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My trip home was a blur. I literally remained in a sitting position for three days: bus, couch, bus. My run today destroyed me, and I’m pretty sure I’ve shredded my calf muscles. I also ate enough ham to gain three pounds, according to the gym’s scale. Most gyms add three pounds to their scales to keep their customers, right? Let’s go with that.

Several times this weekend, during conversations with my parents, I referred to St. John’s as “home”. Accidently. Every time I slipped up, I immediately corrected myself as their faces fell.

The thing is, I’m not sure where “home” is anymore. Is it here, with all my friends, my career, this old, drafty house? Or is it in Bay d’Espoir, where I grew up, where my family is, where I haven’t lived in six years?

But then there are times like this previous Saturday afternoon, standing at that hill overlooking the bay, when I think I could probably build a massive house of my own and live there comfortably and quietly. Then again, maybe when I’m 50.

Whatchu looking at?

Whatchu looking at?

Driving home

Driving home

Alright, time to pull my head out of my ass and stop being such an emo kid.

Wine Extravaganza just came back with a vengeance, as I found this ungodly piece of party evidence, pre-destruction. If you’re prone to motion sickness, I warn you to look away.

Question: When did my friends become lesbians?

And when did I start enjoying it so much?  Note the “OHHH YEAH!” of happiness at the end.

Seriously, haven’t hosted a rager like this since…well, since last year, but that’s besides the point.

Every time I come here, I’m amazed by all the space.

 

I could write a book about exploring the Coast of Bays area, even just around my town, and I would still never see half of what this area has to offer (except I think Farley Mowat already did that). Hidden coves and beaches and abandoned establishments and lakes and rivers and hills.

 

Space

Space

The journey is endless. The road just stretches on and on forever. The land is so abundant, people are building needlessly grandiose houses for under $50-K; the kind of houses that would sell for $500-K in St. John’s, and double that anywhere else in Canada. They’re crowding out the world.

 

Then there’s the puzzling mystery of why, after 23 years, I still don’t have a fucking clue how I feel about this place.

 

I left my laptop in St. John’s, so I’m seriously lagging behind on the commentary. Will catch up tomorrow! I’ve missed you all.

Dear Life,

You have been good to me. Here I am, 23 years old, living in the greatest city on earth, surrounded by incredible friends. I somehow landed an amazing career upon immediately completing my English degree, and everything except my liver is healthy.

Life is amazing. But for some reason, I have been unusually down. I find myself pacing back and forth, unsure what to do with myself. I write, and write, and write. But I’m stuck. I’m too young to be this settled, but too broke to have any other choice.


So I dream of travel. Travel, travel, travel. I dream of NYC, the Greek Islands, and glassy beaches. I Google potential future homes to explore. I play the lottery.

I’m actually just writing these future options here so I can explore them more. I love my job and the people I work with, and I’m not ready to leave yet. But I am terrified that by the time I’m financially able to travel freely, I’ll have different commitments.

Hahahahahaha, I know right? The day I become attached is the day my feet are cemented in stone.

Working abroad

I am fortunate enough to work for a company that has international offices in Lorient (France), Vigo (Spain), Seattle, Houston, Reykjavik (Iceland), and Ontario. Vigo has the greatest appeal to me as a fair-sized city on the coast. Unfortunately, if my company were to support me in my endeavour, sending me off to France is my best bet. I’ve already been to Lorient, and while it was a lovely town, I can’t imagine living there.

On the other hand, there’s no way I could afford the move anywhere or the cost of living, so this entire process seems fruitless.

Mini-vacations

Goddammit, does anyone realize how difficult it is to find cheap flights from an isolated island in the middle of the Atlantic? Pretty friggen hard.

However, My BFF lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and it is impertinent that I visit her within the year. Crazy nightlife, beautiful waterfront, and lots of great shopping. I’m there.

Then there’s St. Pierre et Miquelon, the destination which initially hooked me to travel when I was fifteen years old. SPM blows my mind because it’s more undiscovered than Newfoundland, and it’s France. Mother-effing France! Just miles off the coast of Newfoundland. They drive funny European vehicles, have European voltage, and they rarely speak English.

St. Pierre was where I first tasted pain du chocolat, and danced all night in the incredibly expensive discotheque. I NEED to get back there, my travel writing career depends on it!

And until I plan my mega-awesome-fabulous Greek Island vacation for 2011, I’m doing a 7-day trip to Edmonton next summer/spring to visit some friends, go camping at Banff, and drink my face off.

** I actually feel better after writing all that out and seeing I do have travel opportunities coming up, even if they will break the bank. Honestly, it is my finances that worry me more than anything, and although I’m to blame for putting myself in some of this mess, it kills me how much money holds me back. I tried booking a trip to Hali for the weekend, but the flight would be about $500 in total. Yeah. Even renting a car for SPM is about $70 a day, plus some of the girls do not have passports yet. So it’s either head home to the bay, or cook turkey with TOR.

Speaking of travel, Chef left today for Morocco (his flight was cancelled yesterday). The house is eerily quiet. We celebrated honoured his departure with mussels steamed in white wine, salmon stuffed with cream cheese and spinach, and those leftover bottles of wine. I’m good at breaking resolutions before I make them.

FINALLY, I leave you with this awesome piece of news from my hometown. The principal of my old high school (love that man) challenged all 248 students in school (248 students from K-12, I might add) to raise $5100 or more for the Terry Fox Run. If they successfully completed the mission, he’d spend half the day outside. On the roof of the school.

And the mission was successful.

Up on the rooftop, click-click-click.

Up on the rooftop, click-click-click.

This is my worst travel experience, because it was my secret travel shame. In fact, I hesitated to tell anyone about this event, because not only do I look like an idiot, but I look like an idiot who picks on people with disabilities.

When my company sent me to France to work with the engineering team in Lorient, Brittany, I flew for a billion hours with a terrible hangover and absolutely no sleep. I took a 50 euro cab downtown to the Montparnasse train station in France, and then waited for hours for my train.

The train was fairly empty; I shared a table with another woman whose grandchildren ran beside the train as it pulled out of the station, and the other three seats remained unoccupied.

I was already taken aback by the language barrier. I studied French (not immersion) for ten years in school, and assumed I had enough knowledge to get by. I did not. Not even close.

So I’m sitting on the train, so proud of myself for making it that far without being shot, when the lady across the aisle approaches me and starts talking in French.

“Je ne parle pas francais,” I said apologetically.

The lady switched to broken English, and pulled out a card with a “disabled” symbol on it.

“My daughter is ill,” she said. “Would you switch seats with her so she can move her legs?”

“Of course!” I replied, nodding furiously.

(Except the conversation did not go nearly that smooth, and so we stumbled through an explanation for about ten minutes.)

For some reason, in my sleep-deprived, brain-cell destroyed head, I assumed she meant we would switch seats at the next stop, as the train was lurching all over the place. For the next little while, her and her daughter eyed me warily, while I warily stared back.

Of course, when the train stopped, two new people sat themselves down in my booth with the two empty seats. I don’t know why this thought never fucking occurred to me, I mean come on. Train stops, people get off, new people get on. Not a hard concept.

The mother and daughter ignored me entirely after that, although I sent pleading looks of apologies their way. I was too embarrassed to do anything while the daughter rested her head against the window, her face clenched in pain. And so I left them thinking I was a stupid Canadian, when really I’m just a cognoscente of awkward moments.

(This entry is in response to Bearshapedsphere’s <Eileen> entry about the megaultrabad experience while traveling in Ecuador. Check out her blog, she’s facking hilarious.) Now go forth and share your travel shame!

 

Check out these others:

Emily

Sara

Aw, do you guys wanna see what I’m like pre-drunk?

This was the night the girls and I got locked out of our resort room in Mexico. The other girls’ room was open, so we raided the refrigerator for Dos Equis, hooked up the Ipod speakers, and danced a Newfie jig to Great Big Sea’s “Donkey Riding” on the balcony.

Writing an article soon about the perks of resort travel…that night pretty much sums it up. Love my girls.

(wait for the fist-pump at the end…YESS!)


Just wanted to shout out a huge THANK-YOU to Go Nomad for publishing my second piece of travel literature! This news couldn’t have come at a better time; I’ve been in a happy trance all day.

You can read my article here. It’s featured on the main page, too. 🙂

Go Nomad is a site that offers “Inspiration and links to plan your trip”, so if you’re off gallivanting around the world, check them out. Lots of useful information and some very talented writers.

I’ve fallen behind with my writing because life is hectic, but I need an occasional kick in the arse to remind myself about what’s important, and right now, it’s developing my career. I thrive on this happiness.

Go Nomad gave me a chance, so return the favour!  Woo!

I promised you all an alcohol-free entry, so here are two.

This past weekend was Doors Open Days in St. John’s, an event put off by the city so that tourists and cheapskates can wander around some of the historical sites without paying anything. TOR was up bright and early to check out some cathedrals and churches but I passed on those, as running off 10 lbs of booze was more important. So was my make-over. She also did yoga in the park, with people honking at her as she stretched her little heart out.

Anyway, so we decided to check out the Newman wine vaults. For a little bit of a history lesson, check out this website (I’m going to do a travel blog about this on Matador later, so I’ll spare ye the details). The tour was good, surprisingly short, and I kinda weaved back and forth in a hungover haze, but the vaults were trippy: big stone arches, massive wooden support beams, huge half-ton casks of wine…and a distinctive red mould growing on all the walls, apparently only characteristic of the Newman wine vaults in Newfoundland and Portugal, and found nowhere else in the world.

IMG_2052

You can rent out this space for marriages, who's in?

You can rent out this space for marriages, who's in?

My favourite part of the tour was a little anecdote told by our guide. Back in the day, the casks would be transported from the vault to the ship by horse and carriage. One day, unable to withstand the heavy load, a carriage collapsed under the weight. One of the casks ruptured, spilling a half-ton of wine all over the streets. The middle and lower class citizens of St. John’s could not let such wealth go to waste, of course, so everybody came running with cups and mugs to scoop the wine off the streets. The mayor was outraged and ordered the police to barricade the area until the wine was cleaned up.

And if that doesn’t perfectly sum up the people of Newfoundland, then I don’t know what does.

We checked out the Railway Coastal Museum next, an enormously large structure located on Water Street. The museum was well laid out and there were quite a few interesting displays, including several replicas of train cars and their contents, but I was most amused by the model train in the children’s room. And the extremely ugly baby that some woman carried. I couldn’t tell if it were alive or not.

When we returned home, TOR and I began cooking up our supper (we decided to give Chef a night off, he was practically a zombie): bottled moose meat and boiled veggies. Proper Newfoundland meal, luh. I’m actually not a big fan of moose meat — I choked on a piece as a child and never fully recovered – but the smell of the meat being warmed in the pan brought back a flood of memories.

TOR is apparently more of a baywoman than I am, because I had absolutely no idea how to prepare the meat or make the gravy. But the meal actually turned out fucking delicious, and Chef has apparently been completely obsessed with moose meat since then.

Wow, that kinda looks like vom.

Wow, that kinda looks like vom.

In a previous blog entry, someone asked me to describe the taste. I posed the question to my roommates, and we mused over the possible answers as we sipped our chardonnay (moose meat and chardonnay, wtf?).

We compared it to beef, but it was useless. TOR, however, summed it up best:

“It’s just fucking amazing.”

There you have it. Fucking amazing.

(I just realized that this entry was supposed to be alcohol-free, yet I started off with a description of a wine vault. A taste test of Newman port was also involved).

I did it.

I have been published.

I have officially entered the world of a travel writer. I have actually accomplished a small part of my dream. I have received nothing but amazing comments and words of congratulations. I can’t stop grinning. At one point today I sat back in my chair and I wanted to bawl with the happiness of it all, my GOD!

I need a fucking drink.

Thank-you, Matador Travel, for giving an amateur a shot! Dedicated followers, I know I’ve said it before, but go check out the site. A more supportive, dedicated community of writers could not possibly exist.

Also, meet Baby Candice Jr. the Fifth, complete with sub woofer and shiny keys:

My ticket to the world. And porn.

My ticket to the world. And porn.

Don’t flout me for the messy workspace. Where mostly I paint my fingernails with clear polish.

SO SHINY. And it comes with a remote control, although I don’t why. I’m finally able to download music again! And porn. And set up a webpage. Which brings me to my request: what are you listening to these days?

My only problem with this laptop is that the screen is too clear. Every time a page dims, I catch sight of my double-chin in the reflection. Jesus, I hope nobody ever hacks my webcam. Braless, disheveled Candice with two-chins. Nightmares ensue.

Anyway, here’s some more jewels from the weekend.

IMG_1939

Oh wait a second, shots don't have ice in them.

Oh wait a second, shots don't have ice in them.

So I take this picture and then shoot my drink. After proudly slamming the glass onto the counter, I notice everyone staring at me peculiarly.

“Did you just shoot that?” says Chef.
“Yes.”
“You do realize this is scotch on the rocks.”


Some words from my Mother:

mom said (11:27 AM):
Packing my false teeth.  ahaha
got two sets, which set do i wear today. Hard decision.

It’s probably no big deal, but I feel like I’m a step closer to making my travel writing dreams come true.

Matador

I figure anything with “EXPERT” tacked to it makes me a little special. They’ve also named me “Today’s Traveler”.
Matador Travel is a travel community I’ve been involved in for awhile, and I’ve befriended a number of pretty respectable writers on the site. It’s a little bewildering. I mean, the senior editor told me he loved my writing, and my involvement with Matador. ME? I can’t even stand those old blog entries, they were all written in such a rush.

 

The thing is, I need to do this. I need to be a travel writer. I don’t care about anything else the world. I am at my happiest when travelling or preparing for travel. I miss the nightlife, the expectations, the excitement. I miss pubcrawls and meeting new people, wandering into museums, browsing art galleries, eating on the sidewalk. I devour travel literature. I am more determined than ever to make things happen, although I know it’s going to take a long time.

 

I think perhaps my first step is setting up an actual website. Which I keep talking about and never happens. I need more time and more sleep. Goddamn, I’m too tired to be witty today.

This might be the most horribly offensive thing I have ever done in my life.

 

This might be the ONE defining action in my life that will send me directly to Hell, because surely I will not be allowed past the pearly gates with this on my shoulders.

 

Two years ago, I studied abroad in England for the summer. On one of my long weekends, a few friends and I decided to hop over to Holland and become acquainted with the infamous Amsterdam.
Live sex shows, posing with giant penises and smoking pot doesn’t even begin to describe my weekend.

 

I am not a pot smoker. I hate pot. HATE. And as a general rule, I frown upon it. Mostly because for some reason I can’t seem to handle ANYTHING with THC in it.

 

So the morning we arrived in the city, we discovered it was Gay Pride weekend and there would be a parade on the canals. We participated in a very informative, interesting walking tour that fortunately led us directly into the heat of the action. GAY MEN EVERYWHERE! Pink hats, feather boas, loud techno music. The whole city had turned out for the occasion. People were dancing on the roofs of their houseboats, and it didn’t take long for us to get in the spirit.

 

Queerer than a two-dollar bill

Queerer than a two-dollar bill

When the parade was over, we were exhilarated. Man, what a city! So we did what anybody would do in Amsterdam…we tracked down some spacecakes at a cafe called Dampkring.

 

Everything was fine. In fact, the cakes were delicious, and I didn’t feel the least bit overwhelmed by highness. So a few of us split up and decided to meet at the Anne Frank House later, because I was dying to try some of the most famous curry fries in the city.

 

Shortly after I consumed said fries, the THC hit me like freight train.

 

I remember following two of my girlfriends around the city, boiling hot underneath the sun, while trying to read a map to figure out where we were. We passed canal after canal after canal, and everything looked exactly the same. I was FREAKING THE FUCK OUT.

 

When we finally found the line-up (which felt like two years later, but turned out to be 15 minutes), we were forced to wait outside for an eternity. I spied a guy ahead of me who looked incredibly like my friend Pearson. Is that Pearson? That can’t be Pearson. What’s Pearson doing in Amsterdam? That must be Pearson. Should I say hi? Is that Pearson?

 

Never mind I was probably staring at the poor guy with drool dripping from my chin and my mouth hanging open and my armpits sweating.

 

Once I got inside and somehow paid the fee, I had to sit down. My body was made of lead. The girls sat with me but they were clearly impatient. I stood several times, trying to collect myself. And then it hit me. The curry fries had sought their revenge.

 

I lurched into the bathroom, dove past a Dutch woman (she screamed at me until she was blue in the face), then pushed some poor girl out of the stall, and emptied the contents of my stomach within two minutes. Let me remind you: CURRY FRIES.

 

I have never felt more terrible in my life. I stumbled through the rest of the house in a haze, and managed to get back out on the street. Somehow, I sobered up enough to find my way home, and met the other girls of my party already passed out in their beds. And then I curled up in my bed, at 9 p.m., and fell asleep until 7 a.m. the next day, while all the gay men and women and supporters danced in the streets and celebrated the weekend, which I was told later was a truly magnificent occasion.

 

I went back to pay my respects to Anne Frank the next morning, and pretty much cried my way through the house. When I was a little girl, I had an unhealthy fascination with the holocaust and devoured books on the subject. I thought the house was well put together and pulled all the right heart strings, even if I did have to hide my face at the toll booth for shame.

 

And needless to say, I will never, ever touch anything with THC again.

But the rest of the weekend was pretty stellar

But the rest of the weekend was pretty stellar

But I still love this city

And I still love this city

Don’t Forget to Check Out My New Travel Site!

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