Thursday, August 21, 2003

Edinburgh this weekend - I can't wait to go on a short holiday again!

I swear - I have the travel bug and it's not going away.

This whole packing-it-in-leaving-the-country-thing has just got me wondering if I'll ever settle down.

I think I understand nomads.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Death and being far away. I have found it doesn't actually matter who the person is, if you know them only slightly, you will be more affected than you would be normally.

I come from a small town anyway and I'm used to knowing everyone's name at least - especially because I worked for the town paper for awhile - and so when the small town loses someone, I feel I can get more emotional than I should.

But this morning, I found out about a guy killed in a car crash that was the younger brother of a girl who was in my grade. I swear I can remember being friends with hin too - either through drama or our monthly school television show - but I just can't place him.

I want to be at home so I can look in my yearbook and refresh my memory. Just for him. I know he's gone so maybe it's just for his family. I'm not really sure why I want to remember so badly but I just do.

Just another form of emotion to add to the long list I have been feeling over the past year.

My thoughts are with Cheryl and her family today.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

I miss my friends and family for different reasons - at different times.

It's at that moment when you want them there. It could be for a flashing second - that you see someone wearing a shirt they would wear or you see someone in a really bad outfit and you want to gossip about it.

It's weird how homesickness sneaks up on you. It would be better if it was all at once and then you could get it over with. But perhaps that's the beauty of it. That's why it's painful. And that why you realize you need your friends and family so much.

How do you miss people if you see them every day? The sad thing is that we need to be away from the people we love to appreciate how important they are to us.

It's difficult but without distance, they are just there.

They are nothing more than the toast you make in the morning or the dinner tea you make at night. Reducing your loved ones to a daily routine.

That's why we need distance.

Monday, August 11, 2003

A boat trip up the Italian coast sounded like the adventure that we needed. We had met up with an American couple, Brett and Becky, who had suggested the idea. Although a little outside the budget, we decided that we would never be able to do it if we were on our own so might as well take the plunge.

We had landed ourselves in Cinque Terre, a touristy spot along the eastern coast of Italy. Five little towns - in no particular order - Monterossa, Vernaza, Manarola, Riomaggiore and Corniglia.

Brett was our captain to start with. he had been given a short lesson by our 'friendly' boat renter. He had kindly asked us to come back in 20 minutes when we first approached him. We thought it was because he was waiting for a boat to get back. As it turned out, he was simply not quite ready to get up from under his umbrella to move our boat out.

As we headed out, I could feel myself relaxing even more than I already was. It had been a great relief to get to this place after a busy 4 days in Rome. Now, here we were on the sea.

We came upon a little cave along the cliff rock and decided to dock. Brett pulled out our tiny anchor and threw it in to the bottom of the sea. I had a brief contemplation about how we might get it back out again if it got stuck but realized that that was it's purpose. To stick to the ground so that the boat didn't move.

Becky and I watched the boys like kids jump into the cool water and begin to swim towards the dark cave. We had decided that murky darkness was overshadowed by the urge to sit in the beaming sun. We could hear them chatting in the distance - we simply rolled our eyes and laughed at their childish excitement.

It wasn't long before they were back - 'It was like Goonies, really creepy' bellowed D., as he and Brett began swimming back to the boat. They told of the freaky crevace in the rock that made it appear there could be something like a snake or eel hiding behind. I realized my choice of the boat was a good one.

There was so much happiness in that 15 minutes. We felt on top of the world, like jet setters with our own little boat - stopping and starting whenever we wanted. This was going to be a great day. Well, sort of.

With the boys back on the boat, it was time to go. We hadn't gone to far from Monterossa and wanted to see all the cities before the end of the day. We were ready to pull our anchor in and head off.

Pull in the anchor. Not when it's stuck between two rocks. We all took turns trying to yank at the anchor. We drove the boat in circles, thinking the pull would dislodge it from the two rocks. We dove underneath the water and pickled our eyes by opening them under the sea to find it.

The day of adventure was turning out to be a little more than we expected.

(to be continued..)

Friday, August 01, 2003

Halloween in France is really not all that different than the ones I've experienced in North America. Just that no one says trick or treat - they must say something in French be we never found out. And perhaps the scenery - sitting outside in a large square in Lyon, watching the dressed up people go by - makes it a bit different than what we were used to.

We were in Lyon for 3 days and luckily, one of them happened to be Halloween. We didn't really know what to expect and had no idea if there would be anything going on. We had friends that told us places to spend it - Go to Prague, Go to Paris - but those places just didn't seem to fit in with our timeline.

In the end, we learned that it didn't really matter because there were kids everywhere, dressed up and adults came out later in the evening, themselves ready to party. How was this any different to what we were used to?

Expectations can be a funny thing. Something you're so excited for, can let you down in the end. It's almost better to simply expect nothing and then everything will be amazing.

That's not to say we did have a fab evening people watching in the square. It's just the only out of the ordinary Halloween night thing we saw was a big fight outside of a club. And that really could have happened anywhere, it's just more that when we were at 'home', we would have never been around clubs at 1 a.m.