Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Check it out!!

Yay, I have colours and fonts and sizes once more! Hurray for options!!

I'd like to thank Monty for pointing me in the right direction. Now I'll definitely blog more often.

Unfortunately, there's
not a whole lot to say these days. I've been exceptionally lazy and
unmotivated. No job, no car, no friends to keep me company during the
days, and a limited supply of funds.... doesn't make for a fast-paced,
exciting life. No cute little Chinese kids to inspire funny stories, no
fascinating cultural differences to write about, no more adventures.

I miss my students and my friends in China. I miss getting vegetables
on the street right in front of my door. I miss the delicious and cheap
food. I miss having somewhat successful conversations in Chinese. I
miss the globs of spit covering the sidewalks.... Wait... no. No, I
don't miss that. Or the people ramming their carts into my ankles at
Wal-mart. Or pushing and shoving to get on the bus. Or my shoilet.

I still keep in touch with people from China, even a couple of
students. I was messaging one girl the other day - only 8 years old but
so precocious! - and she asked me how old I was. I told her to guess.
Oh my god, the guess was so cute. Sixteen!!
How sweet is that? I told her I was older and she said, maybe 20 but I
look young. As if 20 was so old! When I told her my actual age she
couldn't believe it. It must seem so
ancient to an 8 year old. But that made my day. What a cutie.

Anyway, I will rack my brain for interesting things to say in the future. It'll be a stretch.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Home sweet home

Back in the 'Peg after 14 1/2 months.

440 days.

I actually got back 5 days ago, but I've been a bit of a recluse. I've been away for longer than this in the past, but this time, it really felt long. The longest part being the flights home. I got on a bus to Edinburgh airport at 8pm. THIRTY HOURS later, I arrived at the Winnipeg airport. Thirty bloody hours!!! I was supposed to have about 8 hours to hang out in London before catching a connecting flight to Montreal, which is completely manageable. It was overnight, so I could just plunk myself down on a bench and sleep. Unfortunately, my flight was delayed 6 hours and by the time I arrived in Montreal, I'd missed my flight to Winnipeg. They were very kind and organized, and I was placed on the fastest route home, which meant going to Toronto first. So.... after four flights and 30 long hours, I was finally home.

I've been feeling a bit uneasy being back, not settling back in as easily as I usually do. I decided to give myself a week before telling anyone I was back. Just a bit of time to myself to readjust and whatnot. But that plan went out the window when I ran into a friend in Safeway. I was convinced to leave the house and go for a drink last night, and just as I was getting out of the car on my way back, another friend happened to be driving by. She jumped out of her car and attacked me with happy hugs and verbal abuse for not letting her know I was back. We went for a beer and a chat and suddenly things were starting to feel a bit more like home. It's time to crawl out of hiding and see my friends again. This past year has been one of the most challenging experiences I've had, full of extreme highs and lows. It's always a bit strange to come back to a place where not much has changed. As I ease myself back into life in Winnipeg, my life in China starts to feel like a dream. I've always hated that aspect of returning: with nobody that's been through what I've been through, everything starts to feel surreal. Everything I experienced in China and traveling is irrelevant now; it's just in my head, with no one to really share it with.

On a side note, I am stuck using a Mac, which really seems to suck for blogging. Does anyone know a way of accessing some of the usual features? There is no toolbar for changing fonts or using html etc. My blog is so ugly, help!!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Edinburgh - always my favourite

Damn, no control over font, colour or size. Even the paragraph separations don't seem to show! Crappy computer!!!

Good old Edinburgh, how I missed it. I haven't written in the last couple of weeks because I fell right back into old habits and found all my time being filled with my old Scottish pasttimes. Namely, visiting the pubs and watching crap telly. What a great way to spend two weeks!

It was strange when I arrived, because even though it had been over two years, it felt like no time had passed, it was just as I'd left it. I met up with a few friends that night and it was just like old times. So great to see them! Met at a pub (one I'd been to many times before) and had our usual bottle(s) of wine. Carried on til the wee hours and woke up the next morning feeling heavy and useless: a very familiar feeling.

I finally managed to drag my sorry butt off the couch and into the shower, and then headed into town to meet up with my two Swedish friends. They'd been my flatmates for a good while but had moved back to Sweden a couple of years ago as well. It's always fun to tell people that I used to share a room with two blonde Swedish girls who would sleep naked in the bed next to me. Haha! Anyway, they were flying in for the weekend just to see me! At least that's what I tell myself. How wonderful is that!! The weekend was filled with drinking, eating, dancing and catching up. I felt so happy, like being home.

Things quieted down for a bit once the girls headed back to Sweden. I moved in with another old flatmate of mine and we spent the next few days lazing on the couch drinking beer and watching her DVDs. Again, just like old times. Another friend had me over for a nice homecooked meal, I felt so special! On my last night we went to the pub quiz that I used to go to every week. We never once won it, but we were still there every Wednesday without fail. It was the same guy running the quiz and he remembered me, which was nice. Well, I couldn't have asked for a better last night because, after two years of trying, we finally WON the quiz. Yahoo!!! We all cheered and congratulated ourselves for being geniuses and collected our free drinks. It was perfect.

So, in my two weeks I didn't do a single touristy thing. There was, however, plenty of bottles of wine, dancing, cheesy clubs, hours of dvd watching, a few fish and chips, lots of laughs, and the occasional hangover. All in all, exactly what I'd hoped for in my visit.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005


Another thought-filled title.

So, I suck at writing lately. I wish I could say that it's because I
was so busy doing all sorts of fantastic touristy stuff. But it's not
so. We've been very laid back these days, not rushing, not doing a
whole lot except wandering the streets, finding cute pubs and
restaurants to spend time in. Which has been thoroughly enjoyable.

Riga is similar to Tallinn in that its old town is still quite
medieval. Very very cute. Cobblestone streets are just so quaint.
Although I have absolutely no idea how the women walk so easily in
their high stilletto heels. Yup, that's the trend here too.

It's odd coming to a country that you know nothing about. To me, Latvia
was a big blank. I was completely ignorant. It's been so interesting to
learn about their history and their attitudes now. Apparently there's
quite a grudge against the Russians and even though a huge percentage
of the population is Russian, they have instigated some very
discriminating laws. Apparently, Russians living in Latvia aren't even
granted citizen status. They are "non-citizens" and have a passport
that says so. How strange.

Anyway, we've had a good time here, learning a bit about the past and
present. Of course we wish we had more time. Never enough time or
money. Sigh....

Last night was a big night, with the special Latvian drink "black
balsam", flaming absinthe, and plenty of vodka and beer in between.
Tonight I fly to London where I'll have a long 8 1/2 hours to wait
before heading to Edinburgh, my final destination before heading back
home. I can't believe this trip is almost over. So much has happened
and it's gone so fast. Traveling with my siblings has, overall, been a
success. Of course we have had our share of arguments and full out
screaming fits, but in the end I think we're all very happy with the
way things worked out. Good times, good memories.

Well, it's off for one last meal together before I head to the airport. The end is near!
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