a change is as good as a rest

Hello friends!

Just a short note to say we’re moving! And Then I Met Rachel has a new home and a new look over at One Red Phone Box.

Thanks for visiting with us here throughout the past year, and if you want to continue the fun, please do follow us to our new home. You’ll see the same travel stories, humorous commentary, and love of food, and we hope to see you over there too.

While there won’t be any new posts here at And Then I Met Rachel, the old posts will remain available, but new content is regularly posted to One Red Phone Box.

Happy Tuesday!



our place in the sun

Wow, this week has just gone and nothing seems to have happened. And yet, our house in numbers for the last 8 days looks something like this:

  • 6 essays written
  • 5 languages spoken and/or translated from/into
  • 3 dinners consisting of Tim Horton’s
  • 1 extra major declared
  • 3 shifts of work
  • 5 days of above 0 degree temperatures + 3 rainstorms
  • 2 suppers cooked (on the actual stove)
  • 2 birthdays celebrated
  • 1 house guest
  • 7 philosophers discussed, argued over, and
  • 0 midterms (yet… woohoo)

So there was some Glazed Carrot Soup made (p. 105) and Spicy No-Mayo Coleslaw (p. 49), but otherwise that, not a lot of food being prepared, though plenty being consumed…

The beautiful (or horrendous?) part of all this excessive work and lack of time is that the things you want become suddenly so much clearer. This week has presented pleas for more hours, less work, higher grades, fewer classes, another major, a plane ticket home (or 2), a plane ticket literally ANYWHERE, visitors, friends to come to Newfoundland, Newfoundlanders to go to friends in Nova Scotia, another cup(s) of coffee, and again, just a little more time.

The moral of this week of pleas? Time, friends, visitors, travel, and home. Through discussions of hell with Dante, death and anxiety with Heidegger, and Augustine’s constant desire to find some kind of peace, it’s no wonder that these themes keep arising in that real, not-quite-so-philosophical life we are actually leading.


So although the school stuff, and the money stuff and what we’re going to eat for supper are all things that take up time and brain space, what we ask for when we’re going crazy are the things that actually matter. The phone calls from friends on your birthday, or the surprise house guests, planning for trips back home or the desire to keep seeing new things, with enough time to do the things we love – those things matter. It should not take a moment of intense anxiety, as Heidegger says, to make one realize that we need to pursue those things, and not all the others. We should not need to wait for weeks of feeling overwhelmed and over worked to realize that there are things that are important, and we can ask for them. We will always ask for more coffee, new shoes, better weather. Why is it so much harder to say ‘I need time, and space’ or ‘I want someone to keep me company and tell me it’s okay?’

Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 27 brought in millions of dollars to fund initiatives, while promoting conversation about depression, anxiety, OCD, and other mental health issues. Yes, it’s not ideal we have to fundraise for Canadian mental health projects. But at the same time, having conversations across the country about what we can do for each other to help our mental health – those are good conversations. We don’t need to be diagnosed with an illness to recognize that we need company, friends to talk to, visitors to come and stay. We need time and space and caring people to say ‘Hey, I’m here. I’m listening.”


So, in the spirit of Let’s Talk Day, and of Heidegger and Dante and all those other cheerful fellows, find your place in the sun this week. Find someone to stand in it with, and take in all that sunlight. Find Augustine’s peace, and don’t wait for Heidegger’s anxiety to make you do it. Call your family, go visit your friends, and we’re going to start trying to ask for the things we really need, not the little things that are taking up space.

(Feel free to send us a note about finding your place in the sun. We love to read and respond to comments here, or on Facebook!)


what we’re lovin {fall 2015}

This has been a crazy fall. Full time work and part time school for me, full time school and part time work for Rachel… no more please. Time for Christmas.

Not only are we in the midst of all this, but being away from home for these four month stretches is killer. Everyone needs some pretty (and useful, and musical) things to keep them going. So here are some of our top ‘loves’ this fall.

R: This lovely version of ‘River’ by Scala & Kolacny Brothers. If you aren’t a Scala fan, you should be, and this will definitely convert you.

J: Fall sweaters + scarves. Wool, cotton, you name it. Layers are the way to go in this terribly awful cold province, and we’re doing it right. Check out our Pinterest board here for my favourites this season.

R: New blog discoveries! I recently stumbled upon Modern Mrs. Darcy, a beautifully designed site, and so many great book reviews. Definitely going to waste many valuable studying hours picking my Christmas reading list.


J: Pumpkin Chai Tea. Really, there’s nothing else to say. We don’t have a lot of tea options here in St. John’s, but there’s a David’s Tea on our bus route, and that works for us. This pumpkin chai has just the right amount of caffeine, and all the flavours of the season.

R: Yellow Split Pea Soup. We use Mark Bittman’s ham-free version, Caribbean style, from his book ‘How to Cook Everything Vegetarian‘ and add a batch of hearty Newfoundland dumplings to make it last.

J: Rainy fall days in cafes. We have no shortage of blustery days here on the rock, and although our house is lovely, nothing beats settling in with a hot cocoa in a warm cafe and a good book. Our St. John’s favourite is Coffee Matters on Military Road, with Jumping Bean on Water Street as a close second.


Pet peeve of the month: guests mix up our doorbell and our neighbour’s bell, because there is absolutely no label on them, so we get their visitors, and they get our mail. Anyone have any good suggestions for weather-resistant labels (not Sharpie- tried it!) for those gosh darn bells? Please, leave them in the comments, along with your fall favourites!

no time to blog… here’s a video!

So September for most people means, if not school starting, then a bit of a schedule shift. For us, it means both – classes, jobs, back to St. John’s we go. Change of scenery, schedule, and serious lack of free time which all evens out to mean there’s not a whole lot of writing and blogging going on.

No matter. Since we’re back in Newfoundland, we’ve got an east coast video for you.

Universities all across the country are paying attention to mental health issues as term starts up again, and all the little 17- and 18-year-old students fly away from home for the first time and live communally, and yet often very alone, in residence and in new cities. This video was created by beloved Newfoundland musician Amelia Curran, and various other, equally beloved, Newfoundland performers, musicians, actors, and community members. Not only is it a grand project, but also captured some of the three sunny days we’ve had here (ha… ha).

We’re going back to studying, but here, watch this!