Adventures in Itty Bitty Fancy Pants…

Guess what you guys? I have an apartment!

After 3 months of traipsing through Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alaska and BC, I’ve finally unpacked my suitcases in some swanky downtown digs.

Well – I’ve almost unpacked my suitcases. One of them is still half-full of boring stuff I don’t know where to put yet, so it’s sitting near my closet mocking me and my organizational efforts. But for the most part, I’m nearly settled.

Settled in an Itty Bitty Fancy Pants apartment.

Why Itty Bitty? Because it’s only 428 square feet, and has 4 rooms … if you count the bathroom, hall closet and bedroom closet as rooms. If not, then it’s a bachelor suite.

Why Fancy Pants? Because it’s got some pretty amazing features that I’m really, really excited about:

#1. A Bathtub

I haven’t had a bathtub for fourteen years. Oh, except for 1 year in Korea. I forgot about that. So wait…let me do the math…carry the 4…multiply by 7… I haven’t had a bathtub for ten years! 

Take a good look. It's never going to be this clean again.

Take a good look. It’s never going to be this clean again.

Not only that, but I don’t have to plug anything in to get hot water. In fact, I have hot water coming out of every single tap in my apartment. Maybe I should have even listed that as a separate example of my apartment’s fancy pantedness. Hot Water. Everywhere. Always.

#2. A Stove WITH FOUR BURNERS & An Oven

When I lived in China, I had a little bunsen burner in my kitchen. If you accidentally knocked the burner while you were cooking, the rubber hose that carried the gas would come loose and start flailing around like a fire-breathing cobra. Cooking was an adventure.

My first year in Thailand, I didn’t have a burner at all. Cooking was impossible.

Now, I have four burners. I can use a different burner for every meal, and still have one feeling left out. And I have an oven that’s big enough to cook a whole dozen cookies. Not just 4 at a time. Do you know what this means?? It means cookies!

A magical machine that makes cookies and eggs and soup all at the same time!

A magical machine that makes cookies and eggs and soup all at the same time!

#3. A Freezer

My new fridge has this magical door on it that opens to a separate super-freezy section. Do you know what this means?? That’s right. It means ice cream.

I can fit a lot of ice cream in here. I know. I've done it.

I can fit a lot of ice cream in here. I know. I’ve done it.

#4. A Countertop

Admittedly, it’s a small one. But it’s big enough to chop and slice and dice – and more importantly, it’s big enough to roll out a pie crust. Do you know what this means?? You’re catching on – it means pie…with ice cream!

So, 3/4 of the things I’m super excited about are going to make me fat. Luckily, my building also has a gym and a swimming pool and is right next to a giant park.

Those things are okay too, I guess.

Adventures on the Bus … the saga continues

Okay, so maybe I overreacted in my last post. I wrote it a moment after I realized that I could get on a plane and fly back to Asia in the time it would take me to get to the next province. So maybe I panicked a little.

But I was wrong.

Once we really got rolling, my attitude began to change:

1. It Could Be Worse

I mean, it’s not like my bus trip in Cambodia. You know, the one where I had violent, smelly, explosive food poisoning shooting out both ends of my digestive system every thirty minutes. For 8 hours.

The only complaint my stomach had on this trip is that my chocolate bar wasn’t going to last the whole way. I might have to get another one when we stopped in Medicine Hat or Swift Current.

2. It Was (Relatively) Quiet & Squid Free

The bus wasn’t airing scary violent movies at top volume, or playing equally loud karaoke so middle-aged women could have a dance party in the aisles. And nobody around me was eating dried squid. Because all that really happens in a country that shall remain nameless. And it was awful.

3. It Was Only 10 Hours

The woman next to me was going all the way to Ottawa. I was finished my journey by Friday night…she would be finished sometime on Sunday. The woman behind me had already been on the bus for 2 days…with an infant…and had another 3 days to go. Suddenly, 10 hours didn’t seem like such a long time.

4. It Was a Soap-Opera on Wheels

While the trip was Karaoke-free, the relative quiet did nothing to mask the conversations going on around me. Seriously, I could fill three novels with the stories I overheard on that drive. Did you know that some people in Canada still hop trains and ride the rails like 1930’s hobos? Did you know that bears in lumber camps love the smell of discarded dishwater and will rip through the shower stalls to get to the shared drain? Did you know that if your boyfriend breaks up with you over the phone while you’re on your way to meet up with him, 3 different strangers will hand you a Kleenex…and everyone will feel relieved 50 miles later when he calls back to un-break-up with you?

5. We Drove Across the Prairies

love driving across the prairies. I know a lot of people think it’s incredibly boring, but it’s hands down my favourite place in Canada for road trips. It’s not just that the sky is incredibly blue, or the clouds impressively fluffy.


It’s that the road is long, and smooth, and straight. You can see everything that’s coming at you – all the way to the horizon. No surprises. No hidden turns. You know, kind of the opposite of the rest of my life. I find the predictability soothing.

(Okay, it’s also kind of because I can stare out the window for hours and pretend I’m Laura Ingalls in a covered wagon, making her way with Pa and Ma to her new Little House on the Prairie…if Laura Ingalls had traveled with train-hopping lumber workers in unstable relationships…)


Adventures on the Bus

I’m on a bus.

For the next 10 hours.

You know how when you’re trying to get to Regina and you think, “Hey, a bus sounds like a good way to enjoy a relaxing ride across two provinces! And it has Wi-fi! And you can use the bathroom anytime you want, even if it’s windy! And it’s $300 cheaper than a plane!” At that moment, in the comfort of your local Starbucks, it seems like a really good idea. So you buy a ticket.

And then you get on the bus, and it’s packed full, and you’re worried that you smell funny because you’re wearing the same hoodie that you’ve been wearing with your pyjamas all last week, but it’s the only thing you have in your backpack to ward off the over-eager air conditioner above you. It’s at that moment that you might realize that maybe, just maybe, this isn’t going to be one of your smartest life choices.

And then about 1/2 an hour later, just as you’re about four paragraphs into what was going to be the best blog post of all time, you remember that reading or writing on a bus makes you feel a little nauseous, and you have to stop writing? Sure, maybe you really like writing, but you’re not about to sacrifice your health or your recently consumed lunch for the sake of your blog.

‘Cuz if you have, I know exactly how you feel.

Only 9.5 left to go.

On the bus.