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The Real "Mud Immortal"

This past weekend there was a mud obstacle course race here in Newfoundland called "Mud Immortal". After the race, social media exploded with disgruntled participants complaining about false advertising and that the race didn't live up to their expectations. There wasn't enough mud, not enough parking, no kitchen party, no bag check, unsafe drinking water etc. In fact, now participants are rallying to take legal action against the organizer (click here). I wasn't there, but I would probably be upset too. The honest truth is that I would have the same exact complaints. I'd feel disappointed, scammed and bummed out.

mud2

On the SAME day as the mud race, Saturday Sept 21st, a band of terrorists started open fire in a mall in Nairobi, Kenya. 62 people have been proclaimed dead and 175 wounded, with hostages left in hiding for days. (click here) Why was no one talking about this? Why was everyone so concerned about not having enough mud at the race?


I know where you can find mud. Lots and lots of mud. In the slums of Kenya (and other third world countries) where children and babies live on the side of the road. In the single room tin houses with dirt floors.



As far as a shuttle and parking goes ...


And lets not get started on "safe drinking water" access and the lack thereof.

I was very hesitant to post this, I didn't want people to feel like I was attacking them. This is not intended to single out those that participated in the race. This is a reflection of our society as a whole. I'm guilty, I get flustered and annoyed when my cell phone dies, or I have car problems.. But in my humble opinion, this is the real "mud immortal".  When our biggest complaint is a lack of mud, we've got it pretty darn good. 

Project 25

I have circled this sun 25 times. Anyone who knows me, knows that I've been dreading turning 25. The term "quarter-life crisis" has been thrown around a lot lately.

Then I received some words from the wise:"Do not regret getting older, it is a privilege denied to many"

I am blessed beyond measure. I have a big, quirky, awesome family. I have loyal & true friends. I serve an faithful God, who has brought me around the world and provided for me every step of the way. I've met so many inspiring people. I've learned so much, seen so much, grown so much.

For my 25th birthday I was inspired to do one random act of kindness to celebrate each year that I've been on this planet. So, I set out with my trusty team (Molly & Sissy) to spread happiness & smiles to the good people of St. John's. This is project 2-5.


1. Pay for someone's coffee in the drive through behind me (Molly was really excited about this one)


2. Donate colouring books and crayons to the Janeway

3. Drop of a bouquet of flowers and tell the nurses to give it to the person that needs it the most


4. Become an organ donor


5. Leave cute sticky notes on restroom mirrors



6. Tape spare change to a vending machine


7. Deliver timbits to the students studying in the ECE lab (where I spent my birthday 3 years ago)



8. Leave $5 in a random book in the library (for a starving student to find)



9. Donate used clothing

10. Pick up garbage on the road (and flick it gracefully into the dumpster)


11. Buy a meal for a homeless person

12. Hand out flowers to people walking downtown


13. Make a food bank donation

14. Pay someone's bus fare


15. Put up "Take what you need" posters ( I know these things are cheesy, but they make me smile)



16. Leave a copy of the "The Happiness Project" for someone to find (one of my favourite books!)


17. Round up scattered shopping carts

18. Stand outside the supermarket and give away reusable shopping bags


19. Feed apples to the horses at Rainbow Riders


20. Run into a restaurant and give someone a gift card

21. Plant flowers in someone's flower box



22. Bring baked goods to firefighters (I did not anticipate having so much trouble busting into the fire station) 


23. Leave coins in a laundromat


24. Paint 25 rocks and scatter them around the beach


25. I was really stuck for the 25th act of kindness.. so I just gave someone a watermelon.


Project 25 status: Complete!


here's to a very newfie summer!


I love summer, I love Newfoundland, and I love lists. So here we are: my bucket list (newfie summer 2013 edition) 
  1. Find St. John's best milkshake & fries
  2. Take Dad zip lining in Petty Harbour 
  3. Visit the Alpaca Farm
  4. Picnic on Bell Island
  5. Watch an outdoor movie (July 22 - Momma Mia, July 29 - Back to the Future)
  6. Have a waterfight 
  7. Spot an iceberg 
  8. See Shakespeare by the Sea (Julius Caesar July 7- Aug 12, Sun & Mon)
  9. Visit Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve
  10. Drive behind a runner and blast "Eye of the Tiger"
  11. Go on an overnight sailing trip
  12. Victoria Park Lantern Festival (July 27)
  13. Folk Festival in Bowering Park (August 9-11)
  14. Brigus blueberry festival (August 8-11)
  15. Make friends with someone who owns a seadoo
  16. Go seadooing
  17. Visit St. Pierre
  18. Run in St. John's "Run or Dye" (does anyone actually know the date for this? I've heard it's in August)
  19. Go to an outdoor yoga class
  20. Picnic in Ferryland 
  21. Sunrise at Cape Spear 
  22. Berry picking 
  23. Go Sea kayaking 
  24. Campfire singalongs at the beach (you can never have too many of these)
  25. Hike the east coast trail (I've already done 4 hikes this year, but I want to do Tinkers Point Path, La Manche Village Path and perhaps the Spout again)
I must say, the summer is off to a brilliant start! This video sums up the past 3 days of my life in 2 minutes. I crashed into a shrub, danced in a pow-wow, chased goats and had plenty of laughs along the way. Then made I friends with a waitress who took me on a boat to see icebergs in St. Anthony. Embrace the wonderful, magical, randomness. 


3 days of my life in 2 minutes from Natasha Kettle on Vimeo.

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la belle province

Once upon a time (a month ago) I went to Quebec. This was my first real work trip (to some place cool). I felt all adult and grown up and important. The only thing better than travelling is travelling for free.  

I've never been treated so "high class" in my life. Someone offered to take my bags at the hotel and I didn't even know what to do. I mean, I've seen this sort of thing in the movies before... but I'm the girl who sleeps in old bunk beds and showers in moldy bathrooms. It was like a Cinderella story!


It was a penthouse hotel in downtown Montreal, with a rooftop pool and a garden and all the cappuccinos my heart desired! 


On Sunday afternoons Montrealers gather together with their bongo drums at the foot of Mont-Royal to drum and dance and love life. So, I set out on a mission to find "Les Tam-tams du Mont-Royal".. I got lost along the way and met a kind stranger who was on the same quest. We got even more lost until we heard the symphony of bongo drums. 




I was delighted to find cherry blossoms in Montreal, I miss the pretty & pink Vancouver spring. 




Most of my week was spent learning about software, but I got to explore the city in the evenings. Montreal is artistic and vibrant with wonderful bursts of colour around every corner. 




I wanted the authentic Montreal experience so I ate poutine at Resto la Banquise and Schwartz's smoked meat sandwiches. I forgot to try a Fairmount Bagel(epic tourist fail). 


I rented a bike and went on a romantic ride (with myself) as the sun set over downtown Montreal. Maybe sometimes I do miss living in a big city. Or maybe I just miss being anonymous.


On my last day we went to see the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal. I could go on and rave about the intricate and exquisite detail... or I could just tell you what you really want to know: Celine Dion got hitched here. Also, at one point in time people thought that Moses had horns. 



I decided that while I was on the mainland, I'd turn this work trip into a mini-adventure for myself. So, Saturday morning I hopped on a train to Quebec City. Train rides always makes me feel like I'm on an adventure. 



I absolutely loved travelling Europe by rail in 2011. I listen to my "adventure" playlist and stare out the window as fields and towns whiz by along the way. You just see so much more from the ground. 

Google maps said that my hostel was a 15 minute walk from the train station, so I decided not to take the bus. Turns out that google maps doesn't tell you what roads are cobblestone and uphill. 


I love hostels. I love meeting people from all over the globe that share my passion for travel and adventure. I love listening to their stories, learning where they've been and where they're going. I've never stayed in a hostel in my own country, it was intriguing to meet young people and hear why they chose to come to Canada. 

"The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land." - Gilbert K. Chesterton 

One thing that travel has given me is a new perspective. Canada really is a wonderful country and I'm blessed to call it home. I want to explore my backyard, I want to see my country through the eyes of a tourist.



I spent 3 days gallivanting along the old cobblestone streets, eating croissants and practicing my french. Sometimes I'd convince myself, even for a moment, that I was in a foreign country.  




Someone gave me a good tidbit of advice. He advised me not to get so caught up in "capturing the moment" that I forget to actually live the moment. How many times have I watched fireworks through the lens of a camera and leave with nothing more than a blurry photo? The best part of my Sunday was when my battery died and I was left to wander the streets aimlessly and lay in the sun.

I made a couple solid purchases, including this awesome cookie purse that has reached legendary status. It's my trademark these days.



When I saw this bag, I knew that it had to be mine. The quote translates to: "We never go as far as when we don't know where we're going." It sums up my life story perfectly. 



U-turn

They say that you only truly appreciate the beauty of a place when you see it for the first time, or the last time. I know this to be true. I always find myself awe-struck and enamoured when I first explore some place new, and then eventually the novelty wears off. Life becomes monotonous and the things that were once points of focus, gradually fade into the background. That is, until you have to say goodbye. 



I grew up anticipating the day that I could get off this island and see the world. I would have marvelous adventures and never look back. "Newfies always come back to the rock" they'd tell me... "Not me!" I'd reply. 



Well, look at me now. I essentially did a giant U-turn across the country. I'm right back where I started. Yet, I see Newfoundland differently. "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered." - Nelson Mandela



The reality is that circumstances change, priorities change and people change. My friends and I have termed this quarter life crisis the "post-grad gong show". You see this face? This is the face of a girl who has a fairytale ideal of adulthood. Silly little hobbitses.    




I've come to the realization that no matter where you live, life isn't all that different. The grass is greener on the other side, but in the end it's all just grass. You work, you go to the grocery store, you do laundry, you sleep, you cook and you clean. That accounts for roughly 90% of your life. What matters is finding joy in the little things and being around people you love. It sounds quite elementary but it's taken me 24 years to come to this conclusion.


I've given up on having a life plan, I'm just going to make things up as I go. 




Right now I am content living in my crooked little jelly bean house, sailing with my dad, hiking along the coast and drinking coffee at Post Espresso.