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!


 

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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

 

 

Summer Dreams- A Call For Hummingbirds?

Last summer I created 9 paintings of hummingbirds. A mixture of Calliope and Rufous Hummingbirds, two native species that can be found buzzing happily around neighbourhood gardens in Fort St. James, British Columbia.

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-Calliope Hummingbird

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– Rufous Hummingbird

All were painted on 4″x4″ exhibition primed canvases, with fluid acrylic paints. (One of my favourite mediums to work with) 

All were sold or gifted to private collections. 

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If there is an interest this year… (My first set seemed to “fly” off the wall ! 😉 Many were sold in the first few days of the art show )- I will be doing additional series of hummingbird paintings this summer. If there is a specific kind of hummingbird, or you are interested in local hummingbirds in your area, and would like life size portraits of them, simply email me at sally_064@hotmail.com 

Price approx. $30.00 CDN plus shipping if you are not able to pick up locally 🙂 

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 Here is one of my favourites (pictured above) And a group photo before being packed up for the show (pictured below)

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xx

 

 

 

Collaborating with Nature. Talking about the Process.

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Homework Post #1

Talking about the process.

I have chosen this specific piece to talk about because it is one of my favourite examples of what I like doing best:

Working with Mother Nature. 

At the moment- this piece remains nameless, as it was hard to give a “label” to something that speaks of so many wonderful experiences and moments outdoors in my beautiful home town of Fort St. James, British Columbia. 

Starting with raw canvas stretched onto a wooden frame, I began simply just by staring at the blank canvas. Occasionally raising an eyebrow, I allow my ideas to float around like ice-cubes in a nice glass of Sun Tea. This is a very important part of the process- as I like to create art in a very meditative state. Also- I am sure I look like a complete weirdo- so this is why I prefer working solo, away from prying eyes. 

I then resort to squirrel like tendencies, and begin gathering resources that spark the idea I have spun in the back of my mind. 

In this case. 

Bones.

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I then, like a smart squirrel, document my findings. 

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A little bit about my model:

Well. He’s dead. 

Before kicking the can, this old guy was a good looking bull moose,

gallivanting through the boreal forests,

wooing all the moose ladies. (Cows)

One day, he decided to die of natural causes. 

I would like to think he simply just decided to hunker down for a nap and slipped into moose heaven. 

But I honestly don’t know. 

All I really know is that he was pretty old.

He probably looked like this:

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What a Studmuffin.

 

Soon- graphite, turning into layered fluid acrylic “sketches” are done. 

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Work in cramped bedroom.

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Soon, I move into my summer studio (Canvas Wall Tent)Image

 

Keep working. 

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Always coming back to study and examine the moose skull and antlers, skull books, trapper manuals, anything I can get my hands on. Now including books on Wild Flowers, Local Trees, etc. When representing nature in my works, I want to get it correct. If I am doing a local painting, then there better be native species included, am I right? EH?

I begin harvesting grasses, yarrow, dandelions, and other wild flowers and plants and begin experimenting with printmaking.

I am now going back and forth to working on driveway and in Studio. 

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Mother Nature decided to help by adding some summer rain to my freshly painted canvas. Giving a “washed” look.

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I keep going back and forth, inside and outside, choosing different times of day, weather, as well as how I apply the fluid acrylic paint to achieve a piece of work that I am happy with.

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Mother Nature keeps an eye on me with her trusty informers:

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Photo courtesy of Dexter Hodder. (Neighbour)

As you can see- I have plenty of live models to study and sketch from (both animal and plants/trees)

 

Once I am happy, I stand back and take a long look at the work. Usually making a touch up here, a touch up there, until I am satisfied. 

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This piece was part of a solo show hosted by a local cafe called Soup Wallah. 

The other paintings created alongside this one were all done with nature in mind. When I choose to create a piece of art that represents, interprets, or conveys nature- I pay attention to the details, and take knowledge from all my interests (biology, history, osteology, gardening, etc.) and incorporate it into my art-making. Working immersed in my outdoor surroundings had a very positive effect on the creation of this painting, as well as the other works that were also shown in the show. I often feel constricted within a “conventional” studio, and can’t wait to get outside and carry on working and learning from Mother Nature. Lots of research, meetings with the biologist down the street, and simple observation was done to achieve what I can now call a successful art show, and a very enjoyable summer. 

 

 

 

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 🙂

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Country Mouse Adventures. – Lonsdale Quay Market; North Vancouver – River Market; New Westminster

Google maps are an amazing thing. As well as texting Translink (33333). 

I set off to Lonsdale Quay with a purpose. Cellphone keychains that jingle.

As well as to see the market. And what a beautiful market it is, I love markets, the food, the shops, the people, the music, the smells, all of it. Each and every market I have been too has had its own personality you could say.

I found the cell phone key chains- 

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and wandered around outside-

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after wandering around some more, looking for employment options I soon hopped back on the bus and headed home only to be sidetracked and got out at Park and Tillford to look for more employment options.

No luck,

so I took a path home that winds alongside a creek where you can find many happy dogs frolicking. 

Thoughts racing about lack of money and lack of employment I soon stroll into a pub… again either no one is hiring or not old enough. even though I look old enough. Damn you government and your liquor serving policies.

I then step into a little restaurant called The Pantry at the Holiday Inn and score an interview.

Lets hope this goes well.

I go home and pass out on my bed. preparing for my next adventure.

The River Market.

A friend decides to come with me, choosing to drive he cuts my hour long transit ride into a 20 minute or so car ride. What an awesome guy friend.

We get there around 6 so only parts of the market are open, like the pubs.

I have this craving to try pub food. But that is going to have to wait I guess. 

Walking around, watching tug boats, and admiring the beautiful flower gardens, I soon realize how lucky I am to have moved here. To live near the ocean is a very special experience. 

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My dinner consisted of pomegranate gelato- with memories of italy floating through my mind. 

We ended our little adventure with a picture near the boats.

Until next time- 

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Country mouse moves to the City.

Here I am. I actually did it; 

I have moved out of my sleepy little village and have been thrust into a whole new and scary world.

North Vancouver.

Its mind boggling really, the amount of strangers you see in one day here. I was so used to bumping into friends on just a trip to the post office where now I can sit on the skytrain and be utterly surrounded, but still feel completely alone. 

Its a beautiful feeling really, gone are the anxieties of seeing ex boyfriends, nasty people, or just people that you generally avoid because well… You damn well want to. 

But then again those are replaced by drug addicts, men with wandering eyes, or drunk people who have wet themselves and decide to sit beside you. 

Did I mention the last bus I was on smelled like farts and bananas? 

It is an amazing feeling when you have accomplished a dream, it seems unreal. You worry one day you will wake up and still be in your bedroom back in your hometown. But I actually did it, and how inspired and happy i felt when I went for a walk yesterday. That feeling of confidence and power. Not the cocky average teenager stereotype of “invincibility” but more like a feeling of wholeness and pure satisfaction.  

I am still nervous about living in a city, it is a whole different way of life. But I cant wait to embrace and live that way of life, to mix it with my Fort St. James ways (if that is possible) and to overcome the fear and be able to reassure myself that yes… I can do this. 

I am in search of a job, a dentist, a hairdresser, a doctor, a counsellor, a salon, and something for my blisters on my feet. Gone are the days when there is very little to choose from. Now I have to get out and  embrace my inner Nancy Drew and investigate my best options. 

North Vancouver is such a beautiful place. Thank god I live beside a green belt (trees and forest creatures, and a river). If i had chosen a cement box to live in I might have gone completely mad. The people are friendly here, at least the majority of the ones I have encountered. And only a few have smelt like they are in dire need of a shower. I love the cultures and the different styles here. You can be yourself and you wont be judged for it. It is accepted. Something I have longed for for many years. 

I still have lots to learn about this new life in the city, and I am excited for every lesson life decides to throw at me. 

Except the skunk that lives in the children’s park down the road that I have to walk by at night… Id rather not deal with that life lesson because frankly I don’t like tomato juice.

xx

An interesting way to spend my last night in Ontario… Locked outside…

so its 2:56 am and guess where I am?

think hard…

if you say Ontario, you are half correct. If you say she’s in Ontario, locked outside on the screened in porch of a friends house.. Then you are completely one hundred percent bingo on the dollar correct.

Don’t laugh at me, I didn’t mean to get locked out

maybe I’m not even locked out.I havent checked the doors in desperation. Part of me doesnt want to get excited about the chance of going back inside to a comfy bed and a toilet.. Oh did I mention I have to go pee?

So yes I havnt got up to check the door; it made a satisfying click while the host closed it, tuned off all the lights and went to bed I am pretty sure he dosn’t realise that one of his guests is outside on the screened porch…. so I mean really its like going up to an obviously pregnant lady and asking if she is pregnant.

I will kick myself if I later find out it is unlocked.

anyways I found a laptop outside and thought.

hmm I could make use of this solitary time to actually write about something since I havent  blogged in quite a while.

So it is my last night in Ontario,

what is the opposite of homesick?

Is there even a word for that?

because that is what I feel right now,

sadly I am pretty sure most kids are excited to come home see their friends,

party,

ya know

your average stereotype of a teenager.

well frankly my dear im not your average teenager,

one: I stand out like a black sheep at a dog show,

two: I’m one of those artist kids, so as you can see I was somewhat doomed  from ever being normal ever since I ditched the party in my mother’s womb.

but really why would you want to be ?, normal that is, I would never give up my artistic talents even if it meant that I could have an extra toe.

three: I have successfully locked out myself but I am too lazy to check the door to see if it’s actually locked. Maybe that is a normal teenage thing, not sure. Will have to check that one out.

So it is my last night in Ontario, every time I come back here to visit family and friends I always hate the time when it comes to say goodbye.

it’s a pang of sadness, knowing that it will probably be one or even two years until  I see them again. and it’s not like they are annoying or crazy… they are amazing people who are very hospitable.

So as I listen to crickets the thought struck me, why do I feel more at home when I am not at home?

like not the feeling of you know walking around in your underwear and hitting up the fridge at 2 in the morning.. that is different, I mean the feeling of acceptance, the feeling that you can just blend in, that there are people with more similarities then differences, and that you feel happy when your there.

people may think I am lame,depressed, or maybe just some retard you likes being locked outdoors… But it is true.

I am a retard that likes being locked outdoors…

Just kidding.

when I went to Kamloops to visit my father’s side of the family I felt at home there. the unconditional love and beautiful energy that surrounded you constantly was a wonderful reminder that these were your people. I do get that feeling from my immediate family and close friends at home but I don’t know,my town puts such a damper on things. Its like having a wet towel to dry off when you hop outta of the shower, it can really piss you off at times.

There is something howling in the forest now, so I might as well make myself comfy on the chaise lounge and enjoy the wilderness. Somehow I find that more awesome then getting dinky soaps that smell like a wet dog at hotels. So thank you Rick for locking me outside, it was a pleasent surprise and an excellent exuse to blog at an insane time. Sometimes retarded artistic abnormal teenagers need to be locked outdoors overnight. It can inspire them to write about stuff, and also confront their fears about being locked outside in the dark, becuase really, it wasn’t that bad.

xx

Macey, myself, and Spencer ( The host’s adorable dogs )

 

“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 😉

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