I don’t particularly enjoy celebrating my birthday. I know…it’s sorta depressing huh? For the past few years, it hasn’t really been something I’ve been looking forward to too much. Why?

The anticipation- who’s going to remember? would anyone even remember if you never said anything about it a couple days before? gifts? but really…what if no one remembers? It’s just one of those days where you realize who actually cares about you. And the idea of that is kind of daunting. You think you have so many friends, but really, there’s only a handful that try to make your day special. I know that just because someone doesn’t wish you happy birthday, or gets you a gift (handwritten cards go a long way for me), it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t care about you (cause I’ve definitely done that before)- life is busy and at the end of the day, it really is just another day.

The need to want to make it big but not that big- Birthdays are a great way to get all your friends together for a large gathering. But, I’ve always had trouble deciding what I wanted to do. I feel like I can’t invite too many people because people would have this idea that I wanted my birthday to be a big deal when I really didn’t want it to. I’m the kind of person who loves to host a good gathering because I love seeing my friends have a good time. When I host parties, I never actually particularly get to enjoy them myself because I always end up so stressed making sure everyone else is doing OK. And I’m fine with that! It’s something I put on myself all the time whether I like it or not. In fact, it feels like I’m just experiencing the party in third person where I’m not really there (that sounds a lot sadder than it really is)

I feel like I’m still making this sound like it’s all about me. Lol. I hate attention, it get me so anxious. But at the same time, you can’t help but feel good when you feel so loved by the friends who remember, or take the time to write you a happy birthday message. So what do I even want?? I don’t know. And I think that’s what bothers me the most about birthdays. I want some attention, but not too much. I want people to remember, but not too many. I want to have a party, but not too big of a party! I want to make turning 24 on the 24th a big deal, but yea you get the point… not too big of a deal.




it also doesn’t help that there’s a thunderstorm on my birthday this year. so much for the casual picnic plan!




when nothing goes as planned


It’s near the end of my reading week (lecture recess/mid-semester break/spring break – why are there so many different names?!), and let me just say it was nothing like I had originally planned. To put it short, it was probably one of the worst reading weeks ever.

Dear Cyclone Debbie, why did you have to come at possibly the worst week ever? I had two trips planned: One was with my fish course where we would be heading down to Orpheus Island, a beautiful place where we would be surveying fish for research. It was going to be wonderful. A three day trip where I’d be spending most of the time swimming in the water (in a remote area) with the company of many of my friends. It was also my birthday weekend so how perfect was that going to be! But of course, Debbie stirred up stronger than ever, and with just two days before the trip, we got notice that it had to cancelled. The whole island has been evacuated- this was getting pretty serious.

I’ve never been in any natural disaster before, and although I have heard about cyclones occurring here, I didn’t think it would actually happen. I remember one of the things I got in my orientation package was a “How to prepare for a cyclone” pamphlet. When I first saw it, I remember vividly going ‘AS IF!’, and threw it somewhere. Jokes on me now! The grocery stores were cleared almost instantly. All the bread, beans, water…gone! It was like there was some apocalypse happening. I got pretty excited and joined in on the fun by stocking up on canned food and filling up water bottles. My roommate and I spent a couple of days moving everything in our backyard inside, taping up windows, and preparing for the worst.  It was quite the experience to be honest! A day before the cyclone hits, word of ‘cyclone parties’ are tossed around. Apparently, it’s a thing here. My roommate and I pack our things to stay over at her friend’s house for the so-called ‘cyclone party’. The boys were so keen on the cyclone hitting, and we spent a majority of our time refreshing the updates on the cyclone. They even taped their microwave doors and car down as an exaggeration. Hilarious. Unfortunately, Debbie decided to veer south, and in the end, we got nothing but gorgeous sunsets which I cannot complain about. But with every gust of wind we would be like “THERE IT IS!”, and then nothing for the next 20 minutes. We didn’t even get rain… heck, we got more rain last week! Don’t get me wrong though,  I’m definitely thankful it didn’t hit us directly as it was intended to. It’s done a lot of damage down south and has flooded many areas, but a little excitement could have been nice. I was honestly disappointed, and even more disappointed by the fact that the trip to Orpheus Island could have probably worked out.

I had spent most of the reading week indoors. I was a potato. And if you know me, you know I hate staying indoors. I’m more tired than ever. Most of my friends that were still around were studying for their midterms coming the following week. Fair enough. I definitely could have gone somewhere, but flights were super expensive because of how last minute it was.

There was one thing left on the agenda though! I had planned to get my advanced diving, and was surprised to find out that it was still running despite the anti-climactic aftermath of Debbie. My friend and I woke up at 5am the following day, packed our bags to spend two nights over on Magnetic Island for the course. We were super excited and it was a beautiful day! Unfortunately, the visibility was the worst. I could barely see my friend who would be less than a meter away from me. We couldn’t see anything. It was far from the ideal conditions. But, we made the best of it, and worked on our buoyancy, navigation, and search and recovery skills. What we were looking forward to most anyways was the Yongala Wreck dive tomorrow- one of the top dives in the world. While my friend and I were resting up on our two dives, and talking about how tomorrow should be much better, our instructor comes around the corner: “I’ve got some bad news”.

And with that, we were told the boat out to Yongala was not running. So, the trip was cancelled, and we would have to reschedule for another weekend. I felt so defeated. Could this week get any worse? My friend and I prepped for two nights on the island, and now we could just head back home in a couple of hours if we wanted to. So to put in summary: My trip to Orpheus Island, and wreck dive got cancelled from a cyclone that never came.

But it doesn’t end here. I wrote this post because I wanted to say how sometimes the best things happen when nothing goes as planned. The best trips I’ve been to have been the most spontaneous ones. The best laughs have been from times I’d least expect. So with that to remind myself, my friend and I spent the rest of the day with open arms. We went back to the bay, and laid down in the cool shaded sand. We had a really nice conversation and ended up falling asleep at the same time. That nap was glorious. There was a nice breeze, the sand was so comfortable, and I felt so relaxed. I could have slept there all night if I had to. We then decided to do a short hike up to a small hill during sunset. We got lost a little, but made it to the top and what a view! It was another beautiful sunset. I can never get tired of sunsets! And despite getting bit a handful of times by those darn mosquitoes, the haze, and changing colors made it all worth it. When we marched back down, a bat flew down at us, and we grabbed each other, and yelled in perfect synchrony. It was hilarious. We wanted an adventure, so here it was, haha! We then biked back to the ferry port, and missed the track and so had to heave through the biggest slope. I didn’t think I was going to make it, and if that uphill was any longer, I probably would have rolled back down. Luckily there weren’t any cars behind us as well. We then went to the cutest family owned mexican restaurant in the middle of nowhere. We thought we were walking into someone’s backyard, but what a place it turned out to be! After the most satisfying burrito ever, we spent the next few hours chatting. It turned out out to be such a lovely night, and it wasn’t even over yet. We had another 12km cycle back home, and even though we could have left our bikes in the city and take the bus back, we wanted to end with a BANG. And so, we cycled through with the gentle breeze on our side. It was magnificent. At this point, I was exhausted, and the bike felt like it was going to give up on me. But at last, I made it home in a sweaty mess (the fully loaded backpack definitely didn’t help with the ride). I felt super pleased- what a day this had turn out to be!

So all in all, yes, reading week did suck mostly. But hey, I cycled for 30km, chased many sunsets, still managed to dive a little, ate a lot of food (priorities), watched a lot of movies, and did next to little school work. Sounds pretty great to me now!

the people you meet


Not sure where this post will lead to, but lately I’ve been feeling so emotionally drained. I won’t go into depth into why, but feelings like these always seem to begin with the people you meet.

One of my roommates knocked on my door at 7:20am, and said goodbye- he’s moving on to his next medical placement, and will be travelling to Europe for part of the placement. How exciting! I didn’t know he was leaving so early, and had decided the night before that I wanted to give him a goodbye hug, haha (yes I think about every detail). But because I like half asleep, in shock, and in my PJs, I kind of just rolled up from bed, and was like ‘ What? Already? Okay… Bye!!- instantly regretting not getting up to give him a hug” You see, I wouldn’t say we were exactly close at all. But I definitely lucked out with the roommates. Every night he would be like “Goodnight fam!” I thought it was real cute. We started bonding more when I dragged them out to finally try rock climbing, and we had a great time. We had an extremely fancy dinner last night with the new roommate moving in to replace the boys leaving, and it was really nice. We placed all our phones in the middle- something he initiated, and just talked. And although I’ll be seeing him again in September when he comes back from placement, it sucks when you have to say goodbye to someone you just broke the ice with. I could have a whole other post with how I feel about goodbyes- something I have learned to hate and dread. And one of the only things I hate about travelling.

With the people you meet, you can honestly learn so much about yourself. You are inspired by others, and you are motivated to start doing things you have always wanted to. With the boys, I’ve been inspired to take up cycling now. I want to get a road bike and ride up those mountains every other morning (it’s now a goal by the end of my Masters… hahaha, let’s see how far I go with that).

I honestly don’t know where this post is going, but what I want to say is that I love meeting people. And when I meet someone that I instantly connect with, it feels like a shot of adrenaline. I want to know more about that person, I want to spend as much time with them, and I want to be a part of their life. But sometimes it doesn’t always work out that way. I guess you can say I can’t take things slow (haha). And more often than enough, I feel quite rejected when the other person doesn’t show that excitement. But I’ve been trying to get myself out of that head space- people are busy, people have other friends.

Don’t rush into it.

The time will come.




(it also doesn’t help when you find that person attractive)


the transition


March 2nd, 2017 —  (HOW IS IT MARCH ALREADY?)

Today is officially the two week mark of my time here in Townsville. Three if we’re counting the days in Canberra. Honestly, it feels like I’ve been here for so much longer. Maybe it’s because I’ve always felt at home here in Australia, it never feels like I’ve left. That being said, the first few days here in Townsville was rough. And I mean it. As much as Australia is home to me, this was by far the hardest transition. The five days I had spent in Canberra was wonderful. I got to stay with my amazing cousin (she cooks the best meals and makes sure I have enough wine and champagne every night),  and met up with old friends. Oh how much I’ve missed Canberra. Canberra is such a gem- everyone had told me it was going to a boring little government city (perhaps a close comparison to Ottawa, haha), but honestly it is a beautiful city with some incredible people. It’s filled with parks, great food, and fantastic weather. Seeing my friends again that I had met last July was just perfect. We picked up right where we left off- climbing mountains, eating, talking for hours, having a picnic, sharing silly stories, and laughing at the most ridiculous things. I couldn’t have been happier and I didn’t want to leave.

I knew leaving for Townsville was going to be hard. Sure, I’ve traveled to places where I knew nobody, but it was different this time. I’m going to be living here for a year and a half, and meeting so many new faces. What if I don’t make any friends? What if everyone already has their own groups since I missed all of O-week? What if nobody likes me? What if my roommates are crazy? What am I doing?? Did I make the right choice? Can I stay in Canberra longer? Can I just travel for life?

Fortunately, I was lucky to have my new roommate pick me up from the airport, and felt that maybe this was going to work out. Now don’t get me wrong, my roommates are lovely and I feel so incredibly lucky to have such chill, friendly roommates. (I’m going to refer to them as the boys now) The boys are in their final year of med school, and are more than a head taller than me. They’re absolutely hilarious, and love to stay active. To put it short, they work hard, eat healthy, exercise daily on the weekdays, and let loose on the weekend. When I first arrived, they had already invited some friends over and would be heading out to a nearby bar. I reluctantly decided to join- I was tired, and still feeling down about leaving Canberra. But I wanted to make a good first impression , so I tried to be social… but I couldn’t. When their friends came over, I couldn’t make conversation, it’s like I had forgotten how to talk. Everyone always sees me as this social butterfly, but when you’re placed in a situation where everyone else knows each other, I’m the most timid person ever. I start to get anxious and overwhelmed. I start to feel really uncomfortable and start to question what I’m even doing.

When we get to the bar, I feel even more uncomfortable. Everyone here knew each other, and I didn’t know anyone except my roommates who were catching up with all their friends. I stepped outside, and called my friend back in Canberra for some encouragement. It hasn’t even been a day in Townsville and I’ve already fallen apart. Yikes. Am I ever going to make any friends?  After some wise words from my friend, I walked back into the bar with my chin up and told the boys I’ll be heading back home first. I needed the rest.

I spent the next day alone, I needed to recollect my thoughts, I needed to wallow. I tell myself it’s going to get better.. I know it will.

And it did. 

I met some incredible people the next day at an outing to a nearby swimming hole, and couldn’t wait to get to know these people more. They were all studying marine biology as well- turns out, basically everyone here studies marine biology haha, go figure.

The days keep getting better and better, and I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for me! I’m loving my classes so far (it’s so different when you actually take classes you are interested in), I’m taking on every opportunity I get, I’m biking to school, I’m slowly getting use to this high humidity weather (ugh), I’m swimming more, I’m rock climbing outdoors again, I’m more relaxed, and perhaps most importantly, feeling like myself again!