Saturday, December 26, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
I love love LOVE my LL Bean Boots! As a kid in Canada, I used to own a pair of these but the shoe version (known as duck shoes)
Finally, after almost four years in Scotland, I've found the perfect boots for this wet country. Rain boots ("Wellys") are fine - in the spring - but what about in the winter months when it's wet AND cold?! These shearling-lined Bean boots are fantastic!
After emailing my Mom the link, I showed Paul the boots online. Naturally, he thought they were hideous and remarked that I would look like a mad woman walking about Glasgow in them. He's a boy so really, what does he know about being on the forefronts of fashion? Doesn't he know that Marc Jacobs - one of the most influential designers of our time - has released his own version of Duck Boots?!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
My recently widowed Grandmother (a.k.a. "Nanny") called me last night around 11.00pm. I think she still gets confused by the time difference.
Obviously I love her but she does offer loads of (unintentional) comic relief. She once sent me a letter addressed to "Scotchland" - which summed it up, really.
- Hi, Jennsy (Note: my nickname), how are ya? How's your arm? (Note: I had the swine flu vaccination last week)
- Hi, Nanny. Yes, my arm is better, thanks.
- Are you ok? There isn't flooding there. Is there?!
- No, it's just raining a lot lately but no flooding
- Well, I saw on the news that there was flooding in England and in the South of Scotland. Are you sure you're ok?
- Yes, Nanny, fine.
- Ok. I also saw on the news that there was a car bomb found in Belfast; it's all starting up again. Why can't they all just get along?!?! They're all Christians....!?
- Well, yes, but that's only part of it. Some people in Northern Ireland want to join the South - the Republic of Ireland - while others want to remain part of Great Britain.
- Yes, Nanny.
- The South? You mean....Ireland?
- Well....why won't Great Britain just let them then?
- Uh, well, not everyone wants them too, I guess.
I gave up after that.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Life as an immigrant is all about the Three A's: adjusting, acceptance and assimilation. Being a Canadian, I've had it a bit easier than other immigrants as English is my first language and the Queen is still on our money (and Head of State in Canada). Nonetheless, I'm still perplexed by Scottish (British?) behaviour and customs.
For example, I'm still perplexed by flooding. How on earth is it STILL possible for trains to be delayed due to flooding? How are streets still capable of accumulating water and resembling a dirty marsh? It's not as if rain is entirely foreign to Scotland?! Scottish engineers have had since the Industrial Revolution to figure out appropriate drainage systems.
However, I've now adjusted and accepted to this aspect of life in Scotland and do not walk anywhere near amassed dirty water on flooded streets, as passing cars have been known to drive right through them, leaving a typhoon effect in their wake.
Another aspect of Scottish life that I've accepted, adjusted to and assimilated alongside? Text and email kisses. In all my working life back in Toronto, I don't think anyone ever signed off an email with a kiss ("x") nor did any of my friends - which many Scots seem to do. Initially I was perplexed ("Why is my colleague ending her emails with three kisses?") and would RARELY reciprocate. Perhaps it's because I'm an awkward and aloof Canadian averse to displays of affection.
In all honesty, it took me about three years in Scotland, before I would add a kiss at the end of work emails (YES, WORK).
Not to mention texts. Oh my god. They are mad for adding kisses at the end of texts.
Initially, I didn't mind adding kisses at the end of texts to girlfriends but to male friends? Forget it. Baby steps. It took me a while before I could add those to dudes. I mean, I didn't want to give the wrong impression (i.e. I didn't want to kiss them). Not to mention the whole other conundrum of dating (when do you add kisses to the end of texts, if at all? How soon is too soon?) I'm not the only one perplexed by kisses at the end of texts.
And as an immigrant, I've now fully adjusted, accepted, and assimilated. I am now KISSING mad!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
A Canadian woman, Jordan Wimmer, is suing her former UK boss for sexual harrasment. According to the article, the former boss, Mark Lowe (a hedge fund manager, of course), sent her an email about locking women in the trunk of his car and calling her a "dumb blonde," were meant in jest and weren't demeaning.At one point, Lowe sent a message to his employees, including Wimmer, describing blondes as "incapable of distinguishing cornflakes from a puzzle." At the time, Wimmer was returning to work after hospitalization for treatment of depression.
Wimmer, 29, originally of Mississauga, has accused Lowe of a campaign of harassment, culminating in an attempt to run her down on a London street. While testifying in front of a London employment tribunal Tuesday, Lowe, 59, described Wimmer's allegations as "gross distortions" and "hugely offensive."
But under examination by Wimmer's lawyer, Lowe was forced to explain a series of "joke" emails that he forwarded around the office to employees, including Wimmer.
One was entitled, "Who is your real friend?" The body of the email read: "Put your dog and your girlfriend in the boot of your car for an hour and then see who is happy to see you."
Asked if he thought the email was offensive to women, Lowe said he did not.
She has variously accused Lowe of subjecting her to sexual harassment and belittling her with comments about her "full figure" and being a "stupid blonde." She told the tribunal that Lowe brought prostitutes to corporate events and pressured her into receiving lap dances at strip clubs during business trips.
On Tuesday, Lowe roundly denied those charges.
He told the tribunal that all of the women he brought to work were girlfriends, rather than hired escorts.
"I am not a monogamous man," Lowe conceded. He described overlapping relationships with a variety of female companions, though he said none of them were paid to share his company.
On the most damaging of Wimmer's allegations, Lowe was unequivocal.Now.
Is this a case of British humour clashing with Canadian humour and Canadian hyper Political Awareness. Or, is this genuine sexual harassment? Frankly, the guy sounds like a total pig.
Since moving to Scotland, I've noticed that in general, people don't seem to complain about the salaries of professionals - such as teachers. In Toronto, it seemed as if bitching about the pay of teachers was a past time. Indeed, any online article in the Toronto Star about teachers, seems to descend into mass hysteria and outrage over teacher wages.
People, you do realise that they are the ones teaching future generations and often spend more time with your kids than you do, right? Frankly, teachers are underpaid, considering what they have to put up with; I wouldn't want to teach them.
Friday, November 13, 2009
For the past week - SEVEN DAYS, people - I have been using the freezing cold mud room (also known as the "porch" in this country) as my fridge / larder. For the past week, I have been running from the back kitchen into the front mud room (where my butter, milk and vegetables were stored) in order to make a mere cup of tea. It was an ordeal.
Finally, after much bartering and begging, a fridge engineer came out to my flat this morning. He hummed and hawed and pulled the entire integrated fridge from out of the cupboard. He seemed to think there was a serious flaw with it all.
Until he asked if the electrical socket was switched on.
You see, dear readers and fellow Canadians, it isn't just a case of plugging in your appliances and you're good to go. No, you need to SWITCH the power on - as illustrated above - in order to activate the power socket.
And apparently the switch, to activate the power socket, was off.
It was such an obvious solution that the engineer said he simply overlooked it.
And with that, he put the fridge and freezer back in place amidst a flurry of apologies from myself. The engineer said that normally he would have charged for that kind of thing but I guess I had paid enough in my pride. Ouch.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Speaking of nationalism and separation, while Paul and I were in Quebec in September, we heard an interesting interview on CBC radio. It was with the director of a documentary called Questions nationales, which looked at nationalism within countries - specifically Quebec, Scotland and Catalonia.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Of course, he continued to ignore me and would not meet my gaze.
I honestly believe that he wouldn't have tried to pull that shit on me if I were a man, leaving me to believe that he was a misogynistic, Southern English asshole. Sure, I may be quick to judge him but seriously, if I wasn't some blonde North American and rather, a Glaswegian dude, there is NO way he would have tried to jump the queue.
In a country where people line up at a bus stop, people will not tolerate line-jumpers, especially angry Glaswegians who are only looking for an excuse to beat the shit out of you as it is. I guess I've assimilated more than I realise because I felt like smacking him upside his smug face.
Speaking of assimilation, a couple weeks ago, my step-father emailed me a story about a Scottish woman who moved to Toronto:
Scottish friends mocked me for sounding Canadian, while Canadians still treated me like a foreigner. I was in cultural limbo, drifting between traditions and dialects, neither completely one thing nor the other. At the same time, I was an invisible immigrant: a member of the visible majority to whom no resettlement services are offered. Although I obviously enjoyed many advantages to help me settle in, I was experiencing genuine culture shock. I looked the part, but under the surface I was a mass of insecurity and unhappiness, terrified of unwitting social, or worse, work-related faux pas.
Jesus, you're lucky to get three weeks holiday in Canada. It's usually only two weeks. Nevertheless, I had a similar experience when I first moved to Scotland. Why do stores close so early and rarely stay open late? Why is paper a different size here (A4 rather than 8 x 11")? Why can't I open a bank account? What the hell am I going to do with 5 weeks holiday?!
And again, this weekend, The Globe and Mail featured an article about a Canadian couple who moved to England:
Why did we up sticks and leave our home, jobs, friends and family, all of which we loved dearly? To have the experience of living in another country. To take up an exciting career opportunity. To be closer to France (among other countries). To shake things up. To leave our comfort zones. To drive on the other side of the road.
From then on, I'd face that question in just about every conversation with someone for the first time. It was the common thread in small talk with co-workers, neighbours, estate agents, farmers at the local market, pub landlords and bed-and-breakfast hosts.
I'm often asked the same thing, why did I move from beautiful Canada to gloomy and grey Glasgow? I answer honestly and say because I love this city; the people; this country.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Gary Tank Commander - Gary, on leave from Iraq, back in Scotland. Hilarious.
Kevin Bridges - love the Glasgow banter
Burnistoun - comedy is so subjective but I don't know, I find this hilarious. Especially the songwriter and female singer sketch.
Limmy - I don't know why but on some dark level, I find his stuff hilarious
And finally, an oldie but a goodie:
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
As of 1 November, my UK Ancestry visa expires and instead of heading back to my homeland, I've applied for an extension on my visa. I dutifully filled out the application, ensured I filled out the forms correctly and most importantly, sent the Home Office a cheque for £465. I then sent off my application via Royal Mail. For those outside the UK, the Royal Mail are currently in a huge dispute and were on strike last Thursday and Friday (and may now be on strike again very soon). Of course, I could have made my visa application in person - for a mere £665 - but despite what the Daily Mail says, I'm not one of those plush immigrants sponging off the system, who has that kind of cash. (Seriously, fuck the Daily Mail).
On a related note, how lame is it that I need to pay EXTRA for "special delivery" to ensure that my mail gets to its destination?! Seriously, Royal Mail, that's your JOB - delivering letters and boxes from point A to point B; how does it get away with charging EXTRA!?
Anyway, I'm now in immigrant limbo, waiting to hear back from the British Bureaucratic Gods as to their decision on my livelihood.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I don't normally watch the American programme, How I Met Your Mother, but had to watch last night's episode when I heard that my beloved Canadian coffee joint, Tim Hortons, was featured in it. It's strange to watch a half hour sitcom, that's actually only 21 minutes, and features awful canned laughter.
Anyway, the episode features cliched jokes at the expense of Canada (funny-coloured money, hockey, weird Canadian accents, and of course, Tim Hortons!) Usual American-style hilarity ensues.
As a Canadian overseas, I too have been known to get tipsy and sing, "Oh, Canada" as the tears well up.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Back in December 2007, she wrote:
But unlike quirky, cool British girls, U.S. ones have no real style when it comes to fashion, merely putting on whatever American Vogue tells them to.
They (and I am talking mostly here about women who work in the fashion and media worlds, and who live in LA or New York) are also incredibly, earth-shatteringly, want-to-eat-your-own-arm-when-they-are-talking-to-you boring.
We shouldn't be fooled by Carrie Bradshaw and her ilk - they have scripts. When you have the misfortune to meet one, they will give you a glassy, unfocused stare, like that of a shark, swiftly followed by the mantra: "Hi, how are yeeewww?" (as if they care, unless you are A) male; and B) own a yacht).
American women are also mindbogglingly stupid. Rare is the New York female high-flier who A) knows how to dial Britain; and B) can ever work out that they might just be ringing in the middle of your night.
They all have several masters degrees, which makes me think the American version must be multiple choice, are fearsomely ambitious, despite having absolutely zero talent (have you read the super-sycophantic dribblings in New York Magazine? Ohmigod!), and obsessed with staying young and marrying rich.
Why any man would prefer one of these honey-skinned, difficult, vacant, blow-dried-daily divas to a lovely, super-intelligent, witty, self-deprecating British girl (OK, me) is beyond belief.It should be noted, however, that her ex-husband left her for an American woman.
And just this past weekend, she was at it again with this blanket statement:
I told you all American women were stupid.Obviously I'm Canadian and even if I were American, I wouldn't be offended in the slightest because Miss Jones comes across as nuts, neurotic and bitter. Nonetheless, I have been on the receiving end of such Anti-American attitude. It's only happened to me once, in the three and a half years since I've lived here, and I am convinced the attitude was entirely due to the fact that the woman assumed I was American.
About two years ago, Paul and I ventured into IJ Mellis Cheesemonger for some posh French cheese. As we stepped into the wee shop, a well-dressed middle-age woman followed us in. Paul and I poked around the store while the middle-age woman went to the counter to order. After deciding which cheese to buy, I went to the counter as well. The lovely shop attendant came over and upon asking her how much the Vacherin was, the middle-aged woman slowly turned to look at me, gave me a once-over glance and assuming I was American, narrowed her eyes at me and LITERALLY upturned her nose to me.
Maybe it was because I asked how much the cheese was but honestly, I can only assume it was because she thought I was an uncouth and barbaric American. After she left the shop, Paul asked me what her problem was. I was so shocked by her incorrect summary of myself, I could only manage to respond in four-letter words.
Who knows? Maybe it was Liz Jones herself. Then again, I highly doubt Miss Jones would step foot in Glasgow.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Thursday, October 08, 2009
a) I've been back in Canada for a much needed holiday
b) stressing out
Stressed out, you see, because my ancestry visa expires on 1 November. Upon returning to Glasgow, I quickly had to find all my applicable documents, fill out an extension application and of course, cut a cheque for a mere £465.
Adding to my stress levels is the fact that my landlord wants his flat back by 2 November. So, that'll be the fifth (FIFTH!) time I will have had to move since moving over here in April 2006. I couldn't bear with the thought of moving YET AGAIN so Paul and I toyed with the idea of buying a flat - specifically in the "new builds" in the Gorbals. After viewing the flats last night - which are nice - I wasn't convinced because frankly, there was fuck all around. Sure, we could have a lovely three-bedroom flat, but what happens when you run out of milk?! Or need to pop over the bank machine!? Also, if I wanted to live in a soulless condo, I would have stayed in Toronto.
Nah, I'd rather spend an outrageous amount of money on an old tenement one-bedroom close to things.
Needless to say, we haven't found a place yet.
Friday, September 04, 2009
Scottish men buy larger condoms than men south of the border, it has been reported.
Supermarket chain Tesco today revealed that their Glasgow stores have sold more extra-large condoms than any of their other stores across the UK.
After launching the new condoms earlier this month, the 10mm longer and 1mm wider condoms have been flying off the shelves across the Glasgow stores.
Edinburgh stores also reached the top-ten list of this new product, having the seventh-highest sale figures in the UK.
"Demand for extra-large condoms has been a success, especially in Scotland,” said Nicola Evans, Tesco's healthcare buyer.
"In the last year there has been a very strong demand for a larger-sized condom and the sales prove that there is a market for them in the UK.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
This past weekend, I ventured into Lidl for the first time - despite having lived in Scotland for over three years now. You see, I'm more of a Tesco-kinda gal (my love for Tesco is well-known). Lidl is a German discount supermarket that sells cheap European brands of food. Despite being cheap, I've avoided shopping there as Lidl has come under fire for its treatment of staff:
In fact, so controversial is the company's reputation in mainland Europe that in 2004, Ver.di, a huge German trade union with 2.5 million members, published a book called Das Schwarz-Buch Lidl Europa (The Black Book on Lidl in Europe). This was based on more than 3,500 accounts submitted by past and present employees. An updated 144-page English translation came out last year, detailing complaints from some of Lidl's 170,000-plus staff working in 23 European countries. The charges were wide-ranging, numerous and often serious. Hidden cameras were said to have been found in one store in Wasbek, north Germany - they were being used to monitor staff. "Mr D's partner is expecting a baby and, as he says himself, he needs a lot of money at the moment," read one meticulously logged transcript. And on it went: "17.25: Mr D describes his poor financial situation and talks of impending fatherhood and the additional expenses it involves."
The Black Book said that in Portugal the main retail union criticised Lidl for routinely asking staff whose contracts of employment were due for renewal whether they were planning to have children. It said that the company was subsequently fined for its preference for maintaining a pregnancy-free zone. When the Guardian asked Lidl's UK press spokeswoman - who asked not to be quoted by name - to comment on the above allegations, she said that she could only speak on behalf of UK operations, but that the Black Book was out of date and riddled with errors. She claimed that several foreign newspapers were made to issue retractions, but could not, or would not, specify what the errors were, nor which media organisations were compelled to retract their stories. When we asked for the number of the German head office - if there is one somewhere on the internet, it's not somewhere obvious - she said that she did not know the number, and nor did anyone else within Lidl UK.
As I wandered downtown yesterday in the rain, I realised that we needed some shopping and lo and behold, I found myself out Lidl. And against my personal principles, I wandered in.
For all you Canadians, Lidl is a lot like Food Basics, only not as...er, basic and the food is slightly better. In fact, the food seems pretty decent (not to mention cheap) . Unless, of course, they're branded as "American style" (in which case, they should be avoided at all costs!)
Sunday, August 23, 2009
The best thing about Saturday morning in the UK, is the Adam and Joe show on BBC 6 Music. Ever since I moved to Scotland, I have listened to it almost every Saturday morning from 9.00am to 12noon. I always assumed they were some cult comedians with a radio show but apparently they have also previously had their own show on Channel 4. Nevertheless, Adam and Joe have been on holiday for over a month now and FINALLY return this coming Saturday!
For those outside the UK, you can listen again on the BBC iPlayer or download their podcast on iTunes!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
As previously mentioned, I liked Paul Hartley because he looked nothing like an arrogant football player but instead, resembled a sensitive bohemian intellectual. And, I suppose, he was a good midfielder but honestly, who am I kidding?! I'm Canadian - I like hockey - what do I really know about football!?
Nevertheless, in my quest to further my interest in football, I need an emotional investment in it. Or rather, I need a dude to crush on now that Paul Hartley is, sadly, somewhere in England. Sure, there is Darren O'Dea, who is, what I would term "cute" but necessarily "hot", mainly because he is only 22 and it just feels wrong to crush on someone so...young?
However, all hope is not lost. I give you Paddy McCourt (originally from Derry and 26)!
Dude does not look like a footballer - more like a drummer. Or maybe a bass player in an indie band. He looks like he rocks out to Led Zeppelin and hard too.
As you can see, I have a "type" and I'm the first to admit it (dark hair; dark eyes; half-way intelligent; looks like they rolled out of a dumpster; scruffy). Unlike some of my Scottish counterparts, however, I'm not really hung up on height, weight, or income.
After mourning Hartley's premature departure from Celtic, I told my boyfriend about McCourt, my new Celtic crush. To which he replied, "shame he isn't very good!" Hey, like I said, I'm Canadian. Besides, who cares!? McCourt looks more like the kinda guy who would go snowboarding with me, listen to Dinosaur Jr. and drive a beat up Volvo and as far as I'm concerned, that's hot!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Why Mo Johnston still stirs emotions across Glasgow
Mo Johnston's decision to snub Celtic and join Rangers 20 years ago caused uproar and the wounds have still yet to heal
The most striking aspect of any glance back towards the day Maurice Johnston first pulled on the blue of Rangers following his transfer in July 1989 is that some of the comments made by the club's followers would have seemed more apt 200, not merely 20, years ago.
"It's a sad day for Rangers," insisted one. "There will be a lot of people handing back their season tickets. I don't want to see a Roman Catholic at Ibrox. Rangers have always stood for one thing and the majority of the support have been brought up with the idea of a true blue Rangers team."
Read more from the Guardian article
This is also why whenever Paul and I are back in Toronto, we're not allowed to go see Toronto FC (Mo Johnston is the Toronto FC Manager and former Head Coach). Frankly, I don't care - I just want to attend a football game and be able to drink beer!
Friday, July 24, 2009
I'll always remember my Poppy, the only Grandfather I ever had, as a kind and gentle man. It may sound trite, as people often say that about those who have passed away, but my Poppy was genuinely a soft-spoken and generous soul. He was both a successful business man and talented artist.
I will always cherish my memories of Poppy: Poppy taking my Mom, brother and I to Walt Disney World in 1988; (begrudgingly) watching The Lawrence Welk Show after dinner; going to dinner at Swiss Chalet; dancing with him to the soundtrack of the Cabbage Patch Kids; his love of sugar on tomatoes (yelch!)
You will always be remembered.
Garnold Dean Peacock - Peacefully at Kingston General Hospital on July 21, 2009, in his 84th year. Beloved husband of Shirley (nee Neely) of Belleville and loving father of Joy Peacock, and her husband Don Edwards, of Kingston. Predeceased by his daughter Linda. Cherished grandfather of Jason ***** of Toronto and Jennifer *****. Also a beloved family member to Cyril and Isabel Shaw of Eldorado, John and Joan Neely of Sarnia, and Vicki and Tony TerHaar of Belleville. Special uncle to Scott and Stephen TerHaar, Diane Meade, Sherry Erick and Scott Shaw.
Garn was born on the family farm in Foxboro, Ontario in 1925. In 1959, Garn and Shirley moved to Belleville, where he first established Peacock Drywall. Over 40 years, his business expanded and flourished on Newberry Street as Peacock Fasteners and Building Specialties. In 1999, Garn sold the business and it continues to operate in its original location. Garn will be always remembered by his family, friends and business associates as a truly kind and gentle man. In both his personal and business life, he was known and respected for his honesty, generosity, integrity and professionalism. At home with Shirley, Garn was admired by all for his exceptionally green and healthy lawns, and for the care and attention he gave to their beloved companion animals, most recently Smokey and Hershey.
Although Garn loved flowers, please consider a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society in his memory. Arrangements entrusted to the JOHN R. BUSH FUNERAL HOME, 80 Highland Ave. Belleville. A memorial service for Garn Peacock will be held Friday, July 24th, at 2 p.m. at Hastings Park Bible Church, 36 Harder Drive, Belleville. In advance of the service there will be a visitation at the church beginning at 1 p.m. Friday. Following the service, there will be a reception, also at the church. Interment at Belleville Cemetery. Online condolences www.quintefuneralcentres.com .
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Friday, July 03, 2009
Paul Hartley is going to Bristol City. I don't even know where Bristol is (what? I'm Canadian and live in Scotland), but it looks like I'm going to be a part-time Bristol City fan, in addition to Celtic. My interest in Celtic has taken a hit; who else am I going to watch on the pitch while feigning interest in Celtic!?
I adore Paul Hartley - I think he's a great player who gave his all for Celtic. More importantly, however, I think he's hot.
To me, he's hot because he doesn't look anything like a footballer. Rather, when he lets his beard scruff grow (*swoon*), he looks like a sensitive and dishevelled artist/musician/ bohemian babe and what cultured lady doesn't love that homeless artsy look?! Seriously, the more it looks like he rolled out of a dumpster, the hotter Hartley is!
Better get that number 11 Celtic jersey before it's too late.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Case in point: last Friday I was due at Lauren's place, at Glasgow Harbour, for dinner. Thinking I could save myself time and money, I walked across the Clyde to the Crowne Plaza hotel and ordered a cab - not realising that Take That were playing in Glasgow that evening and as such, it seemed EVERY FEMALE in Scotland was heading to Hampden in black taxi to see them perform. I waited for about 30 minutes before a chap from the front desk asked me if I needed help. I replied that I worked across the river and was waiting for a cab, to which he replied, "I'll call you a cab and get a priority on it".
Another 10 minutes went by and the chap called the taxi company again and was told that Glasgow Taxis were EXTREMELY busy and desperately trying to get a taxi.
Finally, after an hour went by, the chap came back over to me:
"Listen, I've checked with my boss and he said it's ok if we take the company van and give you a lift to your friend's place"
As a skeptical Torontonian I protested that he didn't have to because I wasn't staying at the hotel.
"No, no. It's fine, I know. We'll give you a lift seeing as it's just down the road from here"
Astonished, I muttered in agreement.
How kind and altruistic was it for the two dudes working front desk to give me a lift to my pal, Lauren's?! And before I get comments about how foolish it was to get into a van with a strange man, let me just state that the man was in his 60s and I sized him and concluded that I could take him, if need be. As violent as Glasgow is at times, it isn't the kind of place where I doubt strangers' kindness; Glaswegians are genuinely friendly people who don't really think twice about helping stranger's and other people out.
Another thing I am loving about Glasgow? Riding my sweet Azor Dutch bike (pictured above) around the city. It seems Glasgow City Council has finally realised that this city is part of Europe and as such, has started to adapt the more continental attitudes towards bike lanes and cycling. More and more bike lanes have started popping up and routes are due to be completed in 2012.
Likewise, my old city of Toronto has recently implemented more cycle lanes as well - at the expense of car lanes and commuter tempers. I can just imagine how those bike lanes are going over with the commuter suburban crowd who love their cars.
Speaking of Toronto, apparently the LCBO (the liquor board of Ontario who control the sale and distribution of alcohol in Ontario. Read: booze CANNOT be bought anywhere else apart from the government of Ontario stores) are threatening to strike.
Cue the mass panic of folks in Ontario, as they rush to the LCBO to stock up on booze. In response, cue the puritanical tsk-tsking and clucking of tongues from commentators, speculating that all those stocking up are "sad" and "alcoholics in denial". With such attitudes, you would think that the Temperance Movement was alive and well in Ontario. Indeed, in some aspects, it seems like it still is in Toronto (don't be drunk in public; don't drink more than two glasses of booze once a month; dont' smoke; don't make eye contact; don't speak to strangers; don't dare strike up a conversation with a stranger; don't voice your frustration in public but instead loudly sigh and be passive aggressive and so on) - which drove me nuts.
The longer I am away from Toronto, the more I think that people living there seem to "tolerate" it. People seem to live in the city and tolerate it because, where else is there to go in Canada, if you're an anglophile and want to live in a big cosmopolitan city? Ok, maybe Vancouver. I got to the point where I couldn't tolerate it anymore and it seemed like the only people who could enjoy it, were the minority of people living in the upper echelons of six figure salaries. And even then, that minority seemed to resent having to share their city with bike commuters who dared to demand bike lanes.
So, I don't think I need to live in fear of ever just "tolerating" Glasgow. With the kindness of strangers and my Dutch bike, which can easily handle a case of beer on the front rack, what more do I need?!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
1. There is still a glimmer of light at 11.00pm
2. No need for AC (air conditioning) as it rarely goes above 26C (perfect for this northern soul Canadian)
3. People go on holiday ("vacation") for two weeks, usually to another country, and fully expect you to do likewise.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Frankly, I don't get it. Don't get me wrong - I love concerts, dancing and rocking out; I just don't get the whole beer throwing (and god knows what else) aspect of it?
Last year when I attend T in the Park, for the first and last time, I was appalled by the crowd's enthusiasm for beer flingin' and slingin'. What gives? Not only is it completely disrespectful, but also a total waste of beer (and money). Maybe it's because I lived in Toronto for so long - where people rarely dance at concerts (which, to be fair, is almost as obnoxious as beer-throwing) - but I was so freaked out by the possibility of being doused with someones beer or worse, urine, I wanted to leave.
So, am I onto something here or am I just an uptight (and old) Canadian?
Friday, June 12, 2009
Dear Tim Hortons
I am a Canadian currently residing in Glasgow, Scotland. Recently, I have noticed that some convenience stores in the UK (Spar), have been carrying "Tim Hortons" coffee and donuts. However, upon drinking the aforementioned "Tim Hortons" coffee it is, in fact, NOTHING like the decent Tim Hortons coffee that I know and love. Upon further inspection, it appears that Tim Hortons have merely licensed out its brand to Cuisine de France, who, in all honesty, have done a disservice to the Tim Hortons brand (not to mention Canadians abroad) and are pedalling utter crap.
When I first noticed that Spar were advertising Tim Hortons coffee, I literally screamed and ran into the store and was ecstatic to get a little taste of home. Imagine my disappointment then when I actually tried the coffee! As for the "donuts", a quick glance revealed that they were dry and did not even resemble Tim Hortons donuts (nor actual donuts, if I'm completely honest).
So, please Tim Hortons! Do not taunt us Canadians abroad! Please please PLEASE open a proper store over here. Recent North American chains have started up here in the last 10 years (i.e. Subway and Quiznos) to much success and expansion. Isn't it time that Tim Hortons did too? So, forget America and come to the UK!
I desperately miss my Tim Hortons coffee in the morning!
Friday, June 05, 2009
For my 30th birthday, Paul and I went to Budapest for four days.
Budapest is somewhat like Paris, but without all the art, culture and world-renowned food. It's got grand boulevards, history, beautiful architecture but seriously, what is UP with all the rude locals?! If they weren't outright ignoring you or grimacing at you, they were trying to rip you off and over charge you for hummus (true story!) Don't get me wrong - I really liked Budapest but dudes aren't the friendliest bunch of people. Maybe it's a cultural / language difference or maybe I've just been spoilt by living in the overly friendly Glasgow.
Upon walking into the Tisza Cipo shoe store, Paul and I were greeted by the two store employees who just glared at us. I cracked a smile, said "hello" and browsed the shoes. After picking up a pair and taking it to the employee, I asked for a size 40 (size 9 in Canada / size 7 in UK) to which he replied, "really? this is big size!" Of course I immediately thought of that Kelly Shoes skit on youtube (see below) and felt like replying, "oh. FUCK YOU!"
After dropping almost $300 on Tisza Cipo shoes, Paul and I still weren't offered a smile or a thanks or a "bye". I mean, how dare we go over there with our extravagent western money and buy some overpriced former communist hipster shoes, right?
Would I go back? Yeah, maybe. Will I? probably not. Personally I'd suggest Paris and/ or Antwerp.