Somewhere in the flash that was the last two weeks, I bought a plane ticket, packed up three suitcases of things that made the cut for being important enough to cart across 14000+km, and said my farewells. Amazing how it is possible to gloss over 14 days in one run-on sentence. 
28 hours of travel later (4 airports, 3.5 movies, 100mg of gravol, 2 feet so swollen they wouldn’t fit back in my Blundstones) and then I was here. My heart literally skipped a beat when through the clouds upon our descent to Auckland I caught my first glimpse of the ground. Green! So startlingly green I would have thought it was photoshopped, that the set of the Shire was right outside my plane window. After so much heartache and frustration and tears and doubts, I was here. 
As if Auckland wanted to wash off any hint of my journey, it greeted me with a fierce downpour. One extremely friendly, very chatty cab ride later (thanks Tonix for picking up the tab!) I was at my Airbnb. The rain discouraging any real exploring for this evening (and who am I kidding, I was barely capable of forming a comprehensible sentence let alone walk around the city) I managed to stay awake until the lofty hour of 8:30PM and promptly fell asleep- no need to count NZ sheep to fall asleep that nite. 

For a 16 hour time difference, I managed to sleep until 6AM and awoke feeling refreshed and ready to CARPE DIEM in Takapuna! For someone who doesn’t get too stressed about clothing choices, I must have went through at least four outfit choices… It was bright and sunny outside, the temperature 17 degrees! But past travels had left with me doubts as how to dress and fit in with the locals. While in Spain… 5 years ago?!… the 30 degree weather in May had me in shorts and tshirts, the less clothes the better. But this wasn’t hot to the locals, who were all still in pants and long shirts. I stuck out like a sore Canuck thumb… Settling for jeans, a tank, and a light mac (got to use my new lingo!), I ventured out with a nervous pitterpatter in my chest. Five minutes later, I realized that shorts, dresses, and flip flops (are they called thongs here like in the neighbouring Australia?) were still very much in season, and I was definitely going to be sweating today… 

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and though it has only been four days since I first ventured out (trying to be ever so causal and glancing at my Google maps every few blocks to make sure I was on track) I feel like I have walked a thousand miles a thousand times over. The days have flown by and I have barely had a minute to sit down! I moved in with my new flatmate (yes, more new lingo!) on Friday and it already feels like we have been friends for much longer than a mere few days! I am counting my lucky stars that I have ended up with someone so lovely to live with! 
The last few days have been a blur of trying to figure out all the nitty gritties of moving to a new and distant country- learning the lay of the neighbourhood, driving on the opposite side of the road!!!, applying for a tax number, finalizing my bank account, getting a Kiwi (autocorrected to the capital K, my iPhone is catching on quick!) cell number, buying furniture and outfittings for my room… Oh, and most importantly- trying to figure out that sweet spot in the day when everyone back home is awake and I can chat them up, who knew 16 hours time difference would be so tricky? Hahaha    
I had my first day of work today! Managing to miss the bus, I took an Uber out to the hospital and began a long day of orientation, paperwork, a million new faces and names, and too much time spent doing online modules. All of the not so fun stuff of starting a new job. For all my Canadian nurse and hospital friends, I cannot even begin to describe all the differences between NZ PRIVATE healthcare and the healthcare that I was born, raised, and educated on… and I haven’t even worked with patients yet! 

It’s been an exciting and very eventful five days of changes and a continuous onslaught of new learnings and adaptations. There have been many moments when I came face-to-face with the realization that I am definitely not in Kansas (/Canada) anymore. A short list of things that have especially stood out to me-

  1. People causally walk around without shoes- on the busy streets, in the grocery store, at the hospital 
  2.  So many Pita Pits! I always had a good laugh at the “International Training Centre” downtown Kingston thinking ‘where else than maybe the USA are there Pita Pits!?’ (Pita Pit having been born in Kingston) Well apparently NZ!!! 
  3. Very few people J-walk… a real shame cause you end up standing on the street corner for ages waiting for your right away (speaking of which, Kiwi drivers are not the most generous in giving others the right away…) to cross. I know this will make my mom happy, who definitely never loved my causal J- walking everywhere in YGK…
  4. There are PLENTY of words that are totally different from our Canadiana terms. Living with a Brit means getting not only a good laugh at all the new words I am learning from a Kiwi standpoint but also at the posh ways she says things. One of my current faves- grocery cart (Canada) vs. trolley (UK) vs. trundle (Kiwi)  
  5. A switch to turn on power plugs. So when you plug in your device you have to turn the plug on before you can actually use whatever you’ve got plugged in there and then turn it off when you’re not utilizing that plug… 
  6. There are no screens on the windows, since there isn’t anything dangerous to sneak/slither/fly into your house unlike in the nearby AUS… So everyone’s house are full of flies… Which doesn’t seem to phase anyone? 

I have that warm and fuzzy feeling that life here is going to be pretty grand. That is a pretty broad and sweeping guess seeing as it hasn’t even been a week, but if this one week is any indication of things to come, I am pretty damn excited 
Beyond excited to be Liv(ing) life abundantly in NZ ūüíē


Kaleidoscope Heart

As much as I would like to say I find myself 14,219 km away from where I last wrote a blog post, I am still very much in the same locale…

I quit my full-time job at KGH back in the first week of January, and stuck around in Kingston for the next few weeks basking in the glow of my new title of “funemployed”. I headed back to Ottawa at the end of January, leaving my apartment and my adopted title of ¬†a Kingstonian behind. I still feel a tightness in my chest thinking about it… My last night I spent sleeping on my mattress that I had jammed-up in front of the fireplace, my memories literally echoing about in the bareness of my apartment…

Don’t get me wrong funemployment has been mostly¬†great. No commitments to anyone or anything. I am 100% The Boss (a job title that I will likely never ever actually be designated in any other shape or form for the extent of my REAL career). But when you don’t have to work, it gets pretty damn expensive when you fill up your time visiting friends and family- eating, drinking, and being merry.

When I had moved back home, I had full intentions of having all my paperwork in order and being off to New Zealand come mid- to end of February.

It’s almost the middle of March and I am still without any departure date…

The hard lesson I learned here is that nothing involving paperwork goes smoothly or quickly or according to plan… I got my official email on February 16 from the NCNZ (Nursing Council of New Zealand) that I was now¬†approved as nurse in NZ! New Zealand almost seemed on the visible horizon, now I could apply for my visa!

Amid some confusion as to what documents I needed to apply for my visa, I didn’t submit my visa until end of February. Come March 7, Immigration New Zealand was asking for further documents that weren’t on the original list of necessary documents. So scan those, condense them into a single PDF, and send them off…

I have always considered myself a patient person, maybe one of my greatest virtues, but at this point in time I am at wit’s end… At the risk of sounding rude to every kind family member or friend or even curious stranger who has asked me how things are coming along with NZ preparations, I have to restrain myself from having an absolute meltdown every time I have to explain what is happening. I am so thankful to have so many people in my life who are here to help support me, but I don’t think it’s possible to really explain to people how exhausting this has all been for me. I have been working on this for over a year now, and apparently I jumped the gun too soon, making a grand face plant right in front of the finish line…

My first manager offered me a casual position back on the Ortho floor, so I have been going back and forth between Kingston a few times in the past month or so, pulling my fun scrubs out of their early retirement. My amazing friends (two very special angels in particular) have so graciously hosted me on these occasions, and every time I am back in Kingston it feels as if I never left. I love seeing everyone again, resuming back at our old haunts. I probably couldn’t count the number of perplexed faces that have seen me and asked (what has become my trademark tagline)- “You haven’t left yet?!” At this point in time I wish I hadn’t left… I should of kept working for another month, kept my apartment for another month, stayed in Kingston for another month.

Home life has been a special treat, it’s the longest I have spent at home since I graduated from high school in 2009. My parents have probably had to take a loan out to pay for my voracious appetite. Falling back into old home traditions and habits was easy. My family, as always, has been the greatest star in my life and after spending all this time at home it is going to be an especially difficult farewell…

I continue to feel like I am some sort of limbo state, waiting for something that never seems to be coming… Waiting, waiting, waiting. Who knew moving to another country would be such hard work? *said in my finest sarcasm*

PS. 100% aware that this post comes across as very Negative Nancy. Just wanted to give a special thanks to soooo many people (all of you people who keep asking me for updates, who I so very viciously ripped a strip off of above…) for helping me through all of us this. I am nothing without all the amazing people in my life.



A love letter to my adopted home town

We are homesick most for the places we have never known.


I was born and raised in another city, in a¬†classic red brick house, on a street that is the epitome of suburbia. If you are as fortunate as I am, you had one house to call home for your whole life. A single location that is the vault of all of your memories that are the foundation of your current self. I remember ¬†learning to ride a bike on my neighbour’s driveway- skinned knees a testament to the power of gravity. I remember mom’s famous banana chocolate chip muffins. I remember my short lived “career” delivering Sears catalogues, dad faithfully pushing the wheelbarrow when those big Christmas catalogues came around. ¬†I remember endless summer days spent in the pool, the¬†only one in my group of friends with the chlorine oasis. I remember, I remember, I remember…

But then the “Born and Raised” days of my youth reached an end, a new chapter in the Book of Life was about to start- “Growing Up”.

I think that many would argue that growing up is what childhood is all about. I suffered through¬†the literal growing pains of feeling my bones getting longer (perhaps my bones didn’t get the ‘societal norms for a girl’ message and kept chugging away until I reached the lofty height of six foot…). But during my Born and Raised days I was never a unique and independent creature, I was defined by choices that were influenced by my parents (all of ¬†which I am utterly and completely grateful for, I love you so much Mom and Dad). Growing Up, I have come to realize, is to discover who you truly are as a person.

I am the first to admit that I believe in the grand romances that Hollywood has promised ¬†us. I never saw it coming, but at the tender age of 17 I was struck with Cupid’s arrow in the most unexpected way possible- I fell in love with a university.¬†And much to my mother’s sadness, this would take me away from home. Away from that red brick house, away from the memories of youth.

University was a vortex. I became a Gael, I bled Blue-Gold-Red. I shouted ridiculous chants in Gaelic. I survived coed bathrooms, caf food, and the weight of being 100% responsible for my own self. I laughed until I cried, I cried until I wanted to give up. I stayed up too late, and got up too early. I met the most amazing people who filled my heart with so much love I thought I would explode. 249 became my new favourite number. I was a nursing student, overworked and underappreciated. I learned my profession. I learned the nitty gritties of how the human body works, how to take a blood pressure, how to ask a perfect stranger without blinking an eye when they had their last bowel movement.

I loved university and didn’t think life could get any better. But then university ended. My best friends in the world, the rocks of the last four years of my life, left. I had to become a grown-up in a city that I thought I knew so well, but really I had only scratched the surface.

I became a Real Nurse. I was now going to get paid bi-weekly to do something that before I was doing on my own dime. I now had a career. I no longer had teachers to hold my hands, or a preceptor to guide me. I was to be responsible not only for myself but now for the lives of others. The first few months were hard. I felt like a ship who had lost my mooring and was now lost at sea.

But slowly, something amazing happened- I was welcomed into a work family. I was invited to social events, I was privy to workplace gossip, I got friend requests on FB. I could do this, I could make this work… A new stage of life in Kingston was about to begin.

My work family became the centre of my universe. I came to know a select few of my¬†coworkers on a level more intimate and more precious than friendship. Nursing has a way of creating unshakable bonds. We ate breakfast together after working twelve hour nite shifts- I became the President of my own personal Breakfast Club. ¬†We went out way late, nites becoming blurs of memory and time. We bonded over a love of cats. We went for long walks and every topic under the sun was discussed. We developed inside jokes. We celebrated each other’s accomplishments and life milestones. We consoled each other. We cheered each other on.¬†Though I wandered away from the home floor, my heart never strayed far. You know who you are, I love you all so much.

I fell even more in love with Kingston. I never saw myself staying here this long, but Kingston had a tight hold on my heart. A predetermined love affair of four years turned into seven and a half. I learned the best place to get a sandwich. The best times to go to the gym and the grocery store. I came to have favourite restaurants and bars. I became fondly attached to certain bartenders and local shop clerks. I got a local library card. I made a half-hearted attempt at an Instagram account for the dogs around town that I fawned over. Lake Ontario became my primary source of solace and peace, I found the best secret spots to sit. I reveled in secret and not-so-secret crushes. I had my heart broken. I paid my own utility bill. I tried to keep a tidy apartment that was 100% my own domain. I had my first very own pet, the true love of my life. The Kingston Whig became my news. I kept updated on all things Kingston through Twitter. I had an opinion on the going-ons around town. My feet took me on many adventures, the streets of downtown as clear as if they were marked on the back of my hands. Though I originally fell in love with a university, I soon came to fall in love with a whole city. Kingston became my adopted home town. I Grew Up in Kingston.

And now with greatest sadness I may have ever felt, I am coming to say goodbye to Kingston…

“They say home is where the heart is
but my heart is wild and free
So am I homeless
Or just heartless?
Did I start this?
Did it start me?”

And with a wild and free heart, the world calls my name. No I couldn’t just move to Toronto, or back to Ottawa. I had to seek out the farthest place I could go. ¬†What’s the next chapter after Growing Up I come to ask myself? My fingers flutter over the keyboard because I am short on words that accurately describe what I am feeling.¬†I am so grateful for every moment I have spent here, and it feels like I am betraying the city that has taken me in as one of its own. I will be back one day. I know this to be true, I can feel it in my long stretched out bones.


Kingston you have become home.