You see snippets of my life on social media, and probably a bit more if you follow along my Instagram stories.. but if you’re new around here I thought it would be fun to share a few more things about me! I also had a bunch of questions from you guys on Instagram, so make sure to read through to find all the answers. Everything you want to know and more! 😛
Let’s start from the beginning …
- I grew up in Squamish, BC (an hour north of Vancouver). At the time I considered it a small town, but it has since grown and I actually learnt the meaning of a “small town” when I moved to Saskatchewan!
- I spent a lot of time figure skating as a child and into my early teens, then I got into mountain biking where I raced with my high school. I also took up a bit of rock climbing through school and loved it. That feels like a lifetime ago …
- Immediately following high school I moved to Prince George, BC where I spent the next four years completing my BSc in Environmental Science. I started out in Biology, but switched after my second year. Before I started I didn’t even know Environmental Science was a thing.
Fun fact, while in Prince George I bought speed skates. Never speed skated in my life, but I thought it was cool. I skated with them at the outdoor oval once. Had no idea what I was doing, but still thought it was cool. Years later I took lessons when I lived in Langley. It was me, another lady about my age and a bunch of little kids. Kind of embarrassing. I may have skipped a few sessions, but I did it and it was fun. Hard, but fun. Much harder then it looks… by the way!
- While going to university I spent the summers working for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans at Babine Lake, BC Parks in Squamish, Ducks Unlimited in Dawson Creek and Huckleberry Mine in northern BC. I will NEVER forget the first day I worked at the mine. It was a camp job and I went back to my room at the end of the day and cried. What was I doing there? My boss told me he didn’t think I was cut out for it and there were so many “creepy” men. I thought they were creepy because they all stared and I didn’t know any of them. It ended up not being so bad… but some of them REALLY were creepy!
- After university I moved to Cranbrook, BC where I got a job with SNC-Lavalin doing Environmental Consulting on contaminated sites. I loved the work, I loved travelling throughout the Kootenays and I loved reconnecting with my childhood best friend!
- I moved to Kimberley, while keeping the same job in Cranbrook, and I took up skiing. Cross country and a bit of downhill. Although I don’t consider myself a “skier” I did love it! I can’t believe that was 10 years ago and I now live in a different ski town, being only 20 minutes from the ski hill in Smithers and I haven’t even been! I am slightly terrified of chair lifts though… In the summers I absolutely loved exploring in and around the Rocky Mountains!
- So this is where it gets good. I met my husband while at work in Cranbook/Kimberley! He was living in Langley at the time and was in the area for work. The job we were both on was decommissioning 16 miles of railway ballast that was contaminated waste rock from the former Sullivan Mine (in Kimberley), which later became a walking/biking path. It was a fun job (obviously) and well, the rest is history!
- Months after the job ended I made the move to Langley and got a job at a different environmental consulting company out of Vancouver. Yes, I had an office on the 19th (I think it was 19th, maybe 12th) floor of a high-rise downtown Vancouver. A window office even! Those were the days… Most of my time was spent at the Chevron Refinery in Burnaby, drilling and collecting soil and water samples. I didn’t love it. In fact, I really didn’t like it. The stench of the refinery literally made me sick. I started asking my supervisor questions about the work we were doing. Was it safe? Shouldn’t we be wearing respiratory protection? How do we know if we should be wearing respiratory protection because let me tell you, I ain’t gonna wear that mask unless I have to. But at the same time, this stinks. Literally. Long story short I was put in touch with the company’s Industrial Hygienist and she mentioned to me that if I am so interested in this then maybe I should check out the Occupational Health Program at UBC. I guess I asked her A LOT of questions. I was legit concerned about my health. Plus, I clearly wasn’t happy working there (for several reasons). More school though? A Masters? Jeez… I really hadn’t thought about it. In the meantime I had applied for a job in the oil sands (like the refinery wasn’t enough oil for me). In the end I ended up getting accepted to the Occupational Health Masters Program at UBC AND I got the job in the oil sands. I knew I had to take that job in order to pay for school, so that’s what I did. I worked there for 5 months and saved like a crazy person then went back to school. Working in the oil sands is a whole other story, but in short, I worked with some really awesome people and although I didn’t love camp life, I’m grateful for the friendships I made to get me through it!
- Next thing you know I’m commuting from Langley to UBC and back at school. I sure don’t miss those commutes in rush hour traffic. Typically I would leave the house before 5:30am in order to beat the early morning rush. Then I’d hang at Starbucks and do school work before my classes started. I opted for the project stream (instead of thesis) and completed my project at the Chevron Refinery. I was SO NOT excited to go back there (it was not my choice), but my project ended up being successful so I guess that’s a positive.
- I crammed my classes together to finish in a year and a half and that I did.
- The following January we got engaged and then went to Hawaii and had such an awesome time. I can’t wait to take our daughter there one day! I haven’t travelled to a lot of places, but Hawaii has been my favourite. Oh yeah, I went to Greece, by myself once. Well, I did meet a friend who was working there. Never travelled very far on my own and I decided to make my first trip to Greece! That’s when I was living in Kimberly. I had a blast… can’t believe I forgot about that!
- Moving forward… we moved from Langley, BC to Saskatchewan a few weeks after getting back from Hawaii. What a change that was! My husband was born and raised in Saskatchewan and we moved close to his home town, with family, until we figured out where we were going to live.
- I got a job as a Safety Coordinator (which morphed into my own Industrial Hygiene position) at a potash mine just west of Saskatoon. We moved to a small town (yes, a town of about 900 people was a whole new meaning of small town for me) about 10 minutes from my work. This entire time my husband kept the same job, working on the road, operating heavy equipment. To this day he is still working for the same company! He’s dedicated!
- Oh, the prairies. I missed the ocean more than the mountains until I moved back and remembered just how beautiful those mountains are, but I really did fall in love with the open skies, the bright sunshine and freeing feeling of the flatlands. No, you can’t see your dog run away for days. I wish. Then we would have never lost our dog. Kidding. Oh, but we did get our puppy when we lived in Saskatchewan. She’s a miniature Australian shepherd and our first born. And now, she’s the crazy dog who doesn’t stop barking when you come to pick up your orders. Don’t worry, she’s harmless, just loud…
- I’m getting sidetracked again. So I worked at an underground potash mine. I went underground and it was okay. It was super hot, much different then I imagined. Most people were nice, some were not. I don’t miss working there, but I met some amazing people that have become good friends and really made my life complete.
- The first summer we were in Saskatchewan we came back to BC to get married at my family’s special place, Nadina Lake Lodge. It’s been in my family for over 60 years, started by my Great Uncle and I couldn’t be happier that we are only 2 hours away now. This past summer was devastating with wildfires, but we are beyond blessed to still have all our buildings standing. Bring on mushroom picking 2019!
- The following fall we had our first child. Everything about her was easy. I didn’t realize this at the time, but I am now grateful for the experience and I no longer take having a child for granted. Our journey to have a second child has been the complete opposite. This journey isn’t over yet, so let’s just hope for another happy ending. If you’ve suffered from pregnancy loss, then, read this post.
- A few months into maternity leave I started Sew Bright Creations. I needed to use my brain and I needed something just for me. With my husband working away, the nights were lonely and hard with a new baby, I just needed something to do. I’ve never been a sit still or watch a movie and relax kind of person. I’m a get shit done kinda girl. It’s just how I roll.
- After a year of maternity leave I went back to work part time at the mine. I worked from 7am until noon, then picked my daughter up from daycare, put her down for nap (she usually fell asleep in the car), and she’d sleep for a few hours while I sewed. I did this for a while, but I was burning out. Working part time (in what should have been a full time position) at a mine that runs 24-7 non stop, EVER, just isn’t realistic. I was wearing myself out. I was sinking and could not keep up. I’d have everyone tell me how I was so lucky to have the best of both worlds working part time. I would smile and nod and say it’s great. Honestly, it wasn’t. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was not a long term solution for me, something had to give. But WHAT? I didn’t want to give any of it up. I wanted it all. Isn’t that what we are taught? Go to school, get an education, have children, you can have it all. I wish I would have realized sooner that you really CAN’T HAVE IT ALL. At least not all at once and not for me. The career, the kid, the side hustle while being married to a husband who works out of town. Having all that, all at the same time just was not working for me. I wish I would have accepted that fact sooner.
- In 2017 we made the decision for me to leave my job and move back to BC. For the first time in my life, I moved to be somewhere that I wanted to be. Not because I had a job, not for the opportunity to get a job and definitely not for any guy. We moved to a place we wanted to live for the future of our daughter and our family. We chose Smithers because it was close to my parents and close to the cabin and a desirable town for raising a family. With my husband away from work so much I knew I needed more help. I needed the support of my family and I also wanted the amenities of a small town (small town BC, not small town SK). So Smithers it was and we love it. Read about some of the fun things to do in Smithers HERE!
- After nearly 5 years (one month short) in SK, we moved to BC, where things became expensive again! How did I forget this! Oh yeah…so if you didn’t figure it out, part of the reason we moved to SK was for more affordable living, better job opportunities (for me) and so we could buy a house. All of which we conquered and then somehow forgot until we moved back to BC! Regardless, we did buy a house here and have adjusted some of our spending habits to live within our means! Some being the key word here because I mean, life’s a learning curve, right?!
- I think that about gets me to where I am! Still sewing, husband still working away, our daughter is blossoming into a lovely, sometimes sweet with a little bit of sass, beautiful girl. Kindergarten is next year and my gosh I’m sort of freaking out. What am I going to do all day?!
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Lovely! You enjoy the silence while she is at school and then love her like crazy once she gets home!
Thanks Jana! I like the sounds of that!