Without struggle there is no progress.

Not only is it the phrase that gave me strength to be the woman I am today but it will be on me until the day I die.IMG_1017

We often reflect on the hard times in the past and see them as negative, which is the obvious response when we experience things we’re not particularly happy or fond of. What about if those experiences shaped who we are today and are the reason for the current lifestyle we live. I know that would change my thoughts on my past completely.
Would I be living this life in Paris today if I hadn’t of gone through what I have in the past few years of my life? Probably not, actually no there’s no probably about it.

I’m here in this city because of those times but now I no longer see them as being bad or unfortunate for happening. At the time yes, when things wouldn’t go as planned and life seemed to change directions every single day, I felt a sense of failure almost. Failure in the sense that I didn’t know what was next; unprepared even.

I’m 21.

I’m not perfect.

I’ll never be perfect,

but i’m me.

I need to continue to remind myself this each and everyday. Being a perfectionist I always feared doing the wrong, but what truly defines the wrong when you are the only one who can decide where your life goes. I definitely am not eager to come across failures in my life but I do believe that with every negative comes an ever larger positive. Of course as anything it all takes time. Did I wake up the next morning after deciding that I needed a fresh start and know exactly what I wanted to do? Nope, but sooner than I thought life worked it’s way out and lead me here.

As my mother tried to instill into me when I was young girl, and still to this day reminds me of, “life is not perfect”. Of course I took the hard way and didn’t listen but I learnt from it and I truly believe that much stronger from the struggles I’ve faced. As much as we want our plans in life to pan out the way we foresee them, sometimes obstacles may open more opportunities that wouldn’t have had.

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Should I stay or should i go now?

I think that I think too much.. No, I know that I thin too much. I’ve always had a difficult time making decisions especially with ones that are life impacting. I stress as many do, but gosh does it ever feel overwhelming at times. I wonder if i’ve made the best choice with coming here, or if maybe I had of stayed what the outcome would have been. Would I have a successful career or maybe a new car? Would I still be living at home or maybe my own apartment?

I dwell and I know I shouldn’t because it solves nothing, absolutely nothing. I made my choice and this is what I need to stick with. No matter what I may have been able to do in the past 5 months without travelling abroad I’m more than pleased with what I have done but more what I have learnt about myself.

When will i know when I’ve discovered all there is for me here abroad? and then Where do I go from here?

I swear if you were able to be in my brain to see how often it’s contemplating or questioning decisions you would be tired, no exhausted. I’m a worrywart what can I say, I have a little piece of my grandmother Cress in me which i’m more proud of than anything.

There’s part of me that wants to run home but what will that do? Life will essentially fall back into place as it was before which is not as comforting as you might think , but yet frightening. This me that I’ve found here is someone that I don’t want to lose. I’m adventurous, carefree, less ridged, heck I finally have patience for children again. I can’t pin point why I wasn’t able to find myself in Nova Scotia but it took me a trip across the ocean into a new life in order to break out of my shell. The fact that I am still not 100 percent confident that I have pursued and found what I came here for leads me to believe that my time here is far from over.

Who’s to say if this new found me is here to stay or maybe it’s just the beginning to finding even more about myself and transitioning into someone I enjoy even more. The unknown thought is scary, frightening and leaves me uneasy but this is life. Life is not perfect, nor planned.

There are days when all I want is to go home and leave this life I’m living here. Then there are times when I want this life forever, which I do realize is impossible and unrealistic.

Something I have discovered is that dreams don’t have to be realistic but goals do.

My goal when moving abroad was simply to experience a different way of life before settling into my own. So far after five months I’ve acquired much more than that, leading me to believe that there is more to come with time. What will another season in Europe bring me?

Give me six months and I’ll let you know

You decide your own destiny

People are going to talk, no matter what you do in life so please, don’t allow comments to dictate your life. What I’ve learned is that it’s your life, not theirs. Truth be told it took my 20 years to figure this out, but I`m finally at a point where I`m confident in myself enough to trust my choices in life.

In the past I always had a figure that I followed for everything I did in life but this time was different. I needed a fresh start, a new beginning and an adventure of a lifetime.

A common response I heard from people when they heard of my decision to be an Au Pair was “You’re just going to throw away your education?” I’m not quite sure how to exactly throw away my education considering my diploma isn’t going anywhere nor is everything that I learned throughout my years in school. There’s nothing saying that I can’t go back into that career field later on in life but for now, this is what I want.

Before I moved abroad I had many people that made comments on my ability to follow through with this. Fast forward to today, those same people have approached me a second time, but instead with a more encouraging outlook as they’ve been able to see how positive this experience has been for me. For 21 years I was always given a choice but a guided one with support in how to get there. Making the decision to change my life completely like I did was all made by me. Did I know what I was doing? Nope, but that’s why I’m here to learn more about myself and what I actually do want to pursue in the future. Maybe I`ll end up wanting to be a nurse or an entrepreneur when i`m done here or maybe I still won`t have a clear idea by the end of this journey. Finally I am able to accept that it`s okay not to know exactly how my life is going to plan out tomorrow, the next day or even the next year.

You’re only young once so use the opportunity before you have reasons not to.

Travel allows you to step out of your comfort zone

How many of you wake up each day having a pretty good idea of what the day will entail. The food you will eat, the people you will see, the breaks you will take. This is what is called our comfort zone.

Many of us go through life never stepping outside of that bubble, that we’ve become so accustomed to simply, because we are unaware that there’s more out there to explore.

Image found on Reallifecoaching.net

Photo: for a state of happiness

Upon graduating high school I thought I had my whole life planned out, which turns out wasn’t what my life had in store at all. I acquired a daily routine upon starting college which continued even when I began working. My life was far from bad in any regard; I had an education, an apartment and a job; but was I truly happy?

Maybe, maybe not. The only way to find out was the explore my other options, and essentially starting fresh.

What better way to commence a new beginning than across the ocean in a completely different continent. I bought a one way ticket to Paris and became a part of a new family, fully immersed in the french language and culture. If any of you know me well enough you are aware that I come from a very athletic family. In fact, all six of us are still to this day involved in playing a variety of sports. Okay, maybe I’m lacking on my athleticism here in France but i’m just doing as the Parisians do and fully immersing myself. The word sport in this new household meant a 10 minute walk to school and back which to each their own but it was a rude awakening for me. They are by no means lazy but their activities are just different than what I’m used to and involve playing music, chess, and painting.

Art has never been a huge part of my life. Growing up it was always sports no matter what I did. Since being here in Paris I’ve noticed that art is a huge part of their culture whether it be in the form of physical artwork, architecture or dance.

My host family purchased a years worth of tickets for shows ranging from theater, dance and story telling. You know when you receive a gift that you really hate but want to be kind so you put on the most appreciative face you can? That’s exactly how it felt when they presented me with the bundle of “gifts”.

This is too good

My expectations were very low considering my interest in art has never never very high. Last weekend I experienced my third show and I must say this whole artsy lifestyle is really growing on me. I’m not going to ever be able to give up my love for fitness or sports but there’s non limit to how many interests you have.

How many times have been completely against something despite the fact that you have never tried to essentially like it?
We often have negative opinion on certain things in life, simply because we’ve never been exposed to them. I grew up in a family surrounded by sports. My parents were involved in them growing up and passed not only their athletic ability to their children but the love for the game. Art was never frowned upon in our household but it also was never emphasized as being important.

Travelling has exposed me to a whole new lifestyle that I wouldn’t have seen if I had of just stayed in the comfort zone I was living in. Stepping outside of what we know and what we’re comfortable in isn’t easy nor is it always wanted.

God blessed you with a voice, now put it to use

How many times have you been in a situation at work where you know that the issue at hand could possible be solved if you had the guts to speak up about what is bothering you?

Raise Hand

Now think about the difference if you were to have a problem in the comfort of your home with your family members. A completely different story right.

Imagine living under the same roof as your boss, eating their food, and caring for their children. It makes for a sticky situation when problems occur. When I first started working for this family I wanted nothing more than to be their employee and the thought of daughter or sibling didn’t once cross my mind.

Reality hit me fast. The fact of the matter was that I wasn’t just working for this family but I was being accepted as a new member of their family. In the beginning it was tough, there’s no doubt about that. Like any new job there’s the fear of your superiors which made it difficult to feel comfortable in their household. As time has passed I have finally found a sense of balance between work and family within my situation because I choose to have a voice. I’m not someone to let problems solves themselves and always take a proactive approach whereas in this case means speaking.

Honesty. 

This is one of the most important things I’ve learned about relationships, healthy ones at least. Telling the truth may seem like sometimes a BAD idea, but it is always the best decision. When I wasn’t happy with the hours they had stated I spoke up and together we were able to find a common ground.

Confidence. 

Fear is normal to feel when we have to step outside of our comfort zone and do tasks that we may not feel 100% confident with. It’s important to keep a sense of confidence in any situation but essential when speaking with someone of higher power. Often the father will make remarks that would be considered “rude” or “offensive” in the Canadian culture but where I’m in France I have to be more open in every aspect.

Find common bonds.

When you’re able to bring a different interest into the workplace it instantly creates a sense of comfort. Once we were able to distinguish that we both enjoy cooking it was something the father and I were able to start talking about whenever the opportunity presented itself. The mother and I regularly will have the typical women chats about life, kids and love which I think is something that every woman needs.

There is now a very open and comfortable relationship between the family and I when it comes to speaking about issues that arise, which is important in theoretically any relationship that I’ve had. The point i’m trying to make is to use the voice that you were blessed with because you never know what may come from it.

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Growing up is never easy

Something that I’ve recently realized, and has been tough to actually want to come to terms with, is the fact that I’m growing up whether I like it or not.

When we’re younger all we want is to be older, have more independence and be essentially free from rules. So here I am, now a considerably amount older with more freedom than I want sometimes, and all I want is to reverse back time; when life consisted of unlimited ice cream and doing cartwheels on the soccer field.

I’ve been away from home for the past 4 years now but this time is different. I can’t just drive an hour on the weekend to spend time at home or be involved in the annual activities like I used to. I’m used to being able to do anything and be anywhere but that’s impossible in my current situation. I missed out on the annual girls trip which I have gone on with my grandparents, aunts, mother and cousins for years. Of course it’s upsetting not the be able to do everything but that’s life as I’ve come to realize. There will always be things we want to be doing and places we want to be no matter where or what we do.

When I was home I dreamed about being abroad travelling and here I am abroad and dreaming about home. That’s what life seems to be all about; having to make sacrifices simply because we can’t do everything we desire. Imagine having everything in life go perfectly as planned to your utmost satisfaction. Do you think you’d be happy?

More than likely, not.

Growing up I was very fortunate to have the guidance and love that my parents gave me which helped shape me into the person I am today. At home I had a very satisfying life to be honest. I had a car, a roof over my head, a well paying job and was always surrounded by family but that didn’t mean I was happy; or at least the happiest I could be. That’s simply because my time had come to find my place in this world outside of the comfort of my surroundings. Over the past five months I’ve been able to see a whole new person emerge from this body and I’m not about to let her leave.

My happiness is determined by my own choices.

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Goals not Resolutions for 2015

I think it’s important not to set high resolutions that are unrealistic or unpractical. I know that in that past  I’ve definitely done this to myself and then wondered why they were never successful. This year there will be no resolutions just because its a brand new year. Heck I wake up every morning and its a brand new day so what’s the difference. A new day means the ability to start fresh and change the things I’m unhappy with. With that being said I am going to set realistic goals for myself for things that I would like to accomplish throughout the year.

1. Start and finish a french novel. 

2. Travel to at least 3 new cities, notice I wrote cities and not countries because there specific cities within countries I’ve already been to that I need to see. Greece is a must once summer hits, Venice in the spring and fingers crossed for Prague at some point. Oh and Barcelona… Let’s just say there’s no end to my travel list.

3. Gain 10 pounds. Yeah most people might want to start that diet they’ve been putting off for 5 years now, and here I am just wanting the opposite.

4. Read more. Having ebooks are awesome but I’m constantly distracted doing other things on my Ipad instead of reading.

5. Pay off my student loans. I’m able to comfortably do so, therefore I think I should before I watch my interest accumulate when it doesn’t need to.

6. Take a cooking class in Paris. This is something that I’ve wanted to do but once again haven’t…

photo: Codiqua

7. Enroll in the Integrative Nutrition Course.  DONE!

8. Actually start doing yoga or at least gain more knowledge on the sport. 

9. Attend a language exchange meet up in Paris. I have been saying that I’m going to do this for the past 4 months and i’m determined to actually follow through with this before I leave.

10. Go to bed before 11 every night. I have a habit of staying on my phone until past midnight because I leave it plugged in beside my bed which isn’t going to happen anymore. This chick needs sleep.

I’m looking forward to what this new year has to bring. I’ve decided to go back to school and will be starting classes in March on top on my french classes I’m also enrolled in. I’m going to be busy that’s for sure. I’m here in France till at least the end of July and then after that my plans are undecided which may sound a bit, i don’t know. irresponsible? absurd? Actually, I’m finally at a point in my life where the unknown is no longer a fear. Here’s to many new adventures.

Good Morning Montreal

More like good afternoon considering I didn’t wake up until noon, but considering I went to sleep at 5am I don’t think that’s too bad! This trip back has been one hell of an adventure I can tell you that much, a very tiring one at that.

Don’t cry over spilt milk

The famous saying that I’m sure most of us heard from our parents over and over again when growing up. Something that I’ve recently discovered is that they were right. Yep I said it. MOM YOU WERE RIGHT.

So I spent 13 hours in the Halifax airport yesterday and missed my connection to Paris.
So What.

So I’m going to arrive a day later in Paris
So What.

We can’t change unforeseen events in the world but what we can do is make the best of them. I took this as an opportunity to travel to another city that I had yet to go to. I must say that Air Canada did a very impressive job in providing their customers with not only help but plenty of gratitudes.

Upon arriving in Montreal I was given 3 x $10 meal vouchers that can be used in any airport in Canada where Air Canada flies. Here I was pumped to get free coffee when we were presented with more. We even have a discount of 25% for our next flights.

We were given vouchers for two taxi rides to downtown Montreal along with a voucher for the Delta Montreal. The hotel was beautiful itself but the fact that I had my own king size bed for a few hours was amazing. Check out was unfortunately at 12pm so I grabbed a quick shower and headed down for a meal at the restaurant. Now of course we didn’t have to pay for this either as we were given $17 for meals at the hotel. I made my way back the airport in the freezing rain that made for a very slow trip. Not even 5 mins of being inside the airport I was frustrated and completely annoyed with everything .Now the fact that I hadn’t slept could have been a good reason but there should be no excuses, just appreciation! I waited in line for customer service for over an hour only to find out that the lady at Air Canada the night before had upgraded my seat to Executive class because she felt horrible for the amount of trouble I had gone through. She had said that she did secretly but I didn’t think that she actually had; who knew there are actually genuinely nice people in the world. Who am I kidding, She was Canadian, it’s in her blood.

So here I am 3 hours before my flight sitting in the maple leaf lounge with access to unlimited beer, wine and lots of yummy food. Oh, don’t let me forget coffee. The most essential part of my day, everyday.

This journey back was completely turned upside down but I feel almost blessed with what happened. I have a new found appreciation for the airlines, especially when dealing with events like these. Apparently it seems that not all companies are out there to essentially “screw” you over. Air Canada, let’s just say I’ll be flying with you again.

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Staying Positive when negativity arises

Everyone’s initial thought when they are told that their flight is cancelled is going to be a let down, disappointment and pure frustration because we’re human, we have emotions. I’ve currently been sitting at this airport for the past 7 hours with no intentions on leaving anytime soon. I’ve been told when my next connection flight will be which is unfortunately over a day later than planned but there’s a good chance that I’ll be spending the night in this airport along with the other frustrated passengers.

Of course this messes everything up with my arrival in Paris as I now will be coming into CDG a whole day later (the day i’m supposed to start work). I guess this means my first day of work is going to consist of a not so good performance from me. Sorry P. More than likely I’m not going to sleep and on top of that there’s the jet lag, but staying positive is the key. Seriously though what will negativity do to this situation?

1. It’s not the ladies fault sitting at the desk that this plane had mechanical issues making me miss my connection.

2. I get to stay longer in an airport with TIm Hortons, boo yeah!

3. I’m creating interesting memories because no one wants to hear about a boring story.

4. The longer i’m around Canadians the better. I’ve met so many people just by sitting here waiting for our flight.

5. There’s a good chance I will be staying all day in Montreal tomorrow in a hotel so once again, a story!

Surprisingly I haven’t been “bored” yet. Now everyone’s description of what that means is obviously going to be different but i’ve been able to find things to keep myself occupied. How long this will last is another question, but until then i’m going to keep the positive vibes flowing. All I can say is thank god for free wi-fi. I’m able to blog, keep in contact with my family and actually have started a few introductory courses of my nutrition program i’m starting in march!

With every unexpected situation you have two choices. You can complain and be negative about the problem or take it as a opportunity to create memories to last a lifetime. Okay, maybe spending 2 days in an airport isn’t quite a memory but it’s defiantly the first time that I have had any issues with travelling.

What do you do when you’re stuck in an airport?