Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life


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What I know about…resolutions

Ahh yes, it is that time again. The lovely Sarah Wayland at thatspaceinbetween is hosting another ‘What I know about’ series. The topic on discussion is what’s on the minds of many people who want to make a change in their life…resolutions.

Resolutions. That word that floats around in the air like hot, heavy humidity from December 31 until about the end of January, when it is then forgotten about until the next New Year’s Eve.

ny res

What do I know about resolutions? 

Resolutions are usually set to solve a problem. In my opinion (and experience), unless the problem is so severe that you absolutely cannot live with it any longer, you will not succeed in keeping your promise to yourself. Come on, breaking New Year’s resolutions are even more (in)famous then setting the damn things! But I do have a success story that I’d love to share….even if it is a cliche.

It was the eve of 2001. I was in Banff, Canada spending a beautiful white Christmas and New Year with my friend, Yui.

banff winter

 

Yui and I had met there in 1993 when we both were living at the YHA and had become close friends. I had left Banff in1997 and moved to British Columbia but longed for another mountainous white Christmas. And let me say this, I have never been anywhere more gorgeous than Banff at Christmas. It’s a true winter wonderland. Although I didn’t know it at the time, it was my last Christmas in Canada and I hold the greatest memories of it in my head and heart for many reasons.

By the end of 2000, I had been smoking for over 16 years. I had tried to quit many times before but would often cave after 2 or 3 months. I had severe sinus issues and asthma but the cigarettes always ranked higher than my health. I didn’t even enjoy smoking anymore but the habit and addiction held me prisoner.

stop-smoking-tips

Even though Yui smoked as well, she really rallied behind me to quit. So I decided that I would have my last cigarette just before midnight on December 31, 2000. I remember Yui and I smoking on her balcony. It was freezing cold and my lungs burned and cooled with every inhale and exhale. The mix of the cold and hot made me cough and wheeze. It was time to look after myself. I made the commitment to myself and my health right then and there and have not had a cigarette since.

Now, 12 years later I find it hard to believe that I ever smoked cigarettes. I’m happy to say that Yui has also since quit and is now a non-smoker. We are both health-conscious people and I’m a lot happier and healthier for it.

So resolutions can work but you have to ask yourself……….how badly to I want it?

I didn’t really set resolutions this year. I chose to set goals for 2013 instead with my most challenging one on day 5 today. I am rising at 5:30am every day for 30 days to do 10 minutes of meditation before I gear up for  1.5 hours+ of  Tracy Anderson style fitness. It’s gruelling and today I felt completely shagged afterwards but hey, it’s 10:15am and I don’t have to think about exercise until 6am tomorrow and I’m loving that aspect!

The thing is…..I want the result of a toned body so badly that there is no way I will let myself renege on this deal. I’m even starting to crave it; I want to push myself.

So whatever your resolutions or goals are this January and beyond, remember to be true to yourself. I may not know much about resolutions, but I do know that much!

Be joyful.


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Bliss in Banff

Returning to Banff after an 11 year absence was not a mistake. Banff holds many beautiful memories for me and I was fortunate to call it home from April 1993 to January 1997. Returning was like a home coming.

The tourist town in Banff National Park, Canada’s first national park, has certainly developed over the years but the essence is still the same. Sure, it’s full of damn tourists but its beauty must be shared with the masses. I am happy to be in the presence of others while I enjoy its mountainous embrace.

DAY ONE

I was not in a rush to get going on my first day. I had a nice sleep in and casual breakfast in the hostel kitchen. By the time I got off the bus on Banff Avenue, it was nearly 11:30am.

I meandered up the main shopping street, peeking in  windows and smiling at the towering mountains that surrounded me. My main mission was to find a coffee.

It didn’t take me long to stumble in to Evelyn’s – Banff’s main local cafe. It’s so popular, the town hosts 3 different Evelyn branches. I must say though, my decaf Americano was not the greatest. There are plenty of other cafes to experience.

From there, the shopping began. Yes, Banff is full of the tacky souvenir shops but some of them have really cool stuff. Like the onesie pjamas I got for Master T, my 6-year-old son.

At $30 plus tax, they were pricey for sleep wear but I couldn’t resist the one piece, bright red suit with the trap door!!! He’ll love the BEAR BUM print on the back.

Canadian Jammies

From there, I wondered up and down Banff Avenue stopping in shops, browsing and sometimes trying on clothing! I really had no intention of shopping but the shops and products are so enticing that I couldn’t help myself.

A typical shop on Banff Avenue

Besides some souvenirs, I bought myself a pair of Jessica Simpson red jeans. They were 40% off and they fit me nicely. When I did a couple of rounds in Cascade Plaza, I passed a bookstore that had a display of the popular book, Fifty Shades of Grey. I had heard about this book at the I CAN DO IT conference, of all places, and I was intrigued by the comments about it. I had never heard of it before. I stopped to have a read of the back and instantly took it to the counter and asked the staff if they had read it. Both had. The Aussie girl gave her no holds barred opinion saying it wasn’t great literature but it was a page turner and quite sexually charged and racy. SOLD. I love a good smutty book.

Back on Banff Avenue I found a shop I had actually planned to shop at, Rocky Mountain Soap Company. What can I say, it’s the usual handmade soaps, bath salts, body butters, moisturizers etc. It was lovely and the “product adviser” was excellent. I even got a free mini pumpkin soap. I also spent $45. oops.

Rocky Mountain Soap Co.

All that pacing and deciding made me hungry. My friend, Yui recommended I have a souvlaki wrap from Barpa Bill’s on Bear Street. When I arrived there at 1:30pm, it was not busy so I decided to eat in. I ordered the chicken and perused my new book as I waited. Ordering a wheat-based wrap that contains a dairy-based sauce would normally not be my first choice but I adore Greek food and since it came highly recommended, I had to have it. SO glad I did. Although I have no sense of taste or smell, the strong flavours of lemony marinated meat and the raw onions grooved all over my dulled taste buds like there was a dance contest in my mouth.

The humble kitchen of Barpa Bill’s

The delicious souvlaki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Satisfied and thoroughly spent (haha, pun intended!!!), I made my way to the Upper Hot Pools. I was stunned at the measly fee that was charged, only $6.20 with my HI/YHA membership. This is super cheap compared to the $23.50 NZD in Franz Josef, New Zealand where I just spent 7 months. The pool was a heavenly 39 degrees celsius. It was moderately busy with other tourists from around the globe. I spent a good hour or so soaking in the calm waters while the sun played peek-a-boo with clouds and at one point, it even hailed! Oh yes, it was apparent that I was in Canada.

Photo by a stranger…..thank you!

Next, I walked for 5 minutes to the gondola station. I had every intention of walking up Sulphur Mountain and saving myself $17 (it’s only $15 if you buy a one-way ticket) but it was already going on 5pm and frankly, I couldn’t be assed. I was far too relaxed after my hour-long hot tub session too. I grabbed a decaf coffee from Starbucks (yes, they are bloody everywhere) and had the entire car to myself. Of course, the camera came out and I took photos of the ride up, even though I knew once at the top the views would be spectacular!!

And they were. I nabbed the first available person to do a photographer swap. He took 3 of me and I took 3 of him, with his own camera, of course. It was cold and windy so I did the run around the circumference of the building, stood in the blowing snow for a few minutes (yes, it’s MAY and it snowed) then went to the cafe for a beer. For the $32 (after 4pm) fare, it was worth every penny. You just will not get the same visual effect from ground level.

The best view of Banff.

A self-portrait in the gondola

On my way back through town, I considered going back to Barpa Bill’s for dinner and that’s actually where I was headed when I strolled by the Magpie and Stump. This Mexican/Southwest pub and restaurant has been around for yonks and I’d certainly eaten here when Banff was my stomping ground. I glanced at the menu posted outside the entrance and made my decision: Mexican it would be – cheese, sour cream and all!!

I was promptly seated and ordered a traditional margarita. Why not, I thought? It came to me in a mason jar with a salted rim,,,yummy. I chose the bean and vegetable quesadilla to eat. I pulled out the BOOK and by the time my meal came, I was hooked. I read in between bites and sips of drink and with the John Butler Trio playing in the background, felt as though I could have stayed there forever. My waitress, Vanessa was friendly and attentive, so she got a nice tip…something that now erks me about North America. In the South Pacific, tipping is optional.

It may have been this sign that sealed my stomach’s fate!!! Too funny.

A classic Margarita

I did so much on my first day back in Banff. There is  still more to do in this town, like a visit to the Banff Springs Hotel…another day. If I can pull myself away from Fifty Shades of Grey that is……LOL!!