Community Project: Dawson City Hospital

Think about it.

When admitted to hospital, having doctors and nurses keeping watch over you, providing a calm and safe place for you to heal… Do you stop to say how truly grateful you are for them?

Do you acknowledge that these people, in the health and helping sector also have lives, their own people to take care of, and also have themselves to nurture?

All the countless hours of helping strangers, in all sorts of stages of life and health, at any time of day or night- being ready to not only provide medical care, but also a kind and thoughtful approach to you and your health.

Yes, I know, it is their job. But still- shouldn’t we still voice our gratitude once in a while?

IMG_6993I really like this photo of my Doctor’s Office. I sneaked a photo when I was waiting for her to come back from checking on some paperwork.

Recently spending time in the hospital, I spent two nights in the new Dawson City Hospital- and I must say, what a beautiful centre as a brand new building, but also as a community of doctors, therapists, nurses, and pharmacist.

IMG_6841Late night trip to the ER- I really do hate hospital gowns.

Gone were the fears of strange hospitals, with cracking paint and scuffed floors, and that awful lysol/sickly smell of unwell people. What I found were beautiful murals, spacious rooms, and wonderful staff. Because of my situation- I had to have an eye kept on me, so I got to know some of the nurses quite well- (on a patient/nurse kind of terms I guess) 

IMG_7112My nurse let me pick out some tea once I got settled in- David’s Tea at that! How special- ūüôā¬†

IMG_7109Yes, I was painting the closet. After they gave me a dose of my anti-anxiety meds. I just felt so chill and all I could really focus on was the closet- Soon fell asleep after the third closet.

The genuine humour, laughter, and interest they had shown in both myself and my artwork was so wonderful. I immediately felt safe, calm, and content in my room. It is amazing how your environment and mental state can affect your quality of sleep. Рeven sleeping on a hospital bed- (a.k.a. Рa bit like sleeping on a block of wood)  I slept like a rock, and woke up in a calm, almost meditative manner. What a wonderful change to the not-so-good nights I had been having previously.

So- To thank all these wonderful people. I decided to create my Community Project into something that would acknowledge all the special people at the Dawson City Hospital. (At least- the ones that I was lucky enough to have as providers of care for me) 

How I did this was I began to knit.

I love knitting- and have always found it very therapeutic. Lately, I have been making these little pouches, “Marsupial-satchels” I call them. To carry special things that one may find dear to their heart.

IMG_7046                     Here is one I made for a dear friend of mine for her little mouse named Candlelight.

Using beautiful yarn my mother had sent me in a care-package, I began to knit and crochet thinking of all the caring people who I had met when I was at the hospital. With every stitch, I silently said thank you, with every little detail, I silently reminded myself how grateful I was to have crossed paths with them. It was a very healing and meditative experience to create these little pouches. I knitted eleven pouches. And then included a little letter within each one. Here is a quote from the letter:

“Just wanted to say thank you for all of your help and patience over these past few weeks.¬†To be able to have a safe place to go to when on cannot provide that for herself is a blessing. Therefore ~ Thank you, for being YOU! As part of my Community project for SOVA, I would very much appreciate any comments, feedback, etc. on what you think of your homemade marsupial-satchels. I wanted to give a token of appreciation, ~ you may keep, give away, switch, as you like with these little pouches. Just wanted to show in my own little way, how thankful I am for crossing paths with you ~ as you have made it a more positive one to walk.”

IMG_7224A photo showing all the little pouches with letters inside~ ready to be dropped off at the hospital! 

IMG_7225A close up- I hand wrote the letter, and made photocopies, providing my email and blog address for people to check out this article, and maybe even leave some feedback about what they thought about it all! 

IMG_7226Here I am wearing one Рto show size and where they would approx. rest on the body. РThis pouch was made for one of the amazing doctors I am lucky enough to see once a week to help me through this all. 

So far, I have not heard back from any of the medical staff on what they thought about their little marsupial-satchels. I hope to hear via email, or face to face, what they thought about it. Even if I don’t hear a peep from anyone- I know that I myself felt¬†love and joy¬†making and giving these away to those that had helped me, so hopefully, that loving energy will be passed along with these pouches to the 11 gentle souls who made my life a little easier to cope with this past month.

And that is my Community Project.

 

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Fire Engine Red

Somehow while in the midst of a storm- the sun breaks through the clouds to remind me that there is hope.

And by hope, I mean knowing that come summer, I will have:

  1. A cabin of my very own – With a PINK outhouse! – Not to mention fabulous studio space
  2. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (I am so thankful for Yukon Healthcare)
  3. Mountain Bike as transportation, and fingers crossed- maybe my darling of a Chevy, Ol’ Blue- ¬†will make the trip up the Alaska Highway from B.C. with me behind the wheel (Spring road trip in the making? Possibly)
  4. AND – As of tonight- I have a job lined up for the summer being the Museum Manager for the Dawson City Firefighters Museum

Now to just survive the final days of school, holding on tight to the last bits of sanity that I have.

Here is one of the vehicles I saw in the museum today!


 

Image

ELMER GAUNDREAU WITH THE CLAPP AND JONES FIRE STEAM PUMPER

1897 Clapp and Jones Fire Steam Pumper

–¬†Put into service with the Dawson Fire Department in 1900, this was the second engine to be purchased by the city. Capable of pumping 500 gallons a minute, the double engine meant that one pump was always running, thus resulting in a near constant stream of water. The steamer had two suction and discharge openings, allowing either side to be connected for use. The frame of the steamer rests on springs, which would have helped it to run smoothly on the rough roads of early Dawson.

For more information on¬†Firefighting and it’s history in Dawson City : Click here

 

 

Heading North.

Hello dedicated blog subscribers – and to the innocent reader that stumbles upon my blog.

I’m sorry.

A lot has happened since last time I sat down to write.

So let’s have a quick re-cap. (In the most non-naracisstic way)

My summer was spent in Fort St. James – My homeland.

I left Vancouver with mixed feelings.

Knowing that it will be a while before I call the rainforest home again – (if ever) – I left with a tinge of sadness, mixed with the excitement of knowing I’ll be charting unknown waters in the months to come.

At this point- I had no idea what or where or how or why or when. I did not know what the universe had in store for me come September.

All I knew was that I was coming home. And it was a beautiful and frightening feeling.

Gone are the Vancouver supermarkets and chaos,

to be replaced with the Vegetable gardens I grew up in and my silly puppies greeting me with wet noses and waggy tales.

I had put out a question to my friends and family in the Fort.

“Would you attend yoga classes if I was to teach?”

The response was amazing.

The interest in yoga blossomed in little Fort- and I was so thankful to be able to share the gift of a gentle, holistic Hatha yoga to those who had come searching for it at the gym, the classroom at the Enterprise Centre, the health unit, or at Kwah hall and at the tale end, the beach. My goal was to make yoga accessible to my community and what an adventure that was.

This was exciting and anxiety triggering – I loved the feeling of stepping out of my comfort zone, and stepping on to the instructor’s mat at the front of the room. But could I do it? Were my students happy? Was I skilled enough? Can I do this?

Yes. I can do this.

and by the end of the summer- I wished I was teaching yoga full-time (in a perfect universe this would make enough funds to get me through Art school…) as I had such an amazing and enlightening time with my students. It was as if every time I stepped onto my mat to teach, I myself walked away with a new lesson learned.

This little community I discovered by teaching yoga really opened my eyes to the beauty of Fort St. James.

If you have been, you will have seen the lake, trees, mountains, snow, wildlife, etc.

But that is not the beauty I am talking about.

The beauty I found was within all my students. Every single one- even if they just did one class- they helped me open my eyes to all the amazing people I was surrounded by. It gives me the warm fuzzies just thinking about it.

Every class I taught- I felt more and more whole. Working with your community does that.

*I just can’t help but get all mushy – it’s what I feel and what drew me into the life of a yoga teacher… ALL THIS LOVE!

Teaching 5 yoga classes a week as well as working as a Customer Service Representative at Hub International (Insurance Office/ICBC mini branch) was a big commitment. But in both jobs- I learned so much and worked with amazing people.

I was very busy- the summer went by too fast it seemed.

Summer seems to always slip through my fingers- I’m sure you can agree with me on this.

The weekends where I could simply lounge in a hammock and read my novel, whilst indulging in the sweet breeze drifting off the neighbour’s field were few.

But that does not mean the Summer was meaningless.

The quality time spent with my family, friends, puppies, co-workers, and students made this summer something out of this world. No, I did not lose enough weight to prance around in a bikini, but I was able to plan and execute an Art Show, Apply and be accepted to Yukon School of Visual Arts, and run a mini nomadic yoga business while learning how be a good employee at Barton’s. Mixed with family dinners, laughter, bonding with brothers, meeting the older brother’s lovely girlfriend, campfires, sweat lodge ceremonies, and a healthy dose of dog walking. Somehow looking at it that way- I don’t think I would of had the time to “prance” around in a bikini because life had handed me a plate full of responsibilities. And I took it with Gusto. I also learned that one piece bathing suits are PERFECTLY FINE.

Just have to make sure you stay away from the frumpy ones.

So yes- in mid summer or so I learned that my next journey in life would be heading north.

Dawson City.

So with the help of family and friends I packed up all my things, said my goodbyes and thankyous, and gave each of my dogs a big, long, teary emotional hug. (Just thinking about them makes me tear up right now. My little darlings. I miss them so much.)

Mom, Dad, Daniel (younger brother) and I then hit the road- It was a fantastic road trip. I am so glad I was able to drive there instead of fly- as it was a great adventure for all of us.

That trip deserves a post of it’s own –

When we rolled into Dawson City- we hunkered down at Klondike Kate’s in a little cabin. The next few days were spent touring around my new town- since the tourist season was winding down- we caught some of the last tours of the season.

Time once again went by too fast. And soon I found myself moving into a little cabin by the Yukon river and saying goodbye to my family.

Once again the tears, turning into sobbing and consoling each other and those hugs where you don’t want to let go of each other ensued – That was my mother and I. I may or may not have seen dad shed a tear, as I was completely immersed in a bear hug surrounded by dad’s soft flannel work shirt. I then really broke down into a teary, snotty mess when hugging Daniel. The youngest of the family is also the tallest and broadest of shoulder, so once again I felt completely surrounded by his hug. Being siblings and being a teenage boy- getting a hug from Daniel is a very special, rare thing. So I made sure to get the most I could while I had him there. Which also meant he climbed back into the pickup truck with a rather soggy, snot covered shoulder. I could tell he was completely grossed out- as now he would have to drive back to Whitehorse with his older sister’s snot on his shirt. Oops.

I am not a glamorous cryer.

It did not matter how many times I hugged my family goodbye. It felt like I needed another hug, another kiss, another confirmation that yes, I could do this. I can do this. I will do this. All that fear of being on my own hit me like a in the gut. And I think my family could see this. So the hugs continued. More kleenexes were handed out. And more kisses were given.

When the pickup pulled out of the driveway, and drove down front street, I watched it until my family disappeared into the horizon.

Back to B.C.

Taking a deep breath in – the fear parted like ripples in water to allow my excitement to come out of it’s little hiding spot.

I may be scared, but I CAN do this I thought to myself.

Once in my little cabin, I unpacked my pink afghan, sat on my bed, and looked out my window.

That’s when I realized my cabin slightly tilted to the left.

I couldn’t help but laugh.

Most buildings in the Yukon that are built on permafrost have a quirky tilt.

I slipped off my sandals and snuggled up under my pink afghan, looking up at the ceiling.

Before drifting off to sleep (saying goodbye to the most important people in your life is a tiring ordeal) – I could hear the Australians next door start to play the guitar and sing.

With I smile, I let myself relax.

I could hear the chugging of the Dawson Ferry cutting through the strong current of the Yukon River.

My eyelids began to close, the chugging ferry becoming a purr, the yodeling of the Aussie next door turning into a soft murmur.

Another deep breath in, and the little smile turns into a toothy grin.

“Welcome to the Yukon” I thought to myself as I let go of my fear and slipped into a little afternoon nap.

xx

Photo below: Boo and I ūüôā

1378483_10200699959605827_21229472_n

Irony at its finest

So, like any unemployed adult in this world, I had slipped into what you may call “lazy bored muchie eating slug” I needed a job, and I needed it now. So I stepped out into the sunshine one day, plastered on a cute smile and mixed in some bubbly attitude, and started handing out resumes.¬†

I had done this many times before, with no luck. Coming form a small town, you didn’t really need a resume, since your employer probably knew your family, was a witness to you growing up, and didn’t need a piece of paper to tell them your qualities and skills.¬†

But in the big city, 

it is a totally different jungle…

At home I was a landscaper, janitor, and goatherd- none of those jobs required a resume. 

Here, retail experience and working with people was more important as to whether you know what was chickweed and what was freshly sprouted carrots. 

You could say many of the places I handed a resume too, I walked out of there knowing that they would probably chuckle to themselves; picture me frolicking with goats as if I lived in the alps, and toss my resume in the trash. 

My confidence deflated quick, until my mom came for a visit. 

I believe my mom and I have a very special relationship, even though there is the age difference, the personality difference, and the fact that she is my mom, we have built a beautiful friendship. I trust her advice and when she thinks something might be worth trying- I believe her. 

So when she bought some bread at Cob’s Bread, and was pleased by the service and began to chat to the manager about gluten free bread (for me) somehow she got on the topic of employment. Being a bakery, I decided to leave my mom with the breads and goodies to go look at socks.¬†

I suffer from something called Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I wish it had more of a ring to it, but it doesn’t. I can’t even jazz up the thing… but anyways having IBS means that I can’t eat a lot of things.¬†

Dairy, Gluten, Processed meat, Processed anything really, Coffee, Carbonated drinks, the list goes on. 

So when mom makes a stop at a bakery, I usually try not to torture myself and go focus on something else.

That day it was socks to be exact. 

So when mom came over to me, and said “I think you should drop off your resume at Cob’s” I was puzzled. But once I got thinking about it, the idea became more and more reasonable.¬†

Before being diagnosed, I had always wanted to work in a bakery, the smells, the tastes, the decorating, I thought that would be a fun job. 

After the diagnosis, I kept on baking, even though I couldn’t eat the majority of the sweets and the dream to work in a bakery soon faded to the back of my mind. I had a holiday in Kamloops to think it over, and when I got back I handed my resume to the manager. Talking to her myself I picked up on the vibe my mom must have felt. Happy, family oriented, and hard working.¬†

The interview went well, I didn’t feel like I had to pretend to be someone else, and I was happy to talk about ¬†my volunteer work in my hometown. By the end of the interview, I was hired.¬†

After a little tour, meeting the staff, I was given a loaf of bread. 

And then it hit me. 

I am working in a bakery that specializes in breads. 

I will be up to my elbows in the very things that make me sick to my stomach if digested and bed ridden for hours at a time. 

I had to laugh at myself, of course I would be hired at a bakery… So in celebration of my weirdness I walked to the florist shop ( a place where I would actually know what I’d be doing) and bought myself a big bouquet of sunflowers.¬†

Sitting on the bus I let my mind unravel from the anxiety I had pre-interveiw…¬†

I took a peek at the bread sitting harmlessly in its own little bag, 

maybe it is a good thing to be working a bakery, 

I won’t be tempted to eat everything, it will be like selling alarm clocks, or socks,¬†

or dog jackets… I will learn about the qualities and what it has to offer and then pitch my sale to the customer.¬†

And I still will be able to fit my uniform by the end of the month. 

So even though I am living a life of ironic events, 

there always is a bright side to every situation. 

even if it means I am surrounded by cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing, cranberry and custard danishes and spinach and feta croissants.

xx

 

Soon I will become the adult version of me… “Hmm maybe prostitute isn’t the right word. Somehow I sense grandma would not like that.”

Just to let all my relatives know I have no intentions on becoming a prostitute.

It is simply a metaphor.

ūüôā

So I got a blackberry, and you know what happens when you give a human something that vibrates,flashes pretty colours when you get a message, something well…

awesome, shiny, and new. You become a savage cell-phone user…

You get into the habit of procrastination, oh trust me I was pretty good at procrastinating before I got this beast of a phone. But I can’t blame this phone for me being lazy enough to screw over the blogging world.

So I decided to blame it on being a grade 12 student.

This whole grade 12 thing?

Tis a wee bit nerve-racking, all this pressure to become something,

all this pressure to not end up sleeping outside Tim Horton’s in a cardboard box having entertaining conversations with a tomcat who could less if you were dead or alive.

My older brother got it easy! Ever since he was what like a preteen he knew what his career would be.

Me? I am not so lucky, my mind was like a prostitute to careers, it would change its fancy everyday. Hmm maybe prostitute isn’t ¬†the right word. Somehow I sense grandma would not like that.

Maybe sleaze is better since I didn’t make a profit for changing my mind so many friggin’ times??

Hah.

It seemed everyday something new and exciting interested me, and I set my sights on being that certain amazing person when I grow up.

“I”M GOING TO BE AN ARTIST!, AN ACROBAT!, PROFESSIONAL SOCCER PLAYER!, TEACHER! BIOLOGIST! JOURNALIST! PALIENTOLOGIST! CORONER! NEUROLIGIST! PSYCHOLOGIST! ARCHIOLOGIST! PHOTOGRAPHER! EDITOR! ILLUSTRATOR! SINGER! DANCER! CHOREOGRAPHER! AND THE LIST GOES ON!

** I am just that brilliant that I can’t go find a dictionary and spell some of these words correctly, and the spell check can’t spell them either… ^

maybe I was one of those kids whose curiosity was on overdrive. Not like A.D.H.D though mind you…

It seemed spastic, my mind always is spastic, have you read my writing ?

It’s like a Pomeranian chasing a laser pointer,

on the couch,

attacking the curtains,

smashing into a wall,

jumping repeatedly on the spot,

drool flying everywhere,

I think you get it.

Anyways, do you understand what I just said?

Its okay if you don’t just smile and nod that’s what people usually do, well that’s what I do when I’m stuck in a situation where I have no clue what the hell is being said, (like in math class).

So I’m sure everybody realises that normal people need money to prosper, especially when your last name isn’t “Bieber” or “Sheen” or “Woods” they just need to show up, play a sport and shave on TV,say something or sleep with someone, sing a song that makes little girls wail asking their parents “why can’t I have that JB cutout cardboard that is ¬†life-size¬† in the shoppers drug mart???”

Like I said, I need a job that can support my Pomeranian of a mind and well, I think being a Pomeranian wouldn’t make any money.

I have always had a knack for drawing and writing, making people laugh, and helping people when they are stuck in a tiffy.

I invented the word “tiffy” to describe that moment when you find yourself standing under a large industrial fan while someone is throwing shit at it. Maybe I didn’t invent the word tiffy but I’m sure that my definition of tiffy was never thought of before.Ive said tiffy to many times…

And now ladies and gentlemen we move on to the conclusion: precisely a more thought-provoking, delicate matter…

I’ve read in magazines that sometimes if you ask your friends what they could see you doing as a career it can be a good tip in helping you decide what you will be doing after the sweet/nasty life of highschool. More nasty than sweet to be honest, more like sitting in a hot tub of acid with frustrating passive aggressive hamsters. Anyways. I’ve got ten months to decides what my next step will be after the exams, after that hat with the annoying tassel, after I get prettied up to spend five hours in a prom dress, after I move onto the next step of my life. I will become an adult version of me.

Why do I find that mildly disturbing?

I’d jump from one scenario to the next: from highschool kid to “______”.
*okay not all the hamsters attending highschool with me are passive aggressive, nor are they hamsters…
How do you know what you want to do? Does it fall from the sky and smack you in the head? Do you have to go through a near death experience to know what you want to do? Or can you just wake up one day, and swing your feet outta your bed, sit up, yawn, and say ” I know what to do with my life now”
Well, if it was that easy, maybe there wouldn’t be anybody having deep conversations with an aloof cat beside the dumpster.

Hopefully the adult version of me will look back on this while I am sitting in a comfortably furnished loft, (the kind you see in CSI… You know the ones where they find the dead model in the bathtub, only mine would not have a dead model in the bath tub, only a rubber ducky…) then I would laugh at how pathetically stressed I was over something that somehow figured itself out, then go to the nearby Timmy’s and order two lemon and honey teas, tea bag left in, and nod kindly to the scruffy man and his cat sitting outside the door, sit beside him and indulge in conversations only cats could think of.

Ciao

xx

 

“Hey, you retard stop stealing the blankets!” *China Diary* ~ 1

Early start to the day,

Well, no scratch that.. Actually my trip started on the 15th. We left Fort St. James in the late afternoon to drive 2 hours to Prince George. Both my mother and I were catching early flights to Vancouver and didn’t really feel like waking up at 2 am then proceed to drive to the airport straight from home. We got to our hotel in the evening, and here is the weird/funny/ what ever you want to call it part of the story.

Originally my mom had booked a room with 2 double beds thinking that it would be just herself and me. In the end my father and my little brother wanted to see us off at the airport so they tagged along as well.Little did they know that they would have to share a double bed that night. My mom and I managed to sleep somewhat comfortably in a double bed, but throughout the night I would wake up to the sound of :

“Hey, you retard stop stealing the blankets!”

or : “Move over, you’re taking up the whole bed”

as well as something along the lines of: “SsSSHhhhhhh both of you be quiet!”

from my mother …and so on.

I have mentioned in earlier posts that my little brother, well is not so little. He was graced with size 13 feet and a height of 6 feet. And he is only 14 years old. my father is 6’1 and is built the same. Thank god I didn’t have to sleep with either of them. I probably would have ended up sleeping in the bathtub that night.

Anyways it was one of those moments when you put 4 people in a room, a very tiny room that you realize how much you love your family. No matter how bizarre, weird, or how loud they snore. I laid there in bed beside a giggling mom, joined in by the roaring laughter of my brother and dad and that’s when I realised:

” yeah I’ve got a weird family, but I wouldn’t have it any other way”.

Its moments like that happen simply to remind you just how lucky you are.

So that was July 15.

Now July 16,

Who wants to get on a plane at 6 in the morning?

(If you raised your hand, seriously…. You’re alone on this one)

This was the first time I was going to meet the girl who was joining my two friends and myself on this trip. Jessy, is a redhead also; so of course we automatically clicked!

So it was the 3 gingers and Grady. “4G”

Parker, Grady and I have traveled to europe earlier in the year, but having Jessy come along with us to China really made things ten times more fun.

We left Prince George to meet up with the rest of our group from Vancouver Island at Vancouver airport.

Photo taken by: Carmen Denomme

From left to right: Brooke, Ashleigh, Sam, Emily, Heather, ME!, Jessy, Grady, and Parker

It was similar to first day of kindergarten, or first day of highschool. The shy game was played for a few hours then we all warmed up to each other quite quickly. I had a feeling that this was going to be an epic trip.

So we board the plane, and of course we are booked to sit in the economy section. What did you think? A small town girl reclining in first class with all the foot rest, comfort, and special treatment? Pfffft. Nope. To the back of the plane we go. When I went to Greece my seat was quite close to the airplane toilet. Ya no, don’t ever book your seat there unless you have a bladder of a gerbil. It was not a good place to sit. Anyways back to this plane ride. I went to my designated seat only to find that it was occupied by another traveler. “No big deal” I¬†thought as long as I find a place to sit. But have you ever noticed that if you stop moving in the aisle on an airplane while people are boarding it turns into a barbaric race to seats? People pushing, leaning awkwardly over people’s laps, people being konked in the head by someones bag being put in the overhead compartment and of course the grand daddy of all the awkward moments. Some old man’s butt in your face as he attempts to pick up his pen/newspaper/bag of cheezies/whatever he dropped. Then being in the midst of chaos, decides to back the trunk up where? right in your face. Yeah, I caused all just by standing in the way.

I catch an attendant’s eye, and notify him that my seat has been taken and ask where should I sit now. He glances behind me and sees the Twister game of scrambling passengers and says “one second I’ll be there shortly”. Alrighty then, back to the grind/awkward fest in the aisle I go. I didn’t really care if I got my seat, I just wanted any seat.So I didn’t have to stand there and get looks like “MOVE WOMAN!”. ¬†I hate causing a problem but there was no way to not cause a problem. Another attendant sees me so I repeat my plea. She looks at the passenger sitting in my seat and asks for her plane ticket.

Long story short, this girl sitting in my seat was supposed to sit where this girl was sitting, but that girl had switched seats with an old woman for a window seat and that old woman well, she wasn’t even sitting¬†in the correct row.

The first attendant came back with a flustered look on his face, and both the attendants attempt to shuffle everyone to their  right seats. The old lady scurries to her seat and seeing how much more chaos this would create by moving 2 more other people I just offer to sit in the seat that the girl in my seat should be sitting in.

I didn’t realize that finding a seat would be so hard.

I don’t have any pictures from the plane ride over to Beijing. Why? Because I was completely into ¬†the book “Water for Elephants” Go to the website below to find out more about this novel:

http://bestsellers.about.com/od/fictionreviews/gr/water_elephants.htm

So the 10 hours plane ride went along the lines of this:

Reading, attempting to sleep ( emphasis on “attempting”), and ¬†playing¬†the game “what’s this?” with my airplane food. ( For those who travel frequently and need something to entertain you on long trips, or you are traveling with ¬†small children, this is an excellent way to pass the time while you wait for you lump of something to finish cooling off, solidifying, liquefying, growing eyes… etc but I must warn you… If you get to into the game you just may lose your appetite.)

Closer to the end of the flight I made friends with the girl sitting beside me on the plane. Like how can you not talk to the person beside you if you have shared an armrest for 10 hours. She was also going to Beijing to attend the camp.

There was also the trips to the claustrophobic bathroom, hah can you imagine hitting turbulence while being in the airplane washroom? I wonder if anybody has. Not being a fan of those port-a-potty closets, I have never experienced it, I am probably not the only one who tries to stay away from those things. Ever try to brush your teeth in one of those things with the awkward sinks and taps that don’t seem normal at all? Like how can those flight attendants look even half decent making a living on a plane.

If I was an attendant you wouldn’t catch me in a pencil skirt and red ribbon tied around my neck. I would be serving your breakfast in bunny slippers and be outfitted in Lululemon or some other comfy get up. Maybe a onesie?

Anyways don’t picture me in a onesie. Here is a picture of the girl I shared an armrest with,her name is Cicyetkwu.

So plane lands, we all get off, collect our luggage, and meet out in front of where the arrivals come out. This is my first taste of China.

There are people EVERYWHERE. People hugging,kissing,talking,smiling,laughing,pushing past you,staring at you, ( I guess red hair stands out quite a lot over there), and last but not least there was a crazy amount of people sweating. I know you must be thinking:

“why? what? why would you notice something like that? EW!”

But hear me out okay? The heat there was intense, and the humidity exaggerated the feeling of I don’t how to explain it. It’s like you have a thin layer of heat always on you and there is no way to escape it. So like, you were always sweating…Yeah I write about peculiar things. But that is how my mind works I guess.

Another thing I noticed was that our group was being filmed and photographed. Somewhat weird, but I guess this camp was a big deal so there was going to be some footage of it being used in the future. So once all the Canadians were gathered and counted like baby chicks, we were ushered out into the real China, the China past the airport exit. The heat hits you once you step out of the airport, and god does it ever feel nice. My summer back in Canada has not been hot at all so to feel this was amazing. Finally I’ll be able to wear my short shorts and not get goosebumps!

But boy was I ever craving a shower and a real sink to brush my teeth in…

Long flights are not glamorous at all but hey I wasn’t looking forward to the airplane. The airplane was just being used to get me to my destination. I was coming to China and that was a big deal for me, so at that moment I really didn’t care if I looked like a little rug-rat that just fell out of a hay stack. I WAS IN CHINA! Working almost everyday since school ended and saving every penny that I possessed brought me here! (well… as well as some very generous parents…)

So we stuff our suitcases in the bottom of a tourist bus, and all clamber on. Here is Parker and I after our flight. Both of us are a little messed up from the 15 hour time change. But hey we survived the noxious plane food, closet toilets, and hours of sitting in a chair that is far from comfortable.

I don’t know if it is just me, but I absolutely love Chinese Characters. They are much prettier to look at than English.

But do you think I could write you a love poem in Mandarin?

Nope.

I don’t posses those skills, and i don’t think I could wing it either.

It would probably look like worm tracks in mud or some vulgar abstract creation.

So we arrive at our campus, a High school with a dormitory and I soon learn that my room, Shared with Jessy, Parker, and Jacqueline ( a student from Vancouver) was found on the 6th floor and that there was no elevators. So we busted some muscle and trudged up the stairs with out suitcases.

Thank god I packed light, I could pick up my suitcase by the handles and carry it while others dragged their’s up, step by step, as if they had packed a midget clown in their suitcase that had weighed a good 100 pounds.

This is my good friend Parker ūüėČ

After we got settled in, we went for dinner in the cafeteria. Our first real taste of chinese food, made in China. This is not like the chinese restaurant that resides in my town, with the neon pinky red sweet and sour pork, chow mein, and deep friend prawns. This was REAL chinese food.

 

Parker’s dinner (with the juice cup in the picture), Jessy’s dinner (with the weird powder puff fluffster thingy on the plate)

I would describe what the meals tasted like but here is the sucky part. Even though there was a large selection of food, some that I have never ever seen before, I have an eating problem, so I have a very, very restricted diet.  So I lived on a very bland diet while I was there which included:

Rice,

Rice,

French fries,

and wait…MORE RICE!

Thinking the food would be a problem, my suitcase was packed with energy bars and mints. ( I’m addicted to scotch mints) So I survived. I got pretty excited when they had fresh fruit out, because I soon learned that I would be eating rice 3 times a day while I was there. This lasted for about 6 days into the camp when¬†I finally scrounged through my suitcase and found instant oatmeal. I was very excited to eat oatmeal, VERY excited.

I still cringe when I see rice.

I have had enough to last me a while now.

After dinner, Michael, one of the teachers at the camp took us on a tour of the classes. He was teacher of class 5. Our teacher Gaby, was teacher of class 6. There were very helpful and  charming. They were excellent teachers, and soon became fans of Canada!

Gaby on the left, Michael on the right, with gifts from the Canadian students.

After our tour we head back up to our rooms, on the way we pick up our uniform, our study books, and a book with the itinerary and other helpful tid-bits inside. We also got a lanyard with our name and nationality on them. When I say uniform I mean this:

We looked like a mob of grapes everywhere we went.

Or an invasion of life-size purple smarties.

There was absolutely no way you could make this shirt look sexy, or even cute. The sizes where huge, so when I wore mine it hid my shorts looking like I had gotten distracted while getting dressed, and simply forgot to wear shorts.

Just to calm down any conservative people out there I always wore shorts under the shirt,

I am not that crazy.

Moving on,

It was bedtime for the sleepy Canadians, so we climbed into our metal framed bunk beds and laid down on the non-existent mattress. It was like sleeping on the floor, not carpet really but similar to linoleum. Our air conditioning was set to high, and our blankets were super thin, but just enough to be comfortable in that hot weather.

I didn’t care about the mattress right then, I was just so happy to be sleeping horizontal and not in the sitting position so I rolled over and passed out almost immediately.

ahhh time to get horizontal ^

xx

Chives and Bumblebees

I take pictures of things that catch my eye… Like the normal things that people walk by everyday and don’t really notice anymore, and for some reason I think the ignored things deserve to be photographed. Like the mutual relationship between flowers and bumblebees.

I thought it was a pretty dope that most of the pictures are in focus and the bee is still on the flower when I clicked the button. Not bad for a beginner eh?

xx