Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Worst Nightmare

This is what I have always dreaded...being separated from E because of some natural disaster. Since Chile is a hotspot for natural disasters, primarily earthquakes, being separated because of some big earthquake has always been at the back of my mind. I always hoped we'd be together if and when it happened. Living in Chile you just have to accept that at some point or another, you're going to experience an earthquake. Chile and earthquakes are a package deal. Last night at 10:30pm pacific time, Southern Chile was struck by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake which affected central Chile as well. I'm reading a lot of conflicting reports as to what was affected and so I'm just beside myself with worry right now because I don't know the extent of the damage in Santiago and surrounding areas. I read that this earthquake released 500 times more energy than the Haiti earthquake and resulted in countries across the Pacific as far as Japan and the California coast issuing tsunami warnings.

After trying to get a hold of E and his family all morning with no success I am an absolute basketcase. E and his friends went to the beach last night and I have no idea how badly the beaches were affected or if tsunamis were generated in these areas so I'm using this post to, first of all, ask all my blogging buddies in Chile if they are okay! I really hope that you and nobody close to you were affected. Second, if anyone has any accurate reports about the coast of Chile and if tsunamis had any impact in these areas, especially the Papudo area, please let me know! I can't find any info about the coast and as I mentioned, there have been conflicting reports about the damage and the exact areas of the damage. I currently cannot get ahold of anyone in Chile so the only thing I can think of doing is writing a post to see if anyone else out there can help me. I know I'm probably overreacting, and everyone I know is probably fine, but being separated from E and not hearing from him or anyone is making me go crazy so I don't know what else to do!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Slovakia or Canada...That is the Question

Wow, two posts in one day! I´m on a roll! Well it´s really because my body has rebelled and gone all sick on me. I´m not deathly sick or anything, just a harsher form of the cold but it´s accompanied with this really painful and annoying headache that won´t go away and won´t let me do any useful work. So I am giving myself the evening off and am chilling here infront of the big screen with a bowl of popcorn and a glass of red wine AND a couple slices of dark chocolate...okay half a bar of dark chocolate. Anyone that knows me knows that these three things are my ultimate comfort foods. I don´t think anything pairs better than these items. If you haven´t tried it yet, you should do so, it will make you feel great!

Anyway, I haven´t had a nice relaxing night like this in a long time and I have to say that this is pure bliss. To top it all off, I´m watching the Canada versus Slovak Olympic hockey game as I type this which is really intense so far! Is anybody else following the Olympics? This game is really important for me and my family because though we are Canadian, my parents immigrated here from Slovakia. We speak Slovak at home and preserve a lot of Slovakian traditions so I still really relate to Slovakia and consider myself part Slovakian. As a result, I´m having a really hard time deciding who I´m going to cheer for. At first I thought I would go for Canada, because the Olympics are in Canada and so they deserve to win on their home turf. But then again, Slovakia is the underdog and have never done this well in Olympic hockey before so they also really deserve to win. Decisions decisions...Whoever wins this game goes to face off the United States for the Olympic gold. Everybody is hoping it will be Canada so that the arch rivals can have the ultimate final show down for the grand prize.

Ohhhhhhh!!!! Slovakia almost scored!!!!! Oh no!!!! Ahhhh! Canada´s got the puck!!! HE SHOOTS!!! HE SCOOOOOREEEESSS!!!!!! GOOOOOAAAALLLLLL!!!!!! GOAL FOR CANADAAAAAA!!!!! Alright, this is getting insane! I gotta go watch this with my family! Peace out!

Goooooo Canada!!! Goooooo Slovakia!!!


Update: Canada won!!! It was a great game played by both the Slovaks and the Canadians and only luck separated the winners from the losers. The Slovaks made me very proud so now I can go to school on Monday with my head held high (everyone has been bugging me all day about the game today!). Way to go Canada and Slovakia! Now I can fully dedicate myself to cheering for Canada as they take on the United States on Sunday in a fight for the gold medal! It´s going to be a killer nail biting game!

Sloppy Days...

Things I do not particularly consider myself: shallow, materialistic, jealous, sloppy...to name a few. Yet, lately I´ve had this reoccuring indicent at the univeristy that has made me feel all of these things and it sucks! First of all, if you´re reading my blog, you probably have a good idea of how stressed I am with school. Because of this, I wouldn´t say I´ve completely let myself go, appearance-wise, but I´ve definitely been putting in way less effort than normal. Okay well come to think of it...maybe I have semi- let myself go...

For example, most days, so that I can manage to get enough sleep in, I wake up with about 20 minutes to get ready in the morning. Or, if I decide to go for a run, I plan my morning so that I´ll have about 15 minutes to get ready. Right now, time is money, and I don´t have enough of it to be grooming myself every morning and applying make-up and making a huge effort to look good. The things I have been wearing these past couple months have been dominated by sweatpants and comfortable shirts and sweaters. For me, hours spent in the lab and studying is most comfortably done in sweatpants and so that´s what my preferred clothing of choice is at this moment. And it´s not like I really have anyone to impress over here anyway. So really, my motivation to look good has completely gone out the window since January and I´ve been in this kind of a zombie state, trying to make it through the day with as little pain as possible ever since.

So, now onto my situation. It´s not so much as a situation as it is a wake up call or just plain wierd and annoying but it´s resulted in me realizing the extent of how much I may have let myself go. There is this gorgeous girl here at my university. She is probably the most gorgeous girl I have ever seen in my life. She is so painfully perfect, it hurts to look at her. She is the kind of girl I wouldn´t want anyone to see me standing next to. She is Sweedish, tall, blond, skinny, little, and looks like a supermodel. I have no idea why she is not one. Anyway, I prefer to stay away from girls like this when I am feeling like a sloppy old house wife who can´t pull herself together because every time I look at her, I am consumed by a rage of shame and humiliation at myself for being in the situation I´m. Whenever I see her I feel like crap. I feel like the ugliest person that ever walked the face of the earth...and that´s on one of my good days. Today, for example, if she ever crossed my path I feel like the creature from the black lagoon. I also feel a little resentful of the fact that I don´t have the money to buy the designer clothes, boots, purses, makeup etc that this girl sports around campus. I swear, I´ve never seen her wear the same thing twice! I feel resentful of the fact that she´s taking a whole 2 classes and comes to campus basically just to chat with friends and have coffee and have guys oogle her all day. I wish I had the time, the money, and the motivation right now to look and feel like that! To be relaxed, to look good, to feel good, and to take better care of myself!

Anyway, right now I am at my ultimate low and it´s only going to get worse as finals come around. And just as things are getting worse and I´m feeling my shittiest, I manage to bump into this girl everywhere I go! She´s been here for like 3 or 4 years already and I have only managed to bump into her once or twice before, but for whatever reason, this semester she is everywhere! I go for coffee, she is there...I go sit at the back of the library, she is there...I leave campus to go study at Starbucks for a while...SHE IS THERE!!! This is what it´s been like these past couple months, only painfully reminding me of what a frump I must look like. I think the fashion gods are playing a cruel joke on me. Everytime I see her it´s like a slap in the face. Please stop following me gorgeous Sweedish goddess! I can´t take it anymore!!!

I know this kind of thing shouldn´t get to me, why be bothered by such shallow and materialistic things? She looks great! So what! It´s not her fault! I could too if I pulled myself together! But still, right now, at this point in the semester, it just gets to me...Is it wrong of me to be ths vain? I´ve decided that this weird situation might be some sort of a wake up call. I think those fashion gods are telling me that I need to start pulling myself together and taking control of my life and not letting myself turn into that sloppy slob I´ve always dreaded of becoming. It might even be a wake up call to just generally spend more time for me and not crucify myself for school all the time. In light of this situation and my recent crappy feelings, as a resolution to myself, I will try to boost my ego a bit by putting more time aside for myself. I will limit my sweat pant usage to only 2 or 3 times a week and I WILL dress more like a normal person the rest of the time. Let´s see if this helps a little with my self-esteem, which is presently at an all time low. Sorry for the negativity in this post...just feel like crap right now! Arghgh!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

100 Days Until Chile

Only almost 100 days until I´m back in Chileland!!! Sorry if these posts get a bit repetetive but as the days go by, I´m getting more and more desperate to be there and I´m really not motivated to write about anything else. Plus, right now I have no life so there is absolutely nothing else interesting on the topic of me to write about! I literally feel like I haven´t ¨lived¨since the winter vacation. It´s amazing how school can totally and completely take control of your life. And as hard as I struggle to make time for the more important things in life, like friends, family, godchildren, volunteering, etc...I just find it almost impossible and sometimes feel like I´m drowning. I know not everybody in university feels this way, but I tend to put an enormous and sometimes unreasonable amount of pressure on myself to do well and will do whatever it takes to achieve my goals. The only thing that keeps me sane right now is my daily Skype calls with E, my amazing family, and my nice long runs.

It´s amazing what running does for the soul. It is my one escape from the dark world I´m living in right now. It´s the one thing I can control and do well in with little effort. The more stressed I am, the more I run...the one positive thing stress has on me. By now I have worked up to running about 15K (about 9 miles) and there are times where I will go a week running 15K a day just so I can mentally make it through. Running has really helped to lift my spirits. As soon as I step outside, it´s just me and mother nature, and everything else melts away. I´m sure there is a notable change in my mood based on the days I run and the days I don´t. When I run, my personality remains cheerful and hopeful even in the most stressful of times. There´s no doubt that all this running will pay off and help me reach my goal of running (and completing...and surviving) the half marathon I´m planning to run in September in Valparaiso, Chile! Yes...I´ve finally committed myself to running a race longer than 10K. Now that I´m comfortably running 15K, I know I can make the full 21K at some point. Just give me another crazy couple months in school and I´ll be running a marathon before you know it ha ha!

In other news...things are slowly starting to come together for our wedding and our lives together in Chile! My other half over in Santiago is starting to prepare a little nest for us for when I finally get there. I´m not sure if I´ve already mentioned this but we bought our first car!!! E signs the papers this week so we will officially have our own private form of transportation! This will be really weird for me...a totally new experience! First of all, it will be the first time having my own car, and second, it will be amazing to not have to depend on the metro and micros ALL the time! Really looking forward to this new Chilean experience! The best part is that it´s not the crappy dumpster car I always imagined our first car would be!!! It´s a 2006 red something or other. Yikes...should I be emberassed that I don´t know the name of the car when it belonged to E´s parents and I´ve been aquainted with it for the past 4 years? Yes, E´s parents are helping us out and giving us a good deal on their car because they want to get a new one. Thank god for supportive parents. They gave us such a great deal and I am so greatful to them because if it weren´t for their car, we would have probably ended up with a car that looks something like this.

Next month E is going to start looking for an apartment for us! We´re hoping to find something reasonably priced in Providencia, which is only the best neighborhood to live in Santiago! Providencia has always been my favourite area. First of all, it has the best location. Though Las Condes and other comunas higher up are beautiful, they are also very inconveniently located. There aren´t many micros that go out to those areas, except for the main streets, and metro access is usually far away. Providencia is perfectly located right inbetween the two main business areas of Santiago: Escuela Militar and the Center (well, these are the parts where I spend most of my time). At the core of Providencia you can find a metro stop every couple blocks and micros that pass to almost every part of Santiago pass through here. Second, it has a ton of awesome bars, clubs, restaurants, cafes (okay, Starbucks´) scattered throughout. It´s great to have such a variety of options open to you right outside your front door. Third, it´s gorgeous! It´s one of the most greenest places in Santiago and am always blown away by the gorgeous tall ¨platano orientales¨that line the streets. Almost all the streets in the core of this comuna are covered by canopies of trees. Other bonuses are, you have Cerro San Cristobal right there and Parque Forestal and Bustamante close by too which are some of my favorite areas for running in Santiago. So, in conclusion, I really really really hope we can find a place there!!!

Back on the topic of wedding planning, my family has officially bought their tickets to Chile in December for our wedding!!! Just knowing they have their tickets makes it all seem so much more real! December still seems so far off but my mom is already lost in a planning frenzy as she searches for the perfect South American holiday. After the wedding, her and my dad want to do some travelling and see a bit while they´re in Chile. That´s my mom for you, god love her! Heck, she´s already booked a few hotels and flights to various South American destinations! Talk about planning ahead! Wait...I guess I shouldn´t talk. I started booking things for my wedding over a year in advance! I guess it runs in the family? lol.

Some sad news about the wedding is that I am learning that many people whom I thought might come to our wedding, definitely will not be coming. It´s starting to look like it´s just going to be my family and maybe a couple of my friends...so I´m going to have to start finding some new friends in Chile to have people to invite on my part ha ha! Seriously though, this is the thing that really sucks about planning a wedding abroad...not many of your friends and family will make it. Of course I don´t blame them, the ticket is beyond expensive, but still...I wish I would have some more guests from my side that could make it. Well, I guess you can´t have everything! I´m just happy to be marying the man of my dreams! Nothing else really matters!

And with that I´m off to bed to prepare myself for another long day of school and studying tomorrow! Good night!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

2010 Vancouver Olympic Games Officially Open!!!

The 2010 Winter Olympics are officially here and the arrival of the games has lit fire to everyone´s patriotic spirits. They couldn´t have chosen a better city to host the games. To me this city is drop dead gorgeous and the most pleasant and beautiful place to live in. I love this city so much and just thinking about leaving it makes my cry on the inside. Where else can you find a city that is flanked by huge majestic mountains and an endless blue ocean? From almost every spot in Vancouver you can see both of these gorgeous gifts from mother nature. If you take a ferry a few minutes north or west, you can leave the busy metropolis and enter a wild rustic world full of ancient forests and hidden coves along the coast and on the many Islands scattered throughout the Gulf of Georgia. The mix of landscapes in this region is breathtaking and I have never before seen anything more beautiful. The arrival of the winter Olympic games has really helped to make the country feel more united, especially British Colombia, and everyone is bursting at the seams with Olympic fever and patriotism!

Our hearts are full and emotions are charged with excitement as the games take off. The opening ceremony last night was beyond amazing! How many of you got to see a glimps of it? My favorite part was when they brought in the best fiddlers in Canada who did a show down complete with dancing. This segment resembled something out of Lord of the Dance and the crowd loved it! I think it was great that they incorporated the rich culture and history of the aboriginals into the show as well. The mystery torch bearer turned out to be Wayne Gretzky, the ¨Great One¨, something most of us Canadians had already anticipated because come on, you really can´t get a torch bearer more Canadian than the best hockey player in the history of the world, a sport that is almost synonymous with Canada.

I´m sure the speech about Canada given by slam-master poet Shane Koyczan, brought a tear to everyone´s eye. Here is a little taste of what he said:

¨...When defining Canada don't forget to mention that we have set sparks. We are not just fishing stories about the one that got away. We do more than sit around and say "eh?". And yes we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One who inspired little number nines and little number ninety-nines. But we're more than just hockey and fishing lines off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes and some say what defines us is something as simple as please and thank you. And as for you're welcome, well we say that too. But we are more than genteel or civilized. We are an idea in the process of being realized. We are young. We are cultures strung together, then woven into a tapestry, and the design is what makes us more than the sum total of our history. We are an experiment going right for a change...¨

Though everything is great with all the Olympic anticipation and hustle and bustle, there have been a few tragedies. First of all, there is a severe lack of snow which is costing the committee millions to fix. Second of all, and much more important, is the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili who died on a practice run of what athletes are calling the toughest luge track in history. It was heartbreaking to see the Georgian team make their entrance to the stadium as everyone gave them a standing salut. They were very solumn and in their faces you could see that they were utterly crushed. What a tragic thing to happen to such a young athlete. My heart goes out to him, his family, and his team mates.

If the spotlight on Canada didn´t make me proud to be Canadian and British Colombian, the Global Livibility Report by the EIU certainly did! Every year the EIU carries out a survey of 140 cities major cities in the world and compares them based scales of stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. For the 3rd year in the row, Vancouver Canada is officially the best place to live in the WORLD!!! Woo hoo!!! I couldn´t be more proud! Not only that, but 3 of the 5 best cities in the world to live in are Candian! For more information, you can visit the site: http://www.eiu.com/site_info.asp?info_name=The_Global_Liveability_Report&page=noads&rf=0

I don´t mean for this post to sound snobby or conceited or anything. I´m just so damn proud of my country and have to share!!! I´m so excited for the future of this incredible place and have so much hope for it. I have always been proud to be Canadian, but the Olympic games have put a major spotlight on our country and has made most of us reflect a lot on Canada, what it means to be Canadian, and how lucky we are to live in this majestic place.

And with that I leave you with some photos of Vancouver (which I did NOT take!) and the option of checking out photos at the official 2010 Vancouver Olympics Games site found at http://www.vancouver2010.com/olympic-photos/

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Post with No Title

I honestly can´t think of a title because this post contains information from so many parts of my life. I guess that´s what happens when you haven´t posted for weeks! I know I´ve abandoned blogging lately but I´ve never been so swamped with school. I am so physically exhausted and the only thing keeping me going is knowing that the semester is almost half way over. And soon after that, it will all be over and I´ll be enjoying my last month of freedom in Canada as a graduate!!! Finally!!!

Anyway, I´ve had so much to catch up on so reader beware...this post is going to be quite a roller coaster as I fill you in on the ups and downs of my life!

Yesterday was definitely the worst day of the semester by far. I had back to back midterms and had no time to study because my family from Slovakia are visiting as well as a friend from England! To top it off, a really close friend of the family passed away yesterday and that´s when I completely crashed. I hadn´t studied for my midterm which was the next day, and I was trying to deal with the fact that I lost someone who was like a grandfather to me. So, I had a bit of a nervous breakdown that night after visiting our friends in mourning, especially when at 10pm I still hadn´t studied for my midterm the next day! I finally just quit, knowing there was no way I would be able to study that night since I had been sleeping 5-6 hours per night. I hadn´t been able to study much before since I had been trying to spend as much time with my visiting family and friend as possible as well as study for other midterms. So, I emailed my prof and told him the story, and thank god he was sympathetic and is allowing me to write this midterm at a later date. God I love teachers like that who really understand how stressful it can be to be a student and how much sometimes you really just need a break. So now that that´s out of the way, I´m able to just deal with the loss of our friend without stressing about exams and school.

So now here I am at home, just chilling, and trying to recuperate after these few stressful weeks. Our mid semester break is next week and it couldn´t be coming at a better time. I´ll finally get a chance to catch up on so many things I need to do.

Things with wedding planning are going well. We finally resolved the church issue! Remember how I said that the church we wanted, which was the only church near reception site, didn´t do weddings until after 9pm? Well, that was too late for us so we decided to look for other options. It turned out that though there arn´t any more churches in the area, there are chaples, which are just as big as churches. The only difference between a chapel and a church is that the chapels don´t have a parish community or a priest in charge and only have masses once a week or so. So anyway, we found this really nice chapel which was close to our reception site and E went a couple weeks ago to reserve it! I´m happy to report that we now officially have a place for our wedding ceremony! Woo hoo! It turns out that most couples having their reception at the place we booked also get married in this chapel because it´s close and beautiful. There have even been a few famous people that have gotten married there so yay, I feel special!

So now we can cross off another thing off our list! It´s kind of funny. I never imagined myself as one of those hardcore wedding planning brides but I am discovering this new side of me that somewhat resembles that bride! I guess they´re right when they say that as soon as you put a ring on a girls finger, something in her biology changes and she becomes this crazy wedding planning machine ha ha! Well, the point is that I am surprising myself. But I´m loving it! When E was booking the chapel, there were like 5 other couples booking it too and he said that everyone was laughing at him when he told them what date he was booking it for! They were all booking it for within the next couple months while poor E was booking it for almost a year away! Yes I know I must seem like a freak to the Chileans...Even in our wedding photographer´s schedule, she has a ton of weddings in the first part of the year, then a huge gap, and then our wedding months later. In Chile people don´t book as far in advance as in North America and I guess even I´m even pushing it. I think I booked Kyle over a year before our wedding date! What can I say, I wanted to make sure we got her. If you see her pictures, you´ll understand why!

Moving on to a new topic, about a week ago I had a little case of ¨pre-wedding jitters¨. This is kind of hard for me to talk about but I wanted to post it incase other brides out there are feeling the same thing. I am able to post this now because of the fact that I am so strongly confident and sure of my relationship with E. Now that I look back, it seems so stupid and it´s totally resolved now. For years I have always known I would marry E and it was only a question of when. I could never imagine anything different. Then about a week ago, I had a little break down. All my friends were going off to travel the world, some of them going on really cool year long backpacking trips around the world, something I have always dreamed of doing. However, when I met E, I kind of forgot about that side of me that always wanted to travel and I focused on our lives together. For some reason, a few days ago it hit me that now that I am getting married, I will never get to do that trip I always dreamed about. It hit me so hard...like...this is it...I´m getting married...now our lives are going to revolve around routine and 2 week holidays...and I paniced!

I paniced a little more than I should have, especially since, I don´t know about all you other long distance couples, but when I´m away from E, I start to get used to being alone, and I don´t think the way I normally do when I´m with him. When I say that I start to get ¨used¨ to being alone, I don´t mean that in a good way. I mean it in the way that you get used to not having a loved one close to you anymore after they´ve passed away. After a few weeks, you start to fall into this automatic routine and slowly forget the little details that made you tick with that person. You slowly start to forget how to be in a relationship and how you function together as a couple. So I spontaneously thought of doing a trip on my way down to Chile in June instead of flying directly down without realizing the impact it would have on E and I as a couple.

This is something I should have thought about long and hard, but instead, stupid me, I told E about it right away, without having the chance to really think it over. And the conversation that followed is one of the reasons I love him so much. He was dissapointed and hurt that I was thinking about other things and planning things alone instead planning them together. He was upset that while I was focusing on plans without him, he was thinking of me everyday and dreaming for the day we would finally be together. Let me just get one thing straight, it´s not that I wouldn´t have loved to do the trip with him, but the fact is that he wouldn´t be able to do it because of work. It´s his first year at a new job and therefore has no holidays yet.

Getting to the point, he told me that if this trip was something I needed to make me complete and ready for marrying him, then he supported me 100%. He didn´t give me any ultimatum or lose his cool. He was so supportive and loving and I could feel that he truly wanted me to be happy. Of course after that convo and after talking about it with a few friends, I realized how selfish I was being and what an amazing man I have. Sure I had a lot of other dreams and things I wanted to do, but E did to, and everything changed when he put that ring on my finger. Life is not about getting everything you want, it´s about weighing out what´s most important doing everything in your power to get there. Sure there will be sacrifices and compromises, but in the end it´s worth it. To some people, the most important thing is travel and they are willing to put everything aside to follow that path. That´s totally fine, but to me the most important thing in my life is E and our future together and I am willing to do whatever it takes work toward that and make him happy.

We both want to travel but doing it right now would have affected our relationship. He was already starting to look for apartments and wanted to book the date for our civil ceremony. He is getting so many things ready for me thinking that I am coming in June. We had a good long talk and we both realized how committed we are to traveling. I was always worried we would end up like most couples who keep saying they are going to travel one day but never do. But he promised me that it wouldn´t happen and that one day, even if we had to drop everything and quit our jobs, we would go and do that 6 month backpacking trip we always dreamed of. So I guess though you can´t have absolutely everything you want in the world, you can still have many things you wanted. I fell inlove with someone and got engaged early in my life. Though it would have been nice to have more time to be single and do some more traveling, I wouldn´t change anything. You can´t chose when you fall inlove and I consider myself so fricking lucky for having found my soulmate.

So I can honestly say that my little case of ¨pre-wedding jitters¨ has passed and I am now back to focusing on projects that E and I have togther. I really feel like sometimes when I´m without him for too long I go crazy and stop thinking straight. I guess that had something to do with it. I´m just curious, anyone else out there have similar stories? In my case, I´ve always known that I would marry E, no matter how many fights, second thoughts, or problems we´ve had. I´ve always felt this incredible certainty deep in my soul that I could never live my life without him.

Okay so that´s all for now. Sorry this post is quite the emotional roller coaster but I´ve had quite a bit to catch up on and I don´t know when the next time will be when I´ll have the time to post again. I promise once I´m done school I´ll be more organized!