Sunday, 28 July 2013

E is for "Eh!?"

You'll notice "eh" is larger font than "freedom"
Ahhhhh, Canadian slang. This phrase is both surprisingly popular and not. All at once. Confused? I was too, until I realised it's the Australian version of "but", so it's popular in some areas but not others. Where we are in southern BC it's not all that common, but you'll still hear it enough. The problem is, it's kinda catchy and really easy to slip into saying it. I think I probably did a bit before moving here, so now I have to consciously avoid it or hear the dreaded "ohhh do I detect a bit of Canadian" when I talk to people from home.

I don't really understand the spelling to be honest, I see it it more of a "meh" sound, but we all know how they pronounce "out" so I'll leave it ;)

I do like it how Canadians embrace the phrase. Around Canada Day (and really all through the year) there is a lot of merchandise you can buy with that phrase on it. I love that they own it!

The scary part comes when you have an Australian living in Canada and you get classics such as "it's good but, eh?". Lost!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Jasper - We Saw a Bear!

We had one final weekend with my parents before they (sadly) had to go back home. We decided to do  a trip up to Jasper. a) because we hadn't been there before and it's on our bucket list, and b) because it's supposed to be bear central, and O'Hara was getting desperate. 
Dad loves having his photo taken almost as much as O'Hara
I also developed an obsession with photographing wildflowers
We booked our accommodation really late so the only place left was the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Fairmont Hotels are generally pretty fancy, and this one had some really beautiful grounds but the hotel room was pretty sketchy. There was a mouse in our room, never a good sign. 
Our room was shit but there were fun props!
Jasper however was incredibly beautiful. Canada in the summer, especially the Rockies is incredibly busy. There seems to be a huge mix of people touring, but I guess when you have 300 million neighbours you're always going to have lots of visitors. 
These are the things tourists come and see!
We spent the weekend hiking, viewing lakes and canyons, eating and drinking out delicious stash of wine from the weekend before. We also managed to fit in some pretty incredible wildlife viewing. O'Hara finally saw his first bear. He's only been here 15 months. Pretty sure Mum and Dad managed to  get into double digits in their 2 week trip. It was a decent sized black bear who walked in front of our car, stopped next to us to eat some berries and then wandered past our car. O'Hara had the biggest smile on his face. We also saw a herd of Elk ladies with their babies, and one daddy Elk with his giant set of antlers. Best.
Hi family! Hi bear!
Can't wait to see the family again, I hated having to say goodbye all over again. Sometimes being and expat is truly shitty. Luckily Skype and the Internet exist. I wouldn't have coped nearly as well 10 years ago.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Penticton with Friends and Family

We've had my family in Canada for two weeks and O'Hara did an amazing job of host for the first week. They arrived after a long journey and thinking they were going to have a chance to rest a bit... but no chance of that. The first three days while I was at work they went hiking, downhill biking at Sun Peaks and canoeing down the river. None of those activities are restful!
Extreme downhill biking and kayaking
For the weekend we went to Penticton for a wine tour and channel float. Another item on the bucket list all checked off. Win! We also visited the farmers markets in Penticton and I had my first PROPER Aussie pie in about 18 months! You probably can't understand how good that was. It has since lead to the discovery that there is a pie truck in Vancouver by a different Australian. The bastards cost $8 a pop there but it's worth it.
For our wine tour we toured again with Grape Escapes which was again amazing. We went to Naramata bench and visited 5 wineries and well and truly worked out our credit card. Our wine rack is stocked up for summer which is always good. Hopefully we get more guests to drink it with us!

On Sunday we braved the cloudy skies and floated down the channel. The original plan was to only do a half float, but the water was moving quickly so we decided to go the whole way. This. Was. FUN! We finally got to get out our giant floating Havs, luckily the water wasn't too cold as these bad boys are not really designed to keep you dry. O'Hara was nicknamed Señor Froggy as he wore a sombrero and pulled us around by frog kicking on his thong. It worked a treat!
Finny is a float dog with Señor Froggy 
Floaty float and now a floating eski dog
I love our weekends in Penticton, they're always a blast and it was great to see it in summer.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Wisconsin Wedding and Chicago Weekend

We were lucky enough to be invited to a beautiful summer wedding in Wisconsin last weekend. It was for our friends Karen and Connor (who we visited in Boston last year). I worked with Connor in Sydney and it was amazing to catch up with some of my old colleagues. It's pretty awesome when 5 people who used to work together in Sydney get to catch up in Madison, WI.
These people,
are wonderful!
It was a one of those hectic but wonderful weekends. One day in Madison, one day driving and Milwaukee and one day in Chicago.

In Madison we spent the morning at the Dane County Farmer's Market. These are the largest producer-only markets in the USA. Being Wisconsin the produce generally consisted of cheese, meat and maple syrup. There was also hundreds of different delicious vegetables. We ended up buying scones, sausage, snap-peas, smoothies and Cajun flavoured cheese curds. Fresh cheese curds are INCREDIBLE! They should be eaten as soon as possible, I think within a day or two. They are squeaky when you eat them. Squeakylicious!
O'Hara enjoying some market treats
Some loves!
We drove with Lu and her boyf Enrique to Chicago on the Sunday with a cheeky stopover in Milwaukee. Chicago was also beautiful. We went to the top of the Willis Tower (originally Sears Tower), walked around the parks, visited the Bean, shopped and ate delicious food. The Willis Tower had a pretty cool set up where there is 4 "sky decks" where you can walk out over a glass ledge. There was a decent amount of people up there, but it didn't take long to step out. We were rushed by some rude randoms who then spent the next 15min taking their photos on the ledge, but it was a cool experience.
Standing up really high at the Willis Tower
Hey pretty city
After a hectic day of walking we went to a steak restaurant for dinner that aged it's own steak. I ordered one that was 28 days and O'Hara's was 45 days. Delicious! I don't think we'd tried aged steak before, I'm not sure if it's worth how much it costs but it's very nice for a treat. We had a weekend of eating and drinking which is really my sort of weekend. I hope it isn't too long before I see these people again!