I recently calculated that if I subtract all of the crazy travel that's happened since we moved west in August, 2015, I've spent just over a year living in Edmonton now. At the beginning of a new calendar year, I felt like taking few moments and reflect on what's been happening during this time.
I've moved and travelled very often over the past few years, and I didn't realize until recently that this has profoundly shaped who I am. I have become rather bad at anything related to permanence, routine or establishing roots. To give a few examples: I have trouble stocking a pantry or shopping for groceries for more than a few days at at time, lest things go to waste in the fridge while we're away. I struggle to establish an exercise routine. I've avoided anything that requires a regular commitment like joining an organization or even volunteering. I've kept my life contained and portable, ready to pick up and relocate.
This has, I've been told, made me a malleable, adaptable person. In many ways, I still abhor routine and can be judgemental of people who I feel are rigid in the way they lead their lives. This year, being at last more rooted, I've begun to see that a lifestyle of constant change and irregularity can be challenging for both one's mental and physical well-being. It's come to my attention that rhythm and ritual can be soothing and also provide stability upon which dreams can be built.
Despite my love of planning ahead, I've kept my plans and ambitions on a short leash throughout the last few years, something that I wouldn't advise fellow business owners to do! I could look back and detail every misstep and regret and "what if..." from the past few years but the truth is that will serve up nothing but anxiety. I've done the best I could with the circumstances I've had, but now I'm feeling immensely grateful to be in one place and to have what I feel is a fresh start.
Moving to Alberta has had a much stronger effect on me than I could have predicted. Moving so far west has meant I've had to give up many things, and make certain sacrifices in order to truly begin my life here. The process of letting go has been painful at times, but I begin 2017 with an almost completely blank slate as a result of everything I've left behind. I am so excited to see what this year will bring. The most warming and encouraging aspect of life here so far has been the people. I've been touched and humbled by the welcoming nature of Edmonton and its people, both on a personal and professional level. I look forward to continuing to meet people and building a community here.
But before I jump into the year ahead, here are a few moments from the past year that were meaningful to me.
In January, we visited the Ice Castle (above), a spectacular structure! Edmonton is an awesome winter city, so it was a lot of fun to get outside and shiver through all sorts of events that celebrate the colder months, such as the Flying Canoe Festival (below).
In the spring, we bought our first home. Shortly thereafter, we welcome Pearl (our three-year-old bearded collie) to our family. Our house is a definite fixer-upper, but with lots of work and some help from our families, we're slowly making it our own. The images below were all taken this summer, so a lot has changed since then. I'm looking forward to showing some progress photos in an upcoming post.
In the early summer, we visited Montreal and Ottawa for work and play. I felt very, very homesick for my former city during this trip.
During July, Brian and I travelled to Manitoba to celebrate our 10-year friendiversary with Jessica, Mark and Peter (photos below by Jessica Antony). It was an absolute blast and I feel so lucky to have these people in my life.
This was the summer that I started shooting in the mountains as often as possible. The photos below were taken by Jennifer de Groot as I photographed Gina and Kevin's engagement portraits.
One of the highlights of my year was receiving the finished bottle of my bespoke perfume from Pura Botanicals. I am so in love with the fragrance Lane concocted for me!
In August, my sister-in-law Carolyn married her love, Brian. I was very excited to be her maid of honour and we had a blast celebrating in Vancouver with them.
Autumn brought vibrant colours, many visits to the farmer's market, Halloween, and visits from both my sister and brother in law (Carolyn and Brian), as well as my brother (Jon). We also travelled back to Ontario for my cousin Elise's wedding.
During the final months of the year, winter arrived in Edmonton and I enjoyed spending a little more time indoors, nesting excitedly as furniture we'd ordered finally began to arrive. We travelled to both Toronto and Vancouver to see family and friends and I relished this time. A particularly awesome moment was spending our first Christmas in the company of Pearl. Having a sweet little dog around is a beautiful thing.
Here's hoping the year ahead is full of magic and excitement for you and yours!