A Travellerspoint blog

Hard boiled eggs and angry hairdressers...

.... welcome to my neighbourhood!

overcast 20 °C

When I first arrived in Japan, I wanted to make a good first impression, so I would smile at everyone I passed, would bow to those staring at me as they drove past and I would say 'Ohayo gozaimasu' and 'Konnichiwa' to anyone who was within earshot. I would test the local kids level of English with 'Hello' and 'How are you?' which was usually met with giggles. I didn't want to come across as Pollyanna, I just thought it was important for them to know I was approachable and happy to be here.

My Japanese level is pathetic, and for whatever reason my brain switches to German whenever I'm stuck in a tricky situation, even though I haven't lived there in four years. But I persevere and use whatever Japanese I can pull out of my wrangled brain and use a lot of hand gestures or shirades to fill in the rest.

This has naturally lead to some pretty random encounters which I will share a few little gems with you now...

During my second week in Japan, and on my first morning of getting to work by myself - I was waiting at the bus stop. A woman outside the house across the road was watering her plants and sneaking glances at me every few seconds, so I bellowed out an 'Ohayo gozaimasu', she didn't respond, just a tiny head nod and carried on. A few minutes later a bus roared up the road heading in the opposite direction to where I needed to go. She noticed I looked confused, and started yelling out to me and I soon understood no more buses would be coming down the hill. Quick as a jot she ran to another neighbours and got an elderly man to come out in his pyjamas and gestured to him to take me in his car. I was mortified but the elderly man insisted on helping, and drove me to work to arrive just in time. Neither of them spoke a word of English but smiled at me the whole time.

The next day, I arrived at the bus stop an hour earlier and waited for the one and only bus that goes in the right direction. After a couple of minutes of waiting, the little old lady popped out of her house in her dressing gown, ran across the road and without saying a word popped an egg in my hand and scurried off. It was a hardboiled egg, and I had it as a snack later on that day. She's now done this three or four times, and refuses to engage in conversation with me even when I'm muddling my way through Japanese - yet she makes my day every time.

After a month in Japan I was in desperate need of a haircut, and as there is absolute no shortages of hairdressers around my area I decided to go local and went to a small place attached to someone’s house. I already knew language was going to be an issue but determined to get it over and done with I entered the saloon. The owner took one look at me, and started pushing me out the door. She wouldn't make eye-contact and kept on saying 'daijoubu' which means OK, so I was extremely confused. A little complexed I wandered into the grocery store around the corner and having previously met the owners (after seeking their help to get a package re-delivered) I was met with 'ohhh Niki san, genki desuka' (How are you??). I acted out what had just happened up the hill, and the owner of the small grocery store dragged me out on to the street and pointed up the hill to the hairdressers and gestured that the woman was 'baka' (crazy). She then took me to her car and pointed to jump in. We went for a drive up and over the hill, through the narrow streets, to another hairdressers I hadn't seen and popped inside. Two minutes later she came back out and indicated that the woman inside was happy to cut my hair in a few hours time. We returned back to her shop, which she'd left completely open and unattended to find her very confused and not too impressed husband standing outside wondering what the hell was going on. She turned to me in the car before we got out and in perfect English she pointed to her enraged husband and said "My Darling".

Her husband has since warmed up to me and chuckles at my attempts to communicate. Nothing will stop me from getting my story across and has even involved me lying on the floor of the grocery store to explain a particularly funny story to the bemused (and slightly horrified) owners.... but that's a whole other story....

Posted by nikio 19:56 Archived in Japan

Settling into life in the land of the Rising Sun

35 °C

I recently moved to Japan as part of the Japan Exchange Teaching (“JET”) program and will spend the next year or two living in Nagasaki prefecture in the southernmost region of Japan, Kyushu. I live in a town called Ōmura (big village) of 90,000 which is considered to be in the inaka (countryside) and is bordered by a sheltered bay on one side and rolling hills on the other. The area is lush and green, and heavy with humidity. It’s small by Japanese standards but has all you need for comfortable living, and is ideally located between bigger centers nearby.

DSC_0037.jpg
Omura

These first two months have been very challenging but immensely enjoyable as well. My current level in Japanese is pitiful, and life would naturally have been a lot easier if I could communicate more. But I have been extremely lucky in that there are not only two Assistant Language Teacher (“ALT”) coordinators in my town but also several others ALT’s can speak Japanese making my life infinitely easier in the last couple of weeks. My apartment was chosen for me by the Board Of Education in my town. It is a 3 roomed Japanese style apartment, with two tatami mat rooms and wooden floors for the rest of the house. It is plenty of room for one person, and I’m very happy with it. The house came with a refrigerator, air conditioner, washing machine and gas cooker, I have had to supply everything else, including curtains and light fittings. It has meant the first month felt more like camping than living, but I have been adding bits and pieces as I go along. The process of setting up bank accounts, cell phones, health insurance, pension plans, alien registration cards, re-entry permits, car insurance etc has all been relatively painless. I have had to set up internet by myself, but I managed to find an English speaking company who could assist me with that, so I really can’t complain at all, I’ve been incredibly lucky.

DSC_0045.jpg
New Car "Bricky"

I decided relatively quickly that I needed a car, although I live reasonably close to my base school I live up quite a big hill and it’s a bit of a mission to one of my schools (it’s about a 15 minute drive away). There is a bus that goes once every 4 hours or so, so it made it very difficult to get out and explore in my first few weeks, and I ended up being early to work by an hour every day and not able to hang out as much as I’d like with the other ALT’s. I ended up buying a car off a departing ALT and he gave me his couch, bed frame, table, chairs, printer, drawers, tent and cooler as a great start up package. The car, a Suzuki Wagon R is a Japanese ‘Kei’ plate, meaning it’s got a smaller engine and has a few restrictions on it, but is essentially cheaper to run and pay tax on. I love having my freedom back, and I think it opens up a whole other world of exploring opportunities.

Suzuta_ES_068.jpg
Elementary School Kids

I am teaching mostly at a Junior High School but every two weeks I spend one day at an Elementary School. I have met all of the students and teachers now, and have lost count how many times I’ve had to do my self-introduction. Funnily enough my very first lesson at the Junior High School was on the movie “Whale Rider” which was filmed 30 minutes away from my hometown. It blew me away to hear Maori on the other side of the world. I am enjoying teaching, and particularly love my time at the Elementary school. The kids are very sweet and energetic, and I feel a bit like a rock star every time I go.

016.jpg

I haven’t been able to explore as much as I’d like to yet, as the car and security deposits on the apartment wiped me out financially, so I’ve really been only able to explore around my prefecture and town. Next month I’m off to Kyoto for the changing of the leaves and I’m looking forward to getting out and exploring further North.

I intend on writing my blog fairly regularly, and will cover different topics in more depth as I go but for now I just thought I’d ease you in gently, hope you come along for the ride.... subscribing takes a minute and only involves entering your email address :o)

Posted by nikio 18:29 Archived in Japan Tagged teaching

A Year in Ireland

My toughest year abroad.

rain 10 °C

Lets just start with the absolute truth. Ireland, was without doubt my hardest year abroad. It wasn't because of the rain or all the bleak grey buildings, the knackers or the tinkers, the bogs, the drinking or the potatoes. It was a little more complex than all that. However on the flip side, it was also my most rewarding year.

I arrived on the 29 of September 2008 on a wet miserable day in Dublin. I found an apartment almost immediately in the center of Galway city. Eager to settle in and get unpacked I moved into a three-storey apartment called 'The Cobblestones'. Johnny was a builder and Caroline worked in a Call Centre. Arlene, a student was a ghost whom we never saw.

n636637540..92_1333.jpg

To say I struggled to find work is an understatement. I applied for everything, dropped CV's in to any store who would actually take one. I landed an interview with a marketing company as a trainee. I got a call back, but ended up in Tuam, a small town out in the country with a door to door sales man trying to sell makeup. I walked away saying it wasn't for me, and ended up having a complete Bridget Jones moment, by getting completely drenched by a passing truck - is that karma or what? But that wasn't my low point. I eventually got a bottom of the barrel job doing tele-marketing for an Insurance company a couple of hours a night. It drained my soul, but in the end my jaw put an end to that. On the outside I was keeping my composure and standing strong, but internally I was at breaking point. My jaw eventually packed in, and locked itself. You have no idea how often you use your Temporomandibular joint until it hurts beyond belief. I couldn't eat anything that involved biting or chewing, it hurt to talk. I found a dentist who couldn't find what the exact problem was, and unfortunately at €80 a pop the problem got worse. I was stressed beyond belief. He tried everything, but the problem didn't budge.

I exhausted any savings I had, and eventually had to ask for help from my Mother and Sister. Although they were supportive, neither could really understand why I was so determined to stick it out, when everything was going against me. They gave me a deadline of Christmas, to get work or move home. I couldn't even afford rent at that stage, and Caroline my landlord, who was living in Australia took pity on me, with out her understanding there was no way I would've been able to last as long as I did.

n636637540..061_726.jpg

It wasn't until my birthday in the middle of December till I got a break work wise. A large cafe around the corner from my house gave me a job as a waitress. I busted my guts, worked ridiculously long hours with minimal breaks. My first day, I had less than a €1 to my name, and honestly didn't know what I was going to eat for dinner. A grumpy old man who'd hassled me constantly during the hour he'd sat at his table eating his one bowl of soup, came up to me when he was leaving the cafe and slipped €5 into my hand and smiled at me. He had no idea of the predicament I was in, and I could have burst into tears then and there but he slipped away without a word.

A week later I went in on my first day off, to pick up my pay and got told not to come back. I had apparently mislead them about my previous experience even though I had said I had never waitressed in that sort of Cafe ever before. I was distraught beyond belief. It was a week before Christmas, and all options had seemingly been exhausted. That was my low point. I had an appointment at the dentists immediately after I'd been fired, and tried to hold it together, but couldn't keep the fat tears rolling down my face while the dentist worked away. I started laughing/crying at the ridiculousness of the situation, and told him to ignore me and work away. He stopped what he was doing, and demanded to know what was going on. I explained the situation and he immediately said "Stop right now, you're not paying for another cent." He ended up doing well over €300 worth of treatment for free, and even called a few times to check up on me in the months afterward. He didn't know me from a bar of soap and didn't have to be so kind but for whatever reason he took pity on me.

So Christmas came and went, and at the beginning of January I did one last massive CV drop. I applied at every factory and fastfood outlet, as well as any store who would even take a CV (which wasn't many). I had a successful interview at Quizno's, an American Sandwich chain and was due to start at the end of January. In the meantime I got a call from a Temping Agency to come in to do a Computer Competency test. Scoring above average, I was absolutely ecstatic to get called a few days later to say I had got a contract for 6 weeks at the Business School in the local University. I took a risk and chose to do the 6 week contract rather than the permanent Sandwhich job. It paid off and 4 months after arriving in the country, I was set up in my own office, with a view of the river and a job that I thrived in. I loved it at the University, and they must've picked up on that - because every time my contract was due to expire I kept getting asked back. The University even put an embargo on all new hires due to the Recession, but I still got to keep my job. I was at least 10 years younger than all the people I worked with, and the same age as some of the students but I slotted in and soon made a name for myself. It was tough to say goodbye thats for sure.

So with work sorted out, I focused on travelling and exploring. In March I went to Glendalough and Dublin. My Sister Ana came to visit, and we drove down to meet up with her boyfriend and friend to do the Ring of Kerry. In April I went to Edinburgh and did a tour around Scotland. In May I got offered a Nissan Micra by Mairead a woman I worked with. Since she wasn't using it, I paid for the Insurance and got to have the little car to run around in. I ended up doing roadtrips to Dingle, Achill Island, Donegal, Northern Ireland, and Cork. Cath from my Uni days, Aimee my sisters high school friend, Sam my cousin and his Girlfriend Anneke all came to visit at various points. I also had several fantastic Couch Surfers (Paul, Christina, Heinke, Kelly & Rinkse) come to stay who have since remained good friends.

n636637540..06_8197.jpg

At the beginning of June I found out my mother was sick. Very sick actually. And the question to stay or go was beyond tricky. With her consent and strong approval I made the decision to stay. She wanted me to finish out my Visa, see out my summer plans and neither of us knew when I'd be able to come back to Europe. She was feeling relatively ok, and had the support of my stepfather Neil, her friends and rest of the family at home. My sister flew back from London for her first lot of Surgery and we kept in constant contact.

In July I went to Poland and the Czech Republic to catch up with Jitka and Jan, two cool cats I'd made friends with in Vancouver. At the end of the month I spent a week with Lisa (high school friend and her husband Andrea) travelling all over the west of Sicily. And in September I returned to Germany to visit my old Au Pair family, and to see old friends. I loved being back, and it was good for the soul to be back in Germany.

So now that I'm back home in New Zealand, abd have said good bye to the Emerald Isle, what are my final thoughts? Well you may have noticed a distinct lack of new friends being mentioned, and thats because this country, no matter how friendly the people are, its incredibly difficult to make good friends. I have nothing in common with other 24 year old girls there, who are obsessed with wearing Neon coloured belts as dresses, who cake on the fake tan, clock up notches on their bedposts and drink till they pass out in the street. The boys are easier to chat with, and are great for a laugh but unless you're born and breed there you'll always be the newbie. I couldn't keep up with the drinking, and wasn't interested in Hash. I couldn't go out when I had work in the morning and struggled with the noise from the pub across the road. I was ready to leave, lets just put it that away.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. Its a beautiful country (Dingle being my highlight) I wanted to move to Ireland almost as long as I wanted to live in Germany. I was going to go there straight after Germany but the Visa Application process didn't really allow for it. It was the hardest, most challenging year I've ever had, but I wanted it bad enough and stuck it out. Thanks to the generosity of my family, friends and a couple of crazy locals, it all worked out. I couldn't have asked for a more quintessential Irish experience. Broke, unemployed on the West Coast of Ireland in the middle of winter. I always thought I was a quitter, but I've got more strength than I ever gave myself credit for. People can be insanely generous, and you should absolutely trust your instincts. Its not always good, but sometimes it can be absolutely brilliant. I am done with traveling for the next 6 months at least, I'm worn down and I need to be around people who love me, its been nearly 4 years since I was last home. I am planning on heading to Japan next, to teach English in a few months times. But lets just see how things go :o)

Its the things you don't do, that you regret.

xxxx

Niki

Posted by nikio 06.11.2009 11:01 Archived in Ireland

Time to catch up methinks

So where did we leave off dear friends? Ahh yes Autumn in Vancouver.

snow 0 °C

The days grew shorter, and the cold seeps in easily, making the prospect of curling up in bed with a good book all the more appealing.

Halloween was barely a blip on the radar but I did venture out to the rather disappointing Parade of the Lost Souls, complete with a rather brave yet still hilarious Borat impersonator, and a few days later to a Fright Night held at a local slightly derelict theme park, and found the scariest rides were surprisingly the Ferris Wheel and Giant Swings.

n566397999_392771_633.jpg
Dan and I, Halloween Party at Tobys

n122702741..55_4550.jpg
Jenna (The Bearded Lady) and I at Fright Nights

When Remembrance Day Weekend rolled around in early November, I jumped at the chance to take a few days off work, and headed to Port Angeles, in Washington to visit a good family friend. She had come to NZ as a Masters student when we were living in the Te Urewera National Park, and had kept in contact with the family and visited a couple of times over the years. After 10 years of not seeing each other, we had a lot of catching up to do and I was ecstatic to finally be in her neck of the woods. She took me to the small Victorian coastal town of Port Townsend, and we strolled around the little boutiques and galleries, and stopped in at a little rustic café for some French Onion Soup.

November_036.jpg

The following day we headed to the other side of the Olympic Peninsula along Highway 101 to the West Coast, past impressive Lake Crescent, and little towns called things like Beaver and Forks, to the small coastal village of La Push home of the Quileute Indian tribe. After a nice seafood chowder, I was shown around parts of Shoshannahs old stomping ground, in the Olympic National Park, and was more than impressed with Rialto Beach and its awesome views.

November_050.jpg

November_062.jpg

Of course since I was in America, I couldn’t give up the opportunity to go to Walmart and Costco, and brought a few bags worth of goodies. Shoshannah also took me to a Mexican restaurant, which I had never experienced before but found delicious and naturally we fitted in a trip to an American Diner, and a movie session complete with tubs of Ben and Jerrys – ahh bliss. It was so good finally seeing and catching up with her again, and seeing all her familiar sights and sounds.

November_076.jpg

Before heading directly back to Vancouver I took a day to tour around Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. An attractive city, with a distinctly European feel. Then back to Vancouver, and back to work, the days a lot colder, and definitely shorter. At the end of November my friend Jenna, not finding what she was looking for in Van decided to move back east, to Toronto, to try her luck in the concrete city.

November_081.jpg
The Empress Hotel, Victoria, BC

December rolled around, and it snowed. From out of no where came this white blanket, that covered the streets, and trees and put everyone in a more festive mood – well everyone except the drivers, and the homeless I daresay. I ran outside into the street in my pajamas, with out any shoes like a little kid. It had snowed briefly in Germany, but nothing like this. It didn’t stick around for long, but it kept coming back and although I loved when it snowed, Vancouver snow tends to turn to slush fairly quickly, and either melts or turns into ice, which when you’re a delivery driver is not a lot of fun. I had the joy of working one Sunday afternoon, after a particularly heavy dumping of snow, delivering food to a surprise birthday party on top of hill in a rather posh area. But having no experience of ever driving in the snow before, and having a rear wheel drive rickety old van, and compacted ice on the road doesn’t make fun driving conditions. I ended up fishtailing all over the road, and sliding back till I hit the curb. Then nothing, nothing I did would make the van move. I got out, shoveled away as much of the snow as I could and put salt and grit under the tyres, rocked it back and forth, being careful not to flood the engine – but nothing. And so inevitably the call to the boss got made, to come rescue me. I seemed to have missed the memo about loading the van up with cases of bottled water to weigh down the back tyres. This didn’t solve my dilemma though that I had a van load of hot food, a surprise party waiting to kick off and no contact phone number. So off out into the snow I go, hoofing it by foot I galloped the 10 blocks or so to the clients house, and wet as a dog and more than slightly puffed I arrived on their doorstep, and promptly told them my pathetic story of getting stuck on some ice. Never fear four sprightly men from the party came to my rescue and we ventured back to the van, and with three of them standing on the back and another at the wheel, (as by this point I had refused to drive in fear of crashing into the rather fancy parked cars) the men took off into the distance leaving me to gallop back the 10 blocks or so to the party to help unload. Rather exhausted with my efforts by this point, I was more than relieved to see a chain gang of party guests had been started by the time I arrived to help move the food into the house, and with the last dish safely inside, was the exact moment my boss showed up – bless him. Thankfully he offered to drive the Van back and I got to drive his snazzy four-wheel drive instead.

n636637540_465381_898.jpg

So then my birthday came and went, I had a small Ugly Sweater Christmas party, complete with my first glass of Eggnog and work got stuck into the crazy party season with gusto. The weather was still determined to play havoc with me, and I ended up slipping down some concrete stairs at a clients home while carrying a marble cheese board, and compressed several discs in my back making life fairly unpleasant until I got talked into finally going to see a Chiropractor. Just before Christmas rolled around Jitka, a true gem moved back to Europe, and onto a new job teaching English in Spain. I was gutted to see her go, but I know it won’t be the last I see of her.

n500272429_235053_841.jpg
Tabbie, Eliane, Jitka and I at Cascade Lounge

For Christmas I was asked to go to the home of two of my bosses for dinner, with several others from work who were also family-less during the silly season. Dinner was fantastic, complete with all the trimmings, they’d even ordered a Pavlova (a down under meringue type dessert) which I got to decorate, and with a fresh blanket of snow my Canadian Christmas went down a treat.

New Years Eve closely followed, and I joined a few friends on a Club Crawl around some of Vancouver’s Nightspots. I never have good New Years Eve’s, and this years was no exception. The night started off ok, getting taken to various clubs on a bus, but the last stop of the night was way out near the airport and if you know Vancouver – that’s no where near the city or anything really! At least I got to have my first ever ride in a yellow school bus, even if it was with 50 rowdy screaming University Students. Before the clock chimed 12, I made my escape and 4 buses later I was home, tucked up in bed ready for 2008!

n636637540..70_2730.jpg

January brought a welcome break from the madness that was December, and as everyone else had decided to take their vacations at the same time, I had little choice but to battle it out and carry on as per usual. However as I was able to get a good deal through work with a rental car, I grabbed Nic one Saturday and we headed up the Sea to Sky Highway to Squamish, a small town often used in movies and tv shows (such as Insomnia, Double Jeopardy and Men in Trees) as a backdrop for Alaska. After feasting on a massive lunch at a local diner, we kept driving further up the Squamish River and at Brackendale we found a Bald Eagles Winter Nesting ground, volunteers had set up and info centre and provided bincoluars. I love how just a short drive out of the city, you're completely surrounded by the great outdoors.

n500272429..19_5031.jpg
Cam, Grant, Stuart and Dan - the Ozzie Boys

The staff party in the middle of January in the form of a Hawaiian Luau, provided some much needed relief from the miserable gray doldrums. The whole Butler crew raided their closets and pulled out some real Hawaiian beauties, and nearly everyone got into the spirit of things. We’d hired out the ANZA clubs hall which was the perfect size and we put the dance floor to good use. Of course every staff party has a scandal or two and ours was no different, but boy was it a good night.

n660220343..41_5437.jpg
Me with Kathryn and Axelle

At the end of January I decided to move on from my place on Main Street, and jumped at an offer to good to refuse to move in with a friend from work who had a spare room, and lived in a trendy part of Vancouver, close to the beach, one bus away from work and at half the rent I was currently paying - I couldn’t say no. Then in order to reenergize both of our batteries we both took some time off work and headed to Harrison Hot Springs, just a couple of hours drive away from Vancouver. We had originally wanted to stay at a cabin further up the Fraser Valley but the heaviest snowfall of the season had made the roads to dangerous to venture further. But reluctant to give up on our little getaway we decided to treat ourselves to the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa, and spent most of the days soaking in the hot tub, or reading books by the fireplace.

n636637540..60_9783.jpg
View of the Hotpools from our room

Once back in Van, I heard from Ayline one of the girls I lived with back when I first arrived, who was back in town on a month long visit, and quick as anything I jumped at the chance to take her out to dinner. Each January Vancouver has a Dineout festival where restaurants all over the city, offer a special menu at a discounted rate and it really gives you the chance to sample some fine dining for a fraction of the price. I chose to take her to CinCin, normally reserved for those with limitless budgets and we had a delicious evening of playing Ladies. A week or so later, a group of us ventured up to Grouse Mountain, over looking the city and dined out in the observatory, also part of the Dineout deal. For $35 we got a scrumptious three course dinner, a skyride to the top of the mountain, and all the activities we could want at the ski field, we settled for the sleigh ride through the Dr. Seuss looking trees. It was a gorgeous night, and well worth the effort of getting there and back.

n636637540_595262_290.jpg
Harrison Lake

So that really brings us mostly up to date. Phew! Of course I’ll remember some stories that I wanted to include in the next day or two, but really that’s the bulk of what I’ve been up too. Work, work, work oh yeah and a little more work with a dash of fun thrown in on the side. Forgive my laziness with keeping in contact, when I’m not working I’m recovering from working, and trying to stay warm :o)

Posted by nikio 14:27 Archived in USA

Autumn in Vancouver

Film Festivals, Thanksgiving and the changing of the seasons.

sunny 12 °C

StartOct_073.jpg

StartOct_082.jpg

It’s that time of year again, when the days have gotten shorter and cooler, there’s a chill in the air and the pull of the indoors grows stronger. This time last year I was road tripping through the heart of Fairytale country in Germany, this year I’m working like a maniac in one of North Americas most beautiful city’s; Vancouver. I’ve been here for four months now, and I’ve yet to slow down.

StartOct_097.jpg

I've now moved into my new place and my new roomie Maia, a twenty year old Interior Design Student is really nice. I'm struggling at the moment to get adjusted to her schedule as she is a night owl, I'm the lightest sleeper in the world and I've turned into a nana lately as I'm usually in bed by 9.30 pm to get up at 5 to go to work - but we'll get there. The place is really nice, and although my room wasn't furnished I was super lucky to get a free bed off the internet. Craigslist - an internet based classified ads site which is huge here has a 'free listings' page and one day while on a break at work I found someone giving away a near new bed, and my boss told me to go get it immediately and take one of the vans and take one of the new guys I was training to help me move it. As I don't plan on being here long-term, I'd been putting off buying any furniture so this solution was ideal. Then because I've been so flat out at work, and hate shopping one of the managers at work offered to be my personal shopper and brought my Duvet, Sheets, Cover and Blankets for me - perfect!

StartOct_095.jpg

One night while out with Jitka and Nic, we came up with the idea to have Thanksgiving Dinner at my place and invite those that had found themselves family-less at this time of year. I ordered an Organic Free Range Turkey from work, and managed to get one of the Chefs to make the stuffing for me. My first ever Turkey turned out fantastically, it was moist and full of flavour. I also made Candied Yams, which horrified the boys when they saw me putting marshmallows on them but turned out really good, and I cheated by buying a Pumpkin Pie. Jitka made the Mashed Potatos, and Michael carved the Turkey and made the Gravy. After Dinner we flopped in front of the couch, Michael treated us to neck massages and had a movie marathon that finally ended at 6 am - it was a really good night and was super relaxed.

n602556263..56_4415.jpg

n636637540..07_5881.jpg

018.jpg

n602556263_347986_430.jpg

For the past couple of weeks the Vancouver International Film Festival has been on, so I battled the queues and went with Nic to see 'Atonement' and 'Battle in Seattle' which both made me cry and were well worth watching, and Jitka and I went to see 'Jellyfish' a wacky Israeli film. It really surprised me how popular the festival was, as all three films were sold out theatres.

StartOct_011.jpg

StartOct_066.jpg

StartOct_009.jpg

n602556263..41_6205.jpg

This weekend, I headed across the water to North Vancouver with Jitka and went to Capilano Suspension bridge, one of the major attractions in Vancouver. It was a beautiful day, and although we were both exhausted from a hard week at work, the fresh air and exercise walking around the canopy of a Rainforest on an elevated boardwalk and across the moving bridge was good for us. We took a bus, and missed our stop so got off at the Cleveland Dam (the town’s water reservoir) and were greeted with gorgeous views of Lake Capilano and the surrounding Mountains. We then headed back down the road and got off at the Capilano Salmon Hatchery. Not the most exciting place on the earth, but it was free and mildly educational. Hungry for Salmon Sashimi we headed back to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, and soaked in the sights of Vancouver across the Harbour.

StartOct_076.jpg

StartOct_029.jpg

StartOct_036.jpg

StartOct_048.jpg

StartOct_049.jpg

StartOct_090.jpg

StartOct_094.jpg

Apart from that it’s just been work, work and um….. more work. But now I’ve trained three new guys (two of which are Australian – us Australasia’s are taking over hehe) how to do a part of my job so at least there is the possibility I’m allowed to get sick now – heaven forbid.

Posted by nikio 12:40 Archived in Canada

(Entries 1 - 5 of 59) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. »