It’s not all sunshine and myrtle beach

“And I think that’s what our world is desperately in need of — lovers, people who are building deep, genuine relationships with fellow strugglers along the way, and who actually know the faces of the people the issues they are concerned about.”

– Shane Claiborne –

Gooood morning! Hello from the palmetto state, South Carolina. It is a beautiful sunshiny Sunday here in Florence, and I just needed to sit down and write a chatty little bit about my past two months.

October 1st marks the official halfway mark for me. I’ve been in Florence, South Carolina for two full months now. Myrtle Beach, Greenville, Charleston, Ashville and Hendersonville (NC), multiple airports and many other adventures have taken place and I am so blessed to be able to experience American culture, alongside many other diverse cultures and being apart of exploring God’s beautiful creation. I think one of the most significant things i’ve learned whilst being away from home and being here is humbling myself so that I can learn and grow. Always, everyday, all the time. Not always having to say something, listening with an open mind and heart and being patient with each other and our many cultural differences. I finished high school this past June, but you never are done learning, are you. I think being the youngest here is so good, I love being able to hear from those older than me, even if its only three or four years older. They’ve experienced life and walked in this life and this world longer than me and I love hearing about their story and their thoughts about/on … everything! Especially the personal, individual, unique story God gave that person as a testimony to His greatness and grace.

I’ve learned that giving grace is not always easy, but is always so sweet because receiving grace is so undeserving, and yet … I’m given it daily. I’ve chosen joy to be my anthem and Jesus my compass because this world is dark and unfulfilling and choosing joy changes everything.  Walking ( or if you know me —  bouncing and running) in light and hope offers a freedom that doesn’t compare to anything of this world. It is so freeing to be apart of a community that knows how to do love and do life with people who are just as human as you are. In a state of brokenness and imperfection, learning and growing alongside fellow strugglers who want more from this life. Striving to become more like Jesus’ character and love with an action love.

I’ve learned that people are vital. Not just their existence, or ability to reproduce, I mean, people are vital for staying sane. For your heart and soul. In order to learn and grow. To be able to share and invest into another life other than just your own. When the tough times roll in, or when the sunshine filters down — community with people, whether chatty or in silence — community is how we connect and learn both independence and interdependence. No matter how introverted, shy, quiet you may be —  we all need at least one person that we can turn too.

I find it really interesting how we all learn lessons at different times. I mean in the sense that, we learn/experience sometimes the most obvious “thing” that’s obvious to someone else at the right time for us. Did that make any sense? I love how once something clicks … once you finally understand it for yourself, that lightbulb moment … it’s mind-blowing. I think so at least. It all starts to make sense. I find myself having more and more lightbulb moments which I used to be ashamed of because shouldn’t I already know? Shouldn’t it be obvious, — but noooo! It’s so exciting when God reveals something to you and you can apply it or realize ‘that’ is what it means. yeah?

All of this to say (and I have much more to say) — God is good. In Nova Scotia, in South Carolina, wherever you may be. Through it all and in my moments of obscurity and doubt, God is still good and has a plan for it all. It’s not a matter of trying to understand or be in control but surrendering your control to Him and allowing Him to show you how perfect His plan for your life is, His way. Flourishing against the odds and among those who want to see you fall — living life so bravely that people see an ordinary human, being led by an extraordinary joy — and want to know why. how.

cheers to the weekend and the coming week ahead! xo – sk

 

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Cringe – anyone else despise that word?

ello’ – me again! I thought I’d rant about the the top five things that really make me {cringe}. Can you relate to any of these?

  1. The words {Cringe + Trigger} — anyone? anyone else feel like 2017 has butchered and overused these words? Now, guilty and hypocritical, I do use the word cringe — but I feel it’s a reflex to use that piece of vocab. to describe anything nasty!  >>> Do you feel triggered? <<< right now I do! … no. haha, but seriously, I can’t stand when someone does something, or something happens and it may be a little bit uncomfortable for some reason and then someone says: Triggered? Are you triggered?. Pls, I hope it dies with the new year.
  2. Feet — they’re just all around not cute. I mean, I like painting my toe nails as much as the next girl, and struttin’ down the streets in my new kicks, but feet. Bare feet. There’s a total difference between the feeling of being barefoot and bare feet themselves. Just the physical appearance of barefeet are awful. I personally think they’re so nasty! (which is funny bc going barefoot is such a satisfying feeling for me.)
  3. Pessimism – ugh! Don’t you just find a negative space, person, comment so draining! It totally takes a toll on your overall mood. At least for me it does.
  4. Wet Socks – that warm, moist, wet spot on your sock is the worst feeling evvver! I can not stand the feeling of wet socks. Especially if it’s only a spot or part of the sock. Worst. Feeling. Ever!
  5. Why so serious? – This isn’t something that necessarily makes me cringe, but it’s definitely something that makes me uncomfortable. I am a fairly extroverted person, so when someone is dead serious, or just monotone, I find it incredibly difficult to relate to them. To make conversation takes everything I have! Nothing against them, I need my serious moments too — I just can’t stand it all the time. Personal quirk.

SO now you know the things that make me cringe! What are some of yours?

Til’ next time – sk

5+ hour layover – LGA Edition

Here we are, a new adventure taking off. I left Sydney (YQY) at 6 am, flew to Toronto (YYZ) and now here I am in LaGuardia, New York (LGA) — for 9 hours. Yes, that was not a typo. Cheap flights do come at a cost turns out. I am currently residing around Terminal C and D. There’s plenty of seating, so that’s not an issue. The windows are fairly large, so you can see the planes arriving and departing. If you would like to have a nice sit down meal (which I planned on doing — since, let’s be honest, time is not an issue for me), make sure you have a debit/credit card on hand. Unlike me, who only has cash resorted to the Cibo Express Gourmet Markets food. a.k.a. a packaged turkey sandwich that cost way too much — but it’s all part of the adventure right? and in all honesty, after being up for 8 hours, it tastes pretty dang good. So. Bring a debit/credit card (which most people have anyway — I’m just the minority). WIFI at LGA, they have kindly but slightly stingily only allow you to have 30 minutes of free wifi. So, I mean, my layover is 8 hours and 30 minutes longer than that time limit. Which, isn’t necessarily a bad thing – maybe they have our best interests at heart, not wanting us to fry our brains. Probably not. You can buy wifi, through a monthly plan, or by the day if you’re quite desperate. I. am quite desperate. Now, depending on your interests and boredom levels, this list may be even more boring than the layover itself — but here are some of my layover suggestions that will get me through the day!

  1. Laptop/Cell Phone + chargers
    • pretty self explanatory, we do live in this digital age and this is the perfect time to be anti-social in a large group without being judged hardcore.
  2. Books!!!
    • E-books, actual paper books — whatever you use to obtain these beautiful resources, download them! Stock up on them! I brought 3 paperback books (which does add to the weight of my load; but that’s my personal decision). If you don’t mind, or you like, or have an e-reader, that would probably be the most efficient and compact way of bringing multiple books that don’t weigh you down.
  3. Paper + Writing Utensils
    • This is definitely a big one for me, for someone who doodles, draws, writes constantly and endlessly, this is just a must-have.
  4. Camera
    • I love taking pictures — and what better place to play around with your camera and get some artsy shots?
  5. Music
    • An obvious must for anyone. I already mentioned some pretty sweet playlists – but these are few of the songs that I’ve been listening to while I’m 40 000 ft in the air
      • I lived – One Republic
      • Downside of Growing Up – Maddie & Tae
      • Leaving on a Jet Plane – John Denver
      • Always Home – Eric Angus Whyte
      • 30 000 Feet – Ben Rector
      • A Case of You – Joni Mitchell
      • The Idiot – Stan Rogers
  6. Netflix
    • I had to include this, yes, it has definitely helped pass some of the time here. There is for sure crap on Netflix but these are some of my fav (no judging)
      • Gilmore Girls
      • When Calls the Heart
      • Bones
      • The Musketeers (BBC)
      • Merlin
      • Switched at Birth
      • Abstract: The Art of Design
  7. Write
    • Documenting your trip is always a great way of remembering those long airport waits, or funny thing that happened years down the road.
  8. People Watching
    • Is that creepy? I mean, I’m pretty sure we all do it — we just … don’t admit it. Socially unacceptable right. Well, I’m here to stop that taboo because 1. There are already to many taboo subjects 2. um. I know it’s not just me that looks around and wonders about the people passing by. Seriously, what are they thinking, why are they here, where are they going … or maybe, maybe it is just me. aha

At this very moment in time, I still have 5 hours until my next, last and final flight. So, we’re getting there. If I wasn’t travelling alone, I would have definitely went into New York for the day. But as it is, here I sit, looking out at the blue skied, city skyline and bustling tarmac. Also, forgetting once … maybe twice, that I am in the U.S. of A and tried paying for things with good ol’ Queen Elizabeth, oops. So, farewell for now. Palmetto State here I come.

Heart of the New West and Beyond

Indian Head, Saskatchewan – Calgary, Alberta

— In and out of wifi — not strong enough to post —

Day 8: 827 Kilometres – 9 hours – Fuel: $33

Day 9 – 11: collectivity about 11 hours (Calgary to Vancouver) — around 1000 kilometres — Fuel: about $75

We hit the ground runnin’ once again — Except for a gas stop and a lunch break in Swift Current, Saskatchewan where we stumbled upon the most delectable dutch bakery. The food was amazing, the service was excellent and although it’s a little bit of a greasy spoon — everything about it was marvellous. Highly recommend their sticky buns!

We continued on the trans Canada until we reached our friends in Cochrane, Alberta which is about 40 mins from Calgary.  The drive was long. It was hot and was very thankful to be staying put for a couple days. We drove to Banff for an afternoon and the best part was having a Parks Canada Pass! The weather was prime tourist weather, so the town was pretty crowded, and the parking was insaneee. Literally, insane. All in all, 11/10.

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Rocky Mountain Soap Company has a beautiful shop up in Banff that sells natural, toxic free products. It’s fresh, it’s clean and personally, I love the aesthetic.

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We have done so much in the last few days that I’m going to post the photos, and then write a separate piece about some of the highlights, and the lowlights so far. So, since I’ve last posted: Calgary, Banff, Mara Lake, and Vancouver next!

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Land of Living Skies

Winnipeg, Manitoba – Indian Head, Saskatchewan

Day 7 (end of wk one): 5 hours (took us 6.5hrs) – 504 kilometres – $30

G’mornin’! So before we left Manitoba, we went to Fort Whyte Alive. Which is an incredible family friendly, perfect all year round place to experience and explore! Bison, Prairie dogs, trails, and so much more including day camps for kids and activities in the winter! fullsizeoutput_f11

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After a beautiful morning walking around and seeing what there was to see we headed west on the number one. We pulled off to a sweet little town called Austin. It was primitive, clean and quite ghost town like. This was one of the most delightful buildings there!

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We continued on until we reached Indian Head, Saskatchewan which was LONGG. V. Long. Extremely dull, it’s beautiful landscapes but the drive became quite monotonous compared to the treelined, hilly landscapes of the east. We reached Indian Head and stayed with the most beautiful people! The conversation was fruitful and their hospitality was ever so kind. They were long time friends of my mom’s and the most interesting and joyous couple I’ve met. So thank you Sandra and Bill for your love and insightful knowledge.

Off We Go: Cochrane, Alberta

Gateway to the West

English River Ontario – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Day 6: 515 kilometres – 5 hours 35 minutes – Fuel: $38 + $14

Here we are! We’ve driven about 40 H and have covered about 3 360 kilometres so far. 3 more provinces to go and we will have driven coast to coast!

Northern Ontario is v. beautiful. Lake Superior is absolutely lovely! It’s sparkling waters and abstract tree lines are incredible. The gas price however, is not something to rave about. From Sault-Ste. Marie until Manitoba, the price of gas is pretty pricey. It was 120.8 at one place, and 86.5 once we reached Manitoba. You may make fun of our Prius, but it is exciting at the gas station!

There are many, MANY picnic stops off of the highway, the trick is finding the right one! Most of them are right off the highway and not sheltered and not exactly picturesque. But there are the few gems that leave you breathless and wishing you could stay forever!

We stopped at the sweetest shop and farm on the way called Egli’s Sheep Farm. You must stop by if you’re in the area! Handmade and locally crafted, the products inside are beautiful and practical and worth every penny!

Once we arrived to our friends house, we hauled hundreds of fresh picked strawberries and afterwards we had a good conversation with new friends over a nice hot meal!

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Next stop: Indian Head, Saskatchewan

Northern Ontario -Part Two

Goulais River, Ontario – English River, Ontario

Day 5: Lots of hills, and stopping and starting – 13 hours – 903 kilometres – Fuel: $33

Good morning! A day of driving ahead — about 13 hours. We did however stop a few times. We stopped at a couple little lakes along the way, we saw a little black bear! Wawa, ON to see the giant goose, Terrace Bay, ON, and the Terry Fox Memorial and Visitor Centre. We also stopped in Thunder Bay to pick up some groceries. We’re on our way to Ignace, On. It’s quite a barren drive between Thunder Bay and Ignace (around 3 hours), but we wanted to get as many km in today so we could enjoy some of the day in Manitoba tomorrow!

We stopped at a motel off of the highway for the night between Thunder Bay and Ignace. It’s called English river, and really is a quaint little place. It isn’t modern, it isn’t fancy and it certainly isn’t the kind of place you’d want to spend more than one night in, but it was clean. It was clean, it was cheap, and it has a lovely pond in front. A little wharf for fishing, and lounging and canoes to rent. The owners are lovely and overall — a great place to stopover! We were fortunate enough that we got the last room available!

 

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Next: Winnipeg, Manitoba

(the wifi hasn’t been the kindest since we left Ottawa so not all of my photos have been uploading. but if you’d like to see sweet “Winnie” (the black bear) you can see her on @sarahkateanjia on Instagram!) — photos will hopefully be uploaded to future posts 🙂

luv, sk