Willkomen bei Europe

Old Town, Ripperswil

For anyone who somehow didn’t see my mom’s Facebook post, I made it to Switzerland safe & sound & slightly stained (yes, stained, not strained). Travel tip #1: do not attempt to lift luggage into the overhead compartment while holding a smoothie. If, … Continue reading

2 steps forward, 1 step back (and onto a stationary bike for rehab)

A week ago I had knee surgery and a week tomorrow I leave for Europe.

If you think that sounds crazy you aren’t the only one. The Costco pharmacist was particularly skeptical when a 23 year old handed him a prescription for blood thinners.

As this somewhat stressful scenario may illustrate, I’ve learned a lot in the last 3 weeks.

  1. Goodbyes are particularly hard when you’re on hyper-hormonal birth control. (Yes, this involved me crying in a retail store … again. And yes, that’s my excuse.)
  2. The only (other) people who have to get a knee arthroscopy are my friends’ dads.
  3. Always read the fine print–especially on a visa application that entitles you to live abroad for a year–and especially when said visa application reminds you to read the fine print at least three times.
  4. When people make you question the fine print you thought you understood and you suddenly worry you’ll be deported and labelled an illegal immigrant and will NEVER FALL IN LOVE IN FRANCE, return to the fine print and read it again. Calmly.
  5. Ctrl+S your life away (but particularly when you have 4 months of penciled-in travel plans laid out in Exel.)

As with most life lessons I’ve claimed to learn, there’s a very slim chance I actually do anything differently the next time around (see: ex-boyfriends) except, hopefully, the whole torn meniscus thing. But being the good Samaritan I am, I wanted to share them all, just in case you find yourself saying emotional goodbyes in SportChek, or applying for a 1-year French visa.

If there’s one thing I can predict about my (now especially) unplanned year abroad, it’s that I will face lessons far more difficult than these ones and won’t have my dad nearby to scream/cry at. But–call me a martyr–I’ll continue to share them here, so that someone can benefit… since it likely won’t be me.

2014 reads [part 12]

When I set out to read 12 books in 12 months last January, I have to admit I wasn’t too worried. Following several lit-heavy semesters of 20+ item booklists (and a particularly trying fall of 13 Shakespeare plays to boot) 12 books sounded middle of the road: lofty enough to feel a sense of accomplishment, but low enough to blow by once I got on a roll.

When I finished Dinaw Mengetsu’s All Our Names yesterday afternoon, I learned just how powerful goals can be. By setting a 12 book goal, I hovered comfortably within the 1 book/mo. timeline I had set out for myself, without ever reaching far beyond (besides when I read The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam over the course of 10 lunch breaks this summer.) Against expectation my reading resolution taught me that goals can be as limiting as they are inspiring.

For me 2015 is about abandoning comfort zones and leaving expectations behind. Whether that means booking a last minute flight to Stockholm, or dedicating 48 hours straight to a captivating story, I plan on listening a little bit more closely to what it is I really want to do.

PS: My 12th and final book of 2014 also taught me that my hyperactive emotions can come in handy. After crashing my Kobo on a particularly stressful day as I packed up my Vancouver-based life for a year abroad, I had a (minor) breakdown in Chapters. Fifteen minutes later I left with an early Christmas gift from the store manager: a brand new KoboAura.

2014 reads [part 11]

Or: A year of Margaret Atwood, continued

Or: I can’t help myself, I’m sorry, it’s getting to be embarrassing AND I’M SORRY

So to ease your growing concerns– yes, I finished my 11th book of the year before the calendar flipped to its final page. And yes, it was with yet another Margaret Atwood novel. But I really don’t blame myself for this one. Edible Woman practically leapt off the shelf and into my arms, much the same way Annie’s mac & cheese magically makes its way into my basket when I grocery shop on an empty stomach.

Anyways, there’s no photo evidence to support this post because I started packing my apartment for my BIG MOVE way too early (don’t act like you’re surprised) and therefore put a quick end to the growing row of books atop my bookshelf. As upset as I am to have sacrificed my vision for the perfect instaflip video just a few weeks down the line (seriously though), it’s a good step towards this whole ‘abandoning the comfort zone’ thing I’m teaching/forcing myself to do.

Step one: let go of instagram video dreams.
Step two: board one-way flight to Europe.

Sounds simple enough.

PS: Edible Woman was super good, but do you even trust me on this anymore? You shouldn’t. Although according to the book jacket some significantly more credible critics share my opinion, so there’s always that.