‘Just a Dog’ a poem that resonates with me.

I wanted to share this poem with you all, I hope you can feel some comfort and enjoy reading.

JUST A DOG

From time to time, people tell me, “lighten up, it’s just a dog,”
or “that’s a lot of money for just a dog.”

They don’t understand the distance travelled, the time spent,
or the costs involved for “just a dog.”

Some of my proudest moments have come about with “just a dog.”

Many hours have passed and my only company was “just a dog,”
but I did not once feel slighted.

Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by
“just a dog,” and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch
of “just a dog” gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

If you, too, think it’s “just a dog,” then you probably understand
phrases like “just a friend,” “just a sunrise,” or “just a promise.”

“Just a dog” brings into my life the very essence of friendship,
trust, and pure unbridled joy.

“Just a dog” brings out the compassion and patience
that make me a better person.

Because of “just a dog” I will rise early, take long walks and look
longingly to the future.

So for me and folks like me, it’s not “just a dog”
but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future,
the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.

“Just a dog” brings out what’s good in me and diverts my thoughts
away from myself and the worries of the day.

I hope that someday they can understand that its’ not “just a dog”
but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being
“just a man” or “just a woman.”

So the next time you hear the phrase “just a dog,”
just smile, because they “just don’t understand.”

~Richard Biby~

Illustration by me

Whats been happening along the way.

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Since being here I know that all my lovely friends back home are probably wondering why the heck I haven’t posted and what I’ve been up to.

Its’ kind of funny, the fact that before you move abroad one does all this research, building a picture of a place in their mind, a place of mountains, beaches, beautiful scenery merging with a majestic city landscape.  Ahhh, sounds like bliss.

The fact is is that all these things are currently on my door step and I’m so lucky to have it. But life isn’t all pretty pictures and rainbows – we all know this. That being said, I’ve seen some amazing things, achieved so much and overall becoming more aware of life, people and my surroundings.

The 21st July marked 2 years of James and I being in Canada – isn’t that crazy? If you’re reading this and were one of the people I was banging on about this adventure to before moving here, your whole life is probably flashing before your eyes thinking where the hells the last 2 yonks gone?! Well, me too, my friend..me too.

I have now completed my design program. It was bloody hard. Harder than my degree. I was working at the weekends in a restaurant as well as a week night so that made it harder. Long arse days at college then working at weekend + homework + life = not much exploring and downtime. I learnt so much and made a couple of really lovely friends on the course. I’m grateful I have them to lean on. You need those physical people when family isn’t on your doorstep anymore.

2018

Last Summer I lost my best friend, one I had put my heart and soul into, the one that I lived for. She made everything else invisible and only she mattered. I will never be able to replace the love and bond we developed or recover from the sheer loss. I’d do anything to hold her again. I love you, Lucie. I watched this video the other day that my friend Elise had posted online and it was about the fact that you carry on, you smile, you look normal but you don’t ‘move on’.

My parents came at the perfect time after what had happened during my first year in Vancouver. I was treated to a fantastic road trip with them, truly a holiday of a life time with their warming company and an opportunity to reflect. As well as a great holiday, they also gifted me with a puppy, we called him Sunny. He really is a wonderful boy who adds an extra light to every day life!

Summer 2018 – moving house

We moved house last Summer from Main St. to Kitsilano for a fresh start. It was a great move and we were really lucky to get the place we did. I felt desperate to leave our old place so began researching places to live nearer the beach. I found our place online, went to see it and  said to the landlord ‘Please let us live here’ – so she did. I couldn’t believe our luck because its SO HARD to find a pet friendly place in Vancouver. Its hard to find a decent place in general.

My friends Helen and Josie came to visit, it was so strange seeing those Norwich folk in Vancouver, we ate lots of good food, relaxed, explored and went whale watching. Whale watching was one of the best things I’ve done since being here and I hope to go again one day.

I’m now working in design and communication for a Non Profit assistance dog charity here in Vancouver. I’m lucky I get to be around my favourite animals and work in design. I want to learn more and grow here and even though I’m still learning and make many mistakes (trying not to!) I hope I can develop into the person I want to be.

Maybe I’m finding my path, and even though there will be many avenues to take down the road, I think I’ll be okay.

Update

What a crazy couple of months its been! So much so, I have neglected a lot of time for myself. This has made me feel somewhat sad.

I often find myself in a whirl wind each day between studying, working, keeping our place nice, looking after our puppy (yes, puppy), and by the time the day is done I am totally dead to the world (this is also called life I believe)! But I guess its also part of this huge transition in my life.

I am lucky to have some time off from my studies this month, so I am going to be dedicating some time to myself and making sure I look after ME a lot more.

Its strange when you spend so long planning to move somewhere and then when you arrive, what you dreamt of all those hours and days doesn’t quite add up to real life.

Despite being in one of the most beautiful places in the world, I feel that I haven’t made the most of it at all and this I’d like to change. Its bloody hard when its raining a lot – I really have found out why they call it Raincouver the last couple of weeks. However this week is looking pretty bright, and I’d like to make the most of it!

Camping with Kenny and Bex – Harrison Lake

 

This weekend just gone we’ve had such an amazing experience camping at Harrison Lake. Willow knew Kenny from previous travelling, and since being here Kenny and his gorgeous gal Bex have made me feel so welcome and really part of their lovely friendship group. We’d mentioned we wanted to go camping somewhere and within moments we’d planned a trip to Harrison Lake. It’s a favourite spot of theirs and I was so excited to get in their truck with them and head into the mountains!

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Friday evening –

After driving for about 2 hours, with a quick stop at Walmart for some last minute essentials, and for Willow and I to grab a tent (we got an Ozark 3 person tent for $38.99 – too small for us 2, no where to put your stuff at all and can barely put in an inflatable mattress, good for just 2 nights but not more to set up a proper camp for a week) we finally arrived at Harrison Lake.

We’d headed down when Bex and Kenny had finished work so arrived as it was getting dark. There was then a 16km drive up and through the mountains on a very rocky road in the dark! Thank god for the massive truck we were in and Kenny’s skilled driving! We ended up setting up in the dark on the beach. What will the view be like in the morning we wondered? We didn’t even know if we were on a beach or a campsite. It was rather exciting!!!

I had a pretty rough nights sleep. I always find it hard to settle on the first night somewhere new, but I managed to catch a few hours worth of zzz before day light broke and the birds began to sing.

Saturday –

It was about 8am Saturday morning as Willow and I lay in our tent whilst we unzipped the tent door. Wow, what a view!

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Our tent rested on the beautiful Harrison Lake shore line amongst small pebbles, dipping into smaller coves as the lake travelled vastley round. In the distance, there was a long thin island in the middle of the lake with the most beautiful mountainous back drop, even with glaciers and snow capped mountain peeks. I couldn’t actually believe we got to spend a whole 2 days there – not long enough!

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As soon as Kenny and Bex awoke a few minutes after us, the boys cracked a couple of beers and us gals enjoyed Ceasars (similar to Bloody Mary’s if you’re in the UK) whilst waiting for our coffees to heat up – we might as well start the day right we thought. It was a nice surprise that Bex had used Baileys in our coffees instead of milk!

Kenny cooked a smashing breakfast of maple syrup sausages, eggs and potatoes with green peppers – it was fantastic. I’d never had those sausages before and I was so impressed!

We listened to our music on the beach whilst we pumped up the inflatables to go out onto the lake with. We tied ourselves to a self made anchor so we didn’t get too separated or drift out into the lake too far (safety first!). We packed the inflatable fridge with what we needed (beers) to go out onto the lake for a while and enjoyed a superb float around.It was SCORCHING! The weather was beautiful, not a cloud in the sky! I was in heaven, great company, great scenery – fantastic. I even tried Spitz for the first time (flavoured pumpkin seeds), I’ve still not got the hang of taking the seed out the shell in your mouth, so I’ll just eat the whole thing. No biggie to me.

We watched the sunset from our gorgeous spot on the beach, it was so quite and special. We had our own little beach party all day and it was perfect.

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Sunday – 

I felt so sad waking up that knowing that we had to leave Harrison Lake later not hat day. We were in our happy place in the wilderness. I loved every second of it.

We noticed that there was smoke around the mountains and drifting across the water infront of us. It seemed so eerie at first and we were soon warned by a fire warden going by that there was a forest fire only 7km away (about 5 miles) from our camping spot and we may need to be evacuated.

If you’re interested to read more about the awful BC wild fires take a look here: http://globalnews.ca/news/3585284/b-c-wildfires-map-2017-current-location-of-wildfires-around-the-province/

Specifically about the Harrison Lake fire go here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/harrison-lake-wildfire-1.4254824

After we noticed the smoke we were given our own personal air show! Kenny had mentioned about seeing the fire planes once before and its quite the experience, I didn’t think they’d then turn up out of know where. All of a sudden 3 planes bomb over our camp site and fly into the distance. We couldn’t believe it! They were diving into the Lake in the distance gathering water, round and around they went. We them saw more to our left hand side gathering water!

Time to go home –  😦

After packing up on Sunday and enjoying smokies and burgers (best ever by the way) it was time to head home. We listened to the tunes and were taken through the rickety road we came up viewing Harrison Lake from a different angle at Sunset. We also managed to stop at the most majestic water fall I’d ever seen (probably one of the only ones!) with another airshow of the water planes going over head. We even saw the fire in the mountains too. Devastating to see, but an eye opener at the same time.

Thank you to Bex, Kenny and Willow for making my first BC camping trip so special – here’s to many more in the future!

Em x

Take a look at more photographs of our amazing trip here. All pictures are my own.

 

Apartment Shopping Tips – how NOT to shop in Ikea.

A bit of a life update: 

So on Monday, Willow and I moved into our apartment (pictured above) in Vancouver after staying out of town waiting for it to become available. Thank god Willow was here as I couldn’t lift a thing!

The sun was beaming down and I felt great, however I was so nervous as well. We’ve been waiting to get into this place for so long that I’d built up this picture of what it would be like. I’d been imagining something that was quite spacious, new and clean. I’d been looking at the floor plans umming and ahhing for months about what kind of sofa we’d get, or the size of the bed etc.

We wanted to get our place kitted out pronto, so we went and spent a day in Ikea in Coquitlam getting the basics for our place on the Friday before our move in date. We were like kids in a sweet shop; it was brilliant. Well, it was at first. After 9 hours it was a bit of a drag.

What we learnt – don’t make the same mistake:

We went round and wrote down every single thing we wanted by name and code to make life easier when ordering at the end. From our pots and pans to knives and forks, vases, we really hit it up it there.

When we reached the ordering station at the end of our maHoosive Ikea journey, the cashier said that they only deliver furniture. kfopdhgjhptzhopjzdgphjpdtbjh!

Baring in mind we needed a delivery as we don’t have a vehicle here, it was going to be very difficult to get everything to our place without one. We had 4 booklets worth of items to order, and only 3 of them were furniture. I kindly asked where it says this and whether this was some ‘general knowledge’ about Ikea I’d missed, the lady said it was in the ‘fine print’ somewhere. Fine print my arse. I was not a happy Peach and mentioned to Willow sarcastically that he needed to make sure that we always read the fine print next time we go shopping…

Just to put the icing on the cake, we went to order our furniture at the end and our card got declined. We’d reached a limit for the day on our Scotiabank Cards which we’d never actually used before The limit was set so low we wouldn’t have even been able to just buy our bed and sofa. So we left Ikea, after 9 hours, with – nothing.

When moving away and ordering from Ikea…

  1. Remember Ikea only delivers furniture so don’t waste half your life in there
  2. Don’t rely on ordering everything on the Ikea website as a lot of things you may see are not available online
  3. Make sure you’ve got enough wriggle room on your card
  4. Don’t rush at buying things. Ikea is great for basics, but I’d not recommend their bed sheets or cushions. You can pick up nicer things along the way 🙂

We’ve managed to do some great exploring this week, so keep ya eyes peeled for a post in the next few days!

Em x

We just moved to Vancouver (yay!), and I dislocated my ribs (doh!).

The first and good bit…

If you’ve been following our story so far I’d like to thank you! No doubt, you’ll be friends and family from back home, or someone who’s just amazing and interested! Who ever you are, thank you.

You’ll be pleased to hear that my blog will now begin to get VERY INTERESTING and truly begin because guess what – we finally made it.

On Wednesday 19th July we set off at 4:30am with my Mum and Dad to head on the long journey to Gatwick Airport. I tried to snooze but couldn’t. I really can’t sleep whilst travelling on any form of transport usually and I guess it was a mixture of being excited, apprehensive and also feeling sad about saying goodbye to my lovely Mum and Dad.

I had to say a rather quick goodbye to Mum and Dad as I felt so sad leaving them and didn’t want to drag it out or cry too much. Its very hard saying goodbye to the ones you love, especially when you’re moving so far away so thank god for Skype and WhatsApp!

We flew with WestJet from Gatwick to Vancouver. Our tickets were £388 per person direct, with the flight time being at 10:55am British time, landing in Vancouver at 13:05 Vancouver time. Pretty good times!

We got off the plane and my god it was HOT! The great thing about this area of Canada is that the Summers are so fantastic and most importantly consistent. You can trust the forecast here unlike in the UK – you have to pack for all weather back home!

The bad bit…

I’ve always struggled with my bad back, and unfortunately it got the better of me this week. Over the weekend Willow and I popped on our backpacks and headed for a great weekend in Vancouver (blog post to follow). I was feeling quite a lot of pain over the weekend but thought hey, power on – SILLY ME! Tuesday we went into the Coquitlam Centre Mall to hunt for some cool apartment accessories and essentials to be delivered next week when we move in on the 31st July.

However, the days were ruined as I was suddenly in such pain I couldn’t breath or even talk! I managed to find an Osteopath who helped me, saying I’d done some serious damage to the back left side of my ribs dislocating them. Apparently its the 3rd worse pain in the whole world and I can vouch for that! So, thats why this post probably isn’t the post you’re expecting. I’ve been trying to rest up and feel better as tomorrow we’re going into Vancouver to watch the Festival of Light. So things should get much more exciting as of now…

Em x

 

 

Help me plan our first week in Vancouver!

Firstly, thank you to all my new followers and viewers. I’m so grateful! But maybe now you can help me?

I want to know if you have a favourite hang out in Vancouver or anywhere in BC? Or, is there a place you’d like to visit? Then please let me know and send me there! 

With only 5 days to go until we leave…(5 FRICKIN DAYS OMG) it feels like the days are literally flying by. I keep thinking of our first real ‘exploring month’. This fun won’t start straight away as we’ve got some serious life admin tasks for the first few days, like getting new phones, sin numbers, bank accounts opened etc.

Yes I said it a fun month, as I won’t start uni until the start of September and Willow won’t start work either until then. So, all we can do is get set up in our new pad and explore! We have some great friends in Vancouver already who have been kind enough to put us up for a few days whilst we wait for our apartment to become available. They’re English, so I’m going to be stuffing some classic English delicacies in my suitcase like tea bags and skips.

I can’t wait to embrace our new home city; taking in the surrounding area especially Main Street which is the key location where we’ll be picking up all of our groceries, and hanging out if we fancy a nice evening wonder for a drink or some fresh air.

I think I’ll be blown away, excited, confused maybe, just mentally trying to take it all in will be rather exhausting but in a super good way.

I’ve began to run up a list of places where I think Willow and I should go and visit first. Instead of me discussing them all now, I’ll post my reviews, hints and tips of where my favourite places are for you to explore! But first, wheres your favourite place? Whether its taking in the mind blowing scenery, grabbing a bite to eat and a cheeky cocktail or having a dip in the ocean – I’m keen to get stuck in and give it a go no matter how random.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

 

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A photo of us celebrating with friends a couple of weeks back. 

 

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