I'd rather be burlesquing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Farewell, Bethnal Green Road

I will be moving house at the end of this week to a flat occupied by (hopefully) fewer mice.

I have to admit to being a bit naive when moving to London. I expected my flat to be riddled with mice and rats and to just have to learn to deal with it. That's the reality in London, right?

It was not until after a few useful conversations with locals that I found out that this is not the norm here in the big smoke. Apparently, I do really live in a crap flat.

Naiveness aside, over the past few months, I have learned to accept and tolerate my house guests. After all, they were there first. They have become a fixture of the flat, much like a stove or a fridge. Or the deadbolt on the door that doesn't work.

We have an informal agreement - they stay out of my way, and I stay out of theirs. They are mainly content to keep to themselves, and we only occasionally awake to the sound of them running through the ceiling moldings or prancing under the stove.

They have only crossed the line a few times - using the electrical cord from the fridge as a jungle gym, waking me up at 3:00 in the morning, violently fighting over some miniscule scrap of leftover fish and chips. Behaviour such as this is highly discouraged, and usually heralds a firmly uttered 'NO'.

Learning to live with my little Mus musculus friends has been just another one of those experiences that I both did not expect, and would not take back. Life really is all about perspective.

I cannot guarantee that the new occupants in the flat above the sari shop will be as tolerant as we have, but I hope that the mice in my flat will look back at our time together and appreciate it. In a city where the rodent population has been estimated as equal to the human population, there's just not enough room for all of us.

Friday, October 21, 2005


You can argue with me if you like, but personally I think happiness is a red skirt, a warm latté and Teenage Fanclub's "It's All in My Mind" on repeat.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Hello out there

Some days, you just feel small...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

a metaphorical moment

Sometimes, while walking in London, you get so used to carrying your umbrella that it can be several minutes before you realise that it's actually stopped raining.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Brighton Time Machine

I've found it increasingly fascinating lately that I seem to be re-living many of the events from the past year. And it's been giving me a very odd sense of deja vu.

This may have something to do with the mind-set of the average Canadian in London. Let's call it 'temporary visa syndrome'. Because we are only granted a minimal amount of time to live in this country (this, of course, is not including all of those lucky ducks who have British lineage in their blood, or who decide that a shotgun wedding is the better alternative to going back home), we are very conscious of time.

This is something that I've noticed more lately - mainly because I have officially rounded the one-year mark. At the end of October, I will be down to ten months. TEN MONTHS. Nothing, in other words.

In these upcoming ten months, I have to find the time and money to take several trips, see all of the tourist crap that I haven't yet seen here in London, move, save money so that I can hop into the next adventure with ease, and figure out what the hell to do next. It's all very overwhelming, if you stop to think about it.

So I try not to.

Lately, I've just been trying to take advantage of all the little opportunities that come about, and to thoroughly enjoy myself. Thus, this past weekend, I found myself once again in the coastal town of Brighton.

Greg and I had taken an impromptu trip to Brighton at about this time last year. We stood on the beach, were hypnotised by the pretty lights of the pier, and ate fish and chips. I had my picture taken with a garbage bin shaped like a porpoise. It was a really great weekend. I have a stone from Brighton beach, which I had kept in my jacket pocket for a long time, to remind me of it.

Although I did stand on the beach again, and breathe that crazy fresh sea air, my motives for going this weekend were to check out the Harvest Festival (idea compliments of Justin and his roomie Collyn). We took in several bands, had a few pints, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. If you haven't heard of Stars of Aviation, I would recommend checking them out.

Before leaving, Jason and I wandered down to the beach one last time, and I pocketed several more of those sea-polished stones.

Last year, after I had taken one last look at the ocean, I expected that I would never actually be back in Brighton (even though it is only an hour away by train from London). This past weekend was a unexpected surprise, and has proven to me that you really can't predict the future.

But sometimes, you do get to re-visit the past.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Dear Future Me

I received a message from the past today:

(this message was composed on Tue, Oct 12, 2004)

Dear FutureMe,

So...have you become an illustrator yet? If not, get your butt in gear, honey. You have an amazing amount of talent, and the world is waiting to hear from you. If you fail, you can always go and teach in Japan.

I wonder where you are...maybe you're still in London...imagine that. Maybe you're in Saskatoon. Wherever you are, it's where you are supposed to be. Trust me on this one. Whatever you are doing right now, however you feel...you are still about to accomplish everything you set out to do.

You are exactly who you are supposed to be, and you had better still have great fashion sense.

So, go and write an email to the following people:


and tell them how much they all shaped the past year. After you finish that, drop and give me ten illustrations.

Lock and load.

Past me.

Apparently, I had absolutely no faith that I would actually be able to stick it out in London for a year.

However, in defense of myself, I do remember that at this point last year, I had some very hard decisions that were about to come about. Around this time last year, my Grandfather passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, and I had to decide whether or not to actually stick around in the UK, or to return to Canada. I made my choice, and I don't regret it. I've had a lot of other tough decisions to make over the past year, some of which I am still coming to terms with.

What to say to my dorky past me?('lock and load'? I know why I wrote that, but still...)

No, I am not an illustrator yet, but I'm not afraid of going down that path when the time comes. I think I've changed significantly over the past year, and many of those changes are things that I've only just recently noticed.

I look back at who I was when I wrote that, and can see that I didn't take enough chances. I don't think I was willing to push my limits enough. Throughout the course of the last year, I've caught a brief, fleeting glimpse of what I'm capable of, and it's incredibly encouraging. I don't think that I'm the same insecure individual who I was when I wrote that.

And yes, my friends HAVE shaped me and this past year in so many incredible ways. They've stood by me, put up with me, pushed me and pulled me. I love them all, and can't imagine having accomplished any of what I have done without them.

So, dorky past me - thanks for the encouragement. I honestly have no idea what lies ahead, but I hope it's all completely and utterly unexpected. Next time, enjoy the present more and stop worrying so much about the future. You're right, though - wherever we are, wherever we end up, that's right where we're supposed to be. And we should just try and enjoy it.

Yours truly,
Dorky me.

Friday, October 07, 2005

I go through all this


I've recently found myself under a huge pile of self-inflicted change. And it all seems very heavy right now.

I don't typically cope with change well, which might sub-consciously be the reason that I have undertaken this current overhaul of my life. Quite frankly, I'm sick of living my life three years in advance, and have started to think that maybe, just maybe, by constantly living in the future, I'm letting some of the little things - the small, unexpected, and beautiful things - pass me by.

People change all the time. The thing about changing is that we don't typically get to see it in ourselves. It is usually a quality that someone points out, observes. I have never noticed how I have changed because I'm constantly living with the idea of myself that someone planted in my head years ago. It hasn't been until recently that I've actually had the opportunity to look at myself from a new angle. And take stock of what I see.

I've been going through the layers that make up me. That make up the real me - not the projection of how other people think I should be. I've been looking at how I act, what I say, what I do, how I react. I have to admit, there's been some scary stuff in there...stuff that I'm not proud of, and that I sometimes wish I could take back. Emotions that have been sitting so far down at the bottom of the pile, that I didn't even know I was capable of feeling them.

I could regret the things that I've done. I could beat myself up for making the choices I've made, or I could move on. Learn from my mistakes. Give myself another try. Don't we all deserve that? To borrow the words of the brilliant Todd Solondz (you either love him or hate him - rather, loathe him): "Maybe you're happy right now, and you just don't know it yet".

When we encounter difficult choices and hard realities, sometimes we just need a day - a day to just not get out of our pajamas and to take stock. Re-prioritise. Move on. Bury the monsters.

I go through all this.

Monday, October 03, 2005

she's a comic strip, but no-one's filled her in yet

For my 27th Birthday, the lovely miss M bought me a train ticket to Nottingham.

Much frolicking and wearing of dorky hats transpired, and this trip proved to be exactly what I needed right now in so many ways. I won't get all deep and introspective just yet (there's plenty of time for that), but I will tell you five extremely valuable lessons which were learned whilst tracing Robert Hode's roots:

1. Knitting is sexy
2. People get exponentially nicer the further you get away from London
3. I really don't like Nanos
4. My heart will race when I'm excited or in love. It will also race when I've had too much gin
5. People are never what you expect them to be, which is the perfect excuse to get out there and meet as many people as you can...go on...