Monday, September 25, 2017

East Coastin'

Now that would have been a good hashtag for our trip - darn! #ShedwinsEastCoastin (I started with #ViveLeShedwin but that only happened for a few photos and then I wasn't sure about it for the duration; it was more so Quebec specific! #FirstWorldProblems)

Bonjour from sunny Lunenburg, Nova Scotia! Lunenburg is an adorable, small, picturesque town where we are just for one night. Earlier today we were in Halifax, and tomorrow we head to Charlottetown, PEI. (yay for a new province!!) I really love these adventures. I love seeing something new every day and exploring places I've never been. Plus, seeing all these beautiful things in our own country is fascinating to me; especially considering how diverse our country is from coast to coast.

Our trip started in Montreal, where I worked for about a week. Edwin then met me there and that is where our East coast adventure began. We rented a car and have been driving since Montreal; I lose the term 'we' loosely as Edwin has been the one and only driver thus far actually! (in my defence: I am not an approved driver of this rental car as I was working when he picked it up! We keep meaning to find a Hertz...)

I will do a more detailed post about all the places we have been, but for now I will share a few quick photos! I am trying to upload all of our photos every day or two and separate them into folders. This makes the organized part of me very happy, and also JUST in case we lose the camera, we have a backup.

In Old Montreal in front of the Clock Tower & Pont Jacques Cartier.

This has been the prettiest church we have seen so far, and we've seen a lot of churches on this trip!! This is Sainte Anne de Beaupre in Quebec, near the St. Lawrence river. It was also so nice that this was not a main tourist destination and therefore not very busy.

After the above church tour, we went for lunch at a brewery on the St. Lawrence river. So cute and great lunch! Edwin makes fun of me because apparently I tilt my head like this in photos quite often. Who knew?! Why do I do it - I don't know!

Hopewell Rocks - these were pretty cool natural rock structures! However, we got there after the tide had come in so we could not walk on the ground by them unfortunately. Still beautiful!
LOBSTER POUTINE! I don't even know where to start - this was SO GOOD. More on a later blog post perhaps.

I also don't know where to start with this - Peggy's Cove is absolutely amazing. It was so, so, so touristy and there were tons of people. BUT when you find a spot nearby where you can just watch the waves come in, it is a fantastic spot. Everything about this spot was as beautiful as you can imagine.

And now, here is adorable little Lunenburg. It has colorful buildings, tons of sailboats, beautiful waterfront wharfs, and lots of seafood. What's not to love?!

I have to tell you that Edwin is excellent at planning trips. He worked on planning this trip and booked it all and has done a great job! We have been to very key places in each location. I know that I am very lucky to have such a good planner for a husband!!!

On the agenda tomorrow: kayaking and then heading to PEI! I hope that everyone is having a great week :)

Monday, September 4, 2017

a beautiful wedding

It is not a secret that I love weddings! One of my best friends from high school, Lindsay, got married this past Saturday and it was awesome. The wedding was at Grouse Mountain, which was a gorgeous background. It also made for it feeling like a bit of a getaway adventure to attend! (the gondola, the tourists, etc.)

Edwin & I before the ceremony. The ceremony took place on this patio overlooking the city. It was warm, but beautiful! Also, the end of the Grouse Grind is directly below us. Suckers!! ;)

Nicole, myself, Melissa, Heidi & Christina. Some of my favorite girls!

Me, Lindsay, Heidi & Christina. I've known them for a long time (Heidi & Christina since kindergarten & Lindsay since grade 9) and they are so so so great. I love that we have remained friends for so long!!

My iPhone photos do not do this view at night justice.

The sun setting was gorgeous. Again, no justice done here, but beautiful.

Andrew & Lindsay have an 11-month old daughter, Olivia, who I am regretting not getting a photo with on the wedding day now. Whoops! She was too adorable in her ruffly white dress and headband. Heidi's kids call her Baby Bolivia so that is Olivia's nickname. I love it.

I wish you, Andrew, & Olivia nothing but the best for a lifetime, Binz! xoxoxo 

PS - a big shout out to my parents & brother for dog-sitting the day of the wedding. Chucho even sleptover there and we got to sleep in Sunday morning!!  Best ever. (I love Chucho, but having a dog is a lot of work! Unfortunately he couldn't sleep until noon like me after a late night. Bummer!)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

happy birthday pants!

Did you know that this brother of mine doesn't even read my blog? The nerve! He's lucky he was such a cute kid growing up. I enjoy going through childhood photos of us so I thought I would share some :) (for whatever reason, most of the pictures I have of him as a child also have me - I think I compiled them for our wedding slide show, hence me in them!)

Fun fact: that Barbie comforter is still around... also, poor Jen!

Look how happy Pants is about getting a baby sister!

Rockin' the red socks

His smile was adorable

Our little hand holding here cracks me up!
Hope your week is going extra-well!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

august thing post

It was Edwin's birthday last month & I took him here for his birthday dinner. A huge hit! (but I will not be choosing this place for my birthday dinners anytime soon for obvious reasons....)

Speaking of Edwin's birthday, we are celebrating it coming up! (finally!) We are going on the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway (he likes trains), getting massages, and going to Harrison for the night. (thanks mom, dad & Pants for dog-sitting!)

Speaking of why we are celebrating his birthday late, we had 2 homestay students with us for 2 weeks almost right after I got home from the Philippines. Thomas & Bosco were from Hong Kong and came to us from an English outreach program. It went well! This is turning into more of a chit-chat post....I digress.

I bought new pants recently! They are quite fashion forward and I love them so much. Plus, yay for comfort!

I recently heard about the Mars cover, Curiosity, who sings happy birthday to itself each year! How cute.

We found this show on Netflix recently. It makes me cry, but I do love it!

Edwin & I also have a new favorite pizza place. So good! (bonus: there is usually a Mobile Bandit for 2 for 1 pizzas)

Happy BC day!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

the philippines part 2

As it has been almost a full month now, I figured I should blog again! I will continue with the rest of my trip to the Philippines. 

My last post was about the beach resort weekend we had in our Philippines adventure, and this post will be about the rest of my trip. As I went for work purposes, I spent the following week working out of our office in Manila and having some local adventures.

At the latter part of our beach trip, I started feeling a bit crummy. Sore throat, sniffly, coughing, that sort of thing.  I kept thinking it was just a cold, or being tired, or something like that but alas, it turned into full blown bronchitis. I had not felt that poorly in a loooong time. It was not pleasant! I went to the doctor when I got home and got antibiotics right away, but overall I was quite sick for almost 3 weeks. 

Due to said bronchitis, I didn't do a ton other than one full day of mall trips on the statutory holiday (July 1st) and work/sleep during the week. That being said, I still felt like I got an authentic experience and loved getting to know the culture in the Philippines more!

I walked to a coffee shop that was about 25 minutes away prior to a day of shopping. (I was not feeling great this day, but not horrible enough to stop me from shopping!) I had breakfast & coffee at Single Origin. Fancy coffee!

The mall I went to first is called Market! Market! (the name cracked me up) It is a Filipino style mall.

I did a few other breakfasts after work and dinners before work out with people. There was a really cool mall right across from where I was staying called Venice Grand Canal Mall.

It really does look like a canal in Venice! It was beautiful with lots of restaurants & shops.

A restaurant we went to here is called Rice & Dough. The above is the rice...

...and this is the dough! It is a sushi & pizza restaurant. How unique is that?! I obviously loved it.

It was raining quite hard this nice at Venice! (hard to see in the photo though)

One morning, after we ended working around 5 am, we went to Tim Hortons. Who knew there was one in Manila?! Did you also know that we went to one in Dubai? I had no idea Timmy's was expanding in the world!!

The reality of the rest of the other days, however, was this:

Working, eating take out (pizza, since there was always a veggie option!) and in my pajamas. (oh and in bed!)
Here are a few other fun photos of things I did there!

The view from the airbnb I stayed at. Beautiful! I must admit, however, that I kept the blinds closed most of the time. I was sleeping during the day!

I will also admit that it was not until the last day of my trip that I realized I could look right out the window and see downtown Manila. Even more beautiful!! (I did not go to downtown Manila)

I can't wait until I can go back to visit the awesome people of Manila, and also explore some of the beautiful islands & beaches they have there! I am definitely booking some vacation time pre or post work next time I go. There are so many more places to explore!! I may also make Edwin come with me next time. I don't need a lot of alone time in life so traveling for this long on my own felt a bit lonely at times. I like to always have someone to talk to; I'm a bit of a chatter!

The next trip we have planned is next month where we will be going to Montreal & the East coast of Canada. We plan to start in Montreal, where I will be going first for a few days before Edwin to work - we have an office there as well. Then we will head to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI. Hello lighthouses & lobster! Dreaming of the clam chowder already as well....

Hope you are enjoying your summer a lot! Stay safe out there with all these crazy forest fires.

Friday, July 7, 2017

the Philippines

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was in Taiwan en route to the Philippines for work. I should also mention that I got a new position recently, and now have a decent sized part of my team in Manila. My trip there was conveniently planned around their annual beach weekend outing...

I landed in Manila around 4 pm on Friday afternoon. Due to the intense rain, thunder & lightning that had just happened, our luggage was delayed for about one hour. I then found a (metered) cab and headed to my hotel.

Now, I have heard rumors of the traffic in Manila before and was given a fair warning by the people I work with. However, it is one thing to hear about it and another to experience! It took me 2.5 hours in the cab to travel from the airport to where I was staying. To put this in perspective: this is a 10 kilometer drive. Apparently the rain, it being a Friday, and it being payday that day all played major factors into my crazy commute. I am valuing it as an authentic Manila experience!

I then got to where I was staying (booked via airbnb) and pretty much went straight to work after! The team there works Canadian business hours, and with the time difference, means they start work around 9 or 10 pm local time. (9 am MNL time is 6 am PST and 9 am EST - I am getting better at converting all my time zones!)

After work, around 7 am local time, we all piled into a van and headed to the beach! This was about a 3 - 4 hour drive. It was beautiful when we got there!! Plus, so nice and warm. Tropical warm.

I rocked in that rocking chair quite a bit. It is called a toomba toomba in Tagalog.
We immediately changed into our bathing suits & hit the beach. My goal was to get a tan. Sadly, with having to wear sunscreen and it being overcast, I did not get too much of one.

This was being sold on the beach. Sadly I don't remember what it was called, but it is sugar and coconut (I think!) melted together and SO DELICIOUS. I could have eaten a million.

This is my little buddy Sabrina. We played in a water a lot together!!

We laid on the beach all day, swam in the water, and bought cool things from vendors who came by. Did you  know pearls are a great deal in the Philippines?! We then had dinner, had a beer after dinner, and went to bed after. I know what you are thinking at this point: when did I sleep?!

Being a vegetarian in the Philippines is not an easy task! This meal there was a vegetable dish, which was bitter melon. There is always rice at every meal!! (even at McDonalds for breakfast)

From when I left Wednesday evening until Saturday night at the resort, here is when I slept:
- 6 - 7 hours on the flight from Vancouver to Taiwan (granted, broken plane-style quality of sleep)
- 30 minutes in the aforementioned taxi ride to where I was staying
- 2 hours in the bus ride from work to the resort

I then slept a solid 8 or 9 hours Saturday night at the resort! I was pretty sleepy. On Sunday, some people woke up early to see the sunrise. I was not one of said early risers. After I drank my coffee by the beach, we went to the beach again. We then headed home in the afternoon!

I delighted in the photos from the people who did wake up to see the sunrise!

I also did not participate in this event. I wanted to throw up just watching them!! This "disco ball" was pulled behind a jet ski and spun the WHOLE time.

Not a great photo, but it was pretty rainy on the way home!
Overall, the beach resort weekend was super relaxing and fun to spend time with people I do not see very often except for on the video phone! I will blog more in a few days about the rest of my trip and other fun things I learned about the Philippines. I need to head over to check in to my flight shortly and want to try to beat the crowds. I hope you are having a great weekend!

Thursday, June 29, 2017


Well hello from Taiwan! I just noticed that this is my first blog post in the month of June. Whoops. Since I have some time before waiting for my next flight, I thought I'd tell you about my current adventure.

I am headed to Manila in the Philippines as we have an office there. I will be going on an outing with the team this weekend to a beach resort and am super excited to meet everyone in person! As part of my travels, I intentionally booked a stopover in a cool place to include an extra little adventure. Hence, here I am in Taiwan!

My flight left Vancouver at 2 am, and arrive in Taiwan at 4:30 am local time. I then took a cab to the Lungshan Temple (Longshan? I've seen it spelled both ways everywhere!) as the metro was not open that early. I was so thankful that Justin & Eliza have lived in Taiwan for a while so I got a bunch of tips on where to go, how to get around, etc. Justin even gave me some Taiwanese money & his metro card so that I didn't have to get one myself. So awesome, thanks guys!

Also, a big bonus is that Taiwan has free wifi around the city. How awesome is that?! I definitely have used more than my fair share of free wifi. It gets lonely wandering by yourself! 

Below are some photos and comments about my brief adventure away from the airport. It is a bit scary traveling by yourself when you haven't done in a while!! I am happy to report that I survived and was totally fine. They speak a lot of English here! Phew.

From the cab to the city - the sun was still rising. Bright & early! (good thing I was able to sleep on the plane)

The entrance to Longshan Temple. So beautiful!

Inside the temple

Inside the temple

Me, inside the temple

Inside the temple

Cool guy nearby the temple, as I wandered

I don't this picture does it justice, and you will need to zoom in, but look at ALL the scooters!!

I got a delicious pastry and latte from 85C after the temple. I then continued to wander the area! Unfortunately, not a lot was open at this time of day. (7-11 was!)

SO GOOD. It maybe had coconut in it? I was not sure but I loved it!

More food: veggie dim sim at the airport. Yummy! This was about $12 for the dumpling meal. (it came with mushroom soup)

The airport food court. Too cute!

Dumpling seating, so fun.

And now, I am waiting to board the next flight to Manila. I plan to relax in one of the above chairs... after my cell phone is done charging in another area! I will continue to post some photos on Facebook and Instagram while away. Happy Canada Day!!