Upon thinking of something that I can’t live without, I really had a difficult time coming up with it. In our lives we have wants and needs. The needs and wants seem to fluctuate and really depend person to person, and even the lines of reality seem to fluctuate in regards to what is needed and what is wanted.

I have come to the conclusion that…

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Essentially the photo only is a representation of something that I can’t live without: public transit.

As a commuter from one end of the city to the other, I rely on three (3) separate transit systems interconnected via the mass aggregation of Metrolinx for a more ‘seamless’ and transit-oriented journey. I live in the Northern Suburbs, and work in the Western Suburbs, and unfortunately since the infrastructure in Canada for transit isn’t so vast, it’s a long commute.

Without this service available to me, I’d have to walk everyone, because I’m a pedestrian without a drivers license. So to all the people that help make public transit happen: thanks, and keep it up (cause if you don’t, then I won’t be able to get to/from work, or anywhere for that matter!)

 

A few weekends ago I embarked on a huge journey and exciting activities that I will describe below. It was a fun, busy, and crazy filled week and weekend and I can’t help but recount my adventures to the general public, that is to say, those of who actually read and comment on my blog.

And so it began with meeting my fellow younger colleagues at our medical appointment a few weeks ago. We were molested, violated, and pretty much put into numerous awkward positions during our medical visit, and in bitching and complaining about it we came to the realisation that we should party together. And thus we decided that since some of them lived in a school that was large, and had plenty of space to play hide-and-seek, we would go to Vire in order to have said fun. If thou don’t know, Vire is a small town in the south-west corner of Calvados, on the border of La Manche and L’Orne.

And so, between all this planning for the story and such I learned that Markus, yes the infamous and ever-loveable Markus, would be visiting Paris, and of course wanted me to join him on his scandalous adventures. And so since the dates seemed to coincide I decided to go to Vire, and the following day continue on to Paris in order to meet up with Markus and have ourselves lovely-a-time.

And so the day came to go to Vire, I had class until 17:30 and the last train leaving for Argentan connecting to Vire was at 18.30 or so. This meant that I needed to boot my ass from my school and get to the train station with all of my blankets and shit (including mass amounts of alcohol). I made it in time, but the train was like sardines. I was wedged between the window and some Québecois people who were trying to sound intellectual, but their conversations weren’t going anywhere but in circles and consisted of phrases such as the following (translation of course): “I think that it’s a great philosophy, I think I should live by a philosophy, what was your philosophy again, I want to follow it and feel better as a person, by the way, who do you believe in, because your philosophy seems to be atheist, and I’m catholic. Does this mean that I can believe in this philosophy? Blah blah blah” and it carried on like this for the full 30 minutes that I was on the train. During all this I was standing next to a guy that was trying to break up with his girlfriend with his mobile, and she clearly didn’t want such drama to happen. Meanwhile, there was a really tall guy that kept staring at me, and I kept pretending I was on the phone and marking my papers to keep him at bay. He descended at Argentan also, and I feared that he would stalk Sophie and I, to no avail thankfully!

And so we arrived and transfered to our train heading from Paris to Vire. There was hardly anyone on the train which was lovely as it gave me some correcting time, and then Sophie some make-up putting on time. I joined her to make myself pretty for the big occasion. We arrived and walked, met up with our colleagues and went to a crêperie for dinner. It was so cute but I have to say that there were certain Americans that were being so loud and obnoxious that we were getting really bad glares from the only other people in the restaurant, a couple who were clearly trying to have a romantic dinner. I kept hushing people and getting them to be quiet but people started yelling at me, and I nearly walked out. Lucky for me, Kevin, my lovely German friend arrived and brought with him his sense of humor and cuteness that is paramount to everything.

After such we returned home and drank lots, fell asleep in respective rooms, and the next day I woke up, having to wake up Kevin to let me out. He seemed less inclined to get out of bed, and told me to jump the fence. I laughed but he was serious. So I tried, and the little prissy bitch I am struggled but I made it. Looking at the clock I thought I’d miss my train so I booted it to the station with a map in hand to avoid getting lost, and finally when I got there I had barely enough time to compost my ticket and get on the train without missing it. Missing the train to Markus would be catastrophic, to say the least.

And so I arrived, after we were delayed (as always) because of leaves on the track. What the hell Normandy, nobody else has this problem?! Got there, found Markus with all the Parisian kafuffel and we were off in search of metro tickets, and our hotel which proved to be quite difficult to find. We got there, and then went to a kebab place where we spent just about four hours eating our plate which was much to filled with miscellaneous items of Turkish food. It was cold, so we didn’t want to go out, especially since I’m a total tart and completely neglected to realise that it was going to get cold and left my jacket in Caen. Lesson learned, in a simple word.

So we pranced around Paris for awhile seeing some stuff and getting some great food. We slept, and slept, and then the next day which was a Sunday we decided to finally haul our asses out of bed (which smelled like chanel and made it difficult to sleep), and headed into the main part of the city. Guess what, like Normandy it was raining and I had no coat, nor umbrella, so we ran to the Louvre, a place I have never been and we decided that a day inside would be well worth it. We walked around the museum, people watching, and spending three hours looking at statues. At one point, going from times before Christ, and arriving at French Renaissance sculptures, Markus made a note that we need something new, and headed to find the paintings sections. Just follow the damn tourists, none of whom speaks French, which is hilarious because all the signs and explanations to everything are in French. We giggled as I translated for him.

We saw lots and digressed to saying that our minds were spongy since we took in so much, especially had fun with the “Spot the American” game. We were right 100% of the time, take note reading-Americans; try to be less obvious and you might not be so hated? 🙂

We left, in search of food, which on a Sunday night is quite difficult to find. We took a “detour” in the metro in order to kill time, and found, after countless attempts a restaurant which seemed appropriate.

Hello world. Yes it’s me, and yes I’m alive and kicking. What a wonderful last few days it’s been! Traveling the world, and spending some awesome times with some friends! Who could have possibly thought that it was so cool? Well besides me, but that’s a minor detail!

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Check out this awesome map which shows where I’ve been so far. I will make a list for you and then explain it all.
Strasbourg -> Paris -> Nyköping -> Stockholm -> Arlanda -> Luleå -> Kalix -> Haparanda

Day 1
So I left for Paris at 03.30 and got to the train station without being raped, attacked, or followed. I thought that I lost something on the way, but after paranoidly searching everywhere on the ground I gave up later to find it in my pocket. Blame lack of sleep and nervousity. I got there and it was completely empty, but after walking to the wrong enterance I found my train and was set ready to go to Paris. I sat there, and I was the only person in the train, I’m not joking! I tried to fall asleep but I couldn’t since well things were very uncomfortable. When we got to Nancy, this crazy cenile woman tried to steal my seat and then realized that she was mistaken after waking me up and making me move. The only word that I can think of is ‘wench’ but it turned out she was really nice after wishing me a Merry Christmas and safe travels, despite not taking another word to each other.

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I got to the central station in Paris and walked around trying to find the Metro, it was intensly large and lots of foreign people who didn’t speak French. I got to the Metro stop, and since I already had a ticket I just used it and then went on my way hopping on the right train *I hoped* Turned out I did everything right, and it’s true about the metro being so quiet with nobody talking. Everyone in Paris looks tired, which was good for me cause it made me better looking than I do.

I got to my stop and did the transfers and the metro is actually nicer than I expected. People mind their own business, but I was tempted to say “do you want a picture or something?” they just stare like crazy, it’s creepy! I got to my stop and looked around for about an hour for the damned bus stop. After walking around the quartier about 4 times, I almost got hit by a few cars, and such I followed the trail of Swedish girls that were chatting away near a band of cars.

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So I got on the bus and went to Beauvais which is like an hour away, and then did my baggage stuff and went and got checked. They didn’t check my passport a single time, which I thought was hillarious! I loved it though, no complaints for me! The plane was horrible, the seats were comfortable, but I was sitting with 4 babies around me with families so I couldn’t sleep a single moment and it was so annoying. It makes me not want to have kids despite loving them. The above picture is the sight upon arriving in Nyköping from my flight, notice the smallness of the airport and the amount of Swedish people who surprisingly speak French!

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This photo is from Central-Statation in Stockholm after taking the bus to the bus terminal. I got bored for waiting hours and hours and hours and hours and hours, still going, until I explored down a street that looked cool. All the Christmas decroation were nice but I didn’t want to get lost and such so I stayed along the main roads. I made a call to a friend and he said he was coming to Stockholm to go out with some friends so he came on a train from Uppsala. It turned out to be fun since we hung out in the train station for a little while and then his friends came to pick him up. They invited me out and such, which was very nice to do, but unfortunately I was very tired, I didn’t have much Swedish money, and I had my luggage with me. Despite being quite safe in the bus/train terminal, it closes very early in the evening so I had to decide what to do. Several drunks were thrown out, which was funny, and I grabbed a cinnimon bun which was amazing!

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So for the next few hours I walked around the downtown core of Stockholm. Only up and down one or two streets a few times so that I wouldn’t get lost. It’s difficult at night since it’s dark and the streets are sorta empty! I walked down the main shop street and saw a church so the above picture best describes that. There were even some people around that were speaking English, which I thought was really weird! The Swedish in Stockholm is much different than I realized, as I haven’t heard the accent before. They talk fast and use lots of expressions that I didn’t understand, but since I didn’t really talk to anyone, and I blended in, it was totally fine.

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So since I didn’t want to be a homeless person in Stockholm, a foreign city, I decided to take the express train (seen above) to the national airport in Arlanda. It travels at 300km/hr and took about 20 minutes to get to the airport. This annoyed me since I was trying to kill time, not gain it. I was the only one on the train (surprise surprise) but it was very nice, and comfy. Notice the classic Swedish colours, and cleanliness which best describes the country!

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I non-chalontly walked around the dead terminal for some hours, since it’s not very large, and parked myself down at the internet café which was very nice and cheap! Then I decided that I needed sleep, bad! So I found a spot where lots of people were sleeping, and parked myself down to try to find a comfy seat or something. This was not possible as airports are not built for sleeping, but I managed to get a few minutes of sleep I think. Between the Finnish and foreign travelers in the terminal, and the constant vaccuum cleaner working, I was able to get a nice seat on a bench below a huge Christmas wreath as seen above. This was a wonderful view since I couldn’t sleep and had nothing else to do, no jokes! So I killed about 10 hours at this same spot, and the guy next to me kept staring at me when I woke up. I don’t think he slept, but still it reminded me of creepy France and all their people staring.

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I later realized that my choice of location was very poor. I parked myself down right infront of the train enterance (seen above). This means at 5am tons of people would be coming in and out, and I realized this when some woman accidentally dropped her paper on me. As if she couldn’t see me! Usch! Anyways, went and killed some more hours looking in the shops and such, until I finally could go check in. Oddly in Arlanda, for the domestic flights there are no check in counters, this confused me. It’s all done electronically, so I had to ask a woman for help and she laughed at me since I had never heard of the electronic things. I had no baggage to check, and just had to wait. All went fine and I got my boarding pass. I lined up to security check and they went through my stuff, not oppening my passport, getting my pass, or even opening my bags, how funny. In the name of national security, oh dear, but everyone loves Sweden so it’s okay! I sat down at some random flight going to Skullefteå so that I could hear some funny accents, and then I took a short nap. Suddendly when we began boarding I heard an announcement, and when it was said in Swedish I got nervous. I got the general gist of it: we overbooked, if you want to get a rebate and such come talk to desk blah blah blah. As a paniced, nearly illegial traveller, I ran to the front of the line and made sure that I got a seat on the plane! Good choice! They still never checked my passport, and just scanned my ticket, how funny. I was very clearly the only foreigner on the plane!

I got to sit next to two nice teenagers who were reading and joking the whole way. SAS Airlines is the absolute best way to travel, hands down. It’s expensive, but they treated me like royalty. Breakfast, papers, tabloids, pillows everything for only a 1hour flight! Talk about service, I was impressed! So we arrived in Luleå an hour later and I waited for Robert to come get me. He had sent me a SMS to tell me that he would be late since he couldn’t find the airport. It turns out that he went to some airport base for the military, and then eventually found his way. We had to do some errands for his mom in the outskirts so we did so and then went home. I slept, for obvious reasons, and the vacation began.

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The very next day we decided to do some shopping in Haparanda, which is on the Finnish border. It’s a tiny town with an IKEA, so we would indulge ourselves there and hope that we didn’t die of too much Finnish. In the photo above you can see as we crossed the highway with the sign going to Sundsväll, which is 5-7 hours by car to the south, and in a more ‘habitable’ environment. Notice also the snow, as I got my Christmas wish of being in a white cold place! The IKEA can be seen in the distance too. So we shopped, and found some cool stuff and had a bundle of laughs, and then went for food and saw the litle shops and such were I bought him his present.

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Above is the photo the shows Finland. The white building is in Finland and all the other buildings around were made for passport controls or such before the Schengen agreement was put into place. Wonderful how the borders of Europe have somehow dissapeared in the last 15 years. Will it be good, one will see, but for me it’s freaking awesome. The best part about the Haparanda trip was the fact our bus tickets were bought as children. We both clearly said Tur & Retur till Haparanda, and they charged us children fair so it was only 69:- (dirt cheap as you can probably guess). Go team awesome, also known as 20-something-year-olds who look like 15!!

My exams are over, and having 6 in one day was just about death. I had problems with some of them but despite all of that it doesn’t matter since I am going on vacation and I don’t care about anything else right now!

In 30 minutes I am on my way to the train station to get a train to Paris, then take the Metro to the other side of the city, then take a bus to the airport, then take a flight to Sweden, then take a bus to Stockholm, then take a train to airport, then take a flight to Luleå, then get picked up by Robb.

How exciting all this is don’t you think? I think I am going to struggle and get lost at some point but let’s keep a positive attitude here!

I will try to update some things, and take tons of pictures on the way, but in any case; I’m going on an adventure all by myself and I’m scared to the bone! Go team me!

So now after 26hrs of absolute painful sitting at a chair that is uncomfortable, with no sleep and food, I never want to take a train again! :DD Trains are horrible because they give me an unlimited amount of time to think, and we all know what happens when I start to think about things.. bad things happen! haha just kidding.

No seriously now though, I didn’t sleep at all because I can’t get into comfortable position sitting upwards and such *grumble grumble* oh well it’s all over now.

So I think I’ve made an unofficial decision people(s)… brace yourself now because I was thinking that maybe it’s good idea for me to go to Sweden for a few months before going to France to work, since I dunno if I want to stay here. This was mostly influenced by Tobias who suggested doing it after France, but why wait right? I might as well go now, when I am still in a good enough mood about it 😛

So but there are many problems interlaced with this! Where shall I live? Where shall I work? And how is it guaranteed that I can find either? It’s not, so that’s the only thing holding me back! I worked out that I can have a job for 2 months here and earn enough to do what I wish, but like I said, I have noooo idea where to live, or no idea to find a job that will earn me enough money to have money for school in September.

So suggestions do we have? I am going to be around all tomorrow *hint hint* so, I figure the quicker I make a decision, the quicker I can get it in motion to get my papers and such.. I still gotta do all my papers for France and such too, and I dunno if that is even allowed, to get two visas at any given time but are for different dates? Ie: Sweden (July -> Sept) then France (Sept -> June).

Hmm, okej well that’s what I’m thinking right now, and I think it’s a good idea maybe, but I’m totally useless right now because I dunno how to organize it 😮

Help!