Winterizing my Life

Bu0zNLiving through a Canadian winter changes everything you thought you knew about winter.

Trust me.

It’s fucked.

Not only have you never been so cold in your life, but you’ve also never felt like such a pussy about never having been so cold in your life. The first time the temperature dropped into the minus digits, I literally put on every piece of long covering clothing I possessed. I was more layered up than seven fruit roll ups and I was STILL shivering.

What did my Canadian boyfriend wear that day?

A t-shirt, jeans and a light jacket.

It was -5 degrees and I thought I was going to die. My skin ached in the exposed bits, and I was so cold I felt like my bone marrow was freezing. And then it went down to -15.

Now, people from further North, or Montreal, will tell you that -15 aint nothing to write home about. It’s when it gets to -30 that you got to start worrying.

MINUS….30 Degrees…CELSIUS…

Doesn’t the thermometer stop working at -20!? How is -30 a thing? How can we go negative times 30 of the freezing temperature of things??!

CANada Can.

I’ll never forget having a chat to the Mother of a friend of mine. Lovely Mrs Deck from Red Deer, Alberta, an all Canadian little place that looks a little something like this:

RedDeerCountyABHP

Mrs Deck is an avid running enthusiast, and when I began asking her if she continued to run outside during the winter she replied, “Oh yes. You have to wear a balaclava and gloves, but it certainly is nice to get oot and aboot.”

Okay fine she didn’t really say oot and aboot, she said it was nice to get OUTSIDE. But the point is the same. They’re nuts. The whole country.

And you start to become more nuts the more winter days you live through.

For example, last week when it was 1 degree, I asked myself, “do I really need a scarf?”

You start to think it’s normal to walk past huge piles of white (or dirty brown depending on how many days its been there) snow and not scream with delight and jump in it.

You think it’s normal to bring an extra pair of shoes with you to work (you know, snow shoes for the outside and nice clean dry shoes for the inside.)

It takes you 5 minutes to get up from a meal before you exit the establishment (because you have to put on hats, gloves, scarf, winter jacket…)

You minimize any and all walking outside unless it is strictly necessary and all activities move indoors.

When it’s above zero, you start referring to the weather as “warm”.

I’m not going to lie, I love the snow (always have always will) and after building two snowmen over the weekend, going sledding in a park, and having my very first snowball fight, I can safely say there are some perks to living in the “great white north”…

But I will never accept that -30 is a temperature in which humans are supposed to live.

Except Eskimo’s…

Those guys are CRAY

The hunt for New Roommates

I live in a really cool part of Toronto. Sandwiched between little Italy and little Portugal, close to Korea town (I eat pretty interesting take-away week to week). I love my apartment, in which I have the tiniest little room at the back of the house off the kitchen. I don’t mind my little room, I don’t really have much stuff in this city. I find that the less space I have, the less clutter and THINGS I acquire. So when both of my roommies told me they were moving out, I weighed up moving into one of the nicer rooms in our apartment.

My rent is the cheapest I have ever paid since I began paying rent. It costs me for one month, what it would cost me for 2 weeks in Sydney, and is a third of what I would pay for even a miniscule place in Hong Kong.

I decided with no guaranteed employment after camp in August, and with a bit of a road trip plan in the works for early September with Canadian Boyfriend, to stay where I was.

So now, lets discuss the hunt for new roommates.

Aside from the extremely stressful timing of this whole shenanigan-astic fiasco (what with me leaving for camp in a couple of weeks, and having a sublet) and just the general pain-in-the-assery associated with change, I was eager to tackle the task of finding two people to move into what is now my home.

I put out a ping online to friends and friends of friends. No bites. Bad timing. Lots of people looking for new digs for the start of September but alas July 1st, you were not the prettiest pig in the pageant. Its okay. Have a cookie.

And so I turned to that big aquarium of rare and bizarre creatures in the sky:

Craigslist (pronounced cray.g.z.list and not creg.s.list you North American foooooools)

And boy did I get a response!

I guess our rent is pretty reasonable for the area and the two rooms going are decent sized. I received 20+ emails in the first 3 hours. I was just happy that people were interested and I wasn’t going to have to scrape the barrel for people or die alone… wait…what?

I was pretty upfront about the place, what I’m like and the type of person I was after. I asked for people to tell me a little bit about themselves when they emailed me. The people who wrote “is the apartment still available?” or “I have interest. When I see the place?” and didn’t introduce themselves didn’t get an email with any further details.

But the ones who sounded normal, guys or girls, I was willing to give them the shot and show them around.

It just goes to show that anyone can represent themselves well on paper.

Where to begin, where to begin?

Perhaps with the guy that came first to look around. Tatoo sleeves, and insane scars all over his face from when he used to have 30+ piercings ABOVE the belt. Okay. Had a strange energy about him. Ex Cabinet maker, turned Paramedics student. I decided I better keep notes on all these people as I’d never remember them all. Beside his name I wrote “Nice. But kind of seems like that normal guy who would become a seriel killer.”

NEXT

Sweet, shy, Scottish guy who moved to Toronto around the same time I did. Cross eyed (me – extremely awkward and not sure where to focus when speaking to him – but no problem as he didn’t keep my eye for more than a second). Told waffling stories about things his grandfather said, or a random, completely out of context funny moments recalled, with no pretext or set up…

NEXT

Really nice, kind of dweeby guy who kind of reminded me of Howard from ‘The Big Bang Theory’. Works at Medieval times (a restaurant EXPERIENCE with live horses and jousting competitions, serving wenches tankards of ale…) as a trumpet player, studies music at University. Told me about his very shy, sweet girlfriend who might come and stay now and then. Yep fine no problem. This guy was looking like a winner… but just as we got up to go, his craigslist started to show.

“Oh there is one more thing” he begins, “I’m not sure if I should mention it…” he trails off.

Me: so friendly and encouraging, really think this guy is nice: “Go ahead. Be open, what is it?”

Him: “well… it’s not that my girlfriend and I have an open relationship really but…occassionally there would be a random person coming home with me.”

Me: (Is this guy telling me he kind of cheats on his girlfriend?) “Ok….

Him: “Oh! It’s not cheating… My girlfriend would be there too…”

Me: ……………………. uhm……………….

Him: “Not very often. But on Occasion. I thought I should mention it…”

Me: (TOTALLY Flustered) Right… okay so…. uhm just out of curiosity boys or…girls or… (WHY DID I ASK THAT?!)

Him: “Oh! Both! Sometimes at the same time rarely.”

He blushes. I blush.

Me: …………………………………… Thanks for coming to see the place. I’ll let you know.

There were others.

But nothing stood out like that exchange.

And I’m not against whatever it is he needs to do in the privacy of his bedroom. But… in our first meeting? In the first 30 minutes of getting to know the guy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful he said it, because he was top three.

Thankfully, since then, I found two cool girls who are happy to move in.

brrrrrrr*SHUDDER*rrrrrrr

I dipped my toe in the craigslist pond, and lived to tell the tale.

We’ll see how this all works out.

University words of Wisdom

My littlest brother is flying out of our home town of Hong Kong in a few short hours, to start his University journey.

I know my Mum is sad, and proud, at the same time. What an achievement, three kids through high school all by the tender age of 42.

Littlest brother is excited, and nervous, as we all were when we packed up our rooms to head to our new lives. Like I did when I hit 18, LB (Littlest Brother) is flying 9 hours and half way across the world by himself to start his higher education. Luckily we have a network in Sydney which will scoop him up and hopefully set him in the right direction.

I wish I could be there to help you in this exciting time, but sadly I am on the opposite side of the globe.

But what I can give him are some words of Wisdom from my own experience, and Canadian boyfriend is here too, and he wears glasses so he must be smart.

Eat the meals provided at College, but make sure you work out.
‘Fresher Spread’ ‘Fresher Fifteen’ ‘Freshman Fifteen’, these are universal. First year Uni students living away from home get fat, they eat crap and they drink loads of booze. Eat the free food, because you’ll be broke, but just make sure you exercise/eat a salad occasionally, because those Kilo’s are hard to shift. Trust me. You can eat cheap Thai near the Uni and get cheap deals on campus.

(Canuk Boyfs advice): Wear Condoms.
Self explanatory. As the only gay in the village, you won’t have to worry about getting girls knocked up (yay for you), but STD’s are for life man.

Have as much fun as you possibly can.
Say yes before you say no (not to drugs obviously), embrace every challenge and new opportunity. The University years are short and fleeting, but they are fun and amazing. You are not only there to learn things from books, but also to learn things about yourself and others, to learn discipline and independence. Make sure you have a good time.

(Canuk Boyfs advice): Time Manage.
Personally, I started my assignments the day they were due (I used to run to the drop box at 4.55pm because I knew they closed at 5pm and start them at 6am). But CB’s advice is work hard play hard. Get shit done and get shit faced. Or if you do it last-minute like me, then make it look good by throwing in loads of citations and fancy schmancy words.

Don’t get involved with someone you live with unless you’re prepared for the drama when/if it all gets fucked.
Loosely summarized by our mother as “Don’t shit where you eat.” At college you live with 250+ people. You see them every day, at every meal (unless you become a troll hiding in your room), so be careful. It can get nasty.

(CB advice): Talk to your parents often
Let them know how you’re doing, they are the reason you are there and they care about you. (awww! isn’t that sweet)

Get a part-time job – you’ll have the time.
Seriously, you’ll need the money for extra booze when there aren’t organized parties and to go to the local bars. Never underestimate the $5 goon sack. Also, as great as a degree is, having work experience on the resume is awesome too.

 

And that’s it from me, older sister done with Uni, as you start your journey. Remember all the good things – like be true to yourself and to study and shower occasionally, etc etc.

Love you lots little pants

 

P