews run around in the mini’s, or play their first U’16’s game.  To watch my nieces play their first game of A Grade netball, and to be standing beside them on the court too.. teaching them, guiding them.. to see them in their dance recitals… to simply “just be there”.

To witness friends getting married, to see the joy in their lives, to see their families growing and to meet and know their children.  To revel in every special occasion that I miss out on, simply because I choose to live where I am….

I am left wondering each and every day that I feel like is, what is harder??..

Knowing what you are missing out on, or missing out on what you don’t know?

There is no easy answer..

If I had not come here, had not stayed as long as I have, I would not know the beautiful and amazing people that I know now. The friends that make living so far away from home bearable, the friends that have become my family.  I would not have seen many amazing places, taken chances, gotten lost and re-discovered myself.

I would not have been able to share some amazing times with my Mum, brother, sister-in-law and nephews that visited, nor seen the awe in their eyes with the amazing scenery that is Southern Alberta.  Not had the chance to see the joy and excitement of my nephews when they experienced Canadian culture for the first time, saw bears, climbed mountains, watched ranch work that they had never seen before, nor gotten to know them in a different light away from their comfort zone, away from the farm.. I truly have something that only Aunty Jean can know.. memories that they will have forever..and more importantly memories that I will share with them forever..

I look at the photo’s on my wall and am reminded how lucky I am. So many amazing memories with people that I love and cherish.. Dog sledding, New York, Vegas, Florida, Pike Place, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Lake Louise, Cross Country Skiing, Snowboarding, concerts, Havana, Mountains after Mountains of stunning scenery, amazing rivers and lakes, mixed in with loved ones, family, friends, brothers, sister-in-laws, nieces and nephews…it’s what traveling and family are all about..

I truly am lucky…

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xN

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