About Me

My photo
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Just a happy 23 year old with Bipolar. Attempting to make a little bit of a difference to enhance this beautiful world. I choose rose-tinted sunglasses. xo

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Couchsurfing Virgin

I am no longer a couchsurfing newbie! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, Couchsurfing is an online community of people who offer their homes to travellers. Basically you can sleep at their place and they show you their city.
I am currently in Zaragoza, Spain and staying with a guy that I met online, Stefano. After a two hour flight from Paris, sitting next to this extremely sweet older spanish couple, who insisted on talking to me in Spanish like I could understand, I arrived at the Zaragoza airport and found my way into the city.
What a beautiful city it is! The weather here is in the high teens and twenties during the day with a clear sky and a sun that is always shining. There is an extreme wind though that makes you thankful for having a coat and scarf.
My first evening Stefano toke me on a walk around the city to see the major sites. We found an outdoor concert and listened to a funny band, although I understood only a few words... My highschool Spanish class hasnt helped me that much here. We met with other couchsurfers from Brazil who are currently living in Spain for some drinks and communication was difficult but managed (I spoke French and English, Stefano spoke Italian, Spanish and English, and the friends from Brazil spoke Portuguese, Spanish, and English). My love affair with Brazilians continues :)
On Sunday we continued our tourist endevours, again with the Brazilians to a famous Arabic palace in the city, Aljaferia. Then followed to another bar, this time a Brazilian one to have some drinks.
Yesterday I toured by myself as Stefano had school and found what I think is probably one of the coolest things in the world, the Zaragoza Sonic Forest. It is an exhibition in a park area consisting of twenty some metal poles that are all light and motion sensitive and play different sounds when people are around. Its like an urban rainforest. I sat there for way too long and got lost in the music.
Today I must fly back to Paris and return to my "real life" if you could even call it that. But I highly recommend that everyone look into the Couchsurfing concept as it is truely an amazing idea and practiced by such generous and welcoming people: www.couchsurfing.org for those of you who are interested in finding out more.

Friday, October 22, 2010

TGIF my ass.

I would like all of you to think back to when you were little and in school... primary, secondary, high school. And we had those incredible days called "Professional Development Days". And as any child will tell you... These days are AWESOME!! Even I remember loving them. You had the day off from school and got to sleep in and then there was no homework and you could watch TV for as long as you wanted. Today however, I have lost all appreciation for these days. When you are older and not actually profiting from the day off they, simple put, SUCK.
The kids had the day off from school today and I am so glad that I am going on vacation tomorrow, because really one full day of them being home drove me to near insanity. I mean it was great being able to sleep in a little this morning, but still the baby had to get to daycare (yes I still brought him to daycare because the thought of having all three home while the cleaning lady was here just made me cringe). So after Cammi (9) woke up, and I searched for her sleeping brother, Adrien (7), (who was not in his bed which just started everything off badly), I had to drive Owen to daycare. Now the question remains: Do I drag the other two kids, one who is still asleep (I found him in his parent's closet of all places), neither of whom have had breakfast, and both intend on staying in their pyjamas all day, with me to daycare? Or do I leave them at home for the 10 minutes it will take me to get there and back (I have been reassured that this is okay to do so long as you have your cell phone in your hand ready to answer and have locked every door physically possible)? The latter won. But somehow it slipped my mind that it is Friday and that the cleaning lady comes on Friday, so I hauled serious ass getting Owen to daycare, being told they thought he wasn't coming, assuring them that I nor his mother would have said this, and then racing back home before the cleaning lady arrived and I looked like the worst nanny of the face of the earth.
I made it to the door just as the cleaning lady was getting out of her van and from there it was the carefully executed game of "where to play as to not get in the way". We did bake some really delicious cookies in the afternoon though thanks to lovely Canadian friends and their warmly welcomed care packages. This again could not have gone as smoothly as I was hoping as the kids seem terrified of getting their hands dirty by mixing dough (wasn't that always the best part??) and the pumpkin shape looked more like a lumpy circle than anything else. Oh and then there was the water fight that broke out in the bathroom (that had just been cleaned from top to bottom) when I got the kids to wash there hands. Of course this led to a time-out and that led to a nice chat about how we behave, and that led to me burning the lumpy circle cookies. Thank God there don't seem to be any fire alarms in this house, or country for that matter, because I would have set them all off. The few that I didn't absolute destroy were actually really tasty.
Then I got the kids to pinkie swear (for some reason I was really convinced this would work) they would behave and we would pick up Owen early from daycare and go to the park for a while before Owen's dinner. One day they will learn that pinkie swears a sacred, but until then I will run around and remind them to share the play structure, to take turns on the swings, and to not try to feed the poor ducks rocks.
Their mom got back from her week long business trip and I have never been so happy to be off from work.
Tomorrow I'm heading to Spain and couchsurfing for a few days. I'm sure that will be less of a vacation than I had wanted, but still, 4 days without having to think of children is completely welcomed :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Simple Math

So here's a simple, but important math lesson for all of you:
2 1/2 bottles of wine + 1 bike + 3 kids = A VERY BAD IDEA.
Now I know it is hard to resist buying and drinking a lot of wine because it is so cheap, but really somewhere between the first and second bottle I seemed to have forgotten that I had to get myself home and wake up in the morning to get three kids ready for school and daycare. Don't get me wrong, it was worth it... but I also can't seem to find were I put my Advil and there are no volume controls on children. I blame Christina for all of this.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Oh Canada...

It is incredible to have a friend here! Already I have seen Christina several times and each time I get this dumb smile on my face that is permanently there. We were late picking her up from the airport because of some "slight" detour which sucked because it meant spending far too much time with her host mom whose shit doesn't stink.  Then we were late getting back into town and then we had a cram a lunch in. Wine does wonders though when you are humouring someone who is actually as dumb as she looks... and to have Christina and I sitting there and nodding because anything else would be considered talking-back and being "disrespectful". This woman is a piece of work, but then again the wine here is cheap and in abundance so somehow we will manage. Vivre la France, as long as there is a little bit of home along with me. Welcome to France Christina!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Salvation is Coming!

After waiting and waiting Christina will be here today! In a few hours to be exact! A Canadian friend to conquer Paris with! A friend to go out drinking and dancing with!! I am so excited I can't even put it in words. This is a day that will go down in history... Well my year in France history at the very least. Bring on the wine and cheese because we are going to celebrate!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Forward French Men...

Now typically in my books you would get bonus points for having the guts to approach me and attempt a pick up... this however is not the case when it is late at night and I am walking alone with my headphones in my ears. In fact it's quite the opposite in this situation. You tend to come off as creepy and in no way charming. I have now dealt with my fair share of French men approaching me while I've been here, and here are some basic rules that you should abide by as the man:
1) If it is dark and the girl is alone, you should mind your distance, she already has her guard up.
2) There is an appropriate time and place to make an advance (blocking my exit from a store is not it).
3) If you are older than my parents you can pretty much consider yourself out of luck (unless of course you are wearing an Armani suit and driving a Porsche).
4) Don't mistake kindness for interest, some people just smile.
5) When the headphones go back in my ear and I continue walking you should go on your way and not bike creepily slow beside me.
6) Pick up on subtle hints, for example if I say, "I don't speak your language and don't understand you at all," or "I have three kids at home that are waiting for me," this is code for "F OFF!"
7) Using a line like, "I could teach you some French things," and winking will not work.
Needless to say Jack Johnson was enough company for my walk this evening but unfortunately some men just don't understand that. So although you think I am beautiful, and although I am alone (even though you ask when clearly there is no one with me apart from some old man trying to pick me up), I am quite content to be on my way to meet my "friend who is waiting for me up the block". Thank you and good night.

Just another day in France...

It has officially been 54 days of living in Maison Laffitte, France, a suburb of Paris, Ile-de-France.
What I have learned today? The Macarena is still extremely popular with 9 year-old girls. In fact it is so popular that there is no objection to listening to it on repeat several times. I guess it does beat the typical Hannah Montana playlist that usually reigns over the house. At least I can dance to this song without having to feel any embarrassment, after all everyone is doing it... You can't resist the Macarena. I just don't think I'll introduce them to the "YMCA" any time soon for fear of what that may bring. And because I know you were all dying to hear it too...
I also had the experience of attempting to choose decent wines from a convenience store. And why would this present any problem you may ask? Well first off it is really hard to determine what a 3 dollar bottle of wine will taste like. Will it be any better then the 2 dollar options? And is the most expensive bottle really worth the 6 euros they are asking? Really who buys any liquor from a convenience store? But they do sell legitimate brands of liquor that I recognize from home so maybe it will all be good? The decision was simple in the end: Buy 4 different bottles and figure it out when I get home. Although by the end of the taste test I'm sure they will all be "delicious"... almost as great as the hangover the next day promises to be.