What’s next?

Women are better at multi-tasking than men. I have to agree only to a certain extent because I can only focus on one BIG thing at a time. I definitely do not consider eating and watching television multi-tasking. Since the day I received my work permit, my life revolved around paving out the path before me. I had neither the time nor the focus to do what I wanted to do i.e. to practise my Ukulele, to update my blog etc. I sent out several resumes, mainly to banks. I wanted to work in a call center as I thought it might be a good place to start since I wanted to try out the financial industry. I found it such an irony as I never wanted to work in banks back home. Eventually, I was not accepted for the roles I have applied for. Probably a blessing in disguise.

Since my job search had been kind of quiet, I decided to enrol myself in a full time French class which is fully subsided by the government. Finally I am entitled to some benefits instead of being a ‘tourist’! My stay with the course was a short two weeks. However, during this limited period of time, I met a bunch of lovely people and an amazing teacher who made a difference in my learning journey. Initially I was reluctant to start another French class but in the end, I was unwilling to quit half way!

Our Sugar Shack Trip

Our Sugar Shack Trip

I had to leave my French class as I had to go for another course. I decided to join an insurance firm as a Financial Advisor. In order to be legally licensed to work, I have examinations to pass before I can be officially engaged by the company. Five weeks of classes, three weeks of self study, five examinations over the course of two days. My head was buried in my pile of books, “mugging” away. I missed spending time with my husband, my friends and chatting with my parents on Skype. In the end, the sacrifice was worth it. I succeeded in my five papers and I am now waiting for the administrative side of things to be settled before I can officially start working.

I am excited and nervous at the same time. Working and studying are two different things. Studying has always a comfort zone. You work pretty much on your own and the outcome is usually a reflection of the amount of time and effort dedicated to it. Working means dealing with people and situations. These are variable factors where we have no control of. We just need to go with the flow and adapt accordingly. While saying that, I have always preferred working to studying. The thing that worries me is the fact that I have been out of the job market for almost three years. Now that I am starting afresh in a new country, what kind of challenges would I be facing with? Am I able to take the physical and mental challenge? How would I deal with the disappointments? Would I succumb to the pressure of performance and working extensive hours hence forgetting what’s really important in my life?

I would definitely not want to return to my previous lifestyle working long hours, sleeping insufficiently and setting priorities which are not even the real in the first place. I hope that these two years of value building has created a strong core within me, keeping me strong regardless of what’s ahead.

As of now, summer is finally here. It is time to enjoy some sun and get some tan!

The kitty stretch on a lazy afternoon

The kitty stretch on a lazy afternoon

Signing of with love,

Esther

A Summer Outdoor Guide in Quebec

A Brief Summer Guide to Explore Quebec

What’s great about summer in Montreal? Almost everything! I have heard hearsay from so many locals about how great summer is but now, I am finally experiencing it for myself. Today was another of those Imagehot, sunny days. Since Daniel wanted to hit the gym, I decided to bike together with him as a form of workout for myself. His gym was near Atwater Market, a place which I have wanted to visit quite some time ago but the plan was never fulfilled until today.  The market mainly sold local products i.e. vegetables, fruits, meat and cheese produced by the farmers in Quebec. The prices may cost more than what you can find in a regular supermarket but the quality of the products is definitely higher too. Aside from consumables, my eyes were presented the beauty of the colourful flowers which were waiting to be taken home by their new owners.  It made me dream about having my own little garden, with my homegrown fruits, vegetables and flowers! I am not sure if I am blessed with green fingers. The only type of plant which I have grown is bean sprouts from green beans. It was a project which I had to do in Primary Three!

Two weeks ago, there was an Outdoor and Travel Festival (http://www.parcjeandrapeau.com/254-Outdoor_and_Travel_Festival-event.html) at Parc Jean Drapeau. There were many exhibitors sharing their love and passion with regards to outdoor trips and activities within and near Quebec. When I say Quebec is big, I think that is an understatement. Some of the places which I thought were interesting to visit were at least 8 to 10 hours drive away! My list of top summer activities includes water rafting, camping, kayaking and trekking. Since I have collected a number of brochures which would be forgotten soon, I decided to make a brief summary of what I have for my safekeeping and also for those who are planning their summer trip in Quebec.

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Quebec Province

Côte-Nord Duplessis (www.tourismeduplessis.com)

This region offers a change in scenery. With a shoreline which stretches out up to 1000km, this place offers an abundance of maritime heritage. The main excursions are guided through Sept-îles and Mingan archipelagos where are you able to see St Lawrence River becoming a gulf. Other activities include whale watching, horseback trail ride, trekking to the waterfalls and camping.

Essipit (http://www.essipit.com)

Another town near the coastline, Essipit is known for its aboriginal community, called the Innus. They have whale-watching cruises and camping too. However, what’s special about this place is that they have hunting grounds where you can actually hunt for bears and moose! Not a fan of animal hunting but this was probably the way of life in the past. 

Île Saint-Bernard (www.ilesaintbernard.com)

Île Saint-Bernard is located in Châteauguay, only 20 minutes drive from Montreal. Many activities have already been planned out from May to October this year. You can check on the website to see if any particular event or activity catches your eye. Environmentally protected, you can embark on hiking trails that are perfect for bird watching and photography. There are also educational activities created for children to learn about the surroundings around them.

Propulsion Rafting (http://propulsion.ca/)

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The Rouge river is located just one hour from Montreal. It claims to offer some of the best whitewater rafting experience in North America. They offer different kinds of rafting experience, depending on what kind of challenge you are up to. I highly suggest that you go with a group of friends because the fun factor will be doubled or even tripled!

United States:

Adirondack Coast Wine Trail (http://goadirondack.com/)

Adirondack Coast is not located within Quebec but it is part of Vermont, United States. Vermont lies to the south of Montreal and you will need about 2 hours drive to reach Adirondack Coast. If you are not a Canadian, do check that you have a valid visa to cross the borders. The land is filled with grapes, growing from the hybrids of European grapes and hardy American rootstock that can withstand the cold winter temperatures. Hit on the trail if you have a special love for wine!

Virginia Beach (http://www.virginiabeach.com/)

With all the on-going camping and trekking activities, now we have a beach which may prove to be the ideal location to chill and simply do nothing at all. Virginia Beach is located in the East Coast of United States, about 14 hours drive from Montreal. Unless you are up for a road trip, taking a plane may prove to be a much easier option. Some of their activities include nature and eco tours, fishing and boating, and surfing. They also have golf courses for those who might want to give a swing.

Whatever I have stated here is probably 1% of what is out there. This will give a brief idea of what can be expected this summer but if you have something particular in mind, for example, camping with kayaking experience, please do more research to ensure that you have the best pick possible. All the best and have a kick ass time!

Signing off with love,

Esther