Paris Pt. 1🇫🇷

I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog. It is the holidays, and I’ve been away for a few months, so I’ve been spending time with family and my friends. Also found out this year I won’t get government funding for school, so I’ve been working a lot to try and save for tuition. I won’t buy a laptop, maybe just a fancy case and keyboard for my iPad Mini. I also have to rewrite my thesis and redo all the research which I find fun, just not now because I’m busy. Whatever, if somethings important to you you’ll make time for it.

Paris, now that I’m sitting down and thinking about it, I can’t believe I was there just a few weeks ago. The morning I left Jyvaskyla was a tough one, obviously saying goodbye to your friends, not knowing when or if you’ll ever see them again was really hard. I, however, was happy to get out of there, by the December I was pretty tired of having roommates. I decided when I booked the trip that I’d spend an entire day in Helsinki and maybe just crash at the airport. I had planned to explore the city but by the time I got there I realised my bag was to heavy for me to be walking around. I ended up just sitting in a pub and watching my beloved Manchester United get dominated by their cross-town rivals, Manchester City. It’s pretty much been downhill for them since then, but I choose to focus on the positives and … fine, there aren’t any right now. After the game, I decided to go to the airport.

Spending the night at the airport is never fun, but I did end up getting a call from my friend Kat and my mom. It was nice to hear from them and hear the excitement in their voices knowing I was coming home soon. The reason I love Finland is that I never have to worry about people taking my things. I fell asleep, and when I woke up all my stuff was there, no one touched it, you can leave a laptop unattended and not worry about it going missing. It’s what I miss the most about Finland, but who knows maybe one day I’ll go back and visit. My flight was scheduled for 8:00 am, and as I meandered around the airport I had time to get one of those neck cushions for the plane, best purchase ever! However, when I got on the flight, I had an entire row to myself and just passed out along all three seats, not using the cushion at all. This plane ride, however, was unlike any other. When I was in Rome I met a flight attendant, and I asked her about her job and when I should be worried on a plane? She said if there is turbulence and the flight attendants look stressed or worried, panic. On approach to Paris Orly, I saw a flight attendant do the sign of the cross, clutch her crucifix pendant on her chain and begin praying. Immediately I started praying and accepted that I was going to die.

Spoiler alert didn’t die. Navigating Paris Orly is pretty easy and getting to my hostel was super easy. I want to this, Toronto is a first class city with first-class amenities and services. But our metro service in Toronto is confusing as hell. My first date with my ex I took the metro downtown. I was late because I ended up getting off at the wrong stop and having to take the streetcar. The metro in here is annoying and we’ve got like four lines. Whatever, Paris has 16 lines, and I didn’t get lost once. The hostel I stayed in, The Stay-Inn, don’t stay here. While its close to the metro station, the Moulin Rouge, the Sacre-Coeur, and a number of really good restaurants… including Starbucks. Don’t stay here because of its small, the lift was barely big enough for me and the rooms were either too cold or too hot and they were small. Okay, if you’re a small person this place is for you.

My first night in Paris, I grabbed Chinese food for dinner, because that’s what I was craving, I enjoyed some wonderful French wine and went to Starbucks because I was missing home. I did very North American things, except enjoying the ride on the metro. After dinner I got on the metro because I was in Paris, it was night time, and I just had to see the Eiffel Tower. I remember when the train exited the tunnel I looked out the window, and you just see this glittering/shimmering building illuminating the sky. I was in awe; it was truly outstanding to witness. Paris has been through a lot, especially recently with all the terrorist activity and waves of immigrants flooding into the city, there is almost a feeling of anxiousness around the city. Everywhere I went that night there was a heavy police presence, multiple checkpoints for certain things, police in heavy armour, bomb-sniffing dogs and I saw a few police officers on the top of some buildings. It was something that I’m not used to but something I understand. I feel like my mom when I say this, “It’s the world we live in.”

My first night in Paris is something I won’t soon forget. Seeing Paris in the night time and at Christmas time is amazing. The lights and decorations were something to remember. I’ll have the rest of my trip up soon, just been busy with school and work, neither have been fun. I’m sorry about the lack of pictures, but for whatever reason, I can’t seem to upload them properly on my iPad. Oh well! Stay tuned I’ll have the rest of Paris and Madrid up in the next few days.

Coming Soon 📆

I’m writing this post on my iPad. Not something I like to do but I’ll have to use this for the foreseeable future. My first night in Madrid I had my laptop stolen. I was watching highlights at 9:30 in the morning, dozed off right in my bed, on the top bunk, with my computer right in front of me. I felt my laptop brush against my back, but I thought I was dreaming. When I woke up, it was gone, along with a phone that belongs to one of the guys in the room. I took all the precautions when it comes to locking it and double locking it, went to the police everything, I’ve even got a replacement one in mind. I was able to find some of my files in the cloud (Thank God), but my laptop is my life. I have countless projects, posts and stories on there that I might never get back. I know it’s just a laptop and I’ll get another one. I’ll have to work hard, but hard work never scared me. This whole ordeal could’ve been way worse; I could’ve had my passport taken… Madrid would be an excellent place to live. Anyway, I apologise for the delay in posts. I hope to have the next one up soonish! And…. 5. More. Days.

When in Rome 🇮🇹 Pt. Ⅲ

After my little adventure around Rome, I was ready to take it easy. I had a trip to Naples booked, I was excited to see Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius. I didn’t end up going because it’s a bit of a rough place to be alone. I’m sure I would’ve been fine, but after what happened on my first night I wasn’t really up for anything like that again. The girl in my room was from Maritime Canada, so the craziest place in Canada. She told me about the mafia influence in Naples and shared some stories of what happened while she was there. Apparently, there was a stabbing and a mugging. I was a bit disappointed, but you know what? This just means I’ll get to come back to Italy and visit Florence, Naples, Venice, Milan, Turin and even Sicily. I’m reading that sentence again to myself, and it’s apparent that I have the travel bug.

I started the day with breakfast at this lovely little cafe. Anna (Canadian girl) and I walked down to the Colosseum and talked about Canada, travelling, all kinds of things. We split up, and she did all the tours, and I decided it was a great time to get lost. I had a lot of things on my mind, things that were just bumming me out, so I was more than happy to just be by myself. I didn’t take my headphones, and I wore pants. One of those was a mistake, it was 30 degrees or 86 Fahrenheit for my American readers. I walked around for about six hours and got five cones of gelato.

Eventually, I ended up here, Piazza Navona (picture below) Its the super cool open space in the heart of Rome. The obelisk is the obelisk of the Roman emperor Domitian.

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There is also a fountain there, but there wasn’t any water in it. Right now in Rome, there is a bit of a water shortage, so many of the fountains have been turned off to conserve water. I sat around eating my gelato and people watched. There were a lot of tourists, I struck up a conversation with Tanveer, a Londoner on his honeymoon. They asked me how to get to the Trevi Fountain, I didn’t know how to direct them, so I ended up walking with them to the fountain. I felt a little off because I for the first time in a long time I wished I had someone with me. I wished I was there with my significant other, I felt sad like absolutely fucking pathetic. Its normal, I’m still working things out, but after I left the newlyweds, I walked around some more and eventually found a place for lunch. That’s not exactly hard because there are food options everywhere. When I sat down, I was the only person sitting alone. Look I’m not going to lie to you the last few months have felt like hell. I wasn’t afraid, I just didn’t want to be there alone. Guess what? I was, I was there alone, and nothing in the world was going to change that. I had seafood linguine, the most filling lunch I’ve had in a long time.

I wasn’t grateful for the alone time, I know that will happen from time to time. Yes, it’s been hard, and things come up all the time that really get to me, but I was walking around and here’s where things got better. I was in Rome, a few weeks earlier I was in Ireland, Estonia and England. What I’m going through isn’t permanent, I’m out doing the best I can, and I’m taking risks on things that scared the hell out of me. I’m doing it alone and guess what, I’m proving a lot to myself right now.

On my way back I saw crossed a bridge and took this photo. That’s the Tiber River, the 3rd longest in Italy and one of the reasons Rome was such a power in the ancient world. It eventually drains into the Tyrrhenian sea, the sea that is near the tip of the boot of Italy.

IMG_2728That night when I got back to the hostel, I went out for dinner, alone. This time I enjoyed it and had the most fantastic lasagna ever. After dinner, Anna and I went to the bar, and I met a bunch of people. Some Aussies, a Finn! Some Americans, Germans, French, Korean, Canadians and some Danes. I met a girl from Minnesota, Danni and we agreed that we’d get breakfast and head to the Vatican the next day. It’s on my list to go, some of my friends make jokes about me not being able to go because I’m the devil. Can’t make to many arguments there.

I’ve harped on this but staying at a hostel is amazing, the people you meet will surprise you. ALRIGHT, I didn’t do a whole lot this day but I promise you there are some cool things to come and some good stories!

When In Rome 🇮🇹 Pt. Ⅱ

My second day in Rome started a little early, 7 am to be precise. Why so early? Because I would be going to the Colosseum, Forum, and Pantheon for a tour. If you go to Rome, buy a book and just go without a tour, you’ll save a lot of money. I didn’t need the tour because I mean I spent so much of my life studying these buildings and the city but like a tourist, I caved and took a tour. I did this because I was afraid I’d get lost. I spent 90% of my time in Rome lost and without Wi-Fi or cell service and I’m fine. If I can do it, you can do it 100%. So back to the point, I took a tour of the Colosseum, Forum and Pantheon. From Termini its two stops to the Colosseum, the Forum is across the path, and the Pantheon is about a twenty-minute walk, follow the tourists.

I just want to comment on the metro in Rome. It’s hot, it’s cramped, and if you’re standing near the doors hold onto your god damn bag. It’ll cost you €1.50 to ride and that gives you 100 minutes, not too shabby. Anyway, I got on the metro during morning rush hour; I don’t recommend doing this if you have trouble in small spaces or if you don’t like people touching you. I had a bit of a freak out due to the number of people, but it was only two stops, and as soon as the doors opened I bolted up the stairs. That’s where everything seemed just to stop and come full circle. When you get outside the first thing you see is the most iconic building of the Roman Empire, the Flavian Amphitheater, otherwise known as the Colosseum. IMG_2584In 64 AD there was a significant fire in Rome, leaving the sight of the Colosseum inhabitable. Nero took advantage of this and built himself a massive house, the Domus Aurea or Golden House on the site. Many Romans thought that Nero started the fire, he blamed the Christians, naturally and burned them alive. I’ve always thought this was cool, but Nero constructed a lake on the property. Fun fact, no one liked Nero, well the higher classes didn’t. This was due to his luxurious lifestyle, which he paid for by raising taxes. In 68 AD Nero killed himself after a trial where he was declared an enemy of the state. Another fun fact, he was the first emperor to kill himself, and this idiot was the last of the Julio-Cludians. Civil war ensued after his death with multiple parties vying for the position of Emperor. They all sucked, I think there was 4 of them in a one year span, with Vespasian ultimately winning. In 70 AD undertook a mission to put down the Jewish Revolt. Upon his return, he brought 100,000 Jewish slaves and a massive war chest. Both were used to build the Colosseum, a gift for the people. See, now you don’t even need to buy a book if you go and I got to use my major for something.

The building itself is super impressive, and I want to talk about it more but I won’t…. The Romans used to flood it with water and have naval battles inside. Okay moving on, the steps in the building are all pretty steep, but the climb is worth it. Inside you can see the tunnels where animals were kept and where Gladiators came out. The floor is no longer intact because it was made of wood as were many of the seats and the giant awning.IMG_2604

There is a giant cross situated near one of the entrances, its to symbolize the significant loss of life that the Colosseum has seen over the years. Its to “Bless” the people who’d lost their lives due to the beliefs in and of Pagan gods. On one side of the building, there is a large chunk of wall missing, the Colosseum was used to build other things, and its old and well earthquakes.

Next was the Forum, for whatever reason I didn’t enjoy this much. Well, I didn’t enjoy it while on tour. I came back later and did it with a friend. If you’re going to go to Rome walking is going to be a big part of what you do, don’t wear uncomfortable shoes, and watch your step. I twisted my ankle multiple times. You’ll notice that most of the women are wearing heels, they’re Roman and have evolved into these magical creatures that can walk with heels on cobblestone and thousand-year-old roads. You’re not Roman, don’t try it. Oh and bring a water bottle.

The Pantheon was our last stop, and there is a bit of a funny story. So we walked from the Palatine Hill (Colosseum Area) to the Pantheon. One of the best things about Rome is the history, everywhere you go there is something to see. For example, on our way to the Pantheon, we stood in the middle of the Piazza Venezia, which is kinda chaotic so please watch where you’re going. As we stood in the square, well let me show you

 

 

At first glance, the photo on the top left is just a balcony. It’s actually where Mussolini declared war on the Allied Forces. The building with all the scaffolding is where Napoleon lived while he was in Rome. Lastly, the big building is the Altare della Patria also known as Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II. Itlay was a collection of city-states and was not unified until 1871 into the Kingdom of Itlay. Victor Emmanuel was the first king of unified Italy. I cannot stress this enough, if you stand at the gates and look up, you will feel like the smallest person alive. The building is also home to the unknown soldier. So lots of history from various points in Italy all within ten minutes.

Onwards to the Pantheon! The word Pantheon means “Temple of every god.” I believe that is Latin. I took a few Latin classes at Mac and learned Carpe Diem… Okay okay, I learned that watching Dead Poet’s Society. Its one of the cooler buildings because its still in use today. It was completed 125-126 AD and was finished by Hadrian. The route we took was cool, there are restaurants, souvenirs, and gelato shops. If you’re in Rome and you get lost, get gelato it’ll make you forget about being lost.

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I said there was a funny story, right now the Pantheon is a church, Santa Maria ad Martyres or St. Mary and the Martyrs. People walked in with shorts but this one woman got stopped, and it was the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen. She had a low cut top, and I guess her husband told her that she’d need to cover up. At the entrance, one of the guards looked at her and said, “This is a Church. Cover please.” Her husband grabbed the shirt from around his waist and forcefully handed it to her while saying, “I told you, Jenine! Gosh” I had quite the chuckle.

 

After the tour was over, I went back to the hostel and well I’ve always heard “It’s a small world” from my mom but never paid it any mind. On my way back I ran into an old friend from a job I had as a teenager. Then on the metro, I ran into a priest I knew from my days going to Catholic school. It was the perfect way to end my day but well it was far from over. Back at the hostel, I met a flight attendant who was in Rome for just the night. So did she ever drop the bomb with the insides on being a flight attendant. Yes, I’m aware I just used the word “bomb” and “flight” in the same sentence. So I’d never do this because I’m not weird, but if you take your shoes off on a plane and go to the washroom, it’s NEVER water on the floor. Also if your kid is playing in the aisle while foods being served, you’re the problem with society. Anyway, after that wonderful conversation, we decided to do all the shit I’d already done but during the evening. It started with Pizza and beer, then off to the Cirus Maximus. Now its one of the older structures in Rome, if you can still call it a structure. The venue was home to Ludi which are games for the people. Chariot races and gladiatorial battles are great examples of Ludi. The building in the background is the back of the Palatine Hill. IMG_2658

So I promise we’re getting to the end of this post. I did almost everything on day one. I did it alone and with a friend. My friends think I’m stupid for this, but I’m really self-conscious when it comes to meeting new people. I just over think everything and the words don’t go from my brain to my mouth in one fluid motion. At least that’s the way I’ve always seen it. At the end of the night, my new friend told me she was happy that I just said hello to her. When I think about my life, I’ve been able to make friends where ever I go for whatever reason. I’m grateful for that, alone time is great and its something I’ve reclaimed for myself lately, but it’s nice to be social and out with people. So That concludes my post for today, I’ll leave you with one more photo, and it’s a good one.

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Yes, that’s me in front of the Trevi Fountain!!! Post number 3 is on the way! Thank you for reading!!!!!!!!!!!

The Window Seat Pt. 3 🛫✈️🛬

As we sit down, I recheck my phone, no messages. I wrote a message to Alice and saved it in my notes. I think about sending it, but it’s a working day. I can’t do that to her, can’t let her start her day like that, I need to give her space, but it’s tearing me up inside. Every situation has gone through my mind. I can see this being it, I can see her breaking up with me. I can see her hating me, I can see her never talking to me again. We fight but we always makeup but I know the fighting needs to stop. I know I need to tell her that I’m not happy, I’m not satisfied with work, I’m not excited about where I am in my life, and I’m probably not happy with myself. I don’t know how to tell her this, I don’t want her to think that this is her fault. Although there are times where I want to blame her, I know I cannot. “James? Are you alright?” Tiia has a very concerned look on her face. The waiter sets our food in front of us, Tiia doesn’t break concentration. “I-I’m fine, just a lot on my mind.” I can feel my heart racing again, “You know you remind me a lot of my husband. Terrible liar, it was all in the eyes.” It’s not the first time I’ve heard that. “Okay. Alice, my girlfriend. Well, Alice and I, we’ve been fighting, a lot. Mostly because I won’t tell her that I don’t want to be a professor. It sounds fickle, but I don’t know how to tell her. I don’t know how to tell her after she stuck by me through everything. Grad-school, unpaid internships, me only being home six weeks a year, just everything. I feel like I’d be letting her down” I haven’t said that to anyone, here I am spilling my guts out to some lady I don’t know. Tiia puts down her fork, the waiter places a cup of coffee in front of her. “Thank you.” She fixes her eyes back onto me “Do you love her?” Lately, I’ve felt like I don’t, or I don’t know how to love. “Is she constantly on your mind?” I take a sip of my water, the phad thai is a little spicy, “She means the world to me. When I think I’ve hurt her, I feel like the worst human being in the world. That’s been me lately. Everything in my life seems so chaotic, and I’ve been taking that out on her.” Tiia reaches across the table and places her hand on top of mine, “My husband was the almost the same and my oldest, Tobias is the exact same way. He was a doctor, a cardiac surgeon. Rory, his partner, was there every step of the way. Gave him the courage to come out, helped him study, made sure to help with the stress of medical school. Tobias is a teacher now, a high school teacher and Rory and him are married.” She lets go of my hand, we both hear the boarding call. I give her a faint smile and go to pay the tab.

One of the best feelings in the world is getting on a trans-Atlantic flight and seeing that the plane is not full. Tiia asks the flight attendant if we’d be able to sit next to one another, she asks us if we’d be okay with First class? As if that’s even a question, complementary Champaign, proper meals, and plenty of leg room. We’re ushered to our seats, and asked if we’d like Champaign. We both nod yes. “So your son is a teacher?”

“Tobias is yes, Jacob, an investment banker, and Elli is a fashion designer in Sweden. But yes Tobias is a history teacher.” With a slight jerk, we begin to move, and I watch the flight safety video. I can’t help but think that if we crash it’ll be in the frigid rough water. Most of us if not all of us will die. At our funerals the chances of there being a body in the casket are slim. I roll my eyes; I can’t believe I’m thinking about this. My least favourite part of flying is the takeoff, I’ve watched too many shows about planes blowing up on the runway. Completely irrational but it could happen. When we’re in the air I look over to Tiia, she has her eyes closed. She must know I’m looking at her, “I don’t like take off. Don’t like it at all.” After a few moments, the seat belt sign is turned off, and Tiia opens her eyes. “So I was telling you about Tobias.” I nod, “Well his dad and I never wanted him to do something he didn’t want. But he got it in his mind that when we got older that it was up to him and him alone to provide for us. Imagine, working so hard for something and thinking every step of the way that you hate it. That it isn’t your dream. That it is the last thing, you want.” I can relate to that, I wanted to provide for my mom and dad, and now that my dad is gone it’s up to me. “One day Rory came home, and Tobias was sitting on the couch all snot and tears.” She mocks his crying face and gives a little laugh. “So they’re sitting on the couch, and Rory told him, looked him right in the eyes and told him that it was going to be okay. That night they came over for dinner, and he told us what had gone on over the last few months. Jacob and Elli were both shocked, as was I and my husband because that wasn’t his job, all we ever wanted was for him to be happy. I know it’s a cliché, but Tobias taking care of himself  was all I ever wanted because of he such a kind man, a loving husband, a terrific son, and he’s just got this way about him, makes people gravitate to him.” I’ve taken my phone out of my pocket and spin it around between my index finger and thumb, “So he quit?” Tiia turns to look at me, “No James, he decided that being happy was what he wanted. And you know what, Rory supported him because he loves him.” Alice loves me, I know I question it. “Did Tobias ever think Rory didn’t love him?”

“Absolutely.”

Now Boarding 💺Pt. 2

Friday, September 29th, 2017 – Friday, October 6th, 2017 

Jyväskylä-Helsinki-Tallinn-Helsinki-Manchester-Dublin-Galway-Stockholm-Helsinki-Jyväskylä 7,152km 

Jyväskylä to Helsinki- Normally you can take the train and if you ask me you should always take the damn train. We took the bus, which on a Friday can be all kinds of packed. One of the coolest things about the bus is you really get to observe what Finlands like. So lots of trees, lakes and well nature. Its really nice to see the changing of the leaves, all the colours. Whenever you take public transportation, you run the risk of sitting close to an idiot. We had a guy who just watched Youtube videos the entire ride… without headphones.

Helsinki was the first city I got to when coming on, exchange, it’s beautiful. Right on the water with a vibrant culture and teaming with life. If you’ve never been here some advice. Fins are great, but they can be “weird” That is the way they come off. In Finland, the concept of small talk doesn’t exist. Personal space is a must here. Take, for example, when I get on the bus to school no one wants to sit next to each other. You’ll have people stand rather than sit next to someone else. If you don’t believe me check out, @finnishnightmaresofficial or @veryfinnishproblems on Instagram, you’ll get a good laugh out of it, and I can vouch for how accurate it is.

It is rather easy to get them to come out of their shells though.. sorta, beer. Kippis means Cheers in Finnish so if you want to get to know them or talk to them or have them talk to you maybe hold up two beers and say Kippis! I’ve gotten off track, sorry. We didn’t stay long in Helsinki, our ferry to Tallinn left at midnight, and we arrived at around 9:15pm. Just enough time to grab McDonalds and head to the ferry terminal. If you’re one of my North American readers, you’ll know that McDonald’s back home can be …ASS especially if you’re not drunk. Finnish McDonald’s gets the thumbs up from me. I recommend the share box, you get wings… WINGS!! Onion Rings, and Nuggets. Whats not to love? Anyway, at the ferry terminal, one of the members of the group pranced through the gates and security were waiting for him. Just a random search. Naturally, we made fun of him, and it was nice that it wasn’t me being randomly selected. Adel Darwish Mohammed  feels like this,

AasfaAT

 

Helsinki to Tallinn

Sorry, couldn’t resist. The Ferry is awesome and it even has a grocery store/liquor store.

 

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetAlcohol is pretty cheap on the ferry, but in Tallinn, it’s cheaper. Its why Fins go there and exchange students. So Tallinn is basically what Montreal is for Torontonians. Party Hardy beautiful city. Cabs in Tallinn are cheap … just not the ones outside the ferry terminal. Our hostel was close to Old Tallinn and some bars and clubs. I’d recommend Euphoria (Roosikrantsi 4, 10119 Tallinn, Estonia) Its real simple, really chill and a good price. After we settled we went out to a club, Münt (Müürivahe 22, 10140 Tallinn, Estonia.) They had €1-2 drinks, so needless to say there was a lot of people and a lot of security. So what I’ve been noticing is that there are smoking rooms everywhere you go in Europe. In clubs, bars, even the airports. I ended up in one at the club and while I was sitting there with my friend the fucking ashtray exploded.

The next morning was spent recovering from hangovers, I felt great because at some point during the night I switched to tonic water and limes 😉 Why? Drinking is fun, hangovers are the bane of my fucking existence, and I’d rather crawl naked across a kilometer of broken glass. Very descriptive I know. Anyway another recommendation, Kompressor (Rataskaevu 3, 10123 Tallinn, Estonia.) Its a cafe that makes the best god damn pancakes in the world … in Tallinn. Its cheap and the portions are massive. Not traditional North American pancakes, you can get them topped or filled with a variety of different things. I had the cream cheese and chicken 👍🏾

I had this feeling the entire time I was there that I was being watched. Easy to explain, there are churches EVERYWHERE! Like this one, sadly not everyone respects churches or cathedrals. On the side of this one, someone spray painted graffiti. It looked like someone had tried to remove it but they couldn’t. E8B4E146-345D-446E-84B2-ADE526E5510D

So yeah you are being watched… By God! My favourite thing about Tallinn was the variety of food options. So I’m Trinidadian, that means I get a lot of spice in my food. Finland … Does ketchup count as a spice? That night we went to an Indian restaurant, and it hit me. Keep in mind I’ve been away from home for about 3 months. Tallinn was also my first stop of my little holiday, but I sat in this Indian restaurant, and I immediately missed home. Toronto is the most diverse city, I can get food from every part of the world. I’m very fortunate to live there. I’ll elaborate more on this in the last part of this series. Myself Shawn and Jari spent the night out later than the rest of the group, I had a flight to Helsinki at 6:15am then I’d get a connecting flight to Manchester. We went to a hookah bar, Hookah Palace (Roosikrantsi 3, 10119 Tallinn, Estonia) which was across the street from the hostel. €3 Drinks, I recommend the cider and €8 Hookah, great atmosphere. We smoked and drank and had a great time.

At 4:00am I got in a cab and headed to the airport. It cost €8 to get there. Hail a cab don’t get into the ones that are just waiting around! The Tallinn Airport is small, and when I got there, I was a little drunk and tired and had to wait what felt like the most extended hour and a half of my life.

Tallinn to Helsinki

This is the last part of part 2. I got to Helsinki and had to go through customs, the customer officer laughed at me because I’d forgotten to sign my passport. Rookie mistake. The highlight of the Helsinki airport, I found a Starbucks and paid a stupid amount of money for a medium coffee… sorry Grande coffee. It warms my heart to know that Starbucks is expensive everywhere. It’s a healthy relationship to have.

22343979_10155789545547265_211654717_oAlright! Thanks for reading. Part 3 will be up later this week, or tomorrow, depending on how I feel!

The Westbound Train 🚉 Pt. 1

In the corner of the bed I can see that I’ve kicked off the sheets again. Even though its May the days have been getting hotter and hotter, and it already feels like July. Every morning begins like this, I wake up hot and uncomfortable and sure enough the sheets are always kicked away in the night. Now that I think about it, I should just leave them off. I have a few minutes before the alarm goes off so I just lay there, staring at the ceiling fan. I don’t know why I even bother with it; all it does is spread around the heat. I can see the glisten of sweat on my forearm. As I go to wipe it away the alarm goes off. Carefully I have to navigate the space from my bed to the dresser. The floor is littered with clothes and books, I press the off button and flip the light switch. It’s 6:30 on Saturday May 13th and I don’t want to be awake. I sit on the corner of my bed with my head in my hands. I can feel the ends of my hair soaked in sweat. When I look up and see the suit hanging on the back of my door. I just stare at it, navy blue with brown buttons, a blue and white striped shirt and a navy tie. I spent weeks picking out the right combination and now all I can think about is how uncomfortable I’ll be.

When I walk into the bathroom I’m greeted by a very disheveled looking me. My eyes are heavy and red, aching for some more sleep. My beard has seen better days, there’s some grey and its begging for a trim. I turn on the water in the shower and quickly trim my horrendous beard. I can see strands of black and grey hairs cover the sink. By the time I’m done the mirror has fogged up. I could wipe away the steam to check what I look like but lately all it’s done is disappoint me. In the shower I let the warm water run over my body. I turn on the little water proof radio and listen to the banter of the radio hosts discussing last nights’ game. It soon becomes background noise. I watch the water fall and swirl down the drain, its hypnotizing and suddenly I find myself thinking about Nora. I think about the last time I saw her. She was with Jamie, her fiancé. I remember Nora saw me eating lunch on a patio downtown and came up to say hello. She was wearing a black shirt, jean shorts, a black baseball cap and of course her white Chuck Taylors. I don’t know why I’m remembering this; I don’t know why I’m thinking about any of this. Or maybe I do and I don’t want to admit it. I remember seeing her coming up to me, Jamie right behind her. They came in and I shook his hand and gave her a brief hug. Not like the ones I used to give her. The long ones where she’d hold on for a second longer.

“Did you get the invite?” She was referring to the wedding initiation they’d sent out a few weeks earlier. Of course I got it, it was burning a hole in my bag as we spoke that day. I put it in my bag with plans of RSVPing during lunch. I thought about pulling the card out and doing it right then and there. But the truth is, it took me a week to even open the letter. It took me another week to work up the courage to read it.

“Yeah I got it, I’ve been a little busy at work. But I have it and just haven’t gotten a chance to mail it back. I’ll get it done today when I get back to the office.” It was a lie, one of the many I’ve told to her over the years but I didn’t feel guilty about this one. If I close my eyes I can still see the little half smile she gave me. I can also see the way she held onto Jamie’s hand as they said their goodbyes. That seemed like forever ago and maybe I thought I’d forgotten about it but here I am in the shower thinking about the one of the most painful memories I have. I can feel the knot in my stomach and the lump in my throat, I turn to face the wall, the water spraying onto my shoulder. Both my fists hit the green tiles, and the radio noise emerges from the background. Its time to get out of the shower, the train to Hamilton leaves in an hour and I’m notoriously slow when it comes to changing in the morning.