My family is fairly close. There are dozens of people on my mother’s side, as she’s one of nine, and I’m one of 19 grandchildren. Family get-togethers require obscene amounts of space, food, and alcohol in order to function. Most of us grew up with at least a few cousins around our age, and while we’re not hand-holding besties or anything, there are fairly strong bonds, to the point that a lady we met on a train spoke of us with chest-clutching adulation of our adorableness. It was thus that the prospect of travelling together did not ignite terror or disgust, and we seriously underwent a cross-Canada trek together.
London certainly began auspiciously: our plane arrived from Edinburgh quickly, our baggage emerged almost at the first of the heap, and we absconded through Heathrow with little difficulty. I made a call home to prove that I was living, and also to take care of some terrifying money woes that disabled me from withdrawing any cash (travel requires money, you see—I can tell you are shocked). Hopping on the tube with a wave of our long-prepurchased Oyster cards, I sat in the subway with a smug hubris. Hah, I thought, only two major cities and I am already an expert traveller.
As much as a born-and-bred Canadian can, I felt a vague and wimpy connection to my theoretical ancestral homeland. Scotland was the country of my grandfather’s fathers, the land of Braveheart, and the container of haggis and other items that seem like they must be culinary pranks pulled on the rest of the world. I had never been before, and it wasn’t a huge pull, anymore than the other places I wanted to visit, just because of the lineage thing. I’m Canadian, really; if there’s any Scottish in my blood, I’m surprised it hasn’t been completely driven out of me by the maple syrup.
That said, I was still excited to go, because: well, yay Edinburgh. There’s a castle, and an enormous Fringe festival guaranteeing free-to-cheap entertainments in the streets, and there’s a lot of alcohol. It was also the first city I’d really be doing the hostel thing, and I dove into that with both feet.
Assuming the transatlantic flight would leave us impotently unable to explore or party, we booked too much time in Dublin. Fair enough, we were unsure of our travelling stamina, and of what Dublin actually had to offer. This left us with time for a day trip.
We took to the tourist centre, asked locals, prodded other backpackers. We heard Belfast, and Galway, and other tiny Irish places now deserting my memory. Upon research, we dismissed Belfast as too far away and also requiring that we exchange some money from Euros to Pounds early (or spend absolutely nothing for the day, hahaha), Galway as a trip too long to do both ways in one day. Offhandedly, one of the tourist centre ladies suggested Howth, the sort of quaint little fishing town that counts as a Dublin suburb. It was, according to her, about 40ish minutes outside of the city centre, and it would cost us about €15 round-trip to get there. Yes, we thought, that’s exactly the amount of money and time were wanting to invest!
I told a friend I had started this blog early mostly because when I get an idea I feel is clever (the title), my patience plummets and I can’t sit on it (literally: I couldn’t wait two months to tell a dumb joke). She asked what I would post in the intervening months before I go to Korea, and I responded in a bit of mush-mouth, remarking that I could write about teaching and life and other bloggish things. “Why don’t you write about your Eurotrip?” she asked. “You have lots of stupid stories from that.”
And indeed I do. Last year I took a whirlwind trip through Europe (8ish cities, 29 days), a time that proved fruitful for both anecdotes and amateurish photography. Of course I have stupid stories from that trip: the same stupid stories that every young adult who goes on a Eurotrip does. And now I’m going to share them with you, so that you can bask in the hilarities of international travel and dwell in a lot of “That’s familiar!” nostalgia. You’ll know these stories, they probably occurred basically to you or people you know. Let it be said that unoriginality never stopped me from prattling on.
In Ontario, the governing organization thing for the teaching bag is the Ontario College of Teachers. They do, approximately, the following things:
1. License your ass to be a teacher, or hold you from it if you do something untoward.
- a) They also make fancy rules in regards to the “something untoward” in Strongly Worded Professional Language.
2. Take your moneys.
3. Provide services to those who have allowed for number 2.
Let’s talk about number three for a while.