Well it is way too early to be up on vacation in Banff  but I am WIDE awake. And this story needed to come out of my heart. I have said it before and I will say it again, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. I don’t always know the reason at the time, but it’s not something that I take lightly. It’s a perspective that helps me through the tough circumstances of life. I’m not saying I ALWAYS remember in the moment, but it’s pretty amazing when I look back.

Today we hiked a mountain (a blog post will be coming soon) but then in the evening we went into the town of Banff and I was hit with nostalgia like a tonne of bricks.

I moved to Banff when I was nineteen. My cousin Dave worked at the Banff Springs Hotel and I was in a relationship that was making it difficult for me to live my values. Problem was I was head over heals and no matter how much I tried, when I was close, I kept going back to it…so I moved across the country to live with my best friend. (The story of how we became so close with ten years between us is one for the books as well, but not the focus of this post, rabbit trails are something I always have to work against lol!) We lived in a basement apartment just off otter street. It was my first time living away from home and I learned SO much about myself.

Banff is where I learned that my faith had to be completely my own. That I had to be able to hear and feel what was right for me (all things are permissible but not all things are beneficial). I wasn’t perfect (who ever is) but I grew in a huge way. I had to read, and pray and decide things on my own without asking my friends who had grown up in church about their opinions. I had to hear and feel for myself.

I LEARNED TO LAUGH AT MYSELF. To not take things so seriously or be offended by everything. I could joke and take jokes. Let me tell you, this would become a VERY VERY valuable tool in my life when I met Alex. Actually it is helpful pretty much all of the time…. But I am fairly certain we never would have made it this far if I didn’t learn this! (If you have met Alex you will know that his teasing and “humour” can be unrelenting!)

I learned to stand up for myself and what it meant like to have a true friend, one that you could trust with your heart, and what it looked like to be in a friendship where both people looked at the others as equals and put the other person first. I couldn’t have asked for a better friend or roommate than my amazing cousin. I still want to grow to be more like him. I don’t know if I have ever met someone more caring and giving. The seed of confidence and what it is like to be truly cared for is something that changed the way that I looked at friendships, and helped me guard my heart as the years went on. Gosh I miss you Dave!!!!

Banff is where I got my first job in hospitality. I started hostessing at the Rundle Lounge, and moved into portering, serving, bartending, working banquets and being a little “cook” making appetizers and Fondues at the Grapes Wine Bar. I learned so many skills working at the Banff Springs hotel and met the most amazing people. The Rundle Lounge staff was small (unlike some restaurants where there were probably ten times as many people) and so we were pretty close. Even some who had been there a long time were amazing at welcoming those of us who were joining in or transient. Tosha – I am amazed at how you could love so well knowing so many would leave. That is a lesson that I need to constantly remember! Margarita – you taught me to take risks. Jer – well you are the one that taught me to laugh at myself. And realize how good it was to laugh so much in general!

It’s crazy how such a short time can make such an impact in your life!

I just remembered this thing that my friend Jer said to me in passing one day. “People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” It’s amazing to look back and see what impact people have had in your life!

But outside of the nostalgia, here’s a couple of quick everything happens for a reason WOW remembrances.

When I got to Banff the start date for my job was pushed back, and I wanted to find some work in the meantime that would maybe let me continue part time when I started my job at the Banff Springs. Through the church I was going to I met Evie, who helped me to get connected with the Banff Camera Shop. Because I worked there I was able to get staff deals and switched to a newer camera, and got better lenses. Because I worked there, I was able to pursue my passion for photography, it was a step that pushed me closer to the end result of me becoming a photographer.

I (re) met Alex just weeks after I got home from Banff. After living in an outdoor adventure town his desire to be outside, working at an outdoor store and his interest in photography meant that I was drawn to him quickly.

It’s not for me to guess what would have happened if I didn’t live here, if I didn’t meet the people that I did. But I can look back and say that so many parts of being here have made me who I am today and I am so thankful to have been here, to be back here and to have the memories that I do (and to be making more now!)

So if you are wondering why things are happening in your life right now, I don’t have the answer, but in my own life I have come to learn there is a purpose in so much that we can’t always see at the time!