Wednesday, August 27, 2008

You don't know me at all. (What?)

This week is kicking my ass. I'm helping with an orientation program at school for newcomers to the country. It's been fun, and I like being around the kids again (they are funny), but it is exhausting me. I come home and I'm comatose, then I pass out for a little nap and then I wander around aimlessly for awhile. Good news: tomorrow is the last day of said program and then I have a four-day weekend. However, my long weekend is followed by the beginning of a new school year, which is always a slightly daunting prospect.

However, the new Ben Folds song, featuring Regina Spektor, is totally rocking my world these days, and the video is delightful.

The weather is cool and you can feel summmer giving its last hurrah and autumn rolling in. I'm fine with this. For most people, the new year starts in January, but I feel more renewal in September than I ever do in January. This school year, I'm going to focus on being more tranquil. I find that I'm having a hard time sitting still these days, and my mind is always racing, and that I spend too much trying to cram every free moment in my life with stuff. This year, I want to spend more quiet time knitting, and reading, and not running around. I'm going to be a better, happier me, dammit. ;) I'll try to embrace the East Coast pace a little more in my day-to-day existence.

p.s. I just ordered my red soaring birds Chucks. Woot!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The tricky part (oo-oo-oo) is to come back home.

Hiya blog neglecterinos! It's been awhile. I've been back since Wednesday, and I've been in a flurry of unpacking, getting pictures uploaded onto my computer and sent off to travel buddies, as well as sleeping a lot and chilling with Becca T. I also made the mistake of agreeing to help with an orientation program at my school which started on Friday and runs 'til Thursday. Going back to work sucks, but sucks worse when you do it during the last week of your vacay.

I tend to be verbose, so I plan to make this my least verbose post ever, and just post some of my *own* pics from my *own* camera now that I'm back home. Enjoy!

Monday, August 18, 2008

When you found yourself finally released, you hit the ground and kept running east...

Today was a special day. I, Christielli, have been in *three* provinces on the same day. Pretty impressive, eh? However, this monumentous occasion is accompanied by some sadness: our trek from Charlottetown to Halifax (via Confederation Bridge and a corner of New Brunswick) means that we are coming to the end of our mayhem in the Maritimes. Tomorrow we are spending another day in Halifax, and then on Wednesday we fly back to Ontari-ari-ari-o.

During the past few days, I've been commenting on random things that I *love* about the East Coast. Believe me, if there is one thing I've learned on this trip, it is that I *love* the East Coast. Honestly, if someone offered me a job in a small Maritime town, I think I'd totally take it, and move out here. Although, maybe seeing what the winter is like out here would change my mind...

Anyway, here is a list of random things that I *love* about the East Coast. Upon reflecting on these ten random things, my pals and I realize that we did not take pictures of a lot of these things, so I guess most of them will remain in the realm of memory and now the blogosphere.

1) Post Offices: Every small town here has a post office in the centre of town. We've driven through at least 1349 small towns, and trust me, the post office is easy to find. (It's my job to see it and comment on it or else I get in trouble.)

2) Visitors' Centres: I tend to not go to visitors' centres back home, since even if I'm travelling elsewhere in Ontario, I don't consider myself a visitor. The visitors' centres here are very well-marked and easy to find with the brown question mark signs that we see everywhere. It's become a trip tradition to visit the visitors' centres in the towns we've visited, even if we don't need information. (That's a hilraious sentence, with three forms of the verb "to visit".) The staff are always very helpful and friendly, and you can get lots of handy information and maps from them. Christa points out that they have information in both English and French available at these centres, and Flora points out that they have well-kept washroom facilities.

3)Little Churches: There are so many cute little churches. Usually they are handily perched on a hill overlooking the town, making them very visible and making the town look very picture-pefect. Here is an a-typical East Coast church from somewhere in PEI. It's not white, and not on a hill, but cute nonetheless (and the only church picture that I could find on Christa's computer).

4) Lack of traffic: During quite a few of our drives, I've been known to ask "when was the last time we saw another car in either direction?" I love the fact that I can ask that question. We did, however, come across a nasty traffic snarl in Kensington PEI. We had finished our "Anne of Green Gables" day in Cavendish and decided to detour to Summerside. To make this detour, we ended up having to pass through yet another small community. However, once we were heading into town, traffic was stopped. After waiting a few minutes, I decided to turn around (it was my driving day) and see if we could find another way to get to Kensington. After driving in the wrong direction for awhile, Christa suggested "Let's just go back to Kensington. The traffic jam is sure to have cleared up by now." So, I turned around and headed back into the snarl. We moved up a car length every couple of minutes, but gave up after another half hour and when we saw evidence of a probable parade up ahead. We ended up just going back to Charlottetown, and making our detour to Summerside this morning. Luckily, there was not a parade to be had in Kensington today. So, in summary, East Coast traffic is pretty non-existent, except if there is a parade.

A picture showing typical East Coast traffic (this was actually in a *tourist trap* area in Moncton):

Traffic Snarl in Kensington:

5) East Coast Driving Manners: Even though traffic is pretty sparse out here, with the exception of parades, when you do come across another vehicle, they are very laid back and polite. I've yet to hear the sound of a car horn (with the exception of when Flora accidentally leaned on ours). When you make a stupid tourist driving error, no one gets mad at you. People let you in when you need to change lanes. I've yet to be hit by a car while being a pedestrian here (unlike when I was on the West Coast last summer). In fact, cars actually *stop* for pedestrians here. Love it.

6)Giant statues of things: We've visited the giant lobster in Shediac, NB and the giant blueberry in Oxford, NS. Both have made for kickass photo ops and seem to be the primary attraction in these two towns. Here's the lobster:

7) Chatting with locals about complete randomness: Today I've had two absolutely random chats with locals in, no surprise, coffee shops.

a) Tim Hortons in Amherst NS: I ordered my usual large half coffee half hot chocolate. The man beside me was absolutely fascinated by my beverage and inquired about how I discovered it, how tasty was it, and whether or not you have to add sugar to it. (You don't.)

b) Starbucks on the outskirts of Halifax - I pull out my wallet to pay for my Mint Mocha Chip Frappucino Light (it's been awhile since I've had one) and the cashier comments "Wow! Your driver's license is so much nicer than mine!" I ask her what hers looks like and she actually goes to the back to get her wallet to show me, upon which we bond on the ugliness of NS licenses and the fact that we have the same brand of wallet. I could not imagine anyone in Toronto going to grab their wallet like this.

8) Beaches and Parks - Admittedly, I don't frequent the beaches and parks in Ontario much, but the ones out here are amazing. We've been to Murray Beach Provincial Park in NB, Fundy National Park in NB, and the Greenwich Beach section of PEI National Park. We've varied from very active (hiking a level three trail at Fundy) to very inactive (lying on the Beach at Greenwich) at these parks, and maybe it's just the Atlantic saltwater, but I really loved these places.

9) Houses - The vast majority of houses on the East Coast look like cottages and are painted a rainbow of pretty shades like red, blue, yellow, and purple. My pal Flora has probably taken at least 20 shots of various purple houses on this trip. I think my favourite house was a bright red one in Peggy's Cove.

Below is a picture of Peggy's Cove. Can you find my favourite house? Can you spot the cute little church?

10) Scenic Driving Routes - All three provinces have had well marked scenic routes. I forget the names of all of these routes, but they've all been very well marked with cute signs with lighthouses, sunrises, blue herons, etc. And, they've all been very scenic. Having to drive on a boring four-lane highway to Halifax today was rather sucky after all of our scenic drives.

There are far more than ten things that I've loved about the East Coast, but since I'm getting tired, and we have our last hurrah in Halifax tomorrow, I'm going to stop at the nice lovely round number that is ten.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I took the Dartmouth ferry into the town, spent my pennies bumming around...

So, what do you do on a rainy night in a small Nova Scotian town? Thank goodness the Olympics are on and we have wifi. There has been some talk of venturing out to rent a DVD or something, but after spending the day getting severely soaked, there is little enthusiasm for leaving our quaint hotel room.

The worst thing about this rain is that there is was a really cool evening plan that may be abandoned. We are in Annapolis Royal which is Canada's oldest permanent residence. There is a really old graveyard across from our hotel, and there is a candlelight tour of the graveyard scheduled for tonight, but it might not be the most fun thing to do in a torrential downpour. Plus, I'm unsure of how the candles would stay lit. This is a huge downer because I was really looking forward to the tour since I have a well-developed inner gothiness and such.

So yeah, now that I'm finished complaining about the rain, I'll give you a quick update on Mayhem in the Maritimes. There has been mayhem: my travelling pal Christa stole a mug, and climbed on cannons at the Citadel in Halifax when the brochure clearly said not to climb on stuff. (Note: another person whose name contains the letters c, h, r, i, s, and t might have also been climbing on the above cannon.) Also, last night a certain trio of girls may have gone out for a lobster dinner in Lunenburg, drank a little bit of assorted spirits which resulted in a spirited dinner. This resulted in a certain person feeling bad for consuming a week's worth of calories in one sitting, so she decided to "hoof" around the hills of Lunenburg for a fify-two minutes. Note: the hills of Lunenburg could give the hills of San Fran a run for their money. Because of her strenuous hoofing, someone had a hard time getting out of bed this morning. And, so I'm hearing, was cranky for the second time in three days.

Now, you may have noticed this not an independent blog post, since I have a running commentary happening as I write. This post is going to get even more collaborative because I'm going to post a couple of pictures taken by my buddy/klepto Christa since her picture are on her laptop from which I am typing.

Here's a picture of the iconic lighthouse at Peggy's Cove:

Finally, a picture of a rainy day in Annapolis Royal:

Thanks guest photographer Christa!!!

Update: The rain stopped just in time for the candlelight graveyard tour! My well-developed inner goth was so pleased!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Take the heart of the travelling band, you'll never understand that all they know is the yellow line, yeah.

Well, I'm in the midst of a flurry of packing, entertaining house guests, over-analyzing something that happened yesterday, and hoping that I'll get some sleep tonight.

But, it'll all be over tomorrow when I'm off to Halifax! We have a well-planned itinerary (done by moi, naturellement) that covers the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. At the end of this trip, I'll have visited 8/10 Canadian provinces. I'll be missing Newfoundland (trip in itself) and Saskatchewan. I have no idea what would bring me to Saskatchewan... I really wish that a particular friend would have not moved away from there, so I'd have an excuse to visit. Why don't people think of my travel needs when planning their lives??

Anyhow, I'm sure I'll blog a bit from the road, but if not, I'll catch you on the 20th!!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I just need light. I need light in the dark as I search for a resolution.

Random thoughts from a girl who can't sleep...

1) So a beloved band of yours comes out with a new single and you download it. How many times do you listen to in a span of roughy 24 hours do you think? 10? 20? Maybe 30? Well, if your name is Christielli, and the single is "The Resolution" by Jack's Mannequin, the answer is 60.

2) Early on Sunday morning, I'm leaving for major summer trip #2: Mayhem in the Maritimes, baby. What do I mean by mayhem? Well, I mean *me* driving (or at least until my travel buddies have the sense to step in), lighthouses, Canadian historical sights, a few quaint inns, some pubs (I insist on getting drunk at least once... not while driving, of course), ferries, long bridges, tides, the ocean, Anne of Green Gables corniness, a Sarah Harmer show, a ghost walk, beaches, ice cream, and lots of seafood. Perhaps mayhem is the correct term for this, but I couldn't come up with a better alliteration.

3) Album of the week: Little Jabs by Two Hours Traffic. Best song: Sure Can Start. Band is from PEI, where I will be the weekend after next (they won't though, that would have rocked).

4) CDs I will pack for the road: the above album, Navy Blues by Sloan, Wish You Were and All of Our Names by Sarah Harmer (I have some people to school before the show), Marriage by Attack in Black (driving CD from last summer), Everything in Transit by Jack's Mannequin, and whatever bitchin' mixes I have time to make before the trip. n Oh and how 2003 is it to be packing CDs?? (2004 being the year I got my iPod.)

5) If I still can't fall asleep after writing this, I could play connect the dots with the mosquito bites that cover my limbs. I went to a wedding at a cottage last weekend, and trust me, kids' bug spray that smells like watermelon does not do the trick. And, for the record, I disagree with Ned Flanders: mosquito bites are not satisfying to scratch.

6) Even though it is only the beginning of August, I realize that when I get back from my trip on August 20th, reality will be setting in. However, even though they will force me to go back to work yet again this year, I do love the fall and I suspect this will be a fall with a lot of concerts. (Yes, I say that every fall to make me feel better about the inevitable.)

7) Is that a little of bit of sleepyness I feel coming over me?? I think it is... The hot chocolate and staring at a computer screen seems to be working. I have found the resolution!!!