Thursday, June 28, 2012

I'm going to FRANCE!

I apologize for my inconsistent posting. Since returning from Canada I've been horribly lazy, spending most of my time watching Hell's Kitchen, sleeping, and maybe reading a little bit. I almost had a chance to work on a husky farm in Northern Norway but got it grasped away from me by another workaway-er who was able to commit to longer than I could. I was strongly considering going to Manchester to visit a friend doing her Master's there and then go through Scotland or Wales from there but while I could get cheap flights there (I'm talking like $20) the traveling through countries and finding accommodation is pricier than volunteering.
So in my annoyance at failed plans and general discontent at myself for being lazy I logged back on to workaway.info and checked their 'last-minute' page. My goal through workaway was to find some place to work with animals as my top priority and preferably dogs or horses. And right there was a host looking for people to help at a farm in south Normandy, France with 7 horses, 4 dogs, 4 goats, chickens, and cats along with helping with various building projects. I sent a message saying I was available almost immediately until the end of July if they had room for me. I've had bad experience with workaway hosts taking FOREVER to reply if they reply at all so I was amazed and surprised when I got a reply within an hour. And they had room.
So in the period of approx 4 hours I found an opportunity, made a decision, and booked a ticket. Easily the most spontaneous big decision I've ever made. So from 7 July to 1 August I will be in France. I'll spend a couple days in Paris when I arrive and then take a train south to near the farm.
Then from 3-13 August I'll be in Aarhus, Denmark for the Saga Conference. I'm there for a little longer than the conference because those were the cheapest flight dates. I still need to figure out accommodation and write the paper I'm presenting in the conference.
I'm currently celebrating with half a bottle of red wine. I can't wait to get the real good stuff while in France. Tomorrow I'll start making actual plans as to what to do in my short time in Paris and try and get started working on my paper just so I can fully enjoy my time in France exploring rather than cooped up working on an essay.
So very very exciting- things are happening. I had blabbered on so much about random plans that I was worried people may start considering me one of those people who talk about doing things while doing nothing and while I don't care what others think I couldn't disappoint myself like that.
WOOO

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Last Full Day at Home

It's my last full day at home before I head back to Oslo. I came back for three weeks and now I wish I had made the trip a little longer. The first week I was in Canada was mostly spent in Waterloo attending the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Wilfrid Laurier and University of Waterloo. I participated for the second year with the Association for the Advancement of Scandinavian Studies in Canada (AASSC cuz it's such a mouthful) and presented basically the same paper as the conference in Prague. This was not out of laziness but because I wanted to see what two very different audiences would think about my work. The response was really positive and many people had remembered by paper on Turisas from last year and had wished I played some music or performance clips for them like I did during the break last time. I unfortunately wasn't able to attend the majority of panels because I had a home exam due for my Old Norse Religion class back in Oslo, really unfortunate timing. I did catch a very interesting talk given by the former president of the Canadian Society of Medievalists on Beowulf and Boyology which actually gave me some stuff to think about for my topic. Medievalism really is so interesting.
I also caught one of my favourite authors.

Margaret Atwood!

I was devastated when I realized I left my copy of Handmaid's Tale in a different bag so then I couldn't get it signed afterwards. 

While in Waterloo I stayed with a former professor and good friend Renee, her husband Darren, and their four cats Lucy, Petri, Fred, and Ximon. Some people think it's a little weird I'd stay with someone who was my prof but seriously, profs can be awesome, get to know yours. It was also convenient because she would pester me to work on my home exam. They made me eat vegetables though, silly vegetarians.  :( On Friday night another former prof Alicia, a fellow student Amy and her boyfriend Tom came over for dinner (weird all vegetarian and gluten-free Mexican food, I ate millet, I thought it was only for birds). It was lovely seeing everyone again and enjoyed some nice conversation over wine/beer/sangria. 
The only downside, there were SO many people I didn't see in Waterloo. People were out celebrating a friend's birthday on the Friday but after pulling an all-nighter on the home exam I could barely stay awake through dinner let alone go out to a bar. I did drop by Homesense and I saw a couple people but not the one that means the most to me, my little sister Alisha.  

Back in Mississauga it's been a litany of doctor and dentist appointments as I did my yearly nonsense with my cardiologist having to go into Toronto for an Echocardiogram, Signal Average ECG, wear a holtor monitor for 24 hours that picked up some funny stuff while at a party that night. Then I got my wisdom teeth removed on June 5th which really has NOT been fun. I fainted on the way to the hospital the next morning to get my results from the cardiologist (don't worry just low blood pressure though the people who I splashed with my fruit smoothie probably had very high blood pressure for a while). 
I saw my brothers (one is coming over later today- it's his 41st birthday, what an old fogey :p). Saw a number of friends in Clarkson that I went to high school with and partied it up. Spent a couple days moping around the house trying to find things soft enough to eat while pressing a bag of frozen peas to my face and feeling light headed from percacets. Went shopping for some stuff that's either unavailable or much more expensive in Oslo. Hid inside with the air conditioner to avoid the above 30 degree heat.
It's been a good time. Now it's just time to figure out the rest of the summer. I heard back from a husky farm up in the north of Norway that said I can come up but we haven't finalized it and it's been over a week since I heard from them which is complicating things as prices get more expensive each day I wait to book tickets anywhere.