About Me

I'm a 27 year old Canadian living abroad. A brunette with blonde moments. Always learning, always changing.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Year 28, Day 88: Canadian English vs English English

Well, we both speak English, but we definitely do not always speak the same language. This is a running list that I have compiled over the course of the 1 year and 25 days that I have been living and interacting within English culture:

Canadian English vs English English

Canadian: Hi
English: Hiya

Canadian: Thanks
English: ta

Canadian: Trunk of the car
English: The boot.

Canadian: Hood of the car
English: Bonnet

Canadian: How are you today?
English: You alright? (Pronounced: ya'aight?)
- How are you? Is meant to be a casual courtesy. The courteous response is "Fine Thanks." Ya'alright? is the English version of this, and it confused the hell out of me for months.... In Canada you only ask someone if they're "alright" if you are concerned about them. Like the you've-found-them-crying kind of concerned. Not a casual greeting. Weird.

Canadian: Diaper
English: Nappy
-Disgusting in both languages

Canadian: Soother/Pacifier
English: Dummy

Canadian: Baby stroller
English: Push-chair/Buggee

Canadian: Slut
English: Slag

Canadian: Disgusting
English: Mingin'

Canadian: Breakfast, Lunch/Dinner and Supper
English: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner/Tea
-You can't call it supper, they do NOT know what you're talking about. And tea-time does not mean you will necessarily drink tea. It means mealtime.

Canadian: Elevator
English: Lift

Canadian: Rubberboots
English: Wellies

Canadian: Tylenol/Advil
English: Paracetamol/Nurofen
-Ibuprofen is cross-cultural.

Canadian: Underwear/Panties
English: Pants

Canadian: Pants
English: Trousers

Canadian: Hoody/Sweater
English: Jumper

Canadian: Soccer
English: Football/Footy

Canadian: Football
English: American Football

And I'm sure the list goes on....

To conclude: I don't think I've developed an English accent, but I've certainly adjusted my use of the English vocabulary.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Year 28, Day 73: The Nanny Retires

Well folks.... the time has come for Courtney-the-Nanny to hang up her running shoes, finger-paint-stained khakis, and snotty t-shirts. That's correct. My foray into mother-hood is DONE!!

And get this. Everyone survived.

And get this. I was actually good at it.

Yes, yes... there was that ONE TIME that Nanny Courtney accidentally left the sleeping baby in the bank. But don't hate on a girl... it just kind of happened. He was asleep, the teller distracted me, I walked out... I'm simply not used to accessorizing with children.

Regardless! It was a great experience!! I am no longer afraid of holding babies. I now know which way a diaper goes on. I can change a nappy without gagging involuntarily. I have learned of the importance of nap-time. I can deal with picky-eaters. And have learned to closely monitor playdates when "lets play doctor!" goes naked. (THAT HAPPENED. And I was properly appalled like an 80 year old!) I have learned a million new nursery rhymes. Have an endless array of cute memories of learning to walk, ballet lessons, and hide-and-seek games. And my patience was repeatedly tested, and proved worthy.

I also got to impart some life wisdom on the little gaffers. I taught the baby his 4th and 5th words: "more" and "BOOM!" I instilled a love for flowers in the little girl - unfortunately resulting in her picking very large and inappropriate flowers from the neighbors gardens - but a passion none-the-less! And much to the mother's dismay, the little girl was starting to pick up my drawling, lazy, Canadian accent: "What are ya up to?" "How are ya doing."

Thus, the end of my wide array of English employment. I have been a bartender, a street promotions flyer girl, a pub supervisor, a waitress, a social worker, a women's clothing store worker, and a nanny. Whew.

So. To reward myself for successfully keeping the children alive and myself sane, I am off!! As of tomorrow I will be relaxing on a boat while sailing the islands of Croatia, then learning about the 1990's Sarajevo Seige in Bosnia, and finally ending off in Istanbul, Turkey to explore the mosques and sample the dirty street kebabs.

Life is good!!!

Good luck and goodbye to 2 of the cutest bambino's I know!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Year 28, Day 33: Wales

I love a flexible job that is happy to give me days off when I need! This leaves me free to explore the world!

Now financially speaking, after only 2 weeks of working, a girls-road-trip to Wales likely wasn't the wisest move. But who are we kidding - it was inevitably the option I chose. My dear friend Renee mentioned she was going with some friends, and before I knew it, I had invited myself along and there we were... renting a convertible to drive to Wales in!! Boom!

My attempt at taking a photo of Team-Accidently-Rented-a-Convertable.

Using the magical technology of Google Maps via our cell-phones, we only got lost once, and upon arriving back in London again, we corrected our direction and eventually arrived in Cardiff, Wales, at a beautiful character bed and breakfast owned by the potentially-crazy, definitely-scatterbrained and perpetually-loveable Gwen. We spent the rest of our day exploring the streets of Cardiff. This is my favorite thing to do - wander a city's downtown area, check out their parks, find out what big attractions are, check a select few out, and then go for a drink and eat a national dish. Done and dusted!

Strolling along the beautiful River
Walking through the city park with a view of the Cardiff Castle through the tree-tops

Afterwards we spent our evening eating amazing meals and chilling in a very pimp and artsy pub, watching the most unusual DJ play awesome mo-town tunes and sipping cocktails. Another favorite activity of mine was exercized: people watching.

The next day we decided to drive the country-side and go exploring the beautiful National Park containing the Brecon Beacons - basically some lovely hilly/mountainous country side. I enjoyed this adventure even more than I enjoyed the city - largely due, not only to the amazing landscape, but also due to the wine and picnic foods that we brought along with us...

The cloudy but still lovely Brecon Beacons.

Indeed one of my highlights from this trip involves a red-wine buzz, eating delicious food next to a river, and Cloey - who is an amazing artist and paints instead of taking pictures of trips- sketching us while hula-hooping at the same time. So strange. So AWESOME. So talented!

Oh the people you meet while traveling. I love it!

And so after our bonding in nature moment, we had a relaxing evening in our pimp hotel, before taking off back to England. Thus marking my achievement of visiting every place in the United Kingdom: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Kudos to me!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Year 28, Day 22: Body Fluids

Now, I realize I am an amateur. I do not claim to be a mother, nor do I actually know anything about it. But something about this whole childcare thing has come to my attention....

People. Childcare is all about the body fluids.

You have to catch it, clean it, stop it, or dry it... and its constantly coming out of their eyes, mouths, nostrils, bums or other unmentionable body parts. Its exhausting, and disgusting, all at the same time. Maybe I'm just feeling that way today because I unwittingly knelt in a puddle of urine. Urine that did not belong to either one of my charges. Or it could also be because after 3 days of nannying, I finally encountered my first poopy diaper. How the faaaack does that much crap come out of one child? Twice.

The 3 year old talked me through changing the 18 month old's poopy diaper. She understood when I needed encouragement to go on, she didn't judge me when I involuntarily began to gag, and she gave me peace afterwards when I needed a moment to recover.

I know I bitch, but at the risk of sounding sappy - they are adorable kids and they are quickly attaching themselves to my cold childless heart. At least the amount of body fluid I deal with daily is equal to the amount of love they dish out. Stealthy little monsters. Creeping up on me and making me adore them.

Other fun highlights include:

- Four children simultaneously spitting saliva all over the furniture. One kid thinks its funny, so the rest do it, and pretty soon things have escalated.

- A conversation between my 3 year old charge and her friend while playing on their "magic" carpet: Child 1- "Lets ride this thing home!" Me - "Where's home?" Child 2: "Disneyland!" Child 1: " We can't go there! Its a school night!"

- After painting with her hands, the 3 year old ran to the bathroom to wash up, leaving a rainbow trail of paint on the light switches and faucets.

- These kids go into freaking hell-raising melt-down mode when they're hungry. Just as I've cracked 3 eggs to scramble, the power goes out, the children go hungry, and I improvise with a little song and dance number.

- After 3 days of changing diapers, I was informed that I had been putting them on backwards.

Stay tuned!!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Year 28, Day 20: The Nanny

Courtney the Nanny: Day One.

Its a battlefield out there.

Dirty-assed diapers, kids that won't share, learning how to make bottles, picky eaters, a 3 year old who won't eat her meat or veggies, a 4 kid-strong playdate gone awry, and an 18 month old bawling his snot into my hair.

To the mothers (and fathers) of the world, I salute you.

I should have known things were going to be interesting when on the trial shift, the 3 year old accidentally peed herself. And then played in it with a cookie cutter. No joke. After we cleaned her up and changed her clothes she also proceeded to blame it on the 18 month old: "I'm not the baby! I didn't make the mess!" Ya right kid. I watched you do it, I changed your trousers, and no one but the owner would play in a puddle of pee.

Fast facts, by Courtney.