Monday, April 16, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Dads

I admit it I am 29 and I live in my parent’s basement, pathetic I know but I usually crash here until I leave again to travel, I didn’t expect to be here a year. To be honest my parents aren’t that bad but I do keep threatening my Dad that I am going to copy that one blogger and make a “Shit my Dad says” blog. I am not sure if it is just mine or all Dads come up with weird things. I mean really weird! The thing is I grew up thinking these sayings were normal. I think the point when you know you have grown up is when you realize the shit your Dad says is actually shit he has made up and well your family it quite odd.

I finally decided to just do a “Shit my Dad says” posting. Below is the word or sayings and beside is his translation. These are his exact quotes….not mine.

Zoob: An Idiot

Rinky Dink: Old person

Benzi Maroon: someone that cuts you off while driving – “They drive like a Benzi Maroon.” A Benzi Maroon is usually a Rinky Dink.

Willnots; They are the little balls of shit that cling onto the hairs of your arse and will not come off. Long finger nails like the woman who works at Country Style are good, they are Willnot removers.

Rode hard and put to bed wet: Expression used for whore-like women.

Jerky boy: A Jerky boy could be anyone that does anything that jerks you around or pisses you off.

Crawdad: similar to a Rinky Dink only older. They are so old their hands are crippled and look like craws.

Turky lips: Anyone can be Turky Lips; Someone that does something stupid, just a general name could be anyone.

Itshit: similar to an Idiot or a Zoob but some Zoobs can be a Zoob without being an Itshit. Alcohol can bring Ishits out in Zoobs.

These are just a few examples, I really could go on.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Working in Canada Over the Winter: Random with the Rednecks

Instead of working at a busy ski resort and perfecting my snowboarding skills in Canada I have been staring out from my parent’s basement at rain and temperatures in the pluses. This is partly a good thing because my poor thinned blood from 6 years of endless summer does not agree with the cold.

I have been doing random jobs for the radio station including but not limited to accounting, filing, painting, errand running, board oping and blood donor clinics. As well on weekends I was working at the ski hill where I get paid to read a book because no one is coming out to the hill when there is no snow in the city. The fools, we can make snow!!

I tried to record a demo for an on air position at the station that recently came open but I sound like a deaf 15 year when I record myself. No one listening to a radio station marketed towards a 35-55 female demographic wants to hear that or anyone for that matter. I admit I did sound alright when I did recordings in the summer but I had to be super happy bubbly and now I need to sound mature and clever, its soooo hard! Just be yourself they say, hmmm…don’t think that will go over too well with sensors.

My prospects weren’t looking so good....

Then I was asked to cover an event for one of the sales reps. I took off in the station vehicle like I did all summer and was back on the road, going on adventures in small rural towns meeting the local rednecks. I was hobnobbing with councilors, reeves and business owners who were happy to see me; a representative from a radio station promoting their event and showing we care. I was drinking Mapleshine with ice sculptors at ten in the morning (homemade alcohol made from maple syrup) and running away from creepy rednecks hitting on me. I was doing the random again and it felt great. I need crazy and adventurous, I crave it and thrive off it.

To the people in these redneck towns drinking Mapleshine with a guy in suspender snow pants, curling with paint cans on a lake with the town’s mayor while people drive their pickup trucks across the lake to buy cheap cigarettes at the native reserve may seem normal but to me and hopefully to you my reader this shit is messed up! It’s wonderful!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jobs of a Traveler- What's your list?

I seemed to have spent the same amount of money in six weeks in the U.K. than I would have in South America in six months….

In other words I came back slightly broke. I wasn’t counting my pennies because I knew I would come back to a job and well…my parent’s basement. I went back working casually for the radio station I worked for the summer before and I got a job at a ski hill.

However we travelers are quite the resilient folk. It’s quite normal to travel for months, sometimes years on your savings not knowing what you are going to do when that money runs out. Things have a way of working out, they always do sometimes we need to remind ourselves that but we are the types who seize opportunities.

This means we have had some pretty random jobs to get us by and get us traveling again.

So fellow travelers and bloggers out there, here is my list, what does yours look like?

  • World’s Famous Fries Chip truck
  • Funtastic Funhouse – play place for children (Ghetto chucky Cheese)
  • An office assistant in a travel agency
  • Line worker in Truck Plant at General Motors
  • Customer Service Consultant – Encore Cruises
  • Customer Service Consultant – Lufthansa Airlines
  • Cocktail Waitress – Meltemi Bar, Santorini, Greece
  • Biglands Bakery, Southampton, England
  • Assisted passengers at Southampton Cruise ship docks
  • Receptionist, Tour Guide, Hostel manager – Hostal Pochon, Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Writer for a English newspaper in Mexico
  • Waitress beach restaurant – Roatan Honduras
  • Picked stones out of a farmers field (what’s the name for this job? Farm lackey?)
  • Waitress – Hiawatha Native reserve
  • Advantage Disaster restoration – Restoring houses after floods and fires.
  • Hostel receptionist – The Dreamer Hostel, Santa Marta, Colombia
  • Activities Co-coordinator/ Supervisor on a river cruise
  • Cruiser girl for radio station
  • Devil’s Elbow Ski resort – Worked in Pro shop and rental shop
  • Flight attendant on a private jet
  • Receptionist/Traffic assistant for a radio station.

Do the last few surprise and intrigue you? Well I will be getting to those later….

Until next time!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Leaving England: "Interested in everything, committed to nothing."

I left England very similar to how I left it five years ago saying goodbye to a lover in a train station. Only this time no hearts were breaking. I came over on a whim and on a chance that perhaps something could have come out of a spark that started in Colombia.

Travellers lead different lives and in turn they lead different love lives. I do not live on an ecological hippy colony in South America having orgies and declaring free love as some of my friends back home would think. We meet people on our way sometimes we fall in love and our lives forever are changed as was the case for my best friend from home who is now living in Germany with the guy she met in Australia. However most of the time we end up saying goodbye in train stations freeing us for more adventures.

Perhaps all us travellers have what plagued the main character in the book Shantaram in common.

“Interested in everything, committed to nothing.”

The funny thing is when I first read this line it really affected me in an unsettling way and I couldn’t get the words out of my head. As I was writing this posting I thought I would Google this quote to see if I could find something that relates to what I am talking about. Google brought me to the blog The author of the blog had described the very same feeling I had about those lines, and then I realized this blog looked really familiar. It was the blog of a girl I met in San Pedro Guatemala in 2008. Small world isn’t it.

It made me feel better reading her words:

“We hit upon the quote in Shantaram that seemed to completely throw my head into chaos. “Interested in everything, committed to nothing.” Ever since, I’ve been desperately trying to explore why those words affected me so much. Dustin solved that with two words: Renaissance Woman. He told me my unwavering interest in all things new is simply an attribute of people of renaissance.”

Thank you Laura!

This Renaissance woman is leaving the island for everything the world has to offer.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

What’s with the Brit’s Obsession with Tea?

British rule over India left the Brits with two things; curries and Tea. There are more varieties and better tasting curries in England than there are in India now. As for tea, it is to English as wine is to the French. Their water, lifeline, their obsession.

The first time I visited my relatives in Scotland ten years ago it shocked me how often people drank tea. What about juice, milk or water? When one cup was finished it was topped up with another perfectly steeped pot. By the time I left to travel Europe I have my fill of the substance. That was my first introduction to the British obsession with tea. We do drink tea in Canada but it always seemed like a thing for stay at home moms, they would drink in the afternoon while they gossiped. Tea was also brought out at home when we had company, on special occasions, and especially whenever my Grandma came over. My mother would bring out her fancy tea pot and cups with saucers would be filled after a large meal. I know it sounds very Leave it to Beaver but well that’s how it was. So to me tea wasn’t a drink I craved or really even thought of so much.

I then got together and traveled with my English boyfriend whom I met in Greece. One of our first purchases when we landed in Cairo was metal cups, a mini kettle and an element so we could make tea anywhere there was an outlet or fire. His precious cargo was a zip lock bag of tea bags given to him from a South African friend in Greece. I didn’t understand the need so much for tea but I went along with it as I did with most things he did and it was nice on the cold desert nights. When I lived with him in Southampton I still didn’t accustomed myself to the beige liquid. When I asked if I could have a glass of milk his family looked at me like I had a third eye and told me milk is for the baby or to go in tea.

Over my travels I have seen the English cherish a cuppa in a foreign land and pine for a nice brew but I just didn’t get it.

This past summer I struggled with my Grandma dying and the one good thing from the English boy was he told me to have a cup of tea, “it’s a hug in a mug”. So I did, whenever I felt sad. I had tea on the hottest day of the year; I had it any time of day. I drank it imagining someone’s arms around me. I brought some to my Grandma’s hospital bed hoping she would have a cup with me and the both of us would be swaddled in that warm imaginary embrace washing away the fear, worry and sadness.

So when I returned to the UK this fall the weather was damp and cold and I happily accepted a warm cup of tea. I shared a cup in the morning with English boy on the days he decided to be nice to me and it made me hold onto him when I probably should have let go. I gossiped over tea with my girlfriends in Brighton, recapped the day with my mom’s cousin in Scotland, sat nestled in my cousin’s flat in Edinburgh talking about everything and watching Save the Children and it was a nice warm break from pub life with my friend in Hereford. With every cup I had created a memory; I felt the warmth of the liquid and the warmth of the person I was with. I came to understand the English obsession with tea and why they crave it when they are far from home.

It’s a start to your day, it’s an afternoon break to say your almost there, it’s a chat with an old friend or with a new, it’s a night cap to tuck you in, it’s a memory and it’s a;

Hug in a mug

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Bonnie Banks O' Loch Lomond

When my Grandmother was in the hospital last summer before she passed away, I decided I was going to go to Scotland. I hadn’t been in years and I had family there plus I wanted to see English boy and needed an excuse, I mean I really didn’t want to tell people I was going over there to see a guy, that's pathetic really.

My Grandma said to me, “you going to the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond.” I had no idea what she was talking about and since she was medicated I figured she didn’t know either. Eventually it came to me. She used to sing to us, “Oh! ye'll take the high road and I'll take the low road, And I'll be in Scotland afore ye” she sang it on car rides and around the house. We all knew these lines by heart. It was the same for my mother growing up but when I discovered the next line of the song I realized she wasn’t talking nonsense. When she passed away I knew I needed to go over boy or not. I wanted to see the place was she was from and the land she sang about. She became Canadian and learned to love it here but her heart always remained in the land of her birth.

I saw the touristic sites in Scotland before, this time around there was only one thing I wanted to see and that was Loch Lomond. My cousin’s husband agreed to take me but warned me it wouldn’t be worth it to go if the weather was poor, the lake would be covered in fog and you wouldn’t be able to see a thing.

The day he took me started out horrible and I was ready to be disappointed, to come all this way to Scotland and not be able to see the Bonnie Bank of Loch Lomond. The rain came down, the sky was grey and fog had drifted across the road. A feeling of regret and disappointment washed over me. We waited in the car at a gift shop for a while hoping for the rain to stop. When it eventually lightened up I got out in my wellies, raincoat and umbrella and walked down to the banks of the lake. There the sky cleared in front of me showing bright blue in between the clouds. Rays of sun brightened the snow covered mountain peak in the distance. It was beautiful.

Scotland is a country rich in history, culture and tradition. People from this land are proud and humble. They are warm, friendly and welcoming. The countryside is stunning with beautiful lakes (known as Lochs), mountains (known as Bens e.g. Ben Nevis). Sheep roam the rolling green hills with a history so deep in the past that a Canadian cannot fathom, except when I hear the old song my Grandma would sing to me. I can feel the pride and passion and a shiver runs up my spine.

“Oh! ye'll take the high road and
I'll take the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye;
But me and my true love
Will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.”

Monday, April 2, 2012

The mystery of the Plastic Basin in British sinks

Now upon my return to the UK after leaving here in 2007 I was reminded of something that absolutely perplexed me and I was determined to get to the bottom of it. I am an experienced and avid traveller, I am a writer even a journalist in my own right so it was about time I solved the mystery of the plastic basin.

Some of you may not be following so let me explain. If you go into the homes of the British you will find a plastic wash basin in thir kitchen sinks. To me this made no sense what so ever. At first I thought perhaps this person has lost their plug and instead of buying a new one they decided just to throw in a plastic bin. Which is odd really, just going to your home hardware store and buy a freakin plug!!

I soon realized everyone had these plastic basins even the bakery where I worked, but I could not fathome why? No one could give me a proper explaination!

I left England five years ago with un answered mystery always lingering in my mind. While staying at my cousin’s house in Scotland I asked her why she has it and

she really didn’t know, she just always had one. What?! That’s not an answer I mean at one point wouldn’t you think, “I have a sink why do I need to put something in it to wash my dishes.” I began to ask everyone I stayed with but no one could give me a proper answer. Someone thought it was more hygienic , but really grime sticks to plastic more than metal so that couldn’t be the case.

I stayed up one night in my bedroom in Scotland determined to figure this out and if people in their own country who use these things can’t tell me thatn there was only one thing left:

The Internet

My good ol’ friend google once again to the rescue.

Here are some of the reasons I found for the plastic basin:

  • "I’ve no idea. I’ve never really thought about it or questioned it. Or even thought about questioning it. It’s just the way things are done, right?You’ve put me in a real state of conundrum. I might have to rethink the values I hold dear and throw out that silly plastic washtub."

  • "That’s a washing up bowl, so you can fill it up to do the washing up, and still be able to pour lfte over coffee and that down the sink, without getting the water dirty. Also, some people have ceramic sinks (butler sinks) and they can chip the crockery."

  • "When you live on an island, there is nowhere to run to in times of trouble except another part of the island. Given this inherent neurosis in our character, a plastic bowl in the sink is the least of our foibles."

  • "Because traditionally they had cold ceramic sinks which made the water cool. Now with the modern sinks they have not got out of the habit."

  • "There are several useful reasons for this habit, but they stem from two primary causes: the small size of a typical British kitchen, and the poor state of UK plumbing in years gone by.Many British kitchens are compact. The sink sometimes has only one bowl, and misses out on the advantages of a twin-bowl sink. With a twin-bowl sink, you can wash the dishes in one bowl (filled with detergent and hot water) while you pour any liquid slops down the drain in the other bowl. Then, you can fill the second bowl with clean hot water and dip the washed plates into it to rinse off the detergent. A plastic basin in the sink provides a workaround. It allows you to pour the slops around the edge of the basin, so that they can flow down the drain."

Right so some valid points and I did learn some but it the end its just like the hot and cold coming from separate taps, doesn’t make sense now does it.

Hot hot hot!!!!!!

Cold, cold cold COLD!! HOT!!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A real Backup

Perhaps the best back up plan isn’t a boy because as we all know if one lets you down then the next just might as well. The tried, tested and true back up; a friend.

“What are you talking about!” you are probably thinking at the moment because my last blog posting was Feb 29th so I have you lost don’t I? Well we are still in Scotland and the backup boy failed, that’s where I left you, yes I am back to my old ways of leaving you hanging in some random country waiting months for a posting…..

Anyways here we go again trust me when I am well famous you will be glad you stuck around and read my shitty yet highly entertaining blog.

The truth is it’s nice to have a few boys in the back pocket to fall back on. I mean it’s always nice to have options right? Well in the case of a momentous occasion like a birthday I was glad my backup was a friend whom I met in Colombia. We met at the Dreamer Hostel in Santa Marta. I actually met a number of amazing people at the hostel where I worked for a brief stint, it seems like minded people hang out in similar places.

Cressy had already been in Scotland earlier in the week but took the train back up from New Castle and stayed in a hostel just to visit with me and go out for my birthday. She was a saviour…and so was my sweet cousin. I had a lovely dinner in a nice Italian restaurant with them and had drinks at the Black Cat Pub on Rose street in Edinburgh.

Now if anyone reading this knows this pub and knows two guys that sing there…I believe one is name Ian and he has glasses and an amazing voice, please let me know who he is because it is rare that you hear a voice like that. One of the great pleasures of traveling is to find undiscovered talented people in small pubs that just blow you away. I had a similar experience on my birthday last year when I was serenaded on the beach in Colombia.

Perhaps I need to remember that I am the one that creates my own adventures and random experiences and the only backup is a true friend, one like Cressy whom I only met briefly in Colombia but was there for me to celebrate my birthday or how she put it, “Have a night out on the tiles!”

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