Saturday, March 31, 2007

To see you when I wake up
is a gift I didn't think could be real
To know that you feel the same as I do
is a three-fold Utopian dream

You do something to me
that I can't explain
So would I be out of line
if I said,
I miss you

I see your picture
I smell you skin on the empty pillow next to mine
You have only been gone 10 days
but already I'm wasting away

I know I'll see you again
whether far or soon
But I need you to know
that I care,
and I miss you

- Incubus

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A dream come true

I don't think I need to explain just how incredibly excited I am right now. I've dreamed of seeing Paris since I was a little girl, and finally that dream is going to be reality... Even better than just getting so SEE Paris is the fact that our hotel is across the street from the Louvre, down the road from Notre Dame (where we'll be attending Easter Mass), and a few blocks from the Seine. I can't believe this is real...

No matter what I've gone through this year, this opportunity will be one of the greatest memories of my life.

eternel remerciements a mes parents

"Are You Married?"

I guess it's true when they say that your parents will always be able to embarass you - no matter how old you are.

Now don't get me wrong - I love my parents very much and am very happy that we're getting to explore London together. They're fun and we have great conversations, and we enjoy doing a lot of the same things.

But since I'm their kid (LOVE saying that I'm somebody's kid at 28 years old), I reserve the right to complain a little bit about the things they do that make me want to hide behind a door and pretend I've become invisible.

On their first night here, we went out to a neighbourhood pub for dinner, and my dad walked right up to the bar, and announced "I'm Canadian and it's my first night in London! I need BRITISH BEER!" to the bartender. Not too bad so far - I completely understand his excitement (he loves London) and was disappointed that the bartender wasn't more friendly with him.

Fast forward to the end of dinner, when a busboy was collecting our plates, and asking whether or not we enjoyed our meal.

"oh it was great! We're from Canada and had to have fish and chips!" (I'm now wondering how many random people are going to hear about our nationality during the next month)

The waiter looks curiously at me. "Roast beef?"

"I've been here 8 months".

"Oh, so you've already tried the fish & chips, huh?!", he laughed.

Not too embarassing so far - just cute examples of their excitement in being here.

Then last night...

We were at another pub, ordering dinner before going to see the play, "Treats" (with Billie Piper and Kris Marshall, best known as Colin from "Love Actually"). My dad knew what he wanted almost right away, but my mom and I took about 5 minutes of debating to finally decide.

When we went to the bar to order, my dad says to the bartender, "Are you married?"

Oh. My. God.
At this point I'm wondering what in the HELL my dad is getting at, as I watch the bartender's face go from friendly to wary and confused.

"No, sir", he says.

My dad turns and grins at me, not noticing that I'm now ready to throw something at him.

I'm just about about to make an apology for him, when my father says "Oh, well you're lucky! Try waiting for two women to make up their minds!" The bartender laughs, looking very relieved.

I quickly mumbled my order and dashed back to our table, hoping that somebody else would be bringing our food to us.

I can't help but wonder how many other stories I'm going to be able to add to this by the time they go back home...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Wow am I ever tired! Let's do a little math here (or "maths" as they say here in Britain):

An average of 6 hours of sleep per night for a week.

+ Teaching 30 little kids full time.

+ 3 hours of commuting everyday.

+ Saying goodbye to my boyfriend for 4 months and welcoming my parents to London.

+ a father who snores like a chain saw, combined with the fact that this flat is tiny and has no bedroom door

+ Wandering around every evening and all day Saturday.


The ability to fall asleep within 5 seconds of lying down (and possibly before even hitting the pillow) and the inability to write even a mediocre blog post.

But what the hell - I'll try anyway.

My parents are napping after our 2 1/2 hour walk up Portobello Road (the antiques market there is the biggest in the world), looking at hundreds of booths full of food, clothing, books, souvenirs, gadgets, kitchen stuff, and of course, antiques. It's a lot of fun to explore, and I knew that they would really enjoy it. The weather is freezing cold today though (been cold since J left), so we're in for the rest of the afternoon, which is okay because I'm all cozy with my laptop, teddy bear, and a cup of coffee with Bailey's, as I listen to my dad snore.

Tonight we're going to see "Treats", which is this hot new British comedy playing at a theatre near Leicester Square. I'm looking forward to another chance to see a play, since I haven't had the money to really do that since we moved here. During the next few weeks, we'll be seeing the Tower of London, Madame Tussaud's and the Planetarium, Kew Gardens, a bunch of museums and cathedrals, at least one other play, and the view from the London Eye.

It's really been great to see London through my mom's eyes, because she's amazed by everything right now - even the Tube. All over again, I'm learning to appreciate being here, and am proud that I can say I lived abroad for a year. Now that the sadness of waiting for Jeremy to leave, and dealing with the ridiculous rent each month is over (i'll be leaving this place for at the end of April), I will be able to have a little money available for shopping and other fun things. I'll be able to go and see the new Mr. Bean movie (starts next week) at the cinema, and can finally get the (probably off the back of a truck because it's so cheap) Luis Vuitton purse I saw at a street market.

So even though I'll miss him every day until I go home (and everybody else too, of course), the stress that we've been under has greatly eased. Finally. So I'm going to enjoy every moment I can, and try to keep thinking positive about my time here and the hella-good reunions that I'll have this summer.

I'll try to write tomorrow about the play and whatever we end up doing tomorrow (might be paddling in the Serpentine River, visiting the Planetarium, or a day in Kew Gardens - we haven't decided yet).

I'm off - time to head to the Garrick Arms (great London pub) for dinner.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A tough goodbye

We've finally come to the day we've been waiting for: Tomorrow morning, Jeremy gets on the plane for Canada, where he will stay while I live here in London until August.

4 months seems like a really long time right now.

I know some of you are going to comment that the months will go by quickly, that London's a great city, that I'll have a great time with my parents and I love my job, and I'll be back in Canada this summer, so things will work out just fine. (That's why I think you're all such good blogfriends.)

Right now, I'm allowing myself this 24 hours to be sad. I need to feel how I'm feeling right now. Even though I KNOW that it won't be this way forever, right now it sucks.

Not sure when I'll post next - if I do post tomorrow night in some depressing state about "how quiet the flat seems", I'm sorry in advance, and please bear in mind that soon there will be a post about my adventures in Paris.

Just got to get through the difficult stuff first.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Old Black Rum Got Ahold of Me

Two days after my birthday, I am sitting wide awake at 8:45am, cursing my inability to sleep in. Jeremy will be out for at least another hour, so this is the perfect time to write in my blog.

I had the best intentions of adding to my last post, but the school day on Thursday was super busy, then it was Parent's Night, then Eve convinced us that we should meet her at the bar in the City for a few drinks, so when I stumbled in the door at 11:30pm, I called my mom and then went to sleep (i.e. passed out).

I think the title of this post explains it all, actually.


My birthday was a pretty good day - the kids kept saying "Miss! It's your birthday!" to me (as though I could forget being 2 years closer to 30!), and behaved good as gold for the entire day. They even sang to me in the morning - it was so sweet, I had to struggle not to get teary-eyed. It was a very busy day, as I got ready for Parent Night, and had a hundred other little things to do (as usual). I guess if you have to work on your birthday, it should at least be on a job you love. Lucky me got to do exactly that.

My favourite memory of my birthday night wasn't the drinking, dancing or making fun of the horrible Abba cover "band" that came on during our second bottle of wine. It was something that happened to me while I was in the Tube.

I was on my way to meet Eve and Jeremy at Digress, to start the bday celebrations. I had to switch trains at Euston to get on the Northern Line, and made my way through the crowds to my platform while enjoying the live music from one of the many buskers who plays in the station. Just as the train was pulling away, a man carrying a guitar jumped on and asked if I wouldn't mind moving over a spot so he could sit.

Turns out, he was the musician that had been playing, so I told him how much I had enjoyed listening to him. He asked me where I was from, and where I was going. As soon as I mentioned it was my birthday, he said "well you need a song then!"

And he played his own version of Happy Birthday (complete with 70's style funk licks and James Brown style scat) right on the train.

I stood there, thinking to myself that this is something I'll never forget, as people on our carriage looked on and smiled at me (if you've ever been in a Big City, you know how rare it is for people to even look at each other on public transportation, let alone smile). They all clapped when he finished, and I blushingly thanked him for making my birthday even more special.

When I got off the train at my stop, I could hear the sounds of his guitar as the train pulled away.

How many people get to say that they were serenaded by a stranger on a subway train in London on their birthday? It was truly unforgettable...

6am Friday morning was NOT fun - I felt like my head was being clobbered with a lemon wrapped around a gold brick (if you don't know what the hell I'm talking about read "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"), and all I could think about was jumping in a cold lake, then drinking it.

Friday was Red Nose Day here in Britain; Comedy Relief Day, where people buy red noses to wear and all sorts of other things, and the proceeds all go to charity. There were events all over the city, and our school decided that the children could be out of uniform if they paid 50p to wear red clothes. They could also pay 50p to have "mad hair" (basically crazy hair with red spray on it, although one little girl came to school in a crimson wig), and another 50p to partake in a treasure hunt, where they ran around the schoolyard to find a hidden red nose.

All of the teachers wore red too, and I would up with pinkish hair spray covering my ponytail. It was fun to take part though, and I'm proud to say that our year two classes brought in over 50 pounds for charity on Friday. Not bad for a bunch of 6-7 year olds...

There were prizes for the best hair, best clothes, and the treasure hunt, with an outdoor fashion show with music and American Idol-style judges. The weather was sunny and 16 degrees, and everybody was having a fantastic time - the kids were all excited and hyper - it was one of those Really Good Days.

The only downfall was that I wore my red coat to school that day and forgot the key to my cabinet where my camera was locked. So I didn't get any pictures. Thankfully, I can close my eyes and remember the feeling of the day and remember the excitement in the kids' eyes.

After school, I got a birthday card signed by a bunch of teachers, packed up the little gifts some of the kids had given me, and made my way to the King's Ford Pub, where a few of us would have some drinks to celebrate my birthday. We had a great time, as usual, and I once again had to ride the train home in a not-so-sober state.

So my first birthday spent overseas was a pretty good one. I'm looking forward to spending the next one with my family and friends, but I will always remember the sound of my little British schoolchildren singing Happy Birthday and the Underground Musician.

And the fact that there was no snow, 16 degrees, and flowers everywhere. Couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day.

Thanks to all of you who sent birthday messages, cards, emails, phone calls, etc. My 28 years on this planet would not be nearly as happy without you.

Cheers & Happy St. Patrick's Day!! (i'm off to try and drink some more. Oh the hardship of being part-Irish!)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

I wish I had more time this morning to write about the "28 Things I'm Grateful For" AND "28 Things I'd like to Do Whilst I'm 28" (like the "whilst"? Believe it or not, that's a commonly used word here - the kids learn to use it in year two), but the clock won't stand still for me.

Off to school now.

(I'll try to add to this post throughout the day, so I can at least have one of those lists finished)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The countdown continues

mmmm... it's almost suppertime (or "tea time" as the Brits call it), so it seems fitting that I write about:

28 Things I Love to Eat

Once again, these are in no particular order.

1. Dill pickles

2. Jalapeno Cheddar Doritos

3. Topper's Pizza (from Sudbury, Ontario), with pepperoni, mushrooms, green olives, and green peppers (and sometimes bacon)

4. Green olives, red peppers, cheddar cheese, and salad dressing

5. Lobster

6. BBQ ribs (especially my dad's)

7. Steak (any thick steak will do)

8. Cheese Capelletti from either East Side Marios or Pat & Marios

9. Club sandwich

10. Buffalo wings (especially with Frank's Red Hot Sauce)

11. French fries

12. Peanut M&Ms

13. Homemade chili

14. Blueberry coffee cake (my mom's is to die for)

15. My mom's baking - Christmas cookies, regular cookies, cakes, etc. (it's ALL good)

16. BLT sandwiches

17. London, UK kebabs (these kebab shops are open all hours of the night and with the exception of one have produced some pretty delicious food)

18. Perogies with cheese, bacon, and sour cream

19. Lasagna

20. BBQ baked potatoes with onion and garlic

21. Shrimp, mussels, and other seafood in garlic sauce

22. Fettucine alfredo

23. Garden salads from East Side Marios (and other places too - theirs is the best though)

24. Southern fried chicken

25. oranges, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries

26. Chocolate or berry cheesecake

27. Ice Cream (especially Mint Chip, Cherry Garcia, and that rasperry-chocolate kind from the London Ice Cream Factory)

28. Spinach dip and pumpernickle bread (Ledawit's is the winner here for sure)

This was harder than I expected it to be, considering how much I enjoy food. I'm sure I could change this list a dozen times, but I think I'll leave what's up there, even though rereading this list makes me seem like the world's most unhealthy person. Keep in mind that these foods are not a regular diet - just things I enjoy the most.

What are your favourites?

Sunday, March 11, 2007


That's how old I'll be this Thursday.

I was going to write a (half-joking) post about how "old" 28 years old sounds, but then Suldog just wrote a series of posts about celebrating his 50th (Happy Birthday again). The spirit and enthusiasm that he has about turning 50 is truly inspiring. I hope that I can be more like that as the years go by.

So instead of sarcastic blog about finding random grey hairs and deciding that "kids' music nowadays is terrible", I present you with the first installment of "28 amazing..." posts. Not sure how many I'll write, but today's will be:

28 Amazing Places I've Been

In no order at all - just some of the fantastic places I've seen in the last 28 years of life...

1. Ella Lake, Ontario Canada
More than anywhere else in the world, it's home.

2. Manitoulin Island, Ontario
One of the most beautiful places in the country; there are white sand beaches, incredible stretches of rugged coastline, flowers lining the streets - incredibly relaxing and peaceful.

3. Pelee Island, Ontario
Remember the camping trip Jeremy and I took last summer? All you have to do is look at the pictures to get an idea of how amazing it is. We will definitely be going back there.

4. Sydney, Nova Scotia
I was very young both times I've been there (visiting my nana), but I have these sweet, jumbled memories of smelling the ocean, and a harbour, finding smoothed bits of glass that looked like polished rocks and sitting on a hill full of flowers. It's a place I hope to visit again one day.

5. New York City
What can you say about New York... from the second I saw it, I was in love. This city has the most incredible vibe, and the people we met were very friendly and welcoming (despite the stereotype). The theatre, the jazz clubs, the restaurants, the parks - it's all amazing and you'll never run out of things to do.

6. Philadelphia
"This one time, at band camp..." Okay, well actually, it was a band trip. We went during our second year of high school and had an incredible time. Lots of things to see and do, and if you're lucky, you'll met a guy named Biff, just like we did. He and his fellow cadets from Valley Force Military School seranaded a group of us at 3am in the Courtyard Marriot. I don't remember the song, but I do remember how charmed we all were.

7. Washington, D.C.
"Where in the hell are we?!" is the phrase that comes to mind whenever I think of D.C.. That, and walking a LOT. We got lost constantly, which is apparently the right thing to do there, because everytime we did, we found something really cool (FDR memorial at midnight, Lincoln Memorial at 2am, and The Farm (CIA training grounds) in the middle of the night... somewhere. (I'd tell you, but then, well, you know...)

8. Pittsboro, North Carolina
A tiny place compared to most on this list (except Ella Lake of course), this town is near Raleigh and was home to a work colleague who went out of her way to make me feel welcome during more than one work trip. Driving up to this town, the first thing you'll see is the courthouse, with a roundabout going around it. I felt like I was in a John Grisham novel. The people are lovely, and it's one of those lush Southern towns where "y'all come back now" is said with utter sincerity. I'll definitely go back.

9. Seattle, Washington
Another great American city that I was lucky enough to visit for 3 days with my family. Between the Space Needle, Pike's Market, and Puget Sound, we all had a great time sightseeing there. I would love to go back now that I'm old enough to drink coffee - that way I can visit their fabulous coffee houses.

10. Mt. Rushmore State Park
I didn't expect this famous landmark to be as impressive as it was... at 14 years old, I was blown away by the size of the carvings and the beauty of the park surrounding them. At night, they set off fireworks, and I couldn't help but wish that Canadians had a landmark to do something similar with.

11. Corvallis, Oregon
Another business trip, courtesy of Stream, this time I was off to visit Hewlett Packard's digital projection and imaging headquarters (in fact, that is where inkjet printing was invented). After 19 hours of hellish, scary travel (including 2 plane rides, one of which was through a thick cloud that left the outside world completely grey, a ride from Portland to Corvallis in a rented car through a monsoon (okay, exaggerating, but it was crazy rain and dark, and very frightening to a girl who was certainly not used to interstate highways), and finally getting lost 3 times on the way to the hotel. I put my suitcase down in the hotel room and burst into tears. Fortunately, the rest of the trip was fabulous, and I was treated to pretty river views and the great establishments you can only find in a small college town.

12. Newport, Oregon
On our last day visiting HP, I went to Newport with a motley group of travelers from literally all over the world. I was the only Canadian, and was in a car being driven by an Indian, with an Australian riding shotgun (and regularly shouting "DUDE! We're NOT in India! STOP at the red lights!!"), while I sat in the back and prayed for a safe journey with a Korean and a Chinese guy. Newport was completely amazing - an oceanside port town with sea lions barking all over the place, really interesting shops, and some great restaurants. I didn't find any, but apparently every October, local artists "plant" glass blown bulbs in the sandy beaches for people to find. (Check out this link to see more)

13. Victoria Island, British Columbia
Whale watching, a ferry across from mainland Canada, and a walk in a forest of the hugest trees I've ever seen - this place was pretty incredible. We had a great time wandering around until my little brother got stung by a group of cranky wasps (who didn't like him sitting on their nest as he posed for a picture).

14. Vancouver, British Columbia
Some people don't like this city, but we stayed in an incredible hotel (the Westin Bayshore) right beside Stanley Park, and across the road from a picturesque harbour. Being a resort hotel, there was live entertainment, a huge outdoor round pool with swim-up bar (which at 14 I believed to be the highest of cool). Stanley Park and the other sights in Vancouver were great - hopefully I'll get to return again someday.

15. Jasper, Alberta
It's actually funny that I like Jasper as much as I do - it's a teeny town, just like the one I grew up in, very rural, but also very pretty. With the Rockies all around, the views are really amazing - you feel like you're inside a picture.

16. Edmonton, Alberta
I saw my very first NHL game in that city. Need I say more? Not only is there great hockey, but the West Edmonton Mall is worth the trip all by itself. World's Biggest Mall, complete with Olympic ice rink, theme park (with roller coasters), and a zillion stores, is a pretty incredible experience. I also really like the suburbs of Edmonton - they seem very clean and quiet (from what I remember of my Aunt's neighborhood).

17. Calgary, Alberta
Another band trip. On a completely different topic, the Calgary trip is what started all of our old high school gang hanging out (leading to Kim & Steve getting married and having their adorable little boy). We saw an NHL playoff game in the Saddledome (we girls were literally in the nosebleed seats), explored the city on the Light Rail System (fantastic transportation), and headed just out of town to see the mountains. I'd actually consider living there except for the crazy weather they get. (a blizzard in May when we were there)

18. Maligne Lake, Alberta
The largest lake in Jasper National Park - with water so turquoise that it doesn't seem real. I've never seen water that colour before. Imagine a glacier-fed lake in the Rocky Mountains, and the most picture-perfect scenery possible and you get a bit of an idea about how incredible it is.

19. London, Ontario
You didn't think I'd leave this out, did you? The first place I moved to when I left my parent's house, and the place I've missed every day since leaving it, London is a great place to live. Lots of big, old houses, and huge trees, close to Toronto, close to the Great Lakes, it's also got the advantage of being in a great school district (that hopefully I'll work for one day). Oh right - and my best friends live there, among many other people we can't wait to see again.

20. Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho (we were in Montana's bit)
Definitely lives up to the hype - this place is incredible. Upon arrival, a park warden handed us a pamphlet warning us not to approach any buffalo because people have been gored in the past. Of course, my 12 year old brother took this as a sign to jump out of our van to moo at the first one that blocked the road. After my mother calmed down, we headed to Old Faithful, where we saw the hot springs and geysers. Another tourist trap, but completely worth it.

21. The Columbia Ice Fields
A giant glacier in Alberta, Canada that has hundreds of green streams flowing from it. Apparently some of the ice there is 400 years old (well at least until global warming gets it), and you can take tours up on the ice.

22. Coeur D'Alene, Idaho
We only stayed for one night here, during a family holiday that took us across the northern United States. It was the 4th of July though - and we were treated to pretty amazing fireworks along the river, along with (what seemed like) thousands of other people.

23. Montreal, Quebec
Ahh Montreal! This city is full of culture and music, and I had a wonderful time there. It's been 10 years since I've been there, and I still remember the old-world feeling of the downtown area. Definitely a worthwhile place to visit.

24. Ottawa, Ontario
I've been there several times, and don't usually get excited about going, but once I get there, I always have a great time. The downtown market is the best - flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables, and all sorts of great deals on clothes, etc. It's especially nice getting a pint and sitting in the patio of one of the bars, while watching the world walk by.

25. Clearwater, Florida
Going to Florida is always a treat, but it's not really a novelty after your visit is over. The first time I ever went to Florida, was the Christmas holidays when I was 11. My grandparents had a trailer that we stayed at for several days while exploring the state. As much as I loved Disney World and Sea World, and all of those places, my favourite thing about that trip was the white-sand beach - collecting shells and trying to swim in the Gulf even though it was December (and freezing).

26. The Muskokas, Ontario
To those of you who are not familiar with The Muskokas, it is a county in central Ontario where the lakes are very clean, the surroundings gorgeous, wildlife and fishing everywhere, where you can find decadent celebrity get-aways in tiny lakeside towns. Jeremy's family spends a week every summer at Lumina Resort, an incredible place on the Lake of Bays. Just like my memories of The Lake, his happiest childhood memories are from there. Maybe we'll live in the Muskokas one day...

27. Grand Bend, Ontario
Last summer, we met up with our friend Dylan and his girlfriend at The Pinery, a very popular camping destination with thousands of campsites all along the shore of Lake Huron. The beaches are amazing (that was the beach when we all sat under the fish blanket), and there are huge sand dunes all over the place that were fun to play in. We love camping, so we expected to have a good time, but I was surprised at how much we enjoyed staying there. Definitely a good camping destination next summer.

28. London, England
Guess I have to end with where I am now. I really do think this is an amazing place, a feeling that grows when I look at things the way my mom is going to in just 10 days. I'm glad that those bad things have happened since we moved here aren't blocking my ability to appreciate this city.

And so ends my little tour of amazing places. I hope I didn't' sound too much like a tour guide... One of the things I'm most grateful for in my life is all of the the opportunities I've had to travel. Mostly thanks to my parents, who took my brother and I all over North America.

What I really like about this list is that it's going to get longer:
Paris, here I come!!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

it's raining again

Sunday night...

The seemingly ever-present rain taps outside our door, helping me to forget that we live in a basement flat and don't get to see anything out the window except parts of other buildings and the sky. It's starting to get dark, and I'm in that Sunday night state of mind - relaxing, but getting ready for the busy week ahead. Dinner is simmering on the stove, and Jeremy is beside me, playing his online game (as usual).

I put on a little Norah Jones to try and hold onto this mellow mood - it seems to be helping me to type, to focus my thoughts a little better. I've started and deleted 3 blog posts already today, and am still feeling the need to write something.

It feels like there is something inside me that needs to come out, something that needs to be said, or understood - but I don't know what it is. I feel unsettled and restless. My brain just won't let me sleep lately, and it's really hard to stay focused on anything. I pick books up and put then down a minute later, I start reading something online and find myself daydreaming, I lose my train of thought when I'm talking to somebody - it's pretty frustrating. I remember this happening before he left the last time, and maybe this is just how things will be up until he gets on the plane in a few weeks...

I stopped trying to write in my blog this afternoon for a little while, and made the usual tour of blogs and websites that are always good places to spend some time. is celebrating 6 year as a blogsite - she wrote a pretty good article about losing her job 5 years ago because of her blog, and commented that she has no regrets because it's become such a wonderful job for her - full time blogging. (Having just finished my first year, I can't imagine whether I'll still be doing this 5 years from now.) At the end of her post, she asked people if they had any regrets of their own, and what theirs might be. Last time I checked there were 471 comments. Interestingly, most people wrote that they regretted letting fear stop them from traveling overseas or telling somebody how they felt about them.

Even though I didn't comment on the post, it got me thinking about regrets in my life - particularly whether or not I regret being here in England.

See, I didn't let the fear stop me from coming here, even though I was terrified. That night on the plane, we looked at the sunrise over the ocean and wondered whether or not we were making the right decision. Then, after arriving here, I spent the first week in a perpetual state of fear (and indigestion), wanting desperately to get back on the plane and go home.

But we got through it. Jeremy gave me backrubs and dried my tears and convinced me that we were doing the right thing and would have a wonderful adventure - the adventure of a lifetime. He was my rock when I needed him the most.

Almost as soon as I started getting my confidence and positive outlook back, things started to fall apart and haven't stopped since. I've watched my finances dwindle to nothing, have endured school holidays without traveling through Europe (which was the WHOLE REASON for coming here in the first place), waited for Jeremy to fly to Canada and then back (only to find out his visa was denied), then discover that he'll have to go home yet again just to have the right to work here. I've borrowed thousands from my parents, missed birthday parties for my nephews, nights with my friends, holidays at the lake and with family, and have been through some pretty lonely nights. And now I'm waiting again to be alone here for several months before I return home.

Do I have regrets about coming here?

If I could turn the clock back, would I have stayed in Canada?

If I had stayed home, I wouldn't have spent New Year's Eve in front of Big Ben with Jeremy and thousands of other people, or toured around the city in double decker buses, or eaten kebabs after a night in the pub with friends. I wouldn't have learned how to speak with a proper British accent (I've always wanted to do that), or how to use / understand British slang. I wouldn't have had all of those heavenly days in the park, taking pictures of swans and enjoying nature in the middle of such a huge city. I wouldn't have learned that I can make my way around one of the biggest cities in the world without a map.

I wouldn't have a class all my own. A group of little children who think I'm the smartest person in the world and believe everything I tell them. Who look up to me and draw me pictures and tell me I'm the "best teacher in the world", and complain when it's time to go home because they have so much fun in my classroom. I wouldn't have gotten to work with this great group of teachers, or experience the stress of report cards and paperwork and cranky parents. I wouldn't have the satisfaction of working with a class for an entire year and watching them progress from barely being able to write to writing stories of their own, gaining confidence in themselves and their abilities and being proud of the people they are.

I might not have this certainty that this career is the one I'm meant for.

I might be in Canada regretting not taking the chance to live in one of the world's greatest places, or to travel through Europe (which I WILL do before I go home). I might be in Canada working at another call centre because I couldn't get on the supply list for the Thames Valley school board (still a significant possibility which may lead to relocation once again).

Do I regret this?

I guess only time will tell.

I hope that when I'm sitting on the dock at my parent's cottage with my feet in my lake, that I can smile at the memories that were made, rather than focus on all of the things that went wrong.

I hope I remember that all of this rain was really good for the flowers.

And that it didn't rain every day...