A few updates + links to some shareables

 Our new living room! Haha, just kidding... Mat lounges in our little rental cabin last month.

Our new living room! Haha, just kidding... Mat lounges in our little rental cabin last month.

So! What's been going on since I my travels ended in 2015...

(I know I said I wanted to dive right in, but I feel like I should hit some highlights first.) Special Note: These are in random order and not a lot of them are related other than the fact that they are sharing space here.

1) The biggest news is that I started my first official job as a permanent resident! Previous jobs included being a nanny, and then being a nanny in Ireland, both of which put a few bucks in a my pocket, but not much else. Upon coming back to Montréal after an 8-month séjour in Europe, I spent the following year feeling kind of restless and hopeless in my navigation of a bilingual job market, and taking French classes to try to fill in that blaring hole in my resume.

And then, HALLELUJAH, last summer I landed a job as the administrative assistant at a non-profit. We’re a small team of 4, so I get to be in on a lot of different aspects of the place, from human resources to bookkeeping to general office management. It’s nice work and I really like my colleagues, so I feel pretty lucky; and now the painful memories of that long year of searching and waiting have all but faded into the distance... (Sort of).

2) And then, last September I went with a girlfriend to CUBA, which was an experience that merits its own entry. Coming soon!

3) I've really gotten into cooking. Like, really. A few months ago I became obsessed with a food blog that I stumbled upon, and through that blog (check it out) I was referred to a cookbook (this one) that I ended up putting on my Christmas list. Since the new year started, I’ve been engaging in a total love affair with it and it's inspired Mat and I to create a kind of anthology of our own favorite recipes. (We just have to nail the photography…).

4) I've become a devout Listener of Podcasts. On my morning commute, which is a pleasant 30-minute walk, I’ve really gotten into to podcasts over just jamming out to music. (Which I also like to do sometimes; it's fun to change things up.) A helpful tool has been the discovery of the podcast app on my iPhone (did everybody but me know about this?) that has pretty much every podcast I could want, and for free! Or at least, I haven't come across any that I've needed to buy. Lately I’ve been really into Pod Save America for my echo-chamber liberal political commentary, NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour (an old favorite) and a new one that’s supposedly “the next 'Serial'” in regards to its level of addiction, called Missing Richard Simmons. I shared this one with Mat on our little drive out to the country a few weekends ago and even he liked it, despite having previously been unaware of Richard Simmons existence. It sounds like such a weird story, but trust me, it's really well done! (And for my part, I hadn’t been aware that he’d been “missing.” So, yeah.)

%) And while on the subject of podcasts, I came across the NY Times' “Modern Love” on Valentine’s Day (I was looking for something theme-y...don't judge me...), where celebrities of various grades of famousness read essays that have appeared in the Times’ column of the same name. The essay I listened to was, "To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This," in which a series of increasingly person questions are given to two relative strangers - a quasi-scientific experiment to see if intimacy can be "created" when people learn deeply personal things about each other in a short period of time. Of course, this experiment can’t really account for the presence of natural chemistry and/or physical attraction, (or lack thereof), but at the end of the story, it is mentioned that all sorts of couples have enjoyed going over the questions and finding things out about one another that had never previously come up, in some cases, even after 25 years of marriage! 

So with this, I was inspired to share them with Mat. We answered a few over our Valentine’s dinner of homemade crab cakes (from another one of our go-to cookbooks), and finished them up during our weekend getaway last month. Given that we weren’t pressed for time and also weren’t previously strangers, just one question could lead to other tangents, and it would take us hours just to get through two questions! I recommend it for any couple, at any stage in the relationship; we had a lot of fun with it. There weren’t too many we didn’t already know the answers to, but in those cases we took the time to enrich the details or context of the stories we’d already told. But of course, there were a few that opened some new windows, too! Here are the 36 questions. We’ve also thought about making a game out of it to play with friends; like maybe writing the questions individually on strips of paper and putting them in a hat, and taking turns drawing and asking. (The catch could be to choose the person you’ll ask the next question to before drawing it!)

Now, to that Cuba post. (And pictures!)