When I was pregnant the second time, after moving away, I asked my midwife for some chiropractor referrals and made an appointment with the one closest to home. I have been to my share of chiropractic appointments and knew what to expect from a good back crack (or spinal manipulation). What I got during this bizarre chiropractor appointment felt like someone would jump out yelling “PUNKED” any second. The chiropractor practices something called P-DTR (Proprioceptive Deep Tendon Reflex®). Whether it’s legit or not, I’m not so sure. But it sure makes for a strange and funny story.
Having lived in so many places and being so many things, I often feel like an outsider no matter where I am or who I am with. I am not from any one place. The place where I was born is not the place I call home. The country where I was born (USSR) no longer exists. I am a dual citizen but the two countries whose passports I hold are neither my birthplace nor my country of residence. For the most part, I know who I am and I know where I come from. But I definitely don’t have a simple answer to this seemingly simple question, “where are you from?” Because it’s complicated.
On our most recent trip to Hawaii we wanted to see and do as much as we could. But at the same time, we also wanted to relax and enjoy our holiday. We were traveling and staying with another family, good friends of ours. Between us we had 4 adults and 3 little kids aged 1.5, 3 and 4.5. We opted to take things easy and gave up some of the activities we wanted to do in order to not over-schedule ourselves and the children. Letting go of the idea that we must do everything allowed us to have a much more relaxing time in Hawaii with our small kids. Here are my three tips for a relaxing vacation with kids (even if you have to give up some plans in the process).
If you’ve been following my Facebook and Instagram pages you have no doubt noticed that we were in Hawaii for a couple of weeks (and if you haven’t, go follow me right now). Hawaii was incredible, every bit as beautiful as I imagined it would be. I always get a certain joy from traveling to places whose beauty was not exaggerated in movies and photographs. It really is that gorgeous everywhere you look.
I was having a hard time deciding which part of our vacation to focus on for this post. I always feel like pictures tell a vacation story much better than words can describe. I finally decided to write about something that has really touched my heart while we were in Honolulu visiting Iolani Palace, the residence of Hawaiian royals including the last Hawaiian monarch, Queen Liliuokalani. Queen Liliuokalani’s story feels much more poignant and personal when you’re walking through her palace-turned-prison. It is a history I knew very little about before traveling to Hawaii.
Moving to a different country is hard. No matter how much you researched the place you’re moving to, there will be things that take some getting used to. There are the obvious challenges for expats, finding a place to live, being away from friends and family, starting new jobs. But I was surprised by some of the little everyday challenges I encountered with regards to the more mundane daily routines. Here are the five surprising everyday challenges I faced as an expat when we first moved to California from Toronto that I did not anticipate:
This spring will mark 14 years since Husband and I met and began our geeky love story. We were both studying computer science at the University of Toronto at the time. Sometimes I marvel at all the things that had to happen to bring us together and I’m amazed that it actually came to be. I don’t really believe in fate. I don’t think Husband and I were destined to be together no matter what. I give Husband all of the credit for his bravery and quick thinking that led to our really awkward meeting and subsequent romance. This is the story of how we met.