O, Canada: Employment, Adventure, and One helluva Stanley Cup Championship ride

O, Canada: Employment, Adventure, and One helluva Stanley Cup Championship ride
The only time "fingers crossed!" has actually worked for me!

Holy crap, I've been bad with blog updates lately.  And by 'lately', I of course mean the last three months.  To all two maybe three of my blog readers: my sincere apologies for the delayed posting.  You deserve not to wait for your dose of "Yo, this girl is a weirdo".  And so much has happened in just these three months! I got a job! We've done some sweet travels! The Caps won the Stanley Cup! I increased my usage of exclamation points by 1,000%! Long story short, things have been crazy busy.  So let's get this updates party started.

I got a job! Hip hip huzzah!

It's true! I started a new job as a Learning & Development Specialist at a major tech company's Toronto office.  If you're friends with me on Facebook, you'll know which company it is, but I plan on keeping i under wraps on el blogo.  Don't need my shenanigans making news.  Anyway, I started at the end of March and so far so good.  I've learned A LOT about working in a corporate culture and really feel like my work is having a positive impact.  Because it's a startup company looking to woo millennials, I definitely get to enjoy some pretty sweet perks.  I'm talking flexible working, catered lunch every day, a ping pong table at the office, snacks out the wazoo, and different team health activities like bootcamp and yoga classes.  Coming from a nonprofit and school background, you could say that I'm enjoying myself a bit.

via GIPHY

I also started playing on the work sand volleyball team every Tuesday at the beach near our house.  It's a lot of fun, but I definitely feel it the next day; being 33 and playing intense v-ball for an hour and a half straight isn't always the best combo.

Everyone at work is also super nice, but I feel like I'm living in a Bizarro World b/c I keep meeting Canadian versions of my friends back home.  It's good because I immediately like them but bad because I hope I'm not getting too bestie for their liking.  They're so polite they probably wouldn't even tell me if I was.

Stanley Cup Playoffs give me all the feelings

We are the HAPPIEST

We are the HAPPIEST

People usually assume I'm a Blackhawks fan because duh, I'm from Chicago.  The truth is, I wasn't even a HOCKEY fan until I moved to DC and met Elliot.  We went to a few Caps games, and from there on out I devoted my life to finding a way to do a vodka shot with Alexander Ovechkin (still waiting on that moment).  Ever since then, we've been all in: getting season tickets, rocking the red, helping organize a winning rally where the Caps came to my school, putting voodoo curses on Crosby, etc.  As Caps fans, we've definitely weathered our share of disappointing season finishes, and it's been a cruel irony to watch the team that I ignored growing up win the holy grail multiple times.  But good things come to those that wait, and Ho-ly MOLY the Stanley Cup Playoffs have been a wild ride for us! As perpetually disappointed Washington Capitals fans, El and I are still pinching ourselves to make sure we're not dreaming.

DC has lost its damn mind

DC has lost its damn mind

Although the late game starts and anxiety have made these past two months feel like 80 years, I wouldn't change a second of them.  El and I had so much fun experiencing every moment.  First, you've got Kuzy's "exorcised the demons" OT goal to move past Pittsburgh where we FaceTimed/Screamed and jumped up and down with the phone with Meghan and Sean.  Then, we had the two shutouts to get past Tampa Bay.  And finally, that magical run against the Cinderella team that every non-Caps fan wanted to win, the Vegas Golden Knights.  I even went to DC twice (once by myself and the second time with El) to experience the atmosphere and celebrate with great friends there.  After we won, you'd think that I had personally won the Stanley Cup the way my coworkers were coming up to me the next day and high fiving and congratulating me.  In only three months, I've established myself as the resident Caps fan.  Hell yeah.

The whole Playoffs have been great, but absolutely nothing compares to when your team wins it all.  I screamed, I cried, I tweeted and retweeted 4,548,938 different Caps articles and photos, and I bought a life savings' worth of championship gear when we were in DC.  Pure fucking magic.  As you can see, I was completely calm and genteel as the game clock ran out...

Too soon to start talking back to back?

Travels all ova' the damn place

Totem Poles in Stanley Park, Vancouver

Totem Poles in Stanley Park, Vancouver

Besides the trips to DC, I've been doing a lot of traveling the past few months. Fortunately, most of it has been to new places.  One of those new spots was Vancouver, where El and I did a long weekend trip at the end of April.  The west coast of Canada (they don't like being called the Pacific Northwest; that's too American) is so stunningly beautiful, and the First Nations art is jaw-dropping.  They also have some great sushi and craft beer there, so you can definitely expect a blog post in the near future.

The week after getting back from Vancouver, I made my way BACK to the West Coast to visit headquarters at San Francisco.  They send all new employees there to learn all about the different company lines of business, network with other newbies, and have some fun in SF for a few days.  It was super enlightening, and not in a "drink the Kool-aid" kind of way.  I really enjoyed learning about the direction in which the company's heading, and I feel good about being part of that future.

Sittin' by the dock of the bay

Sittin' by the dock of the bay

After my time at HQ wrapped up, I took the train down to Santa Cruz to spend the night and next day with two of our good friends, Tiffany and Spencer.  They came to visit us in London, and we just have so much fun with them.  They were amazing hosts and gave me the ultimate California tour: dinner in San Jose, breakfast on their mountain home patio, a walk through a redwood forest, a picnic on the beach with their friends and some local craft beers, a drive along scenic Highway 1, some whale watching at the Golden Gate Bridge, and a Double-Double at In & Out Burger.  Those experiences  were second though to the laughs and memories with such good friends.

Last week, my team met in Nashville for three days of getting to know you activities, planning 2018 projects, and team building exercises (hell yeah, Top Golf and axe throwing!).  I found every minute meaningful, and it was so great to come together with all of my teammates.  I genuinely like and appreciate every one of them, and I'm excited for this team that we're building.  And because we were in Nashville, of course we had to indulge in hot chicken and some late night live music on Broadway.  When in Rome!

Random this and that

In addition to the usual "go to work, go to the gym, etc." routine, we've been keeping busy exploring the city.  Thanks to some Groupons from my mom, we got to do some curling at a local bar and got our Medieval on with some axe throwing lessons.  Much like golf, the difficulty with axe throwing is mastering the consistent motions, but our instructor did a great job of breaking down the mechanics.  In addition to axe throwing lessons, this guy also has archery targets and does LONG SWORD lessons.  Like Game of Thrones "Ice" style swords.  WATCH OUT, BRIENNE OF TARTH! All lessons are out of his shed in the middle of nowhere, but they're a lot of fun once you're assured that you're not going to get murdered. He even acknowledged that "You probably thought you were in Saw when you drove up."  No shit, buddy.

The uke is good stress relief during playoff game intermissions

The uke is good stress relief during playoff game intermissions

I mentioned my last post that I was trying to teach myself ukulele.  Well it turns out I'm a shitty teacher, so I bucked up and started taking weekly lessons.  I've got some chords and strumming patterns down pat, but I'm still a long ways away from hosting my own jam session.  This house is gonna be LIT when I do.

After spring finally came following a freak ice storm at the end of April, Toronto is officially out of hibernation.  We're excited to experience all the great warm weather activities we've heard so much about.  So far, we've done some city hiking, visited Niagara Falls with visitors, checked out the nearby beach and our local Farmer's Market, done plenty of outdoor runs, met our friends Breanna and Joe at a great beer festival in Hamilton, and have been checking out the different patios in our neighborhood.  We also played grown-up for a few days and weeded our lawn and planted some veggies.  So yeah, life is good.

Since I'm still pretty new at the job, I don't have any vacation time saved up, so we'll be spending our summertime in and around the city.  Fine by us, as we've been able to host some visitors as a result.  It's been a lot of fun to show around my mom, El's parents, and his sister when they visited on separate occasions.  Visitors allow us to play tourists in our own city and see things we wouldn't normally visit, like the aquarium.

In between visitors, we'll be soaking up that balmy Canadian sunshine, so get ready for some blog posts on patios and poutine!

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    On the surface, I may appear as any other 33-year old gal, but if you look a little closer you'll see that I'm like Batman dressed in an Indiana Jones fedora: I have an adventurous life that is filled with travel, brunches, insane stories from teaching in the city, and a luck of the Irish that rivals that of the Lucky Charms leprechaun.

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