Sarah, can you write me a bio so I can write about you?
Begin Facebook chat……………..
Since I hate writing in reference to myself (most especially in the 3rd person) I am going to jot this down in the 1st person. I am a 36 year old mother of 3 (Jackson-4yrs, Alexander-2yrs and Lyla 6mnths) living in Carleton Place. I am married (going on 2 years now) and life is pretty, well ordinary. I am the owner of Ariza Consulting (started in 2007) and my company provides a number of support services to businesses. I am a jill of all trades – I write, edit, organize, train, advise and plan. Having had 20+ jobs in the last 19 years I am have acquired many different skills and as such I am able to offer clients “the corporate boardroom on a small business budget”. I am happy to have worked with some wonderfully talented local people and businesses as well and connect businesses to each other when their needs are outside my wheelhouse (or if I’m too busy to take on more work solo).
These days I haven’t had much time for hobbies. Before I had small children in the house I wrote and read a lot, I’m a history buff and love a good chat about philosophy or politics. Once upon a time I painted quite a lot and I still do I suppose if you count crafts with my kids. I could say that community events are a hobby of sorts. I love taking an idea and making it a reality and bringing something unique to our area at the same time. I live by the philosophy that where you live is more than just an address so in keeping with that I try in any way I am able to improve where I live, to support my community and neighbours and to try to fill gaps where I can.
I love that my children are growing up in a town where they are involved and invested in what happens, where store owners know them by name and where they feel safe among their neighbours. When I started volunteering on the Facebook group/page, the Carleton Place Social Scene (oh gosh like 4yrs ago now), I wanted very much to create a space that encouraged neighbours to get to know each other and to be active in the community, a place to ask questions, get information and promote all the things I loved about living here. I think the reason it’s been successful is that Lisa started the group with that same vision and once the two of us came together in this shared goal there was nothing stopping us! I am so proud of the work we’ve done with the group. That people in our community share ideas and stories together and in doing so make changes and spark new traditions. The Carleton Place Winter Carnival was born on that group wall (as were a number of other community events and initiatives), I am truly honored to be a part of it.
I grew up on a farm in Franktown (just outside of Carleton Place), we raised pigs and chickens and sheep, grew a variety of crops and lived a pretty simple country life. I have 2 younger brothers (1 my Irish twin, sharing my birthday on January 1st). I attended high school in Perth (St John’s Catholic High School) and was always a bit of a nerd. I loved unique things and hunted through my grandparents attic and thrift stores for clothes instead of the trendy malls of my peers, I cast off the music of my generation and worshiped at the alter of The Doors, Janice Joplin and the Beatles. I was an odd duck but a studious one and school was always something that I enjoyed. To this day I still love learning something new, studying or taking on a new project.
I started school young so graduated at 17 and went to University at Trent in Peterborough where I studied Anthropology and English Literature for 2 years before returning to the area following my parent’s divorce. I moved to Carleton Place actually, rented an apartment above where Natural Pet Foods is today and my youngest brother moved in with me to finish High School at Notre Dame. After that I bounced for a number of years, living with family and then in Brockville and Kingston. When in Kingston I attempted to resume my studies at Queens (Sociology) and attended for 1 year before moving to Calgary with my roommate for a whole new adventure (If you do the math that’s 3 years of study and alas no degree – I think, to date, it’s my only regret).
We decided on a whim to go west and without jobs or friends or anything more than a couple of cats and a couple of suitcase we hopped a plane. I worked for a cell phone software company and as a video store clerk, I tasted sushi for the first time (I love it!), acquired a love of country music and the rodeo and saw the Rockies. My job involved managing teams of translators and at times I had a team of 300+ people. I enjoyed getting to know them from afar and would send weekly team newsletters and celebrate each of their unique languages and cultures. I had team members on every continent and learned so much about each of their country’s history, language and culture. I loved my work and rose quickly in the ranks, I even started a social committee (of course and arranged with a local pub to offer happy hour drink/app specials on Friday afternoons to our company. I wrote a newsletter, encouraged team building events and training and made my home away from home, a little more familiar.
After a year I came back to Ontario, living in Rideau Ferry on the water with my brother for another year or so and worked for a real estate company but finally a fantastic job offer lead me back to Calgary for another nearly 2 years before my roommate and I (and our cats) landed in the Glebe in downtown Ottawa. More adventures followed as 2-single 20 something gals explored the big city. We were blessed to have moved into a building with a handful of apartments, the majority of which were occupied by young women similar to us. It was a sorority type experience and we made fast friendships. It’s in the Glebe where I got that first taste of community-based living. It was like its own little self-contained world of fine dining, art, trendy shops and community events. We had parties on the front lawn that all the neighbours came to and watched the world go by from our front porch and at times it felt like we were in our own little bubble. In those years between University and the Glebe I also travelled (something I never thought I’d be able to do growing up). I went to Mexico, Dominican, Ireland and Scotland. I fell in love with Europe and still hope to go back one day. At 27 I decided I wanted to buy a house and take my life in a new direction. I shopped around and found an affordable little wartime home in Smiths Falls…suddenly I was a home owner (still had the 2 cats).
I met and started to date my now husband, went to Vegas for my 30th birthday, Steve and I then travelled together to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and a friend’s wedding and then came home and moved in together (into a little house in Carleton Place, same 2 cats) and the rest, as they say is history.
I’m a pretty ordinary girl, a mama who loves her kids and exploring the world with them, a wife who truly believes her husband is the absolute best decision she ever made, a friend (a good one I hope) and a pretty decent neighbor.
Facebook Chat Conversation End
In the end I kept the chat as it as I could have not written this any better because— in my mind Sarah is no ordinary girl!