With our big decision made about our housing, we’ve been excited to move in. Unfortunately, our place isn’t ready yet. So we’ve been freeloading off of others. With our shipment not here yet and no car bought (that’s a whole different blog), we’ve found ourselves in the awkward “in between” stage.
So what have we been doing? Getting familiar with the city and the culture I guess.
A couple of Sundays ago Mr. Foo called us up on our old school Nokia (getting a different phone has proved to be a bit of a process). “He’s taking us for a cultural experience since all the Malay’s are picking figs” is what Shaun heard. We ended up at IKEA! Although Shaun probably didn’t hear Foo right, this has been a perfect example of the cultural dichotomies we’ve experienced since.
We’ve been kept busy shopping, going to school social gatherings and orientations and trying to keep fit by jogging and dodging monkeys. Below are some pictures to show you what our lives have been like lately.
The KLCC area (downtown) looked lovely all lit up for Hari Raya (the end of Ramadan).
The Petronas Towers are the highlight of the KL skyline. We attempted to get a selfie with it, but it proved impossible (although that didn’t seem to be stopping the throngs of tourists.)
I wonder how many towers that look like this there are in the world?
The stairs to the Batu Caves was a sweaty climb.
You’ve got to love the larger than life dioramas inside the caves.
We did have a few spare moments to be tourists.
Whenever there was a free moment, a dip in our hotel pool wasn’t too shabby of an option.
This restaurant is of course “world famous” for their chilli crab so we had to try it. Not sure why Mickey is on the sign.
When beer is not available, Hooch will have to do.
Nothing beats eating meat on a stick! Street food here is delicious, plentiful and cheap.
The negotiations are complete and the rental agreement is about to be signed – and a room with a view is the winner! While it was a tough decision, this really was the nicest place we looked at with the rent being slightly under our housing allowance and only a 10-minute drive from Trina’s school. Also, it received the most votes in our poll at 48% just edging out the cozy character place.
It’s 1,550 square feet including three bedrooms, two baths and a nice storage room for my hockey equipment. And, plenty of room for guests just like you!
The best part is that I’ll never have to leave home as it has a pool, a gym and various shops soon to be added right on the main level.
The only downside is that it still needs curtains, lights, appliances and all the furniture – some minor technicalities. Luckily, they work fast here in Malaysia and we’ll have the keys in our hands by next Friday. Until then, we’re in the hotel for a few more days and then we’re moving into a friendly teacher at Trina’s school who has offered us a room at his home. He’s from Swift Current, so his hospitality makes perfect sense.
Next up on our agenda is buying a car. Stay tuned for the hilarity that will ensue once we start driving here…yikes.
So we’ve arrived in Kuala Lumpur safe and sound only to find ourselves in the swept into the exciting albeit exhausting whirlwind of house hunting. It’s been a busy few days trying to narrow down the search. Now we much make a decision if we are to have a place to stay by the time our hotel allotment runs out. Thank goodness for Mr. Foo – realtor extraordinaire! Please review the following summaries and cast your vote to help us decide.
#1 House on the Hill
in the midst of nature
running paths and golf course nearby
school is close but amenities are far away
private yard / nice views
1400 square feet
2 bed, 2 bath
4000 MYR (local currency)
View from the hill top
Very red kitchen
Look at this colour!
#2 Luxurious City Living
Beautiful, spacious and modern suite
lots of extras
minimum commute of 30 minutes to school (could be hellish if traffic is bad)
close to great restaurants, clubs and city centre
1700 square feet
3 beds, 3 baths
5600 MYR (top of budget)
Check out this master bath!
Master bed room
The kitchen even has a wine fridge
Second bedroom – all have close space that lights up
A beautiful pool and gym round out this place
#3 A Room with a View
brand new complex
fantastic views and layout
large balcony with the view pictured below
best pool and fitness centre (Shaun would never have to leave the building)
10 minute bike ride to school
might not be ready on time
furniture needs to be negotiated
3 bed, 2 bath
Check out this view from a spacious balcony!
A good sized kitchen
Bedrooms are all a good size and layout but difficult to photo graph unfurnished
Shared garden space
#4 Cozy Character
waterfront view (lake is a bit green)
10 minute walk to school
tried and true (other teachers live there)
small pool and fitness centre
older and a bit worn
1500 square feet
3 bed, 2 bath
Nice modern kitchen with losts of counter space
View from the balcony
So weigh in with your votes in the poll below. We’d appreciate all the help we can get and will definitely be blogging about the final outcome!
Well, Malaysia awaits on Monday. After a short 25-hour flight and 14-hour time change, we’ll be back to sweating on a full-time basis.
Our bags are packed and I’m now officially unemployed. It’s scary, it’s sad, and it’s exciting.
While you’d think we’d be spending our days planning the next crazy chapter of our lives, almost all of our time has been spent saying goodbye to family and friends the last few months. And that’s been a really good thing.
We’ve had coffee and beers and meals of food with people we haven’t talked to in years and spent more quality time with our families than we ever would have if we were staying.
Since this is our second lap at leaving home, we’ve developed a bit of a science to saying goodbye and making sure everyone gets a piece of our time. Here are the top three tips to saying goodbye the right way…
1. Never sleep – Since the end of May, I haven’t slept a full night once and I’ve been out every night. I’ve been to every restaurant, bar, coffee house, park, golf course and gambling den in our fair city. I don’t even want to look at my Mastercard bill, but extending your days and nights is a great way to make sure you’re spending quality time with your buds. I’m proud of my 423 going away events.
2. Tell sensitive people that you’re going on a long vacation – This is obviously a bit of a smokescreen, but it seems to help those folks that are prone to the waterworks. “See you in a few months” and “talk to you next spring” have jumped from my mouth many times and it seems to dam up the tears.
3. Make people sick of you – This is perhaps the most important thing. Once you’ve heard – “You haven’t left yet!” or even better “Just leave already!” – you know you’ve done a great job of saying goodbye. Making people tire of you and your ‘adventure’ is a sure fire way to ensure they don’t miss you too much – and hopefully they’ll be interested in visiting again when you return.
I hope those can help you one day.
Please keep checking the blog for much more regular updates as we set up things in KL. And please comment on the blog. It’s great to hear from our friends at home and all around world. And remember, we expect visitors (we promise to have air conditioning)!
You’ve got to love that teachers’ now get a week of vacation in February. With last week’s temperatures in Saskatchewan being around the -30 mark no excuse was needed to get the hell out of dodge. The fact that friends had found a sweet deal to ski in Bridger Bowl, Montana sealed the deal. Here are the top reasons to escape to Montana in February:
1. It was 16 degrees Celsius in Bozeman last Saturday when we arrived. That’s nearly 50 degrees warmer than it was in Regina today. Unbelievable!
2. They still had snow in the mountains and you could enjoy a mid-afternoon beer out on the patio.
3. Beer is cheaper than water. The only thing cheaper than the beer might be gas. A full tank of gas was $20. I don’t remember it being this cheap since high school when I was driving around a 1984 Hyundai Pony and blasting Billy Ocean, Taylor Dane, WHAM! and other cassette hits my dad had ordered from Columbia House. (For the record, I went to high school in the 90s but drove the “80s mobile”.)
4. We had great company going with us. Scott and Shay had a luxury suite at the C’MON Inn with a full kitchen and offered us an all you can eat and drink package at a sweet deal thanks to Scott’s Costco run. Trevor and Kim kept us all on schedule and Cheryl and Miguel regaled us with tales of Miguel’s days as “DJ Mambo Fly”.
5. The radio ads are hilarious. Among other useful PSAs, we learned how to properly carry a concealed weapon.
6. We’ve got photos to prove fun was had by all!
We did manage to find some snow to cross country ski in. With a backdrop like this, it made the grueling 20 km ski (a lot of it uphill) much more endurable.
Trevor is showing us how it is done. He makes it look easy.
Miguel, Cheryl, Cannella and Leo joined us on this trip. It was Miguel and the kids first time skiing and they impressed us all with their mad skills and their huge smiles throughout the trip.
Can you believe this is Montana in February? We had packed our snowshoes, but going for a hike seemed to make more sense.
Nothing adds to vacation entertainment like taking along two babies. I highly recommend it as long as the babies are not yours, are staying in a different hotel room than you and drive up in different cars. Our hats go off to Trevor and Kim and Scott and Shay, who won’t let toddlers and babies stop them from having fun!
What do you do after a 20km ski? Climb a mile straight up a mountain of course!
For our final day, we decided to trek in Lewis and Clark Cavern Park where we were promised typical Montana vistas.
We almost look like we know what we’re doing in this picture. Maybe we can be on the Malaysian Olympic Ski Team?
One of the best parts of the trip was the food. Shaun and I don’t pack typical hiking grub. Instead we packed our leftover pizza and a couple of beers to enjoy for lunch – delicious!
The news is now on Facebook and trending on Twitter (does one retweet make it trending?)- We are moving to Malaysia! Months of job applications, skype interviews, drafting pros and cons lists have gone into this decision. In short, it’s been an emotional roller coaster, but when I was offered one of my top choices in schools, positions and destinations, it was just too good to pass up!
As we broke the news to close friends and family, reactions have been all over the map. Calvin and José asked if they could buy our car and my dad asked, “Can I hunt big game there?” Although those question don’t make the following list, I have compiled the answers to your most frequently asked questions.
1. Where is Kuala Lumpur and do they have electricity?
Kuala Lumpur (KL) is the largest city in Malaysia. It not only has electricity but it is bustling city of 1.6 million people (6.9 million Greater Kuala Lumpur). It is modern, “westernized” (for lack of a better word) and multicultural. In short, KL has all the modern conveniences of Regina plus better shopping and more direct flights.
2. What will the weather be like?
The weather is some of the most consistent in the world. It’s basically Sri Lankan hot all the time. Check the forecast at anytime and it will be 30 degrees. The differences lie only in the humidity. I don’t know that we’ll be sweating quite as much as Sri Lanka though as air conditioning seems to be very common.
3. What and where will you be teaching?
I have been hired as the 8th grade learning resource teacher. For those of you who are not teachers, essentially I work with the grade 8 teaching team to support struggling learners. The school I’ll be teaching at is The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL). The school is populated by over 1500 students grade K-12 over two campuses. In eighth grade, there are approximately 70 students. Students at the school are from all over the world. For more about the school, including a virtual tour check out their website: http://www.iskl.edu.my/
4. What will Shaun do?
Shaun will pursue his life-long dream of living off of my money. I expect he will have the house clean and supper on the table after my long days of work. In all seriousness, Shaun will find something to do. He’ll either get a job writing or saving the world all while working on his tan.
5. How long will you be gone for?
I’ve signed a 2 year contract. It’s difficult to say what will happen after that point. We are open to any and all possibilities.
6. Where will you live?
It will be just like International House Hunters (at least in my head it will be). The school will put us up for 10 days in a hotel and they have contracted an external company to help us find a place to rent. Since we have never really grown up, we will likely be looking for a furnished apartment style condo.
7. Can we come and visit you?
Ok, maybe this isn’t one of the most frequently asked questions, but it should be! Malaysia is a tourist hub and inexpensive at that. (We will have an extra room or two for free lodging.) Attractions in Malaysia include scuba diving, beaches, hiking, orangutans, great shopping, amazing food and two of the most hospitable tour guides http://www.tourism.gov.my/en/experiences
There’s still a lot to do in the next six months before the big move and I’m sure a few more blog worthy entries will keep you informed along the way.
Hi. It’s been awhile. I hope you’re doing well. I’m good, thanks.
Life is humming along as it tends to do. Sleep, work, eat, laugh, poop, repeat. That’s really what’s gone on the past couple years – not always in that particular order.
Life is good, if not a bit boring and unbloggable. Not a bad thing, just the way it goes.
To break things up, we’ve taken a few nice little trips since we stopped sweating in Sri Lanka. Our most recent get away was supposed to be to Honduras over the Christmas break. We were going to spend two weeks on the beach staying with our friend at his island villa. Sounds nice, right? Not to mention we love mooching off of the others (see our European trip in the summer).
Well, it didn’t quite turnout that way thanks to an unnamed heartless airline (United) cancelling our flight to Denver for three straight days and then not having any availability for the next week. Shit.
Long story short, after much swearing and tossing of 3-day old packed luggage, we made the best of it and booked an all-inclusive, week-long trip to Cuba leaving the next day. Not the trip we had planned, but the forecast was for sun and the price was right (especially since United refunded our Honduras flights).
Cuba, not Cuba
We’ve both been to all-inclusive resorts before. They’re not our favourite places, but you really can’t go too wrong when it’s 30 above and there are 17 free bars. And it’s -30 in Regina.
The first couple days were great – swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, judging others – all things we enjoy very much. But, by day three, we were looking to escape the fake resort life (and I was getting tired of beating Trina in tennis). So with Havana over 700 km away and only resorts for as far as the eye could see, our only way out was renting a couple of one-speed bikes with baskets on the front and pedaling for as far as our legs would take us.
With only 750 ml of water, sandals and no shirt or food, we sped away on bikes we borrowed from a security guard at the neighbouring 5-star resort. We had no map and were going to a place Trina vaguely remembered reading about online – Cayo Guillermo. I had no idea what was there or how far it was. I only knew that we were making it there or dying – whatever came first.
Not that Trina and I talked about it first. It’s just kind of an unspoken rule that whatever we do will eventually turn into some sort of an endurance challenge.
After about 30 minutes of pedaling in the direction we thought was the right way, we came up to the first road sign that said – Cayo Guillermo 38 km. We both saw it and we both said nothing. We just kept going.
At the the 19 km mark, we stopped for a sip of water and had the silly conversation about whether we were going to keep riding. We both knew the answer – neither one of us would ever signal that we’d had enough. And to tell you the truth, it was a great little ride. Yeah, my butt was sore and I was severely dehydrated, but the weather was fantastic and we had escaped the buffets and the poolside aerobics.
While there wasn’t much to see other than another beach, some resorts and a flock of flamingos in Cayo Guillermo, it was well worth the 5-hour, 100 km bike ride. (Even though I contemplated just laying down in the ditch and letting nature take its course at about the 70 k mark.)
We were actually gone so long that a search party was sent out from where we rented the bikes Apparently the other tourists don’t go that far? Wimps.
Anyways, we had a very nice week and we’re already planning our next escape.
Happy 2015 everyone. Enjoy some pics of the trip…
Here’s a look at our resort’s beach. Nice water. I peed in it.
A rocky outcrop.
The resort’s pool.
One of the best parts of an all-inclusive are the towel animals the maid makes for you. The better the tip, the better the animal. This was worth 3 pesos.
There were hundreds of these cabins at our resort and barely any were being used. They might be filled with Americans next year.
On the way to the beach.
One of the restaurants. Not much to look at during the day.
Looking for a way off the resort.
This was half way through our 100 km bike ride. We weren’t looking so chipper by the end. Apparently we had the wind on the first part. Yikes.
This statue was pointing at something. We saw some great old cars during our bike ride.
It seems like forever ago, and yet just like yesterday that we were all sweating together in Sri Lanka – a group of quirky VSO volunteers. We came not knowing what to expect out of Sri Lanka and through all the adventures, we helped each other deal with the perceived insanity. Our collective experience brought us close together despite our differences. Upon departing Sri Lanka, Shaun and I promised we would visit in Summer 2014 . Before we knew it, summer was upon us, many of our VSO friends were back in their respective homelands and we could finally afford to travel to Europe thanks to the art of freeloading.
First up, there are Marjorie and Richard- the quintessential British couple. They speak proper English (Marjorie even flutters her eyes when doing so), love tea and cake and say everything is “brilliant” (but they can’t understand why we say everything is “awesome”). Marjorie and Richard live near the magical land of Hebden Bridge. After a couple years of Marj’s vivid descriptions of the place I expected unicorns, and I must say it didn’t disappoint. Okay, there were no unicorns, but there was the Tour de France passing through and lots of fireworks. Former volunteer Texas Bill also joined in on the festivities, and he is not the quintessential Texan. He did not wear a cowboy hat or bring a concealed weapon to the party.
Then it was off to see Mark and Vindy (aka Sewandi ). Shaun was the best man at their wedding in Sri Lanka and you may recall posts about the big event. The happy couple had just moved into a new flat a few days before and we were their first house guests – a big honour. This meant we were force feed copious amounts of rice and curry. No oil lamp was lit, but this too was a truly auspicious gathering. I only was able to stay the one night but Shaun stayed on and got the star treatment as the couple guided him through many tourist destinations. Mark was prepared as always when they arrived off the first bus to pouring rain and had no umbrellas or rain coats. He did however have 50lbs of books and journals with him!
In the meantime, I was off to Italy to meet, Sonalee and go on a cycle tour of Tuscany. I taught with Sonalee in Sri Lanka, and we became good friends over spin classes and margaritas so it seemed a natural fit to meet for a cycling tour that included vigorous climbs with frequent breaks for cappucino, gelato and/or wine. The scenery was amazing, the weather was hot and the conversations were fantastic.
Shaun met up with me at the end of the cycle trip to hike through some of the most picturesque parts of the Italian Riveria. This was only after hanging out with VSO Beth and Jo for a week. There he was beat in golf, trapped like a beached whale on the shore of Brighton (he couldn’t walk to the others because the beach was too stony and he’d lost his shoes) and called to BBQ duty. After bragging about his Canadian barbequing expertise and agreeing to cue up a meal for a large party of guests, Shaun met his match as the barbecue used briquettes. The night was saved by an oven and booze – lots of booze.
Next up was Amsterdam, the home of Hans and Els. There we partook in all traditional Dutch customs such as touring windmills, riding bicycles everywhere, eating piles of BBQ at a Suriname festival and being cheap. Hans and Els tried their best to get us into all the museums for free by giving us their passes. It was going very well until the Van Gogh museum where the lady at the counter foiled our entire plan by asking Shaun his birthday. Shaun couldn’t remember Han’s birthday except that he was born in “the hell of 63″ a reference to a Dutch film we all saw together at the foreign film festival in Colombo (long story). When the counter lady (who didn’t seem to bat an eye that Shaun would be born in 63) asked,”What day sir?” A flustered Shaun replied, “I don’t know,” as we quickly retrieved the cards and slunk away.
London was the next stop. We played the role of the stereotypical tourists snapping selfies in front of key landmarks. A highlight was meeting up with Beth, Jo and Joao at a Sri Lankan restaurant. The restaurant did not disappoint as it provided the authentic Sri Lankan experience. Most of the menu items were not available, the waiter was completely confused by our requests, the room was hot and humid and they had giant cold Lion beers. It was easy to feel like we were right back in Sri Lanka. The atmosphere was complete when Shaun and Beth shared an earlier recording they had made entitled “The Sounds of Sri Lanka”.
We finished up the grand tour back with Kamal and Ed. They are a couple we met in Sri Lanka who now live in Manchester. They were our first stop when we arrived and were our last stop before we flew out. Our time with Kamal and Ed culminated by taking in the production of War Horse. The show was great. We just hope that one day Ed will be able to fulfill his new dream of being a master of life size animal puppetry. Dream big Ed, dream big!
I’ll leave you with a photo montage.
Kamal and Ed show us the Manchester sites.
Enjoying some bubbly and views in Marjorie and Richard’s backyard with Wild Texan Bill.
Of course, you can’t wait for the Tour de France without a proper picnic of smoked salmon sandwiches and champange. Thanks Richard for packing this for us and we love your selfie pose (no double chin!)
We are waiting by the side of the road for the Tour de France to pass by.
We are trying to get the perfect picture and we have very little time to do so as the cyclists are travelling an average of 40km/h in The Tour.
The peloton passes by in mere seconds as I tried not to get sucked into the vortex of their speed.
What Tour de France party is complete without fireworks set off from a bike?
No journey in England in complete without tasting lots of pub food.
We loved hiking in the Lake District. Thanks Marj and Richard for a brillant time.
Our hosts Mark and Vindy pose for a shot in Robin Hood’s Bay just moments after Shaun rescued Mark from the edge of a cliff (at least that’s what he tells me).
Here is the evidence of the delicious food in their flat.
Shaun got to tour around with Mark and Vindy to places such as Whitby which is famous for the World’s Best fish and chips and the site where Dracula came ashore.
Here’s the group of Brits we joined up with to cycle Tuscany.
I’m not sure this was such a good idea seeing as how wobbly my legs were feeling at the time.
This photo pretty much sums up how difficult some of the ascents were to bike in the heat.
Our cycling trip finished with at the coastal tour of Levanto. Here Sonalee and I relaxed beach side with a beer. Perfection!
Spending a week hiking with these views – not too shabby!
The five villages built into the cliffs in Cinque Terre are like something out of a fairy tale.
This was the beautiful view approaching Portovenere.
Shaun takes a photo of a cathedral in Lucca.
Cheers to our first night in Holland.
The girls sample a cherry beer.
We did get into the Rijksmuseum for free!
A typical sight as we cycled the streets.
Suriname was granted independence from the Dutch in the 1970s only they didn’t want it. As a result many Suriname people became Dutch citizens and have taken BBQ to a whole new level at an annual festival in Amsterdam.
It was so good to have Lieve and her son join for the day.
We also got to see exactly how wooden shoes were made.
Here we learned all about the traditional Dutch windmill.
Waiting over 2 hours was worth it to see the poignant exhibits in Anne Frank’s House.
We walked up and down the Thames to take in the sites. The London eye was too expensive for us cheapskates to ride but we did manage to get free tickets to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
This bottle of Dutch gin added to the hilarity of Beth’s birthday supper.
It was just like old times.
The tube ride home ended in a crazy photo shoot thanks to Beth’s birthday gin.
It’s been a really long time since our last blog, and that’s a shame. It’s a shame because we miss it. How is it that something that was so ingrained in our lives can just disappear? Thanks to an exciting game of “teacher’s versus world” flip cup and a trip visiting family in Calgary (long story), I’ve been missing blogging even more.
So naturally I decided to write a blog all about our summer trip to Europe. Ironically, since it’s been so long since I’ve blogged I forgot that WordPress doesn’t save automatically and I lost the entire post. After an exasperated “AIYO!” and other four letter words, I’ve decided instead to write a list of excuses that have prevented us from blogging since returning in Canada.
1. ” I don’t want to offend anyone”. – You can no longer be as candid or frank. Political correctness simply didn’t exist in Sri Lanka. Stereotyping and over-generalizing were simply a way to better understand the world. As long as all parties could share a laugh and some curry – all was good.
2. “Our lives are too boring now”.- Life in Canada is back to our norm. It is what we’ve always known and sometimes we feel people will find it too boring. Jokes about Regina will only get you so far.
3.”There is no time in the day.”- Entering back into Canadian life has also meant it’s back to Canadian schedules. While I think we are not running as crazily as we used to, long gone are my days of gym, tan and laundry. Not to mention, it’s never hot enough to sip G & T’s which I think aided in the creative process.
4. We have television. – Shaun was the primary author of our blog and his evenings are now dedicated to watching sports on TSN or Netflix.
5. We have iPhones – Those things can be so distracting with continual access to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other time sinks. Just last night I actually witnessed Shaun watching television, listening to a podcast, browsing the internet on his iphone, reading a book and eating a sandwich all at the same time.
6. “I’ve got too much work to do”. – This excuse is usually followed for me by writing lists and then procrastinating. Procrastination techniques include opening the fridge door and hoping a delicious snack will appear, checking the weather, Facebook, Twitter and local real estate all on my iPhone, and ruminating about all the things I have to do and how there is never enough time. What can I say except that I think I am genetically predisposed to this disorder.
7. “I’ll write about it tomorrow.” – Since the words aren’t quite flowing in the moment – might as well try tomorrow.
8. “It’s too late to write about that now.” – In this age of instant media, I feel as though if we don’t write about an event the instant it happens, it is old news and no one will be interested. It’s gotten to the point where one wonders if it isn’t on social media did it really happen? Can you imagine hundreds of years from now when archeologists unearth this mass of ancient texts known as tweets, hashtags and status updates what they will think?
So now that the excuses are out of the way, I guess I should attempt to rewrite the blog about our Europe trip. . . although the Rider game is on in 3 hours and I should go for a run, go to yoga, write a university paper, get groceries – wait, maybe there is a delicious snack in the fridge.
Another year has come and gone. It’s amazing to think that one year ago we were in the Himalaya’s drinking Nepali home brew and dancing around a camp fire with a troupe of super sherpas. This year we stayed a lot closer to home for the holidays. In fact, aside from an extended weekend ski trip to the hills where we discovered that it is still possible to hot tub in -45 degrees, we stayed right at home. It was nice to celebrate with family and friends.
It also was a reminder of just how hectic this time of the year can be. Shaun and I both found ourselves setting guidelines to keep things simple this year. The commercialism and the expectation of perfection can be enough to drive anyone crazy. Luckily I’ve learned over the years that the key to life is low expectations. If you are disappointed, you simply need to lower your expectations.
That leads me to my rant about New Year’s resolutions. My resolution is to be less negative. Now this is a lofty goal since I believe resolutions are for chumps. But then again, I’m just going to be less negative not more positive. This is an important distinction as I won’t want to become someone who puts 21 exclamation points in a single Facebook post; that’s just not me.
So here are some ways I believe we all could be less negative.
* In Saskatchewan, in the winter, avoid all conversations having to do with the weather. They are a trap.
* In the small window of time when the weather becomes warmer, drop everything and get outdoors. Build a snowman, go for a run, snowshoe, ski, toboggan, skate and sleep in an igloo all that very day.
* Move to Kelowna, BC, the magical land where real estate is cheaper and it has been only -1 all week!
* Listen to Ace of Base. If you are of my generation and female, you just can’t feel down when reliving this classic 90s school dance hit.
* See the humour in everything. Believe me it is everywhere. For example, when your dad lends you a calving sleigh to take a couple of Congolese kids sledding for the first time, but first uses it to take a deer carcass to them. Or when you try to explain that a traditional Christmas in your family means ordering Chinese food on Christmas Eve and getting together with your Jewish relatives.
This year we hosted a “Christmas and Curry” party where we served great Sri Lankan short eats. We were lucky to have met a Sri Lankan couple living in Regina who prepared cutlets and patties for us. I was so excited to meet Sonali and Darshan to speak Sri Lankan English (Sringlish) together. Oh yeah, and no party is complete without some dancing as pictured (I think??)
No Christmas party at our house is complete without a visit from “Santos”, the Mexican Santa Claus.
We’re not quite sure how this obscure tradition started, but Santos shows up at any Christmas party we throw and regifts treasures of Christmas past. This year Shaun received the complete set of the 2011 Regina Red Sox trading cards. In the words of Santos, “F-ing rights!”
Our Christmas Eve celebrations had it all this year. A 90 year old great aunt who loves karaoke, a refugee family, and the police (my sister and her partner on a break). What more could you ask for?
We, of course, had to spoil our African nephews on their first Christmas in Canada.
Jesse and Joel didn’t know exactly what to do when we gave them their wrapped gifts, but they sure looked great in their hats.
We finally got a picture of Calvin and Josie (parents of Jesse and Joel) as they open their stockings. All these Christmas traditions are a bit confusing to them.