Showing posts from January, 2013

Random post from Joberg

I'm spending part of the day and the night in Johannesburg and will meet up with Louis tomorrow.
I've been having a hard time finding a doctor in Montreal, so I had to stop on the way back. It's a vacation day down the tubes, but I talked to our emergency medical care provider today who will find me a list of doctors in the Montreal area so I won't have to go in SA (although the doctor I have here is awesome).

Anyway, I wanted to stay near the airport since I knew I wouldn't be shopping and my flight tomorrow is at 10h00.

The Emperor's Palace is a hotel about 2km from the airport and is made up of four or five different hotels, along with a casino, and a million other things. There is a Cesar's Palace recreation that almost makes it feel like you're in Vegas.

I've never stayed in this hotel in particular, and it's weird.

After my doctor's I took a very weird taxi ride (the driver was so thrown off that I wanted to stop at a drugstore. Lik…

What's a carburator? Is that even how you spell it?

We are waiting in the Munich airport lounge, eating pretzels and pickles and Louis is drinking beer. It feels very German.

Today we went to the BMW Museum and Welt (don't have a clue what Welt means and am too tired to Google). We took the train since it was nine billion dollars to rent a car and it worked out perfectly. I'm not sure if it was because Louis was there or if I'm getting smarter and figuring how trains and maps work, but I didn't actually mind it.

I had a nice day, but let's face it, Louis was the main enjoyer of this tour. I took pictures and read all of the signs (almost everything was in German and English), and tried my hardest to be interested. I think I did a good job, but I did ask, "Is this a motor?" when we walked into a room of.....motors. Apparently this is very interesting.

So many people spoke to me in German and it makes me feel like I'm a freaking celebrity or something. I look German and I think it's all exotic....b…

Good times in the tundra

Having normal Canada days (as opposed to stressed-errand-running-around-like-crazy days) is so cool! This is the third day in a row where I've led like, a normal-ish life. I've gone to supply shopping, grocery shopping, to the gym, done laundry, walked the dog, cooked supper, ordered supper out, read a book, slept, ate ice cream before lunch (not looking forward to next week's weigh in :( ), and this afternoon we're going to a mall and going to watch the movie, Life of Pi (although it will be in French. Not sure how I feel about this).

I've found myself more than once walking aimlessly around the house wondering what I should do, clean, organize, etc, and then I realize, Oh! I'm just supposed to relax! Sometimes it's harder than I realized? I thought that it would be awesome to have all this relax time, but that's just to catch up on sleep. After I catch up on sleep....I guess I'm not used to having multiple days off....without plans? It's kind…

Ahhhh Canada

I'm mostly sleeping through the night finally (like a good baby :P) but I wake up pretty early. Louis is off to Quebec City to visit his mom until Friday afternoon and I'm staying here with the girls. I'd like to go but timing is short so this is what works.

Louis dropped the girls off at school, I got ready and then he dropped me off at the mall. None of the stores were open so I had a coffee and then.....WENT TO WALMART. Ok, I know it's the devil and everything is made by three year-olds paid one grain of rice a day....but how can I resist a place that sells this kind of stuff (for $15CAD) and toiletries and pens and stuff?

 (I nearly bought the Star Wars one for Louis except I would be too jealous of all the lady-attention he would get).

I bought stuff I wanted to bring back to Madagascar (nothing fun), then played "Grandma-for-a-day" and continued the rest of my errands via taxi. I had planned on renting a car here, but left my license in Madagascar. It&#…

Throw in the towel

There are times where I'm ready to throw in the expat towel. Throw away the job that I (now) love, the connections that I've made, the goals that I have, just throw it away.

Because in the end, it's just a job.

But it's hard to think of it as "just a job" when it seems life consuming for six weeks at a time. And while I've been like so incredibly fortunate and grateful for the experiences that it's given me, there are times where I feel guilty or wonder if these experiences were really worth it.

I've travelled the world, I've grown as a person (um...literally at the moment since I'm trying to lose weight! :D), but I've missed so many birthdays and holidays and times with my family and friends.

While Christmas Take 2 in Edmonton was amazing, and I left feeling comforted by the time I spent with my family, it's also bittersweet.

When I was in Canada, I had a few different groups of friends. I saw them multiple times a week, once a we…

COSTCO PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Louis and I like seriously had fun going to Costco. After six weeks (or maybe a bit more from me since I was in China the last time), fresh fruits and vegetables are SERIOUSLY exciting to us. We had to stop in at IGA for a few other items, but our fridge is stocked with the most amazing stuff. The only thing I find odd in this situation is that Louis wanted to buy pineapple, when all we get for six weeks is freaking pineapple. Oh well, he's a weird one. That's why we make a good couple. :P

coconut watermilkfrozen cherries (x2)blackberries (x2)blueberriesground turkeysmoked salmonsnow peascelery sticksbrussel sproutsraspberriesgrapefruit sectionsgreek yogurtmixed pepperspineapple (NOT MY CHOICE!!)mixed lettucenavel oranges

At the airport

It's not fun to say, but most times when I leave Edmonton, I'm haggered and exhausted, and kind of stressed. I try to cram in too many things and I fuss too much about who I want to see and what I want to do and it seems like I end with a list of ninteen hundred "to dos" and I haven't spent half of my time actually spending time with the people that I wanted to spend time with.

This time, I'm tired, but I'm leaving with my heart full of love and happiness. (Wow, that is incredibly hippy-sounding, but true).

Instead of running around, I made one day in one spot where everyone....well, sort of came to me. Those who could make it made it, and those who didn't, didn't. I had a few stressful moments because I planned a surprise photographer and a surprise "We are all wearing matching pajamas and then the proffessional photographer is taking a picture of us", but other than that, no stress. Love, family, friends, no running around. No errands…


Well, I have too many electronic devices set up with too many different times. I was all pumped that I had both slept through the night AND slept until 08h50. Our alarm is set to go off for 09h00 this morning. I turned if off and then went downstairs (SINCE WE'RE ATTACHED TO A SECOND CUP!!!) and got a coffee for Louis and I. I was going to wake him up with coffee in bed! (OK, not as cool as breakfast in bed, but still cool).

I get the coffee, go back upstairs, wake him up, and he's all groggy and like, "What time is it?". I tell him it's 09h00, he looks at his watch and it's 07h00. I looked at my iPod clock which is set on Montreal time for some stupid reason. So  I'm up two hours before everyone else. Oh well, I have a lots of things I need to catch up on and....(what's most likely going to happen) have access to a CANADIAN TV, with CANADIAN (or more like American) TV shows.

Yesterday we went to West Edmonton Mall Waterpark. Since I'm all like, …

Love and Flying (No, not THAT kind of "love")

I'm still really not used to this kind of life. It's taken me 3.25 years for me not to break into a sweat in the airport. OVER THREE YEARS. I didn't realize what was going on the entire time, I just always thought airports were really warm. No, I freak out. I remember once landing in Toronto en route to Edmonton and literally soaked my tshirt and I had to buy a new one in the airport. I could have used it to mop the floor with.

Add Louis into the mix and oh boy!!! Did we ever have some fireworks! I think the last time we flew back together, I made him a promise that I wouldn't cry for 48 hours. HA! I had a few tears and it was probably the most drama-free flight that we've ever had together. There have been flights where I boarded the plane in Montreal, BAWLED myself to sleep (we have those cool pods so no one could tell) and we started to speak to one another in Antananarivo - a mere like 30 hours later. And what we fight about? One person giving the other perso…
Had an awesome day in Johannesburg, met up with Louis at the airport, flew to Zurich, finished all but one gift for my Christmas shopping, fighting the effects of a poor night's sleep, waiting for my next flight to Toronto.

Looks like Edmonton is super warm (Edmonton standards).

I'm not sure if I have a time change right now. I think Zurich/Madagascar is maybe only two hours or so.

soooooooooooooooo sleepy.

soooooooooo looking forward to a bed that isn't 35,000ft in the air. :)


I'm not sure why but today I am in the crabbiest of moods. The day started out okay but by the time I had landed at customs in Johannesburg, I was crabby and pissy.

It just started to get worse and worse. Although really nothing got worse.

I had a great taxi driver and we talked about my favorite subject: South Africa pre and post 1994. It's surreal to be in a country like this. The taxi fare was ok, especially considering I arrived during rush hour.

Maybe part of is was that I was super tired but didn't sleep the entire flight from Tana to here. I was talking with a sort of co-worker and before I knew it, it was time to land. At some points in the conversation I felt like saying, Ok, I'm cranky, I need to sleep, but I never got a chance to bring it up. Oh well, better I talked to him anyway.

Louis is joining me tomorrow, or rather I'm joining Louis tomorrow at the airport and then we'll start the long long journey (where I'll sleep most of the time) to Edm…

I'm 12 years old sometimes...

I got to have the most exciting day today.

The morning was pretty dull and frustrating, but I had been looking forward to today since last week. For an audit I'm working on, I asked to get a tour of about eight different facilities that are spread out all over the plant site. Um, our plant site is huge.
AND because I was going into different areas, I had to wear my PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) including steel toe boots, a hard hat, a long sleeved shirt (we have special ones from the project. Everyone wears them and I'm sort of sometimes jealous even though they are hideous), safety glasses (I got cool sunglasses ones), and a special respirator mask (just in case).

It's ridiculously hot and humid out, I only was outside for an hour and forty five minutes, I have a massive dehydration headache, but yes, I felt so super cool that I got to be like a plant worker today. For less than two hours.

I have no idea why this excites me so much, but I felt super cool driving …

A Dog’s Purpose (from a 6-year-old).

I read this on another blog and had to post it. It's awesome. :D

"Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without an…

Brain Rest

So ya, I think my brain or nerves are fried. Or my tiredness is catching up to me.

This morning I couldn't find my keys. It's happened before, if you can believe it!!

This morning was different.

We live in two rooms. 10B3 and 10B4. For some reason, only I have the key to 10B3. Yep, we know it's a stupid idea. Also, all of my "sh*t" is in 10B3, so I can keep it as messy as I like. I clean it once per rotation and it looks all pretty. Then I come back from rotation and turn it into a disaster.'s like my dirty little secret (that's not a secret) that I like. I try to keep 10B4 clean so Louis doesn't have an anxiety attack when he walks in the room and sees a massive dissaster, and then 10B3 as I feel. We're different. :D

I couldn't find my keys. I had a meeting at 08h00 that I wanted to prepare for. That I was kind of stressed about even. I had already locked 10B3 and there was a strong possibility that they keys were in there. Louis d…


This is going to sound like a joke, and maybe I'm filled with "ready-to-leave-the-island" craze...but I was just talking with a friend and I came up with the most exciting plan.

As of today, I'm expected to be here until December 31, 2013. Louis is going to be here until May 15, 2013.

I'll stay a few extra weeks packing, maybe take a trip to Isalo Park or Morondava, and then I'll fly back to Canada. For the next two weeks, I'll sleep.

And after that, I'll apply for a job at Starbucks or Café Depot and work there three days a week. That will get me out of the house so I don't go crazy, give me ample of free time to go to spin classes (oh yeah, and most importantly, find a job!) and maybe by the time Louis gets to Canada for good, we'll be well underway to having secured employment.

I DO NOT want to trivialize the importance of a Starbucks or Café Depot as they have brought me a lot of happiness, ESPECIALLY in my post-Canada life. The amount of…

Cry Me the Blues

I am so, so, so feeling sorry for myself. I know I'll be fine, and I know that this is quite typical of the last week of rotation. It's not excitement, it's a bit of dread knowing that you'll be working your butt off....only to have to re-do a lot of the work later on because you're away for two weeks. I NEED this two week break, or else I'd work a lot more on vacation. I'm happy that I have running and yoga....or I might lose my sanity and cry at my desk while eating cake or something. :D I fly out one day early because I have a meeting in Johannesburg, then Louis will meet up with me the next day and we'll fly out together. Flying out together is always fun. We're excited and we get to talk German (haven't lost the fascination of pretending to *quietly* speak German). We spend five hours in Zurich (I think) which is just enough time to check work emails, shower, and do a little bit of shopping. There is actually a "chalet" just outs…

Hot Flashes?

It is my FOURTH summer here. I do not recall ever being this uncomfortable or effected by the heat. It's 31*C. And yes, humidity does make a bit difference,, walking takes effort at the moment. I thought I'd try running tonight, but there is no way that it's going to happen outside. I'll be on the treadmill (which is 94% less enjoyable than outside running). But I'm tired. And like, uncomfortable. And feel like I'm stranded in the desert. I don't know why I'm being such a wimp!


The last few weeks, I start a blog post and then don't finish it because of the gazillion other things I think I "have" to do. I haven't put up a quarter of my China vacation, I'm trying to finish a photo book for the girls from our Madagascar vacation (which has proved to be more work than I could have ever imagined, but it is totally going to rock), and so forth.

But none of that "has" to be done. So here's what I wanted to write about today.


Ok, so Canadians, go ahead and hate me for complaining about the heat. I probably would if I were in your shoes. It's +32*C with 80% humidity. And it's cooler today than earlier in the week. I ran on the treadmill yesterday because I seriously didn't think I could possibly run outside (and I was sick-ish for a few days and this was my first run after). I wanted to run today, but the moment I stepped outside, I ran back inside. Louis and I stayed inside ALL DAY. It's slightly cooler …


The New Year's Eve party was a blast. I kind of babysat my drinks because even though it's NYE, we still had to work the next day. I was so bold as to not go into work until 08h00, but Louis went in at our regular 06h30 time. I know, I'm bad ass.

The party guests were the best mix of people. It's weird how expatdom makes you have friends that you normally never would have even met. A few Cubans, Canadians (Albertans and Quebecers), Jamaicans, French, Malagasy, Burkinabé (from Burkina Faso), Peruvians.....I think that covers it all? Ages people ranging from 23 to 60. There were a couple of songs played that I loved....that I remember listening to when my parents had a house party. It was a good time. And yes, before you even ask, we did all do the Gangham Style dance, and it was ugly.  There is video.  This is my first NYE spent in Madagascar and it was a great, awesome time. Louis was dancing with me all night.
And instead of fireworks, we had exploding confetti. {Wh…