Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wanna Be My Friend?

There is a topic that has come up on a number of occasions lately amongst my group of friends and it is the topic of making friends as an adult. What is especially interesting about this is that friends from back home in BC as well as friends here on PEI have brought it up to me, so it's something that we all think about or fear having to deal with no matter the location of the person.

What is also interesting is how I refer to people from BC as being "in BC" whereas people from PEI are "on PEI". Perhaps BCers are "in" the province because they are within the mountains or tall buildings (coast people anyway) while PEIers are "on" an island. Weird.

Anyway, back to the main topic: Making friends as an adult.

Remember being a kid and when you wanted to be friends with the other kid who was playing on the jungle-gym you would just walk over and say, "Wanna play?" Yes, it was just that easy. Now if you were to do that to someone when you're in full-on adulthood, you would get a restraining order. Plus when you're growing up and doing things like going away to university, starting new jobs, getting married, having kids, getting divorced; your life changes so rapidly and people are suddenly removed from your life or introduced into your life and it's hard to find a way to reach out and find new people who can comfort you and be a companion.

I came to PEI without knowing a single soul here. I am lucky that my move involved going to a school where there are tons of people who are all trying to do the same thing as me and who have roughly similar goals, so conversation was slightly easier than say, moving to a brand new city to start a brand new job where you know no one. That's a bit tougher because cliques have already been made within the job and you're the new kid on the block who has to find the right person or people to fit in with. Sometimes you're lucky and someone will approach you and invite you out for a drink with "the girls" or something like that, but a lot of the time you're just watched from afar like an animal at the zoo.

How do you strike up a conversation? What do you say? And to whom do you say it to? So many people are set in their ways by the time they've reached full adulthood that they lack the time or desire to have a new person in their life to make time for. Or sometimes you'll meet a new person, say at the gym, and you'll get to know this person a bit but the relationship reaches no farther than the gym and meeting outside the walls of the building is something that you know will never happen. Why is that? Why can't we merge our gym friends with our life on the outside? Perhaps we have nothing in common besides the desire to have tricked-out triceps.

Some tips I found after researching this a bit:
- Don't take life so seriously and have fun! Kids generally meet when having fun (at the park, sports teams, recess...) so if you keep things casual and more simple then people will want to be in your space and life.
- Be curious, meaning ask questions. "How is your son liking soccer this year?" "Do you know of any good places to get sushi around here?" "I have a bad rash, can you refer me to any clinics?" (Ok, omit the last one).
- Don't hold grudges, judge or burn many bridges. Just because the girl in the copy room has bright pink hair and her septum pierced doesn't mean you too wouldn't get along wonderfully. Forming opinions about people's political/religious beliefs, appearance, hobbies or choice of dress is only causing you to close doors which could lead to friendship.
- Join a class or volunteer. The people who attend will have similar interest as you and interaction is probably inevitable.
- This is something that just came to me, but if you have a dog, go to a dog park! Dog owners love nothing more than to talk about their dog so conversation starters are super easy. "Oh he's a cutie! What's his breed?" "How old is you pup there?" "Do you know of any good dog friendly trails in the area?"

Happy Be-Friending!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Beefs, Advice and Observations

I haven't worked at a "food and beverage server", aka waitress, for a long time, but I have learned and noticed many things in the short time I have been employed as one. I thought that I would share some of my biggest beefs, give some friendly advice and perhaps point out some observations to all of you people who have been served by someone like myself, or maybe even have been a server yourself and can relate to what I have to say.
- A huge pet peeve are girls who don't eat in front of their date/boyfriend. Order the chili cheese dog and fries and enjoy it! I'm sure he'll think you're hotter if you show some personality.
- When you tell me to keep the change after handing me a ten dollar bill on a $9.81 bill, don't act like you're doing me any favours.
- I eat the individual peanut butters at restaurants too. I won't judge you.
- Girls in the age range of 14-17 who come to restaurants in packs tend to all order the same thing (mostly chicken fingers) because they are afraid to be different. Most of the time they eat about 6 bites and claim to be full. Hmmmm. I love it when there are about 4 of them and the first 3 all order the same thing then the last girl orders something completely different PLUS a milkshake! That really riles them up and all hell breaks loose. Suddenly they start changing their orders and adding milkshakes as well. That one must be the Regina George of the Plastics. (Mean Girls...get it... no?)
- Asking me whether or not my bleached blonde hair is natural is not a cool line to start a conversation. You know the answer.
- Just because pop refills are free does not mean that you need 4 of them.
- Complimenting the food and service are hugely appreciated. Thank you.
- I can't turn off the music. Sorry. It's a 50's restaurant and we play 50's music. If you bring up the name Rhianna or Cee Lo I will kick you out.
- Please don't act surprised when you get charged for extras. Gravy, bacon and cheese all cost money.
- I am more than happy to share some info about me, but please don't ask about my life story. Would you like some more coffee though?
- Parking tokens are not an appropriate alternative to actual money when tipping your server.
- Please keep control of your kids. We're running around carrying hot bowls of soup and heavy platters of food and overactive children can be nerve wracking.

- Please don't ask me what's good! I hate that question. What I like may be completely opposite to what you like. Make your own decisions please! If you want to ask my opinion on something then that's ok.
- If there is a problem with the food please tell me when I come over and ask, "How is everything?" rather then when you're done and paying. I could have done something if you had brought it up earlier.
- Please make eye contact. Keeping your eyes to the table or my boobs is just strange.
- Being understanding when the place is absolutely crazy busy is hugely appreciated and I love it when customers and patient.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Short Lived

So the amazing weather was very short lived. A day and a half to be exact and all I got out of it was a bad bad tan-line and false hope that warm weather had finally arrived. But I'm not complaining! Just disappointed because I'm so ready for warmth.

I guess it's really no big deal that the weather didn't cooperate the past few days because I spent most of my time at the restaurant working. I even managed to pick up a shift today and even though it's a holiday, we were busy! I was basically in a full run for my entire shift. Actually, now that I think of it, I worked my tail off the entire weekend. We were quite busy!

I already posted this on Facebook so a lot of you will already know this, but I thought it was so funny that I had to share on the blog as well. Today at work I had a table, a girl and her mom, and instead of giving me a tip they left a card for me on the table that had "Jesus, He Can Save You" written on it, and on the back some kind of Mormon website or church or something. I had to laugh. I wish I had kept it. I guess I looked like I needed some saving today. Good thing they didn't see how I defiled my temple with tattoos - I might have been thrown into a van and sent down to LA where they would have me become a big star in cheesy porno flicks where I have a short sidekick who wears a helmet with a giant dildo attached to the top. Oh no wait. That's Orgazmo and totally fiction. My bad.

Tip of the Day: If you have never seen the movie Orgazmo then please go rent it or download it illegally like the rest of the population. It's hilarious.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Catching Up With Old Friends

Today was a great day. The sun came out and stayed out for the entire day! Plus it was around 22 degrees which gave the majority of us sun enjoyers a bit of a sunburn, but we're not complaining. I woke up to the feeling that it was beautiful outside. You know when you can just sense that it's amazingly sunny outside even though the curtains block all indication of outside? So I hopped out of bed, changed my clothes and jumped on my bike to go for a nice long bike ride into the country. Even at 8:30am I was way overdressed since it was so incredibly humid but I didn't care. I was on my bike and enjoying the sunshine and warmth. Everything was so beautiful as well. The grass was so green and the dirt was so red and the dandelions were so yellow and the sky was so blue! Everything looked amazing. Plus I saw three fox babies (kits) with their parents and they were so cute! I really wish I had my camera with me. I went about 30kms this morning which is fairy good considering I haven't been on the bike since September. I know my hamstrings are going to hate me in the morning but I've missed my bike and I think it missed me.

Tip of the Day: The sign of a good bike-ride is when you get home to find tiny flies trapped against your sweaty skin. Ok. That was gross.

After the ride and a good cold shower, I went to get my hair done. I'm officially blond again! The blond is back in town! It was great to see my light hair return to me once again. I remember the last time (and first time) I ever went this light and it was such a huge shock every time I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, but this time around it's really no big deal and it feels as though I never went through the whole red-head stage. It's like seeing an old friend and immediately engaging in comfortable conversation from the get-go.

After returning to my blond-self I speed walked to Victoria Park to meet up with Sam who was already there lounging in the sunshine (yes, she got a sunburn as well). We ran into some girls we know and chatted with them for a while, then went for a nice walk, got some coffees and just enjoyed the exciting weather.

Tonight I am meeting up with Jess to go to a fashion show at the Globe where a friend of hers is modeling, so we're pretty stoked about that. Not to mention the $3 drinks will come in handy considering the amount I just spent to get my hair done! I really need to give up my vanity I have for my hair. But it's just so fun! Anyway, my skin may be bright pink and hugely annoying but the night is young and I am excited that we got a wonderful reminder that summer is on it's way!

As strange as this may sound, I feel like I got the catch up with a number of old friends today. The first one being the sun. The second was my bike and the love I have of taking it for a ride. The third is my blond hair and the fourth...hmmmm. I look forward to having a beer tonight. It's been a while (like a good solid week at least!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wet Feet. Happy Feet.

It's been raining here lately. A lot. And it can be hard to take because it's the middle of May and all we want to do is go outside and hit the trails with our bikes and boardwalks with our buddies and just celebrate the fact that winter is over. But it just keeps raining. Rain is wonderful to a certain extent. I absolutely love waking up in the morning to the sound of the rain because it gives me an excuse to stay in bed a little while longer. No rush to get out of bed quite yet. Or a cool rain shower in the middle of a hot afternoon is superb because it freshens the air and makes everything smell wonderful. But week after week of dreary rain is good for only one thing - Complaining. People love to complain about the weather. Yes, I am one of them. Especially when I notice that the bottom of my shoes have detached from the main body of the shoe making my feet especially wet the past couple of days. I just thought I was sloshing through too many puddles.

The reason I bring the dull subject of the weather up in this post, is because two days ago I had one of those moments that reminds me that I've become accustomed to being a boring adult and the moment made me officially stop complaining about the rain. I was driving down Queen Street (in the rain) and a kid and his mom were walking along the sidewalk. The kid was dancing and twirling and laughing in the heavy rain with no hat or any kind of weather protective gear on. Meanwhile, about 10 feet behind him was his mom who looked like she was having the day from hell and was completely drenched (even though she had an umbrella).

The scene made me laugh. There have been numerous occasions where I have been trapped in a torrential downpour with no hope of shelter and all I could do was take the moment to laugh and play. Jumping into puddles is more than acceptable when your pants and shoes are weighing you down with the weight of the water. Makeup running down your face is of zero concern because the rain will wash it away in a few minutes anyway. Flat hair? Who cares??!!? Not me! I've decided to stop speaking negatively about the rain for now because I'm sick of listening about it so I'm not going to join the ranks of complainers. It can't rain forever. The sun will come back. I promise.

I have never taken a picture of my feet before but today I felt it was necessary to express the happiness my feet feel right now. Today I got my first ever pedicure and it was divine. I have never really taken much notice or care to my feet which is surprising because my feet are important to me and I enjoy having them so I don't know why I don't take better care of them. I used to put foot cream on them every night before I went to sleep but that was the extent of my overall foot care and really, that didn't last very long. But I started going to Nakai which is the new spa in town and after my first visit they gave me a complementary pedicure to get me to come back...so of course I did! Who's going to turn down a free pedicure? Like I said. It was divine. If you've never done it, do it. If you already do it, why didn't you convince me to do it sooner? Kaylynne tried to get me to come with her to get one last week and it just didn't happen for some reason. Clashing schedules perhaps? I wish I had gone.

Tip of the Day: Go get a pedicure! Your feet deserve it.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Then Reality Sets In

So I have spent the past 9 days in a frenzy of graduation events and being my parents' tour guide. I have be enjoying getting up (reasonably) early and starting the day by driving/walking around with them and showing them the sights. Mom really loved seeing all of the amazing old churches and graveyards that PEI has, so we got in the habit of stopping and looking at them when we came across one on our drives out in the country. I've also been enjoying eating out far more regularly than usual, but there is a guilt building up around not cooking for so long and for spending money on meals when they could easily be made at home. Well, I guess I did make dinner for the folks on a few occasions, so I suppose that helps a bit.

Our trip to Halifax was not what we had planned since Mother Nature decided to rain, and rain, and rain a whole lot more. I can barely remember the last time I saw the sun and the forecast isn't promising for the next week or so. The drive there we stopped to take some pictures of the famous Confederation Bridge and a couple lighthouses. Once we got to Halifax, we did a little sightseeing but mostly just ended up shopping since the wind and rain kept turning the umbrellas inside-out. Dad got the chance to meet Alexander Keith, which he seemed pretty happy about about. I got some lovely new clothes which I am excited to someday wear once the weather turns a bit warmer. Oh, and we also got slightly "lost" on the way home since my dad took a wrong exit without my knowledge and we ended up adding an extra 1.5+ hours onto the drive. But if you ask him about it he'll just blame the whole ordeal on me, so don't bother.

It was great to have mom and dad spend some time here on the island. They got a bit of a sense of the life I've been living the past few years and the chance to see the places I go and the people I've met along the way. I even got them to come to Thursday night trivia at Hunters! Actually, there was very little coaxing involved. Once they heard the size of the draft beers that they sell there they seemed more than happy to experience trivia night. Kidding, kidding. But it was a lot of fun. Even Jess and Sam came along as well which I was grateful for since we would have sucked royally without them. We still didn't win, but the night was fun nonetheless.

Their flight departed at 6am this morning so the goodbyes had to be done last night. As always, it was hard to say goodbye. Some days it is excruciatingly difficult to live so far away from all of my family. The thing with that though is that now I have to face reality. My excuses for not searching really hard for jobs was that I wanted to wait until after I graduated and after the parents returned back to BC. Well, that time is now which means I have to face the facts that I have a large student loan to pay off and a degree to live up to.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Plenty to Celebrate!

My major concern at the moment is that I have way too much to talk about and that this blog post will end up taking all of you about an hour to read, which I doubt is how you want to spend your day. I will try to make it snappy and sweet.

So it all began Wednesday night when my parents arrived in PEI. They were delayed in Montreal for a while so their flight was 2 hours late. And believe me, Charlottetown airport can only stimulate a person for so long so me waiting alone for 2 hours seeing if their plane would show up was a bit painful. But they arrived in one piece around 1:30am and it was well past 2:30am by the time I got them to the hotel and headed home. This is their hotel, The Great George.

Thursday was a chill kind of day. We walked around town and I took them for a drive out into the country so they could get the lay of the land. Unfortunately the weather had its own idea and it got so rainy and foggy that we couldn't even see the coast-line as we drove along side it. We're hoping to go for a nice drive tomorrow and see some beaches if the weather permits it. We went to Cedar's Eatery for supper which is one of my favourite places to eat in Charlottetown. A small Lebanese restaurant that cooks with enough garlic to choke an elephant, and yet I can't get enough. It's so delicious. Even my dad was a fan and he tends to turn his nose up to a lot of ethnic foods. (He even ate Korean food today! He's turning into a whole new person right before my eyes!) After dinner the parents retired back to the hotel while I headed to the bar to meet some of the girls to have a drink. Friends started to trickle back onto the island for graduation so we felt it was necessary to celebrate their arrival with some beers.

Friday was a bit more busy. I had to go to the rehearsal convocation for my graduation in the morning, pick up my gown, , run some errands, make some lunch/dinner for my parents, then later in the afternoon we Nutrition students all gathered together to get our photo taken which goes on the wall of the Nutrition building for all generations to admire. Following that was a little ceremony for our class in which we each got to invite a few close relatives and the ceremony included a couple speeches from some profs, the presentation of our rings and a meet & greet of every one's families and our professors. It was really nice that the department put that on for us because it gave us a chance to mingle and meet every one's mom and dad and just enjoy each other's company one last time as a group. Plus there was excellent food! And once again, afterwards we went out for beers.

Saturday was graduation. I am officially a graduate from the University of Prince Edward Island (I have the degree to prove it!). The day was incredibly busy and full of nerves, excitement, happiness and lots of picture taking. The day went by so quickly it's hard to even remember the little details. I do remember that my gown kept riding up the front of me and constantly choked me while I tried to retain my dignity as I walked around all day. I also remember sore feet. Anyway, it was lovely and the weather held out by not raining, which was a huge relief for everyone. After the ceremony, myself, mom and dad, and Chris and his parents all went out to the Maple Grille for dinner. I've wanted to go there since I heard about it during first year, but the menu is not the most suitable for a student's pocketbook, so I stayed clear it for many years. But yesterday was a celebration and I am so glad that I chose there to eat because it was delicious! I would have licked my plate as well as everyone else's plates as well if it wasn't so looked down upon. I highly recommend the Maple Grille if you want some good eats. And guess what? Afterwards I met up with friends to have....you guessed it! Beer!

Today, Sunday, is Mother's Day (Happy Mother's Day!). I had to work in the morning so I spent the first 8 hours of my day feeding people and their mom's lots of eggs benedict and lobster quiche. It was a good and busy morning so the time went by quickly. Mom and dad went out on their own and did some touristy thing while I was at work. I was told that the famous Sir John. A MacDonald and my dad had a good conversation. I spent the rest of the afternoon with my folks, then we headed out to Chris's parents house for dinner where we met up with the entire family for an excellent meal (and company of course). There was plenty of food, wine, laughter and even a song or two played by Chris. It was the perfect way to end a fantastic weekend.

Now, I head to bed. Oh man. Bed. This is going to be good. Zzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sizzling with Excitement

My parents are coming tomorrow! I'm super excited, just in case you people can't tell. I managed to switch one of my shifts at work so that I can spend the entire first day with them. I'm trying to decide where to take them for dinner on their first night on PEI. A part of me is leaning towards Rufus and Rory's Finer Diner so that they can see where I work, but this is also a chance to show them what the island has to offer for restaurants. I guess I have 2 days still to figure it out. I keep forgetting the reason that they're traveling the 5,500 kms is to see me graduate. Graduation seems to be the last thing on my mind right now.

I made Pad Thai last week and it was delicious. The one thing that I learned though is that it is very difficult to find tamarind in this town (we borrowed it from Kelly) and there is just one little Chinese food store that carries it. Unfortunately the day we went to get some, it was closed. But after the success of the meal I decided that I needed to always have tamarind on-hand so I went back to the store to get some. Now I am officially obsessed with this little store and I keep finding silly reasons to go back. Today it was for rice wine vinegar and water chestnuts. Sure I could easily find these items in any regular grocery store, but that's boring!

This place takes me back to all of the trips to Victoria (BC) I used to go on and we would end up in these amazing (and large) Chinese supermarkets and spend a stupid amount of time just walking around and looking at everything. I remember this one giant store that had a fridge full of congealed cow's blood. Gross. What do people use that for anyway? But apart from the nasty items that frighten me, everything in these stores are just so colourful, new and unusual to me so I want to buy it all then go home and search for recipes to use the ingredients. Well, except for today I was looking at a bottle of pickled eel heads. I have no desire to cook with that. And don't get me started on the candy and snack food aisles. We would stand in this aisle and find the most outrageous candies and buy them, hoping to find the tastiest of the tasty. Most of the time they weren't very good. Luckily this is a tiny tiny store so I can't spend all day reading everything, but every so often I find something that I just have to buy. Today it was sweet and spicy broad beans. They're kind of like honey-roasted nuts, but they're roasted in chili spices and sugar. The first few I ate I wasn't sure if I liked them, but the more I ate the more I liked.

Tip of the Day: Don't be intimidated by foreign food grocery stores. Generally you can find great prices on foods you eat regularly (like rice, soy sauce and chili sauce) and most will have English in the labels as well. Chinese supermarkets are great!