I Am Who I Am Today Thanks To #YGKWednesday, November 26, 2014
“For those who are lost, there will always be cities that feel like home.”
- Simon Van Booy, Everything Beautiful Began After
#YGK : Kingston, Ontario
Kingston, 2008 - Present
Queen's University, 2008 - 2012
Living Life, 2012 - Present
This is my (short and sweet) story and my adventures, how I fell in love with the city of Kingston and how I have made it my home away from home. It has brought out the best and the worst in me, having experienced my lowest moments with breakdowns at university to my highest points where I've realized who I am meant to be and do. The Kingston community allowed me to flourish as an individual, the support sparked my creative juices, finding true love gave me a newfound confidence and the culinary scene brought out the foodie in me.
It was summer of third year where I had a wake up call to get my act together school-wise and life changed hereafter. School was filled with no motivation and I truly lost interest in what I was learning. I felt out of place in university and especially my program. Living alone in a house, normally filled with the chaos of five girls took adjusting to. To rectify the situation, I immersed myself in my work at QueensU as an assistant online developer (loved it!), summer online classes, learned how to row and started to write. You could say I was a workaholic trying to escape reality.
It was shortly after a month that I met my other half, who completed me in every way possible. Together for three years now - this Kingston native, partner in crime and foodie accomplice has brought out the best in me one day at a time. Our passion for cooking, trying new things and positive thinking has cultivated and thrives.
Nestled on the shores of Lake Ontario, Kingston's waterfront also brought calmness to my life. The world of rowing taught me to take risks and push through barriers - on land and water. I started a lifestyle blog and continued further with no hesitation to include food. I embraced fear and took it head on. Blogging was my creative outlet and the city of Kingston was the backdrop.
Fourth year was a flash as I pulled my grades up drastically, took courses I actually enjoyed, blogged, started my contributing writing career and was also the turning point to where I learned all about personal branding and marketing thanks to Sidneyeve Matrix after attending a Queen's Student Alumni Association presentation. The rest is history as I found my calling to mesh my passions of writing, engineering and marketing together. With four years behind me and a Computer Engineering degree under my belt (yes I know it shocks everyone!), I was fortunate enough to work for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at QueensU - match made in heaven until my contract was done (insert sad face). I still had determination and blogging to keep me occupied and sane.
Kingston is finally where I got my first 'grown up' job that I dreamt of, a mix of marketing and tech, perfect! Though was also terminated three days shy of my probation period. Ouch that stings! I'm not to going to lie, at first I was upset then realized it was a blessing. As I left the office, a co-worker who I admired and simply had a great joy for life hugged me and whispered, "when one door closes, another one opens." It is women like this that should be cherished in our hearts as her words have truly stuck with me - women should inspire one another. I gained inner strength after my fair share of breakdowns and feeling worthless - it opened my horizons, I focused on my blog solely and started a series highlighting entrepreneurs with a passion. This led to connecting with wonderful locals and learning about every nook and cranny of this city.
Attracted by the local food scene and farmer's market, I slowly learned the concept of farm to table and made it a mission to try a new restaurant each occasion I went out to taste the vast types of cuisines available. From local chefs to producers, the passion for food combined with love of their business clearly stood out. Becoming a culinary destination, this growing local food economy is a community in itself - inspiring and raising awareness. I am truly glad to be part of it and honoured to be sharing their stories through my writing.
This city has given me to opportunity to reflect on my life. Everything that I've accomplished is overwhelming, a blessing and despite my struggles in university, Kingston and its natives were my escape from the campus bubble and I am proud to call it my home. I am now a 'staycationer turned foodie' living in the city of Kingston while freelance writing, appreciating every opportunity given to me and blogging about what excites my curiosity but also working with the most amazing set of people in downtown Kingston.