The Curious Canadian

Currently in: Canterbury, England

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Past, Present, and Future….

September has turned out to be VERY busy! I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and planning, and now it’s time to put some plans into action! I’ve had quite a few people messaging me over the past month to find out my plans for next year.. So i’ll answer that in this post.

I’ve spent time reflecting on the contrast between my 2014 and 2013.

Last year was a really hard year for me for many reasons which I won’t get into. It was filled with ups and downs and this time last year I had my world rocked. Everything came crashing down and I was in a really bad place. Eventually I decided that I needed to GTFO of Ottawa because it’s a TINY place where everyone knows everyone, and I felt like I couldn’t go anywhere without seeing, hearing, or thinking about drama.

As bad as 2013 was… I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m thankful for all of my past experiences because they have shaped me into the person I am today. 2013 led me to the best 2014 I could have asked for.

When I came to England I had zero intentions of meeting anyone, or dating at all. My intentions for my year abroad were to learn more about myself through travel and new experiences and do whatever I wanted to do, without answering to anyone! I was going to be selfish and put myself first for the first time in years.

Well lucky for me.. life had other plans. It’s true what they say. The best things happen when you aren’t expecting them.

6 days after arriving in England, I was out with some of the other au pairs. We were finished up at the pub early, and on our way to the car when someone had the idea to head to a different pub to see if her friends were there. They weren’t, but we decided to stay and have a drink anyways. We sat down at a table and started talking to the group sitting at the table next to us (a table full of different accents like ours usually attracts attention). And it was all downhill from there..

I wish I could say it was some romantic meeting, or love at first sight.. but it is what it is. We met in a pub, talked a bit that night and haven’t stopped talking since! 

Without being too sappy, I’m happier than I ever dreamed possible. I believe I’ve truly met my other half. My better half. He makes me a better person, and turns my weaknesses into strengths. We’re very different people and come from very different places but I believe that makes us stronger together. He makes me see things in ways I would never think of. And most importantly, he makes me smile and laugh. Every damn day.

2014 has been the greatest year of my life! I’ve had the chance to do and see things I never thought possible. It’s been magical.

So that’s the past and present covered. Which leads me to the future…

I’ve decided to stay in England!

When I’m finished my current au pair position at the end of the year, I will be staying and (hopefully) doing a job in childcare here. This month has been crazy busy! I’m in the process of trying to translate my ECE qualifications over, and starting my job search. 

I’ve had my ups and downs this year, especially because it’s hard being away from home and my loved ones. It’s taken a lot of adjusting and there are still lots of things I don’t like about England, but the list of reasons I LOVE England is much longer.

So that’s where I’m at. It’ll be a lot of hard work to try to stay, but I’m ready for the challenge. I’m beyond excited to see what the next few months, and 2015 bring!

-Em

Filed under travel aupair canadian england love work childcare ece

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Quick Summer Update…

So it’s been a while! I got so busy this summer and completely neglected this blog. Now that my host children are back in school I’ve got more time to actually sit down and think!

My summer was amazing. I can’t think of a weekend I was home and doing nothing. At the same time, I’m trying to think of what I did and it’s all a blur!

Here are some of my highlights:

I had visitors from home (Sarah, Amanda and Jimmy…I love you guys and can’t wait to see you all again!) and had the chance to explore more of this beautiful country with them. Between the two visits, we saw lots of London, Harry Potter Studios (life=complete), spent a few hours in Edinburgh, explored castles, the sea side, and indulged in many, many ciders!

Many days were spent in the sun, by the beach, exploring nearby towns, and visiting a few castles (of course!).

I also took a trip with the boy to Amsterdam, which was a lot of fun. The city is beautiful with it’s canals and bridges, and VERY eco-friendly. Bikes are the preferred mode of transportation and there are bike lanes everywhere. We rented bikes for a few hours on our last day in the city and I’d say that was my favourite part of the trip! Who knew I could actually ride a bike?

Summer was a fantastic opportunity to put all of my responsibilities on hold, and just enjoy my time in England. I used it as an excuse to think about my future plans a little bit more before actually deciding anything.

Which brings me to my next post…..

Filed under aupair canadian travel summer vacation visitors home

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Just because you were born and raised in one country doesn’t mean that it’s the country that you want to live in or feel at home in. Just saying, people move, people ADAPT. And people grow and change from experiences. That’s life
(via adondeyomelleve)

(Source: bellydance-love, via sispigoes)

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My life in England..

is complicated.

It’s tough, stressful, emotional, joyful, exciting, and so full of new experiences. Most of all, it’s full of unexpected ups and downs and it feels like I’m on a never ending roller coaster.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far is meeting people. As an Au Pair, I work at home. I’ve met many other Au Pairs in my area, but that’s as far as my “work” social circle goes. The problem with meeting people this way is that being an Au Pair is a short term job. People are constantly coming and going, and no one is settling here permanently.

When most people move to a new place, they make friends at work or school and meet people that way. I don’t have that luxury. And as for adult sports teams or co-ed sports? Yeah… they don’t exist in my area.

Besides the fact that I can’t think of a single way to meet friends (other than going out to a pub with a sign that says “Desperate: Will trade hugs for friendship”), I’ve also got another issue which is having the time to make new friends. Between work, babysitting, and a boyfriend (no, I’m not blaming him or complaining that I’ve got a boyfriend because he’s wonderful!), I’ve got absolutely no time to go out and meet new people. My weekends are solidly booked up and I work so late on weekdays that it’s impossible to go out. Plus everything in England closes at stupid early hours.

Another thing that myself and many others have noticed is that many people here just aren’t interested in making new friends. Many people have got their group of friends, and aren’t really open to meeting new people or adding to their group. Which is great…. except for people like me who have no one and would love to meet new people.

Not being able to meet people or make friends can make it EXTREMELY lonely here, and it really makes me long for home. I miss being able to call someone up and go for coffee when you just need to get out. Or go to a movie with, or sit around in pajamas watching lame movies with. 

In theory, moving away for a year as an Au Pair is an easy move. Making short term friends with other Au Pairs sounds fantastic. Meet some people from different cultures, set up travel connections, see some of the world, and be on your way 365 days later!

But what happens when life has other plans for you? What happens when you’re thrown a curve ball, all of your circumstances change, and all of a sudden a year isn’t long enough? And the perfect short term job you have just won’t do and you have to find a real job and a place to live and figure out a town to live in. And those short term friends you made have moved away, and now you’re left lonely in a country that you’re supposed to be fighting to stay in? 

Welcome to the complexity of my life.

It’s really hard to plan out my next steps when I’ve got so many conflicting thoughts about my current situation, and what life “could” be like in the future. It’s really hard to plan around “what ifs” and distant possibilities. And it gets difficult to differentiate between what’s best for me, and what’s easiest for me. 

I’m really hoping to just enjoy my summer and think about all of my impending decisions come September. But anyone who knows me knows that I’m an over-thinking pessimist, which means these thoughts will be constantly weighing on my mind until I figure out my life.

Filed under travel aupair england canada decisions moving adventure wanderlust

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6 Months!

In celebration of being halfway done my original intended time in this country, here is a list of some of the things I love and hate about England!

Things I Love:

- Drinking tea at all hours of the day. I love that people here offer tea rather than coffee, and I’ve finally learned how to make the perfect cup.

- Costa (Yes, I know it’s actually Italian coffee, but it’s just so good!)

- Being greeted with the word “Cheerio!”.

- Fish and Chips. The ones at home just don’t compare!

- The fact that almost any word can be used to describe being drunk

- Crepe carts on pretty much every high street <3

- CIDER, CIDER, CIDER! <3 I could never, ever go back to living in a place where there isn’t 20+ varieties of cider available for my joyous consumption!

- Castles

- All of the different accents. Pretty much everyone you encounter has a slightly different English accent.

- The lovely people I’ve met 

- The weather (most of the time)

- Indian Food! It’s so much better here than at home!

- Cobblestone streets

- Architecture. Everything here is just so old and beautiful, and I love the fact that everything has a history. My coach house that I live in is more than twice as old as Canada!

- Casual Drinking. I really like that you can have a drink at any time of the day and not be considered an alcoholic.

- Pubs everywhere

- Being able to buy booze pretty much anywhere. You can buy alcohol in most shops at any time of the day. TAKE A HINT, ONTARIO!!!

- Football (Soccer). I’ve really come to appreciate the enjoyment of watching a football game in a pub with a pint. (I still miss hockey though!)

- English countryside. There’s absolutely nothing like it! <3

- Sheep EVERYWHERE. They make me inexplicably happy.

- London

- Red telephone booths (Tip: Do not touch one unless you want to pick up some sort of disease)

Things I really dislike (or don’t understand):

- Expensive transportation. It costs me roughly $9 Canadian to get 10 minutes up the road on a bus (middle of town to home)! The trains are even worse.

- Everything (shops, pubs, restaurants, etc) closes insanely early

- Being greeted with “You all right?”…. This is one I still don’t understand and I would love it if someone could explain this to me. I still have no idea how to respond to this and I feel like an idiot every time, because I know they’re not actually asking how I’m doing.

- Sluts in the pubs. I’d like to point out that the English girls that I’ve met and befriended are all super sweet and this is NOT about them! However, the majority of English girls (or maybe I should just say girls in England) just seem like absolute idiots. They get dressed up in skanky clothes and hooker shoes just to go out to the pub. Plus they’re just really obnoxious drunks.

- Most people don’t love foreigners. Many English people are pretty bitter about their country being overpopulated by foreigners, especially people from other countries in the EU (read: Eastern Europeans), Although most are friendly toward me, I get pretty upset by their intolerance of others.

- Blatant, casual racism. Although most English people will say that they don’t mean the things they say negatively, I can’t think of a single day I’ve been here where I haven’t heard something politically incorrect, racist, discriminatory, or prejudice. I dislike that most of the people here think it’s okay to make the “jokes” that they do, and get extremely uncomfortable in these situations.

-Constantly being asked if I’m American, and having to explain that being Canadian is NOT “the same thing”. The next English person to ask me where in America I’m from is going to get back,  ”So tell me, where in Wales are you from?” 

- Schools (their school system is shit)

- The way they pronounce “Tomato” as “Toe-mah-toe” and correct me when I say it. Listen up, English folks.. If you pronounce “Potato” as “Potato”, then there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON WHY YOU SHOULD PRONOUNCE “TOMATO” ANY DIFFERENTLY!!!!!!

- Using the words “loo” or “toilet” to describe the washroom (or bathroom). It just sounds gross.

- Saying “wee” instead of “pee” (same reason as above).

- Mushy peas. Self explanatory.

- Coriander (cilantro) in EVERYTHING and making no mention of it on the menus. I get so pissed off every time this happens because I can’t even force myself to eat it. 

Filed under england canterbury aupair vacation work