The day has finally arrived…

wedding rings

After one year of tho and fro planning this day, it was finally here! We were so excited!! Speaking to people that have celebrated their marriage, they’ve all said ‘be as much present as you can as the day will pass fast’ and ‘have a substantial breakfast’. So we did. We ordered a really nice breakfast in our room as we wanted to quietly enjoy our morning before the busyness of the day.

Since the seating plan was only finalised a few hours prior, the table number and seating cards needed to be written. The man with his nice calligraphy was put to work. No more re-jigging of the tables. It was sealed. While he was writing the cards, I quickly went to see my parents and his parents. I could see my brother in the background busy putting the final touches to master plan of the day. Little did I know…

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Leading to the celebration… part 3

We are almost there. One day to go till the celebration. It was time to pack everything up and drive to the Ripplecove in Ayer’s Cliff.

There was still a few things to sort out like getting the flowers (yeah I know… it should have been done already), writing the names of guests on the cards, finalising the ceremony details, etc. There was no time to do so before we arrive at the Ripplecove. Go with the flow right?

We departed from my brother’s on time to collect the Irish in-laws in Montreal. Simply driving in and out of city was an adventure. To the grievance of the Montrealers, the city is going through massive roadworks rejunevation.

Montreal roadworks 2016

Apparently, the previous administration did not invest enough in rebuilding the roads and they are currently playing catch-up. This meant that getting out of the city was not as smooth as I would have expected. There has been so many changes in the layout of the roads (especially around the Champlain bridge) that I got a bit confused. I made a few mistakes and ended taking the wrong roads. The GPS at this time was no help at all.

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Leading to the celebration… part 2

Did I sleep the night before… not really. My brother, sister-in-law, the man and I ended chatting and drinking… and chatting and drinking… and some biscuits. This time the biscuits were just for me. I didn’t take a photo, sorry…

The morning was bright and early.

Jacques-Cartier Bridge

Continue reading “Leading to the celebration… part 2”

Leading to the celebration… part 1

The celebration was in a few days and there was still a few things to do. What was good is that when we flew in, it was direct from London, Heathrow. No fuss. Yeah! When we got on the plane, we realised that it was brand new. It smelled like it. There was more space for the legs (happy man). The boy spent the whole flight watching movies. I wished I had bought some water before we boarded as I was very thirsty and feeling dehydrated. I had to ask for more water all the time.

Montreal city view from plane

Once arrived, we had a very tired boy.

When he saw the customs and the line of people, his first reaction was: ‘No way!?’. I couldn’t help but laugh. Poor thing, with the 5 hours difference he really was tired. It took us longer to pass through as we went to wrong lines. While waiting my brother was texting from the other side telling me that there was a competition between him and my nephew ie. who will see us first. I thought, our boy would see them before they see us…

Continue reading “Leading to the celebration… part 1”

‘Go with the flow’

Annie Corriveau & Martin Duggan celebration with friends Caroline Frenette & Andrew Park

A few years ago, my husband and I did a low key civil marriage with the expectation that we would celebrate later… that was more than 10 years ago! Last year we decided that the time was right to celebrate and go ahead in gathering our close family and friends to take part in our renewal of vows.

By experience, I know that organising events can be challenging at times but doing it from abroad adds an extra layer of complexity. I realised that if I wanted to stay sane and enjoy the experience, I needed to learn to let go and quickly! Not easy for a control freak like me. With the strong intention of not letting things upset or stress us, I decided to follow the motto ‘Go with the flow’.

It paid off!

Not only we allowed flexibility for things that we couldn’t control, it made the journey more profound than we expected. We have been surprised, amazed and inspired. Our North American trip had exceeded our expectations. If we had to pick a word to describe the journey, we choose ‘Epic’.

In the next few weeks, I will share some of these experiences.

I would like to share with you a podcast that my long time and dear friend Caroline Frenette was inspired to produced. She talks about what ‘Go with the flow’ meant for us and how it had help us find peace in the not_so_sure_moments.

Next up: Leading to the celebration… part 1

I am not so middle class

A few weeks back, I went to the hairdresser to get my hair fixed. It needed badly some attention. I usually go very early so I can get the cut and the colour done before I go train. Yes you read it, I get my hair fix and I go train Brazilian Ju-Jitsu. That’s the way it is. Only this time, there was a big competition – The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam hosted by UAEJJF that afternoon and for once I was not going to mess up my hair straight way.

Sitting on the chair getting my hair done, chit chatting about nothing, the hairdresser asked me “So are you going out tonight?”. Me replying: “I’m going to a Brazilian Ju-Jitsu competition to see my instructors fight and to support them”. There was a pause… a blank stair… “Oh really, ok. Will you plant flowers this year?”. Wait… What? Planting flowers? What are you on about? Oh my… right there and then it dawn on me, I am not so middle class. I assumed she knew about the sport as for me it is a given. She clearly didn’t know what I was talking about. BJJ is so out of her own world, why would she ponder on it? I realised that most of the women of my age who have children don’t do what I am doing, practicing the art of Brazilian ju-jitsu.

So that afternoon, I went to watch my instructors from Roger Gracie Academy competing. One in particular that I was looking forward to see was the World Champion, Yas Wilson.

Yas Wilson Grand Slam UAEBJJ

I am so grateful to have her as my instructor. She is the very first female receiving a black belt from Roger Gracie. She is an amazing fighter and has competed against big names in the BJJ community like Mackenzie Dern. She went on to win the silver medal on that day. She is a mother like me and his running her own gym. She is not so middle class either 🙂

What about you? Are you not so middle class?

I want to hear your stories, add a comment or email me!

Chatter be free!

There was times in my life that I couldn’t hear myself. I couldn’t hear what I was really thinking. The chatter in my head was extremely loud and unorganised. When I realised that and I took decided to listen to what I was thinking. It was an eye opener! Oh boy that my non-sense thinking was burying the insights!

The first steps of acknowledging that’s what was happening, it help me reduced the noise significantly. I noted what I was saying and when. I analysed the relationship between the thoughts and what was going on in my life and I discovered direct connection to the low and high moments. This chatter was pretty distracting or should I say not helping me focus on what is the most important: being here and now with an overview of the future.

There was one problem though, quieting my mind was never my forte. I practice meditaiont but it is not always working. I needed something more effective. If my thoughts are affecting how I feel, how can change them when I suck at quieting my mind?

One day it dawn on me, I cannot change my thoughts, there will be always thoughts. What I can do is choose them:

  • What if I let them be thoughts and not give importance to the ones I don’t like?
  • What if I let them free and only let the ones that I like stick?

Like my great friend Caroline would say:

“Listen with nothing on your mind”

Not giving importance to the thoughts I didn’t like, I can hear “Me”. I hear the insights that helps me in various spheres of my life. Don’t get me wrong, the chatter is still there but I am better at recognising it. It does not take me a long time to let the thoughts free so I can get back to a more peaceful mind with insightful thoughts.

I’m forty and I feel fabulous!

I am forty and I feel fabulous. I want to say it out loud, I want people to know. I have heard many people saying that at forty, it is the beginning of the end. I always found this statement quite odd but I couldn’t comment, I was not forty yet. Now I am and forty feels great. I feel more alive than ever, it is the continuity of my life with gained insights and wisdom. How great is that.

In my 20’s I was bold and loved taking risks. I was doing anything I wanted, when I wanted. I enjoyed it but I was not always grounded. I was anxious most of the time. I felt that I needed to push for things very hard to get where I wanted to be. I had great moments and I had really terrible ones.

Then the thirties came, the time when I built my life foundation. Faithful to myself and following my gut, I moved to Ireland, met my soulmate, had an awesome boy and together we re-defined what we life means for us and how do we want to go forward. My thirties were a voyage of discovery and introspection which led me to where I am now.

At forty, I am grounded, more confident than ever, still bold and liking to take risks but with clearer meaning and intentions behind the actions. I feel blessed and I am grateful. Bring on the years!