Categories
Canada comedy entertainment funny humor

Tuesday Timewasters: 14 BEST Tweets from No Name Brands

No, you read that correctly. No Name Brands. The Brand.

So my obsession with all things Twitter continues with @nonamebrands.

I love them!

For those who don’t know, No Name Brands is a line of generic grocery items owned by the Loblaw Company in Canada. They’re sold in a bunch of stores around the country, the nearest one to me being Real Canadian Superstore.

They have quite distinctive packaging: black font on yellow background, and have very very generic product names.

BUT, their Twitter account is where they really shine. Here are some of my favorite Tweets of theirs for you to enjoy!

And of course, they’ve been posting helpful tweets such as:

They also live-Tweeted the Emmys and Oscars!! WHICH. WAS. AMAZING. Here’s a taster, read from bottom to top. Head to their Twitter for more!

ending paragraph.

signing off.

Categories
Canada humor

Would You Walk a Plank 80 Stories Above the Ground for Cake or Kittens?

Last week, I had the opportunity to take part in a trial of some new virtual reality software being created by a company called Hone, here in Calgary.

Hone uses virtual reality and augmented reality to help train people in how to deal with high-risk, high-stress environments. Using a combination of psychology and technology, Hone hopes to have a positive influence on how people approach stress management in the future.

It was through my work – which has nothing to do with VR – that I ended up in a boardroom at 8:25am on a Friday morning pondering what exactly I had signed up for.

Back in December, Hone came in and had ten of our staff members take part in round one of testing. One of those staff members was my boss. I was highly interested in what was happening and mentioned that I would like to be considered if they ever come back. My boss, true to her word, volunteered me and BOOM, I was in.

I was super excited. I’d never experienced virtual reality before. It looked awesome! I knew nothing about it or about VR in general or Hone or what time it was at or how long it would take or what I would need.

So I blocked off the whole day and began hoping it was a game.

It was not a game.

The session was called Applied Stress Management. This is a topic I am highly interested in. I’m apparently a super stressed individual however I don’t always realize it. The first person to point this out to me was my dentist after I cracked and/or broke several teeth though clenching in my sleep – not even kidding – …and then a TMJ specialist who took all of five minutes to diagnose me with TMJ. What a waste of an afternoon off work.

However, this was back in Jan 2018, 18 months after my mother had died and right amid the three months where we had bought a house, got a puppy that seemed allergic to sleep, I changed jobs, it was winter and life was a sleepless, -30 degree, I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing jumble.

Things being better now, I was curious to what my stress levels would be in an unknown situation.

The main thing I was hoping to get out of the session was to learn techniques to stop myself from freaking out during my biggest fear: driving.

I hate driving. I have always hated driving. When I first learned how to drive in Ireland, I got stuck on a roundabout because I refused to leave it. Another time, I created a traffic jam on the street, panicked, stalled the (manual) car too much and had to get out – in the MIDDLE OF THE TRAFFIC JAM I CAUSED – to let my mother drive.

Here in Calgary, I relearned how to drive 4 years ago, got my license and then drove 1-2 times a year after that. Usually to the airport or the mechanics and back. Or sometimes just back. Why drive there when the person I’m dropping off can do that?!

Just thinking about makes me panic. When I sit in the driver’s seat I immediately get all hot and flustered. I sweat a lot. If I have to drive somewhere, I used to have to bring a change of cardigan or shirt….Too much information? Incidentally, after 20+ years, I finally found a deodorant that works for me! No Pong (bicarb free version) – All natural, comes in a cute little pot that sometimes annoyingly difficult to open when it’s 6:30am, not an ad, I just really love it! It doesn’t help with stress but it does help my clothing. #thelittlethings

Moving on.

So, I go into this session thinking this can maybe help with my fear. Or at least help me not spend an entire day panicking about having to drive somewhere when I know I have to drive somewhere.

First up was a presentation by Alex Jackson. And let me tell you, Alex is awesome. A very calming individual. Bit like a living Ted Talk. There were graphs and things to look at and none of it was confusing. Alex’s presentation was informative, engaging and slightly terrifying when he described what we would be doing.

We would be donning our super awesome VR googles and some other techy things that monitor skin and heart rate.

Not so bad.

Then we would be getting into a virtual reality elevator which opens onto a rooftop.

So far so good.

Then we would be walking along a plank 80 stories above the ground to get a piece of cake and bring it back into the elevator.

Cool.

Cool, cool, cool.

Cool.

I should mention in addition to the virtual cake there was also real cake available baked by Alex’s sister. She felt bad that Alex was potentially going to traumatize us all by making us walk a plank to get virtual cake while there was no real cake there to sooth us.

No, I’m serious.

Suggestion for Hone: Kittens. I woulda bounced along that plank if there were kittens available to play with. #justsayin

So here I am, standing in a small room with Alex, Phil – also from Hone who I’d just met – and two other guys at computer monitors whose names I didn’t get. Alex is explaining to me how it’s going to work.

In front of me, a guy is setting up a real wooden plank on the carpet. This thing is about 2-3 inches from the ground maybe. I’m looking at it and looking at Alex thinking I can totally walk along this. My only fear was twisting an ankle in my heels cos I 100% ignored the ‘wear tennis shoes’ part of the email.

Alex has me clip a small sensor to my ear and puts little cotton and Velcro finger sensor thingys on the first two fingers on my left hand.

He then lowers the goggles on to my face and HOLY SH*T.

I was transported to a busy city street. I was opposite a park. There was a butterfly. I was fascinated by the butterfly. It seemed so real. I almost wanted to touch it.

It sounded real. I could hear people and traffic and nature.

I immediately felt hot and flustered and I hadn’t even done anything yet!

I started looking around and completely missed some of my instructions.

Dammit.

I get into the elevator behind me, press a button and wait. The elevator goes up. I can see a gap in the door that shows we are moving up but I don’t focus on it. Instead I look around the elevator. There’s a small warning sign, some buttons for other floors and no mirror. I am listening to the elevator music. It’s quite soothing and not so bad, I can do this, this is….

…the doors open.

‘Ou wind…’ I say out loud. I didn’t actually realize I’d said this aloud until Phil told me later.

It legitimately looked like I was 80 stories up. I was suddenly terrified. And I’m not scared of heights!

What am I doing? The cake. Right.

Where’s the cake? Oh…there. Right in front of me. At the end of the plank.

I walk forward a little, hit the real plank and almost trip.

Good start.

As I take a step up onto the real plank, VR me steps onto the VR plank. The calibration was just the slightest bit off so I was half on the VR plank, half on nothing on my VR screen. It was surreal.

The real plank wobbles.

Awesome.

I shuffle along the plank. Shuuuuuufffle. Slowly. Slooooowly. When I got as close as I was willing to get to the cake I waved the wand I was given. Nothing happened. I’d have to get closer.

Then I heard ‘Push the trigger button’….and stopped shuffling. I bent down, waved the wand dramatically in the cake’s general direction, grabbed the cake, shuffled backwards and back into the elevator.

Let’s remember, I am still in a carpeted boardroom in an auditorium in my work building on a plank two inches off the ground.

It felt like that scene in Ant Man where this hugely dramatic thing is happening on screen and then we pan out and it’s just a little train going around.

Alex asks if I want to try again but this time ignore the cake and jump off the plank.

Do. I. Want. To…What?

Why would I want to do that?

How would I…? No. No I do not.

No.

Of course, I said yes because I was already here and I’d gotten the cake and…ugh, why not?

Back into the elevator I go. Up to the roof I go. The music drowns out Alex’s instructions so I hear nothing until I reach the top. I look through the gap in the elevator this time. I ask what happens when I jump. Do I land? #validquestion

No. I don’t land. It all goes white and angelic music plays. I burst into laughter. I start feeling better. Alex talks me through breathing and visualising my goal: Jumping off the plank.

Why couldn’t there be kittens?

I stepped out onto the plank. It was re-calibrated this time and was in line with me.

IT. WAS. SO. REAL.

I was nervous. This was a fear that I didn’t think I needed to overcome! But alas, there I was, knowing logically where I was, that this wasn’t real, I was just stepping onto carpet not an 80 story drop.

I scrunched up into defensive mode, the clenched hands against my chest move I do when someone startles me or that time I watched IT, the new one. Still not sure about that movie. I mean, did I like it enough to watch the sequel? It’s hard to tell.

Back to the plank.

It’s one step.

Just a step. Onto carpet. Not off a building.

I ask if I have to keep my eyes open as I fall.

No.

OK. I can do this. I nervously giggle at the absurdity of me being scared by this. Yet I STILL DIDN’T MOVE.

Alex explained where he was in the room and I instinctually prepared to jump/step off towards his voice.

I am not doing it. Or am I doing it? Should I do it? I can’t be scared by this. It’s not real. It feels real. But it’s not real. I should just jump. Should I jump? I mean, what if…f*ck it.

I stepped off.

My foot hit the not-plushy-cos-it’s-a-boardroom carpet while my VR self plummeted 80 stories to the white screen and angelic music. I watched the whole time. It was freaky, exhilarating and then very funny. The angelic music. It was just such an absurd ending.

Then I respawned.

I was on the ground. I took off the googles.

Next up was a check on my stress levels on a readout.

As you can see, I was slightly freaked out the entire way through it would seem, peaking at several specific points:

  1. When I put the headset on
  2. When I was looking through the elevator crack
  3. When I exited the elevator
  4. While making decisions on what to do
  5. RIGHT before I jumped (that one was obvious)

Overall, it was a lot of fun and I would definitely do it again without question. I’m already wondering if they plan to come back for a third round of needing volunteers.

I even recommended to The Canadian One that he should try it as – even though I did get him up into a hot air balloon last summer – he is terrified of heights and this may help him.

In terms of driving, I still haven’t gotten back behind the wheel but it’s winter and snow driving is not the time to overcome that fear. It seems more like a summer fear-busting task, no?

Incidentally, during the debrief we were asked if we think anything else would motivate us more than cake.

I immediately thought of kittens however opted not to suggest that as others seems happy to walk a plank for cake.

Then the planner in me gets involved and it’s like, where would you get the kittens? You’d need litter boxes. And food. And someone could be allergic. And would you rent them or adopt kittens for this task? And how many kittens? And would the owners of the boardroom you are renting allow animals? And what if someone got scratched? Would it be an OH&S problem? There’d be reports and paperwork. It would be a whole thing.

It wouldn’t work.

Or would it?

What do you guys think?

Would you walk a plank 80 stories up for cake or kittens?

Categories
comedy funny humor

Tuesday Timewasters: Admin Edition

I have been an admin assistant for almost 3 years. 2.5 years with one company and 3 months with this new company. I adoooore my new company and my boss. Also, math is not my strongest asset.
Here are some things I happened upon I could not relate to more in my old job…and one I could not relate to more in my new one!
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Now you’re wondering when Administrative Professionals’ Day is, aren’t you?
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It’s not today, don’t worry.
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Nor was it yesterday.
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But good news!
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You still have time to buy a gift!
A whole 24 hours in fact!
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Post-its are nice.
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Or vodka.
Only those two will be accepted as gifts.
Failing that, not walking to my desk to tell me you sent me an email asking me to print a piece of paper to the printer you walked past on your way to my desk would be nice.
Unrelated: regarding one of the posts above, I was asked to plan my own goodbye party and book the restaurant. #truestory
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Because today was password reset day and within an hour I was swearing at my computer.
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I have never related to something more.
Never.
Ever.
And finally, this:
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Not office related but….I just couldn’t not post it!
That face you just made reading that, that confused face, I would like free rein to make that face at people just once a day.
Maybe twice.
Three tops!
Happy Administrative Professionals’ Day – It’s April 25th! 🙂

Categories
comedy entertainment funny humor Korea South Korea

So how did YOU end up in Korea?

So how did you end up in Korea?

*This was written 6 years ago, a year before I left Korea for Canada* 

I get asked this question a lot and so here…here is how I ended up in Korea: 

Recently, I called a lawyer. 

A lawyer in Canada, no less. This lawyer I called was very polite and helpful, apparently it’s the Maple Leaf disposition. He asked how I found out about his company as I was calling all the way from South Korea (‘South Korea, wow!’ ‘Yeah, I get that a lot when I call overseas from here.’). I explained I googled what I was looking for and clicked the first one I found with a Facebook page. Although it is also worth noting I was drinking a vodka and orange in an Irish bar on a school night while calling him…. 

This morning, I had a visa medical exam. A pretty standard test. One I’ve had a few times for my Korean visa so I knew the drill. Blood, chest x-ray, pee in paper cup, see doctor, deny knowing what an illegal drug is, the usual. On one of the stack of forms I had to fill in to give permission for them to view my medical records, test me for a wide varity of diseases, declare I wasn’t lying in any of my statements, give them custody of my first-born and the rights to name him Bob (one those is not true), it asked for my future occupation in my intended country of residence. Pointing out I wasn’t moving for another 12 months and hadn’t planned that yet, I was told to put ‘housewife’.

And so I did. 

I laughed and shook my head and wrote the word on the page.

In a mere 48 hours, I’d called a lawyer, had a visa medical and declared myself a future housewife. 

My entire life I’ve just kinda fallen into thing. Not really making conscious life decisions. I’ve just been presented with an opportunity and going with it, confident in the knowledge that it’ll all be fine. It’s no coincidence one of my favourite phrases is ‘Let’s see how this all plays out, shall we?’ 

I stumbled into going to university in England. I was unsure about what I wanted to do with my life and unwilling to choose computing suggested by one career counsellor and to ‘give up the idea of directing a movie because my teeth were not straight enough. So when I talk or give direction people will not understand me and HOW can I direct a movie if people can’t understand me’ (direct quote that will stay with me for life) by another career counsellor after I said I wanted to write movies.

To the UK I went, to study writing and film (a completely useless degree in hindsight). Unlike universities in the US where you can study many different things in the lead up to your eventual degree, in Ireland and the UK at 17 we have to choose our path and stick to it. Every course I took lead directly to the degree I applied for. I applied to ten universities, got into four, picked the one with the open day that was soon, flew over, looked around and signed up to attend in September.

Graduating at 20, I fell into working as a project supervisor at my previous job. 

How? 

I was there when the previous project supervisor quit. That’s it. That’s all it took. I just happened to be there in the building. Later, when I moved into human resources, again, it was because I was there when the previous HR girl quit. For a while I was doing project supervising, HR, interviewing potential staff, running training seminars, doing wages (a terrifying month) and flying to Germany to brief new center managers. I took a two week holiday and went to Washington DC. It took three people to do my job while I was gone. 

Having gone to Salzburg on a Sound of Music tour with my mother for her 50th birthday, I returned to my job bored and unhappy. I didn’t like it. It was depressing and I could do it drunk, hungover, half asleep, on the tail end of a bar hopping pub crawl (I kid you not!) and could coordinate client documents while talking on the phone, supervising staff and playing on the Internet all at the same time. The challenge was gone and thus I put in for a transfer. To London. My transfer approved, my contract drawn up and ready to be signed, apartment hunting was a go-go and I was packing my house up.

Six weeks later I was on a flight to Korea to start a new life. 

It’s funny how these things just….happen.

So what happened? 

Nothing.

Nothing at all. 

Nothing major or dramatic or life changing. Nothing I can pinpoint on my life map and say ‘this was the event that caused it’. I just woke up one day and realised if I don’t leave now, now, this very second….if I don’t make the decision to leave when I get the chance, when my current contract is up, I’ll never leave. And then I’ll stay. I’ll stay here in a job I don’t like. In a country I really have no reason to be. With a car I can’t drive and a lethargic attitude towards work that ranks it just barely above ‘napping’. I’ll stay and be that person in the bar who stayed too long.

I needed a change. I needed to leave. And I needed to do it now while the idea was new and fresh and I was suddenly motivated. My contract at work was up for renewel. My current landlord was looking into selling off his house and thus, I’d have to move anyway. The stars were aligning and it was my shot!

A quick phone call later and i was offered a chance to either move to Korea the following month or Japan in 6 months. I choose Korea, because it was sooner and hanging around for 6 months would lead to a change of heart, second guessing and I have a short attention span. Left for 6 months to stew and think, I’d back out. I told my job. (‘I moving to Korea.’ ‘Korea…where’s that?’ ‘KOREA.’ ‘Ohhhhhh KOREA….I seeeeee.’) I sold everything that wouldn’t fit in my Opel Corsa on eBay and my mother drove me back to Dublin to await my Korean visa. 

A few weeks later, visa and one way plane ticket in hand, large suitcase borrowed from my mother, and a world of opportunity ahead of me, I left on a plane to start anew. It would be a few weeks before I got around to reading the Lonely Planet guide I’d brought with me and a few more before I discovered what ‘Skype’ is…and I worked for eBay when they acquired Skype which made that so much worse. 

Oh, how badly prepared I’d been when I arrived.

But alas how could I know that one decision, that decision to pack everything up and start again would change my life the way it did. 

I didn’t. 

I took a shot.

And now, as I prepare for yet another country move, people keep asking if I’m scared, apprehensive, what if it all goes wrong, what if it doesn’t work out…etc.

To them I say, maybe it will. Maybe it will go wrong. Maybe it’ll be great. Maybe it’ll be the greatest decision I’ve ever made. Maybe, maybe, maybe. 

I don’t want the ‘maybes’ to rule my life. For every ‘maybe yes’, there’s a ‘maybe no’. For every person that says ‘Maybe it’s a good idea’ there’s another saying ‘Maybe it’s a terrible idea. You should stay here’.

When I moved to England, people said I’d be back within a month. I said ‘Maybe.’ I returned 6 years later. 

When I moved to Korea, people said, ‘Ohhh it’s so dangerous there! You won’t be safe!’. I said ‘Maybe.’ I’ve been here 3 years and 4 months. The most dangerous thing that has ever happened to me was almost being hit by a taxi cab when I walked out in front of it.

In less than a year, I move to Canada. People say it may not work out. That couples who meet in Korea and leave together don’t last. That we’ll regret it. That we won’t find jobs. That we’ll have no money. That it’s cold. That I’ll hate it. That it’s a risk.

To them, I say ‘Maybe.’ 

But for now, let’s just agree on one thing, let’s all sit back, relax and see how this all plays out, shall we?

#spoileralert #itworkedouy

(Oh and that’s The Canadian One with my Pingu the Penguin in his backpack in the pictures above on the day we moved me from my apartment into his!) 

Categories
Canada comedy entertainment funny humor

‘I’m a bee!!’ – Halloween Memories

While trying to explain Halloween in Ireland to The Canadian One I was remembering all sorts of different traditions we have that are different from his.

For one, in my family we never carved a Jack-O’-Lantern (or Pumpkin). People in Ireland did but in my family we just didn’t do it.

Pumpkin Spiced PicklesOur pumpkin…with our cat…dressed as a pumpkin. Note: Only one of us is excited in this photo. And it’s not her. 

As child, we would dress up, go trick-or-treating, drop all our candy at home and hit the bonfire for some staring at fire and watching of fireworks. Other side-traditions that may have been more my-family-centric included finding the cat, coaxing the cat indoors, locking the cat in the living room, hiding all the wood in the weeks leading up to the bonfire night (for fear of it being stolen) and, of course, no Halloween was complete without the eating of the Halloween Brack.

Barmbrack

Oddly, The Canadian One actually already knows about barmbrack. A few months ago, he excitedly told me about this Irish fruitcake that was baked on an episode of Deadwood he’d seen the night before. He said there were items baked into the fruit cake and…

I stopped him there.

“Like a ring and whatnot?” I asked.

“YES!! You know about this cake? Is it a thing?” he exclaimed.

‘Is it a thing?’ is an often asked question in our house.

“Yeah, it’s called brack. Like Halloween brack. Or barmbrack. We eat it at Halloween. It’s got stuff inside it. You know, I was always so excited to get the ring from the brack when I was little. You buy it at Dunnes.”

He stared at me. It was the same expression he had on his face when I was acting out the game ‘conkers’ to him. I often forget when I’m explaining things to people who didn’t grow up with this being normalcy, they may find it fascinating.

I almost told him about bobbing for apples but opted out of it. Also thinking about bobbing for apples now. I mean, you get one kid with a cold playing that game and everyone is wiped out! 

It’s strange to think back on some of the things we did as kids on Halloween. As a child the only rules were be home before dark (and ‘stop slamming the frikkin’ door on your way in and out’). My mother never really knew where we were or what we were doing. We went out unsupervised trick-or-treating. We would wander too close to the bonfire which was basically a pile of wood in the middle of a grassy community area set alight. My brother said there was a shopping trolley on it this year. We ate our candy without thinking twice about if it could be dangerous. Is wasn’t so much, ‘was there poison in our apples?’ it was more ‘why did someone give us apples? Which house was that, let’s never visit again.’

And why were there always so many peanuts in shells. 

So. Many. 

No one ever worried about allergies. Or gluten. Or dairy. 

Me as Julia

Me, as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, aged 7 or 8

As for costumes, I’ve dressed as a plethora of different things growing up including, but not limited to, my hooker outfit above. I wanted to be Pretty Woman. I went around telling people I was a hooker until my mother told me I should probably just tell people I was Julia Roberts.

My mother would make all my costumes (yes, including the one above). I was a robot one year in a cardboard box covered in tin foil and remember being sad I couldn’t pee most of the night. People used me as a candy table for a bit. I was the World Cup another year with a gold covered lampshade on my head. I won a costume competition. I was a witch. A ghost. I dressed all in white once and stuck a glowing star to my chest and was the Star of Bethlehem (the curse of attending an all-girls catholic school). 

Witch

Me as a witch

As an adult I’ve been a snowman…

Snowman

With Stan looking dapper as a cat. 

…and Minnie Mouse in the same weekend. This is me (a mere 24 hours after the above photo was taken in a 2am McDonald’s dance-off with Spiderman…that ended in a song because of course…). Poor Stan looking embarrassed in the background:

Minnie

Last year I decided to be a bee. 

In Canada I’ve been a bee twice. Once while working at a call center a bunch of us dressed as worker bees.

Get it. 

Worker Bees. 

Hahahahahaha. 

No? 

Nevermind. 

But last year, I made the whole family get in on the bee theme: 

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Only one of us is truly happy in this photo

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I would later get drunk and yell excitedly ‘I’m a bee!!!” at a Calgary police officer sitting in a truck as we were leaving a Halloween party. ‘He’s a beekeeper!!!’ I would continue to yell across the sidewalk to him as I pointed at The Canadian One. The cop waved to me and yelled back, ‘I KNOW!! WE MET YOU EARLIER!” 

Oh yeah. That’s right. 

He was the same cop who complemented The Canadian One on his beekeeper outfit and suggested we round up all the many bees at the party and take a picture with them. 

We didn’t. 

But dammit, we should have! 

It was only later when I was looking at old pictures to find the one of me as a witch, I remembered this: I was a bee before. In Spain. With my brother. 

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Again, one of us is way more excited than the other. 

I’ve now dressed as a bee three times in my lifetime. 

None of them were in Ireland. 

Go figure. 

What are some of your Halloween memories or traditions? Got a funny childhood costume you want to share? 

Categories
Canada comedy funny humor

I Provide A Running Commentary For A Baseball Game….

I have only recently taken to baseball.

Three years ago, a week into living in Canada-land, my father-in-law took us to see a Blue Jays game with my brother-in-law and his kids. I had never seen a baseball game before which is surprising given its prevalence in Korea. I spent the game mostly having no idea what was going on and no idea when it would end. The thing I was most excited about, and excited about the entire month leading up to the game…and in the car ride to the game…and at dinner before the game was the FOAM MITTEN!!

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FOAM MITTEN!!!

My father-in-law bought me a foam mitten after listening to me talk about it for days. I had always wanted a foam mitten as growing up I’d always seen them on American TV shows and thought they were the epitome of Americana. Or rather, Canada-ana…?

Or well, technically it would be Americana since Canada is part of North America…right?

Right?!

And before anyone starts kicking off on my Facebook, it is not the same as the ‘Republic of Ireland is part of the UK’ debate.

Because that is wrong.

And Canada actually is part of the continent of North America.

Geographically.

Boom.

Moving on.

Now I understood the basic rules from playing rounders at home, a game very similar to baseball but with less intricate rules. Of course, we would play using our sweaters as bases and a tennis racket as a bat but still, same concept. You hit the ball. You run. You stop at a base. Someone can tag you out while you’re running about or before you get to a base. The other team runs around the field like maniacs with no formal position other than ‘over there on the left’, ‘over there on the right – mind the STOP sign there next to you’ and ‘somewhere around this kinda middle area’. Also there are no baseball gloves in rounders 

Last year, around the same time the Jays started to get good, The Canadian One got really into baseball.

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I have no idea what’s happening here. None. At all.

And since we still had the Sports package from Telus which I hadn’t cancelled after hockey season (because their hold time is ridiculous!) we caught a few games. 

By the time we lost and were knocked out, I came away from the season knowing three things:

  1. Bautista rides a scooter home from work.
  2. The Jays really like throwing champagne on each other.
  3. And I really liked the Japanese fella. 

This year, I aimed to come away with a bit more information. I learned his name was Kawasaki. I learned he was traded to the Cubs. And I learned that I had learned pointless information. 

And so, I have been diligently asking questions about the games the past month. But since I am struggling with names, I have just renamed the players and it’s up to The Canadian One to remember who is who.

Which brings us to this past Wednesday, The Canadian One got stuck at work during the baseball game. Now, usually I would record the baseball game and we would watch it when he gets home at 8pm however this was an early game, it started at 1pm, so we both missed it.

At about 5pm, he text me to find out the score and I discovered the game was still afoot. I spent the next 90 minutes providing commentary of the game while he was working. (FYI I knew in this particular game the pitcher bats as it was explained to me both the day before and the day before that. Also I can spell nobody’s name…just the general gist of their name is usually sufficient for The Canadian One.)

screenshot_2016-05-12-13-21-5222.jpg.jpg

screenshot_2016-05-12-13-21-592.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-12-13-22-052.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-12-13-22-122.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-12-13-22-232.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-12-13-22-302.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-12-13-22-413.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-12-13-22-472.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-13-12-50-372.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-13-17-45-242.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-13-17-45-332.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-13-17-45-442.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-13-12-51-122.jpg.jpgI feel like I might have a little more to learn.

Categories
Canada comedy funny humor

The Road To 5K: The End Of Week Two

The road to 5k copy-2

And so I come to the end of week 2 and get my nifty new app skin to not even pay attention to other that when I press ‘Start Workout’ and bitch about why my Spotify isn’t working. 

screenshot_2016-04-18-17-05-43.pngSpending two weeks jogging around my neighbourhood has made me realize that a lot of people use our quiet little area for learning how to drive. Hell, it’s where I learned how to drive. It only gets a little weird when I’m jogging faster than they are driving. Or when they stop randomly thinking I’m going to jump out onto the road and become a risk to them. 

I think this with every pedestrian I come across. 

Week 2: Workout 1 started off just like all the other workouts and when the jog beep kicked in and said I would be jogging for 90 seconds instead of 1 minute, I swore. 

Aloud. 

In my nice quiet neighbourhood. 

It was not my finest moment.

I did, however, make it up the small incline (the mini hill, if you will) while jogging without stopping. OK so I wanted to stop. I needed to stop. I thought I was going to keel over on someone’s pristine lawn. But alas, I did not. And I made it up the top of the ‘hill’ before the walk beep went off.

Going back to the lawn for a second, I feel like we are barely out of the depths of winter and people are already out gardening. I mean, come on, it’s Calgary. There could be a snowstorm next week and yet a few days of sunshine and everyone’s lawns look freshly mowed and green. 

…ish.

Greenish. More of a browny green.

Week 2: Workout 3 had several things going against it: 

  1. It was Monday afternoon.
  2. It was hot.
  3. It was Monday afternoon.

I was technically supposed to jog every 2nd day so Monday-Wednesday-Friday-Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday BUT I missed Sunday because it was our wedding anniversary on Saturday and well….I didn’t feel like it. For our anniversary, we spent some time at the park playing badminton. We quickly discovered our shuttlecock wasn’t very good so we ventured off to a nearby Sportchek, picked up better shuttlecocks and returned to the park. Then we went out and ended up at a trivia night at a local bar drinking half priced vodka and whiskey. We cleverly named our team (of two people) ‘Anniversary1′ and bagged free drinks from the bar and from a neighbouring table. 

Needless to say I was in no shape to jog on Sunday when I woke up. Unless tired, hungover and preferring to lie on the cold, hardwood floors of the apartment is considered a ‘shape’.

Around 2pm, feeling guilty about not jogging, we decided to venture out. After pumping up our tires and squishing our bikes into the car, we hit the park trail and went biking along a trail instead. 

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View on the trail

And then it was suddenly Monday. 

And hot.

So. Hot.

And I had to jog.

Dammit. 

As it turns out, I was actually fine. More than fine. I was super fine. OK, no, like somewhere in between fine and super fine.

I jogged around during the last workout of the Week 2 training session and was pleasantly surprised when the jog beep told me I was on jog 6 of 6.

I have discovered with the arrival of the sunshine, I have a new jogging nemisis other than the out of breathness, overheating and general achiness that’s become my default setting. Sprinklers. I almost got attacked by a wayward sprinkler on Monday. I narrowly avoided it after briefly considering running through it, arms spread out, soaring like a deranged sweaty eagle regretting some of its most recent life decisions. 

Namely, jogging at 4pm in the afternoon heat.

Oh well, onto Week 3. 

Also, on a side note and unrelated to jogging: I saw this bird in the park, it’s not a goose…what is it?!!! He looks like he’s wearing a little tuxedo. 

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Edit: It’s a pheasant! Thanks Courtney!!

Follow along with me as I go from binge-watching Scandal with gummie bears and Ruffles to running 5K in the Calgary Marathon in the space of 7 weeks supporting Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS). Feel free to sponsor me here or just laugh along at my running journey.

Previously:

The Road To 5K: The Prelude

The Road To 5K: Day 1 

The Road To 5K: Day 2

The Road To 5K: Day 3

Categories
Canada comedy funny humor Korea South Korea

How I Met The Canadian One

April 16th 2015

People always ask me ‘How did you and The Canadian One meet?’, ‘Why is your blog called The Ketchup War?’ and ‘Why is the printer beeping? Can you come fix it?”

To answer that last question first, I have no idea. I’ll turn it off and turn it on and if that doesn’t work, I’ll call IT.

Except it always works. And then people think I know how to fix the printer.

Looking at our beginning, if how The Canadian One and I met was a TV show, it would be full of annoying near-misses that keep the storyline alive and almost-meet-cutes around sweeps week.

How I Met Your Mother The Canadian One

3871_99952386345_2340153_nSeason 1: Spring 2008 – 12 Days In And Still Jetlagged

My second weekend in Korea back in May 2008, I got invited to a poker game at my supervising teacher’s home and it was there that I met a long-haired guy we shall dub Drummer-Boy. He had lived in my apartment and worked at my school the year before and was swiftly beating me at poker. I’ve covered my skills (or lack thereof) at poker previously but the fact that he took all my money is not the point here. I liked Drummer-Boy. He was my first new friend outside of my workmates that I had made, he lived an hour and a half away in Seoul and the subject of how his mother made Teletubbies quickly came up.

Teletubbies!

TELE-TUBBIES!

Moving on.

After a brief chat, we discovered we’d both worked in the same chain of betting shops in the UK around the same time a few years prior. We even figured we may have even spoken on the phone a handful of times as it was often required to call other branches to verify information.

Unstoppable Trio
H, Patrick and Me: An Unstoppable Trio

While living in Cheonan, an hour and a half south of Seoul, I had somehow managed to live in a three bedroom apartment alone for the first few months until Em arrived. Drummer-Boy would often come visit old friends (and new friends) in my town and crash in one of my spare rooms.

We would go on to become firm friends, hanging out in his town (Seoul) and my town (Cheonan). He introduced me to his friend H, from Scotland, who would go on to become my travel and touring buddy (and partner-in-crime) in the years to come.

I, meanwhile, would visit Seoul a lot over the next 2 years, sleeping on H’s floor and spending our evenings watching Drummer-Boy’s band, Angry Bear, play in local bars and clubs.

And that, kids, is how I met…your Uncle Patrick. 

Christmas Tree
My 2009 Christmas Tree

Season 2: Christmas 2009 – A Trip Back To Cheonan

In 2009, Patrick brought his British friend, Sam, to Christmas dinner at our poker buddy’s home. Both Em and I had moved out of Cheonan by this time – having completed our year-long contracts there – and were living separately up nearer to Seoul. We met up and journeyed down to our old home town together, stopping in at a Burger King for a pre-dinner lunch of burgers and fries.

Now, Sam was memorable for three things:

1. He was also drummer but in a different band

2. He was also British, like Patrick

And 3. He insisted on calling me British for the entire night. 

Some weeks later, as I’m leaving a magazine launch party with Em not paying a bit of attention to the band on stage, I suddenly spot my British nemesis from Christmas dinner on stage playing drums with the band. A passing “Hey, isn’t that Sam from Christmas dinner?” and a confirmation that yes it is and we were whisked out of the club and onto somewhere else.

The band Sam was playing with was Bedroom States…

It was their first live show…

And The Canadian One was their lead singer.

MountainSeason 3: Spring 2010: An Album and a Retreat

Between March 2010 and April 2010, I would move back to Cheonan and The Canadian One and I would attend two Angry Bear events in small venues and never meet. 

The first was the Angry Bear first album launch that I attended with H, maybe Em and my date from speed dating a few weeks before. Yes, I went speed dating. Yes, it was awesome. I’ll tell you about it sometime. Actually, there’s a picture of me attached to an article online written by the guy I went on the date with. However, due to a dispute I had with that publication, I’m not linking to it. The guy was nice though. He was there covering the event for an article he was writing and I ended up dating him for a short period of time. For the record, my dispute with the publication and the non-successful continuation of my dates with my speed-date date were unconnected. That ridiculousness would come years later.

IMG_2050The second event both The Canadian One and I attended at the same time was the following month. H and I had signed ourselves up for a Buddhist Temple Retreat and I was up in Seoul to catch the bus with her early the next morning. The retreat seemed like a really good idea at the time however Patrick’s band was playing a gig the night before and since I was up in Seoul for the retreat anyway, we figured, meh, let’s go.

They were playing in a bar behind a coffee shop with a man dressed as a clown tending bar. I want to say it was 80’s night but it was Korea so it’s entirely possible it was just a regular Friday.

As we were early we went off to play darts in the corner and take advantage of the cheap shots that were on offer that night. The band arrived, we stood around with them for a bit, then went off and danced and hung out by ourselves. We were working on drumming up support for our cause to pressure the band into playing an old song of theirs. We loved the song but they rarely played it anymore as it was several years old (although it would be the last song I heard them play live at our leaving-Korea party). Our plan that night basically consisted of us gathering a small crowd to yell the name of the song at the band during every song interval until our plan worked.

After several rounds of drunk people yelling ‘Clementine’ at them, they caved.

Hours before our tour bus left and we were still at the party. Or rather, we were outside the party on the street with one of us throwing up (H) and the other not helping at all (me). At this point the Buddhist retreat was seeming like one of those plans you make for a Saturday night on a Tuesday but when Saturday rolls ‘round you’re thinking ‘Someone cancel, SOMEONE CANCEL, GOOD GOD PLEASE!!’ so you can just stay home.

But we still made it.

I remember being hungover, wearing inappropriate shoes for a hike I wasn’t warned about and ultimately becoming upset and frustrated during a ‘relaxing’ lotus flower making session. 

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My mouth is smiling but my eyes say ‘Kill me’

 

I also recall eating flower pancakes and no, that’s not a misspelling. I do mean flower.

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Flower pancakes…literally. Flowers. 

As it turned out, in that very same bar on that very same night was The Canadian One. He was at the same clown-man-behind-the-bar-show as us and had we hung out with the band more and not been off downing colourful shots and gathering a posse, we would have met.

Season 4: Summer 2010 – The Almost Meet

At the end of July 2010, I had a week off work which coincided with the Jisan Valley Rock Festival in Icheon. H, Em and I all decided we would go and camp for all three days of the festival. We bought our tickets, planned our weekend and I jetted off to Jeju-do for the few days prior and did exciting things like beach drinking and visiting sex parks

sex park
This is the least graphic photo I could find that I took at the sex park

 

When I got back, I was dying of a cold (probably due to the massive amounts of beach drinking I did) and not feeling the tent-sleeping aspect of the trip. I eventually turned up two days late but had missed meeting The Canadian One who’d been there hanging out with Patrick and left a few hours prior to my arrival.

This would also become the weekend everyone referred to as ‘Remember that time Jenny was 2 days late for the musical festival?’

IMG_2045Season 5: Fall 2010 – A Train of Wine & Dance

Skipping forward to November 2010 and Patrick’s band had acquired a fourth member. The fourth member actually joined prior to summer but this was the first opportunity we would have to see them as a new four-piece. When Patrick called to tell me about adding a guitar player, I made fun of him.

“Why would you need two guitar players?”, I said. “Get a keyboard player. Keyboard players are cool.”

H and I were invited to their show and planned to go, however, it did clash with a Wine Train we were going on for H’s birthday. 

‘What’s a Wine Train?’, you say.  

Well, let me tell you.

A Wine Train is tour-guided day of drinking wine on a train, in a vineyard, at some kinda museum type place and then some arts and crafts to round out the day. It ends with more wine and bad dancing on the train home.

IMG_2046
Fairly certain I’m drunk here

 

I found out later that in preparation for us perhaps actually turning up for the show, the band had practiced the song H and I loved with the new guitar player. They had fully explaining our peer pressure antics and general ‘play our goddamn song’ mentality to him.

Patrick, however, theorized that we would not make it due to an overabundance of wine and merriment. 

Patrick knew us very well.

We didn’t make it anywhere near the gig.

In fact, I’m surprised we all made it home at a decent hour.

Season 6: Winter 2010 – Six Seasons and A Movie

Days after the Wine Train, Patrick announced his band would be coming to my town, Cheonan, and playing at our local hangout. I busied myself promoting the band’s gig. First I made my own tiny poster:

angry Bear poster
This was about the size of a large Post-It

 

And then Patrick mailed me some ‘official’ posters.

H was coming down too and we quickly made dinner plans for his band and us and another friend. December 3rd rolls around and I arrived to dinner.

Late.

Meh.

At least I wasn’t two days late for a musical festival kinda late.

When I got there, no food had been ordered, only drinks. I sat down next to Patrick, who was sitting next to their new guitarist:

The Canadian One.

I struck up a conversation with the little information I had: He was a guitarist. He was in a different band. Then he joined Patrick’s band. I was disappointed he was not a keyboard player. I thought perhaps I shouldn’t open with that. And that was literally it.

Our first conversation went something like:

Me: “So, I hear they stole you from another band?”

The Canadian One: “Well, no. I’m still in the other band. And in this band.”

Me: “What’s the other band?”

TCO: “Bedroom States.”

Me: “SAM’S BAND?!!”

TCO: “You know Sam?”

Me: “Yeah, he came to Christmas dinner last year. He kept calling me British.”

TCO: “You’re not British.”

Me: “No.”

We chatted a little about his other band and this new band and then he says: “I was in a band before Bedroom States called Animal Dads.”

And I stopped.

Me: “Wait…what?! I have your album on my iPod….”

And that was true.

As it turns out, waaaaaay back in March 2009 (so over a year and a half prior) Patrick had invited H and I to his friend’s band’s album launch. We went because we’re supportive like that and the bar had a great happy hour deal. Let’s be fair, we were probably more leaning towards the latter reasoning.

We paid to get in, got our albums, drank our drinks, danced our little hearts out and went home. We paid zero attention to the band on stage and moved on with our lives. Back at my apartment the following day, I put my CD into my laptop which automatically copied albums onto my iPod.

And thus I ended up with this album on my iPod.

The band: Animal Dads.

The lead singer: The Canadian One.

After the gig in Cheonan, he offered to buy me a drink for my wonderful ‘postering’ and promoting of the gig. I explained how, due to a misunderstanding, the barman actually bought me flowers as he thought we were promoting my birthday.

I also told him about how I was unimpressed that he wasn’t a keyboard player.

He spoke to Patrick about if I was single and if it was OK if he asked me out.

We chatted some more…

And then later that night….

He asked me out aaaaaaaanddddddd….

I said…

No.

2010 tree
My 2010 Christmas Tree

Series Finale – Part 1: Winter 2010 – Seoul-Mates

Our series finale, 2-parter episode opens on December 4th 2010 at a train station in Cheonan a mere 12 hours after I declined The Canadian One’s date offer.

Patrick, The Bass Player and I are all catching the same train up to Seoul as I was going work at a music festival for the most of the day and night and they lived there. The Canadian One and The Other Guitarist had left earlier in the morning.   

While The Bass Player watched over the guitars, Patrick and I ventured to the ticket line. We were standing in line…waiting…waiting….waiting…and when we got to being the next to be served, an old man cut in front of us like a ninja and was at the ticket desk.

Patrick exchanged some words in Korean with the old man and then sighed, looking forlorn and defeated. He looked down at me: 

“I said ‘no, it’s ok, you can go first, that’s fiiiine’ to him but clearly I don’t do sarcasm very well in Korean because he just thanked me.” – Patrick

IMG_2047The next 12 hours would be a montage of me working at the Rubber Seoul 2010 World AIDS Day Music Festival (a festival I would later go on to run for two years). Included would be: 

My friend and I modelling the small beaded doll pins we were selling.

Being paid to stop trying to sell tickets to a group of people:

“Stickers are $1? If we pay you $5 and take no stickers, will you go away?” – Guys

“YES!” – Us

Me dressing as a condom and trying desperately not to be knocked over by drunk people. 

No seriously. 

I can’t find a picture. 

But drunk people are mean. They kept trying to trip me up! 

I had memorable conversation while handing out free condoms (dressed in normal clothes, my condom-costume hour was up). I hand one to a girl, who turns to look at her date, looks back at me and says:

“No, thanks.” 

And hands me the condom back.

And then finally, I vividly remember dancing with my friend to ‘We No Speak Americano’ by Yolanda Be Cool at the after-party and spotting The Canadian One and Patrick standing nearby. The Canadian One asked if he could buy me a drink and I said yes. I told him about my speed dating adventure from earlier in the year and we decided to pretend we were speed dating. 

We sat opposite each other at a table.

We took it seriously.

And then we got kicked out of the bar because it was 3am and they were closing so we all headed home in our different directions.

To be continued….  

xmas eve
Christmas Eve dinner at a friend’s

Season Finale – Part 2: Christmas Day 2010 – First Date? 

We montage through the next few weeks. 

Given the 1.5 hour distance between us, The Canadian One and I would chat briefly and intermittently on Facebook and via text. Then it became less intermittent and more frequent. And then it was no longer brief and no longer intermittent and was pretty much taking up all of our spare time.

And here’s where the coincidental only-on-TV thing happens: The Canadian One was supposed to head to Ireland – where I am from and where he had never been – for a wedding over Christmas while I was off to sunny Malaysia with H for some winter beach time. A misspelling in his name ended with his ticket being cancelled last minute and he ended up spending Christmas in Seoul (while his friends jetted off for the wedding). Meanwhile I found myself in Seoul on Christmas Day to see a ballet and to fly out to Malaysia with H early on Boxing Day morning.

maylasia bound
Me and H, Malaysia 2010

The Canadian One and I had arranged to meet for a drink near where he lived after I had said goodbye to my friends. After a miscommunication about which train station to meet at, we eventually located each other and headed to a bar and then to his place to watch a Christmas movie we’d earlier voted on.

He’d said Gremlins.

I’d said Die Hard.

Clearly we both have the same idea of what a Christmas movie is.

But we watched Gremlins.

He gave me a one half of a small penguin magnet set as a Christmas gift as I’d mentioned my favourite animals were penguins. I put it in my purse and it travelled to Malaysia with me as I flew out the very next morning with H.

He kept the matching one on his fridge.

A year and a half later, it would be reunited with The Canadian One’s penguin and now they live together on our fridge holding up our wedding photo from exactly a year ago today. 

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Our Wedding Day: April 16th 2015 – Held up by penguin magnets and a fluffy pineapple

It’s funny how some things just work out. 

Categories
Apps Canada comedy funny humor

The Road To 5K: The Prelude

The road to 5k copy-2

I’ve never run in my life.

Not once.

Not ever.

I used to see kids running around on the playground when I worked in Korea and think, ‘I couldn’t run like that if a bear was chasing me’. And now that I live in Alberta and the chances of an actual bear chasing me is significantly more likely than on the streets of Seoul, I STILL think the exact same thing.

‘I couldn’t run if a fucking bear was chasing me. I would just get eaten.’

So, on Sunday, with The Canadian One at work, I decided to change all that and take up running.

I downloaded the C25K app on my phone (because it was free) and…well, that’s all I did that day apart from the three episodes of Scandal I watched. Oh and that one episode of Law & Order: SVU.

On Monday I was ill and home from work and by the time Tuesday rolled around, I’d kinda abandoned my spur of the moment idea only to have it reawakened on Wednesday.

I saw an ad for the Calgary Marathon and, though at the time I was struggling to breathe due to period pain at the time, I decided I would sign up.

So basically, in a nutshell, I’ve decided to run a marathon.

The Calgary Marathon.

Ok, not the full marathon.

Just the 5K.

But come on, I’m planning to go from binge-watching Scandal with gummie bears and Ruffles to running 3.1 miles in the space of 7 weeks.

If anything, this is going to be entertaining to witness.

When I texted my brother to tell him I was going to run a 5K, he laughed. And laughed. And laughed a bit more. And then gave me some advice.

He’s run the full Dublin, London and Paris marathons and the advice he gave seemed sound.

Training starts today so I’ll update you on how it goes. I’ve decided to add a little incentive to it so I actually do it so I signed up to the Scotiabank Charity Challenge. I chose to support the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS), who, not only do fantastic work in animal rescue, they are also the people we adopted Pickles from a year ago!

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(You can see more pictures of her on her Instagram: @picklesatnoon if you’re into cute cat pictures)

Feel free to sponsor me HERE or just follow along on my progress/downfall (we’ll delete as appropriate later) here.

‘This should be interesting’, she says, typing on her laptop, eating a handful of Ruffles and contemplating rum, ‘Very interesting.’

Read More: 

The Road To 5K: Day 1

The Road To 5K: Day 2

Categories
Canada comedy diet funny humor internet

The Energy Crisis Is Over!

You will all be happy to know the energy crisis of 2016 has been resolved.

The Red Bull energy crisis that is.

You see, I eat a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sesame-free and preservative-free diet (not by choice) and, because The Canadian One is diabetic, we also eat low-carb. Salad. Lots of colorful vegetables. Salad. Fruit. Grains. Salad. Chickpeas. Lentils. Did I mention salad?

Given this, I do not feel bad about my 2 Red Bull a week habit.

Not at all.

Not one little bit.  

The Canadian One: “Do you want a coffee?”

Me: “No. I don’t. I wish coffee came cold…and carbonated…and came in a tropical flavor.”

The Canadian: “That’s a completely different drink you are describing. That’s not coffee.”

Me: “No. It’s Red Bull. I want a Red Bull.”

Now, a few weeks ago, I started to noticed stock of Yellow Red Bull dwindling in the local Walmart. Thinking nothing of it except maybe Wally’s was not stocking it anymore, I wandered to the 7-11 across the street to discover they were sporting just the original and no-sugar versions.

A week later, I noticed the convenience store in my work building had only original flavor and a few color flavors and Shoppers had ONLY colored flavors.

I mentioned to The Canadian One I thought something was going on in Calgary with the Red Bull and I started to get suspicious.

A few days later, I mentioned it again.

And then again.

And then last week, I went into full ‘WHAT IS HAPPENING THE RED BULL??’ mode when Shoppers’ designated Red Bull fridge was completely empty and Safeway only had 8 Green Red Bulls in stock.

Green.

Like seriously, what bullshit.

Green.

Who drinks Green Red Bull? Nobody. That’s why it was the only flavor in stock. It’s like Blue flavor. Why does it exist?

So The Canadian suggested asking Reddit. He loves Reddit. My only interaction with Reddit has been him showing me things on Reddit on his phone.

A quick tutorial on Reddit later and my question is up online.

Lo and behold, within 10 hours, I had heard from someone who works in the building of the old distributors and someone who works for the new distributors, someone who got suspicious like me and emailed Red Bull HQ, several people who had noticed it but not to the point of investigating it, and a bunch of usual suspects complaining about Red Bull in general (bad taste, unhealthy, blah blah blah) that I kinda just glossed over.
 
Turns out the changeover to the new distributors did not go as smoothly as hoped and there was a supply problem in the west of Canada. The problem has since been resolved and Red Bull shall be winging its way back into stores very shortly.

My excitement at solving this mystery was slightly dampened when The Canadian One pointed out that at any point in the past three weeks, I could have solved this with one question to any of the staff members of any of those stores by asking:

‘Hey, so what’s going on with the Red Bull shortage?’

But my way was more fun.

Now to solve the next mystery: Why were there 4 police cars and an ambulance outside the Wendy’s yesterday?!!

Categories
Canada comedy entertainment funny humor

Learning to Drive, the Calgarian Way

Photo by: depositphotos.com/razvanphoto

Here’s the thing about being a pedestrian in Calgary, it takes forever to get anywhere. For example, I had a physiotherapy appointment on Fridays after work and while it would only take 13 minutes in a car to get there, it takes me a 15 minute walk, plus a 48 minute bus ride and then another 10 minute walk and so I had to leave work an hour early to make it on time. Now, that’s not to say Calgary doesn’t have a good transit system, it does, and you can get pretty much anywhere…although it may take a bus, a train, some walking and another bus, you will get there. Plus all of Calgary Transit workers are, without a doubt, lovely, but there gets to the point where you’re walking from the bus stop to IKEA along an unpaved road in the snow, uphill and you think, I’ve gotta learn how to drive.

The Canadian One and I don’t drive. He never learned and I have had lessons, owned a car and held the different learner’s permits in two different countries and yet still, I never got my full license.

And so we started.

1389680_87339321We quickly obtained our learner’s permits (my third in a different country in 10 years, I feel like I’m collecting them!) and set about signing up to driving school. We started with our classroom lessons (surrounded by children who weren’t old enough to drink) back in February and then  hit the road with spring-time positivity.

My first time out I almost hit a pedestrian. Like came-so-close-we-could-almost-say-I-did-hit-him. We were driving along and I stopped suddenly. ‘Suddenly’ as in I jammed on the brake, the car made a horrible eeeeeeeeeeeek sound and jolted to a stop. Thing flew off the back seat and landing with a thump on the floor. I looked up and there was the pedestrian, on the pedestrian crossing with the lights flashing, staring at me. He did not look happy, to say the least. And I, well, I was alive, he was alive, ok so I was stopped in the middle of a crossroads, my tires barely touching the white lines painted on the road but still, an achievement in not hitting the pedestrian.

I’m now obsessed with pedestrians. What are they doing? Where are they going? Even the ones just walking along the sidewalk with no intentions of crossing the road, I stare at them, their minds could change at any moment. Like the cars on the highway that don’t signal. What are they thinking?

Having been a pedestrian all my life, I’m used to cars not giving much of an indication of their intention. Take for example recently, when crossing the street on a red light, two cars from a perpendicular road took a fast left on their red light, almost running me over and when I jumped out of the way, I found a woman, on my side of the road, pulling up onto my pedestrian crossing and trying to do a lane change to the right lane by pulling forward and backing into the other lane in front of the car stopped before the pedestrian crossing. I walked back to my side of the road and waited for the next red light go around, I wanted no part in this madness as I felt there was a good chance I might actually be killed by one of these people.

But driving almost makes me miss being a pedestrian. Cars lane change, turn, cut in front all without signalling. They beep at me for going the correct speed on a highway even though I’m in a car with a giant STUDENT DRIVER sign on the top. There are a minute few who show patience and understanding toward me. They wait for me. They stop for me. They keep their distance from me and don’t panic me with their cutting across two lanes of traffic and appearing like magic in front of me. They slow to allow me to merge but of course, then I panic and wonder why they’re slowing and so I slow down too.

I can parallel park, but can’t turn into a parking lot space. I can drive in a straight line but slow when I have to change lanes. I stop for stop signs, yield signs, bunnies on the road, pedestrians half a mile away and expensive cars that look like they have stupid drivers in them. I can back out of a parking space like a pro but have trouble figuring out how to start the car. I can turn right but not left and it took me a full hour to stop turning into the wrong side of the road in my first lessons. It’s not my fault Canadians drive on the wrong side of the road!

The one thing I do like about driving in Canada though: automatic cars. Having learned in both Ireland and England in manual cars, and spent more time causing small traffic jams on tiny residential roads, the ability to just stop and go as you please is reason in itself to learn here. My mother still regales people with the story of how, when I was 23, I stalled the car so many times on our residential street with a plethora of cars building up behind us that in the end I just stopped the car, got out and she had to shuffle into the driver’s seat and take over.

I do miss my manual car a bit though. It was a white Opal Corsa I’d named Fleelo, after my inability to pronounce the word ‘phyllo’. My brother had a blue car called The Escape From Fleelo.

1390189_28082882Fleelo was dented on both sides. Once from me misjudging the distance between the pillar in my mother’s driveway and the side of my car and the other was caused by my brother. He denies it. But there was a dent where there was no dent before. There was a blue streak of paint inside the dent. There was a white smattering of flakes sprinkled on the left back bumper of his car. I’m not a CSI expert but…well, you can guess where my thinking went.

I’d forgotten about my car when I moved to Korea, having given it to my mother to look after. She had, after all, driven it to England for me and then come back and got it and drove it back to Ireland after I decided to embark to the Land of the Morning Calm. I was walking home from the mall one day after my return to Ireland 4 years ago and saw Fleelo drive past me, an unfamiliar driver steering her wheels.

I walked into my mother’s house, demanding to know how Fleelo got into the hands of this person to be told she’d been sold to a guy down the road for 100 Euros. Shocked and saddened that Fleelo was gone, my mother couldn’t help but point out:

“You’ve been home for a week…didn’t you notice your car not here?”

No. No I did not.

Hopefully things go a little better with my second car!

Categories
Canada comedy entertainment humor

It’s here…The Snow…It’s finally here…

IMG_9295

So I wake up this morning to this text from a friend from work:

‘Did you look outside yet??’

I had not, although given that she had texted me I had assumed that my iPhone app was not incorrect and it had indeed snowed last night. Having spent some of my still-in-bed-yet-awake morning listening to the cat meowing loudly at the window for several minutes in sporadic bursts for about an hour, I had come to the conclusion that he’d spotted a fly / bird / fluff / a person walking half a mile away and was wanting freedom to give chase.

I was wrong.

I had also thought when my friend text me that it was just going to be a little snow. A small smattering of flakes here and there causing a fluffy white yet still specks of green visible on the ground.

I was wrong.

IMG_9307

My response to the text was immediate:

‘OMFG!’

I’d been obsessing about the snow coming for  a few weeks. In the form of ‘Winter is Coming‘ terror, it’s been almost three weeks since I busted out my hat and gloves to start wearing daily. When people were wearing flip-flops on the train, I was next to them in my fluffy Costco coat, blue hat and gloves. One day my supervisor at work told me it’d been snowing near where he lives, but I didn’t believe him. The Canadian One came home from band practice one afternoon to proclaim it was snowing, but I could see no evidence of such in the outside world.

I returned to waiting. Checking the weather each day at work. No snow. Hot weather. I began to wonder about the Chinooks, those mystical winds everyone told me about before I moved to Calgary.

‘Oh, you’re moving to Calgary? You’ll be fine, they have Chinooks.’ – said EVERY. CANADIAN. I. MET. IN. KOREA.

Was I in a big Chinook? Was this a Chinook?

Me: “How hot is it during Chinooks?”

Girl who sits next to me: “People wear t-shirts.”

Me: “Would I wear a t-shirt?”

Girl: “You’d probably take off your coat.”

People were wearing t-shirts and shorts on Thursday, I thought. Maybe it was exaggerated. Maybe there was no snow in October.

And then it happened.

The snow came.

Does anyone remember EXACTLY seven months ago (plus a day) when we moved here and it snowed and it was The Most Snow I’d Ever Seen?! This is almost the same amount of snow.

I posted a picture of this morning’s snow on Facebook and immediately got:

‘Oh no Jenny, your greatest fear realised.’ – My Irish Friend in Korea (the one with the Leprechaun baby!)

BUT alas, The Canadian One returned from Wal-Mart and announced that a) we needed to get our driver’s licenses and b) it’s not that cold outside and we should go outside and play. Quickly followed by him asking several times if I was sure I wanted to go outside and yes, I do need to wear gloves.

Before we ventured into the outside world
Before we ventured into the outside world, Louie’s obsession with paper alive and well in the background

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We made a snowman!
We made a snowman!

SNOW!
SNOW!

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We introduce Louie to the snow...he hates it!
We introduce Louie to the snow…he hates it!

Also this week, I survived my first six months at work (celebrating the six-month-mark with breaking a federal law), discovered Louie likes pom-poms and pipe cleaners, Nenshi is still mayor, I learned why one should never ever, not ever, not even once in their lifetime make caramel apples in the slow cooker and I decided no Nanowrimo for me this year. Well, maybe….

Any advice for an Irish girl’s first winter in Canada? Someone’s already suggested vodka…It’s top of the list of survival tactics so far!

Categories
Canada Cooking entertainment food humor random

My First Canadian Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Background
Thanksgiving Background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So all week I’ve been battling a probably-not-pink-eye-but-definitely-some-kind-of-eye-infection in both eyes. Well, it started in one eye and then spread to the other. The girl who sits next to me at work had an eye infection and the girl on the other side of me threw up in the middle of the work day so really, there was no hope for me. After four days of pondering and wearing glasses (I hate wearing glasses), I relented and went to the pharmacy while The Canadian One was in the ER…different story, he’s fine. The pharmacist told me ‘it’s not pink eye but it’s some kinda infection so we’ll treat it like pink eye’.

Which in a roundabout way brings me to last Sunday, My First Canadian Thanksgiving. I’d spent most of my day Freezer Cooking while The Canadian One was at band practice.

photo (52)

In the evening, we headed off to dinner at The Canadian One’s co-worker’s house for a glorious Thanksgiving dinner. We met his co-worker’s lovely wife, fluffy dog (no seriously, I say fluffy but  what I actually mean is more-fluffy-than-anything-I’ve-ever-seen), his parents, his aunts, his uncle, his cousins and his adorable grandmother. This was the first time I’d met any of these people and opted to remember how they were related to each other as opposite to remembering their actual names.

His grandmother: “It’s easy to remember my name, everyone just calls me grandma.”

I’d spent some time googling Thanksgiving and learning what is traditional and what is not. Sitting down at the table after two glasses of wine with my mason jar of water, I surveyed the colorful table with glee. There was everything I’d read about online. Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy the color of apples (I didn’t understand it, our gravy in Ireland is brown but meh, it tasted great) and cranberry sauce. The sweet potatoes were mashed in a square dish with melted marshmallows on top and had a sugary taste. There was a small debate over calling them yams or sweet potatoes and I realized that a ‘yam’ and a ‘sweet potato’ are the same thing. Earlier in the day, I’d sent The Canadian One to Safeway with a list for my day’s Freezer Cooking bonanza and he came back with a yam and not a sweet potato. I’d made fun of him. I’d always though sweet potatoes were purple. Yams are white. Eggs here are white too. Canada’s weird.

Moving on.

The best part of the dinner was the pie and drinking water from mason jars. I’ll come back to the mason jar thing in a moment, lemme tell you about the pie. It was pumpkin pie. And ohhhh it was glorious. Soft and delicious, without an overabundance of ‘pumpkinness‘. I‘ve not have much experience with pumpkin. I’ve never carved a pumpkin. We don’t eat pumpkin at home. The only pie I’d ever eaten is apple (and blueberry, but that was only recently and because I’d baked it).

The stuffing is also worth an honorary mention. I maintain my grandmother made The Best Stuffing In The World, and I would bet you my cat that everyone else in the world thinks the same thing about their own grandmother’s stuffing, but this stuffing was pretty good too.

English: My own file, freely available
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On to the mason jars, living in Ireland, England and South Korea, I’d never come across a mason jar in my lifetime up until this summer in Wal-Mart. I saw all these jars in a crate for $10 (or something like that) and made The Canadian One buy them and carry them home. Throughout the summer I’ve been using them to store dry ingredients and random coins for the laundry machine. Some Splenda here, some baking soda there, a bunch of quarters in one jar, a couple of dollar coins in the other. Since my discovery of drinking from a mason jar, I’ve been using them as cocktail shakers, which seems like a natural progression from drinking water. My drink of choice: Lime Vodka: three shots of vodka, three shots of lime juice, a few ice cubes and fill the rest of the jar with water (about three more shotfuls), shake, shake, shake and pour into a small glass with ice. You should get three drinks out of it. In theory. I got two as the second time I went back to the fridge to pour my drink, I just stuck the straw in the mason jar and abandoned my glass.

On Monday, I had my second Thanksgiving dinner. I’m told it’s a usual thing to have two, one on the Sunday and one on the Monday. We hit up The Canadian One’s childhood-friends-we-lived-with-when-we-first-moved-here’s house to enjoy the second turkey coma of the weekend. I regaled stories from my first Thanksgiving the day before and asked if certain things were typically ‘Canadian’. There was no comparison between Sunday and Monday’s dinners. Both were unique and full of new and unusual yumminess. Monday’s featured a stuffing made from what looked like bread rolls of some kind (you know what, I’ll ask and report back), a pink beetroot and carrot side dish, purple cabbage, garlic mashed potatoes that were creamy and delicious with delicate hints of garlic as opposite to an overpowering taste I had expected when told they were garlic flavored, and a wonderful oh-my-god baked acorn squash with sugar and butter (only butter for The Canadian One).

Acorn squash
I Acorn squash (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The best part of the dinner was the acorn squash and the second pumpkin pie in 24 hours. This pumpkin pie was slightly different this time with a pecan topping and a slightly sweeter taste. I slid off as pecans are one of those nuts that remind me of beondegi (silkworm pupae, a popular snack in Korea I was once forced to try while out drinking with my friend’s not-a-date friend, his father and his father’s business associates…that in itself is a story for another day) and I just can’t eat them. By ‘can’t’, I mean ‘won’t’.

And the acorn squash. It was sugary like a dessert but eaten for dinner. Like. A. Dessert. But. Dinner.

As far as I know, it was just sugar, butter and squash baked in the oven. Maybe when I’m asking about the stuffing, I’ll ask about that too.

Just for you.

Also, as an add-on, I had my reservations about eating the beetroot. Lemme tell you why: a few months ago, I ate beetroot at a French dinner in South Korea (!) for the first time in five years and the following day my pee turned pink. I thought I was dying. That this was death. In the form of pink pee. To make a long story short, beetroot makes your pee pink. And vitamin B tablets make your pee bright day-glow yellow. And an antibiotic I was on once made my pee green. No s%*t, frikkin’ green!

Moving on.

Green!

Moving on for real.

Anyone else do anything interesting last weekend? What did you eat for Thanksgiving dinner? And what do you do with your mason jars?!

UPDATE 10/21: So, I got a text regarding the stuffing and the acorn squash. I was correct, the stuffing was made with sour dough bread (and kale…I did not guess kale) and the acorn squash is all butter and sugar goodness. Recipe: Half squash, bake for 40 minutes at 400F, add butter and brown sugar (or no sugar if you’re The Canadian One) and pop back into the oven until melted.

Categories
comedy entertainment funny humor

Ten Things About Living In Canada

People often ask me ‘what it’s like to move to Canada?’ and ‘is is any different to Ireland?’ and to them I respond with ‘yes, it is very different but it’s also very similar.’

The thing about moving to Korea was I expected things to be different. It’s a different language, different culture, different food, different hierarchy and social structure but with Canada, I had expected it to be pretty much the same as Ireland. Only colder, obviously. And with more snow. A lot more snow. I cannot stress enough how much snow I think we’re going to get. It’s like all the snow in the world…you know, I’ll stop there, there’s a high chance this post may just turn into you witnessing me freak out about the snow.

Moving on.

Some of the differences I have discovered so far:

English: 3 ring binder (opened)
English: 3 ring binder (opened) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Three Ring Binders

Why does it need three rings? In Ireland we have two. And our hole punching devices are smaller. Here they’re ginormous and heavy and expensive.

2. Cars Not Trying To Kill Me

This isn’t so much an Irish thing as a Korean thing but the cars stop here. Lemme tell you a story, my first two weeks here, I never went anywhere without The Canadian One. Then we both got jobs, but his started the week before mine. On his first day at work, I decided to venture to the local Sobeys in search of food. I came to a crossing that had two small turning lanes. To describe it in more detail for those who are thinking, ‘what?!’, there was a tiny turning road, small island of pavement, main road, small island of pavement and then another tiny turning road.

I stood and waited by the first tiny turning road for the lights to change for me to cross. A car slowed down. I didn’t cross. He kept driving. Another slowed then drove on, then another, then another and still I didn’t cross. I noticed all the cars were backing up into a small traffic jam when one of the guys in a pick-up truck rolls down his window and yells out: “Why don’t you cross now? Go on.”

He stopped and I crossed.

I didn’t realize the cars just stop for me all by themselves without any light situation happening.

Also, while we’re talking about the lights, a red hand and a white man are confusing.

Period.

English: Pisum sativum var. macrocarpum (snow ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. The Language

For some reason, at work, people just don’t understand my name sometimes:

Me: “Hi, thank you for calling ***, my name is Jenny, how can I help you?”

Woman: “TENISHA?!”

Me: “No, Jenny.”

Woman: “Denny?!”

Me: “Jenny.”

Woman: “Oh…”

***

Me: “Thank you for calling ***. My name is Jenny, how can I help?”

Man: “Hello Sandy.”

***

Woman: “What’s your name? Debbie?”

Me: “Jenny.”

Woman: “Debbie?”

Me: “Jenny.”

Woman: “Debbie?”

Me: “JENNY!”

Woman: “I had a friend named Debbie.”

Me: “…That’s nice…”

***

There also differences in words I use versus words Canadians use:

Me: “We need clingfilm.”

The Canadian One: “What?”

Me: “Clingfilm. Like…it’s…you know, the plastic stuff, we put it on food, it sticks…clingfilm!!”

Him: “Ohhhh, Saran Wrap.”

Me: “That’s stupid. Mine makes more sense.”

***

Me, while discussing vegetables with The Canadian One: “You know we don’t call snow peas snow peas in Ireland. We call them mangetout.”

Him: “What?!”

***

There are others, like:

Black Sacks v Garbage Bags

Crazy Golf v Mini Golf

A Dollar v A Loonie

Two Dollars v A Toonie

ANY Fizzy Drink – Pop

Calgary v Cowtown

Beanie v Toque (I just flat out refuse to say that…)

Two Creams, Two Sugars at Tim Hortons v Double Double

Bathroom v Washroom

Zed v Zee

Police v Mountie (but not ALL police are called Mounties, just the actual Mounties, all the others are just called the police…)

Petrol v Gas

Ladybird v Ladybug

Me: “Louie is hunting a ladybird!”

The Canadian One: “You mean a ladybug? Was that a mistake or do you really call it that?”

Me: “It’s a ladybird!”

The Canadian One: “Ours makes more sense.”

Electricity v Hydro (this one took me a while to figure out but I managed to avoid asking anyone, I just kinda got it from context)

Canadian Revenue Agency was another one I didn’t get.

Lady: “I’d like to pay my CRA bill.”

Me: “I don’t know what that is. What’s CRA?”

Lady: “Like, my taxes.”

Pause.

Me :”Ohhh, I’m not Canadian, sorry, I didn’t know what that was.”

Lady: “Ohhhh, I would be like the IRS in America.”

Me: “I’m not American.”

Lady: “Well, I’m sure they have something like that where you’re from.”

And then she went on to explain in more detail about the CRA. I didn’t have the heart to tell her in Ireland we don’t submit our taxes like they do here. It’s a whole new concept for me. I once had the British government send me a cheque to Ireland for $12 because they owed me tax. I had no idea. In Ireland and the UK, it’s automatic. We don’t touch it. It’s all done for us. Here, well, here I’m gonna have to hire someone cos really, I just have no idea what I’m doing. I’m not even sure when the tax year ends!

A Cisco 7960G IP telephone
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4. The Phone Number Situation

When I first started work, three weeks after getting to Canada, I didn’t realize that to call out of my own city, I needed to dial long distance. Neither, it turns out, did my trainer realize it would be important to teach me this information.

Me, while trying to dial a number on the screen: “How do you dial not Calgary?”

My Trainer: “Dial 9.”

Me: “I know but how do I dial the number?”

Her: “You press 9 then the number.”

Me: “No, not Calgary.”

My Trainer looks confused.

Me: “How do I dial this number? 416?”

Her: “You dial 9 then 1 then the number…”

She pauses.

Her: “OOhhhhh yeah, you’re not from Canada. For long distance, you dial 1…sorry! I forget you’re not from here!”

***

I read out a number to a customer. After I hang up the phone, my trainer comes up to me.

Her, really awkwardly: “In Canada or North America rather, when we read out a phone number, we usually read it 3 numbers, 3 then 4. To sound more Canadian…you…should read it out like that.”

***

Me, later to The Canadian One: “Do Canadian’s really read out numbers 3-3-4?”

Him: “Yes. Why, how were you reading it out?”

Me: “In blocks of two.”

***

Blank map of Ireland
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5. Some People Have No Idea Where I’m From

Woman: “You don’t sound like you’re from PEI.”

Me: “No, I’m Irish.”

Pause.

Me: “From Ireland.”

Pause.

Me: “The country.”

***

Me: “I’m from Ireland.”

Girl: “Oh, Texas?”

Me: “…No…”

***

6. The Obsession with Tim Hortons

I don’t get it. I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.

7. People Are Really Nice

I’d heard, before moving here, that people were really nice in Canada. Really friendly and open. When I got here and realised that was true, I immediately became suspicious that the nice people were secretly out to get me. So far so good but I’m still on-guard.

8. People On Public Transport Are Weird All Around The World

train station
(Photo credit: nolifebeforecoffee)

It doesn’t matter where I’ve been to, what mode of transportation I’m on, or what language anyone is speaking, there will always be at least one person on every train/plane/bus that is just plain freaky.

Like the Korean man that does yoga on my train in the mornings.

The Vietnamese man that gets on and yells at other commuters for the full three stops it takes for him to get to his destination. Every. Day.

The woman who sat near me, opened a can of spaghetti (and not a pull-ring type either), pulled out a metal fork and ate it all.

The man who sat opposite me while he and his wife shared a yogurt with their fingers and then threw the empty carton on the floor.

A man who sat next to a guy in front of me with a hot dog and told him how much he liked his (the other passenger’s) hot dog.

The guy who sat in front of me, turned in his seat and stared directly at me for the entire 10 minute train ride.

The time The Canadian One had to get off the train and fill in a witness statement about a punch-up he witnessed between a group of kids and an old man who started on them.

9. Complaining

I find I’m more willing to complain a lot more to companies about their behavior here. Maybe it’s because I expect more of a customer service experience from them or maybe it’s because they just don’t do what they say they will and when I know I’m right I make sure I tell them!

For example, last week, I read that if we bought 100 Aviva Strips for The Canadian One’s diabetic monitor, we’d get 150 Airmile points and a free monitor…and I would in turn be able to use those points to claim my free year’s subscription to Reader’s Digest, my ultimate goal.

Off he went with his Airmiles card, Safeway card and shopping list.

He returns with 21 Airmiles, no monitor and 100 Aviva Strips.

The following day, I send him back down to show them the flyer and claim our points.

They tell him he needs to BUY the monitor AND the strips to get the points.

BUY the monitor?

BUY the FREE monitor?!

I called their customer service HQ after failing to come to an agreement with the store’s customer service.

Customer service HQ called the store, then called me back to tell me it was on a different brand. I responded with “No no, that is also a promotion. MY promotion I’M referring to is underneath that promotion on the same page.” The guy called the store again then called me back to tell me I was correct and I’ve to go back down to the store and claim my free monitor and 150 points.

Off The Canadian One went and back he came triumphant with 161 Airmile points and a free monitor.

Other examples of companies that annoyed me:

Brita – who sent me a $10 voucher as the Brita jug we bought was faulty and kept spilling water everywhere.

P&G – who sent me a free razor and other assorted goodies after my experience of buying a faulty razor from them that I couldn’t return to the store.

10. Points Cards mean Free Sh*t

English: I, Myke Waddy took this photo, Edmont...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Korea, they love love LOVE their points cards but they’re all in Korean and we couldn’t take advantage of them. Here, however, I’m all over this points card situation. I collect Airmiles, Starbucks stars, Plum Rewards, Shopper’s Optimum points, Sobey’s points, whatever it is that Safeway have a card for and Scene points. I like free stuff and Canada is the LAND of free stuff.

As a side note, The Canadian One says my job is also all about free stuff and is kinda like a Kindergarten. We get Ice Cream Days when we have bad weeks, they give us free coffee throughout the day (a new initiative), points when were are good that we can use to buy things with from a catalogue (The Canadian One tells me it’s akin to giving stars to young children), we have things like Pizza Friday or BBQ Day, we go on field trips to mini golf and get prizes for just showing up (a $25 gift card for a mall!) and there’s a person who dresses as a fluffy bear and hands out gifts each month.

Ok, when you look at it like that, he may be correct…but I still stand by my ‘cling film’ word. As The Canadian One says, sometimes words in British English are just more literal…and make a lot more sense.

The Canadian One, having proofread this article: “A punch-up? Is that a fight? You should add that to your list too.”

Categories
Canada random

Sooooo, this happened…

Sooooo, I turned 29 at the weekend and this happened:

My Ring

And I said YES!!

 

Categories
comedy funny humor

A Canadian Bridge…

For all those who missed it on our Facebook page yesterday, it’s been raining BUCKETS here in Calgary. Buckets! And some quick-thinking Canadian came up with this bridge outside the train station to facilitate the small river of rainwater that divided the pedestrian pathway from the entrance to the train station:

a canadian bridge

And yes, I climbed over it…but with The Canadian One’s help. He thought I’d go splash!

 

Categories
comedy funny humor Korea

Sometimes I Wonder If I Ever Really Left Korea

It’s been eight weeks since The Canadian One and I swapped The Land of The Morning Calm for The Land of The Maple Leaf but there are some mornings when I wake up just a little teeeeeny bit confused about which country I actually live in.

Take my 5 minute journey from our house to the train station in the mornings:

photo (16)

photo (17)photo (20)

On the train I also pass a bunch of Korean stores, a Korea hair salon, Bow Bul Go Gi restaurant and Insadong BulGoGi restaurant. Oh and that E-Mart is exactly like our mart in Korea. EXACTLY. It’s weird. And freaky…Mainly freaky.

Then take our lunch at the weekend:

photo (18) photo (19)

There’s also a Korean man who owns our mini-mart (he’s from Gwang-Ju and watches Korean soap operas on a small TV under the cash register), a Korean man who owns the liquor store (and sells Soju for $10 which should be a crime) and there were a bunch of Korean youths playing football in the car park opposite our house last week all yelling at each other in Korean. I felt like busting out my teacher-stare and my Kindergarten ‘shut up and be quiet’ in Korean phrases.

It’s sometimes hard to remember we DID actually leave Korea.

We did…

…Didn’t we?!

Categories
Canada comedy entertainment funny humor timewasters

Tuesday Timewasters: The Update – 05/14

1117095_18716019So some of you may have been wondering where I’ve been for two weeks…and some of you may not have noticed at all that I’ve been gone…but alas, I have been gone…

And you know who I blame?

The Bank.

Uh huh, that’s right, I’ve been going to Bank School.

Uh huh.

Me.

The girl who got an A in Math at school but whose mother thought she cheated on the exam. Still to this day I have no idea how I managed to even pass the exam. I mean, just today at Bank School I added $6 and $7.50 together using my fingers.

And yet still, I landed a job at a bank and am working my way through the four weeks of intensive, rigorous training on all things Bank.

It’s been all computer-this and credit cards-that, interest rates-this and account fees-that, blah blah blah. There’ve been exams, three in fact (90%, 100% and 77%…frikkin‘ 77%…urgh I was so annoyed…even as I write this I feel like I’m reliving seeing my grade…argh, though a ‘pass’ was 75% so at least I didn’t fail). There’s been booklets to read at home. Online exercises to complete. Compliance courses with fancy names like ‘Anti-Money Laundering’ and ‘Privacy Code’ to do and receive a certificate in. My certificates promise I won’t launder money or discuss bank-like stuff outside of the bank.

I will say this, man, having access to people’s accounts , it’s lead to me believe one thing: People spend their money on weird sh*t…and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

Also the only time I miss being a teacher is when I’m sitting a test.

Tests suck.

Moving on.

So, to give you a quick, 14-day run down of what I’ve been up to, here are some helpful photos…as words are boring and pictures are awesome!

I discovered Canada has a wide range of vodkas on offer and decide I’m gonna like living here:

IMG_6672

And I also discover there’s a drive thru for everything (even banking!):

IMG_6833

We stumbled upon this and I started to get concerned…

IMG_6853

Then the snow hit and I made my first snow angel:

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While The Canadian One got trapped on some ice on a playground:

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I drank raspberry beer…Raspbeery…I made that up, I have no idea what the name of this beer was:

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I tried Ketchup Chips…(and root beer…)…No…no…no no no….

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I released a book…and having broken my nail yesterday, I mourn its loss…it’s so pretty in this photo!

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I made steak and roast potatoes and asparagus and we thought it was awesome…

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We stayed with friends with cats…And The Canadian One dubbed himself The Cat King…he just lies down and they come to him…it’s weird.

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I found this at Walmart and promptly ate the entire thing…cold…with a fork…from the tin…while sitting on the floor…

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The impending house-move prompted our first ever trip to IKEA…Now I understand that 30 Rock episode soooo much better: (oh and don’t buy IKEA knives…don’t say I didn’t warn you)

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We finally moved into our new apartment…and discovered some issues…

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But then we pulled it all together and now it’s starting to feel more like home…

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And that’s what you missed on ME!

UPDATE: Having JUST posted this to our Facebook, my newsfeed, when refreshed, looked like this:

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Something looks terribly familiar…don’tcha think?

Still got time to waste? For more Timewasters, check out:

Categories
Canada humor Photography

10 Days in T-Dot – Quote Friday – 03/05

Ten days ago, I moved to Canadaland and became a permanent resident.

Our first stop: Toronto to visit The Canadian One’s dad and then today, we’re off to our new town, Calgary, Alberta.

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It was Goodbye Land of the Morning Calm:

And Hello Land of the Maple Leaf:

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At security in Seoul:

The guy takes my handbag and looks at it.

Him: “Can I look through this?”

Me: “Of course.”

He opens it, looks at the mess inside, looks at me and says: “Do you have a pencil case in there? Can you just take it out for me?”

And he pushes the bag back towards me.

***

At immigration in Vancouver:

The first immigration guy when I approached him: “Aren’t you pretty?” and then he took my passport.

The security scanner dude upon scanning my bag for the second flight, pointed at my bag: “That’s pretty. Did you fly with that?”

I approach customer service to ask which gate our flight is going out of.

Customer Service guy: “Oh, you have plenty of time before your flight to get there. You could go have a coffee. There’s a place just around there.”

Me: “Oh, I already had a coffee.”

Guy: “You could have another one.”

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My first Tim Hortons….I’m smiling because in the picture before hand I wasn’t and The Canadian One said I should look happy in my new country…and get used to Tim Hortons.

As part of the immigration process, we had to hand in B4 forms to declare all our items we’re importing at customs. I’d read that the more specific you are, the less likely customs are to open all your suitcases. Not that I was hiding anything, but it would have been a pain in the a$$ to repack everything after a 10 hour flight.

Everyone was searched before us so all hope that we wouldn’t be searched went out the window pretty quickly.

We were called to the desk, I handed in my color coded, perfectly organised, meticulously written paperwork I’d done for both myself and The Canadian One. Guy looks at the stack of papers, looks at us and then our bags.

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I point to the copy of paperwork from our doctors to say we’re allowed to bring a stack of insulin (him) and migraine medication (me) into the country. He glances at it, looks back at us and says:

“This is all personal stuff. You can keep these. I could write up paperwork for you but really, there’s no point. This looks fine. You don’t have anything over $10,000 in here, do you?”

Us: “NO!”

Me: “The most expensive is a guitar at $500.”

Guy: “That’s not expensive. We’re looking for things like art or things like that. Great. (hands me back all the paperwork) You have a connecting flight? This is the way out.”

And off we went.

***

Immigration gave me a booklet to help me integrate and learn the Canadian way. I get started:

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***

I begin to think: ‘Canadians are so nice. I feel like they have an evil agenda….’

***

Me, on day one: “Holy sh*t! Snow!”

Then moments later: Me: “CHIRSTMAS TREES!!!!”

Christmas trees next to The Canadian One's dad's house
Christmas trees next to The Canadian One’s dad’s house

***

Me, on day two: “Yes, I’m in pain but doesn’t the ER seem a little…drastic…?”

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With severe back pain that made me cry in front of other people (I don’t cry in front of other people), I was frogmarched waddled to the hospital to await a diagnosis. My health insurance hasn’t kicked in as I’m not in my ‘home’ province that I’m moving to so $400, 3 hours and a dose of antibiotics later, I’m told I ‘maybe’ have a bladder infection. We worked out a few days later that perhaps I just injured myself dragging bags around. I switched from Tylenol and codeine to ibuprofen and codeine (all prescribed, don’t panic) and religiously rubbed hot cream (it heats up) onto my back. I’m feeling better. I did feel like I was gonna die / pass out / throw up from the pain (delete according to what day it was).

Here I am, pointin' at my hospital bracelet!
Here I am, pointin‘ at my hospital bracelet!

My mother has pointed out an interesting trend though. Day after I moved to England, landed myself in the doctor’s with severe food poisoning. First weekend in Korea, landed myself in a clinic with a severe chest infection. Second day after moving to Canada, in the ER. Wtf?

***

Me, on day three, watching home movies on VHS: “Mini The Canadian One!!”

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I also try poutine for the first time. Om nom nom!

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***

Day five, trip into Toronto central to see the Frightened Rabbits play:

Mam: “What’s the name of the band you’re going to see tomorrow?”

Me: “Frightened Rabbit.”

Mam: “What?!”

Me: “Frightened Rabbit.”

Pause

Mam: “You’re going to see a band called Frightened Rabbit on Easter Bunny Sunday?!”

Pause

Me: “Yes…”

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***

Later: Me: “I waved at a Frabbit! He waved back!! I need to tell Facebook!”

Then this happened:

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***

At the hotel:

Me, to the guy behind reception: “You sound very British.”

Guy: “I am very British.”

Me: “Where are you from?”

Guy: “Cheltenham.”

Me: “Ou, horse racing.”

Guy, without even pausing: “You must be Irish.”

***

Me, in a bar: “I don’t know what Jolly Ranchers are. Or Lifesavers. It’s like everything is the same but not the same at all.”

The Canadian One: “The same as what?”

Me: “My country. I think I’m having culture shock. This is what you read about in books. This is it. I don’t know what a Reese’s Pieces is!! This is culture shock. It’s happening.”

***

Me, on day six, in Tim Hortons: “I hate Tim Hortons. I’ll never integrate into this country.”

Meanwhile, The Canadian One wins another coffee:

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***

Me, on day seven: “I went to a Bulk Barn. It was….magic.”

***

Day eight: I learn what a Wal-Mart is….

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And try Boiled Dinner for the first time:

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***

On day nine, it was Take Me Out To The Ballgame time for my first ever baseball game.

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We lost 3-2 but still, I got a foam finger.

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Me: “I feel like I’m on TV!” (- I’d never seen a foam finger in real life!)

And of course, looked at the CN Tower!

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Bought a $10 beer (that’s not a typo!):

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And then The Canadian One knocked it over…

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And we’re in the town all our visa paperwork went to all those months and months (and months) ago.

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***

Upon getting our food at the restaurant, I’d ordered an Italian Sausage Pasta.

The Canadian One’s Little Nephew: “Have you ever had weiner before?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Don’t eat mine!!!” ( – referring to a weiner of a different kind…)

***

The Canadian One’s Little Nephew: “Do you want to see a dead pigeon before you go to Calgary?”

We opted for no. Apparently The Canadian One’s brother has ‘found’ a dead pigeon next to the wheel of his car. The Canadian One got an email the following morning titled ‘I did not kill that pigeon’ and a picture of the dead pigeon.

I remain skeptical.

***

Me, to The Canadian One’s father: “So this is what it’s come to, drinking moonshine out of a pill bottle in a shed.”

***

 The Canadian One hits me on the leg in a bid to get me out of bed.

Me: “OW! What the hell?”

Him: “Motivational love tap.”

…o.O

***

Do you love Quote Friday? Sad to see it come to an endeventually? Who really knows at this point?! I keep saying ‘It’s the last one’ and then I do one more….

OUT NOW: The QUOTE FRIDAY book, the best of four years of quotes including some never before published ones:Watch Out for the Hedgehog’.

 

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Categories
Canada funny humor

And The Land of the Maple Leaf lets me in!!

national Flag of Canada

So remember I told you about how The Canadian One and I drank beer and filled in paperwork while applying for my Permanent Residence Visa so we can move to Canada together as a couple?

‘It’ll take 13 months’, they said.

‘You’ll have to go for an interview’, they said.

‘You most probably won’t be in Canada by March’, they said.

And BOOM, they were wrooooooooooong!!!

FROM THIS: Sent April 24th 2012

TO THIS: Arrived November 24th 2012…EXACTLY 7 MONTHS LATER!

Uh huh, goodbye Land of the Morning Calm and HELLO Land of the Maple Leaf!!

Well, now that I have my visa, watch out for the full story of ‘The Road to Canada is paved with Patience’ coming in December. Including stories of how I ended up submitting four criminal background checks for myself (and I’ve never ever committed a crime), my conversation with Canadian Immigration in Canada despite being told I couldn’t call them from here (and them demanding to speak to my husband. Them: ‘What are you?’ Me: ‘I’m a tourist?’ Pause. Them: ‘Is your husband there?’) and of course, immigration sending me a letter asking for my address…o.O!

HAPPY SATURDAY EVERYONE!!

Any advice for a future Canada dweller? Winter, people, I need advice for surviving winter!! I’ve heard rumors about the snow…