Friday, December 12, 2008

.busy.

You know, I often wonder what it is about the season of Advent, a season of anticipation, that we feel needs to be so full. I feel so busy this time of year, and while I love going to Christmas parties and hanging out with my friends, a part of me wonders if we neglect Jesus in the midst of our celebrations...because they aren't really about him; he's just the excuse for them. Maybe that's too strong a statement, or maybe it's just me. But I will say that I am looking forward to going back to Ontario for 10 days this month. I don't have a lot of plans there. Spend some time with my family. Catch up with a few friends. Maybe go skating/tobogganing a couple of times. Rest my body, my mind, and my soul.

In the meantime, I am having dinner with some friends tonight (the first time we get to experience Brian's cooking. If it's anything like his baking, it will be exceptional). I always enjoy these times with these friends; we laugh a lot and play games and it's a very relaxing time (maybe except for when I'm the one playing Wii). Then on Saturday I have 3 things I'm supposed to go to...but I'm going to narrow it down to one, or possibly two parties if I'm feeling really ambitious. On Monday a few of us are going to celebrate with Dustin that his exam is finally done! He is probably one of the most dedicated, hardworking people I know. So he deserves to enjoy himself for a bit once the stress of his exam is gone.

The only night I have "free" between now and when I leave is Wednesday, but it's not really free because I'm probably going to be spending it cleaning the house and packing. But then I'll have a few days at Meil's to relax. Maybe even go cross-country skiing. I think this time back in Ontario will be so good for me...I need time and space to be refreshed, and having so few friends still there can help me to accomplish....doing nothing!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

.Handel's Messiah.

Last night I got to experience a little slice of heaven.

I love Handel's Messiah.
Not only is it a beautiful piece of music, but it also expresses our longing for, waiting for, expectation of, and fulfillment of Christ. It shows the whole story of the anticipation of his coming, his arrival and life, his death and resurrection, and the anticipation of his return. It is a glorious work, and I believe it was divinely inspired. (It was written in 3.5 weeks; I'm not sure there could be another explanation)

My soul was in need of refreshment. I've been attacked lately, and I am weary. (When I say attacked, I do mean literally.)

Today it has snowed (and continues to snow) and as much as I don't like snow due to the cold and slipperiness, I appreciate the way the world looks when it is covered in a blanket of white. It is strikingly beautiful, and always reminds me of God's grace. I love that he will wash us white, whiter than snow. Days like these remind me to be thankful because the picture of grace is so clear.
I always end up taking that metaphor too far, and as we trample on the snow and it turns to slush and becomes brown and dirty, I think of how often we take God's grace for granted or forget to continually ask for his forgiveness in our lives. One blanket of snow won't cover everything...Good thing God's grace doesn't end.

Monday, December 01, 2008

.sick.

I've been sick for the past week or so, which is really not fun at all.  I'm still feeling really tired because of it, even though I've been trying to get extra sleep.  I just feel drained.
But, in the midst of feeling less than my best, I've still been able to do some cool things.
I got to go see James Blunt in concert which was...amazing.  We had really good seats, just 5 rows up, and at one point he ran to our end and started playing on a piano that was right in front of us.  I may or may not have screamed like a 12 year old girl.  Probably didn't help the sore throat at all.
Then I went on the Awaken retreat.  I still haven't decided whether or not it was a good decision...but I'm going to say I'm glad I went because it's always nice to get away for a few days and enjoy creation...even if it's from a window curled up by a fire with a kleenex box.
I also went to a lecture by Tony Campolo which was good.  I appreciate his perspective because I am also a fan of social justice (I am a fan of Jesus, so it should go without saying that I'm a fan of social justice) but I am struck by the fact that somehow there seems to be a lot of opposition to a lot of things Tony had to say among the Christian community, possibly more in the States than in Canada or Europe.  I'm not saying that everything he has to say is perfect or I agree with it all, but I think he's on a good track and has a good direction at least, and it saddens me when people don't understand that vision.  But I am also personally challenged to love others practically in more explicit ways, and live my life more simply because I also still have a lot to learn and do and become.

Tanya just moved up to Edmonton, so a few of us went out with her on Saturday night to have a farewell dinner with her.  It's sad that she's gone, but I'm glad we got to hang out one last time!  

I've been really busy with a lot of teaching lately...which is probably how I got sick in the first place.  I'm still not 100% but I am feeling a lot better which is good because the next few weeks are full of classes.  I also had to work this past Saturday, so I didn't really get a weekend...but at least now I have more banked hours to take time off later!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

.relaxing weekend.

I've had a good week, but somehow I'm really tired. After work yesterday I had a nap, but didn't set my alarm. When I woke up I was completely disoriented because it was dark out and I felt like it was early in the morning but I still wanted to sleep in. Plus I was having a really strange dream.
Jenn and I both had no energy for much last night...so we enjoyed some Bailey's and watched movies. Only we couldn't rent a movie because our dvd player is broken. Although that's not the greatest excuse since we ended up watching Jerry Maguire on my computer anyways. But whatever...first we watched a movie on tv (2 Fast 2 Furious...epitome of incredible acting right there) and then Jerry Maguire on my computer. Only I fell asleep on the couch as the second half was loading. So we finished it in the morning. It's nice to not have something to wake up early for.
Today is...football. Can you believe I spent the majority of my day watching it? I'm glad Montreal and Calgary won. Incredibly close second game though!
And...I think that's about all I have to say right now. I know, my life is incredibly exciting.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

.long weekend.

This past weekend was so great. I think I really needed a relaxing weekend, so I fully appreciated this long one.
On Friday a bunch of us went over to Jemima and Preston's for raclette, which was absolutely delicious by the way. Also, I became reacquainted with Wii. Quite fun. Apparently I require a wide berth (haha, sorry, that word always reminds me of this) or injuries/attacks may ensue. Truthfully, I only actually hit Meera once, and the wall once, and everyone else was just scared by the wind rushing past them as I swung. Good times though!
We had some good laughs all evening playing Wii or Balderdash or whatever and it was just a nice time in general.
On Saturday I ran a few errands (yes, I now have a snowbrush for my car. which has already been used.) and then Tina and I headed down south for a spa thing. After which we went shopping and I influenced her to buy a colour! She is now the owner of a beautiful purple sweater which looks amazing on her. And is neither black, white, nor gray. Impressive, I know.
Then we joined Jenn and Amy and drove out to Chestermere where Meera was house sitting and having a party. There were tons of people there and we had a delicious dinner and fun chilling afterwards. It was so beautiful out there, a gorgeous house, super cuddly big dog, fun people...really great.
Then on Sunday I had a super lazy day which was luxurious. Church was great; I actually had the chance to chat with a few people before small group, and that was also excellent.
Then on Monday we skipped the Science Centre (which is sad because I had SO been looking forward to it, but good because it was incredibly busy and full of little children) and went to the zoo. Although it was slightly chilly and my shoes were slightly small, it was still really fun. I enjoy animals, even if they are caged/contained. Plus we had our own personal tour guide in Dave.
Then Evan helped me bake over 100 cookies for Wednesday's community dinner, and Amy came back over to watch Chuck. I really do love that man...if only he were real, haha.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

.winter has arrived.

I'm sick of credit-carding my car.
Top of the "purchase immediately" list: snow brush.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

.today.

So according to some what I'm about to say may mean that I'm not a real Christian, but nevertheless I'm pleased with the American election results. I don't really want to talk about politics on this blog, but if someone wants to talk about it with me in person, then I'd welcome a conversation.

On a completely different note, I taught at an all girls school today and it was so fun! The girls felt comfortable to ask really good questions, whereas usually the boys dominate the conversation. It was also interesting to teach to classes where the majority of students believed in remaining abstinent until marriage, and those who disagreed were more embarrassed to admit it; usually it is the other way around.
I'm really enjoying teaching, and making slight adjustments to fit each unique audience. I think that that part of the job will help to keep it from becoming stale or boring.

Monday, November 03, 2008

.frustrations.

I had a few frustrating moments today. A conversation with someone who is very stubborn who holds views very opposite to mine. Views that I find scary, to be honest.
As a Christian, I truly do believe that issues such as poverty, disease, human trafficking, war, health-care, nuclear weapons, and starvation are just as important as issues such as abortion. And I believe that focusing on ways to actually help people is incredibly beneficial, and fits with James 1:27. I believe that it's who God has called us to be.
I feel like today I was attacked for believing these things, and that made me sad. I was told that I am naively guiding others into my erroring ways. I am mostly sad that this person felt more than comfortable making such a judgment on myself and others, which clearly violates God's call to love one another. I don't really know what else to say to this person, but I refuse to compromise my beliefs just because of one person's narrow-minded opinion.
At another point today in conversation with someone else I felt belittled, and while I stood up for myself and defended myself, I wonder how I could prevent this from happening again without changing who I am. I haven't really come to any conclusions other than I am not going to change for someone else.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

.reunions.

So yesterday was the day for seeing people I hadn't seen in a long time.
In the evening Amy and I went to the House to see my friend Dan Nel play, and it felt like I knew almost everyone who was there. It was a sweet concert, and along with the obvious catching up with old friends bit, we played some fun speed scrabble. Sometimes the scrabble was also used as a means to catch up. fun times.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

.lovely day.

I've heard that November is blog month. So I will be attempting to blog more in November. Not likely every day, but more often.

Today I was enjoying the sunshine, going for a walk and window shopping in Kensington. I bumped into an old friend, one I haven't seen for over a year. It was so good to see her again, especially since the likelihood of that happening was slim to none. She is currently living and teaching in Seoul.
I think it's interesting how God knows how much we can handle in our lives...when one area of life seems to be overwhelming, he offers sustenance. Even through another painful experience, relief can be found. Different sadnesses can also bring unexpected joys. And it was cool for me to be a brief part of that.

On a random note, my window shopping was cut short by bloody blisters, and as I returned home a man nearly flung his cigarette butt on my leg.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

.thanksgiving weekend.

So my post about thanksgiving is slightly delayed...but better late than never, right?
Last weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving, and Amy's family was kind enough to "adopt" me for the weekend. We drove up to their farm in Tofield on Friday night.
On Saturday I borrowed Amy's tracker and nipped over to Edmonton to visit with my cousins, Jo and Cathy. It was great to see them again, since it's been a while.
I got back to Tofield just in time for turkey dinner with all the trimmings. So delicious! And the best part is there were leftovers the next day for a really good turkey sandwich after church before our drive back to Calgary.
After Awaken Amy and I went to see The Women which was a really good movie. Considering the fact that there are no men in it, it portrayed a very balanced perspective. And what a brilliant idea...make a movie with no men...pretty impressive, I think.
On Monday I went to the football game...and sadly Saskatoon got dumped on by Calgary, but it was still very fun just to be there. Let's be honest, I'm not a big football person (or sports person in general) so for me it's enough to just watch and enjoy, not get all caught up in a team and competitiveness of it all.
After that I went to Troy's for a non-thanksgiving dinner. It was very fun, except some people became angry/upset because we played a prank that apparently got a little out of control. I think that mostly their egos were just hurt from being gullible. Anyways, I got to feel special for an evening, and for that I am thankful (I just realized that this is my "thanksgiving" post and I didn't yet specify anything for which I am thankful).

I'm thinking that I could probably extend the topic of this post from Thanksgiving to Jenn's birthday...but how about all I say about that is this: it was a wonderful day (slash 2 days) and we had lots of fun and very amusing conversations, and also good food, and great cake (thanks Tanya!).
The End.

Monday, October 06, 2008

hmm

I keep thinking I should update my blog...but I have nothing amusing to say.

I got to be a part of my friends' wedding this past weekend and it was really neat. I'm really impressed by Bruce's incredible patience...I have a lot of respect for him. and I'm glad Jen could marry her best friend. It's always cool to be able to witness people getting married when they obviously enable the other to be more fully themselves.

Also, we had our covenant service at church, which was really cool. It was a pretty meaningful service, and it was cool to both witness it and be a part of it. After church I went to a small group with friends from work. We are going through the chronicles of Narnia together.

It seems like October is the birthday month...so happy birthday everyone! Sorry that's so generic...

I just had this random thought of how cool it might be to live in a world that was like Amelie.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

.last night.

So I've been meaning to blog more regularly...and some funny moments have occurred. But I haven't really felt like writing.
Maybe because I'm writing curriculum for work. and that is boring. However, I'm also writing fun monologues for work, which is quite fun, only I'm attempting to write from a male perspective which I have no idea if I'm doing accurately or not.
Anyways, I don't have to write for school anymore, so I should throw away the excuses and just blog.
Last night had a lot of fun random moments in it which I'm waiting for Amy to blog about. The theme of the night seemed to be...boobs. Big ones, fake ones, small ones, smooshed/mammogrammed ones, you name it...
Also, 2 times we were talking about something and it happened. First Meera was explaining how it's difficult to screen for breast cancer in women who have undergone breast augmentation and at that moment a very tall woman with perky, unmoving breasts walked past...with a short bald man at her side.
Then I was talking about how a taxi almost swerved right into me and if I hadn't slammed on the brakes on the off ramp as he went over 2 lanes of traffic in front of me I might not be around to tell the story...and then a car got rear ended by a limo. Weird.
Also, there was this amazingly funny little couple at Ten, but Amy really needs to tell that story. Let's just say they shared one side of their table, because you're not close enough to your date when you're sitting across from them looking into their eyes, no no, you need to be violating their personal space and disabling the use of one of their limbs making it difficult for them to eat to really show how close you feel inside.
Well, there are more anecdotes, but I'll save those for another time...or perhaps just an in-person conversation. Because some demonstrations are needed. Tina's belly, oh my. Heart shaped hole, oh my. Attempt at sounding like a whale, oh my.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

.randomnicity.

My friend Marco tagged me on his blog, so here are the rules:

1. Post the rules on your blog
2. Write 6 random things about yourself
3. Tag 6 people at the end of your post
4. If you're tagged, DO IT and pass on the tag

Here are 6 random things about me:

1. I've only ever done 2 of these tag/chain letter things on my blog ever. Including this one. Both times I was tagged by Marco.

2. I have two unwritten books written in my head. I really hope to actually write them someday, even if they're never published.

3. I can cry on demand. I should clarify...I can't just bring up tears instantly. If I'm doing a role play or acting for some reason, I get really into whatever character I'm creating, and I can cry real tears easily if it fits with the character's story. Maybe it's part of my gift of empathy...I actually feel other people's pain by imagining what it would be like to be them.

4. When I was in grade 3 we had weekly spelling tests, and I prided myself on always getting perfect. One week during the test I completely blanked on how to spell "does" and I sat there for 5 minutes looking at "dose" and knowing it was completely wrong but becoming increasingly upset with myself for not being able to spell a word that I used in my creative writing with no problem often enough. I think I've never forgotten how to spell it since that experience. And yes, I am a nerd.

5. I hate not having my toenails painted. I think they look so weird when they're naked, and there needs to be a splash of colour on my toenails. I rarely paint my fingernails though.

6. My undergrad degree is technically a B.S. degree. I did not discover this until my last semester, and I completely freaked out. I'm still not over it to be honest. I never took a single science my entire college career (thanks to OACs, no thanks to Mike Harris) but apparently in the States they don't have B.Ed. degrees, but all their education degrees are science degrees. And apparently Americans don't care that their Bachelor of Science degrees are B.S. instead of B.Sc. Stupidest name of a degree EVER. My business cards say B.Sc, M.A. which makes me happy. Hey, I'm in Canada, I can use the good version of the short form of the degree.

Ok, I will tag...

1. Rala
2. Steve
3. Merissa
4. Ben
5. Sarah
6. Nynke

Let's see if any of them actually do it...

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Art of Rejection

by Haley and Michael DiMarco

I just started reading this book for work...and I'm liking it!

Here are a few quotes (and some chunks).

"For all the guys our there who are afraid of 'hurting' girls and so play it safe and don't ask anyone out, I say boo! I think I speak for most women when I say we'd rather have the chance to get hurt than never have a date at all. Staying home alone with a tub of ice cream is never our first option. Dating, risking, finding out if you could be the one is much more pleasurable. So save us your heroics and ask us out. Let us decide if we can handle the potential pain of unrequited love."

"You have an endless supply of date invitations to offer--all you have to do is spend them. So get out there and start asking. It's the only manly thing to do."

"Being just friends is a waste of time."
"If you're still 'hanging out' with someone who no longer wants to date you, you are prostituting yourself."
"People can't have all the benefits of dating without the commitment of a dating relationship. And we aren't talking about any kind of commitment more than one that says 'yes, I'm interested, and yes, there's hope.' This isn't that tall of an order. So don't buy the lie that being 'just friends' is beneficial or even helpful no matter what they might say."

"It's not what happens to you but what you think about what happens to you that affects your emotions."

"Your mind isn't as all-powerful and as in control of you as you think it is. It's actually more like an animal: It only believes what you show it and let it daydream about. In fact, it is so gullible that it can be tricked and even retrained like a dog."

"Relationships should make you both better, not worse."

"The Law of Polarized Sensitivity: Girls want to talk it out, guys want to fix it. So girls, don't beat around the bush by using too many words. And guys, don't soften the blow by offering up scenarios that you're not interested in just to make her feel better."

"For a girl breaking up with a guy, it is crucial that you don't hint around about things but be totally direct."

"You were man enough to get into the relationship, so be man enough to get out. Face-to-face. Suck it up, be honest, and do it."

"Don't water down your decision or give them an escape clause that will only drag out the relationship that you want to end."

"It's human nature that when someone rejects you, you assume it's because of something you did."

"A wise soul sees that rejection is just another door eliminated in the process of finding the one we're looking for."

*NOTE: Some of the above quotes may make more sense in context. I won't be providing that...go find a copy of the book if you want to read more.
Also, I do not necessarily completely agree with all of the above quotes. But I am a firm believer in the sentiment of the first two which is "MAN UP!"
seriously.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

.whirlwind.

Recap of the past few weeks, in no particular order:

  • moved back to Calgary. into a new apartment. still unpacking.
  • finished my last course. am waiting for my degree to arrive in the mail.
  • bought a car.
  • bought a cell phone.
  • started a new job.
  • saw fireworks.
  • went to a ranch.
  • ate bbq watermelon.
  • went shoe shopping with Jenn and Marisa and didn't buy shoes.
  • introduced Jenn to Chuck. am to blame for her falling in love.
  • watched a football game. paid limited attention to it at least.
  • tried to tune my guitar.
  • read a book. or more than one...
  • caught up with a few friends.
  • discovered my face is too narrow for most glasses.
  • discovered that Miley Cyrus is played on the Christian radio station.
  • fed a deer by hand.
  • walked along the river.
  • made poffertjes.
  • felt sad. missed good friends.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

.nothing of importance.

Brief complaint regarding flying with sinus infections:
Returning to earth after flying at great altitudes is very painful. I can now more accurately sympathize with those who get terrible earaches every time they fly. Four days later my ears are still popping.

Brief rant regarding lawn mowers:
Do lawn mower manufacturers elicit great joy in making me look like a fool? Yesterday I mowed the lawn, and I had never used this lawn mower before...usually my brother is around to pass the job along to. I noticed that there was a bar which I assumed (correctly) that I would need to hold down while attempting to start the mower. I yanked and yanked the cord. Not even a hint of the motor desiring to attempt to roll over. I got my mom to hold the bar down so I could yank the cord with two hands. Still nothing. I couldn't see any buttons or switches which might make me look slightly less foolish. Giving up, I simply began the weed-eating, because that is more my area of expertise when it comes to lawn care. Shortly thereafter, my mom came out after having spoken to my father on the phone. There is a random reddish button, which isn't even a button but a little rubber thingy, which resides on the front of the lawn mower. Apparently if you push it two or three times, then hold the bar down and yank on the cord the lawn mower will start effortlessly. Thanks for hiding it so well oh great manufacturers.

Ok...enough ranting. I am back from Europe and that means I'm hitting the real world which I've been trying to avoid for the majority of my life. I have 3 weeks to pump out my last 3 papers for my last course and then I will fly back to Calgary, buy a car, move, and then start work.
I realize that I totally sucked it up writing about Europe...I kind of didn't feel like writing anything after Italy but pushed through until Paris (in my own journal, not online obviously), and then I just gave up. Maybe someday I'll continue to post some random anecdotes. If I remember them, since I didn't write them down.

So...one random (true) thought to leave you with...the Queen of England said that every time she hears ABBA's Dancing Queen she dances. Because she's a queen.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

.random memories Europe 2008.

So I have decided that my blogs have been somewhat boring...mostly a list of the things I have been doing. And really I have been having a lot more fun, but whenever I have a few spare moments to write a blog, the fun things fly out of my mind and I rapidly attempt to summarize my trip.
So...this is my solution. I will continually add to this post throughout my time here whenever I have a chance and share little anecdotes or comments or whatever I found funny or random and maybe you can enjoy that. You may not understand or enjoy them, but oh well.

Ok...In Rome...
Roz accidentally locked her bag with her key inside so she had to knife into her bag to unlock it, and then sew it up. This was only about our second day in.
Some Italian lady got really mad at BethL in the Sistene Chapel, and we think it's just because she was younger than everyone else taking pictures (with flash, but Beth did NOT use flash)
When we were lost trying to find Villa Borghese we accidentally stepped onto the property of an elementary school and an angry overprotective teacher kicked us off and refused to give us directions...we continued walking and we acted-out communication with very very broken Italian with a cleaning lady at a restaurant, but she didn't know how to get where we were going either (it wasn't actually on the maps...it was just cut off the top)
On the metro back that day, a random lady asked me if I dye my hair or if it's natural and told me how much she loves it.
On the metro there that day we brokenly communicated with an old man through a young boy and I think pretty much all that was said is that we're students and we think Italy is beautiful.

...in Florence...
my towel got stolen. Thankfully I still have my MEC towels...but they cover about as much as my public bathing towel that I had in Japan...hmm.
We talked with a guy selling leather jackets in the market for a long time. He really liked my dimples for some reason, and tried super hard to flirt with us so we'd be interested in a jacket...which none of us were.
Our first night there we were walking around and we got a flyer for a bar...which said girls night...and had a picture of 2 girls kissing...and as I was throwing mine out, another guy (not girl this time) was approaching us to give us the same flyer.
When walking down a street some man said to me, "Hey Baby-Face, want some free wine or beer?"
Another said "Just ask for me and get a free shot"
A man kissed at me as he went around the corner
Roz got told "I love your sunglasses" and called Sweetie
I was talking with Roz about how many souvenirs she had gotten for her family, saying "done, that one, done" etc. and this man at a booth overheard me and thought I said "gun" not "done" so he stuck his hands up and was like "You have gun? I have scared!"

...in Cinque Terre...
Our roomate was named Ryan, but Beth always thought he was Brian or Mark for some reason. I don't really know why, but he always made me laugh, even when he was trying to be serious...he reminded us of a really laid back artsy stoner dude with a goofy smile. If he were a cartoon, he would be Donald Duck.
One morning I had a banana and gelato for breakfast. It's really unlike me...but I saw all these people eating gelato in the morning and it looked so good...so I did it. Our train was, of course, delayed, so we were sitting on these seats by a fountain waiting for it. I had my banana peel and gelato bowl sitting next to me to throw out when I got up. A man watering the plants motioned for me to throw them out, and I indicated that I most certainly would. 5 or so minutes later he came up to me really close, pretended to take a picture of my trash, and motioned that I needed to throw it out RIGHT NOW. I wasn't quite sure what the problem was because I was not ever planning on littering, and I obviously had not gotten up and left without it, but I just threw it out to make him happy.
In Biassa there were church bells. Pretty much there are church bells everywhere, but in Biassa they rang the hour twice every hour, and at 7 am they rang like a wedding. One morning I counted 72 rings, the next I counted 78. I guess it's the city's alarm clock. Not so nice when we wanted to sleep in!!
We were walking along via dell'amore one night and a little boy was with his family heading the other way. He was about to throw a hissy fit, and Beth tried to circle around him, but he bounded into her and bounced off her legs onto the ground. She was horrified, thinking she had knocked the boy over, but people behind her reassured her it was not her fault at all, and also she successfully distracted the boy from having his hissy fit!

...in Nice and Monaco...
Roz and I had to pay 2 euro 50 to change at the beach in Monaco.
Beth saw a carboard cutout of an author because there was a huge book festival in the park, and then she saw the real person signing books a few minutes later.
We were walking along the beach road one night with Shady Donair Man and Chef Cook Map Guy and we saw a white party on the beach...this huge blow-up white man smacked me in the face! We have a picture of the thing, so I'll show it later when I can.
In Monaco we saw Sunburn Lady who was still out in the sun which we didn't think was such a great idea. We also saw Speedo Man who actually did muscle poses on the beach in his red Nike speedo.
We were in the "chill out room" in our hostel and 2 pretty boys fixed their hair in the window!
One of the girls in our room had just washed her towel and was thinking about throwing it out, so she gave it to me!

...on the 4 trains from Nice to Padova...
We saw Prince Charming.
A little piece of cheese fell off my cracker, so I fished it out from between the seats and was going to throw it out. Beth told me to throw it out the window, so I threw from 3 seats away because I'm known to be athletic and have a good shot. The cheese bounced off the top of the window, onto Beth, and back inbetween 2 seats. Beth was quite upset, and I wasn't allowed to fish it out and throw it out for real. Also, that train was hot and muggy with no air con so we opened all the windows and could hardly hear each other talk. Kind of fun for a few hours.

...in Venice...
We got caught in the rain! I loved it, but Roz was a tad miserable...even with her hideous 5 euro poncho to keep her dry!
The rest of the day was beautiful, and we even found the cartoon stick duck restaurant Ryan and Christian had recommended to us. There were 2 Argentinians sitting next to us at dinner who tried really hard to flirt with us. Beth was patient with them, I mostly ignored them, and Roz was really annoyed. They offered to marry Beth. Also, the one guy refered to himself as a "nasty duck" when we were talking about the superhero ducks decorating the restaurant...interesting...I had a little laugh at them because when they first poured their beer they had only foam and no beer for the first 2 glasses.

...in Innsbruck...
I got dubbed "mountain goat woman"
We had strange bugs buzzing in our room, which Beth and I tried to kill be shoving paper to block their nest. The buzzing woke me up one morning, but I didn't hear them the next morning, so maybe they had already died?
We saw people bridge jumping into a fast moving river...it looked both cold and fun. There was a skidoo there to rescue them, and they had helmets and wetsuits and everything, so it was pretty safe looking.

...in Salzburg...
We were in a tourist shop and when the guy found out we were from Canada, and me specifically in Calgary, he proudly told me that Stampede was on because "I'm a cowboy, I know"
Roz and I saw a strange "party" parade of different drink companies with people dancing on trucks going by. We left as soon as we saw a guy in a thong. eww.
We then went to a park where there were a bunch of hippies having a "save Tibet" concert. They are the weirdest dancers I have ever seen. Roz wouldn't let me take a video, which is too bad. But if you ask really nicely, I may attempt to imitate them. We saw Ab Man and Cute Guy there, but even Cute Guy was really unattractive while dancing, haha.
Roz said "I hope I get married someday. I've always wanted a hedgehog." It actually made sense in context, but it still sounded really funny.
We found an English church on Sunday, and Roy met a girl who lives in Hong Kong who will take her to an English church there! So cool.

...in Neuschwanstein...
Our train was delayed causing us to miss the bus to the base of the hill leading to the castle, and the next bus wouldn't be coming for over an hour. Another man who had been on the train with us was quite upset at this discovery, but quickly decided to just take a taxi...and offered to drop us off on his way! Super nice German guy who was there because apparently it's one of the best places in the world to go para-gliding. Anyways, he wouldn't accept any money from us and gave us clear directions for where to buy bus tickets and castle tickets before continuing on his journey. A nice welcome into Germany, we thought.

...in Munchen...
Really good weiss wurst. Almost good enough for vegetarian BethL to take a bite...she was tempted, but didn't want a bad reaction from eating meat that her body is really not used to.
Tina came!!!
The Glockenspiel is amusing, but definitely over-rated.
Travis the Australian free walking tour guide is possibly the best guide ever. Learned so much about the city...

I don't remember what city it was in, but we heard a lady calling for her dog somewhere, yelling "Ricola! Ricola!"

Friday, June 27, 2008

.Cinque Terre.

After Florence, we took a train through Pisa on our way to La Spezia and Cinque Terre.
In Pisa, we got off the train and some random old Italian lady directed us to the bus which would take us to the tower and also where to buy cheaper bus tickets. So nice!! Quite different from the people in Rome who were just rude. We got to the tower with all our backpacks, and unloaded in the shade of the fountain, taking turns watching them while the others walked around. We chatted with a couple cute Japanese ladies who thought Roz was on a high school trip :( and then an Italian mother and daughter named Daniela and Nicole. Nicole had just taken one year of English in school, so it was pretty fun trying to communicate with them, and then this Brazilian girl started attempting to translate via Portuguese and in the end we had a really lovely conversation. Then we took our stereotypical Pisa tower pictures, hopped on the bus, and continued to La Spezia.
Once there we got directions to our bus stop, and travelled up the mountain to this little village called Biassa. It is really cute...but we were both hungry and tired when we arrived, and the one grocery store was not open, and only one of the two restaurants was open, but we didn't want to pay for eating out because we're cheap. Thankfully, the grocery store decided to open from 6-8:30 that evening and we got some food. Very, very limited selection.
The only way to get to Cinque Terre was on these green buses which ran every few hours...or else walk for a couple hours to get to RioMaggiore. Our first day we walked the first two hikes, and spent some time in Corniglia (the third village) on the rocky beach, saw some naked old people, got a tad sunburnt despite the spf 50 sunscreen, and took the train back at the end of the day. We bought pesto from a grocery store and pretty much it is the best pesto I have tasted in my entire life. SO good. The next day we hiked the last two hikes, starting from Monterosso and heading to Corniglia. BRUTAL. So so so many stairs. Huge stairs. Narrow paths. Intense heat. Amazing view. Totally worth it. We spent a while in Vernazza for lunch trying to avoid the peak sunlight hours, enjoying live music from buskers, and when we finally made it to Corniglia we went down hundreds of more steps (slight exaggeration) and made refreshing contact with the ocean...yay! The last day we just took the trains, spent the day at the beach in Vernazza, and watched the sunset at via dell'amore in RioMaggiore. Quite beautiful.
The last bus to our hostel was at 10:30 every night, but usually we caught the one before that. We watched the first 2 Bourne movies, saw a couch break (slightly scary moment, haha), did some laundry, had some wine, ate in a restaurant overlooking La Spezia, and had showers with see-through doors. Also, if Pompei (did I write about Pompei yet?) is the city with random dogs wandering around, Cinque Terre is full of random cats. Rather strange, but at least they were cute!

.Firenze.

I know this blog is quite late...but I will try to remember as accurately as possible.
When we arrived in Florence it was during a heat wave and it was SO HOT, during siesta hours, with a cloudless sky and burning hot sun beaming upon us. We checked in to our hostel which, happily, had a pool! Unfortunately, we were staying in room 200, and although room 201 had been cleaned, 200 had not. We decided to wait in the air conditioned lobby for a while until it was ready, but left our luggage in the locked luggage room. About 2 hours later, our room still wasn't clean, but they gave us our keys anyways. The air-conditioning was not working (they finally fixed it our last day there) but we got to swim in their party-pool so that was lovely. The only thing with not having a/c during a heat wave in Florence is that you can't leave the screenless windows open at night because they have mosquitos, and I still have the bug bites to prove it.
Anyways...we had a lovely time in Florence. Pretty much...I bought most of my souvenirs there. I know, it's pretty silly to buy your souvenirs on the second city of your trip because you have to carry them around for the rest of your time...so: family, be happy! Look at the sacrifice I'm making for you. haha, just kidding...but I do hope you like what I got for you.
So, other than the markets, and the Duomo (which is way cooler on the outside than in, I thought...but it could be that I was a little churched-out and museumed-out by then) we got up early to miss the line and saw the Ufizzi galleries which were quite amazing, and went to Accademia to see the David which is absolutely remarkable. Also, I got requested to not take non-flash pictures in the musical instrument history section of the museum which had NO signs saying not to take photos. Actually, I only saw one sign in the whole museum, but it was covered by people and I saw it on the way out of the hall where the David was. So, oh well, I have a few decent shots of it. I paid 10 euros to get in there half an hour before it closed; I don't feel guilty at all.
On the map of Florence our hostel gave us there was a restaurant mentioned that said it would serve 2 courses, a salad, a drink, and a dessert for only 10 euros, so we determined that that would be a great lunch and possible spill over into dinner. It was kind of hidden, but we found it eventually, and this really cute waiter (I guess I didn't need to specify that he was cute...it is Italy) said he would give us the deal and seated us. We're pretty sure it was totally under the table...we never actually got a bill or anything...but it was amazing food. We got bowtie pasta with vegetables, turkey, potatoes, (BethL got tomatoes and mozzarella) and tiramisu...they skipped our salad, but we didn't really have room for it anyways. And we didn't have to buy supper, so great deal! Our waiter had been to Hamilton and Montreal before, and is going to Niagara Falls soon because his cousin who owns the Hyatt, Mariott, and Embassy Hotels there apparently. But he still has to pay for himself, his cousin won't do it.
Um...I think that's all I have to say about Florence right now...but in all it was a lovely city, and I loved the street artists and painters, but it was even more expensive than Rome over all I think.

Monday, June 16, 2008

.Roma.

Well, I have been in Rome for 2 days now, and so far I am enjoying it quite a bit. The weather has been gorgeous! We got in late Saturday night and had a pleasant surprise at our hostel: free pasta, salad, and wine! The bathroom in that hostel was...interesting...it got cleaned every day which was great, but there was definately no place for the shower head and no shower curtain and only one hook...so that was quite the experience. We have met lots of nice people so far in our rooms so that is cool.
So far all I know in Italian other than grazie and how to count to ten is:
รจ sposato?
sono nubile.
Also, Beth has received the most bella comments thus far. We decided to keep a tally.
We have walked a lot so far! On Sunday we tried to go to a mass, but were unable, but we walked around a couple of churches. We found one that was giving a free Brahms concert in the evening, so we went to that, be we all started falling asleep so we left at the intermission. It was absolutely beautiful, but the jetlag won out that time. I have a list of all the highlights we have seen in Rome so far...but I will not bore you with that (yeah, sorry, I cannot do contractions because I cannot find the apostrophe).
Today we went to the Vatican City which was pretty amazing. Also, we got the student price, yay! We walked by the river a bit today, went to a cafe for coffee (well, Roz and Beth had coffee, except it was way too strong for Roz) and spent a while relaxing at Trevi Fountain with gelato. While we were there, a family getting a tour around the city via horse and carriage stopped at the fountain, and the horse parked directly behind me. The horse gently nudged me so I pet him a bit and then he turned away, but a few minutes later he tried to push me off the wall! It was kind of funny.
The metro this morning was a bit crazy...we tried to go early to beat the rush, but in the process of switching hostels, and having my alarm clock die, and having Roz lock her key into her backpack and have to knife it open, we ended up going during rush hour. There was a cute old man trying to talk to me, but he did not know any english. I think he was asking me if I like Roma, and I said si. He tried to get some boy to translate, and he said something like school is nice here? So I think maybe he wanted to know if we were students and if we thought Rome was nice, but I am not sure. I just smiled and said yes, haha.
Oooh! We saw an old aqua duct today! That was pretty cool, I thought.
The other day we bought some groceries but neglected to weigh and sticker the fruit (I totally forgot about that process) so we were going to pay for them and the cashier guy was like no no no no no no, grabbed our fruit, and got up and went to the fruit section. We were like, is he taking our fruit back because we did something wrong? No fruit today? but he actually just did it for us, so that was nice.
Tomorrow we are going to tour the Coliseum, and the next day the Borghese museum, and then Pompeii! I am not sure when I will blog again, but keep checking!

Friday, June 13, 2008

look out europe, here we come!

Tonight, yes tonight (sorry, YL flashback there) I am flying to London via Montreal with my dear Roz and BethL.
So...if I suck it up at emailing for the next 6 or so weeks, don't take it personally. If you wanna know what's going on with me...check here!
The next time I write on here...I'll probably be in Rome.
Ciao!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

.hiccups.

I get hiccups a lot.
I don't know why. I've heard that you can get hiccups from eating too quickly. That's not the case with me. So...it's still a mystery.
Yesterday after dinner I began to hiccup, and my brother said maybe I'm allergic to something. How can allergies cause hiccups, I asked.
Well, he said, Laura gets hiccups when she eats...what is it she's allergic to?
Mushrooms, I provided for him. And she doesn't get hiccups...they make her sneeze!
Oh, well, close enough.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

prisoner in my own home?

So this week...we're having our driveway redone, and new windows put in.
So this week...I've been hiding in my basement, avoiding the chaos.
Only this week...the weather has been pretty nice...and I haven't had much opportunity to enjoy it.
I enjoyed the sun for a few minutes this afternoon while I waited for my mom to pick me up.
I went to the bank and got my new credit card. Since they sent my new one to the wrong address. 4 days after I had changed my address to the Ontario one. Good job, good job.
Anyways, I have a credit card again, so the plans for Europe must continue!
Oh! The other day I got Ben and Teri's wedding invitation...and I'm totally going to be in A'dam then (according to my current plans)!! Hoera!
And...now I'm back to reading and writing my life away.

Monday, May 26, 2008

.happenings in the sound.

It's been almost a month since I last wrote...so I decided that even though I don't have much to say, I should probably say something!

I'm back in OS...it's the same as ever. Very pretty. Not a lot of people.

Roz and I went to the Drive-In the other day to see Prince Caspian...because our regular theatre is too small to be playing it...haha

I'm reading and writing and reading and writing and will hopefully have read 4 books and written 4 papers by June 7...which gives me a few days to actually finish, and to pack before leaving for Europe on June 13!

Roz and I fly out of Toronto, and dip into Montreal to pick up BethL on our way to London. And then to Rome...and around...

Pretty much, I am really excited. And I really want to see lots of old friends in and around Amsterdam (and also Tina!!!)...so...let's make it happen!

Ok, well, that's all I've got for now...back to my paper!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Do I look lost?

Today was such a beautiful day, I decided to enjoy it by taking a long walk. At church this evening we had a potluck, so the direction I first headed was to Safeway to get some food.
On my way there, a shiny black SUV pulled up beside me and the guy started talking to me. At first I thought he might want directions, but he was actually asking me where I was going, what I was doing, and if I wanted a ride. I told him I was going for a walk and did not want a ride. As I kept walking, he pulled up beside me again and asked me again if I wanted a ride. Again I refused, and then he pulled a u-turn and speedily drove away.
It was a little weird, but I tried to shrug it off as I continued to Safeway. Once there, I decided that cookies would be a good choice for the potluck because they wouldn't melt or wither or spoil in the warmth of the sun. I stood in the cookie aisle scanning my options, and a Safeway worker asked me if I needed any assistance. I politely declined his offer, grabbed some cookies, and headed to the drink aisle because I wanted an Arizona green tea with ginseng and honey. As I was walking down the aisle (not even standing still looking) andother worker asked me if I needed any help finding anything. I smiled and said I was fine, grabbed my iced tea, and returned down the aisle to check out. He told me to have a nice day and that he'd see me again soon. (Not likely buddy)
So at this point I wondered if people were just feeling friendly from the sunny weather, or if I had something on my person that indicated that I am lost and/or confused. Nonetheless, I continued on my journey and walked down the hill towards the river.
On the bridge there was a lovely bench overlooking the river, and so I sat and enjoyed the sunshine and people watching. Got a couple shots of some brothers having a snowball fight. Oh the irony of wearing t-shirts and having snowball fights at the same time. Anyways, while I was sitting there sipping my iced tea a shiny black truck drove by and a bunch of guys pretending to be dogs stuck their upper bodies out of the windows and thankfully I did not catch what they said.
Unfortunately my stay in the park was shortened because I had forgotten to take into account the fact that tea makes me pee.  So I continued my journey to the church, where I knew I could use the facilities.  Since I was very early, I decided I would visit the house I'm hoping to move into in the fall to see if I could meet the landlady.  
As I walked the few blocks over, a shiny black car pulled over and the two guys inside asked me where I was going, what I was doing, and if I wanted a ride.  I responded that I was going for a walk, and no I did not want a ride anywhere.  They pulled a u-turn and peeled off.  
I continued to the house, and the landlady wasn't there, so I nipped over a block to see if Steve was home and to see if he thought I looked lost or if there was something odd looking about me today, but he was as bewildered as I.

Anyways, on a completely unrelated note, I graduated yesterday!  I'll post some pictures soon on my other blog.  I'm all packed up and mostly moved, and it's a bit of a strange feeling, but I've decided to enjoy this time of liminality.  I fly back on Ontario on Tuesday, and it's a bit weird to think my time here is over (for now) but I didn't really say goodbye to anyone because, 1. I don't like goodbyes, and 2. I'm coming back in a few months.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008

.in the midst.

I think that so often the cry of my heart is something that God has already begun.
As I was going to spiritual direction today I was praying that I would become more aware of God in the mundane of life. I noticed a squirrel with something it its mouth and was immediately comforted that if God can provide enough food for that squirrel during winter, how much more will he care for me. It was a simple, beautiful prayer.
Anyways, I would begin to bare my soul here, but I have way too much homework, so until next time, here's something to contemplate:
"man fully alive is the glory of God"

Thursday, February 14, 2008

.irony.

I was just listening to a detective talk about sex crimes.
I was also munching on candy hearts.
I ate one that said "why wait" during a rape story.
sick.

also, I am now currently angry at Canadian law because our criminal code sucks regarding sexual assault. and you can get more time for drowning your cat than for anally raping someone.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

.a million parachutes.

Like a million parachutes
The snow's coming down
I'll lock up the front door
And turn the lights down
In the glow of the street lights
I see them descend
Like a million parachutes
Small men on a mission

I miss the warmth
And I miss the sun
I miss the ocean
I miss everyone
And I miss the bridges
That span across the bay
Tonight, it seems like ages ago

Like a million parachutes
the snow still falls
The dogs are asleep now
There's no one to call
I'll put on some records
And wait for the light
Under those million parachutes
Now a blanket of white.

I miss the warmth
I miss the sun
I miss the ocean
I miss everyone
And I miss the bridges
That span across the bay
Tonight, it seems like ages ago

~Sixpence None the Richer

Thursday, January 31, 2008

.meh.

I've been feeling sort of melancholy lately.
I think part of it is the fact that it's January, cold, dark, and wintery. With no money for winter sports. And no toboggan.
Part of it is also due to needing to learn how to balance the heaviness I pick up from others by listening to their stories with surrendering it to God. Because I still have to take responsibility for my role, but I can't allow their burdens to crush me. And I'm not going to lie...they are breaking my heart. I do not think this is either a good thing or a bad thing. It's just the way it is.
Another part is my looming future...which is so completely uncertain. As uncomfortable as it is to be stressed out with massive amounts of work to do in grad school, there is still comfort in its familiarity, and its ability to keep "the real world" at bay. I guess part of me is afraid of what to do when I hit the real world, because I don't really know what it is I want. I have all these pieces of dreams that don't seem to make sense together, at least not yet.
I enjoy counselling and I think that I am gifted at it, and I'm definitely learning a lot (which is seriously needed) but I cannot see myself doing this full time. It is too draining and exhausting, and I need to do something else with my life too. So how stupid does that seem to take a grad degree for something I want to do part time or as a volunteer? But I am trusting that God has brought me here for a purpose, and I have already seen how helpful this is in my life and my interactions with others, the way I view the world, and my relationship with God. So it is totally worth it. But still doesn't solve my "future career" issues.
I also have some ideas for books floating around in my head and still have not found the time to really get writing. That's one of my goals for this year...to get a lot more written on that front. I don't know if I will ever be published, but I need to get these stories out of me and allow them to live their own lives, however far-spread that may or may not be. I think that writing can be a very vulnerable thing...and I wonder if I ever finish a book if I would have the courage to publish it...it would take so much work to get it ready for that, but I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Then there's the whole "open an artsy cafe/bookstore" dream. My sister can have her art studio, maybe pottery, a place to teach kids art stuff, and it can be attached to this cafe/bookstore with a fireplace and cozy furniture with a gezellig atmosphere and room for live music...haha, yeah, dream on Megs. Meil says I should just have a room in the back where I can do my counselling, or spiritual direction or whatever. Hey, no one made any laws against dreaming...
Anyways, there is definitely a part of me that is ready to be done this whole school business and move on with life and remember what it was like to have friends and a social life, but there is another part of me that wants to stay safe and warm in this scholastic cocoon. But, let's be honest, I don't have a whole lot of choice in the matter...life goes on whether I want it to or not.
On my other blog I posted a song by Jackson Waters that echoes my heart right now...It is so true, and I love the honesty of the prayer, and am so thankful for God's response.
I think I tend to complicate things and think too much about details...at least lately I have been. And I know that I just need to trust; I just need to be the person God created me to be. So I'm learning how to be, and what that means for my life...and sometimes it's scary, because it's a very different way to live life.
But God's call really is simple, and I need to constantly keep that in the forefront of my mind.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

if given the choice between a dying seal and my nostrils taking flight...



...i think i'd choose leticia's butt

Monday, January 07, 2008

first post of the new year goes to...

Banjo Man!
Ok, it's totally just coincidental that I haven't posted yet and he made me smile today and I felt like sharing, but whatever, props to him.
Today he said to me "Hey Darling! Happy New Year!" because I haven't seen him in 3 weeks.

On a completely unrelated note...I'm not really sure how I feel about it being 2008 already. Part of me is looking forward to what this year will bring, and part of me wants to be like superman and reverse the rotation of the earth to go back in time. But I am not superman, despite the fact that I have his costume...and so I must resign myself to going forward. Not that this is a bad thing; I do anticipate the journey of this year and the adventures it will hold...but maybe I'm feeling a little apprehensive about the mystery of it all. In any case, it is 2008 and classes have begun again and so has the frenzy of trying to get everything done in the small periods of available time.
A dear friend of mine gave me a journal which says on the cover "if you wish to be writer, write!" and I am encouraged once again to actually start writing more. Not for school, not for my blog, not for anyone else...and I am excited to see what will unfold.
And, already I have had some significant conversations this year. One was with a guy on a plane. We talked about spiritual direction, how to live peacefully, and Shane Claiborne's Irresistible Revolution. I was reminded of my old prayer that I would pray whenever I would travel or fly somewhere that I would have the opportunity to speak grace and truth into the life of another for God's glory. I haven't prayed that prayer in a while, and yet God gently reminded me of it by answering it before I thought to pray it myself. I am humbled and grateful...so grateful that God does not forget the prayers of my heart even if I occasionally lose sight of them.
And, already, I have been struck by the temporary nature of this world. A friend of mine experienced a traumatic experience on New Year's...she watched her apartment burn down. Nothing was salvageable, and while she had excellent insurance she currently has nothing. Of course, people are donating things to her so she can brush her teeth and change her clothes and stuff, but her two cats both died in the fire and all of her possessions have been ruined. Definitely not a pleasant welcome into the year 2008 for her, and yet she is not in despair. Maybe she's still in shock and reality hasn't quite kicked in, but I believe it's also due to her faith in God. I wonder what my reaction would be if I had been in a similar situation. I don't know, it's a good reminder for me to check my priorities.

Well, I think that's all I have to say today...I hope that you are experiencing God's blessings already this year in unique ways.