Thursday, November 30, 2006

Brel: One of my favourite joints in Glasgow because they have Belgian mussels, frites and beer

i have booked my flight home for Christmas and should be back in glorious Toronto for December 20th! i am looking forward to seeing family and friends and eating at all of my favourite places once again. It's going to be strange; i don't think that i have ever been away from Canada this long - even when i was a student over here, i still managed to get home a lot more (by the way, long distance relationships suck). i haven't been in Canada for 8 months now and i hate to admit it, but i think i have completely adjusted to Scottish life.

i look the right way when crossing the streets; i can navigate round abouts; i can (almost) understand the locals (if they speak slow enough); i drink Irn Bru instead of Coke or Pepsi; i pay my council tax and begrudge Glasgow Council for it; i watch football; i'm no longer confused when i wake up in the mornings now and it is still pitch-black outside; i drink tea in place of coffee (but still miss a Tim Hortons double double); and i watch and listen to the BBC. Don't get me wrong: Glasgow still kills me with its lack of recycling and weird men but for the most part, i'm loving it here.

i do miss snow though. And i fucking hate the rain!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


A lot of this was shot in the West end of Glasgow, right near where i live, and at Glasgow University.

This video is 15 years old and shockingly VERY relevant

One of the funniest things i have ever seen

Monday, November 27, 2006

I Went On A Date with A Coke-Head Fart Blamer

If i told you about my latest misfortune and adventure in online dating, you probably would not believe me. In fact, you would probably accuse me of making it up. i actually couldn't believe the circumstances i found myself in this past Saturday while on a date with J, a cute boy who contacted me via an online dating site.

J lives in Edinburgh, so he took the train in on Saturday afternoon to meet me for a drink. It seemed promising: he was employed, the same age as me, from a small town in the Highlands, and funny. We had already talked on the phone previously and i concluded that he was (a) nice and (b) not a freak.

Was i wrong.

The date started off great; the banter was nice and he name-dropped some interesting writers. There was just one thing though: he seemed to have a lot of nervous energy. i thought maybe he was just nervous and that's why he was talking so quickly. Also, he would ask me a question - the same question i had just answered 45 minutes ago. You know, if there is one thing i fucking hate, it is people who ask questions and don't listen to the answer. It drives me nuts and being a barbaric North American, i find it hard to conceal my emotions and annoyance. So, when J asked me, for the second time, if i had ever been to Fort William i replied, "for the second time now, yes, i have been there".

i can be a bitch. But only if you deserve it.

We walked to the pub and things were ok; we had overcome the bitchy awkward moment and were moving on. J still seemed to have a lot of nervous energy and was a bit preoccupied with the sports channel that was on the tv in the corner. We continued to talk over a couple of drinks and things seemed ok. Just as i was lifting my glass of wine to my lips J asked me, "what are you like in bed?" i tried not to choke on my drink and calmly set my glass back down.

"Too bad you will never find out," i said.

Now why i didn't leave right there, i can't really say. Perhaps it was because things got really interesting at this point.

J's nervous energy only seemed to get worse and i have to say, i guess i felt a bit sorry for him. Maybe he was just a bit socially inept (like myself at times) and can say the wrong thing without realising it. i gave him the benefit of the doubt and started talking about the interesting cultural differences and run-ins i had found myself in since moving to the UK. i began telling him an anecdote about going for a wax and the beautician being a lot more intensive then what i was used to back in Canada. i thought my story was hilarious and shaking in a rapture of mirth at my own story. i guess J didn't think it was that funny and said, "can you keep your laugh down a bit".

And that's when my psycho bitch came out because NO ONE - apart from my Mom and Step-Dad - tell me to "keep it down".

Stunned, i sat there for a minute. J turned to check out the sports scores on tv and said, "fuck!"

"What's wrong?" i asked, not really caring.
"i bet on a game and i lost," he replied.

i didn't want to pass judgement on him but really, most people who bet on football games are trashy. With the revelation that he had lost his bet, J's nervous energy went into overdrive. He began scratching his nose, sniffing, and blinking really quickly. Now that my psycho bitch had come out i asked him if he needed to go to the washroom to snort a line. J didn't seem phased by my bitch remark and merely just said that he was "ok". i was suspicious and asked him if he did coke to which he replied, "yeah, but i've only done it a couple times; maybe ten or fifteen".

Ok, people who bet on sports and think that 10 or 15 run-ins with coke is only a "couple of times", are trash. So, i decided that that was it; i was leaving.

J's nervous coke-withdraw symptoms must have made its way down to his stomach because just then, he let an audible fart rip loose. Being a lady and thinking that this dude had enough shitty things against him already, i decided to try and ignore it.

But then it started smelling. Bad.

J turned to me and in all seriousness asked me, "did you just fart?"

Now. It is one thing to accidentally fart on a date, it is another thing entirely to then try and BLAME it on your DATE.

"i most certainly did not!" i yelled in disbelief because really, who fucking farts and blames it on someone you just met when CLEARLY you both just heard him do it?!

And then a second wave of J's coke-withdraw farts hit me. And AGAIN he asked me, "did you fart again?"

That was it. Psycho Bitch took over and the remainder of Jennifer went black. And here's what Psycho Bitch said, almost word for word:

"That's it! i can't believe you have the audacity to act all proper and superior when i tell you about my funny waxing story and TELL ME to keep it down, and then fucking fart and have the nerve to try and blame ME when you and i both know that YOU farted. Not me. YOU. i tried to be a lady and ignore it but then you had to go and blame ME?! i've dated my share of liars and i'll tell you right now, you better come clean and admit to it".

J stared at me, nose twitching, and replied, "it must have been someone sitting near us then". A quick scan revealed that no one was sitting anywhere NEAR us and so, grabbing my stuff, announced that i was leaving.

Sorry, shitbag, i already have someone who tries to blame their farts on me: my brother.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Tuesday, November 21, 2006


This weekend started out so promising and ended in a spectacular kamikaze of drunk rage and bruised egos!

Friday and Saturday night, I had two different housewarming parties that I was invited to. At the housewarming on Saturday, my friend and I were none too impressed with the lack of men at the party (it was attended by lots of nurses and midwives though) and so, we headed over to a local bar for a drink. At the bar, my friend introduced me to something called a "French martini". Do we have those in Canada? It was like drinking liquid gold - only extremely potent and dangerous because it tasted like lollipops.

Sunday afternoon I met up with my friends, Lauren and Kate, to get some brunch. On their way to meet me at the local grease joint, Kate and Lauren ran into our mutual friends Irish Mike and Erica - which was a bit odd considering that they live on the Southside of Glasgow. Nevertheless, Irish Mike seemed to be acting strange and would not commit to meeting up with us later.

Over scrambled eggs and toast, we worked out that Irish Mike was going to pop the question to Erica, whom he has been dating for about 5 years (i think). Turns out we were right because we got a text telling us to come meet him and his fiancee at the pub around the corner. So, Kate, Lauren, myself and John (whom we just happened to bump into on the street), headed over to the pub to celebrate. We arrived around 2.30pm and were later joined by even more friends.

And so, from about 3pm until 6pm, i had had several glasses of champagne, wine, and a bit of cider. But you know, your friends only get engaged once (or so you hope). At about 6pm my friends reminded me that i had a hot date with the Cute Boy in a Kilt that i met the other night. At this point, i was pretty tipsy but feeling good so i headed home to get ready for the date.

At 7pm my date picked me up and i forewarned him that i had been drinking all afternoon - in celebration, mind you. Everything seemed cool; we chatted, flirted, and he drove me past the Catholic church he attends every Sunday (gulp).

Before I go any further - have y'all seen that episode of Sex and the City where Miranda goes out with this really cute Detective, only she's so nervous because she thinks that he is way out of her league and so she proceeds to get really wasted on the date?

Ok. Well picture that scene but worse.

We ordered a bottle of wine and by the time it finishes, i am pretty hosed but i thought i was handling the sauce quite well. Once the bottle is finished, my date puts his arm around me and asked me if i wanted to go back to his flat for some wine there.

Completely wasted, mouth agape, and taken aback, i replied, "NO. I BARELY KNOW YOU AND YOU'RE ASKING ME BACK ALREADY?!?"

Yep, i was pretty much a drunken crazy beast.

i think i then accused him of being a player and trying to sleep with as many women as possible with little regards for their emotional well-being. i can't be sure though. You know, as awful as my drunk rage was, what kinda dude asks a drunk girl back to his flat on the first date? And really, if he was a wholesome Catholic boy he probably wouldn't have suggested it in the first place. It might have been harsh and my reaction might have lacked grace, but i think that my fears of him being a player seemed to become reality. Or the drunk reality at that time. i think, more than anything, i was disappointed and channeled it into psycho female drunk rage.

Needless to say we're not going out again.

Oh, and Mom, don't worry - i emailed him an apology and he accepted. i still maintain some of the manners you installed in me.

Friday, November 17, 2006

My opinions about Scottish men might just be improving. In previous posts I whined about Scottish men being shy, reserved, and unlikely to make the first move. However, I might just have to eat my words.

Last night I went to a "Singles" Ceilidh (whatever! Don't judge me!) and had loads of fun. I had been to one Ceilidh before when I was an international student at Glasgow University and they hosted one to assimilate all of us international weirdos into Scottish culture. Now, as a Canadian, when I hear "folk dancing" by reflex I shiver and flashback to highschool in Napanee, where we were forced to line dance to Billy Ray Cyrus in gym class (I wish I was lying).

Scottish folk dancing is anything but. Ceilidh's are all about drinking, skipping around in circles, swinging your dance partner around the floor with as much velocity as possible, and trying to catch a glimpse as the cute boys in kilts kick their legs up. All good things.

So, right. The singles ceilidh.

When you arrived, your picture was taken with a Polaroid and you were given a number (mine was lucky number 13). Just above the dance floor, there was a gallery where your picture was hung up and you were assigned a mailbox. Throughout the evening, you could go up and write someone a "flirt card" and put it in their box. It was all very non-confrontational.

It started off with little promise. I arrived to find very few cute boys that I fancied. Just as I was about to numb my depression with another drink, two hunky dudes who looked to be in their 30s arrived - both wearing kilts. The one with the dark hair and dark features (always a favourite) was well put together in his cute little kilt and boots. For the next half an hour, my friend and I gawked at the cute boy in the kilt and his equally cute friend. My friend, feeling the liquid courage, decided to go up to the photo gallery and write a flirt card (to who, I don't know). As she was up there, she noticed the dark-haired cute boy in a kilt writing out a flirt card as well. As he finished writing, he headed over to drop it into the mailboxes - only he was walking towards the male side of the room.

"Oh, that's the wrong side; that's the men's side", my friend said - tactful as always.
"Yeah, I know. I'm bisexual," he replied without breaking his stride.

My friend rushed downstairs to tell me the horrific news.

Fuck. Now I'm not only competing with the other women in the room but the dudes as well?!

Forgetting the dark-haired "bisexual" (read: GAY GAY GAY) cutie in a kilt, I went off to do some Scottish dances and try not to pass out. Afterwards, my friend and I went up to see if we had received any messages/stupid flirt cards.

No, we had not.

Just as we were about to turn around and go downstairs to nurse our bruised egos, another dark-haired cutie in a kilt - who was standing in front of us - caught my eye. I guess he saw me staring because he turned to me and said, "Hello. I haven't seen you out on the dance floor; are you going to dance?"

Trying to be cool, I replied, "I've been out there. I guess you haven't been paying attention". But really, I was thinking "ohmigawdohmigawdohmigawd. Hot boy. In kilt."

He asked how my night was going and I told him the truth - it was going pretty awesome but I couldn't believe I had yet to receive a stupid flirt card?! He said he would write me one on the spot. Which he did. And so, being a modern lady, I wrote him one too. I asked him if he had anything on under his kilt. He replied that he was a traditionalist. ohmigawdohmigawdohmigawd, was all I kept thinking.

And so, we exchanged flirt cards and I happened to peek and see that he had quite a few. Shit. I only got one and that's only because I happened to moan to said cute boys in a kilt #2. Not that I need a stupid fucking flirt card to validate my self-worth or anything. Nope, not at all. Shit...Cute boy in a kilt #2 was really flirty and almost too charming. So I called him on it (I'm sure some of you are shaking your heads in mild embarrassment); I told him, you're such a player! He replied that he wasn't going to lie and yes, that he used to be in his 20s but he's changed now that he was grown older (he's 31. Or 32. I forget). I don't know, I thought, can pigs change?

The night wound down and I hadn't received any flirt cards. Granted, I was asked to dance a few times but come on - it's folk dancing. As I was walking home I received a text. From cute boy in a kilt #2 (ohmigawdohmigawdohmigawd). He asked me if I wanted to go out sometime - maybe Friday night? I texted him back to say that I was busy. Just as quickly he texted me back and asked about Sunday.

I gave in.

Ok, sure, Sunday evening. Sunday is safe because you can't get up to too much trouble on a school night, so to speak. So, we are meeting for a drink early Sunday evening.

As I was walking to work this morning I received another text from cute boy in a kilt #2, wishing me a good morning and asking if I had access to email because he wanted to email me. How sweet.

And although I'm deeply flattered, I can't stop picturing that little stack of cards.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ever since moving to Scotland, i've found myself addicted and/or attracted to some strange things.


Lemon Curd: i saw this sitting on the shelf at my new favourite grocery/department store (see below), beside the jam. The whole notion of a curd made from lemon seemed weird. Naturally i had to try it. It's actually really awesome - it tastes like the middle of a lemon meringue pie. Only spread out over white bread - the cheaper the bread quality, the better too! Long live white trash food!

Tesco: how do i even begin to describe my addiction to Tesco? Is it because of the cheap organic line that they carry? Is it the even cheaper Tesco brand food line? Is it the strange locals and freaks that seem to populate my local Tesco? Whatever it is, Tesco has everything. Literally - everything! Cheap awesome clothes; local Scottish produce and fish; junk food; car insurance; internet offers; dvd rentals; tvs; junkies - you name it!

Jonathan Ross: the name probably doesn't mean anything to anyone outside the UK, but dude is like, the BIGGEST paid star on BBC (i think). Anyway, he's paid millions of pounds to be on BBC TV and BBC Radio 2 and entertain the nation with sexual innuendos and stories about his kids. His programme on BBC1, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, usually has interesting guests on and it usually gets quite raunchy.

His other show, Film 2006, is also quite good and he reviews current film releases although, i find myself usually disagreeing with his reviews - especially when he reviews American film. Whatever. Dude's English and you know what they're like (hint: secretly jealous that their barbaric American cousins ousted the monarchy).

He has a radio show on BBC Radio 2 but i don't listen to it because i am under the age of 50.

Robbie Williams: Again, another British dude unknown to the majority of North Americans. Not to be confused with that boozin' furball that starred in Mrs. Doubtfire.

Apparently Robbie Williams used to be in this British version of New Kids On The Block - only shittier - called Take That. Take what? i don't know. Speaking of New Kids On The Block, now THAT'S a reunion tour i would pay big bucks to see. i'm not ashamed to admit this: but i still get excited when i a NKOTB video comes on VH1! I WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER, DONNIE!

But i digress. Robbie is now a "solo artist" and makes standard British pop music. He is HUGE here. i don't really "get" it but British people go absolutely nuts for this dude. He sells out stadiums and radio and tv stations dedicate entire days to him and his i guess this is how some Westerners feel when they first land in Japan: confused by what (and who) is famous and considered brilliant.

Anyway, i guess what i'm saying is - i find him to be really hot and that confuses me.

The Mighty Boosh: i don't even know how to describe this show. It's about these two zookeepers...?

i can't do this show any justice. Just watch it. It's so fucking surreal but hilarious.

Marks and
Spencers Fruit Cake with Marzipan Topping: i don't know how, why or when i started eating this but shit, i'm addicted now and if i don't stop eating it, i'm going to have to buy two seats on the plane ride home, to accommodate the newly accumulated junk in ma trunk - knowwhati'msayin'?!

Still Game: two grumpy old Scottish dudes moan, drink, get harassed by neds, drink, and wander around Scotland. Just your average punters and it shouldn't be that funny but it is?!

God, i am losing my youth and coolness with every passing day i reside in this country, i swear!

My Mobile Phone: Before moving to the UK, i never had a mobile (cell) phone. HOW DID I EVER LIVE BEFORE?!

Just kidding.

i now have a love-hate relationship with it. i loved it when i was getting text messages all day long; i hate it now because i look at it and wonder when it will ring.

p.s. Yes, that is my actual mobile pictured - don't be jealous.

Monday, November 13, 2006

You know, i wish teleportation wasn't just a fictional preferred method of transportation from Star Trek. i wish i could easily navigate between two places without ever having to "officially" claim one place as my permanent home.

Pico Iyer, a fantastic travel writer, was one of the first to write about a "movable sensibility"; living in a world wherein it's increasingly easier to be multinational and move about the globe. In Iyer's book, The Global Soul, he wrote an essay describing why he loves Toronto (answer: multiculturalism). I don't know how or why it works, but multiculturalism does seem to work in Toronto. Compared to other major cities, like London and Glasgow, where government officials are going head-to-head debating Muslim veils, sectarian violence, and how to assimilate immigrants and their British-born children, Toronto just seems to meld together. Which is one of the reasons why I love Toronto. I love it's unassuming residents and plethora of different foods. I love so many things about Toronto but lately - more and more - I am missing it.

Ever since 1998, i wanted to come to Glasgow. i don't really know why but i knew i wanted to come to Scotland. i suppose because part of my family is Scottish but mainly because it seemed that a lot of amazing culture, arts, and music was coming out of Scotland at the time. i liked the fact that Glasgow was once (and perhaps still is) one of the most violent and deprived cities in Western Europe and yet producing some of the most interesting and original art and music around. i liked that Glasgow remained loyal to its rough working-class background but also aggressively promoted and supported its art scene. i liked that the people were (and are) extremely friendly and proud but still self-deprecating in their biting humour.

Once i studied here in 2000, i knew that i had to come back. i was lucky enough to have made some great friends during my year long exchange, and they encouraged me to come back once i finished my degree. And so i did. It's been almost 8 months since i moved to Glasgow, and i love it. i do. It hasn't been easy but i'm glad i did it. One thing i have learned to appreciate is the absolute madness of this city. For example, a couple weeks ago a well-dressed woman in her 40s got on the bus, clearly boozed out of her head, and once she had taken her seat, started singing Scottish folk songs. The entire bus, at first, watched with amusement but after two sings, started encouraging her and clapping at the end of her drunken hymns. At this point, all of us on the bus started talking to one another and laughing. i started talking to strangers - UNHEARD OF as a Torontonian!?

i wish i didn't have to make a decision but unfortunately, that's what being an adult is all about. i wish i could make both cities my home and easily go between the two but unless you're minted, it's nearly impossible.

i will miss so many things about Scotland: the tv programmes, the junk food, the architecture, my friends, the best Indian food mankind has ever tasted, the french fries, the landscape, the humour, the people. Just as i miss so many things about Toronto but there is one thing that Toronto has over Glasgow: my history.

And so, i'm not saying that i have made a final decision just yet; i'm just saying that i know i have to.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Oh, Greggs: purveyors of sticky Belgian Buns and Yum Yums, i love you.

i resisted you, at first, because i thought that like every other food joint in this country, you would be bad for my health. Well, ok, you are but in the end, you're worth it! Worth it because you provide me with raisin buns slathered in icing sugar for only 40p! Hot damn, Greggs! No wonder all the students and construction workers love you. Empty sugary calories for less than a quid!

Although nothing can replace the love I have for my first bakery joint - Tim Hortons. What i would give to be able to enjoy a medium double-double and belgian bun sitting in the botanic gardens, surrounded by Canadians. If there is a heaven, that's it.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Last month, after CBC aired a documentary called, "The Feral Boys of Scotland", the early morning risers of Canada learned the "dark secret" of Glasgow - namely that it is a violent, bleak, and mental place to live. The programme even went so far as to compare Glasgow with Iraq and Afghanistan - or so i read in the Observer.

The folks behind Glasgow's bid for the 2014 Commonwealth games aren't as entertained by the CBC's claims as i was though. They are claiming that the documentary was made to smear Glasgow's image so that a rival city for the Commonwealth Games of 2014 - namely, Halifax - would take the lead in hosting the events.

The Observer Scotland - not one to take things lightly - fought back in an article published last weekend stating:

Despite Canada's portrayal of Glasgow as a city in the grip of a crime epidemic, it also emerged that Halifax is suffering an unprecedented crime wave. The Observer has seen a report from Statistics Canada which revealed that Halifax is the violent crime capital of the country. A study of 24,000 people, published last year, showed that the city experienced 229 violent incidents, including robbery, sexual or physical assault, per 1,000 of the population.

According to local newspaper reports, additional police officers were drafted into the city last month following an escalation in the number of shootings.

The Canadian documentary followed comments made earlier this year by the chief executive of the Halifax bid team claiming that international bodies would be reluctant to award another major sporting event to the UK so soon after London's successful Olympics bid.

However, insiders said the Canadians were desperate to deflect attention from their own problems, and 'muddy the waters for Glasgow's bid'.

Seriously, Halifax - don't mess with Glaswegians; they'll fucking chib ya!

Friday, November 03, 2006

It's times like this that make me want to go home to Toronto.

A couple days ago i was meant to have a "date" with an affable-appearing chap from the dating site that my friend and i signed up to. And so during my lunch break i headed over to the restaurant we had arranged to meet up.

...five minutes passed...and then ten...and finally my table was ready and so, i told the waitress it was only for one person now.

i sent a text asking if i was being stood up. No response. i took it as a "yes" then.

And so, at the moment, i pretty much hate men. What a gender of disappointment.

Yesterday morning, my best friend of 20 years emailed me to tell me his father passed away that morning. So, all in all, i pretty much want to be with him in Canada right now.

At least it hasn't rained in Glasgow for the last couple days...