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Posts Tagged ‘Patchegal’

Enjoying Christmas Day at Lake Louise 2011

I love living in another country. I love the ability to step outside of what I know are my comfort zones. To reach out on a limb and take a chance. I love experiencing new things. Love the sensations that I feel when something is new to me and the happiness I feel when I accomplish something that I may never have tried at home.. but I LOVE my family more!.

The past eight to nine weeks have been a whirlwind, but a weekend visiting extended family in southern Saskatchewan in early August gave me the clarification that I needed.

The wide open spaces of the prairie lands. The golden fields of wheat. The sweet sounds of nothingness. The clear skies scattered with a million stars… and the photo’s of MY family hanging on a wall… It was all that I needed for my head and my heart to align and for me to know that I wanted to go home.

Golden Fields of Saskatchewan

The last two and a half years have been amazing. There have been days when I could not have been blissfully more happy and days when I wanted to pack it all in. Curl up, close my eyes and wish that I was somewhere else.

I will miss EVERYTHING here in Calgary..I will miss my amazing friends that have made the two and a half years I have been here so much better, my adopted Canadian family, complete with nieces and nephews and our annual Thanksgiving get-aways and the colleagues and clients that have become part of my everyday life.

I will miss the summer day’s when hiking in the mountains makes you feel alive and the coldest of winter days when it feels like moths are stuck up your nose and you can’t open your eyes because of the icicles on your eyelashes have frozen them shut… but it is not a goodbye.. more simply a see-you-later.

Hiking the ‘Many Springs’ trail in Bow Valley Provincial Park (July 2011)

I am looking forward to coming home. Spending time with my ever-growing family. Meeting my new niece and spoiling all over again, each and every single one of the ten nieces and nephews in my life and annoying my four bigger and older brothers (and their wives).  Catching up with friends and preparing for the next adventure.

My Mum and my beautiful nieces and nephews (before Jorge)… so cannot wait to spoil them all again

By far my adventures, travel and personal, are not over.  They are simply beginning the next chapter.

‘Home James’ …. looking forward to seeing this sign once again

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Yep.. I’ve been on the road again.. and honestly yesterday and today I have been struggling to come up with the right words, the right sentences, the right paragraphs to tell you all about it.

I could tell you that the scenery is beautiful, amazing, picture perfect, awesome, unbelievable, spectacular.. honestly.. I could go on and on with every other word in the dictionary to try and describe it, but the truth is, I wouldn’t do it justice.  I wouldn’t even come close, so instead I’ve decided to sit back and let the pictures speak for themselves.. (I just hope this does it justice)

xx N

A picture perfect sunset on Castle Mountain and the Rockies

Excited to be on the road again.. (thanks Fi)

Castle Mountain Reflections

Enjoying the quite evening at Lake Louise (no other tourists.. yay!!)

Moraine Lake

Saturday morning at Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake…. picture perfect.. still, calm.. spectacular

Boats @ Moraine Lake

The road ahead..

Up high on a mountain pass..

Tangle Falls… (thanks Fi!)

Tangle Falls

Spectacular mountains

Rocks at Athabasca Falls

Canyon at Athabasca Falls

Sunlight in the Water Lillies – Entrance to Mount Robson Park, BC

Relaxing at the entrance to Mount Robson Park, BC

How tall is a Moose?? How tall are you? I’m as tall as a 1 year old Moose (Geezzzzzz remind me never to come across one on foot!!)

Every which way there is a mountain…..

Mount Robson, BC

It’s an elk!

Just a couple of random “Pocahontas” miners

A disused mine entrance at the Pocahontas ‘Ghost Town’

breathtaking all the way

Morning at Medicine Lake

Maligne Lake Boat House in the morning mist

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Canoe’s on the docks – Maligne Lake

A worker plays her banjo and sings on the dock of the Maligne Lake Boat House …. AWESOME

Maligne Lake

WoW.. Maligne Lake

Getting to know the local’s at Maligne Lake

A perfect morning with the mist rising at Maligne Lake

being attacked by the Maligne Lake Lodge Bear

Just one of the falls in the beautiful Maligne Canyon

Taking a break from the drive – Athabasca Glacier

Simply Stunning.. The Glacier fed waters are AMAZING

Waterfowl Lakes…

Crystal clear waters of Waterfowl lake with the mountain backdrop

Postcard perfect Peyto Lake
(yep.. that’s the one that most of you see in the brochures)

Enjoying the view from the platform at Petyo Lake

Taking a pic of a couple of lads at Peyto Lake, AB

Panoramic view of Peyto Lake

Herbert Lake… anyone that knows me.. and knows my family will know that my dearly beloved brother Jase calls me Herbert or “Herb”.. so it just seemed fitting to have a pic taken with a sign for the lake..

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C – Claustrophobic
A – Anger
N – Negativity
C – Closed
E – Erratic
R – Regret
Cancer – a word that I have known all my life. A word I have grown to loath.  To hate and wish never existed. A word that I never want to hear, but sadly am hearing all to often and all too close to home.

In a sense I guess that I am religious. I believe in a greater being that created this earth, that created us and everything in between, .  But for that same being to create something as nasty and horrible as cancer.. please, it can’t be true… can it?

I don’t remember when Dad was diagnosed with his brain tumor, obviously I was too young, or simply I have blocked it out. I simply remember Mum and Dad going to Melbourne, staying with family friends for what felt like weeks and weeks on end and visiting Dad in the local hospitals.

I know I was naive to what was really happening and personally I prefer to keep the happier memories to the fore and the less happier ones locked away in the depth of my memory bank. But the sad fact is that they are there and when local news, like I have heard this past week comes through… so to do those horrible memories.

Somewhere out there, there has to be a cure. How many lives have to be affected before this monster is stopped? How many wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, mums, dads, grandparents, friends and communities have to endure seeing their loved ones ill before it becomes unbearable?

A friend once told me “everything happens for a reason and if God didn’t think that we couldn’t handle it, than he would not have chosen that path for us.”.

In some ways I struggle to understand this logic. Why did our family have to endure the pain that we felt and still live with everyday so early on? What lessons have we been taught? But plain and simple…why us?

Perhaps there is some logic in his madness. Logic that we struggle to see and logic that may burden us, but hopefully it is logic that makes us stronger.  Enables us to provide support, love and hope for others out there that are now going through what we have been through.

In times like this it’s hard to see how you/we can offer any such support, but it’s the knowing that someone else knows how you feel, what you have been through, that you have continued on, which enables you to continue to look forward. To see that perhaps even in your darkest moments and after all the shadows have settled, there is still hope, there is still life and there is still family, friendship and community.

My heart always lies within our small strong community and I’ll be thinking of you always.

Xx N.

Photo thanks to designsbyjack.co.uk

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‘my favorite quote around Calgary.. and it’s just on the doorstep at work in Eau Claire’

How can we help but get into the olympic spirit?

I love my sports, no matter what it is, but in Olympics, it’s swimming (and basketball) that have me hooked.

Mum had me in the pool at a young age. It was never competitive (well to me it was) but seriously a first in the breaststroke or butterfly in a 25 meter pool at the local primary school sports was never going to get me (let’s face it) anywhere near an Olympic sized pool or a gold medal for that fact.  Plus really, 4am to train.. pfft.. I had trouble getting up to go to VicSwim at 8:00am!!!

No, give me the pool at the pub, the dam and eventually our (read my for my brothers) own pool and I was happy..

But watching the Olympics over the last couple of days got me thinking.  I have lived in. No, let me rephrase that.  I LIVE in a city that has hosted an Olympic games.

I know, I know.. Winter Vs Summer.. I’m from a summer country, but who has not heard of the 1988 Calgary Olympics?

They were famous.

Cool Runnings? The Jamaican Bobsled Team? any of this ringing a bell for you??

Most of the lines from the movie have haunted me for the two and a half years that I have lived in here and yes, I have been to Canada Olympic Park (or C.O.P. as it is affectionately known in this neck of the woods.

‘The closest I will come to driving a bobsled.. safe inside C.O.P’

I have seen the Ski Jumps. I have seen the Bobsled track.

Even ventured out one Friday evening and saw the Canadian Bobsled Championships (it was friggin cold!!).

‘Getting a look at the angle on that bobsled track’

‘One of the competition team’s ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOMING by’

‘Finish Line’

I have been to the Olympic Oval and to the Saddledome.  I’ve even driven up and checked out the ski hills at Nakiska.. but I’ll be honest.. there is a place called Olympic Plaza downtown that I have only really ‘skirted’ around.

Sunday I decided it was the day. Sunday would be the day to enjoy Olympic Plaza and check out a couple of other Olympic ‘relics’ that have been left behind and dotted over the city.

‘Olympic Plaza Refection Pool’

Officially (or so I have been told), Olympic Plaza was built to hold  medal presentations for the 1988 Winter Olympics, however since then it has been turned in to a beautiful urban park complete with ‘reversible’ reflections wading pool for the summer and refrigerated ice skating rink for the winter (two birds..one stone!).

                           

‘As close as I will probably come to the Olympic Rings’

But walking around there is still definitely a feel of Olympics in the plaza..from the official Olympic rings embedded into the top railing of the black iron fence, to the athletic statue below the Olympic cauldron and the Honor plaques of Canadian athletes who have represented their country and brought home medals.. How can you not get excited by that?

‘The Olympic Cauldron’

‘Some of the honour plaques’

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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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Enjoying the wonders of the natural world

One thing that I love about Calgary is that it is less than an hour from the mountains.

No matter what time of year it is, no matter the weather, driving through the mountains always takes my breath away and keeps me wanting more.  Sunday was no different.

My boss had told me last year of the spectacular drive that him and his wife had taken along Hwy 40. The Highwood Pass from Longview to Canmore, from the rolling green foothills and ranch lands to the high peaks of the rocky mountains.

At around 4:30pm and with still plenty of hours of sunlight ahead of us (yes, it doesn’t get dark here now until well after 9:30pm), I decided that it would be nice to take in some new sights.. and it truly didn’t disappoint.

Hwy 40 ‘The Highwood Pass’ – The road ahead

The stunning valley through Kananaskis Country

Enjoying some of the sights

The Avalanche Trails along the Kananaskis Range

Beautiful Wild Flowers

Simply stunning

Our tiny Suzi Suzuki 

Overcast weather….. who cares

Big horn sheep.. yes sheep.. no matter where I go…

Yummy.. salt on the road

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Since I arrived in Canada I have had a fascination with trains.  I know I know.. ‘WHAT.. but I’m a girl!’..

I don’t know what it.. but it’s true.. everything about them fascinates me..

Perhaps it was the after work relaxation that I got watching Jase and Will lie on the floor most nights and play with the entire Thomas set that Will owned (or was that Jase owned!!) or perhaps it’s the memories that they provide to me and the reminders of those I miss back home… but anyway, Saturday was not my first encounter with trains on this side of the world, but it was definitely the first time that I actually got to climb over them (yes I felt like a kid again) and wander through the carriages of some of the old majestic first class trains originally owned by Canadian Pacific Railways.. and YES… I also saw my first real live round house…. and had a ride on a steam engine…

Lucky me I managed to score a free ticket with Fi to her work family day at Heritage Park.  For you Victoria’s think more Pioneer Settlement than Sovereign Hill!!.. but it was still a free day and Fi and I wandered through the old-fashioned midway, complete with old style ferris wheel, amusement games and boat swings.  Across into ‘Laggan’s’ farm, complete with Cinnamon and Oreo the potty calves, Tom the turkey and numerous little pigs.  Even further into the unknown were we found a RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) post, a saloon and a school and an outpost church… but by far the most fun we had, was exploring the trains and taking a ride on the old steam train (even if it only included two loops around the park)…

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