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Showing posts from April, 2004

Bits and Bites

Bits and Bites

We have another long weekend ahead of us and I'm not quite sure what I want to do to fill it.

There are two festivals going on in the city - a music one and an arts one - so I'm guessing we'll head out tonight and tomorrow and see what's happening.

It feels a bit strange to me to be in a city where there seems like there is always something going on.

Even weirder, that I did live in Toronto and have no recolection of 'events' happening in the city.

I always seemed to be broke, no money to actually go out and do anything. Now, we seem to have ourselves on this unspoken budget - and we've managed to be able to have a life.

*****

Another top priority is editing/writing for Mosaic Minds. It's amazing to think all these people work together through email - not many of us have ever spoken on the phone and I'm not sure how many have actually met each other.

It really shows the way of the future will be through written communication. I realize…

My Legs Have Not Thanked Me

My Legs Have Not Thanked Me

When we were in Berlin, we took a day long walking tour, that had us going at a fast pace for almost 12 hours. As my legs thawed out from exposure in the bar, enjoying the beer was so sastifying.

When we were in Cinque Terre, Italy, a very-hungover group of us decided to "walk" it off by hiking from Monterossa to Vernazza. The walk turned into stairs upon stairs up the mountainous countryside. We had sweat so much over the hour and a half walk that we were no longer hungover. I couldn't get back to the beach fast enough.

Neither of these activities, however, compare to the "walking" I did yesterday.

I would not so much call it a walk. It was a hike. It was a mountainous hike. It was like a mini Everest expedition - okay it wasn't THAT strenuous but it was absoutley that spectacular.

I went hiking - with walking pros - in the Mournes, Northern Ireland.

At first it didn't seem to bad. I was the only one in running shoes but I fi…
A Canadian Friend

Ohhh!!! I made a Canadian friend here in Belfast. Well, let's say I met her and will see her again.

I had decided over the weekend to start taking some courses Queens University. Their Open University has classes in the evenings and I thought it would be a great way to get my brain going again. I relish the idea of just learning something, anything, and I've chosen an literature course as my first.

And, sure enough, there was another girl, probably a couple years younger then me, who, was from Canada! I immediately started asking her a ba-zillion questions, walked part way home with her and almost got her mobile but decided perhaps I'd wait to know her longer than 2 hours before I started stalking her.

We parted ways, saying 'goodbye' and that we'd see each other next week.

I was quite excited to have met someone but walking home, the two sides of my brain starting chatting - kinda like the Seinfeld episode, where his two brains are playing che…
What is the Point?

There has been a bit of a debate over the last couple of days on the sites I frequent, specifically this one and this one that has got me thinking about what is the whole point of a blog?

I have been writing in a journal ever since I could pick up a pen. When I was younger, I was much better at filling it in ever day. "Today I went to school. I have a crush on J. I hope he likes me too. We are going to the zoo this weekend" that sort of thing.

Other times, I would be more reflective, especially during my teenage years. Reading over some of those entries makes me realize just how melodramatic one can be. But, as we all know, it's the hormones, isn't it?

University came and there were a significant amount of entries but nothing about the day to day. More reflective, perhaps less melodrama and definitely less frequent.

And, somewhere along the way, it stopped. I have little or no record of many months of my life. It was like the real world had sucked …
Patio Weather

Our little baclony came as a great asset this weekend. Belfast was hit with beautiful sunshine. And we didn't have to leave our house to enjoy it.

Although we did, wandering around the streets of the city centre, amongst the shoppers and families who were also enjoying the day.

We stumbled across some live music, as well, as part of a festival put on by the BBC. For two weeks, they are featuring live artists in various venues around the city. What a great way to get to know some local bands...and pubs.

And, around 3:00 in the afternoon, we made it home in time to catch the sun rays off our balcony. Me, with my wine spritzer and D "in his Carlsberg years" bottle of beer.

We sat and we chatted. About things that had been bothering us. About ideas that we wanted to cultivate. About actions that we had not yet put into plans.

And I finally felt better. Was it the sun? Maybe. Was the spritzer? Well, I was relaxed. I think it was mostly him. Being able to sit with…
The Office Breakfast

I used to be VERY bad in the morning. I used to leave the house without eating breakfast.

In Toronto, I would walk to work and hit one of the two bagel shops on my way. One place made a great BLT bagel - I used to get that on poppyseed, well toasted.

The other place was better for a greasy egg and cheese. That was on a toasted sesame bagel.

Bagels don't seem to be as big a 'thing' over here. Actually, breakfast on the run doesn't actually really exist that much either. You can always get McDonalds but who doesn't have McDonalds?

Perhaps that's why I started adding in the 10 minutes to my routine to sit and have some breakfast. And of course tea.

Although they don't have the grab and go breakfasts I would find in Toronto, they have something even more quaint and homey - a trolley lady.

In Leeds, every morning around 9:30 am, the trolley lady would wheel in her goodies - cakes, chocolate bars, chips - or crisps as they call them here - and…
It Was Too Good to be True

You knew it had to happen eventually. You knew things couldn't got smoothly forever.

You knew, eventually, there would come a time when something went wrong in Belfast.

It has just been too smooth a ride for us not to expect hiccups.

And so, the winning record has been broken by none other than...

the Cable Guy.

Perhaps not in the true Jim Carey sense of the word - We don't have a psychopath stalking us, peering through our peep hole.

We actually, have the opposite. No Cable Guy at all.

It all started about 2 weeks ago when we decided that perhaps we should look into getting cable. This was a big step for us. We had prided ourselves on the fact that we were happy living a modest lifestyle.

No need for cable or a landline phone. We are both in desperate need for new clothes but until we get better jobs, we know that's not in the cards. We even got our TV second hand for £30. And the antenna we have wasn't more then a tenner.

It wasn't that…
In A Funk

It hit me last night that I have been extremely cranky the last couple of days. I don't know why.

I even feel, by posting this, that I'm admiting some weird defeat, in a way. Like I've been given everything I could ever want to be happy and I still seem to be moaning. Out of everyone I know, shouldn't I be the LAST person to be complaining?

Well, I did say that this would be a blog about my experiences. And this is all part of the experience, I guess.

Before we left Canada the first time, I used to get very upset and melancholy about my life. Things would upset me - my job, my money situation, my weight - and I would feel as though it was the end of the world.

It did usually come during a lady's favourite time of the month, when hormones were raging. Happy and content one minute, sad and angry the next. I used to hate it. So did D.

Perhaps that's what it is this time. But I haven't felt like this in over a year. Since we left, this is the first tim…
Thank You Anyone?

They're not as friendly to bus drivers on my new route as they are in Leeds.

In Leeds, every morning, when you got on the bus, you would say, 'good morning' or 'ya all right?' or at least 'hiya'.

It seems I am the only person who actually says 'good morning'. Feel a bit awkward as well. Like I'm doing something out of the norm, sticking out as a foreigner, as if my accent doesn't do that on its own.

In Leeds, as people would file off the bus, you would hear 'ta' and 'ta love' and 'cheers mate' or just plan 'cheers' sometimes 'thanks', very rarely a full 'thank you' but there was always a recognition that as bumpy and long as the ride was, it was muchly appreciated by all.

I wouldn't say it's because people in Belfast are rude. They have been some of the most polite people.

In Leeds, there was a harshness, a real in-your-face-no-pretenses-what-you-see-is-what-you-get-typ…
A Case of the MUndays

I know I've raved about this movie before on this blog but I just had to mention it again.

Office Space holds one of those 'poingnant moment' movies in my life. A movie that really sticks out in my head as giving a wake up call, sending you a message, an epiphany.

I know I know, I'm always being melodramtic and going on about these "significant" moments in my life. You must wonder if I ever get through a week with out a having some sort of "moment of understanding". I like to think it's because I'm quite a relfective person although I have a feeling it maybe more that I'm not all that observant.

I'm also very good at going on a tangent - where was I? Oh yes, my Office Space moment.

You know the first time you saw Dirty Dancing? When she does the jump at the end of the movie? You'll always remember wanting to find a guy that could move like that and DEEP DOWN wanted to find one that would stick up to your dad,…
What a View

It's a beautiful sunny day in Belfast..and I'm stuck here at work.

I shouldn't complain. I've only been here since Wednesday. With Monday and Tuesday off, I worked my first ever 3 day work week.

I must admit, we haven't really seen that much sun since we arrived. People used to tell me you'll miss the sun. Well, I am actually, missing the sun.

When I was in Toronto, I loved to wander at lunch in the sun, grab a vendor dog or a huge box of salad from the salad bar and sit outside, enjoying the nice day. When summer came, it was always hot - most days there was always sun. YOu would rarely have a rainy day in the summer.

Over here, they always say, "you never know". They always are hesitant to speak of the summer months with too much enthusiasm in case the weather Gods are listening and decide to keep the sun away.

Last summer was spectacular in Leeds and here in Belfast I'm told. There was sun pretty much every day. I just assumed this w…
Memories from a Month

I was editing a webpage with dates today and wrote "April". For some strange reason, I was reminded of a girl I knew when I was 10 or 11 named April.

I always though it facinating that she was named after a month. How clever of her parents to think "outside of the box" and give her a name that was not all that popular at the time.

I had just moved to the small town into our fantastic family home. As a 10 year old, I thought it was a mansion. I think it was when it was first built in the 1800s.

While there were many kids who went to my public school who lived in nice, 'normal' households, we also were home to the lesser fortunate or as we so lovingly called them 'skids'. Amazing how it's ingrained early on that image and money make you worthy. Or should I say, your parents, material things make you cool. Kids can be so cruel.

Being the 'new kid' in class meant that I wasn't really sure of the cool and not cool lin…
How Long Have I Been Here?

It has been a month at the end of the week that we fly from Canada. That means, that we have really only been in Belfast for 3 WEEKS. 3 WEEKS???!!!

It feels like I've been here forever.

Which is perhaps why I'm putting extra pressue on myself to get a career job as opposed to the temporary one I have right now. I feel like I'm going to start getting lazy and begin to feel content in the job that I have and never fufill my dream of getting back to writing for a living.

I'm getting so nervous that I'm at the point where I have been talking about for what seems like an eternity and I'm not actually doing anything to progress.

Then, I have to take a step back and it hits me: I have only been here for 3 WEEKS!! In that time I have:

Found a place to live
Found a job that pays well, has nice people and is mildly challenging
Socialised with locals - Belfast borns and not so locals - French couple from Brittany and Aussie from Cambria (sp)
Ma…
I Was Right

I've confirmed an concept that has been rolling around in my brain since we left Toronto in 2002.

It's sounds quite cliche but material things really do not bring you happiness. It's all in what you are doing with your time.

It's been proven to me over the last couple of weeks here in Belfast. Let me explain.

I have a really modern, clean, centrally located flat with a washer/dryer, fridge/freezer, bath and shower, balcony and trendy dining and living room furniture.

I am minutes from the movies, the market, the pubs, the library, the shops.

I have been able to buy things for the apartment this time because we are not pinching the pennies for months when we're not working and travelling.

I now have a work and play wardrobe with nice shoes, two outdoor jackets, and triple the amount of shirts, pants and skirts that I had last year.

All of this has not made me any happier than I was last year in our modest flat with a damp basement.

It's not that I'…
My Brain Is Mush

First, my comments seem to be gone. Perhaps it's just on the library computer. Hmm. Will investigate at work tomorrow.

Ah, yes, Work! I am happy to report that this is the first temp job that I do believe I will a) learn something new and b) further my career as a future freelancer/book editor/author/travel writer.

Working in an information centre dealing with queries and information all day really gets the brain going. No diary appointments. No email filtering for others. No scheduling. Or filing. Or answering EVERYONE's phone.

In a temp world, this is a step up.

I am so exhausted after my first day. I'm going through information overload. And I love it.

Do you know how long it has been since I feel like someone else has challenged my brain? Mosaic Minds has given me a good run for my money but the pressure always comes from me more than anyone else.

I had so much I wanted to say but I'm having trouble even forming one sentence let alone a coherent par…
Support Your Local Library

I am now free. Free to enter and write as much as I want. As long as it fits into an hour.

Got my library card today and a list of the Belfast library opening times. I am really part of the community.

I felt SUPER part of the community when after telling the fish man at the market that I was from Canada, he proceeded to have a full conversation which ended with me getting his name and a discount on the fish. Who knew an accent could be such an asset.

Feel like I've been in the flat we rented last Friday for a year. I'm also realizing how anal I am about clutter. I start having anxiety if things are in their place. "oooo..piece of paper...needs to go in the top drawer of the cabinet where the 'paper' goes..."

I'm sure Mosaic Minds has launched and I'm going to check it out right after I post but I wanted to get something uploaded before they kick me off the machine. Check it out.

My writing bug is back with a vengence. I just w…