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

 

 

My First Yukon Quest Experience: Part Two

Hello again!

If you would like to refresh yourself on Part One of my Yukon Quest Adventure, click here: https://sallyann16.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/my-first-yukon-quest-experience-part-one/ 

Just to have a small recap here is how the last post ended…

So my Saturday began in the dog tent, tucking in the sleepy sled dogs with yellow fleece blankets, and then covering them with straw. – Again- I was more than happy to be given a task, I was outdoors, with furry sweethearts, and there was no homework to be spoken of! Just frosty ears to be rubbed and more dog poo to be avoided. 

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If I had a comfy leather arm chair and a nice drink to sip on while my feet warmed by the fire- that’d be great.

Unfortunately I am feeling sick to my stomach about school. So I will do my best to leave behind the stresses and dip back into Yukon Quest weekend, -30 below temperatures, and wonderful memories.

All the photos unless otherwise stated were taken by Nicolas Schneider. Thank you Nico for all of you wonderful photographs!

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So – It is Saturday Morning- Maybe 5am, maybe 6am, what I do know is that it is bloody cold- and my mind hasn’t even registered if I put my boots on the correct feet. But first- blanket the dogs.
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These sweethearts barely moved an inch while we tucked them in. First, small yellow fleece blankets, then a thick layer of straw- some of the dogs were dead to the world, tucked in their little tight balls of warmth (feet tucked under bodies, nose tucked under tail, eyes squeezed shut) while others were wide awake, shivering, pacing, peeing, and well, pooping.
Not even my neck warmer pulled up over my nose could stop the wretched stench from making me scrunch my nose and grimace.
Ah yes, any appetite that I did have soon disintegrated.
I did what I could to warm up the dogs, and soon it was time to feed. My mind was slowly coming back to a regular working fashion as the frost gathered on my hair peeking out from my parka hood. Was it minus 30? minus 40? I don’t know- thank god I packed extra socks.
I don’t think I will forget the smell of the dog’s breakfast either- this meat, that meat, and more meat, kibble, water, all coming to a boil. Looking like week old porridge.
Interesting.
Feeding, walking, poop scooping, day light arrives- we soon head into town to have breakfast at The Downtown Hotel.
Oatmeal.
I was thrilled that instead of beaver meat, I had brown sugar instead- and that it did not smell like what the dogs ate earlier that morning. Though it sure looked like the dog’s breakfast.
Nico, Alex, and I head back to camp to do chores. I felt a bit like a puppy following the guys – as this seemed old hat for Nico and Alex. For me it was all new- besides hauling firewood.
It might be 830am or 9am…My roommate Glenda would still be in her housecoat, sipping coffee by a hot fire – I smiled to myself as I found myself once again trouble shooting on how to pick up the dog crap with scrap plastic so to as not dirty my only pair of cold weather mitts. For some wild reason- I was still thrilled I was over in West Dawson doing outdoor chores- because if it had been a regular Saturday- I would be worrying about school.
No time for that here.
Jerry would be leaving tonight- so all eyes were being kept on the dog’s wellbeing, as well as Jerry’s.
The amount of work involved in mushing is beyond what I expected, especially when the universe deems your run to be a difficult one. Jerry had already totalled one dog sled, and after he left Dawson- he will yet again break another sled.
Nico, Alex and I finished the chores early and were able to warm ourselves up by the small woodstove in the wall tent for a short while.
It was great conversation- as I literally jumped two feet in the night before, volunteering with complete strangers, it was nice to swap questions and short stories. I admire both of them immensely- the work ethic and stamina needed to be a dog handler is not something that just anybody could do. And I envied their plans of adventures. Oh how I wanted to drop everything and just explore!
This is Nico and Alex at the Banquet (End of Yukon Quest) – Thank you Susan Mooney for the photo!
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Afternoon rolls around- I have to head back to Dawson to meet up with a local (Jim) who has offered to try to fix my snowmobile.
I hitch a ride with Nico on the snowmobile across the ice road.
I arrive home, strip down to one piece longjohns, open the fridge, and EAT.
My roommate simply observes with a raised eyebrow as my inner lumberjack scarfs down the food like a I myself ran the Yukon Quest.
Followed by falling asleep for a quick cat nap- (I did not even make it under the covers)
Sled was tinkered with, and after a shower and a new set of wool socks and longjohns, I make my way over to West Dawson- This time on my snowmobile. It was dark when I left my home on the dome- and I decided to zip down the “long way” to town- to get on to the ice road in a more efficient manner. Between the mist, the darkness, and my worry of my sled breaking down, the trip across the river was a bit tense. The only thing guiding me was the small little wooden posts on the edge of the ice road- showing me where to turn, what path to follow. Little did I know I was operating a machine with a faulty battery- so I think myself very lucky that I did not strand myself in the middle of the Yukon River that Saturday evening.
I arrive in the midst of chaos. I see a skimmer and tarp with misclaneous objects strewn all over the ground beside the wall tent. I see Jerry and his dog sled,  I see five headlamp orbs bouncing around the dog tent, wall tent, and the tarp, there is a feeling of excitement, but also stress in the air. I find Lisa, and ask what I can do to help, and I am immediately sent to the dog tent to check and walk the dogs. Some of the dogs are fast asleep, some refuse to eat, and some are pacing, ready to run, ready to go. Once again I find myself coaxing and massaging, talking gently to the tired dogs, convincing them to stand up and proceed to walk out of their comfy warm straw beds to go for a quick walk.
I am also put in charge to watch who is eating. Some of the dogs are turning away from their food and water, letting it freeze to the bottom of the bowls. No matter how much I push the bowl closer to their noses, dump it on the ground in front of them, they simply tuck their noses back under their tails and close their eyes. Lucie gives me a bag of frozen meat- “They will eat this!”.  I am reassured by Lucie’s quick thinking  when I start handing out the frozen chunks of beaver meat.
The photo below is of Charles and Lucie at the Yukon Quest banquet.
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Dogs are eating. Check. Back to Lisa, I am soon given tasks such as fetching straw with Nico, changing headlamp batteries, feeding Lisa’s dogs with Alex and Nico, wherever I can be of service, I make myself available. I am soon given the task to tell Lisa what time it is- every 5 minutes.
It seems that every five minutes that pass, the excitement in the air becomes more and more apparent, but also, the panic becomes more and more apparent as well.
Jerry is behind his schedule. The sled is not fully packed, the dogs have not been hooked up to the sled, and his departure time is looming closer and closer.
Once again I am amazed by Jerry and Lisa’s commitment and teamwork. Feeling that I am now more in the way than being helpful- I step back to simply observe. I would not say Lisa and Jerry are polar opposites- but their differences push and pull at each other, creating a powerful melody that sets Jerry up to succeed. It was fascinating to witness all the tasks that needed to be done, and by done, I mean done in mere seconds. There was no time for stumbling around, and asking questions. Now was not the time to ask for detailed instructions on how to pack a sled.
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The night before- I remember asking Lisa when she began mushing. It seems if my memory serves me correctly,  mushing and crossing paths with Jerry happened at the same time, when Lisa was 19. “It’s a lifestyle” she said. A real commitment, both financially and well, just everything. Your whole life revolves around the dogs.
I found this so fascinating, to be able to experience a lifestyle I had never known, a lifestyle I had only seen from the outside. Yes the glamour was still there, but it was buried, buried deep below much more important things. Responsibility, a hard work ethic, passion, and a bit of crazy, among other things, that makes up this hardy lifestyle called Dog Mushing.
Here’s a photo of Nico and the dogs
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Soon I am hooked back into the chaos- which is now becoming more and more heated and frantic. I am given the task to bring the dogs down to the sled, to hook them up. (I am not even sure I am using the proper terminology for any of this by the way, so bear with me!) One dog, two dogs, I don’t know and don’t care what I had just kneeled in, the dogs needed to be out and ready to pull. Every five minutes I shout the time to Lisa. Jerry should have been at the send off by now. But as cool as a cucumber (at least on the outside) he was checking his bag, checking his sled, and now preparing to put boots on the dogs. I am sent to grab the dog jackets, and count the dog blankets to be placed in Jerry’s sled. I catch myself running from sled to dog tent, more than a dozen times in under a half hour.
Coats- check
Boots- check
Howling like wolves?- check
Everything is a blur, Lisa is running around, checking everything twice, three times, four times, checking on Jerry, Jerry checking on dogs, Nico holding the leader at the front of the sled, there are too many people, too many people, the chaos just became way more congested, I run over and catch Lisa by the arm. She is squinting in the dark trying to fix the clasps on the rope. She keeps fumbling at her forehead, looking for the headlamp that is  always strapped there. Only now Jerry has it as backup, packed away. I rip off my headlamp and place it in her hands, then step back out of the chaos.
It seems much quieter, just three feet away, from all the running, howling, and orders. I take a deep breath and look skyward.
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The lights had come out to play once again!
Slipping, sliding, twirling, I could feel my eyelashes start to freeze as I watched the lights caressing the river, mountains, and trees, shimmering in all shades of green, pink, and purple.
I blink.
And the noise returns, the howls, the calls for Jerry to get on the sled, the good luck hugs, the scraping of the sled, the sound of the dog’s claws digging into the icy snow, it was time to head to the sendoff point.
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Lisa and Jerry hang on together, while Nico runs with the dogs in the front. The rest of us follow behind on foot, walking fast paced like excited children, I am talking with an old timer, Harvey, about my snowmobile. He tells me it’s time for me to get my own sled and dogs. Harvey chuckles and adds, he never has a problem starting them (his dog team) in the morning. I laugh, but also do an inward groan. I really hope my sled will start once Jerry is on his way.
Jerry gets to the sendoff point. The dogs are rearing to go. After a few questions and one last check, Jerry is on his way. Gliding onto the Yukon River, Jerry heads south to Whitehorse, the final trek of the race. We see him on the river, passing the campsite- Lisa calls out to him one last time, we all cheer, his reply “I should have eaten dinner!”.
Oh dear.
We get back to the campsite, everyone is wet, cold, and exhausted. I make eye contact with Lisa, she smiles, and pulls me into a big bear hug. I thank her for letting me be her shadow for a couple of days, and also apologize for any time I may have gotten in the way. She shakes her head, she thanks me for coming along. For rolling up my sleeves and diving in for some tough work.
Inside my soul- I am beaming, tired and cold, but beaming with joy. What a fantastic weekend, a wonderful break away from the things that stress me most. I thank Lisa again. I am so thankful for that “Yukon Hospitality” , the opportunity to learn new skills, to challenge myself, to be with like-minded people, and what a bonus, like-minded people close to my age!  *Nico and Alex*
What is also happening inside my soul is a little cloud of sadness, brewing slowly. Soon, these people will have to leave, soon, I will be back to school drowning in frustration. I hang on to every thread of happiness this spectacular weekend has gifted me. I thank everyone who made this weekend so fantastic! And thank you Nico for sharing your wonderful pictures!
Due to another penalty from breaking a sled, Jerry ended up winning the “Red Lantern”, even though he crossed the finish line before others, his penalty was added onto his race time, thus placing him in last place.
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But really, it is not the prize money that makes the Quest. It’s the adventure that is the true reward.
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Enduring the extremes, pushing the boundaries, and mushing through Alaskan and Yukon backcountry. Completing the race. That is the true reward, both for Musher and Dog.
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 I feel so very blessed to have had such a wonderful weekend with the Joinsons, Nico, Alex, Charles, and Lucie, and everyone else at the Yukon Quest Dawson City Checkpoint ! Thank you- and I hope we stay in touch and cross paths again!

KINNGAIT – Riding Light into the World –

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The Enchanted Owl by Kenojuak Ashevak

On my quest for finding and understanding First Nation and Inuit Art practices, I stumbled upon this magical documentary; Kinngait Riding Light into the World directed by Annette Mangaard. I have always been mesmerized by the unique and striking choices of subject, line, and use of colour found in Inuit art. In this short documentary, my love for carving, drawing, and especially printmaking was set on fire! I finished the documentary wanting more. Wanting to learn more. Wanting to experience more. I highly recommend this documentary I hope it leaves you just as inspired as I was after watching it! (for the second time 🙂 )

Take me to the Kinngait Studios!

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Set in the Canadian Arctic, this documentary introduces the many talented artists of the Kinngait Studios, and speaks about their role in the development and formation of Inuit Art.

To watch the trailer please click the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eq6yq_SCyOI

Originally known as West Baffin Eskimo Co-op Ltd., it is now locally known as Kinngait Co-operative. It is located in Cape Dorset, Nunavut.

Here is a picture of Kenojuak Ashevak located below.

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To see some of the Kinngait Artist’s work click the link below.

http://www.dorsetfinearts.com

Featured in this film:

  • Kenojuak Ashevak
  • Arnaqu Ashevak
  • Shuvinai Ashoona
  • Jimmy Manning
  • Kavavaow Mannomee
  • Ohotaq Mikkigak
  • Tim Pitsiulak
  • Kananganak Pootoogook
  • Itee  Pootoogook
  • Annie Pootoogook
  • Terry Ryan
  • Pitaloosie Saila
  • Kakulu Saggiaktok
  • Ningeokuluk Teevee
  • Jutai Toonoo
  • Papiara Tukiki

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

BJ EXPERIENCE FOR THE WIN….

Ni hao

Just got back from China and you know what I LOVED it. But I am so jetlagged this post willl be short like a midget, quick like a cheetah and random as… Well as random as all my other posts I guess.

I’ll write about each day and all the perks and smirks and uh… un-perks… (I’m like the protege of Dr. Suess ) included in my travels. I’ll be using friend’s photos and movie clips from the camp so for the next few days not all the photographs on here will be taken by yours truly, but more like a chinese buffet of all my friend’s experiences. Hope you enjoy what is to come!

xx

………… and jeez these Bananas STILL drive me bonkers. Arg!

 

 

Bananas? What the hell?

Picture a hamster, ginger colour, bulgy blue eyes, cute button nose, and little white whiskers frantically galloping in a rusty, squeaky hamster wheel. This ginger fur ball is in a furious hamster-like marathon, a never-ending marathon it seems, until it takes one step… Just one step out of line and soon tangles, in the most ungraceful way, ass over tea kettle, button nose now in the place its furry little rump should be, trapped in a carnival wheel of death spinning session.

My friend had a hamster like this one, his name was Earl. He’s now buried in a All Bran box in the front lawn. R.I.P. little man.

This is what I feel like when put under a stressful situation,

most recent stressful situation? One word:

China.

I grew up traveling, like a young ugly duckling following its smart mother, we migrated  religiously back and forth from B.C to Ontario. Planes and airports, the awkward security guard pat downs ( I have learned to skip wearing my cute low-rise jeans through security, yoga pants seem like such a better option to wear when your stuck in a starfish pose with a beeping baton thing and hands patting down suspiciously when you choose to wear denim with metal rivets, if you don’t care about this, or would like to delay time I’d recommend dressing up like Gene Simmons from KISS) anyways, airports became just another part of life. An exciting part of life because thus it meant that I was leaving my charming, sweet, *cough* *choke*… *hack* what the hell am I talking about? I was getting AWAY from my cage, my boredom, I would have the opportunity to immerse myself in a real CITY. That had subways (not the restaurant), 911, and I would be able to blend in, simply being…. Me.

I would get to see Toronto, Newmarket, Keswick, and many other places where my mom had pockets of family. Like mice, it seemed that when we went to one place, there would be more than one person to see at that place. Mom’s old highschool friends, Aunties, Uncles, Family friends, Grandparents… the list goes on. I appreciate how my mom made sure that her side of the family got to know her offspring no matter how weird we looked, (okay just kidding, I must admit we all were adorable little ginger pip-squeaks, but I did used to spell my name “SLLAY” and my uncle still addresses birthday cards that way to me ) If you know me personally, you may think I looked a bit weird in the beginning as well but hey. I’m just hoping it will pan out like the little ugly duckling’s life, unless he gets eaten, or maybe shot by some hunter, or maybe fly into an airplane propeller…. I’d just like to be a friendly swan that gets fed regularly by the old lady down the street, maybe chase some kids through a cemetary, and poo on unsuspecting people’s lawns so when the bratty kids run and frolic through their sprinkler, they get a little goosey surprise between their toes. I don’t need to be laying any golden eggs, that’d be WAY too boring.

Hah, your probably thinking what kind of meds is this teenager on, and whats with the Bananas?

I got sidetracked thinking how fun it’d be to be a goose.

I think if I really let my imagination go uncensored it’d have more twitter followers then Gaga and the Beibs COMBINED. What was I talking about? Ah, yes, airplanes and such. So as I got older I slowly got opportunities to dip my toes into more advanced travels. First it was the United states with Girl Guides. OH? So you recognize me now? The little ginger stuffed in a navy blue outfit trying to suck all the money out of you by simply saying ” Would you like to buy some girl guide cookies?” with that cheeky oh so cute smile all girl guides are trained to use on victims, er… Customers. Oh my gawwd as you can seen the hamster in my mind is now ass over tea kettle so bear with me as my mind vomits out thoughts and things that I thought sounded cool in my head but now look like utter rubbish. Funny how that happens a lot to me.

If the travel bug was a vampire you could say Edward Cullen definitely attacked me. I’m very sure of it. I just was already plagued with pasty skin and cold hands. For all you Twilight fans that is the closest your going to get to experiencing a Twilight moment on this blog. That book was not for me. Neither are guys who sparkle like my grade 2 nail polish in the sunshine. Last spring break I went to Greece and Italy with my school travel club, and I learned A LOT. Like for instance: Don’t wink at Italian boys unless you are prepared to have them turn around, come over, talk to you and soon end up asking for a kiss or climbing up to your hotel window…On the second floor. Hah I’ll sure be paying another visit to Sicily. Anyways it was also the colours, sights, history, and smells that really made traveling somewhat…Addictive you could say.

So when this Beijing student conference came up the Edward Cullen Traveling Bug in the back of my head squeaked “SAY YES”. Edward Cullen isn’t even that attractive, oh yeah, well he is only just a bug in my mind, okay moving on. But I always seem to forget…

How much I DISLIKE packing. I know its neccisary and such but really it is ridiculously well, ugh. I share this “ugh” passion with my mother who also likes traveling, but for the past week we both have been packing for she is off to Ontario for a mice reunion and myself off to Beijing. Were both gone for the same amount of days, but she booked her flights on Westjet, so at least her flight will be comfortable, while myself will be rockin’ out on good ol’ Air Canada. Hello crusty tiny seats for 15 hours!!! Can’t you tell I’m so excited???

Little hamster is now feeling seasick and going “OOoooooOOooooo” while being flopped around like a toddlers toy in the hamster wheel. Lets hope Air Canada is a bit kinder then a hamster wheel. So this packing thing. A pain in the big old bumblebee. It takes up my time, I could have been blogging all week but now I’m cramming EVERYTHING into this one post before I leave for ten days. Creative eh?

So this hamster feeling I am hoping will go away once I am at least maybe oh, a few hours into my flight. I am going with two good friends and also a new possible friend from Vanderhoof. She’s ginger, so there is a pretty good chance we will click. *fingers crossed*

So after I get back I will most like have a camera exploding with pictures from my travels and will be sharing some of them with you guys. (It’d be pretty sad if no one was reading my blog, hah it’d actually be funny in a sad way, me being the only one reading my own blog thinking how cool it was) Well that was wishful thinking that it’s just not me who views this blog. I don’t really count as a reader anyways, I’m just the damn lousy writer!

So yeah the Bananas thing.

I changed the theme of my blog and yeah the Bananas came with the whole shin dig. Umm thought it was cute for the first 3 minutes then I wanted to change it. I have NOTHING against the yellow yummy snacks, they just, dont really work with my blog ,but I have been so busy with life that I havn’t gotten around to change it. Yes I have a life! It may not feel much like one at the moment but yes I do have a life and it seems way to busy for my liking at the moment. But then I’d be the kid complaining about having nothing to do so I guess it’s gotta be busy to feed the border collie personality I have. So just to all the people out there who are still reading, I congratulate you, you must have great patience and some weird curiosity. I like it a lot! If you can read this, then you are capable of having a conversation with a kid like me and not have to take an Advil after. That is an accomplishment.

So if your on a flight to Beijing this weekend and you see a ginger with a mop of hair and most likely attempting yoga on the airplane. That will be me, don’t be afraid to say hello, I may look like a lion when the humidity hits my hair but I don’t bite.

Left: Little Miss Westjet

Right: Little Miss Air Canada *Groooaaannnn*

At least the flight attendents are nice…

Sometimes…

I’m not exactly an ugly duck, nor a swan yet.

Maybe an awkward looking goose?

 

 

xx