September Wrap-Up

Hello October and goodbye September! September was abnormal in a good way. First, there was one week of hosting our relatives who visited us from Germany and the USA. Then another week of travelling to Vancouver Island, meeting friends, and sightseeing. The rest of September was about catching up, enjoying local events, and chipping away at home projects. Let me share my highlights and I invite you to tell me yours.

September 2019

Arts

I revisited some of my favourite outdoor public artworks while showing my relatives around Toronto. I also saw amazing Canadian Native artworks on Vancouver Island. Since September was full of fun times with our extended family, I chose to feature the Immigrant Family bronze sculpture by Tom Otterness in this post.

Immigrant Family sculpture by Tom Otterness

Blogging

I wrote four blog posts to wrap up August and to share some of my fun experiences in Toronto and Kingston:

Just before I traveled to Vancouver Island, I received a message from Bree (3sistersabroad) who nominated my blog for the Leibster Award and the Sunshine Blogger Award. Thank you, Bree, for the nominations.

While on Vancouver Island, I met up with four blogger friends in Victoria and Parksville: Donna (Retirement Reflections), Sue (Sizzling towards Sixty and Beyond), Jude (Dr Sock Writes Here), and Ann (TheUnretired.life).

Beautiful smiles, stimulating conversations, good food, fun outdoor boardwalk, a tour of Qualicum Beach and Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, and more. Thanks, Donna, Sue, Jude, Ann, Richard (Donna’s husband) and Mike (Sue’s husband) for a wonderful weekend!

Books

I read just three books due to being “on the go” half of the month:

  • The Life Lucy Knew by Karma Brown
  • The Favourite Game by Leonard Cohen
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama

Concert

I attended one wonderful concert titled Beginnings and performed by the Gryphon Trio (violin, cello, and piano). I cancelled a few concerts to spend more time with my relatives.

Family

Since it was my relatives’ first time to Toronto, at their request, the week was full with visits to the main attractions in Toronto, including one of my favourite go-to spots and the Island. The weather was good so we had BBQs a few times and took them to a winery in the Niagara region and the mighty Niagara Falls as well.

Toronto skyline
Toronto skyline

Friendship

My friends and I did our catch-ups while we attended the Toronto Dragon Festival and the 35th annual Veg Food Festival. Who can resist a festival that says “Make Friends. Eat Food.”? It’s North America’s largest plant-based food festival with over 160 vendors and full programs for three consecutive days.

When I was in Victoria, I met up with a former colleague for lunch at the Flying Otter Grill restaurant. It was great to catch up with her while enjoying local fish and chips right by the waterfront.

Health

When I was at home, I completed my meditation and walk every day. Also got in three swimming sessions, four yoga classes, and ten strengthening workouts in the gym.

When I traveled to Vancouver Island, I was able to keep up my fitness routine except swimming. In Victoria, for example, Beacon Hill Park is a beautiful place for walking. I actually walked more every day when I was out sightseeing. For strengthening exercises, I used my resistance band and my body weight. For meditation and yoga, I practiced in the quiet space where I stayed.

Beacon Hill Park

Learning

I continued my daily French and Spanish lessons on Duolingo. I learned about the new-to-me artists, book authors, and their work. I learned new things from the four blogger friends and the international travelers I met on my trip.

Movies

I watched only one movie (Rocketman). The annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) was on from September 5 to 15. I took my relatives to King Street where the red carpet for film celebrities and celebration zone was located. It was great to feel the energy and the buzz in the city from the festival attendees.

TIFF sign

Travel

I travelled to Vancouver Island on Canada’s West Coast, about five hours by plane from Toronto. My itinerary included Victoria, Parksville, and Tofino. It was a wonderful trip. More details with photos to follow 🙂

Overall

September was full of fun activities and movements. I look forward to October when autumn colours are at their peak and we celebrate our Thanksgiving on October 12-14th long weekend.

How was your September? What good things happened? I’d love to hear your comments.

Copyright © 2019 natalietheexplorer.home.blog – All rights reserved.

A Walk with Joanne

I wrote in May that I had my first blogger date with Ann, a fellow Canadian blogger from the West Coast. Following that fun date, I reached out to Joanne, another fellow Canadian blogger in Toronto. We agreed to meet on a Friday in July for a walk along the waterfront. A heat wave derailed our initial plan and made us postpone our date to the following week. Our second attempt was a go!

Even though we’ve just recently followed each other’s blog, we recognized each other in person right away. The weather was sunny and warm so after our introduction hug and smiles, we started heading west, making brief stops along the way to explore some of Toronto’s gems:

Toronto Book Garden
Toronto Book Garden features Toronto Book Award winners. The names of authors and winning book titles are engraved in paving stones.
Rees Wavedeck by HTO Park offers a glimpse of Toronto Harbour and Islands.
Toronto Music Garden where we saw a bird sipping water from the rock fountain.
Ireland Park
Ireland Park, the memorial to the Irish Famine migrants’ arrival in Toronto from 1846-1849. Behind the trees is the Kilkenny limestone sculptural wall containing the names of those who perished during the Famine. The five statues from back to front include The Orphan Boy, Woman on Ground, Pregnant Woman, Pius Mulvey, and The Jubilant Man.
Little Norway Park
Little Norway Park was built on the same site where a training camp for Norway’s Air Force was located during World War II. The park was officially opened by His Majesty King Olav V of Norway on Nov. 20, 1987. The Memorial Stone is a gift from Norway to Canada. The stone was shaped by nature through glacier action. The bronze plaque and text were completed in Norway before shipment to Toronto.
View from Coronation Park
View from Coronation Park

By the time we reached Coronation Park, it was getting warmer and close to lunch time so we turned around. A quick consultation with Joanne prompted me to suggest Gonoe Sushi for lunch. Aside from its location being on our route, I had a good meal there before and both of us haven’t had sushi recently.

Gonoe Sushi interior was nice and cool with the air conditioning humming. We got a table right away. Our food orders arrived shortly after. I had a sushi and maki roll combo while Joanne went for a dynamite sushi combo. Her verdict: “This was a good choice!“.

Sushi and maki rolls

After lunch, we walked to Union Station before saying goodbye. Altogether we completed five kilometers under sunny skies, chatted about our blogging experiences, blogger’s meet-ups, family, fitness tips, future plans, outdoor activities, travel stories, and solved our hunger with a nice sushi lunch…All within three hours 🙂

The two explorers
Feature photo by Joanne Sisco

If you haven’t followed Joanne, I recommend that you visit her two blogs: https://mylifelivedfull.wordpress.com/ and https://followingaboldplan.wordpress.com/

My special thank you to Joanne for a fun walk and chat along the waterfront. I enjoyed sharing the trail with you. Talk to you soon!

Copyright © 2019 natalietheexplorer.home.blog – All rights reserved.

My First Blogger Date

My first date with a blogger happened in a spontaneous fashion. I read a post about ‘a blind date’ on Erica’s Behind The Scenery blog, left a comment, and saw Ann’s comment that she was going to be in Toronto the following week and would be interested in meeting a blogger.

So I contacted Ann at The Unretired.life blog and we agreed to meet for lunch at Bangkok Garden restaurant. This eatery has been around for over thirty years. They offer an all-you-can-eat Thai buffet lunch or à la carte options. I think the food and service there are pretty good and the price is reasonable.

Ann and I both chose the buffet lunch. We talked about blogging, travel, adventures at home and abroad, and so on. It was a fun conversation and the ninety minutes went by in a flash. Then we parted ways and followed up by sending each other some more blog URLs.

I think our first date went well. No nervousness or awkward moments. I informed Ann that I was planning a trip to Vancouver Island in September. I asked if she’d be available to meet me again while I’m there. She said yes!

Thank you to Erica for writing that post, and to Ann for a fun first blogger date. Talk to you again soon 🙂

Copyright © 2019 natalietheexplorer.home.blog – All rights reserved.