Tag Archives: Canada

Bloody hell, I just miss home.

I’ve been in Ireland for a month for university.

It’s been grand. It’s been so grand.

There have been great ups and downs, but for the love of god, it’s thanksgiving at home and I’m fecking sick of explaining to Americans that yes, we have ours in October.

Join me while I wallow in self-pity and wade through corny Canadiana while I further ignore my uni work.

 

The original Wayne’s World:

 

And the voices that were a constant in my childhood home many winter evenings:

I just want some goddamn poutine and no one in this country knows what cheese curds are.

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Saskatoon is a city, too.

I’m currently in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan at the university for a little over a month. As I’m…3000km away from Toronto, things are slightly different here.

– There are a lot of mosquitos…and they come out in the early afternoon. They’re also mutants and leave bigger-than-average marks on you.

– Everything is so dry. The air is dry. The ground is dry. There is dust everywhere. Wearing contact lenses has become a dangerous game.

– Street sweepers do not seem to exist in this magical city. Nor does the notion of “sidewalk repair.”

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“Meh, good enough.”

– The sun rises at about 4:30am. I forget what sleep feels like.

– Lots of bikes here. Great. Lots of bikes on sidewalks and I have only seen one person use a bell. Not so great.

– There are so few bars in this city, everyone knows them all. This is convenient, unless you’re trying to avoid some guy you saw last week and accidentally tell him some vague description of where you’re going.

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Plenty of places to watch the Leafs lose during game 7 when they’re up 4-1 with just minutes to go. Let’s just not talk about that.

– The Ukrainian residence we’re living in has lovely meals that remind me of what my grandmother would have cooked if she wasn’t too emotionally unstable to leave the house and go grocery shopping. The cafeteria ladies will also make you a plate and put your name on it if you plan to miss dinner. Awww.

I really like Saskatoon. It’s beautiful here. I was picturing some flat, GTA-like wasteland (yeah, Ajax/Pickering, looking at you), but there is this picturesque river that runs straight through the city and a quaint downtown area.

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LOOK, NON-DEAD TREES GROWING BY SIDEWALKS. HOW DO THEY DO IT?

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From the first day of an accidental 5am wake-up. That was painful.

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and churches, because pourquoi pas?

 

No one is debating for the millionth time about subways vs. LRTs, and I don’t even know who the mayor is but I’m pretty sure he’s not on crack. (and yes that is a link to the google search because this story gets worse by the hour).

There are also unlimited cookies in the cafeteria for us. CAN’T STOP ME.

What a nice city, and a well-needed break from various frustrating Toronto things.

The Highs and Lows of the Gym

With Old Navy’s recent sale on spandex capris, I thought I’d finally hit the gym after buying my pass in January. I know. Shut up.

The gym at my school is an odd one, because it’s tiny and it’s a solid half an half of students and old, rich people who live in the surrounding old, rich community.

There are even a section of treadmills labelled with imperial measurements.
(For those of you who don’t know, Canada switched to metric in the 70s, so those who went to elementary school a long time ago still usually use imperial. Including my parents. Yes, mom, there are 100cm in a metre. I wrote it down for you. It’s on the fridge.)

I’ve made some slight observations.

Good: Old people don’t check you out while you work out.
Bad: I think.

Good: I’ve realized that the elliptical is a magical machine that doesn’t make my knees want to crumble into dust when I use it.
Bad: Have you ever tried looking coordinated on an elliptical?

Good: I climbed the lovingly called “stairs of death” back up to campus without losing my breath after the gym.
Bad: The stairs of death exist.

Good: The new spandex capris and a cute t-shirt aren’t too shabby.
Bad: They are now covered in sweat forever.

So there you are. My adventures at this weird thing that humans go to as a supplement for our lazy-ass lives of leisure so we don’t die of cardiac arrest at 28 while reaching for that last slice of cheesecake.

Necessary disclaimer: Not me.

Necessary disclaimer: Not me.

TV Expectations

They’ve lied to us. High school was not as positive as Degrassi or as fun and good-natured as Sabrina the Teenage Witch. There was no usual “hang out” that wasn’t full of angry looking 12 grade boys trying to buy Chinese food at lunch and scaring away the local families (it happened. There were complaints. Our students were assholes.)

No. My high school was in the middle of no where, overcrowded, and run by people who thought it was more important to ensure students weren’t on their cell phones at lunch than worrying about actual learning.

No one gave a shit about the football team (this is Canada, after all, where we have yet to build a 60 million dollar football stadium for a high school) and what is school spirit? Our colours were grey, silver, and black. What a cheerful-looking crowd we would have been.

So, whatever, TV never depicts real life, unless you live in the American South, where I assume every single high school on TV is modelled after.

University matched up slightly better, taking into account the majority of students at my school commute. We have pub nights and things, woo!

Now I just hope Friends wasn’t a lie. Or GIRLS, just…you know…without the awkward nakedness.

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or the awfully unflattering outfit choices by Dunham

Well, actually when bus passes in your city cost a student $106 a month and rent is at least $700 with a few roommates…it looks like my parents are going to be roommates for a while.

Hopefully no awkward nakedness.

And maybe, if I work really hard and score an actual full-time job after I graduate that’s not the retail hell my peers are stuck in, I’ll be able to almost afford a shitty apartment with a bunch of roommates. We’ll see. 

Escaping the Heat

The past month (maybe even more, I’ve lost all sense of time this summer) has been sweltering in Toronto. Disgusting. Sweaty, humid, sunny. There hasn’t been one decent rain day–you know the ones where it’s actually raining in the morning so you can call into work and get to stay home since you’re not needed–all summer.

In 5 days I’ll be off to PEI, where the weather is tolerable and the beaches are numerous…and sometimes actually cold. Ah, I can’t wait.

Okay so there is not *that* much of a difference number-wise, but trust me, the humidity cannot be described on these silly charts.

I’ve been flipping through the albums of my two previous trips, and I can’t wait to go.

Ah, a beach with no screaming children or obnoxious frisbee guys wearing visors.

The only “traffic jam” you’ll see…getting ice cream.

And if I’m lucky, there will be a game of field golf! Yeah! (But this time we’ll have internet, so we won’t be *that* bored.)

Beautiful.

The 24 Hour Camping Adventure

What have I been up to, no one asks? Well, here you go:

This past weekend, I set out on a journey with some of my favourite people in the world. We went camping.

I had never been! Can you believe that? I think was the only person in our group who had never slept in a tent or even been to a campsite. I had to scrounge for sleeping bags and a spot in a tent off a friend in exchange for a ride up in my car. Thank god for that.

After the two hour drive to the park, we finally found our campsite. We only had to turn the car around twice, which was not bad since it allowed us to stumble upon this turtle:

It was huge and it snapped at us! Still awesome, though.

The rest of our day included struggling with camping equipment, checking out the “beach” (all rocks, no sand. Who needs sand, really?), and fending off the two middle-aged creepy guys who overstayed their invite for a quick game of beer pong on our campsite. I still don’t understand that entire situation.

This tent actually stumped the other experienced campers, it’s just a weird one!

Tents should really come with instructions.

Shallow, freezing, rocky water? Not a problem.

That beautiful gatorade bottle makes a cameo in 90% of the weekend’s pictures

We then headed out to the marsh to see if we could find another turtle. No luck, but there were some huge cranes flying overhead which were kind of neat.

did actually have friends with me on this trip! I just didn’t want to post any pictures of them without permission (since getting dolled up and going camping isn’t something we do) and sometimes I just get the urge to post something quickly.

Then we packed up and were on our way home by 11am on Sunday. A good weekend overall, but a few lessons learned:

Look up nearby hangover food places before hand. It was a 40 minute drive to the nearest one, but man that glorious Harveys in Port Hope more than made up for the long drive. You guys are awesome. That is all.

Oh and also, wear shoes, not sandals! Trust me on this one. The mosquito bites and the inevitably dirty feet aren’t worth showing off your cute and comfy Birkenstocks.

Enough With This Weather!

I’ll remind you once again that I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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(25c=77F, for you Americans/pre-metric Canadians.)

This is insane! My birthday falls on Saturday and I vividly remember years spent battling snow storms to get to the bowling alley (it was the cool place to party as a 3rd grader, okay?). I mean, I enjoy this weather. I could just as easily be stuck in my parka cursing at the city’s overuse of boot-ruining salt.

On the other hand, if I’m not outside 24/7 or if I have something to do, I feel like I’m just wasting it. I know it’s going to get cooler before summer, and it might even snow in April. It’s happened before!

It’s the idea of “better soak it all up now before it goes away again!” that makes me uncomfortable. Sometimes I just want to sit inside and write, sometimes I have appointments to go to. For those of you sitting in a lecture right now, wishing you were outside, you know what I mean. You’ll feel guilty for not enjoying the weather, and guilty for skipping class or putting off that essay to go outside.

At least I got one good day in of enjoying the sunshine!

Oscar enjoying the lake down at the Bluffs:

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And one exhausted dog in the car on the way home:

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There are three little patches of chives that have already come up from last year, too: 20120320-122309.jpg

Not complaining, chives are one of my favourites. If only basil wasn’t an annual…

There’s an interesting and somewhat depressing article in Macleans about how the good ol’ Canadian winter may be coming to an end. As much as I loathe scraping the ice off my car when I’m late for work, snowboarding (my tailbone will never recover), and other various winter-related things, there’s something very sad about the prospect that this winter may become the norm.

I mean, how else are we going to relieve the February blues when there’s no ice to watch people slip on?