a list, by jo Archives

June 27, 2007

MidWinter in Australia, a photo essay, by jo


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February 11, 2007

Observations on Australia after only two weeks, a list, by jo

Observations on Australia after only Two Weeks, a list, by jo

Palm Trees Everywhere!1. Oh My God It's Hot. It's hit low 40 Celcius here several times since I got off the plane. (That's *PLUS* 40. I can handle minus 40.) I may die.

2. They don't give out free sunscreen at the airport like they totally should.

3. Phone numbers have eight digits! How do phone numbers have eight digits? It hurts my head - phone numbers should totally have seven digits!

4. For whatever reason, coffee here isn't as good as coffee in Edinburgh - but the hot chocolate is better. Please don't ask why I was drinking hot chocolate in this heat, because I don't know. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

5. There are flowers! In February! They're so beautiful!

6. They don't have pennies! How am I supposed to save my pennies if they don't have pennies? And why did no one tell me there were no pennies here?

7. Lots of places have air conditioning. I love these places. I shop in them just because they're there. They have signs that say "Air Conditioning - Come On In!" So friendly!

Sunday Afternoons8. The City of Perth seems to shut down at an incredibly early time. I thought Edinburgh did, too. I was told Edinburgh shut down because people would protest at having to work late when they could be out drinking. Apparently Perth shuts down because people want to be out surfing. I can understand this.

9. Speaking of surfing, they have plastic money! Lots of it! I refuse to believe it's for any reason other than that they're too lazy to take their money out of their pockets before tossing things in the wash, but Jezz says it's because of surfing. Jezz is so boring and practical sometimes.

10. Palm Trees! Palm trees everywhere!

11. On Sundays in Perth, you can go down to Forrest Square and they let people stand up and rant. They have police officers there and everything. It's college!

12. There's a duck crossing sign near my flat - I can hear the ducks right now, and at night, I can hear crickets!

Having a wonderful time!

August 26, 2006

Famous People I Have Met, a list, by jo

Famous People I Met While Living In Canada, a short list, by jo

1. Joe Clark - famous, if dull, politician. Nice enough man, and these things go.

2. That kid who won Canadian Idol. I didn't know who he was, and demanded ID before I'd give him the key to his room, not knowing the room was under an assumed name. His manager had a screaming fit at me in the lobbey of the hotel, saying things like "Don't you know who this is?" No, of course I didn't. But I did by the next day, as he was all over the cover of every newspaper in Edmonton. *sigh*

3. Dave Duncan. All I could manage to choke out was "I really like your book!" before running away as fast as possible. I am an author fan-girl.

Famous People I Met While Living in Scotland, a longer list, by jo

1. Nail Gaiman. He signed my book! I have a book, signed by Neil Gaiman, to me!

2. Arrogant Worms: Canadian band, ironically enough.

3. Rory Stewart: He signed my book! I have a book, signed by Rort Stewart, to me!

4. Alison Weir: She signed my book! I have a book, signed by Alison Weir, to me!

5. Antonia Fraser! Also signed by book!

6. Kevin Smith! I have his autograph in the back of Reading Lolita in Tehran. I need to stop coming unprepared to these things.

I really do turn into an incoherent fangirl around authors...

Book Festival is going great, Fringe is going great, I have photos and stories and stuff, but mostly right now... I want a nap...

August 6, 2006

To Do Before Leaving for Aus, a list, by jo

I'm making a list of everything I should have done in the next four months. I'm trying to remember the things that would have made coming to Scotland easier, and extrapolating from there. Wish my passport wasn't at the home office - I could use it and get at least some of this done now.

If anyone has thoughts - whether you've moved internationally or not - I'd love to hear them. Please, share!

To Do Before Leaving for Aus, a list, by jo

1. Sort out Visa issues
2. Price out tickets for mid-January (looks like leaving after Jan 20 is best)
3. Find out about cell phones in Aus
4. Win Lottery
5. Buy the suitcase I'm covetting
6. Buy an iPod, it's a long flight
7. Get seed money gathered together
8. Cull through the books (ask self: how did I arrive in the country with four books in total and now have a packed bookshelf)
9. Ebay various items
10. Fix the table that I broke
11. Fix the wall that I also broke
12. Return the artwork I took off the walls. Be happy none of it is broken.
13. Put the beds back together.
14. Cull through clothes - strangely, won't need winter weight down there
15. Decide where in Aus to land before buying ticket
16. Suss out living arrangements (long term hostel? Flat share?)
17. Look for work
18. Collect reference
19. Bank account info
20. Get taxes sorted - do I owe anything? Should I get anything back?
21. Power stuff? Will I need adaptors?
22. Get a clearer idea of the weather in Aus, from something other than Weather Pixie.

June 20, 2006

Things I Did Not Do In Cornwall, a list, by jo

Things I Did Not Do In Cornwall

1. I did not fall to my death, despite attempts by the landscape to cause this to happen. Note to self: follow the posted signs that say "CASTLE", not "CASTLE VIEW".

2. I did not get rained on at all.

3. I did not find the Sword in the Stone and turn out to be the Once and Future Queen, nor did I stumble on Merlin hiding out in a cave.

4. I also didn't find a mermaid, or turn into one, and am quite disappointed.

5. While we're at it, I didn't leap to my death, either, although the water made it tempting to see if I could jump and not die....

6. I did not get burned to a crisp. No one is as shocked as I am.

7. I did not get drunk on scrumpy. I will have to try harder next trip.

8. I was not, at any point, unhappy during this trip, even during the seven hours total of travel time to see Tintagel. Because it was worth it to see water that blue.

I had a fabulous and amazing time, there are many photos to put up and things to gush about, but right now I'm still knackered from not enough sleep, and when did it get to be after 11:30? Damn it, I was going to be early tonight!

January 31, 2006

Things I Really Wish People in The UK Would Explain To Me

Things I Really Wish People In (from?) The UK Would Explain To Me, a list, by jo

1. If I say "I'm in the United Kingdom", what am I saying? If I say "I'm in Britain", what am I saying? Are they two different things?

2. Are the traffic laws the same in England, Scotland, and Wales, and if so, can someone tell me when I'm allowed to cross the street? Other than when the little flashing man is green, I mean.

3. Speaking of which, why does Scotland have its own Parilment, and Wales doesn't?

4. I'm not touching the whole issue of Ireland/Northern Ireland, because I sincerely have no understanding of it at all... but if someone would point me to a nice explanatory website, that would be cool.

5. I don't really understand how doctors work here. There are no walk-in clinics, you have to register at doctors? I'm confused, what do you do in something that isn't quite an emergency? They sent me to the hospital because I was some weird foreign chick without a doctor, and I wanted to scream because "Hey, emergency wards are for emergencies!" (Before anyone frets, this was back in July.)

6. Can you tell me why you celebrate Guy Fawkes day? Is it yay, he failed at killing the King, or yay, he tried to kill the King, and you can to?

7. Why can I not buy a bag of flour bigger than 2 kilos in any regular store?

8. Are Scotland and Wales their own countries, or not? I'm confused by this, as Scotland is the "best little country in the world", but I thought it was part of the UK.

9. Would you say Mary was the last direct ruler of Scotland, or James? For that matter, who was the last ruler of Wales?

10. So... how come there is only either really really cheap ice cream, or really really expensive ice cream?

In unrelated news:

There's snow! It's so cute!

Also, I'm baking some cupcakes for a bakesale on Saturday (don't ask, it's easier that way), and was searching online, and am I alone in thinking that if the recipe calls for 'buying cake mix and making it entirely following the package directions, except in cupcake tins instead of a cake pan', it's not really much of a recipe?

December 29, 2005

Things I Did Not Do In London

Things I Did Not Do In London (but probably wanted to), a list, by jo

1. Just sit all day in Heathrow airport and people watch. Dear god, that place is big, and full of fun and interesting people to watch. I did do a bit of that, though, while waiting for my cheap daypass on the Underground to start up.

2. Just sit all day on the Underground or Tube or whatever you want to call it. I toyed with the idea of playing a very strange game of Mornington Crescent with myself, or maybe just getting all giddy whenever the train went through some place mentioned in Neverwhere, but I managed to hold off on that.

3. Feed the pigeons in Trafalgar Square. Because they "are a nuisance and cause damage the square". *sigh* No recreating Mary Poppins for me this year.

4. See the Elgin Marbles. And damn it, I'm bitter! I totally should have made myself somehow be able to pass through space and time properly enough to make it see the Marbles. Oh well, guess they aren't going anywhere....

5. See a play/musical/any theatrical work whatsoever. But I probably could have pulled it off with less work than it would have taken to see the Marbles.

Other than that, I'm tired and happy and wired and excited and want to go again, tomorrow. Or now. Or something. It was *outstanding*, and I had a wonderful time.

But I am curious about one thing:

Why am I living in a country where "It will get as low as -7 tonight" made the freaking BBC news?

November 20, 2005

Why Nutcracker Made Me Happy

Why Nutcracker Made Me Happy, a list, by jo

1. It was a great excuse to get dressed up. But my definition of dressed up involved knee high stripey rainbow socks.

2. It was a great excuse to go out for a nice dinner right across the street from the playhouse. Not enough time to go home and then come all the way back. Yummy!

3. It was a great excuse to look longingly at fairy wings and tiaras. Because I don't have enough sets of wings (2) or shinies to put on my head (5).

4. It was a great excuse to feel cultured. I went to the ballet! In Edinburgh! In stripey socks!

5. It was a great excuse to realize that I really do like the ballet.

The whole experience was a lot of fun. I was in awe of the dancers, and the music was fun and outstanding. My favorite bits were the individual doll dances near the end. I am madly in love with the couple who did the "Indian Doll" dances... so exotic and graceful!

But the true bit that awed me were the girls in the chorus that stood absolutely and completely still, in complicated looking poses, while the dancer doing Maria did this beautiful dance. How did the girls stand so still? They didn't even blink!

I'd never been the ballet. I did take ballet for a year when I was a wee lass, but that stopped when we moved. I have some recollection of some of the posisitons (first, second, and fifth), and the memory of being the tallest girl in the class, but nothing else. So, I wasn't sure what to expect.

It was interesting to me how they managed to tell this story entirely through movement and music. I knew what was going on without checking the program, and for the most part I was right. (I thought the godfather was a doting uncle, but really, does it matter?)

The costumes... my, the costumes.

I am planning on going again. They're doing Swan Lake, and Cinderella, in February. Sounds like a good time to go - when the February blues hit. (I get sick every February. It's how I tell it's February. Screw Valentine's day, it's Super Sick Anna Month.)

September 24, 2005

How I Am A History Fan Girl This Week

How I Am A History Fan Girl This Week, an expanded list, by jo

1. Cardiff Castle did not fascinate me because it has pretty pretty rooms (although it does). Cardiff Castle did not fascinate me because it has a big Norman Keep in the center that you can climb up to the top of (although dude, cool, and I didn't fall off, which is even cooler). Cardiff Castle fascinated me because it had stained glass windows and paintings that depicted the history of the British Monarchy, starting back with the Civil War between Empress Matilda and King Steven, and went from there. A famous painting of Richard III hangs in the library. There are windows showing George of Clarence, who married Isabelle Neville. There are historical footnotes throughout the whole beautiful place, and I went absolutely nuts over every one of them.

2. The guide running the tour made multiple comments about how he thought I was going to start hyperventalating. When the tour was over, he pulled me aside to apologize that there just wasn't enough time to go over all the things I was obviously caught up in, as the tour did not point out a single one of them. They're just little side notes along the way, as I said. Even strangers look at me and think "wow, she's a bit nutty."

3. I am currently in the middle of reading an historic book tracing the lives of Henry VIII's wives. And I'm on the edge of my seat reading this. Please note: I've written essays on this topic, I've read about a dozen books on it, there are sections that are quoted that I've seen so often I'm able to know what they say before I get to the end, and yet... totally caught up in it. Oh my, will Henry get the divorce and be able to legally wed Anne before the baby? What will happen to Catherine? And poor little Mary, will she be branded a bastard? I'm turning the pages as quickly as I can. I hope that Anne gives birth to a boy.

4. I wrote the author of said book to tell her that I am madly, deeply and truly in love with her, and am now going to go out and buy all her historic books. Because they are just that well written.

My name is Anna, I am a geek.

August 26, 2005

Things I Did Today, a list, by jo

Things I Did Today, a list, by jo

1. Woke up way too early at 10 a.m. (which is way too early when you work nights, trust me.)

2. Updated my Flickr Site.

3. Made home made chai.

4. Answered some emails.

5. Made home made cheese.

6. Read some blogs.

7. Made paalak paneer from scratch.

8. Gloated way too much about this.

9. Made naan.

10. Had a nap.

Ah, it's been a good day.

August 3, 2005

Things I Did Yesterday, a list, by jo

Things I Did Yesterday, a list, by jo

1. Bought a Digital Camera.

2. Took 534 pictures of my flat.

Of course, you need to read "bought" as "someone bought me", "yesterday" as "on Sunday, over the internet, with two day delivery", and "pictures of my flat" to include one video and a voice over picture that includes speculation on the mating habits of green couches in their natural habitat of the Anna's Apartment Outback.

But other than that, it's all true.

I'm trying to decide if I want to claim I've been covetting a digital camera for a long time now (true) or if I finally broke down and got one because Raven did, and I am nothing if not a follower (also true).

I took the camera to work last night so I could take many many pictures of the churches on my way home (no, that was the stated goal: I am going to take photos of all the churches I pass on the way home, and nothing else!), which took me an extra 45 minutes of walking home time. I am a tourist, see me photograph.

(I keep thinking I need to talk to someone about how to take a good photo, though. I mean, point and click makes things happen, but making nice things happen would be good, too.)

The point of this is that, once I get things set up properly, I should start putting purty pictures up here for everyone to see. Or at least upload them to my flickr site. (You can go there now and see some scans of photos from China, if you care to.)

Tomorrow I'm going to Holy Island, which is Lindisfarne, or so I'm given to understand. I'm trying very hard to keep from squeeing around my apartment. *smile* I get to see a ruined Abbey! YAY! I'm getting on the train just after work, then catching the bus. Basically, the causeway is only open for a bit in the morning and a bit in the afternoon, so unless I feel like taking a boat (or swimming), I have a nice limited window of time.

This weekend is the Con that Diane Duane is going to. I'm trying to be all cool and calm about the fact that she commented on my blog, but I'm failing miserably. *dies and is ded*

July 22, 2005

Things I Learned On My Birthday, a list, by jo

Things I Learned on My Birthday, a list, by jo

1. They don't use shotglasses when pouring drinks here, and man, are they powerful.

2. When your workplace lets you go to a show of Scottish Stuff and says there is "free, unlimited wine", it's actually vinegar in an ugly bottle. Trust me.

3. Scottish dancing looks a lot like ballet.

4. Be careful who you point that out to, not everyone likes it.

5. At any one time, there are likely more Americans in this hotel than any other nationality.

6. Badly made haggis really does taste like buffalo.

7. Did I mention they don't use shotglasses when they measure the drinks here?

8. Deep Fat Fried Mars Bars are scary looking a national practical joke way too sweet but strangely addicting Really Really REALLY good! Honest!

9. You can have a really good time and still have enough busfare to get home.

10. Did I mention they didn't measure the rum?

All in all, it was a fun night, but I really want to shoot Kenny for saying I had to go to the Scottish Night Thingy Stuff, cuz damn, internationl floor shows do not interest me. But, it was free, the drinks were cheap (and really strong), and there were, in fact, cute boys in kilts.

No sheep, though. Will keep you posted on that front.

June 28, 2005

Reflections after One Week

Random Thoughts and Reflections After Being in Edinburgh for a Week, a not-quite-list, by jo

1. Odd things are "backwards". The handle on the toilet is on the opposite side, the "on" for switches is the opposite.
2. They really use words like "bril" and "fab" in job interviews.
3. They also use the word "fortnight" all the time over here.
4. I have yet to meet anyone actually born in Edinburgh.
5. There is apparently only one gaming store in this city. I have yet to find it, but I haven't been looking that hard.
6. I had a conversation with someone today where he told me, "Well, yeah, I'm sure it's all interesting to you, but I've been here for 10 years now. It's boring."
7. My internal response to that was "You have a castle! How can you not love having a castle? Are you all insane?"
8. I have accidentally stepped on a couple of people's toes by mentioning "Britain". I mustn't do that, because I am in Scotland. I shouldn't refer to England as Britain.
9. Most people overseas don't like Americans. I've realized that this is a difference between American vacationers, American travelers, and Americans who don't leave the country. The vacationers are really annoying, not so much the rest.
10. The sun sets very late at this time of year (it's just setting now, and it's after ten), and it rises very early (I have seen 4:30 a.m. far too often, but I know the sun rises here around that time).
11. I can look across the street right now and see someone sitting on the window sill and looking down at the street below.
12. I really don't want to spend the summer living in a hostel.

In unrelated news, I got a job.

June 11, 2005

Things That Are Now Worrying Worry Me

Things That Are Now Worrying Me, a list, by jo
  1. I don't know British Slang! Every time someone says something about snogging, I'm going to be all confused!
  2. For that matter, all sorts of British words confuse me. Lifts? Trainers? What?
  3. I'm going to walk on the wrong side of the road, and get hit by a ... lorry? I don't know, something.
  4. I don't know what the little currency thingies are called, other than pounds. What's a pence?
  5. What if they really do wear oatmeal on their heads?

May 31, 2005

Things I Did Not Do On My Last Night At Work

Things I Did Not Do On My Last Night At Work, Even Thought I Wanted To, a list, by jo
  1. Replace the nice classical music in the lobbey with the soundtrack to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
  2. Set every room in the hotel with a wakeup call of 7:22, regardless of what time it was supposed to be set for.
  3. Walk up and down the hallways singing "Home for a Rest" at the top of my lungs.
  4. Randomly charge credit cards for randomly large amounts.
  5. Tell any guest, staff member, or member of the management team what I really thought of them.
  6. Tell any bad D&D jokes. ("So, a cleric, a theif, a mage and a fighter all walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and says 'What is this, a party?'")
  7. Talk like a pirate all night.
  8. Refuse to actually do the audit, stating "It can be done tomorrow night, it won't matter."
  9. Answer the phone with "Thank you for calling AT&T Wireless, my name is Anna, how can I assist you?"
  10. Call in sick.
IOW: It was a terribly dull night. I had a steak sandwich for my last "free" breakfast (It's a taxable benefit, does that mean it's free? I don't understand income tax some days), and calmly informed my vegetarian friend later that day that there was a cow in my stomach. Then I trotted around the kitchen and mooed a lot.

I've been a bit stressed, is it showing?

There is a plan, of course. The plan has changed three times in the past 12 hours, but there is currently something shaping up to be a plan.

The nice people from the women's shelter are coming over later today to pick up all of my good furniture. Kris is coming on the weekend with a posse and at least one pickup truck, if not two, to get the rest of his stuff finally out of my apartment. (For those following along at home, Kris moved out in early January. Yes, it will be June before he gets his stuff out. I know, I have no leg to stand on, there was still stuff of mine at Barry's for about a year after I moved out, but Barry wasn't planning an international move at any point.) I am planning on flying out to BC for about a week, leaving on ... whatever day next Tuesday is. But that's up in the air because I want to find tickets for no more than 119$ one way, and I don't really have a deadline in place to get there. The cat will go to BC with my parents. I don't plan on spending much more than a week in BC, simply beause I am feeling that constant pressure of TIME TIME TIME on my head. By the time I get back from BC, my paperwork should all be in order. (This is assuming I get the visa. I can't imagine any reason why I wouldn't, short of them not accepting a letter from the bank regarding my current financial status. Which would suck, since it was 98$ to apply for the damned thing, and I'd have to reapply and pay another 98$.) Then, I buy my ticket, pack what's left of my things, and flee the country like the hounds of hell are following me.

Somewhere in that mess I need to see a bunch of people, give away some things that need to be given away, take a trip to the Goodwill Store and WINhouse to drop off some donations, and return even more things to various friends of mine that I have belongings off.


May 17, 2005

Five Things That Will Not Happen To Me In Scotland

Five Things That Will Not Happen to me In Scotland, a list, by jo
  1. I will not find Excalibur encased in stone, pull it out, and turn out to be the Once and Future King.
  2. I will not receive my (very late) Hogwart's letter.
  3. I will not be invited into any rebellions against the British Monarchy, especially not by men in kilts with very bad Scottish accents.
  4. I will not step into a fairy ring and be lost for fifty years, returning to find my friends and family have forgotten all about me.
  5. Sean Connery will not suddenly realize I am the woman for him, and sweep me off my feet.

Bonus entry:

6. I will not find out I am Anna McCloud of the Clan McCloud, and I can never die. (And whomever I reveal this to will not suddenly want to have sex with me because of it.)

Damn, that's making Scotland seem a bit less appealing, all things considered.

In unrelated news: I am terribly ill. I won't bore you with the details. But it's been hard to care enough to either update my blog or answer my email. Sorry 'bout that.

May 11, 2005

The Top Three Reasons I Would Make a Horrible Parent

The Top Three Reasons I Would Make A Horrible Parent, an expanded list, by jo

1. Horrible Bedside Manner

So, I'm with a friend of mine who needs to go to the hospital once a year and have his heart examined by really big machines. I guess I was invited as moral support, or perhaps just as a distraction, because I really wasn't much use as anything else. But, we're sitting waiting for the results, and the following conversation ensues:

Me: So, you've been coming here at least once a year since you were five?

Him: Yup.

Me: You've been living with the knowledge that at any point your heart could just burst open and kill you instantly since you were five?

Him: It's not the heart, it's the aorta. And yes, basically.

Me: So, how do they explain that to a five year old? "Well, kid, everyone dies some day, you're just gonna die a lot sooner."

Him: That's not quite how it went.

Me: What, did they explain that death is just a land of magical fairies and chocolate?

Him: I-- No, no, that's not it. As a note, I don't think you'd make a good doctor.

Me: Hey, I think it's a great idea!

Him: See previous comment.

So, yeah... perhaps not so much with the good parenting aspect.

2. Children need actual care.

Unlike my cat, who I can lock in the apartment, going home long enough to feed, water, and pet him on my weekends, I would actually have to take care of a child. My understanding is they need someone there all the time.

3. I like toys too much.

And anything that was purchased for the kid, I'd end up playing with. I have a collection of toys I have to get around to giving to the children of various friends of mine, that I got in China, but they're so darned cute! And yesterday I bought myself a stuff bee that for some reason I insist on wearing around my wrist and have named "Killer". I am so strange.

I've been advised I should also add "wanting to name my daughter Antigone" to the list, but I don't think that would make me a horrible parent, just an eccentric one.

In unrelated news, I gave my notice at work yesterday with a letter that went mostly like this:

Dear (boss man):

I quit.
Formal letter to follow.
See you tomorrow night.

Hugs and Kisses,

Okay, not quite, but I gave my last day as the 25th.

God, it's all happening so fast now.

May 1, 2005

Things I Have Done This Week That Have Gotten Me One Step Closer to Scotland

Things I Have Done this Week That Have Gotten Me One Step Closer To Scotland, a list, by jo
  1. Finished my income tax. Ooh, lots of money coming in from the government. (Basically, I should have a bank balance of around 3000$ before I apply for the Working Holiday Visa. The government doesn't actually specify how much you should have, but the majority of people I've talked to say about that amount. It's to show you won't be a burden on the economy when you live there.)
  2. Helped my friend do a lot of things to get his house ready to put on the market. Because I have a signed piece of paper from him indicating that once the house is sold, he'll give me 3000$. So, if by some horrible mistake I can't get the money myself, I know it's coming.
  3. Gotten ridden of a bunch more stuff that I didn't need or want.
  4. Talked to my parents about a home for Little Demon Spawn, also knows as my cat. My mother thinks I should pay the extra money and fly. My mother also has a bigger income than I do, so I'll likely go with the original plan of driving down with a friend. Who is allergic to cats. *sigh*
  5. "Found" an awful lot of time to spend with dear friends, making great memories. The problem with doing that is, of course, that one decides one doesn't necessarily want to leave.
  6. Answered the age-old question of "contacts or glasses" by calling the eye doctor and saying "Suit me up with glasses. Or just one contact lens for my left eye. Cuz this whole eye patch thing is kinda fun at first, but it gets old fast."
That feels like a full week. *grin*

It's been a great week. I saw Hitchhiker's with Scarecrow and actually liked it. I also saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show with Crash and Linette and Don, and we had a great time people watching.

As for the whole eye patch thing, it goes like this: My right eye, the useless one, got an eye infection. I can see okay without the patch, as long as I don't intend to move my head in any way. By, say, walking. Or talking to people. So, it's good for watching movies. I grabbed an eye patch while I was out with Scarecrow (who tells me I'd look more sexy if it was white), carefully followed the directions, and now I look "sinister" according to a friend of mine.

Then I threw on a beret and became a sinister member of the French Resistance! A sinister scarred member of the French Resistance! With a mysterious past!

Right up until I hooked up with Crash, who informed me I look like a soap opera villian, determined to ruin his business so that I can buy it out from under him, and steal his woman.

I love Crash.

March 4, 2005

Exciting Things I Did In Halifax Last Week, a list, by jo

Still playing. I've got some of the links fixed, but the archives themselves are a mess. Blah.

On to something positive!

Exciting Things I Did In Halifax Last Week, a list, by jo

  • I bought a lobster! On a stick! It's made of Pure Sugar and Food Colouring! It's very red, and I was quite hyped up upon eating it.
  • I got to ride a ferry that was part of their transit system. It was 2$, and I loved it.
  • Ate yummy East Indian Food at a tiny restaurant.
  • Got to see a lot of cool museums and stuff, which I loved, especially Pier 21.
  • Squished a jelly bean for Kristi. (Which reminds me... Kristi, I have a squished jelly bean for you in my luggage.)
  • Saw the Ocean, lots, and kept a lookout for mermaids. (I also saw lighthouses. I love lighthouses!)
  • Cooked a lot of food, which is always fun.
  • Walked up a lot of hills. Why is Halifax so steep?
  • Mocked young people in a club because... dude... they were so generic. It was really weird.

Things I Did Not Do in Halifax Last Week, a list, by jo

  • See Dalhousie University.
  • Squish a jelly fish for Kristi.
  • Eat sea food.

Eh, I don't like fish, but I wouldn't have minded trying a real lobster. *grin*

The whole experience was at once strange and wonderful. I'm intellectually aware of the regional differences in Canada, but other than a few brief stays in Ontario, I've always lived out west. So, spending a week and a half in this city that is so different and yet so the same... It was very eye opening.

Just a few random differences: In Halifax, they actually stop on green traffic lights to let people turn left. They don't do that here in Edmonton. I was just so taken aback. People on the street seemed friendlier, for some reason. I can't quite put my finger on why, since we didn't really do a lot of walking around where there were people. (I loved the city, don't get me wrong, but the weather was HORRID the entire time I was there. That last day, there was freezing rain, not-freezing rain, snow, and huge wind gusts, all at the same time. Awful.) But the customer service expectations there seem a lot lower. The hotel I stayed at was fine, but everywhere else... woah. The grocery store was the worst, but the restaurant and the book stores we went to were pretty bad, too. I was totally taken aback.

As for the bar scene... The place we went was so generic it hurt. I mean, they were playing good music (Great Big Sea and the like), but everyone was dressed almost identically. I guess I've gotten used to Edmonton, where you can regularily see people downtown wearing leashes and collars and the like. I was wearing all black, with a bit of a gothic turn to my makeup, and I stood out like a sore thumb. It was strange, because Halifax is a college town. There's a huge number of students there. I guess I thought that the diveristy of the students would wear off onto the bars, but not where we went. Oh well, I'll know for next time.

But the ocean was beautiful. I could have spent hours staring at it. I was really drawn to it.

Halifax is a city that is so rich with history. It felt like every other house we passed must have had a story attached to it. I kept an eye out for a book about Historical Buildings and the like, but couldn't find one. I was so in love with the whole city, though, and wish I could have stayed longer, or explored more. There were so many things to see, so many places to look, and time and the weather just seemed to be against me.

I must return there one day, and spend the time to find that book, or find the information on the houses that captured my interest.

There. New life goal hatched.

December 24, 2003

Things I Learned Today While Teaching

Things I Learned Today While Teaching, a list, by jo

  • You cannot teach 60 children the "Hokey-Pokey" in ten minutes. Especially if they don't know English.
  • You will have equally large problems teaching them "Simon Says".
  • Children love the words for "monkey bars".
  • Children also love it when you impersonate a monkey.

December 21, 2003

Interesting Things I Learned in Shanghai

Interesting Things I Learned in Shanghai, a list, by Jo

  1. I've been pronouncing it wrong all my life. Shang with a short "a".
  2. The line "You look just like a boy I've been dreaming about back home", or some variation thereof, is an acceptable pickup line.
  3. Foriegners have very interesting anecdotes about living in China. They are not for the weak of stomach.
  4. I am a sucker, and consider 35 RMB a perfectly acceptable way of getting someone to shut up and stop telling me to buy stuff.
  5. If you throw a rock on Maoming Lu or Nanjing Lu, you'll hit three foriegners.
  6. There will always be someone who speaks English.
  7. Ignoring people will not make them go away, but it may make them less obnoxious.
  8. No matter how many foriegners there are in Shanghai, there will always be some people who are shocked that you're there.
  9. Metro Stations in Shanghai have bookstores.
  10. Jumping from Platform Forbidden!

The metro was really overwhelming to me, but that's mostly because I spent too much time thinking about it. I guess I expected it to be more like Paris, which involved tons of lines and the real possibility of getting bombed. (When I was in Paris, students were bombing the lines in protest over something. You weren't likely to get hurt, but the lines would be cut, and you'd be stuck on the metro for hours on end. This was... god... long ago now.)

But the ladies that sold the tickets spoke English enough to get me a ticket, and the nice man fixing the broken gate showed me how to get through it, and I guessed which train to go on by the fact that I knew which direction the People's Park was from where I was. It was actually only two stops. I thought it would be longer.

The annoucements were about three minutes long in Chinese, followed by one sentence in English. There's a joke in there someplace, but I'm not coherent enough to make it.

December 7, 2003

Eating in China

Interesting things I have eaten in China, a list, by jo

  1. Turtle. I found it tasted like fish. It was a very interesting experience.
  2. Pig's Ear. Eh, I didn't like the texture, or the appearance, but I tried it because everyone insisted I should. By itself, it's not that good, but I liked it dipped in vinegar.
  3. Pig's Feet. Tastes like pig. Strange looking bones. I have no idea how someone would prepare this, though.
  4. Pig's Skin. At least, that's what Lily told me I was eating. I hate the texture, and I'm not too fond of the flavour, either. I'd say pass, if you're asked to try some.
  5. Crabs. I know I can get crabs in the shell at home, but I've never had it. These crabs are about the size of my fist. You crack them open and eat them out of the shell. I have yet to do this properly.

All in all, I haven't had the influx of strange foods that I thought I would. I guess the fact that I rarely have someone with me to tell me what I'm eating may add to that.

December 1, 2003

Photo Op

Interesting Comments on My Photos, a list, by jo

  1. "She must be the princess, right?" A comment on Theresa's wedding photos.
  2. "She is a dancer?" Looking at a picture of Jeanne-Marie. I was very surprised at this comment, mostly because it's of Jeanne sitting in a chair with her legs outstretched, listening to her walkman.
  3. "Is this a rockstar?" Picture of Kris. I find this very, very funny. Kris is all gothed out in the photo.
  4. "Is this you?" I should appologize to Clayton for this question. Clay has long curly blonde hair. I have long wavy brown hair. But I was actually asked if Clay was me. Poor Clay.

Hmm... I thought I had more of them. Guess not.

November 22, 2003

Once again, new template

As a note to the nice person who said my blog just wasn't as cheery... I agree. What do you think of it now?

Yup, I decided I needed another new look. Hopefully this one will last a few days longer than the last new look did. What can I say, I'm always looking for something different.

(On a completely unrelated note, for my friends back in Edmonton... Have you ever just hovered over the little face thingy on my blogchalk? I find what it says quite funny.)

Anyway, one thing I find a bit frustrating about teaching in China is that people are always asking me to give them an English name. Now, first, I see nothing wrong with their Chinese name. I mean, I can't pronounce it, but that's my problem that will be fixed with time. Second... Well, I'm less than creative when it comes to naming. At once point in an RPG, I had four major NPCs whose names were all derivitive of "Elizabeth" - Liz, Beth, Elizabeth and Bess. I mean, really. No, don't ask me to give you a name. Please.

But then, a few of the names the kids choose for themselves aren't that much better.

I haven't done a list in a while...

Things I Miss Lots from Home, a list, by jo

  1. Having around a thousand books at my fingertips that I could read at any point.
  2. Having about 400 magazines sitting around that I could reaad at any point.
  3. Being within walking distance of several places that sold books and magazines in English.
  4. Baths.
  5. Mac and Cheese
  6. Hot Chocolate the way Kris makes it.
  7. Those yummy ice cream floats from Ages.
  8. My cat.
  9. My friends.
  10. My room mate.

Of course, on the flip side:

Things I really like about Living in China, a list, by jo

  1. I live alone! {Not that I have anything bad to say about the people I have lived with back home, but this is a new experience, and very strange at that. See that mess? The one over there? Yeah, that's *my* mess. Editor's note: In retrospect, I could probably have safely said that at home, too.}
  2. I have a really really *really* big apartment all to myself.
  3. I like my job. Granted, I'm still new at my job, and maybe I'll hate it in another month and a half, but right now, I love it! Love love love!
  4. Soy Milk is yummy!
  5. Whenever I get bored, I can just take a bus someplace for fairly cheap. So far: Shanghai, Nantong, Nanjing. Someplace else I can't remember the name of, but starts with an H.
  6. If I die crossing the street, at least I can tell everyone in the afterlife that I went to China. *smile*
  7. Beng here gives me lots and lots and lots of time to think.

Yeah, I know, there aren't as many on the "China is Great" list, but I'm tired, and really, nothing in China beats the way Kris makes Mac and Cheese, and those yummy floats from Ages. You think I'm kidding? Go down there, tell him you want a Green Apple float. Yup, at whatever time of the night it is, Casey's floats are better than China. *laugh*

About a list, by jo

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Anna Overseas in the a list, by jo category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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