Stories of this Canadian girl's adventures exploring Europe...join me!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

angelina's scar

Have you ever heard of a stress scale? A dear friend of mine told me about it a few years ago while I was going through a difficult time. I had been sick to my stomach for weeks and weeks, leading into months. I had had every medical test, and for all intents and purposes I was perfectly healthy. Physically healthy, at least. The stress scale lists events which a person may experience and their stress impact on a person. And, when she mentioned to me that within the past year I had started a long-distance relationship, lost my mother, quit a beloved job, moved to another province, started a new job, and then had the relationship end, it became evident that I was experiencing the major effects of too much stress. I healed.

Fast forward three years and, again, I have a new relationship (now a year old), two new jobs, new language and I moved to another continent. I am fine, but the stress has been quite evident over the past 3 weeks….just ask great guy. I feel overwhelmed with everything that I need to get used to and my head feels all a-jumble. I have been feeling insecure, wondering what I am doing here and why, and not feeling like I am doing anything very successfully at all. I haven’t been able to write (apologies to all my faithful blog readers) or workout, and up until four days ago I was not feeling very happy with the current state of my life…even as I look out at the castle and the Rhein.

Then yesterday came along and things got a whole bunch more stressful. Let me tell you…the Oxford Dictionary definition of stress is: hurtling down the autobahn at 140 km/hr, in a huge van filled with glasses and wine bottles, sitting in the passenger seat while a cocky, 19-year-old manboy is driving, a day after you’ve had a giant, infected lump carved out of your stomach and you wish you could just stay still and not move….ever again. Stress.

But, I have decided to move past my current stressors (and to never let the manboy drive again) because I realize my life is actually quite good (I don’t want anyone to think I’m complaining!). I am forcing myself to write. It’s good for my head, and maybe I’ll start yoga again, which will be good for my body.

One REALLY good thing, is that the surgeon told me he stitched up the hole below my ribcage so perfectly and with such care, that it will leave a scar good enough for Angelina Jolie. That’s something.
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

flaming hot!

The three days before we flew back to Germany, I was feeling very stressed out; overwhelmed, I think, and somehow just unhappy. I think that the stress of selling all of my stuff and boxing up the rest of my belongings (which I could fit into my little VW Golf), along with the fact that I would now be flying away, for the first time, without a return ticket and with no idea when I would be able to visit again, really took its toll. All I could think of were negative things, I was crying constantly, and I caused no small amount of stress for great guy. He, miraculously, didn’t tell me to just stay put, even though I was seriously contemplating it.

I got on the plane. And, the moment I did so I began to feel a bit better. Everything was sorted out and organized and taken care of (all with the help of some great friends) and I couldn’t do anything more, but sit back, relax and watch some movies, while snuggling with great guy. He was so silly, we laughed and laughed, and we weren’t even indulging in the free, intercontinental alcohol on board!

Now, being back here for a few days, I feel good and positive and excited about my future. My new little job started on Monday and I think it will be really fun…although I haven’t the Friday class of teaching 12 four-year-olds yet, by myself! I will most likely have something to say about that in the near future.

Last night, we had an incredible experience, and in my mind, it was the perfect 'home'-coming for me. Every year, there is a huge winefest here for 10 days, and on the Wednesday there is a giant fireworks display which the city sets up on great guy’s lawn. All of his friends show up (the special few) while hundreds and hundreds of people (the less special)gather to watch on the other side of the river. The city gives him red, tea lights to put in each window of the big house and with fire lights staked into the river on his shoreline, the entire place looks as romantic as you can imagine.

His friends had been telling me about it, everyone was excited, and the bridge above our place was blocked off to foot traffic. I tried to prepare. I bought drinks and made appys, like spündekäs (a great dip for salty pretzels, which is super easy to make) and bruschetta (using maid marion’s plump tomatoes), along with little toasts of B.C. salmon which we had just brought back with us (they were eaten up in about 5 minutes flat!) and tried to imagine what it was going to be like having fireworks shooting from our front door with the entire city watching.

What ensued was pure magic. Completely incredible. The Germans definitely know how to put on a fantastic fireworks show. We all gathered on the terrace overlooking the river, while great guy, myself, and max und bärbel watched the show from his little boat. In the middle of the river, rowers from the nearby rowing club were anchored, each with fire-lit torches, and the entire far side of the bank was jammed full of people. We hooted and hollered in delight with each fantastic burst of colour and design. It went on and on; giant explosions, raining colours, pouring waterfalls and bursting flowers, right over our heads. At the end, everyone, everywhere clapped and clapped. Perfection.

Afterwards, we headed across the bridge to join in the winefest festivities. We said hi to mickey who was manning his winestand (and where I’ll be working the next few nights), then wandered the packed, cobble-stoned streets from stage to stage, winestand to winestand, as old friends stopped us along the way to say hi to great guy. We ended the evening with our arms around eachother, swaying to the awesome oldie, german tunes (which I even knew) like ‘Sterne im Himmel’ and ‘Skandal um Rosie’-I’ve been singing them all morning! A terrific evening, with friends, fireworks, and a flaming hot guy (sorry, I couldn’t think of another ‘f-word’!)…oh‘fun'!! Duh.
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Friday, September 2, 2011

fishing, fishing, fishing

Great guy is having stress dreams about fishing. Last night he dreamt that he had finally got something really big on his hook. He reeled it in, realizing that it's too big to be a fish, worried that it was his sister's dog. But no, it turned out to be 2 elephants. Him and Frankie had a really difficult time getting the hook out of them...then they stressed about what they were going to do now with 2 elephants. Great guy woke up sweating.

After four crazy, but nice, days of wedding; setting up the site, hammering down the details, standing up for my bro, sitting down for a pig roast feast, dancing up a storm with kiddies and friends, and then, finally taking it all down the next day, great guy and I headed for the hills.

Along with great sister and frankie, we drove northwest, with 2 campers and 2 dogs, to go fishing for 4 days. Some highlights:

-great guy and I canoeing in the morning hours, crystal clear and calm lake, mist dancing about on the surface of the water, freshly snowed moutains in front of us, a loon softly calling behind us, waiting for fish...lake was empty.

-a wild stallion holding his ground in the middle of the gravel logging road, standing tall and rugged and steadfast...incredibly beautiful...we took a different route.

-paddling through giant lily pads surrounding our canoe...no frogs.

We had 3 days of rain and so most of the highlights happened today. I, ashamedly, made a big deal of the fact that I can canoe and that noone needs to show me how to do it. Then, after a beautiful canoeing experience with frankie (a loon came 2 meters away from us, calling and calling...to me, of course), we pulled up to the shore and I stepped out. And, the canoe flipped up and frankie flew out, into the freezing water! Oops, my bad. Yah, I felt stupid.

Nice days with lots of fishing, but no fish. As great guy pointed out we were at Beaver Lake, not Trout Lake.
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