The new year has me thinking about how absolutely wonderful this past year has been for me.

I worked in Saskatoon’s only microbrewery and learned an unimaginable amount about brewing and beer, which has only whet my appetite for more knowledge about beers and brewing. I feel like I passed this passion and good fortune on to my former roommates by getting them involved in Paddock Wood Brewing and its recent offshoot, the Woods Alehouse (if not directly, then indirectly). I became more involved in the poetry community in Saskatoon, and even wrote and performed my first poem (which I haven’t been able to follow up with any other poems, but I’m still enamoured of the first and haven’t been inspired in the same way to write another). Again, I passed this passion on to others by introducing people who I knew would appreciate the atmosphere and beautiful words to the poetry scene in Saskatoon. Through trial (and failure) I learned and shared with others a great deal about different kinds of relationships, learned more about what I want and why, and learned (I hope) another lesson in the importance of honesty and openness in conducting relationships. I discovered that I actually do have a talent for sketching, which I had never believed of myself, through a burlesque and dance centre event shared with a person who taught me many of the lessons I had to learn about love. Now as I travel, sketching has been a way of capturing the people and places I go without relying on memory cards and batteries.

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A sketch I did on the boat in San Blas

I finished my Master’s degree this year, with a renewed appreciation for my project and the importance of my work. I killed two birds with one stone by spending the spring and summer transforming my thesis into a publication, which meant my hard work will actually contribute to the scientific community, and which also allowed me to save up enough money to travel for as long as I want. I gave away my possessions to various charity groups, and gave my most treasured possessions to the people who I knew would cherish them equally and think of me each time they used these items. I finally started the trip with my sister to Latin America that we have been dreaming of for more than a decade. I’ve learned a huge amount about sustainable farming in the tropics, about renewable energy, and cheap but effective ways to light and heat buildings with little to no energy inputs. I met other travellers who are interested in learning about farming and sustainability, about other cultures, and about local food and community development. I wrote an application to vet school that I feel exceptionally good about, because it truly reflects who I am, what I want to do with the field of veterinary medicine, and how much I have to offer the world as a vet. And I’m continuing to expand my horizons now in the New Year, looking for places where I can learn about natural remedies and medicinal plants that grow here in the tropics.

Almost every day I have had to stop and give thanks for the amazing place that I find myself in, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. Thanks to everyone who has been a part of this growth over the past year. I love you all and hope you can experience the same wonderful reflection upon your own personal development.

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