Europe, My Love…

1120c225bef3d92a66a30a48945cbcc6.jpgRudesheim, Germany- Photo by Tio Ceho on the Fivehundredpx/Jose Plaza Photography

It is pictures like these that remind me that I am meant to live in Europe. How do I know it? I can just feel it. Whenever I see a photograph, hear a song, catch a phrase in a foreign language, my heart starts to beat faster. It is a dream so strong and so precious, that it physically hurts to not be living it. I lose myself in the possibility that, perhaps, this could become my reality.
So what do I do? I come back down to Earth, adjust my bearings, and fall in love and in purpose with Europe all over again.  I formulate my plan.
Now if that isn’t a sign then what is?
I don’t know when or where or how I am going to get there…but I will get there. One day. Some day. Soon.
LoveUntitled @_@
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#The Sun Shines Differently in Florida#

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This past week a personal milestone was reached- my sister and I took our very first trip together!

The travel destination? Tampa Florida-a place I knew nothing about and, to be honest, had absolutely no interest in. Until now!

My sister was coming down for business and suggested I join her. “We can make an adventure out of it” she said as she perused flights. I readily agreed and, come Monday afternoon,  we had touched ground at Tampa International, pasty winter legs and fall coats in tow.

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Surprisingly, Tampa Florida is a lovely place, especially if you want to escape the rat race and slow down time.  The Riverwalk downtown offered some amazing restaurants to sip a cold one while taking in the hustle and bustle of Sail Point. My sister and I actually sat down face-to-face and had conversation…a rarity at home, as we don’t see eachother much.

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After two days we decided to explore the outskirts and headed over to Clearwater Beach. A truly spectacular spot, morning and evening are the best times to walk along the water and take in the soothing sensation of sand, sky and water. The crowds, concerts, eateries and boardwalk shopping make it a fun and lively scene for all ages. My sister was like a kid at the candy store! Splashing in the water, collecting seashells, sitting down to catch the sunset-it was a pleasure to experience it with her!

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And lastly, my favourite spot of the trip-Tarpon Springs! A small, quaint town off the coast, it’s a delightful place to grab some amazing Greek food, mouthwatering pastries and a great look at the beautiful local sponge harvesting and crafts. A very unique and enjoyable experience! We shopped and ate, and shopped some more, and ate some more…I have never been happier with these extra 5lbs haha. Worth every bite 🙂

Overall, Tampa Florida was a pleasant surprise, travel wise and personally, for I got to know and enjoy my sister all over again. A much needed getaway for the two of us! Can’t wait to plan the next adventure!

 

LoveUntiteld @_@

#A Dream Realized-Paris, France#

 

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Paris has always been an elusive city to me, a sort of beautiful dream. It was enchanting, alluring, romantic and captivating-but somehow, always a little out of reach for me and my bookseller/medical extern/research assistant budget.

But all that changed last fall, when my mother gave me the gift of a lifetime. I was going with her to Paris. Paris! The city of my dreams! I had talked up this fantasy with everyone for YEARS!; so much so that my name had become synonymous with Paris in my little circle of friends.

‘Paris? Oh! That must be for S.’

‘France? It’s definitely S you want to talk to. Go find her, she’ll tell you all about it’.

‘Geez! Can’t she just shut up about Paris already?!’ (lol)

Needless to say, it was a journey of a lifetime-and the complete opposite of what I had envisioned in my mind. The fairytale and the reality meshed together, creating a memory so humbling, soulful, eye-opening and utterly lovely that I don’t think I will ever recover from it.

And nor do I ever want to.

Stay tuned for my hilarious mother-daughter adventures in France, see you soon!   x

LoveUntitled @_@

 

#Me, The Holidays and A Boy Called Christmas#

Hello Friends! I recently started another blog devoted entirely to my obsession with books. It is a love affair that has spanned decades, with each and every book leaving it’s imprint on my life and my perspective of the world. I posted my first official post today, I hope you check it out!

Thank you!
LoveUntitled @_@

The Book In My Purse

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Every year, after the holiday has come and gone, I like to take a moment to just sit by my Christmas tree and reflect on how the season played out. Overall it was a nice Christmas and New Year-with moments of warm cheer, generosity and spirit, but also moments of loneliness, worry and solitude.

The holidays tend to be advertised as “the most wonderful time of the year”, but just like everyday life, it is an emotional rollercoaster, with its beautiful highs and lows amidst the softly falling snow.

While pondering these thoughts by the tree, the following book came to mind. “A Boy Called Christmas” by Matt Haig was gifted to me by the lovely Harper Collins Canada this season and it was wonderful, it completely mirrored my own Christmas spirit. Whenever those polarizing emotions  took over me, this book read like a favourite Aunt; empathizing with me…

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#One Day-Cornwall, UK#

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A breath-taking landscape from Cornwall England

 

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….and a lovely painting of  Cornwall England by a Ms.Mary Maddox

I am a huge fan of the British tv series Doc Martin starring the immensely talented Martin Clunes; and as a result, I fell in love with Cornwall England. I came across this painting on one of the Doc Martin Fan forums so I thought I’d share. The artist really did a wonderful job!

It’s places like these that make you want to get up and travel, doesn’t it?

One day Cornwall, one day…

LoveUntitled @_@

 

#The Beauty of The Storm#

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It’s amazing how Nature can mirror one’s soul at a single moment in time. I found this photograph on Pinterest and was struck at how much I resonated with it right now. There’s a storm brewing in my life. The wind is picking me up, blowing me nowhere in every direction. The rain has started, beating down steadily, unflinchingly, until I’m reduced to a crawl. It is hard, scary and difficult.

However, there is beauty in the storm as well. While it is wild and frightening, it is also temporary. And in this fleeting moment, it presents the opportunity to breakdown and face the fears, doubts, insecurities, anger, frustrations and tears that built up the storm in the first place. The process is not easy; on the contrary, it’s hurtful and shameful and remorseful and all types of pain personified, but it is also hopeful, and for that I keep going. One step at a time,  I trudge through each and every feeling until eventually, the storm stops. The skies clear and the storm calms and in a strong voice full of pride and and warmth, it says to me ‘Congratulations, you made it through. You looked it in the eye and you let it all go. Now you can start anew’.

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In this day and age where people are expected to display only the fun, bright, exciting sides of life, this is actually a beautiful gift.The opportunity to breakdown and rebuild oneself-therein lies the beauty of the storm.

LoveUntitled @_@

 

#Sakura In Japan#

 

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The cherry blossoms in Yoshino, Japan captured by Paul Hillier.

It’s that time again-spring is around the corner and the cherry blossoms are about to arrive. In fact, they’ve already hit the west coast of Canada, bursting into bloom in Victoria, British Columbia.

As lovely as they are here in Canada, one day I would like to travel to Japan just to see the Sakura come to life. Like this photograph, it must be breath-taking!

One day, one day….

LoveUntitled @_@

#Bridesmaid Diaries#

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February has always been a special month for me-it’s my birthday month, it’s Valentine’s Day, the Winterlicious Festival starts, winter begins to thaw and, in my humble opinion, it was the most unique month of thus far due to Leap Year, that extra day tacked on every 4 years.

This year however, February was extra special for me because two of my best friends of 15+ years got married, and I was honoured to be a bridesmaid to them both.

There is something very special when you’re close friends get married. I’ve been to a few weddings- some family some acquaintances, but attending my best friends’ weddings was something else altogether. It hit me right in the heart. I was touched from beginning to end. Every little thing about the day was felt so keenly. Helping the bride dress up, standing by the couple to take photos, watching her Dad give her away, seeing her tear up when hugging her mother-each moment was so special. The hustle, bustle and utter madness of the day couldn’t take away from the pure joy, love and delight you feel seeing your girl marry the man of her dreams.

I laughed, cried, froze my ass off during the photoshoot and made a total fool of myself dancing my way into the reception, but it was all worth it to see the bride and groom so incredibly happy.

The day was grand and the night even grander. We ate, drank and danced till we literally could not walk. In my book, popping a Tylenol for my sore and swollen feet the next day is always a mark of a  night to remember–and these two weddings were no exception.

Here’s to my two lovely girls, and to their even lovelier husbands…thank you for allowing me to be apart of your special day, I look forward to being by your side for the rest of life’s milestones ahead of you.

Cheers!

LoveUntitled @_@

 

#Europe My Love#-Leeuwarden, Netherlands

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When I was a teenager I fell completely under the spell of romance author Betty Neels, a retired nurse who started writing romance novels in the 1960s. The main character was always a young nurse, well-built, not too pretty but with beautiful eyes who somehow got tangled into a sweet romance with a handsome Dutch physician in the Netherlands. I liked her books so much, I bought out my local library’s entire collection at their annual Summer Sale! I still have a drawer filled with her books.

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However, like most Harlequin Romance fans, I outgrew Betty Neels’ books, but her description of the Netherlands stills stays with me and has become a significant stop on my Europe Bucket List.

Photographer Bas Meelker photographed the winter canals of Ljouwert , Netherlands (Leeuwarden in English)  just beautifully. As soon as I saw this, I had to share it. It captures the Dutch city exactly as Betty Neels described it in her books.

One day. One day…

In the mean time, maybe I’ll pull out one of Betty’s old books and go back in time for awhile…

Enjoy!

LoveUntitled @_@