In the quiet

There is an entire drawer in my bedroom dedicated to my journals. There are about a dozen of them in there, all different shapes and sizes. Each entry a glimpse inside my heart and mind in different seasons of life.

I began journaling when I was a teen because my ideas, no matter how cluttered and jumbled they might be in my mind, always seemed clearer on paper (to date, there’s never been a misunderstanding between my journal and me). Of course, my entries have evolved over time, replacing angst with wisdom.  Every now and then, I read through some of my older entries. The growth is real, sis!

Yet, whenever I read through old journals, I notice something from time to time: gaps. I can often trace those gaps to periods in my life when there was a lot going on inside…perhaps more than I wanted to face.  Somehow, writing it all out meant accountability: I couldn’t deny it anymore, couldn’t lie to myself. I had to reconcile whatever was going on inside. Some of my most sincere and transformative entries happened when I was on vacation. There’s something about slowing down that helps bring things into focus so you can speed up and relaunch…

Of course, this trip was no exception. While there haven’t been lengthy gaps in recent weeks, there was (I discovered) a need to slow down and refocus. So, I did. There’s so much to be found in the quiet when the pace is the complete opposite of my everyday.

My other full-time job

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My sisters will *never* leave Toronto–much like Oprah, this is one thing I know for sure. They, like so many other Torontonians see no need to leave the big smoke…and I’ve given up trying to change their minds.

Up until 2010, the three of us (+ Mom) all shared the same home. My sisters (one older, one younger) know me better than anyone else–making them perfect roommates. While I knew I was ready to ditch TO, I wasn’t ready for the experience of life away from them: no older sister to make me dinner, no younger sister to make me laugh and (most importantly) no sisters to borrow clothes, shoes–ANYTHING–from.

However, I think I underestimated just how much absence makes the heart grow fonder. In our time apart, we’ve exchanged thousands of text messages, countless emails, lengthy (expensive) phone calls and mailed gifts (but for some reason, we’ve never Skyped or Facetimed. Weird). While there have been missed Christmases and Birthdays, I don’t feel as though I’ve missed anything at all. In fact, we have grown closer…

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The three of us have always been close. We’re close in age and are also about the same size, making for an excessive amount of wardrobe sharing (a ridiculous amount, as far as Mom was concerned. When we were teens, Mom refused to fold our laundry because she never knew who owned what). Of course there were the typical sibling fights–my younger sister and I used to fight like cat/dog growing up. Up until she came I along, I had it made: my chances of being the baby of the family were looking pretty good…  Together, we would drive our older sister bananas–back then, it was our raison d’etre.

These two months in Kitchener mark the first time I’ve lived within driving distance of my family in nearly 5 years. I’m confident I won’t spend the rest of my life/career working in Ontario–there are just too many other cities to see, places to live. Plus, I do sincerely miss life in other parts of the country–I had a blast living out east and I very much loved life out west.

I’ve decided I don’t need to live in Toronto (there, I said it) because I will always have three perfectly good reasons to visit. My Mom and sisters will always be here (or in the GTA). So, until the day I leave Ontario again, I’ll trade the phone calls and text messages for lunch dates and sleepovers (you are never too old for sleepovers. Never.). Through the years, I’ve often said sisterhood is a full-time job. It’s also the best job I’ll ever have.

Re-discovering Ontario

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Growing up in Toronto/GTA is like existing in a bubble: everything you need is here, so why bother looking anywhere else? Having grown up in this world, I’m all too familiar with the downsides of ‘bubble-living’ and the narrow-minded city dwellers that kind of lifestyle produces. Its a big part of the reason why I was so keen on leaving Ontario to pursue my career in this industry.

It wasn’t until I left Toronto/GTA and made my way to other parts of the country–particularly western Canada–that I realized just how much Canadians *dislike* (hate is just so strong a word) Toronto (hereafter referred to as the ‘Centre of the Universe’). However, that feeling is also alive and well within the province too.

I have a number of friends/colleagues who proudly call Toronto home–and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Yet, this week, I also caught up with some of my girlfriends from University who happily call smaller, lesser known Ontario towns, home–Fergus, for example–and are just as happy as my city-dwelling friends. It’s worth noting that these country converts have also lived and worked in Toronto–they know very well what they’re leaving behind…

…The same things I was also all too eager to ditch back in 2010: unbearable traffic, a stressful commute, smog, an un-affordable housing market and, to be honest, a city that had begun to feel just a bit tired.

Being close to ‘The Centre of Universe’ means I’m closer to my family–and that’s a nice feeling–but I’ve only been back to Toronto 3 times in 2 months. In that time, I’ve noticed traffic has gotten worse, the commute even more stressful…and the people less patient. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

So, perhaps this return to Ontario is a chance to re-discover my home province–you know, see how the rest of the universe is living. My University girlfriends have given me a list of events that I *must* attend and I plan on taking them all in (suggestion are welcome!). The countdown to the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games 2015 has already begun.

 

Nadia

Off-Air Adventure: (finally) meeting Catherine of Kaela Kay

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Twitter is an amazing thing.

Last summer, I came across Catherine Addai on the Twitterverse. She was promoting her new line, Kaela Kay, on social media…and I was smitten at first click.

Off-camera, I love wearing prints, bold jewelry and statement pieces, but those fashion choices often don’t work well in my day-to-day world of news. So, when the opportunity presents itself–events, functions at the station or just socially–I dig out those pieces that reflect another side of my personal style.

So, last summer when looking for something to wear to the Black Gold Awards in Calgary, a piece by Kaela Kay seemed like a great idea…and it was.

This week, after more than a year of interacting via social media, I finally got the chance to meet Catherine. In her humble basement studio we chatted (for 90 minutes!) about everything from fashion, to life on-air, life off-air and about the joys (and sometimes challenges) of being a Black woman in Canada. It was great.

Very much looking forward to this fashionable friendship.

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Off-Air Adventure: St. Jacobs

 

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Last weekend, I decided to head to the Village of St. Jacobs to check it out. After passing through 4 cities in 4 years, I’ve learned the only way to get to know the market is to get out and explore the market.

I grew up in Ontario–spent the first 26 years of my life here–and yet I have to admit that I still know little about it beyond Toronto and the GTA. Sadly, I think this is true for most people who grew up in Toronto/GTA. It can feel like a bubble and everyone who lives outside that bubble simply doesn’t exist. Now, I was never THAT closed-minded, but I do admit to minimal exploration. My time in Newfoundland and Labrador is what really prompted me to change my ways: when there’s so much to explore in your own backyard, why not explore it?

So, St. Jacobs. It wasn’t a busy Sunday in the Village, but there were plenty of tourists like me. It felt like what I imagine much of small-town Ontario feels like: quaint, quiet, a simple life. The shops were all inviting, the people friendly and the selection of unique products sometimes overwhelming. I will certainly be heading back to St. Jacobs Country because I MUST check out the farmer’s market. Perhaps that will be next Saturday’s adventure…

 

Fought the urge to buy everything in this store...
Fought the urge to not buy everything in this store…

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Best jam I've had in a LONG time!
Best jam I’ve had in a LONG time!

 

For some reason, this reminded me of Alberta...
For some reason, this reminded me of Alberta…

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Something else that reminded me of Alberta. One of the many truly unique products I spotted in the Village.
Something else that reminded me of Alberta. One of the many truly unique products I spotted in the Village.

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