Wednesday, November 28, 2007

To Tokyo With Love

My sister Jen sent me this site. This women has done a photographic love letter to Tokyo. You will need to download the pdf fly to view it. I loved it. I wish I had taken more photos of just Tokyo. I am sure if that when I sift through all my photos I will be able to create something similar but I really do like a lot of the shots this women has put together. One of my favorites is of stone tables and stools in what must be a park that are roped off so no one can sit down. I find this so fabulously ironic as there is little to no public seating in Tokyo and to imagine actually finding some and not being allowed to use it is just too funny. The picture really cracks me up and I doubt the photographer knows how truly funny and ironic her picture is.
I must say I miss it. I miss all of it. Tokyo became my home, my enemy, my love, and my lifeline. I really feel that a big part of me "grew up" while I was there. I went to Japan a different person than who I left it as. Most days now Tokyo doesn't cross my mind, but when it does, I have a hard time with the idea that I am not there, that life goes on there but I am not apart of it, that I will not be riding the Yamanote tomorrow or the next day. I miss it and I don't. I would love to be back but I have no reason to be there. When I look at photos of the city I wish I could step into them, like the chalk drawings in Mary Poppins, and be apart of that vibrant crazy city once more. However, I have closed that chapter in my life but Tokyo has left its mark on me, it is an invisible tattoo that I will wear forever.

Here is the link:


Sunday, November 18, 2007

My Grandmother

I have been going over different things that I have wanted to say about my grandmother Lois Death. My grandmother died last week, her funeral was last Monday. I am glad that I was in the country so I could be there. I have toyed with writing a letter to her through this blog, I have thought about writing up a little bio of her life, but in all this debating and wondering (and my current flu) have delayed me from posting anything. I want to honour my grandmother, my father's mother. I did not know her well before the dementia, the majority of my interactions with her were as a caretaker after my grandparents moved to London. I saw her and was there for her at times when she was at her most vulnerable. Even though we could not have conversations, and she didn't know who I was, I will hold our time together very close to my heart. I am privileged and honoured to be her granddaughter.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Here is my basic trip itenerary:
Bye bye Canadian winter!!!
Jan 18th - fly from Toronto to LA. I will chill in LA with my fabulous sister September. I hope I can help her out with her Raw Food Chief thing she has going on. I will see a little Hollywood to I guess, and soak some sun into my Canadian winter skin before I hit up the Aussie summer sun. Maybe I will take a turn as a surfer girl.
Jan 23rd - fly from LA to Sydney (arrive 25th). I will make my way to Brisbane to meet my friend Katie on Feb 2nd. Katie and I will stay with another friend from highschool who is at teachers college in Brisbane, we are planning trips up the coast and maybe do some WWOOFing.
Feb 20th - fly form Brisbane to Denpasar Bali. Katie and I plan on spending a couple of weeks in Bali, Lombok and other islands in that area of Indonesia. Doing what? I'll let you know when I get there. Whatever it is, it will be fabulous!
Mar 5th - fly from Denpasar to Singapore. We will travel overland from Singapore, up through Malaysia and Thailand to Bangkok. Besides meeting my friend Viki who is living and working in the south of Thailand, we are planning to have no plans and just go with the flow. If we have enough time and money after arriving in Bangkok we may get visas for Cambodia and head to Angkor Wat. I have already been but would consider myself more than lucky to see it again, and Katie and Viki long to go, so we hope we can include it. Katie leaves me at the end of March for home. I will take it easy at my friend Graeme's place in Bangkok and see some old friends, the Thai family that housed me, and see some of the things I regretted not seeing when I was there last. Going to Thailand and Bangkok feels like going to my other home, I am so comfortable there, I know my way around, the people are amazing. I can't wait to return to a country that helped me grow up a little and overcome huge challenges.
Apr 13th - fly Bangkok to Delhi. I haven't figured out what exactly I will be doing in India but I will probably join up with a tour for a bit, maybe meet up with other travelers, head to a yoga retreat in the mountains, WWOOF, volunteer, who knows! I will also be heading up into Nepal and Tibet. I have dreamed going to India since I was a little girl, but even before that I dreamed of going to Tibet, and I always knew that would mean starting off in Nepal. This trip is a king of pilgrimage for me, and Tibet is my end goal. I am doing this on my own at this point but I am more than happy to have travel companions should anyone be interested or know anyone else who would be interested. I plan to head to Nepal and then to Tibet in the middle of May.
Jun 11 - fly Delhi to Mumbai to Paris. PARIS!! I am so excited to see Paris. I think it will be super cool to fly into Paris at the tail end of my big trip. I have seen a fair bit of Europe but I have never been to France or Paris. I will be there for living life to the full extent that my depleted budget will allow (and credit card) for 13 days and I know it will be a marvelous time. I hope that I may be joined by a fair haired cousin. Again, anyone is welcome to join me. oh and I don't intend to spend the entire 13days in Paris although I am sure I easily could.
Jun 25th- fly Paris to New York to Toronto. My ticket, as it stands, has me connecting through to Toronto, but that can be changed. I may stay in New York for a few days...we will see.

I am bursting with excitement. I can't wait to begin my grand journey.
I feel so nomadic, in my heart, not just because I am going traveling. I am reading a great book called Tales of a Female Nomad. It is about a women in her late 40s who becomes a nomad and discovers this is who she really is. I don't plan to just travel aimlessly around the world for the rest of my life, but working and living around the world and with different cultures excites me so much I can't wait to get started. It really does feel like my life's calling....doing what?...well I have an idea but I haven't really gotten that phone call yet and I don't expect to until I test out my idea.

That is it for me!

Two pieces of news

I have just booked my flights for my big trip. I am so excited!!
I no longer feel the need to be here in Toronto, it is a great city but I need to get back to traveling and back to Asia. When I look at my friends' pictures who are living and working in different parts of Asia I feel an intense longing. After everything I went through in Japan I thought I would really love and need theses months at home but two months feels like more than enough. It is also hard as I start to make new friends at my job, not hard to leave, but hard to invest anything in new friendships as I will be off again in two months and I can't tell them as I haven't yet told my boss. I have never been one for secrets or holding my tongue but these days I feel like I keep so much of myself to myself. But that is I will say on that.

Another big piece of news is NOVA!!! NOVA= BANKRUPT!!! WOW!! The company has been getting in trouble for a while but this is HUGE! My good friend Jill is in Japan with NOVA right now. I am waiting to hear from here as to what is happening, if her school will be closed, what her plans are. It is very possible that NOVA employees don't know much and will only know about their school closing when they come into work and find it locked up and no job for them. There will be thousands of NOVA teachers looking for work in Japan and flooding the market. There will also be thousands of students looking for schools. NOVA as the largest school (a publicly traded company) offered the most inexpensive lessons, the competition will be open to the hundreds of smaller schools that struggle to make it big. NOVA also employs hundreds of Japanese staff. It is unclear how many schools will be closed but several hundred at least (there are 900 in total). For Japan this is like Tim Hortons going bankrupt, there is a NOVA at every major train stop, some times more than one...and Japan is all about the trains.