Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Timing is everything

Tonight I thought to check my email before I made an exhausted exit to bed, knackered after a full day of work and then moving all my unbelievably huge amounts of stuff to my new place (thanks to Ryan and his reliable & adorable '74 Saab 94) I'm still in shock: how could I amass so much in two years!? When Ryan said all my toiletries were stored in box made for a 42" TV box, I thought he was surly exaggerating... apparently not.

So anyways, will talk about the move later, when I can add photos of my new place, but tonight I just wanted to put some people at ease (namely my family) with a small clarification.

In my inbox tonight was a lovely little note from my Nan (emails from family are terrific, aren't they!), but it ended with "Get some sleep dear." Hm... I couldn't quite figure out where that came from, until I realised that my posts were still on Alberta time and read ridiculously late hours like 3am, 4:30, or even worse: 5am. Now, Nannie knows me well enough to forget even entertaining the idea that I actually got up at 5am, so I'm sure there was some cause for her concern. But if you work it out with Alberta being seven hours behind London, that's a much more reasonable time to be blogging!

Well, I've changed the clocks and now it should read the 'actual' time, and with that, put to rest the myth that I'm a chronic night owl. (Wait a min, er... perhaps I shouldn't mess with the time, after all!)

And with that little fix-up, I'm off to bed.

Ciao, ciao.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunshiney Day

It's a gorgeous day outside in Londontown, bright and warm with just a hint of a breeze. So what am I doing inside on the computer? Not very much, just here to share a photo or two and then I'm off to Hammersmith to see my friend Sara. She texted me last night to let me know that she's come over from Italy for the weekend to promote tourism in her area, the valley of Urbina in the province of Terni (just north of Roma.)

When I visited Sara this April, she was an incredible tour-guide, showing me all the little secrets of her valley, and there I learned that since 299 B.C. Urbina has been watched over by the ancient mountaintop village of Narnia, which is nearly the exactly geological centre of Italy.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Ticking over to the next age category

Well, today I join the folks who tick the 25-30 box: I'm now a quarter of a century old. I join such fine people as Christine, Emily, Becky, Aryn, Marsha, Marie, Loren & Tiara and many others. So that's not bad at all: I'm in good company!

Happy Birthday to me!

P.S. I think I'm the luckiest girl alive - thanks for the flowers Nicholas, and I've listened to your song all moring.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Random Art Attack II

Does this count as art? I don't know, but it was the first art-related object I saw after cycling away from the Schiphol airport on my folding bike.**

When I saw this billboard, I knew I was going to like Amsterdam: an uninhibited, liberated, gender-equality oriented and, best of all, a very very cycle-friendly city.

**There's a story behind my folding bike adventure; Shelley & Emily know it best - and share it often (thanks, gals...) It has something to do with me cycling to Gatwick airport, being stopped by a British police officer on the motorway, exclaiming "Are you mad?" to which I responded: "No, I'm Canadian!" Needless to say, I narrowly avoided a lift from the bobbies!

Random Art Attack I

Geneva sported some of the oddest art displays I've ever seen. Such a wild, unpredictable (and rather sexually deviant) backlash from the intensely (yet otherwise blase) economical and political functions that the city primarily serves.

I hadn't been in Geneva for more than 10 minutes when I saw my first sign of this private-made-public sexual deviance. A statue stood in the main hall of the Crown Plaza hotel where I was staying (thanks to my gracious & gorgeous host, guide and friend Guillaume) which at first glance, appeared to be a bronzed woman in a tight corset outfit standing defiant and wielding a crop. But as I neared, it was clear that this woman was not as she seemed. See for yourself: What a first impression....

These random art attacks will preview works that I've collected from my travels around western Canada, UK, Europe and Africa. I've been using a digital camera for four years and it feels like such a waste to have the pictures sit in folders, never to be viewed by anyone other than me. I'm sorry, but you're to be the victims of these attacks. Please bear with me (or complain, if you wish! Any feedback is good feeback.)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Temporary Spatial Pinpoint

I've reviving the pen pal pledge of eons gone by: if you write to me, I will write back.

110 Fountain Rd. Tooting
London, England
SW17 0HN

My mobile phone number is still the same, but from Canada you'll have to dial the country code as 001144 instead of just 0044.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Secret

Watched a fantastic movie tonight... the Secret (and if I get at least one person asking what the secret is, I'll reveal all here (I'm that eager to share it.)

There were many great ideas coming from this little movie and it really pulled me out of my house-hunting blues. All today, I was feeling frustrated every time I did any house-hunting; and by focusing on that frustration, I was unconsciously reconfirming and recreating the exhausting experience of searching, calling, questioning, viewing, and rejecting houses that didn't meet my criteria.

(In truth, I didn't do all that much research, or visit that many houses (six since Wednesday) but I definitely made sure that I wasn't really enjoying the whole process.)

The movie made me realise I was focusing on the wrong emotions. I was focusing on the negatives. To actually get what I want, which is a happy home for the next six months, I've got to create, hold and manifest the joyful emotions of being in a happy home. Close my eyes and imagine exactly what it feels like to be in my new house. Really relish the sanctity of my bedroom, the cleanliness and inspirational utility of the kitchen, the calm and contented vibes of my housemates.

When I start feeling frustrated again, I will stop myself and recall the positive emotions, to really hold onto the core nature of my house and the right place will come to me. The right advert will pop up on thegumtree.com, the timing and price will be right and as soon as I step onto the street of my new home, I will know it's right for me.

This thought - nay, this reality makes me very happy.

Follow your bliss and doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors.
- Joseph Campbell

Thanks, Ryan, for showing me the Secret when you did.

(And no, I certainly wasn't "on" anything when I wrote this post!)

Pulling an All-Dayer

Ha ha ha! After two months off from proper work, a whole day's worth of house hunting has left me feeling like...

Friday, September 15, 2006

...and it's yours for just $1,181.01 a month!

Day three of house hunting finds me camped out at the Natural Cafe in the borough of Chiswick, using their free internet (the only place in a radius of three kilometers) and drinking cup after cup of mint tea in the hopes of dispelling the ticklings of a sore throat (and ensuring I remain camped at the Natural Cafe.) But they're closing up now, so I'll have to head for 'home' and hope tomorrow's hunt is more fruitful.

It's really difficult, this house hunting thing. I would like to stay in Chiswick, as it's a trendy fun place, but when I read adds like this:

Larg [sic] room in lovely flatshare all inclusive (£130 pw)

Very large room in a clean and tidy flat in Chiswick.
All bills inclusive.
10 minutes walk from Turnham Green tube station.

Such a detailed add! Really makes me want to take it - oh yeah, especially when that works out to be $1,181 CDN a month. Remember: that's one room in the house. You'd be sharing the bathroom, living room and kitchen with other people.

(How's my sarcasm? I've never been particularly good at identifying or applying it, but in London it seems to come easier.)

I have no patience for waiting out for the perfect house (or wasting time with vague adds), not when places like thegumtree.com has added 1,000 new rooms to let today alone! I've been doing this house hunting thing almost every four months in the last two years and I'm so so over it. I want to find somewhere to stick down roots (small ones) for the next six months.

Six months... that's how long I'm able to stay in the UK without a new visa. I'm pretty happy about that!

Okay, so positive visualisation, and all that. What exactly do I want in a house? What's my ideal place right now?

  • Ground floor flat, close to the toilets, kitchen and backyard (so as to not hear the door opening and closing in the middle of the nights as other housemates come home)
  • Hardwood floors, central heating and newly renovated (most houses in London are newly renovated, the have to be or else they'd be illegal)
  • A view of either the backyard or pretty street
  • Bathtub for soaking after long days of working (many houses don't have a bathtub)
  • Landline so I can call home without using my mobile
  • Easy-going, non-fussy housemates. No bizarre or aggressive, either. And non who smoke.

Sadly, it's not possible to gauge all that from the above add.

Well, fingers crossed - I want to move by Sunday - wish me luck.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Take Your Vitamins

What happens when your rather expensive multivitamins slosh around in your even more expensive eau de parfume for eight hours on a plane, stewing in your checked luggage?


At least all my clothes smell good now.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Toronto Skyline

Took this photo from Toronto Island at the Virgin Music Festival yesterday. Emily and I left, happily exhausted, before the final act finished and the heavy melodic tones of Broken Social Scene followed us over the waters. What a fantastic night!

I leave for London later today - good grief: it's 2am already! And when have I scheduled in sleep? I (perhaps rather foolishly) picked up some wool and knitting needles on Saturday and have just a few more hours to finish a scarf for Emily. Gak!

This lovely holiday is quickly coming to an end, and the "real world" will soon have me click-click-clicking down the streets of London, surrounded by seven million other Londoners, breathing in the London smog, coughing out the London snots...

... and I can't wait!

Goodbye Canada, hello England.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

We love you Brad!

Waiting for Brad Pitt

Will we see him!?

Ooooh... I sure hope so!

Ohmigwad - there he is!

Fabulous Toronto

I'm back to absolutely loving Toronto today. I found two knitting stores and am happily working on a scarf for my lovely host, Emily. I also discovered Kensington Street, with the multitude of vintage stores, and at one found old-skool cycling jerseys in the $10 pile. I picked up two of these delicious finds and will be wearing them when I get back on my Guru bike, feeling slick and stylin - at the same time! - as I race down the roads to London's own Kensington. Yippie!

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Views

My initial opinion of Toronto was pretty blase - unimpressed by the onslaught of vehicles crawling along overheads, underpasses, and spilling out onto quadruple-laned highways. Engulfed by smog and smoke, I struggled in the heat, slogging under the weight of the smokey air and 100lbs of luggage, tripping from bus to subway to bus again.

Or perhaps there's another way to see it...

A snapshot of me sitting on the rocket train would show a very relaxed girl: headphones on, fingers tapping the beat, mouth chomping away on bubblegum, blowing indifferent pink bubbles. She's dressed in hip clothes complete with look-at-me movie star shades, one leg swung casually up over an enormous black suitcase, holding it from falling over as it gently rocks to the sway of the train. One arm is resting against a bloated backpack that is arguably half her size and she has her purse and day-pack squashed between the larger two items. She gives off a strong air of "I've done this before" and that she has - many times.

She knows her way around, despite being her first time in Toronto and 45 minutes later when she lets herself into her friend Emily's apartment, she is rewarded with the view of Toronto she's been waiting for... Cute, quaint, personal. Houses with character, holding the lives' of people who contain so much history, so many stories, as unique as the next door's house and its contents. Mini ecosystems, cohabiting the same city, the same time, the same air, but etching out existences that are so intensely personal, so inimitable that I'm left reeling at the thought that I'm momentarily part of the 4.5 million who inhale this air and who share Toronto as a setting to one of their stories.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


It seems like I've always been transitioning - moving-up-and-on in the Septembers of my brief history.

September brought me my first year to university, my first time moving in with a fella, my first move to London, then my second; and now, flying across the pond for another year of adventures coincides, once again, with the coming of an autumn nip in the air.

There's something about September that I relate to more than with any other season. It's such a visceral experience - the smells and colours of our landscapes- all change. Burnt leaves, decaying flora, signifying a death but I sense the excitement of change on the crisp air.

It's a perfect time for re-evaluation of situations, for transformations that have been avoided the rest of the year.

(It's also time for my birthday. September 22, just so's y'all know. It'll be my first quarter of a centry to click by.)

Post from the Air

Okay, so this is supposed to be a travelling blog, as I am the Travelling Broad after all.

That thought came to mind as I pondered the great white clouds below me from the pigeon hole window belonging to row 13F. I haven't even talked about my travels - past or current, in any of my blogs! Well, what could I do about it at the moment, 7,000 feet above the ground?

The truth is, I could still write, even if I couldn't post. With a mental groan that always accompanies an act of anti-procrastination, I opened up my laptop and began to type...
It’s brilliant outside – the sun is flashing through the airplane windown and blinding my laptop screen. I’m typing on faith while metatating on that Great, grey-shimmering lake visible below. So massive, it looks like an ocean, except for the ragged shoreline and smattering of smaller lakes that surround it. Perhaps it’s more like a giant puddle that someone has jumped into,. I slept for a good half of the flight and as we near landing, I’m finally fulfilling my urge to write. I hope we have at least ten more minutes – I realise I want to talk.


Everything moves so quickly. I was thinking that earlier this morning when Nicholas and I arrived at the airport much sooner than I remembered, and then we bipased the usual check-in hassles when I droppped off my luggage with nary a wait (thanks to online check-in.) This departure was going faster than I wanted and being caught up in my feelings of haste, I misread the giant analog clock and with a gasp, went to hug Nicholas goodbye, at which point he gently informed me I had an hour before I needed to go through customs.

Sometimes, Time is on our side.

So we ordered drinks and ate our Saskatchewan cream cheese bagles that we had oh-so-smartly prepared at home. That precious hour was just what I needed to mentally prepare for this giant move.


More tomorrow. Tonight I'm off with Emily to catch Ben Watt dj at the Century Room.

My Last Edmonton Post

I have a 10am flight and a few minutes before I head out the door. Nicholas has just gone to pick up Jill's car, which she very generously offered, so he can drive me to the airport.

I guess I'm ready to go... I've never been this organised before: I even have time to paint my toenails before we leave this morning. Nicholas has been a huge help (and motivation) in that department- thank you!

and Becky - it was great to see you one last time...

Okay all my wonderful Edmontonians - Here's to the summer of 2006. I'm sorry to leave, but look forward to another time, another year when we meet again.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Morning Writing

I started this habit in London when my dear friend Melanie gave me a leather-bound journal for Christmas. My morning pages are a way to begin my day with a cathartic, reflective, yet refreshing task - like yoga for my mind. I handwrite three pages each day - a concrete target - it doesn't matter what exactly I write. Some days, it's a struggle to get the words flowing, to form cohesive ideas, to express myself in a logical and understandable way. But on these days, I remind myself that my writing is only for myself: for encapsulating the delightful moments of my daily living, and for cleansing my thoughts from negative energy.

Which is most likely why, today, I'm not writing as fluidly - I have an audience.

There's definitely a mental shift that needs to happen when your writing is going to be read by an undefinable and shifting audience. I'm in this process, wrapping my head around writing for 'multiple purposes & audiences,' and hopefully I won't get stuck in the gears and grindings of the details and shy away from expressing.

Which is why, up to now, my blog has been rather image-heavy: lots to look at with minimal writing. It's easier to show than to describe.

I pause once again, to look over at Nicholas as he's curled up under the blankets, trying to hold onto that last bit of sleep before the day trumpets its inevitable arrival... I think the snooze button was invented for moments like this. I can only see his reddish curls poking above the covers, but his arms, even in sleep have wrapped themselves around me. I'm writing in bed, with the laptop open to its widest, propped against my stomach, and I'm very much awake - and hungry. I'm thinking about the homemade jalapeño and cheddar bagels in the fridge, served with scrambled eggs and hot sauce... and with all my remaining energy, I will that beautiful sleeping form of Nicholas' to stir and respond to my hunger. For nothing tastes as good as breakfast in bed, served by a sleepy-eyed disheveled chef.

I wish every morning could be like this.

Blogging: They certainly don't teach this genre of writing in schools.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Garage Sales and Parties

This year, I'm packing up my room in Edmonton with one thought in my fore mind: "Could I take this item with me if I moved away for good to somewhere like Toronto?" If the answer is no, I put it in a box to be given away. Last week, I realised I was packing very slowly; really procrastinating at the task, and so was greatly relieved to have another week to think through my packing conundrum. [Well... two days now.]

When my grandmother found out that I was sticking around Edmonton for another week, she decided to throw an impromptu joint good-bye & birthday party for myself and my eldest aunt. It's inspirational that my grandparents can host a party for twenty people with just three day's notice. It was a fantastic treat to see everyone for the last time - thanks Nan!

Well, I took the opportunity to lure my family down to the basement with the thrill of a free garage sale. It was great fun to see my old belongings bring new joy to my young cousins. Here, Elise, who is five years old, decided to put my paper reinforcers to good use.

It's great to be reminded that giving is as satisfying as receiving.

Happy here

Right here, I'm very happy...

Remind me why I'm leaving again?


I was supposed to fly on Saturday but I just wasn't ready to get in the travelling/moving mode again. There were family and friends to still visit, paperwork to do (like, um, my income tax!) and most importantly, to get the final okay from my doctor that I no longer have the entamoeba histolytica parasite that had be plaguing my stomach since my April visit to Rome. I will find out tomorrow.

In the meantime, the stress I was able to squash by postponing my flight has began to swell again as my new flight date looms. Only three more sleeps in Edmonton...

Friday, September 01, 2006


I finally retired my Canon PowerShot A40 camera, the one Aryn gave me in 2002. I continued my loyalty to Canon, as they have provided me with four years of top quality pictures, so purchased the younger, lighter PowerShot A530.

The comparisons between the new and old make me laugh:
  • 5 Mega Pixels versus 2;
  • 2 AA batteries vs. 4;
  • 4x optical zoom vs. 3x;
  • 2 GB memory card vs. a 128 MB;
  • and finally, the biggest hoot n' holler of them all: $260 vs. $400.

Now, the question remained: What could I do with the old A40, as it's actually still a perfectly useful camera?

Turns out, my Grandparents showed interest in learning how to use it, and after a gentle and simple tutorial, they are now the delighted owners of their very first digital camera!

(This photo was my demonstration of the 10 second delay feature.)

It's so neat how the generations can come together, especially in this age of technology.

My Own Personal Chef

Food tastes so much better when it's made by hand with love.

Thanks for cooking for me, Nicholas!


P.S. I'll keep cleaning up if you keep cooking!

Happy Birthday Guillaume!

Summertime Snapshot

Alas, the summer is drawing nigh...there is a nip in the air - so I thought I'd post this photo which sums up, quite nicely, the indulgence of my summer.

It captures a rather intimate moment between myself and a cherry tree which resides in the the Baden-Baden area of Germany. I gorged on these delicious cherries until my fingers and lips were stained a sweet-scented red.

What photo encapsulates your summer? Send it to me, I'm curious! Thanks!


Nearly ran over this giant snail while cycling to Brighton from London with Ryan.