Long Lost CTB :D

Since we moved back from China I haven’t had the same connection to my blog. No time… not much is exciting… and I discovered Twitter. However, something exciting happened in late July and I am just now making time to share it with you.

As you know I am a teacher. I worked in Shanghai for 5 years and hoped that experience would help me get a job back home. No luck. No jobs! I applied outside of teaching and had some promising connections, but something would fall through at the last minute, plans would change, they found a better candidate or life happened. Hubby found a job in Cayman and finally we both had jobs lined up in Cayman, but he fell ill. With medical insurance so high and him now being classed as `at risk` and having a `pre-exisiting` condition (which is not true since it happened while working there; gotta love insurance) we decided to start to look for jobs at home. He found one quickly, but my joblessness continued. Bad Karma after having to bow out of the Cayman job? Then luck changed. I had applied to some jobs in early June for teaching. I got the usual email saying we have hired internally. At least I got an email, usually you never hear back due to large number of applicants. Then late July I got a call for a phone interview the next day. A few days later I was offered the job. Some glitches with HR kept us busy as I sorted things out, provided them with a ton of paper work, found housing, found movers, moved, had staff training, started a new job, unpacked (and still unpacking, well more organising and adding finishing touches). Phew! But here we are… in the Yukon! We are from Southern Ontario. To give you perspective, it takes 3-4 days to drive to Calgary, Alberta (depending on stops) and then 24-25 hours from Calgary to the Yukon.

Moving Day

Moving Day

We were in Calgary when this happened. So we flew to Cayman for 2 days to get the things we left, assuming in June we would be moving back in August. Then to Ontario for 4 days. We had most things in storage, so all that was packed onto a big moving van and driven across the country. We flew back to Calgary to get Willow and some necessities. It takes maybe 6-7 days to drive that distance, but 3 weeks to get our stuff! As it goes across the country they stop and pick up and drop off other people`s stuff. More efficient, but not convenient when you don`t have a bed! We bought a few necessities and a bed, packed up Willow and headed up.

Road Trip -Yukon or Bust!

Road Trip  – Yukon or Bust!

I went from a large city in China of around 26 million to a community with a general store, school and maybe 350 people! I thought it would be big culture shock, but I am loving it. It is so beautiful and quiet here. Some nights we see the aurora and so many stars. The closest city is 4-5 hours away, so that is hard to get used to, but other than that all is good. We are in Canada, an added bonus.

So I will start to blog about our new home. I might not get into the weekly routine just yet, but you can always check me out on Twitter. I post sometimes a few times a week, other times maybe every other week. I like it because it is quick and I use it to keep up with news and events, so I am more likely to be on it. You can find the link on my sidebar. You don`t have to have an account to view my posts.

Good to be back and `see`you again. Stay tuned….


Categories: Canada, travel | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments

Fort McMurray Wild Fire 2016

As many of you have seen on TV or social media (or my constant re-tweets)there is a huge wildfire burning in Fort McMurray and surrounding area in Northern Alberta. It has gone from a small wild-fire to threatening the town and causing an evacuation of 88,000 people. The fire has burned on despite the tireless efforts of crews on the ground and the air. Last check it was nearly 161,000 hectares; larger than the metropolitan area of the city of Toronto. Many homes and businesses were lost. People fled and the photos and video of the traffic through dense smoke, ash and burning embers with fire close to the road side is scary. It seems so unreal like a movie or something from a nightmare. People somehow remained calm and left in an orderly fashion. The silver lining to this tragedy  – no lives were lost in the fire.

Watch a video here from a dash cam. It starts with smoke then fire and ash with a sky black as night.

Heart warming stories have come out of the tragedy with people offering space in their homes, on their land for pasture animals to campers. A woman who lost her wedding dress was overwhelmed with offers. Free food, gas and supplies were given by many businesses. In the first few days people risked going back into the fire zone to save animals that got left behind. People were devastated when forced to evacuate from work with no time to return home to grab a few mementos, pack a bag and save their 4 legged family members. Then there is the outpouring of support with donations of food, clothing, necessities and money. Over $44 million has been raised in days. The support, love and caring certainly has not been lacking.

Fire burns near a road in Fort McMurray, Alberta on Tuesday May 3, 2016.

Look at what people were driving beside as they escaped their homes and city! photo by Holly Ayearst

I have never been to Fort Mac, but John has worked outside the town for years. The pictures touch your heart as you see Alberta face another natural disaster. Only 3 years ago Calgary and surrounding areas were devastated by floods. As this all comes as a part of Emergency Preparedness Week we must all stop and take pause. Are we prepared? We can’t think it will never happen to me. Think about what you would do in this situation. What if you had only 10 minutes to leave? Surely you would be panicked and not thinking clearly. Take time now to get a few things together and put it in a bag, box or tote. Hopefully you will never use it, but prepared just in case.

On May 4, 2016, the the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) on the Landsat 7 satellite acquired this false-color image of the wildfire that burned through Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada. The image combines shortwave infrared, near infrared, and green light (bands 5-4-2). Near- and short-wave infrared help penetrate clouds and smoke to reveal the hot spots associated with active fires, which appear red. Smoke appears white and burned areas appear brown.

The satellite image of the area above. -Photo NASA -Joshua Stevens

People are in limbo as they cannot get back in and see the devastation and damage first hand. Some homes and entire neighbourhoods have been reduced to ash. Others have some damage. The unknown must be the hardest part. Not having a timeline when it is safe enough to return must be heart wrenching. The fire started a week ago and no end in sight as it continues to burn. At least the hot dry and very unseasonable temperatures have cooled off. Now we just need to pray for rain and lots of it.Everything is tinder dry after a mild winter with little snow followed by a spring with little rain.

Smoke and flames from the wildfires erupt behind a car on the highway near Fort McMurray, Alta., May 7, 2016.

Photo Mark Blinch

Thanks must go out to the firefighters, police and first responders, our everyday heroes. We must also say thanks for all the love support kindness and support that has spread and grown during this time of need. The numerous touching stories are endless from people offering hugs to a young boy raising money with an old school lemonade stand. If you want to donate to the Red Cross it is easy. I will add the info below. Our government has pledged to match every dollar that Red Cross raises.

Home foundations are all that remain in a residential neighborhood destroyed by a wildfire on May 6, 2016 in Fort McMurray, Alta.

Some of the first images of what was left after the wildfire ripped through Monday and Tuesday. – Photo   Scott Olson

How to help:

text – in Canada by texting  “REDCROSS” to 30333 you can donate $5

call – 1-800-418-1111

website – click here to go to the Red Cross website to make a donation using a credit card

Stay tuned…

Categories: Canada | Tags: , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Abstract Answer

Thank you all for the guesses as to what my abstract picture was. I had guesses from hurdles from above, to I have no idea! Most of you got it correct, so well done on having a keen eye.



Abstract -sign less

This of course was staples… those industrial kind. A sign board along a Toronto street was bare with only staples left behind. It was one of those boards where you could post ads, posters about events, or even garage sales… The random pattern caught my eye and I couldn’t resist the photo.

Thanks again for all the guesses.

Stay tuned…


Categories: everyday occurances, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Abstract: WP Photo Challenge

Walking the streets of Toronto I spotted something unique, different and unusual. It just caught my eye. I snapped this pic and how appropriate for this week’s theme Abstract set by Word Press.



What do you think it is? Post your ideas in the comments below.

Stay tuned…

Categories: Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , | 24 Comments

Our Future: WP Photo Challenge

No one can know what the future will bring, but hopes, dreams and aspirations will drive us forever forward.                                                                                      CTB:D 2016

Where to next? As the sign points in all directions our future choices are endless.

Where to next? As the sign points in all directions our future choices are endless.

For this WP challenge on FUTURE I knew right away I needed to post a photo of the Cayman Islands, soon to be my new home and hubby’s current home. Soon as I saw this photo I knew it was it. When I took this snap I didn’t think of the future, only the beautiful sunset and pointing to places all over the world. However, when I was going through my photos today I thought it was a perfect example of future.

The sun is setting on my vacation time here, but my next trip in the future will be to live. Pointing to all the cities shows me where I come from and where I may go in the next in the future… for vacation, or who knows maybe to live. In my wildest dreams China wasn’t on my travel bucket list, nor Cayman and here we are. You never know where the future will lead to next, but it always starts with one step.

Change on the horizon

Change on the horizon

Stay tuned…

Categories: Expat Life, Holidays, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Cayman Landscapes -Photo Challenge

I promised I would post more and get back to my weekly schedule, but then I came to the Cayman Islands. Aaaahhhh… My day is filled with sunshine, blue skies and swimming in the pool.

Hubby is at work, but somehow my days are still full. Weekends we head out and explore the island that will soon be my home too. The island is flat and most buildings are not more than 3-4 stories. Talk about culture shock from home and Shanghai. However, the beach landscape is something not to be missed. Crystal turquoise seas, soft powdery white sands and endless blue skies. I couldn’t pass up on the weekly photo challenge from WP – Landscape.


7 Mile Beach -sunset with a view

7 Mile Beach -sunset with a view

Palms fill the skyline vs the skyscrapers of Shanghai

Palms fill the skyline vs the skyscrapers of Shanghai

My days are numbered and soon I will be heading back to Ontario to spend a few days with family before returning out west. BUT… Only 3 short months before I return and start a new expat life.

Enjoy and stay tuned.

Categories: Expat Life, Holidays, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Beautiful Lake Louise in Winter

As winter comes to a close and CTB will be saying good-bye to winter forever (???), as we prepare to move to the Caribbean, I wanted to share some images of the Great Canadian icon in winter. Lake Louise, a short drive from Calgary, feels like it is a world away. You have seen the photos of the surreal turquoise waters, but have you seen it in winter? It is stunning, breath-taking and surreal in a new way. The elevation allows for great snowfall amounts. The trees look like they are covered in icing and the views look like a movie back drop. The dry cold makes you soon realise it is for real.

In late November, once the lake is completely frozen, the Chateau Lake Louise builds an ice castle and skating rink. Cross country skiing, snow shoeing and horse-drawn rides are also things to enjoy. Not far from the Chateau you can even go for dogsled rides! In January, there is an ice carving contest. As long as the weather allows, the ice sculptures sparkle in the sunlight and add to the surrounding landscapes. We enjoyed just walking in the snow and taking in the beauty of it all. Soon this will be traded in for hot temperatures and new vistas. I feel like Frederick from Leo Leoni’s book and soak it all into committing and etching it to memory.


Frozen - Lake Louise in a new way

Frozen – Lake Louise in a new way


The Ice Castle on the Lake


The boat house cabin patiently waiting for the spring thaw

The boat house cabin patiently waiting for the spring thaw

Have you ever been to Lake Louise?

Stay tuned…


Categories: Canada, Nature, Photography, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Travel Bug Bites Again!

There is a reason why we picked Travel Bugs as our blog name. My husband and I both love to travel, have a quest for adventure and a lure to wander about. Sure we love home, and home will always have a special place in our hearts and a place we will return. In July, we hung up our passports and decided to settle back into the life at home. We planned on getting jobs, buying a house and setting down roots. We looked forward to reconnecting with family, friends and Canada. The transition for me was easy at first, although I missed friends and the adventure of life abroad. The reaction when people find out you lived in China never got old. I had just started to pick up some of the language and had a better understanding of those difficult tones. I found myself drawn to Chinese tourists and their joy as we spoke a word or two in Mandarin. My health was suffering there, so the move back to Canada was a little bitter-sweet. My husband also got a job back on this side of the world, so it was time to come home.

As you know we moved out to Calgary. Originally it was meant to be a few short weeks for me to come out. Hubby had a type of job where he could live anywhere and fly in and out, as he had before China. Many turns of events lead me to staying here. I looked forward to a new home, the mountains a short drive away and experiencing a new part of the country I call home. It wasn’t always easy though. Settling into a new city it is hard to find your way around, make friends and just feel connected. Living abroad we had the same issues, but in an international expat community where we all were experiencing the same things, so it bonds people and creates friendships. Here people have their circles of friends, and lives. Why let someone new in? It was lonely especially when hubby was working away from home and only had 1-2 days off a month. Another reason why I stayed here alone. If I was in Ontario I would have friends and family close, but how would I ever have time to see my husband? It was hard, but over time it has gotten easier.

Then the economy had started taking a down turn and the price of oil has dropped drastically. It is easy to fill up at the pumps, but in Alberta a province driven by oil it hurts. Many people lost their jobs and more cuts to come. Hubby’s hours started to get reduced. Then plans for future work put on hold as the oil industry tries to save money and skate through the unknown crisis. The uncertainty of steady work sent him searching jobs. No one was responding as they were overwhelmed with applicants. However, one company soon responded and a Skype interview ensued on my birthday weekend. Hubby got a new job. Full time. Paid overtime hours. Benefits. Awesome right? Well just wait for it. You will never believe where it is. The job just happens to be in the Cayman Islands! Where it is summer all year long. We thought one day we would move abroad again, but not this soon! It is away from home, but much closer than China. Only a 4 hour flight which, happens to be about the same distance from Calgary to home.

Cayman Islands from above as the plane comes in for a landing

Cayman Islands from above as the plane comes in for a landing

Hubby has been there just over a month and getting settled in. I would have loved to have gone with him straight away, but his work discouraged family to come until later. I also had just started working in November and hated to quit only a few short weeks later. It is better for me to look for work from home also, another reason to stay behind. Over the Easter break I will go and visit John and our new home. It will break up the time before he will come home and help move me down there. I can’t wait!

Who would have thought this could be my backyard?

Who would have thought this could be my backyard?

So soon the Canadian Travel Bugs will be expats once again and exploring a new part of the world. Stay tuned for our new travel adventures!

Categories: Canada, Expat Life, travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Willow Christmas Meme

Where have I been? What has kept me away for so long? I am not sure. How is it possible I worked full time at a very busy and demanding job and was sick and still found time to blog every week? What is my excuse? I am not sure where time goes. I find it melts away quickly when I am on the computer, so I sometimes avoid putting it on. I am missing Shanghai and the unusual sites, so maybe home is a little too vanilla😉 to blog about. The daily grind is not as interesting here that is for sure. Besides being home I can easily call and text friends, which was a main reason I blogged. I could quickly communicate with everyone. That isn’t fair to my on line blog friends and followers though. I have taken to twitter also. It is quick and a different platform, so you can always see what I am up to there. From the blog on the right sidebar is my most recent tweets. I don’t think you need an account to view the links, so click away.

So to FINALLY get back to the funny picture of Willow at Christmas. (Better late than never???) I posted this pic and asked for some ideas of what Willow was saying. Thanks for all who sent along ideas. They are great. I just couldn’t decide on one, so I have posted most of them below. Which one do you like best? Thanks John, Quiall, Lucid Gypsy, Lavendar Ladi, Carrissa Hickling, Amy,  and Kate for sharing your ideas of What Willow is saying.

What is Willow saying here? Post your ideas below.

What is Willow saying ? Pick your favourite from the list below.

  1. You’re never gonna believe what I got you for Christmas. Go check the litter box!
  2. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Buurrrppp!
  4. I hope you’re not planning to send my catnip to someone else?
  5. Why are there no lines on the paper? How do I cut a straight line?
  6. Back off and let me shred this pretty paper!
  7. What???? You didn’t get me a gift?
  8. You didn’t wrap it right!
  9. and a new one I just thought of….. “Eeeooowwwch! The tape is stuck to my fur!

Pick your favourite and post it in the link below.

If you want to see the original post click on the link https://canadiantravelbugs.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/willow-wrapping-presents/


Take care and stay tuned. I promise it won’t take me as long to post next time!


Categories: everyday occurances, Holidays | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

2015 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,700 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.