This Friday I went and watched Marc’s last soccer game of the season (he coaches the senior boys at his school) and for an hour and half I had the chance to enjoy the late October sunshine and cheer on the team.
Standing there, basking in that golden glow, all I wanted to do was pack a bag, grab our tent, and head off into the woods somewhere for a weekend of autumnal camping.
CAMPING. My love!
But boy did I ever used to loathe this pastime.
It’s true – I was definitely a late-bloomer when it came to my love of tent life. For many moons I openly rejected the idea of sleeping in a bag, eating with sporks, and wearing long-johns as pants.
I was firmly averse to forest-bound adventures.
NOW I ROCK A LONG-JOHN LIKE NO OTHER.
Camping as a kid just always seemed to conjure up images of frigid downpours, mouldy tents, leaky tarpaulins, awful food, soggy socks, and over-cramped quarters.
It was the worst.
Factor in that I was a bit of a prima donna, and you can imagine just how awful it was to have me hanging around whatever campsite my dad and sisters happened to be visiting.
As soon as I ate what little junk food we had managed to persuade my dad to purchase for us, I would settle into a deep, dark sulk that would last right up until the moment we pulled up stakes and headed back towards civilization.
I remember one trip with my dad and my little sister. One morning we woke up and I demanded that we go to White Spot for breakfast. I was adamant in my claim that I would not eat one more dry bunch of shredded wheat (you know the ones – they look like mini bales of hay) for my morning meal.
My dad, who remains until this day a truly passionate anti-White Spot kind of guy, tried his best at negotiation, and offered up this doozy:
“How about we go to a bed and breakfast, and see if we can pay for just the breakfast?”
I sat there, mortified.
JUST THE BREAKFAST!?
What kind of person would even think of such a thing?
I told him flat out that I would in no way partake in this ridiculous scam. If he even attempted such a charade I would hide in the backseat of the car.
Of course he called me on my bluff (either that or he just didn’t have any energy to deal with my drama queen behaviour).
So there I sat, trying my hardest to remain unseen as I peeked out of the car’s back window, watching as he and my little sister (whose sweater was so dirty that she was now wearing it inside out) rang the bell of the first bed and breakfast we had come across.
Seriously, they looked like they had just jumped off of a passing train car. All they were missing was the bandana tied to the end of a broom stick.
Hey buddy – can ya spare a dime?
Needless to say, they didn’t get the breakfast.
And we ended up eating at White Spot.
After that, I really didn’t camp again for a long, long time. Not until I started dating Marc and he made it very clear that he loved spending time (sleeping time especially) in the great outdoors, and he very much wished to share this love with me.
I thought it was high-time to give ye olde tent extravaganza another try (it had been a good twelve years or so since my last camping trip), and I agreed to head to Harrison Hot Springs for a weekend.
The plan was to participate in a slow-food bike tour around Agassiz that morning, and the camp that evening.
It was going to be all fires, and hot chocolate, and sleeping bag snuggles.
Instead, we bicycled through a monsoon, Marc forgot the sleeping bags, and our air mattress leaked.
We spent the entire night shivering under our car’s emergency blanket, taking turns pumping up the mattress, and listening to the thunder storm wreak havoc on our surrounding environs.
But you know the craziest thing?
I actually loved it.
And to this day, we laugh just thinking about that weekend.
Since them, we’ve camped a number of times, all around BC and Oregon, and each trip has been absolutely fabulous.
I’m also happy to say that I no longer eat at White Spot.
And I’d probably still only eat the breakfast, if prefaced by “Bed and.”
Because you know what they say – some things will never change.
Three days in a row last week I woke up at 4:30am.
This is never fun.
You see, I arrived back home from Halifax on Tuesday night, and after cramming my face full of delicious artisan cheese bread, lemon squares, pink lady apples, and coconut water, I fell into a sleep coma around 9:00pm.
Canada is known for many great things – healthcare, maple syrup, Rick Moranis – but ease of cross-country travel is definitely not one.
5000 km in a day will really leave you knackered.
It’s enough to make one dream of moving to Lichtenstein.
Anyway, back to that first night, despite heavy night sweats brought on by the whack-load of food I ate before bed (which normally tucker me out like crazy and bring on the second (sleep) wind like nothing else), I couldn’t get my snooze back on.
So as the clock quietly blinked four, I slipped out of bed, put on my sweat pants and a thick wool sweater, grabbed my water cup and tiptoed out of bed.
The kitten, unused to such early-morning activity, poked her little head out from behind her chair of rest and looked at my quizzically, as if to ask, “What’s up mum?”
I sat down in the darkened living room and watched a couple of episodes of 30Rock, sipping on a piping hot cup of coffee, as the kitten purred in my lap.
Then I did the exact same thing the next day.
And the next.
Jetlag is never fun, and after three days of interrupted sleep and early mornings, I crashed hard on Friday and slept straight for eleven hours.
And after a solid eight and a half last night, I finally feel as though I am back on an even keel, sleep-wise.
Now, as mentioned in my previous post, there are a few things in my life I very much love, that maybe previously I definitely…didn’t love.
So, on the subject of jetlag, early mornings, and terrible sleeps, let us move onto thing #2 that I used to hate, but now adore – COFFEE.
I remember so perfectly the first time I ever tried a cup of joe.
I was eleven and it was at the TD Bank on 10th and Alma in Vancouver. (That branch eventually moved to 10th and Sasamat a couple of years later.)
I was there to open my first bank account because I had won $50 dollars for taking home the aggregate title in a highland dancing competition the week before.
Talk about a lucrative day of hoping about in a kilt, over swords and other Scottish battle detritus. Especially for the 12 and under set!
I was super stoked to be taking part in something so unbelievably grown-up (bank accounts were such a huge deal! I mean, you got debit card and everything!), that I figured what better way to celebrate my new found adulthood than by drinking my first cup of java?
So with little fanfare (but with many, many little butterflies flitting about in my stomach) I picked up one of those small, white Styrofoam cups and filled it full of steaming coffee. Then I dropped in a few sugar cubes, and added enough Coffeemate to make the colour of the liquid change to a milky, chocolate brown.
I thought it would taste like magic.
NOT LIKE THE BITTER ACID OF DEATH.
All I could think of is, “WHY WOULD ANYONE EVER DRINK THIS POISON?”
Seriously, this experience was enough to turn me off coffee for the next fourteen years.
Talk about trauma.
In high school, or university if I was ever with friends and they grabbed cappuccinos, I would drink hot chocolate or chai lattes.
All throughout grad school I drank nothing but tea (heaps, and heaps of tea) to stay awake during my mad hours of studying, researching, and writing.
I even worked at two different coffee shops making AMAZING espresso drinks for two years, and yet never once managed to sample my wares.
(Well, that’s not entirely true – on my last day of work at Petit Ami Coffee, I tried a tiny sip of a mocha and then basically passed out from an overwhelming mouth sadness.)
It wasn’t until my first “office job” post grad-school that I started my long march down the dark, beautiful, and addictive bean juice path.
On my first day of work I was SUPER early and very nervous, so I figured I would stop at the Second Cup at the bottom of my office building and get something to drink.
I was just about to order a hot chocolate when my eye caught sight of a “vanilla bean latte” and I thought, “eh? Why not? Vanilla bean sounds like it might be alright.”
So I threw my inhibitions to the wind, ordered it up, and took a sip.
And you know what?
I still didn’t like it all that much.
But for some reason, I went back the next day and ordered the same thing.
And then the next.
I just kept doing it.
I know. WHAT A WEIRDO, right?
But, slowly and surely I started to like the stuff.
I started to look forward to my morning vanilla bean.
Nearly every day, for almost two and a half years, I bought that drink and on the weekends I made surgery, sweet café-au-laits.
And while I don’t work that job anymore, I still enjoy waking up every day knowing that before I start anything (big or small) I will get to warm myself over a milky, sweet cup of coffee.
Love: It’s cheap as hell. For twenty-three bucks a month I feel as though my range to complain is quite, shall we say, limited.
Hate: Because it’s cheap as hell it’s a bit of a crap box. There is zero air circulation and the exposed pipes drip like dripping things (to the point where you start to think that you’re sweating more than you actually are.) I already sweat like a glass blower’s arse and because there is zero air flow, whenever I lift weights in front of the mirror I bloody-well fog up the part of glass in front of which I’m standing.
That this makes me feel sexy as all get out is an understatement.
And is also a lie.
Love: On days where I feel like the athlete of the century it has everything I need, especially if the weather happens to be total crap (like, say, how it has been for the past seven months.) I can run, bike, lift weights, use stability balls, etc. all under one (incredibly) leaky roof.
Hate: On days where I feel like anything but the athlete of the century, my gym taunts me like a school yard foe. I have to walk by it on my way home from transit, so if I ever decide that it’s not in my best interest to workout (despite having schlepped all my gear with me to work that day) I can feel its mocking stare as I scuttle by its front doors without actually going inside.
Love: The sense of accomplishment, fatigue (but the good kind), strength, and general bad-assery I get after finishing a workout. There are not too many things that feel quite as good as a monster training session, and the gym is obviously a well equipped place to provide this feeling.
Hate: The utter dejection, fatigue (the bad kind – the kind you get after a brain melting day at work), and overwhelming urge to go home, put on your pajamas and EAT ALL THE NUTELLA you feel before you start your workout. At said gym.
Love: Days where I have the whole place to myself and no one talks to me, drops their weights, or grunts/shrieks like an obnoxious fool.
Hate: The exact opposite of everything I just said. And no Mr. Pathological Liar – I don’t give a flying flashdance about your double PhD and MMA supremacy!
So there you have it. It’s a complex relationship, but one that I am in for the long haul.
Or at least until I move to a city where the climate hangs around 22 degrees (Celsius) all year round.