Hiya, I'm Shelly a British expat who moved to Canada 6 years ago with my hubby landing in delightful Edmonton, Alberta. We moved to Vancouver with our Boxer dog Eric almost 2 years ago and plan on staying here for while....
I love travelling, eating, wine, singing out loud and dancing like a lunatic!
STOP do not read until you’ve put this tune on. If you’re in public you might want to put your headphones or ear buds (posh fucker) on. Unless you’re one of those who could not care less about disturbing the folk around you with your music (you know who you are. Horrors).
How mad is it that it’s the end of a decade?! How mad is it that I am into my fourth decade (fuck I’m old)?! I’m sat on the couch drinking beer and eating Turtles (don’t judge, they all have to be gone by next Monday) reflecting on this past decade. I can honestly say, it’s been pretty good,fab fuckin amazing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all been roses and at times it’s been mad mental but fuck it’s been awesome.
The hardest thing to get my head around right now, is that I’ve been out of the military for a decade, almost as long as I served (fuck I’m old). This exact day 10 years ago, we were living and working in Melbourne after an epic trip that we went on after getting out. A few weeks ago we became Canadian citizens and have an awesome life in Vancouver. There have been so many highlights from this past decade but faves have defo been our world trip, living in Aus and settling in Canada.
I received a lovely gift this Christmas from a fab friend, it’s a chain with my name on it, well I say my name, it’s my childhood name Shelly. I used to always talk to little Shelly (ok I just read that back and want to reassure you all that I do not need sectioning), every time I achieved anything, I would think about her and let her know how far we’ve come. Growing up little Shelly was always wanting better and was in a permanent state of survival mode. She used to pray every night asking to “just be happy.” Well Shelly looking back on this past decade, we did it kid and you can chill out now. We are always being told to forget the past and focus on the future (or the present depending what ‘make me a better person book’ you’re currently reading) but reflecting on the past and how far you’ve come creates gratitude and drive.
Now that I’m grateful for all I’ve achieved, I can make some goals for 2020 but I guess I should recap on my 2019 goals.
1. Turn 40 – check (bawling)
2. Become a Canadian citizen – check (woop woop)
3. Run 250 kms through a desert –failed attempt add to 2021 list
4. Complete 1st year of MBA – check (despite wanting to pack it in on more than one occasion)
5. Become Vegetarian – ok so not as easy as you would think. We made it to Pescatarian and have not had any meat for a whole year
6. Jump out of a plane – nope, add to 2020 (remind Sarah and rope in the rest of the crew)
7. Write more blog posts – last one was in September so add to 2020
8. Go storm watching – check
9. See Polar bears – add to 2020
10. Wine tasting in Chile – check
11. Buy a slice of Vancouver – check
I guess I didn’t do too bad! I’m going to take some time to think about my 2020 goals and set them once the alcohol levels in my body are back to normal post the festive season! Before you write yours, be sure to check out this awesome blog post on setting resolutions by my equally as awesome niece.
I can seriously say that this is the dumbest thing I have ever done and I’ve done some really dumb things in my lifetime. Mr C wanted to go camping in our van Hannah, reluctantly I agreed. “It will be great” he said “we will have so much fun, it’s going to be a glorious weekend.”
It lashed it down and we spent most of our time sat under this gazebo. Even Eric wasn’t impressed.
So what else do you do when you’re camping and it’s lashing down with rain. If you’re Canadian, you’d likely put on a waterproof and go hiking but no, Mr C had done a great job getting me to agree to go camping in the first place, there was absolutely no way I was going hiking in the rain when I had no where to dry off and chill afterwards. In hindsight, we should have done exactly that though, maybe then, we wouldn’t have been so fuckin dumb……..
We were probably about half way through the box of wine (oh, don’t judge, it was lashing down, what else were we supposed to do) when Mr C first bought up the subject. It was a strategic move, he knows that after a few glasses of wine my inner Beyonce comes out of hibernation stretching her “we can do anything positive bullshit attitude.” The conversation went something like this:
Mr C: “babes we should do a racing the planet event”
Me: “what’s that?”
Mr C: “A race across the Atacama desert in Chile”
Doesn’t sound bad eh, in fact it sounds pretty awesome. We can go to Chile taste all the good wine and the food, maybe pop to Bolivia. We’ve never been to South America so we would be crossing off another continent (only one more to go after that (smug AF and don’t care)).
Me: “sounds fab babes let’s do it. Can you refill my glass.”
Mr C: “of course babes just completing our registration.”
And that was how I managed to get myself signed up for a 250 km multi-day ultra marathon through a fuckin desert. We leave next week with the race starting the following Saturday. Am I prepared? I get asked this all the time and no, I am shitting myself! This really is the dumbest thing I have ever agreed to do. Much dumber than starting a riot in the desert or strategically throwing up after day drinking tripple, tripple Baileys to keep up with the lads (remember that Pale & Interesting, when they wouldn’t let us leave camp until we paid our tab down the pub on adventure training?? Still think they were out of order for increasing the price of our drinks because it was after 5 pm).
Anyways, so yeah we’re are taking part in a Racing the Planet event at the end of September. Here’s a video of stage 1 of the race.
The good thing is, that I am doing this with Mr C, who has made me do lots of dumb things that I never would have done if it wasn’t for him. Such as, scuba diving in the terrifying ocean (my massive fear) becoming a certified Rescue Diver, reaching the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro (he dragged up the last part after I almost fell apart at the false summit) and snowboarding (well that was actually a fuckin disaster that saw me throw a full on tantrum on a mountain) but you see where I’m going with this. I know it’s going to mad hard but how boring would it be if we were just going to an all inclusive to chill for a week in Hawaii (I am so booking our vacations next year).
So my lovely friends, as this is going to be mad hard will you please be so kind as to make a donation to one of our chosen charities. We have chosen two charities, one Canadian and one British. The Canadian one is the BC SPCA we wanted to support this charity because they support animals with their tag line being ‘speaking for animals’. As you all know Eric is our boy and we absolutely love him to pieces. Dogs are awesome, they teach us so much and give us their unconditional love and loyalty, yet some cretins treat them so badly, taking them into their homes welcoming them into the family only to discard them when it no longer suits. I have read numerous stories about dogs being found abandoned, waiting in the same place for days for their owners to come back. Fortunately, there are charities out there that give these dogs another chance at the life they deserve, such as the BC SPCA, who welcome any donations in order to keep this work up.
Our British charity is Veterans Aid. They are an amazing charity who assist veterans in crisis, regardless of time served. The reason we chose these guys is because simply, they provide assistance to Veterans who are in crisis with much of their work focused on providing homeless Veterans with shelter.
It’s hard to describe the camaraderie you experience when in the military, for me, I can honestly say that joining the Army saved me from a life that doesn’t bare thinking about. I remember the first day I put on my uniform and stood with my fellow recruits on the parade square. I looked like what we would call a ‘bag of shit,’ my uniform was not ironed very well, my boots did not shine and my feeble attempt of putting my crazy hair into a nice tidy bun under a hair net was pathetic. My Corporal shouted/screamed at me in a Welsh accent that I indeed did look like a “bag of shit” and proceeded to take the piss out of my accent, nicknaming me Shanahana ding dong. Despite all this, as I stood there listening to other recruits being told similar, this feeling went through me. It’s hard to describe but it was physical, it felt safe, like belonging, like I had finally found my home.
The first friend I made shared the same room as me, I think there was 8 bunks but can’t remember. We became friends after she plucked my eyebrows for the first time ever and I accidentally dropped a bottle of her perfume (I was devastated, I’d never had perfume before and saw it as a massive luxury). You’d think we wouldn’t become friends but we became the best of friends, which got me through basic training, the many jail visits and the first half of my military career!
Being in the military was like having a massive family, the years I spent in, saw me form my chosen family of amazing supportive people. Even those that I am no longer in touch with played a part in who I am today and for that I will be forever grateful. Not everyone who leaves the military have the support needed to transition into a ‘civvy’ and without that support it is so tough. Veterans can find themselves struggling and in need of help, that’s where Veterans Aid comes in. In 2018, Veterans Aid homed 154 people, they need funds in order to continue the work they do.
Do you ever get that smuggy feeling, you know when you’re doing something that makes you feel like you’re being a full on functional, responsible adult living their best life (who totally cringes at that saying………….me when it’s not me saying it). That’s how I feel when I bike into work, you should hear the shit that comes out of my mouth, it ranges from “it has such an impact on how my day goes, I just find that I am so more productive when I bike in” to “it’s so much nicer than sitting on transit”.
Who the fuck am I kidding…. When I don’t bike in, I can leave my apartment at 07:50 rather than 07:15, that’s a whole 35 minutes of reading the hate mail. I don’t start my working day looking like a beetroot and I’m contributing to the economy (see smug af).
I was having this roller coaster ride this morning as I biked in. I had to bike in, I told Mr C that I was going to and I could see that he was starting to regret buying me the nice bike and fancy Garmin watch that I absolutely needed if I was to bike in! It was particularly difficult when some fucker went by me on an electric bike as I’m blowing out me arse trying to make it up a hill (do not get me started on those things), now they looked really smug.
Being in a book club also makes me smug, like look at me, I read that much I’m actually in a club with a bunch of sophisticated ladies; we have very intellectual discussions about books, it’s all rather v pleasant. It’s not though, we get together once a month, laugh that most of us haven’t read the book and get drunk, it’s brilliant!
I hate other smug fuckers though, don’t you? I was at the bus stop the other day (don’t judge, I can’t be a smug af bike commuter every day) and stood dutifully in line next to two young birds being annoyingly loud af. The conversation went like this:
The tone in which the last line was said was so full of judgement and smug bitchiness that I wanted to say something (not a citizen yet, so best not). Fleabag is awesome, yes she’s dysfunctional but she’s also real and hilarious and I love her! What the show isn’t is “ok” it’s brilliant and that’s not just me saying so, it scores 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. My sister in law introduced the show to me when we were back in blighty and we literally sat on the couch whilst the family did the family things with the children and binged watched it.
Auto correct seems pretty adamant to curb my swearing but hey a good strategically placed duck makes a hell of a difference! Go on try it, go stand in front of a mirror and practise saying ‘bore off’ followed by ‘bore the fuck off.’ See totally different impacts eh, one rude and the other brutal.
Although granted you don’t have to swear to get your point across. I was recently told “how dare you” in such a tone that it translated into “you complete and utter cunt, I will cut you if you do that again.” In that case it was all in the delivery and I totally appreciated the beauty of it.
What is it about words that get people’s knickers in twist (never a comfortable spot to be in). Like now, I bet some people are cringing about my colorful language but let’s put this into perspective, some people also cringe out at the word MOIST, including my darling wife who swears like a trooper and will therefore never find a husband.
Well that was all just thought I’d have a little rant whilst taking full advantage of the snow day here in Vancouver and waiting for Mr C at the pub.
Must remember to tell you all about my new book club and the fab birds who make it up. For now, I will bore the fuck off!
I hate asking for help, I really do, it makes my inner Beyonce quiver in shame and purchase a one way ticket out of here (bye Bey). Here’s the thing though, I do need your help and I am asking for it.
June 5th last year, I was at my first ever Convocation (it means graduation, I have no fuckin idea why it’s called that but I know I must have looked like a right twat when I asked my colleagues but hey) it was such an awesome time. I had only been working at the College a few months but this was for sure the highlight. Students were rushing in late, whilst me and my colleagues ran around making sure they had on the correct gowns (way more complicated than you might think) and at one point I even had to run out to buy bobby pins. It was awesome, watching all the various teams within our department come together like that was just magical.
We was coming towards the end of the second day when I found out that my 18 year old nephew had died moments earlier in a tragic accident in the reservoir at the local park; the news hit me like a sledge hammer. I zoned out, I felt like everything wasn’t real anymore. I watched my colleagues running around in front of me and it felt like I was watching TV. How could they all be going about their normal business when something so fuckin horrible has happened. My body went on autopilot and got me home, I don’t remember the journey just shutting down when I arrived.
How has this happened, is it real. That little kid who used to run around the table legs at social get togethers, who could blast out Eminem’s Lose yourself word for word on karaoke, who almost knocked me out with a hug the last time I saw him. How.
“I love bum sex” no I’m not making a statement (!), that’s a link to a post I wrote about our Mark and what a great young man he was, read it you will love him. The help that I am asking you for is to help my family reach their target goal to fund four throw lines in Debdale Park near the the reservoir where the tragic accident took place. We are almost there but need just a little bit more.
If you can and would like to donate, please click the link below. Any contribution big or small will be greatly appreciated. We hope that by installing the throw lines in memory of our Mark we will prevent another family going through this really shitty time that continues to hurt us all.
For those friends asking what to get me for my birthday, this would be the perfect gift.
I don’t know how but I seemed to of added a v cool playlist onto my Spotify. Maybe I did it when under the influence and my cool alter ego came out (ssshhhh, I know she’s not cool at all. She’s a fuckin mess so I’m keepin that bitch buried). Maybe my niece added it when she was over for the holidays and it was nothing to do with me (I nearly destroyed her when I put country music on one morning). Or maybe it was Alexa because she was sick of me yelling “NEXT ALEXA” (apparently I’m too harsh with her wtf)!! Anyways, however it got on there it is brilliant and for the past 2 days I have been listening to it arriving at my desk after doing the dance floor walk (you know, the one were you start by casually walking but by the time you get to the dance floor you’re full on Beyonce. If you have not seen this Peter Kay sketch go find it, it’s hilarious) and feeling ready to deal with the day no matter what it brings.
Music has the power to influence and totally drive our mood and therefore actions. It can make us happy, sad, motivated and chilled. I am always suspicious about people who don’t like music or those it has no effect on. Maybe that would be a good research project, maybe it’s already been done. Just checked and it has, some clever dudes totes agree with me.
Here’s a little experiment download the song in the video below and listen to it next time you go outside (oh and when I say listen to it, I mean through headphones, don’t be one of those dicks who think everyone wants to listen to your music. Yes, I did just read that back but whatever). When listening to the song see if it effects the way you’re walking and your mood. Are you full on swaggering down the road giving it your best runway walk and Naomi attitude or are you like what is she talking about, this is awful.
Whatever the effect, it says more about you than it does me bitches……………….sorry Naomi is still in the house.
A few years ago I was sat at a bar in Edmonton having a few drinks and when the server opened a bottle of fizz I said “my fave sounds are the pop of a bottle of fizz being open and the sound of cash being counted when the ATM doesn’t refuse you.” I know right, how much of a dick do I sound!!! I bet the server was inwardly eye rolling.
These days my fave sounds are: Eric snoring, Nath giggling and sing along tunes being blasted through my Bose speaker. Do I still sound like a dick?! Was it the mention of me Bose speaker? Ok will scratch that.
I don’t know what it is but I find listening to Eric snoring to be v comforting. Isnt it weird though that if Nath was snoring I’d go mental but Eric’s snoring warms my heart!