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January 1, 2009

Another New Year...

Happy New Year everyone!

So, I gotta say... I find it a bit strange to still be blogging even though I'm no longer travelling. Is it lame to keep a travel blog while staying in one place? Keeping this blog meant a lot more to me in my travels than I thought it was when I started, and since I wasn't able to keep it updated as much as I'd have liked when I was on the move, I think its finally time go backwards and fill in some gaps. Since I was blogging about Ireland before my 5 month blogging break, I think I might as well start from there again.

This entry is dedicated to Dublin.

This photo was taken in the wee river that ran through the park by my house. Once (a very long time ago) this river was the main source of drinking water for Dublin. Now, its mainly used as a place to toss your rubbish. I think the bike is the most impressive cast off I found in my time in Crumlin.

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What's a blog about Ireland without some pictures of potatoes?

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Due to Dublin's terrible bus service I spent many hours in Dublin walking back a forth along the canal to and from the city center. Luckily, its a pretty walk.

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Various photos of the city center.

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(Yes, that is a bullet hole in her breast)

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(Inside the Globe Bar)

The first time I saw snow while living in Ireland.

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December 27, 2008

A tourist in her own country (aka - A trip to Niagara Falls)

As I mentioned in my previous entry, Sue-Li has been visiting me off and on since September, but we haven't been able to do any touristy things outside of my city, so as soon as I finished my last exam we hopped onto a bus and went to Niagara Falls for a snowy overnight trip to experience one of the cheesiest natural wonders of the world.

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Our heart-shaped jacuzzi. One of the many highlights of a trip to the Falls that should not be missed. Later that night I put 5 free packets of shampoo left by the hotel and then turned on the jacuzzi. The bubbles went up so high that Sue-Li started to disappear!
It was great.

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(Gotta love it when the towels are folded into the shape of swans.)

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(The inside of the casino where I won $25!)

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See Sue-Li's photos of this event here.

December 23, 2008

And just when you thought you'd never hear from this blog again....

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(Hi! Remember me?)

Yes! The blog is still alive and kicking. (Well, maybe not kicking.) Its even got a smashing new outfit, and I'd like it to have a new name... but I haven't thought of a new name yet. Any ideas out there?

I know you haven't heard from this blog in ages and ages... and really... I have no good excuse. I just never really found the time. Now that I'm firmly back on Canadian soil, I can't really promise to become a diligent blogger again, but I do like the idea of of blogging in earnest once more. And after all, it is the thought that counts, right?

This last couple of months of my travels were non-stop busy; from working almost ever single day in July, to my Eurorail European non-stop extravaganza in August, and then tossing myself head long into full-time University in September, I've never seemed to find a minute to sit down and update the blog. I had this idea that when I moved back to Canada I'd have loads of time to share stories and update, but of course, that never seemed to be the case. So now its winter break and a perfect time to finally try and update this blog at least a little and share some photos.

As always I'm stuck with the idea of where I should begin. Perhaps the best place to begins is with with the sort of present and some pictures of my life back at home.

... starting with the flight home ...

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(The flight into Toronto. September 9th)

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(Toronto Skyline from the Docks)

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(Habourfront)

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(Toronto Skyline from the Panorama Lounge. Don't go on the weekends. They charge you $5)

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(Nuit Blanche)

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(some photos from the Chinese Lantern Festival at Ontario Place)

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(pretty cool, but not quite as cool as this.)

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This next set are from a trip up to Lake Clear on Thanksgiving. I'd really missed the Canadian autumn colours, especially the colours around the lake.

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(Bethie and I on the drive back to Toronto)

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(sunset from the streetcar)

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Of course, there has been the odd night out on the town...

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(Halloween with Charlie)

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(Out dancing with Sue-Li... who for those of you who don't know... has been visiting me off and on since I got home.)

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(The Stars)

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(and just to show that it hasn't all been good times and sight-seeing... here's a piece of a project I did for my architecture class)

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... more to come ...

May 9, 2008

Up, up and away!

My flight to Montréal was on April 10th and although I'd lived in Montréal many many many moons ago, I'd never had the opportunity to see it from the sky. The city from above is stunning.

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My original plan for this most recent arrival in Canada consisted of wearing myself out by getting myself to Gatwick, flying across the pond, landing in Montreal, finding somewhere to feed and then taking the bus all the way to Ottawa. I was very very grateful when my Dad and his wife came up with the much better idea of them coming to Montreal to pick me up. The next 3 days were spent in Ottawa chilling, chatting, drinking, and dining with the Ottawa arm of the family.

The pictures below are from a trip to the sugar bush with Dad and his wife Rosemarie.

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(Dad, Rose and the dogs that temporarily adopted us)

I am constantly amazed every time I re-enter Canada at the breadth and scope of Canadian supermarkets. This probably seems silly to the rest to you, but after the smaller denser grocery stores that I get used to overseas it always seems so incredible the amount of things that we have access to and the way which big box stores manage to sprawl their contents out.

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Foolishly, I thought that four days in Toronto would be plenty enough time to see everyone, run errands and take care of all the business that needed to get done in my adopted Canadian hometown.Needless to say, Toronto time was insanely rushed and I'm very very much looking forward to the time when I can be at home with all the time in the world to see all my friends and family.

Graffiti from around the city.

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September 17, 2007

poor poor negleced blog...

I didn't mean to ignore my blog for so long. I thought of it often and have wanted to update, but I've been sooooo busy since the last time I wrote. I would love to to an in depth entry on all of the places I've been, but instead I think I'll have to do a big summary posting and hopefully go back at some point and fill in the blanks. The last time I wrote was way back in the end of June. At that point I was once again, trying to catch up with my blogging and was telling the story of Cambodia. This entry then, really continues from May Daze.

June was a very packed month. Whenever I wasn't working I was spending time with family and friends. It was great to make it back up to Lake Clear and area for Auntie Ruth's anniversary.


This photo was taken on the road trip to the Lake.

These are from the celebration in Pembroke:

Father's Day was celebrated with a brunch in Golden Lake:

My last days in Toronto were spent at Wonderland with family and then Pride with friends:

On June 25th I excitedly flew to London:

It was a nice, seemingly non-eventful flight until we were landing about an hour early. When the pilot announced our descent I looked out the window and thought, "Gee, London seems a bit small and green..." What the pilot should've said, was "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Belfast International Airport." But he couldn't say that because he didn't want to tip off the drunken customer in the back that he was about to be arrested.

We stayed in Belfast for about 2 hours while different customers and staff were questioned by police and the rest of the passengers found out all the gossip about our dangerous fellow commuter. We weren't allowed to leave the plane, but they would let us stick our heads out for some air.

It was a relief to finally land in London. I had just enough time to catch up with friends and take in some of London Pride,

before flying off to Berlin. First stop, the Berlin Wall:
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Renate (my friend that I rushed off to London to visit) arranged for us to stay with her wonderful friends Miriam and Anett in their gorgeous apartment in East Berlin. Very luckily for us, they owned 4 bicycles and we spent all of Saturday exploring Berlin by bike.

I'll have to get back to the Berlin tale another time. I'm running out of time to write up this entry.

Next stop was back in London. Much of the time in London I spent working on a facebook application called "the School Bus" with my sister Jennifer and her husband Cory. Its our first little project together so if you've been debating about joining facebook, I think you should join now so you can play with our game!!!

Much of July and the beginning of August was spent bouncing between London:

and Manchester:

staying with friends and picking up bits of work. On August 14th my friend Sue-li and I took the train up to Edinburgh to check out some of the Fringe festival. By August 20th I'd had enough of one of the rainiest summers in English history and ran away to Spain for the rest of the month. I'm now back in London, replenishing my bank account and slowly getting myself together for the move up to Ireland.

Much more photos and stories about my travels to come soon, but for now I have to take my poor little computer to the shop for a few days for a re-vamp and repairs. See you all on the cyberside soon!

May 18, 2007

May Daze

I'm excited and nervous. Yesterday I booked myself a one way ticket across the pond. I leave Toronto on June 25th at 7:15 PM and I arrive in London, England at 7:20 AM on the 26th. I'll be staying with my friend Renate for a few days before heading out of town on one of the excellent cheap dot-commer airliners for a weekend of fun (we still haven't decided where we are going yet). After that I'll probably wander around England for another couple of weeks before heading over to Dublin to look (again, yes, once again) for a new home and some source of employment.

Until then I've got my nose to the little grindstone organizing my visa, sorting out my neglected taxes, working, working, working. Of course I've made some time for play as well; seeing friends, family and haunting old haunts.

And taking a few photos, of course:

Roam at the Trazac Club:


The controversial new ROM:

I stumbled across the annual marijuana march one Sunday afternoon. I marched with them for about 5 blocks before getting distracted by my rumbling belly.

I spent last weekend in Ottawa. My friend Nikole and I drove the majority of my boxed Canadian life (which Nikole has been kind enough to store for the last year) to Jackie's house (who know gets to stare at my crap every time she goes into her basement). Happily it was the last weekend of the tulip festival and Mother's Day to boot!

The view from Auntie Connie's balcony:


April 24, 2007

Ooooo Canada

So here I am. In Canada. Not entirely sure how I got here. Okay, that's not really true. I obviously got here by plane. I flew from Bangkok to Vancouver on April 2nd, and then to Toronto on the 6th. But sometimes I still feel a little surprised that I'm here. Other times I feel a bit surprised that I was ever anywhere else. I surprise others by telling them I'm not staying.

That's correct. I will be off again. Haven't picked a date yet, but likely in late June I will get on yet another plane and fly off to Dublin (with a brief stop to visit my friend Renate in London first). And yes, I will do yet another one of those lovely one-year working holiday visas. "Why", you may be asking yourself, "can't she just stay still in one place?".

Ummmm... Oooooo... Good question. It's not that I don't love Canada, my friends and my family. I get lonesome for them when I am away. I guess, as lame as this might sound, I'm just not ready to sit still. Not yet anyway. Besides, I'll be too old for these work visas soon anyway. Might as well take advantage while I can!

There are so many narrative gaps in this blog now. I do hope I'll get around to filling them all in at some point, but right now I'm going to leave another one. I will skip my stories of Cambodia and Vietnam to tell my story of Canada, while it's still fresh my my little mind.

I bought my ticket home in Thailand and I had been hoping for months that I'd be able to stop in Vancouver. I've been before, but not for about 10 years. I was worried that because money was going to be tight by the time I returned to Canada that I wouldn't be able to afford the stop. Luckily the price to fly into Van was substantially cheaper than flying to Toronto. Thank you China Air for providing an excellent excuse. And thank you Angela for putting me up and putting up with my jet-lagged, reverse-culture-shocked self.

My flight in British Columbia also helped to solve the mystery of whether or not the South Island of NZ looks just like BC.

I now have to put in my vote as "same same, but different " ;-}

I will admit that flying into BC made me feel quite homesick for New Zealand. It seems that I can get homesick for almost any country these days.

As I mentioned earlier, I flew from Vancouver to Toronto on April 6th. My wonderful brother-in-law Cory was kind enough to pick me up at the airport at about 12:30 am and drive me all the way back to Whitby. Early the next morning started the never ending parade of "Surprise! I'm home!!!" You see, only my sister (Jennifer and her husband (the afore mentioned Cory) knew that I was coming home Easter weekend, the rest of the family had been lied to (by myself) and given a later date. The first (and one of the best reactions) was from my nephew Dougie. He took one look at me, turned around, ran into his room and slammed the door behind him. About five hours later the whole Gill family (with me hiding in the back seat) were sitting in my Mom's driveway. Jennifer came up with the plan of diverting Mom by asking her to change Beth's diaper so I could sneak in a surprise her. It was excellent. She screamed. At some point I'll get the video from my sister to post on my blog. My other sister also made a surprised yelp when she saw me. One of my aunts gasped.

I do like to make an entrance...

Here's a few photos from the weekend:

Mom & me -- taken on Mom's birthday

me, Mom, Linda, Jennifer

Dougie, Taylor, Steven

Lake Clear

***

Next stop was Toronto. I was very very excited to see my city. Its changed a lot in a year. There is ceaseless construction here and I'm very curious to see how it will all come out in five or ten years from now.

It was cold when I first got home. I came home in April so I could skip the cold, but I was a little early. And although I was shivering and shaking most of the time, I was happy to see some all-Canadian moments like this one:

Its not cold anymore though, thankfully. It warmed up just in time for me to pack up my bags (a little bag for a change!) and head to Carleton Place and Ottawa to see the other side of my family.

The above collage was from Leslie and Charlie's 20th wedding anniversary. A most excellent party where we all danced our little butts off.

The last person to visit in Ottawa was my lovely cousin Jackie:

Now I'm sitting on my bed in Toronto (Did I mention that I found a cute little room in Yorkville to make into my temporary home?) wondering why I'm updating this blog instead of sleeping since I do have a very busy week ahead of me.

Sigh.

It's time to get serious about replenishing the bank account before the next leg of the journey. Luckily I've been to this city many times before and so have lots of contacts and possibilities.

Good night all! Leave a comment if you feel so inclined. I'd love to know who's reading my postings these days.