Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Great Strides!

I was planning on writing about Great Strides wayyyy earlier this week, but after the long trek out to the event, the walk and the trip back, I kind of lost Sunday. Then it was back to work for a busy week!

We were up nice and early on Sunday to make the almost hour and a half trip out to New Westminster. Getting there involved a bus, a train and THEN a community bus! It was also super dead at the train station early on Sunday and kind of eerie around the whole area. I thought it weird how all of their parkades were right on the water. (You'd think people might want that view for something.)

Eventually we got there and had to play Frogger to get across the street to the park because there wasn't a crosswalk in sight. Luckily, we made it! We found the event and registered, although this year I opted not to put a sticker on myself saying that I was walking for me. We also realized that maybe shorts weren't the best choice of attire because the wait to actually walk wasn't that warm! After a brief welcome, we were all off around 11:15 am. The walk was a 5k, making two loops around the park. If I was in London, where it was flat, this would have been no big deal, but there were plenty of hills on the route that made my sad, little chicken legs very unhappy! My super "supportive" boyfriend also refused to carry me or give me a piggyback the entire time . . . lame. What was even worse was that during the second loop, you could start to smell the barbecue that was being set up for after the completion of the walk!

Unfortunately, we had to wait a bit longer for the barbecue than expected. They were making rather extravagant Philly cheesesteak burgers: a burger patty and cheese slice on garlic buttered bread. It was really tasty, but after an hour of waiting for it, I probably could have eaten two . . . and that's a lot for me! We decided to head out after getting our sandwiches, but not until after I took a picture under the fun balloon arch! Then it was back on the buses. Getting to the train station again, we passed more than ten wedding dress stores on the main street. That kind of seems like overkill!

I want to say thank you once more to everyone who sponsored and supported me for the walk! If you didn't get the chance, guess what? You still can until June 24th!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Let's Get Physical

Wow! It's been a busy week since my last post. Including two days in a row (Thursday and Friday) where I was up at 5:00 am to be at work early for meetings. Meetings where we wandered around the baggage system. Yikes! Sounds safe.

Let's rewind a bit. My last post was pretty crow-focused and although I would like to say that's over, unfortunately it's not. In fact, it might have escalated to a full out war now. The giant pool down by the beach near me opened up over the long weekend, so being half fish, I had to go down and check it out! I was starting to think that maybe the crow just didn't have a good fashion sense and that's why it was out to get me, since I was usually in my highly fashionable work clothes. So, I thought I would go for a different look to try and trick it. I headed down to the pool in my sweats on the OTHER SIDE of the street and I was confident that I would be safe. Apparently the crow had other ideas. I don't even know how it recognized me, but it did! Sad face.

Another thing I hadn't counted on was that Vancouver doesn't quite get the temperature fluctuations that Ontario does. It gets cold, but not super cold, and warm, but not super warm. Luckily, this pool was heated to a balmy 77 degrees (25 degrees)! Yeah, it doesn't sound THAT great and I'll admit I was a bit hesitant to get in, but after paying the admission of $5.38, I knew I had to. (That's pretty steep for a swim considering I'm a student!)

Now, in case you can't tell, that's a gigantic freaking pool. 137 metres long to be exact. Normally to swim a kilometre, you would do 40 lengths in a 25 metre pool. Maybe 20 lengths in 50 metre pool. To swim a kilometre here, you do 8 to 9 lengths. I was hurting pretty bad by the last length (and even more the next day). This is going to take some getting used to. The cool thing about this pool is that it is right on the seawall. The kind of cool thing is that it's filled with salty ocean water. By kind of cool, I mean cool to swim in, but not so cool when you go to drink from your water bottle a few hours later and realize that you splashed the rim with salt water in the pool. Gross.

I also got out to do some kayaking down by the Burrard Bridge on Thursday, which was awesome. Only $5.00 for a few hours out in the water with a kayak and lesson included. Thanks MEC! That's the kind of deal I'm looking for as a student! A friend from home and I went to try this out and found out there are also paddle-boarding sessions. I think we'll save that for when it's a bit warmer because I would say it's very likely I'll fall in.

Now for a fun little work story. One of my colleagues asked me to drive him to the SkyTrain station in Richmond and I thought I wasn't going to make it back. You wouldn't think that it would be that hard to do, but for those of you that know me well, directions aren't my strong point. On campus tours, one of my signature lines is "I used the information desk in the UC in first year to find out where my classes were because I'm kind of directionally-challenged, but don't worry, I know campus way better now, so I won't get us lost on the tour!" This does not apply to Richmond. I don't know Richmond. There are 15890778 bridges between the airport and the SkyTrain station! (Okay, I might be exaggerating a bit, but there's a lot.) I literally thought I was going to have to call my manager and ask him to find me and direct me back.  Luckily, after some wrong turns and off ramps, I did make it. The Canada Line tracks are a great way to find the airport BTW.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who donated to my Great Strides page, I met my goal! Luckily, for those of you who haven't had a chance yet, you still can! The boyfriend and I are off to do that this weekend, so feel free to continue emptying your wallets for me! Speaking of him, we also went down to the beach to watch the sunset . . . how dorkily romantic. This weekend I will also be emptying my wallet because this week was my first payday! Shopping? Yes.

Friday, May 17, 2013


To give you an idea of kind of what my week has been like, this afternoon I came home from work to see a gentleman in a kilt walking up my front steps. Yeah, weird.

Back to the beginning though! This week I developed an irrational fear . . . of crows.

Tuesday morning. I was walking down my street, headed for the bus stop. All of the sudden something blows by my head. A crow. I was kind of freaked out, but I just figured it was a one-time thing. It was kind of dark and rainy, maybe it didn't see me. I didn't even mention it in Tuesday's post because I wasn't really worried. Wednesday morning. Walking to the bus stop again and in the EXACT same spot, a crow swoops down behind me . . . but this time, it's wing actually hits me in the head! Now I'm really freaking out. So much so that I actually suggest to my brother that he might want to come out here and visit and bring one of his hunting guns with him. At this point I started to develop a theory that the crow liked my hair and wanted to use it for a nest. I was seriously giving it the benefit of the doubt that it just figured my hair was some sort of natural nest material. Thursday morning. It was raining pretty good today, so I had my hood up and my umbrella out. I didn't see the crow. Friday morning. Thinking I had solved the problem with my hood on Thursday, I approached the tree to see the crow glaring down at me. Taking defensive measures, I put my hood up and figured I would be in the clear. Nope. I was wrong. I walk by the tree and suddenly the crow flies into my lower back, bounces off my elbow and keeps going. I pretty much lost it at this point. I ran down the end of the street and vowed not to walk on that side again.

Then, after I calmed down, I became a little more level-headed. Try doing a Google search for crows attacking people. It's an actual thing. Apparently, in the Northwest (where I am living now) from May to mid-June is fledge season, when all of the baby crows are learning to fly. The crow parents get super protective during this time to protect the babies and will actually attack people. Ahhhh! I took a picture of the crow's lookout and camp from the other side of the street . . . where I will be walking from now until mid-June!

Now for a couple of random observations:

1) It's really weird that there isn't any bagged milk out here. You have to buy it in jugs and then unlike pretty much every other type of container, you can't even return the jugs for a deposit. You just have put giant 4L jugs into the recycling. I can return an orange juice container, but not a milk jug? Weird.

2) There is very little President's Choice out here, but an insane amount of Safeways. Also, this weird brand called Western Family.

3) The automated voice on the SkyTrain that announces stations seems to actually sound relieved when we get to the final stop, YVR. Obviously I can't do inflection and tone on here, but it's really weird!

4) Two days this week I have seen a girl at the SkyTrain station where I get off the bus with a canoe paddle. She's all dressed up in business clothes, but randomly carrying this paddle.

Now just before I tell you about the gentleman in the kilt, I wanted to share my purchases from the little stores that I stopped at on the way home tonight. It's going to be a tasty dinner! I bought an in-store made chicken Kiev breast, then went to the market next store and picked up some corn-on-the-cob, potatoes, a pepper and some feta cheese.

So, the man in the kilt. I saw him walk down my front steps as I was taking a picture of the crow's tree, figuring I just saw wrong and he was actually coming from somewhere else. Then, we ended up crossing the street at the same time and he headed right back up the stairs to my place and around the side. I caught a glimpse of the back of his t-shirt as he rounded the corner. Apparently, the company the cleans the windows of my building is Men in Kilts Window Cleaning. Excellent.

And on that note, I'll leave you with some pictures I took of the sky and the ground. I love the leaves drawn right into the sidewalk! And remember, I am doing the Great Strides Walk next weekend and I am still collecting donations!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Job

As promised, I am going to share a bit about my new job in this post! I am a co-op student at the airport out here and assisting with work on the baggage system.

As everyone probably knows now, airport security is pretty intense. Luckily, my experience in pharmaceuticals has prepared me for this. I am also developing a new vocabulary. Currently it includes a lot of:

- terminal
- airside
- out-of-gauge
- access
- restricted
- section drawing
- elevation
- inbound
- outbound
- transfer
- domestic
- international

And pretty much any three-letter combination of A-Z you can imagine in acronyms. I literally have an acronym dictionary printed out and pinned to my desk bulletin board (luckily I found this on the internal website).

I have also been able to spend time down in the baggage system and out on the tarmac. One of my colleagues had the best description of what the baggage system looks like: the mine levels in old school Donkey Kong. Out on the tarmac, I walked next to huge planes and even completed some training out at the fire station!

Even though this all sounds quite glamourous, my office definitely isn't. It's in a trailer. Yep, a trailer. The area looks like a little town of portables like we used to have in elementary and high school. Even though the terminal area is beautiful, I was told when I first started not to get used to it because that's not where I would be spending most of my time. The cool part about the trailers? They are just outside of the restricted area fence. This means that planes are literally driving right by. So cool! Here's some pictures of my walk from the SkyTrain to the trailers.

The only scary realization I had about this fence came today. We have company cars that can be used to go to different areas of the airport if needed. I only started driving them today and it just so happened that the way I backed out meant that I had to drive in the one-lane-wide space between the trailers and the fence. Having not driven in two weeks and driving a car I wasn't used to, I was paranoid that I was going to run into the trailers on one side and wreck half the offices or the fence on the other side and breach the restricted area. Ahh!

Well, this has been about long enough for now, but to leave you feeling jealous, here are some pictures of the beach I can go relax on after a tough day of being paranoid about running into fences.

Also, don't forget to sponsor me for the Great Strides Walk I'm doing out here on May 26th!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I'm Here!

Hi Friends!

I have been out here for just over a week now and after some technical difficulties, am now able to make my first post. My new home for the next eight months has a beautiful view of the mountains and is only a block away from the beach. I am a lucky girl!

I have adjusted to the time change better than I was anticipating (and hoping). I thought being on Ontario time still would make it that much easier to get up at 6:00 am for work, but it turns out I don't do well with the mind over matter thing, just seeing 6:00 am, whether EST or PST, on my alarm clock makes me sleepy!

I am missing my car, BMDY, too. I have a new ride now, though, the SkyTrain (and the occasional bus). All of this can be yours for the low, low price of $124 per month.

Since I'm super directionally-challenged, I took a practice run out to the airport (my new place of employment!) last Thursday, before I started. The SkyTrain is much nicer than the subway in Toronto. It's so clean and comfortable and has great views of the mountains, parks and especially the airplanes landing and taking off as you approach the airport!

Something else that I've noticed is that people are SUPER nice out here. Everyone says hello as they walk by. You might think it would be hard to tell since everyone also wears sunglasses, but it's actually not.

In case you were also hesitant about supporting me for the Great Strides Walk out here, rest assured that I am safe and sound and still collecting donations.

Stay tuned for a post about my awesome experience in my new job later this week!