Coming home

I was so excited to come home from university for the holidays that I forgot to think about what it would be like when I got here. I was so focused on the idea of eating home cooked meals and sleeping in an actually comfortable bed and seeing my friends and family that I forgot that coming back after four months might be a little weird.

For starters, I think that my cats took a day or two to remember who I was, which was sad. They used to mob me whenever I walked through the door after school. There was other little stuff too, like the way my cereals are missing from the pantry and replaced with strange granola mixes that I assume belong to my dad’s new girlfriend. My car barely started because it had gone undriven for so long, and driving itself felt really strange after spending all semester travelling in buses and on foot.

Visiting my high school was the weirdest experience. I went with a bunch of friends, and we all agreed that we felt distinctly like we shouldn’t have come. The students all looked so young and the school felt so small. Our old teachers seemed mostly surprised and weirded out that we had come.

That being said, I had a nice time talking to my English teacher, who now tells me she is studying to get her PhD so that she can become a university prof. She says that her new AP class is not as good as ours was; she misses the noise and how I would always argue with her. English was a big part of my high school experience; I had the same teacher for three years and almost all of my friends were in that class. It was certainly a rowdy class. We had some intense debates about everything from Shakespeare to dystopias.

Ms. R: Kay they agree with everything I say! I keep trying to provoke them to argue but they don’t even react. One time I told them I thought we should drug everyone the way they do in Brave New World, and they wrote it down.

Kay: What? No one had a problem with that? Plus, I don’t think any of us ever took notes in your class.

Ms. R: Exactly!!

So that was nice. Also, seeing my friends was wonderful. I thought we would have nothing to talk about because we’re all doing different things this year and we haven’t seen each other in four months, but if anything we have more to talk about. I love hearing about everyone’s respective university experiences. I have a bunch of friends in engineering at Queen’s University, and from what I understand it’s basically a cult. They have these purple jackets and they get badges for them by doing stupid stunts like drinking their height in beer and jumping into freezing Lake Ontario in the middle of the winter. They have some great stories to tell.

I think it’s hard for the friends who stayed at home for university. It’s really different than residence, where there’s always a party going on and it’s really easy to meet people. I feel bad talking about it too much with people like Jan because she gets this wistful look on her face and I worry that I’m making her wish she had gone away this year. She says it’s been hard to meet new friends when she’s only at school a few hours a day.

It was nice seeing everyone, but it also made me realize that an era of my life is over. It’s hitting me now what presumably we were supposed to realize at graduation, that high school is really over and there’s no going back. Sure, I intend to stay close with some of my high school friends, but it will never be the same as it was. Never again will I drive the half hour to school in the city every morning. Never again will we hang out in the hallways by our lockers, or in the journalism room. Never again will we have all be doing the same things in the same place. Will we even have anything to talk about years from now?

I’ve always liked  new things, but giving up the old things is hard. I wish that having all of the new friends and experiences at university didn’t mean giving up getting to see my high school friends all the time. I guess it’s part of growing up though.

I think that the most important thing I’ve realized this week is the importance of home. I get what all of those Christmas songs are about now and why Christmas traditions are so important. It was so wonderful to just be at home with my family and putting up the Christmas tree and drinking hot chocolate. My first day at home Pal and I spent the whole day baking Christmas cookies. We were determined to make them exactly like our mom did for years. All those years I remember being annoyed that she made us help, but now I’m glad that she left us a tradition to share.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope yours is full of friends and family and food and laughter. Most of all, I hope you get to be home for the holidays, because it is the best feeling in the world.

Home Alone 5: The Kay Edition

My dad is always worried about me when he goes away for a few days a month for business. He thinks I’ll get lonely or go hungry or something I think. I’m not sure why. By now I’m so used to it that I know how to make is fun.

-I have music on. All. The. Time. Loud, angry punk rock, or maybe the soundtrack from Rent or Les Mis or Wicked, or if I’m in a certain mood maybe some sappy country. You better believe that I sing along at the top of my lungs.

-I pee with the bathroom door open. That’s right, just because I can

-I sleep wherever I feel like sleeping. So maybe in the floor with my laptop or on the recliner watching tv. Sometimes I wake up with a kink in my back but whatevs

-I make big ole ice cream sundaes with chocolate sauce and fruit and nuts and I sit on the counter and eat it and no one can judge me. Not that my dad would anyway, but it’s the principle of the thing

-I watch Game of Thrones with full sound and don’t have to worry about my dad walking in during the semi-pornographic parts

-I talk to my cats about my life problems and they listen attentively. jk they fall asleep, but still

Except I just realized that my dad is coming home tonight and the house is a disaster. Guess I know what I have to do now. Yay dishes.

On growing up

I like to joke about how at 18 I don’t feel qualified to be an adult. However, the truth is that it’s been a long time since I’ve really felt like a kid. Probably at least since before I started high school.

I mean, I know that I’m lucky. I’ve never been poor or starving, and I spent most of my childhood with two parents who loved me. And at least I got to have a childhood. Most of the kids I met in Kenya learned to cook and do laundry and take care of their younger siblings at maybe four or five years old.

That’s why I’ve never let myself complain about my mom’s death, or use it as an excuse. It could be so much worse. I’m constantly reminding myself of that.

My mom always ran a tight ship. She was the one who enforced rules and made my brother and I clean up after ourselves and be on time for dinner and take responsibility for household chores. That feels so distant now. It’s been years since then.

Now that it’s just me and my dad, it’s different. Some days it’s easy. I like being independent and I like that at my house I don’t have a curfew and I can come and go as I please. I like that I eat when I want and go to bed when I want and when I need something I buy it myself and my dad just pays me back. I’m good at doing things on my own.

But every now and then, maybe every month or two, it hits me that there’s no going back. Gone are the days when I had someone to remind me to wipe off the counter or get ready for soccer practice. My dad loves me to pieces, but he’s never been good at that stuff. Now there are crumbs left on the counter and I remember to go to practice on my own.

In the past few years I’ve learned what it means to be an adult: it means freedom and independence, but it’s also tiring and lonely. Some days I wake up and think, I don’t want to do this anymore. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days before I drove my mom to chemo appointments and pushed her wheelchair and made her soup and cleaned the floor when she puked it back up. Back when she baked muffins for my school lunch and nagged me to practice piano. If only I could go back there.

These are dangerous thoughts to have; they’re the kind that could break me if I’m not careful.

The best excuse ever

So I was just about to pull out of my garage to go to work yesterday. I had the new Taylor Swift cd blasting, and two fuzzy-gloved hands on the wheel (While there have been no superstorms here, there’s still a mountain of snow).

Except I couldn’t pull out of my garage because of the firetruck.

It literally pulled up right behind my garage the moment I was going to pull out. And then two more regular trucks with emergency lights drove up behind it. Four firemen hopped out and started dragging the hose down the alleyway.

And okay, I have to admit that my first thought was not, oh no, is there a fire? Is everyone okay? It was more along the lines of, crap, now I’m going to be late for work.

Anyway, I climbed out of my car and went into the alley to see what was going on. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The firemen were spraying a parked truck which had big, bright flames leaping out of it.

Yeah. That happened.

Things got weirder when the police came by later. Turns out the truck was stolen. Someone had parked it there, set it on fire, and run away. I mean seriously? Did I mention that I live in a small town? Our idea of crime is J-walking. The only time the firemen use their firetrucks is during the annual parade.

This incident is one of many that I just kind of file under So Outrageous That I Couldn’t Have Made This Up. Well, at least I think my boss believed my excuse for being late. I really couldn’t have come up with this one.

Helpful homework tips

Last Sunday I had a mountain of physics homework. Twenty-eight questions to be exact. And they were all those freaking brain-burner ones where you have to picture some bizarre situation in your head, like for some reason there are two charged plates in outer space, and it’s super important that you find out the distance between them. Sounds like a useful life skill.

Okay, so I was a little bitter about doing the questions. But I got them done in just four hours, and now I’m going to share with you how I achieved such a great success. Here is my genius strategy:

12:00 I made the ultimate study snack: chocolate milk with peanut butter and crackers. Except I didn’t want to get peanut butter on my homework, so I just sat and ate it before I started. It only took like 15 minutes. It probably would have taken five, but I figured that I might as well read while I ate, and when I was finished eating I kept reading because I was at a really good part and I had to finish the chapter.

12:15 Down to business. Opened workbook. Read first question. Felt a little chilly, so I went down to my room to get a sweater. Noticed that the sweater would look really cute with a pair of leggings, so I changed out of my jeans.

12:30 Went back upstairs. Did first question in record time-only three minutes! To celebrate, I made myself another glass of chocolate milk and took a quick 15 minute chocolate milk break.

12:48 Okay, time to buckle down now. Check to see how many questions left to do: 27. Calculate how much time it will take to finish if I take 3 minutes per question: 81. Crap, that’s like an hour and twenty minutes! I decide I need more snacks for this.

12:50 Spend another ten minutes slicing up an apple and eating it.

1:00 Do another question. Do a victory dance to celebrate. Count how many questions I have left (26)

1:05  Wonder if I have any new comments on WordPress. Decide it wouldn’t hurt to take a five minute break to check. After all, I just did a question.

1:06-1:50 Spend three quarters of an hour replying to comments, reading blogs and drafting a new post.

1:50 Realize that it’s been two hours and I’ve only done two questions. Flip through workbook to see how much work is left. Spin around in my wheely office chair to avoid thinking about how much work I still have to do.

2:00 Finally buckle down and do four more questions.

2:15 Glance at computer screen and see that there’s a new episode of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on Youtube. Figure I can afford a four minute break to watch it.

2:19 A collection of deleted scenes from Mean Girls pops up on my suggested videos. Obviously I have to watch that too.

2:45 Three Mean Girls videos and four cat-riding-Roomba videos later, I glance at the clock. Crap, I still have so many questions to do!

2:46 Spin in wheely chair some more

2:48 Remember that I have Grey’s Anatomy recorded on my PVR. Realize that I can’t watch it until I finish my homework

2:49 Get to work. Grey’s Anatomy is finally the motivation I need. I’m dying to know what is going to happen with Christina and Owen post-plane crash!

4:05 Finally finished all 28 questions. My brain actually physically burns. Probably.

Feel free to adopt the Kay method of work. It may not be the most  efficient, but it gets the job done.

Nostalgia

I feel like the whole blog world absolutely looooooooves fall, but I kind of hate it. I guess that’s because I live in Canada and and so fall lasts about a month. The leaves don’t fall gently, over months, they kind of all fall in brown heaps over the course of about a week. And when the first or second week of October rolls around, it begins to snow. Hence my dislike.

But my seasonal hatred is not actually what I wanted to talk about. For me, there’s also a feeling that fall always brings on, and that feeling is nostalgia.  I don’t know what it is, maybe the smell of rotting leaves, the feeling of days getting shorter, or grain dust clouding up my windshield. Whatever it is, around this time, I seem to have these incredibly vivid flashbacks to autumns long past.

I can picture my first day of school, wearing my new pink butterfly backpack and struggling to keep up with my brother on the two block trek to our elementary. I can almost feel my raw excitement from that day. There’s flashes of other days too: raking leaves with my dad and putting them in those garbage bags that have jack-o-lantern faces on them for Halloween, wearing new back-to-school jeans, and baking desserts to bring to my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving.

What does fall remind you of?

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving everyone! Here’s a nostalgic song to get you in the mood. It’s kind of the cutest thing ever.

Party time!

My dad was away on Thursday night, and we had Friday off school, so I decided to throw a party. Not a massive everyone-invite-your-friends-to-come-destroy-my-house party, because everyone who has ever watched an after school special knows that those ones always end with the parents coming home early or the cops coming, and some prized vase is smashed, and the teenager in question is grounded for the rest of her life (But it’s okay because the teenager learns her lesson and has some sort of long apology speech which redeems her).

So anyway, it was me and about fifteen of my friends. So much happened, but here is a general overview:

-I learned how to play flip cup, at which I was extremely bad. Eventually Lis started doing the actual cup flipping for me and I just drank for her. That’s best friends for you.

-Dee thought pina colada shots were a good idea. It was rum and a little bit of pina colada mix. Let me just say that it was not a good idea at all. Ditto with ice cream shots.

-We ran out into the field behind my house and collapsed in a giant heap of bodies and just talked. I don’t even remember what we talked about, but I just remember thinking, wow, I really love my friends (and no, the lack of memory was not because of drunkness, it was just because what we were talking about wasn’t as important as the simple act of talking).

-Andi spent a large amount of time leaned over the toilet in my bathroom. Let me just say that there is no bigger turn off than a guy puking his guts out in your house. This must have been how Andi felt about the whole armpit hair conversation. (Don’t worry, Andi was fine. We all took turns baby-sitting him and forcing fluids down his throat. If I learned anything from this it was that I really don’t ever want to get as drunk as Andi was)

-There was some hand-holding between Drew and I that neither of us has acknowledged since. Either he doesn’t remember, or like me, he’s not really sure how he feels about it.

There was more that happened, so much more, but that’s general taste. It was such a great night, and I think everyone except Andi had a really fantastic time. I’m not sure I’ll do it again though. First of all because even though a lot of people helped with the clean up, it still took forever. Also, scraping puke off your bathroom floor sucks. The other thing is that I just didn’t really like lying to my dad about it. Even though I kept it small, made sure no one drove drunk, and cleaned up after, I still feel a little bit of nagging guilt. My dad always brags about how he’s never had to worry about me being a difficult teenager, and I don’t feel totally right about violating his trust. I thought doing something so obviously bad would be thrilling, but although it was fun, I mostly just feel guilty. Clearly I have to much of a conscience to be a bad ass.

My dad is crazy (and cute cats)

My dad thinks that LOL cats is the best thing since jasmine tea (and he really likes jasmine tea). He took these pictures of our cats and put them on the fridge, then he wrote what he thought were clever LOL-worthy captions. It’s terrible. And hilarious.

This one says, “Stealth kitteh sez yu kant see meh.”

“Sink kitteh sez yu was kitting bout shot, rite?” (This was taken in the vet’s office)

These are on my fridge, where everyone can see them. Everyone. I can’t believe I’m related to this man.

In which I enter a cult

I’m finally back from vacation, in which, among other things, I visited a surf town that I only just managed to leave.

No, seriously, it’s a miracle I made it home to type this right now.

Tofino, BC is a five hour drive away from any other form of civilization. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, with the sandy beaches and the kitchy mom-and-pop stores and the forest of little islands that dot the coastline.  It’s only natural that I fell in love with it.

After my first surf lesson, I started toying with the idea of spending a summer or two there between college semesters. I could waitress and surf on my days off and still save up money for school.  I could have another poor surfer roommate and we could have a grand time. But just for the summer, of course.

After my second surf lesson I decided I wanted to move to Tofino forever. Possibly finishing my high school diploma first, but then again, maybe not. After all, if I became a surf instructor I wouldn’t exactly need a university degree.

Now that I’m back I can think more logically about it. I had an amazing time in Tofino, but I’m no surfer chick. I need more to my life than that. At the time though…oh man, it was so tempting to stay! Everyone I met there just seemed to be living such a simple, happy, fulfilling life. The waitresses, the instructors, the store owners-they all told the same story. They only meant to spend a few weeks in Tofino; they planned for maybe a summer at most. But weeks turned to months, and months turned to years, and they just never left. It’s like the Twilight Zone/Neverland/Lotus Island of the pacific northwest.

Luckily, I survived, and am back to experience more boy problems

The life of a surfer is just so…relaxed…

and vampire attacks for your entertainment. But part of me is still fantasizing about what my life would but like in the surfer cult-I mean culture-of Vancouver Island.