In Transition // Trains of Thought

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It’s only March and I’ve already broken one of my New Years resolutions – to sit down and write a blog post (or some sort of written piece) every two months. The last time I wrote anything substantial was in November.

Truthfully, I have been swamped with a bunch of career and life changes, and battling some health issues. I wrapped up my undergrad degree in December and have been on the job search since – transitioning from school to the “real world”. In the past weeks I’ve had some big decisions to make about which opportunities to pursue and which path I should go down, but I am very lucky to have a strong support system and people who are always willing to help (even without me asking!).

Finding the intersection between my long-term career objectives and my opportunities on the table has been an interesting journey – but I’m happy to say that I’ve made a choice and I’m not looking back or second guessing my decision.

In the Fall, I got very sick for a month and was put through four rounds of antibiotics before I recovered. I had never been so sick in my life and it really slowed me down from my usual fast-paced lifestyle.

This past month, one of my wisdom teeth got infected and had to be extracted. The accompanying medication came with a myriad of side effects, which I’m still very much struggling with. But all of this taught me a lot about patience, and the importance of good health. It’s something so critical to have – because without it, you can’t do anything else.

These days I have been looking back at what my life was a year ago – and it’s amazing to see how things change year over year. For example, in March 2014, I had just returned from my first-ever trip to Toronto during reading week, full of energy and motivation to make my dreams come to life as a 3rd year student. But living and working there was still just a far-fetched dream.

In March 2015, I was doing just that – working in Toronto, for not the first time but the second! Living on my own in a cozy apartment on Bay Street. Braving -30 degree weather and “real Canadian winter” for the first time. Having full independence, meeting new friends, and flying out of Pearson more times than I’d like to count.

And now in March 2016, I am back in Vancouver and have graduated, started my first full-time job out of school (in a completely new-to-me area), and recently bought my first car so I can drive to work – whaaat? I am experiencing another kind of independence – without the safety net of being a student, things like your finances become a heightened burden. Ensuring you keep nurturing friendships and relationships that are close to your heart (without the convenience of proximity) requires more effort. As does balancing work with other aspects of your life.

I am excited to see where this next chapter of my life takes me. What will life be like come March 2017?

Only time will tell.

Airplanes and Other Musings

Somewhere over Lake Superior – August 15, 2015, 2:45pm EST

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Returning home after an incredible 8 months in Toronto. I can’t believe how fast it’s flown by, but I’m absolutely gutted that it’s come to an end.

Time after time, I keep finding myself returning to this amazing city. In 2014, I lived there for 4 months, and visited two separate times. This year, it’s been home base for the entire year thus far, and I’ve just been constantly flying in and out. I’m likely set to return in October briefly for a work project.

The places I’ve seen, people I’ve met, new experiences that I’ve had – I wouldn’t have traded it for anything else. I am endlessly grateful for every new friend and acquaintance that I’ve met, for my colleagues for making my work term a wonderful learning experience, for a new place I could call home.

Home.

After a year of living out East cumulatively, referring to Toronto as home doesn’t feel strange on my tongue anymore. Each time I move and leave, it’s always so challenging as I struggle to adjust and to build up a network all over again. But it’s worth it every time.

I can’t even imagine what my life would be like without the people that I’ve met. Thank you, truly, for embracing this west coaster into your lives and for making my time here so special. I promise that this isn’t goodbye – I’ll be back. 🙂

At the same time, I’m excited to go back to my hometown for at least 4 months. I’m excited to be somewhere that I know I will always belong, to be reunited with my beloved family and friends, to breathe in that amazing west coast fresh air and eat delicious sushi. I’m excited for a break from that busy, fast-paced work lifestyle and just take a moment to focus on myself.

The last 4 months before “real life” begins.

Lucky that I have a head start on how to properly adult – although seriously, does anyone ever really know what they’re doing?

I’m excited to see where this semester takes me.

– J

One Of My Biggest Flaws

It has felt like an eternity since I moved into this massive refrigerator they call a “city” (it’s more like an igloo with skyscrapers)- but it’s only been half a month. So far, I’d say things are pretty good. I’m slowly settling into a rhythm at work, and at home living on my own yet again.

“Home” feels more like home as each week passes, although I will never fully get used to the cold. My Vancouver friends Snapchat me complaining about 6 degrees and I just want to throw my phone out the window, except you don’t want to open it when it’s -20 outside.

Something that I noticed about myself when I moved last year was that I expected everything to be perfect immediately. I expected myself to be fully acclimatized in the new city and my new job right away. I tried to buy EVERY SINGLE THING I needed to live (as I arrived mostly empty handed) in one day. And of course, that doesn’t happen. You just don’t settle in overnight. And I was very frustrated with myself for not reaching this unattainable ideal right away.

Slowly I learned that it takes time to get used to your surroundings, to build up a network, to settle in. It’s just like when you’re moving- you will not unpack all your boxes and have everything looking Ikea catalogue perfect in a day, in a week, or even in a month. Throw in an entirely new environment and it just makes it ten times harder.

This time I thought it would be easier. And it was. But the frustration returned the first week when I started my job- when I struggled to adjust to work life again, to take care of myself, and the expectation of immediate perfection came back.

Have all the things I need to live on a day-to-day basis, a fitness regimen down pat, a packed calendar (not from work) and thriving social life, get over jetlag and get plenty of sleep, kill it at work, eat healthy, be totally immune to the freezing cold, be on top of my game in the kitchen and around the house, AND save as much money as possible. Right away. All at the same time.

It’s evident that the Type A personality doesn’t just apply to work and school- it spills over into all aspects of your life. This year, I am working hard on being okay with disarray and imperfection, with letting go of unattainable ideals, and to simply just be easier on myself.

I don’t want to be stuck in that cycle of setting unachievable standards for myself, and then berating myself when I don’t reach them. All of these things hinder your happiness and overall quality of life, and life is too short to always be so harsh on yourself.

I’m excited to see what’s to come! It may be freezing, but the atmosphere of spontaneity and the fast-paced lifestyle is year round. It’s going to be an amazing 7 months ahead of me 🙂

Bittersweet Goodbye

In a few days’ time, I will be hopping on a plane back out East for my new job. Which I guess by this point is not really news, or a surprise, given the nature of my blog posts from the past year.

I think it’s been evident that I’ve loved working and living there, and I am excited to continue my journey there for the next 7 months. Moving is always a struggle, a challenge, but the payoff and the lessons that you learn are just so rewarding.

What makes this time different from the last time I moved was that my summer gig was a very last-minute, rushed, whirlwind-type of affair. Between my offer date and my start date, I had 13 days to find a place to live, plow through stacks of paperwork, and physically move myself over. Less than 2 weeks’ notice to pack up and rebuild my life! It was insanity, but the kind that made me excited to get up in the morning.

This time, I received my offer 2 months in advance. There was plenty of time for me to absorb the information, find a place to live, and slowly start to tell friends, family, and people in my social circles about me leaving. And in the last month, I have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of people in my life who have reached out to me. Who I have been able to spend time with, re-connect with, and remind me all over again about why I love this city so much and the people in it.

I’ve been so touched by the kind and encouraging words, messages, and Christmas cards. This has hands-down been the best winter break/holiday season ever, and I honestly cannot believe that I am leaving in 3 days- it just isn’t really sinking in. The past month has been kind to me, and I have been very happy.

It also just makes it that much more difficult to leave it all behind. The more time I spend with loved ones, the more I admire my beautiful hometown with that gorgeous backdrop of nature, the more reluctant I am to leave.

But the fact that it is so hard for me to leave this time is a huge blessing. Thank you for giving me so many reasons that make it difficult for me to leave, that make me miss Vancouver before I’ve even left. I’m truly lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life who I will dearly miss. And I am lucky to have a piece of my heart in each city.

All the best for the new year, my friends. May it be filled with realized dreams, accomplished goals, and a sense of joy and wonder. This isn’t goodbye- just a “see you later”.

(Literally, because I have to finish my degree this year. And who knows- I may be back to visit sooner than you think 😉 keep in touch!)

September 2014 – A Month of Change

I rarely write about personal things on my blog, but this month has been absolutely crazy; it’s been full of ups and downs. September is always a busy time of year for me, what with transitioning back to school and my birthday falling on Labour Day weekend, but this one has been especially chaotic.

I’ve always embraced change, but this month my life has been completely turned upside down. And I kept piling it on myself, thinking- “So much has changed already. Why not change this as well?” And so I thought I would share the top-line version of what I’ve been up to the past 30 days.

This September, I…

– Turned 21.

– Finished my work term with RBC and flew back to Vancouver.
-> And with that, gained a whole new appreciation for my beautiful hometown while experiencing major Toronto + RBC withdrawal. It was a strange mix of feelings.
-> Was reunited with friends and family I hadn’t seen in months on end.

– Dealt with the loss of a loved one.

– Attended my first funeral.

– Cut my hair short for the first time since I was 11.

– Entered my fourth year of school at UBC.

– Took a course for credit/d/fail for the first time in my undergrad.

– Replaced my childhood bed that I’ve been sleeping in since I grew out of my crib.

– Briefly flew back to Toronto for 48 hours.

– Wrote my very first cheque for a significant amount of money.

– Started a new job as a TA at school.

I am looking forward to a new month- while bringing all the lessons that I’ve learned the past couple of months along with me. 2014 has been a year of learning, change, and growth, and I am excited to see what the rest of this year will bring.

WINTER IS COMING MIDTERMS ARE COMING.

May 2014 – A Life Changing Month

This past month has honestly been the most life-changing month of my entire life.

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More events have transpired in May 2014 than in the entirety of 2014 combined, and as I sit here on a beautiful Sunday evening in Toronto, I am taking some time to reflect before launching myself into another crazy month.

I have been here just under 3 weeks, living by myself for the first time ever. To say that it has been a roller coaster would be an understatement. It’s definitely not all glitz and glam- I’ve had to do some pretty humbling things- but I’ve definitely flirted with the fast life in my first couple weeks. It really has been full of ups and downs.

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I’ve had to rebuild my life and my home from the ground up. I arrived by myself with literally nothing, and quickly realized that I had a lot of settling in to do. I’ve needed to do a lot of adjusting to get used to my new surroundings- I wasn’t able to sleep for five nights in a row, while simultaneously starting a new job, meeting hundreds of new faces, and feeling out the corporate culture. At the same time, I had to learn how to live on my own and with roommates for the first time, and even try to master basics such as laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning.

I’ve gotten sick twice already, the first lasting 2-3 days, and the second lasting a whole week (I am still sick right now!). I’ve unfortunately had to miss out on a lot because of my body’s inability to keep up with me, but I realize that health comes first and that I need to take better care of myself.

I had a lot on my plate, and each day I felt overwhelmed, with new challenges thrown at me. It hasn’t all been amazing, contrary to what people might think. Sometimes it was surreal- is this really happening? Even three weeks later, sometimes I still can’t believe that I’m here.

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However, there were many high points. My first day of work was honestly just unreal- there was so much to take in and get to know, the views from the office were amazing, I braved Toronto rush hour for the first time, and to top it all off, I actually got to spend that same evening at the Shangri-La with my new boss, drinking champagne and being wined and dined. We listened to a jazz band that she thought would be perfect for our August event, and talked business at 11pm.

Since that first day, I am blessed to have met the people that I have, to build new relationships, and experience Toronto as much as I can. I have a whole bucket list of things I want to do this summer, and I am so excited for what’s to come.

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The first two weeks seemed to drag on for ages- it has felt like a lot longer than that! But as time passes, I become more and more adjusted to TO life, and things get better and easier. Today, as I returned from my first Sunday brunch in the city, as well as my first time attending a bridal shower, I walked through the streets and I just felt this calming realization that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and I am finally happy to be where I am. Living my dreams didn’t turn out exactly how I envisioned at first- but it has been a whirlwind, an adventure, and a lesson. I am learning new things every day, and my personal and professional development has shot up exponentially.

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I have a feeling that the next 3 months will move by so quickly- the best things in life are also the most fleeting. I am excited to see where this adventure of a summer takes me!

New Adventures and New Beginnings

It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to blog or write anything for leisure. I’ve missed it. And I’ve also had a bit of writer’s block as well, combined with how hectic life has been.

So perhaps today I’ll write about my own life. As of now, I’m officially 3 years into my degree, and 8 days from now I am flying off to Toronto to start my new job. As a born and raised Vancouverite, I am leaving home for the first time ever, and I am so overwhelmed but excited for the new adventure. Everything I have wanted in the last 2 years has come to fruition. There is lots to be done during this time and I have my hands full, with not much of a chance for a break, as once I get there I’ll be hitting the ground running.

But would I have it any other way? Absolutely not.

But let me just say this. Nothing good ever comes easy. And this year, I learned a big lesson.

Sometimes when doors close on you, or you run into situations that seem like failures- it is actually re-directing you to something better and more fitting for you. And when you choose to go through life with that lens on, it makes the hard times more bearable. Looking back, I am so grateful for every experience I’ve had, every opportunity and every failure, because its honestly led me to this point in my life.

I’ve always believed that success is an iceberg. You don’t see the struggles, failures, sweat, tears, and hard work people go through- you only see the highlight reel. And that’s just not representative of real life.

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Luckily, the people I’ve surrounded myself with have been so supportive of my endeavors and work ethic. I’m really blessed to have the friends and family that I do. I’ve barely had 72 hours to process all of the above information, so it’s all still kind of surreal to me.

Time to swim in a much larger pond with much bigger fish, and get ready for exponential growth. This summer is going to change me, both professionally and personally. This year has changed me. And honestly, nothing has been the same since I first stepped onto campus 3 years ago. I just had no idea what I was in for.

Onto new adventures and new beginnings.