How I Finished 2015

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2015 was a darn amazing year. Yes, there were times it sucked, but I had great friends who let me cry all over them and talk to them when I needed, so that’s ok. I survived and blah blah blah. If you’ve been reading my blog, you basically know what I’ve been up to all year. I went back to Wales, played basketball and netball, finished my degree, started my first grown up job and then I went back to Wales because I missed everyone. Well, after Wales I went to Edinburgh and fell in love.

Edinburgh is easily my third favourite city in the world after Paris and New Orleans. Once again, I fell asleep in a new city and woke up having no idea where I was. It took me a few minutes of looking around my tiny bunk area before I clued in that I was in Edinburgh and I was getting a tattoo that day! After dragging myself out of bed, grabbing a quick bite to eat, I was off to meet my tattoo artist and get some new ink!

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Gemma at Edinburgh Ink was my artist that day and she did a phenomenal job! Thanks, Gemma!

After my tattoo I met up with a friend who is from Scotland and we did touristy stuff around the city for the rest of the day. If there is any city in the world that does Christmas right, it’s Edinburgh. There are Christmas markets spread around the main area of the city that you can visit, plus lots of lights, bag pipers playing Christmas songs, and there is even a CHRISTMAS TREE MAZE!

I loved the Christmas Tree Maze!

I loved the Christmas Tree Maze!

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Edinburgh knows how to do Christmas. I did a happy dance seeing this.

On our way to the maze, I couldn’t stop skipping and hopping because I was so excited. Apparently I am a five year old. The maze wasn’t as big as I had hoped, but it was still fun to go through it and find Santa’s Workshop. My friend and I toddled through the maze while I giggled and couldn’t stop smiling. Basically, everything we did after the Christmas Tree Maze was a bonus. And there were a lot of bonuses! We wound up exploring the Scottish National Gallery, one of the Christmas Markets (we were looking for gnomes), and then he made me try a deep fried Mars bar, which I thought was very American, but it turns out it’s a Scottish thing. It’s basically deep friend diabetes and it was like chewing on Heaven.

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I was supposed to go and see the castle, but wound up on Portobello Beach. I can now say that I’ve put my feet in both the east and west coast waters of the UK!

Edinburgh was amazing. My last day there I woke up with a really bad cold so I had an easy day exploring used book stores, and then I met a guy from north Wales in a pub and wound up having lunch with him. Once he found out that I had studied in Wales he said that he’d buy me a shot for every Welsh word I could say correctly and he wound up buying me exactly 5 shots. We spent the afternoon drinking and laughing until it was time for him to go meet his friends and I decided to explore the city some more.

A sleeper bus is basically full of human sized cubby holes for people to sleep in.

A sleeper bus is basically full of human sized cubby holes for people to sleep in.

Eventually 10:45PM rolled around and it was time for me to board my sleeper bus to go to London for my last night in the UK. When I woke up the next day, I was in London! Later on that day I met up with Raz and Alex! I got huge hugs from both of them. At that point my cold had gotten worse so my excitement was killed by my asthma. We spent the afternoon handing out with each other and catching up. I couldn’t believe how much I missed them even though we picked right back up where we left off.

After a great afternoon with those two, I flew home the next day.

When I got home I jumped back into my regular coaching routine with my sister. Even though I loved my time in the UK, I missed my little sister the most and I’ve spent a lot of my time at home making up for the time I missed with her. We’ve been coaching Jr. Girl’s sports at our local high school together and had a successful volleyball season, and are now on our way to coaching a successful basketball season.

Merry Christmas from the Bowser siblettes!

Merry Christmas from the Bowser siblettes!

Christmas came and went in the Bowser household and I was happy to be home with my family. I was also happy to not have to worry about school for the first time in years. It was also Goliath’s first Christmas with us and he loved opening presents with Thumper.

Then before I knew it…LISA WAS IN BC!

My gremlin was with me so that meant I was back to crouching and slouching for our selfies.

My gremlin was with me so that meant I was back to crouching and slouching for our selfies.

I went down to the coast to visit her and Haylee and I couldn’t believe that it had been 5 months since I’d last seen my shorter half. I arrived on the 4pm bus. As soon as I stepped off the bus I ran to the bathroom because I really had to pee. I also needed to change out of my woolen long sleeve shirt because it was like springtime. When I was done I walked back out into the main area of the bus station and I saw her. My gremlin.

Before I knew it, we were hugging for the first time in forever and I couldn’t have been happier to see. I’d forgotten how tiny she was and…my arms were getting tired. Why were my arms getting tired? Why did Lisa seem taller than she normally did? Normally when we hug she nearly gets smothered by my boobs, but this time her face was at my shoulder level. Was the weirdo wearing heels?

Nope to all of the above.

I didn’t realize it, but I had picked the little weirdo up and was holding her off the ground while we hugged.

Mel, Haylee, Lisa, and I went out for a much needed night of dancing and shenanigans.

Mel, Haylee, Lisa, and I went out for a much needed night of dancing and shenanigans.

After I put her back down, we went off to get food and spend the day hanging out until Haylee got off work. Even though I’d forgotten how small she was, I didn’t forget how easy it was to be around her. Or how much fun Lisa, Haylee and I could have together. Yes, I’ve visited Haylee a few times, but I had missed the three of us being the three of us. One of our friends in the UK said it best about us, “A night with the Turdettes is always a good night.”

Like I said, 2015 was amazing. It started with a bang and ended with a bang. Mostly because my family has the yearly tradition of shooting off our rifles every year at midnight. This was also my third year in a row where I finished my year off taking a poop and started my year off…still taking a poop. I have no idea what 2016 is going to bring about, but if it’s anywhere near as amazing as 2015, I’m in for a great year. But 2016 shouldn’t feel like it needs to compete. If I have a quiet year, I’ll be ok with that as well. 2016 should just be itself and I’ll appreciate it for exactly that.

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Back in Wales

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IMG_0601I’ve been back in Wales for just over three now and I can’t believe how much has happened in that short of time! I feels like a lifetime ago that my mom and dad dropped me off at the airport and I spent the next 24 hours making my way back to my home away from home. Last time I made the journey to Wales I felt nervous, stressed, and I really needed to poop. Except I’m a nervous pooper so I can’t poop in public places so I had to hold it. This time I was excited and happy to be returning to school and looking forward to whatever shenanigans lay ahead of me.

I landed in Heathrow just after 11am, collected my bags and made my way through the now familiar airport to Terminal 3 where the international students from my school were being picked up. Other students were already there waiting and I talked with them while I waited for the International pick-up people to arrive. This term Charlotte and Haylee are International Buddies, which meant they were going to be there to pick me (and the other students) up! We had a movie moment when we saw each other. I saw Haylee first and shouted her name. Then I saw Charlotte and before I knew it the three of us were hugging and I was crying again.

I’m a bit of a crier now.

Even though I was only gone for five weeks, it had felt like longer had passed since I’d seen the girls who have become like my sisters. So, yeah, I cried. Though I didn’t cry a lot. It was just nice to be back with friends that I had missed and even nicer to be going home with them. We had a lot to catch up on so we stood together chatting until I heard someone say “How’s it going, Rachael?” in my ear. I knew the voice! It was Raz! Raz was coming back to Lampeter with us too! I was just as excited to see him as I was to see Haylee and Charlotte.

One of many "study" sessions.

One of many “study” sessions.

After a long bus trip, we finally got back to Lampeter. It was dark out and I was exhausted. The long trip combined with jet lag was starting to kick my ass and I wanted to collapse and pass out. Except Alex was waiting for us when we got off the bus! I probably would have cried then, but I was too tired to cry at that point. I was just happy to see him. We carried my bags back to my room and I quickly “unpacked”.

Read: I pulled all of my stuff out of my bag and tossed everything everywhere.

That night Haylee, Victoria and I stayed up to watch the first NHL game that I’ve seen in several years. The Blackhawks were playing the Penguins. Haylee and I are Hawks fans and Victoria is a Penguins fan. Victoria went to bed before the game was over, but Haylee and I stayed up to watch the game go into overtime and then go to a shoot-out where the Blackhawks won! That night Charlotte was away so instead of going back to my room, I slept in her bed.

I couldn’t have dreamed of a better “homecoming”.

From that point on I have everything has been all about the go go go go! 

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Lampeter Lions. We kind of look like bumblebees.

The day after I arrived back, I had a basketball practice. It felt great to have a ball in my hand again. I felt a little bit rushed to get back on the court and get back into the swing of things because the next week we had our first game against my school’s Camarthen campus. I couldn’t believe that I had just landed the day before and I was already planning to play in a basketball game the next week! We won that game and it felt even better to be back on the court playing an actual game!

Between basketball, netball, and classes, I quickly beat the horrible jet lag monster and easily fell into the routine that I’d created for myself last semester. I don’t spent a lot of time in lecture, but I’m really enjoying the courses that I do have. Especially my Contemporary Literature course because I’ve never studied literature beyond the Modernist era. It’s really weird to think that some of the authors we have studied are still alive! Everyone I have studied in the past has been long dead before I was even born. This time I can actually google search authors and see them alive, kicking, and having opinions on real world things.

IMG_0557Besides those things, this semester has given me new experiences as well. I got to see my first football (soccer) match ever. One of our teammates, Josh, plays for our school’s team so Haylee, Charlotte and I went to watch and cheer. I winced every time I saw one of them slam their heads off the ball and wondered how they didn’t concuss themselves more often. I don’t understand the game at all, so I was really confused when I saw Josh and a few of his teammates stand in a line to create a wall of yellow jerseys. Then I saw someone from the other team was going to kick the ball and I winced again. This looked like a good way to get your face smashed in. I spent most of the game being amazed at how high these guys could kick their legs and how quick their feet were. In the end the Lions won and I decided that football is still not a sport for me and that I’m a rugby girl for a reason.

IMG_0558Afterwards Haylee and I went for a walk to a lake that’s just outside of our town. It was a long walk with lots of hills, but it was worth it to see the lake (more of a puddle, but still beautiful). The walk was fun and seeing more of the Welsh countryside that’s right out my door left me in awe at how pretty my home away from home is. On our way back from the lake we decided to take a different way home and wound up walking in single file along a semi-busy road. For the record, the people here in the UK are all crazy drivers. Despite the somewhat scary walk home, we eventually made it back to town and were able to return to our rooms to warm up.

Since then my netball team has won our first league game, and I’ve started to work more on my creative project for class. I can’t wait to see what else this semester holds for me. This weekend I’m returning to Bath and am excited to see the Roman Baths again! I’ll definitely have more to share soon!

The Stuff Sisters Say

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My dominant form of communication with my sister are the hundreds of text messages that we send to one another on a monthly basis. I live in the grand old city of Burnaby, BC and she lives a four/five hour drive away from me in Kamloops, BC. She has a funky work schedule and I have an odd school time table, so it’s tough to squeeze in actual conversations. I can’t say that this bothers me though. Texting means that I can talk to her all day if I really want to. Plus us texting back and forth means that in the middle of the day when I’m doing stuff, I can look at my phone and have a little giggle to myself at the shit my sister says.

Like one day I was particularly bored and browsing Reddit and I happened to come across this picture:

And I couldn’t help but giggle. You see, when my sister and I were younger and little, and when we decided not to get along, our parents would make us hold hands. Seriously, we would have to sit on the couch and hold hands until we decided to love each other again. One time, we were left on the couch holding hands that we actually fell asleep that way. For some reason I remember sleeping along the top of the sofa while my sister was passed out on the actual couch…and we were still holding hands while we slept. It might not have happened that way, but I DO remember falling asleep holding hands. We got along pretty good after that too.

Now seeing this picture, I’m glad all that we had to do was hold hands. My sister agrees. See?

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RWAR! SISTERS ANGRY!

Reading this makes me smile every time. Hence why I took a screen shot of it and why I’m blogging about it. My sister is one of the few people who has a similar stream of thought like I do and gets what I’m thinking. Plus I can talk to her about anything. And I can say things like “my butt cheese is particularly fragrant today” and she won’t be offended and she won’t give me that “THE FUCK DID YOU JUST SAY?” look that my mom gave me when I said that to her while we played dice the other day. This is just the sort of stuff that me and my sister say and it’s perfectly ok, because at one point in our lives, we were forced to hold hands to get along and now we’re just really connected. And usually get along because it sucks having to sit still and hold hands with your sister who might or might not fart just for the heck of it.

She’s a bag and does that sometimes just so she can giggle about it. Or that might be me. You never know.

Buckle Up For Safety, MoFo!

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Pretty much as soon as I turned 16, I got my Learner’s Permit to drive. I say “pretty much” because when I wrote the test on my actual birthday I failed the test by one answer. I mean in the real world I would have gotten a C for my answers, but they wanted higher than that so I had to return the next day to ace that thing. For those of you who live in British Columbia, remember the old “L” driver rules right? You get your “L” and you keep it for 6 months before you can write your “New” driver’s test and get an “N” license. Then after that the rules got changed.

Well…

The rules changed in October. That summer my town and lots of other places wound up on fire, burnt down or almost on fire because all the other places burnt down. They call it Fire Storm 2003. Anyway, I was able to write my “N” test in August, but well…shit was burning down, yo! So I couldn’t. Then I failed my test in September which means that I wrote and passed my “N” test in October and wound up falling under the new “New” driver rules. Which meant that I could only have one passenger at a time and some other shenanigans that I didn’t matter because I never planned to drive drunk or anything else that broke those rules.

It was the “one passenger only” rule that I broke…a lot. Part of the rule was that I could have more than one passenger if one of the passengers was a family member or they were all family or something like that, but that doesn’t really matter because I broke the rule all the time. Except for when me and my sister went cruising. After I could drive on my own it was rare for me to be driving with my parents in the car because I’m pretty sure I traumatized them into never wanting to cruise with their daughters again.

That was fine. Me and my sister loved to cruise together.

In fact when she came of age where she should have gotten her Learners Permit and didn’t I started to let her drive my car sometimes. By that I mean we’d be cruising down the highway and I’d let her steer the car for whatever reason I needed her to steer the car. And she was great at it and possibly a better driver than me despite being in the passenger seat. In fact she got so good at it that mom even let her steer sometimes when she was in the front seat.

But despite the crazed lunacy that required my sibling wingman of mayhem to drive my car that was doing 120km/h along the highway, she is not a crazy driver. In fact she is a better driver than me. She’s all about safety, responsibility and not doing incredibly stupid things like letting her sibling steer the car from the passenger seat. So much so that that yeah, I let her drive my car sometimes.

The first time I let her drive, I pulled over beside a cattle guard that was right after the paved road turned to a dirt road (letting you know that you are now on a reserve, of course) and was about 2km away from home. We switched seats and giggling my sister got behind the wheel of my silver Saturn SC1, gripped the steering wheel in both hands before looking at me with a crazed gleam in her eye and said…

“Buckle up for safety, mother fucker.”

This is where I should she that Tiffany peeled out of where we were parked and made my car go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in six seconds and crashed us in a saskatoon bush, but that’s not how it went. Instead we buckled up, I told her to check her mirrors, turn her signal light on, check her blind spots and pull out onto our old dirt road to drive us home.

She still had that crazy gleam in her eye and she giggled in glee almost the whole way home…while doing 15km/hour the entire way.

 

Day Two – Wingman of Mayhem

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My younger sister is one of my best and closest friends. She’s fifteen months younger than me and in addition to being a great friends, she’s always been my Wingman of Mayhem. The one that is there for all of my shenanigans and has had some shenanigans of her own. In fact, we grew up so close that we like to pretend that we’re twins…well, fraternal twins.

If you’ve ever seen us together you’ll know that my sister and I are the ying and yang of each other. Where I have darker skin to her lighter skin, she is lean and wiry where I have curves and jiggly bits. Growing up she would claim that I was the devil where she was the angel and how we dressed reflected that a lot of times in a stereotypical sense. I wore, and still wear, a lot of black and darker colours while she wore a lot of white. How she kept it clean, I’ll never know, but her whites stayed very white while my darks tended to fade and wind up with all manner of stuff on them. Obviously my sister was neat, tidy and methodical to my cluttered, messy and helter skelter way of being. In my sisters world everything has it’s place and it’s the same in my world too where everything has it’s place…that place just happens to be the floor.

We’ve always had fun together and the times we’ve fought have been few and far between. Lately, our fights probably don’t happen because we no longer live together, or even live in the same city. She lives in the city close to our childhood home with her girlfriend, while I jump back and forth between living with my parents and living in the Greater Vancouver Area while finishing my degree. And most times that we’ve seen each other, one or the other, or both of us have been exhausted or tired just from work, life, school or whatever it is that tires people out these days.

Today was one example. My sister drove out to our parents home just so she could set up and decorate our tree. It’s been the tradition/habit for the past forever that Tiffany sets up and decorates the tree with minimal help from me. Why? Because she’s the artistic one and has a great way of using space creatively while I’m more academic and have a great way of filling paper with words creatively. She was obviously exhausted and I was sleepy too…my semester of all nighters, one stressed out week after another and tests, tests, tests and more tests had finally caught up with me and backhanded me like I owed it money.

Which I didn’t! I paid for my semester of English lectures just like every other person paid for their semesters of whatever it is other people take.

Anyway, as is the way of the Flying Turtle Sisters, Tiffany and I could have easily zonked out in the living room. Our house is always kept hella warm and there are plenty of nice spots to sleep. Normally she and I curl up on a couch each or Tiff will drag out this old fold out miniature love seat and set up a little nest in it. We’ll put on a movie or a TV series and eventually we’ll do what comes naturally to us…

Like this one time during our traditional Easter weekend basketball tournament where we fell asleep watching “Sleeping Beauty” for the second or third time that weekend. We were trying to watch the movie the whole way through but we just kept…falling asleep. I think people call that irony or something similar.

Another time after we’d finished the before mentioned basketball tournament, we were both home, had all of our Easter candy and were watching “Sex In the City”. I fell asleep on the little fold out miniature love seat while Tiff zonked out on the sofa. Naturally we’d consumed an abnormal amount of chocolate while watching Keri get her heartbroken yet again.

Admittedly, we tend to fall asleep after major sport things like the Easter weekend tournament while watching movies because those are very natural times for us to zonk out. I’ll also admit that most of the time it’s me that passes out because Tiff is weird and rarely naps. However, some of our best sister moments have been when we’re drooling all over one sleeping apparatus in our living room or another and “watching” movies together.

It’s also probably why we don’t fight too often.

P.S We got the tree decorated and I helped. We wound up giggling over all the homemade decorations that we made when we were ages 4-11. We both love those decorations because they mean something and say something special to us. At one point we were pulling out those decorations and saying things like “And this says I like glitter! Lots and lots of glitter!” and “This says that I just hit my creative stage.” and “This says I was a 4 year old trying to copy my older sister!”