Warmth (Romania and Stonehenge)

My time back here is already speeding by! I can’t believe it’s been two months since I was back in Canada and even moreso, I can’t believe it’s only two months until 2017. And it’s ALMOST Christmas!!!! London has been decked out in Christmas decorations since November 1st; it’s crazy. I’m loving every minute of it; I’ll take my pumpkin spiced lattes and my candy cane mochas, the decorated streets and windows, the Christmas sales… what’s there NOT to enjoy?! I’ve been back at work for a week since coming back from Romania and thankfully, I ended up getting a full week!
Romania was great! When it came up, I wasn’t actually ready to go on holiday yet. Somehow, I was enjoying my time teaching in London. I don’t know if the kids were better cause it was the start of the school year, or if I’m actually getting better at managing them(?!).. Or maybe it was because I really only worked four full weeks out of the seven, so I wasn’t ready to leave. However, I went and I fully enjoyed my time! I flew from London to Suceava (pronounced Sue-CHA-vah) on Saturday afternoon, and didn’t arrive at the hostel until about 8pm that evening with the 2-hour time difference. Now why Romania, everyone asks me? Why SUCEAVA? Well, back in the year 1900, my great-, great-grandparents decided to migrate to Canada. They came from the region Bukovina, which at the time was part of Austria, but now is part of southern Ukraine and northern Romania. The city or town (Stawchan) that they came from no longer exists, so I was hoping to find out some information about it in Suceava, which has a Bukovina heritage museum. Anyway, Suceava was a place where pretty much NO ONE spoke English. It was also a place where pretty much NO ONE came to visit. Therefore, I was not only the only person in my hostel room, but I was also the only person in the entire hostel (Irene’s Hostel). And reception was only open 5-7pm, so I was REALLY the only person in my entire hostel.
Suceava was quite small and quiet, so I got through everything within the first day I was there. It was neat seeing all of the old ladies with their heads wrapped in handkerchiefs, reminding me of my Baba. That day, I took a walk around the city, checked out the fortress, and went to the Bukovina Heritage museum. The museum was really

Inside one of the Bukovina houses

cool, with the exception of one house that almost gave me a heart attack when I turned a corner and saw dummies taking part in a funeral, with recordings of crying at a real funeral in the background. The museum was an outdoor museum that was laid out like a Bukovina village, with about 30 different houses and buildings that you could explore. I learned that the groom/bride gown was saved during a person’s life because that’s what they’d be buried in (I guess it would be good incentive to not gain weight after the honeymoon phase of a relationship). I also learned that funerals often took place in the spare room of a house and would take about three days, where people could come pay their respects when they please. I learned that a baby would not be recognized by the community until it was baptized, which my parents recently explained was why I got baptized at such a young age. I saw everything I wanted to see after that first day. Unfortunately for me, I booked three nights there. My original plan was to rent a car and drive into Ukraine to where my uncle thought the town that we originated from may have been. However, it turns out you need an international drivers license to drive in Ukraine, which I didn’t have. Then, I thought I may as well rent a car anyway and then I could explore the famous painted monasteries throughout the area. I booked my car that evening and spent the entire evening mapping out where I should go, only to get an email a few hours later stating they didn’t have automatic cars in Suceava. Lovely.

The next day, I took a bus to Vama. Taking public transportation in a city that doesn’t speak English is probably the scariest thing for me to do when travelling alone. I usually try to avoid it at all costs, and would rather walk

Egg Museum!

hours instead of have to try to explain where I’m trying to go, figure out how much it’ll cost, when I need to get off, etc. I got to Vama okay, had a quick breakfast, and went to the Egg Museum, which must have the biggest collection of eggs in the world. The collection comes from countries all over the world, and has different kinds of paintings, carvings, and themes. It was really cool! It was so weird walking through the small town, where pretty much everyone had some type of animal in their backyard. Many had chickens, some had a cow, some had a pig, and most had dogs to watch over everything. Since I didn’t have any wifi or a bus schedule, I went and sat at the bus stop to wait for the next bus, which took about an hour and a half. While I was sitting there, an old man came and kept trying to have a conversation with me in Romanian. He would talk and talk and talk, and then in English he would say, “You understand?” I’d shake my head no, and he’d try again and again. I got off at another small town, where I decided

Voronet Monastery

I’d walk from to get to one of the painted monasteries, so I could at least see one. The Voronet monastery was an hour walk there and back, so it kept me busy for the afternoon. Everything in Romania has a photo tax, so if you want to take pictures at any of the museums, you need to pay the tax. I decided to pay the tax for the monastery and then felt cheated as I stepped inside and saw huge pictures that said “No photography inside the monastery.” It was really gorgeous inside though! I walked the hour back, got to the bus station and found out I had to wait another hour to catch the last bus back to Suceava. I had an early night because I decided I’d take the 6:50 bus the next morning to Brasov (pronounced Bra-shov).

The bus ride was about 8 hours but it went by quite quickly. On the way, it drove through the Bicaz canyon, and the views were spectacular. The colours of the leaves in Romania were insane! I wish my camera could capture it, but it’s something everyone will have to go see in person. There were so many stray dogs and cats throughout Romania; it was heartbreaking. I’ve figured out that I don’t think I have maternal instinct.. I have a CATernal instinct. I swear anytime I see or hear a cat, the first thing I want to do is go pick it up and give it a cuddle. I wanted to hold all of the cats! However, remembering when I got bit by the cat in Morocco and rushed myself to the doctor thinking I had rabies, I decided I’d have to go against every fibre of my being in order to not touch the cats. And the cats knew! They just kept taunting me, trying to get my attention. Anyway, I went to my hostel (the Kismet Dao), and then decided to go explore the Old Town. While walking through, I suddenly heard my name and turned around to find Kim’s friend, Taylor, who was travelling with a couple other friends. How crazy! I decided to join them for dinner, where I had a delicious traditional Romanian stew with polenta. Oh, by the way, McDonald’s in Romania offers Peaches and Cream pie instead of Apple, and it’s literally the best thing ever! I probably had at least five while I was there.
Bran Castle
The next day (Wednesday), I woke up nice and early to have breakfast. The hostel had breakfast but all that it offered was cereal. I never eat cereal and if I do, I always eat it dry. However I thought it would look weird just eating up dry cereal and decided I’d give milk a go – how bad could it be? It’s been at least 15 years, maybe things have changed. Boy, was I ever wrong.. I sat there gagging, trying to get through my bowl of milk and cereal. It’s a consistency thing for me – the soggy feeling of grain in your mouth. Even writing about it, I get the shivers. It’s the same reason why I NEVER put ice cream on my pie or cake, or any other pastry item. It seriously grosses me out. Anyway, after breakfast, I decided to take the bus to Bran in order to see Bran Castle (or Dracula’s Castle). Dracula was based on Vlad the Impaler, who was a man who went around impaling people. I later found out on my walking tour how it was done. First, you take a long, sharp object and you insert it straight into the anus of the person that you’re impaling. Then, you push the object at a 90-degree angle so it’s parallel with the person standing so that their legs will collapse and they’ll slide down the

object, which will exit through their neck or head. A GOOD impaling will cause a person to survive like that for two or three days. How pleasant.. Anyway, apparently during this time, people didn’t have to worry about other people stealing their stuff and the crime level was very low, because everyone was scared of the punishment (obviously). Apparently during his lifetime, Vlad the Impaler impaled over 20,000 people! Rumours started that Vlad would drink his victims blood and blablabla, and that’s how the storyline for Dracula was created. However, in real life, Vlad the Impaler had only actually been in “Dracula’s Castle” once, and it was when he was imprisoned there for two days. So it’s more of a tourist trap, but I felt like I had to go, given the Halloween season. After the castle, I went on a walking tour back in Brasov, and then a few of us (two Americans and one German) went out for dinner to a restaurant called La ceaun, where I got to have Romanian

Yummy cabbage rolls with polenta!!

cabbage rolls, which were absolutely delicious!

The next day (Thursday), I took a train to Bucharest. It was like a Harry Potter train, with little compartments to sit in, which was nice except for the teenager who decided to play his video games the whole time WITH SOUND. The teacher in me almost said something, but I did a good job of biting my tongue. I did a bit of exploring and then went for dinner. After dinner, I decided to check out the Parliament building, which is the second largest administrative building in the world (after the Pentagon), and on my way there, someone asked me for directions. I explained that I had just arrived and he said he had too (from Spain), so we went out for a couple of drinks and had a great conversation! On Friday, I took the tube to Hard Rock Cafe in order to get my drumsticks. However, on my way there, I found a beautiful park called Parcel Herastrau. I spent quite a bit of time there and afterwards, I went out for lunch closeby. The food in Romania is so cheap! The most I ever spent on a meal was about 40 lei, which is 8 pounds. For lunch, I went to a restaurant called City Grill, where I had a two-course meal for 21 lei – 4 pounds!

Parcel Herastrau

That afternoon, I went on a walking tour, where I got to find out a lot about the history of Romania. It absolutely blew my mind! They’ve really only had independence since 1990, so they’re as old as I am. Before that, they were part of a Communist period. I learned that the people would only get two hours of hot water each week, only four hours of heat each day – 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon, and the food was rationed because the president (Ceausescu) decided to use most of it for exports, so there wasn’t enough to go around for the actual country. Obviously, many people had also been killed during this period. In December 1989, Bucharest had a Revolution, which also brought more than 1000 deaths. The president and his wife ended up in custody after trying to escape by helicopter and on Christmas day, the two were put on trial and were convicted for many crimes, and both were executed that day. The trial and the executions were shown live on television throughout Christmas Day, with the message “Merry Christmas Romania, you now have independence!” So insane!

On Saturday, I went to actually check out the parliament building and then another person approached me in the

Carturesti Carusel

Old Town (from Germany). We decided to go for lunch to a place where we were sat right in front of the grill, so we could watch everything take place. That afternoon, I went to a homemade and antique market and made a few purchases, and then did some last exploring. On Sunday, I made the long trip back to London. On my flight, I was trying to find somewhere to put my luggage and I noticed a spot with just a jacket sitting there. I struggled as I tried moving the jacket to the side so I’d have room for my bag, and the man sitting there let out the biggest sigh ever, as if I was the biggest inconvenience in his life and he stood up. I thought he was going to move the jacket aside so I could put my suitcase up, he instead grabbed it from where I moved it, moved it back in the empty space, and sat back down. I was somewhat stunned, and the man beside me smiled sympathetically as he and the flight attendant once again moved the jacket so I could put my bag there. I had forgotten I was on a plane back to LONDON.. Of course I shouldn’t be expecting kindness. I

ended up getting home quite late, after taking the bus back into London from the airport.

This week has went by quite quickly! I worked most of the week at an all-girls school that I’ve worked at before, but the behaviour is horrible.They’re looking for someone to take over a science position since the permanent teacher left (the girls told me that they made her cry). Anyway, Tuesday and Wednesday were absolutely horrible, but the behaviour got much better towards the end of the week. I don’t know what it is – I do things without actually getting mad at the kids now, thanks to the teacher that I observed back in Saskatoon. I find that the more you hound the kids to do work, the less they actually do. My method has actually been to just sit back and make them realize it on their own. Sometimes, they need a bit of a push.. I ended up saying to one my classes that if they want to talk instead of work, they can, and that’s their own choice. But ten years from now, when they’re all working at McDonald’s because they decided not to take their education seriously, it wouldn’t be my fault. I explained that they weren’t in primary school anymore, and that I wasn’t going to hold their hand and check to make sure they were getting all of their work done. That it was time for them to take responsibility of their education. And then I had dead silence for the rest of that class, as well as for the rest of the week! I have an interview and observation lesson this week for the school that I had worked at during the two weeks before my break, so I’ll have to see how that goes! When

Close Talker!

the head of science found out that I had an interview at THAT school, she had nothing bad to say about the school, “But I WILL say this… I’m not trying to convince you not to take the job there and instead take the one here, BUT being at that great of a school might cause you to UNLEARN your behaviour management skills…” Yeah… that’s a big concern… Anyway, my weeknights were also quite busy. On Tuesday, I went to the Close Talker concert for the second time this year! Once again, it was awesome seeing them perform and being able to have conversations with some familiar faces. On Wednesday, Becky, Charlotte and I went to the Bastille concert, which was absolutely amazing! It was probably the best energy I’ve ever felt at a concert, and it was so uplifting. My mood was great for the rest of the week! Thursday, I went to bed quite early since I was exhausted from going out two nights in a row and getting minimal sleep. On Friday, I went out for drinks with another one of the supply teachers from the school and then I went to a BBC radio concert. I expected it to be a classical music concert, but it ended up being some type of weird abstract genre, with random sounds and notes that (to my ear) sounded horrible. I ended up leaving during the intermission, partly because I didn’t want to stay for the rest and partly


because I had an early morning the next day. On Saturday, I went on a bus tour with my former flatmate who was visiting from Italy. We went to Stonehenge, as well as a couple of small towns called Henley-upon-Thames and Avebury. It was SO cold, and I was wearing two sweaters and a winter jacket over my clothes. It was really neat to see Stonehenge though! The trip was from 8am to 7pm so by the time we got back, I was completely worn out. Today, I just did some shopping and cleaning, and I’ve started preparing for the possibility of moving if I end up getting the job at the school this week. I hope everyone’s been doing well, miss you all! Love always

Warmth – Bastille

Lonely Cities (Birmingham, Worcestershire, Stratford-upon-Avon)

Well, since my last post, I’ve had my birthday and I’ve done a weekend trip! Last week on the day before my birthday, we ended up getting hail for about four minutes! The kids started freaking out, and lessons came to a stop as all of the kids looked out the window. It was the first time we had ever had some type of snowfall all year! The teachers were talking about it in the staffroom, wondering why we had hail at the end of April, and then it finally clicked… I ALWAYS have snow on my birthday! I’ve had about two birthdays without snow, and this time it was trying to strike again! It was the weirdest thing… Anyway, that same day, one of the kids made a comment that she was going to get me a birthday card for my birthday and I replied that my birthday was the following day. The class started freaking out, “Miss, what do you want for your birthday?!” “I don’t want to give out any C-points (bad behaviour points)!” “Okay, miss!” Well, on my birthday, I’m pretty sure I’ve given the most C-points that I’ve ever given in a day! I also ended up having a physical incident between two boys in one of my classes, and had to stay after school to write up a report. That evening, I went out for dinner, drinks and dessert with my flatmate, which was quite nice! I was so happy when the week was over; it was such a long week! That Monday was a bank holiday, so we had an extra-long weekend. Jess and I decided to make a last-minute trip to Birmingham, which is about 2.5 hours north of London. I contacted as many people as possible on couchsurfing and surprisingly, someone wrote back and said that we could stay with him! We arrived in Birmingham around noon on Saturday, dropped our stuff off at Joe’s house, and then joined

another couchsurfer, and the four of us made the trip to Worcester (pronounced Wuh-ster), Worcestershire (pronounced Wuh-stah-sher, so weird). We checked out the cathedral, the river, and then went to the Worcestershire sauce factory. Unfortunately, they don’t allow people inside, but we could smell the sauce all the way down the road; it was lovely! We then went for dinner in a pub that used to be an old church. It was so cool! The stained glass windows were still there, and it still looked like a church with the pews removed. The dj even set up where the pastor would stand. Well I must have not paid attention to the couchsurfing profiles because that night, Jess and I realized that we’d be sharing Joe’s room with him. Jess and I shared his bed and then he slept on the floor, which was somewhat weird… The next day, Joe, Jess and I went to Stratford-upon-Avon, which is where Shakespeare was born. We got to tour his house, and then go to the church where he was buried. I’m not much of a Shakespeare fan, but it was still really neat to see! On Monday, Jess and I went to Cadbury World! We could smell the chocolate while walking from the bus stop; it was delicious! They had a 4D chocolate adventure, a tour of the factory, tons of samples, and even a ride similar to the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyworld, except chocolate-themed. This past week has went by a lot more quickly! The kids have been a bit better, which has been nice, but now I’ve been having more problems with the teachers and feeling belittled by them. Anyway, thank goodness it’s the weekend! Three more weeks at the school 🙂 I got to go to the Close Talker concert on Wednesday, which was great! Kim and I were looking for a place to go for dinner before the concert, and happened to find Chris on the sidewalk, so we joined him and the band for dinner. It’s always nice to see some familiar faces here in London!

I’ve seriously been contemplating whether or not I should put this part of my life in my blog, considering most of the people who read my blog are family members. But I’ve also gotten multiple requests to write about this, so I’ve finally decided what the heck, I’ll do it (Obviously while keeping it G-rated and sugarcoating it a bit)! So as people most likely have gathered, I’ve always put dating on the back-burner of life. It definitely has never been my number one priority, and I’ve always made sure it would never get in the way of my goals. Therefore, I’d never consider any of

the past dating relationships I’ve been in as long-term or serious relationships, as pretty much all of them started in the summer and then would fizzle out once university started back up again. I also made sure I didn’t date at all during my two years of education, because I knew I wanted to teach abroad and I didn’t want anything or anyone holding me back from that. And now I’ve realized that I’m finally where I want to be, and I don’t really have anymore excuses left. But let me tell you… it’s extremely difficult to meet people in London! Whether it’s for dating purposes, or just meeting new friends even.. Everyone always has somewhere to be, people don’t have friendly conversations on the bus or the train, the only people I interact with on the daily are under the age of 18, you get the picture. And there’s an IMMENSE lack of wedding rings in this city.. I actually think that people are so caught up in their own lives that they just end up staying single forever. I don’t really want to be one of those people, so I decided to try the whole online dating thing. And unbeknownst to almost everyone, I actually started it before I even moved to London so that when I got to London, I could maybe have some dates set up. And that’s exactly what happened.. I was still staying in the hostel when I had my first date! I wrote Guy A first, he seemed nice, played rugby, had a nutrition degree, but lived about two hours away in Kent. He ended up catching a ride with a friend to London, and he came to where my hostel was and we went for coffee until the cafe closed. Anyway, we ended up talking on the phone every night before and after meeting. A couple of weeks later, I had finally gotten settled in my place and we decided to meet up again. This time, we went for dinner, coffee, and basically talked until he had to catch the last train back home. Eventually, phone calls stopped, texts became less and less, and questions went unanswered. I had been ghosted. For those of you who don’t know what the definition of being ghosted is, urbandictionary.com defines it as: “When a person (male or female) leads on another person into thinking they’re interested in them. After leading on this individual they “ghost” them and disappear. This is usually indicated from no responses through text, phone call or email. Ghosting is performed by selfish people and ones who don’t believe in karma. Because what goes around, most certainly comes around.” Well-said, urban dictionary.com! I was quite disappointed, and

Shakespeare’s Birthplace!

decided to wait awhile to get back into the dating scene. Anyway, a few months later, I decided to try out the whole online dating thing again. Because let’s be honest… swiping left or right makes the one-hour trips to school go by a lot faster! I met up with Guy B and he took me to the Sky Garden, which is a bar at the top of one of the tallest buildings in London, with the nicest view. It would have been a very romantic setting, but I felt that the conversation was quite forced, and I wasn’t feeling it. I’ve learned to start arranging first dates on school nights, so I always have the excuse that I have work in the morning. So I used that excuse, but then there’s always the awkward saying goodbye part, where it’s like, “Crap, is he going to try to kiss me? He looks like he’s thinking about it, and I definitely don’t need to deal with that right now. Quick! Reach out for a hug, keep it friendly.. Turn your head to the side. Phew! Kiss on the cheek.” I left that date feeling really unsure about online dating.. It seemed like the guys I was interested in weren’t interested in me, and vice versa. Unfortunately, I had already set up another first date for the following day (haha) so I decided to just get on with it, and then stop online dating for good. I met up with Guy C at a German pub. He was an Australian engineer, who loved to travel and had been living in London for quite a few years already. He ticked off all of my boxes and conversation easily flowed for seven hours straight, to the point where we got kicked out of the pub cause they were closing. The chemistry was even there, and I thought about how lucky it was that I decided to go on this last online date. We had arranged for a second date a week later, and on the day that we were supposed to meet up, he wrote me about being sick and asked if we could reschedule. And I bet everyone can guess what happened.. Ghosted again. I know what being ghosted is like all too well. Why, you ask? Well, because (and I’m not even kidding) I have never NOT been ghosted in my entire life. Yup, that’s right. Out of every guy who I’ve somewhat been seeing or dating, (unless I’ve called things off myself) NONE OF THEM have had the decency to just be like, “Yo, I don’t think this is gonna work out, sorry.” They’ve all just peaced out, stopping all communication, with no explanation, no apology, nothing. Which is probably why my opinion towards men is so negative. And BECAUSE I’ve dealt with this so many times: wondering when he’s going to write back, thinking every ding of my phone is from him until after a week goes by and I finally convince myself that no, I’m never going to hear from him again, I now know all of the warning signs. I know when guys are thinking of ghosting, I know when a guy makes a false promise of meeting up soon, and I know when a guy has sent me his last message. And those first few warning signs are when I start clocking out, just so it hurts a little bit less when it actually happens. The only thing I can do is change the way I write my messages in hopes that they’ll feel a bit more guilty about the cowardly thing that they’re about to do (Hey, two can play at this game…). I’ve always been the type who doesn’t date just for the sake of dating; I date because I can see a relationship progressing. So of course, I was once again hurt when the two guys that I actually connected with both just ghosted on me. And I sat there feeling sorry for myself, and thinking I’m never going to date again because I’m much happier just being single and not having to worry about anyone else. And if I go on another date, I’m just going to end up being ghosted AGAIN cause that’s all any guy ever does (<— Oh look, a bit of foreshadowing…). And then after awhile, I thought: Wait a second… why should I have to avoid dating just to avoid getting hurt? Why do I feel like when I go on a date, I have to impress the other person, when I already know that I’m a good person and if they can’t see that, then too bad for them? Why should I even go on a date with the mentality that it’ll progress any further? Why should I owe that person ANYTHING? I’m living in one of the biggest cities in the world, I’m 25 (now 26) AND single; I might as well take advantage of it! The chances of running into someone that I’ve dated in a city of 9 million people are slim to none. And right then and there, I decided to change my attitude about online dating. My friends and I call it my new MENtality. I was going to date MY way. As in go out and just enjoy MYSELF. No expectations, no plans of taking things further than a first date. Hopefully have a good conversation, take any free drinks or meals that come my way (hey, it’s not like I sit there expecting them, but if they’re offered then why not?), don’t expect anything more, and move on. I don’t owe these guys anything. They don’t owe me anything. Hopefully I’ll just have someone nice to talk to for the evening! So then I started setting

up those first dates. Guy D was a teacher who had actually taught in China at one point, nice guy, not interested but it was a good chat! Guy E was also a teacher from Canada, who had been living in London for as long as I had. Funny thing is when talking on POF, we found out that both of us would be in Edinburgh at the same time, so we decided to both book the same 12-hour tour (that Loch Ness tour that I did). I guess I wouldn’t really consider it a date, but moreso of a meetup with a complete stranger for a 12-hour bus ride haha Longest “first date” of my life though, and I’ve had many long first dates! Guy F was English and we just met at one of my local pubs. Guy G was South African but has been living in London for a few years, and yet again we met at a pub. Guy H was English and he was my first Tinder date! Met at a pub.. And since then, I’ve given online dating a rest for awhile because I went on my two-week holiday and met that one Australian guy in Amsterdam. And we met up a few weeks later, but the romantic holiday feelings just weren’t there anymore, and I was ghosted once again. But have no fear, I have reopened my dating account! So I’ve now become an expert on first dates aaaand I’ve gotten at least 20 free drinks (but who’s counting?) and a few free meals. The only difference between me and all of the previous guys I’ve dated is that I at least tell the person that I don’t see a second date happening. And maybe this whole ordeal is just horrible of me, and everyone is going to judge me and think I’m a terrible person. But frankly, I’m just sick of being treated the way that I have been in the past. And who knows, maybe London HAS turned me into a heartless bitch (‘scuse the French..). Honestly though, if I fall in love while I’m in London, it’s likely because I’m mentally unstable and I can’t actually think clearly because my job has driven me crazy.

Speaking of a change in mentality, I used to think the best in everyone – that everyone had something to offer. Now I’m at the point where I get suspicious if someone is being nice to me. I now believe that no one will do anything nice for me because they only have an ulterior motive. I’ve started to just hate dealing with people in general. Why? Cause here, everyone lives with a ‘fending for yourself’ attitude. Everyone has somewhere to go, and you’re the only person who’s going to get yourself there. People have stopped worrying about the people around them. When I went to Birmingham last weekend, someone accidentally ran into me and actually said,

“Sorry!” I remember looking at Jess with a shocked look on my face, thinking, “Where are we?!” People here make plans, only to cancel them. It’s happened time and time again, and I don’t understand what the point of making plans is if you’re not going to follow through with them. The students here have an excuse for EVERYTHING – nothing is their fault, the blame is always put on someone else. And after dealing with some of the teachers, I’ve realized that that mentality never really fades. No one wants to own up to anything, everyone just wants the easy way out. Frankly, I’m at my wit’s end, and I’m sick of not being appreciated and not being respected. From the students, I’ve learnt to expect it (even though it still isn’t right), but not from the teachers. However, it’s happened on numerous occasions. I come home everyday just fuming, literally hating my job and hating people. I count down every single day and urge myself to just get through it, “You only have 15 days… you can make it.” But is it really worth diminishing my sanity, my happiness, and my self-worth? I’ve always lived trying to do the right thing.. when I give someone my word I stick to it as best I can, I don’t back out when things get tough. I’d rather have integrity and do things the hard way, than be a disappointment to someone else. But then I often find myself being walked all over and taken advantage of. And there’s never been a time when I’ve regretted the morals and values that I have, but there have been multiple times when I’ve wished people would stop messing me about because of them. So who knows how much longer I’ll last over here… I LOVE it in London, but the combination of everything else is getting to be too much. Anyway, I have a great weekend planned so that should lift my spirits! Hope everyone is doing well! Love always

Lonely Cities – Tigertown

Choices (London and France)

Now it’s been a full month since I left, how crazy! On Monday, I made my way to London! It was about a two and a half hour train trip under the ocean. I was expecting to see sharks and jellyfish but I was disappointed to see nothing of the sort 😦 Just a big, black tunnel that made my ears constantly pop. Finally, I arrived at St. Pancras Station. The first thing I noticed about London was how clean it is! No more having to watch every step I take in order to avoid stepping in the presents that the dogs left behind. And I love the cars! I don’t know why, I don’t even like cars… It was also weird to be able to talk to people I don’t know in English! I’m so used to approaching someone and only speaking French, so that was nice! I got to London around 2:30 and went to find my hostel, Clink78. It’s actually really close to the train station so I didn’t have to worry about the metro very much since almost all of the metros stop there. I found my bed in my 14-person dorm and it actually wasn’t that bad! After getting settled, I made my way to the will call office so I could pick up my Olympics ticket. I then headed to the Hard Rock to get my drumsticks before going to Hyde Park. I had to go through security before getting in but once I got in, it was so cool! They had some kind of chocolate tour and then they had four huge screens, each playing a different event of the Olympics. There were people everywhere! I made myself say hi to the first Canadians I saw and you’ll never guess where they were from… Regina! So they gave me some of their leftover tattoos since I didn’t have any, yay! After Hyde Park, I went to Buckingham Palace and watched the guards move (I thought they weren’t supposed to?). It started raining so they had to move into this little hut thing. I then went to the Big Ben and Parliament Buildings, which were gorgeous! London’s architecture isn’t as breathtaking as France, but I really enjoyed those buildings! I also got a nice view of the London Eye, didn’t go on though. I spent too much money on souvenirs… (so much for no more shopping!).

Tuesday, I woke up and had breakfast. I sat with this guy named Cameron who was from the UK and has never left except for Belgium, which I found absolutely insane. He said it’s not weird at all for EU citizens not to travel Europe. His accent was sooo strong though; half the time I felt like he was speaking a different language! After breakfast, I went to the London Tower and walked across the Tower Bridge, then walked along the river. I didn’t really do anything specific, but there was so much going on everywhere because of the games so it was always easy to find something to look at or to do. I then went to the station so I could head to Olympic Park. They said to leave at least three hours before your event so I was ready (and had been counting down every minute before then) by 4. I was impressed at how organized they had made everything; they kept the crowds moving smoothly and I seldomly had to wait (except for getting back to London). We had to go through security, just like you would at an airport. No drinks or liquids unless they’re less than 100mL! The Park was so cool! I heard someone beside me yell out, “This feels just like Disneyworld!”And was he ever right! There was that magical feeling you get, like a kid gets on Christmas morning, or that we all get at Disneyworld. It was just so awesome to be there, it almost didn’t seem real! I found my way to the Aquatics Centre and got in nice and early (so I could watch them dive beforehand). Only a true fan would know Alexandre Despatie from across the Aquatic Centre, just by seeing him holding his lavender towel 🙂 I was second row on the balcony, which were considered the best tickets. But when I sat down, I couldn’t believe I paid THAT much money for the view that I got. Sure, the seats WOULD have been awesome… If the staircase wasn’t right between my seat and the diving boards. Literally could not see a thing! So I made friends with the two girls from Great Britain who were sitting behind me (they bought cheap tickets for the women’s diving and said those seats were better than the expensive seats) and then I moved beside them once the diving started. I was able to see the entire competition, yay! The diving was great! It was just too bad when Alexandre’s knee buckled during his last dive, causing him to slap across the water, and making the entire crowd go, “Ooooooh,” in unison. I felt bad for him but he was happy with his overall performance, considering he lost three weeks of practice due to cracking his head open a month before the Olympics. After the medal ceremony, I was heading out of the Aquatic Centre and heard, “Canada!” So I met Phil and his son Justin (who’s about my age) who are from Montreal but moved to London in 1997. They invited me for drinks so we got some beer and strolled around Olympic Park. They were really nice guys and it was fun to meet some Canadians! I then headed back to my hostel, which took forever! We had to wait outside in the rain while they slowly piled us onto the Javelins. I didn’t mind, but it was pretty difficult to enjoy myself with everyone around me complaining. The next day, I went to St. Paul’s Cathedral and then walked through Picadilly until I made it to Westminster Abbey. After my back and shoulders could no longer hold the weight of everything I brought (and bought!), I went to the train station and waited to go back to Paris.

On Thursday morning, Ben came to Paris! I met him at Starbucks and then we stopped at my apartment before I gave him the big tour! We went to the Notre Dame, the Pompidou Centre, the Louvre, and through the Jardin des Tuileries. Lots of walking, so Ben was sure ready to pass out by the time we got home. I was impressed that he was able to stay up til 10! On Friday, we went to Versailles. We first went to an Italian restaurant for pizza and chocolate mousse (so good!), then we went to the castle grounds to relax in the sun. After Versailles, we went to Rambouillet to go to the Celtique! This time, no one I knew was working there; I was quite disappointed. That status that the girls and I worked SO hard to get was gone. No more being the important customers who were greeted upon their arrival. Now we had to wait. And wait and wait until someone came to serve us. Just like we had to do the first time we came three years ago. How sad… After the Celtique, we went for a walk in the castle grounds and stopped at my school before heading back to Paris. On Saturday, we did a walk from Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe to Trocadero to the Eiffel Tower. By that time, we were both extremely tired so we went back to the apartment for dinner, then went to the Sacré Coeur for a bit before trying to get to bed early.

Sunday morning, we woke up extremely early to pack up and leave the apartment. We went to Hillsong (for my last time) and then went for lunch with Beatrice. Now we’re finally on our way to Switzerland! We’re heading to Geneva first so in about three hours, I’ll be there! Now the adventure begins! And now I’m ACTUALLY backpacking! I have my little university backpack, and I have about six shirts, one pair of pants and one pair of shorts to last me for the next five weeks! I’m actually quite impressed that I was able to put that and a sleeping bag in my backpack! We’ll see how it goes… I hope everyone’s doing well! Love always

Choices – The Hoosiers