Wednesday, May 31, 2006

quiet moment

i will be without a phone and internet for what appears to be the next two weeks. thus, updates to the blog will be, well, quite unlikely. so, pardon the temporary hiatus!

i will be back soon though, via a brand-new laptop and probably a starbucks café hotspot connection.

Monday, May 29, 2006

joining the working force

today was my first day at work. real work, at a real job. none of that queen business stuff anymore.

i guess that now, i'm officially back and officially back to stay. so today was both sad and exciting, because it marked the end of one thing and the the beginning of another. now i have more responsibilities that i can handle. now i have things tying me down. now i get to be a contributing member of society - again. now i get to repay my debts.

and now, i get to save for my next trip. or at least, dream about it for a while.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

modernlink goodness

Originally uploaded by designsponge.

thanks to design*sponge, i have now discovered the onelink collection by modernlink. i have to say that every single pieces, from the desk to the floating shelves, is my idea of perfection. i browsed their website and looked at every piece of bamboo-metal goodness and thought that i had found heaven.

well, heaven might come faster than i thought because when i saw the pricelist, i nearly choked to death. $880 for a floating shelf? $11500 for a bed? i guess perfection has its price...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

overdose de cerf

tonight we went to the terroir restaurant au pied de cochon in le plateau. we took a seat at the bar, which is right in front of the kitchen, so we were right in the middle of the action. unfortunately i was too unadventurous tonight to try anything that makes this place so funky, namely, les abats and le foie gras. instead, i went with le tartare de cerf, which was prepared right before my eyes (as was everything else!). the taste was delicate and fresh, it was very tender and quite good. my mom ordered the steak de cerf avec frites, which came au jus with onions and mushrooms. it also was delicious, incredibly tender and perfectly cooked. the fries were good but not perfect, but the bread was. i was full when i reached half of my plate, but kept eating because it was so tasty. the kitchen started to get quite busy, and it was great to watch the team prepare everything in their tiny place. by desert time, the kitchen was so busy that the action went from entertaining to dizzying. we split a poire pochée avec glace à la vanille, which was light, fresh and tasty. it was the perfect choice after such a heavy, abundant meal. by the end we no longer could eat or drink anything, we were past the acceptable level of fullness but we were quite satisfied with our restaurant choice.

i would eat there again, that's for sure. everything about the place was fantastic. but for right now, i've had way too much cerf.

steak de cerf fries tartare de cerf avec salade

536, rue duluth est
montréal, qc

au pied de cochon

finally! success!

"look mom! no wires!"

using the internet in the kitchen. what a beaut!

flickr in the kitchen

Monday, May 22, 2006

on speed and rain

wireless high speed internet installation, which involves a router, should come equipped with a tiny little man in the box. a technical genious, that is, that could guide you through setting up your wireless network. no, even better - the little guy could do it for you. but then, i guess i wouldn't know what to do with this included miniature help once everything was up and running. perhaps set him free into the wilderness or keep him in my shirt pocket, just in case of future technological-related emergencies. who knows. but a little guy would sure be handy. and save hours of frustration due to poorly written instruction manuals, faq sections and general inability of the populace to figure wireless out.

so, that was frustration number one today. i guess there are some things that i just can't figure out. and this home wireless network in one of them. sigh.

and it seems that out like a cruel joke montreal has become vancouver, and vancouver, montreal. last week and up to the day i left the weather was incredibly sunny and warm in vancouver and i landed in a wet, cold and miserable montreal. since i've been here it's been like a vancouver winter, and i've been informed that it's been as such for a while now... and i can't wait for the warp to end and things to get back to normal.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

to montreal!

tomorrow, i will be off to montreal for a week. it will be nice to get on a plane again, to be on vacation again. but what will be even nicer is that i'm going to see my mom. i haven't seen her in a year, so it's about time! it will be great.

and i can't wait to see montreal again. stroll the streets, eat a poutine and get a haircut. cuz that's what it's all about.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

it's sunscreen time!

today was an incredible, beautiful, sunny and warm day in vancouver. unlike yesterday that was supposed to be hot but wasn't as the air stayed cool, today was hot hot hot. hot sun, warm wind - just all around goodness. and honestly, i can't even remember the last time that it has been this hot in vancouver. it must have been a killer in the inlands.

so, i ate my lunch outside today to catch some rays and vitamin d. caught a small sunburn, which i thought was quite funny. last i got a sunburn required a lot more effort, ie, by playing frisbee in the ocean for three hours without sunscreen. i guess that the tan is gone. the tolerance is gone.

after work i went for a walk along the seawall. it would have been a shame to stay inside. so, i headed out in shorts and thank and strolled along, watching the crowds. it is sunburn season it seems! everyone was out, in all shapes and colours, from pasty to uber tanned. i saw some beautiful people, some with horrific outfits, tons of straw hats and kids playing in the sand. the grass was covered in blankets and people, the sand as well.

today is summer. today is just beautiful.


flickr has moved from beta to gamma. in the process of the ultimate makeover, flickr did not go from it's old self to a more beautiful one, but rather transformed itself into something awkward and far from my liking. i am disappointed with the changes... certain things are gone (or i just haven't found them yet) such as the most viewed function and the main page shows the sets on the right-hand side... i just don't like it.

perhaps i'm apprehensive of these changes because i hate new and improved anything and everything. even if it's just the package that has changed, something inside is always different and it is never for the better. new and improved is never really improved. it's just new. and annoying.

i liked it the way it was. i was comfortable with it. it was like an old sweater. and now, it's gone through the dryer, it has shrunk and it will never be the same.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


It's always better on holliday
So much better on holliday
That's why we only work when
We need the money

- Franz Ferdinand, Jacqueline

lately i have been becoming more and more aware of how much i am missing traveling and being on the road. little things like going to see M:I:III with its chinese backdrop and eating malaysian food has made me nostalgic and made me realize how much i miss my days in asia. i miss the constant stimulation, the unknown, the dirt, the smells, the people, the food. i miss not really knowing where i'm going next, what i'm doing today or where i'll be staying in a new city. i miss having to fend for myself and carrying my life on my back. i miss the heat, i miss the ocean, i miss temples. no matter how much i like it here, deep down there's a longing for something else. i'm happy to be back but i can't wait to go back.

perhaps i'm even more nostalgic lately because everyone that i was following through their own extended holidays have either all returned home or are on their way back. i can no longer live through them, read their adventures, hear their stories and be taken back to these wonderful far-away places. all i will have left will be my pictures, my journals, my few souvenirs, my t-shirts. and looking through these just doesn't make one go down memory lane as well as living through other people.

hopefully, with summer heading our way and work that i should enjoy lined-up, being back here won't feel so... ordinary.

Friday, May 12, 2006

hawker flamingo fundraiser

went out with victor last night, whom i hadn't seen in for ever (aka, like for over a year now). ate some good malaysian food (even had some chicken rice that was better than some i've had in malaysia) and great food. after we headed out to montmartre for some flamingo guitar courtesy of the canadian liver foundation. listed to some great tunes, admired impressive dexterity (a great skill to have! *blush*) and drank some good wine. add more good conversation, company and etc, and you get a pretty good evening. what am i saying? i had a great time!

bellow: see victor trying to hide from the music. really, it wasn't that bad!

i can't look!
canadian liver fundation fundraiser

casual friday

seems like working for the queen isn't all that bad. after extensive credit checks and countless hours of doing pretty much nothing at all, you get rewarded with casual fridays. this, mesdames et messieurs, means that today i am wearing jeans and taking part in my first ever casual friday.

how exciting!

this is like, totally, a real bureaucracy.

and i can't help but think that perhaps, after all, i haven't sold my soul to the queen. perhaps i have sold my soul out to something far more somber... all for a small price, really.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

a question of weight

one thing that i don't think that i really discussed on this blog during my travels was my weight. i think that part of it was that i was completely freaked out by it and that i was also completely freaked out by what i use to weigh.

see, i moved to vancouver and i got lazy. which is incredible, considering the marvelous natural beauty that sits outside my door. but i did. and i put on weight. back then, i used to think that i carried it well and that it didn't look like that much. i played the "tall and proportionate" card which i guess was, in truth, denial.

when spring got around in 2005 i started to bike to work, hiking on the weekends and walking the sea wall. i was not doing it to lose weight, i thought, but to get in shape so that i wouldn't die or fall over when i'd have to carry a huge back on my back for 7.5 months. but i did lose a bit of weight, nothing that i actually noticed. but people did notice. i got comments about it and it made me realize that maybe i did look "bad" before. i guess i had been in real denial because i was truly clueless.

i left for asia weighting i'm not sure what. the last time i had stepped on a scale it pointed to 165 lb and i wasn't too happy about it and so i avoided further scales. so i will only guess that i left at somewhere around 155-160 lb.

japan was my first country. it was hot, ridiculously hot there. i spent all day out walking and i was really careful about how much money i was spending on food. food is expensive in japan, and so i couldn't afford all of the good japanese food one expects to eat when you visit japan. i stuck with cheap stuff such as 7/11 pastries, 7/11 rice balls (they are yummy though), fruits, plenty of liquids (about 4L a day) and the cheapest dinner i could find, which was usually curry or shaved pork on rice. by the half point of my time in japan, i had lost a lot of weight. i started to freak out because one should never lose weight that fast. so i started to do my own grocery shopping and fed myself dinners with enough food for two. i didn't want to lose weight. i ate a lot of balanced food. and a week later, i was even more freaked out. i was now at 124 lb. i had lost well over 30 pounds in 3 weeks, or so it seemed. it was scary. i felt skinny. i felt gross. i was 1 lb underweight. i looked at myself in the mirror and i wondered where my breast had gone. but on the upside, i now had a great stomach!

i was happy to get to china. there, i put back on a little bit of weight and i felt better. i didn't really think about my weight during the rest of my stay in asia. there, the food was cheap, as was everything else, and so i went wild. i used to say that i was doing a gastronomic tour or south east asia. i'd even have days where i'd have 5 meals. i was constantly searching for the perfect french pastry in indochina. i was happy.

when i got to perth, i was faced with a scale again. i was at 127 lb. but i felt good. i wasn't depriving myself of anything, on the contrary. so i felt that it was just how i was supposed to be with all of the activities and the constant sweating.

but then i hit new zealand and the east coast of oz. all i did for that 2 month was pretty much sit on my ass. speed tourism on guided tours or by driving means that i wasn't walking anywhere. i wasn't dying in the heat. i wasn't burning up the calories. but i still felt alright, but i started to worry. how much weight would i put on? would i love my slender self, return to the old, unhappy bigger me?

i left oz at 132+ lb. i'm not very sure anymore. but part of me was disappointed. and i found that to be disturbing.

being back home, i guess that i have been lazy still. i got excited about foods that i couldn't have while on my trip, like goat's cheese and god knows what. i haven't been walking much. i haven't been doing much. so i've started to feel fat. i know that i am not fat, i know that it's silly, but by doing nothing i'm just feeling like i'm getting bigger. i feel like my brain is completely warped and my perspective is distorted. and i hate it. but i don't know how much i weight, since i don't have a scale. so i worry.

when i first got home i tried on my old clothing. i had been wearing the same damn outfits for the past months and i was happy to see my good old clothes. but pretty much no pants fit me anymore and i filled two garbage bags full of clothes for the salvation army. that was nearly two months ago. and now, with the new "feeling fat" issues, i thought maybe i got rid of too many things...

but i wanted to wear a suit for an interview and my beautiful, new pants are way too big for me. a belt won't do the job, it's just silly. and today i wanted to wear a skirt that i bought while i was in university in montreal. and you know what? even that is way too big for me. so i don't know what's going on. it's like my brain and my clothes are not getting along...

but what's interesting, now looking back at pictures, is that i now see that i was bigger before. and i look at other pictures during the trip and i feel that i was too skinny then. so how does one find the perfect compromise between the two? i just don't know.

but it's pretty outside. and i'm gonna go for a walk. because as much as i'd like to stay skinny, i'd be more upset to lose the vitality, energy and muscles i gained while traveling.


i have recently been killing some free time by dreaming about the million different ways that i could decorate my apartment. that is, for after it officially becomes mine, after i start my job, and when i manage to save some money. this is not short term goals, obviously. it is actually quite the opposite. decorating will be done slowly, and in a long time from now. but that's just in my nature to plan everything much too far in advance. and what can i say? i like pretty things and thinking about pretty things. and thinking about making this space mine and to my liking (for the first time in my life) is making me quite happy.

thus... i have been looking for pieces to furnish my (dream, unrealistic) apartment. and decor ideas for accessories, paints and the likes. which brings me now with a bizarre obsession for all things american. i mean, some places do have locations in canada, but for some reason they all end up being in toronto. and seattle is so much closer than toronto. but why do they simply have so much nicer things down there? it is quite unfair. i know that our dollar is good and all but heck, how silly would i look trying to bring in a couch without having to pay duty of it???

thankfully, my deeper new obsessions are for things small and easy to carry. they are:

1. the modular carpets tiles from Interface's Flor. these babies are uber cool in that they are so versatile. each tile simply sticks to your floor and easily unsticks so that you can change your pattern or take your carpet with you when you move. they have everything from plain but bright colours to cool patterns like houndstooth. i mean, this is the kind of stuff that just makes you dream about all of the cool things and combo you could pull together. wall to wall or with an area rug or anything else one can imagine. it's a carpet revolution. and i love it!

2. the hand-made wallpaper from Nama Rococo wallpaper studio. i mean, just look at them!!! they speak for themselves. perfect for an accent wall. you could frame these!

for other great things design beyond the range of affordability or sanity, check out design*sponge's blog. it's a great jem and is featured on House & Garden. so it has to be good! and it sure is.

never stop dreaming people! never!

Monday, May 08, 2006

dirty little secret

because my new employment does not start until the end of the month, i managed to score some temp work during this week and the next at a few companies. one of them, the first job, is for the sea to sky highway, aka, the government of british columbia.


i had to go in today and sign a confidentiality form, in which i had to take an oath (but only mentally raising my hand and all that jazz) and pledge allegiance to the queen. i am now bound to my queen, so that i will never divulge any of her dirty or not so dirty little secrets. how fun!

damn right!

i am finally employed. it was about time! but i think that it was worth the wait, seen as i scored a good job in a great company with a pretty good pay. i will be working for the biggest pharmaceutical company in the world. no starting at the bottom for me! hahaha.

it feels good to have that all sorted out. it was starting to drag on and i was getting worried... the funds were getting low and so was my morale! but now it's all good now... thank god! it will also be great to have something to occupy my days with, something new to learn, something to do. not working is only great for so long.

my job starts on may 29th, so i have time to kill between now and then. thus, i will be going to montreal for just over a week in the middle of the month. it will be great to see my mom, whom i haven't seen in nearly a year. crazy how time flies!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

two cheers for bad salesmanship!

yes, that's right. and my own, to be more specific.

i applied for a job at flight centre, which would be a dream job. i love to travel, i love researching vacations, i love anything related to travel and to work for a company that is in that domain and that embraces my love of the world instead of trying to keep me from it would have been more than perfect.

but, after being selected for a phone interview, i can say goodbye to that. why? because i'm a bad sales person. i couldn't pull it together for the interview... couldn't have sold luang prabang, a pineapple or myself had my life depended on it. i froze. i stumbled. i searched for my words. i just plain sucked.

so... yeah. i've never really liked sales anyway. selling actually scares me, just like china scared the bejesus out of me while i was in japan. i know that once there i'd be fine. i could do it, and i would be good at it. but from where i stand, it's huge, evil monster. and flight centre has decided to keep me away from it for now. might as well...


what's interesting is that while traveling, i used to not worry at all about coming back home and finding work. i knew that i could get a crappy job in the meantime, and that i could easily get a crappy job. but i've now been back for well over 1 month, and i am worried. finding work is a lot harder than i expected. i am either over or under qualified for everything it would seem and no one is quite willing to trust me and take me on to their team. i have to admit though that i did not apply to crap jobs as a filler. but now, looking back, i should of had. really.

i have two interviews in what's left of this week: one thursday and one friday. hopefully something will come out of either one. if not, i don't know what i'll do. i don't want a crappy job. i don't want to go back to retail stores just to make it until something better comes along...


to all:

luang prabang is an incredible city, located in the remote country of laos in south east asia. laos, as many say, is how thailand used to be over 20 years ago. unesco-protected, the old city has for its borders two rivers, one of which is the infamous mekong river. in the early morning, discover the buddhist ritual of alms as you observe monks making their way through the streets, begging for food. days are easily filled by walking around dozens of sacred temples, lazy cruises on the mekong, visits to caves filled with thousands of buddhas, a dip in cool waterfalls or treks to remote hilltribe villages. at night, explore lively markets and eat your share of great food. an ancient french colony, luang prabang boasts great fusion architecture and food. there is something for every budgets in this city, from wonderful boutique hotels to good quality rooms for around $2usd a night. meals can range from under a dollar usd to over $25 usd and most tours and admissions are under $10 usd.

i feel better now.