I thought I should write a quick update! It has been awhile again, man I don’t know where my times goes! I guess as it is summer the days are longer and I am just out and about doing stuff, which is good!

Work is going well, I am still working hard at Bath and Bodyworks and the House and both are going well! Oh and in some other news… I HAVE A NURSING JOB! And yes that is in capital letters cause I am yelling it across the world wide web so that you all sense my excitement! At the end of July I will be starting on 3 West at Royal Inland Hospital, it is a women’s medical/surgical/maternity ward! I am looking forward to the change and experiencing something different! So the final pieces of my paperwork have been submitted for my nursing rego, fingers crossed this bit comes through quickly! The nursing board assures me it should! The downside is I mailed my forms off on June 29th and they arrived in Vancouver on July 5th, they key thing is on July 1st British Columbia introduced their third tax, the HST! So I got a phone call yesterday saying that because my forms arrived after July 1st I now owe them another $100, joyful joyful! I know that you can all sense my excitement right there! This has been like a never ending saga! At the moment I have just learnt to laugh about it, I have almost come to expect these challenges!

So by now you are probably all wondering what is behind the title of my post… Well over the last few weeks I have started composing a list, and I am up to 21 at the moment, I am hoping by my return I will have well over 100 things on this list, but for now enjoy the first 21:

You know you are in Canada when….

  1. It is raining outside and people still have their sprinklers on, and it is commonplace to water your concrete, HELLO no matter how much you water it concrete will not grow!
  2. The light switch turns on the opposite way and you end up having a disco in your room cause you seem to always forget this and you flick your light on and off multiple times trying to turn the darn thing on!
  3. You can turn right when the light is red, this still freaks me out! Red means STOP people!
  4. The sandwich artist at Subway looks at you funny when you ask for capsicum on your sub, it takes you a moment to figure out why, but when you rephrase and ask for peppers instead he knows what you mean, mind you he’s still looking at you weird trying to figure out what you asked for in the first place!
  5. There is no on/off switch on the power outlet, you just plug it in and it stays on, all the time, never goes off!
  6. If you ask for a medium sized meal at McDonalds you end up with what would be an Australian large, this goes for all fast food places actually! The scary thing is there is 2 sizes bigger than this as well, large and SUPERSIZE!
  7. Everyone has cable TV, cause if you don’t you get 2 channels! However you have so many cable channels, yet you still cannot find something to watch, or if you do it is not on a channel you have subscribed to, can someone say ironic?
  8. Petrol is referred to as gas, and yes I still giggle when someone says “Oh I got gas today” or “I need more gas”, childish I know!
  9. If you talk about fortnight’s people look at you strangely wondering what the heck you mean, when you explain they ask why don’t you just say 2 weeks or bi-weekly? Cause it’s a FORTNIGHT, duh!
  10. Canada day is not a celebration about native people or Canadian history, rather it is a celebration about every other culture… Hmmmm
  11. $1 and $2 coins are referred to as loonies and toonies
  12. You cannot put your trash out before 6am on garbage day as you do not want to attract bears and if you do put it out before 6am you risk getting a fine… My question is what if I want to attract bears can I put it out, do you think that would pass with the authorities?
  13. If you ask what is for tea you get weird looks and the person quizzically responds “earl grey?”, no that is not the correct answer, I am asking you what meal you will be making me this evening!
  14. If you roll up to a coffee place and ask for a double-double you will get a coffee with cream and sugar, this started at Tim Horton’s but most other coffee shops will know what you mean too!  What is wrong with asking for a white coffee with sugar?
  15. It is common place to put cream in your coffee/tea not milk. Cream is for desserts people not your coffee!
  16. The first hot day you have after winter is marked by barbequing…. and on every hot day after that you barbeque! Why? Because it is hot silly!
  17. Hockey is a religion not just a sport! And cheering for the Calgary Flames when you live in British Columbia is not a good thing to do if you value your safety apparently! The best bit is if you want to stir a Canadian tell them Hockey is not a real sport, not like AFL! Then sit back and watch the steam come out of their ears as they try to formulate a response without strangling you!
  18. At 5pm all the car parks start filling up with RV’s, why? That’s where you camp for the night, nothing better than camping at Wal-Mart, I mean that is where I would want to camp! Who need a nice camping ground when there is Wal-Mart right there!
  19. It is acceptable to drive 10km over the speed limit, 15km if you are on the highway. Go 11km over and the cops might just pull you over. I will have to remember this is not acceptable when I come home otherwise I will be finding myself without a licence pretty quickly!
  20. 98% of the vehicles drive around with big cracks in the windscreen and this is acceptable, even if it is right over your line of vision. Of the 2% that don’t, 1% are brand new cars, not long driven off the car lot, the other 1% are new cars waiting to be purchased, NO JOKE!
  21. Ketchup is a dietary staple, it goes on everything…. Really it does! When asked if you need ketchup and you say NO people look at you strangely, like there is something wrong with you!

And on that note I best be going to bed! I love you all!

So I have listened to the masses and I am making my return to blogging! I have often clicked on this and did not know where to start or what to write so I found it easier not to do anything! But considering I left my last blog kind of hanging with the decision of if I would go home or not I thought it was only fair to update you all!

It has been a tough month to say the least BUT it has also been fun! Each day I have been struggling with should I go home or should I stay, and I think each day I changed my mind at least 10 times! It was tempting to pack my bags and head home to the safety and comfort of Melbourne and my job at RCH… However I had an AHA moment and decided to stay and embrace what I have here! I have had some very wise counsel (thanks Amy, Amy, Matt and Tennille) that have encouraged me every moment and been there to listen to me vent, they reminded me that even though things have not panned out how I expected I am still having an amazing experience and that was my real reason for being here! So if you have not guessed already I have decided to stay here in Canada, to stick it out and enjoy the ride! I still dont have a nursing job, I have a feeling though that there is a break just around the corner! In the meantime I will continue working at Bath and Bodyworks and at the House of Ruth! I am loving both of those jobs immensely! Having fun and learning lots!

So in other news I have done a little more exploring with Tennille, we went for a Sunday afternoon drive one day and ended up at a place called Wells Gray Provincial Park… It is AMAZING! So gorgeous, waterfalls everywhere and nice little hikes! And guess what… I experienced my first Canadian Wildlife, it does exist! I even saw a bear that afternoon, Tennille wouldn’t let me play with it and I didn’t get a picture 😦 So my bear hunt continues, I will find one and photograph it for you!
Here are some pictures from Wells Gray, it was stunning cause the waterfalls are HUGE because of all the run off from the snow melting…

They are just a few pictures from the Sunday afternoon adventure! It was gorgeous, even hard to capture with a camera but I tried my best!

So I had a weird thing happened this year, I celebrated the Queens Birthday in May… STRANGE! May long weekend here is Victoria weekend! Man I wish I was the Queen having so many birthday celebrations all throughout the year would be awesome! Not to mention that people would love you cause in return for it being your birthday they get the day off work cause it is a public holiday! So I spent the Monday public holiday in Kelowna with Tennille, her mum and my boss from the house Lesley! We had a fun day shopping and taking in the sights! We went to a local winery where I was educated about ice wine… I had NEVER heard of it before so the lady at the winery kindly explained the process of making ice wine to me! I would have purchased you all a bottle but alas I failed to win the lottery and could not afford the $125 per bottle! Hahahaha!
The drive to Kelowna is stunning, there are HUGE lakes on the way up there and the township is also on a lake! Such a pretty area! Kelowna is a little larger than Kamloops as well so the shopping is a little better there, more variety!

You can see the rockies from the okanagan lake look out

Mission Hill Bell Tower

This bell was made for the tower at mission hill but was the wrong size!

At the moment I am housesitting with Tennille, the house we are in is AMAZING! It is a little further out of town and is so quiet where we are! The house has an amazing hot tub out on the back deck and it has become my best friend lately! Of a night I love sitting in there under the stars or in the rain and just looking out! It is funny looking at the sky though and not recognising the constellations, there is no southern cross, instead I can see Orion’s belt! It is like I am discovering a whole new sky! We had some amazing sunsets here in town lately as well, and from the house we get an amazing view of the sun going down in between the hills…

So a few weekends ago now I went on a roadtrip with Tennille, we trekked down to Chilliwack to spend the weekend with Tennille’s family down there, she has an Aunt and Uncle who live down there! We had a fun weekend filled with hikes, waterfalls, laughs and settlers of catan! Man that is an intense game, especially when played with Tennille’s cousins! It rained for majority of the weekend however we still managed to have fun and see some amazing sights! We went to Bridal falls and Harrison Lake/Hot Springs on Saturday and then after church on Sunday we went to Othello Tunnels! I am in awe of all the water I have seen in the last few weeks, all the snow is melting and the rivers and waterfalls are raging! It is insane, coming from a country where we have seen such long seasons of drought and coming to a country where there is so much water is crazy!

So that is the past month for me in a nutshell! So much to tell you and I just don’t know where to start, so I have gone with the big events! Even though I don’t have a nursing job I have decided to stay and I guess that is the biggest thing to let you all know! I am loving the experience I am having, the people I am meeting and memories I am making! I am believing that my nursing break is just around the corner, in the meantime I continue to walk in faith and take each day as it comes! I am looking forward to July, I am spending a week up on the Queen Charlotte Islands with my family up there. I am also hoping that maybe I can get across to the Calgary Stampede in July as well! I guess it will depend on work and finances! But hey where there is a will there is a way… and we all know I am strong willed, one of my finer qualities! Hahaha!

I am missing you all so much and you made it difficult to make my decision to stay cause I would love to come home and see all your beautiful faces, but alas I will have to wait a little longer! I am gonna sign off for now, I will try to make it a little more frequent between posts again! I did not realise so much time had passed!

So the clock has just hit 5am and I am sitting here on a night shift and all I can think of is BED! OH how I long for thee sweet bed! First night blues are always the worst! We all know that for me to be craving my bed is a huge thing, the chronic insomniac is wanting sleep! I know, what a novel idea! hahaha! I only managed an hour nap this afternoon before work so I am a little more sleepy than usual, and night shifts at the recovery house are not as eventful as the hospital!
So that brings me to my next point of business… I have officially started at the recovery house, and I am loving it! It is an eye-opening opportunity and an inspiring one also! These women are awesome! It is a blessing to see them wanting to change their lives, to turn away from what they have known and been comfortable with and decided to search for something more! I am thankful that I have never battled an addiction like they have, but their strength and courage inspires me! I am blessed that I am a part of their lives, and I am really enjoying working with them! I have one more training shift to go, another night! And then the training wheels are off and I am let loose on my own next weekend! At the moment this is only casual/on call… but hopefully over summer I might get some more hours when the permanent staff take vacation time!

Since I last wrote I have had a pretty tumultuous time! Yes I like using big descriptive words! I FINALLY received my nursing paperwork through, only to find out it is going to cost another $1000 to finalise my registration! To say I was upset and frustrated would be an understatement! I cried, got angry, cried some more and then e-mailed my parents, my brother and my bestie saying I WANT TO COME HOME! ENOUGH NOW…. I felt so ripped off, after being stuffed around for 23weeks and then I finally get the Yes you can have a registration, with all these strings attached e-mail was not what I was expecting! I don’t have the $ to finish my registration, and the only good thing is I cannot finish it until I have a nursing job anyway cause one of the strings attached is the fact I need a job and an employer to agree to supervise me for 250hours of work! I am not sure what will happen, or how this will all work out but I am trusting a believing it will somehow! I can’t see a way, but just because I can’t doesn’t mean that God can’t make one! I learnt a very valuable thing this week from one of the sessions at the house, Faith is your worries turned into prayers! So I am holding onto that revelation and just praying and believing that God is sorting out a job for me!
I have had to face the hard reality of if I don’t have a nursing job by the end of May then I will probably have to look into coming back to Australia! Now I know that this excites some people out there, and in a way I would love to come back early and see everyone! However I do not feel I have achieved everything that I wanted to here, I feel that I am only just starting to scratch the surface on my journey! SO I am hoping and praying that God works out a nursing job for me so that I can stay! I would really love to continue working at the House and at Bath and Bodyworks, but I need a nursing job to earn a higher amount of $ so that I can justify staying here! Unfortunately most jobs here in Canadia pay pretty poorly, just about minimum wage (which is $8.50/hr) so I cannot survive on pay rates like that! I have a very nice car at home that means I need to earn a little more in order to keep it! Hahaha! And I want to travel and have some exciting adventures while I am here so I really need to pick up some nursing shifts!
I have applied for anything and everything available at the local hospital, but the truth is there is not a lot going there at the moment! I have not heard from any of the managers yet for any of the positions I have applied for! So I just continue to trust and believe! That is all I can do! I have come to the conclusion that no matter how much I will them to they will not call me just because that is what I want! hahaha!

Ah so on to other news… Hmmmm I am not sure I have much other news! Hahaha! I have become like part of the furniture at Tennille’s house now, I am there most nights if I am not working and she is not studying! And NO mum and dad I am not being a nuisance or wearing out my welcome! Haha! The fact is Tennille is an answer to prayer, my prayer coming to Canada was that I would meet someone who I connected with straight away, someone who I got along with and was similar to me! Well I got my answer to prayer! Tennille’s dad thinks it is scary how a like we are, he said to her one night “You know what, I think God was creating twins when He was thinking of you and Michelle, He then decided one continent was not big enough for the two of you, so He split you up and put you on opposite sides of the world!”

Dad I have people falling in love with Australia thanks to your photography! I am showing everyone! So if you start getting orders in from Canada they will most likely be my new friends here! I have a whole list of people who are coming home with me when I come back!

So I think that is life pretty much summed up… It has been tough and I have had one BIG break down in the last 2 weeks and a few small teary moments! I guess it is hard when things are not panning out how you planned! But I am learning, I am growing, I am being stretched, and then stretched some more! BUT I am still enjoying it and I am not ready to come home yet! SO I will continue to believe for a nursing job to come through in the next week or two! And I would appreciate your prayers for that as well! I am sure it will all work out!

In the meantime I will continue to work hard trying to earn enough to make ends meet! Talking about that I better get back to work… The sun is starting to come up and my shift is almost over… A few more little jobs to do and then time to SLEEP! First I have to spend a ridiculous amount of time catching buses home though! So not impressed with that! The transit system here in Kamloops SUCKS! Buses are few and far between! I really need to get a car, like really really need to get one, but apparently a nice smile and an accent is not enough to buy one, neither is monopoly money! So until I have some $ coming in I guess me and the sucky bus system will remain friends out of necessity!

Love to you all!

Wow I can’t believe that I have not written anything in a while! It is not that I don’t have anything to write, in fact I have lots to write, I guess it has been more of an issue of not having the time to write!

So where to begin, I guess I have to go back to Easter… So Easter Sunday I spent the day with the Canadian Thomson’s. It was fun getting to know them and being around a family for Easter. Brenda is a Home Eco Teacher, so we had an amazing feast on Easter Sunday, there was lots of people there, so it was nice to get to know some more people and eat an AMAZING lunch!
Easter Monday was spent at the Thomson’s again, this time we spent it with some of the girls Tennille works with, we spent it watching The Passion of the Christ. It is funny this is only the second time I have watched the movie, I saw it when it first came out at the cinema, but I have not been able to bring myself to watch it again! That movie messes me up! I own it but it is still in the wrapping in my bookcase! Seeing the crucifixion represented like that on the screen makes me cringe, knowing that Jesus went through so much for me. This Easter I have really been challenged about what I believe and what Easter means to me… I keep coming back to this verse in Romans “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That is a pretty powerful statement, especially in today’s world! We are so self consumed that not many would give up their lives for someone they did not know, yet Jesus did it for us! Anyway suffice to say watching The Passion totally messed me up again, in a good way! It is a challenging movie, a violent depiction of what Jesus went through, yet it is so beautiful as well!

So the rest of the week after easter  was pretty low key. Melanie and I went out on Wednesday night to celebrate my birthday super early cause she had to work on my birthday and the few days before as well so we thought we should celebrate earlier rather than later! We went out for a nice dinner at a local Indian restaurant, and then we brought an amazing birthday cake from the supermarket which we had when we got home! It was like the best birthday cake ever!

Then before I knew it my birthday was here… I had a double birthday, my Australian one and my Canadian one! It was nice having a birthday that spanned more than the usual 24hours! So as the facebook love and texts flowed in on friday (which was the 9th in Canada) the celebrations began! Tennille and I headed out shopping, we hired some movies, went out for dinner and then went back to her place to chill out on the couch and watch some movies and eat some whoppers! And no that does not mean we went and got some Hungry Jacks and ate burgers… It meant we ate some candy that is kind of like Maltesers but no where near as good as them! They just tasted a little funky…. We stayed at her place until just after midnight until it was officially my birthday in Canada and then she dropped me home!
I was woken by a phone call on Saturday morning from a florist in town asking if I would be at the home as they had a delivery for me… I got a lovely bouquet of flowers from Matt and Amy which was a lovely surprise!

27th Birthday Flowers

Melanie and I then went out for a cupcake breakfast, great way to start your Canadian Birthday! Mel then had to go to work, so I walked up to Tennille’s house and we then headed off to church. After church we then went out for dinner to a local pub, Kelly O’Bryans, where I got a free dinner and a balloon cause it was my birthday! I got to hang out with some pretty cool people as well which was awesome! It is funny spending your birthday in a completely different country, I mean I have done it before but as least it was the same time zone and I was with some familiar faces! This time I was on the opposite side of the world celebrating my birthday with new friends, it was nice! So I am not 27, another year older, I guess time will tell if it is another year wiser or not… And maybe this year will be the year I grow up, maybe not, I am tipping the latter! Hahahaha! So my birthday weekend was pretty much spent with Tennille and her family, which was nice! On Sunday night, after watching yet another movie Tennille and I spent an hour or so kicking back in the hot tub, under the stars talking about life, what a nice end to the weekend!

Oh I forgot to share with you all one of the best birthday presents that I received… I got a job! I still dont have my nursing registration so I have been putting in resumes for any other work possible, I have had a few offers for interviews, but I found out on Saturday night that I got a job with a company called Bath and Bodyworks, they are opening up a new store here in Kamloops, it is kind of like the body shop! So at least I will have some money coming in which will be nice! Still no word on how much longer my registration is going to be, I keep checking the letterbox each day, hoping and praying! I am sure it will come through soon enough…

So Monday was a busy day, I offered to help out at a fundraiser for Tennille’s work. She works at a not for profit christian women’s residential program that offers women who have been living lives of substance and alcohol abuse a way to get out of that lifestyle! The work they do at the house is amazing, and I have had the pleasure to meet some of the women in the program and they are on a journey of transformation! It is amazing to see! Anyway their annual fundraising night was held on Monday, and it was a complete success! There was lots of money raised for such an amazing cause, and lots of fun and laughs to be had! 4 of the ladies who are currently in the house shared their testimonies of how their lives have changed through the work that the house does, it was so inspiring to hear and to see the changes in them! I love work like that! You can check it out HERE!

After a nice sleep in yesterday I awoke to a message from Tennille, asking if I would be interested in working at the House of Ruth as a support worker! Something in my soul leapt as I read the message! God has always put it on my heart to be working with women of all ages in a role like this, so to have this opportunity excited me so much! Anyway I called the director of the organisation and had a chat with her, she asked me to fill in an application and drop it off asap! So today I went into the office to drop it off with my resume and other bits and pieces (I have quite the array of papers, from resumes, to references, to diplomas and degrees! I think I have half a tree in my little folder!)… Anyway I gave the paperwork to the receptionist and she asked me to wait there… She ran it down to the director and came back and said that Pat (the director) would be with me soon! After a few minutes Pat walked down the hall and asked me if I would be available for an interview on Tuesday morning, she just rang the director of the house to set up a time before coming out to see me! I am so excited about this opportunity, and I have a real peace about it! I have met a few of the girls from the house already, so working with them while they are on this journey would be an amazing privilege and honour! Tennille has also been talking me up to her boss, who is the director of the house and one of the ladies who will be doing my interview on Tuesday! hahaha!

So I guess that is my last week and a bit in a nutshell! Things are looking up, and it looks like I wont have to “live on a diet of Saltines and Tang” (hairspray reference for those of you who are a little puzzled right now!)

Life over here has not panned out quite as I expected, but I am taking each day as it comes, learning new things and most of all enjoying the ride! I will try not to go so long between updates next time!

Much Love xox

It is indeed a Good Friday! The Easter paraphernalia has been in stores for months now, overpriced eggs everywhere, but it has finally arrived, one of the most tragically great days in history! Today on Good Friday we celebrate the death of someone, usually we grieve when someone dies, however this death as heartbreaking as it was for the Father to send his Son to die on a cross deserves a celebration, because of Good Friday I can now be made right in the eyes of God! I know that for some Easter is merely a reason to eat some fancy chocolate in the shape of an egg, but like Christmas this weekend means so much more to me! Today as I was pondering Good Friday and the meaning of Easter I was reminded of the chorus to a song a friend of mine Jess wrote, the song has been going over and over in my head for the past few days… The chorus goes like this… “Painted in crimson, the words no one else could write! You said it was finished, you won the fight! Then the world went dark, and you rose to the right hand of the throne! There I saw my name, painted in crimson!”  What a powerful thought that chorus is! Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, MY name is written in God’s book of life, it is painted in the blood of Jesus Christ!
I am not sure what Easter means to you, maybe it is all about chocolate… but maybe, like me you are reminded to reflect on the sacrifice that was given on Good Friday so many years ago… The best thing is Sunday is coming… The day that Jesus rose from the dead!

WOW what a deep start to my blog today, but I guess I had to share with you all what is on my mind! So on to some other news… I have had an eventful week to say the least, I almost hopped on plane back home this week cause I felt that everything was going against me and nothing was working out! I am still unemployed and I have begun looking for any kind of work possible! I was getting pretty disheartened because I still don’t have my nursing rego and I was not getting anywhere with applying for other work! I have found out that my nursing rego is still probably 2 weeks off, I am hoping and praying that it is sooner and worst case scenario it is no more than two weeks! I was advised by the nursing board that I could start applying for nursing jobs though which lifted my spirits a bit! I set about busily on Tuesday applying for any work I could find as a nurse in Kamloops… Then Wednesday morning I received a bit of a bombshell, this is what made me almost pack it all in and come home! I got an e-mail from the Interior Health Region, who are responsible for hiring for Kamloops hospital and the surrounding area, the e-mail was informing me that they were not accepting applications from international workers at present! Shattered was one way to describe how I felt as I read that, needless to say I cried it out like most girls would and after my little ‘moment’ I gathered my thoughts and started looking into other options, like moving to a different part of BC etc. I felt a little better after seeing that not all hope was lost and there were some other regions that would consider my applications, it would mean moving but if that was what had to happen then so be it! After a pretty crap day I got a phone call at 5pm to offer me an interview for a retail position that I had applied for a few weeks back, I have an interview with Bath and Bodyworks (like the Body Shop) tomorrow at midday. Yes it is not my ideal job and the pay is not great and I will probably be the most over qualified sales person they have but at least it is money in the mean time! Then at 5.20pm I got an e-mail from a Nannying website that I had signed up with, there was a lady writing to me enquiring if I would be interested in nannying for their 3 children 2-3 days per week! So after having a pretty crap day and feeling down and out it ended up not being so bad, I think that was God’s little reminder that He is still here in the situation and somehow, someway He will work it all out! Yes the two jobs are not my ideal form of income and the thought of earning less that 50% per hour of what I was on at home is hard, I will not turn down any form of income at this point!
Thursday was however a much better day and left me in good spirits! I sent a fairly strongly worded e-mail to Interior Health stating that I was quite frustrated with them and I felt that I had been given wrong advice when I looked into moving here by them! Initially they had informed me if I came across on the working holiday program visa (which I am on) I could be considered for all jobs in their health region as it was an open visa and did not require sponsorship to work! I explained all this to one of their people and she was kind enough to e-mail back, and asked to see a copy of my visa! After e-mailing that to her, she informed me that I could indeed work in the interior health region and be considered for all jobs that they currently had listed! What an answer to prayer that was! She said I received the initial e-mail as her colleague who sent it to me thought I was on a different visa etc. So they now have a big note on my file saying I am eligible to work at the local hospital! What a relief! So I have some applications in and I hope to hear back about some work very soon, it helps that I am happy to work anywhere in the hospital and I am not too fussy with what ward I end up on! I have also found a few other nursing opportunities that are not at the hospital, one that I am going to apply for is with a Detox Centre! I think that would be really challenging and definitely broaden my scope of practice! So fingers crossed people, and if you are a praying person, pray for me!

This weekend I am hanging out with the Canadian Thomson’s! Tennille (the girl I met at church) and her family have invited me to hang out with their family this weekend, and take in the Easter festivities with them! It will be nice to hang out with them, especially cause Mel is working!

Remember people it is my birthday next weekend as well, you have exactly 1 week to get your presents in the mail! I am not sure if they will arrive in time, the postal system is a little unreliable… BUT I will not be opposed to receiving late birthday presents so do not let that deter you from sending them! Hahahaha! It is a little weird though celebrating my birthday in another country! It is the second time I have done it, and I still maintain that you do not technically age if you are in another country! Hahaha! Mel is unfortunately working for my birthday, so I am not sure what I will do yet to celebrate! Maybe I will just sit at home and throw myself my own little party here! I am sure whatever I end up doing you will all read about it in a weeks time!

Love you and miss you all dearly, it is hard to believe I have been gone 5 weeks!

So I am back home… WOW that feels weird calling Kamloops home, but I guess I have to get used to it sooner or later! Melanie and I arrived back here on Saturday night and I have spent the last two days just enjoying being back in my own bed! The past week has bene a funny time sharing a double futon with Mel and sharing a tiny doona! We had to coordinate everytime we wanted to move in bed so that we didn’t end up without blankets!

So our adventure started last Sunday, we headed off Sunday afternoon bound for Revelstoke, the little town that Melanie did most of her growing up in! We had dinner with her parents and stayed the night there. It was nice to meet Mel’s family, I have heard so much about all of them! I had a nice breakfast in the morning as well, one could almost call it close to a traditional Canadian breakfast, it was banana/walnut pancakes served with bacon and maple syrup! After a hearty breakfast it was time to hit the road bound for Calgary! To get there it was a 4.5hour drive through some of the most breath taking scenery I have ever seen! The drive from Revelstoke to Calgary takes you right through the Rocky Mountains! This is one of the most amazing mountain ranges I have ever seen, even though winter is technically over there was still snow all over the mountains and it even started snowing in patched whilst we were driving!

Rocky Mountains 1

 

Rocky Mountains 2

 

Rocky Mountains 3

 

Three Sisters

 

Snowing while driving

 

Rocky Mountains 6

 

Rocky Mountains 7

 

Rocky Mountains 8

 

It is hard to know where to look as you are driving, left, right, in front, behind! There is just huge mountains each side, all different shapes and sizes, some covered in snow, some the snow has started to melt! Avalanche warnings every few km’s or so as well! I have never seen a mountain range like this! I have driven through the Southern Alps in New Zealand before, but that has nothing on the Rockies! I am looking forward to getting back there throughout the year, if you want to stop in any of the towns along the way like Banff etc you must have a parks pass cause the whole range is one big national park! So Melanie and I decided that we would wait to explore some other time when we have more time to explore the place! I would love to get back to Banff and Lake Louise in winter, test out my skills on the snow there, hopefully learn to snowboard there, and hopefully not break myself there! Hahaha!

So once we arrived in Calgary we headed to pick up Melanie’s friend Melani (without the ‘e’) who we were staying with for the week! We headed out for dinner and then to Melani’s house to just chill out! After a not so good nights sleep Mel and I decided to head out to Cross Iron Mills, Calgary’s largest shopping mall for some retail therapy! After an afternoon of wandering around, buying birthday cake scented candles and eating cupcakes we decided to head home and get ready for my first ever Hockey game!

Melanie and I headed off early to the game, we thought that we should leave time to find the stadium and find parking! We found both pretty easy, it took us a few minutes to walk to the Pengrowth Saddledome from where we parked. The stadium actually does look like a giant saddle from the outside! Once we got there we followed the signs round and round trying to find how the heck to get to our seats! It took us over 30minutes to find out how to get up to the nosebleed section… but we finally found our seats! We kept going up, and up and up! I didn’t really care where we were sitting, I was just ready to experience the true Canadian sport of hockey! Funny to think that it is not actually their national sport, Lacrosse is!
So I was all set for the game, Calgary Flames vs Anaheim Ducks (The Mighty Ducks)… The game started and I thought it was going to be a ripper when 2 minutes in we already had our first fight and penalty box! But that was really the only big action for the night! I must say that I was a little disappointed that there was not more fighting, is that a little sadistic? Probably… Hahaha! The game was an interesting experience, the crowd is like those at an AFL match, very passionate supporters indeed and lots of heckling! I almost felt like I was at Skilled Stadium! The entertainment in the breaks was funny, the first break we had the little league hockey kids out on the ice… and then at the second break there was human ice bowling! In the end the Calgary Flames (my team) skated away with the win over the Ducks with a score of 3-1! I am looking forward to catching some more games next season, this one finishes up soon!

Calgary Flames vs Anaheim Ducks

 

Flames Bench

 

Flames and Ducks Fight

 

Human Bowling

 

On Wednesday Mel and I had plans of checking out the Calgary Zoo… However that plan was thwarted when it started snowing! So we had a stay at home day, rugged up on the couch, watching movies and just chilling out! That night though we decided to brave the cold and head out to The Cheesecake Cafe! We need to get this place in Australia, it is amazing! So many cheese cakes to choose from… YUM YUM YUM! I decided on the Reece’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake!
So Thursday it was time for me to do my CPR certification, over here in Canada in order to work as a nurse you need your CPR certificate! They don’t do it in the hospital like we do back home! So I spent the day going over the same principles we use at home! I guess it was good to make sure that we save lives the same way! I actually helped teach the class, I was really the only one who knew the material inside out and we had some challenging students in the class, the girl taking the class clued on pretty quickly that I knew what I was doing so she utilised me heaps! She said at the end of the day that it was a pity that I didn’t live in Calgary cause she was actually looking to hire another instructor! She suggested that I should look into in BC, so I have made some enquiries with some of the local places! I need to do the instructors course but then I can teach, and apparently everywhere in Canada is looking for people to teach… So it is something to think about! After a hard day learning what I already knew it was time to head out for dinner! We went to this place called Open Sesame, it was such a  fun experience… you choose what meat and what noodles/rice you want and then you head up to the ‘Asian Market’ and you fill your bowl with vegies, nuts, fruit and sauce and you give that to the cooks and they combine it all in the wok and hey presto you have your yummy stir fry! Fun times!
On Friday Mel and I were going to try for the zoo again, but it decided to rain for most of the day and the weather man was predicting a high of 0 for the day, not quite zoo weather! So we did what girls do best, and we shopped again! The Friday night I decided to head out to a gig and surprise an old friend Paul Colman. He was playing at a local church, supporting a local band at their album launch.  I arrived at the venue a little early and happened to spot PC sitting down talking with someone, so I stood nearby and just waited. Took a few minutes but Paul then did his courtesy wink to acknowledge that someone was there, I just smiled, he turned back to his convo, not really registering who it was and then all of a sudden he quickly whipped back around and was like WHAT THE HECK, guess he registered who I was! HAHAHA! It was a priceless reaction! I mean I have surprised Paul before by turning up to gig’s in Australian cities that he was not expecting but to see me in Canada was the last thing he was expecting!
We were able to spend a fair bit of time just hanging out and catching up which was nice! It was a very small gig which was a little disappointing for the band launching their CD… BUT nevertheless PC put on a stellar gig like always! It was great to see PC and spend time with him catching up! He was just the dose of Aussie that I needed! I had been having a bit of a hard time, missing home and friends! So it was nice to see a familiar face and hear the good old Aussie accent!

Paul Colman

 

PC in action

 

Saturday it was time to say BYE to Calgary and make the trip back home through the Rockies back to BC… Heading towards the Rockies from Alberta you get a better perspective of how BIG the mountain range actually is… It spans as far as the eye can see either way, it is HUGE! As you leave Calgary as well you drive past the home of the 1988 Olympics, the park where all the skiing, snowboarding and sliding events happen! Mel informs me that it is now mainly used for families to visit and play at! Maybe I can go back and try out my bobsledding skills one day!

Calgary Olympic Park

 

Rocky Mountains 4

 

Rocky Mountains 5

 

We decided to stop in at Mel’s parents again on the way back home, we had initially thought of staying the night again but then we both really wanted to just get home and sleep in our own beds again! We stayed for dinner in Revelstoke but then headed off not long after!

The one thing that I have taken from this road trip is I am beginning to doubt the existence of Canadian wildlife! I keep seeing signs for it, but no actual wildlife, no roadkill even! I am hanging out for my first sighting of a moose, or even a deer!

Wildlife? I am yet to see any!

 

So now that I am back home I was hoping that I would have had some news on my nursing registration, but there was no letter waiting for me when I got back! I have been e-mailing the board and I keep getting generic answers back from them, however today I was able to get a “guess” of how much longer it might be, the assessor I have been dealing with has guessed that it might be another 2-3weeks until I get a letter from the board! Please pray that it is no longer than this, I can deal with another 2-3weeks if needed but I am not sure I can go another month with no work! I have put buying a car on hold as I cannot justify putting out the $ when I have no income… I have started to apply for a few other jobs as well as some nursing ones in the hope that something comes up soon! I am sure it will all work out in the right time but I am going a little crazy not working, I never thought I would be longing to work so much! hahaha!

Anyway Mel is back at work tomorrow, I am not sure what I will do to entertain myself, but I am sure I will find something!

Love you all, missing you all… PS. Only 12 sleeps until my birthday, not too late to send me presents! Hahahaha!

So considering I had to cut the last post short I thought I would continue it now… I am currently writing to you all from Calgary, Alberta! It is a cold day here, so cold in fact it has been snowing all day! Once again I am the only one in the household that is excited by it! Hahaha! I am sure that by winter next year my love for snow days will be wearing thin when it happens on a more frequent basis!

So back to Vancouver… After dinner with Terrence and Val we all headed back to the Cauldron to see it lit up at night and I must say that it is far more spectacular at night time, it is so pretty! While we were there Melanie spotted 2 Mounties wandering around and said I should ask them for a picture with them… I chickened out to start off with and then they disappeared so I was pretty disappointed… HOWEVER about 10minutes later they reappeared and I wandered up boldly asking for a picture, they laughed and were happy to take a photo with me after they had asked where I was from. I was happy to have it facing the news building behind, but one of the Mounties suggested we should move and do it in front of the cauldron, hahaha! So I have ticked off one of my to-do-things on my Canada list! In true Michelle style though I started a trend with Mounty photo’s though, everyone then started lining up for them!

Me and the Cauldron

Cauldron during the day

Cauldron at Night

Me and the Mounties

Vancouver at night time is so pretty, it reminds me so much of Melbourne city! So many buildings, so many lights! I did find one funny thing down on the waterfront while we were wandering around… Near the Olympic rings there is a petrol station, just out in the middle of the water! It looks so funny, I think it is because it is lit up like a normal petrol station, it even has the big Chevron sign! Somehow I don’t think I will be stopping by there to get gas anytime soon though!

Petrol anyone?

 After wandering around we decided it was time to call it a night and headed back to the hotel for the night! We caught the train home, that was a fun adventure! We made it back okay though, there was some interesting characters on the train, but that is always the joys of public transport! After a good nights sleep we checked out of the hotel and headed for Stanley Park and the Aquarium! I was so excited to go to the Aquarium! We wandered around there all morning and part of the afternoon! It is amazing, the Melbourne Aquarium looks more like a little fish tank in comparison! There were so many cool displays from all over the world. My favourite part was the Dolphins and Beluga Whales though! They were so cute and so much fun to watch! I highly recommend if anyone makes it to Vancouver then the Aquarium is a must see thing! I had a blast there!Pacific White Sided Dolphins

 

I found Nemo

 

Huge Jellyfish

After the Aquarium we wandered around Stanley Park for awhile, it is freaking huge though so we only saw a little bit of it! There are so many activities to do down there, you could stay entertained for hours! It is absolutely gorgeous as well, especially because all the cherry tree’s are in bloom at the moment! It was funny though whenever the wind blew it looked like it was snowing because of all the blossom’s blowing around!
 

Cherry Tree Blossoms

 
 
After leaving Stanley Park it was time to drop Leah’s sister Megan off to her friends house and then we were homeward bound again! We had an adventure on the way home though! We let the GPS guide us and we think it took us on the ‘scenic’ route, through some of the not so tasteful parts of town! It is not the first time this has happened to Leah! When she was in Chicago it directed her through the ghetto! She is going to write to the manufacturer and suggest they add in an option called “the safest route”! We saw some interesting sights on the way home though! Vancouver has a massive homeless problem and most of them hang out in East Hastings, along with the prostitutes! I found it quite confronting the amount of homeless people there was though, the streets were lined with them, a lot were lining up to try and get into shelters for the night. It amazes me how big a problem there is worldwide of homelessness! I guess I take it for granted most nights when I curl up in my bed, under a roof that doesn’t leak, with blankets and doona’s to keep me warm!
We did see a funny sight amongst all this though, there was a person (I am assuming a guy) dressed as Batman, standing on top of a caravan, dancing away and singing to music! I think he was a little NQR but he seemed to be enjoying himself thoroughly!
 

Batman

 
We arrived home safe and sound after a fun filled few days in Vancouver! I would love to get back there while I am here and explore some more! It is such a gorgeous city! I was excited to get home though, cause I had a parcel waiting for me from home! My mummy sent me some Milo! She is the bestest Mum in the world! I will have to ration the tin though to make it last the year! There was also some very yummy Cadbury chocolates from home! My first easter eggs of the season! It is going to be strange being away from home for Easter and my Birthday and all those other kinds of events!
 
So that was the Vancouver trip in a nutshell! It is time to sign off again, we are heading out, braving the -11degree weather in search of Cheesecake! I will update you all on the Calgary Adventure and the gorgeous drive through the Rockies soon! Love to you all, missing everyone so much! I had a really big I miss home day yesterday, guess it was bound to happen soon! I have been here a month afterall!
 
Never fear people I am still alive and kicking and have not been eaten by a bear or mountain lion over here in Canada! I have just been away in Vancouver with limited internet access!

Melanie and I spent Thursday-Saturday in Vancouver with her work friend Leah, and Leah’s sister Megan! We had a fun few days filled with lots of tourist things and I even got to catch up with an old friend who I had not seen for YEARS! It was lots of fun times!

This is only a quick update as I am about to head out on the road again! Melanie and I are heading to Revelstoke tonight to stay with her parents and then tomorrow we are heading on to Calgary for the week! So we were home in Kamloops for less than 24hours!

So a quick run down on Vancouver… We arrived Thursday lunchtime and set out on a mission to find Leah’s sister in west vancouver, luckily we had a GPS so we weren’t driving all over the place. After we located Megan we checked into our hotel, 4 girls staying in one room… fun times! We then headed off on an adventure to find Granville Island. We decided to walk there from our hotel, cause Megan insisted it was close! Luckily it was not too far, a little over 2kms from the hotel and it was a nice scenic walk around the western bay of Vancouver. We spent the afternoon wandering around Granville Island, it is very pretty and lots of fun! Lots of little shops and a public market place as well. There is an art school out there too, and some boat building companies. So there is lots to do. We had lots of fun out there, and once we had discovered all we wanted to we decided it was time for some dinner. We ate at a lovely restaurant there called the Sandbar, it is located right on the water and has amazing views of the harbour! After dinner we decided to walk home again and it was just lovely, it was right on sunset on the bay! I found that Vancouver reminded me a lot of Melbourne.

Skyline at dusk

Sunset on the bay

After getting back to the hotel, we all crashed pretty quickly! Poor Leah had been up for 36hours because she worked a night shift and then picked Melanie and I up and we drove straight o Vancouver! The night before we left neither Melanie or I had a great nights sleep either, so we decided to all have a fairly early night so we could be bright for our adventures the next day!

Day 2 in Vancouver was fun! Megan had an early appointment (she was actually in Vancouver from the Yukon for doctors appointments, that is why we all decided to go on this trip!) Once she got back from the appointment we went to Ikea. We spent the morning there, buying lots of little bits and pieces, and Melanie even got a new orchid for our house! In the afternoon Leah, Melanie and I decided to brave the public transport system and head into downtown Vancouver and explore all the olympic things! We had an absolute blast there! Lots of street performers, some creepy, some funny and some just plain weird! There was ice skating in the centre of the city as well, and lots of things still set up for the winter paraolympics which were on while we were there! We shopped, visited the Olympic Cauldron, and just had a blast of a time! It is fun being a tourist in a big city! The city is so jam packed as well cause of all the Olympic things that are still going on!
After our day of shopping I had arranged to meet up with an old friend from Geelong, Terrence Kuiper! It has been years since we had seen each other and he is now living in Vancouver with his fiancee! So we all met up for dinner down in gastown, had a good catch up over drinks and food! After dinner and saying bye to Terrence and Val, the rest of us decided to go for a walk down to cauldron again to see it lit up at night time! It is just spectacular!

Anyway I have to cut this short! It is time to get back on the road again! I will update you all further and have more photos when I get back from Calgary! In the meantime check out the pictures posted on facebook!

So today I caught up with Janice, a lovely lady that I met in Vancouver airport a few weeks ago when I first arrived in Canada! She and her husband live in Kamloops and were on their way home from Arizona and we got talking as we waited in the boarding lounge watching the hockey! We have been e-mailing and we finally caught up today! We got to know each other over some Starbucks and it was good to make a good connection! She has been sending out e-mails asking some of her clients and friends if they know of any cheap cars to help me out!

After coffee with Janice it was time to head downtown to check out another car! Today was a little Mazda 323. She ain’t overly pretty but for a 1991 model car she goes pretty well! The girl who is selling happens to date a mechanic so the car is pretty sound! I may have just found my baby for the year… I told her that I will wait and think about it and let her know asap! I have one more car that I want to check out before I decide! It appears that my dream of owning a pick up truck may not be so realistic… It would’ve been nice to drive around a sweet old beat up truck! But oh well…

Today has not been a good day for me on other fronts though, it appears that me and Melanie’s kitchen knives are not friends! both of my thumbs can attest to that fact! I was really just testing to make sure they were sharp, and yes indeed they are! I will hopefully not lending any more of my fingers to that experiment in the future, it hurts and is not fun!

Well only 2 more sleeps until my Vancouver adventure begins… YAY!

So today I went and checked out my first car, a little old 1997 Dodge Colt! It was pretty beat up, hasn’t been driven for around 3 months! I took it for a little test drive around the block and poor Melanie was a little scared to hop in the car with me, but she did and has survived to tell the story!!! Not only did I have to remember to drive on the opposite side of the road, but as it was a manual I had to change gears with my right hand! Weirdest thing ever, my poor brain was not quite sure what to make of it all! I did however remember to stay on the right side of the road! I am not sure if this is the car for me, I am going to keep my eye out still! It is a decent price, the girl who is selling it is willing to lower the price but it does need some work done to it so there are things to consider! Fingers crossed the right car for the price comes up! I am sure it will in time!

Anyway not much else has gone on here this weekend, Melanie and I had a fairly quite one as we have a busy time coming up at the end of next week and the following week! We are off to Vancouver on Thursday til Saturday. Then next Monday we are heading to Calgary for the week!

Anyway I am going to get back to watching Australia! The movie makes miss home a bit!