It’s official: The Gilfiggins Are Amsterdam-Bound!

If we had a cat, it’d be out of the bag but instead we’ve got a very happy monster mutt who’s as excited for this next adventure as we are. (Seriously, look at his smile.)

The Brit, Harvey I are stoked to (finally!) share we’re making a bucket list dream a reality and moving to the city we both fell in love with on our honeymoon: Amsterdam.

We’ve quit our jobs, rented out our place, packed a few suitcases of essentials and bought one-way tickets.

This is the scariest thing I’ve ever done and to me, that’s reason enough alone to do it.

The timing will never be perfect and every detail will never be mapped out – despite my best Type A efforts – so, we’re jumping in with both feet and making it happen. No time like the present, right?

I’m so grateful to have a husband who responds “sure, why not?” to what is undoubtedly my craziest idea yet and for making my dream of living in Europe a reality. I truly couldn’t imagine this journey with anyone else.

The three of us are excited to arrive in the land of endless canals mid-January and start this new adventure – in the meantime, we hope to spend time with many of you before we make the big trek.

Also, if anyone happens to know Dutch, we’ll trade lessons for beer. 24796236_1562796020482080_4916395919550731494_n

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Love Your Guts – Remembering Dad and Loving Me

24176976_1556838874411128_1248769002728280484_nMy dad’s signature sign off in letters, emails, texts or calls was always ‘love your guts’. They were the last words he ever said to me when we hung up the morning before his car accident.

For seven years, I wanted to memorialize him in a meaningful way and went back and forth about different tattoo ideas… until two months ago when I found a letter he wrote to me when I was away at camp as a kid; the bottom of the letter donned his signature words.

I knew instantly this needed to be my tattoo. It’s not only a personal way to remember him and his goofy writing, but also a reminder to love myself everyday just as I am – insecurities, guts and all.

Thank you @di.polar for doing such a perfect job recreating my dad’s handwriting. This will no doubt be one of the most important and meaningful tattoos I’ll ever get

Losing power / gaining perspective

The power’s been out for 18 hours in our neighbourhood and expected to be out for another 10 – if not longer.

22814360_1521192741309075_7235002312005011045_nWhen we learned it wouldn’t be coming back on by the time we got home from work, we realized we were facing an important decision.

We could grab our stuff and the pooch, go out for dinner in a well-lit restaurant, and stay in a warm bed in a hotel somewhere while falling asleep to the joys of cable television… or we could gather every candle in the condo, get into our best pjs, blast some Elton John, order Chinese takeaway, put our white wine out of its misery before it got too warm, and discuss how, if this were a real zombie apocalypse, we’d be kicking some serious ass.

Two guesses which one we chose.

Frustrating, annoying situation that causes grief and ruins an evening or an impromptu night of Pinot, chow mein and candle-lit zombie apocalypse planning? Perspective is everything.

Celebrating a year of #TheHarveyChronicles

A year ago today, I went to the SPCA with The Brit to “look” at a puppy. I wanted a cat, he was desperate for a dog. We compromised and ended up bringing this little rescue beast home.

I never considered myself a dog person but this monster has stolen my heart. He’s the world’s best cuddler and the most dedicated, if not the sleepiest, workout supervisor around.

He loves going to the beach (which we have to spell out because he goes mental with excitement upon hearing that word) and continuing his quest to dig to China through the sand.

He loves his daily DentaStick, all of his friends at DogPlay Dog Daycare, Grooming, Boarding, & Supplies, and his girlfriend Cypress. His expressions are more animated than most people’s and his personality keeps us on our toes.

Though he’s more of a monster mutt than the “medium-sized” pooch we were initially told he’d be, we wouldn’t change him for the world and can’t imagine our family without him.

Happy adoption anniversary to The Brit and I – though it’s the day we brought Harvey home, we know he was really the one who picked us and we’re so grateful he did.

2,557 days

2,557 days.

That’s how many days it’s been since my Dad left us. Seven years.

So much has happened and up until recently, I felt like he had missed so much. Birthdays. Christmases. Weekly dim sum. Don’t even get me started on Father’s Day.

When I stop to think about it – truly, think about it – I realize he hasn’t missed a single thing – he’s been a part of it all because I’ve carried him with me.

Getting married, moving across the country, house purchases, new jobs, university graduation and even the long-standing Saturday dim sum tradition that’s been happily kept going.

 

 

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I’d give anything to bring him back but I can’t change what happened no matter how hard I try or how much of my own life I used to be willing to bargain away for just “five more minutes”.

Losing my Dad broke my heart in ways I never imagined possible, but the irony is, his death also taught me a lot about life.

💕That it goes on, whether we want it to or not

💕That it’s so, so short

💕That the only guarantee we have is this moment

💕That our happiness is a choice and entirely up to each one of us – I’m not responsible for yours any more than you are mine

💕 That when you’re faced with something horrible and life-changing, sometimes being strong is the only choice you have

💕That it’s a gift – and I need to make the most of it

And that’s what I’m trying to do.

By sharing funny stories. By carrying him with me. By continuing to sing AC/DC completely tone-deaf. By learning from his mistakes. By ensuring I live my life the way he would have wanted me to: completely, fearlessly and without regret. The last three are a work in progress but I’m getting a bit better every day.

Never one to half-ass anything, he managed to create in an entire lifetime of love and memories in his 49 short years and I’m continually grateful that of all the Dads in this world, he was mine.

Today will inevitably be a bit harder than most and I feel more fragile than normal, but I take comfort in knowing his selflessness in donating his organs and tissues has enabled better quality of life to his recipients who today, are celebrating another year with their families. Between his five recipients and the time passed, he’s enabled 35 years of better life – his legacy is truly living on.

I wish I could bring you back Dad, but since we can’t, your four bees are doing our damnedest to make you proud instead.

You’re desperately love and missed everyday.