Monthly Archives: December 2013

Wordless* Wednesday XLIX: Noon Today

Noon in Pang 1 Noon in Pang 2 Noon in Pang 3 Noon in Pang 4

* well almost wordless!  This time of the year…the days are getting so short!  Today the sun rose at 9:59am and set about 10mins ago…12:41pm!  Walking home for lunch…this was the views I saw…the sun sunshine but reflecting on the mountains around town.  I won’t *see* the sun in the sky until it’s return in Mid-Febrary…but it’s so pretty with the light that is around reflecting of the snow we do have in town.   My one Christmas wish is for a bit more snow…I hope it warms up and we get a bit of snow for Christmas!

December Expat to Expat: The Holidays

It’s that time of the month to link-up and join the Expat to Expat Link Up for December. Thanks again to Belinda at Found Love Now What? and Ballie at The Hemborg Wife for organizing this link-up!  This month it has a focus on holidays…

My mini-christmas tree
My Christmas Tree~ 2013… look at all the presents under the tree, only 8 more sleeps ’til I can open them!

1. Has your idea of the holiday season changed since becoming an expat?

Not really.  My idea for the holiday season is still all about family and friends…coming together, sharing meals, exchanging gifts, going to a midnight Christmas Eve service at church…spending time with family and friends sharing heaps of stories and laughter.  I don’t think this has changed since I have moved away from my family and been living in a different province.  What has changed maybe is my definition of who family is…sometimes this includes really, good friends who are living in the same spot I am.  In the 18 months I lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba…my holidays that I couldn’t fly back to Ontario for…I spent with my MB Mum and her family.  We had Thanksgiving & Easter together…some really new special memories, even if I wasn’t with my family from birth!

Since living away from my family…the other thing I’ve noticed is how much I have a deeper appreciation for my family and traditions we have around the holidays!

2. How do you build new holiday traditions, while keeping ones that remind you of “home”?

I must admit there are only 3 years in my whole life that I haven’t had a chance to be back at home with family for Christmas.  During those Christmas’ I ended up often doing new things…that I normally didn’t do…this helped me not be homesick and to embrace the new home or place I was visiting!  Every time I was away, my family did manage to send me a box filled with presents…often this helped to keep me connected to my ‘home’…the other bonus is that I was able to talk to them on the phone…so that connected me back to my family!

Christmas in Australia_0001

Christmas 2003: Visiting the Meyer’s Christmas Window with the two kids I took care of while living in Melbourne, Australia. I can’t believe how blonde my hair was and how tanned I was!

For Christmas 2003…I was in Australia about 1/2 way through my year having a “working-holiday”.  I was in Melbourne just started a new job as an Au Pair with a family with a little girl who was 3 1/2 and a little boy who just turned 1!  It was a fun Christmas…partly because it didn’t feel like Christmas…it was summer and hot.  I think this helped lessen the pain of being away from my family the first time.  One of my most found memories was going to a public park having a picnic dinner with friends…and singing Christmas carols with the outdoor concert! So much fun…

Christmas in Pang 2009_0002

Christmas earlier in December 2009 at my mum’s in Ontario… getting some cuddles from my amazing nephews!

Christmas in Pang 2009_0001

Christmas Eve 2009…spending it with my good friends Kim and Jason!

For Christmas 2009…I had been south in Ontario earlier in December but wasn’t able to return later that month for Christmas.  So I celebrated Christmas early with my family…then later on celebrated it with my Northern Friends!  I was invited to the BEST Christmas Eve party hosted by my really great friends Kim & Jason… there was so much food, people and fun!  After lots of people left and cookies were put out for Santa, & my friends daughter went to bed… I stayed and watched a movie.  It was so different than any of my ‘normal’ Christmas’ that it helped not miss my family.

FMS Gift Exchange 6

Christmas 2013…some of my decorations I’ve put up in my house to make it a wee bit festive!

For Christmas 2013…Yes that’s right…this Christmas I’m staying up north in Pang. I’m looking forward to spending it here with my Northern family.   This year I’m excited to join in on the Community Games…there will be games outside on the ice from 10am to 1pm…every day starting boxing day to New years day! Then in the evenings there will be more games inside….with music and a dance some evenings too.  I have my house all decorated and ready to spend Christmas here in Pang.

One of the other fun things I do is I bring is a Christmas ornament from places I’ve visited from around the world.  It’s a fun  tradition that reminds me of my travels every Christmas!

What are some of your Christmas Traditions?

 Expat Q&A
Check out my other Expat to Expat Blogs:

Birthday Thoughts…

Today it’s my Birthday…and today that means I’m a Friday the 13th Birthday Gal! It’s a good thing I’m not superstitious..but for everyone that’s wondering I was born on a Thursday…not a Friday! cupcake with candle in it

 Today I’m thirty-four…it’s hard to believe, because I feel like I’m twenty-something!  (But then I hang out with twenty-somethings…and realize that I’m not really a twenty-something anymore…!)  I wonder when I’ll ever feel my age!?

girl with bow on her head

Family Birthday Photo of 2013…here’s me with the “bow”! (December 25, 2013)

I have a feeling Thirty-four is going to be an awesome year…how can it not be? I’m thankful that I’m healthy, happy and content with life… I have great friends, and family–what more could a girl ask for? I have a job I love… and I’m constantly having new adventures… I can’t wait to see what adventures come my way this next year!

Wordless Wednesday XLVIII: Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights + Northern Lights

International Gift Exchange (#FMSgiftexchange)

This past year I’ve been participating in the FMS Photo-a-Day monthly challenges.  The organizer, Chantelle,  of these monthly prompts also has a great blog!  This is something I follow as well… so when I saw in October she was arranging an International Secret Santa gift exchange I decided to sign up!

FMS Gift Exchange

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Participating in this has been heaps of fun.  It was pretty easy…you had to respond to the emails and get an “Elfster” Account.  I didn’t even know this kind of website existed…it’s perfect for setting up a gift exchange…it is able to ‘randomly’ set up partners and then you can ask anonymous questions of the person you are buying for to get to know them a bit more.  It has other features like creating wish lists and stuff, but I didn’t use them.  Then you had the fun of going shopping and spending about $30 on your gift for your partner.

The main way to get to know your partner was done via Facebook.  There was a “private” group set up…where we all spent time asking and answering questions.  To participate you had to have an instagram account and/or a blog!  This allowed for your Secret Elf to do some festive stalking to get to know you to buy you a gift!  There are just over 300 people participating in this exchange.

I did my shopping and sent off my gift before I came back north to Pang.  It was just easier to do it and send it rather than try to fit my purchases into my already over-packed suitcases!

My gift all wrapped up.

My gift went to Australia on the Sunshine Coast…pretty close to where I lived 10 years ago when I was in Australia.

Sending Packages at Canada Post

I knew doing this exchange it would probably be uber expensive for postage… and I was right.  It cost me around $70 to mail this box off to Australia with a tracking #!  To me this was just part of the gift, and that’s ok… but seriously…postage has gotten so expensive!

Gifts once received. Here’s my gifts… I didn’t take a photo of them before I wrapped them!  So I took this photo from my partner when she posted it on the Facebook page.  (thanks for letting me ‘borrow’ the photo!) I ended up sending a photo I took of the Hudson’s Bay Company buildings and the Pangnirtung mountains in the background.  (I framed it too!) I sent home made chocolates from Lindsay, Ontario where my mum lives! I sent a handmade Ulu (Inuit woman’s knife) it was embroidered a Christmas ornament.  Last but not least I sent a fun decorative bottle filled with Canadian Maple Syrup (how could you not include that in a package overseas!?)

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So that solved the mystery of the gift I sent…. but I also received a gift from a Secret Elf that lives in Ireland! One of my first posts in the FB page was to talk about how I was concerned about the December 10th cut off date for mailing.  See I knew with how slow sometimes the Canada Post is sending things from the south to the north…I might not get the gift before Christmas!  So I posted a message about this.. and my secret Elf saw it and made sure she posted it early for me!

Pangnirtung Sunset

After a few emails last Monday…(She had to reveal herself, because she was afraid my package had been attempted to delivered and didnt’ want it sent back…) I bundled up and walked down to the post office and my package was sitting there waiting for me! The sun was just setting as I walked down to the post office after lunch.

I must admit, I didn’t open it until yesterday.  See I have this problem, I NEED to figure out what is in the box…and didnt’ want to spoil the surprise.  I thought the longer I kept the box all packaged up…the less temptation it would be.  HOwever, my secret elf did let me know that I should open it up before December 25th…. she sent me a small Birthday Package & Card.  Those still aren’t open but let me tell you on Friday it sure will be…

gifts... a box filled with goodies.

WOW! what an awesome bunch of gifts…now that I’ve seen them the temptation is pretty strong…but I’m not going to give in.  This is because I’m staying up in Pang for Christmas..and some family members gave me their gifts while I was in the south in November…and I want to have something to open up on Christmas morning…so waiting, I must wait…no snooping allowed!

My secret Elf was so thoughtful…and did her research!  One of the things I miss living in Pang is trees… and she sent a few leaves from Ireland for me!  Those are so cool… thank you again for your thoughtfulness!

presents...

I quickly moved my presents to my Christmas tree…where they will wait until December 25th…except the Birthday Gift and card… I’ll open that on Friday!

My mini-christmas treeI will have to post what is inside all of these wonderful gifts once Christmas is over.  So far this exchange has been so much fun!  Thanks to all Chantelle and all the team of Admins that have been running this international exchange… Merry Christmas to you!

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