2003-4-28 Grove City

I can now sympathise with people who live in the BC interior and drive hours to Prince George to do their major shopping. There was talk about going to Buffalo to do a little cross-border shopping and then my sister was insistent that there werenít any good deals there. So instead we drove out to Pennsylvania. It took out about 4 hours and we arrived at a small, outdoor outlet mall. Wandered around, bought stuff and then voila back on the road. We stopped in Ohio for dinner. I went to Taco Bell to get the Cheese Quesedilla that one you canít get in Canada. They missed up my meat free mexi-pizza and were late with the replacement, so they gave me a free ice cream. It was kind of them, but I was so stuffed, I couldnít appreciate it. The town also had a Tim Hortons and an Aldi!

 

2003-5-11 Vancouver

Moved out of the 4M and into Jola and Sandraís place on Quebec Street. The joy of having not so much stuff is that one can move more easily. It still took me ten or so trips to walk my stuff from the one house to the other, but it could be done, which is what counts.

One of the down sides of having a month to month lease is that you can be booted out with very short notice. The owners of the house decided to knock the building down and build their own place. They came to the lot to take soil samples and thus spelled the end of the beloved 4M (a name derived from our last names.) To say farewell, we had a knocking down the house party (I claimed the title of co-host, even though I moved out weeks ago). People were disappointed to hear that they didnít get to knock down the house, but they came anyway. It was a good party nonetheless, although it was a little strange to go home to somewhere else afterwards. The loss of the 4M also brings about the end of Saturday Morning Breakfasts, which is unfortunate.

It wasnít the most enduring of traditions, but at least two or three times, Andy, Bidner and I would go down to one of the beaches with a hibachi that Bidner had bought. We grilled some veggies and ate some burgers. Vancouver really is beautiful and it was nice that we could take a break from the drudgery of economics to enjoy it.

I am approaching that age where friends are deciding to get married. I donít think that I am approaching the marrying age, but I wonít be critical of my like-aged friends. And as weddings go, Carol pulled of an excellent one! I have long argued that marriage symbolises the ending of the friend dependant life for the commitment of the married one. Most people want to get married at one point, including myself, so I donít think anyone should be critical of someone moving on and Ďabandoningí friends. They should, however, throw a big good-bye friends/welcome to the next stage party, otherwise known as a wedding.

It might not have suited the older guests, but at the end of the evening we were all dancing at the reception as if it were the old days at Keele, where our friendships all began. Carol even dances the same way in a wedding dress than without. And weíll of course all see her and Corey again in the days and years to come, but if we never all repeat a Union night together again, we will have at least the reception to close on.

Played for a Graduate Econ soccer team over the summer. It was a very relaxed league at the Co-rec level. Much to our teams surprise, we played very well. Our teamwork was more than enough to push us past most of the teams and we came into the last game of the season tied for the league lead with undefeated records (two ties each). So with this stroke of luck, the last game would also determine the table winner. The day of the game was also the last day in Vancouver for most people, so it was all set to be a dramatic day.

Well we didnít play well, but we were also up against a team that was much better than us. We were lucky to draw them 2-2 at the beginning of the season. However we were a proud team after this defeat and everyone gathered at Nevermind afterwards to close out the Economics programme properly. We left the pub to go see the fireworks and then everyone slowly parted. I had an early morning flight to Toronto the next day, and I wasnít rushing to go back after such a nice week in Vancouver (paperís in, beautiful weather, and great friends), but I will be glad to be home when I get there, and Iíll be back in Vancouver in no time anyway.

2003-08-01 Toronto

Went to the CNE, not once but twice. The first time was with Elena and was before it even opened. We just walked around the silent buildings and empty grounds. I have never been to the PNE, but I cannot imagine the grounds could be this quiet, at least not with Playland equivalent around it. In any case it was swelteringly hot and we went to a waterside café near the ferry docks where the people wisely were.

The second trip was made with Gerhard and Elena at night. It was difficult to explain why our Folksvest was so alcohol free. But the people were going on rides, looking at exhibits and shopping, which was the original purpose of the Exhibition, even if this event seemed so much smaller and sadder in comparison to the Canstatter Wasen.

The history of the CNE exhibit showed that the Midway was called the "Gayway" for a number of years, maybe to emphasise the fun of it all. If we brought back the name gayway, the CNE might be able to attract some more media interest.

While at home, I spent a day in Toronto wandering around the city with Josh. We covered the whole downtown, even went east in the St. Lawrence Market area, which we did not do that often. Recounted old times and speculated on new things and it often descended into the hysterical. Near the end of our grand tour of the city we walked to the downtown golf course and hit some balls at the driving range. One pays per minute, all-you-can-hit, which makes it more it affordable if one is super quick. We rifled balls off of one matt. I hit them quite well today. Maybe I play better in the city.

The summer also saw me golf with my Grandfather out in Burlington a couple times. I clued in quite quickly that if I am going to have a decent 9holes, I need to go to the driving range before. Did this on my last chance to play, and the best game of my life. I beat my Grandfather, which never happens, even though he is 84! This time however, I was a stroke ahead per hole, if only because of distance off the drive.

 

2003-09-06 Vancouver

My Birthday party consisted of people showing up and I providing Panini and wine. Simple and good. I used Jolaís George Foreman Grill and small Ďpaninií buns from IGA, which I had decided were the closest equivalent to the real thing after a fun day of testing the neighborhoodís wares. I bought way too many buns, since I foolishly induced my personal appetite for the grilled sandwiches for everyone else. Had to freeze some buns, give some away, and eat Paninis for the rest of the week!

The fall also saw me have my wisdom teeth pulled out. It was the nicest dental procedure ever performed on me. Entirely because I wasnít awake for it. Sandra had to come get me so that the Dental Office would no longer be liable for my intoxicated (on anaesthesia) actions. I wasnít supposed to drive a car, but I was perfectly free to be a bloody mess at London Drugs

Went to the Parade of the Lost Souls out by Commercial. It was a beautiful night and quite an event. I was even more enamoured with the city than I usually am. Give me half a million dollars, and I would have bought a house. But just like last year, I had to leave early to go meet other people for other plans. It was Bidnerís birthday so we all went for Sushi downtown and then pints at the Morrissey.

One of many dates with Lindsay in October was a trip to the Vancouver Museum; one of many tourist sites that I have never seen in all those years. It wasnít particularly good, neither an extensive collection nor many mock-ups of historical towns or something. But other times we did go for real Panini and for walks along the Seawall or through Granville Island that showed the marvel of Vancouver, even if it isnít easily contained in a tourist packaged box.

2003-12-10 London

Arrived in London and headed down to Katrinís near Tower Bridge. After the requisite fuelling up on Tea, bread and cheese (of the deliciously English kind) went Christmas shopping on Oxford St. Even Katrin who hates England so much she has been living there the past 5 years says that it was nice to see the lights and the holiday bustle.

Jet Lag got me up at 5am, and I went out in the streets looking for a Guardian. Didnít have a coat, and it started to rain. Wet and triumphant, I found an open News Agent stand at 6:30.

Went out for dinner and beers with Ian and his roommate out in Ealing, and then headed out in the morning to wander the city before hitting the train station.

2003-12-12 Stratford

Went up to Stratford after a good wander along Oxford st. I was much appreciative of being able to leave my stuff with Ian and Katrin. Caught an old style train from Euston with my horde of papers. Arrived at Coventry and Sheena drove me to Stratford. We picked the boys up from school and went home. Over the weekend, Christopher came down with a bit of a fever, which slowed things a bit, however Chris and I managed to play plenty of games of Fifa 2003. Andrew was still has rambunctious self, which was good to see.

On the Saturday due to some very patient waiting for tickets to "Allís Well that Ends Well." At the Swan. The production starred Judy Dench as well as ĎDavid Hortoní from the Vicar of Dibley. It was fabulous. I had never seen or read the play before, but it was conveyed so well that there was nothing cumbersome about the ĎShakespeare.í It is, however, one of those unsatisfying endings.

 

2003-12-15 Friedrichshafen

Arrived in Friedrichshafen. It was first return to Germany since August 2002. It didnít really seem like Germany until I boarded the train to Stuttgart. Blustery snow leaving the station and a lovely snow-covered sight at Ulm. Stuttgart was dry and grey, but a beardless Uncle Ottmar was waiting for me at the Hauptbahnhof which is the most

important thing.

And so began a very sumptious time in Stuttgart. Over the next three days, I ate plenty of Laugenbroetchen, Spaetzle, and Kartoffelsalat, all washed down with Hefeweizen, Trollinger and Lidlís 2-euro Bordeaux. Had a nice meal where I got to see Vanesssa, still growing well. Went to Vaihingen with Volkmar and just wandered around myold neighbourhood. Not much has changed, which made me feel as if I just left yesterday. Stuttgart-Mitte was the same as well, and Volkmar and did some Christmas shopping as well as a pass through the large Weihnachtsmarkt. Was quite grand to be back in Stuttgart. It is home in a way.