As most of you already know, I am originally from Canada, living the first 23 years of my life in the wide, white land! I didn't realise throughout those 23 years about how important being born and raised has helped me for life in Australia. In reality, it has meant that my gratitude EVERY DAY is stronger.
Small Communities + Connection
I grew up in a small town in Canada, which for 9 months a year was a sleepy little town between two lakes, every summer the population tripled with tourists looking to catch the long sunny days by the lake. This time showed to me how important it was to maintain connection with the local community, as the community fabric needed the strength to support the wonderful small businesses that made the Okanagan the place to be come summer! It also meant my family were involved in some great community groups, surrounded by sport and pot luck dinners.
Now I live in an beachside region that has the same quandary, busy as the Okanagan each summer, with a range of beautiful businesses that need our support come the quieter times. Community and connection are what helps me do what I do in my life's work, and it also helps me access some of the best products and services that help me live a life enriched. Be grateful for your neighbours, and remember this each day when you head out for the day: "how can I enrich my community and connect in a meaningful way?".
Fresh Local Produce for 8 Months - Imported Produce for 4
I speak of this often, during my time visiting Canada, I have been super fortunate to be there when the most incredibly fresh, locally grown produce is available - it is a veritable smorgasbord for temperate climate foods right now, from cherries to raspberries all the way the freshest vegetables. Sadly, for the Winter months, Canada is 90%+ reliant on shipping food from the Southern USA, Central America and South America. That's right, due to the harsh cold climate, in winter eating fresh wasn't really that fresh, travelling 1000's of kilometres to get to my plate and being stored in a manner that most definitely reduced the vitality of the food. My family managed to be squirrels during the summer, canning and preserving the fresh, local produce so we could eat them during the winter months.
Now, living in a climate that can literally grow food YEAR ROUND, has me absolutely full of gratitude every time I go to the farmers market, or water my vege garden. Simply, every meal I eat, is full of gratitude that I can live in such an amazing region that supports itself within its means. Mind you, we (as a community) still do silly things like transport food 1000's of kilometres just to satisfy our "likes", but that is another story for another time!
Much like the fresh food situation, in Canada, unless you were a snow bunny, the outdoors were a lot harder to access for those colder months. My poor Dad laments winter as he puts his golf clubs away for several months! This means winter had us cooped up for most of the day inside, getting limited "sun-time" and breathing air that was not so fresh.
Meanwhile, the Sunshine Coast (you guessed it!), is incredibly sunny year-round, and has a climate that has me outside enjoying exercise (without freezing my buns off!). The "winter" here is not only agreeable with growing veges, it is soooo agreeable with this CanAussie! Growing up in Canada has me wanting to get out there EVERY day in Australia, lapping up the fresh air, lovely sun rays and salt water.
Whilst I do miss living in Canada sometimes, I know Australia will be my home base, I know a good thing when I'm on it! Although I might become what Canada calls "snowbirds", and only visit Canada in summer ;)