Thursday, January 29, 2009

Winter weather

I am back in Indiana, writing this post from my mother's computer, at the dining room table. With the background noise of two dogs and a depressing channel- all about the stock market and our current economy; I'll listen to the dogs.

Outside is a lot of snow.
For some perspective, I used to live in Winnipeg- where the park benches would be invisible because they were completely covered in snow. One would make a path and continually walk through it all winter, only surprised to find they had walked through their neighbor's yards and not the sidewalk, because the snow would be so thick, you honestly could not see the sidewalk or the dead grass.
Also, I just returned from Calgary, from which you can see the Canadian Rocky Mountains rising all around, they get a considerable amount of snow.
So when I say a lot of snow, I mean about a foot, 12 inches worth of the cold, white fluffy stuff.
But this in Indiana. I have fond childhood memories of sledding late at night. Of racing down the hill and sliding all the way across to our frozen pond. I remember even going down the rocky side of our drive-way (why our parents allowed us to do such a dangerous thing, I still don't understand), with the snow so high it lightly cushioned the rocks.
However, something all these memories have in common are that they are childhood memories. I remember my last winter in Spencer, shortened as it was, had severe flooding problems- which was also what happened last year.
We haven't had this much snow, my dad suggests, in about 12 or 13 years. It was up to his knees. I haven't even gone outside. It might surprise many to know that the weather here is a bit colder than it was in Calgary, so I am staying inside, beside the warm fire.

My flights on Tuesday went without a single glitch. Actually, something remarkable happened, this rare event when flights arrive EARLY. Both of my flights arrived about 30 minutes early and none of my flights were late or delayed.
And they did not lose any of my baggage.
Good trip.

I came home to a meal that my father helped to cook (it was good) and then had my third Christmas- opening presents from my siblings. Ate a good deal of chocolate- Swiss chocolate, of course. And then went to sleep in a very green room, my little sister's old bedroom. And if she does come to visit this weekend she had two options- share the bed with me, or sleep somewhere else. But I doubt she will read this to know her options, as she may have left already.
I head back up to school in a few days, depending on the weather and my 'chauffeur's' schedule.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My last week

I'm sitting at home with Biruk's little brother today.
He didn't go to school because he slipped on some ice and hurt his 'hiney' and refused to go to school with a sore butt.
A few days ago, he slipped just before entering school and was in pain, but wouldn't tell his teacher because he was afraid she would touch his butt. Such a cutie! He's 10, but when he's around electronics he's 18. I swear, that kid should study that stuff, he's such a wiz!

I woke up early (6 am) made Biruk his lunch to take to work with him and then went right back to sleep until 9:30 a.m.
Well, I did wake up a few times, because his dad was baking a hamburger (yes- baking, in the oven... please don't ask why. I hate when people do that, it just makes a lot of grease at the bottom of the oven and plenty of smoke) and the oven kept beeping. His dad didn't have his hearing aid in, so he was quite content with his Sudoku puzzle.
And yesterday, he was, again, baking a hamburger and the smoke set off the smoke detector, which was going wild. He didn't hear a thing. He also didn't think it was that smokey.
So the house could be burning down, and he wouldn't notice the temperature, the smoke, or hear anything at all.
I don't know why he doesn't wear his hearing aid when he's at home.
I woke up at 9:30 because the phone kept ringing- which was right beside him, only he didn't hear it because... well, no hearing aid.
Biruk's dad is a character. Very nice and sweet, and only ever having good intentions. But... a little clueless, I guess you would say.
The room I sleep in has the computer in it. So, a few times last week Getachew (Biruk's dad) came in while I was still sleeping, turned on the light and got on the computer- all at about 8 am.
He's also worse with the cold than I am, he thinks it is always freezing. Actually, the weather (until this morning) has been great. It was 9 c the other day, which is about 45 F or higher, probably.
Due to the nice weather, the snow was melting and turning all slushy. Which sucks if you live in an area that is never plowed. Biruk's aunt came to visit and her car got stuck, so Biruk, myself and his dad went out to try to push it out. Biruk just wears a long-sleeved T-shirt, I wear my coat and Getachew comes outside in a face mask, a hat, gloves, tall winter boots, and his coat zipped up to his chin.
I suggested that Getachew stand to the side when Biruk knocked on the neighbor's door to ask to borrow a shovel. If I saw someone dressed like that in nice weather my first though would be 'burglar'.

Last weekend we went to Edmonton. I had my doubts about it- I heard that it was alot like Winnipeg. I like the people in Winnipeg and have plenty of friends there, but would not want to live in a similar city. It's nothing like Winnipeg, for the record. And I really, really liked it.
It's BIG. Bigger than Calgary- as we came in, we drove down a hill and had a great view of the down-town skyline, at which all I said was 'wow' about seven times. It was so much bigger than I imagined.
Also, it's not densely populated at all. While it's size is near that of some of the largest cities in Canada, it's population makes it only the 6th largest city. So the streets weren't packed with people and I saw something that is rare in Calgary- 'for rent' signs near apartments and houses. Actually, there was a 'for rent' sign on a telephone or electric pole... we couldn't figure out what was being rented in that case.
The weather was great and the city looked clean and people were friendly and helpful everywhere we went (which I haven't found in Calgary, as people are all too busy).
The MALL was HUGE. But actually, kinda cool. They had every store one could possibly think of, plus an arcade and cool fountains.
And these cool trampoline things for kids or really small adults.

And an IMAX theater.

And two different Hotels right there, connected to the mall.

Oh, and a water park. With giant slides and a wave maker.

In one of the fountain areas there was a free sea lion show.

And an amusement park with lots of rides and a roller coaster.

It was the most fun mall I've ever seen, heard about and most definately been to.
That's were I went bungee jumping. It's indoor because, well, it's freezing outside.
It was so much fun. I can't remember if I screamed. Biruk said they had this siren thing going off so that even if I was screaming he couldn't have heard me.
My legs felt like jelly, so it I could harldy walk when I finally stood on my feet again. It was so much fun! But no, I had no batteries in my camera, so there are no pictures or video. Sorry.

Tomorrow I offically start dating a Canadain. I am going with Biruk to immigration to pick up his documents, go to the passport office to apply for his passport and then taking him out to lunch/dinner to celebrate.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

around and around... and around

Some of the things I wanted to do while I was here in Calgary were:
babysit ($$$)- only no one seems to want a babysitter for only a month and a half. So now I feel really lazy.

I also wanted to volunteer at a women's shelter for abused women. I emailed long ahead of time- back in the beginning of December, but never received a response. So I emailed again. Still, no response. I decided to call when I got to Caglary. The woman in charge of volunteers is away until this Monday. I email another women's shelter in Calgary. No response. Then I notice that all volunteers will need a police check (which usually takes two weeks)- um, I only have three weeks left here. So I guess I won't be volunteering after all. I just think it was really rude of them to not respond back to me at all... grr.
I am however, getting plenty of my school work done. I should be finished one of my online classes before the end of next week. Another one I could finish now and end with an 84%, or visit a place connected with the Under Ground Railroad when I return to the US and finish all the assignments. And I just enrolled in the next class- which I wasn't expecting to start until Spring Semester, so I will be ahead of schedule.
The last two errands to do are: get a tattoo and visit the people at SWAP to find out about my taxes.
Thursday and Friday of this week were full of me attempting to send my resume. The perfect position for me, because it's in my field of study, it's in Fort Wayne, and I would probably enjoy doing it. My roommate's dad has connections, as he used to work with the police department, he got the information for me and is also one of my references. I call the place and ask about a position (they may be looking for someone in Feb! yeah, that would be perfect, because that's when I get back). So she gives me her e-mail address.
Doesn't work. I try re-wording it, I try at least 10 different ways for this email address.
So then, I just call the next day to get the email address again. I seemed to have written it down correctly... so I try emailing again. 10 more different ways. My outbox is full of different forms of this email address... none of which are working. And my inbox is full of 'failure to send' emails.
So, after 10 more tries I decide to just mail the letter.
The printer just needs a USB cable to connect it to the computer before it will work- so I walk to the mall that's about 10 minutes away and buy a cheap one.
The printer still won't work. I uninstall the printer and re-install it. I shows that it is connecting the printer to the computer through the USB, but it still doesn't work. I reboot, and no change.
So then I try to hook the printer up to my laptop. It won't work either, and all I did was waist half an hour with the upload disk.
So, then after ANOTHER mishap with the nearby library, I jump on the train to go down town, print it at that library and go to the mall to buy a stamp. However, malls confuse me and I go around in a circle- walk out side, go across the street and somehow still find myself in the same mall!!! I felt as if I was in one of those fantasy books where the rooms change.
I forget about the stamp, because I have to hurry back so that the house is unlocked by the time A-- gets back from school.
And go figure, the train has some sort of operational signalling error. So it takes an extra half an hour before I get to my destination. Also- boys, boys, boys; why is it that you don't give up your seat? First of all- you are sitting in priority seating and there is an older man standing beside you. Risk offending him by calling him old and offer you seat! And better yet, be a gentleman and offer the many women standing around you a seat! I find it so aggravating that men/boys today don't know any courtesy about opening doors or giving up your seat.
I get back about 10 minutes before A-- does. When he returns I walk to the mall and buy two stamps- $2.02 and have to pay with a credit card because I have about $.025 CAN on me and don't want to break my US money.
So, after about two and a half days I was able to send my resume off.
And I must have jinxed our date that evening, as well.
Biruk and I decided on Mediterranean food and I picked a resturaunt with the same name as is cousin- it sounded like a fun place. He found what bus we needed to get there and we headed to the stop about 5 minutes early.
No bus.... no bus....
We wait a half an hour outside (two busses are supposed to have come by this time). So we change our plans and decide to go to a big mall, there should be plenty of options there- which is accessed by the train.
Just as we approach the train staion, our train leaves. 10 minutes later, when the next train comes, it is out of service and we have to wait about another 10 minutes for the next one. This is beginning to feel like the bus station...
But then, at the same time we turn and look towards the nearby mall and see a glowing, red Chili's sign.
We laugh at how we could have saved ourselves so much time and hunger by just noticing that and heading there in the first place.
There are about 4 couples waiting in the waiting area, but the hostess tells us we can go into the lounge and get seats right away. Except the hostess right infront of us seats the very last table as we enter.
So we wait about 15 minutes, and then finally get a table (this time it is probably after 7 pm and we originally left for dinner at 6). And actually have a really nice meal.
It wasn't a bad day... just frustrating. And today has totally clear blue skies and above 0 c, or 32 f temperatures. I think it will be a much better day!