Tag Archives: Canada

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10 PLACES I WANT TO VISIT

I’ve been home for a month now. I love home. I love travelling too. I’d love to go back to Dubai for next winter.

However, there are tons of other places I’d also love to visit, and that’s the topic for this month’s  Top Ten Tuesday here at www.chattrisse.com . . .

 

1. Belize

Just because. The idea got lodged in my head while I was in university . . . I legit don’t even remember how . . . and it hasn’t gone away.

www.cahalpech.com

www.cahalpech.com

Honeymoon destination?

 

2. Paris

This is thanks to The Devil Wears Prada. My mom and I started planning a trip there once, but we ended up going to Costa Rica instead.

worldtravelguide.net

www.worldtravelguide.net

I am hoping I can find extremely chic clothing at a reasonable price, and that my French isn’t too Canadian.

 

3. St Lucia

Pretty much any gorgeous tropical destination is a win in my book. But it would be nice to catch the St Lucia Jazz Festival, go snorkelling or scuba diving and then drive through a volcano (faster getaway in case Mount So-and-So decides to heat up).

www.travelintropical.blogspot.com

www.travelintropical.blogspot.com

And since the St Lucians I’ve met are all awesome, I’m looking forward to meeting more of them!

 

4. Brazil

Mom and I were once asked if we were Brazilian, and we were extremely flattered — maybe the genuine Brasilianas (did I do that right?) can teach me a thing or two when I get there!

www.ibtimes.com

www.ibtimes.com

Clearly I’m missing the party that is World Cup 2014, but hey, surely that means the airfare is about to drop. And speaking of the World Cup . . .

 

5. South Africa

I’ve been reading about freedom fighters since I was a kid, so naturally I want to see this place for myself. I do not, however, want to hear any vuvuzelas, please and thanks. My friend Shane, from Cape Town, has piqued my interest with his descriptions of safaris and beach house rentals, and malva pudding is like one of my favourite desserts now, so off I go!

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Me and Shane!

 

Random fact: when I followed my dad’s lead and selected an African name, the first time around, I chose Zenzele, which is South African.

 

6. Way Up North

The aforementioned Shane wants to visit Canada in the winter (crazy man), since he’s never experienced bone-chilling cold before. I’m okay skipping the weather, but I do want to go somewhere far enough north to see the Northern Lights.

www.guardianlv.com

www.guardianlv.com

I would have caught them at summer camp one year except that the clouds conspired against me (just as they have for so many meteor showers); and watching Frozen recently reminded me of how much I want to see that beautiful sight for myself.

 

7. Trinidad Carnival

I see this as a different destination from Trinidad at any other time of year. I really wanted to be there for Carnival this year, since it fell on my birthday. But going during a year when it doesn’t (which is pretty much every year) will just mean stretching my birthday out over a matter of weeks.

www.democraticunderground.com

www.democraticunderground.com

Or months. I’m okay with that.

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8. Italy

For the food. For some authentic tiramisu. For some amazing pasta. If I’m lucky, my friend Davide will be home when I go and he’ll cook me a huge meal . . .

Davide =)

Davide =)

he might even convince me to turn away from my usual fruity cocktails and enjoy some wine instead.

 

9. Singapore

This got lodged in my head while I was visiting Mom in Abu Dhabi once, and shortly afterward I got very excited by the possibility of living there for a year while performing as Nala in The Lion King on stage there.

ds-lands.com

www.ds-lands.com

Neither that trip nor that role have happened for me yet, but both are still kicking around in my brain . . .

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10. Indonesia

This entry is highly influenced by my recent stint in Dubai.

www.indonesianfair.com

www.indonesianfair.com

My bandmates both love Indonesia and couldn’t stop raving about it; if my three new Indonesian friends Adit and Rio and Oka are any indication of the general population, the country is full of amazingly friendly people; and Indonesia was strongly recommended, along with Singapore, by a GTAer I met during my final days there who’s been travelling for ten years.

Honorable mentions go to Sweden, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the Maldives, Malta, and Monaco; and I’d love to take a coast-to-coast trip across Canada too.

Guess I better start packing.  =)

Are any of these places on your bucket list too?  Have you been to any of them already? Is there somewhere I didn’t name that you think I absolutely HAVE to visit?

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10 THINGS I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M MISSING

I’ve been in Dubai for just over 5 months, and I’ll be home in 28 days.

Whoa.

It was pretty much inevitable that I would compile a blog about things I miss about/from/at home, and that’s the topic for this month’s Top Ten Tuesday. However, this list is not for the obvious things: my family and friends, my cat, recognizing money instantly, leaving my bedroom without feeling compelled to cover my shoulders and (maybe) knees. This right here is a list of things I’m surprised and even embarassed to be missing.

 

1. The laundry room.

No, really. Taking an extended vacation from chores has been really nice, but there are some things I’ll be happy to regain control over, and one of those things is when and how my clothes are taken care of.

DSC07530(I won’t be surprised if I take this wish back after about three weeks.)

 

2. Being on the same clock as most people I interact with.

I don’t know if you ever quite get used to being 8 or 9 hours ahead of the majority of people you know … But if it does happen, it must take much longer than 6 months for the adjustment to occur.

10am in Toronto, and 6pm in Dubai

10am in Toronto, 6pm in Dubai

I find it surprising that this matters since so much, since most of my day-to-day communication at home is not done face-to-face (you send someone a text or Facebook message, and whenever they get around to it, they send one back), but things go a lot more smoothly when no one has to stop and wonder “what time is it there?”

 

3. The daily routine of taking public transit and running into people I know.

If I stayed here long enough, both would be more frequent occurrences, but as a temporary UAE resident I’ve definitely missed that feeling of “this is my city” that I have in Toronto. I’m about that downtown life: being able to walk to lots of places, knowing it’s pretty much impossible for me to get lost, not having a time limit on when I should start heading back home, etc.

Seated in a hotel shuttle bus, passing a metro station on Sheikh Zayed Road

Seated in a hotel shuttle bus, passing a metro station on Sheikh Zayed Road

(Note: much of this is not because I’m in a new city, but because I’m living on the outskirts, a 20-minute ride from the nearest metro station. Trains here don’t run as late into the night as the TTC, but that wouldn’t be an issue for me if I were more centrally located.)

 

4. Canadian manners and customs.

So apparently, holding doors open for people is not a worldwide trend.  And apparently, there are numerous cultures where it is not considered offensive to make unflattering personal comments to someone you don’t know very well … Like [pointing under eyes] “You look like you didn’t sleep last night” or [placing their hand on my belly as if I’m pregnant, and giggling].

IMG_0246It’s taking awhile to learn to let certain things slide off my back.

 

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5. Eye candy.

I’ve always been boy-crazy, so I became aware of this “lack” pretty quickly. Yes, I’ve been to the Middle East before, so I knew I wasn’t going to spend this trip smeyesing and flirting with random men. But even the beach at my hotel is painfully devoid of watchworthy bodies, except for a few sweet weeks when a bunch of professional soccer teams were staying here (shoutouts to Stoke City FC!) … Meanwhile, in Toronto, the temps are heating up (right? If not, I’m not coming home) and the streets there are probably full of men who are not only eligible but damn sexy.

With Kees Dieffenthaller in December 2013. #happysigh

With Kees Dieffenthaller in December 2013. #happysigh

Fortunately, my homegirl Nish has already secured me a ticket for a boat ride on June 15th. Hot dudes reading this, if you’re coming to Camo, please just leave your shirts at home.

 

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6. Easy midnight snacking.

Yes, I know it’s bad, and I rarely do it. But I miss having the OPTION, lol! I’ve been doing my best to keep a small stash of maybe-healthy snacks available, like rice cakes and nuts and tea.

My Easter gift from the hotel. Sweet!

My Easter gift from the hotel. Sweet!

But, man, sometimes you just want to crack open those dinner leftovers or start on breakfast eight hours early. And while we’re on the subject, I also miss …

 

7. Cooking privileges.

Living in a hotel room has perks and pitfalls, and one of the latter is a lack of kitchen access. I have a kettle and a minibar (which I blithely assumed was a suitable substitute for a fridge, until I got food poisoning), and whatever foods or snacks or treats I choose to buy are pretty cheap, which is nice.

Dessert buffets are dangerous things.

Dessert buffets are dangerous things.

And don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that it’s a luxury to eat at buffet restaurants staffed by professional chefs and servers three times a day! But once in awhile, I’d rather just open up a legit refrigerator, see what’s inside (especially if the groceries were bought by me) and make something I feel like eating. You know?

 

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8. Checking the weather without feeling guilty.

Example: Yahoo tells me the temperature at noon on May 2nd (Dubai time) was 40 degrees, while it was 8 at home (4am Toronto time). On January 2nd, Toronto was -15 degrees with a low of -20, while Dubai had a high of 24 with a low of 17. Full disclosure: sometimes I check the weather back home for a good laugh because the differences are so ridiculous.

Feb 5 2014.027But there have been many times I’ve considered posting a Facebook status update about the weather here, then changed my mind for fear of being met at the airport by a violent jealous mob.

 

9. Jogging outdoors.

I did my best! For the first few weeks I was back in workout mode, I jogged around the resort (boring) and ran up and down the stairs to and from the 7th floor (boring) and went along the desert highway outside of the resort property (enjoyable, but ultimately unsafe).

DSC07811Then I gave in to common sense and I now use the exercise room at the resort’s gym. I’ve never been a fan of sharing equipment with a bunch of other people, or of staring out at scenery that doesn’t change regardless of how fast I move, so it will feel awesome to go run alongside Lake Ontario once again! (Although it won’t take long before I start missing the peacocks who sometimes pass by the gym just to say what’s up.)

 

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10. Having a regular social life.

“Regular” means different things to different people, and I’m past the days of finding it fun to go clubbing every weekend. But I do miss having days/nights off at the same time as other people. I really hope I find someone to go party with at least once, now that my night off is Tuesday which is Ladies Night (all of my girl friends here work Tuesday nights). It would have been awesome to see Cirque du Soleil or Carlos Santana or Lionel Richie. And there are no words to accurately describe how much I’ve missed going to fêtes!

-.029This is like normal homesickness, mixed with the time zone adjustment, compounded with Carnival withdrawal and topped off with a more restrictive schedule than I’m used to (having one night off per week is pretty normal during a contract, but I’ve never been in a show that lasted half a year with no breaks before).
So for these and other reasons, get ready for a big party when I come back home!

Or at least a day of jogging, laundry, and making my own omelette for breakfast.  :).