A Question for Cyclists…

So this is a question for those that ride their pushies (push bikes for those not familiar with my slang yet) to and from work, out and about and just generally all over the place. What road rules are you actually supposed to follow? The rules of a vehicle? or those of a pedestrian? Because I have noticed quite a lot while walking to work, that cyclists on the road sometimes behave like vehicles, but when the lights turn red, behave like pedestrians – except at pedestrain crossings, when it seems to be a case of the person on foot trying to cross before getting taken out by the bike?!

So I am just curious – what exactly are the rules for riding your bike on the road? Are there set rules? This has always baffled me….

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Living Abroad….A long post…

It’s a long post, so grab yourself a cup of tea and settle in for the read!

This all started because I read a post this morning on living abroad and how it changes you. And it got me thinking about my own experience living overseas for an extended period of time. I have done it twice now.

The first time was when I was 23. It was 2002. I had just broken up with the guy I thought I was going to marry and life, well, for a lack of a better description, sucked. I was miserable in my job, at home, lonely, sad and just pretty much fed up. A girl friend of mine had mentioned to me that she wanted to go overseas to start afresh (she had her own reasons). We ummed & ahhh’d about it, then one day, after I finished a particularly horrible day at work, I decided then and there I was going to London. I called my friend, told her that I was going to London in 6months and she was welcome to come with me if she wanted to.

To get there within this time frame, I worked 2 jobs, 7 days a week. I had my normal Mon-Fri job, which was 8-5.30, then I went straight to my retail job and worked from 6-11.30 or midnight 4 nights a week. Within the 6months my flight was booked and our 2 year visas were arranged. We were going to do a tour of Europe though before we settled in. A Contiki tour, a tour for 18-35 year olds. I made tonnes of new friends, most of them were from Canada. It was fantastic.

Living in London was a shock to the system. Everything moved so quickly, it was so crowded, everyone was in a rush and for this laid back Aussie, it was quite the adjustment. My friend and I very quickly worked out we could travel together but couldn’t live together and parted ways, still friends, but living on opposite sides of the city. I thought I had failed. My grand plans for this new life had gone pear shaped. I called home crying telling mum I couldn’t do it. She told me to give it 6months and if I still hated it, then to come home. A friend from home had given me the number for 2 of his friends living in the UK at the same time. We had become friends and I approached them about finding a 3 bedroom apartment – what was the worst they could say? No? They said yes. I lived behind their living room door on a trundle bed for 3 months before we found something. It was quite the experience!

Finally, we found a 3 bedroom condo in the heart of London – Marylebone to be exact. I had made new friends, had a great job, great apartment and roommates – life was again a happy place. Every month, I would go to a different city, experience new countries – one of the advantages of living in London – easy access to the rest of Europe. However, sadly, being an assistant didn’t warrant me an extension to stay in London past my 2 year WH visa, and I had to come home. I wasn’t ready to move home and come back to reality. All the reasons why I had left came flooding back. I am the first to admit, I was scared to go home.

Moving home in 2004 was an adjustment. It felt like while I had been away, things at home hadn’t really changed. Everyone was still doing the same things they were when I left. The only difference was we were older. I felt so strange, like I was in an alternate universe. I couldn’t wait to leave again. I tried to keep these thoughts at bay, getting a good job, making new friends, catching up with the old ones, but something was always missing. I couldn’t settle down. Mum could see it as much as I denied it. Then in 2007 one of my Canadian friends who I met on Contiki suggested I give living in Canada a go. I was still eligible for a visa, so thought why not? Told her to have my bedroom ready and I would see her in 6months. 6 months later – she was picking me up from the airport. That was 6 years ago this year.

My experience in Canada has been very different to my one in London. Maybe it was because I had done this before, so it wasn’t such a shock or that I knew people here already and living with them made it easier. Making my own friends here was top of my priority list as I didn’t want to encroach on my friends, friends, or feel like she and her husband had to look after me. I got a job in the first month I was in Calgary. Thankfully, I moved here at a time where there were more jobs than people, and thankfully again, I got a job with an amazing company! After living with my friend for 2 years, I moved downtown into a condo with a friend of a friend. It was a complete disaster. At first it was great, the first year was actually a lot of fun. But then the second year, I discovered she was just a very mean person through and through. We parted ways and I found a fabulous 1 bedroom apartment I could call my own. My company looked after me and I obtained 2 additional visas before applying for permanent residency which I received over a year ago now.

Sadly I haven’t done the traveling I had hoped I would in this country, I’ve seen some things, but not nearly as much as I would like to have in the time I have been here. But after living here for as long as I have, and loving it for as much as I have I feel my time here is winding down. More and more, thoughts of home are pressing in my mind. My family, I miss them terribly, I miss seeing my friends kids growing up – Skype is great, but it doesn’t hold up to the real thing.

I have amazing friends, life long friends from around the world who mean more to me than they probably realise and for this I am eternally grateful. They have become my family overseas. No matter where in the world I am, I will always have them on my mind (and I certainly hope they visit me wherever I am!) In a perfect world, I would have the best of both these places at the same time. But it’s time. It’s time to move home and even though the thought of it terrifies me – having to start all over again, pick up and begin the next chapter, I now feel I am ready. I am ready to finally go home.

Living abroad has changed me, hopefully for the better, it is something I do recommend to anyone as it is something you will never regret. It takes a leap of faith and a firm belief that no matter what – even with a few stumbles and teething problems, you will eventually land on your feet.

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Most Frustrating Sport (and team) in the World

Well ok, that is a slight exaggeration. The sport I am talking about is Rugby League. Don’t mistake it for the sport everyone refers to as ‘Rugby’ as it may have similar rules, but it is a very different sport. One is Rugby League, the other is Rugby Union.

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My team are the St George-Illawarra Dragons (I know, it is quite the mouthful). I have supported them since I was a little kid, going to their games, watching them go through their highs and lows. Even while I have been overseas. And this year, the season is 3 rounds in and I am pretty sure my team are vying for wooden spoon. It is so frustrating to watch. I know they can win games, I’ve seen them win the Premiership. But so far what I have seen this year – they just don’t appear to have the passion or the desire to win and it makes me sad. If they keep playing like this, its going to make for a very long season.

Their defense is amazing, for the first half of tonight’s game, the opposition could not break their line. Half time we went to the break at 6-5. Then it all went downhill. Its like they took a break, and forgot to come back onto the field. The final score ended up being 30-17. They tried hard, they really did, but they just couldn’t create points from the opportunities they were given.

So I can watch the games ‘live’ I am up at all hours of the evening and morning, sometimes up at 3am to watch them (yes, dedicated supporter here) and it is so disappointing to watch the boys struggle. There are 26 rounds to the season, I’m hoping they improve because right now, they are sitting 2nd last on the ladder…..

Thanks for reading – I think I just needed to vent about my boys tonight!

Monday Happy Dance

A little while ago I mentioned my inner geek had been released and I was going to the Comic Expo here in Calgary. Well, to update that post, this morning I secured myself a photo op with Peter Dinklage AKA Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones! Happy dance? I think so!!!!!

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However, let’s pause for a second as I divulge a small piece of disappointment…..unfortunately Norman Reedus AKA Darryl from The Walking Dead it would appear is not going to be there on the day that I am going! This has made me a wee bit sad, but remember….

I’m going to meet Tyrion!!!!!! Let’s continue with the happy dance!

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****UPDATE**** so after it was discovered we would miss out on meeting Darryl, we changed our date to the expo and now, not ONLY am I meeting Tyrion, I am also meeting Darryl and the latest, best news ever!!!! MACGYVER!!!! I dont know about you, but I am not ashamed to say I had a huge crush on him when I was in school! Who wouldn’t want to meet a man who can save the world with a roll of duct tape and a paperclip… HAHAHAHA

Have Manners become obsolete?

I have to admit, this is my major pet peeve. As children, we are taught to say ‘excuse me’, ‘pardon’, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ amongst other polite terms when conversing with other people. However, I have noticed that manners these days are almost as rare as locating a unicorn.

The most distressing part about this observation is that it isn’t children that have a lack of manners. It is adults. Us – ones that should know better. I am quite big on my personal space, I do not feel that a person has to rub up against me in order to get me to move. If I am in your way, or blocking where you need to get to – say ‘excuse me’ and low and behold – I will move. It really is that simple.

When I was growing up I remember wanting something and my mum would say to me “what’s the magic word” Obviously, the right response is ‘please’. Or you are given something by someone else, and she would say to me “now what do you say?” and again, ‘Thank you’ would be the appropriate response. Is it rude to want to use these same methods when in the company of random strangers?

I have noticed this behaviour is most prominent in places like the gym, the shopping mall and even in food courts. Everyone is in a rush to get to their destination and I completely understand that. But when did it become ok to physically move someone out of your way with a shoulder barge or worse – (and this I noticed at the gym the other day) manouver yourself around someone else to get to your locker so that, that person can no longer get in to their own?!

A scenerio similar to the above happened to me on Saturday. I had my locker door open to take my things out, a girl who had her things in the locker next to me, instead of saying ‘excuse me’ or waiting the whole 2 seconds for me to finish what I was doing, ducked UNDER my locker door to get closer to hers, shut my door while I had my back turned for a second, then proceeded to stand in front of my locker so she could get changed – I guess I was supposed to just stand there and wait for her to finish. I was tired and exhausted from my work out so I think I may have said “are you right?! An excuse me doesn’t hurt” before she looked at me like I was in HER way and I was out of line for saying something?! And still, not a single word came out of her mouth the entire time.

Normally, if this is the scenerio I am fairly observant so will move so they can get in or I say ‘just a second and I’ll be out of your way’ and it’s all good. In most cases the other person just waits a minute for me to be finished. This is what I do when I am the one waiting. But for some reason I encountered this behaviour instead and it totally rubbed me the wrong way..

Have you ever encountered the ‘huff and puff’? Someone breathes in and out overly heavy to make their presence known – and that you are in their way, but then doesn’t actually say anything? At times I have been tempted to say ‘use your words’!

It saddens me as when I moved here, I thought I had moved to the most polite country in the world. That was the impression I had gotten on the 2 previous visits I had made here. So much more polite than people back home. But what really saddens me, is that a lack of manners really has become universal….and apparently – acceptable.

Manners

“Nothing” Days – are good for the soul

I don’t know about you, every now and then, I like to have a “nothing day”. I literally do nothing all day. I believe days like this are good for the soul, good to relax, good to re-group, good to prepare you for the busy work week to come.

What does a “nothing day” entail you ask. It’s quite simple really – it involves doing absolutely nothing that requires effort or planning. Pick a day of your weekend (I like Sunday for my nothing day). So on Saturday, you run all your errands, clean if you feel like it, do your laundry, cook and whatnot – basically anything and everything that will clear out your Sunday.

Then Sunday, it’s pretty much a day of rest. You leisurely lay in bed till your tummy grumbles demanding to be fed, you get up, eat, make your favourite coffee or tea. You may or may not decide to get out of your pj’s. It’s not like you are going out – so who cares what you wear right? Head to the couch, get comfy, go through the shows you have PVR’d during the week, or if you haven’t anything good to watch, check out the shows on Netflix or look at your dvd collection. Perhaps you have borrowed some shows off your friends. Then sit back, relax and let the mind relaxing begin. You may feel the urge to nap, so you nap. You may decide you want to read for an hour or so – so you do that. The point of the day is to rest your brain from every day life.

Sleepy Bear

If you think about it, we spend 99% of our time thinking of things we have to do, places we have to go, things we have to accomplish, errands we have to run, where we are supposed to be next week, who we are meeting for coffee/dinner and when, what appointments we have to make, what gym classes we have to get to, worrying about the workload waiting for us come Monday morning. Very rarely anymore do we just take a time out and relax – even on holiday – sometimes we are so busy exploring and working out where we are going next, that we forget to appreciate the beauty of what is in front of us – like the beach, the sun and sand, a castle we can see from our hotel window (depending on where you are holidaying)….etc. Maybe it is also part of me being brought up by the beach in Australia. We can be quite relaxed back home when we want to be. Who knows, but I can happily spend an entire day lazing on the sand, watching the waves, listening to my ipod then go home thinking I have had an amazing ‘me’ day.

Some may think its being lazy. And I’m totally ok with that. I have gone through times where I am busy 95% of the time. It happens, especially during summer here. And at the time it’s great, but then in an instant, everything feels like a chore, I get grumpy, I begin to dislike people, crowds, and places, I become snarky, I feel horrible, run down, I dont want to exercise and if I do its totally half-assed, then I hide for weeks – only for the routine to start all over again. Hence, the introduction of the nothing day.

A girl friend of mine has a super busy schedule, busy all the time – work, exercise, socializing etc she is always on the go – like an energizer bunny. So I have challenged her to a ‘nothing’ day. Why you ask? She is starting to fall apart on me – literally! Injuries, illness, fatigue – I think her body and brain are telling her to take a day – do nothing. And for another reason – well, why not?

I know it will be a challenge for her – and it will probably drive her crazy, but I know she can do it! And if she hates it – well she has only lost one day right?