Saturday, April 11, 2015

Major Changes: Kelowna, British Columbia

kelowna british columbia western canada okanagan valley

I feel the need to acknowledge the fact that I've completely neglected Little Maple Leaf over the last few months which makes me a little sad. Photography has taken a major back burner to my life which definitely wasn't by choice... I just didn't make the time for it.

In a lot of ways, I felt very uninspired by my home-town of Thunder Bay - while it's beautiful in so many ways, especially during the Summer and Fall seasons, they unfortunately last such a short little while before it's overcome by snow for countless months and I found myself getting a major case of the SADS. While that's not the sole reason why I didn't practice a hobby that I enjoyed so much (working unpredictable hours, spending lots of time with family, generally just being unmotivated), I'm excited to say I've finally found the motivation to pick up my camera again - the reason for that is because...

We've moved!!!!!
To Kelowna, British Columbia!

I've said it to John many times since we've been here that for a really long time, I felt like something was missing in my life and I finally feel as though I've found the missing puzzle piece. As much as John & I miss family with a feeling indescribable with words, I know in my heart that this was the best decision we could have made for our relationship and for our own personal growth.

There were too many times where I was scrolling through Instagram or Facebook (damn, social media!) and I felt so envious of my "friends" that I saw living their beautiful lives out there in such a big, wide world and in so many different locations! I, too wanted that for myself and couldn't understand why I had stuck it out in Thunder Bay for so long? For as long as I could remember, both John & I had talked about moving somewhere else and John had always talked about how if he moved, it would be to BC. As fate would have it, a job offer came up in Kelowna and after a very short discussion (it was basically a given that I would accept the job) we were preparing for a cross country move, and we did it!

As far as the job is concerned, I know I made the right choice for myself. I needed to find employment that stimulated my creative juices as I felt deprived of that for so long - I'm appreciate for the career I had as it allowed me to build useful skills for my career path ahead but I knew I needed something more and different. I won't speak more about my position but I'm very happy with the choice I made.

The road trip: WOW! What an incredible experience for us. We are so glad to say that we travelled halfway across the country together. Out of Ontario, through Manitoba to Saskatchewan - into Alberta (and the Rockies... OHHHH the Rockies) and finally, into Beautiful British Columbia: our final destination.

The memories we created on that road trip are unforgettable and were truly memorable. We saw so many new places, found an odd little spot in Saskatchewan (quite literally in the middle of nowhere) that reminded us of the show Corner Gas (it wasn't that spot for those wondering), and our favorite part, Alberta. Oh my goodness. The Rockies were incredible and were arguably our favorite scenic moment that we've ever experienced. Filled with tiny towns throughout surrounded by monstrous snowy mountains - very few sights can compare. One of these tiny towns that we stayed in was Banff. We LOVED Banff. It was quaint and historic (historic LOOKING. Definitely catered to tourists) and full of eager snowboarders and skiiers. The restaurants, shopping and cafes were outstanding (I had the best mac and cheese of my life there. Note to self: learn to truffle like Oprah) and we are already planning the next time we can go back where we can explore a little more when we have more time and also check out Lake Louise.

As far as Kelowna is concerned, it's gorgeous and we feel like we are living in a postcard everyday. The picture above I took today but the beauty you see in photos is nothing like what you'd experience in real life. Kelowna looks "sleepy". I don't know why I describe it that way but when driving into work in the morning (we live in West Kelowna) we get to see the city view every morning and when the sun is rising up over the mountains, it looks so quiet and peaceful and just a little bit misty. Kelowna is a small city and all businesses are very close together which makes navigating easy. There's plenty of restaurants to try which I find overwhelming when we are trying to eat at one new place every weekend. We found the best little thai place called "Bai Tong" and we both had the best curry of our life there. Also, it's April and we saw someone parasailing the other day which I lost my mind over because Thunder Bay is still getting snow this month (sorry family). We live in a family based community in West Kelowna just underneath a large mountain and we have an extensive hiking trail just down the road which leads to an insane view of the city at the top so we've been hiking that almost everyday after work.

God, I could really go on and on about how much we're enjoying this massive life change but for now, I'll end it there and leave the experiences for future blog posts. I'm almost thinking of doing a "re brand" of my blog to cater to the experiences that we are having rather than just photography concepts and theory like I've done in the past, but I'm thinking of leaving the title as "Little Maple Leaf" as that's the name I've carried now for the past few years. The longest I've stuck with a blog and that's important to me. You can definitely expect to see more words on my blog though as I'd like to keep friends and family in the loop of what I'm doing as I know it's hard to always make phone calls and texts when we are so busy exploring this new town so this is a great way to condense what we've been up to in a single post... so there will definitely be some changes on Little Maple Leaf in the days to come.

Wow! What a storybook I've written. I'll end it with this: So far, this really was the best decision for the both of us. I'm not going to paint a pretty picture and say life is sunshine and rainbows.. it's definitely come with it's trials and tribulations and after the honeymoon period has worn off, I'm sure there will be plenty of tears because we are missing our families so much. But for now, life just feels good. It feels right - and the Okanagan has welcomed us with open arms and we can't wait to experience more of what the amazing city of Kelowna has to offer.

Stay tuned!

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