Year in Review

Well, what a year 2013 has been.  Full of ups and downs, life changing events and several things I wish I could forget, good friends and even better friends, and memories that will last a lifetime.  I will admit, there were lots of tears and even more tears from laughter, but those tears unrelated to humour were some of the most painful I've ever shed and the ones I would wish upon no one.

So bear with me while I give you the Reader's Digest version of the last year:


I was in the thick of receiving word on the outcome of my Veterinary Medicine applications and was also heading to California for an interview with the University of Glasgow.  Little did I know at this time, this interview was going to be the beginning of the rest of my life.  I flew to San Francisco for the first time with my Dad, and together, we took Cali by storm.  We made the most out of a stressful weekend by taking the coastal highway from San Fran to San Luis Obispo, stopping along the way to eat the best chowder and see some of the most amazing coastal sites.


My first of five offers to vet school arrives and it is from the University of Glasgow.  If you were not privy to the story of how I got the news here is the short version:

I was in Walmart, read my email and basically collapsed on my cart and started sobbing.  Once I had left enough tears of joy on the floor, I walked right out of the store to find a human being I actually knew that would be willing to hug me.  Lots of tears that day, but there were definitely tears of joy.

This was also when I officially decided I wanted to be best friends with Jennifer Lawrence.  Well, it was probably before then, but I officially became obsessed.  Don't worry J. Law, I won't stalk you, but seriously, lets be BFF's.  We also went to Cabo San Lucas where we whale watched and went deep sea fishing.

This was also the end of my ringette career.  It was at this point where I was beginning to suspect I was not going to get an offer to a North American school and my ringette season with West Hillhurst was coming to an end.  I can honestly say that after playing ringette for 17 years, this was one of the most heart wrenching moments.  Saying goodbye to something that had defined me nearly me entire life was difficult.  I have ringette to thank for some of my life long friends, the best coaches, pseudo families and making me who I am.  I still to this day think about ringette and miss it dearly and I hope sometime in the near future I will be able to get back on a team and I hope some time in the future, but a little further away, to have a wee baby girl that I can coach and get her involved in something that will maybe be one of the most important things in her life.


This was the month of my birth but also the month of midterms, which may explain why I really did nothing.  I celebrated at Cowboys, wore a backless-strapless-stick on bra which did not last more than 30 seconds once inside the doors of Cowboys.  Cue super awesome friend moment when Jenelle took my bra and stashed it in her purse.

So basically March was the month of super awesome friends who came and made my birthday a success.

Oh, and I received another offer to vet school, but really, one offer is all you need.


This marked the end of my undergraduate career.  I wrote my last final at the University of Calgary and walked out the doors for the last time as a student.  I closed the doors on a very important chapter in my life, again one that introduced me to many new people, taught me many things both in life and in education, and showed me how people change as they get older (for better or for worse).

I also officially made my decision to move away from everything I had grown to know and love and move to Glasgow in September.  Cue emotional and mental breakdown.

April is hereby known as the month of tears of education: finals, graduation and making life decisions.


I started working full time at an emergency clinic and realized that this is likely what I will end up doing in the end, unless something miraculous happens in the next few years that changes my mind.  Emergency work is so chaotic, rewarding and full of amazing people that I really see no one veterinary field that I want to be in.  Except for protections- I would like to be involved in that too.  Dr. Margaret Doyle, I have you to thank for converting me!

Here is a super honest confession.  For my vet school interview, they asked who was my role model.  Guess what?  Dr.  Doyle, I wrote about you.  Awkward, right?  I have no idea what I would have done had I not met you way back in the day.  I have you to thank for a lot of my experience, getting my hands dirty in surgery and for getting me into vet school.  Thank you, again and again and again.

This was also the month of Mother's and I made my way to Edmonton to celebrate Mother's Day along side my own wonderful mother, and my two grandmothers.  This was the last time I would celebrate Mother's Day with both grandmothers because my Grandma Ag, my maternal grandmother, was in the hospital and was being taken all too fast by the cursed cancer.  Cue tears.  Lots of them.  Standing beside anyone sick and unable is so overwhelming: you feel helpless, powerless and sometime hopeless. Luckily, Grandma Ag is full of the dickens and could brighten a room in the worst of times.


I celebrated the one year anniversary of coming home from Africa.  Africa was life changing for me, again meeting new friends that I know I would have forever including those from my beloved C-Unit, Melissa, Lauren, and the rest of the crazy vols from AP.  Ellie in particular has been of monumental support to me since I have met her and I have no idea why I have been blessed with such a fabulous friend, but Ellie my dear, you are fabulous and I treasure your friendship.

I also walked the stage for the second time but this time with a B.Sc Zoology degree while one of my dearest friends returned home from Edmonton with a nursing degree of her own and two wicked jobs.

Then the dreaded Alberta floods struck and covered southern Alberta in murky water, thereby causing mass destruction and simultaneously uniting all of Alberta in a monumental effort to restore what the floods had taken.  The destruction was wide spread and significant and I can say I was proud to call myself Calgarian.  HELL OR HIGH WATER!


The month of life and death.  I helped deliver not one, but two litters of puppies at work in a single night (one of my favourite things to do because there is nothing more adorable and relieving than a newborn puppy cry).

But on July 18, I lost my Grandma Ag.  I had never lost a family member before and I still am reeling from the loss.  I think about her everyday and I look for her where ever I go.  Heaven is one sassy angel richer with her there.  Grandma was one of the sassiest, most hilarious, vulgar, caring, out spoken and wonderful people.  She stood bench side and would wave through the glass every time ringette would bring me to Edmonton.  She hollered at the top of her lungs for no apparent reason and would laugh at any joke, even if it was just to make you feel like you were funny (maybe this is why I sometime have a terrible sense of humour?).  She will forever hold a special place in my heart and I will continue to follow her light until I join her up above.  I miss and love you Grandma.

Still struggling with loss, I jumped into fostering a puppy that was brought into work by a rescue foundation.  Broken and in need or some serious love and care, I took her into our home during the week and traded off with her soon to be forever home mother on the weekends.  Together, we shared custody of my first foster puppy and my now fur-niece while she took her road to recovery.

Fun fact- I would have brought this little angel to Scotland but things just did not work out but I was very happy with where she ended up and know she is SPOILED in her forever home.  Thank you Michelle.


The month of poor decisions.  One by me and by the general public.

My poor decision included piercing my own ears.  Why is this significant enough to make it into a review?  Because.  But really, it was not as fun as it seems in the Parent Trap and also because I am still trying to figure out how to even out the holes in my ears.
Poor public decision?  Leaving your dog in a car on a hot day.  My public service announcement:  Since I feel quite strongly on animal welfare (who would have guessed with me going into vet school, right?) I am on the look out for bone heads who leave animals in vehicles when they should not, when animals are mistreated and other general idiotic acts that do not coincide with animal welfare.  So when I find 2 dog in a car on a hot day (read: 30 degrees OUTSIDE), then I will call the fire department to come and find you.

This was also when I packed up my life into 3 suitcases, said my goodbyes, some more difficult than others, and flew to Scotland with the family to do a little site seeing before moving me into my residence.


The whirl wind month.  School started, I moved into and out of residence in a hurry, moved into my own flat with my first roommate ever, met my Big Vet, my new fur-nephew, and The Refreshers.

Really September was all about getting settled in Scotland and I would not have been able to do so without Rachel.  From Big Vet to true friend in a hurry, I value her more than she knows.  Everything she has told me about school, Scotland and life has been true and she has been influential in getting me to where I am now, and keeping me sane.  Rachel, you are a very special person and again, I am not sure what I did to deserve a friend like you but I am glad we crossed paths.

The Refreshers also entered my life now and with it, my friend card rapidly was overflowing.  Kidding.  Always room for more!  But this group has also been influential in my adjustment in Scotland is probably the key reason why I have not been home sick and am having such a great time over seas.


The month of firsts.

My first phone call home.  Why?  Well, when I left, I thought I would be home sick and it would be even worse if I saw my family's faces so I delayed and delayed and delayed and then when I started hearing everyone was calling home, I felt a bit like the WORST DAUGHTER/SISTER EVER.  Cue tears and mascara EVERYWHERE.

We also celebrated our first of two Thanksgiving with our new family and I was joined by a familiar face from home, Drew, which made Thanksgiving even more special.


Also a large group of us went to our first hockey game over seas and while it was nothing extraordinary, it was nice to see something familiar and it was great to enjoy something somewhat North American.

We also celebrated Halloween 3 times and on the third time, I drank too much wine before 9pm, pretended like I was walking a marathon (but really it was only 5 minute walk in 5 inch heels) and thought about falling asleep in a bush, which I contemplated while sitting in the rain, with my feet in a puddle on a curb about two blocks from my flat.  This is proof I am not an alcoholic because I have no idea what my alcoholic tolerance is.  Awkward.



Malaga, Dublin and Amsterdam were on the agenda in this month which means that to fit everything into the budget, we did not eat or drink while in Glasgow.  Priorities.

It was lovely to get away, forget about school, see what Europe had to offer, especially at a steal of a deal.  I really have nothing more to say about it except that I regret nothing.  I spent too much, ate and drank too much and laughed too much with great friends.  Success.

We also celebrated our second Thanksgiving with the Refreshers which was bigger and more extravagant than the first, which I followed up with sheep flipping.  You really cannot flip sheep on a Monday unless you have a turkey dinner on the weekend.

Now, cue tears.

At the end of November, I found out my parents were separating.  The what, where, when and why was not important and all that mattered was coming home.  Ten days and counting.


Ten days, which turned into eleven thanks to the chaos that was my flights home, did not come soon enough.  All that mattered to me was seeing my family and being the support they needed.  While separation is a reality of our society in today's day and age, it is not easy for either party and the others involved, regardless of the situation.

I have spent my time while I have been at home, moving back and forth between my parents and spending as much time as possible with both.  Christmas has now come and gone and it was extremely difficult for me.  For the first time, our family did not wake up together in the same house on Christmas morning and instead, we were divided.

My time at home has been a whirl wind and while I had seen my 4 weeks on Canadian soil playing out much differently in the months leading up to it, I cannot think of any other way I would have wanted to spend it.  Holidays will always be difficult but I saw both of my families on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.  There were plenty of tears.  More than I wish to have shed and seen shed but time will heal all wounds and we must move on, for no other reason than the world and everyone else will move on and you cannot be left behind.  I do not expect to be fine tomorrow or the next day, but with each day, we heal and you will find a new normal and for me, my new normal is two families.

Now, I look forward to New Years and going home to my Glasgow family, hugging them and having them get me back on track with school... (someone, please help me!   I did nothing this whole time...)

Here's hoping your year was filled with love, laughter and friends, and that 2014 brings new beginnings and a bright future for everyone.


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