The Best of 2015

After having read this post by a blogger I follow, I thought it fitting to follow suit and reflect on the top 15 things/moments/experiences of 2015. Some of these were huge things, others more mundane, but altogether these made my year.

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Our first visit to the Tett and the Isabel. These were actually two separate occasions, but they’re in the same complex and together make up Kingston’s newest creativity hub. We went to watch the KSO play at the Isabel in February, then attended the Tett grand opening this May. I still can’t believe we have such amazing spaces in our city.

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Andy’s birth this March. Hands down the biggest event of the year. This little guy has changed our life forever, and we could not be more thankful for him.

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Having my poem featured on GOODJust for fun, I participated in a little poetry challenge online. I wrote an acrostic poem on parenthood.

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Winning a ticket to the 21CLI conference in Hong Kong via #whatisschool. For the last year or so I’ve been really into twitter chats as part of my own professional development. I’m really excited to attend this conference in February 2016.

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Watching the Jays vs. the Astros at Minute Maid Park. Kelvin had a work meeting down in Houston this May, so we made it a family affair. How we came to actually attend this game was pretty random, but it was definitely one of the most memorable, electric experiences of the year.

The Live Sent sermon series. We are blessed with an amazing pastoral team at our church, and this sermon series really challenged us to think about the vision of our church and how we are to go about our daily lives missionally as people of faith.

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Witnessing the marriages of some of our good friends. It is a joy to share life with those around us, and it was an absolute honour for us to have had the opportunity this year to see so many of our friends commit to serving and loving each other for the rest of their lives. These weddings took us far and wide, from within Canada, to the States, and even to Spain.

Joining the KFPL board. I talk about our local library system a lot. I absolutely love what they’re doing. I’ve always enjoyed taking on new roles, and this is one that I’ve wanted to do for a while. It’s only been a few months and already I’m learning so much about governance and about the shifting role of libraries today.

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Moving into our new house. This August, we ventured to the edge of suburbia for a little more breathing room. It’s been an adjustment, but we are settling in nicely and really loving making the space our own.

Planning my very first Edcamp here in Kingston. Ever since attending my first edcamp in 2011, I’ve been wanting to host one here in town. With the time off from work, I was finally able to get it done! Hoping this will become a yearly event.

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Our trip to Europe. I could probably fill a top 15 list from this trip alone, but hands down this was one of our favourite vacations yet. There’s something other-worldly about Europe that is so hard to replicate here in North America. We spent time in Spain and in England, and though they couldn’t have been more different, we enjoyed them both.

Discovering podcasts. I know podcasts have been around for a long time, but I just started listening to them this fall. Now I can’t stop. I listen to them all the time. Here are some faves.

Reading Tim Keller’s Every Good Endeavour. This book has really broadened my understanding of what it means to integrate faith and work. I’ve loved the discussions that have come out of this, and I cannot wait to finish it with our small group.

Finally subscribing to Darling. This was one of my treats to myself on Black Friday. I fully support the mandate of Darling and I am so happy that  it now comes to my mailbox every 3 months. Pages and pages of goodness that truly feed my soul.

Netflix with Kelvin after Andy goes to sleep. One of my favourite times of day (other then going to sleep) is when Kelvin and I get to hang out, cook dinner, eat, and watch a show together. We’ve worked our way through lots, including Selling New York and Worst Cooks of America.

And there you have it – the Top 15 of 2015. Here’s to reflecting on an amazing year, and looking forward to the next one!

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London, England

This post is long overdue. It’s been two weeks since we got back from Europe, and with no written journal to recount our days, I will have to rely on my increasingly poor memory to complete this entry.

Let me start off by saying I love London. If not for this city, I would likely not be alive. Literally. My parents met while studying at the University of London, and I will have you know that on our trip back in 2007, they essentially walked us through their college years. Right down to where my dad would park his motorcycle when they went to Chinatown.  
We flew easyjet from Barcelona to London. There is definitely no shortage of cheap cross-Europe airlines, but my mom recommended it to us. They kill you with checked bag fees, but alas, ’tis life.  We paid for two checked bags when we really only needed one (I didn’t want to run the risk of having to pay more for the bag at the airport). Oh well. We know now for next time.


While we were in town, we stayed at this AirBnB on Sloane Avenue. The location was perfect – short walk to either South Ken tube station or Sloane Square and a Sainsbury just across the street. We loved having a home base from which to enjoy the sights, and the biggest plus was having our own bedroom separate from Andy.

What to See

We took Gatwick Express from the airport to Central London, and with that we were able to access the London 2FOR1 deals. Buy one get one free for certain admissions and food across the city. That was amazing. One place we visited with the deal was the London Transport Museum. Kelvin and I love taking transit whenever we travel, so this place was a dream. We only had 45 minutes to explore, since we got to the Covent Garden area so late, but what we did see was awesome! It was amazing to see how transportation has changed since the beginning of the city’s development, and we loved all the Transport for London paraphernalia! We may or may not have spent a really long time perusing the store afterwards to find the right poster to take home as a souvenir…

Also with the London 2FOR1 deals, we visited the Globe Theatre. I’ve actually been here three times, and this is the first time we were able to go inside and see it! They often have afternoon shows, so if you want to take the tour, I’d definitely try to make it to Southwark in the morning. We took the tube to Blackfriars and then walked across Millennium Bridge to get here. We really enjoyed this tour and I would highly recommend this whether you like Shakespeare or not. We had a super awesome tour guide and I learned so much about the context of Shakespeare’s plays and audience! If Andy was older, I think we would have opted to come back for a performance. Favourite fun fact: Fainting is a regular occurrence at their shows.

One thing that is amazing about London is that so many museums are free. Our favourite one would probably be the Natural History Museum, which we went to on Saturday morning before the lines got too crazy. The dinosaurs exhibit was packed, but it paled in comparison with the dinosaur collections at the ROM or at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. What was awesome was the new Darwin Centre – a space where visitors were able to see firsthand the work that happens behind the scenes at the museum. Everything from the labs to the specimen collections. Having done his degree in biology, this was probably Kelvin’s sightseeing highlight. He lingered at every stop, and it just seemed like everything resonated with him. What a fanboy.

London is also a place for just strolling and exploring. We walked through our share of Royal Parks. We saw Buckingham Palace. We made our way up and down Regent Street and into department stores (we were commissioned by my in-laws to locate some Magnum chocolate, which we found at Selfridges). We enjoyed the buskers at Covent Garden. We ventured all the way out to Canary Wharf and to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

(Side note: Going to the theatre is highly recommended as well – we just didn’t get a chance to this time around. Next time!)

Where to Eat

London is an amazing place to eat, but I’m just going to highlight our two favourites. The first was our Friday lunch at Borough Market. The market is London’s oldest, and the selection is just mindblowing. We ate from half a dozen different stands. Burgers, pasta, baked goods, sausage, shawarma…whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it here. My suggestion? Scope out your options beforehand – don’t just jump at the first thing you see. Kelvin and I split up when we got to the market and when we reunited (thank goodness we found each other…we didn’t have each other’s UK cell numbers and our iMessages weren’t working…and the market is a labyrinth) all he could say was that he kept seeing people with burgers and he wanted one. This will happen to you with more than one dish, I promise. We bought a venison burger at this one stall and it was delicious.

Hands down our favourite meal on this trip was at Dishoom. They have multiple locations, but we went to the one near Covent Garden (can you tell that we were around Covent Garden a lot?). Kelvin and I love Indian food and this was well worth the 75 minute wait. Or it might have been 90 minutes… The atmosphere was electric and the food was exquisite. Andy also fell asleep partway through the meal, so it made our experience that much more enjoyable. You can’t really go wrong with anything on the menu, but you must get the calamari. You will not regret it. And have the chai.  

One of the nice things about visiting London is seeing family. My dad’s sister and her family are still in the UK, so we met them in Chinatown for dim sum. It was really nice to wrap up our European getaway by sharing a meal with them. Plus we got to meet my cousin’s little toddler, who we were told was so excited to meet her cousin (Andy) that she couldn’t sleep! I don’t know that Andy lived up to her expectations, though. She barely talked to him the whole meal! Maybe she didn’t realize that he would be a baby. And that he wouldn’t be able to talk…

And there you have it, London in a nutshell. Until next time, London…