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Showing posts from June, 2012

Uganda Update #3: Amsterdam

I have just my carry-on. My big bags are checked all the way to Entebbe despite a 23 hr layover, so I have squished a change of clothes into my purse. I have no euros. I speak no Dutch. but the tourist info lady tells me what bus I need to take (after I get into the city by train), and where I can find a cash machine.

An hour and a half later, I check into my hostel.

"Do you want an all-female room, or mixed?" they ask.

"It doesn't matter," I answer, remembering how very unsexy most of my Spanish hostel experiences were.

I lighten my load and head back to the city. I walk along a canal past the zoo, and consider a visit to the Dutch Resistance Museum. But I decide to pass: my main goal is the Ann Frank House, and I'm told to expect a long wait to get in.

I go to the Secret Annex. (If you have never read The Diary of Ann Frank, turn off your computing device, find it, and read.) The only reason I am not a pool of tears for my entire visit is that I am su…

Uganda Update #2: Have Ticket, Will Travel

Ok, here's the story so far:

Saturday, 9am - can't check in online for my first flight. I call Air Canada to find out the proper code (I only have the Egypt Air one, as I booked my ticket through their site). 45 minutes of muzak and I get an agent. She gives me the code and tells me that my first & last names are reversed on the ticket, so I should enter them in the opposite way when checking in. Then she says, "Don't mention this at the airport tomorrow. Play innocent and see if they say anything." I say, Ok and we hang up. I still can't check in. I feel mildly worried, but think, If it was a big deal, she wouldn't tell me to play innocent.

Sunday, 6am - arrive at the airport. I go to the line for people who can't check in. They look at my ticket and say, "Your first and last names are reversed." I say, "Ok?" They say, "Get in the ticketing line." I do. It opens at 6:30. Two people bud in front of me, but I am too anxi…

Uganda Update #1: Delayed. Canceled?

My day is not going as planned. When I wasn't able to check in to my flight yesterday, I sat for 45 minutes on hold before someone discovered a ticket error and then advised me to "play innocent" and see what happened at the airport today.

Now I have missed my first flight. And spent many hours trying to reach someone from the appropriate office. Twitter yielded better results than the phone, but still not actual, immediate help. Email got me an answer, but not a helpful/clear one. Now a friend with Egyptian family has enlisted their help. In Egypt. In the midst of major country history.

I am angry with myself for making a mistake, I am angry with the person who told me to wait til this morning, and I am angry with the airline who cannot be reached anywhere in the world by phone today.

I don't know if this is fixable. If you are a pray-er, please pray. If you are a do-er with travel connections, I will accept your help. And if neither of those apply to you, I a…

5 Reasons I'm Smiling Today

1. My holidays are officially underway, and I am a happy camper.

2. I am singing this song:

(That's also what I look like when I dance.) 

3. This cartoon on text-flirting, wit, and insecurity.

4. These sleep-walking quotes.

5. This cartoon(is it a cartoon?) on travel and leaving luggage behind.

Summer of the Skirt: Hazards

It's the Summer of the Skirt. Or Summer of the Dress. Summer of Pantslessness, perhaps. Anyway, these are the inconveniences I've encountered thus far:

My current favourite skirt. Cost me $5. Also, the guilty party in story #3.
1. You have to shave more frequently.

This isn't about being anti-shaving. It's about being lazy. And fair-haired. But the extra five minutes in the shower are worth it in feel-good points.

2. You will get more attention when out and about.

Partially, it is because you carry yourself taller when you feel better about yourself, and that confidence is notable. Partially, it is because you have legs. Either way, it happens. Be prepared.*

3. You will inevitably expose your undergarments at least once, no matter how careful you are.

This will, of course, happen near a busy intersection when one hand is full and the other is rifling through your bag for the mail you are trying to drop off. Stay calm, don't make eye contact with the people who can now ide…

This Week Will Fly By

My weekend trip to Hamilton extended itself when friends needed someone to stay with their kids while they went out for their 20th anniversary dinner... It wasn't exactly babysitting, as the oldest three are 16, 14, and 11 (ish?). But the youngest is 4, and the most energetic child I may have ever met. The boys from my nannying days have nothing on this delightful daughter.

I love the mispronounced words and poor grammar and quickness to laugh that characterizes small children. And I'm glad I stuck around for a few extra hours with a pre-schooler on-the-go and three fun teenagers.

On the train back to Toronto, I discovered that my ticket was not adequate for the distance I was traveling. This set me into the sweats, but after listening to a strict lecture on the difference between TTC and GO transit systems (which I know well), I was let off with a warning instead of the $100 fine. He must have been able to tell I was on the verge of tears and that it was an honest mistake.


June 15th & My Roommate is Great

me: Today is June 15. We are halfway through the month. We are halfway through THE YEAR today!
Karen: Um, no. That's the end of June. But we're almost there...
me: Right... Yep. That's true.

a text convo, re: a change in my plans - 
me: Hey, turns out I'm coming straight home from work after all. Not sure what you're up to, but just thought I'd let you know.
Karen: Dang. I guess I'll have to find a different Naked Night this week.
me: Yup. And I've called dibs on tomorrow.

and texting on her move-in day - 
Karen: We might have to reinforce the walls and windows in our apartment... How else will it be able to contain all of our awesomeness??
me: Our awesome is going to blow this mother down.
Karen: Whoa, whoa, whoa... Let's not be hasty. We want our security deposit back.
me: I am literally laughing out loud on the bus.

Seriously love thi…

I Need the Darkness; Someone Please Cut the Lights

I have listened to this cover about ten times in the last hour.

On Writing & Womanhood

"I write because there are stories that people have forgotten to tell, because I am a woman trying to stand up in my life. I write because to form a word with your lips and tongue or think a thing and then dare to write it down so you can never take it back is the most powerful thing I know. I am trying to come alive, to find the distances in my own recesses and bring them forward and give them color and form.” Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down The Bones
found on this blog entry by a girl named Emily.

Today's Thoughts: Uganda & Job-Hunting

Two weeks from today, I will be on a series of planes over Africa. Actually, right about now I'll be on the homestretch. The homestretch to Uganda, that is.

To say I'm excited is an understatement.

The interesting thing about this trip is that I'm not going for a safari and I'm not going for any humanitarian/aid reasons, which are generally the top motives people head to sub-saharan Africa.

I'm going for friends, and I'm going for me and I'm going because I can and because I believe that traveling with open eyes and a student's mind will inevitably change you.

Anyway. That's my philosophical tidbit for the day. My packing list has been made and I'm figuring out when to do laundry so as to have the most amount of clean clothes without having to resort to second-class outfits before I leave.

The great thing is that I'm embracing skirts and dresses this summer, but likely won't take those with me to Uganda, as above-the-knee is deemed inapp…

Readers Gonna Read

I used to get in trouble for reading at school.

I know. Ridiculous!

Mrs. Dow in particular was unimpressed when she would discover a novel tucked under the edge of my desk, my gaze focused downward while she taught. But then she would ask me a question about the lesson, and I would answer correctly, and what else can you say?

Sometimes I would lose the book despite my (because of?) my smart(ass)ness, and be left bored and/or daydreaming... It seems by Grade 6, I was already developing the philosophy that if the work is boring or easy, so long as it gets done, the rest is details.

And now I'm 27 and good books still suck me in and work is still sometimes boring, and this morning as I heard my boss coming down the stairs, I hurriedly closed The Night Circus with a twinge of guilt.

But mostly, I spent the morning glancing over, wondering what was happening next, and when I would have the chance to find out.


I read on the walk home. As Karen said, "It's the or…

Read What I Read

When I'm bored at work, I look for interesting articles and good music online. Often I tweet the links, but not always. Also, link posts seem to be popular these days, so here are some things I've enjoyed this week:

An interview with Justin Timberlake, on Botox & being "real" as a musician.

The Temper Trap's new album is streaming.

So is The Tallest Man on Earth's. - I think it could catch on. Still very beta, very British. But so was Spotify, once upon a time.

Trappist Monks email about the practice of silence.

Andy Samberg on why he didn't get a huge SNL sendoff.

Rachel Held Evans has a whole series of posts on egalitarianism this week. They're lengthy and many in number, but for church folk who recognize that word, they're a good read.

Monday Morning Music Mix

It's Monday morning and it's cloudy and these are the songs that I'm still in love with. Nothing new, I'm afraid.

The Head and the Heart

First Aid Kit (the Swedes make strange videos)

Of Monsters and Men

(Also. Thank you friends who have messaged me to say DON'T STOP BLOGGING! I don't plan on it... I just have these crises on a regular basis, and need to recalibrate my motives/hopes/expectations for it all.)