Friday, July 18, 2008

Little Shop of Horrors

Hello Everyone! Cindy here.

Last Saturday I met a new creature. It looks like a human...arms, legs, hair and eyes all in the right spot. But this creature’s keen sense of smell can sniff out fear and confusion with great accuracy. It has an innate ability to detect a bargain from miles away. And it can stare you down until you plead for your mama. This creature is called the Garage Saler.

In an attempt to lessen the amount of things I have to store away in my very kind Grandmother’s basement, I held my very first garage sale. I had never done this before, but all my friends told me it would be a lot of fun. I spent a great deal of time pricing my many items and got up bright and early on Saturday morning to set everything out. We had just set up the tables and had carried out the first couple of boxes of things when we were spotted by one of those Garage Saler creatures. He sped down the street, quickly parked his truck, and hopped out. It was 6:20 in the morning!!!!!! Come on! We were clearly not ready but he walked through anyway. This was my little sign of what was to come.

By 7:30 we were swamped with people. And by 8:00 I was cursing those friends who said that a garage sale would be fun. It was not fun. These Garage Saler creatures are sneaky, aggressive, and often rude. People were bringing over huge arm fulls of things and offering me $5 for what really totaled up to $30....and then were shocked when I counter offered with a larger number. One lady wore one of my shirts as a dress...and told me that I WOULD take $5 for that "dress" and two other tops. When I said no, she stomped away very angry...then returned a few minutes later and offered $6. I watched a few people try to leave without paying. Two ladies filled baskets I was selling, and after buying only the things in the basket, tried to leave with the baskets. I still don’t know who walked off with my tea pot. It was incredible.

The expert Garage Saler comes prepared. Some have fanny packs (called bum bags for you Australians) full of coins. Some have mini tackle boxes with coins sorted into compartments. All have the courage to haggle with you over 25 cents. An experience I NEVER EVER want to matter how much fun people say it is (LEANNE!).

Communication Breakdown

G’day Matey’s, Brett here.

I now have a new found understanding for the people in our community whose first language is not English. Who would have thought that in another English speaking country there could be such a language barrier. Even Cindy and I have an agreement in which we don’t talk to each other after 8pm due to the fact that by that stage in the day we can’t understand each other anyway. I can’t even began to imagine how difficult it must be for those people still learning the intricacies of the English language and trying to find their way in a monolingual society.

Although some may disagree, I would consider myself to have fairly good understanding of the English language. A Bachelor degree in education says that I should be able to read and write to at least a grade 7 level. Being a teacher, I have also done my fair share of public speaking. Despite this, here in Canada I find I have to repeat myself and endure blank stares on a daily basis.

This communication breakdown peaked when I visited the local tailor. After measurements were taken I began to spell my name to the lady behind the counter. "Bee... Are... Eee... Tee.. Tee" I pronounced carefully. After a few confused looks she printed my receipt. And so my alto ego, BRATT PIGGROTT was born.

Equally as strange is being complimented on your accent. "Hey are you Australian? I love your accent" What do you say to that? "Thank you, it has taken years of practice.." Anyway, they’re the ones with the accent, not me!

So next time you are talking to someone whose English is not as articulate as your own, please remember that English could be their 2nd, 3rd or 4th language, so don’t get too annoyed when you have to listen that little bit closer to their conversation. After all, how many languages do you know?

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Mid Summer Nights Dream

Hello Friends. Cindy and Brett here.

Saturday was an exciting day for two reasons. We had the privilege of witnessing two of our very best friends here in Canada come together as husband and wife. Leanne and Shaun tied the knot after six happy years together. A traditional wedding ceremony was followed by a very classy reception with great food, wine and dancing .... and this is where the second exciting event occurred. Ladies and gentlemen....Brett took to the dance floor and danced up a storm. Who knew he had those moves?! Brett has always claimed "I don’t dance because I can’t." But on Saturday he hit the dance floor without any hesitation and busted out moves that had everyone convinced he had been dancing for years.

Leanne and Shaun are a fantastic couple who we have shared a lot of fun times with over the last few months. Snowshoeing, canoeing, hiking and drinking at Leanne’s family cottage are among the activities in which Shaun and Leanne have acted as our tour guides.

We have only known Leanne and Shaun for a short time but have developed a lasting friendship. Their sense of humour, stories and company will be sorely missed upon our arrival in Korea.

Leanne and Shaun will be honeymooning in Alaska over the next two weeks and will no doubt enjoy the first of many adventures together as husband and wife.

Anyone with info about where Brett’s sudden onset of disco-fever came from, or anyone who has previously witnessed this phenomenon, please leave me (Cindy) your story in the comment section!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Messaholics Anonymous

The only time a shocking swear word escaped from the mouth of my lovely, sweet mother, it was my fault. I was five and didn’t want to clean my room. After many hours of complaining and finding excuses, my very frustrated mother said "If you would just stop b#$%@ing about it and do it, then it would have been done by now." This was a big deal to me. The swear word didn’t bother me. But the fact that my mom swore, and that had never happened before (and has never happened again) meant that I was indeed going to have to clean my room. There was no escape. She was serious. No amount of complaining, singing and dancing, being cute, and drawing "I love you" pictures was going to get me out of it. So I sulked off to my little pink room and cleaned it.
I have never been a neat person. I can remain organized and tidy for a few months, and then something happens. As a kid, I blamed it on evil elves that loved to get me in trouble by following me around and creating a chaos of mess. I was like Pig Pen, but it was not a cloud of dirt that followed me, it was stuff...things. As an adult, I remain the same. I can spend a day cleaning, and somehow, by the next day, all those things I put away have walked back out into the middle of the room. It is a talent. I am far, far away from appearing on Oprah.....but I could use some lessons.

I am now packing up some of my belongings and selling the rest in hopes that our current job offer for Korea sticks, and we will actually be leaving sometime in the next month. Cross your fingers everyone. We are excited about this job. However, the absolute chaos and mayhem that has taken over our small apartment is not pleasant. Packing and selling my things means pulling everything out of every cupboard and storage bin, examining it, making a decision, and sorting it into the correct box. And even for messy me, the disorganization is driving me crazy. I knew how big this job would be. Doesn’t mean I like it! I hate it. I often wonder if a neat and organized person would survive this ordeal......or if maybe they would have a trick to somehow pulling everything out of everywhere neatly.

As I was packing away my Mr Men and Little Miss book collections, Brett pulled one out and examined it. On the back of each book is a photo and label of each character (and they are all named after their one strongest personality trait). He looked at a Little Miss book and said "Well I know who you are NOT."

Little Miss Neat