Old life, new life

Hmmm, it’s been ages since I last wrote…the blog needs some updating but for now, let me say “HI!” for starters.

The blog needs a new name too since my travels are over for the mo. I’ve landed in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, and it’s the end of November-Movember. (I can’t believe my bro is sporting a mustache…I wish I could see it!)

I’m a bit in denial so I’m not calling this city home until I have too. For now, I’m a “homeless” grad student, unsettled and studying and trying to start and finish a paper in 48 hours = not a good idea! And I’m taking a break as you can see with this blog 😉

As I make my way in chilly Ottawa (it has snowed twice since I got here and they say it’s not even “real” winter yet….tis true, the temperature can drop another 20 degrees Celsius or so), I keep thinking about my old life in Vietnam and this new one back in Canada (home country but in new city on the other side so weather and lifestyle and landscape are completely different).

Put simply, here are some things that pop into my head.

–motorbike, no walking vs. –bus with very convenient university pass and walking on ICE!
–summer dresses, no socks, rarely in need of a cardigan vs. in jeans with leggings underneath (I heart wool and flannel!)
–warm fresh tofu w/ginger sauce for 25 cents vs. –packaged almond dessert tofu snack for $1.49
–rice cooker with steamer vs. –same thing, borrowed from Marisa 🙂
–cozy studio for one vs. –3-floor townhouse with roommate for 2.5x the rent
–free time for friends, coffee, and nothing vs. –hardly any time (nevermind a life!) outside of school
–up til 2am watching Hannah Montana and American Idol vs. –up til 2-3am writing papers 🙂
–clothes from fun boutiques & many alterations vs. reusing winter items from 5 years ago & alternating 3+ warm jackets (Almost nothing from VN is applicable to my autumn–winter wardrobe here. Why did I have a 3/4 length sleeve jacket made? I have worn it about 3 times :))

Fantasia in Dalat

–friends in person vs. neglected friends all over (sorry I suck at email!)
–party planner vs. wishful thinking (I hope to have a lil Christmas party after exams…)
–leisure time in coffee shops (I miss u, Trung Nguyen) vs. library and cubicle time 🙂
–average phone plan of $10 a month vs. $40 a month and that’s the cheapest I could find
–instant sweat once outdoors vs. no sweat even when bundled up
–cafe sua da vs. hot tea or boiled water everyday
–frequent use of baby powder vs. hand moisturizer
–hip hop and line dancing vs. no physical activity….this should change!
–lots of sleeping vs. either 10hrs a nite (procrastinating) or 4hrs when busting out the assignments
–kitchen appliance always in use: toaster oven vs. microwave (the ‘wave is a must in a chilly land = oatmeal!)

Sometimes I don’t know if I should laugh or cry when I think of all the differences. BUT I’m happy in both places. NEW and OLD are both good. Cultural adjustments are still going on….the other day, I bought ice trackers for my shoes….I had no idea what these even were but they prevent slippage so that you don’t fall on black ice! The things one learns when in a new city 😉

Oh and here are the Ottawa bonuses:
old friends new place

–French is ever so present.
–I am in a great grad school program. (International and Public Affairs)
–My brain is stretching; I’m glad to be really challenged intellectually.
–Somethings are so convenient: I bot winter boots in under 20 minutes and they were on sale sans negotiation 🙂
–Eggnog (tis the season) and frozen spinach are readily available.
–It is quiet.
–I am in a good timezone to talk to friends and family.
–Christmas lights on display outside ppl’s home. No overkill yet 🙂
–Internet works 99% of the time and I have not had 1 power outage yet.

OK back to the paper! Ciao xooxoxoxoxoxox!

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