Monday, October 31, 2011


Firstly. And most importantly. I passed! I passed your stupid Life in the UK Test!

I took the test on Thursday morning and after showing documentation, ID and confirming my birth date and address, I was escorted to a computer where I - once again - had to show my passport and photo ID to another UK Border agent. I was then informed that if I ever discussed the Life in the UK test after sitting it, I would be immediately disqualified. I replied, "like ever? I can't talk about it EVER?" Mouth agape; eyes widened. HOW WOULD THEY EVER KNOW?!

"Yes, I suppose not ever," the UK Border agent replied.

Woah. That is some serious shit right there.

Needless to say, all those long nights of memorising dates, figures, and percentages paid off because I passed! Do I feel anymore "British" for knowing that 8% of children in the UK attend independent schools? No, I do not. However, I have now been granted the right to pay £870 and start my application for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. That means that I can live here for like, EVER!

So, it's Halloween today and that means most kids in the UK tonight, are becoming more and more Americanised. Er, sorry, no. I mean, most kids in the UK tonight went trick or treating or "guising", if you're lucky enough to live in Scotland (I am!)

On Saturday, my friend Robert and his wife, Claire, had a Halloween party. After the initial feasting of homemade pumpkin soup, I proceeded to eat pretty much an ENTIRE bowl of Robert's homemade salsa. It was AMAZING salsa (obviously) however, I was left an aching stomach afterwards. I guess it's a bad idea to eat spicy salsa and little else after cycling 25miles around the outer skirts of Glasgow.

Speaking of which, I went for a cycle on Saturday morning out to Lennoxtown where I discovered an amazing bike store/place called, Wheelcraft. It's run by a lovely man called "Big Al" who is renowned for his handmade bike wheels. We (my bike group and I) rolled up and Al was so lovely and friendly, he offered us all free coffee and cookies. While I chatted away to Al about Canada, I couldn't help but notice another cyclist sitting quietly in the shop, fixing his bike wheel. While Al and I discussed Canada and our mutual disgust for instant coffee (if I come to your house and that's all you have to offer, don't bother. There are few things in life I am snobby about but coffee is one of them. Sure, I dig Tim Hortons but I draw the line there), the quiet cyclist continued to fix his bike wheel, barely even bothering to look up from his work. I wish I was cool enough to say that his dashing and handsome looks barely phased me but to be honest, I'm not. And of course, being the mature adult that I am, I pretty much ignored the hot cyclist and avoided all eye contact with him.

(By the way, apparently his name is Philip and I wish I had paid more attention to what kind of bike he was riding but you know, avoidance of him and all that...)

Right, Halloween party. Too much salsa. Lots of dancing to Prince (of course) and The Smiths.

Can you guess who I went as?

This past weekend I decided that I am pretty much a bike goddess (sorry, but it's true) and finally got around to cleaning and tweaking my bike. For some ridiculous reason, I also decided that it was a good idea to clean my bike IN MY BATHTUB. I think I spent more time degreasing my tub and porcelain than my actual bike. Ugh, the one drawback of living in a tenement (apartment) building on the top floor; where the hell are you meant to obsessively scrub and hose down your bike and chain?!

I've also pretty much mastered changing my own inner tube after getting two punctures this past weekend. Also? my expensive handmade German Continental Grand Prix 4000 back wheel has a big ol' gash in it. Despite the fact that I only bought the wheels in July, I'm gonna have to buy a new one because it is FUBAR, y'all. Goddamn.

Monday, October 24, 2011


I don't really know why but lately, I haven't really been feeling it. And what it is, I'm not entirely sure of that either.

Normally I'm a pretty enthusiastic person and a happy-go-lucky kinda gal. In fact, you may have noticed that I don't really plan; I don't have a life plan and I tend to just live for the day (or week, depending on the mood). In fact, moving to Glasgow, almost six years ago, was most likely the only conscious "life-decision" I ever really made. All those years of university (not to mention student debt)? Yep, didn't have a plan then either - I just picked majors that interested me (art and film).

Obviously living such a bohemian and "unsettled" life has it positive and negative aspects: I don't feel too rooted to one place and ultimately, I feel fairly free and in control of what I want in life (or on that day/ week, depending). On the flip side, I live paycheque to paycheque - something which, I know, is pretty foolish for a woman of my age (*ahem*) and I have a lot of trouble anticipating what lies ahead. Indeed, I simply can't envision it AT ALL. And somedays that troubles me.

And so as of late, I have this feeling that I just can't seem to shake - perhaps it's the change in the weather (it's getting darker earlier now); perhaps after almost a year of unsettled living, I've fallen back into a routine of being (mostly) single; perhaps I need a change of sorts; perhaps it's just all sinking in.

You see, I'm at that age where a lot of my friends are settled/ married/ coupled whereas I, in turn, walked out of a Serious Four Year Relationship back in January. And now, almost 10 months on, where am I? Kinda back to where I was before I ever met my ex - single and just a little bit wiser and a little more jaded. And when you're in the minority, you can't help but compare yourself to the majority and therein lies the ruse. You think, "maybe if I was in a relationship and settled, then I wouldn't be feeling this way." The thing is though, being single can be difficult, and being in a relationship can be equally - if not more so - difficult.

Societal pressure to be married/ coupled is real but the older you get, the less you give a shit (one of the great things about getting older). Another brilliant thing about getting older is that you learn more about yourself (hopefully. Therapy helps) and the world we live in. If we're lucky we may even figure some stuff out along the way - like what really matters in life (hint: not big houses or cars but rather, health, altruism, happiness and fulfilling interpersonal relationships)

Mostly though, I am happy. Joyous. Just wanting to burst out into a fucking musical number. No, honestly. And so this feeling of not feeling it, is somewhat frightening. I've been very fortunate in my life to not suffer blights of depression (I seem to know a number of people whose lives it seems to bear a lot of weight), so I don't think this is depression. Perhaps just a change in the weather?

Anyway, this past weekend I mostly studied for my upcoming Life in the UK test - what a drag. On Sunday, I met my friend, Erica, for a long boozy lunch at Number 16. Wow. What a meal. What a restaurant. I live just around the corner and yet, I've only been once in my six years of living here - criminal! It was such a fantastic meal that I ended up taking pictures - much to the embarrassment of Erica. "You're like a tourist!" she exclaimed. What can I say, I love good food porn. Alas, my crappy first generation iPhone seemed to erase the pictures I took apart from this one of Erica's fishcake.

Afterwards we headed to the Ubiquitous Chip in Ashton Lane for a glass of wine before heading off to see.....

Oh my god. You guys? I fucking LOVE Margaret Cho. I've seen her twice before in Toronto and she sells out HUGE theatres. So to see her in Glasgow at a small venue was an opportunity I could not miss! I was so pleased to also share the opportunity with Erica, who had never heard of Margaret (like most British people).

I love Margaret because well, obviously she is funny, but more importantly she puts it all out there. What she says and represents (humour from a uniquely feminist perspective) - you don't tend to see a lot of that in mainstream culture. And I guess that's why a lot of people haven't heard of her. Seeing her last night definitely brought me back to where I should be.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


After last weekend of doing very little (apart from read an entire novel and study for my upcoming Life in the UK test), this weekend was action-packed! But first! For the first time in about oh, two weeks, the sun managed to come out today. As such, I went for a run this afternoon to take full advantage of what feels like limited sunshine these days.

I mean, how can you not love this city? LOOK AT IT.

On Friday night, Claire was due to come over to my flat for some of Tesco's finest Vina Mara Rioja (yeah, that's right). However, we decided that despite being absolutely broke, with about £20 between us until payday, we would hit the town. In fact, we took it as a challenge: just how awesome a night can you have with about £20 between two awesome bitches. Well, a lot actually.

Initially we went to Curlers Rest on Byres Road and nursed two pints each. Not only did we manage to savour those pints, but we also caught up on our gossip since we hadn't seen each other for about two weeks.

After our two pints each, we decided to raise the bar: we were to go dancing with only about £10 between us. Bring it!

And so, we staggered off to Sauchiehall Street. And since Claire knows half the city (as well as all the juiciest gossip about Scottish soccer/ footballer players; she's brilliant like that), we bumped into someone she knew. Someone who could get us into Nice N Sleazys, front of the line and without paying cover. YAAAAAAAS! That's about £4 saved right there.

Nice N Sleazy is a Glasgow institution: it's open until 3.00am every night and plays some pretty awesome music. Although I seem to remember it being a bit more sleazy/ grungy when I went there as a student. Anyway, after Claire and I had some pints upstairs (£10 for a HUGE pitcher of Fosters beer), we went downstairs to dance. We ended up out on the tiles until 3.00am. And because we were both skint, we ended up walking home - which was brilliant because Glasgow at about 4.00am (we stopped in at a 24-hour grocery store and got distracted by all the junk food), is a whole other city. A mainly deserted one. So, I walked home at 4.00am, documenting my trip in photos.

Label for Tesco Finest Vina Mara Reserva Rioja 75cl
Avenue G, one of the few joints in this city that does great coffee. Admittedly however, Glasgow is getting better for coffee. I'm such a snob. Whatever.

A good Munchy Box gone to waste.

If you don't know what a Munchy Box is (and I'm sure that most people outside of Scotland don't), it's essentially every disgusting but oh-so-delicious fast food item you can think of deep-fried and invariably covered in various sauces. French fries, pakora, kebab meat, onion rings, coleslaw and naan bread - it's all in there. Glasgow - it's not for pussies.

Deserted town.

What kind of take-away place is this?! Why is it even called "Decent Sweets" when it sells pizza, kebabs and no doubt, munchy boxes. What the hell?!

On Saturday, Lauren, Linzi, Erica and I headed to our Saturday ritual: to watch the Braehead Clan in action!

It was an intense game as the Braehead Clan took on Coventry Blaze. There was lots of body-chucking, people being sent to the sin bin, and would-be fights. The Clan ended up winning though: 4-2!

Ahhh, the good ol' hockey game. Nothing like a bit of violence and beer to rectify a somewhat shitty week. Until next time.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sorry, no weekend in pictures today. Mainly because this past weekend I did next to nothing. Well, that's not entirely true. I managed to go for a long run yesterday; read an entire novel over the weekend (as well as the Saturday edition of the Guardian); and catch up on some film viewings. In fact, apart from the check-out girls at my local Morrisons, I don't think I spoke to another person this whole weekend. It wasn't intentional; ever since returning from Berlin, I've been out every weekend and I just needed a weekend of doing well, sweet fuck all, you know? I have to admit, I do enjoy my own company and don't get lonely very often. That is - except for today.

Today, I am feeling particularly lonely and homesick for Canada because it's Canadian Thanksgiving. Although I don't eat turkey, I do love some good Thanksgiving grub: homemade pumpkin pie, stuffing, and squash (covered in roasted marshmallows). There's nothing like it - except Christmas dinner, I suppose. Also, it's this time of year when all the leaves on the trees are changing colours and the air has a crisp coolness to it. I absolutely love this time of year in Canada and this is when I miss it the most...

Sunday, October 02, 2011


While there was a heatwave in London this past weekend, true to form Glasgow maintained the status quo and continued to dump drizzly humid rain on its inhabitants.

After work on Friday, some colleagues and I decided to get a pint at the new(ish) bar, BrewDog. While BrewDog do indeed brew some decent beer, the interiors of the pub (bar?) always leave me feeling unsure of its intentions; I never know whether I'm meant to feel as if I'm in a Swiss chalet (no, not THE Canadian chain restaurant) or an upmarket student-y type drinking establishment? Or maybe that's just my own Canadian confusion - I always feel like I want to go snowboarding after sitting amongst the woody interiors.

Anyway. Of course one pint turned into two and then three and then a work colleague and I went for dinner. We walked further along to Partick and went to what is quickly becoming my "local" - Criterion - for some grub. (Side Note/ Appreciation: I really like Criterion - it's never too busy that you can't get a seat; the food is good and not overly priced (it has a great three course lunch menu); and they always seem to play Prince at some point in the evening. )

After dinner, I walked my friend/ work colleague home to her house in Dowanhill. Although she has lived there for a few months now, I felt uneasy letting her walk home alone. Being gangsta' and living in Partick myself, I felt more comfortable walking her home and then walking back alone (besides, people don't mess with me; guess they take one look at me and realise I'm not "right").

So, after departing from my friend's, I started walking down her street back to Partick. As I strolled past one huge flat on the prominent street, a couple guys were sitting in the windowsill, drinking beer. Walking past, they called to me and in usual fashion, asked how my night was. And in my usual fashion, I grunted a response and continued on. Before stopping in my tracks.

Now, being the nosey bitch I am, I (of course) scanned the inside of their flat and spotted a fierce looking road bike leaning against the wall in the living room. I asked whose bike it was and one of the dudes in the window replied it was his. And so we got to chatting about cycling (what kind of bike he had, what kind of bike I had, where we went cycling, and so on). Eventually they invited me to their massive flat but I declined. Instead, I stood on the sidewalk for another 15 minutes chatting, before I asked if I could use their washroom (WHAT?! I really needed to pee?!) One of the dudes in the window jumped up and went through their massive flat before arriving at their front door about five minutes later and ushered me into their living room.

The Cute Cyclist met me in his living room and showed me downstairs to their washroom - which had a bidet (so Euro! I'm so easily impressed!) Weird.

Afterwards, Cute Cyclist and I talked some more and he introduced me to his cat, which he had rescued a couple months ago. Well. Be still my cat-loving, bike-riding heart! We chatted some more before he asked to kiss me. Now, I don't really make a habit of gatecrashing parties in the west end nor - despite appearances - do I make it a habit of kissing (nearly) random dudes. So, I declined. Which isn't to say I'm not interested - and I told him as much - I just didn't feel like kissing someone whom I LITERALLY met on the street and whose washroom I just barged into.

Nevertheless, we chatted some more and I realised, "hang on a minute, he looks kinda young," so I asked Cute Cyclist how old he was.

"Twenty-six", he cheerfully replied.


"Huh. I'm Thirty-two", I offered.

Cute Cyclist just smiled blankly at me. He shrugged. "you don't look it".

"Well, I certainly don't act it either!!!!" I almost screamed like a maniac.

We stood there for a minute before I announced I was leaving (god, I'm such a weirdo). As he opened his palatial front door, I realised it was now raining (OF COURSE). I asked Cute Cyclist if I could borrow an umbrella. "Oh," he said, looking at the floor, "I don't have one."


"Yeah, I know. I'm a guy, I guess. Wait a minute. I have a jacket you can borrow!" He said, before he dashed off.

So, that is how I ended up borrowing a stranger's rain jacket, using his washroom and then exchanging numbers with a twenty-six year old whose name is the most poshest thing I've ever heard. We'll see.

Saturday night, I went to what is quickly becoming another ritual: (ice) hockey with girlfriends!

Left to right: Erica, who loves body checking and the sound of flesh hitting glass panels; Linzi (who was attending for the first time ever and reassured me she understood the rules because she "had seen, The Mighty Ducks" film); and Lauren. Pure reprobates, man.

The Braehead Clan vs. Cardiff Devils. The Clan won: 3-1! As someone with immediate Welsh connections (my Grandmother is from Cardiff), I almost felt obliged to support Cardiff. Eh, who cares? Almost all the players are Canadian on both teams anyway.

Speaking of Welsh grandparents, here's what I will be studying for the next wee while: the Life in the UK test book! Yep, because knowing what percentage of the British population are Roman Catholic (Answer: 10%), is what it means to be British and to have assimilated into British society.

I am going to be applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement) soon so in order to do so, I need to sit a test that was created to appease knee-jerk reactionary racist bastards who mostly inhabitant middle and southern England so they didn't feel like this country was letting just anyone in. Oh, sorry. I meant, to help assimilate immigrants into the fabric of British culture and society. Aye, that.

Cycled past the new Transport Museum on the Clyde late at night. It was warm outside and so quiet. What a sight.

And here's another sight I saw this past week - something I don't usually see! Someone commuting their baby/ child to daycare ON A BIKE!!! Woah, you would almost think WE WERE IN EUROPE, Y'ALL!!

Seriously. It was a lovely sight and you know what? He totally smoked my ass! Respect.