Showing posts from September, 2013

Take Me Home Country Roads

Katya and I are currently renting a room from friends, the Dutchies, in Kitchener. Katya works in Guelph  and she doesn't drive, so I take her in every morning and pick her up at 5 every evening. Kitchener to Guelph is only 18 km but the mass of drivers on the little single lane highway makes the commute take up to 50 minutes at times! Add the big long-haul trucks and the inevitable 80 year old man or nervous middle aged woman in a mini-van, and you have the recipe for my road rage. This traffic problem is constant,  any time of the day. Katya has looked for a car pool, figuring there's so many single-driver cars on the road at rush hour,  but not a single person is interested. There's a real nasty vein of pure selfishness running through the KW area that I see on the road, in the stores and in the parks. Getting tired of "sharing" the road with idiots and assholes, I went looking for my own route. Parallel to highway 7, between the two cities, are a bunch of…

Surprise! I'm Orthodox Now!

In January 2012 I was officially baptized into the Orthodox faith in an old church in central Moscow. The Russian priest who performed the rites was fluent in English. One of Katya's friends, a friendly young Russian man named Dima, was one of those monk-types who lived and breathed the Church. For almost an entire year before my baptism he had been teaching me the Orthodox faith, emailing me English literature on Orthodox canons and traditions, and sponsored me for baptism.

Every adult who is being baptized must be wearing a clean white gown. They must fast for 3 days before the baptism and they must understand what they are doing. Katya and her mother had made me a nice white baptismal gown for the big day, and for 72 hours I ate only a few pieces of bread and drank water, and only after sundown.

On the day of baptism, Katya, Dima and I travelled to downtown Moscow. After a 30-minute discussion with the priest in his office, in which cookies and tea were served (so long for the…

Ottawa V 2.0

A week after arriving in Ontario, we drove to Ottawa to visit my brother and sister. Ottawa is a 5-6 hour drive from Toronto. My family moved there from southern Ontario in the mid-90's, although I didn't join them for a couple of years, and then I only lived there for a year before returning to southern Ontario for post-secondary. Over the  years I have lived and/or visited Ottawa intermittently. The last time I lived in Ottawa was prior to teaching in Russia, which I recorded in Mission to Moscow here.
Admittedly, I hated Ottawa then. I left Port Hardy, BC in December 2008 after finding an ESL job in Russia. I went to Ottawa to spend Christmas with my family but then, suddenly, the world financial crisis hit and I no longer had an ESL job lined up. I was stuck in Ottawa with no job and no plan, so my view of the city was skewed.
However, I have lived in Ottawa for 4 accumulated years and I can say that Ottawa and I have a love-hate relationship. When I visit, I love the pla…

Driving Across Canada

Canada is approximately 7255 km (or 4508 miles) from the Pacific to the Atlantic oceans. One long, and often-times, lonely, highway, the Trans-Canada, serves the main route of car travel. The Trans-Canada weaves through coastal lowlands, along rocky bluffs and sandy beaches, through rich farmlands and dark forests, between towering cliffs and across vast flat plains to awesome mountains and sub-tropical rainforests. Often there is no civilization for hundreds of miles, no cell receptiona and not even FM radio stations. I've driven it 3 times.
The last (and, God-willing, final) time was a month ago when Katya and I relocated from Alberta to Ontario. Believe it or not, but we were having a hell of a time finding jobs in Edmonton! It's a great place for a ticketed tradesperson such as a pipefitter or welder, but for white-collar folks like us, it sucked. Add the unaffordable housing prices, the expensive groceries and the terrible state of the infrastructure which the Alberta go…