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Homecoming

I’m hoooooome!!

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Shot of the Northumberland Straight as we landed in Moncton this afternoon. Aahhh, love that Atlantic Maritime water :)

My scheduled move home couldn’t have come at a better time. We just had a death in the family and I am relieved to be near my mom and Nana right now. After a year with brain cancer, my beloved Uncle Robert passed away late Friday afternoon. It’s hard to watch my mom grieve the loss of her brother and my grandmother the loss of her son.

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That’s me (left) and my cousin Ellen on Robert’s lap. Ellen was my best friend growing up, and seeing her lose her dad is a heartache I can’t describe. Robert was a rock in my family and losing him is a great loss. 

I was with my sister Sara in Ottawa when we heard the news. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have family around. We woke up on Saturday talking about what we could do to ease our spirits that day. Obviously, we both agreed on brunch.

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A place that specializes in scones? Yesplease.

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It was very small inside. Maybe seven or so tables. You order and pay first, then they bring it to you.

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The menu!

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I was torn between getting a brunch dish or a “sconewitch.” In the end, breakfast food won over, it always does!

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Then there’s always the lifelong debate over sweet & savoury. I actually prefer my scones cheesy or spicy, so I went for cheddar.

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Got my “sweet” elsewhere instead ;)

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$1 brownies at the cash register. SO dangerous. Was a wonderful, fudgey appetizer while we waited for our orders.

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Plus my third coffee of the day. Don’t judge. I’ve been stress-drinking tea and coffee lately. And chocolate (as exhibited above).

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T’was brewed pretty strong!

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Sister Sara went for a sweet scone – Vanilla Cream with Blueberry & Raspberry jam. I had a bite and it was diviiiiine.

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I on the other hand went the eggs & ham route, piled high on my cheddar scone.

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The scone, while giant by my usual standards, was flaky, buttery, dense and everything a good scone should be. The scrambled eggs were actually way better than I’ve ever made them at home, and the ham of good quality. They give pretty good fruit on the side too. My only complaint about the place is the tables are too small. Not comfortable to eat at!

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Me and my big sis! With a certain blonde missing… (middle sister Jane). I’ll be seeing her again soon though for the funeral. The one silver lining in death is that it brings family together in a way that rarely ever happens.

Even though I’ll be living with my dad here at home, I’m currently staying at my mom’s place. I may be going over to my Nana’s too. You know, just to “be around.” To be supportive during this initial period of grief and distract them by making messes with my one arm. Everyone wants to fret over my other injured arm.

Despite everything, it certainly feels good to be home.

Brutally Honest

You know those “confessions” posts that bloggers often do? Well this is me being brutally honest. I’ve been jarring them up for too long. My intent is never to insult anybody. This is not a mean-spirited attempt at being entertaining. But I’m also tired of being cutesy ;)

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1. I don’t care for blog giveaways. I do sometimes host them on my blog because it’s a fun way to give back to readers with prizes I actually like. But in general I don’t read or participate in the giveaways of others because I already own enough crap I don’t use. I think it takes away from what could otherwise be quality content on blogs. Especially when they happen weekly. It’s irritating. If I liked hearing about people winning things, I’d get the Game Show Network.

2. I get a little irked when people say “You’ll be better in no time!” about my arm injury. Don’t worry if you’ve said this, I’m certainly not mad at you. I understand those who say it are coming from a good place and I really appreciate the intention.

But I feel like assuming my injury will heal up fast minimizes what I’m going through. This has been the longest month of my life, and saying “no time” reminds me I still have many months of healing ahead of me.  I’m not a drama queen. I know the specifics of my own injury, and I’m trying not to fool myself about it.

3. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Ever notice that men are really good at staying in a job for 20 years, but women change jobs every 2 years? What’s up with that? What’s wrong with us?

4. I feel like a giant loser for moving back home. Despite the fact that it’s what I reallyreally want to do.

5. As a follow up, my family is kind of in shambles right now. This only fuels my need to be home with them as soon as possible. Not just for them, but for me too.

6. I think a lot of health conscious people are too obsessive and take it to an extreme where it is no longer healthy. Most people have inherent obsessive tendencies, and it’s obvious a lot of people channel that towards healthy eating and exercise.

Unfortunately, it’s often ignored. Or worse, praised because it’s disguised as a good thing. It’s not. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen or heard of a person freaking out about eating white bread. Freaking out about ingesting 1/4 cup white flour is NOT healthy.

7. I used to play a lot of music, namely guitar, piano and singing. But I gave it up because I thought I wasn’t good enough. Even though I was constantly encouraged by others to continue, my own self doubts are what made me stop. Playing music makes me feel inadequate.

8. I can’t read books with one hand. I drop it every time I try to turn the page. I’ve been dying to do a book review on here, but I haven’t been able to get through it.

9. I’m really, really messy. Not dirty per se, as I’m scared of getting smelly things, bugs or mold. But you know how some people look at a mess and get really bothered to the point where they have to clean it up? Well, I’m the opposite.

My brain quickly becomes accustomed to things being out of place until I no longer notice them. Say I emptied the contents of my purse on the middle of the living room floor. I could easily learn to live around that within a couple days until having junk in the centre of the room became the norm for me. Just like having a coffee table there. It’s weird.

10. I can wholeheartedly recommend Adora calcium chocolates.

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The company offered me a couple bags to feature on the blog. I first tried these at the Healthy Living Summit and already knew I liked them.

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They sent me the milk chocolate and dark chocolate flavours. The milk is my favourite! Creamier and sweeter. I’ve always been a milk chocolate gal.

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Each chocolate is 30 calories and offers 500mg calcium, 250 IU vitamin D and 40mg of magnesium. That’s half of the recommended daily dosage of calcium, 62% of your vitamin D and 10% magnesium.

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Now, be warned the texture is a little “chalky.” Nothing over the top, but not quite “melt in your mouth” like the high end stuff. But in my opinion, the cost-benefit is 100% worth it. They make for the perfect after lunch dessert!!

I have to admit, Adora also offered me a giveaway, but I declined because it wouldn’t be open to Canadians. As #1 states, I’m picky about my giveaways, including having those that are open to my countrymen! If you’re in the States, I definitely recommend checking them out. If not, you can always order online.

Phew. Feels good to get all that off my chest. Sometimes we just gotta be brutally honest, ya know?

Question of the Day: What’s one thing you’re dying to get off your chest?

The Times They Are a-Changin’

Just over one year ago, I made the decision to move from my small home province to the country’s largest city.

I’d been living in my university city for six years. It was a great place for school, but it was not a good fit for me as I transitioned into being a working adult. Actually, it suffocated me.

When I left both my “real job” as a radio reporter and a long-term relationship last winter, my back-up plan was to move back home. You see, I left my hometown two weeks after my high school graduation and haven’t lived there since. Even though my university city was only 90 minutes away, I never made it back there for much longer than the requisite four short visits a year.

But when my friends in Toronto contacted me about my moving in with them in Toronto, it seemed like just the adventure I needed. Anyone who knows me in real life was surprised by the decision. I’ve always been the girl who wanted to stick close to home. I’m not a big city person. I take risks, but never those that have big consequences.

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I arrived in Toronto in July after a month of travelling to Banff and Ottawa. My sense of adventure was at an all time high. I remained open minded about the experience. Maybe I’d love it and want to stay forever. Maybe I’d get the itch to move on after a year and continue my way across the country – or even overseas!

My first four months in the city were amazing. I adjusted quickly, finding work easily. Work that I really enjoyed. I already had a great group of friends I knew from university, and met new ones through blogging. I became a part of the city’s pulse. I realized why Torontonians think they’re the centre of the universe. The city has so much to offer and so much excitement, there’s no need to look elsewhere for anything else.

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But after four months, the honeymoon period started to wear off. Even though I adapted to the city quickly, I still felt like an outsider just pretending like I belonged there.

I started daydreaming about moving out West among the mountains. Maybe Vancouver. Or back to Banff. My mind even wandered all the way to Scotland. Which apparently has a decent number of personal training jobs to offer.

But when I turned my mind off and listened to my gut, my heart, and my instincts, I knew I still belonged back home. In the city I left seven years ago. With my mom, my dad, my Nana, my step-siblings and poodle.

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The three weeks I spent back in Moncton over Christmas only solidified that for me. I could daydream about living elsewhere, but in the end I truly believe that I am happiest and most in my element when I am home. I need a break from forcing myself to do things because I think they will be good life lessons or learning experiences for me. I want to make decisions based on what I am most comfortable with. Maybe it’s time to stop looking at it as the “easy way out” but come to terms with it being what will make me the most happy. For now anyways.

I remember having a conversation with my cousins when I first moved to Toronto about being displaced Maritmers in the “big city.” They were talking about how they didn’t want to move home because then it would feel like they failed at whatever they were trying to accomplish in Toronto.

I definitely do not feel like a failure. Following your heart is definitely a brave thing to do. I feel a little boring for not moving on to another adventure somewhere else in the world. But in my mind moving back home is an adventure. And will certainly be challenging.

For one thing, I’m moving to the small town where I grew up just across the river from Moncton. 5.5 million people to 16,000. I’ll be living with my dad on the street I grew up on. I haven’t lived with my father since my parents separated when I was 11 years old. I love my mom to pieces, but I’m stoked to spend time with my old man again.

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I’ll also be living with my little sister, her partner, and my brand new nephew Cole. I only hope my arm heals soon so I can hold him!

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All of this will be happening in about three weeks. I was hoping to work at my Toronto jobs up until the end of March. But then the accident happened, leaving me unable to work as a trainer or in my physical retail job for several weeks. I should be getting the cast off in Ottawa in a couple weeks, then starting the long process of learning how to move my arm again with physiotherapy back home.

My original plan was to continue working at the running store and start my own training business once I got home. But the accident has changed that. Or at least indefinitely postponed that. Right now I’m reverting to the only thing left I am trained professionally to do – write. Living at home will at least give me extra room financially to figure it out.

So there is my very long explanation of why I quit both my jobs last week. Why I’ve been Tweeting  about getting a moving truck. Why I have a Toronto bucket list and such a driving motivation to eat brunch at every restaurant in my Toronto neighbourhood so soon.

I am SO excited about being home again. Hanging out with my family and old friends. Living among the mountains for the summer would have been nice, but being at my cottage on the Atlantic waters all summer is something I always dream of.

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Oh, and my dad has an amazing kitchen. I can’t wait to get in there and start cooking for my loved ones. I can’t wait to go hiking in Fundy. To eat cinnamon buns in Alma and lobster in Shediac.To go swimming in the Northumberland. I can’t wait to be amongst Maritimers again. My people. Laid back, easy going people.

I do not regret moving to Toronto one bit. I still maintain it’s the best decision I ever made. I experienced so much while there. And it taught my just how great my home actually is.

When I was leaving my mother’s house in January to return to Toronto after the Christmas break, she said to me “This isn’t right. You shouldn’t be the one leaving. You belong here!”

And I couldn’t agree more.

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