Maybe Morocco. Or Argentina. Or Chile.
Maybe Morocco. Or Argentina. Or Chile.
So I'm off for another European adventure in July. I'm going to Brussels, for the most part, although I am taking a sidetrip down to Barcelona to visit some friends. The plane ticket cost me about $160 - taxes included. A train ticket? Almost $500. *boggle*
While over there I'm hoping down to Paris, for a day, and hopefully to Luxembourg as well. I'd also like to hit Brugge, Ghent, and a few other little places in Belgium. My original plan did not included Barcelona, so I may have to cut a few things out, but I'm ok with that.
On my trek to Machu Picchu last year were 3 Spandiards - Eli, Eduardo, and Sonia. They're all from Barcelona, and made me promise to go over and visit. When they found out that I was going to be in Belgium, they made quite a few noises (hey, it was Spanish, I don't speak Spanish) about me coming down to visit. Having never been there, I figured why not? 3 days to enjoy some Spanish cuisine, nightlife, and beaches. Ahhhhh. I am really looking forward to this! I figured it was about time I took a relaxing vacation, and not one where I was runnign 10K, climbing mountains, or causing a rukus.
My landlord has informed me, via downloaded form from the Tenant/Landlord Act website, that he intends to move into my apartment. I have 60 days to move, starting from the date he left the form for me - which in every day terms means that I have to be gone by February 28th.
I'm looking for a place now, which is a bit of a pisser as it's not really the time of year that a lot of apartments are open. But oh well, we don't always get to choose when we move, do we? I have an appointment to see a place tomorrow. We'll see how it goes.
I'm also packing up my place. I've packed 7 or 8 boxes....which hasn't made a dent. I've got a few more boxes, but after that....I'm looking for more! Anyone have any? I'll take them off your hands.
The third rule.....nope, that’s gone. Somewhere in between rule number 2 and rule number 3, I zoned out and focused more on “Oh my god, Oh my god......” Totally missed number 3. Probably heard it, but obviously it went in one ear, out the other, and didn’t hit anything in between.
Rule number 4 – soak it in. This is a once in a lifetime experience. Soak it in because everyone will ask you about it afterwards. You’re living it, so remember every moment. Keep your eyes open and just take it all in.
Rule number 5.....also gone. I think this is where I really started thinking “What the hell was I thinking?” Seriously - who am I to think that I can carry the Olympic Torch? I’m nobody, or maybe...I’m just me. I’m no one with any special abilities, other than maybe finding lost things but that has nothing to do with the Olympics whatsoever.
We were shuttled from Carlingwood mall down the street, around the corner...and they started letting us off, delivering us to our starting points about 10 minutes before the flame was to reach our destination. Standing there, surrounded by the crowds, being asked to take photos with random bystanders who actually thought you were somebody...it’s an unbelievable sensation. You are the symbol of the Olympics at that moment.
As the flame approaches, you start to get ready, run through the list of rules (or at least the ones you remember) find your starting place (thankfully, there’s a handler there to help direct you) and then...it’s there. You touch your torch to your preceders, smile for the media truck, then off you go. You start your run along the route, torch held high, waving to the crowds. You think “300 meters, seriously, that’s nothing!”
Then your arm begins to shake. The torch isn’t heavy – only about 4 to 5 lbs – but with your arm held high, the weight seems more. Your arm begins to shake. But you don’t want to let anyone down, you don’t want to drop the torch, be the person who asks the attendant to take the torch for you. You want to carry it, flame held high, and run to your end point with pride. You try switching arms, but realize that your non-dominate hand shakes, and the torch is bobbling around above you with a life of its own. You switch back to your dominate arm, then try using both hands. Then one hand, then both; trying to find a hold that is elegant, proud, triumphant and most of all, Olympic.
You register briefly the crowds along the route, cheering you (or maybe it’s the flame) on, you wave at people, wondering if they are friends, family, or maybe just regular residents of the city like you. You have no time to stop and look at faces, you keep running, smiling, waving. The attendants talk to you, ask you questions (So, how did you get picked to carry the torch?) but you’re so busy trying not to fall, not to drop the torch, not to light yourself (or anyone else) on fire that your answers are short.
Then the crowd gets louder, and you realize that you’re approaching the end of your segment. You see the media truck slowing down in front of you, and then you see the next torch bearer, in place, unlit torch held you. You jog up, and the handler directs you to your stopping point. You raise your torch even higher, and realize that your arm no longer hurts. You smile for the media truck as you light the next bearer’s torch, and off they run. You turn around, disoriented by the noise and confusion, internal and external, and your torch is turned off by the handler. You have a moment to hug your family and friends before the shuttle comes by and picks you up. You give one last wave as the doors close, and that’s it. Your moment is over. You sit down, shaking, while your torch is dismantled, the fuel line cut and butane canister removed. You think “I did it. I carried the Olympic Torch,” and suddenly it hits you. That which didn’t hit until this very moment. You. Carried. The. Olympic. Torch.
Thought I should write something about how things are going, seeing as I rarely see most of you. It's mostly pretty boring, so I'll keep it short. And bullet-pointed.
* work. I'm now working with The Canada School of Public Service, as an ED-LAT 1. What this means is that I have the exact same job as before, only now with the government, instead of being self-employeed. As well, I went term at the beginning of this week.
* work2. While I work with CSPS, I'm working in departments, not at Asticou. So I'm at Sport Canada (a branch of Heritage Canada) and at INAC (Indian and Northern Affairs.) Both are at Terraces de la Chaudiere. Or however that's spelled.
* trivia. Still hosting trivia Sunday nights at the Oak. Doing pretty good, I get a lot of good feedback, people think I'm funny, and they keep coming back. Average crowd is about 40.
* romance. I have a boyfriend. He's a Leafs fan, though. I'm trying to change that.
* travel. Went to Peru in August for three weeks. Photos on flickr, under anya_at_large. Climbed a mountain (hit 4758 metres above sea level.), saw Manchu Picchu, went paragliding in Lima, ate a guinea pig. (tasted really salty.)
* travel2. Hoping to join a climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro for this upcoming July.
* awesomeness. Will carry the Olympic Torch on Dec. 12. Totally psyched. Was really worried that the pants would be too long, and I would trip. Turns out pants are fine - but the jacket arms are loooooong. So don't have to worry about tripping, just setting myself on fire and being a human torch.
* family. Family is good, and will be getting bigger at the end of January. My sister is preggers.
* friends. Have met lots of great people over the year, both here and abroad. I'm lucky to know some awesome people, including those at Coles St. Laurant, where I'm temping for the holidays.
And that's pretty much it. I'll now return you to your regularly scheduled program.
I've also booked my trek up to Machu Picchu. I'm doing the Salkantay trek - 5 days, 4 nights, and up to 4650 m above sea level. Thankfully, I'm doing my trip backwards to most people - I'm hitting Cuzco and Machu Picchu last, so I'll have had plenty of time to acclimatize by then.
Other than those two things, I haven't booked anything, but they were the two most important things to get done. The rest of the time I'll be visiting cities, so there's nothing to book other than hostels.
One month! Then I'm off for 17 of Peruvian adventures.
What happens to my last months rent? And the interest incurred on that? I've been here 4.5 years - actually, by the time they take possession, it'll be 4 years and 10 months and 2 weeks.
Who do I talk to about this?
When you, and the person you are escorting around the property, come into my apartment, there are a few important things to remember.
At the top of the list is the fact that this is my home. So take off your damn shoes.
Right below that, is stop unplugging my clock. This is not your home, you don't get to do things like that. Hands off everything.
And third - turn off the damn lights. I pay hydro, you twits, and I'm not paying extra money so you can leave all the lights on for hours on end because you're too lazy to read the sign on the door that says "Please turn off the tenants' lights."
My only question is, how the hell do I talk about my job in French? I teach English! English grammar is not French grammar! I can talk your ear off about other topics - say curling, or beer - in French, but work, that's a different story.