Canada

Merry Christmas 2016

I know I know I have been terrible at blogging. I tried to do it at least once a month, but for some reason I just haven’t gotten to it. School is not as busy or intense, so really I don’t know what is my excuse. Maybe because my computer is not my only source of entertainment and work. I do not even turn it on most weekends! I don’t need to do endless planning and try to watch TV from home, I can just turn on the TV and watch 😉 Again I am using twitter more often and at least once a week I post a picture of something and more often I retweet, reply and comment on things, so you can catch me there. You do not need a twitter account to view my postings there… just click on the link on my blog home page and it will take you there. However, if you want to comment on anything on Twitter you will then need an account.

Merry Yukon Christmas

Merry Yukon Christmas

We are staying in the Great White North for the holidays this year. Hope this post finds you well, happy and healthy. All the best for a wonderful 2017.

Stay tuned…

 

Categories: Canada, Holidays, Uncategorized | Tags: | 3 Comments

Road Trip: Heading North

In my last post I told you about the change of events. How we ended doing a 180 and moved north instead of south. Yukon was traded in for Cayman Islands. Staying in Canada was more ideal than enjoying endless summer, but we might change our minds come winter 😉

After a rush packing our things in Ontario we flew back to Calgary and drove from there. Our things were in a moving van and it could take 3-4 weeks to arrive! Our things would crisscross across Canada picking up and dropping off other big movers. We would not have more than what we could fit into a suitcase, so it was easier to buy a bed and other necessities and drive them up until our other items could arrive. I couldn’t imagine sleeping on a floor for a few weeks.

The drive from Calgary wound across the foothills and mountains between Alberta and British Columbia. The scenery was stunning and we lucked out seeing wildlife along the way. Most people might catch a glimpse of one animal if they are lucky, but we saw Canada’s finest. We saw bears munching clover, uncaring that we drove by and a quick dash across the road of a mommy and baby moose. We also saw mountain goats, porcupine, deer, lynx and elk. The most amazing was the large bison who take over the road for a long stretch of highway close to the Yukon border.

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Willow was great for the 25 hour drive, which we spread over 2.5 days. She was quite surprised by the animals. She shivered at the sight of them. Once we arrived in the Yukon we made a fast trip to unload our things at our new house then drove the Whitehorse for my week of training.

Willow the traveling cat

Willow the traveling cat

Stay tuned as I fill you in on my of our new adventures. School life is not as busy as Shanghai, but with our new adventure comes more jobs and less free time.  I don’t have a chance to post weekly, or check daily, but I will get on-line whenever I have a chance.

Road less traveled... a new adventure awaits.

Road less traveled… a new adventure awaits.

Categories: Canada, everyday occurances, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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

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

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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

Winter Wonderland

Winter has arrived in parts of the Northern Hemisphere. In the Rocky Mountains of Alberta snow has been falling regularly over the last few weeks. In Lake Louise in a 24 hour period 54cm fell. We happened to be there that day and look at the fantastic views.

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Lake Louise. Along the path to the Lake. A small ‘cabin’ near the Chateau Lake Louise.

Unfortunately the turquoise lake was under a thin layer of ice and the heavy snow blocked out the majestic mountain view. The snowflakes were quiet and wrapped the area in a surreal silence.

Banff -The snowy walk pack to the parking lot from the Hot Springs

Banff -The snowy walk pack to the parking lot from the Hot Springs

You may have wondered where I have been lately. It has been weeks since I posted anything. I have taken to Twitter and have been using it more frequently to do a quick post right from my phone. You can get the link to my Twitter feed to the right of the posts. I don’t think you need an account to view, but may to comment and like. I will try to get back here more frequently and post.

 

Categories: Canada, Nature, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Fadoodle Faces #7

After a short break the faces are back 🙂 Speaking of BACK, happy #BackToTheFutureDay . Today is the day back in 1989 in Back To The Future 2 that was the “Future”… Oct. 21, 2015. How fun is that? So we can take a time machine back to the past… and see how things look in the present. The native Americans believe the faces we spot in rock are ancient spirits allowing themselves to be seen, showing themselves to the present. OK the link is a stretch, but enjoy the faces in nature.

I spotted this while hiking the trail in Lake Louise to the Plain of the Six Glaciers Tea House last month.

Spirits in the rock peeking out to be spotted.

Spirits in the rock peeking out to be spotted.

How many faces can you spot in this image? I spotted the first obvious face, but looking at the photo carefully I have spotted about 11 faces. One is a pair that looks like they are kissing. 😉 Can you see what I see?

Check out more faces in my previous posts if you missed them. In case you missed it, Fadoodle Faces means nonsense or foolish.

Have a face photo you found in nature or everyday items? Why not write a post about it and tell us about it in the comments below so we can see what you see. Then add a ping back over here so we can all share in the fadoodle faces.

 

Categories: Canada, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fadoodle Faces #6

Depending on how you look at this you can see 2 different faces. One looks like a cat with whiskers, which is what drew me into it.

Fadoodle Feline or Masculine Face?

Fadoodle Feline or Masculine Face?

 

This is a theme I started a few weeks back called Fadoodle Faces, meaning nonsense or foolish. Check them out here:

If you have a cool face and want to share, link to it and tell us about it in the comment section below. In your post please give me a ping back to this post (or a previous fadoodle faces) so we can all share and easily find them. Can we see what you see?

Categories: Canada, Nature, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Fadoodle Faces #5

Continuing on with my silly theme of faces in nature here is another. This face is a little harder to spot… Can you see it?

Long Face

Long Face

I challenged you to tell me what Fadoodle means and thanks to Quiall and my Aunt Freda for their guesses. Faces in a doodle was Quiall’s guess and Faces on Food was my Aunt Freda’s definition. Drum roll please…. fadoodle means nonsense, ridiculous or foolish. I thought it was fitting since the faces in my photos are in nature or food. How silly is that? Faces are not meant to be there!

Check out my other fadoodle faces in the previous posts:

If you have a cool face and want to share, link to it and tell us about it in the comment section below. In your post please give me a ping back to this post (or a previous fadoodle faces) so we can all share and easily find them. Can we see what you see?

 

Categories: Canada, Nature, strange adventure, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments