B&W Photography Project – Lily

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The Black and White photography Project is rapidly becoming one of my favourite blog links.  Hubbie is usually the one who loves monochrome and many of his snaps adorn the walls in our house but I prefer to take landscape photos where so much of the beauty is in the colour.  This project, however, has given me a completely different outlook and I was completely inspired by the beautiful dandelion Charly posted and the gorgeous flower Jaime posted last week.

I’d never thought of photographing flowers in black and white before so I’m quite please with how well this one turned out :-)

 


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The Prompt – Brief

 

The Prompt for this week is a word and it is:

Brief

mumturnedmom

 

This summer has been brief, way too brief

 Last winter our first snow fell on November 23rd 2013 and we had our last snowfall of the season on April 15th 2014. 5 months of the white stuff was more than enough, so I hoped and prayed for a good, long, hot summer to combat the winter blues.

 It didn’t happen.

 Our first camping trip on May 16th 2014 was unseasonably cold at barely above zero while the nights were below zero and had us shivering under canvas.

 Spring arrived late and summer has been on average “below seasonal temperatures” and although, by normal UK standards, it’s been good it hasn’t been enough to combat last winter.

Here we are on August 21st and the signs of fall (autumn) are already here.   Last weekend I sat on my decking watching the squirrels building their drays in the Elm trees at the bottom of the garden and eating like there was no tomorrow, all signs that the autumn weather will be here soon.

Today I noticed the leaves one on of those trees beginning to turn red. It feels like summer is slipping through my fingers like sand through an hourglass, there’s nothing I can do about it and I’m not anywhere near ready for it.

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I’m trying to prolong the season by booking two more camping trips, one next week and another in October, in the hope that it will, in effect, shorten the winter.

I’m not holding out much hope.

After only  3 months of warm weather I’m not ready for winter , no where near ready

Will someone please put on the breaks?!

I want to be wrong but my gut feeling is telling me that we are in for another long, harsh winter.

We’ve tried to fit in as much as we can this summer, trying to make the most of the warm weather but the whole routine of seasonal living really takes some getting used to.

Celebrating the summer months by being outside as much as possible and retreating indoors for the majority of the winter is a skill we are still trying to learn.

As September approaches I am trying to cling onto those last days of summer I am desperately hoping that this time we will have a brief winter instead of a brief summer.

Fingers crossed.

Expat Revelations – How I’ve Changed

The ability to adapt is, in my humble opinion, the single most important trait that any successful expat needs to possess. Being able to accept, or even embrace change on a daily basis is vital. It is, therefore, inevitable that in order to integrate into a new culture, regardless of how similar it may appear to be from your home country, you will change.

I don’t think I have changed dramatically although I know some of the personality traits I already had have become more pronounced. Who I am, my beliefs and core values remain the same but I have changed in subtle ways.

I am stronger, braver and more self-reliant than ever and although it is in my nature to be very cautious I find myself more willing to take risks, after all there is little in life as risky as upping sticks and moving to a different continent and if I can make a success of that then I can deal with pretty much anything else!

I think because I notice the difference between me those around me it has made me more self-aware, I am quieter and, truth be told, more withdrawn now and I have much less confidence because of those differences.   Although I do feel that I know myself better now as having to deal with new experiences all the time has made me more aware of my strengths and weaknesses.

I am without doubt more emotional than before and being an emotional person to begin with that probably isn’t a good thing! I am very quick to tears now and that I think is because I constantly feel the absence of my family and friends. I’m not sure that will ever change and I guess it is something that I will get used to in time.

 

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What makes me happy has changed, like taking a walk in a pretty spot, photographing a beautiful landscape, camping in the forest or canoeing at sunset and it doesn’t get better than hot chocolate and a roaring fire in the winter while the snow falls.

 

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Adapting to a different culture, landscape and weather patterns have all changed me but nothing has changed me more than learning to live without my loved ones.

Joining in with Expat Revelations – How I’ve changed since Expatriation hosted by the lovely Holly at English Girl Canadian Man

 

English Girl Canadian Man

Alphabet Photo – O is for Orange

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Lilies are my favourite flower and I love these bright orange ones that I planted in my front garden.  The colour is so vibrant that I can see them as soon as  I turn the corner onto the street.  They are like a little beacon welcoming me home

 

 

Joining in with the Alphabet Photography Project by Charly at PODcast

 O is for Orange

Expat Revelations – Finding Comfort

This theme for this week’s Expat Revelations, hosted by the very lovely Holly at English Girl Canadian Man, is ‘Finding comfort in a Foreign Land’

The dreaded culture shock hit about 6 months into our expat life, a period when I felt completely overwhelmed by the constant bombarding of new things, nothing was normal or familiar and sometimes it became too much to handle, the way to survive this unsettling period was to develop coping strategies.

Yoga

The first thing I did was join a yoga class, the combination of mild exercise, relaxation and learning to empty my mind was great to ease any anxiety.

Social media

Now this can be both good and bad, sometimes interacting with my family and friends on social media is a good thing, it makes the world feel smaller and like they are still a part of my everyday life. Conversely though it can be a reminder that they are off doing fun things without me or are having celebrations that I’m missing. Depending on how I feel I will either be on social media a lot or avoiding it like the plague.

Reminding myself why

Reminding myself why we moved in the first place is a great source of comfort. This can take place in many forms like booking a camping trip to explore the beautiful country I live in or going for a walk along the lakeshore and taking a moment to reflect on how our lives have changed for the better since we moved.

The "chilling on the beach when i should be doing housework'' status

My favourite spot to relax and reflect

Disappearing into the land of make believe

Sometimes I love nothing better than an hour in front of a British TV show or listening to Stephen Fry narrating the Harry Potter books. In fact anything where I am listening to an English accent or colloquialisms can be incredibly comforting.

Comfort Food

One of the key ways to assimilate into a new culture is to submerse yourself into the food culture by discovering new recipes and new ingredients. We all enjoyed trying new foods when we first arrived in Canada but there are occasions when we want nothing more that something familiar. We very quickly discovered the local shops that sold English food and although imported food is incredibly expensive sometimes it’s worth every penny it for a cup of tea and a Cadburys finger!

 

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English Girl Canadian Man

Alphabet Photo – N is for Nature

Forgive me for not having a technically good photo this week but this was one of those moments when I had to grab the camera and click away as quickly as possible before the moment passed.

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We were enjoying a weekend away getting back to nature, Hubbies was cooking breakfast while a deer wanders straight through or campsite. :-)

 

Joining in with the Alphabet Photography Project by Charly at PODcast

 N is for Nature

The B&W Photography Project – Reflection

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We came across this old boat house while we were canoeing  couple of weeks ago, It looked pretty cool in colour and I used a head on shot for my Silent Sunday that week (well done to the lovely HelpfulMum who was the only person to realise I had deliberately posted the picture upside down!) but I just love the drama of this side on shot in black and white with the glass-like water creating an almost perfect reflection.

 


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The Prompt – Challenging

The Prompt for this week is a word and it is:

Challenging

mumturnedmom

 

Challenging…now there’s a word that could describe my expat life.  I know no one said life would be easy but for goodness sake it would be nice to be for it to be a little dull…just for a while.

This permanently evolving life that we are living certainly keeps me on my toes with all it’s twists and turns. It seems like no sooner have I discovered, researched and worked out one new aspect of our lives another brand new situation comes out of the blue.

I honestly thought after three years we would know what we were doing but it just goes to show how much there is to learn when you move to a new country.

The next twelve months will see us trying to get our business of the ground, moving youngest son from elementary school to high school and the beginning of our journey towards Canadian Citizenship.   Three major life events in the space of a year. Each situation bringing a whole new set of challenges, situations we haven’t faced before or  that are completely different to our experiences in England.

It’s no wonder things can get a little overwhelming at times.

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Well giving up or giving in are certainly not options available to me so giving it all I’ve got looks like the only way to go!

I’ve already begun the preparation for the business yet I still have to master the differences in the tax system, accounting, payroll, hiring employees and the legal obligations of being a company owner. Citizenship  requires us to take a test on Canadian geography, history, politics and the judicial system and when it comes to choosing courses and a high school for youngest son, hell, I’ve no idea where to start!

I know what I need to do but not necessarily how to go about it so I guess organisation and research will be the key to managing all of it.  Whether I have the capabilities to learn everything I need to learn, juggle the priorities and find the strength to be the supporting cornerstone of my family at the same time remains to be seen.