Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Does anyone remember when I lived in Canada?

Well it is now two weeks since I arrived back on the continent feeling a little worse for wear having travelled through three countries and four airports. It wasn't helped that afterwards I was subjected to an hour tube ride during which I tried not to fall asleep despite my lolling head as I sat on my rain soaked luggage and probably looked like I had wet myself, but I was home(kinda) so I didn't care too much. At St. Pancras I went to M&S and bought my traditional pasta salad and after that it was pretty much like Canada had never happened. Even after all my time away I still recognised a few of the staff which was partially comforting and partially embarrassing. I always seem to be there with a silly amount of luggage and thrust change (POUNDS!) over the counter with tears in my eyes as I try not to drop anything. If you drop anything in London you are screwed. Nobody will help you. It's a dog eat dog world. Last year when I moved out of Exeter I had two suitcases, a camping rucksack, my laptop bag, and a handbag and I was sleep deprived, dehydrated and hadn't eaten anything. By the time I got to St. Pancras I was pretty much dead and I semi-collapsed by the lift to train and in true Londonian fashion everyone just trotted on past me, but when I got to Kent everything was good again. It was like that again - minus collapsing. I felt pretty rough though by the time I got to Chatham so I figured it was probably necessary to put 'feminism' on the back seat and sigh noisily until one of the station guards offered to carried my cases up the stairs for me. I only expected one to be carried, but my sigh was even more powerful than I had first imagined and I got it all carried for me. Hurrah. When I left the station where Charles picked me up in his car. I remember being a bit disorientated by the fact that I was allowed to sit in the front (last time I was there he was still a learner), but to be honest the rest of that day was PRETTY hazy. I know I had a pretty excellent 1hour nap that mutated into a 3hour nap and I had to be dragged from bed against my will to give my sleep pattern any hope of becoming normal again.

I have reverse culture shocked a number of times:

- Cars driving on the left (one time my mind jumped into a minor panic as I thought Charles was driving on the wrong side of the road and leading us to an untimely death)

- Pounds coins. 5ps are the size of 10cent pieces, but 10 is not 5. Madness.

- TAX BEFORE CHECKOUT!! I bought a Yorkie and it said it was going to be 65p...and....and it WAS 65p. I wanted to hug the cashier, but I thought that might overstep some boundaries and would not be appreciated.

-General cheapness.

-Everyone having an English accent.

-The gocompare adverts:

- Being in a car.

- Access to iPlayer!

- Not being a novelty item :(

There have been a lot more, but I have a pretty short term memory so I have forgot most of them. I had intended to start this blog soon after my return to the motherland and slowly add things to it, but then I figured it would be easier to play playstation until my eyes bled and eat and drink items....from...a...Fridge!! Who knew how great an invention the fridge really was?!

I have had a good time since coming back. I played the 2p machines and had cider at a beach pub in Whitstable (had to throw away MOST of my winnings from the machines as I'm pretty sure they were in there since the beginning of time. They were sweets with writing on them...most of which were either "Happy Birthday" or "Big Boy" and I didn't understand what they were doing in the same packet). I've eaten chip shop meals, pizza express, pizza hut, Indian, TOAST! We went to the zoo and I fell in love with the Javan Langur monkeys:

I saw Matilda the Musical which was also quite a life changer. I felt inspired:

Basically, Canada has very quickly become a memory. This means no disrespect to fine nation of Canadia, but I've been doing so much and I have slipped back into my routine (Pointless, the Apprentice, sometimes leaving the house) it kind of feels like I never left, except for the fact that the top of my suitcase if filled with tacky Canadian souvenirs. Flags, hats etc. The bare essentials basically.

During the trip I did feel some sadness, in fact I teared up a couple of times. But I think that had more to do with my hatred for flying and that no matter how far I felt I had got in my journey I still appeared to be a ridiculously long way away from my final destination. I looked out over the Toronto and realised that I had no idea when/if I would see Canada ever again and it felt a little strange, and then I went on to the entertainment system and realised there was no bejewelled which pretty much pushed me over the edge emotionally. I did manage to numb my mind with an insane amount of film/tv - an hour of We bought a Zoo, 500 days of Summer, Futurama, Bob the Builder (obvs), the Descendants, Harry Potter 7 part 1 (the only Harry Potter I hadn't seen...and I kind of wish I hadn't. It would have sent me into a coma if the turbulence insisted that I stayed in awake for when the plane crashed). 

I do feel nostalgic for chipmunks from time to time and it does confuse me that other ESNA people are still in North America and that I saw some people pretty much everyday for 8 months are still there and I may not see them again. But...you know..I'm fairly fickle. I've got months of Pointless to catch up on and red pesto in the cupboard so I'm pretty much cool with being back in Europe and Canada....you are a good memory, but a memory nonetheless.

Well. Now I'm going to go sit on my sofa in Luxembourg and wait for someone/ANYONE to come here and entertain me, or most likely just hang around for a month until my summer actually starts. On the plus side I am most likely going to Spain...because Europe is compact and beautiful and it's all just a hop skip and a jump away, unlike you Canada you huge beast!

Happy 100 posts.

                                                                      Miss me Canada. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Self-indulgent P.S.

Post nigh.

Well. The end is no longer nigh. The end has come. I am currently sitting in ottawa airport alone as Jess had to go through US customs/check in and my first flight is in Canada, so I thought I would write something. I have books to read, but I have had sooo much to read this year that I'm kind of looking forward to a few days of mindlessness. I think I will most likely pass out on my flight with my Moose pillow (Thanks Alyson!) pretty early on..or that's the plan anyway. I'm exhausted. I slept possibly about 3 hours in total last night. Not through choice. I was woken up at regular intervals throughout the night, many times by Eli, but as it was people's last night in res I decided to lie in bed and bear the burden like the martyr that I am. There was talk of all night raging and whatnot, but in true Grenville fashion people drank fast and hard, screamed for an hour or two, kicked over some rice and some beer and crashed by about 1am Unfortunately, those who avoided this early exit from consciousness found a vuvuzuela and gave the floor occasional concerts. I wish I could say that I am going to miss residence life...but that would be a lie. I do like the social aspect to some extent, but I'm so old and decrepit and after two years I'm just like...I NEED SLEEP. I was also 3 years older than some of the people and have been legally allowed to drink for 5 years so I guess it makes sense. I probably sound arrogant and think I'm more mature than I am, but pah. Who cares. I think I'm cool. I nearly wrote "super" arrogant. I haven't picked up too much North American additions to my vocabulary but super has been trying to make its way in for a LONG time. It has failed. I might find out that I do have a few more when I get home and I am among my people. It is going to be so weird to hear everyone speak in a British accent. I'm not even close to home yet and I am suffering from reverse culture shock.

The last day or two have been pretty hectic. We spent an awful lot of time packing, throwing things out, cleaning, getting paranoid about suitcases being overweight when actually we were both underweight by a good few kilos. Good old paranoia. Paranoia took Jess's rucksack and frisbee from her. It was cruel. Yesterday we had our final exam and successfully woke up early and went to our first caff breakfast in eons. I was pretty spaced. I looked at the stands and noticed that the all day breakfast bar wasn't running which I thought was weird, then I remembered my plebbishness as EVERYTHING was breakfast but I kept it to myself...until now. The Renaissance exam was...meh. I wrote things, but as we had 6 mini essays to write I barely had time to think and blabbed and blabbed probably without any purpose. My first answer was WEAK, because I'd lost 10 minutes going through the questions and choosing so I panicked and wrote a selection of LIES about why I think this course was a valuable university course. It was a bit of a weird question to have on the exam - "Is this a good university course?" I felt I had to lie and back up the subject which he had dedicated his life too. Also, the only reason I had to dislike the course was that it bored me right down to my core of being, but I didn't really have too many supporting arguments. I feel quite tense writing this, a big sniffer dog keeps coming over. Well, I assume he is a sniffer dog, but he seems to be a  sniffer dog with some form of ADD. He has come and sniffed my stuff like a million times, panting like a maniac to the point where I think I might be a drug baron, but because I'm so tired and spaced right now I have forgotten about it.

After our exam we went to Haven to get rid of books..well all of them that they would take. 4/5 of my American Lit anthologies were gone, but one of them was randomly blacklisted. Oh well. I hope the Canadian Diabetic charity like Sylvia Plath,, Tom Sawyer and Balzac which are a few of the authors which I shoved in a plastic bag and ditched it in a pile of bedding. Jess and I also ditched our cheap Canadian phones, but I'm pretty sure that free is too high a price to pay for them really. Ottawa was crying on our last day as it poured down in Downtown and we could barely get our final view of parliement with the rain blowing in our eyes, but I'm pretty sure it is still there. We had a rain doused beaver tail and bought a celebration cupcake with enough icing to decorate a whole cake, but after 3 hours of straight writing it felt deserved. The rest of the evening was mainly packing and saying our goodbyes to Cathy in the caff. I went and socialised a bit during the Carleton festivities, but being sober made it all seem rather loud. I didn't participate in the water fight as I only had one outfit left and I was not re-arranging my case for anyone. Also, as I've said - I'm old, mature and possibly God. I shared a dance with Meredith to the sweet melodies of One Direction which was probably the highlight for me. After that it was mainly lowlights as I tried to sleep as people had a fight in front of my room. The guy told the girl to be quiet, but she was so determined that she was in the right that she didn't care - "I don't care if people hear! You hurt my bitch!"
I wanted to hurt her, but again..didn't fancy getting arrested for assault on my final night, and I didn't know who it was so if I was going to assault someone she wasn't top of my list.

So yes. Now I am at the airport, all moved out and my room empty. I left my bust up ethernet cable and I hid an owl somewhere in my room so that my spirit (or probably lack thereof) shall live on in Carleton well after I am gone. I can go and check in pretty soon so I will bring this all to a close. I don't know how I feel right now. Mainly exhausted, but this is just the beginning :( Someone just weighed themselves on the airport scales and wandered on. He i wearing a bandana and biker gear. He is my hero. I am really excited to go home and see Charles, and his bath and his dog (when I have energy to play which could take some time). I won't miss Carleton itself that much. I liked some of my profs, but I prefer the Exeter workload and the Exeter campus and 50 people in res is like water torture at time. I did meet some nice people, but I know myself and I am terrible at keeping in contact and as many of the people I spoke to were guys the chances of staying in contact are heavily reduced. But as the old saying goes, who needs life long friends when you have a hat in the shape of a maple leaf and a double bed waiting for you at home.

Goodbye Canada for the final time.
See you on the other side.

Kate - Ottawa Airport. 25/04/2012

WED 25APR      OTTAWA ON           TORONTO ON             1700     1803
               OTTAWA INTL         PEARSON INTL
NON STOP                           TERMINAL 1             DURATION 1:03
WED 25APR      TORONTO ON          REYKJAVIK IS           2110     0625
               PEARSON INTL        KEFLAVIK INTL                   26APR
NON STOP       TERMINAL 3                                 DURATION 5:15
                                                        NON SMOKING
               EQUIPMENT:BOEING 757-200
THU 26APR      REYKJAVIK IS        LONDON GB              0740     1145
               KEFLAVIK INTL       HEATHROW
NON STOP                           TERMINAL 1             DURATION 3:05
                                                        NON SMOKING
               EQUIPMENT:BOEING 757-200


Tuesday, April 24, 2012



Monday, April 23, 2012

The day after tomorrow...

Well it is the penultimate night of Canada and nearly time that I put an end to this night as I have to get up at 7.15 for my exam tomorrow because even if I am going to do terribly on this exam I at least want to do it while being squeaky clean.

After I wrote my blog yesterday pretty much nothing happened. Actually I completely overlooked Sundae Sunday in my post yesterday which is pretty much a crime because Sundae Sunday is probably one of my favourite things about Carleton. It probably doesn't speak volumes for Carleton that this is one of my favourite things, but I'll cope..and if Carleton hates me then I'll be out of it's hair in a mere 42 hours. The final sundae sunday was one to be remembered. As there are fewer people in the caff these days...but there are security in case the shit kicks off (to be fair judging by some of the people working there I wouldn't be surprised if one of them lost it and started beating students with cups which had been stacked in the incorrect fashion). Anyway, this meant that there wasn't the usual sundae sunday stress as you feel pressured to throw stuff into your bowl in a mad panic as the eyes of those behind you burn upon your neck. No. This time we got to leisurely fill our CEREAL bowls with carefully chosen delights and even a cookie or two. It was the perfect way to end the year.

An extremely IMperfect way to end the year is with a Renaissance exam. I've never felt so down about an exam. It's silly. I think I know quite a lot of the stuff and I have studied a lot (and built up some strength from all the procrastinating I had been doing in the days leading up to it), but this class has drained me and has made me lose faith in my degree. I was skimming my notes a few minutes ago in a mad Renaissance frenzy and I came across the notes from one class where my prof had said that he would never tell us if he thought this class was worth teaching or not. If he wouldn't flat out say that it is worth teaching, then I expect he has his doubts. I have massive, massive, doubts. If I could I would set fire to my anthology at 12.01 tomorrow (to give me time to amble to the front and find my book), but alas this would not be financially viable to me so instead I will wheel it to Haven along with about 30 other delightful books in the hope that someone will be as foolish to take renaissance and will buy this evil from me.

The next 42 hours are going to be pretty hectic. Exam at 9am. Haven. Downtown for beavertails and cupcakes (obviously), cleaning rooms and bathrooms, final packing, final caff meal (I love you Cathy) etc. etc. I might even spend time with some people before I leave...just a little bit though. I wouldn't want to risk forming emotional ties this late in the game. I have a dangerously infectious personality and I don't want anyone to become too attached to me because I can't guarantee I will find time in my busy procrastination schedule in the future to reply to any of their love letters. I did spare a thought for my friends back home who I have been terrible at staying in contact with as I hit up Dollar It today and filled my basket with Canadian tat which I ashamedly had to take to the checkout like some canada crazed tourist..which I kind of am...but I didn't want anyone to know. I would say more about what I bought, but then it wouldn't be a surprise for the people I am inflicting these gifts upon treating with these incredible gifts, so photos and whatnot will have to wait for another time. I did buy myself a sens flask, because clearly the one game I went to made me a die hard fan and I needed to waste more CADs on merch.

So yes. This is where I stand on my penultimate night in Canada...lying in bed, contemplating sleep and churning facts around my heads about monstrous births and Sanskrit texts...exactly how I thought my year abroad would end.

See you tomorrow for one of my final Canadian blog posts when I will hopefully be more happy as I will be free from the beast that is Renaissance and I will have transferred my stress towards packing/preparing for going home. That being said I am getting pretty excited. Start the BATH running Charles, I'm coming home!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

3 days.

Well it is currently 11.30pm and I have just retired from my day of on and off revision which started at around midday. I mean there has been a fair bit of off, but also a hideous amount of on that has made my soul hurt. My body feels like it has been hit by a truck of renaissance mumbo jumbo. I have made some progress though. I have realised that I have been calling the panchatantra  a Sanskrit frame-story of animal fables from the 3rd century BCE, pancetta..an italian bacon. Whoops. Well you live and learn. No, but really the stuff for this course is so tedious I have that horrible hollow feeling in my stomach like one you get when you find out your pet has died with someone. Folk Tale and Fairy Tale SOUNDS like it would be interesting, but that is the biggest fantasy that I have experienced in this course. We have read 55 stories this term and right now I have the brain capacity of a peanut. It doesn't help that my notes make little sense:

"We need virgins."
"I like spunky girls."
"I bet this is Patrick's doing."

Also I have heard the expression "beleaguered princess" enough times to last me my whole life..and I had to get google to spell beleaguered for me because Carleton has stopped me from knowing how to spell (Yeah.That's my line and I'm sticking to it.)

Yesterday, with the departure of Alyson it felt a little strange, but I knew that I had to man up and actually do some revision. I recall doing some...I don't know what the outcome was. I also was one of the lucky ones who got a steak dinner in the caff as Jess who went 2 hours later was subjected to donairs after I had promised her steak.

In the evening I went out with some people from my drama class. I was about to write some girls from my drama class, but I think that the guy that was there might have been a little bit offended. It was nice to leave the Carleton compound after a hard few days locking myself in and procrastinating..and I got the joy of looking sophisticated and European with my glass of wine dreaming of returning to the motherland/continent where wine is a fraction of the price and I can drink it on a doorstep like a bum probably while pulling party poppers or playing with some other great poundland treats. I also got some more signatures on my flag which is good, so when I come home I can create the illusion that I am cool in Canada. Also I needed some  more messages to divert away from one guys message which said "Hooters Rule" which was supposed to be an owl pun..but it kinda just seemed weird..and made it look like we have some kind of in-joke about boobs which is definitely untrue. That guy also just came to my door with 6 condoms which was great especially as there were other people in the hallway. The condoms were not for me, but for a friend at home who had jokingly said before I went that she wanted Trojan condoms. Of course "these are for my friend" seems like the biggest lie in the world so to the rest of the world it probably looked like I was preparing myself for a wild return to England. This is a lie. When I return to England I will be exhausted, sweaty and with vile stomach cramps. I am going to bathe and pass out on the bed for several days like a beached whale (and no Charles. This does not mean you can call me a beached whale.) Anyway, yes. To go back to the main topic I had a nice evening out. It was certainly 'educational' as I learned the drama (ha. it's funny because it's a drama class) which occurred the one class that I took off, and as I am nosy and love watching drama that doesn't involved me I was sad that I missed out on the main event. But it was nice to be filled in

so to those who came "Thank you angels" (REALLY?!??!)

Life after that got fairly bleak. I went to hang out with Adam and Eli, but it didn't take long before they decided they had to take advantage of my kind British soul and commanded me to "help" to clean the fridge. I resisted for a long time, but eventually I caved. It wasn't that bad...except for some disgusting brown goo/gunk which had attached itself to the bottom of the fridge and which took an industrial standard helping of cleaning fluid to even begin to remove it. Eli says that if he can't find a place to live that he will take to the wild..and from whatever it was in that fridge it is apparent that he will have no problem living life like an animal. Then once the fridge was clean, the hob nobs depleted and Eli left practically comatose from the realisation of his errors this year I went of to sleep.

And that is how we come full circle to the wild revision happenings for today. Tomorrow looks to be relatively similar, but I am taking a dollar-it break at some point and also doing some serious packing as to do it all last minute shall be a little sad. As Jess says..tomorrow I will be going home the day after tomorrow and it is kind of blowing my mind. Will had about 10 people take him down to his taxi when he left, but I don't think this is likely to happen in my case. But that is ok..I'll have my Canada hat and my owl globe and that will be all that I need...and then the race to Reykjavik is on. I'll see you there Jess.


Decidated to Alyson Davies - Gone, but not forgotten.