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Reddit Secret Santa

Last last Christmas I signed up for Reddit Secret Santa. I sent my person in Taiwan a bunch of Canadian snacks and someone sent me a box of Wisconsin cheese. Everyone was happy.

Last Christmas I signed up again. I sent my person some (I thought) cool stuff from Sara M Lyons. They apparently hated it, which I knew because they actually posted that on the thank you page. Yeesh. Why didn’t they just not say anything? And then the person who got me didn’t send me anything. So that was a bummer.

BUT THEN. If you get shafted, you can apply to be re-matched, and I was lucky enough to get re-matched. My new secret santa first donated to the Special Olympics in my honour (they saw from my blog that I do skeleton), and then got me a gift certificate for a tandem paragliding trip in Permberton!!! I was SHOCKED. So so so amazing.

Photos by Ricardo Coral @ Sea to Sky Paragliding

This is the DEFINITION of PERMA-GRIN.

So last Sunday we drove up to Pemberton to do it. It was so cool. Scott got a ride up in the truck too so he could enjoy the view and watch from above.

My shoe nearly fell off during the launch. My heel popped out of my shoe and I didn’t know if I should just let it fall off and keep running or try to jam it back on. I managed to cram it back on, and we still managed to get up in the air, but I doubt it was a very graceful launch, haha.

It really did feel like flying. And it was so comfortable!! I thought it was going to be in an uncomfy harness but instead you sit in a padded chair. The views of the valley were amazing, and it was fun swooping around over the trees. And our landing was super smooth.

THANK YOU REMATCH SECRET SANTA!!!!! YOU RULE!! It was a truly special day.

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21 Roadtrip Highlights

I thought I might blog while travelling, but I didn’t do it all on the roadtrip, sooooo probably the best way to follow our travels in real-time is through my Instagram, and my Twitter.

But anyway, we are back from our epic road trip! And it was SO COOL!!! We went to 9 states, drove 9300 km, visited 7 National Parks in just under 4 weeks. Here are some (21!!) highlights:

1. ATVing in Oregon. We were very bad at it. It was 50% really fun and 50% really stressful.

2. Seeing really really big redwoods in California. We even drove through one.

3. Touring around San Francisco. Visiting with Kim, and touring the Tesla factory.

4. Driving the California coast on Highway 1.

5. Camping and having fires all the time. Burning our dinner plates.

6. Winning big in Vegas. I don’t know if you can see it, but I was up $0.20 so I cashed out.

7. Hiking the rim of the Grand Canyon.

8. Antelope Canyon. So neat. Glad there wasn’t a flash flood while we were there.

9. Horseshoe Bend. So neat, so dangerous. I can’t believe they haven’t had to add railings yet!

10. A random State Park with miles and miles of coral pink sand dunes.

11. Horseback riding in Zion National Park, Utah.

12. Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. The elevation made me feel so lazy.

13. Hiking in Arches National Park with some Mormon boy scouts. They gave us chocolate milk.

14. The perfect nap cubby.

15. A nice dinner at one of the only places in Utah that serves full strength beer.

16. An impromptu stop at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

17. Going on a wildlife hunt at dusk, and finding 4 moose.

18. Waiting for buffalo to cross the road.

19. Randomly arriving at Old Faithful 5 minutes before it erupted.

20. Spotting a grizzly.

21. And a wolf!

A+. Would roadtrip again.

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BC Champs 2016

Blogging is hard, yo.

I last left off right before BC Champs, which ended up going very well. The ice was very fast the first day and I ended up getting a huge new PB downtime and speed (134.4 km/hr). After two runs I was sitting in 5th place. The next day was a bit slower but I had one of my cleanest runs down the track ever and moved up to 4th place, with only the national team girls ahead of me. I was very pleased, as I had definitely achieved my goal of not coming in last place.

I ended up getting silver medal for second best lady BC slider (after Jane Channell), and the officials made up a little certificate thingy with a picture for me as a ‘retirement’ gift. It was nice. A great way to end the season and my sliding career.

Later that day I ended up getting to try driving a plank bobsled from corner 7 as well, as a treat for volunteering as an official over the season. It was… different! Very cool to try. Then we had BCBSA friends & family day afterwards. Long, cool, fun day.

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Currently in Whistler, BC

Dad, Rosemarie, Scott and I roadtripped to Listowel, to squeeze in some visits with grandma and grandpa, Aunt Joanne and Uncle Terry, and Maggie and new baby first cousin once-removed Violet. It was a quiet visit, because my grandma isn’t feeling well at the moment, but full of good chats. Rosemarie and I decorated grandma’s lawn dolls for Paddyfest.

Then Rosemarie, Scott and I bused to Toronto for more famjam. We had dinner with Auntie Hsi and Auntie Pai and Uncle Norman, and then the next day we had lunch with grandma and grandpa Chi too. Unfortunately grandma is not doing very well, but thank goodness grandpa seemed great. One cool thing is that I am now re-connected with my aunt and cousin who live in Germany and now we’re going to try and visit them while we are in Europe!

We visited the Steamwhistle brewery with Dylan O, and then went on a DIY cider crawl (with an epic ice cream sandwich stop — I had Froot Loop icecream with a chocolate cookie). Scott and I couchsurfed with Zsofi and Dylan D (who are doing awesome things these days!!) and Janine and Tony (so nice to see her again after so long, and to meet her fiance). Thank you for letting us crash with you, it was great.

Scott and Rosemarie flew back to Vancouver to go to the Rugby 7s and I went back to Ottawa with dad. They dressed up in stingray costumes and flags and cheered for Australia and Fiji in Vancouver, and I squeezed in second visits with Natasha, MEP and Paul, more eating, and more Brier curling watching with dad and Kate.

It was sad saying goodbye to dad at the airport. :'(

I imagine we will come back to visit next next summer. Like July 2017ish.

And now I am in Whistler. I got the bad news while I was still in Ottawa that my skeleton sled was broken beyond repair and that I would have to switch to a new sled if I wanted to do these last races. That sucked (and still sucks). But, I did 2 runs from corner 3 on the new sled on Wednesday, and moved back up to the top yesterday. My first run yesterday was HORRIBLE, no control whatsoever, pretty much every corner terrible. I bit my cheek really hard even with the mouth guard. But then Jane Channell :) helped me check my balance point again and turns out I was off by like 2 inches (which is huge). So my second run went better. Still not great at all, but at least better. I actually got a new top speed on the second run (132.1 km/hr), even with a run full of flaws. The ice was FAST last night.

I’ll do two more runs in official training tonight, and then it’s a four heat BC Championship race on Saturday and Sunday. The tentative plan so far is to take Monday off and go back to Vancouver to do some errands, then come back for Tuesday OT and then race in Canadian Champs on Wednesday. Although we shall see how it goes day by day.

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Merde!

Umm so I procrastinated blogging for far too long and now I have A LOT of things to catch up on. Like, huge life changes. O_O

UPDATE TIME!

  1. Scott got laid off.
  2. We decided to move back to Australia.
  3. I quit my job.
  4. We sold everything in our apartment and moved out.
  5. Currently in Nepean visiting papa.

The last month was crazy. It was really stressful to sort all of our life belongings into what we still needed, what we would ship to Australia, what to sell and what to donate or throw out. Al while I was still working almost every day. Hopefully we didn’t make any mistakes. Scott did an excellent job of managing dozens of Craigslist posts and we were able to sell everything.

I finally finished my crochet blanket, with like 3 days to spare. It’s so big!! It took me two years to finish. We have vacuum packed it and put it in the boxes to Australia.

Anyway so last weekend we flew to Montreal. We watched Dan-Que perform in a story telling show and took in a few Nuit Blanche exhibits. We hiked up Mont Royal and walked through underground tunnels. And ate and ate. We had bagels, smoked meat, Portuguese chicken, arepas, kouign amann and probably even more I’m forgetting right now. Thank you for all those great recommendations Facebook friends.

And now we are in Ottawa! It was tight but we managed to spend some time with a lot of my favourite Ottawa people. :) We went tubing (Scott crashed into a fence with his face and did 18 flips in the air, and got a fat lip), curling, escaped from an escape room, watched Eddie the Eagle, ate ridiculous amounts of dessert, and played A LOT of games (Careers, Clue, Scattergories, Quiddler, Wizard, Five Crowns). Fun!

UPCOMING TRIPS

  1. Listowel & Toronto
  2. Whistler for my last skeleton race ever :'(
  3. Epic roadtrip (Washington/Oregon/California/Nevada/Arizona/Utah/Idaho/Wyoming/Montana)
  4. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
  5. Walk across Spain (Camino de Santiago)
  6. Miscellaneous Europe (Glasgow/Ipswich/Rotterdam/Lund/??)
  7. Thailand

Approximate arrival in Melbourne, Australia: mid-July 2016

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