August

Wow, I can’t believe that August is already over.. does that mean summer is over, too? August is probably my favourite month. And it might have a little something to do with friends, food, ice cream, and a birthday.

I did a lot of touristy things in August because we had some friends visiting.

I also watched some killer fireworks. Like, so good. Maybe not the best I’ve ever seen (Disney is up there), but this fireworks festival kills it every year.

I celebrated my 24th birthday with food, naturally.

IMG_20160827_090932-01

I showed off some new Simply Steph Ko cards at the Ottawa Makers Market. I’m now preparing for the Etsy show, which will be the biggest show I’ve done. Eep! Wish me luck.

And I ate a lot of ice cream. I think I might have a problem. Just kidding, there’s no such thing as too much ice cream (says the public health kid.. shh). Everything in moderation, right?

received_10154465367153615-01

I also said goodbye to my work friends, who finished their summer work terms. Au revoir, lunch buddies!

And now I’m off to enjoy September!

xo,

stephkoanie

P.S. Some posts from August:

Advertisements

Twenty-Something And Living At Home

There is a certain level of shame associated with living with your parents in your twenties.

I am acutely aware of my level of privilege. I come from an upper-middle class family, and was fortunate enough to leave home to go to school, and to have a family that welcomed me back home once I graduated. For others, living at home is either a necessity for financial reasons, or it is not possible for other reasons. Whatever the case, I have the choice to live with my parents, or to live on my own. And I have chosen to live with my parents, and I recognize the privilege behind this choice.

That being said, it is expected that once you are a certain age, you should be living on your own, not with your parents. There’s a name for millennials like me: boomerang kids. Yep! That’s me. I left, and then I came back.

Interestingly enough, more young adults are living with their parents than ever before. Usually for reasons like lower levels of education, difficulty finding work, and high cost of housing. I moved home to save money, and because of the uncertainty of work.

When I first moved back home, I felt ashamed to be a boomerang kid. I thought I was a disappointment to my family, to my generation and to myself. You’re supposed to get education, get a job, move out, and get married. Right?

What helped me get over this shame was seeing living at home in a different light.

Live family first.

I know that I will not live with my family forever, and it is special to be able to be under the same roof as my parents. I get to see and talk to them every single day. I get to know intimately what is going on in their lives, what they struggle with, and what they are celebrating. I go through the difficulties with my parents, and am able to be there with them.

This is truly a blessing, and I am coming to terms with not being a visitor in their home, but being a part of this family, and living as a family.

Be grateful.

Living at home, I am saving lots of money. And I am definitely grateful for this. As a kid, it was simply expected that my parents would do this and that for me. Now that I am older, it is a blessing that my parents house me and cook for me. Of course, I have more responsibilities in the home than I did when I was 5, but I also see every opportunity as a gift now. So I am grateful for what my parents offer me, and I know that this opportunity to save money while living at home gives me security before I launch out into the world on my own.

Wherever you are, be all there.
– Jim Eliot

This Jim Eliot quote is deeply profound, and reminds me that God has called me to be exactly where I am. If I am ashamed of where God has placed me, then I am ashamed of the life that He has given me. So I want to live in a way that gives glory to Him, because where I am is where God has called me to be.

Photo from unsplash.com.

July

Maybe because the photo isn’t that notable, or I can’t think of a good caption, or I just don’t think it’s Instagram-worthy. But I have all these photos just living on my phone. They tell a pretty good story of what I’ve been up to, and what I’ve found notable enough to take a photo of. So here’s a recap of the month of July, as told by my camera roll.

norco-bike_stephkoanie

I got a new bike and started biking to work. My goal is daily, but so far I’m averaging 2-3 times a week.

IMG_20160701_120503-01

I went strawberry picking on Canada Day with Kaitlyn.

img_20160710_092136-01-640x480

I participated in July’s Makeful challenge and decorated this iPhone case! Tutorial and giveaway coming soon!

I worked on some of the funnest custom calligraphy commissions to date. I love wedding season!

I ate a lot of food.

And I supported Jethro in some pretty awesome church things (Ouje missions trip + interchurch soccer tournament).

Some posts from July:

August, I’m ready for you.

Moving Back to Your Hometown

I was born in the Grace Hospital in Ottawa (a hospital that no longer exists), grew up in a suburb in the West End of Ottawa, and lived in the same house for almost 18 years (I moved once, when I was about 1, so I don’t really remember it). Ottawa is my hometown.

But for the past 6 years, I have been living in Kingston for university. Translation: away from home. Six years is a long time, especially in your early 20s!

I don’t know if I knew that I would be moving back to Ottawa after university. I never wanted to, nor did I not want to. But I knew it was always an option. In the September of my last year of university, J got a job in Ottawa, and that settled it for me. I moved back to Ottawa to be in the same city as my boyfriend, and because it made sense financially, I moved back in with my parents.

The city has changed, and so have I.

I used to always think that Ottawa was a boring city. It’s filled with civil servants, and it can’t quite decide if it’s a big city, or a small town. But in reality, Ottawa hits the sweet spot. It’s a city, with small town charm. Much of what I love about small towns (like Kingston), can be found in one way or another in Ottawa, too.

Growing up, I used to go shopping at the mall near my house, go to the park or to the local pool. And if I went to explore, I would go downtown to parliament, and to the Market.

Now, I’m interested in getting to know more of Ottawa. In 2016, my personal fun goal is to explore more local coffee shops. It’s a challenge that has many purposes, really. I love coffee, I like coffee shops with nice decor, I like meeting friends at coffee shops, I can also meet clients at coffee shops, and finding new coffee shops gives me an excuse to leave the house and explore my city.

Since moving back to Ottawa, I also started getting involved in the creative scene. There are some seriously cool makers and artists in the Ottawa area! (Personal plug: come visit me and all the other cool Ottawa makers at some upcoming craft shows!)

Ottawa is not as boring as I thought it was. Some things are new, and some things have always been around and I just haven’t noticed them. Since I left Ottawa, my interests have changed, too. So I’m starting to find new exciting things to do, and places to see.

My parents have changed, and so have I.

Moving back home has been an interesting challenge for both me and for my parents.

It has been frustrating at times, getting into each other’s spaces. We squabble over silly, yet important things, like doing the dishes, leaving the lights on, and using the car. My parents are used to the peace that comes with an empty nest, and I’m used to the freedom of doing the dishes whenever I feel like it. So I continue to pray for peace and humility among us, especially in acknowledging when I’m in the wrong.

I am thankful that my parents have welcomed me back (and still pay for lots of things- thank you parents!), and for the friendship and company they provide, too. At the end of the day, family is family. But they are also people. And people change over time. So it is my job to be patient, and flexible, and loving.

My friends have changed, and so have I.

Most of my high school friends have left Ottawa. Of my closest friends when I was in high school, most are now in Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver. Only a handful are still in Ottawa. And if they went to university in Ottawa, they have new friend groups, too. There’s no going back in life, only forward.

I have met a lot of new people at church, and at work. And I continue to meet people through my interests, too. It’s the wildest thing to meet someone who knows you firstly from Instagram! But that is the wonder of this online, social world we now live in. As the song goes, make new friends, but keep the old!

Finding my new normal

I’ve been back in Ottawa for about 4 months now, and I’m now finding my new normal.

I go to work, I go home, I do calligraphy, I help out my church’s youth fellowship, I go to church, I go to small group, and I hang out with Jethro. Somewhere in all of that, I hang out with, joke with, and disagree with my parents. And that’s our normal.

I’m sure this experience is a common experience for many people who leave for university, and then return home. It’s a common experience for a number of people in my church small group, so maybe it is for you, too.

If you moved back to your hometown too, let me know what shocked you the most about moving back home!