Saturday, October 27, 2007

...Funny you should say that...

"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you, yourself,
have altered."
~ Nelson Mandela ~

Ain't that the truth. Nelson always was good with words, I think it's because he had all that time in solitude on Robben Island to think...

Now, I can't compare myself to Nelson Mandela, no of course not, that would be silly beyond belief, but I can and do identify with the quote he said above. There's nothing quite like returning to a place that largely remains unchanged to recognize the ways that you have changed since last you were there. I experience that every time I move back to a place I've been - Toronto, Halifax, Peterborough. I sometimes experience this surreal, out-of-body type feeling when I step off a plane and walk down the streets of the new city I've been transported to. The sights, sounds, smells and sentations of the place I left behind are still so real to me, that to replace them with a whole new set seems strange. (We call what I just did alliteration. I'm quite proud of it). Sometimes, I can look at a photograph and the scene in it is still alive in my senses and I can't seem to comprehend the fact that I'm actually hundreds of miles away (or sometimes thousands) from where it was taken.

I'm back living in Peterborough now. I haven't lived here for about 3 years or so, and as I walk the streets I'm trying to access a mental map of the city that I created when I was 20 years old. The problem is, the map seems difficult to remember. It's like when you're learning a new language, and before you are able to come up with the word you're looking for in the new language, your mind processes through all of the languages in which you already know how to speak that word: "friend," "ami," "amigo," "padi," until finally you filter through to the right choice. My mental map of Peterborough is like that. It is superimposed on top of all of the other cities I have lived in (unfortunately all which seem to have similar street names...damn those Brits and their ubiquitousness). So, if you see me wondering aimlessly, don't be alarmed. I'm just trying to sort through my map and get a grip on where I'm really going.

No, I don't want to pick a city guide up from the convenience store.
But thanks for the suggestion.

Friday, October 12, 2007

...and this is why I love strangers...

So my friends Kate and Nate (isn't it cute how their names rhyme? Awwww. Awwww. Blahhh.) are getting married tomorrow which is part of the reason why I'm currently in Halifax. Tonight I was invited to the rehearsal dinner which was thrown for the wedding party and all out of town guests. It was really nice to see Kate and Nate and a few other people I haven't laid eyes on since I left last August. These kinds of things are also great for mingling, and making small talk to strangers and random family-of-the-couple type people.

Generally, my conversations all go the same: I explain why I'm an 'out of town guest,' how I know Kate and Nate, why I don't live in Hailfax any more, what I do with my life, how I've been teaching in Sierra Leone for the last year etc., etc. One lovely couple were greatly surprised at home much I'd accomplished for 'one so young.'

"My goodness, dear, that is a lot you've done in your life. You certainly should be proud of your accomplishments for one so young," this couple said.
"Well,'s been good. But I'm 26, so I've had a few years." I reply.
"Oh, my! Oh my goodness! 26 years old you say! Why, we would have said you were much younger than that, wouldn't we have Tom?" says the well-meaning wife.
"Uh, yes. Most certainly, at least 18," says the husband.

Gosh. Doesn't seem as impressive now that I'm 26, huh.

But hey, at least I'm allowed to vote. And I can even drink. If I move to Quebec.

Parlez-vous francais?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

...Thanksgiving Weekend...

Ah, Autumn has arrived! The leaves are turning their various hues, the chestnuts drop as squirrels scamper along uneven branches, while the air is strewn with the scent of fall foliage. And everywhere, there is a pervasive feeling of despair. Winter is coming. It only gets worse from here.

I know, I really am quite optimistic.

In the spirit of the season, and because we're having Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow (ok, more because we're having Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow than the spirit of the season) I made two pumpkin pies. I love pumpkin pie! I don't really like pies, but I will make an exception for the pumpkin variety.

And this is how I spent my Saturday.

Did you know that "Emily" actually means "industrious, hard-worker." See, it's not even my fault. Just wait 'til Christmas...and I tell you about my middle name.

Monday, October 1, 2007

...well that was exhausting...

You know those people who say that physical exercise is good for you? They're lying.
You know how they say 'oh sure, it might be hell while you're doing it, but gosh, you just feel so great when you're done.' They are still lying. Because NEWSFLASH: after physical activity you do not feel great and you continue to not feel great for days afterwards. Ergo, those guys are boldface (like how I made the word 'boldface' in bold type? eh?) lying to you.

First of all, what was I thinking on Friday when I decided that playing on the jungle gym with the kids I was babysitting was a good idea? Why wasn't there someone around to tell me I would regret this and that my muscles would still be angry with me on Monday? Thanks for nothing other parents who were just sitting around watching me play. Thanks for nothing.

Then, who can explain to me why I thought walking around literally all day on Saturday would be fulfilling? I had 2 brief moments of stasis, the first which involved sushi, the second which involved Thai food, but other than that it was walk, walk, walk. Ah! These boots were not made for walking, that is for certain. So on Saturday, I went to the Toronto Island with a friend,it was lovely, but lots of walking. And then in the evening met up with some other friends to have dinner and then participate in the wonderful artsy world of Nuit Blanche, also, too much walking. Needless to say, this morning I have shin splints, blisters, and I swear there's something wrong with my joints, specifically in my knees and hips.

I'm getting old. Oh god. This is what it feels like.

On a positive note, on Friday night I thoroughly enjoyed a bottle of wine appropriately purchased for me:
Cat Pee On a Gooseberry Bush. In my case it should really be more like 'Cat Pee on My Dirty Clothes," but that my friends is a whole other story...