Like public holidays, my yearly calendar is marked with cherished annual traditions. Call me sentimental, but they mean a lot to me. Whether it’s carving pumpkins with the best work crew you could assemble each October, chowing down on a hot dog (veggie, of course) while watching a Jays game at the Skydome each summer, or catching the late show of whichever Hollywood blockbuster happens to be out with my sister after stuffing ourselves with Christmas dinner – I have extremely fond memories of these annual events and eagerly look forward to them each year.
Moving to Australia, however, has turned many of my traditions on their head. Part of this is due to geography. Living south of the equator means seasons are in reverse, and this alters the appropriateness of some traditions. Like ugly Christmas sweater parties. Doesn’t make much sense when Christmas falls in the dead of summer (though ‘Christmas in July’ celebrations are pretty common as a result). Read More »
If you follow my blog you probably know I met my significant other on a Contiki trip in Peru. He was hard to miss, as he and the friend he was travelling with were always joking around and were frequently the centre of attention. A couple of days into the trip he famously proclaimed (well, famous to the group anyway), ‘you can’t regret something you didn’t do if you’ve already done it’. It was his twist on Contiki’s slogan, ‘no regrets’.
I wasn’t witness to this memorable gem, but apparently, the group had been giving him a hard time for choosing to soak in a hot tub rather than go zip-lining with everyone else. He argued that he had already been zip-lining (in Canada, no less!) so he wouldn’t regret skipping the activity; the ‘no regrets’ mantra didn’t apply in this situation. He continued to stand by his awkwardly chosen words days after the missed opportunity and it became a sort of alternative slogan for the trip.
I had long forgotten about his silly slogan until it came up again late Sunday night.
After uncovering a large, dusty collection of vinyl hidden away in his parent’s house (and no working turntable to play them on), my significant other thought it would be a great idea to buy his parents a turntable for Christmas. Neither of us knew much anything about audio equipment, but we figured with a little help from Google, we’d have no problem picking one out.
I jumped on our laptop and discovered turntables ranged in price from $200 all the way up to $2,000+. Aside from the fact that the more expensive ones were clearly prettier, I couldn’t figure out what made them (theoretically) better. Realising I knew nothing about brand prestige or what kind of specs to look for, I turned to co-workers for advice.
Two weeks ago, we threw our first dinner party in Melbourne. Well, if you can call it a dinner party when there’s just one guest. But despite the small guest list, I was a bit apprehensive about hosting.
That’s not to say I’m afraid to host in general. I’ve organised plenty of get-togethers – Christmas parties, pumpkin carving parties, Cards Against Humanity parties (I like a good theme). Food was always an integral part of these gatherings, but the focus was on whipping up theme-appropriate finger foods (like pigs in a blanket that resemble mummies for Halloween or vegemite scrolls for Australia Day) rather than main course dishes. And since I pretty much plan my life around what I’m eating next, most of these parties had enough finger food to fill up on in lieu of a meal.
A few months ago, I bought a pair of black canvas shoes from a discount department store called Big W. They were $3. I had sticker shock when I saw the price – is it even possible to cover the cost of materials with three measly dollars? My next thought was about the workers who made these shoes – there’s no way they were earning a living wage. I felt extreme guilt about supporting what must be an extremely unethical enterprise. But then I bought them anyway. After all, how could I pass up a deal like that?
The ethics of how I live and shop has been weighing on my mind recently. It’s just getting harder to ignore all the facts. I used to think I shopped ethically and had environmentally responsible habits. I recycle. I try not to create unnecessary waste. But the truth is, I tend to only make ethical choices when it’s easy. Read More »
My significant other was the first to make this observation, and now I see it all the time – there are a lot of people walking around Melbourne wearing Toronto gear. Raptors hats. Blue Jays jerseys. We spot those familiar hometown logos everywhere.
The first time I remember this happening was when we saw The Book of Mormon last year. As we left the Princess Theatre, some of the cast had already started to leave from a nondescript door next to the main entrance, so we decided to hang around. After a few minutes, the actor who played Elder Price walked out – in a Toronto Blue Jays hat! While I always shirk away from saying hi or introducing myself to people I recognise, my significant other is the exact opposite. Somehow, he got Elder Price’s attention and they started chatting. Turns out he’s a Toronto native and big Jays fan (it’s even in his Book of Mormon bio).
A friend recently shared his strategy for ensuring a good time when he’s on vacation in a new city – he finds a record store and asks staff for recommendations on places he should check out. It has apparently worked well for him in the past. While this strategy is premised on the assumption that anyone who would work at a record store has good taste, I suppose the idea is, pick something you’re into, find a store that sells it, and you’ll probably find like-minded people who enjoy the same things as you. Read More »