I blame Disney World for my desire to travel with my appetite leading the way. Food is an easy way to experience culture and is a large part of the way I travel. Growing up eating chicken feet and odd textures was a good basis to be open minded about different food. 

Epcot changed the way I saw the world or to be more precise, I saw the world for the first time. Yes the Disney version of the world, but the world nonetheless. The costumes and architecture were the antithesis of my cookie cutter corner of suburbia. Smells and tastes went beyond my very young palate. Noodles had only been Chinese or Italian. But in a dark Bavarian tavern, I was confronted with soft pillows of pale egg noodles bathing in a warm spiced brown sauce. I think my dad just wanted beer at the time, but it changed everything I knew.

Disney is an antiseptic way to see the world; the safe distillation of the journey at our fingertips. There’s nothing wrong with that. 

There is one other memory that solely contributed to the way I travel. Upon my burgeoning adolescence, my parents once again took us into a journey, but this time further away. I don’t know why my parents decided to drive within continental Europe, but it changed everything.

Somewhere upon the windy motorway in Switzerland, we were lost upon it’s rolling pastures. Stopping at a small grocery store, my father begrudgingly sought instructions. My mother decided to feed her grumpy children. We were probably all grumpy.  

This wasn’t Disney World. We were all being challenged in some way like a dare of the universe. Every olfactory sensation was new: petrol, people, air. Music and languages were unfamiliar and tickled my brain. Even the frequency of the light hummed at a different rate.

We settled on a table with our impromptu picnic lunch. The cheese came in a little pyramid container. There were stuffed tomatoes. Salads were darker. Everything was spectacular. I don’t know what we talked about, but I remember the sensation of eating the glorious meal. Cheese, meat and vegetables all different in tangs and textures danced on my tongue. And in the landscape, a ballet of bucolic life danced before us as the Alps outlined the horizon.

My sister and I still recall this lunch.

From then on my synapses were wired not only to find what’s outside the boundaries of my home, but to also allow things to get off schedule. Because when you are adrift, you can find treasures unknown. 

Happiness: the gifts of travel

Within me is the instinct to run. This trait has made me stronger, but also feeds into my weaknesses.

But the one thing that I can appreciate is having friends around the world that I care about and care about me.

And today I received a wonderful surprise, which was especially needed after the past few weeks.

Thank you Fiona and Vernon.






Happiness: Texting Friends

As per my last post, the day (week) was un-brilliant.

But I decided to text a friend. Someone who gets it. When I was at my lowest today, I just reached out to her. Just to feel like someone was on my side. There will always be cliques, but when they seem to actively make you feel excluded, you need to feel a bit of love.

Thank you Kaori. I’m glad Twitter helped us connect.

That kind of day

An eat my feelings kind of day. A snuggle with a teddy bear kind of day. A West Wing Marathon kind of day.

This hasn’t been the best couple of weeks. While I admit I can be the architect of my own misfortune and misery, I have been facing adversity.

Now that proceeding statement is hyperbolic. I am a self admitted histrionic. But I can’t deny that I feel.

The worst part is that this job isn’t my passion. This isn’t the career I want. But I want to work in a team that I feel comfortable with. I spend so many hours with them. Maybe things will get better. Maybe not. But I will try to stay grounded in this hurricane of self doubt, painful instinctive notions, and paranoia.

I just have one more day of this week. Then I can fall a part a bit.


Then get back up.

Watching the Mentalist? You Probably Vote Conservative.

During the elections, while polls upon polls were being done, I saw an interesting infographic in the Atlantic about habits and likely political affiliation. While I pondered the pretty bubbles, I thought, this couldn’t be true. 

If I only I could tweet Nate Silver. (Though if wishing made it so, I’d BE Nate Silver.)

The one that caught my eye was TV Viewership. If you watch the Mentalist you’re a likely to vote (moderate) Republican? Fascinating. 

While debating the election at family dinner. Ok, we didn’t debate, I just waxed on about stuff, I mentioned this tidbit, remarking at it’s confounding correlation. My sister exclaimed, “Susan [our aunt, a fan of the Mentalist] would vote Conservative!”, of which my aunt nodded her head enthusiastically. Going through the list of shows, save the sports programs, it did put her firmly in the Conservative group. Damn.

Susan added, “But I don’t like Romney. He just wants to make the rich richer.”
Me, “What do you believe [a politician] should do with taxes.”
Susan, “Tax the rich people more.”
Me, “That’s socialism!!!”

I don’t envy pollsters. 

I wonder what Nate Silver watches?

Happiness: Warren Buffet

In my continuation of the older generation, I want to give a ‘holla’ to Warren Buffet.

I have a fondness for Omaha boys. Well, most. Since speaking out about raising taxes for the wealthy and having a solid social base, I have some faith in humanity.

Thank you for the dissenting opinion Warren. It was needed in this dialectic.

20121128-230748.jpg photo courtesy of Time

Seniors in Need Ontario

Lately it seems I’ve been focusing on the elderly and older generations. Well, as to not break from the theme yet, Seniors in Need is a website dedicated to pooling together the needs of Canadian elderly citizens into one place for people to find and donate.

Much of the donations are money, mostly claimable. Some of it are items and time.

As it’s the holiday period and if there’s someone who doesn’t need any gifts, donate on their behalf. It would be good karma!

The Old Lady on the Corner

There’s an elderly woman who sits on the corner of College and Yonge every day. She begs for money. And she is always smiling. Genuinely. Not from a mental disorder or alcohol or drugs. Just a beautiful smile.

I don’t know her story. Maybe she’s one of those people that the right always complain about – someone lazy who doesn’t want to work.

But my gut doesn’t believe that to be true. Part of me thinks, as she is foreign, that she came here hoping for something that never came. And this was her lot in life. She chose to go with it. She sort of reminds me of my aunt. Round face, faint freckles, eyes disappear as she smiles. Each time I see her, my heart tugs.

Every Monday I have a class uptown. On my way home, I stop off to buy a hot meal and give it to her. I also give her $2 in hopes she will get a nice tea or save them up.

Today I went to buy a prepackaged meal. Something that would stick to her ribs, fried chicken and potatoes. When I reached the intersection, she wasn’t there. I crossed the streets a few times, wandered through the catacombs of the surrounding buildings. 20 minutes I searched. She was no where.

I had a momentary panic of fear. What if she was attacked? What if she is injured? What if she needs help? Then for a moment, I know, at least here in Canada, she will get treated. Even if she doesn’t have a health card, though she probably does have one. I’m happy my tax dollars are going to help her. And for my Republican friends that say to me, “But that’s YOUR choice, not MY choice.” Well, I’m not going to get into it, but I’ve already posted about it.

As I sit here in my warm apartment, on my $1300 laptop, living an absurdly disposable world, I can’t stop thinking about her. I ate part of that fried chicken meal because it going to waste seemed like a continuation of the rape of human kind – sorry, hyperbole is inevitable. The food was tasty, as fried food is, but seemed lace with guilt. I should have looked harder for her; I should try to help in a substantial way.

This isn’t a post of my martyrdom, but I want to remember that I need to do more. I’m just not sure how.

Until I figure it out, I hope I will see her next Monday. I’ll have $4 for her and a hot meal.