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:


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

Happy one year CANAversary Austraalien!!!

When I landed in Toronto on the 12th of June 2011 it was a Sunday. I was the first person in my family to ever be in Canada. I was so jet lagged, and the Canadian coins were so confusing. I found a payphone and called my mum to tell her I was OK. For her it was the next day and she was just waking up. I felt like I was just waking up too – but waking up to a completely new, adventurous experience.

I’m the type of person who enjoys celebrating anniversaries, birthdays, and generally acknowledging the passing of time. I think it is important to rejoice in these milestones because there are times you get stuck and you can’t see a way out of a situation. There are points in our lives, where we look toward the future, and all we can see is a path which branches in a hundred different directions, with question marks at every crossroad.

After my Masters degree I felt stuck. I spent six months hanging out in Hong Kong doing a low-paid teaching assistant gig at my old High School. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I was itchy for adventure. And then the idea of Canada came and smacked me in the face.

I have loved living in Toronto, but it hasn’t always been easy. I went back and read my post from my 6 month CANAversary and I was so happy and full of joy and Autumn sunshine. Little did I know, the cold hard truth of a Canadian winter was about to punch me in the face (and this was a mild one apparently!) The Canadian winter wears you down. It gets dark before you leave the office and it’s dark when you wake up in the morning. I still love the snow and the lights and the romantic feeling of the crisp Canadian air, but its the January/February part of winter that made me beg and plead with the imaginary man in the sky for a day of sunlight, or perhaps just a temperature above zero.

And then suddenly in March/April… it was spring like, and we had a few weeks of randomly hot weather, and the tulips in the road dividers all bloomed, and people were outside, and it wasn’t dark any more. And I wore a skirt, and realized those weren’t socks I was wearing, that was my ankle leg hair wrapped around my toes.

And hope returned with spring. Trees were green, and not bear, and the kids in my street started playing out there again. And then summer hit and everyone started sweating their asses off again and bitching about how humid it is.

And I though AHHHHHH. We’ve come full circle, I remember sweating my ass off with a big backpackers back hoisted over my shoulders, walking around the same area.

Because that’s what a year in one place means. Experiencing a full cycle of all the seasons – and BOY! are they vivid here in Canada. Autumn is chilly and BEAUTIFUL, Winter is FIERCELY cold, Spring is BRIGHT and ripe with potential, Summer is SIZZLING and exciting. Each of the seasons has brought me some new discovery of self.

It has been a challenge but it has been thrilling. I have no idea where this is going or what’s next, but if I can pack a bag and move to the other side of the world… well…

I am pretty much ready for anything

An extra day, A special day

ImageThe 29th of February should be a public holiday. Although it feels like any other day, there is also something about it that makes me think of it as a gift. An extra 24hour period to live in this beautiful world. Funny coincidence on a day like today that I was too sick to go into work. 

It is the first sick day I have had to take since working for Camp Timberlane when I started in June. So on this extra day of the year, I made brownies, stayed in my pajama’s, slept, read Game of Thrones: A storm of Swords, wrote 200 words of a one woman show, skyped with mum and watched the snow fall through my bedroom window. There is nothing like a day at home doing nothing. All my roomies are oot and aboot at their various jobs and lives and the place is quiet and serene, as is the white dusted world outside.

Sometimes I hate to be idle, I am happiest when it is go go go, and the idea of sitting with myself is boring. But today was different, I turned inward and concentrated on health, rather then looking outward for stimulation.

It’s also the end of the month, which makes me whimsical and think about what I have achieved. March starts tomorrow and that Idea is insane, because March means we’re well underway for this year, and it feels like we just had Christmas. I always like to take the start of each month to think about what needs to be achieved and where to go from here on in.

For me, March is exciting. I’m going to Boston in just over a week, for a weekend away with my Miami girlfriend Amanda. In March, I am going to see a hockey game and be in a corporate box with my acting friend Jenny. I’m going to see the Black Keys and Arctic Monkeys with boyf and two of his friends. I’m going to London Ontario for a weekend of debauchery and St Paddy’s day madness. 

And as March progresses, it is meant to get warmer. This has been the mildest winter in years according to my friends, so, I don’t know how I would have survived if it had been as thick and furious as it has been in the past. Because I am over the cold, I’m over sweating in my jacket in the subway, I’m over my face skin drying out and coming off in flakes. I love the snow, but there hasn’t been enough to make a snowman! Maybe next year.

In conclusion, yay for the 29th of February, and yay for March, and life in general!

The Hole-eee-day Season

Ah Christmas! My favourite time of year. I am so into the holiday season that I have gone and neglected my (current) only creative outlet for ten whole days. Bad Me. I’ll punish myself by drinking the rest of this carton of Eggnog and eating that wheel of Camembert. I hope I’ve learned my lesson!

But seriously, there is something joyous about the gluttony of the season. The pretty lights. The present’s. The Christmas Tree. And of course the Carols. This year I had Michael Buble’s Christmas Special on repeat – which I thought was appropriate, his being Canadian and all, and this being my first Canadian Christmas.

I love the holiday so much that I ended up spending a fair chunk of change on the experience this year. It was my first 25th of December away from “Home” and so I don’t know if I was trying to recapture the childhood spirit of the season that my parents instilled in me, or if the Christmassy stuff was for my Christmas guests, mostly Jewish. I definitely wanted the boyfriend to get a sense of Christmas as it felt to me as a kid, lots of sparkly baubles about, Candy Canes, Ginger bread house (which he punched later in the evening as a way to break it for the guests…bloody knuckles aside it WAS pretty hilarious) and just a general Merry feeling. I think I pulled it off sufficiently well.

I was never really raised with religion in my home. I attended a Church of England school in Sydney (so I do know a number of the religious christmas songs + Christian prayers) for a few years, but the International schools which were responsible for the majority of my education were non-demoninal. So it is interesting to be amongst the Toronto Jewish Community (a vast presence here in my world), who have been nothing but accepting and welcoming. I have (sadly) been to a Shiva to pay my respects to a close friends late Grandfather, I have been to Rosh Hashana dinner, Hannakah dinners and Shabbat’s. So it was great to finally have a traditional thing from my childhood that I could share with my new friends.

We were definitely lacking in some of the finer Australian Christmas traditions (BBQ seafood lunch in the hot sunshine) or even more American style, Hong Kong Expat Christmas lunch, (Turkey or Ham with roast potatoes and pumpkin) and instead we kind of made an amalgamation (due to my hesitation to be in the kitchen all day). We had pigs in blankets (Z is from England and apparently that is what they eat there, mini-sausages wrapped in bacon – although ours were wrapped in pastry) Chicken with tomato spicy sauce, Roasted Asparagus with cheese and Roasted Potatoes with kosher salt and other secret ingredients. Boyf did all the cooking while I did the hosting/drink filling and despite the very random food and conversation, Santa did visit, and we did have a Merry time.

I hope next year, If I’m here next year, that it snows, and we do a proper Ham or Turkey.

But we’ll see! Maybe if I’m a very, very good girl and not quite so naughty….