Another Year, Another Journey

Well, I might be a bit late in welcoming in the New Year but Happy New Year to you all nonetheless. Already this year is off to a splendid start, but the beginning of the splendidness really began in December, and this just progressed at a whirlwind, breakneck pace since then.

The long and short of it all, is that we have moved further in west and landed safely (more or less) in Red Deer, Alberta. My first impression of the city, a happily bustling little community of nearly 100k, is quite positive. What really makes me happy is that there is a Chapter's here ... and several Starbucks locations as well, for which I am eternally grateful for, as well as the Second Cup locations as well. Finally, a good chai latte and white chocolate mocha are within my reach, and easy driving distance! Before, in order to partake in such lovely caffeinated beverages, one would have had to drive, at a minimum, for 4 hours to Sudbury, or further south to Ottawa or Toronto if one was feeling particularly adventurous. Needless to say, such expeditions were rare. Now, the universe seems to have come in to proper alignment and a short 10 or 15 minute drive will deposit me quite happily within either a Starbucks, Chapters, or Second Cup.

There is also a wide variety of ethnic food here for which we are both grateful. When one's dining choices are limited to a mere three or four restaurants, you immediately appreciate the availability of being able to choose from Vietnamese, Indian, a steakhouse, Arby's, Moxie's and McDonald's  and the ease with which any of these locations can reached rather readily. There's also several Greek places to choose from, a few pizza places, and other's that I'm not familiar with. This diversity is not only limited to what you choose to eat but also includes where you'd like to shop, where you buy your groceries and where you can go for a haircut.

Red Deer boasts two rather fabulous shopping centers and includes such anchor stores as Target, The Bay, H&M (thank you GAWD), WalMart, Toys'R'Us and several others. There's the Parkland Mall, on one end, and Bower Place at the other, and in between you'll find dozes of shopping places filled with  Sobey's, the Independent, co-op banks, and pretty much everything else you might have need of. This only serves to heighten my ever growing fondness for Red Deer. It feels rather like St. John's, if you've ever been ... and more specifically the Kelsey Drive and Stavanger Drive areas, with countless townhouses, apartment complexes and subdivisions sprouted up around them. Now, that isn't to say that everything is built and laid out all higgely-piggedly. In fact, it's really well organized around here and downtown is actually situated downtown - whereas in Timmins, the "downtown" area is nowhere remotely close to downtown. In fact, I have no idea where the actual downtown of Timmins is, and I feel as if you might be hard pressed to find it yourself since the area so often referred to as "downtown" is where the banks set up shop, a couple of bars and clubs are located, and a few restaurants and specialty retailers have established themselves. Now, not to be too hard on Timmins, I will miss the ice cream/burger joint there, as well as the Encore Restaurant, where Dev and I ordered Chinese food, and  Chez Nous - you're cure for a hangover of any sort, so long as you don't mind succumbing to a heart attack. Chez Nous serves maybe upwards of 6 different poutines as well as deep fried pickles - which, if you haven't tried them you simply must because OH.MY.GOD they're really quite delicious.

Our building is amazing, and our apartment is just ... wow. I love it. It's mostly open concept, which I adore. So, when you're in the kitchen doing some meal prep on the counter, you can also watch TV. But, the best feature of the kitchen is the dishwasher! Yes, internet, I finally have a dishwasher again and!! Everything is almost done around here, though as we keep unpacking the few remaining boxes, the list of extra things to but get a little longer every time. So far the list includes a new bookshelf - which I knew beforehand, but for now I have upwards of 30 books just kind of hanging out on a side table, and on the floor under it - a kitchen table with bar stool seating, and another bedroom set. It's a 2 bedroom suite we have, and the master bedroom is big enough that we can upgrade a king size in there! So, right now we're sleeping in the guest bedroom and the double bed, which is fine, I just think we got a little spoiled on the drive here what with all the sleeping in hotels and king sized beds and whatnot. But still, it has been an incredible month.

I've been inviting pretty much everyone I know to come and visit, I'm hoping that there is a trip to Banff in the near future, and there's Harry Potter exhibit in Edmonton I want to go, Calgary is like an hour away ... I'm gushing. I'll stop now.

Suffice it to say though, I'm enjoying myself out here even if I am (temporarily) unemployed.


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