Friday, December 18, 2009

my bags are packed...

well, not quite.  and i am afraid of the packing challenge that lies ahead of me.  one of my flights has a weight restriction of 15kg for checked baggage and i am not quite sure how i am going to manage this one.  i am not one who is known for their ability to pack lightly, no matter how i try.  but i am going to do my best to be economical with my space and weight and not overpack.  the key is going to be neutrals, laundry, and key pieces of clothing rather than 'options.'

almost all of our accommodations have been booked in ireland so far and i am really very much looking forward to spending christmas at the fitzwilliam hotel in dublin.  our other hotels/bed and breakfasts include:
it seems that as the irish are serious about eating breakfast, that will be the most important meal of the day and if we play our cards right, we won't need to eat again until dinner!  i am sure that pints of guinness will keep us full too!  at least once we park our little rented mobile at each location and head out to the pubs to enjoy the local flavour of each place.

my concern is that we will be driving A LOT and not have the chance to spend as much time in each place as we would like.  but this is typically me and i am not terribly surprised at the way i have planned it.  but i will take as many photos as is possible so i can remember my favourite spots in case i ever want to return.

i am sad to be leaving my fam for the holidays, but i am very lucky to have a dear friend awaiting me at the airport in manchester.  we have years to catch up on as well as a wedding to attend!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

a miserable pattern

it is becoming a trend that whenever i am planning on taking a trip that involves a plane, i get some sort of cold or flu the week before.  and this morning i woke up with a cough and a running nose that turned into a pressure headache and me sleeping for most of the daylight hours today.

blech.  but i stocked up on sinus medication, am going to head to bed shortly, and should be in tip top shape in a few days' time.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

i miss rsa!

and the reason that i am missing life in south africa is because i saw Invictus last night (with dreamboat Matt Damon and the ever impressive Morgan Freeman) and the images of the minibuses, the shots of cape town with robbin island in the distance and table mountain peering over the city bowl, the rhythmic african music, and the enthusiasm for democracy that i had the privilege of participating in in the form of the 10 year celebration of democracy in 2004.

it is a good movie, a great movie even.  maybe not a top ten movie, but surely worth the time to see how Nelson Mandela (madiba!) worked with the captain of the South African Springboks, Francois Pienaar to win the 1995 World Cup of rugby on their home turf.  it is still talked about in south africa as a time when the tides changed and i have been in numerous pubs where photos of Pienaar are on the walls and the green and gold jerseys are framed on the walls.

i always love a story where the place features as a character and especially when i feel as though i know this place.  i think anyone with an interest in south african history will appreciate this movie.  and even if you don't, it is still worth seeing.

Friday, December 11, 2009

pay our teachers more!

yesterday, i taught two classes of grade nines at a school where my friend is a teacher and after two hours, i was exhausted!  i was a little nervous going into it and i wasn't sure how detailed to make my presentations, but i focused on human rights in africa and jammed my presentations with photos to keep their attention.  it fit within their unit on the canadian charter of rights and freedoms that is in the social studies curriculum (which, coincidentally, was my favourite subject!).

i think it worked and they had me thinking on my toes with some of their questions.  and i had a hard time convincing some of the kids that having aids is not 'gross' and you cannot get hiv from being bitten by a monkey, but overall they were attentive and interested in learning more about africa.  next time i will brush up my kiswahili so i can at least speak a sentence to them rather than just random words that came to my mind.

but man alive, i could not do that everyday and i think i have even more appreciation for our teachers than before.  they work tirelessly to educate kids, manage parents, and do it all in schools that really could use a little sprucing up.

one of the pieces of information i left the students with was that if they want to get involved, go to and buy a mosquito net for $10.  i just did.  the campaign is only 75,000 nets away from their goal of 500,000 nets to people in rwanda and liberia, so head on over there and spread some christmas cheer all the way to africa.

i hope i inspired at least a few of the kids to stay interested in international events and human rights in africa.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

oversized thoughts

my trip to windsor and toronto, ontario was an interesting one.  at the same time that i was attempting to wrap my head around the challenges of protecting victims of human trafficking within canada's system, the first charges of human trafficking were laid in calgary, making me the woman of the hour in terms of media interviews.  radio, print, and television, i did them all.  and loved it.

after all that thinking, articulating, and networking, i was ready for a rest and some excitement of a different kind in toronto.

but i was in a strange headspace the entire time i was there.  i am sure trying unsuccessfully to make a scheduled dinner happen didn't help, but i felt as though i didn't belong in toronto.  and yet, when i thought about where i am in calgary, i haven't been sure that this is where i belong either.  i feel in some ways like i have more to offer the world than what it is getting from me right now. 

sitting around and talking policy, human rights, and international conventions felt more right than what i do at my desk monday-friday.  and yet, i don't think i have it in me for another bug change at the moment or the near future.  i think all this back and forth and this and that was exhausting so when i arrived in toronto, my head was full of thoughts that still have no answer and i had visiting to do.  which is tiring itself.

it was a good trip and i am not complaining in the slightest, but it filled my heads with lots of thoughts that will take some time to think through.  good thing i have some long-haul flights in my near future!

the most wonderful time of the year...

an update, because it has just been too long, but i will keep up my regular posting after this short hiatus.
  • there was no date in toronto.  there were text messages.  there were telephone calls.  but there was no date, which was a shame, because i looked dazzling.
  • i have been off my arse busy after the first charges of human trafficking were laid in calgary!
  • i am watching Julie & Julia at the moment (from my home office, aka, my couch) and am loving it.  just what i needed.
  • this saturday, at a christmas party, i will be sporting this frock.  but a question for you, internet, how do you make it appear as though you have cleavage when you cannot wear a bra?
  • i am overwhelmed with all i have to do before leaving for england in 9 days!  hotels.  rental cars.  visits with friends here and there.  packing, ew, packing.  christmas shopping.  house cleaning.  work.  and then some more work.