Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Three surprises!


I've done a quick redesign of The Stroke and (finally) migrated to SquareSpace.

This version of The Stroke will live on as a little time capsule, in the meantime if you visit blog-jess.com you'll automatically be taken to the new site!

Thanks for your patience while I continue squashing bugs. And please do tweet me if you find any!


I'm on BuzzFeed! Super surreal!


New hair! Shorter than ever, and saving my sanity in this crazy heat (which has me dreaming of ice cream and ice baths and trips to Iceland). Stay cool friends!

Pssst...I'm always surprised and grateful that you keep coming back here to read and talk. To stay connected with me, please follow The Stroke Blog on Bloglovin. My move to SquareSpace resulted in a teeny, tiny RSS feed issue. As a result, previous followers may have to re-follow. Sorry for any inconvenience, guys!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The never-ending debate

Talking to expat friends lately, watching the Olympics earlier this winter and the World Cup now, passing the sixth anniversary of my first trip to Malta: it's all led to many (often wine-fueled) conversations about what we all love about here or there. What each place excels at and just gets right.

As I said in my previous post, it's definitely not a contest—it's a fun, never-ending debate!

Europe vs. North America: I'm not the first to make the comparison, but here's my two cents on the best of here and there.

Europe wins at: Not interrupting your meal and letting you (heck, encouraging you) to sit at your table all night long after your food is cleared away / Real wages for servers / Affordable wine

North America wins at: Greasy diner food / Free water

Europe wins at: Roundabouts / Cutesy cars / Parking skills

North America wins at: Automatic cars (stick shift, I rue you) / Cheaper fuel
Europe wins at: Including taxes (VAT) in the sticker price

North American wins at: 24-hour grocery stores / Late night shopping / Sunday shopping

Europe wins at: A sense of daring (Erin Moore puts it nicely) and timelessness / Even in their chain stores (ahem, COS)

North America wins at: Accessibility

Europe wins at: Wine

North America wins at: Craft beer

Europe wins at: Everything / Especially cheese

North America wins at: Mexican food / Bagels

Europe wins at: Separate toilets and showers! / Colorful toilet paper

North America wins at: Ginormous, shiny kitchens

Europe wins at: Espresso

North America wins at: Cafes to work in with WiFi, electrical outlets, and big, comfy chairs

Europe wins at: Working on a case-by-case basis

North America wins at: Efficiency and fairness

It's your turn.
What does your country (or another you admire) get just 'right'?

Besides Germany and soccer football ;)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Feeling patriotic, more or less.

I have always felt a bit...uncomfortable about patriotism. The way it sparks conflict and division makes me uneasy. But living 'overseas' I surprise myself with the fondness I feel growing a bit bigger, year after year, for my home and native land (that's a line from our anthem). 

I wrote a whole blog post about how I feel about Canada. Everything that is good about it, why I feel so lucky to be Canadian. And then I hit delete.

Because the trouble with patriotism is that every patriotic statement I try to make comes across as a comparison to another country, implying Canada's superiority at the expense of another.

And I hate that.

Let's just say that Canada simply is and for that—for exactly where it is in 2014 and for everything that conspired in the past 147 years to make it that way—today, I am grateful.

Nothing more and nothing less.

photos from my wedding, august 2013, halifax, canada

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

When in Lithuania