Anchor’s Away

It’s been about a year almost of radio silence from me… I apologize for such a long unexplained absence and neglectfulness. The last 10 or so months have been an absolute whirlwind, to say the least. I have so much to say, update you on, so much has happened that I would like to share; I think that might be too overwhelming all in one post, for myself included. So for now I will just pick up where I left off, so to speak, when dropped off the face of the anchor… haha… and then do multiple posts on what has happened over the last year.

I wasn’t sure where to start or what all to share/say, I had to sit down for a minute and sort some of my thoughts out… what should I include in this first post back from the dead, what do I save for later? While what I decided to talk about chronologically matches up with where I left off on my previous post, it also all kind of happened at once, which should be interesting to describe, so buckle in, this is a doozie.

To begin, I’d like to briefly refer to my last post where I was mentioning my quest for a full-time job. I was describing how it was super slim pickings, and no one was really hiring because of the plunge in the economy. Here in Alberta, Canada our economy depends pretty heavily on the oil and gas industry, and when oil dropped last year, half the province lost their jobs. As you can imagine, jobs with a live-able wage, benefits, and job security were scarce. I had, at that point, recently applied to a position with a commission under the Alberta government, to which I didn’t expect to hear anything. It was a position as an admin assistant, in a financial department of the commission, which is to say that it would be a little outside of my wheelhouse of Anthropology. I applied nonetheless, I didn’t have anything to lose at that point, and the more you reach out the greater chance you have of finding something. Well, imagine my surprise a month or so later when I was called in to do an interview; at this point I still hadn’t told Derek about it because I didn’t want him to get his hopes up only for it not to turn out. One day he was kind of stressing about the finances, and I was about to burst if I didn’t tell him, and I told him I had a job interview for a full-time permanent position. He FLIPPED, he was so excited and I had to tell him to but a lid on it just in case.

During all this I was still working as a receptionist of a car dealership, and the environment seemed to be getting worse every shift. The head receptionist was just an awful lady, everyone was grumpy because they weren’t making any money (commission based salaries of course), and it was just difficult. I was getting more and more desperate for that job to come through. Eventually I went to the interview, I practiced on excel sheets some basic things, did some other preparations for the interview the week leading up. They were all really nice people in the interview, and were excited to hear what I had to say about my thoughts and aspirations, knowing that it wasn’t really related to anything financial. It’s not often you can say that you enjoyed an job interview, but I certainly enjoyed this one.

During the week of my interview, my grandma had been taken to the hospital for pain in her belly and other gastro related issues. The day I had my interview I stopped by the hospital with my sister in tow to visit my grandpa in the emerge, and bring some supper to my mom and my Grandpa who were waiting with her. My grandparents are Portuguese, and there is a bit of a language barrier, that has only really worsened with age for them so my mom had to stay almost around the clock. We actually got really lucky when my grandma was admitted because there was a nurse that spoke fluent Portuguese, which significantly eased communication and care for my grandma. After a nice visit (and a sleeping grandma) I took my sister and my grandpa home for my mom.

About a day or two later, my mom had to bring my grandpa to the emerge as well, so we all came and took shifts between my grandma and my grandpa’s rooms. The Tuesday following that weekend, my sister and I were off school that day for exams so we went to go see my grandparents, we started with my grandma she was easiest to find. I will never ever in my life forget the look of pure joy on her face when we walked in the room. it was really difficult for her to hold a conversation, she was in a lot of pain and discomfort, and eventually she fell asleep. My sister and I decided that she would stay with grandma, and I would go with grandpa, as I am a bit more confident with my Portuguese abilities…

While I was sitting with my grandpa, as I was getting ready to head out to go to work, my phone rang. It was HR, and they offered me the job. Out of 50+ applicants, they offered ME the job. I couldn’t believe it, I was over the moon!. A huge weight just lifted off my shoulders. I ran to my grandma’s room to tell my sister and my grandma, they were so happy! I drove to the dealership feeling to most optimistic I’ve felt since working there. That night, at work, I typed up my letter of resignation, to start my new job in just under 2 weeks. Derek stopped by the dealership, and I was just beaming, and I told him, and he freaked out, he was completely elated! Things really started to look like they were taking form for us, for our life together, it was so wonderful.

Unfortunately, that’s about where the exciting optimism ended – at least temporarily. At 6:30 am, I got a phone call that broke my heart into a million pieces. It was my dad on the phone, with a shaky voice he told me that my grandma passed away. While the doctors were deliberating what way would be best to ease some of her pain, whether it would be surgery or a change in meds or other procedures, she died. My sweet, heart of gold, second mother. The woman who was my out of school care, lived with our family for most of my life – gone. Forever. I burst into tears, like inconsolable wailing. We left the house immediately, drove all the way to my parents (by the time I got there they were already at the hospital), I found my sister and we just, like magnets glued to each other sobbing. After we somewhat collected ourselves, we got in the car and Derek took us to the hospital as we braced ourselves for what would come.

When we got to the hospital, found my grandparents’ room, the first person we saw was our dad. His red, watery eyes, and quivering lip when he saw us in a similar state set us all off. We ran to him and burst into tears again. Next I saw my grandpa sitting next to my grandma, head down, essentially stunned into silence. That broke my heart even more, especially when he was saying how shocked he is, he just couldn’t believe it, he told me. I sat with my mom on my grandpa’s bed, holding on to each other. She was trying to contact family members, and I was watching my grandma laying there. My eyes kept anticipating her chest to move when she would breath, and every time it didn’t it was like a shock, it was like I was realizing all over again for the first time that she is gone, forever. I will never get her back. Realizing she won’t be there for so many things.

Her death was my first experience with death in my own family. Being a second mother to me, there will always be this void in my heart with her gone. Even 10 months later, sometimes I remember she is gone, and it is still so shocking. Sometimes I remember she is gone, or I get a wave of memories  of her or missing her, at the most random times, and I just start tearing up, and I have to try and keep it together. While my heart is still in pieces with her loss, it is not lost on me how much better it is for her that she is gone now, at peace. She was suffering so much, from so many different things. She needed this peace, and I’m happy she has it. And it makes me thankful, that although she won’t be there for so many things I hoped she would, that she was there for my entire life, literally.

I won’t go into too much detail, if you have read this far you have been more than patient, but there are a few other moments that I’d like to mention about her death, and the days that followed I’d like to touch on. They were the hardest moments of that time, second only the day of her death, saying goodbye and kissing her head, and then seeing her rolled away in a bag on a gurney. One of those moments was carrying her casket. I had the up-most honour of being a pall-bearer at her funeral, and it was so hard to keep it together. I feel so luck to have been able to be a part of that moment though, as heart wrenching as it was, it was so special to me. The next moment was saying goodbye, the private moment we had with her before the ceremony started saying our final goodbyes. That was so so hard to see everyone go through. I regret that I didn’t take another minute alone with her, after it was all over, before they closed the casket. I wish I did, but at the time I hadn’t even thought about it. Even so, I hope she is watching me, and that she is proud, and happy. I miss her every single day, and I think about her in everything I do.

Before I go, I just need to give an honourable mention to Derek, the amazing human I share my life with. I truly don’t know how I would have gotten through all of that without him there to support and console me every step of the way.

Thank you.

Advertisements

Lately

I have been a bit M.I.A. lately… sorry about that! I’ve been pretty busy the last couple of days, what with Valentine’s Day festivities with Derek and I had to take care of some things with my dog, Lily (she just had a dental surgery, and is doing amazingly well!). It’s been a pretty eventful weekend/mid-week actually! To start off on a really positive note, Derek and I had an amazing Valentine’s Day! It was so wonderful, I woke up to beautiful red roses and chocolates, and a delicious breakfast. We spent the day snuggled up watching our favourite show “The Office” (the U.S. version), and then we went to the Ice Castle that’s currently up in our city. It was GORGEOUS, He truly spoiled me.

Derek got a new job that starts in April! A bit of background on that, he is a trained helicopter pilot.. in Canada at the moment, and more specifically in Alberta, the Helicopter industry is a very small, tight-knit, and difficult industry to get into. With our economy the way it is now, due to the price of oil dropping to an all-time low, getting into the helicopter business is that much trickier. Needless to say, no one is hiring low-time pilots at the moment, BUT that’s not to say there aren’t any opportunities at all. In fact, Derek’s new job is on the ground crew of a Helicopter tour company based out of gorgeous Kananaskis! We are SO unbelievably excited for him to start and get himself known in the heli community!! I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t totally jealous of all the time he will get to spend in the gorgeous Canadian Rockies, but I am absolutely BEAMING with pride for him. His schedule will be 3 weeks on with 1 week off, which will be difficult because I will miss him all that time, but my excitement and pride vastly outweighs that!

In terms of a job search for myself, it has proven quite difficult, which I guess I didn’t really expect. Not that I didn’t think I’d have to work for it or anything, which I do think, and I have been doing. But just that I didn’t think I would get so many rejections. I was always told (and I think this goes for a lot of people my age), that if you work hard and go to school, get a degree, you will get a good job. just boom, boom, boom. High school, university degree, great paying job with benefits. I am just months away from graduating with a degree in Anthropology, a field that I have completely fallen in love with and is just absolutely fascinating to me. But I have been putting in applications left right and center since January, and I haven’t gotten a single call back. I know it’s not because I’m under qualified, or because my resume is lacking, because it is not, I have busted my butt to establish a stellar resume. The economy in Alberta has been really quite bad as of late… And my suspicion is that the job place is becoming more than ever a place of “it’s about who you know”… which for someone who is just starting out can be challenging, to say the least. I know this sounds a lot like complaining, truly not my intention, I am however just trying to figure out what the heck is going on, what am I doing/not doing. It seems that because open positions are few and far between, hundreds of applicants apply, and companies and organizations have an opportunity to be REALLY choosy about their successful candidate. Not that they shouldn’t be.. but it wouldn’t hurt to just talk to me!

Despite this incredibly frustrating and discouraging aspect of the issue, it’s interesting to see how the job market is changing from when my(/our) parents were joining the work force. At least from what I’ve been told of course, I wasn’t actually there obviously..

If I could do anything at all, I think it would be something that would allow me to help animals. I lay awake at night, obsessing about saving animals. Like if my life could be traveling, eating delicious food, and saving animals it would be complete. That sounds super cheesy, and is certainly a discussion for another day… but I just really needed to get that all off my chest..

On that note, I would LOVE to hear about any good news that has come your guys’ way recently, AND what you guys are studying in school, what your career aspirations are! (whether they are are realistic or not, like mine, is of no import, I’d love to hear it anyway!)

A Case of The Travel Bug

Lately I have found myself to have that proverbial itch of the travel bug! It is making me nuts! There are so many incredible places in this world that I NEED to see. I have always had a fiery passion for travelling, and try to go somewhere at least once a year, whether it’s somewhere low-key like Vancouver Island, Canada or to our family home in Portugal.

I think this most recent case of the travel bug stems from the joy I get from my relationship with Derek. Since finally stepping into this relationship with my best friend, all I want to do is see the world with him. Luckily for me, my major in Anthropology leads to a lot of opportunities to travel, but there’s nothing more exciting to me than the thought of sharing that with him. We recently went to Portugal with my family in August, and since then I just have the urge to travel more! Our trip was incredible, and we really learned a lot about each other, and it was so wonderful to share that all with him especially since we were at our family home there. But now, I want to go more places with him!

One of the places we are wanting to go is to the U.K., which I am very drawn to and have been there before. It’s incredible! So rich in history and amazing architecture. Derek has never been, but it would be such an incredible experience for him given that he has some family history there! We actually sat down one day and drew up a list of all the places we would like to travel to together, which was a ton of fun! It seems that it mostly consists of European countries, but also included Australia and New Zealand, and the U.S.

Given some of the things going on in southern and eastern Europe, I think we will hold off on those areas for now, and I think the U.K. will be our first stop. I feel like I’m constantly feeling a tug from the U.K., that sounds super strange.. but I just mean that I am always feeling so drawn there. It’s impossible to explain, and every time that I’m there, I fall in love with it all over again. Another place I am dying to go is Greece, partially for the captivating history and the ruins, but also for the gorgeous views of the Mediterranean Sea. It would be a lie if I were to say that the food wasn’t another reason for wanting to visit there. If I were to go to Greece, however, it would be with my sister Victoria. Derek could come a long too if he wanted.. if Victoria also had a boyfriend that would come. But for the most part it will be a sister trip. One thing that would be a must for me going to Greece, would be to also go to Turkey. I have always wanted to have the Turkish Bath experience! Not to mention  to walk through all the markets, and see the beautiful architecture!

I was hoping that writing this blog post would subside my intense need to travel, but it has only made me more antsy to go!

I would absolutely love to hear about your guys’ travel experiences and desires as well!! Where have you travelled? What were your favourite places to go/things you saw? What places are you DYING to go to?

Adulting: an Intro

It has just been over a month of living A) moving out for the first time, and B) living with my boyfriend for the first time. It has been an interesting month… but it has been amazing. It has been a mixture of emotions really.. I am so happy and excited for Derek and I to start this new chapter of our relationship together (I realize more information on our backstory is required for contextual information, that will come in another post). I absolutely LOVE our little apartment, it is SO cute! It’s a small 1 bed, 1 bath in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It is so cozy, and is the perfect beginner place. Even our dog Lily is settling in nicely, which for princess Lily, that is saying a lot!

Insofar, it has already been an adventure, and we have both learned a lot; not just about living on our own, but also about living with each other, and about each other. I’ve learned a lot of fun adult things like budgeting, and meal prepping, and hard work (not that I didn’t know about that before obviously, but it’s become a very real On the one hand, I eat A LOT less junk food! Mostly because Derek just doesn’t.. so we just don’t have any.. which makes it easy to not eat it! I have learned that he is VERY particular about how is laundry is done, and have made the mistake of putting a shirt in the dryer.. oops.. needless to say I figured it out pretty quick! I have learned about sharing the bed.. every night.. which is weirder than I anticipated.

It’s definitely an adjustment.. It’s different to spend regular days with him. Days that aren’t pre-planned, or that are considered a date. Just regular, average days where you run errands, clean the house, veg on the couch, cook dinner together. I adore doing all those things with him, he’s the only one I would want to do all those things with, he’s my best friend. I guess the adjustment stems from the shift in spending all our days off together where we could just waste the day in bed together, to spending or regular time together running errands, paying bills, working, going to bed, etc.. While much more mundane activities, I have come to appreciate that they are nonetheless made special because I’m doing them with him.

Something else that I have come to realize is that I also feel a bit, homesick, to be honest… which may sound ridiculous given that I still live in the same city as my family.. but I live on the opposite side of town now.. about 45 minutes away. I see them a lot less, which I guess I hadn’t really realized would affect me so much. My family and I were (and are) really close, so it’s been super strange to have this “distance” between us. I admit that I have been a bit stressed out about making sure that I see them often enough, and am always questioning myself as to whether I’m doing it right.. I feel a bit of guilt in a sense I think, like maybe I’ve abandoned them. Though I KNOW that’s not how they feel about it. I have been trying to maintain close contact with them, but I work a lot of evenings and weekends.. so until that changes, it will be weird I guess. I do miss seeing them everyday though, but I think that’s something I’m going to have to deal with. It is funny because I know that I’m not the only one feeling that way, Lily (our dog, originally my dog) is feeling it too coming from a home (my parents’) with three other dogs to play with, she had her own little pack! There is quite the joyous puppy reunion when we go home to visit though which is so funny to watch!

That’s it for now I think, I’m sure I will have more updates coming soon!

Day 1, Week 1 – 21 Day Fix

Hey everyone!

To be honest, I have been thinking all week about what to write for my next blog post. Just racking my brain trying to come up with an interesting topic to write about.. Should I write about my new apartment? or Moving out for the first time? or the job hunt prospects for a recent grad? All great topics, just couldn’t organize my thoughts on them quite yet (so if you’re into that kind of thing, stay tuned for future posts about all that!). Anyway, I remembered that this week, I am attempting my second official round at the 21 Day Fix, the February Challenge! My incredible and beautiful friend Anna, said inspiration for starting a blog in the first place, got me interested in it as she is a BeachBody coach (the host company of the 21 Day Fix program, I will post the link at the bottom).

Now to clarify, I say second round not because it failed the first round and its a fad diet or anything. I say second round because my first round really ended up being a trial round. Not only was I trying out the program for the first time, but I also just moved out for the first time, and was still managing that steep learning curve, and settling in and what not. In this way, that first round was a way for me to practice the necessary skills (organizational, discipline, etc..) to be successful in another round. And so here we are! For the program, I am supposed to take my measurements and weigh myself.. which I haven’t done.. because I don’t actually own a measuring tape.. I know, off to a good start! I actually don’t even own a scale… not really something I thought of when preparing my home. So.. I will have to figure something out to do about that, and I will let you know!

For the 21 Day Fix program, the main concept or purpose is not simply eating clean, but also portion control. And it has been eye opening! The kit that I ordered came with the little book about the program, the containers, a Shakeology protein shaker cup, and the work out DVD’s. Now, it recommends that you order the Shakeology (their brand of protein powder), which I didn’t order. I have heard raving reviews about it, but I just found it to be too expensive and declined it for the time being. The containers are a bit deceiving! They seem SO TINY, but they actually fit quite a bit of food! In my first round, I found that sometimes I wasn’t able to finish ALL the food.

Based on your current weight, and the caloric intake calculated for you to create a caloric deficit, it gives you a caloric intake range. Each range has a set number of each container that you can consumer per day, for the 21 days (or longer if you want!), to be combined with the exercise work outs provided.

For my caloric range, I am supposed to have: 3 Greens (veggies), 2 Purples (fruits), 4 Reds (proteins), 2 Yellows (carbs), 1 Blue (fats), and 1 Orange (dressings/oils). On that note, This morning for breakfast I had 1 yellow, and 1 purple (oatmeal and mixed berried).

The exercise DVDs are awesome as well, each workout is JUST 30 MIN. long! That makes it super achievable to fit one into my busy schedule each day! Now, if I’m being honest here, I don’t fit them in EVERY day, which is one of the things I am trying to improve for this second round. Each day is something a bit different, to provide you with a well rounded workout by the end of the week. I love learning from the DVDs, and then trying to incorporate some of those things into workouts at the gym (if/when I can go).

Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of this whole thing.. the Why. Why am I trying to lose weight/adopt a healthier lifestyle? Why the 21 Day Fix? Well, to answer the first, the most obvious reason being that summer (aka bikini season) is just around the corner. In the last few years I have gained around 20 lbs… NOT FUN. It would be so amazing to be able to but on some shorts, or a bikini, or literally any piece of clothing, without feeling stuffed into it, or gross, or any of those quintessential body image issues that comes with some weight gain. But more than that, I would like to have my fitness and energy back! I want to not be huffing after going up the stairs to my apartment! I want to enjoy exercising again, and to feel and look better. It’s just time for the change, I’m tired of the way I feel, and the way I feel about how I look. Now, why 21 Day Fix? Because it was a means of LEARNING healthy habits, rather than just jumping on a diet band wagon. It seems to me like it’s more than that, it’s a learning program. Re-educating yourself on what is actually healthy to eat and what is not, and more so, HOW MUCH of what is healthy for you to eat is actually healthy. And then to learn how to make those healthy eating practices HABITS, and then how to incorporate exercise to make it a more well-rounded lifestyle. It is certainly not the be all end all, like any diet plan. Eventually like learning to ride a bike, you have to take off the training wheels and make it your own.. which I am the most excited about, to have mastered it and feel free about it.

I am super excited about this round. It means more to me than just eating healthy, but also the discipline and the self-control and mastering those things and being accountable to yourself. Because I am worth it, I deserve that much from myself! So wish me luck on this adventure, and I wish anyone else luck that is embarking on/has embarked on a similar adventure! I look forward to updating you all on my progress (let’s hope there is some)!! I will check back in on this matter weekly I think, so as not to bombard you with it, but to just keep you informed 🙂

As promised, here is the link for the 21 Day Fix program, if you are looking for more information: 21 Day Fix

 

 

Anchor Photo: Society6

Container photo: 21 Day Fix

Where to Start?

Alright, where to start? Well I suppose an introduction is at hand! My name is Sarah (WITH AN H). I’m from the Canadian prairies, and am currently awaiting graduation from MacEwan University! I have a dog, Lily, she is the sassiest, but I love her. And a boyfriend, Derek. I love him too (who do I love the most? Nobody knows), we have a pretty incredible story. We just moved in together. More to come on that subject, I’m sure. I have amazing parents, and a wicked cool little sister (also the sassiest, her and my dog are very compatible). She’s the devil… in the best way. Everyone we meet asks us if we are twins, we aren’t. We are six years apart, but could easily pass for twins apparently! I have a hand full of incredible friends, that I have come to appreciate more than ever.  I suppose I’ve covered all the bases of my title line thing on the main page… all that’s left is lifestyle. My intent with this blog is to write about my life, the people in it, the things that happen in it. The things I like, the issues that melt my heart, and the ones that make my blood boil too. I’d like to also include lifestyle posts, I think they are awesome, and I have learned a lot of neat things from them. I promise not to inundate your feeds with them, but I like them, and this is my blog! … any way.. in terms of lifestyle itself… I don’t really know what that is for me yet, I’m still working all that out. I was hoping that starting this blog would help me figure that out, so we will see I suppose.

I haven’t yet decided if this will be like a daily thing, or a weekly thing… knowing me, maybe a monthly thing… *nervous laughter* … but I will try different things out and see how it goes! On that note, it’s nice to meet you all, and I look forward to getting to filling your brains with my nonsense.. I mean my valuable content. 🙂