Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bucket List

Ever wonder what you'll be doing in 20 years? What about 10 years? and 5? When I got up this morning, i couldn't get the thought out of my head. What will I do with my life?! I think this all started the other day when I was talking with a friend about wanting to go teach english somewhere. she reminded me that most countries require you to have a degree before you can do that. I have a diploma, not a degree. This morning i started looking into some schools where i could finish my degree in Tourism Management. Nothing really struct me as overly interesting. Then i began thinking about possibly studying something totally different. Not really sure what that "different" is, but just something other than tourism. I have so many dreams and goals for my life, I'm just not sure if tourism is the best way for me to fully achieve them. Some of my dreams are just random, and others could be elaborated into what i really do as a career.

I have never written down any of my dreams. Which makes it hard to keep track of them. But, I decided that in order to figure out what i'd really like to do in my life, as a career and just to achieve my goals, I should write them down. Below you will find a portion of my bucket list, in no particular order.

Travel around the world
Teach english somewhere
Own and cafe/bakery (a place to sell my cupcakes)
Run a summer camp
Become a nurse
Own a jeep
Take a vacation, with no destination
See John Mayer in concert
See the Northern Lights
Invent something
Write a song
Learn to play piano
Be a great photographer
Snowboard in Whistler
Backpack through New Zealand
Live in Italy
Take a road trip across Canada
Visit the Grand Canyon
Get a tattoo
Shave my head
Hitch hike somewhere
Be a mother
Be a wife
Save someones life
Change someones life, for the better
Own a home
Swim in all of the Oceans (just the Arctic, Pacific and Souther left!!)
Learn to speak french, spanish and italian fluently
Work at an orphanage in South Africa
Write an article, and have it published in a magazine
Get a degree

I know this is a long list. Perhaps I will never achieve some of these things. Perhaps I will be lucky enough to have all my dreams come true one day. I am currently 20 years old, and below is a list of a few of my dreams that have already come true.

Go to Africa
Witness a miracle
Get my nose pierced
Work for the Tim Horton Children's Foundation
Own a digital SLR
Go to Ecuador
See the Eiffel Tower
Visit Florence - where mom's engagement ring is from
Get my motorcycle licence
Take a flight by myself
Get dreadlocks
Graduate high school
Graduate from college
Learn to play guitar
Learn to snowboard
Own a Mac
Swim in the Indian Ocean
See an elephant, in it's natural environment

Some may say that I have already achieved so much. I am aware that I am lucky enough to have achieved so many of my dreams already. I have a loving family, and amazing friends, who support everything I choose to do. Many people don't have that. I hope that someday I can be part of someones family, or group of friends, that provides this support for them; to encourage them to achieve their dreams.

Anyone can come up with a list of things they'd like to do or see; but what is their ultimate goal in life? What do they really want to achieve? My dad taught me to live life every day, and to give away all of my love. As long as I am living life every day, and giving away all of my love, I will be one of the happiest, and luckiest people on this planet. As much as i'd like to figure out what I will be doing in 20 years, 10 years, 5 years, or even in a month and a half (when my contract with the THCF is over), as long as I am living life every day, and giving away all of my love, I will be happy.

Monday, September 27, 2010


One hundred twenty five days.

I have been living in Tatamagouche for 125 days! thats insane! 4 months Saturday i arrived at the Halifax International Airport, from Zurich, Switzerland, after my adventure in Tanzania and Switzerland. 4 months ago yesterday, I arrived here at the Tim Horton Children's Camp in Tatamagouche.

It doesn't feel like it has been that long at all, but looking back, so much has happened. I've met more than 1000 kids from all over, I've made some new friends and saw some old ones, I've learned a whole lot, and so much more.

People ask me all the time "so what's it like living in Tatamagouche?" and all I can really say is "it's good". I mean, I don't really get out much. I live at camp. And, usually, I don't have a car, so its not like I can go anywhere anyways! But yesterday, my group left after lunch, and everyone else was gone, so I was here by myself. Wasn't too sure what to do with myself! Mom and Dad are on the other side of the world right now, so I have their car for a little bit, so i decided to head into Tata to see what was going on. I ended up at the grocery store, bought some fruit and some chicken, and came right back to camp. There isn't really much to do here I guess. Nobody was even at camp. Rachael and Jo were both off, so they weren't at camp. I wasn't hungry to eat the chicken I got. So I just sat for a few minutes, then decided to go and enjoy the alone time, and go explore camp without any campers. I grabbed Jo's macro lens and decided to go for a walk and see what I could find.

Camp is weird when nobody is here. It's quiet, and calm, and almost scary. I was in tata pines (small wooded area next the a field), taking some pictures, then just for a second, i put my camera down to enjoy the silence, and a HUGE bird flew out of a tree above my head! I don't really know my birds, but it looked like an owl or something! it was a rich, chocolate brown, and the sound of its wings scared me half to death! before i could get my camera back up to get a picture, it was gone. so i walked in the direction it went, but lost it so i continued taking pictures. i started to hear some crows making noise, and it went on for at least 5 minutes, so i walked in that direction to see what was going on. there must have been 15 of them, just screaming at each other. i wonder what they were talking about! as i got close to them, they all took off in the same direction. they must have been hunting or something. i kept walking, and stopped to snap a shot of the reflection of a tree in the mud puddle i was about to walk through, when that owl like bird flew out from a tree. again, i didn't get a picture, but got a better look at it. it was so cool! i tried to follow it, but it hid itself in the trees, and was nowhere to be found!

So, 125 days in Tatamagouche, and I have had very few days to be bored, or not sure what to do with myself. I guess theres always something to do. Keeping busy with work, exploring, or doing crafts! It's not bad here. Just 68 days left... not that i'm counting. WOW! just 2 more months! now that sounds crazy!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Secret little towns

I guess its not really a secret town, but i had never been there, nor heard of it. Perhaps I should update my knowledge on the small towns in Ontario. A few weeks ago I was traveling to northern Ontario with a brand new friend (we met the evening before) to take part in a CUI course. Both of us work for the Tim Horton Children's Foundation, but Cory works at one of the camps in ontario. anyways, during our 4 hour drive to Muskoka Woods, I began to realize I was no longer in Nova Scotia.

We were getting more and more north, and the senery changed from busy Toronto rush hour, to green trees and rock along the side of the road. Now, Cory loves to talk, and had some of the most interesting stories i've ever heard, but for a moment, the car was silent. no radio, no talking, just silence. I had the opportunity to just think, and enjoy where i was. I remember turning to Cory and saying "this place is beautiful". he gave me a funny look, as if i was joking or something. previously we had been discussing some of our travels, and sharing stories. he was telling me how he had spent some time in nova scotia a few years ago, and i think he knew more about the province than i do! I guess i don't take the opportunity to appreciate my home - and apparently he didn't either. he asked me to explain my thoughts on this "beautiful" highway. really, there wasn't much around. just some big rocks, and tall trees. but i thought they were beautiful. just as i was trying to explain how i thought the rocks looked cool, all different colors, and so big, my jaw dropped. Cory looked at me confused. Ahead of me was the coolest thing i'd seen in a while! there was an overpass we were about to go under, and on either side of us there was a giant rock! it looked just like all the other ones, but it was as if the centre of it was cut out for the highway, and they left either side of the rock there. the sides were so flat. now, knowing me i wish i was ready for it so i could have taken a picture, but i wasn't. my camera was all put away in the back. so, i told Cory that we would have to stop on our way back at the end of the course. He laughed slightly, thinking i was crazy, but said sure thing! I proceeded to think about this rock all week, and told everyone about it. I'm sure they now all think I'm the crazy girl from Nova Scotia, and apparently they don't have rocks in Nova Scotia either...

Well... here's my rock. we couldn't stop because it kinda snuck up on us, and there were lots of cars around. but i was ready this time - camera in hand. and was able to get a picture out of the back window of the van. I doubt anyone else will enjoy it as much as i do!

As we continued driving, we found our exit and proceeded to find out destination. we were a bit ahead of schedule, but wanted to find Muskoka Woods, as we were in the middle of nowhere and weren't sure if our directions were right. We had to pass through a small town called Rosseau in order to get to Muskoka. Muskoka Woods was just another 2 or 3 minutes down the road, so once we found it, we decided to turn around and go check out the town. we thought it would be a good idea to park and go walk around, so we did. there as a building across the street, which was a library, town hall and fire station.

We walked over to the building, and saw some people standing outside. they were so friendly, and as we walked by they all said hello in a cheery voice, and a big smile on their face. we were clearly from out of town, and they were curious as to what we were doing. we got to talking, and one of the ladies just got back from a vacation in Nova Scotia. she was visiting her sister, who happens to live on my street!! how ironic is that! As well, Cory and i had just been talking about my trip to Tanzania, and how i want to go to South Africa. these ladies were a group of grandmothers who were having a lunch to listen to some ladies who went to South Africa to work with another Grandmothers group, who take care of all the small children in their community. it sounded so interesting! but we didnt have time to stay and listen. we did help them cary in all of their stuff and set some things up! they were so grateful! it was really cute. 

we continued to walk around the block, and check some things out. heres what we found. 

We also came across a general store. when we went in and commented on how they had everything, they said "yup! if we don't have it, you don't need it!" this was painted on the side of the old school general store.

When we got back into the car, Cory was saying how Rosseau reminded him of some places in Nova Scotia. I kind of turned my head, then again, was reminded of the fact that I haven't spent enough time exploring around here. perhaps that will be my next adventure. eventually we had to end our exploring around Rosseau, and continue down to Muskoka Woods for our CUI course. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010


So, it's been a while since i've last blogged... I started blogging before my trip to Tanzania and Switzerland. When i got home, i think i felt as though i was back to every day normal life, where nobody would care about what i was doing, or would they be interested in hearing about my thoughts anymore... after all, life back in Canada is just normal - not interesting.

I have come to the realization that I was wrong. Life back in Canada is very interesting, and who says anything is normal now a days. Below you will find a few reasons why i think my life is pretty interesting, and perhaps some of my thoughts over the last little while.

1) I work for the Tim Horton Children's Foundation. It is an organization dedicated to allowing kids to have the ultimate camp experience, in a place where they are accepted, cared for, and can have fun while being a kid. Over the past 3 months i have been privileged to meet 896 children from all over Canada, who each have a different story. Now, I can not tell you the stories of ever camper i met, but there are a few i will never forget. two in particular explain exactly why i love my job, and exactly why i hate my job.

Xavior, a camper from Ohio during session 1, was one of the coolest kids i met thus far in my THCF experience. One of the reasons i think i enjoyed him so much was the fact that he reminded me so much of my brother John. he was pretty short for his age, he talked of biographies and documentaries he watched at home, and the hard core metal music that he loved. on top of that, he had the longest, blondest hair ever! it was fantastic! other than being a pretty interesting kid, he said something to me once, that helped me remember why i returned to camp this summer. We were up at the frog pond, trying to catch frogs. it was a pretty cloudy day, raining on and off, so there weren't many frogs hanging around the edges. the group managed to catch a few, but strangely enough, the 9 and 10 year old boys didn't want to touch them and get dirty. Xavior decided that he'd give it a shot, because he has never had the opportunity to touch a frog before. He was all set, and about to dig his hands into the bucket of freshly caught frogs, when i stopped him and offered to roll up the sleeves of his sweater (the same sweater he had been wearing all week). as i was rolling them up, he looked at at me, with his blond hair his in face, and his round, hippie sun glasses covering his eyes, he said "motor, are you a mother?", i looked at him a little funny and said " um, no why?" and he replied with "well because you are really good with kids, and would make a great mother." i couldn't help but smile at him and say thanks. i'm not ready to be a mother, but i am totally ok with being here and hanging out with these really cool kids at camp. kids, like Xavior, are the exact reason why i love my job.

Megan, a camper from New Brunswick during session 2 (or maybe 3), was the camper i think i spent the most time with all summer. She spoke less english than i did french, but was determined to hang out and laugh with me as we tried to communicate. he had so much energy, and just laughed all the time. she was a pleasure to be around, and was willing to take part in any activity. now, im not going to go into much detail for this story, mostly because it is explaining why i hate my job (but love it at the same time). After our final banquet, which is a special dinner on the last night of camp, which includes a slideshow of pictures from the 9 days that had just past, the cabins had all returned to their tables for snack before heading off to bed. as the groups were finishing up Sydney, Megans counsellor, approached me and asked if i was busy, because Megan wanted to say goodbye. of course i said sure! so she brought her over to me, and Megan was crying so hard she could hardly breathe. we sat on the stairs for a few minutes before i attempted to ask her what was wrong (in french). she didn't say anything for a few minutes, so we just sat, with her head on my legs, and she cried. eventually she began to speak, but with me not really understanding a while lot of french, and with her being upset, it was really hard for me to get what she was saying. i figured it was something not so good, so i knew i should be getting every word that she said to me, but i just couldnt understand. a friend of mine walked by, who happened to be bilingual, so i asked her to translate for me. she sat with us too, but as she was listening to Megan talk, she stopped translating, and just talked with her. i decided that, by seeing the look on my friends face, i should leave. later, my friend told me what she was saying, and she needed report what was said. Megan didn't want to leave camp, where she was comfortable, loved and was able to have fun, because she didn't want to go home where she was scared, and unwanted. That is why i hate my job.

2) reason 2, coming soon...

Monday, May 24, 2010


It has been such a busy few weeks that it has been so nice to just relax and not really do much of anything while we are in Zurich.
We had a long plane ride from dar es salaam to Zurich but I slept most of the way. It was an over night flight so I was tired anyways but I never sleep well on planes. We arrived at about 6:30 am I think, said all of our goodbyes then ventured on way to find the hostel. We managed to get though customs, and went through the line that was for people who didn't have anything to declare. Luckly we were not picked for a random check. I'm not going to take my chances going into Canada doing that though! We got a train ticket for 6.20 franks and about 10 minutes later we were at getting off the train, not knowing where to to next. We ended up not being too far away but the small, windy cobble stone roads are tricky to navigate through when you don't know your way around. By the time we found the place it was about 8:30 and we couldn't check in till 3:00 so we just walked around and got some groceries and had a feast of familier food!
Before this trip I had never stayed in a hostel before but now I think I will only stay in them when I'm traveling. They are cheap, you have everything you need and you meet so many cool people. So far I've made some friends from British Columbia, Calgary, seattle, pensylvia, Ireland, a whole bunch from Germany and some random guys from here who were walking around yesterday with a sign that said free hugs.
Because yesterday was sunday and today is a holiday, almost everything has been closed. Good thing, just keeps me from spending money! We have just been relaxing and walking around. We hung out on the roof top of our padio which is pretty cool. From there you can see the largest clock face in all of Europe - which is across the river! Pretty cool. Lake Zurich looks sweet at night. Last night we hung out on a dock with some of our new friends, sharing traveling stories and giving advice. I cant wait till my next trip.
Well Lindsay and I are off to find a place that can serve us some food. Hopefully something is open!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Last day in Tanzania!

So this morning i got up and went to the fruit market before breakfast and got an avocado - hope its not rotten like my last one! Then i went and got a news paper because Greg, our videographer, and Harrison, our photographer, went to check out the news paper office yesterday and they wrote a story about them, and us being in tanzania! thats pretty cool (when i get home ill scan it for you all to read). we also had CBC call us last week when we were in Mikumi and did a interview with the staff who are here and one of the students, Kristen - if you listened to CBC radio monday morning you would have heard it! everyone wants to know about what we're doing here and the partnership we started. maybe more people will want to get involved and this could grow even bigger - and maybe i can come back here someday! we've done some amazing things while we're here. we went hiking upUdzungwa Mountain to see the 170m water fall and i swam at the bottom of it. i played with wild monkeys at the jozani forest in zanzibar (which was so cool by the way! we went hiking and came across some red colobus monkeys who were super friendly. they were climbing on us, and hanging off our cameras that were around our necks! i had one sitting on my knee and it went to climb up my face.. i think it was going for my nose ring, but it missed and stuck its hand right in my mouth!!). lets see what else - we got to see how the education system works here (we visited a NGO in Bagamoyo that runs a elementary school for 100 students, we had a quick tour of a secondary school in Mikumi, and then we spent a week at VETA, a college, where we had the oppotunity to sit in on classes to learn, as well as teach their students some of the stuff we have learned. it has been amazing! we went on a safari and saw more animals in one day than i've ever seen before - and not just any animals, but lions and giraffes and elephants etc. you know, the cool animals. we danced and sang with Masai on the beach all night in Zanzibar - and they tried to teach us how to through their knives! it was sweet! the culture here is so amazing, i think everyone should experience it! even though it feel so different than home, it is still like home. everyone i meet is beyond friendly, and will do anything for you. they laugh at us when we attempt to speak swahili, but instead of just laughing, they teach us how to properly say things. the resort hotel that we stayed at in zanzibar has to be the best kept secret in all of africa! it was on a public beach, but nobody else uses it, and was so beautiful. i wish i could have stayed there longer than just one night, but i'm glad we had that chance anyways! if you're lukcy, ill share the name of it with you so you can see for yourself! (that is, when i find out what it was called).
anyways, Ni siku nzuri sana (today is a beautiful day) and i should get back to the hotel for some breakfast before im too late!
i hate that im leaving here this afternoon, there is still so much more to explore and experience. I guess that is all the more reason to come back - i wish we could come back with the same people too. we have all gotten so close and are such good friends! we'll see, maybe it'll happen.
next adventure on my list is switzerland! we will arrive at 6:00am tomorrow morning, and will be home on tuesday night. it's going to be so much fun! we dont have much planned, but we have a place to stay, so don't worry! also not sure on the internet connection, but if i get a chance, ill be sure to let you know how its going.
Thanks everyone for keeping in touch, i'll be home soon :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Burnt to a crisp!

Well it is wednesday evening and we just got back to Dar es Salaam from Zanzibar. We had a great few days! We took the farry over at 7:00am on Monday and hung around in stone town. it was a pretty emotional day, as that is where the slave trade took place. It was a rough day because i was so tired - i feel like all of my emotions were to the extreme. oh well, im glad we had a chance to experience that!
the next day we did a spice tour and then tried a bunch of fresh fruit!! ahhhh it was soooo amazing! i will never try such fresh fruit again i dont think! we watched a guy climb a coconut tree, cut some down, and we drank the juice right from it! such a cool experience. and now my new favourite thing is fresh lemon grass tea, with a drop of pure vanilla. its so good!
after the tour we headed to our hotel for the night. it was beautiful! i think it was the most beautiful secret i've ever seen. there was nothing else around except this small resort and most of the people working there were massi people... dressed in traditional dress. very cool. last night we were dancing with them. they spoke about the same amount of english as we did swahili. it was fun though! this morning we got up and went right to the beautiful beach! i ended up getting SOO burnt! but it was totally worth it. i didnt have much color to me before today - this will turn to a tan soon i think... for now im just keeping the ibuprofin in me and aloe close by!
we came back to Dar es Salaam this afternoon via plane. what an experience! i've gotta run for dinner now - just have 30 second left of computer time!
we leave here on the 21st, and ill be home from switzerland on the 25th!
see you all soon :)