Story Time, Travel / Living Abroad

travel despatches: a tale of ice and snow

This was going to be called ‘despatches from a broad’ which would have been a HILARIOUS word-play but I have contained myself.

ice

Moldova has snow. I am acquainted with the idea of it – Canada dunked me in the deep end and taught my British nerves to deal with lots and lots … and lots of snow. But Moldova has ice and the pavements are covered in it.

This is the formula:

  • It snows
  • Pedestrians compact the snow
  • The temperature rises
  • The snow becomes slush
  • Night falls
  • Temperatures plummet
  • Slush turns to ice

I haven’t seen a single Moldovan slip. Not. A. Single. One. I am rather certain that they have superpowers. Extreme balance. Exceptional grip on their shoes. Underhanded understanding with gravity. That, or they’re waiting for me to clear off and get out of sight and then they all slip over magnificently.

A fellow teacher and I made a bet – the first one to slip buys the other a coffee. Now, I was in no way hoping that she would slip over first. But gravity exists and if she were to prove it … well, no harm no foul.

We were crossing the road. I was slightly ahead of my fellow bet-ee (?). She was explaining the terms of our little wager to a mutual friend when her explanation suddenly halted with a sort of sliding plop.

I turned around and there she was, sprawled along the centre of the road. The brilliant red of her coat looking very picturesque against the dark ice. Fortunately, it wasn’t a bad fall. Unfortunately, I was not going to remain unscathed …

pride comes before a fall

I was hoping to avoid slipping. I had visions of lasting through the entire winter with nary a spill. ‘I lasted an ENTIRE winter with VERY icy pavements,’ I would say with great modesty. ‘I didn’t slip ONCE.’

Ha. Haha. Hahaha.

One evening, we were warned that the ice would be exceeding treacherous the next morning. As we gingerly walked back from school – warily looking at the ground as if it was going to snatch at our feet and maliciously laugh all the while – we pointed out patches of the pavements to each other.

‘That bit,’ we’d say, ‘is going to be VERY icy.’

‘This stretch of the road,’ we’d agree, ‘is going to be INSANELY icy.’

‘Tomorrow,’ I said, eyeing a piece of paving in front of me, ‘this is going to be really ic-‘

Up went my feet. Down went my bottom. It was a moment of exquisite irony. My fingers were a little grazed, my behind was slightly bruised but all I could do was emit a stunned laugh.

since then …

We’ve had freezing rain. It’s become slush now but everywhere had a layer of ice. Walking to school reminded me of skiing really fast. (Which, for some people, must be great. But for me? I was never very confident in the stopping part of skiing. Consequently, skiing wasn’t my favourite thing. I was moderately terrified.) My heart was in my throat. My steps were tiny. My prayers were many.

ice. lots and lots of ice.

But so far, God is good and I have survived. I’ve slipped since but that was to do with a glorious and honourable puppy rescuing mission. (This feat of derring-do might become another despatch from a broad … )

(I’M SORRY BUT IT MAKES ME LAUGH.)
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I think I just rambled, Life, Story Time

hair dyeing adventures [Story Time]

*warning: excessively long post ahead. before + after pictures that are in no way professional and display a love of bathrooms/mirrors/ipads. moulting hair fears. bad humour*

THE BACKGROUND

When I was a little girl, I wanted to have black hair – as black as Aquila’s sister in The Lantern Bearers, which was so black she could almost comb sparks from it. (Or that’s how I remember the description going. I can’t look it up because my beloved books are an ocean away right now.)

hairbackthen

But I’ve never yet had black hair, always brown. I loved the stories where the heroine had plain brown hair. I could sympathise. I thought my hair was … a nothing. A sort of bland, brown, and boring mixture that simply existed.

It took me many years to appreciate my hair for what it was: beautiful. When the sun shone, different strands looked like spun gold. In the summer, it would lighten – if I went outside, of course. Which didn’t always happen. I am a bookworm after all.

But I’ve pondered dyeing my hair (mostly blue because it’s so THERE and shockingly so) for years now. Not because I didn’t like it, but because … I could. And suddenly, quite by chance and entirely by impulse – I had a hair appointment booked.

… and still no idea what kind of colour I wanted it.

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THE ELIMINATION PROCESS:

  • Blonde was ruled out because I couldn’t envision myself as a blonde. Like, the image didn’t compute in my mind.
  • Black was discarded because I couldn’t quite picture anything that didn’t look terrible on me (I’m still saving this for another day … dun dun dunnn.)
  • Blue was thrust aside because a) I’d only feel like having blue hair on Thursdays and not every day is a Thursday and b) I’m a bit quirky but I don’t think I could live up to having blue hair all. the. time.
  • Highlights were tossed because I wanted a CHANGE OF COLOUR dang it! And a big one.

So I was left with either a dark brown (NOOOOO!!!!) or red. I went with the red.

THE ACTUAL DYEING THING-Y

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I bussed, and arrived five minutes late (I accidentally went past my stop and had to ride the bus until it came back. Yes. You may laugh.) I’d call the saloon I went to ‘boho chic’. It was actually in the hair dresser’s home and it. was. fabulous.

Was I nervous? Not really. I was excited because I was going to be a red-head. 

The colour was mixed and applied. It felt a little odd at first, but I really liked the smell. (Wut? It smelled like change and adventure.)

And then it was cut.

And then I couldn’t stop looking at myself in the mirror.

AFTERMATH

I have a semi-permanent red dye in my hair – which means that slowly the colour has been fading (I quite like that about it; new shades of the same colour), the first few showers looked like a blood bath and my towel looked very disturbing.

It’s been four weeks now, and my roots are beginning to peek through – but I quite like the effect.

Do I like my hair? Heck yeah! It’s awesome. I look back on my brunette pictures and I don’t have a smidgen of regret.

A WARNING

At work, some colleagues thought I was a new recruit. So, if you’ve committed a heinous crime of say – putting the milk in first before adding the boiling water to a cup of tea, you could dye your hair afterwards and no one would know you! 

(But I would. You utter heathen.)

ALSO: Don’t go into this red hair business expecting to develop either the bare rudiments of Gaelic or a Scottish accent because guess what? It doesn’t work.

I am, of course, immensely disappointed.

ALSO: Maybe don’t go about telling people that you’ve dyed your hair in the blood of your enemies. You’ll get some strange looks.

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PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

I know, I know – I’m being hysterical and dramatic but I’ve just showered and my hair literally MOULTS after a shower. It’s been doing this before I dyed it so I can’t create a clickbait horror story (‘I dyed my hair and what happened next is horrific!’). But it could be because:

  • my diet has changed
  • I am more stressed than I think I am (I am?)
  • TWIST! My hair always sheds like this and I’m only noticing it now because the house has wood/laminated floors.

If it’s my imagination, I’m going to sue it and tweet angrily about it. And if it’s my reality, I am going to rock some killer wigs. (I’m thinking pastels. ALL THE PASTELS!)

Thank you. I just wanted to get that off my chest and out of my hair … literally. (Too much?)

… and thus is the transformation of my hair completed. On the left – me, in the beginning, before I paid someone to lop my hair off. On the right – me, after I paid someone to soak my hair in blood!! Muhahaha! 

Have you dyed your hair? Did you like it? Do you have difficulty with died/dyed because THE STRUGGLE IS REAL MY FRIEND!

I think I just rambled, Life, Story Time

[Story Time] repercussions of daydreaming

When I was a youngling, I daydreamed excessively; in my dreams I was extremely clever and I had secrets – world-changing, mind-blowing secrets. I could give the best, most convincing comebacks, break into sudden ninja skillz, and do daring deeds that would leave grown men gaping in my wake.

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I’d do all of this without repercussions. One doesn’t really think of real world consequences when you’re in a delicious daydream, fixing a tragic moment of fallibility in your life.

Par example, when my family was introduced to a new church; instead of retreating into my blue coat when the microphone was shoved in my face and whispering my name …

… it would go a little differently. The pastor would ask my name. I’d stand straight and tall. ‘You want my name?’ my attitude would say. ‘THIS IS MY NAME!!!’ and at the end of the aisle, the church doors would slam open, and in would pour an entire troop of animals enough to make a zookeeper weep.

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like this. but with lions. and giraffes. and maybe an elephant?

It’s important to note that my daydream was conspicuously absent of:

  1. animal droppings
  2. outraged animal rights activists.
  3. the screams of horror from churchgoers who just wanted to hear some preaching (was that too much to ask?!!)

When you’ve spent half your life with your nose in a book and your head in the clouds, your sense of proportion, social settings, and – alas, to my cost – brain-to-mouth filter sometimes malfunctions.

Take my last, most monumental gaffe, for instance. I’ll share it here. You can probably feel the echoes of my disbelief from where you’re sitting.

LAST MONUMENTAL SOCIAL GAFFE:

I can’t remember the mood I was in when I turned up to my driving test, but it must have been quite something.

My examiner reminded me of a TV character and I really quite liked him – he sort of set you at ease. I didn’t do quite the same service to him.

He introduced himself pleasantly with a ‘My name is N—, what can I call you?’

Usually, I would have said my name and included a nice and pleasant: ‘nice to meet you.” Usually, I managed to function as an adult. That day, I did not.

I didn’t say my name. I didn’t plead for a pass. Oh no. My brain saw OPPORTUNITY written across the sky in big, multicoloured letters.

It saw opportunity. It took that opportunity. I opened my mouth:

You may call me Lord and Supreme Dictator of the Universe

Image result for shy gif

Nowadays, I try to rein myself in a little; try to fix the ol’brain-to-mouth filter. Be a little mature. Realise you can’t just blurt anything out – even if you think it’s the pinnacle of humour. This works sometimes. But now and again, every so often, if a customer asks how my day has gone, I find myself answering:

“Well … the zombie apocalypse hasn’t happened yet, so it’s been pretty good, thank you.”

(They often seem bemused. I, on the other hand, am always enormously impressed that I – a bookworm – can pronounce ‘apocalypse’ correctly.)

Life, Story Time

Skiing and Bruises [Story Time]

I’ve just come back from skiing in Switzerland. It was amazing. And by ‘it’ I refer to Switzerland and the postcard-like prettiness of the snow-clad chalets, and the breath-taking wonder of the mountains. But my skiing? Ah. Well. Let me put it in really bad poetry for you:

you’d never guess but i became

a speed demon on twin instruments of pain

it was hard to turn so i did not

and skied straight down ’till i stopped

//

i might have bumped my noggin

i might have bruised my hip

i might have lost a camara

when on those slopes i slipped

//

it didn’t happen all at once

and i thought i wasn’t bad

but down the red i did speed

and on the blue i flew

//

soon, anon, i’d find myself

spread-eagled on the ground

and all my dignity and all my pride

were nowhere to be found

//

i’d be left with laughter

and a little bit of pain

but i’d say it was worth it

and was jolly glad i’d came

meonthefloor
(When you’ve fallen, you can’t be afraid of falling, BECAUSE you’ve already fallen. So you’re actually really quite safe.)

Forgive me for this butchering of poetry; I’m sure Poe would groan and invoke a raven.

Have a great weekend : )

Books, I think I just rambled, Life, Story Time

// home again

I brought forty-six books home with me. And a pair of glorious heels and five packs of sweets, but … forty-six books … I feel like a proper bookworm.

booksfromusa
a properly penniless bookworm, that is

The check-in luggage weight limit was 23kg. I made it 22.8kg. I high-fived the check-in bloke and did not gush about Travel Panic, The Lift My Friends Gave Me and how so very thankful and relieved I was that the bag and my carry-on case had scraped by their weight limits.

I would never do something that undignified.

So incredibly tired and rambling a mile a minute, I arrived home at the obscene hour of eight in the morning without a wink of sleep from the night before. (I don’t sleep on planes. I do, however, talk to Grandfatherly Russians and accidently slap seatmates in the face with my jacket.)

It was an amazing six weeks across the pond, but don’t worry – I shan’t bore you with stories, though I am rather proud of fist-bumping Mickey Mouse and singing (magnificently off key, of course) ‘Country Roads’ as we went through the Blue Ridge Mountains and West Virginia.

cupcakewars
Also – Cup Cake Wars. ’nuff said

Oh! And I visited my happiest place on earth, and no – that’s not Disneyworld (which was fun but my word did the queues never end, did the heat never cease, and was Tinker Bell always so. astoundingly. perky?). It masquerades as ‘The Book Barn’. It is both a graveyard of trees and a magical world of endless stories. Also, it has free donuts.

moundofbooks
do not trust the donuts.

It’s been an epic second trip across the pond; apart from mammal riding (donkey, camel, horse, whale) I think I’ve used every form of transport there is. Oh, and guess what? My cab driver wasn’t a killer robot. And yes, I caught that first train. But the second one? To go the airport? To come home?

Ah. Yes. That one.

They had to replace the engine.

how have you been?