Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Happy Birthday, Mom!

It's my Mom's birthday! I've written many, many posts about how amazing and loving my mother is, and you should read them (here, here, here, AND here). I always read through them again prior to writing these birthday posts, and it just reminds how lucky and truly blessed I am to not only call her my Mom, but also one of my best friends!

Kind, thoughtful, supportive, loving. These are just a couple of the many words that can be used to describe who my mother is. But one word that stands out above the others: selfless. My mother constantly puts others before herself. She is always there when you need her, even when you're on the other side of the world. Life is tough sometimes, and something I know to be true is that no matter how old you get and how independent you are, sometimes you just need your Mom.

I could honestly go on forever about how much I love my mother. Family is extremely important to me, and it is the values that have been instilled in me by my parents that have really influenced the person that I am today. What I love the most about the relationship that I have with my mother is how open and honest I can be with her, and I always know that she will be there to listen, give advice (even if it isn't what I want to hear), and to no matter what love me through thick and thin. I can't emphasize enough how truly grateful I am to consider my mother a friend.

Happy Birthday, Mom! I so wish I could be there to celebrate with you! But alas, we are 36 days away from being reunited. I miss you, I love you, and I appreciate you! xoxo

Sunday, May 15, 2016


I did a good amount of cooking last week, which made me SO HAPPY! I wrote in my "Still Here" blogpost about how busy work life had been in April. I foresee it getting busy again in about a week or so as the school year is quickly wrapping up around here. BUT, until then, I'm focusing at home on cooking and building up my cookbook. Last week I added three recipes to my cookbook: Pad Thai (which I learned how to make in Thailand 2 years ago SLASH I'm just looking back now and realizing I didn't write about my cooking class in Thailand. Sad face!), Chicken with White Wine Mushroom Sauce, and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes. 

The chicken recipe was good, but it needs some work and some tweaking. It wasn't QUITE what I had pictured when I drafted the recipe the night before. Notes that I wrote in my cookbook journal include: "Flavour is off. I added salt, but was afraid to add too much because my side of rosemary roasted potatoes were on the salty side. Other flavours that could be added next time: thyme? parm cheese? (maybe as a crisp garnish"?) ????") So, I'm not ready to share THAT recipe yet. 

However, the potatoes I made were brilliant. And they are so versatile. You could substitute so many different herbs if you aren't a fan of rosemary. Or if you are a fan of rosemary, but just like to try new things and explore, like me!

They'd taste amazing with thyme as well. 

And also, grilled on the BBQ. I mean, summer is just around the corner guys and nothing says summer like a BBQ cookout! 


+ 20-25 baby potatoes
+ extra virgin olive oil (appox. 2 tbsp)
+ 2 tbsp roughly chopped rosemary
+ salt and pepper

Rinse potatoes and dice them in to similar sizes (this is really important to make sure they cook evenly!)

Put potatoes on a baking sheet and coat with extra virgin olive. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the chopped rosemary. Use hands to mix and make sure everything is coated evenly.

Bake at 350°C for 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender and crispy on the outside.

PS - Make sure you flip and turn potatoes over half way through the cooking time.

Let me know if you try out this recipe! And let me know if you substitute with other herbs or flavours. I think the next time I make them, I'll use thyme and garlic. Garlic on everything makes it so much better!

And also, thank you everyone for the amazing support and feedback about my goals and new journey! The messages and comments have been an amazing motivator and I'm beyond thankful for all of you who are reading this!

(Links to my Twitter and Instagram pages on the right!) --->

Monday, May 9, 2016

5 Years.

This date always looms over me. And over the last couple of days I've been reflecting, reading old blog posts, and thinking about how I feel. Of course, I feel sad. And I always miss home more than normal today. And, I'm a little breathless and at a loss for words thinking about the reality that it has been 5 years since Grandad passed away.

How does time fly by so quickly? So much has changed in our family, and it makes me sad that he isn't here to see it. I feel like these are the best years of my life recently, and I feel like a completely different person than I was when he died. I've grown immensely, and so has our family. Huge milestones have happened, memories have been made, and journey's have been taken. And I guess I'm in this limbo of feeling sad that he is gone, but also sad that he's not here to be part of our growth. 

And for some people, being "here" doesn't have to be a physical thing. For some people, there is a stage in their mourning where they feel their loved one lost is with them spiritually or in faith. Dealing with Grandad's death has taught me even more that I don't know what I believe. It's very rare, but when I do have a dream about him, I think I feel that his presence in my dream is him being present in my life. "Spiritually." But trying to find happiness and comfort in the idea that Grandad sees what I am doing and he "knows" doesn't work for me. I need him here, in the flesh. I need him here to talk to. I need him here so I can see him. 

Last summer, our family had a little reunion in Saint John. Uncle David came East from Vancouver, and before I fled back to China, we all gathered for fun, food, and family. This. This is when I feel Grandad with us. In the way Uncle Mark smiles and hugs me, the way Brad laughs, the way we dance like fools on the back deck busting a gut laughing, the stories Uncle David tells about their childhood. But most of all, I feel him with us the most when I see how happy my Grandmom is in those moments.  None of this would be our reality if it weren't for her and Grandad. Our successes and growth are reflected in their relationship, their leadership, and their love. 

I love my Grandad so much. I miss him so much. And he continues to be one of the greatest motivators in my life. Always and forever. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Still Here!

YAAASSS QUEEN!! Julia knows what she's talking about! I snapped this picture when I was in Ubud in February because I knew it'd bring me joy every time I looked at it.

It's been a busy couple of weeks in the life of this teacher. Besides the regular grind of being a teacher that includes lesson planning, marking, and instruction, I've been immersed in helping with the school musical. Last week and this past weekend I pretty much spent at school. I was home long enough to wind down for an hour or so, and then go to bed. While it was exhausting and a lot of work, I enjoyed every single minute of it! These students are extremely talented, and I had so much fun working with them. 

But now the show is over, and I am back to focusing on me (and the piles of marking and planning I still have to do/catch up on!) I have some recipes sketched out and planned in my journal, and I'll be doing some heavy cooking this week and next. Except a new recipe in the very near future!

PS - Home in 50 days!!