Sunday, April 26, 2009


So what do you do when your job doesn't pay very well (but you don't want to find another job because you love this one), you owe more money than you care to discuss on the computer that you had to buy back in September because your other one mysteriously broke, you're going on a vacation you thought you could afford but apparently can't, you're not too good at budgeting, and your rent has been raised to slightly more than astronomical levels?

...I wish there was a punchline for that.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Dealing with customers

Had a group (all families from Massachusetts going out on tour) today...

Kid on bike: "Can I get a handlebar bag? You know, to put in tissues and mints and stuff?"

What I said: "Sure, no problem! Hang on just a second!"
What I thought: "What sort of prissy kid needs mints on a bike tour?"

Woman on bike, snippily (I was adjusting hers and her daughter's seats and hers was too high): "You know, we made reservations with our heights..."

What I said: "Well, ma'am, it all depends on the length of the leg."
What I meant: "Yeah, well, you're 5' 1" and it's not my fault your legs are short and stumpy."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Slightly hilarious conversation

Coming out of the Old Post Office this evening (our bike shop is right next door), I got stopped by 2 security guards who were just saying hey--they make an effort to get to know everyone in the shop. Security Guard 1 was asking about my cooking skills, and I happened to mention how I usually just cook for myself...

Security Guard 2: You got a boyfriend?

Me: Nah.

SG2: That's good, that's good. You'll get a lot further with that mentality...doing what you want, going where you want.

Me: Ha, I guess so. Though I was thinking of a getting a fish. You know, I can't have a dog in my apartment, so it'd be a good companion.

SG2: You know, a fish can't hold you at night.

Me: ...a really big fish could...

SG2: You scuba dive?

Me (really confused as to why he is asking me this): Um, no? But maybe I should learn so I can go cuddle with the sharks.

SG2: *laughs*

Security Guard 1: All right, I don't know where that came from, but I gotta go check something in the back...*walks away, chuckling at something about sharks*

Awkward? Yeah. Great end to the day? Yup.

Back in DC, officially.

OK, I've allowed myself a few days to adapt and here I am. Again.

Well, ice fell from the sky today, but not in the same form that I've gotten used to. This was pea-sized chunks of hail as opposed to light and lovely flakes of snow. Spent most of the day in the bike shop waiting for the weather to make up her mind. It hailed, it rained, it was sunny, it thundered...all quite frustrating yet endearing, in that way that the weather around here has.

Also re-discovered the joys of biking to work during rush hour. Practically getting launched off my seat twice in one morning by an errant driver who wasn't paying any attention to the bike (me) in the road...and witnessing a cab sideswipe a red Honda Civic in Thomas Circle...and a normally 20-minute ride taking 35 minutes or fun fun. Also remembering that people here don't stop in crosswalks for pedestrians, bicyclists, or anyone who isn't surrounded by 2 tons of hurtling metal.

But here I am, back in the land of weird weather, rude drivers, limestone, marble and granite monuments, 24-hour convenience shops with hoagies that are to die for, my school (ineffective student governance, on the whole, and all), my friends--all encompassed in that quirky DC charm.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The news is dumb and Canada is everywhere.

First thing I saw when I flipped on NBC this morning...

"Moose on the Loose--Edmonton, Canada"

Two things bother me about this--first, the only news that I heard about Canada this morning was about a moose (named "Bullwinkle"--ha ha ha) and about nothing substantial. Second, Edmonton, Canada? That's like saying Philadelphia, United States. Or Sacramento, United States. Edmonton is in ALBERTA, Canada. Not only that, Edmonton is the capital of said province.

Also, why am I watching 20 minutes worth of idiots quibbling about Miss California being anti-gay marriage? Why is this newsworthy? I don't really pay attention to beauty pageants, and frankly, I'm glad they're being asked "hard" questions. While I suppose it's good that she's strong enough to support her opinion, four months without even hearing about this argument makes me wonder (even more so than before) why we blow it so out of proportion. And while Perez Hilton has every right to be pissed, he's...well, he's a moron. A pro-gay marriage moron, sure, but he makes a living based on being a shallow, gossip-mongering individual.

Am I being too judgmental? Should I just shut up and simply watch the news instead of letting almost every aspect of it piss me off? Maybe I'll transition to reading the Post online instead...stay tuned for when I start griping about how many ads are in the paper.


I'm noticing Canada everywhere. It's scary. I saw a group of kids outside the Lincoln Memorial today with a huge Canadian flag and actually said, "Ooh, Canadians!" really excitedly. And a category on Jeopardy this evening? "Other Famous Canadians." Did you know a Canadian invented Trivial Pursuit?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

From MTA to AU

Well, farewell, New Brunswick. I'm back in DC, and we just had the spring seminar for the Killam I know I'll be back in Canada someday, but for now, I've got to finish out my degree and figure out the direction that my life's headed in...

What I will miss:

-Seeing the Canadian flag and the sprawling countryside outside my window
-That Sackville charm
-My friends
-Grappling in circles about national identity in a few different courses
-Bilingual labels
-Meal hall conversations
-My friends

What I won't miss:

Um. Get back to me on that one.

What I'm excited for in DC:

-My friends
-Take the above sentiment and multiply it by about a million
-Working at the bike shop
-Playing the piano for church again
-Seeing what's changed and what hasn't

As for this blog...well...what does one do when a blog is supposed to be finished? Should I just leave it up? Continue updating it? Revert back to my old site? Stop blogging altogether?

Maybe I'll put the updates on hold for awhile.

So long.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A letter to a town, as I sit staring at my suitcase

Dear Sackville,

I can't begin to thank you enough for the experience I've had this semester. I came here expecting to enjoy myself, but I certainly wasn't expecting to fall in love as hard and as fast as I did.

The first day I took the Acadien Bus in from the grossness that is Moncton in the winter (sorry), I was intimidated by the amount of SNOW and the amount of GREY nothingness in the New Brunswick landscape, and I was fairly convinced that I was going to see a moose jump out in the middle of the road and attack the bus. The nervousness was too daunting for me to feel particularly homesick, but the moment I stepped off that bus, I felt fine. Whether it was the smile of the international adviser who came to pick me up or the fact that the Campbell dons lent me bedding the moment they found out mine was being sent in the mail, I'm not sure...but something clicked. Actually, a lot of things clicked.

And it just continued to get better. Yeah, sure, there was the occasional longing for the familiarity of my own friends and my own school. But it's hard to feel lonely when there are potlucks, concerts, art gallery openings and 2-hour meal hall conversations to attend, all shared with some of the most genuine, open-minded and unique people on the planet.

I've tried to explain you to friends and family, but they don't quite get it. "Oh, sure. A small town in Canada," they say. Those who actually get Canadian geography understand what it means to be in the Maritimes. And yes, that's all true, but there's something you don't understand about this place until you come here. A friend told me that on my first day here, and I see now what he meant. I could stand at the end of Bridge Street or Wood Point and take pictures of the endless sky and landscape, or write a poem about the view from the top of King, or try and describe to someone the feeling one gets upon walking into Ducky's or smiling at a stranger on the street--but it's not the same. I don't mean to lapse into cliches, but there's something different in the air.

I could go on, but I just wanted to tap out a quick note in a last-ditch effort to explain this place via a blog--it can't be done, but God knows I've tried.

You give, and you don't ask to be loved--though charming, you are completely and totally without pretense. But you secretly know that, once acquainted, certain people won't be able to help falling for you. That's just how it is.

Yesterday, I saw it hail, snow, and get sunny in a repeated cycle...and your personality (if you could call it that) changed with each change in the weather...and every one was truly and remarkably beautiful.

So...thanks, Sackville.

Love always,

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's snowing here. Still.

Meanwhile, in's been sunny and warm. And my family was celebrating with homemade lamb-shaped cakes by my grandmother (for citation purposes, the photo was courtesy of my sister and the original version can be found on her blog, but I stole it to show anyone who happens to read this one....sorry, Rebecca).

Apparently, the spikes were there so that the head didn't fall off...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Dear New Brunswick,

The lyrics to that very famous song are "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas..." and NOT "I'm dreaming of a white Easter."

So nice try, but wrong holiday.


Friday, April 10, 2009

A warning to my friends at AU

If, in roughly a week from now, you find yourself having the wind knocked out of you by a 135-pound object hurtling at you at roughly 100 kph that appears to be a 20-year-old female with dark blond hair and a fake Canadian accent who is either crying or smiling way too much...possibly both...'s probably me.

And a warning to my friends at MTA:

If, in the next week, you find yourself being smothered by a sobbing American female, with basically the same description as above...'s also probably me.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

6 weeks of pointless research + several books read + lots of agony + one discussion with a prof + one all-nighter =

MY LAST PAPER IS FINALLY FINISHED! And 1,000 words over the limit. And doesn't make much sense. Whoops. Oh well.

Lots of time with good friends and garlic fingers and blueberry beer consumption tonight (with the addition of a former American Killam fellow en route to Charlottetown!), then hard-core studying (God, do they ever take exams seriously here) all weekend. With bouts of partying to break up the monotony, of course...

I can't believe it's my last weekend here. And I'm entering into it on 1 hour and 45 minutes of sleep.

Also, cover your eyes if you're less than 9 while reading the following, but the quotes of the day go to Pat:

Me: "I apologize for my sense of humour. I have a frat boy somewhere..."
Him: "A frat boy deep inside you? HAAAAAA! That's what she said!"

Me: (upon seeing a stack of sandwich rolls on his plate) "You're seriously not going to finish those buns?"
Him: "Well, you know, there was so much meat to eat that I just couldn't get to the buns."
Both of us: "HA!"

God, I love meal hall sometimes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

You had me at chocolate eggs...

I love you Canada. Even more.


Two words: Easter candy. I'm buying a grab bag immediately after Easter to bring home and share with everyone in the States.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I hate cell phones and iPods.

Before I get down to work and actually finish up this last paper, I'd like to take a second to gripe about something...

I really don't want to go back to a permanently plugged-in culture. By that, I mean people walking around, neglecting to make eye contact because they're staring at their cell phones while walking around campus, talking on said cell phones, emailing on their Blackberries, and/or not hearing a friendly "hello" because they're walking from class to class with earphones in (are you really that scared that someone might strike up a conversation?).

Yes, people do that here, but not quite to the same extent. One of the first things that I noticed at the Rideau Centre in Ottawa back in September was that not a single person in my range of vision was on a phone. Not one. I got self-conscious and put away mine.

Here at Mt. A, I leave my cell phone in my room 90% of the time (with how expensive calls are, I sort of have to), and I feel free...granted, it's made me a little more reliant on my email and Facebook and Twitter and all that, but when I go for a bike ride or a walk or something, I don't feel compelled to constantly wonder if someone's going to call me. Or to check to see if I have a signal when I'm busy staring out at the gorgeous scenery because ohmygodsoandsomightcallme. This is also due to the fact that I've been separated from most of my extracurricular responsibilities here, but the point remains the same.

I also haven't texted in about 4 months. And I really don't miss it. Or miss the constant buzzing of "Hey, what's up?" or "Hey, where are you? I miss you!" seventeen and a half times a day. Useful for planning to meet up with someone? Yes. Annoying as hell? Yes. Did I do this all the time? Absolutely. It leaves no room for spontaneity...and with all these new things they're coming out with (Google tracker???), the sudden jolt of happiness in your stomach upon seeing someone that you really enjoy will no longer happen, because you'll have known they were coming at least 5 minutes beforehand.

I suppose that's kind of a separate rant...but I get a crawling feeling of annoyance whenever I'm trying to talk to someone and they can't hear me because their ears and eyesight are stuffed with plastic.

Being addicted to my laptop really isn't any better, I guess. Maybe I'm just being self-righteous. Especially because I know that I'm going to revert right back to my phone-caressing ways the moment I get back to DC.

Thank you, ZooLoo, for reading my the following. It's hilarious.

Monday, April 6, 2009

We have a flag code?

Who knew?

So as for Canadians who go and get their US flags signed by Americans....Shame. On. You.

To be fair, you're not supposed to do it in Canada, either, but they don't seem to be threatening punishment. I could be wrong--maybe I just can't find the Canadian flag code...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Finding hyphens.

So I'm working on an essay on a work by Franco-Canadian Italian (Italian Franco-Canadian? Canadian Franco-Italian?) author Antonio D'Alfonso entitled Fabrizio's Passion. The man is a brilliant writer and thinker, and the fact that he denies being an academic in the essays that he's published on ethnicity and identity have really drawn me to his ideas.

Anyway, this has got me wondering about my own family's origins. One of our family names is derived from an Italian word that, when I looked up, meant "pug." I also found this:

"also a term denoting a medieval Italian coin, and it is possible that in some cases the surname arose as a nickname, possibly for a worthless fellow, since it was a coin of low value, or as an occupational name for a moneyer."

The ending of the name was changed to -ini, which according to other sources, means "little."

So my family was either a bunch of little worthless people or little bankers...

Or, on the other hand, the root "Carlo" could also mean that we're descended from some monarch by the name of Charles.

Internet research is so inconclusive sometimes.

Though according to my grandmother, they came over from Italy to Virginia to work in the coal mines--which means that Virginia (next to Washington, DC, where I spend most of my time), is closer to my family origins than Arizona...

Anyway, based on my grandmother's email and brief Google searches (the accuracy of the latter are completely suspect) of various family surnames, I'm from:

-Krakovany, (western) Slovakia
-Cambridgeshire, UK
-somewhere in Ireland, possibly
-the Ayrshire district of Scotland
-a village near the Carrera marble mines in Northern Italy (this is the only certain one)
-Germany somewhere, "on the branch or tributary (dell or tell) of a small river (bach, brok or brook), or from a place of the same name."

So I'm Italian-Irish-Scottish-British-German-Slovak-American-wishing I was Canadian. Hrm.


Phone calls to the States from my land line: Impossible.

Phone calls to the States from my cell phone: $0.57 a minute.

Having someone call you from Pennsylvania for a lovely and rather long conversation: Priceless.

Price of that phone call: $60.

His confusion about the listing of "New Brunswick" on the phone bill then realizing that "Canada isn't just called Canada everywhere up there": Even more priceless than the phone call...

Price of that phone call after explaining confusion to phone company: $30.

(Sorry, J. I had to share.)

Also...another gem by Kate Nash. Because everyone has been through this at least once in their lives, and the way she describes it is HILARIOUS.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hearing voices and seeing things...

A had a friend of mine from the States phone me this evening so I could find my cell phone...not because I often use it to call anyone, but because it's my alarm clock. She said to me, "Well, it's nice to hear your voice," and put into words (part of) what I realized has been making me miss home.

I don't know if it's a common thing, but I get attached to voices. My head perks up when I think I hear someone that I know based solely on vocal recognition. When I first met one of my good friends here, I was drawn to her immediately because her voice reminded me of a girl I had known from AU. And I really miss hearing some of my friends, and I'll look forward to being able to use my cell phone again, if only for that reason.

Similarly, I've started seeing more and more people that I think I know from the States. It happened a bit when I first got here, and I recognized some of my closest friends in people here, but I'll see people and upon first glance think, "Oh, that's so-and-so," then remember that I'm in the wrong place. The same thing happened the summer after my parents moved out to Arizona and I was working at Kohl's. I wonder if the merging of what you knew and where you are now is a sign of adaptation or a sign of being ready to go, come to think of it...

I'll get into the boo-hoo-soul-split-in-two-oh-my-god-my-life-is-so-confused element of leaving later, but I just wanted to throw that out there.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Guess what?

1) I LOVE being an American! With blind patriotism! Go USA! Every other nationality sucks in comparison!

2) I'm transferring to a university in the American South so I can celebrate how awesomely AMERICAN I am!

3) I'm in a serious relationship and we're getting engaged soon!

4) I'm failing out of all of my classes!

5) I successfully fought off my caffeine addiction!

6) It was 20 degrees Celsius today!

7) It's April 1st!

Poisson d'avril! *slaps a fish on your back, laughs, and runs away* (It's a French thing--thanks, Gabo.)

....I'm so funny.