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…and they have been great. Like most people when holidays are coming to an end it makes me sad and want more holidays. Almost makes me want to be back where I was this time last year. This time last year I was unemployed (because I was living in the USA without a working Visa) and I was doing my own thing (which can get boring after a while).

The first few days we stayed with our wonderful neighbours in Mountain View, CA. So it really was like returning home, because we were staying right next door to our old house. Also we could not beat the company. Lloyd worked during the day and I just hung out. I stated a new book, caught up on sleep, surfed the net, went shopping and visited friends. The weather was beautiful and warm.

The second half of my holiday has been in San Francisco centered around WordCamp 2007. It has been great to see old friends on the techy community and be involved in the cool up and coming techy community.My hubby did a presentation at WordCamp and did a great job:

Taken by Donncha

Monday morning I return home with mixed feelings. My hubby does not follow for another week, so I will be on my own, and I have to return to the stress of work. But I do love my bed and am looking forward to being back in our house, and see my family and friends. If only I could get a working Visa in the USA perhaps we would be located here in the center of it all.

Yes we are moving again, can you believe it? Originally the idea was for me to go to Canada by myself to do some courses but we have decided instead to make it a permanent (for a couple years at least) move back.

It will be 6 months in our current place, and we wish we could move our house and neighbours back to Canada with us! Yup that’s right, we are on our way back “home” to Canada! I will have been in California 9 months when we leave. Since I graduated University in 2002 I will have moved 9 times! 9 times in 4 years is a lot of moving. And you know what? I do not even really like moving, but seems to be necessary in my life at the moment, so I do it. Every time I move, even if I think we are planning to stay in the place a couple years, I keep boxes for at least 6 months and guess what, every time I have made use of them again instead of discarding them!

Many people who have read my blog will know that being in the USA has been very challenging for me. Not being able to work, leaving my friends and family, not being able to do the program at University here I wanted, and having a husband working for a very demanding start up company have all been the challenges I have faced in the last 8 months. After trying many different things in California, and encountering so much bureaucracy and barriers, we have decided to move back to Canada.

Of course we will be sad to leave, we have made good friends, to name only a couple, we will be very sad to leave our wonderful friends Nicole and Ben (see post below), Cal and Elina, Jesse and Emily, and Rebecca and Japjit. Making friends takes time and I feel that we are just beginning to make those wonderful connections when we are leaving. Nonetheless my barriers are far greater than my opportunities, so we are moving back. The friends we have made will not be forgotten, and I look forward to keeping in touch and visiting them and welcoming them as visitors in Canada.

WHAT WILL LLOYD DO FOR WORK? Well the company Lloyd is working for currently, Flock, is not thrilled with our move, however they were going to try and humour us by trying to allow Lloyd to work remotely for them. With this transition Lloyd decided to contact a few exceptional people and has found himself another opportunity, however for less money.  I mention this because it is a concern of mine only, however on the brighter side at least we get to live in Canada.  Most of the new company’s team works remotely, and that is what he will be doing too, which will allow him to be in Canada. To help Flock with the transition he is not starting at the new company until the middle of September, and has not publicized who he will be working with as he wants to focus on a good transition with his current company Flock.

WHAT WILL WE DO & WHERE WILL WE LIVE IN CANADA YOU ASK? Well there are two parts to that question:

1) Short term: we will be moving to Victoria, and I will be going to school at the University of Victoria to do my pre-requisites for the post degree program in elementary education from Sept-Dec 2006. We will be living with my parents at first. My youngest brother Landon is moving to Calgary for a work term, so my Mom’s nest will not be empty with us moving in! My Dad also has some trips planned in this time period to promote some recent research he has done, including Ireland, New Zealand and Hawaii. So some of the time it will be just my Mom and us (+ all the cats). Our large belongings we are planning to put in storage in Victoria somewhere.

2) Long term: well not sure. January 2007 I will be looking for work in both Victoria and Vancouver in events coordination or human resources, depending on where I find work. Lloyd will be working remotely so Victoria or Vancouver location for him should not matter that much. For September 2007 I will be applying to both SFU and UVic for elementary education and depending on where I get into school, we may move (or not hopefully!) accordingly.

WHEN ARE WE MOVING?
Approximately the end of August! in two weeks time the movers will come and pick up our stuff. Yup THAT soon! We have known for a while, but has been hush hush due to transitions with Lloyd’s work. We are paying for the move so I am trying to make it the most reasonable as possible, looks like the best is the same company that moved us down here from Vancouver. So I will be organizing the move, packing (have been warned by my physical therapist to seek help to ensure not to strain my back further), trying to complete my correspondence course, and having last minute visitors. My parents were just here visiting and left early this morning. So last chance to visit us before we go!

Ever! They have not only become our neighbours, but they are good friends now too. And we will be sad to leave them behind when we move back to Canada.

Here are just a few things about them and things they have done that make them the very best!…

The same night that we moved all our furniture into our place in Mountain View, Nicole and Ben came over and introduced themselves, gave us home made brownies as a welcome gift and invited us over for dinner that same week!

Lloyd noticed the smell of baking one evening, he sniffed and mentioned it to Nicole. When she was done baking she brought over a large sample of the chocolate brownies with Swiss chocolate in them! Another time they had leftover birthday cake, so they dropped some by for us!

Coming home from being married in Canada, Nicole and Ben looked after the mail and our plants while we were away (and have every time we have gone!). We came home to a lovely sign on our front door saying “just married”, getting inside we had a bottle of champagne in the fridge and two champagne glasses, my favourite Gerber daisy flowering plant and little hearts scattered on our kitchen table.

It was Swiss Day, August 1st, Nicole and I were chatting online. I was wishing her Happy Swiss Day and said it was B.C. day as well, she said I should put up my flag, I said we did not have one. Not 10 minutes later there was a knock on the door, it was Nicole with a flag of BC!. She had printed out the B.C. flag in color from the web, laminated and stuck to a straw!

    We will miss them dearly and thank them for being such wonderful people.

    We had a wonderful trip home to Canada at the beginning of July, but as always did not get to visit people or do half the things we wanted to. I guess there is just so much that you can do in only 5 days! Saturday through Monday, Lloyd and I, and my Mom went to stay and Grandma’s and Grandpa’s to prepare for the party. Grandma’s garden was in bloom and looking wonderful. Canada day we spent a leisurely time outside under a tree in the front yard.

    The birthday party for Grandpa on Sunday, went well and we had a beautiful hot day to accompany it.

    Summer is a busy time for birthdays. Almost ten of my close family and friends have birthday in July! May I say I very Happy Birthday to…

    • My new brother in law (he who not be named) who had a birthday sometime in the past year 😉
    • Ali White, a very dear friend turned 27 on July 8th. Picture of her and I below, she was a bridesmaid at my wedding:
    • Nadia Frost, another very dear friend who will be 30 years young July 18th. Picture of her and I below, she was also a bridesmaid at my wedding:
    • My youngest brother Landon, turns 22 on July 17th.
    • Still upcoming this month are my Dad’s, Grandmother’s, Aunt Sonya’s, Joe Lischeron’s, Kimber O’Brien’s birthdays to name a few!

    And congratulations to Carrie and Chris Dye (picture below) who are expecting:

    and Deon Reid who just gave birth to her son Eric yesterday!

    The rest of the time we took care of some chores we have been meaning to do, and got a little visit in with Ali and Bernie. Lloyd worked on Thursday and Friday. The night before we left we met Chris Robb a nd Rebecca at The Superior in James Bay for dinner. They gave us a beautiful print by Barbara Weaver-Bosson for our wedding, thank you! I would say The Superior was an overall hit. The meals were tapas style and very tasty, it was a little on the pricey side, but ambiance was fun and had a guitar player for entertainment.

    We flew out of Victoria on the way back to San Francisco, connecting in Vancouver. We had to go through customs in Vancouver. Instead of going out and around to get into US customs, they directed us another way in which we waited about 10 minutes to open (it was 6am). We ended up being the first in line. He looked at our passports, scanned Lloyd’s then mine… which he stopped. Then put a giant “I” on our customs declaration form and said there was a little something they had to clear up and I had to go through to the immigration office. So we went in and waited for about 20-25 minutes and they finally called ” julie”. No one else getting up I assumed it was me, so I got up and went through the doors. Lloyd came in with me and the customs officer looked at him and said “I only called Julie”, at which point I bite my tongue to correct him that my name was actually “Julia” (I dislike being called Julie by anyone other than certain friends of the family). He opened both our passports and said, “Are you guys like ‘living together'”. I said ah no, he is my HUSBAND! He then asked if I had ever been denied entry into the US, and why. I said I was visiting my fiance and was told I could not prove I was returning to my country of origin. He looked at me and said “and did you?”. Yes of course I answered, I returned for Christmas like I said I would. He kept me quite a few more minutes without saying anything, and asked how long I was waiting, I answered about half an hour, and he said oh that is pretty good (meanwhile it is 7:10, and our plane was to board at 7:00… they get nasty when you point this out, so again kept quiet. Our plane ended up being delayed due to weather in San Francisco, so fortunately we did not miss it.). Finally returned our passports and said I could go. Previously by another customs agent, I have been told that it actually appears on my passport as “removed from the United States” because customs is considered US grounds, and that it will remain on there for quite some time. Thankfully Lloyd and I have been able to travel together since me being “denied”, and besides this trip into the immigrations office have been fortunate. Seems it just depends who you get and if they are in a bad mood or not… which I think is ridiculous. It was ridiculous being denied in October, and continues to be so. I now have a TN Spousal visa…. must I go through these shenanigans every time I cross the boarder? and what would have happened if I didn’t have Lloyd and his passport with me?

    I am trying to find motivation to start the second unit of my geography course, and with volunteering every morning am finidng it increasingly difficult… ug. (hence my procrastination on writing this post instead of doing homework).

    First let me say if you are a male… perhaps you do not want to read this next bit if you are sqeamish at all about ‘women things’… About a month of two ago, I experienced what I felt to be a heart palpitation. We went to the doctor, and she said it was rather normal, and happens most often in women and they think it may have something to do with hormones. She did an EKG, red blood cell test and a tyroid test, all were found to be normal. Recently around my period it has gotten worse, and most recently have experienced a tightness in my chest. I know I can be known to overreact about these things, but was very worried there was something really wrong. I was concerned that the birth control pill may be causing these side effects and perhaps I am at risk for a blood clot. I have always had issues with the pill, and only ever been able to find one that works for about 6-8 months before it causes some major side effects. After some debate, Lloyd and I decided I would stop taking the pill for about 6 months and see if I feel any better. We went to the doctor this morning again to follow up. She said the chest tightness is most likely nothing to worry about and actually gave a name to it (which I cannot remember) and gave me some stretches to do. She again said the heart palpitations were nothing to worry about. She suggested staying away from stimulants, like coffee, tea, alcohol and chocolate for the time being, which I am now really trying to do. I asked about the risk of a blood clot due to the pill, the doctor said it is always a risk however she said in the years that she has been practising medicine she has only had 2 patients to get blood clots due to the pill, and one of them had been a smoker. I told her we were going to try going off the pill to see what effects that had, and she said it was probably a good idea (however when I asked her on a previous visit she said that I was on the pill for long enough that if it were to cause side effects it would have already happened!? hmm). I feel a little more at ease today, but don’t think I will really feel better until I am off the pill a nd these symptoms have completely subsided.

    Volunteering for summer school is over July 25th. My parents are supposed to be coming to visit California the first week in August. I am still hoping to go visit my friend Zoa in Honolulu in August, we will see, depending on prices of flights and progress on my course!

    I have registered to do my 4 remaining pre-requisites courses at UVic this September in order to apply for my post degree program in elementary education. I continue to miss Victoria and Vancouver, and even though I may be away from Lloyd (which I dread) and looking forward to being in Victoria for September. I applied to SFU for these pre-requisites as well, but they are still in the process of reviewing my application, where with UVic it was only the case of re-applying.

    Again… feel free to leaves comments on my blog…. and I would love to hear about what is going on in your lives, do drop me an email if you ever have a chance.

    Lloyd and I decided at long last, we would take a mini-honeymoon/ vacation that we never got after our wedding. Mostly due to Flock work demands (sigh, nothing new!)… who have recently released their public beta, free download at Flock.com.

    Sunday morning, we left Mountain View around 1pm to arrive in South Lake Tahoe just before 5pm. The first night we stayed in The Black Bear Inn, Bed and Breakfast. Both places we stayed were recommended through the Lonely Planet's Guide to California. It was great. The hosts were superb. We arrived in time for the 5pm wine and cheese, where we chatted with a couple in their mid 50's from New Jersey (they were fun to chat with!) until we went to dinner at 7pm. The Inn recommended some restaurants in the area, and Lloyd choose Mirabella, French Cuisine (but American portions!). It was nice, but a little rich.

    Monday morning we woke up for 9am for their breakfast, which was very tasty. We went back to bed after that, (hey we are on vacation!) and checked out my 11am. We went and walked around the shops and decided to take a gondola ride up Heavenly Mountain for a spectacular view from the midway. We then proceeded to drive on the very windy roads towards North Tahoe, where we would be spending our second night. Driving through the windy roads, we stopped at Emerald Bay (on recommendation from a few people) and went for a hike for about 1.5 hours return. It was hot hot hot, but very beautiful.

    We then continued at stopped at Sun Shine Inn, for a late lunch, tasty tasty. We checked in at River Ranch Lodge, which was right next to the Hwy (a little noisy) but clean and had all the amenities, and half the price of the B&B! We relaxed and read some Harry Potter then went to find The Soule Domain for dinner (on recommendation from Mike from Flock – thanks they were all good!). It was located on the state line to Nevada, but on the California side. We were told it would be a half hour wait (and on a Monday night! now that is a popular place), and it was well worth it. We returned back to the lodge to find a bear having a late night snack from the garbage bins. It actually surprised me that when we checked in the front desk warned us of the bears, and gave us a leaflet on bears, but none of the garbage cans were "bear safe", silly if you ask me. We climbed the stairs to see that the bear had also been there, and toppled the garbage on the landing.

    Tuesday morning we woke up late, checked out for 11am, and went for breakfast at Fire Sign Cafe (another one of Mike's recommendations), which was very tasty. We have not found a good breakfast place in Silicon Valley yet, so this was a nice treat. We were going to go for a hike, but decided not to when we saw the elevation for our chosen hike was to be straight up. On the way back from the trail head, we found Horseback riding and took an hour scenic tour on horses. The last time I went horseback riding was when I was 12! My horse's name was Willie, and Lloyd's was Maggie.

    Willie liked to eat a lot, and tried every chance he saw some green grass. The guide got off her horse, and actually tied Willie's rain tighter so that he was not able to do that the rest of the ride. It was $25 for about an hour or $45 for 2 hour ride (per person), which is quite reasonable, as in Half Moon Bay it was $60 an hour, and it Whistler the same. If we go back to Tahoe, we will try to longer ride next time! We then drove home, and hit a little congestion in places on the way home, arriving home to a hot hot house, it is 35 Celsius today. So nice to get away, our first vacation together, especially to experience a new place! I would definitely recommend taking a visit to Lake Tahoe if you are in the area!

    For all my Lake Tahoe photos, click here for my flickr set of Lake Tahoe.

    P.S. While we were away the wasps took the chance to rebuild the nest we knocked down on our patio, + some mud wasps thought they had a good idea and started one too! They were small so Lloyd knocked them down… anyone have any ideas on how to deter them so we do not have to knock down a 4th nest?

    I received a nice Thank You card from the Kindergarten teacher I have been volunteering with over the past couple months, which I posted below. School is now over, and I am awaiting for summer school to start, so I can volunteer with them. Summer school is only in the mornings, and only for one month of summer.

    Sharla and Krista were supposed to be coming to visit me this week, which I was really looking forward to, guess they do not read my blog! The day that they were supposed to leave to drive down here, I received an email from Sharla saying that they got tickets to Hawaii instead and would not be coming.

    I received my coursework in the mail for my Geography class, and have already started on it. I will be learning about Heartland and Hinterlands of Canada. I find correspondence work quite difficult, because there is no one to chat with about the course. I was assigned a tutor that can help with questions, but I find it quite helpful to have discussions about the course material. I feel discussions add to my further understanding about the subject and clarifies any small questions I had.

    I got a bike over the weekend, a picture of a similar one below, though mine is light blue. It is called a DiamondBack and Century'06 is the model.

    I road it home from the bike shop, about 5 miles. I was told by the salesperson that the frame on road bikes absorb a lot of the shock of the bumps in the road, however I found on my ride home that my arms were bouncing and itchy because of all the vibrations. I am not sure if it is something that I will just get used to?! or if I should exchange it for another bike with shocks in the front fork.

    P.S. To my non techy savy friend; when reading my blog please feel free to leave comments. You just need to click on the title of the post, and scroll down and enter your information to submit a comment.