Thursday, December 06, 2001

Northern Exposure: Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting...

Last Friday evening, we went to O'Byrnes again. I had an Irish Stew, and Sophia had some fish and chips. We chatted for a while over a pint, and we were both thinking how like Irish Pubs everywhere other than Ireland this place was (although there were a few pubs in Dublin that sort of fit this stylised ideal). A guy came over to take our plates - not one of the usual waitresses - and he had an Irish accent.

Well, that blew our theory out of the water. Maybe it was really authentic.

On the way home, the weather amazed us again. Little ice crystals were suspended in the air, floating down slowly. The lights caught them and they twinkled delightfully, but we soon noticed they started settling on our eyebrows and lashes. Fairy-tale-christmas-cake it may have looked, but it started to sting.

The snow brings out the Sherlock Holmes in me. We've got a theory about certain types of Canadians:
  • a lot of them shuffle their feet when they walk
  • a lot of them walk very close behind you

We had no idea why they shuffle their feet, and we think they walk close behind you because there are less than a million living in Edmonton and they must crave some kind of human contact. For us, coming from England and hanging around in London, it's quite strange. Most British people are very protective of their personal space, and it makes the paranoid reflex we seem to have developed twitch a little.

Anyway, back to the snow. I've seen footprints where, like "normal" people, the planter has lifted their feet up and lowered them into the snow carefully, to avoid getting wet shoes and soggy trousers. I've also seen lots of shuffling footsteps all over the place. It must be environmental or something.

Where it has settled without being disturbed, the snow is about 9 inches deep. Near our house there's an apartment complex (in England they're called maisonettes) and a cyclist has cut across the snow - at regular intervals the vague imprint of the pedals and the bottom of the feet can be seen. It's very cool, but in a 'not very exciting' way.

On Monday night, Sophia did her belly-dancing recital - I'm sure she'll give you her own side of things, but I can tell you it was not boring at all. About two hours of young ladies showing how well they can wiggle their tummies - and the bits just above and below them - was enough to capture my attention. Very good fun.

Last night was my Wing Chun exam (hence the title of this email). I passed, it went very well. At one point I punched when I should have blocked, but that was just nerves - it all went okay. The cycle there and back was a lot more hellish - this weather has gone from being funny to being deadly serious. I'm seriously concerned about my nose, it seems to act like a heatsink, radiating all the heat-energy from my body. Troublesome, no?

We'll have to get some pictures up of the two of us in our winter gear - the GoreTex jackets are great for stopping the wind and we just layer beneath them. Everyone is telling us to get some quilted down jackets for when the temperature goes below -25, but I'm counting on global warming here.

We still haven't seen Harry Potter, we plan to do that maybe this weekend. I've heard good things, of course, but then it is Harry Potter.

Friday, November 30, 2001

Northern Exposure: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

It's currently -17 here, and it's midday.

We've had a lot of snowfall over the past week. On Monday I cycled to Wing Chun and nearly froze to the bike. I went down the alleys that run down the middle of each block, they had a lot of packed snow on them but at least there was no traffic, so it was safer. I did skid around a bit, mind you.

We've found a tea shop just around the corner called Cargo and James. It's very good there - we still have some PG Tips here, but they do some really strange, exotic teas. I had some Monks Tea the other day, which Sophia thought smelt like marshmallows. It was very nice – first time I've really drunk a black tea with no milk or sugar (I have PG Tips with milk, and Earl Grey with sugar, etc.).

Last Friday we went to a local Irish pub – O'Byrnes. On Fridays they have an all you can eat fish and chips. I had the one plate, mind you. If only the chips were real chips, rather than fries, it would be perfect. Still, the guinness there is good, and they do lots of other nice beers and ales.

Next week I take my Wing Chun exam, hopefully I'll get to yellow belt. I'm really looking forward to it, I've been going for quite a while but due to things like our furniture arriving and me damaging my foot I haven't been able to go as much as required. Oh, and it's not that we won't go somewhere that doesn't have a web site, it's more like everywhere around here has one. :)

Oh, that's right - our furniture arrived a few weeks ago. I can't tell you how good it is to be sleeping on a bed again, rather than on the (fantastic, magical, but not very supportive over 2 months) self-inflating mattress. We've got all our stuff in place now, just about. I'm waiting for a claim form from the movers - they damaged a number of items that they packed themselves.

Not that bad considering the distance, and we're most upset about the sake cup, because it was part of a set. We're sure they can fix the divan drawer, too. The other thing I'm waiting on is the Canadian movers appearing again to remove all the boxes the stuff came in - I've flat packed 'em all, and asked them two weeks ago, but still nothing. Plus, now it's snowing. Well, more fool them.

The owners of the basement suite we're renting had two of the rooms carpeted. The computer room feels much nicer, and the back bedroom is now also carpeted. This means the only rooms NOT covered are the kitchen, hall and bathroom. Feels a lot more cozy now. When we've got everything settled, we'll take a few pics to bore you silly. Oh, the larger of the two bedrooms (which was just carpeted) is Sophia's Dressing Room. We have the bed in the smaller room, as it's more cozy and gets better light in the morning.

Our house in England is now rented. A single tenant has moved in, yay! I think that's about all - I must do these little updates more often.