We’re moving back home

It’s official – both Max and I are moving back home!! We didn’t want to start announcing it too soon, but things are coming along pretty quickly, and then yesterday I got an e-mail from my boss in Moncton who asked if I could come back next week to start work early, so I figured it was probably time to tell everyone. 🙂

It’s not that I don’t like it here in Alberta, but I am beyond excited to go back to the East Coast! I never thought I would miss it this much, but I do. So as always, I started planning this trip way in advance and I basically just have to pack my clothes and toiletries and everything is done!

Initially, the plan was for me to go back to Moncton to work for the summer since I had received a job offer back at the zoo. The contract is for a maternity leave from May to mid-august, at which point I planned on slowly making my way back to Grande Prairie to continue working in schools when September came around. However, things changed a little bit – twice.

The first circumstance was when we got the news that our landlord was selling the house. For Max, this was sort of the final push that convinced him it was time to move back home. I had asked him before – duh – because we both want to be living there; the only problem is finding a steady job. Right now in Grande Prairie though, Max is only working a scarce few days every month, which was another contributing convincing him to move back.

So that was the tentative plan a few weeks back. All Max had to do was figure out how to get all his stuff – mainly his truck and his motorcycle – back home. He started talking with one of our mutual friends, Ben, who has a truck that could potentially haul all of Max’s stuff, and he confirmed that he would be moving back to NB on May 5th. It’s unfortunate that it wasn’t closer to my tentative departure date, which was April 25th – until today.

The second circumstance mentioned above is when I got an e-mail from my employer in Moncton saying that their budget was extended and that they could hire me three weeks earlier. So guess what? I’m leaving in next Monday! I’ll be driving across Canada all by myself, and so I knew I had to give myself lots of time for rest. I plan on doing the drive on a span of 6 days, leaving Monday April 11th. I’ll be stopping in Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Blind River, Montreal, and then home base: Moncton. I might make a detour and stop in Charlo, NB, but it’s still to be determined.

Of course, typical me rushed to make sure I could find somewhere to sleep in every region, and so far, so good. The only place I don’t have any contacts is in Thunder Bay, ON, but I plan on either doing some couch surfing or maybe getting a place through AirBnB. I actually found a place that’s within my price range, and that way I could even have access to a kitchen to cook food instead of getting take-out! But let’s slow down and focus on stuff that needs to be done here in Grande Prairie before we start working out all the details about travelling.

Part of me knows it would be best for me to take as many shifts as possible at the schools before I leave. But part of me is going to be really stressed out about packing and planning if I don’t take some time off to organize everything. Most likely, I won’t be working the rest of the week, but I’m still on call until Friday. I have lots of stuff planned out for how I’m going to pack and bring everything, but I think I need to take the time to actually do something concrete with these plans.

I don’t own that much stuff here, but I still need to pack efficiently and see how much of Max’s stuff I can bring with me too. So far, I’ve written up a list of everything we own, and then divided all those belongings into four categories: Packed, To be Packed, Sell, and Donate/Give Away. The good thing is that we have a good amount of stuff that we can pack beforehand and it won’t be too stressful to live without them. For example, Max packed up almost all his paintball gear, and I packed up all my arts and crafts products. That plus anything we’ve bought in bulk.

Sometimes I feel like we own so much stuff, but making the list made me realize that we really don’t, and that made me proud. All I have here are clothes, a few kitchen items, my electronics, my toiletries, and some arts and crafts. As for Max, he owns his guns, ammunition/reloading materials, paintball gear, his electronics, his truck, his motorcycle, his trike, and his tools – a LOT of tools. He also owns a computer, a desk, a table, a dresser and a bed, but we’ve already started selling all of that so I’m not too worried about furniture.

So now we just have to determine what is going into which vehicle/who’s bringing it back home. I figure I’ll just bring everything that’s ready and packed, whereas Max will bring everything else on May 5th since he’ll be the last one moving out of the house. (Side note: our roomies are gone!)

AHHH! I’m just so excited! I feel like I’m typing lots of stuff but I’m not aware of what I’m really typing. Maybe this whole blog post is just word-diarrhea. Let’s hope not…

Long story short, we’re moving back to the East Coast very soon! So if you’d like to see one of us along the way, leave a comment or send us a message to get in touch! And if you have any words of wisdom to share with a girl who’s never done any road tripping alone, please feel free to leave me some tips in the comment section below!

xo

I want to travel

I can’t decide what to do!! I see everyone posting these amazing pictures on Facebook and I long for adventure. I want to travel, SO badly. The only thing is that if I do travel right now, I’m going to be doing it alone. And that worries me. I’ve actually never travelled alone, not even once in my life. I mean, I’ve driven down to visit my mom or dad by myself, but that’s a maximum drive of 5 hours. I’ve never really experienced solo travelling, and although I’ve always wanted to try it, part of me is scared. What if something goes wrong? What if I’m unsafe? What if I don’t know what to do? But I guess it doesn’t really matter, because lots of people have done it, and everybody figures it out.

Another reason I’m hesitant is, of course, for financial reasons. I want to go out and travel, but that costs a lot of money. And it costs even more when you’re not splitting travel costs with someone else. But I feel like that’s not a good enough reason to stop me from travelling. Fact: I have tons of money. Yes, I do owe more than triple that amount to the government, but for now, I don’t have any payments and that money is just sitting in the bank. Why wouldn’t I use it for doing something I love?

Argh! It’s the fear. That’s the reason. It keeps creeping up and reminding me of everything that could go wrong. So far, I haven’t been able to convince myself to rise above that fear and to be excited about possible travel plans. Maybe I need to start talking about it more, doing some more research, make tentative plans!

I suppose I should probably let you all know where I was/am thinking of going.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve dreamed of visiting the most northern parts of Canada. More specifically, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Even more so, I’ve ALWAYS wanted to travel to Alaska! Seriously. A few years ago, my mom actually asked my brother and me where we would like to go in the USA because she had a bunch of air miles saved up and my immediate answer was “ALASKA!” Of course, she said no. She’s more of a warm weather kind of woman.

In all the years that I’ve wanted to go up North, I’ve never actually made any real plans to visit any of these places, mainly because it costs a lot of money to get there from the East Coast. But look at me now! I’m in Northern Alberta, at the complete opposite end of Canada. I am SO close to all these places I’ve always wanted to see! Since I was unemployed for quite a while, I haven’t travelled at all since I got here a few months ago. And now I only have 4 precious weeks left and I’m here thinking “Oh my God, I have to go everywhere!” But I can’t. I can’t do it all. So I have to be conscious of that if/when I start making travel plans.

As much as I want to visit lots of places up North and meet loads of new people, it will still be my first time travelling alone. And so I think the best idea would be to travel somewhere where I know at least one person. That way, I figure, I might not feel as lost or helpless if things go wrong, because at least there is some familiarity where I’m going. I’ll also get to connect with old friends I haven’t seen in a really long time, and that’s something I really love doing. Part of me feels like it’s a wimpy thing to do, travelling to where I already know someone, but part of me knows that I need to build my confidence to travel alone. And if I can feel comfortable – and excited! – about visiting someone I know, then it’s a step in the right directions. And God knows, maybe I’ll end up falling in love with travelling alone!
What are your thoughts and idea about travelling solo? Do you have any tips or advice you could give me? If so, feel free to leave a comment below!

Checklist for the West Coast

As most of you may know, I’m currently living in Western Canada, something I never thought I would be doing. But since I’m here, I couldn’t resist the urge to make a checklist of all the things I want to do/accomplish!
When I first got here, I wrote a blog post called Things to do out West, wherein I made a list of lots of things I thought would be fun to do while I was living out West. So I went back to check that list out and divide them into three categories: Accomplished, Planned, and Maybe Another Time.

 

ACCOMPLISHED:

  • Listen to live music at Better Than Fred’s – OK, let’s talk about how amazing this was! We actually just went last night, and I know, that means we bent the rules for the No Spending Month. But in fairness, we decided to bring all the bottles to the bottle depot and just used $20 from that money to pay our entry. The band was called Mud Men, a mixture of Traditional Irish and Country Rock. They had two bagpipe players – you read that right! Bagpipes!! – a guitarist/lead singer, a bassist and a drummer. You may have guessed it, my favourite part was the bagpiping! They played really well, although it was a bummer than the singer was losing his voice. Fortunately, one of the bagpipe players stepped up to the plate and helped on vocals. He was also a fantastic entertainer!
  • Volunteer at the Art Gallery – This was actually a really cool experience. I talked about it in my blog post Volunteering, but then went again to volunteer after Christmas break. They had an opening reception on March 3rd for the newest exposition and I volunteered to work at the bar. I had to take an online course to do so, but it was totally worth it! I worked with a great young man, with whom I had lots in common. We served a decent amount of people, all pleasant and polite, and it was never overwhelming.
  • Learn to shoot a gun – And more than one kind too! I went to the shooting range with Max a few times since I got here and it was really interesting to learn something new like that. It really wasn’t something that had been a part of my life until now, and I didn’t know how comfortable/uncomfortable it would make me feel, but I’m glad I tried it because I understand it better now.
  • Attend the Festival of Lights – It was so beautiful! I’m so glad we got to attend this event, even though Max was pretty busy with work. It was way back in November, mind you, so all the details aren’t super sharp in my mind, but I remember seeing so many beautiful trees, listening to great local musicians, seeing fantastic young dancers on stage, and getting to eat ginger bread cookies! Check out my blog post  November in a nutshell to read more about it!
  • Listen to local music – Not only did we get to see local musicians at the Festival of Lights, we also attended a house concert in Valleyview + went to see Mud Men at Better Than Fred’s! They were all amazing shows, but I’m hoping to get to see a few more bands within the next couple months too. Notably, there’s a fiddler’s jamboree in mid-April and there’s open mic nights at the local Starbucks!
  • Volunteer at the SPCA – I’m so glad we took the time to do this! I had been a volunteer at the Greater Moncton SPCA quite a few years back, but then I got busy and I basically stopped going. Every year or so, I thought about doing the orientation again, but I could never fit it into my schedule. Well, now my schedule is pretty much wide open, so I thought ‘There is no better time than now!’ I was surprised that Max was excited about it too, I didn’t picture him to be the volunteering type. We both went to the orientation session last week and visited for an hour or two afterwards with adorable cats and dogs. I can’t wait to go again! (For pictures of our adorable new friends, check out What can you do without spending any money?
  • Go to the Jump Yard!! – This was AMAZING! I honestly didn’t know what to expect. We were 4 frenchies who met there one Saturday afternoon, half excited, half nervous/embarrassed. Why embarrassed, might you ask? Well, because there were about 150 screaming kids roaming around the entire jumping area. We suddenly realized that maybe Saturday afternoon was not the best time to come to a place who’s biggest target audience is children. But that wasn’t a reason not to try it, so we made our way to some lockers, put our special socks on – yeah, they give you these special socks you need to wear on the jumping mats – and heading out for an adventure! There were foam pits that you could jump into from a swinging rope, there was a tightrope walking area, there were basketball nets for slam dunking, a huge open area for doing tricks and jumping off the walls, plus a whole room for playing trampoline dodgeball!! And for an entire hour of fun, we only paid $15!
  • Visit Jasper, AB – Checking this off my list was incredibly special because my amazing boyfriend actually surprised me by taking me there for My 25th Birthday. We spent the entire day together, taking in these amazing views, surrounded by mountains and lakes. It felt like being home, but in a surreal way. Definitely a moment to remember.
  • Listen to Red Moon Road in concert – I AM SO HAPPY TO SAY I DID! They were coming to play a house concert in Valleyview, which is about an hour away from where I live now. I booked the tickets about two months in advance, hoping to God it wasn’t already sold out. I also had my fingers crossed that Max wouldn’t be out of town working that night. And in the end, everything worked out perfectly! Ok, maybe not completely perfect for the band because apparently the power had been out all day so they had to get ready and practice without electricity, but nevertheless, their performance was breathtaking and honestly brought tears to my eyes. To read all about it, check out one of my previous posts, A stranger’s house that feels like home.
  • Go to Card’s Board Game Café – Oh my God! I am in love with this place! Seriously, we went 2-3 times a week after our first visit and if we weren’t doing a No Spending Month right now, we would still be going that often! What a great place to hang out. From my experience, they’re beverages are fantastic too, and I’ve heard nothing but good comments about their food. Plus, you get to play board games for hours on end, and it only costs $5 per customer!! I think it may be the best business idea since slice bread.
  • Build a box fort – This wasn’t initially on the To-Do list, but I was pretty pumped when Max suggested it! It wasn’t so much a fort as it was a wall, but on on side of the wall is our “fort,” also known as our work space. We got a desk for free off of Kijiji, which I used to do paperwork, computer work, and knitting, and Max has his reloading station where he works behind me. Pretty great set-up for people on a budget!
  • Get a job – Well, this wasn’t on the list either, but it was a given. And guess what? I did get one! I’m currently employed by the Grande Prairie Public School District as a Substitute Educational Assistant. Basically, I work with special needs kids and help out during class when needed. I was worried at first because a subbing position means casual work, which means no guaranteed shifts. There was an upside to this of course: plenty of time at home with Max since work is slow for him too nowadays. But to my surprise, I’ve been getting calls every day for the past two and a weeks, some even to request me to work later in the week! I’ve got to say I’m pretty grateful to all the people who call in advance, it makes my life a little easier to be able to pencil it into my scheduler earlier than 30 minutes before school starts. But in all seriousness, it’s a pretty amazing job and I’m so fortunate to have landed this position. Feel free to read more about it in my other blog posts, I FINALLY WORKED TODAY! and A change of routine.
  • Go Salsa Dancing!! – Ohhhhh yesss! This is something I had been longing to do, especially with Max! Did you know that we actually took Salsa dancing lessons together back in 2012? We weren’t dating at the time. It was actually an awkward time where we were kind of friends but things had been rocky between us. And for some reason, we thought ‘You know what would be a good idea? We should take dance classes together.’ I was pretty surprised that it actually ended up happening. I remember mentioned to him that I wanted to take lessons but I didn’t have anyone to go with. I remember him suggested some of my guy friends, and then quietly mumbling, ‘Well, I’d go with you.’ And so began our journey into dance!! Ok, he might not be as pumped as I am, but I LOVE dancing! And so when I saw a poster online about a Salsa event called Salsaddiction, I had no choice but to force him to attend with me! Kidding! He was more than willing to come dancing with me, he’s such a sweetheart – and a good dancer too! It was certainly one of the best date nights ever, one that I’ll surely never forget!
  • Go on a road trip with friends – OK so this ended up happening twice, although one of the two times we a total bust. The first trip was with my gal pals, Amanda & Angel. We just made a quick day trip up to Wherever-Amanda-Comes-From (I honestly can never remember the names of Alberta towns) to pick up some furniture. I may or may not have fallen asleep once or twice during the drive – sorry! I know, I’m a bore. But we had lots of laughs regardless, and they seemed to be having a good time singing random songs at the top of their lungs! As for the second trip, Max, Ben and I were supposed to head up to Edmonton for the day to visit the West Edmonton Mall, which I have still yet to see. We were more than halfway there when all of a sudden, my car starts acting up. Ruh-roh. Turns out the alternator was kaput. Long story short, we had to get towed to a garage, drive their company truck to find a new alternator, wait a few hours, then drive back home in time for supper. Read more about my misfortunes in my blog post Car troubles.
  • Eat Crooked Creek Donuts – This, like half of the items I just mentioned, was not on the initial To-Do list. However, the boys let me know that my visit to the West Coast would not be complete without trying some of the amazing homemade donuts from Crooked Creek. So when our trip to Edmonton got cut short, the first thought that came to mind was to stop to see if they would still be open. And guess what? They were!! Honestly, my mouth is drooling a little right now thinking about eating one of those delicious donuts. When we got there, they were just taking them out of the oven so they were soft, warm and fresh, the taste of sugar and butter envelope all my taste buds. So that was definitely the highlight of that trip!
  • Attend the Maple Syrup Festival – I hadn’t heard about this, but when I saw that it was a free event, I jumped to the occasion! And apparently, it’s a French tradition, so we heard and spoke to so many francophones during the event! It was so nice, and such a change of pace to be surrounded by people who spoke our native language. Oh, and we even got to see Bonhomme Carnaval!
  • Go bowling – Oh. My. God! I bowled with the big balls for the first time in my life!! To be quite honest, I was so nervous, but we had a great time! We were actually a big gang of people who all met up the the bowling alley here in town, and it was so busy that we had to wait to get an aisle. Fortunately there was an arcade and some pool tables we could use while we waiting so we played a round of pool and got some drinks. As for the bowling part, we weren’t as bad as I thought we would be! I think that’s a win in itself!
  • Go see a show at the Entrec Centre – OK, initially this was meant was in ‘Go see a concert at the Entrec Centre’ but in the end, we decided to go in a different direction and saw a Horse Show instead! Half the reason for that was because the horse show was free, but also because it was a great new experience for both of us! It was quite impressive too. We first went around and looked at all the booths they had in the main building. Mostly, it was all about farming and whatnot, but there was some pretty cool stuff. Then we made our way to the building where they had the petting zoo -YES, A PETTING ZOO! – and the horse shows. There, we watched this incredible cowboy show how meticulously trained his three horses were! He talked about training techniques and showed us all the things he was able to make them do, all by simply giving them a look or raising his hand!
  • Yoga – I had initially said I would like to take a yoga class in town, but what with our budget and our decision to do a No Spending Month, I opted out for doing yoga at home. I have to say that despite that the fact that I miss doing yoga with others, it is still very rewarding to do at home, by myself.
  • Get organized – This wasn’t on my initial list, but I am so happy that I accomplished this! All this time off meant I had time to do all the things I never had time for when I was working full time. During these past few months, I was able to get back on track with Meal Planning, Budgeting, Cleaning and Organizing the bedroom/bathroom/kitchen, and so much more. It is so satisfying.

 

PLANNED:

  • Go to a Dinner Theatre – Haven’t gone yet, but it’s in the calendar for April 7th!
  • Go Rock Climbing at the Regional College – Oh my God! I can’t believe I haven’t gone yet. Ok, adding to calendar…
  • Go to Banff – Plans have been made, we’re going April 2nd!
  • Visit friends in Calgary – We’ll be doing this the same weekend as our visit to Banff, so if you’re reading this and you’re in the Calgary area, send me a message so we can hang out while I’m in town!
  • Travel to the Northwest Territories – Tentative plans are being made. I’m trying to see where I could go without going too much over budget. If you have any tips or ideas, leave a comment below!
  • Jam with friends – Does jamming with my boyfriend count? We definitely don’t play music together as often as I would like, but it’s getting there. I’m also hoping to get together with friends from down home sometime soon.
  • Go to a music festival – Tentative plans are being made. More to come on that later.

 

MAYBE ANOTHER TIME:

  • Bingo – I decided it would probably be better for my budget if I didn’t go and get addicted to bingo. But I promised Julie a round when I get back to Moncton, so it’ll be on my East Coast To-Do list instead.
  • First Nations Event – I honestly forgot about this and haven’t heard about anything going on lately. Maybe later on then.
  • Join a choir – Given the fact that I have been/will be travelling a lot, it was feasible for me to join a new choir right now. I do miss it though!
  • Take a new class – Do you know how expensive those are?? I looked around and did some research, and as much as my heart wanted to say yes, my wallet said no.
  • Alaska – I’m still undecided about this one. I have ALWAYS wanted to visit Alaska. I don’t know why, but I just do. I remember a few years back my mom asked me and my brother “Where would you like to go if we made a trip to the States?” Me: “Alaska!” For those of you who don’t know, my mom is not a winter person. She and her husband go down south at least 2-3 per year, even in the spring/summer! So you can imagine we did not go to Alaska. But I still can’t decide if I should try to make my way there while I’m here in Alberta, or if I should wait and do an actually trip there, when I have enough time and money to visit and explore. Opinions? Let me know what you think!

What can you do without spending any money? 

Apparently, a lot!

For those of you who don’t know, my boyfriend and I are doing a “No Spending Month,” and what that means is that we basically spend no money. Yeah, I guess that was obvious.

Fortunately, there is actually a lot of stuff you can do without spending any money. Since March 1st, we have:

  • Had a cookie bake-off
  • Played Monopoly!
  • Tried out amazing new recipes
  • Delivered some handmade products
  • Visited kitties and puppies at the SPCA (more than once)
  • Attended volunteer orientation at SPCA!
  • Found some old pallets to use for projects
  • Played music together
  • Made more desserts!
  • Gone to work (surprisingly, me more so than him!)
  • Gone to a horse show!
  • Cooked on the BBQ and watched the sunset
  • Gone to see a craft show (without making any purchases, of course)
  • Gone to the library
  • Visited the Art Gallery
  • Hung out at Long & McQuade
  • Finished some projects (me – yarn work; him – ammunition and fixing his truck!)
  • Attended a fire with friends
  • Received goodies in the mail from family and friends!
  • Made pies for Pi Day
  • Started doing a big clean-up in the house

I can’t believe how fast it’s going by, and I’m glad I feel that way. It’s not always easy knowing you aren’t supposed to spend any money for a whole month. But on the bright side – and surprisingly so! – Max has been super strict about not bending the rules, despite the fact that he did end up buying a coffee the one morning he was working this month. I totally understand though, he hadn’t been able to sleep a wink the night before and had to do a 12 hour shift. I don’t know how he does it!

Work has actually been keeping me pretty busy lately, so that helps with not spending any money. Unfortunately, the fact that I’m working so much means I need to have some kind of school appropriate snack – as in, no peanuts – and we basically don’t have any. So I did end up spending a little bit on snacks for work, only the bare minimum. We bought bananas, popcorn kernels, bits & bites, and salted crackers. I think we did pretty good, especially with all the tempting food at the grocery store, staring at us, begging us to buy them! … But enough talk about food, I’m getting hungry again!

I personally think it’s going really great so far, and I love that we’ve been able to find so many activities to do without spending any money. Notably, I LOVE that we’re going to the SPCA so often now! Sometimes it’s hard, because you wish you could just adopt them all, make sure they are all loved and cared for. But that’s unrealistic, and we just keep reminding ourselves that they’ll find they’re forever home soon enough. Our personal favourites at the shelter are Roger the Cat and Claude the Dog:

IMG_0597
True love.
IMG_0525
The biggest puppy there is also the cutest!

Making pies was pretty fantastic too! I got the pie crust recipe from my mom that same night, when I realized that we had some blueberries downstairs in the freezer! We got to work right away making the pie, only to find that the pie plate was nowhere to be seen! Crap. Now what? Well, our final conclusion was to use a cheesecake pan to bake the pie, and make it thicker since it isn’t as wide as a pie plate. Results: amazing!!! Side note: I may have put wayyy too much sugar in it.

IMG_0613
Super thick, super sweet blueberry pie! 

I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the month! We already have some ideas of what we’re going to be doing. One of our friends is finally coming back from the camp so we’ll be able to spend some good ole quality time with him. There’s also a few free shows coming up this week so hopefully we’ll be attending those as well. Oh, and we haven’t had a chance to stop by the local museum, where the entry is free of charge.

AND EASTER! You don’t understand how excited I am for Easter! I am pretty sad that I won’t be spending it with any of my family this year, but Max and I made an agreement to spend a small amount for Easter, and as you could have suspected, I already have everything planned out on my end! Stay tuned to hear all about it next week!

A change of routine

I never thought to myself “Man, working a full time job is exhausting.” Not to say that I have that many years of experience, but from that experience, this was never a thought that crossed my mind. Sure, some days would be extremely tiring, especially working with kids every day, going outside to run, swim, play games, organize activities, etc. But I never felt as though the bigger picture was draining me.

This week, I got a call every morning to go work as a Substitute Educational Assistant. And every morning, stress would overwhelm me at the thought of going to work again. I kept thinking to myself “What’s wrong with me? I should be grateful that I’m getting this many calls!” Honestly, I think the biggest reason I become stressed is due to the fact that I never know what to expect when I get a new call, and I never have any idea what kind of kids I’m going to be working with. I keep wondering what it is that convinced that lady to hire me in the first place – I’m not even qualified to do this job! And speaking of which, one of the teachers I worked with this week did not seem impressed that I had never taken the EA course.

Let’s rewind and go back to the beginning of the week. I got a call on Monday to work at the same – and only – school I had been to since I got hired. That day, I was assigned to a 5th grade class that consisted solely of special needs students.

Ok. Take a deep breath. 

You’re going to be fine…

You can imagine I was starting to feel anxious. I know I don’t have to feel that way, that no one is expecting me to perform miracles working with these kids, but I can’t help but want to thrive for greatness in everything I do – and it’s hard when you have no formal training and no idea what do in basically every new situation.

Turns out the homeroom teachers are always very understanding and they usually switch the EAs around so that the sub can work with one or some of the easiest students. What a relief!

My day consisted of supervising 1-3 students throughout their classes. I went to French with one girl and I was pretty stoked to be in a class where I felt very comfortable with the material, and I knew I would be able to help if my student needed any help. I also went to gym, and that went fine, and then it was off to music class with 3 girls. Although I loved the fact that they were doing choir, it was a more difficult period because they refused to participate and wanted to go back to homeroom. Luckily, another teacher saw us in the hall and helped me out by coaxing them to go back to music class.

Pause!

OK, so that moment right there was specifically only difficult for one reason: nobody trains you or explains all the school rules to you when you’re a sub. No one tells you what kind of discipline is appropriate, especially in special ed, and often, no one tells you what is the best way to handle tough situations with specific students. I’m standing there in the hall with 2 of 3 girls and they are complaining that they want to go back to homeroom. I have no idea if they’re allowed to do that. I have no clue what kind of tactics will work best with them individually if I need to get them back to music class. All I know is how I’ve handled somewhat similar situations back at the daycare in Moncton. Except this isn’t daycare, it’s school. Nobody at school treats kids like we did at the daycare, and I get that, because it’s a completely different – and very structured – environment. Ok, maybe I use the word structured a bit loosely when it comes to special ed, but still, more structured than daycare would be.

In the end, that situation was resolved somewhat quickly, and so I was thankful for that. I tried singing alongside them, sight-reading the sheet music they had on their desks, but it didn’t really convince them to join along. Ah well.

Then it was lunch/recess. I was actually pretty relieved that I didn’t have to go outside. It’s not that I don’t like being outside with the kids, but it’s just more likely that the kids will get in trouble while they’re outside, and once again, I have no idea what the discipline policy is like.

After lunch, I was assigned to be with 2 boys for Language Arts, followed by Science. Unfortunately, I was unaware that they had swim between these 2 courses, so when they said they thought it was time to go to swim, I followed them back to homeroom only to find we had missed it. They were pretty disappointed about it, but it didn’t affect their work ethic so the afternoon went really well nevertheless.

As soon as the bell rang and I was free to go home, a wave of fatigue washed over me. Ouf. That was exhausting – and it’s only been one day! Luckily, I have the most amazing boyfriend who prepared and made supper all by himself so I could sit down and relax for a bit.

Then came Tuesday. Once again, my phone rang at 6:30AM. The calls are from an automatic dispatch system, so you never actually get to speak to the person you’re replacing. This particular message made me quite anxious.
“A new assignment is available at… [Something] High School.”

A HIGH SCHOOL?! THEY WANT ME TO SUB AS AN EA AT A HIGH SCHOOL?! I’ve only worked 2 and a half shifts, I have no business being sent to a high school!!

Honestly, I was hardly able to eat anything for breakfast I was so nervous.

What if I get assigned to a blind student?? I can’t read or write in Braille!!

What if i get assigned to a violent student?? They’re all taller and bigger than me, I’ll never be able to get control!

Obviously, I forced myself to calm down and tried to stay positive about the situation. I’m sure it won’t be that bad…

Luckily, when I get to the high school, there’s plenty of parking and the entrance is super easy to find. The inside of the school, however, is not so easy to make your way through. It’s probably the most confusing school I have been to in my life. And the worst part, the secretary at the entrance told me she couldn’t help me, that I had to go see the other secretary in the main office, smack in the middle of the school.

Did I mention I have a horrible sense of direction? Fortunately, all the male teachers at this school wear shirt and ties, so they were easy to pin point to ask directions.

I made it to the office and was redirected to another lady working in an office. This lady gave me a badge and told me to go see a teacher in room 204. Ok, it’s starting to feel like a game of ping pong now.

Nevertheless, I try to find the stairs and after three attempts of walking aimlessly down hallways, I found them. Unfortunately, this meant I now had no idea how to get back to the main office.
In the classroom, I was greeted by a very nice lady. She said she hadn’t had time to do up a schedule for me yet so she started making calls to different teachers.

This seems odd… no fixed schedule, no fixed students… 

She got a hold of two teachers and they said they could use some help during Block A. She gave me instructions and sent a student with me so she could show me the Staff Room and where I would be working.

Now it gets weirder. I talk to the two teachers. Both have students missing. One teacher sends 3 students with me into an empty classroom. They have an assignment to do. I was not told what my job was, other than to supervise. Okie doke.

Twenty minutes or so went by. The teacher came back to get her students because they were already done the assignment in class so they were moving on to the next activity. The teacher told me she didn’t need my assistance anymore, so I went to see the other teacher. She also told me she didn’t need any help. Ok. So now I have absolutely nothing to do for the next hour and I have no idea how to find that lady to see if I can be reassigned. Great.

Well, I had two options: literally sit there and do nothing until the class was over and hope the lady would come downstairs to find me; or walk around aimlessly in the halls until I could find the stairs again and hope that lady was still in the same classroom to give me some guidance.

I didn’t know which to choose. I would definitely be more comfortable sitting here doing nothing, at least that way I didn’t have a responsibility that was overwhelming. But I didn’t want to get in trouble for not at least having tried to find my way back to room 204 so I started walking around. I ended up finding the Staff Room, where I thought maybe I could stop to use the washroom. Turns out the staff washroom is not located inside the staff room. So confusing. They weren’t too far away though and luckily someone left the ladies’ door unlocked. Afterwards, it was a 10-15 minutes adventure to find the stairs, and then find the right room only to be greeted by an unfamiliar face. Dammit! Just my luck. I didn’t even know the homeroom teacher’s name. I tried to explain who I was looking for and if she knew where I could find her. Turns out she has an office inside her classroom and she was in there doing some work while someone else taught English. I snuck to the end of the classroom to go knock on the office door. She answered, surprised to see me. I explained why I was back so early and that I wasn’t sure what to do. She was kind and understanding. She apologized that she hadn’t had time to find me other classes for the rest of the day, but she started making phone calls right away to see if anyone needed help.

I ended up being sent down to a class of 9th graders, and it was basically my worst nightmare. I’m still not sure what my job was supposed to be, but there were no special ed students, and all the students in class were loud, disrespectful, and CONSTANTLY on their cell phone. Some even had i-pads and were just playing games and talking with their classmates. The teacher didn’t seem to care.

When the period ended, new students filled the classroom. I was staying with the same teacher, but this time it was with a group of grade 11 students. Fortunately, they were much quieter and actually had some respect for the teacher, but they still all had their cellphones out while they did their work. The class went pretty well, although I was pretty useless once again.

I literally spent all day walking around each class, keeping an eye on students to see if they were getting their work done. I hardly spoke a word except in math grade 9, where some students asked me a few questions, most of which I knew the answer to. Last period I was sent to grade 10 science, and that was a bit different. There was a deaf student, but he had an EA that would do sign language for him all class. I didn’t know whether or not it was my job to help him specifically, or just walk around class like I had been doing all day. The teacher was a bit more helpful in guiding me/explaining what I should do during the class, but I was still pretty much useless given the fact that they were doing a test for half the class, and working on computers by themselves for 15 minutes.

As uneventful as that day was, it was absolutely exhausting to have been on my feet all day. I was used to working with young children with special needs, most of the time sitting with them and helping when they needed motivation or guidance. I was definitely not used to standing, surrounded by teenagers twice my height, most of whom had very little respect for authority.

As I went to bed that night, I was praying not to get another call to work in a high school. To be honest, I was hoping not to get a call at all. I was drained, physically and mentally, and I desperately wanted to stay home and get back into my unemployed routine.

No such luck. On Wednesday, the phone rang at 7:24AM. Side note: this is actually a pretty late call, because I have to leave the house at 7:50 if I want to get to school on time.

I was actually kind of happy as I listened the details of the assignment. I was going to be working with the same class as Monday!
The day was pretty similar, since they switched the schedule around again so I could be in most of the same classes as Monday. I also offered to go to music class, because it’s by far my favourite class to sit in on. Oh, and we all went to swim together on that day, although turns out it’s not mandatory for me to go swimming. I ended up sitting on a bench beside the pool with one of the students who doesn’t participate in group swim.
Honestly, the day went super well. Sure, there were hiccups here and there, but I felt a lot more comfortable with the students and the environment so I wasn’t as nervous or hesitant about interacting with them. I was even told later on that the teacher thought I did a pretty good job and would be happy to have me sub again. Oh, and turns out that EAs are allowed to request a specific substitute, so one of the employees from that class asked me if I would like to sub for her next week!

And then came Thursday. Once again, I was hoping not to get called, out of pure exhaustion. But the phone rang, as it does.

Come on, you can do this. You just need to back in the saddle. 

I can’t believe I’ve gotten used to this routine of staying home. Not that I stay home and do nothing, I always have plenty to do. But all of a sudden, I realized that going to work every day was harder than it used to be. I had to change my routine again.

I’m proud that I could at least stay motivated enough to accept every assignment that week. I still said yes even though I was not in the best shape. I still got up and I went to work, and it almost always turned out to be a good day despite the fatigue. And now was the last day of the school week, so I could definitely tough just one more day. Side note: there’s no school today.

Even though I was feeling nervous again Thursday morning, I was starting to feel like it was more bearable, and easier to cope with the fact that I was saying yes to the unknown. It definitely helps that it was at the same school again.

I got to school earlier than usual so I took my time signing in and whatnot. When the secretary told me where the class was located though, stress propagated quickly through my body. She pointed down the hall way labelled “Therapy Wing.” Oh dear.

It’s gonna be OK. It will be a HUGE challenge, but it’s going to be OK.

I walked down to the classroom and was greeted by the teacher and another EA. The teacher greeted me and explained that the student I was supposed to be working with is sick and won’t be coming to school. She said she might have to reassign me to another class.

Sweet relief!!

A few moments later, another EA sub walked in. I took her in. She was dressed all in black, wearing gym-type clothing, her hair loosely and messily tied back. She looked impatient and cranky. She didn’t even say a word when she came in, just sat down. Regardless, the teacher went to greet her and that’s when I learned that she was also a sub. She quickly and sharply added that she was only going to be here for half the day, as she had other things to do.

This is when it hit me: I’m not in Moncton anymore. Not everyone is polite and friendly and trying to keep a positive attitude. I’m in a big city on the West Coast, and things are different here, people are different here. I had almost forgotten that, being in school all week, working with such great teachers and assistants.

I shook it off and told myself to stop being so judgmental. It was certainly not the time nor the place.

The homeroom teacher ended up sending the other sub to get reassigned, and I ended up staying with the class. Ruh-roh…

Ok, just to give you a brief explanation, in comparison to the other students I worked with, these kids were on a different level of special needs. I had absolutely zero experience working with kids like these, so you can only imagine my level of anxiety when the teacher told me I had to be in charge of 6 of them throughout the day, and that at times, I would be alone with all these students.

I tried not to let myself think about it. We had lots to do, so we got right to it. First class was gym, so the students led me there. There were also two other EAs with us in the class, although one had to take her student back to class for misbehaviour, and the other had a different schedule so she also left with her student. Bam. I am now alone with all the other students in gym class, at the very first period. I tried to coax them all into playing tag and it wasn’t too bad. That’s pretty much all we did until the teacher came back to get us so we could go back to class.

Important info: we now had twice as many kids in the class because one teacher slipped and fell on the ice outside of school and had to be picked up by her husband so she could go home. Anxiety levels started rising a bit.

Shortly thereafter, the teacher explained the class would be divided in two, and I would be with my students on her side, as well as another EA. The class was actually pretty fun. I sat down and coloured with them for a while, and then it was time to work on pronunciation of vowels and how to identify the different pronunciations of the same vowel. We sang songs and did a little test, and then I helped correct them. The group’s attitude was great throughout the whole thing.

I was actually having a really good time with them.

Recess time was up next. They would bring their snack outside to eat, and I was warned that one student usually took a long time to get ready because she didn’t want to go outside. If that was the case, I was to continue on and just let the teacher know about it after recess. Fortunately, I had no problems whatsoever, they were all on best behaviour!

The day just kept going well. I was assigned to go with one student to do Work Experience. Her job that day was to put the laundry in, clean tables in the staff room, and clean tables in the courtyard. She knew exactly what to do and didn’t need help at all. She enjoyed my company and we were actually joined by a sub teacher because she hadn’t received any sub plans from the teacher who had slipped and hurt her back.

We walked back to homeroom after the student had finished her tasks and had been rewarded with a little free time on the i-pad, and it was already time for lunch. I was assigned to supervise the courtyard while the students ate, and then to supervise outside for recess. I was so surprised to see how respectful and understanding all the students were with me. One student kept asking if he could run outside before the group, and I didn’t know if he was allowed to do so. Another student calmly talked to the first boy and explained that I was new and that I didn’t know all the rules yet, so it would be better if we all just stayed in one group and listened so it would be easier. I almost cried.

The whole day just went so well! After I took my lunch break, it was time to head to math class with the same student who did Work Experience. There, we worked on additions the whole time, and I could tell she was getting frustrated/bored of doing math around the end. Luckily, it was time for group swim so her mood stayed pretty positive and we walked back to class together to get ready.

This time, I did have to go swimming because one student was working on treading water and needed assistance while in the pool – or so that’s what they told me. She seemed great and was a pretty good swimmer too, although we were only allowed in the shallow end, of course. It was at this point though that I was told I wasn’t allowed to wear a bikini to go swimming. Crap!! I don’t own anything else! The lifeguard asked if I had a T-shirt, and I said yes, but only the one I would be wearing again to class. She gave me a spare T-shirt from the lost and found and said it would be fine if I swam with that on to cover up. It was something that had crossed my mind, but in Moncton, it had never been an issue.

Anyway, the student I was with did a great job practicing treading water, taking breaks to show me all kinds of tricks she could do in the water. And then it was time to hit the hot tub! Side note: it wasn’t like a really hot one, just warmer water to relax in.

All of a sudden, it was almost 3 o’clock and it was time to get changed and head home! I couldn’t believe how fast the day had gone by. As I said goodbye to all the students, it hit me that despite the fact that I was most nervous about working with this level of special need students, it was the best group I had worked with and it was the most fun I had had since I started working as an EA.

Maybe this job isn’t so bad after all.

PS: Following this link to read about great tips for returning to work and coping with the stress.

Back to Basics

You know what sucks? Still being (basically) unemployed after applying for +100 jobs. As a side note, yes, I have been hired as a substitute educational assistant, but I only got one shift in the month of February. Womp womp.

So what do you do when you have no job and very little income? You budget, budget, budget!

Some of you may remember a little challenge I set for myself back in October 2015. Yup, you guessed it, the No Spending Month Challenge! So my boyfriend Max and I decided we would give it a try for the month of March given the fact that it’s usually the toughest month of the year, and also because it’ll feel so great to see all the money we saved AND get our incomes taxes back!

Part of me thinks this time around will be a lot harder for a variety of different reasons.

  • Reason #1: Max is the spending type. When he wants something, he buys it. But guess what? He’s broke too so we’re doing this together.
  • Reason #2: Our friends here are all the “going-out-for-supper” type. It’s really hard to keep up with the No Spending Challenge and still have a social life. Also Max loves wing night.
  • Reason #3: Max doesn’t care about rules that much. He’s already asked me if we could push the challenge one day later.
  • Reason #4: Most importantly – and in all seriousness – our stockpile isn’t as plentiful as the one I had in Moncton, so it will probably mean needing to spend a little extra on groceries.

But on the bright side, I’ve already done up the monthly meal plan for March, all the meals of which consisted of low-cost, budget-friendly recipes, some of which we already have all the ingredients to make. Today I’m going to prep and print all our grocery lists for the month so I can calculate how much we should be spending during the month, and then see how we can try to minimize that by getting the best deals, but not buying in bulk like we usually do.

What it’ll mean for us:

  • No going out for date nights/with friends
  • No going to the restaurant/take-out
  • No personal purchases
  • No treats, even during grocery shopping
  • Minimal usage of the car

Basically, we’ll just be spending money on rent – damn you, apartments! – and the basics at the grocery store. If I can convince Max, we might even try to do a small grocery run to No Frills on foot!

Do you have tips or tricks that we could use to try to make sure we stick to it? If so, let us know. And if you’d like to try the No Spending Month challenge with us, send us a message or leave us a comment and we give each other moral support – we’ll probably need it!

I FINALLY WORKED TODAY!

You read it correctly – I went to work today! After five and a half months of being laid off and unemployed, I finally got a call to work a shift today as a Substitute Educational Assistant at a local school here in the GP Region. And guess what? I loved it!

I was so nervous when I got the call. And it was so weird because I had this feeling that I was going to get called. My mom phoned me around 10:00AM by accident and it woke me up. I thought to myself ‘Man, it would have been so shitty if I would have gotten a call for a shift and I wouldn’t have heard my phone ring.’ About 5 minutes later, my phone rings again. It’s an Alberta number. I answer with my english greeting, trying to sound as sweet as possible.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Carmen? This is Melanie, from the Grande Prairie Public School District.”

OH MY GOD, WHAT?! 

“I was just wondering if you wanted to come in for a shift today.”

Oh my God, I’m not ready for this. I can’t do this. Say no!

“Uh… sure. What time?”

YOU SAID YES, GOOD FOR YOU! Now stop sweating and finish the conversation… 

“It would be for this afternoon, so if you could come by in an hour, that would be great.”

And that was that! Max basically booted me out of bed right away, he was probably more excited that I was! He also offered to make me breakfast, and I gladly accepted. I got dressed and got ready while he made some grub. I ate as much as I could, and then I headed out the door!

The nerves were starting to kick in, but I was still feeling confident. Yay me!

I had to look around for parking when I got to the school because the preschool kids were finishing up for the day and all their parents were waiting in the parking lot. I found a spot that I thought – and hoped – was legit, and made my way to the main entrance. I walked up the secretary’s desk – passing ponds with actual live fish in them!! – and explained to her who I was and why I was here. She directed me to an office and I waited until an employee came to greet me. It was Melanie, the same lady that hired me. It was a relief to see a familiar face, and she just has this great vibe that radiates contagious positivity.

She led me to the sign in book, given the fact that I wasn’t even in the online system yet, and I wrote down my name and signed. She then led me to the kindergarten classroom and briefly explained who I would be working with. She left me there, and I was kindly greeted by the kindergarten teacher (whose name I have already forgot – oops) and another Educational Assistant. The teacher was sitting feeding a disabled little girl while the Educational Assistant was cleaning up with three boys. I wasn’t sure if this was the entire class or just the special needs students, but I figured either way, it was a good way to start off.

Mrs Blank – that’s what I’ve dubbed the kindergarten teacher – talked me through what we would be doing all afternoon and explained how I could help. She also introduced me to the Educational Assistant and to all the students who were in the classroom. Despite how unfamiliar and foreign this all was, I was beginning to feel comfortable already. I helped clean up and then we sat down with the kids to eat lunch. One boy started to take a liking to me right away – it’s like the daycare all over again!

The kids all finished their lunches and I was starting to get a good feel of what kind of discipline techniques worked best for different children. It was definitely a lot easier to handle compared to supervising 30+ kids all in one room – during the summer.

After lunch was over was when my heart started pounding again. I started to sweat a little bit too when Mrs Blank asked me to clean up and watch over the little girl, who’s disabilities were more extreme than the rest of the kids in class. My initial thoughts: Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this, I have no idea what I’m doing. There were only 2 kids at the daycare who had been diagnosed with a mental disability and both were very calm and didn’t require much one-on-one attention, not more than any of the other kids anyway. So as you can assume, my experience is somewhat limited to those two kids.

The disabled girl in the classroom was sitting in some sort of contraption, and I think Mrs Blank may have asked me to remove her from it, but I had no idea how so I just sat down and tried to keep her entertained. Shortly after, the other Educational Assistant, let’s call her Mrs Edmonton – that’s one of the few details I learned about her, she’s from Edmonton – showed me how to release the girl from the contraption and she walked her over to a floor mat. It took us a few minutes to get there but then she and I sat down and played with some toys. Huh, this is going better than I thought…

I hadn’t caught on, but the little girl had a specific Educational Assistant who was always with her, and she had just been absent because she needed to fill out an accident report. So now she was back and I was off girl-duty. Back to supervising the boys!

Only a few moments went by until we heard the bell ring and all the other kindergarten students showed up. Ah, this makes more sense now. I had been wondering if the class consisted only of special needs kids or if there were others combined. And now my question had been answered.

All afternoon they worked on various projects and did lots of fun activities alone and in groups. Most of my job was just walking around, giving them all positive feedback and keeping an eye on two of the boys from the special needs group. One was super well behaved and hardly needed any help, while the other did pretty good but apparently was a lot more needy today than most days. As for the third boy, he had to work alone in a separate room with Mrs Edmonton because I think being with others stressed him and made him act out.

All in all, I had an amazing day. Time went by super fast, all the kids were great to work with, and there was a perfect amount of kids for my first day on the job. The other Educational Assistant were actually surprised when I told them it was my first day, so I guess I did a good job. Now let’s just hope I can get some more shifts! 🙂

Salsaddiction

That’s what the local latin dance company is called over here: Salsaddiction. And how true their name rings!

Last night, Max and I went out to an event called Fuego Fridays at a local bar where employees from Salsaddiction come out to teach and host an evening of salsa dancing!

Expectation: lots of creepy guys looking to pick up chicks and who are horrible dancers with little to no experience.
Reality: Equal amount of male and female dancers (give or take one) and almost every single man was experienced, polite and a great dancer.

The way it works: you get there at 8:00PM for a beginner lesson. The teachers get us all to face them and copy their moves. They teach us the basics, some turns, and a few more complicated moves. Then, we partner up and start practicing. Not long after we get a bit of it down dancing in couples, they tell us to switch partners. Uh oh, exiting comfort zone… Fortunately, every single man I ended up dancing with was very respectful and honestly, they were all amazing dancers!

I will say that I was pretty glad when the teachers announced we could return to our original partners. We kept dancing together for a bit, learning new moves, and then switched partners consecutively until we were almost back to our partners. At this point, it was already 9:20PM! Time sure flies when you’re having fun!

Max and I danced together for a while after that until we mastered all the moves! It wasn’t as easy though because the songs’ tempos varied more now that it was the real deal. When a quick beat salsa song came on, we tried to remember the moves from when we had taken classes together 4 years ago and we did pretty good! I think we were destined to be dance partners. 😉

Definitely a date night for the books!

Today, I’m not OK. 

Everybody has bad days, and for me, today is a bad day. I got some good news, but from my current point of view, it means making a hard decision, which kind of turns it into bad news. And it’s one of those situations where both options lead to a good thing, but also a bad thing.

Let me be more precise. One of my previous employers in New Brunswick sent me an e-mail this morning to say there would be a job opening (full time) and that she had me in mind for the position. She was aware that I was out of province, but she wanted to let me know about the possibility of employment in case it was something that interested me.
So here’s the problem. If I take the job, I have to move back East. If I move back East, I have to leave my boyfriend and go back to being in a long distance relationship. But if I stay in Alberta, I still have no job, which means no income, and I have no leads on any full time position either. I am torn.

Do I choose to stay here and be with my boyfriend, but struggle financially? Or do I move back East for a job that I know I will like, but feel the ever present heart-ache of willingly having chosen to be 5000kms away from my significant other?

Can we just pause time so I can play every possible scenario in my head before I decide? I can’t decide. I don’t know which one will make me happier. Both decisions stress me out, because there’s going to be something missing in my life. And today, I’m not OK with that.

But I have to be OK – and I will be ok –  because life isn’t perfect, and it works in mysterious ways. Now if only I could figure out where it’s trying to lead me.

Superbowl Sunday

I’ve never particularly liked football – American football that is. So when we got invited to watch the Superbowl, I was not super excited. Surprisingly, most people weren’t that intense into football either so I felt a lot more at ease that I expected.

I may not enjoy football very much, but I’ll tell you what I do like: baking! I did a bit of research on Pinterest to see what I could make to bring, and when I saw football cupcakes, I knew that’s what I was making!

I got to work right away and immersed myself in baking. The recipe I had chosen was for making chocolate cupcakes from scratch along with vanilla and chocolate icing from scratch. I could taste the sugar already!

I actually worked meticulously making these, wanting them to turn out really nice since I was making them for friends – and strangers too, as it turns out. The results were incredible. Look how they turned out just coming out of the oven!

IMG_0268

Max got to work mixing the icing while I prepped the second batch of cupcakes. Turns out making icing from scratch is really hard work when you don’t have a mixer, so thank God for my man’s muscly members! Side note: Did you like my alliteration there? 😉

After the cupcakes were done cooling down and the icing was all made, Max asked me if he could try decorating them. I reluctantly said yes, hoping he wouldn’t mess them up. And as always, he never disappoints – his decorating skills are on POINT! Check it out:

IMG_0282
Football Cupcakes!

And here are the practice/funny ones, courtesy of Max:

IMG_0283
Those top cupcakes were supposed to read “Streme Spoats”

I also prepped supper, a Quinoa Enchilada Casserole, in case we stayed there late/because we’re trying to eat well and not order take out. When everything was ready, we packed up the car and headed over. Oh, except not without making a quick stop to the liquor store for beer of course!

As unexciting as I think football is, we still had a pretty good time surrounded by good friends – and strangers (to me). We played endless games of beer pong, and I actually won a game for the first time ever – it was mostly due to my partner, but I’m pro at defending our cups. Oh, and the game was pretty good too I guess. The guys wanted to make bets about who they thought would win. Funny moment: they all picked the same team at the beginning – and the losing team at that! I think the losers ended up drinking a shitty beer. And then everyone decided it would be a great time to shotgun more beer so we all went out on the deck and filmed them doing it. Still not 100% who got it done fastest, but Max smashed his can on the ground first. True skills right there.

All in all, Superbowl Sunday was not as bad as I thought it would be.