Not too much has changed since my last monthly round-up: November was a month filled with work, worrying and wondering when a few last pieces would fall into place.
But, since I don’t want this to become a place where I come to complain and only share the negatives, I’ve decided to ignore all the things that are annoying me, and focus on the positives that occurred over the last month (if you really want to read about the negatives, you can check out my latest expat update for details).
Let’s just say, November and I didn’t get off to the best start, but we’ve since turned our relationship around, and let’s leave it at that.
November wasn’t a month filled with travel or adventures, but it was a great month for us on a personal level. We’ve made a few friends here in Leeds from various parts of our lives (colleagues, classmates, as well as friends we randomly met and hit it off with), so our weekends this month were spent nurturing those new friendships (i.e., eating, drinking and laughing). It’s been quite wonderful and has definitely filled the void left by our lack of travel.
Having a diverse group of friends has also helped us settle in Leeds much faster than we did in Madrid. At this time last year, although we’d been living in the city for two-plus months, Madrid still didn’t feel like home, whereas here in Leeds, it’s a completely different story. I guess the old adage is true: it’s the people, not the places.
- York, YK
Distance Travelled: a measly 71km.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE MONTH
While I checked nothing off my travel bucket list this month, I did manage to check more than a few things off my food bucket list, I’m proud to say.
An American friend hosted a Thanksgiving celebration and she was gracious enough to invite us. It was during this amazing meal that I was able to sample my first (and second) Yorkshire pudding. They weren’t at all what I was expecting (as in, pudding is not actually a part of this dish) but they were delicious! I mean really, who doesn’t like fried dough drenched in gravy!?
Following this delicious meal, I was able to tick another item off my bucket list when I devoured my first mince pie. Maybe it’s because I was expecting it to taste more like a butter tart, but I wasn’t as in love with the mince pie as everyone said I would be. Now, before you go and roast me, let me say that I enjoyed the mince pie, I just think on the scale of tarts, it comes second to the ol’Canadian staple, the butter tart.
These first two forays into Yorkshire fares has peaked my interested and I can’t wait to try more!
LOWLIGHT OF THE MONTH
Internet. Yes, you read that right, we are still dealing with internet woes. I’ve hit a point in time where I think we will never have internet again. I might as well buy a loom and settle into my life in the 1910s.
The other lowlight of the month was dealing with my first bit of discrimination because I’m a foreigner. While at work, a patron was displeased that I was enforcing the rules (which he was totally ignoring and violating) and deemed that I was being unreasonable and not obliging, not because I was doing my job, but because I was Canadian. In his mind, this wouldn’t have been an issue if I’d been British. He voiced his displeasure with a few nasty remarks and I was a left quite rattled. Everyone I work with was appalled, which helped lessen the sting. In the end, I know it’s him and not me, and I won’t bear the burden of feeling bad because he was rude.
- Living Abroad Interview Series: Beth Ann Allison
- Living Abroad Interview Series: Amanda Rock
- Living Abroad Interview Series: Laura Bronner
- Living Abroad Interview Series: Tracey Pictor
- Expat Update
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What I Read
I wasn’t able to continue my bookworm ways in November, but I was able to read a couple of excellent books.
After being called out by her sister for never saying yes to anything, Shonda Rhimes, the genius behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and pretty much every TV show you watch on a Thursday night, decides it’s time for a change. For the next year, she vows to say yes to each and every opportunity that is presented to her. Year of Yes chronicle’s this journey and the changes it had on Rhimes’ life, both personally and professionally.
Year of Yes was an inspiring read; we live in a time where it’s so easy to say no or to bail on plans and events at the last minute, which causes us to miss out on so many amazing opportunities. In her book, Rhimes reminds readers that magic really can be found by stepping out of our comfort zones.
Truly Madly Guilty is the third of Liane Moriarty’s books that I’ve read this year, and I have to say right off the bat, it was my least favourite.
Truly Madly Guilty is the story of six adults, three children and one afternoon that changes all of their lives forever. The narration switches between the three female leads, and jumps between the time before, the weeks after and the day of the infamous BBQ. While it was easy to follow, it was frustrating to spend half the book dancing around one event, especially knowing the impact it had on the characters and their relationships.
About a quarter of the way through the book, I was already annoyed with jumping between the three time periods. As a reader, I knew something happened and I just wanted the author to jump to the chase. Thankfully, I only had to wait to the halfway point, but even then, the build up had made the event so obvious that I wasn’t surprised when it happened. I only finished out the book to ensure there wasn’t a crazy switch ending.
As I mentioned above, this is the third book of Moriarty’s I’ve read this year. Normally, I really enjoy her style, her characters and the webs she weaves, but this book left me cold. If you’re interested in reading anything of Moriarty’s, I suggest you pick up Big Little Lies or The Husband’s Secret before picking up this one.
I Will Teach You To Be Rich is Ramit Sethi’s six-week guide to getting your finances in order and setting yourself up for future success.
This book is full of lots of amazing information, resources and tips for anyone just getting started sorting out their finances or anyone looking to better and maximise their system. As Sethi is American and focuses on American products, there were a few chapters I skimmed over because the information wasn’t relevant to me as a Canadian, but I found the rest very informative and inspiring. No matter what currency or banking system you use, this book really should be a must read for all 20-somethings, because Sethi really will teach you to be rich.
After months of no plans, I’m very excited to say we have not one, not two, but THREE trips planned for December!
The first takes place this weekend and will see us exploring a few smaller towns in the Yorkshire region. We haven’t 100% decided on where we’re going, but trust me, Saturday morning we will be on a train or bus headed out of the city!
For my second trip, I’m heading out west to Liverpool. I have a few days off from work in mid-December, so I decided to take advantage of the break, and a few deals being offered as part of Black Friday, and I booked myself a couple of bus tickets to spend a day in the city of the Beatles. Now, I most likely won’t be doing anything related to the Beatles, but instead will be exploring other parts of Liverpool. Hopefully, the rains hold off and I can explore both by foot and ferry.
For our very last trip of 2016 (I can’t believe I just wrote that), we’ll be heading home to Canada to celebrate the holidays. For just under two weeks we’ll be splitting our time between Ottawa and Toronto, where we’ll catch up with family, friends, and watch hockey – ice hockey – because really, what’s a holiday season without a little ice hockey!
Last Chance to Have Your Say in the Petite Adventures Reader Survey!
Help influence the content you see and read here on Petite Adventures. Help me give you the stories and guides you want to read by taking this uber-short reader survey (seriously, it’s less than 10 questions and should take no more than five minutes): https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/3TFZNTC.
Have your say and don’t delay because the survey closes on Saturday, 4 December.
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That’s it for me. Tell me, what does December have in store for you?
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