He’s HOME!!!

James, our youngest son is home from his Spring Break Vacay!

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We picked him up from the airport this afternoon. He was a little tired, yet pumped from his past week’s adventure!

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Last Friday night we saw him off at the airport and his adventures began…img_6445

James took¬†lots of wonderful pictures and I can’t wait to see them all.¬†Here are some of the pics he shared while he was away, just to stay in touch and I’ll share them with you because they are fantastic!

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MALAGA, SPAINimg_6497 img_6498 img_6505

GIBRALTAR


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AND my favourite ( on my bucket list now) CHEFCHAOUEN, MOROCCO, AFRICA16938862_10154777400246858_899182724571522951_n img_6621 img_6622

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One of the joys of travel is meeting new people. James and a new friend enjoy exploring CHAOUEN.img_6645

RABAT, MOROCCO

I’m so happy he had a wonderful vacation. I am so thankful he is home safe!!! I think it’s wonderful that he takes AWESOME photos that I can enjoy with him. I love the fact that adventure runs in our family and that we share this love of travel. And…I am thankful and excited that in a few more days my husband & I will be off on our own adventure!!!

We enjoyed hearing a few stories on the drive home and over a late lunch/early dinner ( James was starving)

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And James, being the thoughtful son he is brought back his Dad some Moroccan Dirham and me a keepsake from “the blue city” Chefchaouen¬†…a beautiful little rug ( I’ll use it as a table runner) made by the Berber people. The symbols on it are Berber symbols. And some beautiful soap with mint, a very popular scent there.

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Thank you so much James, it’s wonderful to have you home!!

PS. If you’re on Instagram, you can follow James @jgoodephoto

 

 

A HUGE South American Party

*** Make sure you press PLAY on the audio file to get the full effect as you read this post. lol

It’s that time of year in Brazil!

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It’s Carnaval! It falls on February 24-28 this year. It is the biggest celebration of the year in Brazil. We had so much fun experiencing this when we lived there, and just to break up the wintery snow month of February and help me think about warm, sun and beaches…I just had to break out my Havaianas ( have to pack them for my cruise next week anyway)

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AND for dinner tonight I just had to make some delicious Brazilian food … shrimp with heart of palm and rice topped with toasted almonds and lime…lime pie and coffee… and caipirinha’s of course!

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Have a great Carnaval our dear Brazilian friends!

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And maybe I will watch Rio…love that movie and the music.

Mi’kmaq… Heritage Day 2017

Today is Nova Scotia Heritage Day!

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This year’s Honoree is¬†The Mi’kmaq and their ancestors. ¬†The Mi’kmaq and their ancestors have lived in this land for at least 11,000 years. Mi’kma’ki, their traditional territory, includes Nova Scotia, P.E.I., and much of New Brunswick and the Gaspe Peninsula.

In the world of hockey, it is well known that Mi’kmaq craftsmanship resulted in some of the best made hockey sticks in history. This year, Nova Scotia Heritage Day will honour Mi’kmaq Heritage by celebrating the important accomplishments of the Mi’kmaq community, including its contribution to Canada’s favorite past time, hockey.

The Mi‚Äôkmaq community will host a two-game hockey challenge called¬†The Mi‚Äôkmaq Heritage Hockey Classic ‚Äď Bury the Hatchet.¬†The theme, Bury the Hatchet, was selected to honour a ceremony held in 1761 that saw the signing of the¬†Halifax Treaties. The treaty ceremony marked the end of more than 75 years of hostility between the Mi‚Äôkmaq and the British, and celebrated the beginning of a peaceful and friendly relationship between the two nations.

Canada‚Äôs native population did not record in ‚Äėhard-copy‚Äô the history of their nations. Rather, they had appointed ‚Äėstory tellers‚Äô who passed on knowledge of their culture from generation to generation in the form of ‚Äėoral history‚Äô.¬†¬†The early Ice Hockey sticks were carved from Hornbeam trees, which are native to Nova Scotia and provide a very durable hardwood. One of the tools used in the carving of Hockey sticks was known as a ‚ÄúCrooked Knife‚ÄĚ.¬†As a result¬†of the huge numbers of Ice Hockey sticks made using these methods by Mi‚Äôkmaq, local supplies of Hornbeam were largely depleted and the Mi‚Äôkmaq then turned to the yellow birch, another hard wood which possesses the same characteristics.¬†In the early years of the development of the game, sticks were simply called after the name of the game. Thus boys played with ‚ÄúHurleys‚ÄĚ and later with ‚ÄúHockeys‚ÄĚ, rather than with ‚Äúhurley sticks‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúhockey sticks‚ÄĚ as they do today.

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It is always nice to enjoy a “day off” in mid February but it’s also a great way to learn about your country’s heritage.¬†Sadly my husband worked a LONG day ( 13 hours) and it was just me at home. So no family day adventure. BUT I took advantage of it by just having a RELAX day.

IN honour of heritage day … we had ¬†fish for dinner ( no we didn’t catch them ourselves) and berries for dessert!

Is there anything more Nova Scotia than smelts, trout and blueberry grunt?

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Hope you enjoyed your long weekend! Back to work tomorrow.

Spring Break for James Feb 17

Midterms done! Tax sale done! NOW…a much needed break from school and taking a¬†week’s vacation from work at Queen’s Municipality before tax season is in full swing. Where to go? That was James’ question when he was planning a vacation.

Tonight David & I saw him off at the airport!

Where is he going?

This is his itinerary! I am so jealous. I know he will have a wonderful time and take some awesome pics!!

James spent the last month deciding where he wanted to travel for a little break away…He LOVES adventure and has been to some pretty great places. He’s going by himself, but that’s James…he started traveling by himself at 15. He’ll fly to London and then take some flights, and buses and trains, stay in hotels and hostels and visit some interesting countries, cities and towns.

Have a wonderful time James, take lots of pictures and remember to check in with your Mama once and while…BUT then I don’t have to tell you that! ūüėÄ

 

 

Lantern Festival is February 11, 2017

Today is the last day of Spring Festival. The fifteenth day in the lunar calendar, This special day is Lantern Festival.

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It is the first full moon night in the Chinese lunar year and full-moon symbolizes reunion in China.
People¬†eat¬†yuanxiao ( a rice ball stuffed with different fillings) or rice dumplings on this day, so it is also called the “Yuanxiao¬†Festival.” Yuanxiao ŚÖÉŚģĶ¬†also has another name, tangyuan śĪ§ŚúÜ.¬†¬†
For its rich and colorful activities, Lantern Festival  is regarded as the most recreational among all the Chinese festivals and a day for appreciating the bright full moon, and family reunion.
It’s so much fun to be able to attend a Lantern Festival.
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Today to celebrate this last day of Spring Festival and the special Lantern Festival, we will eat yuanxiao, and watch another special production similar to the Gala on CCTV, and take a peak at the “snow” full moon.
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We also had some meatball soup ( everything round symbolizing the shape of the moon)
Speaking of reunion…
It was nice to stay in touch with some of my Chinese friends over their holiday, it made me feel close to them. Technology is so wonderful when you are so far away… Here are a few pics they shared
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Happy Lantern Festival!
 Wishing all my Chinese friends and family a wonderful year ahead!!!
PS. My sweet husband picked up a few things he knew I would appreciate.
In honour of the Year of the Rooster… rooster stamps from Canada Post.
 
And…Corn flakes!
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EARLY Spring!

February 2 is “the day” they let the groundhogs out!

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Shubenacadie Sam, Nova Scotia’s most-famous groundhog weatherman, peeking¬†out from his house at Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park in ¬†Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, Canada. ¬†Sam came out of his home and went for a little stroll this morning and didn’t see his shadow which means an early Spring! Yay!!!!!

Spring is on the way!!!!!!

The Year of the Rooster~ Jan 28, 2017

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Today is the first day of the 2017 Lunar New Year aka¬†Spring Festival aka Chinese New Year in China and while I am not Chinese I celebrate Chinese New Year. My husband and I were expats in China for 3 years and I love many of the traditions¬†and culture¬†of the Chinese people. So much so that I brought much of that back to Canada with me. ( My youngest son teases that my home ( upstairs) is the China Museum and downstairs is the Brazil Museum ( we lived there too) But that’s ok. I know he’s teasing, but it helps me. It helps to be surrounded by things that remind you of a special place, great people ¬†and food and memories of a place that is otherwise so far away. It also helps me not miss China too much, and gets me through until I can visit again ( I have been back twice since we’ve moved home, and plan to go again hopefully in 2018)

Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival in China, is China’s most important traditional festival. It is also the most important celebration for families, and a week of official public holiday.

Although there are many stories about the start of the Chinese New Year festival, the main two reasons for the festival are:

  • To celebrate a year of hard work, have a good rest, and relax with family
  • To wish for a lucky and prosperous coming year

Chinese people believe that a good start to the year will lead to a lucky year. Chinese traditionally celebrated the start of a new year of farm work, and wished for a good harvest (when most were farmers). This has now evolved to celebrating the start of a new business year and wishing for profits and success in various vocations.

Chinese New Year is a time for families to be together. Wherever they are, people come home to celebrate the festival with their families. So many people travel during Spring Festival. Other than National days in October, it is the busiest travel time of the year!

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The New Year’s Eve dinner is called¬†“Reunion Dinner”, and is believed to be the most important meal of the year. Big families of several generations sit around round tables and enjoy the food and time together. The Reunion Dinner is celebrated on the “eve” of Chinese New Year.

The main traditional celebrations of the festival include eating reunion dinner with family, giving red envelopes, firecrackers, new clothes, and decorations. More modern celebrations include watching the CCTV Gala, instant message greetings, and cyber money gifts. Every year I watch the CCTV Gala, a habit I got used to in China. I usually chat with a few of my Chinese friends and family. ( I have even gotten red envelope money from a few of them) ***Check out the post from yesterday. https://justaneastcoastgirl.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=8624&action=edit

Every street, building, and house where Chinese New Year is celebrated is decorated with red. Red is the main color for the festival, as it is believed to be an auspicious color. Red lanterns hang in streets, red couplets are pasted on doors, banks and official buildings are decorated with red New Year pictures depicting images of prosperity. ¬†2017 is the Year of the Rooster so much of this year’s decorations are related to roosters!

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img_5734 img_5733img_57182017 is a year of the Rooster according to the Chinese 12 year animal zodiac.¬† Other Rooster years include: ‚Ķ1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017‚Ķ If you were born in one of those years… then you‚Äôre a Rooster. ( I am a Goat) What zodiac animal are you? Check the chart below.

It’s interesting that the Chinese believe if it’s your zodiac year, for example 2017 is Year of the Rooster. It is¬†considered a bad year for “Roosters”: people born in a Rooster year.¬†According to Chinese tradition, there are some things that people can do to fend off bad luck in a zodiac year.

Red is one of the luckiest colors in Chinese culture, standing for prosperity, loyalty, success, and happiness.¬†Red can drive away bad luck and evil spirits.Therefore wearing red during your zodiac year will bring you good luck and give you a good year. You can wear a red belt, red socks, red shoes, or red clothes, and red underwear is highly recommended during your zodiac year.¬†However, there is a rule that you need to pay attention to, or the red won’t ward off bad luck. You cannot buy the red underwear yourself.¬†It should be bought by a spouse, family member, or friend. lol

Besides wearing red, you can also wear jade accessories during your zodiac year to ward off bad luck, like pendants, earrings, rings, and bracelets.

People are often told by fortune-tellers that Tai Sui will bring bad luck. Actually in theory you can make use of Tai Sui to bring good luck, by facing in the opposite direction. So if it is your zodiac year , may people will rearrange their furniture.

There is so much superstition I find “interesting”. ¬†I’d rather look at it and see my zodiac year as a lucky year! A blessed year!

Each Chinese zodiac year begins on Chinese New Year’s Day. The date of Chinese New Year is not on January 1st and varies year to year.¬†The Chinese calendar is lunisolar: influenced by the moon and the sun. It is used for the dates of traditional activities in China, East Asia, and many Chinese and East Asian communities around the world.¬†Although China uses the Gregorian calendar for most official and business purposes, the Chinese calendar is still used to determine the days of¬†traditional festivals such as Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn.

The standard public holiday for (Mainland) Chinese is the 7 days from Chinese New Year’s Eve to day 6 of the lunar calendar new year (this year January 27 ‚Äď February 2, 2017). Most of my Chinese friends will go back to work for a few days starting back on February 5th but then be off again for the Lantern Festival. ¬†Traditionally the end of the Spring Festival is The lantern Festival (¬†Chinese month 1 day 15) (February 11, 2017). Beautiful red lanterns are displayed and sweet rice dumplings are¬†eaten.

This post was long, I’m sorry. And much of what I have written may mean nothing to you. HOWEVER, All these things are very special, and one small part of the Chinese culture I love, and don’t want to forget… so I write!

Every year I will celebrate Chinese New Year and Spring Festival with wonderful memories and send greetings and wish my dear friends and family a Happy New year with blessings of prosperity and health in the year ahead!

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Today is another day to celebrate and because it is Chinese New Year, the first meal MUST be Jiaozi!

 

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Made in China

I often hear people comment about EVERYTHING made in China and sometimes even hear “that crap” comes from China.

I guess I am a little sensitive to comments like that after having lived there. I love China and the culture and people and appreciate so much the labor and skill that goes in to much of what comes from China. There is so much we don’t know or understand.

I regularly get posts and news of artisans making, creating or perfecting their handiwork. There are so many unique things made in China. The Chinese people are VERY talented and highly skilled at what they do!

Here are just a few examples that I’ve enjoyed lately.

Spring Festival is right around the corner and 2017 is the YEAR of the Rooster so many things are rooster themed…

A rooster carving from butter!

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Rooster art made with colourful grains16114566_1414222311962915_5130117037883441562_n 16195115_1414222301962916_6631266697966417858_n

Roosters handprinted on eggs

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Rooster from palm

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16142313_1412036938848119_3179407608588392621_nA rooster in the snow on a football field at a University in Northern China

And then there’s the light festivals that are so elaborate

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And the snow and ice carvings that take weeks to do ( I have seen these in person and it’s amazing)

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How about this art work done with a ball point pen? I LOVE these.

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This is just a small taste…

I am missing China so much these days as I talk to my friends and see these pictures. Spring Festival aka Chinese New Year was one of my MOST favourite times to be there.

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Digging out from all this white and dreaming of white…

sands! Ahh…yes. Caribbean white.

Yes, that’s right! I’m dreaming of white sands. I got an email today!

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My, the¬†folks at NCL¬†are prompt! It’s still a few weeks away… 55 days to be exact.

Just after we got back from our 3 week Across Canada Trip in July we booked a cruise for March. David’s older brother and wife have never cruised and have been wanting to go on a cruise with us for awhile… We have done this exact cruise before BUT we love this particular ship and the ports.

And after this snow ( although VERY beautiful and wintery) I can’t wait to be on the ship cruising the beautiful Caribbean seas and relaxing on white sandy beaches!

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So while we are digging out today ( ok David is digging out. He loves to use his snow blower the first few snowstorms, after that it gets OLD very fast), I’m checking in, and doing research on excursions.

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img_5403 img_5404Have a great Sunday! I LOVE planning vacations…

Time for brunch!

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A year of CHANGE

I LOVE January! Especially the first weeks of a brand new year!!!

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It is a month of reflection. It is also a month to make resolutions to organize, declutter and to make some changes. A few weeks ago David and I talked about this. We talked about 2017 and what to do? What it would bring? Goals and plans and what to accomplish. Some of the conversation stemmed from his back flaring up right before we went to China in December. It’s frustrating to have issues like that. You wonder if better health, and more REGULAR exercise could help these flare ups. We’re getting OLD!! Ok, older… and we NEED to look after ourselves…

Time for change

We talked a lot and decided that for us 2017 is gonna be year of CHANGE…physically and health wise!! We are not in bad shape. Neither of us is overweight, although I have put on a few more pounds than I like since returning from living in China where I walked everywhere. So…in 2017, we are gonna do our best to strengthen and tone some areas physically to see if that helps with overall strength ( and back issues for David) We are gonna change our eating habits a bit…tweak a bit…just to have better energy. And we may even enjoy a massage or two each month. We are gonna try to spend more time breathing in the “fresh air”. Lots of things to change and try this year for better health and longevity.

So…2017…Let’s BRING it, we’re UP for the challenge!

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Lots of things for reflection!