4 years ago today.

Not even sure I was back to Canadian resident status... came back after a very impromtu vacation to Morocco and the Canary Islands. I had planned on staying in Tennerife....but after a huge meltdown my friends convinced me to head back to Canada.

I lived with my cousin and his wife. In their basement. I took care of their dog, who gave me some soulful therapy. Miss that crazy dog. 

I was so nervous to be with all of my family during Thanksgiving as it was my first family event post-breakup #1 (remember...my ex and I got back together the following January....). I didn't want to talk about anything about the breakup. I was scared if anyone said something that I would just fall apart. 

Everything went perfect. I was with my family again. 

I just can't figure out how that was only four years ago....and not ten...or fifteen.. 

I miss my grandpa every.single.day. 

It's a Small World

Wow, two posts in as many days!

It's Thanksgiving weekend and I have zero plans and I'm not too terribly concerned... For me, Thanksgiving exists in Edmonton and nowhere else.

BUT, my Edmonton Thanksgiving table isn't doing so well. One JUST had a foot operation and has a horrible cough, another is undergoing cancer treatments, another had gallbladder surgery, and they all have been helping each other during this stressful time.

My mom & co is in Vancouver....

So what's a girl to do?

Collude with my ma and send over a pre-made Thanksgiving dinner to Gram's house, of course! We split the cost of a thanksgiving dinner including: roast chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, stuffing, gravy, rolls, and my cousin is baking a pie!

While I don't usually have the funds to play Oprah, it wasn't terribly expensive, I had just finished rolling all of my coins, and I only paid for half thanks to my mom....so it wasn't a burden of any kind, and I'm just happy that I can do something from far away.

So thankful for the family that I have. We may not always be close. We may not always get along. But we are always there for one another.

Very thankful for that.


Happy Thanksgiving!


Last week a friend sent me a few questions about some tourist spots in Madagscar because a friend of his is going there. I did a Google search...and then went through my blog and found the best posts. In general, Madagascar isn't such a great tourist destination because of lack of infrastructure/stability/development...but it was so nice to go through my blog....and read what I wrote way back when.

It made me want to write about what goes on now. Except I already share too many photos of the dog on Facebook and Instagram :P. 

There is something going on in my life....that I struggle with daily. Someone I love very much is struggling with cancer. They are going through treatment right now and will have surgery at some point...and I am praying so hard that this terrifying experience will be over then. Someone I love...through osmosis I guess (the spouse of someone close to me) is just beginning their cancer treatment.

Here's the thing about treatment. I thought it was SO simple and straight forward and a list of steps:

  1. Cancer diagnosis
  2. Begin chemo or radiation
  3. Have a surgery if required
  4. Take pills for 5 years
  5. Get regular check ups to make sure it stays in remission.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Cancer diagnosis requires at least 5 tests, different consultations with different specialists, a plethora of appointments to discuss/prepare your cancer treatment, "chemo school" and "radiation school" where you learn about the worst case scenarios/what to watch for/how to be prepared... Then the treatment begins. The treatment may have to be postponed if the patient is too sick. The patient may end up in the hospital because of side effects or infections... And I'm just describing the very little that I've learned in the last two months. 

I don't live in the same city or province as the two warriors....but that doesn't mean that it doesn't impact my daily life. Some days, I speak about cancer/cancer treatment like I'm talking about the weather. Other days (like last night), I end up crying on the phone while sticking my head in the lettuce section at the grocery store because I am just so overwhelmed and terrified. I don't think the human brain was built for this. Or perhaps the brain is, but not the heart. 

Last weekend, I did a 5km "race" to raise funds for cancer. Of course I was late....because such is my life post-Madagascar (not sure if I can use that as an excuse anymore!). I was also happy to do the 5km solo. Person #1 had just gone to the hospital because they were experiencing severe side effects and was on my mind. I wanted the time to reflect....and to be totally honest, I wanted to feel like I was actually DOING something to help, since I often feel desperately helpless. 

The Tshirt was actually made in MG....therefore it required another shirt underneath since it was tooo tiny for me.
It was very cold and yes, my lips are a little purple. 

While this post is a little all over the place....I'm realizing that....to best conquer cancer....the patient/warrior needs support in so many ways. They need people to rally around them. They need a positive environment. They need others to understand if they lash out.

While cancer effects so many, doesn't discriminate, and is devastating. It's not just the patient that's impacted. Every single person that cares about that warrior goes through a journey of their own. Their cancer journey has absolutely nothing to do with me. But I'm still allowed to have my own reaction. 

I don't know how to end this post....other than if you are reading this, and you know someone who has cancer, reach out, send a message/text or call them....and offer your support in anyway you know how. 

Until next time....

Rain in Africa

Sunday's Goat Post left me with this surreal feeling....like, am I really living in this big city...essentially alone... in a...job that isn't terribly exciting (but stable....and I'm all about creating stability - even if it seems terribly unattractive at the moment).. and all I can come up with - is that it's time to return to the expatriate life in a relatively stable/safe country in Africa. I get an email every other month or so....but always reply with a, "No thank you".

It isn't the time for me to go yet. I have some family stuff that I want to see through. I'm dating someone that I don't want to break up with, nor do I want to marry and move him to Africa with me...

But I want an escape.

Since returning 4 years ago (but more like 3 years ago "officially" - that one year I was in Europe/Alberta/back to Madagascar/then Quebec), I have experienced more chaos than I could ever have expected. It has all been documented at some point in the blog.

I'm wondering if I don't know how to create a stable environment. If I only know chaos...so I go around creating it for myself.

I know I can't run away to Africa. But the idea right now....seems to incredibly appealing.

Got yer goat...

I am plagued....or blessed with the occasional urge to just be a complete idiot and do something fun, original, and unplanned. Although this specific event required a little bit of planning since I bought the tickets a few days in advance. But the idea kind of just flashed in my mind....I googled, and sure enough, Montreal had Goat Yoga - and they had it this weekend.

Yes - Goat Yoga.

Here's an article to read if you'd like to catch up on the fad

Seriously. It's not a joke...

City-slickers pay $30 (or more!!!) to have a yoga class, in a glorified barn, with baby goats (and in my case, two momma goats).

The goats are encouraged to run all over the humans....who are not so much doing yoga as they are taking photos for their Instagram accounts.

There's even a staff member on duty - on high alert for goat droppings.

I arrived at the event, WHICH INCLUDED PARKING. This simply does not happen in Montreal. Especially downtown. I was beginning to think this was a joke after all.

It was +12*C, POURING rain, and everything was extraordinarily damp. Ok, soaking wet. But, come on, I'm tough.

So we were led into the barn-tent, where we were greeted by maybe 10 goats, and the lovely barn smell that comes with their adorable little selves.

I'm trying to get a Goat Selfie - I'm predicting #goatselfie to be one of the top ten hashtags of 2017, by the way.
 I was trying to do some version of table top or downward dog, when these creatures...um....mounted me.

Throughout my practice, I would be regularly vistited by the goats. Their hooves kind of felt like a harder massage. Although....this morning....I think I'm paying for it - but what did I expect? I had goats jumping on my body.

We often had to take breaks based on the goats' schedule. Upward dog just not happening here...

 Downward dog was interesting with a kid in the middle of my mat.

Careful for my fingers!!
 Trying to force a cuddle in....but really - they have their own agenda!

There were several times that I thought....remember when I lived in Alberta and like, saw goats on a fairly regular basis driving past farmer's fields??? And now...I'm driving to this grassy area in the metropolis of Montreal downtown...and paying to be in a barn....and paying to have goats all over me?

Whatever. It was a fun event, everyone was extremely friendly (we all took photos of each other and uploaded them to Facebook), and it was just a goofy time. Most importantly, all proceeds went to a great charity that places guide dogs for no cost.

I needed this gong-show random activity. I kind of lost myself the last few years....but I used to regularly do spontaneous things...for fun....and I want to do more and more of that!

Just Try Me.

I've been kind of a mess....or can we just say that I stay in a mess state - but with varying degrees?

Someone I love very much is starting chemotherapy and radiation treatment today. I tried avoiding thinking about this for as long as I could.... the thought of what is essentially poison going into their veins....terrified me. But reality could wait no longer, so I called them and wished them well. Is it normal that the sick person seems more positive and empowered than those around them? I was amazed by their attitude and courage.....when I feel like falling apart and crying or having a massive panic attack.

Anyway, they told me this little saying and it encouraged me and made me feel ridiculously proud to know someone so brave.

But if you all could say a prayer for this person....and anyone going through a hard time. They need all the strength they can get.

Another Round?

I started my new job in Madagascar, EIGHT YEARS ago today.

You can read about it here ....but there wasn't much to say. I was in shock.

I remember everything so clearly....I thought I had an idea of what I was in for....I would never have guessed that those 4+ years would have changed my life so much.

I learned how to re-live my life. I stepped way out of my comfort zone. My life will never be the same.

Every two months or so....I get an email to see if I'm interested in another expat position....and the last email is still on my mind. Resident status, 49 vacation days, in Guinea. I will already know quite a few people there... But it's not my time.

But I still feel....like I left my heart in Africa.....(but haven't written the country song to accompany it yet)...and my time in Africa is not over. It's just on hold for now.

The first offer to expat life came in at the right time in my life. It was such a wonderful time...because I was ready for it.

If I wanted to take the resident job, I would either need to dump or marry my current beau (neither of which is an option), I would need to be healthier (which is still going to take some time), and things would have to be calmer with my family (which will happen but will take time. There's some personal stuff going on with quite a few of my family members that I'll talk about eventually).

Oh, I can't forget about Maggie! I wonder how she would like Africa. With all of the changes she has had....I'm sure she would adapt nicely - especially with all the new people.

Ok...I have to stop fantasizing. Madagascar also came with A LOT of negative aspects...it wasn't a perfect life...and I need to focus on my life today before I can look that far into the future.

But it's still nice to think about....