Showing posts from April, 2013

Smack-Shocked Tourist in Prague

I haven't taken many pictures since I've been here, but I've kind if just been straggling around, hoping not to get lost. But the area where my apartment get lost down every street and find a place that you wanted to see!!

It's obviously where most of the tourists are, but I kinda like that for now. I'm not totally comfortable and I like that there are other people like me all around me.

So far, my apartment is great! It's seriously the tiniest room I could have imagined, but it works perfect. The owner was here earlier and is helping me try to find my luggage....which I hope arrives tomorrow. I have been wearing the same clothes since Monday morning and its Tuesday night (gross). The funny thing is usually I travel with 2 changes of clothing plus another pair of shoes, but my packing strategy is different for this trip. Oh, well.

Although I'm like a gazillion times better...I'm still sick. So it's even better that the apartment is s…

Whatever happens next

It feel like it's been a long, long time since I've left the Johannesburg airport on my way to Paris or Frankfurt without Louis.

Now, I really feel like I'm...well, leaving. I'm just leaving the continent. I'm not saying I'll never come back. Louis and I are just as much together as we were yesterday. The plan is still the same. But I'm feeling a little blah. (Probably not helped by my first full day in society while I'm still a little under the weather).

I'll get over it, especially since I'm landing in a new weird city, and will continue to see whatever happens next.

Breathing in Swellendam

All Kool-Aid jokes aside, here's how I thought it would all go down at the retreat.

We'd be greeted by some friendly people, who would give us the schedule and rules of the retreat. From sunup to sundown (excluding the three hour break every day), we'd be working hard, pushing our bodies hard, sweat beading down onto our mats, and every day we would go deeper into our poses, working harder and harder to....well whatever we are working harder to.

Obviously, it didn't go as planned, and obviously, I really had the wrong idea what yoga is all together. While it can be a challenge, and it is good exercise, and different classes have different purposes, yoga has nothing to do with forcing yourself. All this time, I heard the yoga teachers say, something to the effect of, "Stay with the breath", but I had NO. IDEA.

I don't think what I "learned" can truly be put into words. And what every person takes away is totally subjective....but I what I would l…

Back in Cape Town

After a very long day, I'm back in Cape Town.

Although this week went nothing according to plan, I'm glad I had the opportunity to experience parts of the retreat, and get the rest that I obviously needed.

I'll write more about it later, but, yet again, I need to rest.

Tomorrow off to Prague!

Yoga Friday

Well, today I was able to leave the cottage grounds! I had brunch at the house and then went to a "teachings" class. How very interesting yoga is. It's a subject at which you could study and practice your entire life and never know it all, until you've experienced it all.

Like, Christianity as an example. You can study and learn the bible front to back, and practice it's teachings throughout your life, but until you've lived your entire life you'll never truly know it all.

Religion wasn't the topic of discussion today (I think they would try to steer clear of that) but its something that I was thinking about.

Many Christians (or other religions) have issues with practicing yoga, but I don't quite understand the complexities of the reluctance. Yoga is full of breath, life, and God, or whatever higher being or spiritual influence is in your life. Yoga doesn't define the path, but brings awareness to your breath, allowing whatever issues you…

Yoga Retreat, Day ?

I'm not sure what day of the retreat it is since I'm only awake for small portions of the day. :S

Of all the places I could be sick, thank goodness it's here. I can't even describe how amazing Susie and Diana are at being nurses for the week. Especially with strangers, I don't like people in my space when I'm sick, but I'm starting to be much more open and just appreciate that they are here. I still feel pretty horrible today, in comparison to yesterday I'm a whole new person. Nights always seem to be the worst, last night I was up with several coughing attacks lasting a good half hour each, one loud enough to wake my neighbour in the very early hours, who came with a kettle for a make shift steam bath. 
The more I learn about this retreat, the more I think that maybe, just maybe, this is how I was meant to spend it. It's not pleasant, but the last few months have been rough, knowing that I'll be leaving Madagascar, and maybe I just needed to st…

The yoga retreat that may never be...

I have extremely spotty I'm trying to post this from my phone, hopefully it works!

On Monday, a very nice lady, Diana picked me up, and we drove three-ish hours, stopping for lunch in an adorable place along the way. South Africa never ceases to amaze me how beautiful it is!

The drive was rather long for me, as I had been sick part if Saturday and Sunday and was tired from not sleeping well. But we got here, and got right into it.

It's so beautiful here, it's like a postcard. I'm staying in a chalet that is equally as beautiful and the property is surrounded by mountains, cows, lakes, and baboons!

We were together from about 3-8pm, and by 830pm, I was wiped. I had coughed a lot during yoga, and my energy was down.

That was the last time I saw the yoga studio. I woke up Tuesday with a horrible cough, breathing was a but laboured, and no energy. I woke up at 6am and went anyway, and was basically sent home (to my cottage) for bed rest. This isn'…

Anticipation and Anxiety

So today was a little different than yesterday.

I'm kind of freaking out. I didn't sleep well (fairly normal, this happens from time to time, especially in a new environment). I didn't get out of my pjs until noon (normal too, on a Sunday!), and then I took a taxi to the waterfront. The hotel swears that I can walk there, but I can't find it. I just get into a mess of highways and now I just take a taxi for a whopping $3CAD.

The plan was: Cape Canal Tour, eat, finish errands (I forgot a reusable water bottle, and I have a feeling that it's like a huge mega yoga sin to bring a plastic bottle to yoga class) and then take the Hop On Hop Off tour.

Everything went well until the HOHO bus (hey, that's a funny acronym), they didn't have a map. So I wouldn't have a clue where I'd want to get off (that's what he said) until I was right there and I wouldn't have the schedule and something just didn't feel right.

My stomach wasn…

Yay! Vacation Day #1

(Sorry - horribly dorky title. I'm sucking at titles lately)
Today was actually a vacation day! Things started out a little rough. I went to walk to the waterfront for breakfast, but my stupid eye prevented me. It's so light sensitive, that even wearing sunglasses over my glasses (yeah, it's as sexy as it sounds), I have to either close or cover my eye. Extremely uncomfortable and not so fun to be outside.

I noticed that there was a Woolworths Food (seriously, I think I live in Woolworths when I'm in SA) so I went in and did some grocery shopping (I have a kitchenette in my room). I love grocery shopping in a smaller store, going down every aisle to see what's new, etc. A few minutes into my experience, I um...well, ya know how travelling sometimes effects your stomach? Well, I was having an emergency (I'm sorry that this blog has so much bathroom talk. But that's how I roll). I stood there in panic. I couldn't decide what to do. Stores like this don…

Yeah for not flying until the 29th...

Louis and I always talked about this day....the day where we'd be the poor saps in Economy and we'd pass the Business section and say, Remember when?

Well, my first flight in and I'm already thinking back to the glory days.

It starts first with Air Madagascar telling me that my luggage weight is too heavy. I know it is not. I have a GOLD Star Alliance card, I know the rules. I've memorized the rules. AND I've flown with way more baggage, had the SAME fight, and then hey realize, oh, yeah, and all is good.

I was rushed, I was frustrated, I didn't want to fight, my eye hurt, so I gave in. And paid the $150USD for my second piece of luggage. (That will be reimbursed for my demobilization!).

I didn't have a problem waiting outside, because I didn't have lounge access (and the password hadn't changed so my wifi still worked), I didn't have a problem being mildly crammed into the flight. I had a problem where there was a twenty minute window wher…

Au Revoir

I thought I'd have more time during my week "off" before vacation (now, that doesn't sound weird at all) but I feel like I've either been running around....with the exception from yesterday where I spent most of the day in bed....nursing a pitiful hangover. One day I'll learn how to attend a dinner party AND count the number of glasses of wine I have. It was just not a pretty scene the next day. But the night was perfect. Spending it with the guy who actually got me to come here and his family. (OH, and Louis too!)

I don't know what I'm feeling. Last night I was a bit sad...kind of feeling weird that I'm not going to see Louis for some time...but on the other hand, this morning feels kind of normal. I'm used to leaving this place and I'm sort of (ok, not really) used to being away from Louis for two weeks at a time.

I have no idea what's going to happen in the next few months. Or year. Well, I guess no one does, but most of us like …


Alright. If I REALLY want to worry about something....

06h00: Kriyas
06h30: Pranyama and Guided Meditation
07h30: Tea
08h00:Yoga Class
10h30: Brunch
11h30: Teachings
13h00: Rest
16h00: Tea
16h30: Yoga class
19h00: Supper
20h00: Teachings
21h30: Rest

Kriyas (Exercises and breathing techniques intended to purify and cleanse the body's energy channels. For instance, one kriya is to rapidly pump the stomach muscles in and out as if breathing but without taking a breath).

Pranyama and Guided Meditation (Pranayama, the formal practice of controlling the breath, lies at the heart of yoga. It has a mysterious power to soothe and revitalize a tired body, a flagging spirit, or a wild mind. The ancient sages taught that prana, the vital force circulating through us, can be cultivated and channeled through a panoply of breathing exercises. In the process, the mind is calmed, rejuvenated, and uplifted. Pranayama serves as an important bridge between the outward, active practices…


Well that's fantastic. I just post how I'm choosing to be happy and I have a day like today. Which I guess does go hand in hand with "Choose Happiness" or whatever, because, yeah, I'll have some bad days.

Things didn't go as planned and I stayed home this morning because there was an IT glitch and I couldn't access my account (which ended up getting fixed but I stayed home anyways). I spend the morning packing and cleaning, and then met Louis for lunch.

The plan was to go into the office.

All morning I felt unsettled, anxious, and out of sorts. I thought about running and couldn't really convince myself. After lunch, Louis said like one comment that I didn't like, so I got up, left the table, and walked back home, defeated, and certainly not going into the office.

Ten minutes later, Louis got a crying phone call, me apologizing, me being angry (actually sad), and just...really not myself. Certainly not happy. His best advice was to watch some TV…

This week's Schedule

Monday: work a bit in the afternoon, hang around camp, pack, run.

Tuesday: go to work in the morning, pack, pedicure & supper p a friend.

Wednesday: go to work in the morning, pack, run, work meeting i the afternoon, supper at a friend's house.

Thursday: possibly go to the office in the morning ( just to finish any travel related stuff, run, FINISH packing, work meeting in the afternoon, drop off my donated stuff, drinks at the Tiki Bar with whoever is around.

Friday: go for breakfast, maybe go for a drive in town, get Louis to help me with my suitcases, not cry, not cry, not cry, not cry, probably cry, and then fly to Tana, to Joberg, to Cape Town.

I'm trying not to dread Friday. I'm so glad I decided to leave earlier and not drag out my time here forever. It's nice, but it will be hard to hang out here knowing I'm flying out.

Anyway...I think it will be a good week! Possibly with a little too muck alcohol involved?

Making a Choice

****I wrote this a week and a half ago. But was too nervous to publish it. How can I choose to be happy when there's so many things to be unhappy about? How can I choose to be happy when I'm 15000km away from my family....who need all the support they can get? How can I choose to be happy when I don't know how this change will effect me, my marriage, and my life? But so far it's working. And I've noticed a difference in myself, my marriage, and my life. Please don't think that I'm all about shits and giggles now. Just last night I was sad/crying because I don't know what it will be like living apart from Louis (or living a different life than we live we'll never actually be apart :O).
But I'm doing it. And it's a big step for me. And it allowed me to be happy during a super stressful time. And happy at my going away party, even though minutes before my heart rate was through the roof. And yes, there will be more tears. But my outloo…

♪♪♪If You're Not In It For Love ♪♪♪♪

The best speech I've ever made:
My first (and last) public singing event:

Meawhile...back in Canada

While I'm having a blast wrapping up my time here....things back home aren't always so fantastic.

Something that I don’t often write about anymore is how things are going with my grandpa back in Canada.
You may recall that he had heart surgery late October. It was an incredibly invasive operation (like breaking his ribs!) and his recovery isn’t going as expected.
I’ve often thought about cancelling (or at least shortening) my trip so that I can go be with my grandpa and the rest of my family. I don't know what good that would do, but it feels odd to be here, while they're all the way over there...not having a vacation....
From the moment I was born, my grandparents played a huge roll in my life. My grandparents are pretty young - we even went on a tube cave/rafting trip when we were in Hawaii!
Although they are both pretty jokey, my grandpa is the big joker. Teasing and goofing around….Often when I was younger, I’d hear my grandma say (in a mock-scolding tone), “Nicole, do…

To me :)

Last night was seriously one of there best parties. Dancing, singing, the band, another fantastic Madagascar memory was added to the already long list.

I am so flattered and honored that Louis would go through so much effort and that the guys in the band got together every night after a 12 (or more) hour day of work to practice. And even cooler that I got up to sing "If You're Not In It For Love" by Shania Twain (last words of the song are, "I'm outta here!!"

Saturday is my official last day of work, but I'll be around here until the 19th. I wanted to do a few things before I left, so I'll either work from home or go into the office for a few hours for a couple of days.

I am so, so, so lucky to have had this opportunity. I'm so thankful that (for the most part) since I've been back this rotation, I've been able to just be happy that I was here, happy that I got to have these experiences, and happy that I met all of these fantastic peopl…

Today's Schedule (It's Party Time!!!)

WorkGo for a run after work and pre-party (I'm nervous)PartyWatch the live band (made up of Louis and some friends!!)SING in the live band. There's one song I'm singing. I'm not sure how this all came about but I'm equally excited as I am (not literally) crapping my pants! I'll even have a backup vocal!


Did I really need something so much to write about that subconsciously my body acted out? To make something for me to write about? 'Cause this just seemed like something out of a comedy sketch....gone wrong.
Last night I got to ride in the company Ambulance! Woo! (Side note: Has anyone watched Modern Family where the Lily says, "Aww. You hurt your finger. Do you need me to call the Wambulance? Whaaaahhh Waaahhhh Waaahhh!!!!" I'm loving that right now. Check it out here).
Sunday night Louis had practice (for my going away party ) so I was on my own. The Tiki bar has popcorn, I thought I’d take some home and watch TV. It’s super unhealthy and I ate a lot, so the next morning when I didn’t feel good, I didn’t complain too loudly.
Monday morning continued, I went for lunch, noticed I really wasn’t hungry and my stomach hurt, so I tried to eat as much as I could and leave it at that. By 3pm, I was laying in bed in pain. By 4pm, I was in more pain. By 5pm, I was calling …

Ninety Thousand Emotions

Crap, crap, crappy day. Actually, it wasn't a bad day. It was a bad head space day. A day where I tried (or wanted to try) to start fights with Louis...not like on purpose, but as a way to like, get rid of feelings I don't want to feel. I'd much rather be mad at him, and us fighting, then me being sad that we we'll be apart who knows how long. And yes, I know. I'm ungrateful. I have nothing but opportunities ahead of me, but there are times where none of that matters. And yeah, you know what?? I think I needed a break. Like, a real break. For a month. (Or 42 days in this case). 

I'd rather fight with him, and be mad, so that I can run away from these feelings. We will be okay. But the expat marriage relationships aren't great, so I can't have the "it can't happen to us" syndrome that I wish I could believe.

Anyway, Louis was sick last night (nothing serious, a cough/cold that's been going around), so he slept in late while I went for…


I've started to write posts...and then left them as drafts....and then deleted them.

I don't want to complain. I don't want to be sad. I don't want to be worried.

Big picture wise - I'm about to start an entirely amazing, cool, new journey.

Just like I did back in ott-0-9.

It was just as scary.

I'm different but the same.

I'm scared to be without Louis and my friends here.

I don't have a clue what I'll do for work.

I miss my family. I worry that I'm not there with them.

I miss my Canadian friends.

I guess I'm trying to start the whole yoga/meditation process a little early - I'm trying to just clear my mind.

So when I start to write, my existing neuropathways start to write what I'm feeling. My fears, my worries, etc, etc. When I'm trying to focus on the good (of which there is lots). This blog has generally been a place to vent. I don't want to vent. I want to accept.

Since I've been back from vacation, most days h…


I'm playing around with a bunch of things to be able to keep in touch during the time that I'm leaving Madagascar to the time that I arrive back in Canada (43 days later. Still can't say it without laughing. Still don't really beleive it's happening!)

I have a Twitter Account, my name is (totally creative, hey?)

And I have an Instagram account, my name is

I'm essentially technology slow with these kinds of things...I think you have to have an account to follow me. But from what I hear, most people already have these accounts? I don't know.

Anyway, I won't always have lots of internet time, so I thought I could put up some pictures as I go along, or "tweet" where I am or what I'm doing (and that I'm safe).

I hope to still blog post, but I don't have a clue what things will be like for the next (ahhh!!) 43 days, and maybe I want to get into this whole social media thing again. …

Iphone Pics v1

I booked my flight out of here yesterday...I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. On one hand, I could have stayed an extra few days, but on the other hand, it kind of just seems like it would be slowly ripping the band aid off. Also, if I waited a few extra days, I would be flying with Air Mada. I think that's worth a lot not to have to go that route. The last time was a freaking nightmare.
So while I wallow/contain my excitement/cry/smile, I thought I'd do a post of pictures I've taken over the last few weeks. I miss when I used to take pictures and tell the story about them! Maybe I'll get back into that.
This pic was taken on the flight from Johannesburg to Frankfurt. Lufthansa always gives awesome little treats. I had eaten supper in the airport...but I didn't turn down the big chocolate bunny. (Tip: Do not eat a 700 calorie muffin and a chocolate bunny before going to bed. I felt SUPER crappy the next morning)  Louis didn't feel like eating his, but…