Chicken Pox

Merry Christmas!

And what’s better than Christmas and spending it with your friends and family? Well, how about catching a stomach bug, followed by the chicken pox? As an adult?

On December 21st we flew off to Switzerland to see our friends for a few days. I had a terrible sore throat and bad cough. I thought it was just the flu. We spent two days with our friends. The second night one of them got sick to their stomach. Overnight, the other friend also got sick, which lasted into morning. I felt iffy. We flew back home and felt okay, until that night.

We got very little sleep. Alex was vomiting and had the runs. I had the runs and severe nausea. That night I also had a terrible fever. This lasted for about 24 hours. Christmas day, I notice spots on my back and chest, slightly itchy.

We tried applying eczema cream, assuming it was an allergic reaction. The next day there were more spots, and one of them had a blister. And within another 24 hours they all blistered. On the 28th we went to see the doctor who confirmed that it was chicken pox.

I have been in itchy adult hell. Although today it’s feeling a lot less itchy. Which is nice. My fever didn’t last, thank god. I feel fine overall, but the itchiness is terrible.Here’s hoping for a quick recovery!

The Beginning of the End

Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States. What? Seriously, what? Americans, what are you thinking? How can you elect someone who stands for oppression, racism, sexism, and segregation?

Donald Trump said that women who have abortions need to be punished. That the Meixcan people need to be forced to pay for a wall to be built between Mexico and the United States. He wants to stop all Muslims from coming to the US. He is literally feeding terrorism. He’s making the statement that the country is afraid. And his answer is to eliminate one group of people based on the actions of a few? I seem to recall a significant, horrendous, tragic event in WWII where a certain leader did the same thing with the Jewish people. And now America? You’re making those same mistakes. I guess America hasn’t ┬álearned their history because now they’re doomed to repeat it.

Here’s hoping for the best the next 4 years. What a nightmare.

On the Eve of my 27th

It is the eve of my 27th birthday. While this past month has been a rough one, testing our patience and determination, our wallets and our health, I must say, it has been a fabulous year.

Up to this point in my life I have graduated high school (without getting pregnant!), attained my BA, went on to attain a Master’s Degree. I’ve held a steady job in Canada, fell in love, moved to another country (UK is quite nice), and found a job here.

Over the past year in England, I’ve traveled to more places than I could have ever imagined, I got engaged, and am in the midst of wedding planning.

While the road to get to where I am has been filled with twists, turns, construction zones, reconstructed roads, and full on dead ends, it has been a fabulous 27 years. I would not change anything for where I am now. You know, for things that I have control over. Being sick and having arthritis are just part of landscape on my road well traveled. And while I’m sure there will be many bumps along the way (well, hopefully only two baby ones), I’m going to try to make it worth it.

Here’s to me and everything I’ve accomplished this far! And also to my friends and family for helping me get here. I could not have done it without all of you.

Cheers!

A Difficult Month

A lot of things have happened this month. And let me tell you, I am tired. Where to start?

Well first, good news. We received our wedding bands! Very unconventional and yet very cool! We went with the Carbon Glow rings (some free promotion for this lovely company). I chose the purple ring and Alex has picked the blue. The rings are super comfortable and very unique. The bad news comes from my parents, who hate the rings. And more importantly than hating the rings, they felt it was a good idea to voice their opinions to us. Needless to say, I was not pleased with that. However, we are happy with the rings and we are keeping them.

Alex also had some tough times with his mom, who thought it was now a good idea to bring up an argument from 2 years ago. Family is awesome, no?

A week ago we also discovered that it may be tricky to get our visas renewed. Which means we may have to move back to Canada. It’s not a terrible situation, but it’s not quite what we had planned.

Finally in the bad news a thon, I may not be able to take my new job. Why? Well because I don’t have one of the necessary pieces of paperwork necessary to complete a background check. After I have already spent about $300 getting my Criminal record check and fingerprints done. How annoying!

I have received my renewed passport, which is a good thing. But guess what? That comes with some difficulty. I’ll need to get it renewed in about 10 months as I will have a new name. Yay more money!

This is all putting aside the health problems we’ve been having. It’s quite the shitty time.

On Tuesday I turn 27. Which actually is just an excuse to eat a lot of junk food.

I am now trying to find a wedding dress online. Let me tell you, it is not easy. Here’s hoping things will start looking up soon!

Weddings are Expensive

I always knew people threw away thousands and thousands of dollars on weddings. And I always assumed I’d be the person who would keep it small, simple, with lots of handmade everything to cut costs. I honestly didn’t expect to spending a ton of money on a wedding. Sadly, our wedding budget is now telling me otherwise…

We’ve booked our venue. A place that’s about half the price of where we had initially wanted to do it. The part you forget to consider when choosing a venue is that you have to feed all of the people that you invite. And that’s where a lot of your money is going. Literally half of our budget is going towards the food. Of course, this is assuming that all of the people we invite show up.

We’re still being frugal where we can. For instance, my dress and his tux. The dresses that I’ve been eying have all been less than $500. The one that is currently my favorite is around $350. But I expect that with alterations and things it may add up to more. He states that his tux will not be expensive either. Hair and make up? I have talented friends who could throw something together, for the hair at least. Make up I will likely do myself. So the cost will be the actual products.

The nice part is that my parents have offered to “make a financial contribution” to the event. Nice of them, since I did not expect them to. That’s not true, I expected that they would give us money, I just didn’t want them to. Now, I really appreciate it. I haven’t discussed the details with them or how much they would want to contribute, but at this point, any bit would help.

Our centerpieces will be Lego. Either in glass bowls, or simply scattered around the table. Legos will also be our guest favors/best man and bridesmaid gifts. And while Lego IS expensive, it’s nowhere near the cost that some people put out.

Oh! The bouquet! Yes, none of this flower business for me. Well, not real flower. I found a gorgeous paper comic book flower bouquet that I’m totally stealing the design for. Why? Because this is 100% a geek wedding. Speaking of which, shoes? Converse all the way. I’m even tempted to buy a pair of white converse and decorate them with comic book art to add some extra classy geek.

The officiant typically costs quite a bit of money. We’re hoping that one of our friends will get ordained and perform the ceremony! How epic would that be?

There are some costs that can’t be avoided: a photographer. Yes, everyone has a fancy camera these days, but a photographer will just capture moments that they know are coming. And will take the stress off others from taking pictures and just let them enjoy the day. A DJ apparently can’t be avoided. Our venue has clearly stated that we must have a DJ and that a playlist off an iPod or a PC will not be allowed. Lame.

The nice thing about our venue is that they include a lot of things, such a microphone, speakers, projector for a slide-show, chair covers, seating chart, dance floor, etc. All those small nitty-gritty things that you tend not to consider.

So there you have it. Our wedding plans. They’re slowly coming along. And slowly adding up.

A Simple Anniversary

May 6th was Alex’s and my 3 year anniversary. Crazy how time has flown by!

After work we made our way down to downtown London where we had bought tickets for the London Eye. We booked it for 8 o’clock so that we would be able to see the sun set over London. We thought we would have enough time prior to doing the Eye to have a nice dinner out somewhere. By the time we got to the Eye and found our way around, we would only have an hour and a half to eat. All the restaurants were packed. We walked around and ended up…..at Burger King! Two whopper meals and a stomach full of regret later, we walked back to the Eye and got on.

After our trip to Paris (oh yeah, we went to Paris!) it was pretty unimpressive. It was definitely a unique experience to get the bird’s eye view, but there wasn’t anything extremely breathtaking about it. Seeing everything from ground level is sufficient enough to give you an impression of London.

After doing the eye, we decided to spend some more time downtown so naturally, we wandered over to The Maple Leaf (the Canadian bar), had a poutine and a Moosehead (that’s a beer, not an animal). After this we decided that we had spent our anniversary thoroughly well and in our own style. We headed home, both tired and ready for video games and bed.

Upon our arrival home, I promptly proceeded to change out of my clothes. Alex quickly told me that I needed to leave. “What?” I asked. “You have to leave for a bit” he said. I didn’t understand. He told me that this was my present, and I needed to leave so that he could get it ready. Stunned, confused, and a little grumpy, I took the keys and set off for a walk. I made a circle around the block and Alex messaged my phone and told me I could come back.

I was convinced (as he had made it seem) that he was going to make me a romantic dinner…with real bacon. I came home where Alex was waiting for me. He told me to put a hat down over my eyes. Again, a little confused, I complied. The house smelled like bacon. He carefully led me upstairs, walked me into our room.

When he told me I could remove the hat, our room was dark, and Alex was on one knee. He pressed play on the TV (Michael Buble’s “You’ve got a Friend in me” started playing), and I couldn’t fathom what was happening. He gave me his heart felt speech, and turned on a black light which illuminated a giant poster of photos we had taken together over the last 2 years. In red, the letters from different signs and labels we had photographed spelled out the words “Will you Marry Me”. My response: “Fucking yes!”.

proposal

I can’t comprehend the events of the last few days. The planning that went into this. Two years ago, after our 1 year anniversary, is when he took the first picture to use a letter for. Two years ago he had started planning this. To top it all off: the ring.

ring

My size, my style (the rebel alliance logo), my perfect man. We’re still kind of on a high, struggling to accept that we are now engaged. But we are both thrilled!!!! Welcome the new stage of our lives!

Happy 2016!

It feels like I haven’t written here in a long time…which I think is fairly accurate. I have been kept busy with work, Christmas break, writing of my travel blog, and playing video games. I’ve hardly had any time to sit down and reflect on the previous year or on my plans and goals for this year.

2015 Recap

I can honestly say I don’t remember much of this year. It started off poorly with me getting into a car accident, I remember that much. Luckily no major injuries were sustained, other than the vehicles. That was my January.

The rest of the year? Well, there are the major life points:

  • moving in with Alex for a month before he went off to England to teach.
  • moving away from Ottawa.
  • moving to England to live with Alex.
  • finding a job in England.

Somewhere in there I also hit remission with my rheumatoid arthritis (yeah I have that). Go me!

I’d say the highlight of the year was the journey to the UK. It was crazy stressful for a few months, knowing that Alex was applying, and me trying to sort out what I was going to do as I had no job lined up or anything. Applying for our visas was both stressful and costly, but that obviously worked out well. Packing up all of our belongings and leaving them with our family was a step I didn’t really want to take. Bringing only my clothing with me to start a life in another country was incredibly terrifying, but has thus far been alright.

Life in England has been pretty good. We’ve even managed to travel to Scotland for my birthday. I guess that’s another highlight of 2015. It was a gorgeous country, granted we only visited Edinburgh and Scotland.

Prior to hopping the plane to England I traveled home to my family and drove across Canada to Alberta to see my grandmother for her 90th birthday. Aside from the painfully long and boring view in the prairies, it was great to see the family before flying off.

I had also managed to lose some weight (10lbs!) which I have subsequently put back on due to a lot of dinners out and cheap candy here in England. Which I suppose is the perfect lead into 2016…

2016: Plans and Goals

Yes, yes the typical I want to get fit and lose weight and all that junk. I do! I really do! In 2015 I tried the vegan diet. Really, I just went the raw, plant based diet. Which lost me 10lbs in a month and left me feeling fantastic! So I want to do that, and have attempted to several times while here. I’m not setting some crazy goal to follow that diet to a T, or say that I’m abandoning all candy and sweets and processed foods. I realize I am a human being and I will be tempted. I already have plans to stray from that diet this coming week. There are chocolate bars in my sigh that will be eaten. But I will try harder overall. I have seen the positive effects of eating a plant based diet (other than the weight loss). The effects on my overall health were great!

2016 has also started off great for Alex and me as we have found a new place to live! Our current residence is a shared house where there are 5 other people and 1 bathroom and a shared kitchen. Not so fun when others don’t take responsibility for their messes or make any attempt to clean up. So we started our search, and found it quickly. A large room with it’s own bathroom. And the landlord is putting in a small kitchenette so it’ll basically be a studio! At a shared home price! Score! The house does have other residents, but other than doing laundry and using the oven and going in and out of the house, we won’t really need to see them. Unless they game, we’d totally see them then.

Future plans for travel: we have a lot. Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Greece. Really, we want to get the Europass and see everything. Paris is on the list for April with Alex’s mom. That should be pretty spectacular.

In our travels we also want to do some mountain climbing/hiking. We did a small hill in Scotland but want to tackle some bigger ones. So, the motivation to go the gym and stay fit is ever present!

Finally, there have been talks of engagement this year. Whilst watching the New Years fireworks over London, Alex turned to me and said “We should get engaged by the end of this year”. I said “Okay”. Romantic, aren’t we? Actually, it was.

Well, there you have it. 2015, full of scary experiences, sad experiences, laughter, tears, adventure–all wrapped up into one, somewhat neat package. And there is 2016, slowly unfurling onto us while we strap in for the ride!

Job, Interview, Scotland!

Did I really only yesterday write a post about being offered a job? The job that I didn’t want because it required me to work evenings, weekends, overnights? Well, last night I received a call back from a primary school, for the position of working 1 on 1 with a child with autism, and…(drum-roll please….) I GOT IT! I start November 2nd! Woo! And I still have an interview today I am going to. Not that I’m going to take the job, more because I’ll feel bad for cancelling last minute. Also because I feel like it would be nice to at least put a good image of myself to this organization in case I ever need to go back to them.

In lieu of the big news, Alex and I went out to celebrate yesterday for dinner. Of course, by celebratory dinner I mean beer at a pub and greasy, cheap food (aw yes, the good life). I was telling him about what I did during the day, other than procuring an awesome position, which involved going on like a 3 hour walk to the next major area of town. His response to my walking a lot was “yeah, you better get used to walking a lot, because we’re flying out to Scotland for your birthday”. Cue my stunned silence. After a few minutes of me asking “wait, are you serious?” and trying to pick my jaw up off the floor, I was happier than ever! The little bugger tricked me, and tricked me well!

Apparently he had the whole thing planned (along with throwing me off tracking with his so called plans for a zombie escape room, a giant breakfast, and going on the London eye at sunset….). He told me it was between Scotland and Paris, and when I told him of the job he did a last minute booking to Scotland. HOLY SHIT!! Okay, yeah I’m still stunned. This is the kind of romantic, spontaneous things you read about but never get to experience for yourself. I am quite the lucky gal and am so grateful that Alex would do something like this for me! He’s definitely a keeper.

I never thought I’d wake up one day and have to pack for the following day to fly to another country. I still can’t believe it’s true, but it is!

Today will be looking like a pretty interesting day. It’s 8 am now, I’m leaving in an hour to go to my second interview. Then I will hopefully get my butt to the gym because I foresee a lot of eating of junk this coming weekend. This will be followed by some packing (okay, probably not. I’m a last minute packer. And we have all day tomorrow, pretty much). And in the evening we’ll be going out to celebrate another Friday with Alex’s colleagues. Which really just means beer, food, beer. Less beer for me, more food.

HOORAY!

It’s such an unreal feeling…I’ve only been here a month (less than) and have secured a job (two, technically, but I don’t want the first). And now my partner has bought a spontaneous plane ticket for us to go to another country. Life is good.

Interviews!!

The last time I wrote in this blog, as far as I can remember (because what am I going to do? Go back and read something I’ve written before? psssh), I was in a not so great head space. It had been a short while since my move to the UK and I was not having any luck finding work. Not that I’m currently full of work and money, not at all, but I am more hopeful!

The past two weeks I’ve had several interviews. One place offered me a job (which I am hesitant to accept as it will require me to work evenings, weekends, and overnights), one called me back for a second “interview”, where I really just get a tour of their grounds and spend some time with the children, and today I got to work on reading with two kids at my interview. So all in all, I’d say my chances of finding work are increasing. Which in turn has increased my mood!

The positive emotional uptake is a good thing, since I’ve also come down with a cold. So much so that today I slept in until 10am (I’m used to waking up no later than 7 when I used to work full time! Who am I?!). I’m also hoping my positive mood sticks around into the weekend as, believe it or not, it’ll be a birthday for me! Hoorah!

I’m not usually big on birthdays and people making a huge deal out of them. Seriously, I hate being the center of attention. Which is why I’m a little excited for this year, as there will only be one person I’m close with to make a big deal out of it! And by big deal, I mean we’re going to go out for a nasty English breakfast (give me all of the beans and sausages please!), go tour around London some more (yeah, there’s too much to see and we’re nowhere near seeing it all), go to a Zombie escape room (the awesomeness of the name should just tell you enough), and then go on the London Eye and hopefully get to experience a sunset (which I hear are gorgeous if it’s not overcast).

And hopefully next week I’ll hear about more work opportunities and potentially more job offers! So needless to say, things are looking a bit better!

Next order of business: get back to healthy eating! I feel like I’ve gained back all the weight I had lost in the past 2 months from all the eating out we do. Alex tells me I look like I’ve lost weight, but I know my own body, and I know that it’s slowly starting to come back. I guess eating candy every night doesn’t help… Or the beer.

I haven’t told you about the beer? I am in LOVE with the English Ciders! Absolutely amazing! As is Alex. Girly drinks for the win!! Yeah, we really need to eat better…

Anyway, that’s about it. I just wanted to post when I was in a better mood. I’m hoping that the position I interviewed for today works out. So far it is my favorite one that I have interviewed for. Fingers crossed!!