Thursday, 30 April 2009


WE ARE DONE! I am so happy! The last few days at work were pretty crappy, for one reason or another. Finishing was so good. I finished at 3pm, and Seamus was working until 4.30pm, so I had a martini the second I finished...alone. Then we went back to the Resort for the evening for a lot of drinking, and talking, and some pool. I got a bit drunk...but it was fun. The weather's warm and sunny again, so we have a nice few days ahead of us before we leave for Nelson.

I am so proud, we managed six months in this place! We are heroes. I love Waterton but I'm so glad to be leaving.

(We're watching the hockey (go Canucks!) and it just occurred to me what an awful song 'Oh Canada' is. It has NO TUNE.)

Tuesday, 28 April 2009


The sunny photo was taken seven days ago. The snow photos were taken today. The "view" from our apartment, and our building from outside. THIS IS STUPID. What is wrong with Waterton? We had 26 degrees and sunshine for ages and now this. Where did spring go? The snow is waist-high outside. It hasn't stopped snowing in days...not even for a minute. The snowplough went into a ditch so the roads haven't been cleared, and it's impossible to walk anywhere. STOP STOP STOP. Tomorrow is our last day of work, then we have three days off (because our manager is an angel), and we were hoping to do some hikes. Now what will we do? Drink, most likely. This winter is TOO LONG.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Lack of sleep.

I AM SO TIRED. I was woken up at 3.14am by some boys screaming. Don't worry, they weren't children. They just aren't worthy of being referred to as 'men'. The boys live in the flat across the hall, and keep us awake most nights by:

a)going to the gym at 1am, and GRUNTING with every weight they lift (the gym is directly below our bedroom)
b)getting way too involved with whatever computer games they play
c)having parties almost every night of the week
d)banging on our door at 2am to see if we'd like to come to aforementioned parties
e)throwing bedframes down the stairs

Every night for the past week, we have been woken up by them. It hasn't always been this bad...primarily because they only moved in recently. But I also think it's a sign that summer is coming. Everyone in Waterton is way too excited....both our co-workers, and the big-horned sheep. We are more and more convinced every day that we could not survive here in the summer. Sure, Waterton is beautiful, and there'd be more hikes open but faced with the following prospects:

a)working 40 hours a week in a shitty job
b)sharing our flat with two 19-year-old stoners
c)putting up with staff parties all night, every night
d)Waterton being packed full of tourists

Yeah...we're ready to leave. I am way too old and boring to put up with what we're dealing with right now. Seamus and I both start work at 6.45am most days, and being woken up every night kind of wrecks my chirpy demeanour. Today is my one day off this week, and now I realise it's even worse to be woken up when you don't have to work the next day.

I can't wait to get an uninterrupted eight hours of sleep! But then I remember...we're staying in hostels for most of the next three months...I forsee a lot of crankiness this summer...

No more Box 178.

We are leaving Waterton in NINE DAYS. Five more days of work, four more days of relaxing. For this reason, please do not use the Box 178 address! I will close this PO Box next week. No more post and chocolatey gifts for us :(

If you do have any reason to send us stuff, we will be staying with Seamus' family for a week at the beginning of June. I can give you their address if you need it. And yes, mum, the address is correct. North American addresses are crazy short. And boring. I have to ask people their addresses about fifty times a day when they call the hotel to make reservations. This is a typical Canadian address:

14, 182 17th St West
Calgary, Alberta
T1M 2J0

How boring is that? I wouldn't want my street to be a NUMBER. That can never be a point of conversation, can it? Like, some British street names are really cute, or mean something historically/geographically. Can you imagine a conversation about living on 17th street? "Ah cool...that's...right next to 16th Street..."? Some people LOVE grid systems. I hate them. I like windy roads, and non-grids make much more sense to my apparently chaotic mind. Do you think this is a legitimate reason not to move to Canada?

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

March for Maddie.

A few weeks ago, I read a blog post on Alpha Mummy about Maddie Spohr. Maddie was a seventeen-month old girl from California who died a couple a weeks ago. Her mother writes a blog about her family and their life. Unfortunately, I didn't find this blog until after Maddie died. I spent three evenings after work reading back over the entries, laughing, crying, and some in-betweens. Heather is a fantastic writer, funny and moving and clever. I don't know these people but I feel like I do. Maddie was premature, and underwent a lot of illness and pain in her life. But nearly all of the hundreds of photos on her mother's blog are of Maddie smiling, laughing and pulling faces. That girl was BEAUTIFUL. You can see the life and spirit in her eyes and smile in every photo. I feel so MUCH for Maddie's family right now, it's difficult to explain. I know I have a tendency to be overly sensitive, but I challenge you to watch the video a few posts down on Heather's blog and not cry. It's heartbreaking.

I have thought of Heather, Mike and Maddie every day over the last week or two. And so has the rest of the internet. In certain internet circles, people have turned their blogs purple for Maddie. March for Maddie is a series of sponsored walks in honour of Maddie, and with donations going to theMarch of Dimes Foundation. Thousands of people on Twitter are trying to persuadeHugh Jackman to donate $100,000 to March of Dimes in honour of Maddie (Hugh Jackman decided he would donate $100,000 to one individual's chosen charity, but the individual has to convince him in 140 or fewer characters, which is a very interesting idea from the social networking perspective...but that's for another time).

I know nobody who reads this knows Maddie or her family either but if you are touched like I have been, please post the following words into your twitter update:

RT @RealHughJackman PLEASE donate your $100k to March of Dimes in honor of my baby #Maddie

Hopefully this'll help convince him to choose March of Dimes. Alternatively, if you are able to donate money to Heather and Mike's March for Maddie, please do so.

This post is purple for Maddie.

Snow and sore throats.

After a ten days or so of 20 degrees and higher and sunshine, there's a snowfall warning for tonight. 15-20cm of snow overnight alone, apparently. That's not fair! It's nearly May! Honestly, the weather in the mountains is crazy. And I have a really sore throat, I think I am going to be ill for my days off. And only five more days of work left! Thank goodness...

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Polar bear dip.

The other day, Seamus and Al went swimming in the semi-icy lake. They've actually been meaning to do this since New Year's but it never happened. They are champs!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Another walk, another sunny day.

Yesterday we went on an exploration. Look at me, clambering over a tree! We saw some new wildlife, and Seamus skimmed stones (I took photos of him skimming stones, and put my hands in the icy lake then shrieked). And look at the photo of the mountains reflected in the lake! The lakes are melting, which is pretty exciting (clearly, our lives are a little boring) and Seamus and Al are going to do a polar bear dip tomorrow. Maybe. Everything is Waterton looks a bit ugly right now, because the snow's melting, highlighting the grey grass/trees/WORLD. Clearly, that one raining episode this week was not enough.

We leave in 16 days! Can you believe that? Six months is a very, very long time in the Waterton winter.

Moonlight drinking.

It was full moon again the other day, so this time we went down to the lake and drank some brandy. Well...I didn't. I drank a beer. Alex, Al and Seamus are all brandy drinkers and every time we hang out, they end up drinking brandy in a classy and grown-up manner, whilst I swig beer from the bottle. I tried to like brandy, I really did, but it just felt like I'd lit my mouth on my fire. Why would anyone do that?

Of course, drinking in public in Canada is illegal, but this time, I stand by the usual excuse people use in Waterton to justify criminal activity ("but there's no RCMP in Waterton in winter anyway, so we may as well..."). Unfortunately, people also use this excuse when they drink-drive or speed here. Apparently getting caught is the worst potential outcome of drink-driving.

Drinking in public is totally ok though. To be honest, I feel a little like my civil rights are being violated by the law restricting drinking in public. What about summer....? There are also pretty much no beer gardens here. It's heartbreaking. Canadians must either a)drink indoors in the summer b)not drink in the summer. Hmm.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

The first goodbyes.

Last night Sue and Zen, our (ex)managers left to move to Victoria, and tomorrow morning, our friend Irina moves to Canmore. This means our clique is down to four (and goes to two once Seamus and I leave). Irina is the Russian I've mentioned a few times here. She is a fantastic woman. I have so many stories about her (her life has been so amazing, I'm just living vicariously through her). We met tonight for tea and cheese and bread, and talked and laughed and listened to Russian music. She gave Seamus and me a picture each. Mine is a sketch of our ski hill, and Seamus' is a beautiful painting of Bear's Hump (the mountain all our photos are taken from). Those are some pretty good souvenirs of our time in Waterton.

There's so many goodbyes right now, for one reason or another, but thankfully the next ones should be when we leave. At least then we're in control of the goodbyes. The photo above is me, Seamus, Al, Alex and Irina. Irina has the orange hair and is about fifteen years older than you'd guess. One of the kindest people I'v met here, even though I am convinced she and Seamus were having an affair (you should have seen the goodbye kissing between them tonight....maybe it's just a Russian thing)...

Monday, 13 April 2009


I just got up and it's RAINING. I am in shock, and hurt that the Canadian meteorological system would do this to me. It has rained ONCE since we were in Waterton (once! in five and a half months! Imagine that, British people!), really early on, and I haven't missed it at all. In fact, the lack of rain is what makes me want to live in Canada. Seamus said the other day that he "kind of misses" the rain, but we all know he's not that normal. I hate the rain, and have loved not having any. Give me snow and -30 over rain anyday. But now it's pouring and it's making me glum. And yet, a little excited because it means work will be quiet. Despite Canadians not really celebrating Easter, it's still been busy this weekend. Bring on Monday morning rain!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Sitting in the sun.

On Wednesday, Seamus was working so I went for a walk alone. It was lovely. I saw big horned sheep and mule deer and white-tail deer. I sat up on the hill by the Prince of Wales Hotel, and got a little bit sunburnt. Even though the day was really bright, and the sky was really blue, for some reason this photo came out all grey and war-era. I like it though, it looks cool, don't you think?

Thursday, 9 April 2009

A map.

This is the best I can do. White dots are places we're stopping at. You'll probably have to click the map to enlarge it to full size.

I'm grumpy because I have to go to work now, and the Newfoundland leg of our trip is NOT WORKING OUT.

Fulfilling a lifelong destiny.

Look! We are some of life's winners! I was soooo proud. We won a free lunch and everything (note that they had to specify the drinks were to be non-alcoholic. Management know us so well). It's kind of patronising actually, because we don't even try to keep our apartment extra-special clean, this is just its normal level of clean. Which indicates a lot about everyone else's apartments (with drugs and takeout food and loose women sprawled about, probably). But still; I love being rewarding for living my normal life and not really trying very hard. Yay for us!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Being a tourist.

Excuse me for being a super-predictable tourist, but I am so excited to see Niagra Falls.

My Russian friend Irina always calls me by my Russian name. I can't spell it in english, but it's pronounced 'Ka-choo-sha'. It's nice, isn't it? I think it might catch on.

I am going for a run OUTSIDE, because there's no snow or ice on the roads, for the first time in months.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

The Great Travelling Plan of 2009.

So, after weeks of research and planning and me throwing tantrums, we have a travelling plan! We've already booked the three flights involved, and scheduled ourselves in for two farm "holidays", so it can't really be changed anymore. Thank goodness. Here it is:

May 3rd - Waterton to Nelson ("working holiday", staying on an organic farm for free, whilst helping with farm tasks)
May 21st - Nelson to Waterton (the bus goes through Waterton anyway, so we figured we'd stop by for a few days of summer hiking and relaxing)
May 26th - Waterton to Banff
May 28th - Banff to Jasper (a tour with Moose Travel for a few days, the journey goes up the Icefields Parkway, which is meant to be one of the world's most beautiful drives)
May 31st - Jasper to Banff
June 1st - Banff to London, Ontario (where we'll travel by train and bus to Chicago, because it works out as $400 rather than the $800+ of flying into Chicago. We can stay with Seamus' relatives in Chicago)
June 9th - Chicago to Toronto (another long bus ride...)
June 12th - Toronto to Algonquin Park (another tour with Moose Travel, so I'll be camping in the woods for my 25th birthday!)
June 14th - Algonquin Park to Toronto (another few days in Toronto, during which we'll also go to Niagra Falls)
June 20th - Toronto to Halifax, Nova Scotia (On a PLANE, this time)
June 23rd - Halifax to St. John's, Newfoundland (another plane)
June 26th - St John's to Deer Lake (where we'll hire a car...)
June 27th - Deer Lake to Gros Morne National Park (we are desperate to go there, purely because we saw a really nice photo of it....)
June 29th - Deer Lake to Port Aux Basque (spend a night while we wait for...)
June 30th - Port Aux Basque to North Sydney, Nova Scotia (on a ferry! we'll then get a bus to Baddeck, the second of our farm hosts)
July 17th - Baddeck to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (I've heard it's beautiful)
July 20th - Charlottetown to Fredericton, New Brunswick (we are going almost entirely because Seamus likes the word 'Fredericton')
July 22nd - Fredericton to Quebec City (on an overnight's a long way...I am so excited about seeing Quebec!)
July 28th - Quebec City to Montreal
August 1st - Montreal to Ottawa
August 4th - Ottawa to Montreal (for our final few days in Canada!)
August 8th - Montreal to London Heathrow :( (back to a world where it rains a lot, and we have to be careful with money, and I don't have ANY deer in my back garden)

I would like to have a map of Canada here, with lines and arrows showing where we're going but I'm not clever enough. You get the idea, anyway. We are going to SO MANY PLACES. I think we're going to be exhausted. But we'll see so many things! (7 provinces in three months, plus a US state). It's going to be so amazing.

Spring found us at last.

Today is beautiful, and the kind of day that makes me remember how special Waterton is. I went for a walk alone, and to take the recycling out, and the sun is shining and the snow is melting (actually, that part is kind of ugly, and means it's still necessary to wear snow boots, as four feet of snow becomes four feet of slush, and then four feet of water). There is a man playing guitar outside the Resort, I have no idea who he is, or why he picked a village with a population of 30 to busk in, but I was glad he was there. I went to the post office, and Bristol had a basket of chocolate eggs in for customers to take (she has chocolate on the counter for every occasion). As all the businesses in Waterton re-open next month, there's lots of people around doing construction work and painting their shops and restaurants, so lots of people to say hello to when you're out. Although I love Waterton in the winter, there is starting to be a real buzz around as more people arrive for the summer season. I am cleaning the house with the windows wide open, and my music playing. I wish I had an ice lolly!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Burn, winter, burn!

I'm a little jealous because of all the posts on my friends' facebooks about the beautiful weather. Sunshine and beer's just not fair. These photos were taken two days ago. Walking around the lake, the snow was past my knees. I want the sun on my face, and to be able to go for a walk without having to put snow boots on first. I want to drink by the lake (of course, this is illegal as well as cold in Canada) and play catch! I miss Canterbury at this time of year. I love the Albertan weather but the winter's seemed l-o-n-g and I want summer! Or even spring!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Customer service.

Lately, we've had a succession of guests in the hotel who've been very unhappy because "there's nothing to do in Waterton". The complaints often relate to the limited satellite television we have here, the fact that all the shops are closed, and it's winter so it's cold outside. IN WHAT WORLD DO THEY THINK WE CONTROL THE WEATHER?? Why would people come on holiday to a national park in the winter and expect to watch television and go shopping? And why would you go on holiday somewhere without doing your research first? Every guidebook and internet search in the world would tell you that a)Waterton has very few amenities and b)THAT'S WHY PEOPLE LIKE IT. It's a place for hiking and skiing and generally being outdoors. Not for shopping. Stay in Calgary if you want to go shopping.

There's no reasoning with these people!

Also, as a tip for the world, as customers:
*Don't complain AFTER you've paid for a service. What do you expect to get out of it at that point? If you're really unhappy about something, complain as soon as you can! They'll try and help! After you've paid (or eaten your meal, or stayed in your hotel room), there's nothing they can do except say sorry. And if you're complaining about the weather, or the fact that you don't have enough imagination to entertain yourselves, don't expect to get much out of it. You'll just cause an otherwise chirpy and optimistic girl to becomed jaded and bitter.

I will never work in tourism after this, please.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Adventures in Whitehorse.

So that's pretty much the end of our Yukon adventures. Here's a few things we learnt about the Yukon:
1)Dogs wear shoes.
2)There are murals EVERYWHERE. That photo above of the colourful shops and hotels? It's a painting on a wall.
3)Everyone is really proud of the SS Klondike (the ship above) on the waterfront. But it is on the ground! Not the water! Surely that's cheating?
4)Toilets are in huts in the forests.
5)Yukon chips are BRILLIANT! None of this skinny fries business...good, proper, thick chips! In every place we ate chips, they were of high quality. Yay!