Wednesday, 28 September 2016


Reading is my first love. My family always jokes I needed glasses at the end of grade two after long hours of reading by the light of my nightlight after bedtime (totally happened, totally didn't cause my poor eyesight). I vividly remember the year I won the summer reading challenge at our public library, reading more books than any other child my age. (It's right up there with my proudest accomplishments.)

When I started my first (of many, many, many) years of post secondary education, reading for pleasure trailed off. I was spending so much time pouring over science textbooks the joy of reading was lost on me. In my 4th year of university I had an easier work load, more elective courses, and rediscovered reading for fun. Since medical school my reading life has again been hot and cold until recently.

This year I discovered the Good Reads app and the What Should I Read Next Podcast. Both have completely changed my year. I listen to the WSIRN podcast for book recommendations and then search the books that interest me on Good Reads. I have logged all of the books I have read this year on my Good Reads app and have surpassed my goal of 10 books by reading a total of 23 so far (and it's only September)! I also love following what my friends are reading!

If you're interested or looking for book suggestions, this is what I've read in 2016 (starting with most recently read and including my rating from 1 to 5 stars):

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ****
Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice by Bill Browder ****
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey ****
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum ***
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson *****
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (Neapolitan Novels #3) by Elena Ferrante ****
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling ****
The Horse and His Boy (Chronicles of Narnia #3) by C.S. Lewis **
The Story of a New Name (Neapolitan Novels #2) by Elena Ferrante *****
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach ***
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett ***
The Magicians Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia #1) by C.S. Lewis ****
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan ***
Little Bee by Chris Cleave ****
The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike #1) by Robert Galbraith ****
My Brilliant Friend (Neapolitan Novels #1) by Elena Ferrante ***
Starting from Happy by Patricia Marx *
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling *****
Look at Me by Jennifer Egan ***
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi ****
Exodus by Leon Uris ***
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis *****
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K Rowling *****

Monday, 19 September 2016


Hey guys!

We arrived home from Ireland last night and I wanted to write my first post before I forget our new Gaelic words!

This was our first experience staying in an Airbnb and it definitely set the bar high. The price was right and although staying in a room in someone else's home might not be for everyone, we would highly recommend the experience! Our host, Jacqueline, was so welcoming and helpful. She drove us to the bus station, spent an entire afternoon driving us around the mountains, and taught us a lot about Ireland. (She also warned us that our hostel in Dublin was going to be quite noisy...more on that later.)

This trip was a bit of a do-over because our trip to California this spring was full of bickering and seagull poop. I wanted something relaxing this time so we stayed in a medieval village (with castle and all) and spent our time being fairly low-key (living like locals, visiting the pubs, and walking).

Here's a taste of our little Irish village.

The entrance to the town. One of my new favourite expressions is "have in or take away" (instead of dine in or take out). You can see "take away" written on this Ma Bakers sign.

Other new expressions include:

Slainte - Gaelic for "cheers"
What's the craic - what's the fun/what's the gossip
Have a wee - as in, "Do you want to try that new restaurant? Why don't we have a wee?"
Cead mile failte - Gaelic for "a hundred thousand welcomes" (this was already very familiar to me because it is on a sign as you enter the campus of my alma mater)
Grand - great, wonderful, good

Our walk up the mountain led us through "Leprechaun Habitat" - ha! Of course, we found the pot of gold.

In front of King John's Castle, built in the 1200s. Everything about this town sparked my imagination because of the medieval ruins - so fun!

These are ruins of a Friary, built in the 1400s. Our Airbnb was directly on the other side of the Friary and our bedroom window faced the ruins. No hotel will ever top that!

Our host told us CS Lewis gazed over at this area of Ireland and the location inspired Narnia. I didn't want to look into these details too closely because I am very eager to just accept it. I was in Narnia. The end.

You know me and of course I had to throw in a food photo. This was from a Tea Room that was very kitschy and yet quite a novelty and very adorable. Hubby had an "Irish breakfast" which included... black pudding. (You may have heard this called blood sausage or blood pudding.) I tried a little taste of it suspecting what it was while he had no idea.

More later on a couple of little day trips we took.