Every End is a New Beginning

In Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!, I said:

In 2011, I want to have more adventures locally:
– visit more places in Ontario
– visit places with friends
– do more hikes
– I’d like to get involved more steadily in a community project … maybe local garden

There are many cherished memories from 2011, impossible to describe with one blog post. I will highlight a few key events from 2011.

Re: visit more places in Ontario, visit places with friends, do more hikes

Tobermory, Ontario, Canada – May 2011

This is where we had our “honeymoon”. We are not very traditional in terms of wedding/wedding events. This year has been a year of celebrations (we didn’t have one big party, but many smaller gatherings – all very special to us). Hiking in Tobermory was great – amazing views along the Bruce Peninsula. We befriended 9 snakes along the way. Granola Bars – Great snacks for hikes!

Stratford, Ontario, Canada – May & June 2011

This is where T and I were “officially married” in May. We chose Stratford because it meant more to us than Kitchener or Waterloo. This was where we took our first trip together. We’ve made annual trips to Stratford since then. Our day was made even more special with the appearance of double rainbows. Both sets of parents came to visit in June. It was the first chance that we had to celebrate our marriage with them, we also did that in Stratford. We all went to see Jesus Christ Superstar and it was an amazing show!

Montréal, Québec, Canada – July 2011

Ok, this is not technically “local” – in that it’s not even in the same province, but it was still a significant trip in Canada. This was my first time visiting Montréal while the Jazz Festival was happening. This weekend was filled with a lot of great food, great people, and awesome music. We also got to hang out and celebrate our marriage with T’s aunt. Montréal: world of ethnic food and awesome outdoor events!

Dundas Valley Conservation Area, Ontario, Canada – July 2011

We’re always up for good local hiking! Our friend K-W Eats recommended hiking in this area. The highlight of the hike was the waterfall – Sherman Falls. Hiking is our favourite activity because we escape from the city and all the people; we concentrate on the scenery, the scents, and the steps that we take. We are able to just focus on the present.

Royal Botanical Gardens, Ontario, Canada – August 2011

My friend CQ and I have been trying to plan a trip to RBG ever since last year. We were finally able to coordinate our schedules and visit the gardens. It was a rainy day, but we made the best of it. We saw many beautiful flowers and learned about how people used different herbs and plants in Medieval times. We also enjoyed tea at the garden tea house (their scones were amazing!).

Joseph Schneider Haus, Kitchener, Ontario – August 2011

There is always something going on at Joseph Schneider Haus on summer weekends. This particular weekend had cooking demonstrations and food sampling. We missed the demonstrations but we were in time to sample the finished products. My friend M and I learned a lot about how things were done back then and marvelled at the ingenuity and resourcefulness of these people.

Waterloo County Jail and Governor’s House, Kitchener, Ontario – September 2011
Doors Open Waterloo Region 2011

I’ve passed by this building many times and never really took notice of it until Doors Open 2011 weekend. It’s amazing what you learn about the region through these preserved historic buildings.

Crawford Lake Conservation Area, Ontario, Canada – September 2011

Here you can find a simple hike around Crawford Lake. Come here in the Fall to enjoy those warm, Autumn leaf colours. The Iroquoian village also provides a learning ground for adults and children.

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada – October 2011

T’s mom came to visit in October. We saw My Fair Lady at the Shaw Festival theatre. It was a fabulous show. I definitely had the songs stuck in my head for weeks.

Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada – October 2011

Our first time visiting St. Catharines. Accommodation in Niagara-on-the-Lake was very expensive and our friend JD was at Brock University, so we ended up booking accommodation in St. Catharines. While touring Brock University, we found a good Fall tree to take pictures with. (The picture above is an installation by Buky Schwartz at Brock University.)

Innerkip, Ontario, Canada – October 2011

Two of our KW friends persuaded us to take up scuba diving. If you are looking do dives in Kitchener-Waterloo, Tri-City Scuba Centre is the place to go. Andrew and Chris are friendly, knowledgeable and fun. Their instructors are great to work with! We did our open water certification with them in October. So, that meant we did our open water dives in late October. It was freezing but worth it in the end. Our goal was to be familiar with diving before diving in Kauai (I was able to enjoy my dives in Kauai more because I wasn’t worried about the equipment and I was able to control my buoyancy better because I had more practice). Anyway, I don’t want to repeat the experience of being very cold underwater, but I am proud that I survived. I look forward to diving adventures in 2012. (I heard Brockville, Ontario is the Caribbean of Canada!)

Chriskindl Market, Kitchener, Ontario – December 2011

Another recommendation from K-W Eats. Three Christmases ago, T and I were travelling through Germany and Austria. We spent Christmas in Freiburg, visited Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmarkt) in Bonn, Koblenz, and Innsbruck. This was Kitchener-Waterloo’s version of Weihnachtsmarkt. It’s smaller, mostly indoors, and had a lot imported products. We especially enjoyed the performances – particularly the schuhplattling.

Strawberry-picking at Herrle's in KW.

Re: I’d like to get involved more steadily in a community project … maybe local garden

Well, I didn’t really get involved with a local garden, but I did help my friend (once) with de-weeding her garden. My biggest community contribution this year is to the Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society. I love working with animals and kids. I started volunteering for KWHS at the beginning of the year as a play therapist (cats & kittens). I’ve always been a big fan of dogs, not so much of cats (mostly because I was severely allergic to them). After spending a couple of weeks at T’s parents’ place, I became less allergic and fell in love with a cat named Tigger. I now love spending time with the kittens and cats at KWHS, and of course walking the dogs. This helps me clear my head on stressful days and just be in the moment (with the animals). I also love doing adoption counselling on weekends – it’s so heart-warming to see the animals find homes.

草嶺古道 Caoling Historic Trail - Taiwan - February 2011

I look forward to new adventures in 2012. Happy New Year everybody!


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