“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” ~ AnaΓ―s Nin

Friends, it’s been an incredible month here in Canada and I feel like I’ve really created a world and life for myself that makes me so happy at the moment. I’m excited to share it all with you!

I like hearing from you too – so please feel free to comment below and let me know how your month was or if you got up to any of the same stuff πŸ™‚

highlights

I have been working out like mad! Okay, not like mad so much, but consistently and awesomely and I am so proud of myself. I started the month by committing to 3 days a week at the gym plus something active (and preferably outdoors) on the weekend. But by the end of week one I had booked some sessions with a personal trainer and gotten on a 5+ days a week workout plan!

The trainer was great and set me up on an app where I can watch videos of the exercises (in case I forget what they are) and track my workouts – all without having to continually pay her. Impressive, no? And I don’t wanna brag but…I’m pretty sure I already have more defined arms. #winning

On top of that, I tried a very fun and upbeat rowing class with a friend (she does it so many times a week and it was INTENSE – I am impressed by her!) and in total managed to workout 4-6 times a week all month! That doesn’t even include big long dog walks.

Speaking of which, you know what else has been super awesome? Living by the river! I love it, Daisy loves it – we are happy girls. Every time the weather is half decent we are down there and wandering (or running) along the paths gleefully. Come spring I don’t think you’ll be able to find us anywhere else!

Oh and we started a weight loss challenge at work so I’m hoping that motivates me but…also kind of doubtful. I have a rebellious streak, you guys! As soon as IΒ have to do something I immediately want to do the opposite. It’s ridiculous.

I also got out to the mountains twice this month and freaking loved it so much both times. I tried snowshoeing for the first time and can’t wait to go again. It’s fun, it’s the kind of hard work that doesn’t feel like work, and the vistas – I mean, you can see for yourself that they are totally and completely awe-inspiring.

We went up to Chester Lake, which is a pretty low key snow shoe and one I highly recommend if you’re a newbie or just not up for something too intense.

The second time I did an amazing lake tour with a friend. We had every intention of hiking but my lack of preparedness (did you know you could buy little teeth thingies for your hikers?) and the very icy wind didn’t allow for much walking.

It did, however, allow for driving around to many different areas listening to hilarious old music and stopping to take many pictures and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Sometimes the best days are the ones where nothing quite goes to plan!

Switching gears a bit, I also went to two very enlightening workshops over the month. One was called a Grassroots Gathering and it was a gathering of socially-minded people and organizations who wanted to hear from Blackfoot elders and each other on how to better integrate social services with the specific needs of the local First Nations people.

I learned a fair bit about the concerns of the local First Nations people and where some of the serious gaps/failings in our current social services are, as well as some facts. Did you know that the last residential school in Canada didn’t close until 1996? Ya, I didn’t either, and I think both that knowledge and the fact that I didn’t have it speak volumes. But I digress.

Then I also went to a workshop at the Calgary Drop In Center entitled Engaging Vulnerable People and it was SO insightful as well. I really enjoyed the pieces where the facilitator talked about deescalation, dignity, and how far some empathy can really go in most situations.

A few share-able takeaways?

Homeless people are people too (duh, but I mean really)Β and often they are some of the loneliest people in the world – just looking someone in the eye, a smile, or a polite word (even if that word is “so sorry I have no change at the moment”) can quite literally save a life. Don’t be afraid to make contact, offer a handshake or ask what you can do to help.

Also importantly? Don’t assume you know what someone needs. While the intention behind buying a sandwich and a coffee is a good one, it is extremely patronizing to assume you know what someone might benefit from (I’ve made this mistake repeatedly in the past. The more you know!). If you want to do something nice, ask that person what might help them in that moment.

A certain someone turned three this month and there wereΒ several very fun celebrations in his honour <3

And my oldest friend visited me! We only had time for lunch but we are planning more visits soon.

Lowlights

A favourite resident passed away which made for some tough days at the office. The local community totally came together to celebrate his life, though, which was truly special.

discoveries

Turns out I did winter wrong for ohhh…about 32 years πŸ˜€ If you take the time to properly bundle up and get out on the sunny days (especially), it’s really not so bad! I might be a convert, which isn’t to say I don’t miss those sun drenched beachΒ days… *sigh*

Around the interwebs

Guys this is not so lighthearted as the rest of this post, but I feel in our increasingly Trump-focused era, it’s important to remind you (ahem, me) that important things are happening in the rest of the world too.

Myanmar’s ‘security forces’ and some civilians have been slaughtering, raping, and burning villages and homes of the Muslim Rohyinga group in the Northern part of the country and it’s BRUTALLY violent (trigger warning for the article, obviously). We must keep track to ensure the UN is doing what needs to be done and intervening as soon as possible. As it stands, Myanmar’s government is “looking into the situation”.

The Malaysian government sent a ship full of aid to Royhinga refugees in Myanmar and some who have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh. The Myanmar president is still insinuating the situation is not as severe as it seems which is…odd…

This book list is an oldie but I think a goodie (I keep forgetting about it and wish I wouldn’t, given that I AM an International Relations graduate and have read ZERO of these…):

“My Top Ten Books Every Student of International Relations Should Read”

May I suggest a Bosnian coffee to go along with your book of choice?
Books Read

Ok, I’ve mentioned my very full and very fun month, right? So can we all agree that making my (partial) way through two books is kind of like reading one full one even if that means I can’t review either one for you this month? If I agree to review TWO for you next month? Yes?

Phew, thanks guys!

most liked instagram

Beautifully frozen Lake Minnewanka outside of Canmore, Alberta.

blog posts

I’m not gonna lie…as much as I want to say I can write a new post every week, I’m not sure it’s feasible (but I plan to aim for it!). What I will promise is to keep posting on Mondays, so at least you’ll always know that’s when to check.

Hey, turns out I’m pretty good at compromise! πŸ˜‰

The Rundown – December 2016

The Single Best Tip for Saving Money to Travel

Coming Up

Well, it’s Hot Chocolate Fest in Calgary so…the work weight loss challenge may prove to be more difficult but I’ll report back on my findings!

Beyond that I hope to catch some hockey games, go to a fun roller skate night, get more time in the mountains, and catch up with the few remaining friends I haven’t yet seen. See you guys after the month o’ love!

P.S. Are you doing anything fancy for Valentine’s Day? Share with me in the comments so I can live vicariously through you!

Postcards & Polkadots January 2017 Rundown

Talk to me, yo!