I have some news

Sitting here in my apartment, blanket scarf wrapped around me, and the kettle soon coming to a boil for another cup of tea, I'm quietly listening to the sounds around me. The distinct clamour of church bells and an overbearing siren alarm suddenly reminds me I have had some fairly drastic news as of late and have neglected to share it. 

So... Ummm... I moved to Germany.  

Direct, blunt and to the point. There really isn't any other way around it, and I figure I should just get to it. I'd say the bug to move to Europe really bit me a few years ago, about 12 years ago, now. After high school, I moved to England for my Gap year, and even at the time, I think my mom suspected I might never return. 

After my time in England, I did in fact return and bounced around Post-Secondary Institutions like a Ping-Pong ball in a badly played game of beer pong. Various life events happened, and I felt more inclined to stay close to home and family. In my mind, I told myself I was staying close in case anything happened to my family or friends, but in reality, I was just being lazy, and letting life happen to me, rather than living my life. 
Fast forward a few years, and I not so reverently drop on my amazing and loving boyfriend that I want to live in Europe. Cue crickets. I think he was less than impressed that I was dropping it on him with such a lack of finesse. As seen above, I'm not great at finesse. 

I can't remember exactly when we had this less than pleasant conversation, but it was followed by me researching possible jobs in Europe, only to find that I was drastically underqualified for all of them, no doubt thanks to my eloquent Post-Secondary bouncing. Plan B emerged out of interest, but also necessity. I began to research Universities in Europe and remembered a distant factoid about university being free in Germany. At first, I thought it was too good to be true, but upon further research, I actually found German Universities that had programs that I was interested, in English, and the 'tuition' consisted of a nominal €200-ish fee for student fees and the semester train ticket.  

Skip forward a few more months and on my 30th birthday, I was standing in a FedEx after work, sending my various application papers and documents to Germany. The entire process was surreal and didn't even feel real after I landed here. 
I stayed with my cousin down near Mannheim for the first few days to get over jetlag and adjust to the insane decision I had just made. As I now approach my almost three-month mark, my feelings still waiver between,  'What the hell have I done?'  'I love it here and I never want to leave.', and 'seriously miss home, but it's only for a few years and I can go back.' 

While keeping touch with everyone back home has been a challenge, I do tend to drop little tidbits and Instagram posts every once in a while. Much to the chagrin of all my loved ones, I'm terrible at updating them and even worse at noticing the various culture shocks as they come up. I tend to take them all in stride, and when in doubt, I shake my head in dismay and chuckle, "Oh you silly Germans." 

I scream, you scream, we all scream for Ice Cream!

Last weekend P and I went to the Museum of Anthroplogy to check out their Layers of Influence: Unfolding Cloth Across Cultures exhibit.

The exhibit was fascinating, and the first display you read truly set you up to really take in the weight of what you were about to see, "From birth to death, humans are wrapped in cloth worn for survival, but more importantly, wear clothing as an external expression of their spiritual belief system, social status and political identity."

I would strongly suggest checking it out, but I might be a little textile biased.

The museum was closing at 4, allowing us plenty of time to go through the exhibit, take a quick peek through the permanent collection and do the obligatory once over of the museum gift shop.

I was so engrossed in all the displays and collection pieces, I only ended up taking a single picture. It was obviously a picture of this wicker motorcycle.

It begged the question, if I went to a museum but didn't post on social media, did I really go at all?

As we walked back to the car and started to discuss where we we wanted to go for dinner. The classics we always go to initially came to mind, but I wanted to bring occasion to the day and go somewhere we don't often frequent. Besides that, while I now know The Diner was open, we thought it was closed.

We headed down to West Broadway, past the McDonalds that is literally always under renovations, skipping by the only Swiss Chalet in Vancouver and made a beeline for Nuba. Much to our chagrin it was an hour long wait and we ended up at the Italian Garden, which was mediocre to say the least.

The caesar salad was delicious, but it's tasty homemade dressing and delicious fresh croutons were overshadowed by the fact that our mains arrived literally more than an hour after we had walked in the front door. There were two (yes only two) front of house staff and while we did arrive at 4:45 pm and there were only two other tables occupied, by the time we left, the two staff had eight 4 tops to take care of and their hustle was obviously in their other pair of pants. It took another half an hour to get their attention after we had been completely done our meals to ask for the bill, and another 10 minutes to actually get it.

I think their pizzas are something to reckoned with. I'll have to go back and try one of those out. I'm not one to judge on a single pasta dish alone.

I however, digress. The real highlight of the evening was happening across 720Sweets on the way back to the car! While I had neither cash nor my credit card on me at the time, I vowed to come back later in the week, and on Wednesday, I did just that!

When P and walked in on Saturday evening, before we knew about their particular payment options, I immediately noticed their 'smoking' ice cream.

Immediately, I knew this was a something I want to try, and knew it was something my lovely friend Aubree would be interested in. Always up for a culinary adventure or at least a new food or cafe experience, a very vague opening text later, we had plans made!

Initially we had planned to go on Tuesday, but Aubree actually did some google legwork (more than me) and found they were closed on Tuesday... random.

Plans already set for Tuesday, we made the perhaps unwise choice to meet up twice in one week for dessert. Tuesday found us at Cartems on Broadway, where I obviously had to sample the maple bacon doughnut and pair it with a classic salted caramel ice cream from Ernest ice cream.

Wednesday we actually met up at 1ish and had to wait 2 hours for 720Sweets to open. I was clearly blinded by my excitement for trying this ice cream and incapable of researching it all. Aubree really saved my bacon (pun intended) a few times on this 'smoking' ice cream adventure.

"A balanced diet is an ice cream in each hand"
When they finally opened at 3, we were by no means the first people in there. After pursing the menu for a few minutes, and having to whittle our choices down based on broken machines and lack of supplies we both selected "The Classic", which was described as cereal milk flavour. It was topped with crumbled graham cracker and for some inexplicable reason, dyed a very light shade of blue.

The ice cream itself was tasty enough and the cereal milk flavour was actually pretty delicious. The experience however, of having the dry ice 'smoke' flow out of the sides of the cup brought me to a level of childish joy that can only be described as giddy. Sorry you had see that Aubree.

I'd say it's a 30/70 split between the cost of the ice cream itself and the experience.

In making our plans and precipitated by my very unclear text as to where I actually wanted to go, Aubree came across a few other interesting Ice Cream places and a list has been born. Here are just a few of the places I want to try and for the moment (I think), Aubree is up for the challenge:

Non-nitrogen ice cream shops that need to make list too:

My waistline will not be thanking me any time soon, but my taste buds sure will be!

Stay tuned for more confectionery and dessert adventures and a play by play of my perceived blood sugar levels.

And yes, in case you were wondering Aubree, yes I was listening to the Spotify playlist Dad Road Trip while writing this. It's a new favourite!

     designing a life filled with friends, food and of course... ice cream
          Anna Felicity

Third time's a charm...

It recently came to my attention that a friend of mine somehow found my blog. It was unclear while we were yelling at each other over a table at a Mardi Gras party how she came across it, and the two jell-o shots we had just slurped up didn't help clear it up, but nonetheless she found it.

I was surprised and little embarrassed. while I don’t think there is anything on here that I have to be embarrassed about (although a committed sleuth could prove me wrong), but it made me realize I haven't written anything on here in over a year! A lot of things have happened over the past year, and lot of my life remains largely the same. Those in my family, circle of friends, and periphery have had life changing events, and some have found their groove, enjoying the simplicity of knowing exactly what the next few years of their lives will bring.

Thinking about this blog, I realized I'm not entirely sure why I started it. My first post was all the way back in 2003, consisted of a sad excuse for a sentence, and God help me ended with 'BYEZ'. It has been viewed by a whole... well, zero people. It’s a beautiful representation of the life of a teenaged girl from 2003 Tsawwassen.

In my friend group in high-school, those with something to say started a blog hoping anyone and everyone would listen. I had neither anything to say, nor people to listen. This apparently didn't seem faze me as I continued to write intermittent posts for the better part of 2003 and 2004. I discovered post titles and a general theme to a post fairly quickly, but it’s still unclear why I was even doing it. I reference what I can only imagine are teenage crushes, so vague and nonchalantly, the best cryptographers wouldn’t be able to figure out who I was talking about, and quite frankly, wouldn’t care.

I started trying to bring some kind of interest in at some point by citing a Word of the Day, poached from Dictionary.com. There was quite a gap during my GAP year (sorry for the pun, it couldn’t be avoided), and I tried to start again when I got home. There were so many experiences I had while I was in England, so many amazing people I met, and a few I no desire to meet again. I can only imagine I was so busy processing it all, I never got a chance to write it down. I am only the tapestry of those experiences and lessons learned, and cannot go back in time I relive them.

2006 and 2007 were okay, and I literally didn’t post once in 2008. My first post in 2009 was in July, which would have been 2 months after my dad passed away. I don't mention it all in the post, but it's pretty obvious I got some real shit going on in my head.

Sporadic posts followed into 2009 and 2010, two whole posts in 2011 and flurry of writing briefly reigned in 2012, where I started my 'designing' sign-off. (read: A 10 whole posts, almost one a month).

2013 to 2016 saw 10 posts over 3 years, and I completely ignored my 10 year anniversary of even having this blog, although I think that’s for the best as it's not the best representation of my commitment, writing skills, or desire to stick to one thing for any extended period of time.

These on again, off again whirlwinds of writing give me a few hints to my hesitation behind writing down my thoughts and feelings in such a public setting. I refuse to be venerable to outside world. I always have. I won't cry or break down in public. I rarely freak out or yell. I wouldn't be surprised if clutching onto my feelings like this is in some part the cause of the terrible migraines I get, or if one day I might snap, but for right now, that’s neither here nor there. I don't know why I started doing it, and I suppose I could delve into my sub-conscience or childhood to figure it out, but I'm okay for now. That trait is a part of me.

So, what, you may ask, is all this leading to? The answer, I have no freaking idea. In writing this post, I have certainly remembered how much I love writing, and absolutely want to get back to it. I don't know what it will look like, what I will write, and who will read it, but stay tuned, you might even get a few wise words out me yet. This is, if I reviewed my previous posts correctly, the third time I've said I should, or want, or will write here more often. Let's see if it sticks this time.

 designing... well... my life, what ever that may be

          Anna Felicity

Fast Fashion - The cost, the trends and the pressure

I currently work in the 'fast fashion' industry. I'm not sure if I'm going to stay in this field my whole life (I strongly suspect not) but for now, it pays the bills and... I get the clothes at wholesale!

Even at a discounted rate, I can't help but think of the cost fast fashion has on our planet. Living in Vancouver, I and my contemporaries are becoming increasingly aware of the footprint we leave on the earth. The city as a whole has implemented a fairly comprehensive organic waste program, and the goal is to be the greenest city by 2020.
There seems to be an aspect we are either completely unaware of or are blatantly ignoring. This article gets into the stats and figures in more detail than I have to right now, but it brings up an interesting experiment.

Go one calendar year without buying any new clothing.

Coming from a girl who literally buys a new shirt or shoes every single week, this seemed like a very intriguing idea. As my 29th birthday approaches, I have decided to take on this challenge.

The rules:
1)     I'm not going to buy (or acquire) any clothing, accessories, shoes or any other kind of fashion ‘accoutrement’. This means no:
a.      Shoes (that’s going to be the hardest)
b.     Shirts, pants, jackets… anything! (I have enough!)
c.      Purses (I have a lot!)
d.     Jewellery (I have enough the last a lifetime!)
e.      Clothing swaps. They are for getting rid of clothing, not finding new clothing. Just because it doesn't cost me cold hard cash, doesn't mean it doesn't cost me.
2)     I won’t refuse gifts, I’m not a jerk!
3)     Over the course of the year, I will bring each type of article down to 10 each
a.      I’ll start with 10, and I’m still sure it won’t make a huge dent in my wardrobe
b.     If I’m not totally in love with it when I look at it, it’s goes!
c.      I’m sure the more emotional I get about it, the more garment types will get split up
                                                             i.      Leggings vs. pants vs. trousers vs . jeans…. Baby steps…

I will keep track of the how much I get rid of and report it occasionally. My biggest concern is that people will notice and comment, but I also suspect that's will be completely in my head! Let see how I do!

 designing a life, not a wardrobe

          Anna Felicity

Oil Pulling is wierd

Have you heard about it?

Oil Pulling.

It's weird.

So here's the deal:
1) Get some coconut oil (or apparently sesame oil works too)
2) Get that s*it it in your mouth
3) Swish-it, swish-it gooood... 20 minutes
4) Spit it out into the garbage (not down your drains cause it's going to solidify once its out of the warm inviting crevice of your oral cavity.

So the many sites in a quick search say, the oil 'absorbs' any 'bad' bacteria in your mouth, and traps it, them you spit it out. How the oil magically traps the bad bacteria without taking the good, I don't know? Also, the oil (thank goodness for this one) pulls toxins out of your body through you mouth.

I'm calling BULLSHIT!

The oils is about as likely to pull toxins out of my body through my mouth as at ionized water is going to pull it out of my body through my feet.

Apparent benefits

A shit load. The kind of number of benefits where someone might say, 
"Gosh, that sounds too good to be true!"

And maybe they are right! Google this b*tch, there's a lot. Here are the ones I might actually believe:
Whitens teeth
Strengthens gums, teeth and jaw
Prevents cavities and gingivitis
Prevents dry lips, mouth and throat

Here are the more dubious ones:
Hangover relief (I wish!)
Migraine relief
Corrects hormone imbalance
Reduces eczema and pain... and insomnia... and gastro-enteritis... and symptoms of bronchitis... and allergies... and sinus congestion... and, and, and....

You get the idea, it's like this thing could cure every ailment you could possibly have, and some your didn't even know you had!

Possible bad-ish things that could happen
You get oil down your sink, because you're totally out of it in the morning and forget that's a bad idea.
You waste 20 minutes of your life
You get bored in the 20 minutes and plan world domination, probably unsuccessfully
You swallow nasty, 'bacteria filled' oil
You look like an idiot with oil leaking out of your mouth
Your grocery costs go way up because you are literally spitting out a lot of coconut oil
People think you're crazy
You are committed to a mental health institution
There's not coconut oil available there

So why am I bringing this to your attention?

Well I'm going to try it. It probably won't kill me, it won't exactly ruin my life (hopefully), and we have a lot of coconut oil hanging around from out cleanse in January, and this is as good a use for it as any.

Results pending...

     designing a life more greasy?
          Anna Felicity