Sunday, March 1, 2009

Yesterday, The Day Before and The Tuesday Before That.

On this past Tuesday the whole house all got into an artsy fever and made ourselves up to look ridiculous and crazy and cool. Basically we had a workshop with a lady and she wanted us to organize a group activity. We decided that on Tuesday we would have a Crazy Hair and Makeup Day. We did that and it was fun. Maddy was made into a doll, I made myself into a warrior lion lady, Simon was painted all over into a multi coloured rainbow, Jessy had an eyeliner spider web on his face and the list goes on. It was a lot of fun and very tiring and we will probably do it again. We have done it before (I think about a week or two before) but I'm not sure if I wrote about it or not.

The day before yesterday (ie Friday) we volunteered for the city helping to build this crazy snow ice slide on the street. It was really warm that day, 5 degrees Celsius and was beautiful all day long...until we all had to stay outside for four hours and build an ice/snow slide. We basically shoveled and smoothed out the snow into two slides with a divider between them. It was a lot of hard work and it was raining the entire time we were there, but it was also really cool to see the progress we made with it. I was pretty water proof because of my jacket and hat (which I didn't know was water proof until that day), but everyone else was VERY wet and a cold by the time we were finished at 5. 

The next day (ie yesterday or Saturday) we had to go volunteer again for the city. We were again at the slide. We told people when they could go down and escorted people across it. Traffic control basically. Also we were organizing this giant air jumpy castle thing. You stick the kids inside, let them bounce around for five minutes then tell them to get out and put more kids inside. It was very cold work. We were standing still and in the shade for most of the time so we had no way to keep worm. Rosie and I resorted to dancing and jumping around because our feet and finger were getting absolutely frozen.

We did get free food and drink and free maple toffee. I've never had maple toffee before. It's that boiled maple sugar syrup that you pour into the snow and wait to cool and then wrap around a stick. Yeah. That stuff. It's delicious. 

Anyway, over and out.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

I should also mention...

We have had visitors this weekend. Rosie's parents and little brother came to visit us for the day yesterday and left this morning. They were very nice. I got to play that piano duet that everyone knows with her brother (who's name is Francis) and her mother brought us delicious cookies and banana bread...she also gave me some tips on how to get burnt chocolate of a pot (just add baking soda and watch it boil!).

Also, Maddy's boyfriend Mike is here. He came up at a little before 3 am on Friday morning and is staying until Monday tomorrow I guess.

And that is all.


Rockabilly Horseback riding, and other fun Valentine shenanigans

Yesterday was Valentine's day as you are all aware. For some it is the day of love. For others, it is a corporate cash grab. For me and Cass, it is the opportunity for a photoshoot.

While some people were out at the Music Box or watching movies downstairs, Cass and I were upstairs in our room, recreating a scene from our sickness. I hadn't had the opportunity to get any photos with my sick mask on, since I wasn't in much of a happy mood when I was last wearing them, so I decided to take some pictures yesterday night at around 9 or so, with a mask on. Cass saw this, and wanted to join in the fun. When the masks got a little old we decided to take more photos without them. Then that got old, so we decided to get dressed oddly and do some funky rockabilly hair and makeup and take even MORE photos. When everyone got home we dressed them up and I (the master makeuptress) gave them some funky makeup as well and had a fabulous photoshoot that lasted until 1 o'clock in the morning. If you count that out, we were being ridiculous for four hours. We have in progress photos, end result photos, posed photos and groups photos. It was mindless, entertaining teenage fun and is definetly something we will be doing again.

Promptly after our photoshoot, we all fell asleep, some still with their makeup on.

We all had to be ready for 8:45 this morning so that we could go horseback riding! It was a lot of fun. My horse was named Mafalda and was a very dark brown colour (very pretty). She was also very shaddy. I've never seen a horse with a winter coat before, but they look kinda like mountain/wild horses albeit with saddles on. Anyway, I was the last person in our line of riders and was also carrying the camera, so I don't actually have any photos of me on the horse which is unfortunate :(, but I do have the memories. The trail was a lot of fun. I've never been on a winter trail before and it's a lot different from a cleared summer trail.

The snow was sometimes up to the horses' knees so there was a lot of jerking about and it's a lot less smooth going, but also a bit more fun I think. It is also very cold for the obvious reason that it is winter, but also very picturesque with the dark horses and colourful blankets and riders against the snow. At one point we were riding through some trees and the snow was falling and everything had a movie magic quality to it. There were scared shouts from the more inexperienced and nervous riders and laughter from everyone else. We got to trot just a little because everyone wasn't very comfortable with it, but trotting is a lot more fun than just walking if a little uncomfortable.

In the middle of our ride we stopped at a old mine. They mined for barium, gold and lead there and it was a really interesting place. The mine itself is really cool looking. The walls at the entrance are all covered in crystalized ice spikes that are very delicate and look like spiky fluff from farther away (I can't really describe it a different way). Inside the mine you can see the veins of barium in the ceiling and the walls. Actually, a chunk of barium looks a lot like a huge wad of old white chewing gun mushed together with little chinks of darker matter in it. It looks like it should feel king of soft and mushy, but it feels just like rock.

The floor of the mine was covered in ice. In the beginning of the mine the ice was kind of foggy, but not slippery at all so you could walk quickly and be confident on not falling. However, a little farther back the ice was more slippery, yes, but also perfectly clear. You could see that we were standing on about a 15 cm of ice on top of the floor and it was a really neat effect. Things were kinda magnified, but also it made me feel like I was walking on air. You could just SEE that although you were stepping on something, it wasn't the stone.

There are also these stalagmites of water everywhere in the mine. Some are about a metre tall but only 5 cm across and almost perfectly cylindrical, but some of them were about 30 cm across and very oblong. Because they were so tall, they weren't all that sturdy and just brushing against them was enough to make some fall.

When we got into the back of the cave our guide turned off the lights to show us this calcium byproduct that forms stalagtites. It actually glows in purple (UV?) light and looks really cool. When he turned the lights off there was absolutely no natural light in there at all. I mean nothing. It was the blackests black I have ever been in. We weren't even very far into the mine and there was still no light whatsoever reaching us. It makes you feel very alone. Even though you can hear everyone breathing and laughing nervously around you, it's almost like they could just be a trick. Even though I knew Alyssanne had not moved from where she was standing beside me, I still found myself reaching for her hand to make sure she was still there. Anyway, when he turned on the UV lights you could see that there were veins of the calcium stuff all over the ceiling and it looked like some sort of fantasy cave with twisting and shimmering veins of something overhead. Very cool indeed.

After that we went back outside, got back on our horses and started riding back down to the ranch. When I got off my horse I started petting her and scratching her neck...and she stepped on my foot. Umm...oww. It wasn't too bad though. She didn't have her full weight on her hoof and I pushed her off very quickly, but it was still sore for twenty minutes or so.

And now I'm sitting around waiting for dinner to be ready....


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Still sick, and not getting better.

Today was a repeat of last Monday's 7 hour fiasco in the clinic, except I was there for 9 hours instead. Whatever I have (and I am told it is quite possibly viral bronchitis) it took them 9 hours wearing a face mask and an x-ray to figure out that it is NOT pnemonia.

The x-ray was pretty cool though. I got to stand around in a little robe thing, very naked underneath it may I add, and get little x-ray particles shot at me. Afterward I could see my lungs, my heart, even my boobs a little, though they mostly looked like little ghostly half circles under my lungs and my heart just looked like a ghostly blob. But it was really cool to see. I wish I could have kept them as a souvenier.

Anyway, there were a lot of screaming children towards the end of the day and a lot of coughing people just in general and yet it was very hard to stay awake. I am so tired. After this I'm going to just go to sleep and stay that way until tomorrow. I've been prescribed lots of bed rest, two days off work and the weekend, cough syrup, tylenol and this weird backing soda/salt/boiled water concoction that I am supposed to gargle with. I am assuming it will kill all the gross bacteria in my throat and mouth and restore me to better health.

On a brighter noote, I recieved my package from home today. It contains clothes, books, dvds, sheet music for the piano and my beautiful coat. It made me very happy this morning when I saw it.

Thanks Family!


Sunday, February 8, 2009

My iron-clad immune system

Life in Mont-Joli's Katima House has not seen smooth sailing in recent times. There have been fights and squabbles and all around bad feelings. I've been house managing this past week with Simon and it has been rough. On Monday, when we were supposed to buy groceries I instead had to go to the clinic with Maddy and Denise because Maddy is deathly afraid of doctors and has had this nasty cough for a very long time and she needed someone to go with her. We waited at the clinic from 9:30 to 5 pm. It was ridiculous. The seriously need another clinic. By the time all the medicine stuff was over, dinner was coming up very soon, but we had no food in the house. Simon and I had to go buy food quick as we could, and with all the rushing around, we didn't stick too closely to our shopping list. Basically, all week long we were over budget and without everything that we needed.

Anyway, the next day, Tuesday, I wake up feeling, hot and cold, nauseaus and achy. I couldn't do anything all day long and basically rolled around trying to sleep. At around 3 o'clock I cam downstairs feeling much like a zombie and was able to eat half a bowl of thing broth and noodles. It was not the most appetizing thing ever, but it was all I could handle. At dinner I ate crackers while everyone else had meatloaf.

The next day I felt fine, but Thursday I was sick again. We were supposed to go sledding at the highschool on Thursday, but all the sick people (which by this time included Cassie) had to stay home and do a core workout using videos found on youtube. It was fun, and actually the second time I've had to do it (the week before everyone went swimming, but I couldn't find my bathing suit bottoms) but it would have been nice to be healthy.

On Friday I felt good. We had a workshop led by a past participant named Thomas who has killer eyes, and we talked about how do media presentations and recruitment presentations at schools and kiosks, etc. It was fun and gave me a lot of ideas about what I could do after Katimavik. I actually like the idea of being a recruiter for Katimavik and do presentations at schools. I can see myself going to my old highschool for sure and telling them all that they don't HAVE to go straight back into school, that they have another option and that they can actually live life instead.

On Saturday we were supposed to go snowshoeing for two hours, but that idea was killed because again, people (including myself) were too sick. Everytime I step out of doors I start coughing like a mad woman and feeling ten times more sick than I actually am. Instead we wrote up stories in our 2nd language and had them edited by a person of the opposite language and then read them outload. They had to include 10 random things that people had written down on the board, so they ended up being a bit insane. My own story was about a small boy named Timtam who had a small and beloved toy wool piano (piano and wool being two of the required words). The small piano and the small boy go everywhere together and do everything, so one day when the two of them are on a rollercoaster, it is in surprise that the small piano is flung off and is lost for all eternity. The small boy goes through the rest of life with out his small piano. He eats alone. He sleeps in hot summer nights alone. Eventually the small boy grows up to be a small man but he is never happy again without the small wool piano.

It was quite depressing and sad, but everyone laughed at the right parts and gave shocked sad noises at the right parts so I was satisified. Also, there were a lot less corrections than I thought there were going to be. Can that mean I am improving?

That day we were also having a 24 hour black out as part of the environment committee's activites and we had fun trying to eat cold food, and live without any electricity (besides the heat and hot water, which we kept on). That night Sarah Perron's parents took us out to dinner and hung out with us for a while at the house (which I'm not proud to say was quite messy, but then again, everyone was home so it does not all fall to the house managers). After they left we played a few rounds of hide-and-seek in the dark and when that was no longer any fun we played sardines which is fabulous game in which one person hides and the rest search for them. When you find them you don't say a word, but neatly hide with them until finally everyone is squished into the same hiding spot. It is quite hilarious.

Well, anyway, fun activities there was horrible house managing. I just don't do as well as a house manager when I can't bounce idea's off of my partner. Simon is great, but he doesn't know how to cook like Maddy does so I was left making most of the decisions. And it really was a crappy week. I was sick, and not working at 100%, Simon as kinda aimless, everyone were having arguments and being generally unhelpful. I much rather working at the hospital.

When I was sick all I could think about was home. All I could think was 'I want my mommy'. No one really takes care of anyone here. I mean I was sick and moaning and tossing and turning all day long, and not once did anyone come into my room and ask if maybe I wanted something to eat or drink, or another blanket to keep me warm. There were people in the room, absorbed in the computer who I had to finally ask to get me some water and a blanket because I honestly couldn't stand and move all that much. But you would think that someone would be kind enough to think of the sick person. I always ask if someone wants some water, or if I can get them anything. Can you tell I feel quite strongly about this?

I just really really want to be home right now. Just a week or two to breathe without the entire group being here and around me. I want some space and I want some time. There is just too much togetherness right now and too much tension and bad feelings on my part and on others. Time away to see family and friends and to go back to something familiar would be so lovely. Maybe not being in the house all day will help though.

The week started off really shitty and ended really shitty and I don't ever want to repeat such a bad house managing experience. I also don't want to ever be sick again. I side stepped so much illness in Terrace Bay that I have become very confident in my iron-clad immune system, but it seems that it has become a little rusted because I have been brought down by a small and nasty cold that seeps into your bones and drains you of all energy. Nasty, nasty cold.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

20 Days Later

It seems that I can't ever keep a promise of when I will write next. I'm sorry family and friends who are reading this. I know it is pretty frustrating when I say that I will post tomorrow and I don't post for another three weeks. I am truely sorry for that. However, if you knew how crazy everything was in the last three weeks then you would know just how little personal time we get to relax and when I do have that time I don't feel much like sitting in front of a computer and typing out an endless list of events and happenings around the house.

But anyway, too much has happened since my last post, so I am not going to go into a lot of detail about New Years. Instead I will list the events in point form and continue on from there.

1. Marathon and Manitouwadge arrive and hang out.
2. We eat a lot of pizza.
3. We dance a hell of a lot and like no one is watching, even though there are a LOT of people watching.
4. We do a count down and a bunch of people kiss each other while everyone else cheers and is generally happy about it being 2009.
5. We watch a scary movie.
6. We go to sleep at 2 am-ish.
7. We wake up at noon-ish (I think) and see that we have been snowed in...again.
8. We celebrate that we get another day with eachother to do with as we please.
9. Cassie and I have a little freak out about what to feed people and how.
10. We some how still get people fed...I don't remember what or how though.
11. We clean the house and kitchen specifically (it REALLY needed it) and I have a small army to do my bidding.
12. We all pile outside to have fun and enjoy the winter weather.
a. We play keep it up with huge exercise balls.
b. We build a hot tub out of snow.
c. People go inside and make hot chocolate for everyone.
d. Other people (me incuded) stay outside and cover two people in snow and give them anatomically correct...appendages.
e. People deliver our hot chocolate to us!
f. We go inside when it gets too cold to pretend we are actually in a hot tub.
13. We set up a spa in our dinning room and give free manicures, pedicures, hand massages and facials.
14. I become a master hand massager and nail polish applier.
15. Cassie and I make dinner and are stressed because of the amount of people versus the amount of food.
16. Dinner works out (amazing!) and everyone is fed and full.
17. Everyone goes to sleep again.
18. Terrace Bay/Schreiber people wake up very early to go to Thunder Bay and let the other groups clean our house for us.

That was my New Years. Now, my Thunder Bay excursion in point form.

1. We arrive in Thunder Bay at 11 am.
2. We are staying at a cottage owned by a friend of Terri and it is absolutely gorgeous and so comfortable.
3. We have a sex workshop that we call Sex at Brex...or Sex at Breakfast with Terri's younger sister.
4. Terri runs away from said workshop.
5. We have fun talking about sex and then go into town.
6. We pick up Mike, Maddie's boyfriend from the airport and he comes to stay with us for during our excursion.
7. We do some touring, but it is REALLy bitterly cold, so we stay in the van most of the time, and only go out for short amounts of time, and do some shopping and watch a movie in the theatre.
8. We visit the Terry Fox monument, some waterfalls, see more deer, see Terri's little niece, go eat at the Hoito, and see beautiful houses and a fantabulous view of Fort William at night.
9. We go back to the house and watch movies.
10. We wake up to a lot of snow.
11. We try to shovel but don't get very far.
12. We play boot hockey on the lake.
13. I do a bit of snow shoeing and then we go back and make dinner and watch a movie called Joyeux Noel.
14. We wake up and shovel more.
15. We try to get the van up the driveway but it isn't happening so we call the owner and he helps us.
16. First we try pushing the van, then we lay down salt and push, then we put down wooden boards and watch the van drive up like it hasn't been having problems the entire time.
17. We drive Mike to the airport, and we do some more of our planned activites.
18. We stay another night because the roads are very dangerous in the direction of home and our PC tells us NOT to try to get back.
19. We wake up early, clean up and drive home.

And so ends our Thunder Bay trip.

From there, we worked for another two weeks, then packed up and got ready to leave Terrace Bay and Schreiber. We did our last one-on-ones. Mine was very late in the evening and we had to end up doing it in the van because everything else around town was closed. We came home pretty late because the talking, and being out of the house was very nice. The next day we had an award ceremony with Terri and also got to get some constructive criticism from her about what we could do better as a group, which was good to hear. Then it was time to say goodbye to Terri. We all gave her long hugs and thank yous and then hopped back on a bus to Thunder Bay with the rest of the cluster.

We stayed in a beautiful church basement side recreation gym thing and had a mini MassO/Rotation camp thing for two days.

We packed up again and went to the Thunder Bay airport.

We hopped on a plane to Toronto.

I got to see some of my family and friends! My mom, dad, sister, nonna and friend Suneet came to see me for about 40 minutes which was nice for all of us. I got hugs and kisses and cookies and it was really really REALLY nice to see everyon, even if it did pass by really quickly. I wish it could have lasted longer, but we had to then hop on to an airplane to Montreal.

From Montreal we met up with our two new groups that are part of my cluster and we waited around for a bus that would be taking us to Trois-Pistoles, Rimouski and Mont-Joli.

We got in at about 2:30 am and were greated by our new PL (or AP in french) who is named Denise. By the time we all got to bed it was 3:30. We then had to wake up to be ready to leave at 10 am and see work placements.

We had a very long day of touring with very little sleep, so towards the end we weren't as awake as we should be, but we got through it and then had to go home, eat, and print up resumes in French.

The next day at 11 am we had our interviews with five different places. I did two of my five almost entirely in French, with only a little help from Denise towards the end when I needed a question translated, or a specific answer said correctly. I was very impressed with my french abilities..not so much with how my interviews went on a whole (I did much better in Terrace Bay) but I was actually able to make myself understood to people with very little to no english. It is very different talking to people you don't know in french than how it is to talk to people in the house in french. In the house, you know people aren't going to judge you, and if some one laughs or you screw up majorly, you know it isn't serious and someone will always help you to fix what you have said. But out in the real world, if you say something rude or incorrect, people are too polite to correct your mistake and you just feel kinda foolish. So the fact that I had to talk in french with some old ladies and proper Quebecois men was kinda nerve wracking. But having Denise there to translate certain things was very helpful and relaxed me a bit and then also being able to do some of my interviews in english was a nice break.

Today we had a small Mass-O type cluster meeting just to meet everyone and go over all the behavioural standards and stuff. It was a long 5 hours ended by a pot luck dinner and dessert and then we all went home.

I found out tonight that I will be working at the hospital (also known as CSSS, but we add an infinite amount of S's to it because we can never remember just how many there actually are) and I will be working with the very old people there organizing some activities and visiting seniors and basically doing anything that I am comfortable with. I also get two hours in the morning to work on my french and on Monday's I start at 12 and end at 7 pm. I also get a drive every morning from our neighbor Patrice (who was also the person to interview me) and he comes home with me to eat lunch with me, Denise if she is home, and whomever is house manager that week. I'm a bit apprehensive about working with seniors because I don't really know how to interact with someone with Alzheimers, etc. but I am excited to try. Also, Cass did this job in Terrace Bay Hospital, so I'll just have to ask her if I don't know what to do. We all start work on Tuesday, so one more day of freedom and then I am jumping into my new life all over again.

I have a lot to say about the town, the area, the house and our position in the house (it rocks just by the by) but I really need to sleep, so I am going to leave that to my next post, whenever that shall be.



Monday, January 5, 2009

Christmas and Visiting Family.

I realize that it is pretty late to talk about Christmas and New Years etc. , but let's face it, in the past month and a half nearly everything I've written has been late, so really this post is just keeping with the new trend.

Christmas was great in our Katima-house. I was house manager with Rosie and Maddy and I really liked being in control of the food for this. I know some people don't like to have the responsibility of it hanging over their heads and having the knowledge that the screwed up Christmas dinner (if they do screw up that is), but I really like it. At the time I may be a bit cranky and irritated if their are a lot of people in the kitchen unnecesarily, but I have found that I really do like cooking for large numbers of people and I'm good at it too.

We decided to have fondue for Christmas Eve. We made it without wine or any alcohol of any kind using lemon juice as a subsitute. It tasted pretty good actually, though a little too lemony. Anyway, before we could start our dessert, Leonie, Marco and Niall of the Marathon group came to our place to switch our vans. It was fun to see them on Christmas Eve, but also a little weird I have to admit because they aren't part of my 'family'.

For Christmas morning we woke up at 10 am, even though we had agreed to get up at 9 as a compromise between the two warring factions who disagreed about the proper wake up time on Christmas day. One groups said as early as possible, the other thought as late as possible would be best...I thought 9 am was just fine. Anyway, we had a lot of presents to open. Boxes and boxes of gifts had been mailed to us everyday and it was high time their secrets were revealed! Also we had secret santa gifts and stockings to open up. It was a lot of fun opening secret santa's We had to guess who our person was first before we were allowed to open anything up. It turned out that Alyssanne was my secret santa and she bought me an exfoliating scrubby pad thing, a floating frog soap dish and some shower wash. My person for secret sant was Maddy and I bought her a shirt on a website called Threadless (they sell many cool t-shirts that are designed by users of the website). It was the perfect gift. She literally teared up when she saw it. that made me pretty happy.

After all the gifts were unwrapped, the presents admired and the paper cleaned up we headed to the kitchen to start cooking our Christmas feast. We had a smorgasbord of scones, potatoes and eggs to eat and everything was absolutely delicious.

After the food was eaten, which was about 1:30 pm, we cleaned up from breakfast and then relaxed for a while. Then we started in on Christmas dinner. Oh boy. Christmas Day dinner was funny. We had a mish-mash. Everything was Christmas themed (stuffing...ham...cranberry jelly) but it doesn't usually go into one Christmas dinner. Usually people don't eat ham and stuffing together, but we certainly did! I did a lot of delegating for this meal. I had people chopping here and stirring there. And everything came together at the end in a very odd (but delicious) way.

On Boxing Day we had an unexpected visit from both groups in our cluster. They were both on their way to Thunder Bay for an excursion and had to stop in at our place because they roads were really bad and snowy that day. They hung out until about 2-ish and then continued on their way. We had a schedule that day of hour long 1-on-1 sessions with Terri, but because of the impromptu group get-together we had to push them all back. I was able to have my session at about 3 pm. Terri and I talked for almost 2 hours. It was really nice to be able to get out of the house and talk without the entire group in the general vicinity. The walls in this house aren't all that thick. Even now, I am sitting on my bunkbed listening to music with the door closed and I can still hear Simon, Rosie and Alyssanne's voices murmuring from somewhere downstairs.

When I walked pulled up to the house at 5-ish Maddy was holding the phone and talking to my parents. They were in Marathon, about an hour away! It was so exciting when I heard that. I rushed up stairs to try and tidy up our bedroom as much as possible (unfortunatly it's always in a state of dissaray). Then I sat with Alyssanne on my bed and waited. She decided that she was going to go to the window and try to see if she could see the truck pull in. i had just finished describing the truck to her when she said, "Sara, there's a black truck in the drive way!".

I screamed and ran downstairs. Literally screamed. Then I opened the door and saw the truck for myself. I screamed again. I pulled on my boots and ran outside. Luckily, the weather had warmed up a lot so it was only 0 degrees out instead of the -20 I have become used to, because I didn't bother taking the time to put on a jacket. As I was ran to the truck my mom got out and ran to me. We met in the middle of the drive way and hugged like crazy. She was crying and we were hugging and then Lia and Dad got out of the truck and joined in the hug too. It makes my throat get tight and my eyes a little watery when I think about it. I really do believe that that was the best hug I've ever had.

My family stayed for about 4 days. In that time we opened gifts (thanks Zia Silvana, Nonna and everyone else!), made dinners and breakfasts together, played cards and talked. We also went on tours of Schreiber and Terrace Bay (guided by me of course) and also went out to Rossport , Red Rock (where the rock is really red), Nipigon and Thunder Bay. The day was so clear and beautiful. We had perfect weather for driving and sightseeing. I have to say, the stretch of highway that we drove is some of the most breathtaking in Canada.

Over two days we got to see a lot. Nipigon River which is the largest feeder into Lake Superior. And since Lake Superior drains into the rest of the great lakes, we really got to see the water that flows through all of the freat lakes. We also saw a small 'confectionary' that sold very little candy, but a lot of yarn, comics and fishing gear. It was a pretty crazy place actually. We also saw a lot of frozen, rushing water. It just looks so cool when water freezes in the middle of moving.

We drove out to the Silver Islets on our way to Thunder Bay. That was a really neat place. There were a bunch of dear out on the road eating the salt and being generally cute. When you get to the end of the road however, you have an unobstructed view of The Sleeping Giant which is a mountain range that looks like a man lying down. you can see the contours of his face really well which is really neat. I don't have any good pictures of it though which is unfortunate. Also at the end of the islets there is a colourful old mining town. The houses are now private cottages, but you can tell that most of them are the original houses the miners and their families would have lived in. It actually looks like one of those Nova Scotian fishing villages you see pictures of. They are all so tightly packed, brightly painted and sitting right beside the water. In the snow, nearly through the entire town we saw drunken, swaying boot prints. This person was VERY drunk. They were swaying all over the place and generally having a lot of trouble walking straight. It became a bit of a game for us to see just where the prints went though we lost track of them on the plowed road.

We saw ice climbers right off the highway, and right next to them was the famous Terry Fox monument. It is very impressive. It looks out off a rock face right next to the highway and it's just so powerful. We drove up the road and went to take pictures and sign the guest book.

A cool moment was when I saw that some people from the Marathon group had also been to the monument and signed the book as well.

When we were in Thunder Bay itself we didn't get to do much stuff. It was late when we pulled in so we decided to go and eat at the famous Hoito. The Hoito is a Finnish restaurant that is famous for it's good food and cheap prices. It was first opened for the Finnish mione workers in town who were able to find affordable housing, but not affordable food. The prices are amazing and the food is delicious. I've never had Finnish food before now, but I have to say, I would have it again, and many times over.

My parents and Lia left on the morning of the 30th and that day we spent cleaning to get ready for New Years, which we were hosting with the other two groups. I'm going to leave the story of New Years and afterward for tomorrow or the next day though because that retelling will be another long post and I just don't have it in me to describe it all over again.

x o