Socializing

Isn’t it funny how nobody teaches classes like “How to Socialize?” If we were never taught to socialize, then how did we happen upon it? And why are some people better at it then others?

Ok, well first of all, I am very much aware of the fact that some people are extroverts while others are introverts. But I’ve come to notice that some people, regardless of being extroverted or introverted, are better than others at socializing. Part of me wonders if this comes from experience. For example, some people might be more adept at socializing because they’ve done so more often then other people. But sometimes, that’s not enough.

Being around people is so complex when you really think about it. Every single human being is a very unique individual, with its own personality, emotions, humour, morals, values, opinions and thoughts. Of course, we do without a doubt have similarities and agree upon certain things, and that’s one of the reasons we are inclined to want to socialize with certain people. But that still doesn’t touch the subject of the quality of social skills that a person can obtain.

I think the most important factor that influences the quality of one’s social skills is that person’s confidence. If you don’t doubt yourself, you are more likely to be comfortable not only around other people, but also comfortable interacting with them. These interactions that are so common for most of us can be quite difficult for others who can’t stop thinking about their discomfort, their anxiety, and the stress that comes with not knowing the outcome of any human interaction.

A few days ago, I met a man who’s wife suffers from social anxiety. She was supposed to attend the get together with him, but at the last minute, she didn’t feel comfortable anymore when thinking about putting herself in the set environment of our social gathering. It made me wonder about the process of learning to socialize and how it must be done in very precise steps so as to gain a certain comfort level before moving on to a bigger challenge.
And here I was thinking “Why aren’t I good at socializing?” In that moment, it slipped my mind that there are others who are facing much bigger issues concerning the subject of socializing than just “not being good at it.” I empathized at the thought of what it might be like to struggle every day. I realized that I’m lucky to be at least where I’m at, and that if I think I have trouble socializing with others, then maybe I can work at it too and improve on that to become a better version of myself.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

November is on it’s last leg, and December is coming up soon. And you all know what that means… Christmas!!
I think I am overly excited about Christmas this year given the fact that I skipped out on Christmas last year, what with being in India and all. Sure, I got to talk to my parents on Skype, but it was really a change of scenery to not be surrounded by family and friends. This year, I’ll get to celebrate three separate Christmases: one in Moncton with my dad who will visit, one in Charlo with Maxime’s family, and one in Halifax with my mom. Luckily, I am now a pro at multi-Christmas celebrations, and it’s honestly one of my favorite part of the holidays.
OK, don’t get me wrong. Travelling in Canadian winter isn’t always great, but I always take my time and drive reasonably for the conditions and end up where I need to be at one point or another. I remember two years ago there was quite a storm on Christmas Day, and my ex-boyfriend and I had decided that we would travel from Bathurst, NB to Halifax, NS on that exact day, so as to see both our mom’s on Christmas Day. Well, it may have taken us all day, but we made it safe and sound, and still managed to spend quality time with both our mommas.

 

This year, it’s going to be a little bit more tricky. Some of you might be wondering, “Why is that? Charlo isn’t that much further than Bathurst?” Well here’s the thing: Max and I will be driving from Grande Prairie, AB, to get to Moncton, NB, for the first holiday celebrations. We don’t have a specific date of departure yet, as that will depend on when Max is off from work, but hopefully we will head out around December 18th or 19th to make it home for December 22nd. Fingers crossed for good weather for this long trip, at least!

 

In preparation for the holiday season, I decided we needed to decorate around the house here in Grande Prairie. It just doesn’t feel like winter without Christmas decorations! At first, I only bought a few decorations for our bedroom + I got us each an Advent Calendar for the month of December. But the more I mulled over it, the more I wanted an real Christmas Tree for the living room. When I brought it up the first time, Max agreed and said he would get me a little Charlie Brown tree. I thought that was a cute idea. That is, until I saw other people posting pictures of beautiful Christmas Trees in their homes. It wouldn’t feel like Christmas without a nice tree. And then I thought, “You know what would be even better? If we went out into the woods and cut the tree down together!” So I twisted his arm a bit and off into the woods we went! We scoped out a decent tree, but were hesitant to cut it down without looking around to see if we could find anything better. After another 10 minutes of searching, we gave up and made our way back to our initial tree. Much to our surprise, there was a beautiful thicker tree right next to the one we had been looking at! We knew right away that that was our tree, so we got to work hacking at the tree trunk with an ax. The trunk wasn’t too thick so it didn’t take long before the tree fell over. And don’t worry, it didn’t fall on me!

 

We walked back up the trail, Max dragging the tree behind him by the trunk. I also grabbed some branches in an attempt to make a wreath later on. But now was the tricky part: figuring out how to tie the tree on top of my Oldsmobile Alero without it slipping off before we made it home. Typical crafty Max got to work right away tying it with rope around the roof of the car, and it seemed to be quite secure. Here he is standing proudly next to the tree.

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The tree did slip back a little bit during the trip home, but nothing to be worried about. When we made it back to the house, we took it down pretty easily and then went to see if we could find a saw in the garage to cut the bottom of the trunk evenly. Success! Max did the handy work while I set up a spot for the tree in the living room. He finished the work and started dragging the tree inside.

 

“Wait a minute… does this tree seem tall to you?”

“Uh… I don’t know. I figured it would be fine.”

“I don’t think it’s going to fit…”
We try to place the tree trunk into the tree stand and Max attempts to push it near the window in the living room. He was still about two or three feet away from the window when the top of the tree started scrapping the ceiling.

 

“Crap.”

 

Luckily, the house is built with higher ceiling at the peak of the roof, so we were able to set up the tree next to one of the couches without damaging the top of the tree. Ouf, close call!

 

Next up is decorating the tree! I’ve actually been going to Michael’s quite a bit these past few weeks, and they had a great sale on Christmas decorations last week so I decided I would set a budget and buy just a few things for the tree. The decorations were to be simply, but beautiful. I went with two sets of white lights, a package of taupe and silver balls, and silver mesh. I also bought a small black and gold tree as a decoration for the banister that leads to the front door. So we got to work and set everything up on the tree together. I could not have been more impressed by Max; turns out he has an amazing eye for decorating!

 

Here it is, our perfect Christmas Tree:

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As you can see, there are already two gifts under the tree. I just couldn’t wait to start wrapping! Soon there will be some more boxes and some cards hanging in the tree for all our family and friends. If you’d like to get a Christmas Card from our home to yours, don’t hesitate to send me your address within the next two weeks!

 

Can’t wait to see you all during Christmas break! xoxo

Birthday Celebrations

November 9th 1990 marks the day that someone I care about deeply was born. He is my right hand man, my partner in crime, my other half. And today, I get to celebrate his 25th birthday with him.

Turning 25 is a big turning point in some peoples lives, and I think it will bring many changes for both of us. So given the fact that we’ve been apart ever since we started dating, I decided to do something really special for his birthday gift. I crafted/bought a total of 25 gifts for his 25th birthday. He has no idea that I chose that concept, but only knows that I built something by hand for his gift. In case it wasn’t obvious, I suck at surprising people completely. I get way too excited and I give them hints, all the while attempting not to ruin the surprise itself. So far, so good!

I spent all morning doing laundry. Holy camoly. Since when do men own that much clothes?! 6 loads of laundry later, I was finally done. Of course, I kept busy while the machines did their work. I cleaned the room, finished unpacking all my things, and made a list of what I needed for the birthday supper. I actually managed to make it to No Frills without my GPS and without getting lost! … But then I had to get a few other items and I got lost on the way home – oops.

On the menu for tonight is Macaroni Casserole, which is what he eats every year for his birthday. And for dessert, I decided to try a new recipe for Carrot Cake Cheesecake that his sister posted on his Facebook wall. Let’s hope it tastes as good as it looks!

He got home from work at 6:30. I was just finishing icing the cake and there were just a few minutes left on the timer for the casserole. He sat down and looked exhausted. Poor guy. I got the meal out of the oven and prepared two platefuls. Smells delicious; tastes even better. YUM! We basically ate in silence, just shovelling spoonfuls of macaroni into our mouths. Have I mentioned how much I love macaroni? So glad it turned out well because we have leftovers for days!

I cleaned the kitchen up after supper while he took a much-needed shower. No, I am not implying he smells bad! He works with insulation and gets itchy if he doesn’t shower after work. Also the fact that he worked a 12 hour shift definitely merits a pipping hot shower to relax.

And now it’s gift time!! We sat down on the bed, I asked him not to judge me and I proceeded to explain to him that I’ve made/bought 25 individual gifts to celebrate his 25th birthday. His reaction was the cutest thing. While opening the presents, he kept saying “How am I going to be able to top this?” He also decides that for each gift he opens, I will receive the equivalent amount of kisses. We go through them, one by one, some of which are just simple things about us or about home, while others are more personal and thought out gifts.

Now it’s down to the last gift. He knows it took lots of hard work and preparation – four weeks to be exact, with all the little hiccups. I ask him to close his eyes because it was too big to be wrapped. He does so. I walk out to the storage closet and carry it awkwardly – it is no small item. I enter his room and place it on the ground, still holding one end to present it to him. He opens his eyes.

“Oh my God. Is that a hammock?”
“Yes.”

“Oh my God, did you MAKE ME A HAMMOCK?!”

“Hahaha yes!!”

“OH MY GOD THAT IS INSANE!”

“Do you want me to give you the last gift?”

“…is it you??”

“Yes!!”

I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that he had guessed the last gift, but there you have it!

PS: We had Carrot Cake Cheesecake while Facetiming with Maxime’s sister and it was OUT OF THIS WORLD!

Cross Canada Roadtrip: Day 5

I’M GOING TO GRANDE PRAIRIE TODAY! I’M GOING TO GRANDE PRAIRIE TODAY!

Can you tell that I’m jittery? Can you tell that I’m excited past the point of sitting still? Can you tell that I am overcome with joy just at the thought that today I get to see the one person I haven’t been able to stop thinking about these past two months? Newsflash: I AM!

Ok, calming it down now.

The alarm went off at 5:30AM and I was wide awake. I went to shut it up, got changed, packed up my stuff and went straight to the car. Unfortunately, I was not met with the same enthusiasm from my companions. They did wake up, nevertheless, 10 minutes later and slowly made their way to the car. And we were off to Alberta!

I wasn’t sure how to feel about today, concerning the length of the day. Was it going to be a quick day? The trip to Edmonton was only 5 hours, and then I would drive an extra 4 by myself to get to Grande Prairie. Or was it going to be a very long day given that I couldn’t wait to just get there? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Like every other day, we were looking forward to our little stop at the border to take a group picture. Oddly, there actually was no sign to advise you of crossing into Alberta, so we had to make due with tall orange polls that marked the divide in the town of Lloydminster. Very peculiar!

AND NOW WE’VE MADE IT TO EDMONTON! After enjoying a wonderful lunch with an old friend from down home, it was time for us to part ways. I drove Julie and Remi to the West Edmonton mall for our final goodbye, where we proceeded to hug and be our silly selves. Our last group shot and bam, I was on the last leg of the race! Final destination: Grande Prairie. Estimated time of arrival: 5PM.

It was very different to be driving by myself, especially in an area that was so unfamiliar. I stupidly chose not to gas up in the city and actually almost had to turn around if I had seen a gas station across the highway. It’s strange here in Alberta. You can actually use the meridian between the divided highway to get to the other side. I was hesitant at first but you know, if I have to choose between crossing a divided highway or running out of gas, I think I’ll stick to the first option.

I will admit, this part of the trip seemed never-ending. Time was going by slower than usual, however I was glad that the excitement of my arrival was keeping me wide awake so no need for extra pit stops.
When I finally saw the “Grande Prairie” sign, my heart nearly exploded. I was sweating bullets. For God’s sake, what is wrong with me right now?! My excitement has turned into nervousness, and I have no idea why! I kept driving and driving, following my dying phone’s GPS directions, but something felt weird. I kept thinking “This doesn’t look like where Maxime lives…” I double check the GPS and instead of having the specific address as the destination, it simply brought me to the middle of the city. CRAP! I pull over and hurriedly punch in the address into google maps, hoping it doesn’t die out before I get there. It gives me new directions, and although it’s only 10 minutes away, it feels like an eternity!

OK. I’m at the front door. At least I hope it’s the front door. Oh God, what if this isn’t even the right house? No, it has to be. His old green Chevy is parked in the driveway, and there’s no way that someone else on the same street has the exact same truck.

I knock.

I wait…

No answer.

I text Maxime with the 3% of battery life left on my phone.

I knock again.

I hear footsteps!

The door opens…

“Go away, we don’t want any,” he says with a smirk on his face.

I laugh and push the door open.

I walk inside and I am welcomed by the warm embrace of his arms around my waist and his lips pressed against mine.

I know happiness. I am immersed in it.

Cross Canada Roadtrip: Day 4

I was a bit nervous about today. Quite so, actually. Today was not only the day before my arrival in Grande Prairie, but it was also the day we would be accommodated by strangers. Ok, not complete strangers. The family who is hosting us tonight are related to the husband of a woman  who sells me Mary Kay products. But long story short, I have no idea who they are.

But the day did start off wonderfully, and once again, I was hit by a wave of gratitude. We went out for breakfast to this beautiful french café in Winnipeg with Chantal, Mireille, and Chantal’s sister. I don’t know about the rest of them, but my food was out-of-this-world delicious! I ate until my stomach ached – it was that good. And as if my morning wasn’t great enough already, Chantal decides to pick up the tab for everyone! I was once again overwhelmed by my friend’s kindness and generosity. I truly am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such wonderful people.

On the way back to Chantal’s apartment, she gave us a quick tour of Saint-Boniface and its surroundings. We did have more time to spare this morning, as opposed to other mornings, but we still wanted to get a head start on driving, especially because we didn’t want to put out the Gareau family by arriving late.

Our next stop: Saskatoon. And on the way, lots and lots and lots of flatland. Fields of yellow and greying brown. Definitely something I was not used to seeing. And what a treat it was to see a sunset over the prairies!
We tried to minimize our pitstops today, limiting them to gassing, stopping for a picture at the province border, and once to eat. Let’s take a minute to talk about our stop at the restaurant. Just to put you all into perspective, we’ve been sleeping about 5-6 hours per night, if we even got that much sleep, for the past 3 days. Therefor, we are beginning to see the effect of being overtired. So in a public restaurant, we decided it would be a great idea to pretend the inanimate objects on the table were characters in a story, each needing to be voiced and controlled by each of us. And of course, what fun would it be to play pretend without filming it? I honestly have not laughed this much in a very long time!! (Feel free to check my Facebook Profile if you want to see a clip of this!)

All silliness aside, we arrived at our destination around 8:30PM. Hoping we were at the right house, we lugged our overnight bags to the front door – Dorothy had told me that basement door would be unlocked but we couldn’t find it – and were kindly greeted by a cute little 6 year-old boy named Dustin. Behind him stood his parents, Dorothy and Ryan, as well as his 9 year-old brother Jordan. We introduced ourselves and thanked them right away for their hospitality. They then gave us a quick tour of the house. When they showed us the basement where we were to sleep, we almost cried of joy at the sight of three individual beds! Praise baby Jesus, as my mother would say! We were so tired, we were debating going to bed immediately, but we didn’t want to seem rude so we chatted with our hosts for a bit, at least until they headed out to their volleyball game. Soon thereafter, we started getting settled into our beds, but not before eating some delicious nacho dip they insisted we try! We managed to stay awake until they all came home from the game, at which point we presented them with a small gift and a thank you card for their generosity. We are so fortunate to have been greeted with such warmth and kindness by complete strangers. Just simply amazing.

Cross Canada Roadtrip: Day 3

Do you know how far it is from Blind River, ON to Winnipeg, MB? Let me tell you how far it is. It is 1527kms. It is 16.5 hours of driving. It is an endless winding road with no cell phone service. It is the longest day of our trip. It is countless pitstops at sketchy gas stations with incredibly overpriced gas. It is laughing, sleeping, feeling cranky, feeling hungry, feeling bored, for hours on end. It is all these things and as hard as it was to get through, I know it’s worth every minute of it!

It wasn’t a super eventful day, and I will spare you the boring details of everywhere we stopped, be it for gas, the washroom, or just taking some pictures along the road. Nevertheless, there were highlights during this long drive.

Let’s start by mentioning the view of the lake as you drive through Northern Ontario. Simply breath-taking! I actually found it quite similar to sceneries found in Cape Breton and loved that we could drive around surrounded by water, and then all of a sudden surrounded by mountains. It was a nice reminder of home, but with a unique beauty attributed to Ontario’s landscape.

During this long drive, I also did a lot of thinking, mostly about my last thought in the previous post. “I am so fortunate.” The fact kept rolling around in my head all day long. I am so fortunate to be able to travel. I am so fortunate to be able to do so with wonderful companions. I am so fortunate to be accommodated in such a hospitable manner every night. I am so fortunate to be able to create wonderful memories with everyone that I visit and encounter during this trip. I am so fortunate to be well, and alive, and happy.

And for all these things for which I am fortunate, I am also thankful. I want to give special thanks to my old roommate Chantal for hosting me and my brother tonight, in spite of our late arrival – again. It was so great to catch up with an old friend, and of course, the night wouldn’t be complete without a great conversation with my other half. And now I lay in bed half asleep, looking forward to all the amazing things that tomorrow will bring.

Cross Canada Roadtrip: Day 2

Oh God. Waking up has never been as painful. And yesterday wasn’t even the longest day of travel. Eek. Well, let’s hope for a better night’s sleep tonight.

Remi and I got up at 6:45, got ready and hit the road at 7:30AM. Of course, we didn’t leave without saying goodbye + a big thank you to Emilie for keeping us up for the night, especially so late on a week day. From there, we met up with Julie, her sister, and her father to get a quick breakfast. We filled our stomachs to our hearts content and then bid everyone adieu.

Remi took the first shift at 9:00AM, although it took us about half an hour to get out of the city, so we hit the open road by 9:30AM. I tried to get some much needed sleep but to no avail. The  road kept winding, the hours went by. We took a break to eat lunch in a town called Pembroke and then Julie took over as driver. Today must have been my lucky day; I didn’t drive for even a minute. Now don’t go thinking I didn’t offer! But it was only an 8 hour drive, out of which Remi drove 3 and Julie drove 5.

Along the way, we were lucky enough to be passing Lake Nipissing during the sunset and got some nice pictures of the beautiful scenery. Other than that, and gassing up, we made no other stops until we got to my family’s house in Blind River. Our hosts, Lois & John, greeted us at the door upon our arrival at 8PM, and they were even joined by my great-aunt Rita! Oh, and we can’t forget to mention Brandi – cutest dog ever! -who ran outside to greet us in the driveway. After we got our bags inside, they invited us to come and sit down to enjoy a nice home cooked meal. First on the menu: French onion soup made from scratch. WOW! It was honestly the best French onion soup I have ever tasted! And that was just the beginning! Next up was steak and baked potatoes for Remi and Julie, and homemade Alfredo for me – also made from scratch. This was all served with fresh corn, fresh bread, and homemade baked beans. I can’t even find the words to describe how amazing it all was. And as if that wasn’t already enough, John came out with dessert: strawberry filled spongecake topped with cool whip and coffee crisp crumbs. Oh my God. My mouth is watering as I type this!!

After we had eaten 15 minutes passed the point of “Dear God, I’m going to explode,” we decided to retire to the living room to chat while we took turns getting washed up.

It’s amazing the kind of hospitality you can get, whether it be from friends or family, near or far. Not that I wasn’t thankful up until this point, but this is one of the moments when I was immersed by this feeling: I am so fortunate.

Cross Canada Roadtrip: Day 1

Today is the day! My countdown is finally at 0 days! I almost can’t believe that today is the day I begin my trip! You might be asking yourself, “What trip?” Well, let me tell you all about it! My roommate Julie and I are embarking on a Cross Canada Roadtrip. Final destination: Alberta. Reason for going: I’m going to stay with boyfriend in Grande Prairie until Christmas, and Julie is going to visit a friend in Lethbridge. Fun new fact: my brother Remi is coming along as well!

This first day was a bit hectic because our time of departure depended on what time my roommate would finish her nursing exam. I had assumed that it wouldn’t be until later in the morning so I took my grand ole time getting ready. But then I got an unexpected phone call while I was showering; Julie was already done at 9:30AM! Still in the shower, I texted her quickly, then called my mom to go and wake my brother. We hurriedly finished getting everything packed up while our mom boiled some eggs for us to take on the road.

We picked Julie up at her hotel and hit the road around 10:30AM. Remi decided he wanted to be the first to take the wheel since he was more familiar with Nova Scotia roads. Along the way, we decided we wanted to do the typical tourist thing and take pictures of all the province signs. First stop: find the Nova Scotia we missed on the way to Halifax – oops. Then immediately afterwards, take a second picture with the New Brunswick sign.

We kept driving until we got to Salisbury, where we proceeded to stop for lunch at Subway. At this point, Julie decided to take her turn driving through most of New Brunswick, until we got to Edmundston, where we were making a pit stop to visit her godson for a short while. Oh, and we couldn’t stop in Edmundston without trying their famous ployes. My brother had never eaten them so I asked a friend where the best place to go was, and we ended up at the Vieux Poêle Steakhouse. For those of you who might be wondering “What in the world is a ploye and how do you even pronounce that?” Well, it’s food that is comparable to a pancake, but it’s made specifically with buckwheat and is only cooked on one side. You can eat it with various toppings, my personal favourite being butter and brown sugar – yum! As for the pronunciation, I would say it sounds like “ploy,” but with a french accent.

I took the wheel from there on out – don’t worry, there were no Jesus-Take-The-Wheel moments. I only toughed about two hours before getting pretty sleepy, at which point Remi took over. Oh, and we of course stopped at the Quebec border to take a picture with that sign as well.

Our arrival time in Montreal was around midnight. Remi and I dropped Julie off at her sister’s apartment first, then proceeded to go to my boyfriend’s sister’s place. Coincidentally, they actually both lived on the same street, however they were about 3kms apart so we figured walking probably wasn’t a good idea. After taking 50 minutes to look for parking, I slightly regretted not having walked instead. But we did in fact find a spot just two streets away from Emilie’s place and ended up being in bed by 1AM. Dear God, am I ever glad to be able to get some sleep right now.

No more No Spending Month!

Well, the day has finally arrived: November 1st means no more No Spending Month! For those of you who are unaware of what this is, it is a month-long challenge to spend no money other than the bare necessities (rent, bills, gas, minimal groceries). But you know what the funny thing is? I didn’t spend a penny today either. Funny how this might influence my purchases for the next little while.
You are probably all wondering how it all went, and whether or not I managed to survive not spending any money for a whole month. Let me tell you that it was not easy, especially when your friends invite you to go out with them. But on the bright side, as soon as I explain why I couldn’t go out with them, all my family and friends were very understanding and often came up with other stay-at-home activities we could do together to avoid spending any money. And truthfully, I don’t think I would have made it through the whole month without giving up if it wasn’t for all the amazing people in my life.

Let’s talk more about that for a second: the people in my life. Have you ever thought to yourself “Oh my God, how did I ever get so lucky?” Well that’s how I feel about the people in my life. And the funny thing is that these people – yes, I’m talking about you! – haven’t changed in the passed couple of weeks; what did change is that I became more aware of how caring and generous you all are. I don’t know when – well, ok, it actually happen a couple of dozen times – but it hit me. These people are absolutely incredible. They are so wonderful, what would I possibly do without them? They have helped shape me as a person and have influenced me in so many different facets of life. They are part of what makes me, me. And for that, I want to take the time to say thank you. Thank you, even if all you did was buy me a coffee. Thank you, even if you just offered me your leftovers one day. Thank you for offering to pay, even if I said “No, thank you.” To you, it might seem a little meaningless, but it profoundly touched me to see all these acts of kindness throughout the month, realizing what a great support system you all are. I couldn’t possibly pinpoint every single moment, but that’s only because there were so many that I was overwhelmed and could not keep track of them all. You are honestly what helped make this challenge a lot easier.

Of course, I won’t lie to you and say that this was a piece of cake and that I managed to meet this challenge with nothing but grace. Nope. As most people do, I caved. I “cheated” a total of seven times. And I did keep track of this, so here’s the list of things I spent money on (that I wasn’t supposed to):

  • Beverage at Second Cup – I picked the cheapest one, I couldn’t use their wi-fi without buying something.
  • Beer at Old Triangle – Meeting up with a friend to talk about music and writing, I couldn’t resist
  • Vegetarian Burger at Harvey’s – I was tight for time between two volunteering events and didn’t even have time to stop home to make a sandwich, so I found a coupon and went to Harvey’s.
  • Filet o Fish meal at McDonalds – I just caved. Period.
  • Bagel and Muffin at Tim Hortons – Woke up late for volunteering, needed to eat breakfast.
  • 2 shower curtains at Dollarama – The cat decided my No Spending Month was the best time to destroy my shower curtain. Twice.
  • Latté at Second Cup – Meeting with an old friend before heading out on my cross Canada road trip.

A total of seven items. Am I disappointed? No, not really. Half of the time, I accepted the fact that I had to choose between spending a bit of money and not eating. And the point of this challenge isn’t to starve yourself – ok, well maybe starve yourself of material gains.

All in all, I’m pretty proud of myself, especially because I actually ended up spending less money that I had budgeted for my basic necessities. The only groceries I bought during the month were as follows: salmon, cucumber, avocado, green pepper, red pepper, zucchini, pudding. That’s it. However, my roommate did help out a lot with this. She had loads of seafood in her freezer, which was great to add to some pasta dishes, and she always offered me some raspberries that she would buy at Costco. Oh, and did I mention she even took me out to supper to East Side Mario’s? I literally almost cried. I should also mention that my mom bought the supplies for Thanksgiving supper so that definitely helped a lot as well.

The hardest part was probably the last week, also known as PMS week. Thank God for two things: Halloween + My brother. Volunteering at the zoo for Boo at the Zoo meant free food, half of which was junk food. Hallelujah! That, plus we had 4 bags left over from Halloween and I gobbled them all up that same night. As for my brother, well he is just a gem. While he was visiting us this past week, he bought and fed me Kraft Dinner, twice. My mouth is drooling a little just thinking about it right now.

ANYWAY! I will admit that I’m glad the challenge is over. There were a lot of times that I struggled to say no, but I am also glad that I was able to persevere all month long. It was worth it in the end, especially when I look into my bank account and don’t cringe quite as much as usually. I would definitely recommend it if you’re up for the challenge!