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Picture of the week – Back from a Hiatus


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I’m not gonna beat around the bush. It’s been a long time and I didn’t really do it on purpose. I hope you’re still there (leave a comment to tell me you are!). I have been away from my home and a little out of my element for the last four months, but I am happy to happy to be back home and back to B&B!

Today’s picture is one I shot from the car when J and I were driving back into Nova Scotia – you can see these windmills as soon as you cross the border from New Brunswick. Once we saw them, we knew we were almost home. More on that soon!

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The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree


So we have been here for about a week – and I have already found a place to buy candied chickpeas!

Lucky for us, there is a Middle Eastern grocer about 5 minutes away from our home and, though it’s relatively small, it carries everything I would have wanted to find. Besides the candied chickpeas, I was hoping to find some Pomegranate molasses (and I did!). The Lebanese use this a lot in their cooking and I’ve been meaning to try it out because the few times that I have tried it, it was just so good. My mother in law makes particularly good use of this stuff and I’m hoping to follow in her footsteps. Once I’ve had a chance to try a few recipes with this little secret weapon, I will report back.  Expect greatness.

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J and I found ourselves feeling particularly at home in this shop and as a result we bought a lot of items simply because they were comfort foods, and not because we had any particular craving for them (though they will not be going to waste, I can tell you that). Its amazing how just having certain items in your fridge can make your little abode feel like that much more of a home. Here is a list of what we came back with:

  • Labneh: a soft Lebanese cheese made by straining yogurt
  • Pickled turnips (or in Arabic “lift”): you might have had these in a shawarma sandwich
  • Macedonian feta cheese: this is what my dad always has in the fridge at home.  J and I are hoping that the kind we bought will be just as good
  • Za’atar: a mixture made up of thyme, sesame seeds and sumac.  It can be used as a seasoning or can also be eaten with lebneh.
  • Mango juice: reminds me so much of my visits to Egypt
  • Halawa: a sweet crumbly spread usually eaten with bread at breakfast time but it can be eaten in a variety of ways any time of the day
  • Candied chickpeas: these were not freshly made in-store as they are in the roastery in Ottawa and as a result they are quite expensive here!

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The funniest part about this list is that the majority of these items are not ones we are accustomed to buying.  They are tastes and flavours which we are usually fed when visiting family, or which our parents will just pick up for us when they go to the Middle Eastern grocery store. In fact, save for the chick peas, this is probably the first time I have ever purchased any of these items for myself.

The outing was special to us though.  Though the Middle Eastern grocery store is not a regular stop for us in Ottawa, we naturally gravitated towards it here.  I think it might be because we both have an unspoken desire and need to preserve our cultures and  to integrate them into our new home.  When we live close to family, we really don’t need to put any effort into this.  Now that we are further away, it seems to have happened organically.

We made it!


Since my last post we left Ottawa, drove through 4 provinces, and made it to Halifax – our new home.

Our trip over was long but a lot of fun.   For a long time I’ve felt like it was almost wrong to have seen so little of my own country.  Making the drive fulfilled that desire to see what the rest of Canada looked like.  Though you can’t really get much of a taste for how the rest of the country lives by quickly driving through the cities and towns, I still feel as though I’ve gotten a little sampling of what’s out there.  Sort of like flipping through a magazine before going back to read the content. I hope to get to see more soon.

Another major highlight of the trip was that I got to drive a UHAUL truck for the very first time.  I absolutely loved it. I felt like I was queen of the road!

For J and I, this move is a big one.  It is our first time moving away to a new and strange new place by ourselves and it is also our first time being home owners.  To add to this, we sort of kind of bought our place without having actually seen it in person (we did our due diligence, but still).  You can imagine the build up to finally getting to see it in person when we arrived.  Thankfully, we absolutely love our new place and are so excited for the life we are going to build here.  I’ll post pictures once everything is up and ready.

Our first few nights in Halifax were met with much rain.  In fact, within only a few hours of being here we took out the rain jackets that we were advised to buy before coming out here.   Here we are in our new snazzy matching jackets.

We experienced what was apparently one of the biggest rain/thunderstorms that Halifax has ever gotten.  We’re finding that the weather here is very different from what we know coming from Toronto/Ottawa.  The weather here generally just seems to be more temperate – which is fine for us.  We are told to expect a little less heat in the summers and a little less cold in the winters.  Sounds good to me.  They are forecasting lots of sunshine for tomorrow – so we plan on taking advantage of that and enjoying our very first Saturday in Halifax!  Happy week-end all – wherever you may be!

 

Bye bye old home…


Bye bye old home! We are officially moved out – and ready to drive across the country (18 hours not including the overnight stop half-way) to our new home (boy this country is big)!

Here are some shots I took of our home before we started packing – as well as a shot of the canal – where I spent much of my time this year – walking, running, thinking, and even skating.  I have also loved living on top of the papery – a stationery store where I could spend hours upon hours just looking at all the pretty paper.

It has been one amazing year – full of challenges, growth and learning.  I have gotten to know some amazing people who I know are going to be permanent fixtures in my life no matter where we go.  I am sad to be leaving, but looking forward to what comes next.  More updates soon!