Many times I’ve alluded to the fact that the past year has been the greatest year of my life. I’m sure many of you have assumed this was because of my signing with PokerStars Team Online, which was certainly a big part of it. It has been quite the honor to work with the great people at PokerStars to try to bring the game we all love to a wider audience. It wasn’t too bad to meet most of the team at PCA in January either.
The greatness in my life goes back a little over a year to May 30th, 2011. On that day I went to work just as I would any other day (and by that I mean chasing the bus down the street at 7:35 am). However, there was a sense of excitement that could really only mean one thing; I was flying out to the WSOP that night.
It’s only a 3 hour flight from Edmonton to Las Vegas, but it can feel like days when you are going to the WSOP. I’ve been to the WSOP every year since 2004, and I’ve always thought it felt like summer camp, just with a lot more drinking. After checking in at Caesars (thanks for the upgrade), I took off to the Rio tournament room immediately.
Just as I walked in I spotted Eric Crain, someone who I had befriended online over the previous few months. He and his friend Ryan Carter had just arrived as well, making the 30+ hour drive from St Louis in record time. I’d never met Eric before in real life, but recognized his voice from Skype right away. My first thoughts were actually “I know that’s Eric, but who is his friend…he’s pretty cute”.
Long story short, Ryan and I got quite close over the length of the series and my 2 trips back and forth between Edmonton and Vegas. When the Series came to an end we had to say goodbye, but I did not want it to be goodbye forever.
At the end of summer I was going to visit my friends in Peachland, BC. If you’ve never heard of Peachland, google it, It is probably the most beautiful place in all of Canada. It’s a small town nestled in between the the Rocky Mountains and Lake Okanagan. It is in the heart of BC wine country, with over 100 vineyards within driving distance. I knew that if Ryan made the trip with me he’d fall in love with it just as I had.
He made the trip up and we ended up having a fantastic time of wakeboarding, cliff jumping, and wine touring.
I think the trip really opened his eyes as to how great Canada really is, and the fact that he could play online poker here was a nice bonus as well. After making a trip down to Chicago where he won a WSOP ring he decided to come up to Canada on a more permanent basis.
The next 8 months were such a whirlwind, between trips to San Francisco, Florida, and the PCA. It’s such a great feeling when everything seems to be working out perfectly. I can’t even begin to explain how lucky I am that everything in the last year worked out so well.
On April 3rd, we went out to celebrate Ryan’s birthday with my brother and sister-in-law. Afterwards, the two of us decided to go for a romantic walk in the Alberta Legislature grounds, where Ryan surprized me with a ring and a marriage proposal. Of course I said yes!
With everything going so well, it would have been easy to sit back and just be happy with everything that had happened so far. However, at the start of 2011 I had made a promise to myself that I would never be content with the way things were, and would work everyday to accomplish my goals and dreams.
On of my biggest dreams had always been to move to Peachland, but I never wanted to do it alone. Now that I had found the love of my life, it was time to make that happen as well. We took a trip to Peachland just start to gauge the market, but found a home that we simply could not pass up. The next month was spent selling my house in Edmonton, putting in my letter of resignation at the hospital (very close to my 10 year anniversary of working there), and saying goodbye to all the people I loved in the city that I had called home for my entire life.
Those last few days were incredibly difficult, even knowing that I would soon be living in Paradise. Change, for better or worse, is something incredibly difficult to deal with. I know for me it’s something that I have to work very hard at pushing through. Most people don’t face the fear of change, and are stuck living a life they are just content with. I don’t want to ever settle for “just content” .
On May 30th 2012, Ryan and I got the keys to our new home, one year to the day that we first met. It’s pretty mind blowing when I look back and see how my life has changed from the day I set foot on that plane to Vegas just over a year ago.
The house is beautiful, but there is a ton of work to be done to make it our own. All that work probably means that I’m going to miss my first WSOP since 2004. It’s very sad, but this is pretty much the only thing that could keep me from Vegas. I’m still holding on to hope that I’ll be able to make a trip work, but it is very uncertain right now.
With a new house comes new furniture, home renos, and landscaping (not to mention a wedding next summer!) That seems like a good excuse to start up a Pintrest account. I’m still new to it, but it seems pretty fun so far. Here is a link to my Pintrest page: Talonchick’s Pintrest
I’m going to be posting a video tour over the next couple of days, once some more of the unpacking has been done. I’ll leave you with a picture of my new lake, taken from our upper level deck, to hold you over until then.
P.S. Even though I left my position at the hospital in Edmonton, I still don’t plan on becoming a full time poker pro. I love my work too much to do that. That doesn’t mean I won’t be taking my sweet time finding a new position and enjoy the summer weather in the meantime!