Let’s go back to Switzerland

Let’s go back to Switzerland

I’ve been home from my grand European adventure for almost a month now. In the last three weeks I’ve started three new jobs, gotten a year older, and donated even more of my apartment to charity (forever en route to minimalism). I’ve slipped gracefully(?) back into Toronto life– aka big-city-life aka sirens-never-stop-life aka never-see-the-stars-life aka it’s-actually-okay-here-life.

I usually find it a little difficult to adjust to my regular world after being away for so long (I was gone for over two months!) but this time it was rather unremarkable. Instead of being all ~woooowww I’m home! How novel~ I was just like –oh yeah. This is Toronto. Okay-

This morning I ran out of soap in the shower and it was time to bust open the last remaining piece of my adventure– a bar soap I purchased in Cologne, Germany. As far as I’m concerned I’m still overseas in my heart so long as the soap remains….

maybe that’s a little out there. But hey! This is my inner dialogue and I can pretend, okay!

Alright… let’s go back to the beginning.

On August 26th I was hastily cramming my new backpack full of what I thought was necessary for two months of life on the road. I went through my mental checklist– clothes, toiletries, tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, collapsible pillow– seemingly I was good. My boyfriend was a lot more confident in our packing abilities than I was, and so he waited patiently for me to say “oh but!” and “wait! what about” at least a few dozen times as we were preparing to leave.

We were subletting the apartment for two months to a couple from the UK who were miraculously a lot like us. The girl was around my age and we connected on some very key points so I felt pretty confident leaving my place in her care. I gave her my key and she said,

Okay, bye! Happy Travels!

Thus I left my home to be someone else’s home for a while, and I sauntered off to the airport weighing much more than I usually do when I leave my front door. As I mentioned a while back, this was to be my first ever proper backpacking trip. I was mostly excited, although somewhat unnerved… I mean, what was waiting for me across the pond? So many doubts running through my head: Can I really make this work for two whole months? What if I run out of money so fast that I can’t afford to eat and I end up sleeping in my backpack on some unknown European street, unable even to ask for help because I can’t speak the local language!? Oh god.

Despite these nagging doubts I actually went into this trip with a healthy attitude– I knew it wasn’t always going to be pleasant or easy (I was right), but I also knew the adventure would teach me so much (also right).

After checking in and with our burdensome backpacks vanquished into the ether it was time to board and get ready for one of the least pleasant parts of traveling… the dreaded flight. We were scheduled to land in Zurich around 8:30 in the morning, which I think is pretty brutal. I’d much rather land just before bedtime so I could sleep and adjust to the time difference. The thought of landing after an exhausting flight and then having to face a brand new day was a bit daunting. But hey, maybe I could sleep on the plane. I once slept through an entire flight (Auckland to Calgary) from beginning to end. Maybe flight miracles can happen twice?

 

Though our faces and hearts were optimistic, it was not to be…

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Somewhere, way up high in the sky, amidst this beautiful and seemingly zen window seat view, I got yelled at by the woman in front of me as I was innocently trying to sleep.

I think most people can agree how agonising it is to sleep on planes. No matter what you do there is absolutely no way to get a good night’s sleep or even moderately enjoy yourself. *inhale* You flip through inane magazines, watch movies you don’t really care to watch, half-heartedly read a book, or play chess with the computer and when all of that inevitably fails to entertain you, you toss and turn and pray to the universe that you might get just a small sliver of shut-eye, even though body part after body part is falling torturously to sleep and everything you ever learned about your breath and meditation is coming up short until there you are – somewhere in the sky in no man’s land – questioning your entire life and wondering how you ever found yourself on this god forsaken plane in the first place. *exhale*

Or at least that’s how it is for me.

So back to this woman… at some point during all of this turmoil I suppose I accidentally bumped her chair as I was shifting between uncomfortable positions, and where most people would feel a slight sting of annoyance and shrug it off, she decided to turn around over top of her chair to aggressively poke me and wake me up.

“You kicked my chair,” she just about yelled.

It was apparent that I had ruined her holiday before she even landed at her destination.

I was a bit dazed, but I immediately apologised and told her it wasn’t on purpose. I think most everyone in the world would understand, but no…

You’re making it so I can’t sleep!!” she exclaimed, and then she just stood there looming over me with hatred in her frazzled looking eyes, waiting for a more satisfying response.

So I said, “Yes, well I can’t either because there’s a crazy woman yelling at me…”

….

..

.

Okay I didn’t really say that. I took the boring road and just said I would be more mindful which I guess she accepted because she finally turned around and slumped angrily back down into her chair. But jeez it was a really awkward situation. I mean if I kick your chair, and you yell at me, and I earnestly apologise, then… what more do you want from me? Should I sing you a lullaby? Guide you into savasana? Prostrate myself at your feet? What?

Anyways there wasn’t much getting back to sleep after that, but it didn’t matter. The hours went by and we would be touching down soon enough. Switzerland was finally in sight through the plane window, and that little magical feeling was beginning to set in.

It was happening.

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There’s not much to say about that first day, it was all a bit of a haze. One thing I can say with confidence is that I took the world’s best nap which more than made up for the grind of the flight. We were lucky enough to stay at a friend’s apartment who was out of town, so we had a cozy bed, a kitchen, and a base to make the most of the first day– which was mostly wandering as you might expect.

Zurich is a lovely city with some really nice architecture and even nicer canals. Also, the day had literally PERFECT weather. Clear skies and bright sun. It was so hot and I was so glad I decided to pack shorts, although it turned out to be one of only three or so days where shorts were acceptable attire, and the rest of the time they just took up space. Another thing we learned that day which we had to relearn every week thereafter– grocery stores in Switzerland are closed on Sundays, and many restaurants as well. Just doesn’t happen where I’m from.

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When we finally felt tired from our long day, we decided to hang out with some ducks and get our feet wet in the water…

Well that pretty much sums up day one.. so that’s one down and another sixty or so to write about.

Have a great weekend everyone! xo

The Ecstasy of dancing in your living room

My next door neighbour in my apartment building loves blasting opera music. I mean to the point that it floods through every particle of air, bounces off every wall, amplifies, and carries into every apartment on our floor. Perhaps even the entire building. I’ll walk out of the elevator and it’s like a private convert is happening in his apartment.  If he’s listening to opera, we all are. And this is just something we all have to accept. Sometimes this happens in the afternoon and every now and then early in the morning.  Sometimes I think the building is going to crumble to the ground because of it but it hasn’t happened yet.

Typically it doesn’t bother me that much. The point of this post isn’t to complain. I can appreciate that he is really into it, although once it woke me up at 6 a.m as my bedroom and his living room share a wall. I never said anything despite the fact that he once knocked on my door and told me that I close the door “a little too loudly” every time I come home. But I’m a pretty chill neighbour and he’s not blasting rap so I have to be grateful.

Anyway, yesterday I was at home thinking of what to do when I suddenly remembered one of my favourite all time songs: The Ecstacy of Gold played by Yo Yo Ma.

I decided to play it loud. Opera loud! It is one of the most epic songs and I was so overwhelmed by it’s greatness that I uncontrollably burst into dance. I was running all over my apartment, on top of my coffee table, bouncing from my bed to my couch to my kitchen with unbridled enthusiasm. It was the best time. At around the 2:45 mark in the song I was on my coffee table, arms in the air, head up, and I screamed at the top of my lungs-

OH MY GOD THIS SONG IS SO EPIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So in conclusion, for once I was the most obnoxious neighbour on my floor. That’s pretty much the whole story.

Be sure to go listen to that song now, kk.

xo

there and back again

there and back again

Hello friends!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Maybe some of you thought I died on my travels, or maybe you thought I’d given up on blogging… more than likely no one has thought of it at all! But I’m here, I’m back! I didn’t die– although I came close a couple times. When I say I came close I mean in the most hyperbolic way possible, of course. Although you might think you were close to death as well if you wandered through a forest in Denmark and ran into this:

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It was the first of a few menacing mannequins/possibly demons(?) that made me think I was in the middle of a horror movie…

but then nothing happened. Still, what an adventure two months in Europe was! I think I took more than 2000 photos. So many things happened, I met so many people and I learned so much. I can’t wait to share the adventure with you all.  I’ve been readjusting to regular life in Toronto for the last two weeks and though I’ve been keen to start writing, I’ve also been busy trying to get some new projects off the ground here.

Now the most important question: how are you guys doing? Tell me things! Write me an email! Post a picture! Link me to your blog! I want to catch up 🙂

xo

Europe bound

Europe bound

My gut reaction to being overwhelmed with things to do is to do absolutely nothing.

I can’t tell if this is a productive way to handle my stress, and by that of course I mean it’s the worst way to handle my stress. Instead of doing what needs to be done I play a smoke and mirrors kind of a game with myself whereby I convince myself that I have more than enough time to do everything that needs to be done, even when it’s obvious I don’t. This gives me a lot of time to watch videos of baby elephants sitting on people’s laps and/or figuring out what to do with those adorable little trunks dangling from their faces, yet doesn’t really help me sort out the pesky to-dos.

This is a pretty exciting week for me, my boyfriend and I are preparing to go on a two month adventure around Europe, backpacking style. The words you’re reading right now are not actually written by a human but rather by an exploding ball of hysterical energy. I can’t wait to get started, but in the meantime my to-do list is just kind of… a lot.  You see this is not a trip we’ve had planned for any length of time, but rather a whimsical what-if that turned into a very committed and fairly long escapade which we didn’t really intend. We have lots of ideas and a few solid plans, but a lot of the trip is left open for wherever the wind blows us. That’s kinda what I love about it!

Now I’m trying to organise everything that I could possibly need for two months into a 60L backpack while also packing away all my belongings and preparing my apartment for sublet. Therein lies the stress, because apparently before I can have any fun I have to have a healthy dose of non-fun as a means of keeping all the wonderful parts in check. For example, I don’t really know what kind of weather to expect so I ought to prepare clothes for varying circumstances, yes? But I also don’t want to carry anything that I won’t use, and as I’ve never done the backpacking thing before I’m just scratching my head at what I could possibly need that I’m not thinking of. Are there any seasoned backpackers out there with any tips for me? Please share if so!

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Obviously I’m going to be sharing all of the best/worst/in between bits of the adventure here. And of course I’ll be bringing a journal for all the poems that may find their way into my head.

I’m always hearing that you should follow your bliss, and slowly I’m working out what that means to me and going for it. Right now it feels like I need to be traveling, so that’s what I’ll do.

Happy hump day, everyone!

 

50 word stories: Supernovas

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There’s nothing real or unreal in these words you’re reading. Nothing overly dramatical, I think the universe itself is drama enough. Supernovas, you know? I thought to write something and yet with nothing to say I can only offer you this small reconciliation: this paragraph is only fifty short words.


 

Thought I’d try my hand at the 50 word story today, although Richard does them better. If you guys have ever written one please leave a link to it in the comments so I can read! Or alternatively, write one, and then leave a link to it. 😉

Thanks for reading xo

Dreamy short film

I’m very late to this party, but last night I was watching a few short films when I stumbled across this captivating little animation “Out of Sight”. It was published on YouTube in 2010 and has been viewed more than 5 million times so I’m sure some of you have already seen it, but if you somehow missed this one like I did, you should take 5 minutes to watch it because it is completely charming and lovely.

I always hear from artists the importance of absorbing and seeking out all types of creative work for inspiration. Writers must read, film makers must watch, musicians must listen, artists must observe… I definitely drew some inspiration from this short film. I love its dreamlike quality and imagination. I hope you all love it, too.