Wednesday, April 24, 2019


What is an anniversary?

Why do we commemorate people or events on these particular dates? Is there a better term for a 'death anniversary'?

I was dreading the month of April for the entire year. Mainly because I knew what was coming up on April 24th. It was to be the anniversary of Mom's death. One year ago. And that date will never change.

I could feel my anxiety rising with each passing day in April. One day closer until April 24th. One day closer to the anniversary.

Flashbacks to that day and the days following kept leaping in my mind, more vivid than before. I think April will always haunt me.

Dad asked me how I have coped over the last year with my grief. I said I coped by keeping busy, out of necessity I suppose but also out of avoiding the grief itself, especially in public.

Privately, I coped by allowing myself those 25 minutes of commuting every morning and every evening in the car to cry or scream, without needing to apologize or stifle myself.

As cliche as it sounds, this year has forced me to put into perspective what kind of life I want to lead on earth - now.

All my insecurities, excuses and perceived challenges have lessened somewhat so that I can boldly, but still tentatively act on my dreams.

April 24, 2018 will be the date Mom left this earth. It will also mark the turning point in my life where I realized the true significance of: Life Is What You Make Of It. So take a deep breath and dive in.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019


Let me introduce you to two very special women.

They have shaped us, our lives, our values and our future. And by us I mean Matt and I.

You may have met them or you may have known them as 'Bonnie's Mom' or 'Matt's mum'.

But here is a little history of these two incredibly strong, hard-working and loving women, our mothers.

Sue Thornington (nee Le Quesne)
July 14, 1949 - June 20, 2011

Born in Scotland, and grew up on Jersey in the Channel Islands.

Sue was trained as a Childhood Educator and worked tirelessly with parents, schools and children for most of her career. She loved Sudoku, chocolate eclairs and never missed watching Wimbledon on TV every year!

Anjulia Wong (nee Ma)
January 26, 1953 - April 24, 2018.

Born in Hong Kong, immigrated to Canada at age 16, graduated as a Food Scientist and worked in various labs and companies in R&D. 

Anjulia was artistic, creative and loved to cook, do aqua-fit and tai-chi. 

These two women had vastly different childhoods and careers, yet there were so many similarities.

They were both frugal, hard-working at home and on the job, loyal to family and friends, and fiercely protective of their family. They appreciated the simple things in life, especially a good cup of hot tea.

They also both loved discovering new places, travelling far and wide. They encouraged and nurtured their children, relishing their successes as they spread their own wings. But above all, they loved their grandchildren. Adored them endlessly.

So when it came time to rename our boat, we didn't have to think long. We knew the boat must bear the names of our mothers, somehow.

Many people believe that renaming a vessel is bad luck. However, we wanted something that was meaningful to us. We will do the necessary protocols that will banish all bad luck and superstition that comes with renaming her.

Another thought to consider: boats are 'female' and you will often hear them being referred to as 'she' or 'her'. 

So we needed a name that was feminine but original, simple but easy to pronounce. 

We tried to be creative, playing around with the names and letters. In the end, we decided to keep it simple. 

And so, it is official. Our boat is now called ANJULIA SUE.

We talk to the kids about their grandmothers and let them know what they were like, what kind of things they enjoyed and how much they love them, when they were alive and even now.

We never say that they don't have grandmothers anymore. We just say that they are not alive, but that they will always have grandmas.

It was hard to find suitable pictures to accompany this post. Our mothers were the ones always behind the camera! But here are some I found from August 2009, almost ten years ago.
JENGA fun :)

Matt and I took a trip to northern France with our parents and these were snapped at Honfleur beach and at our gite. It was a special trip, just the 6 of us.

Although they are not with us in the living world today, Anjulia and Sue remain a part of us in spirit and memory. And now our floating home will carry their names. 

Our boat will keep us safe as long as we take care of her, just like our mothers did for us.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

We're officially out!

We have been telling many friends and colleagues in the last few weeks about our upcoming plans. We are officially 'out'! It feels a bit like announcing a pregnancy, where after giving people the news, we give them more details and specifics... if they want to know. And most do! Every time I speak to someone who is excited for us, it reignites my excitement and I'm completely fired up for the rest of the day.

It's been busy these past few weeks. But it feels really good to have ticked a lot of items off our to-do list:

- Taking a 10-week course on Boat Maintenance & Diesel Engine Maintenance with the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron . We will be finishing the course on the very last week before our departure!

- Attended a 2-day Sea Survival course where we got to climb into a life-raft, flip it over and swim with our foul-weather gear and boots on. It's not easy to swim even 10 metres while dragging your 'unconscious' partner!

We even got to fire a flare, a very neat experience but definitely one I hope I will never have to do. We were inundated with so much knowledge and information about keeping the crew and vessel safe, it was definitely worth it and I feel even more prepared.

- Rented our house for one year (furnished). What a relief!! We have a property manager and it has been very smooth working with him. We listed the house on a Friday morning and by the next Tuesday evening we had a signed lease agreement!

We will leave some of our stuff in a room in the basement and some of it at my dad's place, but knowing that our home will be rented furnished gives us more direction in terms of what we have to do to prepare. Tenants move in June 1st, 2019, so this also gives us a concrete date to work around.

- I'll be taking the VHF Radio License course in early April, so looking forward to that.

- Wrote our will FINALLY! I am going around telling everyone to do it, it only takes a few hours. We went with Legal Wills online and it was super simple.

-  Matt was sworn in on January 18th and now he can officially call himself a Canuck, eh!

- Applying for new passports (Matt's 1st Canadian passport too!), health cards, licenses, bank cards, etc. so they don't expire while we're away.

- Organizing, scanning and filing all our IDs and documents onto a cloud-based format.

- Filed our taxes for 2018. And preparing what we can in advance for the 2019 tax season.

- Compiling workbooks, online resources and just a general hodge-podge of material for home-schooling. If anyone has good french books, I'll gladly take them off your hands!

- Gave our notice at work - eeek! May 22nd will be our last day of employment for Matt and I. Bittersweet indeed. WAHOOO!

- Solidified more dates:

May 29/30: Matt and I will drive out to Gold River Marina in Chester, Nova Scotia and be reunited with our boat!

She will be on the hard (out of the water), and still under wrap. We have a growing list of things we will need to do before she goes in the water, but I'll save those details for another post.

Gong Gong will stay behind and look after the kids while they attend their last week of school.

June 8: Gong Gong will fly out with the kids to Halifax where we will pick them up and introduce them to their new floating home!!!!!

June 9 (or thereabouts): Splash! Or in sailing terms, that means to put the boat in the water.

Due to kid-pressure, we have promised them their birthday parties before we leave (their real birthdays are in June). So we have back to back parties in mid-May to plan for. One has asked for Laser Tag (easy to outsource). The other one has asked for a slime/scavenger hunt/origami party at home (do-able because my artistic, creative and multi-tasker sister will be visiting at the time from Vancouver and will help out! Phew)

We're at the point where I'm not buying any more perishable items. We are slowly eating our way through our deep freezer and canned goods.

Same goes for using up our toilet paper, tissue boxes and just general cleaning supplies and household items. Anything that is left we'll just take with us.

Hmmm... which reminds me, we should get a few boxes of long-life milk to try since that will be the new norm. Fresh milk will take up too much valuable fridge space on the boat.

We are going through our all our drawers and closets and shelves and purging and re-purging clothes, toys, footwear, paper (so much paper!! Why did we ever keep so much art from when the kids were just toddlers??!! ).

The countdown is on and departure day is coming up soon! Everyday we cross out one more day on our wall calendar. In the meantime, trying to balance 'normal' life of full time work and school and extra curriculars and childcare is certainly a good exercise in time management. Some days I feel like I'm on top of it and can handle whatever comes my way. Other (most) days, I'm completely swamped and feeling overwhelmed. Even the littlest task feels daunting.

I realize that this entire process of preparing for cruising life has forced us into getting our ENTIRE life organized. As hard as it is, it also feels wonderful.