Back again. Riana’s back. Tell a friend.
Okay, no more Eminem. But yes, I am posting on this blog again! My last post was way back in September about a trip to Toronto I took in August. It is now April.
It seems I forgot I had a blog again. I started to write a few times but I would get distracted and then forget about it again. But I’ve realized that writing, whether it be travel-related or not, is really important to me. I love to write. And I love to have a place to chronicle events of my life and share.
So first, a little recap of the last almost 8 months:
Colin and I started off September by travelling from Toronto to New York. It was both of our first time in New York and we had a lot of things to cross off our inaugural Big Apple bucket list. New York was a great trip – with big highs and a few lows. I said in my last post that I would write something separate about New York and I still want to do that. I can’t say much for a timeline but I want to say it’s coming soon!
In September I started working in an administrative role at a counselling office. It was very different from my role and the environment at Free The Children. It was a nice change of pace and I learned a lot from the experience. Most notably, I started to foster an interest in counselling as a career.
I think October was just business as usual. Colin and I carved pumpkins (pro tip: use an electric drill!) and started attending Canucks games. I had never been to an NHL game before then but have now been to 9 or 10! I’m almost ready to call myself a fan.
In November, my beautiful friend Andrea came out to Vancouver to visit me. In the five years that I’ve lived out here, I’ve only ever had my parents and siblings come out to visit, so it was very special to have a friend here. I tried to show her around Vancouver as much as the weather would allow. And I got to see her try on her wedding dress, which really made the trip.
November was also when Sophie and I started house-hunting. It was a big adventure of trying to end our lease early, looking for places together, me looking for a place by myself, etc. In the end, we got out of our lease (with much effort), Sophie made the decision to move to Toronto for school and to be closer to her family, and I found my own place. But more about that in the coming months!
Christmas is my absolute favourite holiday. I start my countdown with a Christmas playlist as soon as Halloween ends. But last year I made the decision to not go home to Toronto for Christmas for the first time. This was a really tough decision for me. My favourite part about Christmas is all of the family traditions I have. Being part of a blended family, I actually get to participate in no less than four Christmas meals/gatherings usually stretching from Dec 22 – 28. But due to finances and work, I decided to spend the holiday in Vancouver. Making that decision easier was the fact that I had been invited to join my boyfriend and his family in their Christmas traditions. I loved spending the holidays with him and his but definitely missed all of the Christmas love in Toronto.
Because I wasn’t able to go home for Christmas, I actually flew back to Toronto for a quick long weekend in early December thanks to a last minute flight sale. So I did get to be a part of choosing the tree and trimming it. I also got to try on bridesmaid dresses for a June wedding I’m in. And when I got back to Vancouver, I started a new job! For anyone keeping track, this would be my 4th job of 2015 (in my defense, some overlapped). I started working at UBC as an Admissions Coordinator in Enrollment Services. It’s only a 7-month contract so I’m actually coming up on the end of it now.
After all of the excitement of the holidays and starting a new job, I moved! I moved into a studio apartment in Kitsilano and I am in love with the place. It’s spacious and super close to UBC. I like having my own space and I loved decorating and organizing. I’m sure Colin, who suffered through many trips to Ikea, Walmart, etc. would beg to differ. My wonderful girlfriends moved me in on December 28th and by New Year’s I was fully unpacked.
I rang in 2016 on a couch in Surrey. Colin and I had a pretty uneventful New Year’s but I wouldn’t have wanted to spend it with anyone else.
So for the month of January my studio apartment played host to both me and Sophie. She came back after the Christmas holidays for a final month in Vancouver. I loved having her as a roommate for one month longer but I know it was stressful for her to be living out of suitcases in a shared small space.
I also started an online course in counselling in January and I attended Colin’s cousin’s wedding in Fort Langley.
February was also business as usual. Sophie headed back to Ontario for good and I had to get used to being by myself for the first time in about a year. Colin and I also celebrated our first Valentine’s together which was a very sweet day. We attempted another escape room (because nothing says romantic holiday like trying to get out of a locked room) but we didn’t make it out.
March was a busy one! My mom came to visit for a few weeks so there were lots of delicious dinners out with friends and family. Colin also had his birthday in March which was a lot of fun to celebrate. We went to The Keg and a Canucks game with my mom, where I put a birthday message for him up on the jumbotron. And then we went out downtown with his friends to celebrate some more.
And at the end of March, we took off to LA for a week!
So far, April has just been our wonderful trip to LA. Colin, his mom and I were there for a week and fit a lot in. We had great weather and were able to hit all the tourist sites, take in some games and spend time relaxing on the beach. Just like New York, I’m planning to do a separate post about LA too. Again, no promises on when that will actually get written.
So, there’s quite a bit coming up! I have my final exam for my course next Saturday, meaning I should really start studying. Next Saturday is also Colin’s and my first anniversary. And then to finish out April I will need to get on filing my taxes and looking for a new job since my contract is almost up.
In May I start another counselling course. This one is in-class, twice a week for a month so it’s going to be a lot of work very quickly. And then in June, we’re heading to Toronto for Kimberley’s wedding where I am co-MOH. In July, I’m hoping to be employed. I’m also hoping that the roadtrip to the Calgary Stampede that Colin and I are planning comes to fruition. I’ve never spent time in Alberta or seen much of BC’s interior so I’m really excited. We’ve mapped out some cool spots we’d love to stop. And then in August, I’m back to Toronto for another wedding!
I’m sure there’ll be some changes to the stuff I’ve just predicted and lots more thrown in. I’m looking forward to an exciting, busy and probably a little stressful summer.
And what’s next for the blog?
I don’t want to commit myself to writing a certain number of posts per month or writing exclusively about travel. This blog was born out of desire to share my travels with loved ones but it’s also my place to share myself and foster my love of writing. So I don’t know exactly what that is going to look like. I don’t want to limit myself. You might see some different styles on here: listicles, fiction pieces, short stories, etc. You might see a lot of posts all at once and then radio silence for a while as life happens. You might see me being a bit more open and candid.
But I do want to keep writing – not necessarily for readers, but for me. I love to write. My greatest passions were, are, travel, writing and helping people. I’ve focused on different aspects of those passions for most of my adult life. But lately, they’ve all sort of fallen to the back-burner and I hate that. I’ve gotten distracted by some of the tedious aspects of life. But I’ve also found new things that are important to me: focusing on relationships with friends and family, settling into an apartment, working a job that pays the bills, trying to go to the gym, trying to learn how to cook, etc. But I don’t want to forget my passions. Because those things, travelling, writing and helping people, still really excite me. I want those to be main components of my life. So if continuing to publish on this blog is a baby step in that direction, I want to do it.