As you might have guessed, we’re back in Canada! Halifax, to be more precise. Though my initial intention was to move to PEI for the summer to help manage my dad’s estate, we ultimately decided that Halifax is home, and we can accomplish our goals with a few trips and some serious elbow grease. The hardest work is sometimes just in getting started, and thankfully we have done that. It’s been a tough road, but I thank the gods daily for my sister.
Matt has also been an absolute champ with the amount of travel and upheaval during this past month. You’d expect things might have slowed down once we came back to Canada, but somehow it feels like everything has sped up. Lots of family and friendship obligations have gone untended for the nine months I was overseas, so we’ve made an effort to do as much as we can with trips to Cape Breton and PEI. Not to mention apartment hunting. Yeesh!
What nine months abroad really taught me, and what I’m still learning as I reflect back on that time, is how much home and community means to me. I’ve definitely caught the travel bug over the past few years, but I think this trip *might* have cured me, at least for a while. Matt and I are pumped to finally move into our own place here in Halifax, after two years of visiting and travelling and not being able to put down roots. At the moment, it definitely feels like we’re a freshly-cut vine clipping in a big jug of water; that is to say, we are ready to root.
Now that the journey has come to an end, I may set this blog aside for a while. Our experiences as travelling cat sitters were kind of amazing, so I should probably at some point do a roundup of Europe’s Cutest Kitties for the benefit of all. But for now, please accept this as my “so long” post, and if / when that changes, you’ll be the first to know.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve visited a bunch of places in the Northof England and Wales. This was my first opportunity to really see the lovely city of Lancasterwhere Matt grew up. We hung out with his fam, saw where he went to school, visited several of his childhood houses (from the outside, obvs), and checked out his old haunts. Conclusion? Lancaster is one charming place.
We also had a fantastic time in nearby Preston sitting for two of the chillest cats on the planet. Then we journeyed to Wales, me for the first time. We got a chance to meet and hang out with more delightful members of Matt’s family and to see some amazing views. North Wales is such an incredible part of the world! I’m basically now the self-appointed captain of #TeamWales.
Getting to spend time with Matt’s family has reminded me that even though I’ve lost my dad and my grampy in the past two years, I’ve also gained a brilliant partner and his lovely fam. Though we can never replace those who are gone, there’s a huge amount of love and healing we can get from the family we choose – whether it be a partner, friend, or even a pet. I’m so grateful that Matt and I met, became a part of each other’s families, and formed a little family of our own.
Alright, enough with the lovefest. Did you know in less than four weeks we’ll be back in Canada?! After our current housesit in Leeds, we’ll visit Matt’s mom, sister, and friends before we head to Brussels for our last housesit of the trip. Then, we fly back from Paris on June 3rd.
What’s been going on since we last communed, dear reader?
Well, most importantly, cat sitting! We’ve started a period of near-continuous and full-time house sitting, which has been incredible so far. The hosts are all so gracious and kind, the homes are warm and welcoming, and the cats are SO! DAMN! CUTE! 😻
Forgive me if I sound like a skipping record, but if you’ve considered house sitting, just do it! It’s possibly the best way for animal lovers to travel – especially here in the U.K. where boatloads of new sits are posted daily. I’m so grateful for these amazing opportunities.
Of course, this time hasn’t all been roses. A big reason why I’ve been a bit scarce lately is the intense grief that’s accompanied the first anniversary of my dad’s death. I’ve done a lot of writing and ruminating in private to work through some of this stuff, but I just want to thank everyone who’s held me up during this time. You’re all stars. 💕
On a lighter (and existentially related) note, my birthday is coming up! Forgive my gratuitous wish solicitation, but if you wanna put an easy smile on my face year after year, all you have to do is add January 28 to your calendar. You’re welcome. 🎂