My sister is in Canada!

That’s right, my sister came all the way from Australia and is now staying with me and Alex in Tofino!

Needless to say, I was pretty excited when I found out that she was making the effort to come see me and even more excited because she is the first person in my family to meet Alex in person. We have only been dating for 2 years…

I will give you the details of what we have done so far:

Day 1: Indi arrived at 11am in Tofino and got the shuttle to my work (because I was working). We took it pretty easy that day as Indi was pretty tired so went for a walk along Mackenzie Beach and then got Tacofino for dinner.

Day 2: I had to work until 2:30pm and once we were done, Indi and I went snorkelling. Saw some starfish, anemone and lots of kelp. Indi had never put on a wetsuit before (hello cold Canadian waters) so we had a struggle with that and then she had to dive into the cold water! She did really well considering that she is a frog (always cold). After snorkelling, I was keen for a surf so went out for a couple of hours and Indi watched us. Completely exhausted at the end of the day!

Indi and I after going snorkelling.
End of a surf session at South Chesterman Beach. This picture was taken at about 9:30pm.

Day 3: Ukee Days Festival in Ucluelet! and then a picnic on the top of a lookout with some friends.

Sitting at the Sky Couch in Ucluelet.
Alex, Indi and I during the whale watching tour.

Day 4: Beach Walks on the Tonquin Trail and then went on a whale watching tour with Jamie’s Whaling Station. We saw 4 grey whales, otters and a few bald eagles. Went for dinner at Jack’s Pub and then chilled at home and watched a movie!

Day 5: I had to work 12-8pm so Indi and Alex got to hang out together. They ended up doing a massive hike onto one of the secluded beaches at Long Beach and then had Tacofino for dinner (without me!). That night, we went to a beach fire and the phosphorescent plankton were out so somehow convinced Indi to come in the water to look at them (it was freezing but TOTALLY worth it!).

For those that do not know, the phosphorescent plankton come out when the water is warm enough and they glow all around you when stirred up in the water. It is like you are made of stars!

 

Day 6: Today we are going on an adventure….

 

Have a great week,

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Do I like surfing?

If you haven’t heard of Tofino, it is a little oceanside village that is at the end of Highway 4 on Vancouver Island. In the summer, the population is unknown as there are so many transient visitors, tourists and seasonal workers but in the winter, there is about 1,000 people living there from the township and other surrounding communities.

 

 

Tourists come to visit Tofino for its untouched scenery, tall old growth trees and long sandy beaches. There are plenty of outdoor activities such as: hiking, bear watching, whale watching but one of the biggest by far is the surfing.

 

When I first came to Tofino in 2014, I was hesitate to plunge myself into the freezing February waters. It was supposed to be the best time for surfing but I just wanted to stay inside and keep warm (that’s being Australian for you). Eventually though, I got myself a surf lesson and headed out into that frigid water and you know what? When you have a wetsuit, hood, boots and gloves on, the water isn’t that cold at all!

 

Then I made some friends who were mad keen on learning how to be “pro” surfers so I bought myself a wetsuit (it was $40 and full of holes) and a surfboard and went out nearly everyday for 2 months. In that time, I did get good but everytime I went out, I was freezing! My $40 wetsuit was allowing copious amounts of freezing Pacific water onto my skin and my gloves were holier than Swiss cheese. In the end, I stopped surfing as my body was taking too long to reheat each day and I was sick of coming out of the water with a permanent brainfreeze, fingers that were too cold to work and a chill that would last for days.

 

Learning to surf is better with friends! AND a wetsuit that isn't full of holes....
Learning to surf is better with friends! AND a wetsuit that isn’t full of holes….

 

Fast forward to 2016 and I am again living in Tofino. Alex is a keen surfer and I wanted to get out there with him more. You know, couple bonding. So he very kindly bought me a new wetsuit (no holes this time!) and we have been testing out different boards to find one that I like.

 

But, each time I go out there, I feel frustrated.

 

I see all those people out there, paddling out with ease, riding a sick wave and just having the time of their lives and then there is me and I am hating it! I hate paddling out and getting hit by a wave so that I am knocked back to where I started. I hate that I am so reliant on the wind, current, tide to just get a good wave. And I especially hate it when the surf report says that the waves are 1-2 ft and they are freaking massive! What the hell?!?

I feel that all this frustration for surfing stems from the Type A personality. I like to be in control and with surfing, there is no control at all. You just show up and deal with the conditions that are presented to you and you make the most of it. If you were at work, school ect. you can change the conditions to suit your needs but you cannot change Mother Nature.

So when people ask me if I like surfing, I have to think very carefully about it. I want to say no, but that is just me being negative. Because, secretly, I do like surfing. I like feeling the force of the waves with my body, I like it when I catch a wave and actually stand up (still working on that bit, surfing is not like riding a bike) and I like that I can become a part of the ocean for a little while.

Surfing is teaching me to be more resilient, to calm my temper and find the good in any situation. Sure, I am still going to get hella mad when I get bowled over by a wave or the wind blows me around but it’s just my pride getting bruised and it just needs to get over it.

Feeling good after a surf!
Feeling good after a surf!

 

If you like this article, let me know. Have you surfed? Did you like it or could you leave it forever? Leave your comments in the section below.

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To live like you were dying

To say Monday was a bad day is an understatement!

I was working for the 7th day in a row, I accidentally set off the fire alarms at the resort because I forgot to turn on the exhaust fan and woke up a lot of the guests at 7am and then found out that someone had quit so the likelyhood of me getting days off when my sister is visiting from Australia was highly unlikely.

And then none of that mattered anymore. None of it!

Because then I found out that one of my very good friends was in ICU with a brain tumor which had been discovered after she had collapsed. I had talked to her 2 days prior and everything had been fine and then she was laying in a hospital bed, drifting in and out of conscientiousness because she had to have emergency surgery to remove a tumor that was the size of a small clenched fist.

Luckily, Isla is a fighter and she is amazing the doctors with how quickly she is bouncing back but it still means that she cannot work for at least 5 months and has to go through some intense rehabilitation.

But is got me to thinking about my own life while Tim MacGraw’s “Live like you were dying” was playing on repeat in my head. What would I do if I died tomorrow. Would I look back and be happy with the person that I had become?

To be honest, no.

2016 has been a tough year. Alex moved away and I was ok with it for the first month but by the end of 5 months being in a long distance relationship, I was so sad and bitter about it.

I’ve noticed that my enthusiasm for anything had dropped and most of the time, I just got mad about nothing.

I even stopped talking to people as much because “if you cannot say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Overall, I was becoming my own worst enemy and I wasn’t fun to be around. Heck, I didn’t even want to hang around with me!

It wasn’t until someone told me to snap out of my “pity party” that I started to take a good look at myself. I used to be the life of the party, I used to try new things all the time and go on adventures, where did I go?

Looking back, it was probably in 2011 that I stopped being myself. I was at university and college (yes, two schools!) trying to do too much with not enough time. It was no surprise that I was exhausted but I just kept pushing until my body and soul couldn’t take it any longer and I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue in 2012. It took a good year to recover from that and suddenly I was scared of doing anything, just in case the fatigue came back.

It was only this year that I realised that I was letting those fears rule my life and I needed to get back on track with living instead being fearful of what could happen. Because none of us know what is going to happen really. If we are being completely honest, we don’t even know what could happen in the next hour!

I was already coming to realise that I needed to conquer my fears but it was a slow and painful process until I got the news about Isla.

Sometimes the universe gives you a gentle nudge and if you don’t listen then it’s going to kick you down and you only have two options: stay down or get up, dust yourself off and realise that all the answers are right in front of you and you just need to look with your eyes open.

Knowing that I am healthy and have everything in front of me was my slap from the universe and I intend to honor that message.

It’s not going to be easy to change a mindset but then again, anything good is always worth the effort. I’ve committed to a meditation practise to learn to be mindful again and pausing before I talk, to catch myself before I say something mean or negative.

And even though it’s early days, I can see the change already in my social interactions, feelings and even how I look!

So I leave you with this question: If you knew that you were going to die tomorrow, would you be happy with the person that you had become?

And finally, we have set a Go Fund Me account for Isla, so that she doesn’t have to worry about money while she is recovering. Have a look, send some kind words and maybe even donate a little bit of money towards a beautiful person. Anything is greatly appreciated.

Isla and Mike
Isla, living life with her boyfriend Mike.

 

https://www.gofundme.com/2e9wsq6k 

 

Have a great day,

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Foodie Fun Facts – Vitamin D and Mushrooms

Mushrooms can make their own Vitamin D from being exposed to sunlight

I have a little project that I am working on.

All I can say is that it involves different vitamins and it is going be very handy for you when trying to figure out if you are eating enough nutrients.

When I was researching Vitamin D and plant based food sources, I came across an article that claimed that you can get all your Vitamin D requirements from mushrooms. What?!?!

Mushrooms can make their own Vitamin D from being exposed to sunlight

The article then went on to say that if you bought mushrooms and exposed them to the sun, gills up, your store bought mushrooms would produce their own Vitamin D. This literally blew my mind but being the scientist that I am, I wanted to check my facts and make sure that it is true.

After a good ‘ole google search, this is what I now know:

A normal white mushroom contains about 6 IU (international units) of vitamin D, while the recommended amount per day is 600 IU.

Different varieties of mushrooms contain different amount of Vit D.
Different varieties of mushrooms contain different amount of Vit D. Photo Credit: mushroominfo.com 

 

From this chart, it is clear to see that the maitake mushrooms has a very high amount of Vitamin D, but can you increase the vitamin at home, with regular store bought mushrooms?

And the answer is yes!

If you buy some regular white or brown mushrooms, instead of storing them in the fridge, put them in the sun for a day or two. This will dramatically increase their vitamin D content. The downside is that this only works during the early spring and summer months in the Northern Hemisphere. Unfortunately, our fungi friends are the same as us in the respect that during different times of the year, our bodies cannot make Vitamin D as the sun is not strong enough. For example: if you live in Edmonton, Canada, your skin cannot make Vitamin D from October through to April.

 

So what do you think about mushrooms producing Vitamin D? Do you find it amazing or does it kind of creep you out a bit? Let me know below in the comments section.

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References

www.mushroominfo.com

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02935/Four-Unexpected-Food-Facts.html

http://www.fungi.com/blog/items/place-mushrooms-in-sunlight-to-get-your-vitamin-d.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-stamets/mushrooms-vitamin-d_b_1635941.html

http://nutritionfacts.org/2013/08/01/vitamin-d-from-mushrooms-sun-or-supplements/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2313062/Mushrooms-provide-vitamin-D-supplements–sun-eat-them.html

http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-do-i-get-the-vitamin-d-my-body-needs/