beboots: (lithograph)
Also, LJ just ate my post. Curses! But maybe I'll write this next version in a less negative light.

In short, I feel crappy. ... Or, at least, like a horrible daughter/sister/whatever. Okay, here's how it goes:

My father made it safely to Delhi to compete in the Commonwealth Games. Huzzah! No complaints there. He happens to be flying back home on the same day that my mother and brother, Ian, are leaving for a trip to England. They're going to be visiting my mum's mum and doing some sightseeing in London and in Scotland. My sister and I aren't going because we're poor miserable fourth year university students and will be in the middle of midterm exams and embroiled in research papers. We've mostly gotten over it; this will be a mother-son trip. No real complaints there.

So dad will be arriving at the Edmonton airport around the same time that Ian and mum's flight leaves. They may or may not see each other actually at the airport. Now, what's the most logical thing to do? Have either Danielle (my sister) or I drive Ian and mum down there and stick around for an hour or so while dad clears customs and then drive him back home.

Now, on any other day - or even later in that same day - I would be totally up for this. It's a bit of a hike down to the airport, what with construction, but it would only take about an hour, maybe an hour and a half of driving (one way). So what with hanging around the airport waiting for dad this would be about a four hour endeavour, door-to-door. Again, I would normally have no problem being the dutiful daughter/chauffeur.

Danielle can't do it; she's moved out, and needs the money this scheduled eight hour shift she has will bring her. I totally respect that. She can't change her shift, although she's willing, as she's already changed her schedule twice recently with a cranky boss. Then there's her coworkers on vacation, short-staffed-ness, etc.,etc., I understand. I should be the one to do this.

BUT this is the date of the Bellerose anime festival, our local convention. It's one of the most comfortable and amicable conventions that I've ever been to. I've invited folks to come out, and I want to make things up to my good friend with whom I'm doing a group cosplay for not being there for her at animethon when her skirt malfunctioned. We only got a single group shot at a three day convention in August.

But in the grand scheme of things, what's more important? Myself attending an anime festival, or all of this? I feel completely selfish. Mum was talking about taking a taxi, and they're ridiculously expensive.

Right now the plan is for me to drop mum & Ian off at a hotel in downtown Edmonton for the shuttle bus to the airport, which is about a quarter of the price of a taxi. This means that I'll arrive a few hours late for the festival, but I see no problem with that. I just feel like a dick because dad will have to take a taxi home after a really long flight. Mum's other plan was to drive herself and Ian to the airport and either chase down dad before they board somehow to toss him the keys, or leave the keys at the info desk. So many things could go wrong with that scenario.

I still feel selfish. But it'll probably be my last day of fun before exams finish in December, guys. I'll have too many midterms and readings and papers and things to do to have a full day of actual fun. And if I do end up missing out on this festival I feel like I'll be terrible company and bitter for weeks on top of not being about to go on this trip. Piss.
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(Note: this entry was written on the plane two days ago. I've arrived in Edmonton safe and sound, and I'm actually posting this while on a break at work! Sssshh...)

This message was brought to you by: a girl who gets bored on long flights.

So I'm on the plane home. Sad face. I've been making a short list, growing ever longer, of things I must do within like two days of my return. Things will be hectic. I have. To run errands like picking up bus tickets, acquiring a security check from the RCMP stating that I haven't done anything illegal (or at least that I haven't been caught) for the Fort Edmonton job, figuring out tea parties and dentists' appointments and arranging the dispersal of some presents... In fact, it's difficult just finding the ones destined for my family in my bag, which is all stuffed full and compressed. I hope that nothing is damaged in transit!

I'm not really worried about my luggage being lost. It has clearly printed luggage tags, I don't transfer anywhere (yay for direct flights!), and I arrived at the airport and checked in over two and a half hours before my fluff even boarded, let alone actually took off (we took off like forty five minutes late, completely off setting any gain weay had had due to favourablr wind currents.) Also, whenever I check my luggage in at the desk, I verbally order it to come back to me. None of my bags have yet disobeyed me.

But then again, I did depart from the notorious London Heathrow. Hmm... Maybe it's a toss-up. (Note from the future: all of my bags did arrive safely! Nothing broken or missing!)

And it just occurred to me that I mentioned Fort Edmonton up there when I was just whining about how much stuff I have to do while jetlagged. I believe explanations are in order. Well... Some of my older readers may remember me blathering on about my poor prospects for a summer job because of this trip (I think that the entries are tagged something like "anxiousness" and "joblessness.")

Well, when I checked my email in Galway, I got a message there from Kevin Spaans, the supervisor of the era supervisors at this historical park. Apparently they've been given more money to hire people! They're filling a handful of histprical interpreter positions for July and August... And I was one of the first they thought of! :) 

I think that my friend (and four year fort veteran) Adrianna put in a good word for me. Also, several of the supervisors heard tell of the paper I wrote for my native history class on Fort Edmonton, which probably explains why Mr. Spaans said I'll probably be in the fort (1846) era.

Now, this means that I'll probably be portraying Metis country wife, a costume that involves a shawl, leggings, and braided hair, but you never know! Perhaps they'll need another woman in the big house for Adrianna's day off, so I may yet get to wear a pretty dress. We'll see! In any case, that's something else I'll be posting photographs of.

Anyway, back to trip-related reminiscing. I ended up going to the Natural History museum for a few hours this morning to kill time. I decided on this particular museum because I knew were it was, and it was close to my hostel, so I wouldn't get lost or waste time trying to find it.

But man, I just watched "Young Victoria" on the plane, and now the Victoria and Albert museum is on my must-see list for my next trip. They're so cute! Also, my love for the Victorian era has been renewed.  

I'm sad to see Britain go, but glad to come back home. I do enjoy mum's pasta better than my own, staying in my own bed with a guaranteed shower, and free laundry facilities, open 24-hours a day, in my own basement!

Day One

May. 27th, 2010 12:26 pm
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Day One: writing on less than thirty minutes of sleep from a public computer in London Heathrow, watching the little timer in the corner of the screen going down. I only have 50p left to put in this machine, so I will go as quickly as possible! (Need to spend more money and thus get more change for internets...)

So my flight went by relatively quickly! It was 8 hours or so long, which is apprently short for an Edmonton-London flight. I watched a documentary on Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Terminators 2 movie. Opposites! ... or are they?

I'm worried I'm not making much sense, as I am completely incapable of sleeping on flights. We got into Heathrow at like 3am, Edmonton time. Fun! :)

Hmm... what else can I say? Well, I'm safely in London, at least, and the volcano has been behaving.

I kind of miss the Edmonton International Airport, actually. I like the feel of belonging - everything is so CANADIAN in Canadian airports, what with French/English everywhere, regalia covered in moose/meese/mooses and maple leaves sold in every store... You can't even escape the wide open nature of the country inside, as evidenced by the sparrows who seemed to have taken up residence within the airport building.

London Heathrow is apparently experiencing strikes amongst its baggage workers (for British Airways, I believe?) but you wouldn't believe it from the efficiency I experienced on the ground. I found my bus to transfer terminals quite easily, no problems... unlike the poor american lady behind me in line who had missed two transfers because her first flight was late leaving from Chicago... I hesitate to say that everything is working for fear of jinxing it, but....

Right now I'm sitting in a crowded shopping area, close by the boarding gate for my flight to Dublin... which departs in just over three and a half hours. I'm resisting the urge to fall asleep (as I would thus likely miss my plane). Contemplating Starbucks... or another coffee place, for some sort of caffinated drink. I would also like some food, I think... yes. Food is good. Food will keep me awake.

In any case... I'll be signing off, we three minutes to spare! (E-mail checking time).

Until next time (when I'll be likely less rushed, better rested, and more coherent)...

Travel Day

May. 26th, 2010 03:35 pm
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I leave in about twenty minutes for the airport. I had almost everything packed last night, and so I was only scrambling a little bit today. Last minute additions to my backpack (AKA all of my worldly possessions for the next month) include:

-a nice, airy skirt for uber-hot days, plus matching top
-a teal bedsheet decorated with fish that once had a place on my little brother's bed (I won't forget it on some anonymous plastic hostel mattress like I would a white sheet)
-a mini anti-persperant from the dollar store (my other one was taking up too much room!). Dollar stores are brilliant for travel-sized items, P.S.
-a smallish hairbrush that nonetheless looks like it could actually do something to my hair. I didn't want to bring the big blocky hairbrush that I normally use (it looks like those giant square metal brushes you use to card wool, if that analogy makes any sense). Also acquired at the dollar store (for $1.25!)

I also despair of the fact that my comfy hiking shoes are bright red, and the fact that my backpack and matching daypack are both forest green. Matching fail. I like Christmas, just not on summer trips. ;)

In conclusion, here is a picture demonstrating the turtleshell-like nature of my backpack, taken before a test walk with tripmate Erin last month:


Not pictured: the shoes I'm actually going to be wearing, the pensive, almost zen calm that I'm feeling at this moment.
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Day: negative one

So I leave tomorrow evening! It's starting to feel "real", you know? The trip, I mean. I am going to say nothing regarding the volcano and certain assurances I have received about its possible dormancy/ash levels, for fear of jinxing it. The excitement is beginning to overwhelm the anxiousness now! Very promising.

Yesterday, I packed most of my backpack. I am amused that it looks more and more like a turtle shell every day. (It's green, shell-shaped, and will contain my "home"/all my worldly possessions for the next month.) I have made certain to leave some space for souvenirs and others things I picked up along the way.

I also tested out this neat travel-pack-locking-device. It looks like a hybrid mix of a coil bike lock and a fishing net made of metal. Essentially, you pull the mesh overtop of one's backpack, tie it up, and secure it with a padlock. Like a normal bikelock, won't stop a determined person from stealing your stuff, but it should discourage casual thieves who would just open the zipper or slit the sides of your bag. So I feel a bit reassured. I've had to leave my backpack in the foyers of hostels and hotels before, in a "guarded and locked room", while waiting until the check-in time, and it's not that I don't trust most of these hotel staff... but they're fallable, you know? Also, this mesh lock thing was a gift from my father, so I'd best use it, aye?

So as of now... I have packed most of my clothing, my camera (and its charger, tripod and memory cards), my toiletries (still in search of a small hairbrush that will actually DO something useful to my hair), socks & undergarments, and other things too numerous to mention. I've uploaded a bunch of podcasts onto my iPod for the flight (it's an overnighter, but I can never sleep sitting up, let alone on planes).

I know exactly where my towel is.

I should be good to go.
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Oh man oh man - departure date is coming up quickly! Something inside me is panicking very quietly...

I'm trying not to stress too much about packing. I mean, I'm going to the British Isles, not Uganda; as long as I have my money(cash/debit/credit/whatever), my passport, and my camera (& its charger), I can acquire everything else. So if I forget to pack socks or toiletry-X or whatever, it's not THAT big a deal. I can acquire it with little difficulty. Right? Right. Okay.

Maybe I feel stressed and anxious because a certain Icelandic volcano has shot my confidence in the airline system. I mean, I was AROUND for the September 11th attacks. I lived in Kingston, which houses a sizable Canadian military base just north of New York State, so there were several days of panicked "OMG WE COULD BE NEXT!!!" which may have been puffing up our own self-importance, but maybe not... Canadians are like Americans in disguise, amirite? :P Anyway, but I was in grade SEVEN at the time, and I hardly ever flew anywhere except in the summertime, and school had just started, so I wasn't affected like, at all, by the groundings and panic about planes and so on.

Now, though? This is too close for comfort. Before April, I lived in a world in which I'd book a flight, and I'd fly out on the date that was on my ticket. Maybe there'd be a few hours delay, especially in the wintertime with snowstorms, but the point is? Only rarely were flights outright cancelled, in my world.

Now, I'm not so sure. I gave up an amazing summer job to go on this trip. I will actually cry if it gets cancelled or delayed in any way. I don't think I'll completely relax until I'm at my hostel in Dublin, meeting my friends. Until then? Stress! D:
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Day: Negative Seven

All right, so I can't remember how much I've spoken to you guys about this, but in exactly seven days (no, really, my flight would be taking off right about... now) I'll be leaving on a plane to London (Heathrow), then transferring to a flight to Dublin.

This is, of course, assuming that all goes well, and that the volcano cooperates with my travel plans. Which I hope it will; I've been trying to accumulate good karma over the past little while.

As-is, I'm kind of annoyed with myself for booking the flights that I did. I'm leaving just before 7pm on Wednesday, May 26th, and I'm arriving in London sometime around 10am in the morning. Then I sit around for six hours until my 4pm flight. So essentially I "waste" a day, travelling, when I could be exploring the beautiful British Isles! I think I remember looking at another flight, at like 11am or something, but decided that the connection was too tight. But six hours, especially with grabbing my bags, and then running around, probably between terminals, is definitely not enough time to even think about leaving the airport to check out London or anything. No way.

But then again, I'm sure that Heathrow, being the behemoth of a facility that it is, will have something interesting to keep me entertained for a few hours. ;)

I've decided, though, that if my flight is delayed by a day or something due to the ash of a certain malicious Icelandic volcano... I'll look into a train ride to Manchester. My grandmother lives in Leigh, which is apparently a bare fifteen minutes away from Manchester proper, so I'll see if I can drop in and see her. I haven't seen her in person since I was six, but I speak with her like every other week on the phone. You see, I'm not really stopping in England very much.

This is the plan... )

So if anybody can tell me anything about what trains/busses are like between London and Manchester, I'd be much appreciated! (Being two large metropolitan areas, I'm assuming that people go back and forth between the two regularly enough for there to be an established transit system in place.)

I am definitely planning on writing a travel blog here, as I did two years ago for my summer in France. The posts may be shorter than those ones were, as this time I won't be toting around a laptop. I'll be backpacking it! I do have an iPod touch (although that touchscreen is annoying to type with), but I'm not sure how many of the hostels I'll be staying in have wireless internet/a computer for the lodgers to use for that purpose, so my updates may be sporadic. But there WILL be awesome photographs at the very end, upon my return. And amusing anecdotes, observations on the British Isles from a Canadian's point of view, waxing soliloquies upon the general gorgeous green nature of Ireland and Scotland (and the general brownness of spring in Western Canada), etc.,etc., ad nauseam.

I may also sneak history stories in as well. You can bet I'll be hitting up lots of museums, old crumbling monasteries, breathtaking views, etc. I hope that you guys shall enjoy!

For now... I'll fret and worry that I have everything on my list. I shall update as more ideas (and anxious travel jitters!) occur to me. :)
beboots: (Default)
"All naive, busty tavern wenches in my realm will be replaced with surly, world-weary waitresses who will provide no unexpected reinforcement and/or romantic subplot for the hero or his sidekick."
- Peter's Evil Overlord List, #31


Yes, today IS Valentines day, but it's a more important day to me than that - it's also my wonderful mum's birthday. :) So Happy Birthday to her! :D

"It's a very nice day to have a birthday, unlike Remembrance Day."
-My Mum

Macro Rose 2 by ~Beboots on deviantART

Incidentally, I'm flying out late this evening (at 10:30 at night, if you can believe it), to arrive in Québec City tomorrow morning at about 8am. We transfer three times, which means I'll get like no sleep tonight. D: So... I'll take a nap later on. Yes.

Who is "We"? The other half of "we" is my friend Maialen, who is Parisian and awesome. :) She says that I'm to be translating for her, because she finds the Québecois accent inpenetrable. D: (Did you know that the French (from across the water) consider "Québecois" to be a separate and distinct language from Standard French? Of course, they think that American English ("Américane") is a different language from British English, when we generally consider them mutually intelligible... to an extent... and thus, dialects. ;) )

I'm a little worried that my accent has changed too much to be understood easily by the Québecois. I spent a month in France this summer, so my accent isn't really Québecois, like it was in my last visit in grade nine...

Anyway, we're to visit Québec City (during the Winter Festival! :D ), then take a bus to Montreal. I've been to each city once before, on a four day trip in grade nine, but I only spent one day in Montreal... if any of you who are reading this have ever been, please reccomend places for us to go! I mean, I'm sure we'll find stuff to occupy ourselves (we're staying in the old parts of each town, which always means beautiful buildings and shopping, plus museums and other more cultural things ;) ), but I love to hear about other points of interest that people have run across before. :)

I'll be flying out a bare twelve hours from now, so I probably won't be in contact for a week or so after this, but I promise a long post detailing the high points of the trip. :) I wish you all a wonderful Reading Week! :D
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Yes, I have arrived home safely! (It just occurred to me that I haven't updated my "blog" since I got back, so to stave off rumours of my untimely demise...) I am happy to be home... but I think that I'm going through reverse culture shock. Why do I think this? What evidence have I?

1) I get dressed for breakfast. In my own house. You don't wear pyjamas to breakfast down with the guardiennes of your dorm in Lille. It's like a restaurant, so you dress like it. But in the privacy of my own home, I could probably eat naked, should I so choose (and if, well, my mum and my brother weren't home... But the point is... D: )

2) Everyone looks sloppy to my eye. Heck, look sloppy to my eye, because my French clothing only just came out of the laundry.

3) I miss Kir. It was delicious. (Kir = champagne and fruit juice, drunk as an apparatif before a meal. French waiters look at you funny if you don't order a drink such as this at the right time. I enjoyed acting French, okay?) Apparently, it doesn't exist here in Canada. ;_; 

I do so enjoy ordering things in English, though, and being understood. :3

I should tell you guys about the gongshow that was my trip home. First of all, apparently calling a taxi two hours ahead isn't early enough in Paris: to get to the airport, it's apparently best to book it a day ahead of time. TAKE HEED, PEOPLE! I essentially had to pay for the guy's trip to my hostel as well as the time that I actually spent in the car. It was the most expensive taxi ride in my life: €60. That's like $90, for a half hour trip. D: Still, it was actually a really nice ride. The man was very nice and polite, and spoke very clear French to me. Also, the car smelt very fresh (I almost wrote "smelt very French" right there. D: ), was very new and clean, and there was soothing music playing in the background. So it was okay. 

I did start feeling homesick for the first time on this trip, though, ironically on the last day. It was probably because I had to wait for my taxi for 45 minutes after breakfast, fretting without anything to do. I nearly cried. ;_; 

But don't worry, I didn't break into tears, mostly because my taxi arrived earlier than he said he would. So it was all good. 

I arrived early enough for my first flight, which was through Lufthansa, the German airline. Seriously guys, if you have to fly anywhere and Lufthansa is an option, take it. They are awesome. No joke. They're very efficient, feed you lots of good food, and always seem to speak perfect English (as well as perfect German, I assume, but as I don't speak German, I can't really judge their linguistic quality).

I had to fly backwards, from Paris to Franfurt. It was like an hour and a half long flight. Once we arrived in Frankfurt, I stepped off the plane, onto the tarmac, and onto a waiting bus, which took us all to the terminal. You walk right into the door, immediately see the "departure" sign with your flight on it, and are directed by very clear signs to the proper gate... where another bus is waiting to take you to your new plane. It was on the ground for like half an hour, tops. They were very, very efficient. :3

My second flight was all the way from Frankfurt, Germany, to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It was a very long flight (with Air Canada), which was tolerable for two reasons: 

1) It was a new plane, and so it had those mini TVs in the front of your seats. I watched several movies. :3 It was awesome. Also, you could track the flight on a little map of the world. :3

2) My seating partner, the lovely fourteen-year-old Juliana from Austria! She spoke German and surprisingly good English, for all that she only started learning like three years ago. We got to talk a lot, switched iPods for a bit, shared snacks, etc. It was awesome. :3

Then, it began raining just as we landed in Calgary (what a welcome, Canada!). And there was thunder, and, more importantly, lightning. There was so much electrical activity, in fact, that the ground crew couldn't legally go outside of the building because of worker's compensatin... which meant that we sat on the tarmac for over half an hour, waiting for the storm to blow over... after a nine-hour flight. Not fun. D:

But eventually, the rain let up, so we were allowed to get off the plane... thank goodness. Anyway, after I helped Juliana get through customs (and their immigration forms... D: ) and find our luggage, I said goodbye to her (she was meeting relatives in Calgary) and went to switch planes. I arrived at the right gate five minutes before we were to begin boarding... and waited. And waited. And then there was an announcement that said, essentially, that the fuel truck and hit the plane, and now something was dented, slightly. So even though it was probably perfectly safe, we had to switch planes... and therefore gates. So we ran all the way across the terminal to get to our new plane... and we had to wait another forty-five minutes for them to ready the plane so we could get on then take off. 

And you know, because of the relative short length of the flight between Edmonton and Calgary ( it's less than an hour - we essentially take off, then land), and because of all the delays, we actually departed Calgary after we were supposed to have arrived at our final destination. D: Ridiculous! It would have actually been faster for mum to have picked me up from Calgary. The next time dad books my flights (or maybe I'll book them, next time?), I will refuse to do such a short leg. No way. D:

Ironically? I had actually flown over Edmonton on my way from Frankfurt to Calgary. D: Must... take up... parachuting...


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