Sunday, February 28, 2010


Once again, as I watch the closing Olympic games, I am struck by how awesome our country is! What a way to end the games - Winning the GOLD medal in men's hockey! We "owned the podium" in hockey. A close game with our (ever) rivals, the americans, in both the men's and women's hockey. Hearing our anthem, loud in the rink, is one of the best sounds their is! It brings tears to the eyes! It has been so great for our country to host these games. It put Canada on the map. We showed the world we can compete, and we can party!
There may be some bitterness from the other countries (Russia's newspaper has a not so nice writeup on the games), but it isn't all about winning. It is about coming together as a country and competing. Luckily, we got to do a lot of both!
In the end, I am proud to be Canadian. Proud that we have 6 months of snow and ice in which to practice for the winter olympics! Proud that we have a passion for what we do, no matter what it is! Proud of the comraderie these games have brought out in all of us!
As much as I love to travel, there is still "No place like home!".

Monday, February 22, 2010

Greek woes

I love to plan trips, but I fear it is getting the better of me. I have spent a LOT of time planning our next trip - to Greece. The problem is there is just SO much to see! And I don't just want to run around randomly.
So, I initially found a site ( which specializes in "luxury" vacations, but it seemed pretty pricey, not to mention the fact that the travel agent was from Greece and couldn't give me prices in CAD. When I told her I thought it was too pricey (it didn't even include airfare), and the hotels she had picked didn't get very good ratings, she got offended. She told me that "Greece isn't just about sitting on the beach and getting a tan". After that I wasn't so sure I wanted to book with her.
Then, I contacted a Canadian travel agency. I have contacted them several times about what I want and it seems to be taking them a long time to find anything for me (despite telling them almost exactly what I want). So, I went into the office, and I just didn't get very good vibes from this lady. When I told her that I didn't want to spend $300-400 a night on hotels, she said, "Oh, so you want to go budget, then?" No, that isn't what I want at all. Isn't there a happy medium? That sort of offended me. Sure, I don't have to like my travel agent, but if she isn't really willing to work with me, or if I don't feel like she is on my side, then maybe that isn't good either.
Now, I think I should go back and book with the original lady for half of it, and then book the other half by myself with Expedia or something (although I was mad at Expedia for our last trip).
I had a fortune from a fortune cookie the other day that said, "Speak less about your plans and you will see more accomplished". So true. Less talky more booky. I just wish I could decide and get my butt in gear and book something already. I am just not sure what is holding me back....

Saturday, February 13, 2010

proudly canadian opening ceremonies

As we watched the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Olympics, I felt so proud. Proud to be Canadian. Proud to be part of such a wonderful event that will showcase how amazing our country really is. My favorite part was the poem written and performed by Shan koyzcan:

We Are More by Shane Koyczan

When defining Canada
you might list some statistics
you might mention our tallest building
or biggest lakeyou might shake a tree in the fall
and call a red leaf Canada
you might rattle off some celebrities
might mention Buffy Sainte-Marie
might even mention the fact that we've got a few
Barenaked Ladies
or that we made these crazy things
like zippers
electric cars
and washing machines
when defining Canada
it seems the world's anthem has been
" been there done that"
and maybe that's where we used to be at
it's true
we've done and we've been
we've seen
all the great themes get swallowed up by the machine
and turned into theme parks
but when defining Canada
don't forget to mention that we have set sparks
we are not just fishing stories
about the one that got away
we do more than sit around and say "eh?"
and yes
we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One
who inspired little number nines
and little number ninety-nines
but we're more than just hockey and fishing lines
off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes
and some say what defines us
is something as simple as please and thank you
and as for you're welcome
well we say that too
but we are more
than genteel or civilized
we are an idea in the process
of being realized
we are young
we are cultures strung together
then woven into a tapestry
and the design
is what makes us more
than the sum total of our history
we are an experiment going right for a change
with influences that range from a to zed
and yes we say zed instead of zee
we are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italy
we dream so big that there are those
who would call our ambition an industry
because we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow
we do more than grow wheat and brew beer
we are vineyards of good year after good year
we reforest what we clear
because we believe in generations beyond our own
knowing now that so many of us
have grown past what used to be
we can stand here today
filled with all the hope people have
when they say things like "someday"
someday we'll be great
someday we'll be this
or that
someday we'll be at a point
when someday was yesterday
and all of our aspirations will pay the way
for those who on that day
look towards tomorrow
and still they say someday
we will reach the goals we set
and we will get interest on our inspiration
because we are more than a nation of whale watchers and lumberjacks
more than backpacks and hiking trails
we are hammers and nails building bridges
towards those who are willing to walk across
we are the lost-and-found for all those who might find themselves at a loss
we are not the see-through gloss or glamour
of those who clamour for the failings of others
we are fathers brothers sisters and mothers
uncles and nephews aunts and nieces
we are cousins
we are found missing puzzle pieces
we are families with room at the table for newcomers
we are more than summers and winters
more than on and off seasons
we are the reasons people have for wanting to stay
because we are more than what we say or do
we live to get past what we go through
and learn who we are
we are students
students who study the studiousness of studying
so we know what as well as why
we don't have all the answers
but we try
and the effort is what makes us more
we don't all know what it is in life we're looking for
so keep exploring
go far and wide
or go inside but go deep
go deep
as if James Cameron was filming a sequel to The Abyss
and suddenly there was this location scout
trying to figure some way out
to get inside you
because you've been through hell and high water
and you went deep
keep exploring
because we are more
than a laundry list of things to do and places to see
we are more than hills to ski
or countryside ponds to skate
we are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can't wait
we are first-rate greasy-spoon diners and healthy-living cafes
a country that is all the ways you choose to live
a land that can give you variety
because we are choices
we are millions upon millions of voices shouting
" keep exploring... we are more"
we are the surprise the world has in store for you
it's true
Canada is the "what" in "what's new?"
so don't say "been there done that"
unless you've sat on the sidewalk
while chalk artists draw still lifes
on the concrete of a kid in the street
beatboxing to Neil Young for fun
don't say you've been there done that
unless you've been here doing it
let this country be your first-aid kit
for all the times you get sick of the same old same old
let us be the story told to your friends
and when that story ends
leave chapters for the next time you'll come back
next time pack for all the things
you didn't pack for the first time
but don't let your luggage define your travels
each life unravels differently
and experiences are what make up
the colours of our tapestry
we are the true north
strong and free
and what's more
is that we didn't just say it
we made it be.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Sure, we may not win all the medals. We may not even win the most medals. I don't really think that is the point. The olympics are about coming together in a sense of comraderie for a purpose. It is like the "It's a small World" of sports. If we could take how we feel about coming together as a global community and tranfer that to every other facet of life, perhaps there would be no wars, no famine, no global strife.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


After a LONG delay of over 18 hours, we finally left the airport at 4am. We were all exhausted by the time we arrived, but the warm sunshine and beautiful surroundings woke us up enough that we could enjoy the rest of the day.

During the week, we took a bus to a place called, "Rick's Cafe". It was a huge area with a massive bar, a small pool and cliff diving. There was an area where tourists could jump off, too, although not as high as the real jumpers. Jurgen decided he would take his turn!! He had salt water up his sinuses for the next 3 days!! Despite this, he said it was worth it for the thrill and to get out of the heat for a bit.

From left to right, this is Jurgen, Gwynn, and Mike. Mike and his fiance were staying at a different resort, so we met up with them one night at Rick's cafe. It was nice to swap stories and all watch Jurgen dive!

From left to right, this is Melissa, Patricia, and me. The girls with the guys.

This is us at our resort the first couple fo days.

This is Gwynn and Tricia, the couple who came to our resort. I think they had as much fun as we did! I think we will have to make this a semi-annual event!

The swim-up bar in the main pool. We affectionately termed this the "pee pool" . Afterall, there were people who would sit there for what seemed like ALL DAY drinking, and you have to wonder just where all that beer goes?

The view from our room. We had paid for oceanview. I guess you can sort of see the ocean peaking through the trees way at the back there. Next time, maybe I won't bother with that. You really aren't in your room that much anyway.

This was our room and Jurgen relaxing after the long flight. Cute little room.
So, would I go back to Jamaica? Definately! Although, after experiencing credit card fraud (which was obviously an inside job as our cards had never left the safe the entire time), I don't know if I would go back to that resort. The other thing I learned is that one week just isn't long enough! We should always go for two. That way if you are stuck waiting to leave for 18 hours or so, it still doesn't matter, as you have tons of time to relax.