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Preparing for Winter 2021

Yes, I know it’s September, but the leaves started to turn in mid-August! Word is that it has to do with the drought and heatwaves that we had this summer. So, this year I’m not going to be caught off guard when it comes to winter. I’m already thinking through things I need to buy and do before the snow starts to fall. Plus, I’m wearing warmer clothes now!

I’ll tell you this though. At least I don’t need to worry about when to get winter tires! I have no idea when I will drive again, but someday, I will experience this funny part of Canadian culture that involves putting on winter tires!

Example of Winter Tires Culture:

Before we moved here, we asked our friends in Canada about driving. The FIRST THING they said to us is your insurance is void in the winter if you don’t have proper snow tires! Since then, I have noticed it’s a common piece of conversation. One of my favourite films to watch is called Being Canadian. It features Rob Cohen who is travelling across Canada with a goal to find out what it means to be Canadian. He ends his journey in Vancouver on Canada Day. When he’s in Ottawa, it’s snowing. One person he attempts to interview for the movie is Prime Minister Stephen Harper. But when he arrives at 24 Sussex, the PM’s security detail says that Harper is out buying snow tires! That says more than any interview with the Prime Minister ever could! Since then, I have heard some funny anecdotes about winter tires!

Okay, no winter tires this year, but it’s still funny!

What AM I Doing to Prepare for Winter Though?

I learned last winter that I have to keep my cold-weather items in good condition and monitor them. I’m checking to make sure all my winter items are okay and going to replace certain items. Additionally, winter requires A LOT of skincare, especially in a dry climate! I will do a separate post about that. Bottom line: you need to take care of your skin more than you think you do. I’m glad I know how to take care of my feet after being in ballet for years and I can help my Mum with it too. After I left ballet, I didn’t care about my feet because frankly, I HATE feet! It has been very good for me to live in Canada because I can get into the habit of taking care of my feet again and enjoy it.

Beautiful Autumn Leaves:

Since August, I have been on standby to take photos of the foliage. Here are some pics I took last week! I know the first day of Autumn is on the 22nd. Um, not here it isn’t!

Additionally, I was walking by this certain church last week. As a bit of a backstory, discoveries of mass graves at former residential schools were being reported last summer. Indigenous people were throwing red paint on church doors, sometimes with the words, “We were children”. This particular church said they weren’t going to remove the paint nor press charges. And they have been good to their word. One time, I walked by there and noticed people left flowers by the door and tied orange ribbons to the railings. Someday, nature is going to leave her contribution by dropping orange leaves on the church. I didn’t take a photo because I want to be respectful.

September 30 is the first Truth and Reconciliation Day. I like how it’s happening at a time when leaves are turning orange. For those of you wondering why orange, it’s a symbol of Indigenous children who had their culture and identities stripped away from them. You can read more here. Some provinces aren’t observing Truth and Reconciliation Day, which just shows you how some people in charge need to be more woke!

Books:

I’m planning what I’m going to read this winter. Reading is non-negotiable during a long winter! It stops you from going crazy or at least delays it a bit longer. When I moved here, I only brought two books with me. One was The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson and the other was Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran. I didn’t want to read either of them while I was dealing with culture shock, but I’m fine to read them now.

I didn’t read during the summer because I was spending more time out of doors. Also, I didn’t want to admit it, but I got separation anxiety from the books I left behind. It doesn’t matter how much I move overseas, books are VERY hard to donate, leave behind, ship separately or put in storage. Yes, I have done all four. When I get separation anxiety, I can’t read for a while because I feel like I’m being unfaithful to the books that have gone with me from country to country. Here are the books I just got at the library

Books!

I let myself have separation anxiety this summer and then I went to my local library and realized, “I’m over it! Now I want to get off this toxic internet!”

I am going to do a post about a summer recap because I stopped doing my X-Month Theme posts. I didn’t have a lot of time to do the monthly recap posts as well as my parks posts and apply for PR at the same time. My Eighth Month Theme post was the last one.

It’s also been 20 years since 9/11 and I’m working on a post about that. I had more revelations this year, especially from living in Canada that I wish to share.

One Last Thing:

As many of you know, Canada is having a federal election next week. I haven’t said much about it, or other things affecting Canada right now because I’m not a citizen. Please don’t ask me about it because I’m not in a position to talk about it! I am having conversations with people I trust, but I keep it on the down-low. Additionally, since 2016, elections make me sick! I know I throw shade at the US and UK, but they are my passport countries, so I can just go there with them! I’m still a guest in Canada, but I am encouraging others to talk about it. Sometimes I say, “Say it louder for the people in the back!” I feel like I’m walking a double-edged sword right now because I can’t vote, but it matters just as much to me as it does to citizens.

I did watch the French and English debates and I actually enjoyed the French debate. Yeah, there was some catfighting, but, well it sounds better in French. This year, I have been trying to understand QuΓ©bΓ©cois French so the debate was a great way to work on it. I’ll do another post on what I have learned about QuΓ©bΓ©cois French this past year. Anyway, I’m trying not to be American and talk about politics all the time.

What are you doing to prepare for winter? What is autumn like for you?

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Park #6: Lindsay Park and River Walk (Repost)

Date visited: August 9, and August 12, 2021

Location: SE Calgary. Or SW? I’m confused about that!

Best Time of Year To Visit: Any time of year.

This park wasn’t selected randomly. I was in the area twice within a few days of each other, so I decided to stop by the park.

Note: I’m reposting this. I had some technical issues with posting it last time.

Park Features and Highlights:

No matter how you enter the park, you can’t do it without seeing the Elbow River. Whether you cross the bridge or enter by this river path, you can’t avoid the river. It’s lovely though, so I don’t care!

There’s an area where you can get closer to the river and other areas with benches overlooking the river. It’s a great way to relax if you have walked a lot. There are spaces to go wading in the river (if that’s what you’re into). I tried wading when I was there, and it’s getting to be that time of year when the water goes from refreshing to cold!

There is a gym near the park, which is a cool look. You can work out and then chill in the park afterwards. Additionally, there is a playground for kids and picnic tables nearby.

The bridges are even cooler! You get some great views of the city on the bridges, especially in the summer because clearly, the greenery is blocking the city!

Park Surrounding Area:

The area nearby is known as the Mission district. It was initially settled by French missionaries. If you look closely, you can see signs of its French history. For instance, the street signs say what the original names of the streets were and those original names are all French! There are more clues to look out for as well. It’s one of the most vibrant areas I have seen in Calgary! There are lots of local businesses on 4th St SW, and the Beltline Murals are there on 17th Ave SW. I will do a post about the Beltline Murals someday. It’s a great place to get together with people and try different foods!

Additionally, the Calgary Stampede takes place nearby. I don’t know whether Stampeders go to the park to chill out, but I hope they do!

Challenges. What Challenges?:

This is the most accessible park ever! Yes, there are dips and hills, especially around the bridges, but overall, it’s a wonderful place for everyone to enjoy!

One Last Thing:

I have been rather busy of late because I am applying for permanent residence and starting a business. I am still visiting parks when it’s not smoky, but I don’t have much time to post about them. Additionally, I might not comment on your posts as often either, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t read them. Thanks for reading!

If you miss any of my future posts on my challenge or want to reread my past posts, you can go to my page Calgary Parks Challenge. You can also find more photos from the parks on my Instagram page here.

See you at the next park in my challenge!

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More on Divided Loyalties

Hey everyone! After I wrote my post on Enjoying Sports as A TCK, I felt it was important to expand more into the topic of divided loyalties. There are a lot of incorrect ideas floating around, and I wish to set the record straight. There are so many famous quotes about how division is bad, so it’s no surprise that we automatically think that something divided is bad. I’m sharing a quote from Abraham Lincoln. It has merit, but here’s why it shouldn’t be taken at face value.

A Little More About the Olympics and Divided Loyalties:

I have seen athletes compete in the Olympics who are originally from one country and end up on another national team. I respect that there are residency and training requirements for being on a national team. The nicest thing though is that there isn’t a lot of media fervour over whether immigrant athletes are loyal to their new national team. If there is, I just ignore it because it’s just hype. I feel sorry for the athletes that are subjected to that though.

The Tokyo Olympics were unique this year. I saw a lot more athletes who used to live in one country and then moved to another and ended up competing on their national team. I got to admit, some athletes’ backgrounds made me think, “Yep! TCK!” One cool thing too was there was a refugee team. One of my friends said that there might be a TCK team someday, and you know what? I believe it! Honestly, when it comes to sporting events, divided loyalties can be fun! I wish it was more accepted in general, though. Another funny thing I noticed is whenever I saw the sign “Tokyo 2020”, my mind kept thinking, “Did it just say TCK yo?”

On a More Serious Note:

TCKs can be judged harshly by monocultural people because they have divided loyalties. There is a common misconception that having TCKs in the military or government, or even business that they can compromise who they represent. In reality, when TCKs act as representatives of a country, they do an even better job because they know how to practice effective intercultural communication. If they know the cultural norms of a country they have to communicate with, even better. Even if they don’t know the cultural norms, they have ways of finding these things out because they have their own little international network.

Additionally, you become a TCK because of the institution your parents belong to. That can include military, missionary, diplomat, corporate or anything else. I might not have said this before, but I’m an academic brat turned corporate brat. Generally, TCKs are against whatever institution their parents were a part of. If they do follow their parents, it’s not without giving it significant thought. I am very anti-corporate BECAUSE WE GOT SCREWED!! I went to university rather late after giving it significant thought. Nailed it!

The Reality:

When TCKs choose to represent a certain culture, they are committed to doing right by that culture. They have thought through the pros and cons. There are certain institutions that demand complete loyalty, like the military. For me, it’s natural to shy away from institutions that demand complete loyalty. I still respect TCKs who can get their minds around being in an institution that demands complete loyalty.

It’s commonly overlooked that TCKs learned from an early age that they are representatives of whatever country they came from. Some of that representation has been imposed by their parents’ institution, and some of that is simply awareness that when you’re overseas, you’re a representative. Learning how to be a representative on a daily basis doesn’t just go away as you get older.

Whenever I have wanted to apply for a job that has a specific cultural twist, my mother always warned me that I might not get it because I’m multicultural and they might doubt my loyalty. At first, I thought she was creating a prejudice that wasn’t there. As it turned out, she was right. This is yet another reason why I’m starting my own business.

A Real-life Example of TCKs Getting Crap:

Unless you’re in the international scene, you probably don’t know that Barack Obama is a TCK. Yep, look at his bio. Kamala Harris is a TCK too. I remember when Obama was running for President, and even though I didn’t know the term TCK at the time, I said, “Finally! Someone I can relate to!” Then, Donald Trump started the Birther Movement and that was insulting to TCKs around the world. That made me question if I could ever go back to the US again. It’s yet another example of TCKs getting crap for their multicultural experience. I had heard mainstream US media and Americans, in general, were trying to put Obama in boxes which he clearly didn’t fit. You can’t put a TCK in a box.

There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that Obama was NOT a security risk! If anything, I found his abilities to relate to leaders from other countries and to connect to people second to none! He’s an incredible role model for all TCKs.

I saw a similar trend in media when Kamala Harris was announced as Biden’s running mate. Of course, since she wasn’t running for president, it was on a lower level. I don’t particularly like Kamala Harris, but I do feel sorry for her on the crap she gets in the media. It’s like, can we move on already? I do think that Obama and Harris are very different people though, but I think I will save my thoughts on that for another post.

I can hear people saying they could never have a TCK in politics. Meryl Streep’s lines are my responses.

If you want to live in a globalized world, those choices are necessary.

And then, I Found a Surprise:

I moved to Canada and found out many Members of Parliament are either multicultural or have dual nationality. Elizabeth May, former leader of the Green Party used to have US citizenship. Additionally, Andrew Scheer, former leader of the Conservative Party has dual Canadian and US citizenship. So, if he had become Prime Minister *GASPS!! We would have had a PM who had dual nationality!

I bet Canadians were looking at the Birther Movement and laughing because if we did that, we would never report on any news because of so many MPs to cover! When the US was like, “Obama wasn’t born in the US! ARGH!!” and I bet Canadians were like, “We don’t give a flying fuck!” Am I right, my fellow Canuks? To be clear, I don’t know if this was true, but I had to inject a little humour here.

Divided Loyalties are More Common than You Think:

I have met people who have fought during WWII and I love their stories. Here’s my one wish though. I wish that I had met a WWII veteran who was German-American or Japanese-American. American soldiers of German or Japanese heritage had divided loyalties too. The Japanese-American unit became the most decorated unit in the American military. However, the soldiers didn’t normally share with their loved ones that they were decorated. Back then, you didn’t talk about how you felt torn with divided loyalties. You just zipped your lip and did your duty.

Sometimes, divided loyalties can be very painful for TCKs and we don’t like to talk about it either. It’s amazing to meet others who can relate to divided loyalties. I feel the bottom line is no one can tell you how much to love a country and what parts to love. You have to figure it out for yourself, and most importantly, not judge others for not loving the same things you love. There are so many diverse and kinetic elements of culture that you can find what you like. Heck, I know monocultural people who never leave a country to like different things about their country and they get along just fine! Why should it be different for multicultural people?

What do you think about what I said? Let me know in the comments! Until next time.

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Park #5: Bowmont Park

Date visited: July 14, 2021

Location: NW Calgary

Best Time of Year To Visit: This looks like a good year-round park.

This park wasn’t selected randomly. We were in the area, so we decided to check out this park. I think this park was near the outskirts of the city. We had to go pretty far out to get there. Additionally, we heard the Snowbirds were going to fly over Calgary. For those of you who don’t know, the Snowbirds are the air stunt team for the Royal Canadian Air Force. You can read more about them here. At first, I thought it was for the Calgary Stampede. I found out later that it was to honour healthcare workers, so the flight path went over certain hospitals. Did we see them? Read on to find out.

Park Features and Highlights:

Bowmont Park is yet another park that is next to the Bow River. I love the number of bridges around, especially when a train went over one of them. There’s another park across the river called Bowness Park. It’s one of the gems of Calgary, which I hope to see before the summer is over. We also managed to see traces of beaver life nearby. There was a tree that was clearly chewed by a beaver and we saw evidence of a new beaver dam, but no beavers this time! I still haven’t seen one yet, but that’s okay. Some of the trails allow dogs off the leash, which is pretty cool. The trails have a lot of shade from trees and you can find spaces overlooking the river. It’s a great place to cycle at too.

We arrived at the park at the start of the hour where the Snowbirds were expected to fly over. We heard helicopters flying over and thought there were checking the airspace. Later, we found out it was to monitor the air quality. You know how when you’re anticipating something and you keep your eyes and ears peeled and wonder about whether you’re going to miss it? We had that because we thought we should have made an effort to be near the Stampede safely that day, so we had more chance of seeing the Snowbirds.

And Then…

We stayed near the river as long as we could and then decided to carry on walking. We figured we might not see the Snowbirds, but I still kept my ears peeled. Suddenly, I heard the roar of an airplane that was not a passenger jet! We looked towards the river and we saw the Snowbirds in the distance! We waited to see if they would turn around. They did and flew directly over the trail we were on! It was too fast for me to catch a photo. But also, I wanted to enjoy the moment without worrying about a good photo. The Snowbirds were in a maple leaf formation, and the angle was such that we couldn’t see all the planes. I saluted as they flew over!

Other people on the trail were just as excited as we were to see them. I loved feeling this calm Canadian pride and patriotism that I have noticed is common here. I have had the pleasure of seeing other Air Force stunt teams like the Red Arrows during London 2012 and the Blue Angels flying into San Francisco for an airshow. But none of those experiences compared to seeing the Snowbirds fly over where I was standing! I admit I do have some qualms about militaries in general, but I have to admit the stunt teams are cool! Third Culture Kid, Third Culture views of Air Force stunt teams! Anyway, back to the park.

Some Challenges:

I found that sometimes the trails separate from the main trail were a little confusing. Plus, there were A LOT of biting insects! I recommend insect repellant for this park. Also, it was kind of weird trying to enter the park. There was a bridge over the river, but for a while, we weren’t sure whether we were supposed to cross it. Plus, there was only one way to walk across the bridge, and we had to find a way to get to that path. Eventually, we got there, but it was super weird. When we got to one end of the park, it was clear there was some sewage treatment going on and it wasn’t pleasant.

If you see this, you’re in the sewage treatment area

I have been taking a little break from going to parks because of the amount of smoke that’s been in Calgary. There’s nothing like wildfire smoke to ruin a park experience, and it’s rather unpleasant to be out anyway. Whenever it clears, I will go to a new park.

If you miss any of my future posts on my challenge or want to reread my past posts, you can go to my page Calgary Parks Challenge. You can also find more photos from the parks on my Instagram page here.

See you at the next park in my challenge!

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Park #4: South Glenmore Park

Date visited: July 12, 2021

Location: SW Calgary

Best Time of Year To Visit: Summer is beautiful, but I am interested to see what it’s like at other times of the year.

Before you ask, yes there is a North Glenmore Park. It’s on my list for another day because 1. It would have been a super long walk and 2. I don’t have my bike. This park wasn’t selected randomly because we were trying to focus on getting to a park that was away from the Stampede area. Another thing I wanted to mention is I’ll likely be a little late in posting about my parks. I’m trying to keep up with other posts as well as the challenge. That’s why I’m about two weeks late on this one. Additionally, Calgary has been getting a lot of smoke lately, so I will probably be late on Park #6. I find it’s better to stay home when there’s smoke and go out on the times when the smoke situation is better or cleared up.

South Glenmore Park is located in the south part of the Glenmore Reservoir. It goes into the Elbow River and supplies drinking water to Calgary. Therefore, like other reservoirs, there are rules about what you can do on or near the Glenmore Reservoir. I have visited reservoirs in California, like Hetch Hetchy, but this is in a league of its own.

Park Features and Highlights:

This park has great paths for cycling. I heard that you can do cross-country skiing here, but I didn’t find any indications of that, but then again, it is summer. I miss my bike! If you ask me where it is, I’ll just burst into the song I Left My Bike in San Franciso…

At one end of the park, you could see the landing area for boats. Apparently, you can rent boats there, but I didn’t try it this time. There were so many sailboats on the reservoir. I would love to learn how to sail someday, and I think I just might have found the place to learn! The park also has a tennis court and polo field. The polo field wasn’t so obvious at first. One cool feature is a musical playground with all these things where you can make music! I also noticed there is a water area for the kids to play and they were having lots of fun there! It warmed my heart to see that at another park too.

Challenges:

First of all, if you’re going to come by public transportation, it can be hard to find the entrance. We had to walk around a bit to make sure we were nearby. Even then, the entrance isn’t exactly friendly to pedestrians. It’s better to go where the cars were parked and figure out where to go from there.

Second of all, don’t wear sandals on the trails. It’s not very kind to your feet, or mobility issues. My feet were battered from seeing a few parks altogether, so I had to cut our visit short. Foot problems are synonymous with life in Calgary, either summer or winter, so taking care of my feet happens on a daily basis! If it doesn’t, I get problems like this.

I have a little surprise with my next park. What is it? Wait and see!

I did a guest post with Tall Blonde Tails about my Parks Challenge. You can read my post here.

If you miss any of my future posts on my challenge or want to reread my past posts, you can go to my page Calgary Parks Challenge. You can also find more photos from the parks on my Instagram page here.

See you at the next park in my challenge!