FRANCE

00110014 Some memories from France.

Paris. We stayed in the 10th Arrondissement, near Canal St Martin. We soon learned there was a bit of a blossoming food scene in the 10th with a *gasp* North American/New World vibe. Filtered coffee at Ten Belles! Thick cut bacon and baked beans at Holy Belly! I admit, I loved it. It was homey.

I developed a strong, strong yearning for near-freezing coke this pregnancy. I will remember Paris evenings spent drinking Coke Zero (sorry! I know!) and watching Elementary. Don't take this as a recommendation for Elementary. Listen, it had its moments. Sometimes you just want something pulpy.

Isn't there a bit of an expectation to do stand-in-line things on trips like this? We decided to visit Musee d'Orsay. This memory makes me chuckle. Brandon was so appalled at the lineup. We were there in November!

Biarritz. My first breath stepping off the train was pure relief. The ocean air and misty rain. It was late and we headed straight to bed but I was so happy to be there.

We kind of had Biarritz to ourselves. We embraced the slow pace. It was the small things - sitting at the farmer's market cafe with a cafe allonge, green leaves, and watching grannies go swimming in the ocean (it was barely 5 degrees!).

Uzes I found Uzes by staring at google maps. I was looking for a specific size of town. Easily walkable but still reachable by train/bus. We stayed in the neatest townhouse. It had one of the loveliest parks with Roman ruins strewn about. It was a bit hilarious. Roman ruins sitting around, blasé, like a bench or garbage can.

Nimes. Our last couple of days we sprung for a bed and breakfast. Our host was Miriam and she brought us local bread, jam, and fruit for breakfast. And a cafe allonge with hot milk. Breakfast really is the stuff, hey?

Nimes has some incredibly preserved Roman structures. Miriam told us that the amphitheatre was still in use "for big rock star concerts, like Sting". We did a self guided tour (again, place to ourselves) and once my brain couldn't hold more of the audio tour, I followed Brandon, found the sun and closed my eyes.

We flew out of Paris. In what was likely a staff mishap, there was only one border patrol booth open and hundreds of us were packed in a snaking line for hours. I was about one second away from passing out at all times. I was frantically fanning myself, pumping my legs, and stuffing oranges in my mouth. Mentally, I started feeling like a toddler. Am I the only one who wants to flop down and start crying?

The last gift of travel is coming home. The Toronto airport felt like the land of milk and honey. I delighted in the clean bathroom, turned my phone off airplane mode, and soaked in the comfort of easy.

*shot with Kodak Portra 160 and Fuji 400h*

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The Netherlands

Is my post title too boring? Should I follow the obnoxious trend of internet articles and call this "11 Photos of the Netherlands That You've Never Seen Before"? Well now -

I can't believe these photos survived! I'm baffled. I shot less than two rolls of film in Europe this past November and the first mistakenly ended up in my checked baggage. How that roll escaped the corruption of the x-ray I do not know. I laughed like a maniac on my drive home from the the photo lab.

We spent a week in Amsterdam with one day trip to Edam (where the cheese originates). Brandon was absolutely smitten with Amsterdam, the land of bikes, brick, and walkable amenities. I could see his heart swelling and breaking at the same time. We found his city.

My reality was that I felt blue at times during our trip. Brandon mentioned it in Amsterdam and I felt stumped by its cause. I think it came off as a lack of enthusiasm and I'm pretty easily enthused (or contented). It was my fourth month of pregnancy and I was craving...stability? Routine? A warm, well rounded meal? I didn't have the stamina or care for a full day of checking landmarks off the list.

We found a flow that suited us. A slower morning. Me, trying to load up on food energy and strategizing where/when I'll eat next. Afternoons were our time out, largely spent walking outside. I could have brought a warmer coat. My scarf was regularly tied up to my eyeballs. I can't remember if we did anything that required a line-up or ticket? We came upon a really nice clothing shop called Tenue de Nimes, chatted with the manager, and he made us coffee. That's pretty decent time spent I'd say. We walked through a market of knickknacks; I ate shawarma from a street stand.

Edam was slightly unbelievable. Like, people live here? For life? I peeped through so many windows and it almost made me mad. Good taste is rampant over there and it must be cultural because I don't think the country is solely made up of designers.

I don't want to cause any riots but if it was a contest, I'd live in Amsterdam over Paris hands down.

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Checking In

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I took these photos at the end of August. My lovely friend Joey asked me to assist her at a wedding on Vancouver Island (uhhhhm YES). I decided to make a little holiday out of it and I'm just realizing how extra special it all was. See, it was the extended weekend of my dreams - eating, nature, ferry rides - all with Joey who speaks my food/photography language. The gal cooked for me. We dined out. Talked and didn't talk (because: two introverts). It was so fun. All the more meaningful because the day after returning home I found out I was pregnant!

August till now has been one thing after the other.

September & October. Pregnancy nausea busted in and the best I could do was show up to shoots, edit photos from bed, and loath my computer screen for being so bright (sensory overload!). Blogging fell to the wayside.

November. Bran had always wanted to visit Europe so we just went for it. I was almost 12 weeks pregnant and it was perfect timing. We spent the month in the Netherlands and France. I'll share more about that once I get my film developed.

December. My brother got married a week after we got back so we scurried off to Saskatoon. We had about two weeks to play catch up before heading to the farm for Christmas and Saskatoon for New Years.

I'm 21 weeks pregnant and we are very thrilled (!!). I'm tackling my 3rd cold/flu of the season. Can't us northerners grow babies in Hawaii? Nevertheless - happy to be back in the swing of things.

NEW YORK CITY

Brandon called me from work sometime in late June and told me to try to bump my oral surgery (for wisdom teeth) earlier. "Uhhhmmm why?" "Just trust me, you'll want it earlier." I already needled my way into that appointment (otherwise having to wait till fall) so I was NOT STOKED about begging over the phone. We bantered back and forth. I started to realize his plan might involve a)eating + b)somewhere that required an airplane. So - I accepted the challenge. I was able to reschedule my appointment three days earlier than planned (so precious in hindsight!). At this point Brodie and Amanda were living with us so we stood around, speculating. When Bran walked through the door we tried to be cool but my face was all *Hiiiiiiiii...whatisitwherearewegoing??*. The story unfolded. He gave me flowers and card. We were going to NYC for my birthday (and a bit of personal meetings). Now, personality-wise, I gravitate towards the scenic/natural/quaint. But surely there would be something for me too? (Yes, yes there was!)

Pictured below, rougly: Shake Shack in Madison Square, The Highline, rooftop dinner with friends, MOMA(and the Rain Room installation - so cool! Look it up!), uhhh more Shake Shack, Conservatory Garden in Central Park, Trinity Church grounds, Staten Island ferry, fire on the street, our Subway exit in DUMBO, gloriously wonderful and cool condo thanks to Kara, atmospheric tacos at Gran Electrica, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Grand Central Terminal, NYC's flagship public library, Bryant Park, airplane.

PS: Look for the small black rectangle on the detail shot of Grand Central's ceiling. THAT was the ceiling before its restoration. Gunk was analyzed: tobacco smoke.

Shot with the Fuji X100.

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