Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hey hey alligator you have got a lot to learn.

Some days I get home from school, and I am too exhausted to do anything much. I might have some toast and jam in place of a proper dinner, watch a bit of TV, waste time on the internet have a hot bath, read a bit in bed, and fall asleep. However, I think with what hopefully seems like spring, I have more energy. Tonight, I had a snack at Starbucks, went to the gym, ran an errand, went grocery shopping, cooked a new meal, cleaned up, blogged (that's now) and then I'm going to do some much needed laundry. I think that's more productive than I've been in a week!

Anyway, my pal Claire posted a meme today, and I'm totally gonna steal it because memes are often better than thinking of stuff on my own, you know?

The ABCs of me

1. Age- 31

2. Bed size- double

3. Chore you dislike the most- all of them. I wish I could afford help around the house. My roommate, Ms. Rilo, does nothing.

4. Dog? Rilo wouldn't allow it.

5. Essential start to your day- oatgurt; my fave breakfast of oatmeal mixed with yogurt. Some judge it as disgusting, but I find it tasty.

6. Favorite color- purple all the way.

7. Gold or Silver- silver

8. Height- 5'6”

9. Instruments you have played- piano, recorder, and triangle.

10. Job Life- I like to think of myself as a professional science nerd. Some might just say that I'm a high school science teacher.

11. Kids- None.

12.Live- Toronto, Ontario.

13.Mom's name- Lucy

14. Nicknames- None that have ever stuck. My work pals often just call me by my last name.

15. Overnight hospital stays- Only when I was born.

16. Pet Peeves- This could be a post in itself. A lot of my pet peeves are transit related. I hate when people get all pushy to make a train when there will be another one in two minutes. I hate when people have a bag on the seat beside them and won't move it when you are obviously standing there wanting the seat. I hate when people take the outside seat on a full bus, and won't move over so you have to climb over them to get the seat. And then they don't get off until the end of the route anyway, so there's not like there was a logical reason for their outside-sitting.

17. Quote from a movie- "I'm in a glass case of emotion" - Ron Burgundy from Anchorman

18.Righty or Lefty or Politics- Left all the way. I like to say that only turkeys have right wings. (I stole that quote from Birch Barlow on the Simpsons and flipped it to reflect my own political beliefs.)

19, Siblings- None.

20. Time you wake up on weekdays- I should wake up at 6:15 am but I usually wake up at 6:45 am.

21. Underwear- I'm wearing it. Not giving details.

22. Vegetable you don't like- Is an onion a vegetable?

23. What makes you late- I am actually quite punctual. On normal days I'll sometimes be running late because of transit delays or long lines at Tim Horton's.

24. Xray you have had- My right foot and my teeth.

25. Yummy good food you make- I think my veggie chili is exceptional. And I made a chickpea and cashew curry tonight with fresh cilantro and yogurt that was really good. Oh look, here's a picture that I'll post here even though I posted on twitter too.

26. Zoo animal favourite - I like big cats. I remember once they had a snow leopard at the Toronto Zoo who had its own special and expensive air conditioner.

Anyway, that's the meme. Feel free to steal it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Collapse Into Now.

Part One of Post: Weekend Recap

This weekend consisted of finally sleeping off my jet-lag (I hope), watching a lot of 30 Rock (I just got season 4) while eating Pad Thai and drinking red wine with enjoyable company, a lazy Saturday morning followed by a stroll to Starbucks and the bookstore, and then the drive to Stratford and back to pick up Ms. Rilo, who is hiding from me right now. I think the trip back exhausted her.

On Saturday day night I also went out in Stratford with two Go9ers, Teresa and Vern. It was fun catching up and having a low key evening with a couple of friends.

Once I got back to Toronto, I returned my car and went to the gym for a proper workout. I think I must be over my jet lag since I wasn't near collapsing after 30 minutes like I was on Thursday. Man, transatlanticism takes it out of you!

I have a pile of dinner dishes to do. I actually cooked for myself tonight! I rarely do that; I only really like cooking when I'm cooking for someone else. Making a meal for myself seems like too much work, when I'm just as happy with a bowl of soup or a sandwich. However, the leftovers are a great bonus. I'll have lunch for a few days!

Part Two of Post: Music Geek-out

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I LOVE the new REM album Collapse Into Now. I've been an REM fan since I was six, and they've been with me through high school, university, and I saw them at SXSW in Austin Texas a few March Breaks ago. Anyway, their new album is stellar, and exceeded my expectations completely. Check it out. My favourite songs are "Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter" (with Peaches) and "Blue" with the fabulous Patti Smith who I am in love with, as you all know, since reading her memoir "Just Kids".

Also, Matthew Good has posted a couple songs from his upcoming album on his SoundCloud page. I love them both. He actually won a Juno this weekend for his album Vancouver, which seems very odd to me because it came out in 2009. Anyway, I'm excited for his new album.

And, there's a new Sloan album coming out too! I like the first single Unkind. It's catchy.

Tonight I am going to watch the Junos. I love Canadian music despite the Bieber, despite Hedlely, and despite Nickelback, who I'm pretty sure won't be there for a change. However, there will be performances by The Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene so hook it to my veins, as Barney Gumble would say.

Part Three of Post: Rainy Barcelona Pictures

One night Becca and I went out for an amazing tapas dinner and downed a super affordable (9 Euros!) pitcher of sangria. Afterwards, we walked around to hopefully digest the meal. It was a little bit rainy out and the streets were wet. This was actually when we discovered the Barri Gotic: the really old part of the city. Wandering through medieval streets makes for a pretty magical evening.

Here's a picture I took of the Portal del Angels, which is a busy shopping street during the day. I think this is one of my fave Barcelona pics.

Here's our feet on the slippery surface of the Placa Catalunya. My feet (on the bottom) are wearing my new Camper shoes, which were my shopping splurge in BCN. I'm going to wear those suckers a lot this summer.

Here I am in front of a fountain in the Placa Catalunya.

Here's a picture by Picasso that's on a building near the cathedral.

Here's a picture of a rainy street. Becca says she'd like to live on this street and drive a red Vespa.

When it was hailing out, and we were stranded in a coffee shop, which is not the worst place to be stranded, I took a video of the hail.

The streets in the Barri Gotic are very narrow. They were usually wide enough for one car, and a sidewalk big enough for one person on either side. I often felt that I could easily get hit by the car's mirrors. It made me feel a little claustrophobic.

Here's a shot of the park near our hotel. I would have liked to explore it more, but this is how it looked most of the time. Look at all those modernist swimming pools, ha-ha.

This is the older cathedral; i.e. not the Sagrada Familia by Gaudi. It's all right, I guess. My splurge hotel was around the corner from it.

Here's another foot picture from a late night rainy walk after sangria. These are the streets of the Passeig de Gracia, which were designed by Gaudi. At a museum, I bought a coaster designed like a tile, which I thought was a great souvenir.

Here's the Casa Batllo at night. Love it. I took a tour of this house on my last day.

Here's La Padrera, an apartment complex designed by Gaudi, that we visited on our last cloudy day together.

Here's the roof. It was lots of fun running around on the roof.

I would have loved to bike around BCN on one of these bike-sharing bikes, but it was too rainy, and I couldn't really figure out how to rent one. Paris has the best bike-sharing system hands-down. Put your credit card into a machine, and blam! you get a bike!

Here I am walking along the waterfront in the rain.

And here's how the city looked on the day I had to leave! Meh. Rainy BCN is pretty amazing. The sun is completely extraneous.

I think I'll post one more batch of trip pictures: some randoms from BCN, and some of the few that I took in London. Since this was my third trip to London, I didn't take very many pictures.

Hope you all have good Mondays!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Barcelona Pictures Part 1: Sunny Barcelona

I have a lot of pictures from my trip, and they take awhile to load on here, so I'm going to post them in batches.

When Becca T and I arrived in Barcelona, it was pouring rain and I was hungry. We made it to our hotel, and ate seafood paella at the little restaurant downstairs. I have discovered that I really don't like prawns. They creep me out. Anyway, the rest of the dish was delicious.

We then went to see a Flamenco Opera at the Palau Musica de Catalana in the old part of town. I had forgotten to put the battery inside my camera, so I have no pictures of it. However, here are some pictures lifted from the internet so you can see.

Here's how the outside corner of the building looks:

Here's the inside of the building:

The performance was great... I was feeling pretty tired from my flight though, and had a hard time staying awake. But it was worth it.

Sunday was our only sunny day and we made the most of it but doing a thorough bus tour of the city. It worked out very well because we were able to get our bearings and do a lot without having to plan or think.

Here's the Arc de Triomf that was near our hotel. We walked through this structure countless times.

The amazing unfinished cathedral Sagrada Familia.

Views of the Olympic Port and the waterfront.

View of the city from the top of Montjuic.

Here's a bunch of shots of Park Guell. This park was designed by Antoni Gaudi and seems almost Seussical in many of its elements. Of course, it predates Dr. Seuss.

After our tour, we went to a friend of Becca's for dinner. We ate Spanish omelette, local meats and cheeses, and a traditional Catalan salad with tomatoes and tuna. It was delicious.

After dinner and chatting, our hostess suggested we take a walk by the Sagrada Familia at night. It was definitely worth seeing the cathedral again at night, especially from a spot where you could see its reflection in a pond.

Becca and I have decided that the Sagrada Familia is our favourite cathedral ever, and we plan to go back when (if) it's ever finished. I bought a postcard with how it is projected to look when it's done. I think it's kind of bad luck for the city to be printing these postcards, but we'll see. Our tour guide told us that a Japanese company offered to pay to finish the cathedral, and within 10 years, as long as they could place advertising on the cathedral. Thank goodness the city said no. Could you imagine?

Our tour guide was pretty funny. He kept making lame jokes. My favourite was when he referred to puddles in Park Guell as "modernist swimming pools". Everytime I saw puddles for the rest of the trip, and believe me, there were a lot of them, I cracked that joke too. Poor Becca T. However, my fondness of the joke became a joke in itself.

I had one transit snafu on Sunday. On our way home from Becca's friend's house, we took the subway. I have to say that Barcelona has a very nice transit system. Anyway, I bought a ticket and put it in the turnstile. It would not work. I tried again, and though, oh no, I have cancelled my ticket and it won't work. There was no employee at this part of the station, so I just bought another ticket. Same thing happened. Luckily, a group of dudes was walking by and saw my problem and gestured/told me in Catalan, that I was going through the wrong side of the turnstile. How was I to know? Oh yeah, the bright giant white arrow. Yeesh. I was tired, and so was Becca T, since she couldn't figure out the problem I was having either. Thankfully, I did not have to buy a third ticket.

Anyway, I post more pictures of rainy Barcelona soon!

PS I just realized that I missed my blog's sixth blogoversary yesterday! Happy belated blogoversary blog! We've been through good times and bad. I never thought we'd make it this long though.

And, today is David Suzuki's 75th birthday! Happy birthday to my favourite environmentalist/geneticist!

Monday, March 21, 2011

I have one gear: go!

To quote a favourite emo band of mine, "vacation's come and gone".

I'm a little bit sad that the trip that I was looking forward to for some quite time has flown by just like that. Well, it flew by, but it's also felt like an eternity since Becca T and I arrived in Barcelona on a rainy Saturday lugging our bags all the way from the Placa Cataluyna all the way to our hotel near the Arc de Triomf.

My next post will contain all sorts of photos, I promise. I'm major jet-lagged, and plan to hit the sack by 9 pm, but I'm in a writing mood, so words will have to suffice for now.

I had an amazing time in London. Even though this trip was about experiencing place unfamiliar (BCN) and familiar (LDN), I found it really came down to being about friendship, banter, and a little bit of rest and relaxation. I needed all of that.

I loved my time in BCN with Becca T. I always like to think about how we were randomly thrown into a room together in first year uni (back in 1998!), and how I wished a little voice would have told me that almost 13 years later, we'd be meeting up in BCN to catch-up. When I first met Becca T, I didn't expect a friend for life, but I'm glad that's how the story turned out.

LDN was so much fun. I loved catching up with Claire... it seems like just yesterday that we saw each other, when it was really the summer of 2009. We had such fun chatting about life and teaching; it's so amazing to be able to find such a great friend across an ocean. I found myself today missing all of our inside jokes, old and new. (DJ Raimundo for president, hit the bin, go and get your llama, new age fun with a vintage flair.) We spent a lot of our time laughing over Youtube videos, and having lots of tea, and it was grand. And of course, it was great spending time with Claire's Matthew, who laughs over Youtube just as much as we do.

I was lucky enough to see other friends in London too. I met up with an former colleague for tea, and it was so much fun. In addition, I spent Saturday afternoon with my little cousin, who is teaching Kindergarten in London. I have to admit that I'm not very close with my extended family; however, it was really great meeting up with my cousin and discussing pedagogy and family. It made me really nostalgic for our shared grandparents and my childhood. She's thinking of moving near Toronto after this year, so it would be great for us to get to know each other more as adults.

Finally, it was great seeing Siobhan for dinner on Saturday. She's a friend via Claire and now via blogging, and it's great to see familiar faces with lovely new haircuts! Siobhan - I can't wait to hear about your trip to BCN later this year. It's such a great city!

This evening, I was feeling a little nostalgic for my weekend in London, so I watched this youtube video which got stuck in my head.

And now for sleep. Which I always like because that's where I'm a viking.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

And now on to London!

i believe the last time i blogged was when it was hailing in barcelona. now, i'm comfortabley housed in claire's spare bedroom in london. note: i'm not using caps because i find that the caps lock button on uk keyboards is where the shift key is on north american keyboards so either: a) i yell at you, b) i type in no caps, or c) i stay up until 2 am blogging with perfect capitilazation. b) it is.

anyway, the rest of bcn was super fun. i would definitely put bcn on my list of recommended cities for anyone to visit. there were a few things i would have liked to do but didn't get to do because of the rain: mainly going for a bike ride, spending more time at the beach, and heading up to Montserrat.

after hiding out in a coffee shop watch the downpour on tuesday, becca and i decided to head to an indoor mall to wait out the rain. it was a good thing we did because this lead us to finding barcelona starbucks mugs! we both collect city mugs and would have been sad if we left the city without one.

after that, we headed to the picasso museum. this museum is tucked away in the old part of barcelona: the buildings are high and the streets are narrow and windy. it's really cool, but makes it tricky to find things. after a few wrong turns, we made it, and had a nice afternoon at the museum.

we tried to go for an early dinner that night: two nights of eating big meals at european times (9 pm) were we wreaking havoc on our systems. a restaurant called el quatre gats was recommended to us by becca's friend: it's where a lot of the city's artists/intelligentia used to dine. we got there too early for dinner, and the menu was a bit expensive. instead, we stayed there for xocolata calenta con xurros. (i'm using catalan... that's hot chocolate with churros!) It was sooooooo rich! It was pretty much straight melted chocolate with fried dough to dip in.

after that, we didn't really want a big dinner, obviously. we wandered around some more, and settled on a place for a little bit of tapas, salads, and sangria. then we walked to see how 'the dragon house' looked at night. i'll post pictures of that when i'm back.

yesterday was our last day together. we went to La Padrera which is an amazing apartment complex designed by Antoni Gaudi. it was amazing. then, we headed out to the beach in the rain since we had a couple moments on the waterfont during our tour, but wanted to spend more time there. it was still fun in the rain.

becca and i finished our time together by checking into my new hotel. i had decided to splurge on somewhere nice for my night alone in barcelona, and it was a nice boutique hotel right by the cathedral. it's crazy to be staying in such a modern place that's located in a gothic square.

last night, i spent some time tracking down my friend fea's fave spanish candy, wrote some postcards, had a quick dinner, took a bubble bath, then went to bed early. it was nice to spend some time lavishly sleeping on vacation: i usually just go, go, go until i'm ready to pass out.

today i awoke to sunny skies! giant d'oh! oh well, becca t and i had so much fun in rainy bcn that maybe sunny bcn would have been too much to handle! i went to see the inside of 'the dragon house', then spend some time sitting in the sun in the placa catalayuna. then it was off to the airport to travel to london.

and i made it here! i've had a great time catching up with claire who i haven't seen in almost two years. she's sleeping now (work for her in the morning) but we have lots of dinners and fun stuff planned. i'm also meeting up with a former work colleague tomorrow, my cousin on Saturday, and i must go shopping at my fave uk store: monsoon. and i'll get to see siobhan on saturday dinner too (so i've heard). so much to look fwd to!

hasta luego!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thunderstorms, lattes, and Picasso.

Becca T and I were geniuses to get the majority of our sightseeing done on Sunday, which is ironically the only sunny day we've had in Barcelona. Cue lightning and thunderclaps. That actually happened as I was typing that sentence.

We're chilling in a coffee shop, both on coffee #2 of the day. If today wasn't rainy, or even just a little bit drizzly, we would have headed out of town to Montserrat. Might be able to do that tomorrow. Today will be a good museum day. We will start with the Picasso museum.

Since my last post, we've been having tonnes of fun, rain and all! On Sunday night, we had dinner cooked for us by a real Barcelonan: a work friend of Becca's. Then we went for a little walk to see La Sagrada Familia at night. It's worthwhile seeing that church in both the daylight and at night. It's my fave church ever. Pictures to come.

Yesterday was filled with a lot of walking in the rain, shopping, an awesome tapas dinner, and meandering about the city in the evening.

Even with the rain, I really do like Barcelona.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Barcelona so far!

So glad I brought my phone. Accessing free wifi isthe best.

I more or less slept during my entire flight here. Met Becca T in the airport. It was pouring rain all day yesterday. Lugged our bags from the train station to the hotel. Got soaked despite umbrella. Had paella for lunch/supper. Tasty. Trudged through the downpour to catch awesome flamenco dancing and singing in a really nice theatre.

Today is sunny and beautiful! We decided to do a bus tour to get oriented to the city. Saw lots of Gaudi architecture. Love it. Saw the waterfront too. So pretty. Now taking a break before we amble through the Gothic part of town.

I have also used my Spanish un poco (a little).

Friday, March 11, 2011

Airport Post

Taking advantage of Pearson's free wi-fi as I wait. Good news: there don't seem to be any school groups on my flight. I am looking fwd to a week with no groups of teenagers.

Today I bought tickets for me and Becca T to see a Flamenco Opera (or something) at a World Heritage building in Barcelona. It looks really nice.

The weather here sucks. I'm glad to be getting away from it.

Anyway, must not use up too much of my battery. It's a long flight and I like to listen to music!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

La clase de español termina.

On this slushy yucky Toronto evening, I can report to you all that I have passed my level 1 Spanish class. It's not official yet, but I had perfect attendance and got a ¡Muy bien! on last week's dialogue assignment, so I'm pretty sure that I earned a pass in my pass/fail course.

I'm quite glad that I took Spanish. I obviously know more Spanish now than I did before the class, and I'm sure I'll get to practice it a bit in Barcelona and with some of the Spanish-speaking kids at school. I also learned that it's really really hard to take a course while school's on, so I don't think I'll be signing up for anything else, like more Spanish or creative writing, anytime soon. When I made the decision to take this course, I was going through a little bit of emotional turmoil, and thought it would be good to find something new to do with extra time. Now, life's back to its normal busy self, and I'm feeling that free time is at a premium. Having my Wednesday nights back will be sweet.

However, I'm still trying lots of new things... and of course the latest is another March Break trip to Europe. I can't believe that in 48 hours I will be on a plane to Munich, where I will have a layover before I hop on a flight to Barcelona. And, when it comes to new things, I have a few other things up my sleeve too, but I'll blog about those post-trip. Oh, I also got a summons in the mail for jury duty in April; I guess that's a forced new thing.

I still have lots to do before I leave. Tomorrow I have a hair appointment, and then I have to go to Shopper's to pick up some stuff for Becca T. I also need to buy an umbrella; I can't find any of mine, and the forecast according to my iPhone calls for rain in Barcelona on Saturday and Sunday. I find the best way to chase away rain is to be prepared with an umbrella. After the hair and the shopping, I will have to pack. On Friday, I will run home from school to catch my ride to the airport right away.

I've only given my guidebook on Barcelona a cursory glance. I know that I want to go to the Picasso museum, and go on a bike ride. However, from the looks of it, Barcelona seems like it will be an awesome city to explore, eat, and drink in with my BFF. I can't wait.

And then of course after that there's London with the fabulous Claire, and I'm also going to meet up with my little cousin who is a teacher there. And there is the shopping too!

Anyway, I might post again tomorrow from the packing madness, but if not, I'm sure I'll post at least once per city. I love vacation blogging. When I first started travelling, I would keep pretty good journals, but now a blog post or two is all I can muster. At least it gives me some written record of my travels.

¡Hasta luego mis amigos!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Weekend and Answers

This will be a two-part post. First, I will concisely summarize my weekend (so that it's not lost forever) and then I will answer *your* questions to my "ask me" post!

1) Weekend

On Friday, there were intentions to head down to Queen St. W. for dinner, shopping, and a movie. However, it was raining. Those intentions were thankfully abandoned. Instead, pizza was ordered and a slew of Community episodes were watched. Have you seen that show? It is HILARIOUS. Part of it takes part in a Spanish class. Me gusto!

The rain continued on Saturday, so the beginning of Saturday was lazy with more episodes of Community. However, I had to drive Miss Rilo to Stratford, so that my parents can take care of her while I'm in Europe. I leave on Friday, can you believe it? Anyway, I drove her in the rain, and spent the night at my parents'. We ended up watching Eagle vs. Shark (with Jemaine from Flight of the Concords) which is one of my Dad's fave movies. It's weird. Enough said.

I went to the gym in Stratford this morning, bought my parents coffee at Tim Horton's (I'm now 2/14 on Roll Up the Rim) and then headed back to Toronto. Here I am now.

Tonight: cleaning, blogging, schoolwork, and making a massive list/schedule of all the stuff that I must get done before I leave for Europe.

2) Answers

a) yrautca asked me "Why do you blog?" This question was seconded by Jabba.

I started blogging way back in March 2005 (6 year blogoversary soon!). I started because Matthew Good, a Canadian musician who I really like, had a blog, and would actually link to his fans' blogs. I thought it would be cool if he linked to my blog, so I decided to start one, but wouldn't send him my address until my blog was respectable enough (whatever that meant).

Anyway, he stopped that practice about a month after I started blogging, and I soldiered on. I think I *almost* stopped blogging early on in the game, but then my friend Mathew made fun of me so I re-started.

What really got me hooked on blogging was when I actually got readers... Jason was one of my first readers, and still reads. Another early reader was my friend Matt in Winnipeg, who doesn't blog anymore but is still my twitter/facebook/Los Campesinos! friend. What's cool is that I'm friends with completely random strangers I met on the internet from all over the world, and many of my blogging friendships are really solid. They are different than the other friendships I have in my life, but I feel that bloggers are almost always really supportive to each other, and great to have around. I'm going to visit Claire in London in about ten days! Yay for blog friends!

I think what keeps me blogging is the continued friendships, and also having an outlet to write. I do enjoy writing and I find my weekly blogging very therapeutic. And, at the end of it, I have a really cool archive of my life.

Friendship, therapy, and a record of life. That's why I blog. Thanks Matt Good. I benefitted so much, even though I never got my link.

b) rawbean asked "If you had to leave Ontario, where would you live?"

If I moved in Canada, I think it would be to somewhere in the East Coast like Halifax or a random small town in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, or PEI. I went on a road trip of those province a few summers ago and I fell in love with that part of the country. It's so pretty, quaint, and the pace of life is the opposite of Toronto. Plus, I could see Joel Plaskett play more often too!

If I moved outside of Canada, I think I'd say Paris. I haven't been everywhere in the world yet, but I love that city so much, I wonder if I'll ever find one that I like more.

c) The Grunt asked me "what are your phobias?"

I don't have any big phobias of concrete things like spiders or heights. My phobias are of the social type: my fears revolve around rejection and being alone and stuff like that. I really worry that I will end up old and alone because I am an only child with a small family, and my parents are getting up there. I'm not married, so the whole dying alone thing scares the crap out of me. However, my friends are awesome and numerous, and I know they'll always be there for me, and they usually tell me how silly my fears are when I go on about them, so I'm really grateful for that.

d) Claire asks me: "Where is your favourite place on earth? Who was your most inspirational teacher? If you didn't do what you do, which careers would you like to try?"

My favourite place on earth is Paris. Well, I'll update you on that soon. Maybe Barcelona will take that honour?

My most inspirational teacher was/is my mother. She was the person who instilled a love of learning in me, and taught me to keep going no matter how hard life gets. Also, I find my friend Feanna one of the most inspirational teachers out there, and I'm blessed to work with her.

I seriously don't know what I'd do if I wasn't a teacher: most likely a Starbucks barista, or a clerk in a record store or a book shop. Or I'd love to write. I really would. Maybe I'll be like Frank McCourt and take it up in my 60s when I'm done my teaching career.

e) wigsf asked me "What is the worst misappropriation of school equipment that you've ever committed (e.g. using a Bunsen burner to roast marshmallows)?"

I love this question, and I realize that I really haven't misappropriated much school equipment. I've used beakers/Erlenmeyer flasks as flower vases before. I know, calm down Christielli! You are out of control!

If I ever do misappropriate something interesting, I'll blog about it ASAP.

f) Princess Pessimism asked me "what do you do when there is a massive lull in conversation?"

If you've ever met me in real life, you'll know there is rarely a massive lull in conversation when I'm around... unless I'm tired, then you're on your own. I'm described by many as "talkative" and "energetic" so I'm pretty good at keeping a conversation going. Usually it's just a narrative of whatever is in my head, or what I find amusing that particular day ("Look! That squirrel has a fuzzy tail!").

g) Jabba asked "What are some of your favourite books and why"?

One of my favourite books ever is Richard B. Wright's "Clara Callan". I love this book because it is written entirely in letters and journal entries. It also takes place in Depression-era Toronto.

I love the entire Harry Potter series. I think JK Rowling is one of the greatest writers of our time. I can't wait to see what she does next.

I also love Roald Dahl books that I grew up with like "Matilda" and "The Twits". They are hilarious, and again, the writing is really great.

Another favourite is "Rebecca" by Daphne Du Maurier. Well-written and spooky gothic are my thing.

h) Miss Ash asks "you're into books and music, but what else are you passionate about?"

I am passionate about education and learning, which is why I'm in the field that I am. Also, I do work in what you could call a "needy" school. There are many kids there who face many hardships whether it be at home or at school. I feel absolutely blessed to be there, and I work so hard every day to make a difference in their lives. I always thought I'd teach somewhere more "academic" but I'm glad I didn't. So I guess I would say making a difference in my students' lives in another passion of mine.

I am also very passionate about the people in my life. I have a small family that I love, and my extended family of friends. They are such great people, and I often am amazed that I have so many great people in my life.

And, I am passionate about travel! Speaking of which, it's time to wrap up this post and start getting ready for my trip! Hope you all have a great week and I'm sure I'll check in once more before I leave!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

But if the blood pumping through my veins could freeze like a river in Toronto then I'd be pleased.

Tengo sueño. (I am sleepy.) Tonight was my second-to-last Spanish class.

I handed in my written assignment today. I worked pretty hard on it on Monday night. It took me an hour-and-a-half to write about a page of dialogue. I had two Spanish-speaking boys from my grade ten class look it over for me. They were impressed. One of them pointed to the word antipática (mean) and said "Miss, do you actually know what that word means?"

Oh no, I thought, did I mistakenly put something really offensive in my dialogue? Good thing I got it checked over... "It means mean, right?"

"Yah, you're right," the kid replied. "I just wondered because, you know, it's a big word."

I could have been offended, but then the kids were able to smooth it over by telling me that they were quite impressed with my Spanish skills and then saying "awww Miss, you told a little story here!" Basically, my dialogue was about Pedro, a university student, who suavely got a bonita chica to help him study for biology. The boys liked it and laughed at Pedro's antics.

Next week I'll find out if my Spanish teacher liked it too.

Spanish class tonight was a bit of a whirlwind. My brain wasn't working so well. We learned the Spanish words for this, these, that, and those which is way trickier than it sounds. We learned the numbers up to one thousand too. If I need to do some hard-core counting in Barcelona, I will be prepared! This week, I have one more written assignment to do, and that's it for the course. Overall, I've enjoyed the experience, but I've learned it's hard to juggle a course that involves any sort of outside work/studying in between classes. ¡Soy occupada! (I'm busy!)

Anyway, I have been feeling rather overwhelmed lately, especially since my big trip is coming up soon. This weekend I have to drive Miss Rilo Kitty to St. Ratford and I have a tonne of other things to do. I can't wait to just be away. I am really feeling the need for a break.

Now it's time for a musical aside. I've been listening the album "My Maudlin Career" by the Glaswegian band Camera Obscura a lot. This morning while on the subway I did a double-take on one of their lyrics: is that a Scottish band mentioning Toronto in a song? It was! I expect such things of Canadian bands, but it's pretty cool when a band from somewhere else mentions your city.

Here's the song below. Warning: it's a sad song about heartbreak, but it's really pretty and twangy. Luckily, I'm in a pretty good place in life, so I can listen to this song without getting overly emo. There have been times in my life where this song would have made me immensely sad, but luckily, I'm not there.

Oh! I must thank you all so much for the questions on my previous post! I will endeavour to answer them ASAP, but when my brain is not fried from Spanish class.

Hasta luego!