Thursday, 27 May 2010

The lack of rules and the unimportance of rules

Bam. The car door hits the side of the car. I get out and take a look. Small scratch for a big hit. I shake my head and get back in the car. She puts the window down, "excuse me, you want something for the car?" As a North American, I should be angry right now, looking furiously for my licence and registration, calling up my friend, updating my facebook and twitter status "OMG some moron just nailed my car door" but I don't. I look back and say, "no, don't worry about it." Words you'll never hear if this happened in Canada. Car accidents are common here [Jordan - Arab world], and they aren't a big deal. Your insurance does not go up when you get into an accident, it's a fixed rate. Speeding tickets are 10-20 dinars, that's about $15-$30 dollars or so, pennies in comparison to the $300 fines we are accustomed to, and the demerit points removed and your record.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Destination: Jordan

I've arrived to my first destination (Jordan) after a long and tiring airplane ride, a string of misinformation, slow slow employees, and a battle with an employee of Royal Jordanian (RJ) airlines, which is, according to my cousin, a common occurrence due to the rude nature of Jordanians (despite their attempts at telling you they are known for their hospitality - check out their in flight magazine, but this is merely a reference to the residents that are not of Jordanian decent, which make up most of Jordan's population, who are known for their hospitality, Jordanians are known to be grouchy), I made it. RJ has more lies in their in flight magazine like winning an award for always being on time. The lady beside me mentioned that this airline was once two hours late, and every time she's flown, it has been either 30 minutes or an hour behind departure. This time was no exception.

I travel a lot, this year alone I've accumulated more miles than most people do in their lifetime, and every time I travel I accumulate even more airlines I don't want to fly with. To be frank, the airline and tourism industry should not be asking questions regarding their losses: it's obvious. Even traveling with a small child, which adds to the difficulty, you get harassed even more. Here is some information I was given that turned out entirely false:
  • The night before traveling I called United asking about the price to check in an extra bag. After 30 minutes on the phone with an employee who asked me if Jordan was in Europe, he told me $100USD. I should've known when he asked if it was in Europe, we arrive at the airport to be told it's $200USD. Even Air Canada doesn't charge that much.
  • The United employee who gave me my boarding passes and checked in my luggage in Canada told me that once I arrive to Chicago, I do not have to go through security.
  • Once on the plane to Chicago, I asked the flight attendant how I get to Terminal 5 and she mentioned "go through security". Yeah, I had to go through security, the most unnecessary and thorough security despite the fact that I went through US customs in Canada.
  • RJ counter to get the boarding passes: no mention of the carry on luggage I have, i.e. does not mention RJ's policy of 1 carry on only.
  • Upon entering the RJ flight, yell fest with rude employee who tells me I must leave behind all carry on luggage except back pack. The other bag contains my sister's change of clothes, toys, and food. When I refused and only let go of one, I was already being stared at by the entire plane. But I got to have three instead of two.

Did I mention I only opt for Kosher meals in flight? The selection is usually better, and I like my food blessed, because the whole traveling process isn't.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Love love Canada, see you soonish?

My adventurer hat and I are off. So keep up with us here, okay?

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

You smell of memory

As the streetcar broke down and I commenced my nine block home from the opposite direction of what I would walk had this happened one year ago on this day, I felt a certain familiarity with the breeze that brushed up on my face. The smell reminded me of May...or was it June? Maybe July, when I would bike passed the slaughter house and plug my nose. That scent, that weather, filled the air and consumed my senses.

There was a point when my sole focus was my career. I wanted to be the youngest something, who amounted to something, who got paid lots of money for doing something she liked. But then I realized, one doesn't really know what will happen in the next six months, or even the next day, so how can one plan a career? And why do we spend so much time focusing on it? Is it because we want to live a good life and care for our family and be stable whenever the going gets tough? Says who? Yes, you know what field you want to work in and such, although that may change, but does focusing solely on a career shun away everything around you? I'll say yes. It also gets tiring, the mundane routine and being surrounded by robots who rarely make an effort to say hello or include you in discussions that can actually make a difference in the way you work and prove yourself is exhausting. As I say, routine will kill you. And so will the details, the structure, the difference in opinion, the laziness, the deteriorating health, the way we are treated as if we are in maternelle even though we are adults. I can go on.

My my how time flies.

As you read this, I've already taken the necessary steps, the decisions many may call drastic, and prepared myself for the unknown. I foreshadowed growing tired of being here before, and that list kept growing, just like the enforcement of unnecessary rules - they bore me, and the growing number of pedants that surround me. And then the entire idea just seemed to piece itself together and so I took that as the sign. I've put my dreams away before, but then again, what are dreams? Eventually, you'll either live that dream and dislike it or have to put it away because something happens - probability, probability, probability.

Despite the difficulty behind leaving one of the greatest opportunities I've ever received, I had to do this. I've handed in my resignation at the ad agency where I work, subletted my condo, and I've booked my flight. That's right, I'm leaving Canada for the entire summer. Actually, I haven't booked a return ticket, because I hate being tied down by something as silly as that.

Am I going to miss Toronto? Well, nothing really changes in four months here, there is a lack of excitement. In the past year and a half, Toronto has taught me a lot, but mostly it has taught me how to be extremely social even in the most terribly unenlightening of occasions (baby girl can fill you in as she witnessed my skills first hand), and how to live independently.

There was a lot of reasons behind me taking the opportunity that presented itself, one being the fact that I have always been held back by some sort of commitment and now I am heading to none, I feel like a toddler released from a diaper. I'm intrigued by the people I'll meet on this trip, and mostly, I'm terribly excited about doing something I've wanted to do for a really really long time.

Many things await me on this journey, and I have no idea what will happen and that's the best part: the unknown. That word in itself provides an array of opportunities and adventures that I can't wait to experience. Am I romanticizing this trip? It's probable, but the unknown is romantic.

It's time for the yuppie to put away one half of her name, and play the other: the activist.

Stay tuned for my adventures, I'll post them here.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Conversations at the dental office

Mix the yuppie with the Philipino receptionist and the Eastern European dental assistant discussing night guards.

Receptionist: "(...) and you can make sure with your insurance that the dental guard is covered."
Guy who just finished from dentist: "I will"
Me: "So I see the latest dental scam: this is the third person to walk in here you recommend a dental guard to. You've moved away from the electric brush sale then?"

Me: "How long do I have to wear the night guard for?"
Assistant (with heavy accent): "All the time"
Me: "Are you serious? What happens when you start sleeping beside someone, like you have that on?!"
Assistant: "Haha, yes yes. You know funny story, my husband and I both have night guard and we used to stand beside bed and watch ourselves put it on and laugh!"
Receptionist: "Yeah, sometimes you'll wake up and there's drool everywhere, happens to me all the time!"
Me: "That's really disgusting."
Assistant: "One time, or often actually, you'll wake up and won't find your night guard. One time, I wake up and I couldn't find it. I started panicking looking for it.
Me: "Seriously? Where did it go? What if it ends up on the other person somehow? Like how'd you pull it out it's practically impossible?!"
Meanwhile, the receptionist is on the floor dying of laughter, pointing at me, claiming I make her die everytime.
Me: "You guys are just adding to the endless sexy possibilities of having to wear a night guard at night. Is there no alternative?"
Assistant: "Stop the grind. Don't worry, he'll love you with or without night guard."

Saturday, 1 May 2010

The Facebook Experiment

I decided to try something with Facebook, this tool that supposedly connects us. I think Facebook merely increases the divide, as my findings explain.
This is what my experiment entailed:
  • Click on a random Facebook friend that appears on your news feed that does not often update
  • Via this friend, click on mutual friends who have recently written on his/her wall
  • Go through photos like a stalker
  • Continue until this gets too creepy
I stalked about five friends, and within their photos, there were also mutual friends I didn't click on so in the end, I basically stalked about ten people.

What did I discover through my little Facebook experiment?
  1. Friends that always complain about being broke seem to travel a lot, hmmmm
  2. Some have gone through a crazy transformation, instead of growing up, one friend seems to have gone back to high school with profile photos that make the MySpacers circa 2004 cringe
  3. One friend whom I was convinced was single, in fact isn't
  4. Many friends seem to have gone on a Eurotrip
  5. This experiment has made me despise the digital age even more because people take the stupidest photos on trips (and the quality is garbage), for example a photo of the hotel and the pool and the caption reads "our hotel". No shit, really? I thought it was like your villa. Or the photos at the most touristy spots surrounded by tons of tourists alike. It's cool to visit landmarks, but make an effort to go elsewhere.
  6. People that had "in a relationship with" took that out but still seem to be in the same relationship. How does that happen?
  7. On the other hand, one friend who had tons of photos with her significant other I believe has broken up with him and erased all memories
  8. Some people still hang out with the exact same people they hung out with in high school
  9. Mixing the pill and beer has not worked out in your favour, ladies.
  10. Many friends make hilarious typos in their photo albums