Monday, November 19, 2012

returning the favour

a few nights ago i had my third round of couchsurfers stay here with me in wolfville. this was the first time my parents were home for it too. so they got to experience the joys of couchsurfing as well.
when mom found out that we had two guests on the way she went into clean up mode. she vacuumed and cleaned everything. she also began to make detailed dinner preparations as if overnight we had opened up a b&b.
so around 6pm carolin from germany and kyle from ontario arrived at our house with a bottle of red in hand. i invited my friend tippy over for dinner too. so the house filled with noise once everyone arrived and i loved it.
we all sat at the kitchen table and talked of how carolin and kyle had met at a hostel in halifax and carolin decided to travel with kyle in his car as he traveled around the south shore of nova scotia before heading to prince edward island. dad was particularlly intrigued to hear how they got started with couch surfing and he shared his expereince of hearing about it through me and not really liking the concept until after i did it for the first time. then he was cs's biggest fan.
we had a traditional maritime dinner of hodge podge, roast chicken and for dessert an apple pear ginger crisp. then tippy and i taught kyle and coralin one of our favourite boardgames before we called it a night.
and as i write this i am sitting in my living room with another couchsurfer. isabelle, she is from quebec and is spending the weekend with us. i am just thrilled to be hosting couchsurfer's again! i love getting the opportunity to try and return the kindness that was shown to me during my travels.

coralin, kyle and me
me and mom and our valley
halls harbour
me and isabelle at halls harbour
hodge podge

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

ten small things

i recently was reading an article written by one of my favourite travel inspirations, alastair humphreys.
after reading the article i saw a post he wrote called 'ten small things i wish i did more'. he followed it up with a 'ten things i waste time on' list.
a simple list. a lot of what he wrote i could relate to. it made me want to make my own list. so i did.
i encourage you to make your own. post it on your fridge, in your journal etc. then check it out a year from now and see if the list remains the same.

10 things i wish i did more:
1. walk
2. wake up early
3. swim
4. socialize
5. yoga
6. read books
7. wear sunscreen
8. write blog articles
9. call my grandparents
10. floss

10 things i waste time on:
1. facebook
2. horrible tv shows
3. deciding what to wear
4. worrying
5. trying to solve simple technological issues by reading or watching tutorial's for dummies
6. emails
7. brushing my hair. (i'm dangerously close to chopping it all off or just accepting dreadlocks)
9. fantasizing/daydreaming

10 things i am happy with:
1. family & friends
2. being in nova scotia until christmas
3. being creative
4. not having a clue what i will be doing next year
5. the amount of traveling i have done
6. my money saving skills
7. my routine of keeping a journal
8. how long my childhood was
9. my level of french proficiency
10. the fact that i couldn't think of a tenth item for the above list
happy with #1

happy with #10

downtown in my home town

my 10 year old puppy, anna

looking over the valley where i live

Friday, November 2, 2012

one hundred

when i left on my trip i told my family i would be home for christmas.
but in the back of my head i kind of knew i wanted to come home before that. i wanted to be able to spend the whole month of december at home. be able to make short bread cookies with papa joe.

who once when asked how to make his secret recipe of short bread cookies answered,
"take a pound of butter and add flour till it feels right"

then once i started traveling i chose a page at the back of my journal and formed a list. a list of things i missed from home, and wanted to fit into my stay when i returned. most of the list ended up being food.

the list: 
frenchies with mom (frenchies is an amazing used clothing store)
oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
mom's pancakes
borscht with a dollop of sour cream and fresh chives
long walks with my dog along the bay of fundy
read anna karenina before the movie comes out
hike cape split
nana's spaghetti
nana's sweet and sour chicken
make a photo book of my trip
watch dad coach at some end of season football games
cuddly sunday mornings
pineapple on pizza
make homemade christmas cards
play catan with tippy and alicia
watch ted talks with mom
garlic fingers
bubble baths
go ice fishing
make perogies at ukrainian christmas

after i started adding to the list. and i watched it grow and consume the page, i thought that maybe going home earlier wouldn't hurt. i thought a lot about it. i was worried that if i went home i would instantly regret it. i would get back to wolfville and daydream about how i could still be on a beach in southern thailand. but this time it felt different that when i left new zealand and came back to canada two years ago. this time i felt ready. i felt confident in my decision.
my nana kept pestering me.
"emily anne when are you coming home, where are you going next? you know nanny's 100th birthday is in october, you know you're named after her, it would mean so much to me, everyone is coming to celebrate her birthday, you'll meet so many cousins..."
nana wanted me home bad. which is exactly why i didn't tell her when i booked my flight home. i love a good surprise.
bangkok - seoul - toronto - home
i arrived home, attempted to adjust to the ten hour time difference, enjoyed what i believe was the longest shower i have ever taken, and then drove to cape breton with my mom. the surprised went off without a hitch. my nana was more surprised than my nanny. i guess not too much shocks you after once you turn 100. but my nana made up for it. when i ran up the porch she was just coming out the door, i whipped off the fleece blanket that i had wrapped around me and said BOO!
she stumbled backwards, her mouth was literally gaping open.
"YOU ASSHOLE! you you you little shit!"
those were the first words out of my nana's mouth. lovely little thing she is.
the weekend went by in a blur. i saw many family members and received so many hugs i actually think i developed subtle rib bruising. it was an explosion of irish relatives; the quantity of liquor consumed was a direction correlation.

cousin saki passed out on mom
cooper family
my aunts
skipping stones
more stones on the atlantic
mom and nanny
josiah, jordan, me, jacob
nana and her three children
four generations
emily, annetta, suzanne, emily anne
so for now i am home and it feels right.
i don't regret coming home when i did. i am happy right where i am.