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A Video Montage of my Life in Canada

I’ve almost lived in Canada for three months now, here is a -mildly soppy- video from my time here. Hopefully, of course, this is just the beginning… ūüôā

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2 Months in Canada

As I catch up with a dear friend from home and I tell her about the funeral I attended last week and the marriage proposal I received the week before that, she begins to laugh. ‘You always do things in such extremes Anna!’ I hadn’t, admittedly, thought about this. Although, as I was leaving the funeral service it did occur to me that this was not how I expected to spend any of my year abroad. Indeed, living in Canada has gone as smoothly as I expected it would, which is to say, not very smooth at all.

Though I have lived here for two entire months now, there are still a great deal of things I have yet to get my head around. Cars, in particular. My partner still takes sincere amusement every time I accidentally attempt to get into his car from the driver’s side, for example! Sometimes he strategically lures me by heading towards the passenger’s side, knowing it’ll throw me off. It always does. For the first few weeks I would oftentimes glance at cars on the road and immediate shock would fill my being as it appeared a ghost was occupying the vehicle. Of course, a quick glance to the left and I would remember that the driver was at the other side. The ‘wrong’ side, as I am still adamant. Roads are also a cesspool of confusion and eternal frustration. What English people would describe fondly as ‘zebra crossings’ are everywhere, although- as I have almost killed myself finding out- not all of them mean you can cross the road at your leisure. Some crossings are painted pink… I have no idea what this means. All I know is that I must annoy the shit out of drivers who can probably smell the wreak of me not knowing what the hell I am supposed to be doing. Bloody foreigners!

Living in Canada also feels like you are in some kind of permanent petting zoo; only, where petting may lead to a few bite marks. Oftentimes when I sit outside my residence, skunks will scurry over to me. They are adorable but I am told that I only think this because I have yet to discover the capabilities of their anal scent glands. (A Canadian said to me that it smells like urine and marijuana… so it is possible that a whiff would be more liable to remind me of my hometown than anything else!). I have learned that if you want to suss out foreigners, place a skunk near a group of people. The Canadians will run the other way and the rest of us will run towards it with a naive excitement over its cuteness. I also saw four raccoons one evening, a little family rooting around some bins. Again, my cotton-wool instincts were to run over and pet them as though they were stray kittens. ‘They’ll scratch your nose off, Anna!’¬†

Although, even despite the array of exotic menageries, I often find myself feeling rather alone here. Sometimes I miss walking into bars and seeing faces I recognise. Sometimes I miss people that know me beyond the realm of ‘girl from England’. I also miss Yorkshire puddings.

I will end this post on a conversation I had in the first week of my arrival in Canada-

Anna: [Upon seeing a building called Norfolk Manor] oooh! We should go there sometime!

Chad: Err…*laughing*¬† that’s an old folk’s home.

Ooops.

21743370_10159138899640198_7436508114541544966_nAfter the university’s pep rally.¬†

What your favourite pasta shape reveals about your personality

I have long speculated that a person’s favourite shape of pasta is closely aligned to, and revealing of, ¬†personality traits which I propose to explore in this enlightening blog post. So here is it, a penne for my thoughts!

Fusilli

Starting with the most popular of all the pasta shapes, if Fusilli is your favourite pasta, chances are that you are equally as popular! Your taste for spirals and twists indicate a playfulness in your personality which simply does not exist amidst other shapes. Through allowing equal distribution of sauce, Fusilli is also one of the more balanced of the pastas and thus indicating your desire for equilibrium and moderation in day to day life. However, if your balance is compromised and you end up a little overcooked, the Fusilli-lover will inevitably spiral out of control and potentially end up as soggy as a wet sock.

Fusilli

Bows

Incidentally the bow-shape is my own reigning champion, although that wont stop me highlighting the frivolity of the bow-lover’s personality. Lets face it, we enjoy frills and getting dressed up in the pearls we spent two pounds on in Primark. Yet, despite a potential streak of vanity in our characters, the chewiness of the pasta’s inside indicates there’s far more than just meets the eye. In fact, it could even be p’a’stulated that our well-groomed outer layer is merely a distraction from an inside that simply needs a little more cooking and a little more love before we can fully flourish. Aw.

Bow

Penne

It perhaps comes as no surprise that the hollow nature of the Penne shape embodies the intrinsic hollowness of its lover. As a result of this, you often let people in a little too easily which can lead you to spending time with the wrong crowds. The jealousy you hold for your slightly cooler and more fun-loving uncle -the Macaroni- suggests that you’re also almost certainly predishposed to jealousy. The simplicity of Penne reveals that whilst you enjoy the quiet side of life, you are well-liked and particularly cherished by your close family whose love you appreciate most in the world.

Penne

Lasagna

Lasagna is undoubtedly the most friendly of the pasta personalities; even your name sparks the comfort and friendliness which your many layers sing to the tune of warmth and tastiness. You are traditional and proud of your moral compass which is as sturdy as an uncooked lasagna sheet. Despite your squared shape, you are deceptively fun and adventurous. However, your reliance on mince and onions to create your dish means that you’re almost certainly a little co-dependant, but that’s nothing a little cheese can’t hide.

lasange

Shell

Your love of the Shell shape unveils a need for protection and almost certainly aligns to your protective nature. Similarly, your caring nature often coincides with loyalty; you would sooner run out of Parmesan cheese than let a friend down.¬†Although that isn’t to say you’re predictable- sometimes you’re open and sometimes you’re closed- and the Shell relies on its uncertainty to remain the life and soul of the party. In this way you are also the blurred line between extroverted and introverted and you refuse to shell yourself short.

Shell

Spaghetti

The malleable and flowing shape of spaghetti means that you enjoy a carefree and relaxed existence. Your flexible nature, whilst making you good at compromising and thus relationships in general, means that you are easily taken advantage of. It is most likely due to your carefree attitude which makes you the messiest of all the shapes and as a result you are terrible on first dates.

Spaghetti

Alphabetti Spaghetti

You’re either attempting to eat this through your nose because you’re two years old or you need to learn to let go.

Alphabetti

 

with thanks to jefurber for his drawings of the more expert-level shapes.  

A poem about a man with no legs

He’s old -middle aged-
and he sits on a plastic white
garden chair, at the end of your street.
You’ll see him with a cigarette-
most hours. But the man has
no legs.

Half-limbed, semi skimmed
his stumps raise red as he stubs
his cigarette. And you wonder
why he chooses the flames on his
lips, the power ‚Äď to turn the tables-
lights to his fingers
-he holds on longer than he has to.

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Words that changed my life

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I will leave it up to you to decide whether or not this particular room contained only myself and the teacher who spoke these particularly warming words to me, indeed, at a moment I was desperate for any shadow of confidence in preparation for both exams and the rest of my life!

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These words have haunted me for perhaps too long now, but are only painful when I think of the 18 year old me who did not make the nicest¬†of acquaintances nor meet with the most fortunate of situations. ¬†Yet, I have chosen these words because they annihilated all my denials, for indeed I wasn’t the person who I wanted to be, or felt like I was.

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It was my first month at university and I was still very much a tiny fish in a rather large, foreign and sticky pool. Soon my homesickness was to spread into actual sickness and never had I felt so alone. Yet, a recently made friend offered to make me soup and it remains as one of the kindest gestures anyone has done for me, at a time when I didn’t think I had anyone ¬†close enough to even sneeze on.

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It was nighttime in York when a stranger walked passed me and declared me ‘stunning’. Although I don’t doubt the darkness compromised¬†his judgement, it wasn’t something I had ever been¬†told quite so earnestly and it made me happy enough to remember it still.

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My¬†class had just finished when the teacher told me to stay behind. She sat in the chair opposite me and whilst I was surveying all the possible reasons I might be in due of a¬†telling off she began what I remember as the words¬†above.I can only think she could tell that I was quite unhappy and though she was under no obligation, she took her time to tell me some exquisite words of encouragement and simultaneously allowed me to believe I wasn’t alone.

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The¬†primary school I went to, when I was 8 years old, ¬†used ‘privilege cards’ as a way of awarding good behaviour. If a child did something nice they would receive a signature on their card and depending on how many signatures you had at the end of the term you could watch a film. One particular term I had all but one signature required for this exclusive prize¬†and my teacher at the time found out, most likely by my mother who also worked at the school and knew of my shortcomings and desperation to join the other children in the hall. My teacher¬†took me out of class one morning and told me to open the door for him. I was quite perplexed at this peculiar request¬†but did so, nonetheless.¬†It was to my happy surprise that opening this door for the teacher, despite how he had no intention of leaving the building, enabled me to receive my crucial signature! Another beautifully sweet gesture that still makes me smile.

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These words made me realise that it’s okay not to enjoy the best experiences of your life. It was during my trek in Iceland, each day the porridge become more repulsive that the last and I’m quite sure I’d never been so entirely exhausted. The early mornings and long days were painful and I found myself hating more of it than I thought I should. That was until a fellow trekker said these words. I wasn’t alone and it is mostly certainly an accurate statement, if ever there was one!

A sentimental poem

Onder Meer (Among others)

There’s a patch of burnt grass,
Still blackened by the sausage rolls
We set alight when we were
Fourteen years old.
By the Beck, our prepubescent
Hand holding professed  a love
Now lost.  But still I hold
Onto the memories like a tree
Clings to its leaves-
-They twist
And fade
And somehow fall
Away.

I hear our laughter
When I see the burnt patch,
But I cannot place our faces
And I cannot taste  the  ash.

I am  a  world of many worlds,
And though I am no longer
A fourteen year old girl,
I am the smoke – the embers- of
All I have ever known.

This poem was written for a friend who’s putting together an anthology based on the significance of one’s home.

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Single-sided Handkerchief (a poem)

The  single-sided handkerchief,
damp and crisp.
Folding,
against the white
of my skin,
and think- just think-
of bliss.

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