One year. That's how long we've been in Canada. It's such a cliche but time truly does fly when you're having fun. Not only that, but two days after we celebrated our 'Cana-versary' we also celebrated four years of being together. That's how long Nikki's been putting up with me? I'm honoured. Apart from the obvious thing (moving to Canada is pretty much all we're known for these days) we went through some pretty big moments this year, like moving in together and finding jobs that we love.
So in honour of this grand occasion, we thought we would pick out our highlights from the last 365 days. In reality, the whole year is basically one big highlight.....but that blog post would be way too long.
1 - MOUNTAINS
When people ask us why we moved to Calgary, we have lots of good reasons but I think deep down, we just wanted to be close to the mountains. We'll never forget our first drive through the Rockies, the large looming mountains so present and awe-inspiring. We try to make it up to the mountains as often as we can, and it'll be the number one thing I'll miss when we have to move back to the UK.
We've visited two national parks and one provincial park, seen an array of mountain wildlife and traipsed along some of the most beautiful trails we've ever seen. Some of our best mountain moments include climbing Sulphur Mountain (although it wasn't a highlight for me at the time), finding peaceful perfection at Elbow Lake and having a cup of tea at the top of the Lake Agnes trail. All in all, the Rockies have been spectacular and we can't wait to do more mountain exploring in 2020.
2 - FRIENDS & FAMILY
It was amazing to have visitors from home throughout the summer, and we had some pretty spectacular times. Jordan, Michael and Paul came over in June and squeezed into the back of our car for a weekend in the mountains. They're clearly a good luck charm because after months of searching, we finally saw our first bear! My dad was in town for a little bit of Stampede, followed by a week in Canmore, where we stayed in the most amazing penthouse apartment, complete with rooftop hot tub, perfect for a post-hike soak. We were living the dream, followed by a great three days when Naomi came to visit. Charlie and Emmet hopped a flight over in August (just in time for Pride and Nikki's birthday) and that marked the end of our visitors in Calgary for the year. Each visit has been truly special and we're so thankful for them. When are you all coming back eh?
On the flip side of this, we have to do a special shout out about all the wonderful friends we've made over here in the Great White North. From fellow Brits to a couple of Aussies, we wouldn't have made it through the year without them, so here's to you fabulous bunch! They know who they are, but just in case you don't, here's the evidence.
3 - CALGARY STAMPEDE
You can't move to Calgary without experiencing the Calgary Stampede. This annual ten day festival is the pinnacle of all things cowboy in Canada, and we threw ourselves into the western spirit with cowboy hats and the occasional 'yahoo!'
I've been working for the Calgary Stampede Foundation for the past year and not only has it been an incredible place to work, but it gave me a front row seat to the spectacle that is Stampede. I saw chuck-wagon races from the sidelines (although still not a fan of this controversial sport) and watched the bull-riding from the back of the chutes - all in a day's work. We spent our evenings partying to country music in the Nashville North tent, and tried some of the best BBQ food trucks in town. The whole experience was unlike anything we'd imagined and we're so glad to be around for another summer to do it all over again.
4 - PRIDE IN CALGARY
There's nothing like a Pride parade to make you feel at home in a new city, and we braved a cold misty morning to don some rainbow flags and cheer our hearts out for the LGBTQ+ community. Although the parade was nowhere near the size and scale of London, we had such a great time, followed by a trip to the festival in Prince's Island Park.
5 - UP UP AND AWAY
We ticked off a major bucket list item when we took a helicopter ride over the Rocky Mountains in Canmore. This was part of the celebrations for Nikki's birthday, and it was definitely one of the best things we've ever experienced.
6 - HOME SWEET HOME
Don't get us wrong, we love Calgary, but we were ready for a trip home after 10 months of being away. We spent the Thanksgiving long weekend visiting our family and friends, and although it was much too short of a trip, we're so glad we went back. We split up at the airport and spent the weekend at our mums houses, with big family reunions taking up most of the weekend. We managed to squeeze in a night out in Kingston too, inviting everyone we know and love to join us for a few bevvies and a cracking kebab. We were devastated to leave, but that time with everyone back home was sorely needed to get us through the next few months.
Of course, the highlights don't stop there, we're just trying to make the most of it and take it all in. We can't wait to see what the next year holds in store.