Saturday, 28 February 2009

Snowed in...again.

Most of our snow melted but this week we had an unexpected few feet of fresh snow. On Wednesday, I walked around Waterton for nearly an hour searching for a bin that wasn't snowed under. Our windows are snowed shut. We tried to walk to the lake but it was too much hard work. This lady drove off the road into a snow bank. It's great.

The sense of joy you get when given money that belongs to you.

Last night, I was filled with happiness when I checked my UK bank account, and found the insurance company had returned the money I'd spent on medical fees. It's like a tax rebate, and shows the simple joys of human life - that sometimes, being given money that is actually yours anyway, can make you inexplicably happy. I had an extra bonus, in that the exchange rate must have changed since I spent the money at the hospital, and I ended up getting £20 more back that I originally spent. I treated myself by buying some Strongbow (something I never thought I'd say...)

I will update later about our mini-break to Milk River but now I have to go to the gym!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Zen's 60th birthday.

It was Zen, our manager's, 60th birthday so we all gathered in the banquet room and had pizza and cake (see above) and sang and Zen liked the coat we got him! I think Rundle the dog had a good time too.

Monday, 23 February 2009

The happiest week of my life.

Look at all this! I received all this within one week! I guess everyone knew my life is a bit hard right now...what with the lack of job security, and the ear infection, and the huge medical bills....and so they took pity on me and sent me all this. Look at it! GRAVY! Seamus and I cooked a roast on Saturday and Sunday evenings, with proper gravy and it was so good. And Kinder chooclate! And Galaxy! And Thorntons mint chocolate! And Milky Bars! And Geisha chocolate! All my favourites! I would like to give thanks to the following people:
Auntie Hazel and co

Mum, your name will be added to this list once this elusive fudge ever turns up....

Saturday, 21 February 2009

I love skiing.

On Thursday we went to Castle Mountain to ski with Alex and Al. Oh my gosh, it was so fun. I am now a skiing enthusiast. You remember how I sucked the first time I went skiing? It'd like when I was learning to drive. I was really bad at it for ages and then one day, it just CLICKED, and I was a driving legend. It's the same with skiing. On Thursday, I was amazing at skiing! I had soooo much fun, it was a beautiful day, and I was skiing all day with wonderful people and I just loved it.

We stopped for mexican food on the way home, then went back to Alex's and made mulled wine and watched Once. It was another wonderful day!

Friday, 20 February 2009

Seamus goes on a late-night adventure.

The other night, Seamus, Al and Alex went on a late-night, full-moon skiing adventure. I was invited but I had to work. Al recently got a car which means we can now do more things. They drove up towards Cameron Lake, skiied to the lake and back, then had a campfire and made s'mores and drank tea. Seamus learnt to chip wood. Alex had s'mores for the first time. I was sulky because I was at work by myself.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

A lovely day off.

Last Thursday was nearly a perfect day off. We got up late, then went for breakfast at the Resort. We walked round the village, along the edge of the lake. This walk always reminds me how beautiful Waterton is. The lakes have unfrozen now, but there's still these massive chunks of ice lining the edge of the beaches. It makes you feel like you're in the North Pole. After a lovely cold walk, we went home for an hour and played the Sims. Later, we drove to Cameron Lake (Seamus drove! On the wrong side of the road! It was scary!) with Al, went for another walk, then had a little campfire and boiled water for tea. In the evening, Seamus, Al and I went round to Alex's, cooked a lovely dinner (ok...Al cooked...), drank wine, talked about religion and languages, then went over to Clint and Annik's and watched Horton Hears A Who (a wonderful film with lots of moral fibre).

It was one of my favourite days in Waterton.

Valentine's Day.

My Valentine's Day gift, not Seamus. My friend Annik gave it to me. Isn't it amazing? I couldn't wait for Seamus to bring the camera before I had to start eating it.

I think this year's Valentine's Day was the first one in my life that actually meant something. But it didn't mean love and romance and presents. It meant an incredibly busy weekend at work, 16-hour days, and everyone else getting to eat amazing food whilst I had to serve it to them. As we currently only have enough staff for winter, last weekend meant we were very understaffed. Both our hotels were fully booked (36 rooms total), and the dining room was booked solid between 5pm-10pm. I started my Front Desk shift at 7.45am on Saturday, finished at 4pm, went home until 4.45pm, then worked the rest of the night serving in the dining room. It was a HORRIBLE day. But not as horrible as Monday, which was a bank holiday (not for Valentine's, but for 'Family Day', a holiday that exists only in Alberta). I was meant to be working on Front Desk but in the end put the phone on voicemail, and resigned myself to serving in the dining room again. Seamus also worked two shifts on Saturday, and is now having a hard time catching up with all the housekeeping from the weekend.

We have a bottle of wine in the cupboard, plus some mulling spices, and we were going to have a Valentine's evening last Thursday but I couldn't drink because I was on antibiotics. Maybe tomorrow. This has seemed like the longest working week ever. I want to sleep for a week.

Friday, 13 February 2009

A few photos.

Seamus, enjoying fajita Friday.
Chinook clouds over Vimy mountain.
A mountain squirrel! They're tiny and make a clicky noise when they're scared.
I love this photo of the lake frozen into waves.

Work is a bit calmer (although we're holding onto Plan B). We've just spent an hour working out an approximate plan for when we leave, including our NEW IDEA. We found this website that organises placements for travellers on farms. It's international (and I'm already planning to try and organise a Finnish exchange for next summer...), and we're planning to find one that'll take us for a couple of weeks in June/July. They give you free accommodation and meals in return for free labour. It's cool because neither of us have ever done that kind of work before, and the farms we're looking at staying in are generally organic/vegetarian/hippy-style places. We're really interested in learning some stuff about permaculture and self-sufficiency, and this could be a totally new adventure (I don't know why we didn't considered it sooner). We've emailed a couple of them to find out more. It'd probably be in Nova Scotia, which we want to visit, but don't know too much about, so we could have the benefit of having hosts to show us around. Obviously, the farms are in the middle of nowhere (much like Waterton) but it sounds like a lovely place to be for a couple of weeks in the summer.

So right now, our plan A is: Waterton > Banff > Jasper >Banff > Toronto > Chicago > Nova Scotia > Quebec City > Ottawa >Montreal > London. When we're in Toronto, we want to go on a tour to Algonquin Park for a few days, and we might try and get to Newfoundland (where people apparently speak with irish accents) from Nova Scotia. We'll see. It's good to have a plan.

Right now is our second day off, Seamus is playing playstation and I'm internetting. But we had a lovely and eventful day off yesterday, which I'll write about next time...

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Surreal times in Waterton.

So, after my ear infection financial drama of Saturday night, money worries haven't really stopped. I won't say much right now, but things are strange here, and pretty stressful, and we've made ourselves a backup plan. Healthwise, I am feeling better, but not great. I've sent off my insurance forms and evidence, but am resigning myself to the fact that they won't pay me back (that way, I can't get disappointed). A couple of hours before the hospital event, Seamus and I bought flights to the Yukon (when we thought we had plenty of money saved). Because of my hospital fees, combined with other potential money worries (sorry for vagueness), we're now a bit worried about our Yukon trip. We've gone from very sad and worried to angry and defiant in just 48 hours, though, and life's too short to get worked up about this. We CAN afford to go to the Yukon, and we have a good and exciting plan B if things don't work out here. I just went for a walk, and it's such a beautiful day, and I love Waterton so much. It'll be sad to leave but there's lots more of Canada to see yet.

I am SO EXCITED about going to the Yukon! Going to the North of Canada was always part of the dream (in a way that going to the North of England never was....haha, sorry). It was something both of us really wanted to do before we came out here. We're only going for a week (we think...) but I can't wait. There are so many things I want to do there! There are some hot springs, and this wildlide reserve, and an ice-trekking centre, and the Canada Games Centre, and maybe northern lights, and dog-sledding and snowmobiling and skiing! We can't afford most of that, but we'll see.

We were talking the other day that we'd be happy to live in Canada forever. I prefer it to the UK, and it'd get rid of the England/Ireland conflict that will probably plague our relationship. I read some Daily Mail story online the other day that made me NEVER want to come back to the UK (I can't find the link now but it was about those kids that have been adopted by two gay men). I would prefer to live in Finland than Canada (because they have a better mobile phone, I'm kidding) but Canada's good too.

But don't worry, Mum, we'll be home in August xxx

Saturday, 7 February 2009

A $670 roadtrip.

Tonight I am hoping and praying that my health insurance is going to spare me. I am so thankful for having got health insurance but I'm worried in case they try and catch me out and not let me claim. Because tonight, I paid $670 to be told I had an ear infection. Ok, they threw in some drugs for that price too. Not ENOUGH drugs, mind. I have to go to the pharmacy on Monday to get the rest of the course. I have antibiotics, painkillers and...sudafed (as it seems I have a sinus cold as well). $670!! In what world is that fair? Have I not had my share of health problems lately? Do I really need this too? I wouldn't mind quite so much if it was a FREE ear infection. But I don't want the expensive kind. That's not fair.

Rant over. Let me explain. I've had my hearing be a bit dodgy this week; constantly feeling like I have water in my ears. And last night I started feeling tired and hot and dizzy. Today I have no hearing in my left ear, and the pain's just got worse and worse all day. So my manager made me go to the hospital this evening (as it was now 5pm on a Saturday, and no doctors were open). So Darcy drove us to Cardston hospital where they looked in my ears for three minutes, syringed my ears (OH MY GOD, THE PAIN) then loaded me up with drugs. And a $670 bill (to their credit, they seemed kind of sorry for that).

Once they'd syringed my ears (and I'd taken my first antibiotics), it started feeling a little better, although I still can't hear. So because I was sad and hungry, Darcy drove us to Mings for Chinese, then took us on a tour. It's a beautiful night; full moons around here look amazing because of the snow on the mountains. It's barely even dark, but the white mountains are just illuminous. It's lovely. Darcy drove us to the Mormon temple (say what you like about the religion, but the temples are pretty cool-looking), and to his B&B, which was fantastic. If my family were coming to stay, I would so make them stay there, it was such a cool place. The Mountain View area (where Darcy lives) is flat, but with a great view towards the mountains and it's just so quiet and peaceful. I loved it.

(But honestly, mum, I am really ill, despite enjoying a late-night country tour).

So now we're back home and I am glum. But Seamus would like everyone to know that he's having the best day ever. I will give you three reasons for this:
1. Newcastle 3-2 West Bromwich Albion
2. Ireland 30-21 France
3. Vancouver 7-3 Chicago

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The inauguration of the Waterton Government.

Times are slow in Waterton, which is why we sometimes go a little stir crazy and entertain ourselves in odd ways. This is how the Waterton Government was created. Last week we held an inauguration ceremony (it was supposed to be on the 20th January, the day all great Governments began, but then our Government headquarters...burnt down). I am the Secretary General. This is a photo of me and Al, one of my favourite people in Waterton (he's the Governor General). He runs one of the "other" hotels in Waterton. He was the one we spent Christmas with. Al is a celebrity in Waterton, he's been here ten years and knows everybody and is a brilliant person (if a little cheeky sometimes). This is me, being sworn in to Government at the bar in our "new" hotel. We had a lovely meal and discussed "Government issues" (read: local gossip).

In other news: I think I am going to get all my hair cut off again tomorrow. What do you think? Look how long it's got!

In other, other news: I look a bit fat in that photo but it's a facade...I think my t-shirt is just bunched up. I am eating very well and doing a lot of exercise, so don't be fooled into thinking that I have fallen prey to the "living-abroad-and-thus-doubling-your-weight" trap that was my downfall in Finland.

A nice Kilmorey Lodge article.