What the landscape can teach you

My view this week.

image

Very blue ...

image

Where does the earth end?

image

Fires for food

image

La luna

image

The age old "dark vs light"

image

The clouds so low

image

....see forever

image

Clouds ... no witty caption.

image

Everyone driving somewhere

image

Holy crap we found an awesome hill.

….brilliant huh?  They are nice pictures.  I used to think I wanted to live on a farm or be in the country..  Honest truth, I now know that’s not me.  I prefer concrete and streetcars.

What’s your landscape taught you?

Disclosure:  no laws were broken in the taking of these pictures.  My hands stayed on the wheel and the kid took them.  

kids + travel = learning .. no matter how short or far the distance

I think the past year we’ve been here we’ve run out of places to go within driving distances of coming back home within a reasonable amount of time for school/work.  Which is really hard for a family that likes to travel and view the world … as much as they can on a very limited limited non-existent budget 🙂 I think that’s the biggest culture shock living in the middle of the country.  Before we had an abundance of places to go and people to see.  Here…well here not so much.

I remember last year a couple kids told me they hadn’t been out of Saskatchewan…ever.  While socio-economic and life factors may play a part for some – it still bowled me over.  Manitoba is literally an hour away.  Trust me – the sidekick and I do not have money.  However, the sidekick and I have always believed that the kid is learning things about life when we travel.  It took years and years to come up with the money to go to Australia, but the perspectives she gained from being in a new culture – priceless.  And I got to hold a koala – AWESOMENESS FOR ME!!!  Walking downtown Toronto and watching her give her own coins to a homeless man – priceless.  (Hopefully she continues to know she isn’t the center of the universe).  Even going through different neighbourhoods in different provinces she is learning about different standards of living.  We went to the Buffalo Zoo for $34 .. for the three of us .. and that included parking.  So many opportunities to learn.  Traveling is an education in itself. I think my dream would be if someone bankrolled me to travel for a year with the kid documenting everything.  We would both be in heaven … though the kid might not pass school if I home-schooled her.  …..  That could be a problem.

After staying near to the house since we’ve been back, the need to view the world was intense.  So we had an adventure, the kid and I.  The sidekick was not able to come.  We decided to head back to Minot, North Dakota.  We haven’t been there since last October.  Both of us love love love finding those cool items we don’t have in Canada.

The following pictures are not good for your health at all – but I imagine when it’s time for a treat I’m going to be very happy 🙂  Though walking the stuff off is gonna be a drag 😉

photo 4

I think I drooled in the aisle.

photo 3

The kid asked for a treat for dinner. We picked up Nacho Cheese and Cheese Pizza Gold fish Mac and Cheese.

photo 2

Drooling … We have healthy stuff too as you can tell by the walnut cranberry salad topper next to it 🙂

photo 1

Because who doesn’t want their mouth popping in the morning?

 

We window shopped.

photo 5

Wishing for cool expensive toys 😦 One day I told her – when she becomes a doctor or something 🙂

 

We went to an amazing restaurant called Mi Mexicana.

photo 3(1)

I wanted to steal the chairs. How totally cute?

photo 2(1)

Even the table was cool. I had my first chimichanga.  It was DELICIOUS!!  From the service to the decor – go.  It was superb.

 

We took a drive through the city, exploring places we hadn’t been.  We relaxed at the hotel.  A waterpark was attached to the hotel.  The waterpark was a little worn in.   No life guard was present, (a fact written on the wall), so it was a little chaotic with all the people not following my rules for safety.  But deep breaths to keep the anxiety down helped to make it a great time for us.

photo 4(1)

 

And when it was time to leave …. we got lost.  I thought it was a straight road from the border to Minot as I remembered going there.  Apparently not – there’s a road that breaks off somewhere to go back to the border.  I had no clue where we were.  A fact which had the kid laughing and taking out the GPS.  I am amused it didn’t rate highly on her take of the weekend.

A 4 hour drive enabled us to talk about things we hadn’t been able to in the rush of life.

We made it home.  The sidekick was waiting.

Travel – even if it’s to a new town by you.  Travel with your kids.  The time together is amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

You can always go home

Holy Amazeballs it is LOVELY to be home 🙂 While I’m grateful for Saskatchewan to giving us affordability and safety, Toronto will always be home.   One of the students I worked with remarked upon home and how he missed his hometown in Saskatchewan.  He too didn’t like where we were. Home is where your heart is  –  whether it be province, city, town, or house.  One of the biggest things I’ve learned on this journey, is I’m a city girl. Born and bred.  I am not a country girl.  Even after a year I still suffer from culture shock which leads others to laughter 🙂

Ontario Travel – I think I’ll be emailing you something awesome.

Seeing the kid after two weeks was also amazing.  I missed her so much and it was the most amazing feeling to be able to give her a hug.  Our adventure has been great.  Friends, family, Toronto, so much to do so little time.

I leave soon.  But the memories are forever and we will be back to stay one day.

……or maybe BC, Alberta…. the skies the limits huh?  To dream perchance to go where your heart takes you!!

wpid-img_20140723_112607_wm.jpg

Pearson Airport. Felt alive stepping out into the chaos

wpid-img_20140725_172121_wm.jpg

Strange as it sounds, driving in traffic was exhilarating. What you miss is wierd sometimes.

wpid-20140726_182927_wm.jpg

Family to see 🙂

wpid-20140726_212027_wm.jpg

NIghts to sit outside and just be.

wpid-20140728_094336_wm.jpg

Sights to go down memory lane with.

wpid-20140728_110758_wm.jpg

New attractions to experience. Ripley’s Aquarium Toronto. Loved it.

wpid-20140728_132624_wm.jpg

University Avenue in Downtown Toronto – chillin watching the traffic.

wpid-20140728_133302_wm.jpg

Queen West – Eatons Centre just up the road.

wpid-20140729_134123_wm.jpg

Spending time with old friends.

 

 

Leaving on a jet plane …

This past Thursday morning saw me handing over the kid to strangers.  It’s okay though – I paid them to take her.  HAHAHAHAHA!!!  Okay – joke over.

The kid for the past month has been extremely excited.  The past year has been extremely difficult.  She’s been bullied, started two new schools (one because of the bullying), hasn’t made friends to chill with during the weekends….it’s been the same for all of us…this move hasn’t been the best experience for any of us….its affordable here though.

To give her a bit of break, we clipped the rope and let her go on her own to Toronto.  Okay – not on her own – we used Westjet’s unaccompanied minor program.  The days leading up to her flight she had the biggest grin knowing she was going home.

Wednesday saw us in Regina at the Days Inn – Airport West for the night.  With a 6:20am flight, I had no desire to travel 2 hours in the morning from our town to the airport to catch said flight.  That would be a big con of living in a rural far away city.  With the airport literally 4 minutes up the road from the hotel, it was perfect for the kid to get a bit more sleep before.

I sadly did not get the guys name who check us in, but Days Inn management – please see who it was.  He was absolutely fantastic.  He was jovial, he was professional, he was amazing at this job.  He also was from Ontario!! From London he said.  He came to Regina for the jobs that are available.  Days Inn, if you need me to work at a hotel let me know!! I loved the vibe there…..I need full time though 😉

IMG_20140709_155704

The hotel room was clean, spacious and decorated so well. The kid is ‘hiding’ under the burgundy foot blanket :l

After checking in we decided to go for a walk around the neighbourhood.  We ended up at a fast food place called Five Guys Burgers and Fries.   I honestly wasn’t expected it to be as good as it was.  It was amazing.  I love Harveys, and have been missing it since we moved to Saskatchewan a year ago.  These hamburgers were actually better then Harveys.  And Harveys hamburgers are amazing.  The only thing that made me go hmmmm, was on twitter @AshworthPR told me that the Scarborough, Ontario location had peanuts to snack on while you wait.  For the life of me I couldn’t remember if the Regina location had peanuts.  And I like food – so it’s kinda weird I don’t remember appetizers.

IMG_20140709_173556

A regular hamburger – is TWO hamburgers in the bun!! AMAZING BURGER GO!!!

On our walk we saw some nice foliage in the city.

IMG_20140709_175339

Lovely flowers in front of Lowe’s home hardware.

IMG_20140709_161919

At the front of a construction site.

Back at the hotel we went for a lovely evening swim.  Had the whole pool to ourselves.  It was wonderful.  As a 4 am wake up call was coming we went to bed quite early.

Thursday morning, the kid was so excited to go home.   The sidekick stayed at the hotel and slept as we only had one gate pass.  He gave her a big sleepy hug good bye.  My heart was breaking because I was going to miss her, but I was so excited for her as well.  I knew she was going to be surrounded by her aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who missed her all to deeply.

Westjet‘s unaccompanied minor program is fantastic.  From check in to passing her off to my brother, we have nothing but good things to say.  The kid was given the best treatment from Westjet employees.  It’s hard sometimes to give your child to people you know to look after,  it’s even more mind numbing to give them to strangers.  Thank you Westjet for the best experience.

IMG_20140710_045606

Smiling – the tag they gave her meant she was leaving to go home soon!!

20140710_052401

Last mom/daughter selfie before she boarded.

20140710_054221

T for Toronto – literally her hometown. That’s where she was born!!

20140710_054344

My last view of her as she followed the westjet employee to the plane.

I asked her on when she landed how the flight was, and she told me the crew were amazing.  They asked how she was doing and kept an eye on her.  She had a lovely flight and it was all over to soon she said.  I think the smarties had something to do with it … 🙂

I fly out with Westjet later, and I look forward to seeing the kid.  Going to give her the biggest hug.The sidekick sadly due to health was not allowed to fly or drive.  He could have taken a train I think, but a sleeper cabin is more money then I make in 3 months probably…This trip is look at jobs and rents back home.  Like I wrote before, this past year has been very challenging.

I know the kid is having the best time.  On skype she told me she didn’t want to come back.  Her friends and family have given her the love and support she’s been missing this whole year.  As I write this, she is staying with a friend for a couple of days just basking in the glow of being home and being with the girls!!

Faith, hope, work, and luck – it’ll all work out 🙂

 

Disclosure: I was not paid for this post.  All my own opinions.  This is to let family and friends know our experiences as we travel the road of life 🙂

Even in captivity only the strong survive #lifelessons

I wasn’t going to write about mother’s day.  I figured there are so many bloggers posting about it, the world didn’t need another one.  Plus the fact, the bloggers I follow have said it all more eloquently then I ever could.  But then today happened.  And it was good.

I did not receive any material goods today.  Best present EVER!!  (Diamond store trying to market to me on my tv – we don’t have the money for it anyway 😉 )   The morning saw homemade cards from both the sidekick and kid.  We then drove over to my parents.  My mom has lived in Saskatchewan since 2007.  She hasn’t had any of her 7 (yes, that’s right I typed 7!! not a typo!!) children with her here to celebrate in that time.  She was beyond happy that she was able to spend time with us.

IMG_20140511_110849

That was what today was about.  Just spending time with each other.  We drove to Fort Qu’appelle to explore more of what Saskatchewan has to offer.

IMG_20140511_123516

Our adventure begins.

We found a ‘fort’ of sorts to pose in front of.

IMG_20140511_141026

Actually the entrance to a camp ground which is pretty cool.

I realized the kid will be driving in 2 1/2 years.  #mindnumbing

IMG_20140511_141353

Where does the time go?

We found hills!!  There are hills in Saskatchewan.  You just have to look for them!!
IMG_20140511_142040

I was able to watch my family and give thanks for what I have.

IMG_20140511_143225

And come on??? WHO doesn’t want to visit a fish hatchery?

IMG_20140511_151302

Fort Qu’Appelle Fish Culture Station. Opened for 100 years this year !!!

We had a lovely tour guide whose name was Ben.  He was 12, and was extremely knowledgeable about the whole process.  I was quite impressed by him.

IMG_20140511_152151

Feeding the big fish

I honestly had no idea who much work went into making sure that fisher's have enough stock in our lakes.  Even though it was disgusting  at some points, it was actually a really good stop.  And best - FREE!!!

I honestly had no idea who much work went into making sure that fisher’s have enough stock in our lakes. Even though it was disgusting at some points, it was actually a really good stop. And best – FREE!!!

The other fishies bit off his tail.  Bad fishies :(He went down the drain :(

The other fishies bit off his tail. He went down the drain 😦

This one actually had me thinking.  Even in captivity, only the strong survive.  Which today sadly is also the human race today.  We have everything we could desire, but it’s starting to look like only the powerful have the resources to survive.  That revelation I had made me a little sad.

The day ended with ice cream.

Be Jealous.  This stuff is good.

Be Jealous. This stuff is good.

For me it was a reiteration of how much you don’t need gifts to show a person how much you love them.  The time my family and my parents spent together – that’s something I will treasure more then any flowers, diamonds, or massages….well maybe not the massage.  I’ll save up some more money for that one myself though 🙂

Sex Cereal and Bacon Toffee

This weekend saw our travels take us to Saskatoon for the night.  No special reason.  I’m finding when you live in such a small town, sometimes the need to get out and explore the world is intense.  The weather was right, the price of the hotel not bad, and off we went.

Driving Saskatchewan is like driving through the last of the truly isolated and open lands left.  It’s a little over three hours to travel from our house to Saskatoon alone. At one point we didn’t see a car for about 1 hour.  When the residents say make sure you have a winter emergency kit in your car when traveling, you should listen.  It’s unnerving sometimes to feel so alone in your tiny little car in the midst of such vastness.  In the winter, your eyes hurt with the brilliance of the sky and ground shining back at you. (New tip I learned – don’t forget your sunglasses.  How fast do wrinkles happen by the way?)   Sometimes you don’t know where one ends and the next begins when looking off into the distance.

20140309_112744

Our first stop was to the Western Development Museum.  The museum is one museum split up four ways around the province.  Much like their college.  There is only one college split up into different campuses around the province.  I guess it’s because the population isn’t a lot here.  After having 5 million choices in Ontario for college it was a little different to find out there was only one here.

This museum if pretty cool though.  It actually has an indoor road with buildings for you to go in and and out.  Like Black Creek Pioneer Village, but on a much much smaller scale … and inside.

20140308_132549

A house full of mirrors that was a blast to go through. One mirror I was the 1000 lb woman … I quickly left that mirror 🙂

IMG_20140308_124949

And I have never seen one of the these in real life before.  The textbooks don’t do it justice.  This was something that was amazing to see out of history.

IMG_20140308_133746

The true attraction we went for however, was the University of Saskatchewan’s observatory.  This is free!!!  FREE!!!  How can I say no to FREE!!  Every Saturday the public gets to go and look up at the stars.

IMG_20140308_203024

HOW FRICKIN COOL IS THIS???

The sky was cloudy, but it was still an amazing experience.  You know next time we are back in Saskatoon, I’m headed there to see the stars and moon.

We were in 1910.  We had an awesome hotel.  We saw the moon.  We saw sex cereal and bacon toffee.  What weekend trip is awesome without seeing awesome food like that?

I still miss Ontario, its attractions and its conveniences (driving 3 hours to go do something .. yeah it sucks if you’re not used to it).  However, Saskatchewan does have some neat things to keep us amused.  I hope you come and visit us this summer 🙂

Disclaimer: I did not receive anything for this post.  It is my own opinions to tempt family and friends back home to come and visit us.

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to follow me on this blog, instagram, and twitter for more stories and pictures from our travels and learning to live in the prairies!!

A Hair-rising Experience

Being a winter newbie in the prairies, I’m little hesitant in highway driving.  We’ve all seen the news segment how a freak prairie blizzard makes a family huddle under their silver thermal car emergency blanket waiting for 3 days before the professionals can come and get them and they lost 10 pounds each because they had no food.  I like living, so we haven’t really been exploring this winter season.

The kid had this week off.  Not an illness/family imposed week off.  Here, we don’t get March break.  We get a February and and April break.  The February break is kinda cool as it’s around Family Day.  We didn’t go anywhere for Christmas, and I really wanted to do something special for our first year here.  The kid asked to go to the Science Centre in Regina.  How could I say no to wanted learning?  Just the week before I got an email from the Delta with a promotion for great winter rates. Sometimes it comes when you need it!! 🙂

Wednesday night saw snow fall.  I’ll be honest with you, a little anxiety was sitting in.  All I could see was us huddle together in our tiny Yaris shivering.  And you know being the one with more meat on my bones, they’d sacrifice me to whatever Saskatchewan abominable snowman that came around.  Give them more time to run into the white abyss and get lost.  Thursday afternoon hit though, and the sun was shining!!  Off we went on our 2 hour drive to Regina.  The highways were amazing!!!

IMG_20140220_160520

Meditating in the tranquil ambiance

IMG_20140220_160712

IMG_20140220_162527

Old meets new. We headed to the mall – attached to the hotel 🙂 Cornwall Centre.

IMG_20140220_180410

After the mall, which was free, was our outing to the hotel pool!!  Which was free.  The pool at the hotel 🙂 The water slide was amazing. The pool was also warm. Just my type of temperature!!! We had the whole place to ourselves, and the kid absolutely loved it!!

IMG_20140221_084510

Morning comes way to soon!! The city of Regina. It was neat to see all the smoke from the houses.

The kid actually had heard that there was a butterfly exhibit at the Science Centre and wanted to go see it. We set off early in the morning to make the most of the day. The admissions rate are actually very good.  $9.00 for adults.  We added the IMAX movie and it came to $16.  I have to admit, we did compare between here in Saskatchewan and back home.  Ontario Science Centre it’s $22 for an adult and $28 if you include the IMAX movie.  It’s still a fantastic deal here.  2 1/2 stories of interaction.  I think there are 6 levels in Ontario.

The one thing we did not like was that there was no where to eat.  They had a concession stand near the IMAX theatre.  We asked for a hotdog, but they did not serve hot dogs on weekdays.  We then asked for the pizza, but it wasn’t there yet and they weren’t sure when it would be.  A bit of a pain especially because to go out for lunch you have to drive.  You can’t just cross a street to a fast food joint.  And it’s cold here.  I was willing to starve then go back out into the cold to eat.   Remembering the huge fast food court at the Ontario Science Centre we were a little taken a back.   It’s times like these I get extremely home sick for the conveniences.

Nonetheless, we had a fantastic time wandering the Science Centre for another twenty minutes before the pizza arrived.    We saw Kenya: Animal Kingdom.  Breathtaking and made me want to travel even more.

IMG_20140221_111429

She enjoyed the show and said it felt funny feeling her hair up!

IMG_20140221_115659

I found the AWESOME mirror!!

IMG_20140221_115806

Then I found the not awesome mirror!!

IMG_20140221_115908

You know, the normal mirror wasn’t so bad 🙂

IMG_20140221_141052

Who in God’s green earth would buy a pimple???? The sidekick and the kid totally enjoyed saying not so witty lines about all the micro-organisms. For example, the kid found the red blood cell plush and laughed in delight “Look, my red blood cell count is falling” as she zoomed it to the floor :/

For a not exxpensive couple of days away from home, it was just what we needed.  Make no mistake, it’s not like home.  But there are fun things to do here.  And when you have a whole post of micro-organisms you can make up even more fun 🙂

Should be interesting to see where we can go once the weather is better.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated at all for anything in this post.  These are just my opinions.  I blog for family and friends, letting them know how much fun it is here so they will come and visit me 🙂

Saskatchewanderer = ME

I’m nothing if not optimistic about life 🙂  I look at opportunities, apply and hope for the best.

I found out about an opportunity that I thought would be awesome for me.  Problem being, about 500 000 people in Saskatchewan probably feel the same way LOL.

Saskatchewanderer is asking for applications to become the next wanderer .. not for just a summer but for a full year!!!  You go around the province exploring. I would love this opportunity.  Sadly, they are asking for film degrees, English degrees, marketing degrees, and communication degrees.  My friend on facebook posted, “There are some things that formal education can’t provide & you’ve got it my dear”.  Hopefully the hiring committee sees the same thing.

I did mess up though, so it is a big scratch against my name.  I had two files named the same thing with only one character difference.  One was a 2 page resume.  One was a 1 page resume.  Saskatchewanderer asked for a one page resume.  Guess which one I sent?  But of course – what would life be like without the glitches ? 🙂

Whoever wins, have fun.  Enjoy what is obviously a great wonderful opportunity.

In the meantime, take a look at what I submitted.  I think I sum up quite nicely what I could offer.  Hopefully they see the potential!!