Thursday, August 18, 2016

Officially Four Years ( or I Just Want to Ramble About Myself For a Moment )

It's been four years.

Officially, four years.

I woke up this morning, earlier than I wanted to wake up. ( But, honestly, it's always too early for me. ) Took the dog for a walk, and as we were on out walk, it dawned on me...

It's officially been four years single. Four years since I ended my financially stable, good enough, safe relationship because it wasn't quite right. ( Not to mention his blatant disregard for my privacy and lack of ability to just talk to me about things, but that's besides the point. )

And that's what it really was, it wasn't quite right.

* Brace yourself. This gets cheesy and cliche from here on out. If you're allergic to that stuff, stop now *

Eight months earlier I had begun a sport which would start me on a journey of self-discovery, self-awareness, and a profound shift in how I see not only myself, but the world.

Roller derby. How the hell did I even get past the recruitment night? I spent more time on my ass than I did up on my skates. ( And I honestly do not think I am exaggerating at all on that point. ) At the end of it, I had convinced myself that this sport wasn't for me. How could it be? I couldn't skate. I was so out of shape that I was winded after just a few minutes out there.  ( Full disclosure: I weighed in at around 320 lbs at this point. ) I was painfully shy and lacked confidence in a sea of strong, confident women. But, what made me return was one simple exchange between me and a couple veteran skaters as I was about to walk out the door at the end of the night.

" Are you coming back? " She shouted at me.
" I...I don't know, "
" You should. You have the perfect body for derby!! "
" Yeah! " The skater sitting beside her says " We'll teach you how to use those hips, "

Never in my life had anything about me ever been described as perfect by anyone other than my mother. Never had I ever been told by anyone, after I spent a whole 2 hours effectively failing at everything I tried to do, that I had a potential that needed to be encouraged. I was 30 years old and had never experienced encouragement and acceptance like I had that night, in the one quick exchange. Those two skaters' names I cannot recall anymore, possibly Knox and Betty Something, but their faces are etched in my mind.

And I went back. Took me five months to get there, but I went back.

Six months later, I left my job and started chair renting. I was self-employed. An incredible achievement for me.

Eight months later, four years ago today, I left my relationship, less than two months before my wedding date.

This was an incredible shock to most people in my life. How do you answer the question " What happened? " when nothing really happened. How do you explain that it just wasn't right? How do you explain that your heart sank when he asked you to marry him? How do you explain that you couldn't justify to yourself at that point why you shouldn't? It was the perfect proposal, after all. On a bench, after a picnic, in the park on Pont Neuf in Paris, part way through our month long European adventure.

Truth be told, I didn't even answer him. I just cried. I allowed him to think it was out of happiness. I never actually said yes. I couldn't. I couldn't get that word out of my mouth. I'm not proud of that, but I rationalized it by telling myself that I was just too shocked to answer. ( It was completely unexpected. ) And I thought that when the shock wore off I would be thrilled! I texted my best friend, Ron, later that day to tell him. The text read something along the lines of " So, Ben asked me to marry him, " Ron says he knew immediately that this wasn't good, that I wasn't happy. I'm convinced that man knew me better than I knew myself at the time. A decade of friendship will do that. ( And I miss him dearly nearly every day. )

I wasn't thrilled.

The more planning that went into this wedding, which ended up being far more than I wanted, the more that sinking feeling in my stomach grew.  ( In his defense, my ideal wedding is a little chapel in Vegas with Elvis as the officiant. A desire I had expressed previously, and since, but I don\t think anyone takes me seriously when I say it. For the record, I am dead serious about this. ) I have never seen marriage as a goal in life, and therefore, having a wedding is not something I care much about.

I continued to tell myself that it was just those pre-wedding jitters. All brides get them. As a hairdresser, I had been around enough brides to know that nervousness and jitters is completely normal. But, I knew it was more than that. I tried to broach these feelings with a few people. Most told me to was normal. Only a couple suggested I think about this a little harder. Christina and Josh ( or Klutch. Derby names die hard. ) along with Ron, were the only three, out of a large group of people who even hinted that something wasn't right here.

I kept putting off the planning. Save the dates and invitations never got sent out. I barely told anyone. I arranged for a friend to make my dress, but never really pushed for fittings. I did ask my brother to be my maid of honour,( Yeah, you read that right. ) but stalled on getting him names of friends for my bachelorette party. I still wonder what he would have come up with for that.

( You know, brother, you could just throw me an awesome party, any time you want, for no reason. )

And it was this day, four years ago, that I returned from supporting the men's derby team in Calgary to my fiancee telling me that he had looked through my phone a week or so prior while I was in the shower. Why? He claims it was because he knew something was wrong and wanted to know what it was. But, I call bullshit on that.

He thought I was cheating on him.

I wasn't.

But, he did read some texts stating my hesitation and being unsure of marrying him.

He did read my personal conversations with friends about fears and my feelings.

He violated my trust and my privacy.

I left that night, stayed in a hotel by myself.

And never went back.

He accused me of cheating. Of being a gold digger ( because I asked for the down payment I put on the condo back, and the 3100$ I had just given to the condo board a couple weeks prior to redo the windows.This was after he had gone through my phone. He knew something was up and still allowed me to shell out that money! )

He called me useless. He told me I contributed nothing to the relationship. That I was entitled to nothing. He questioned whether I had even put money into the down payment. He told me that I owed him for the trip to Europe ( I paid my own way. )

He blamed his debt on me. He blamed everything on me. He said a whole manner of things to and about me.

He lied to me.

I lost the deposits on the wedding venues, I lost my down payment on the condo. I lost that 3100$ for the windows. I walked away with virtually nothing but my dog.

I lived with my younger brother for seven months. I had nothing. I was broke. I had a new business that I was just trying to get off the ground. I took part-time work just to make ends meet. I went from driving an '07 Monte Carlo to a '97 Chrysler Neon. ( I still miss the engine in that Monte Carlo. )

And I threw myself into roller derby. I fell and they picked me back up, time and time again. ( Metaphorically and literally. I fell, and still fall, a lot in that sport. It hurts. I always hurt. ) I yelled, I screamed, I cried. I threw things. And those people still accepted me. Still held onto me, and still supported me.

And I thrived.

A year later and a half later, I had my own apartment, supporting myself by myself on my self-employment income.

A few months after that, I took up power lifting. I had no idea I could be that strong.

A year later, I made a decade long dream come true and traveled to India, and trip that completely altered my perception of life. I came back more compassionate, more introspective, and no longer willing to sit back and let the world go by without me.

I became a warrior.

Two months later, I bought my business.

Four months after that I bought a motorcycle.

And eight months after that, I bought my house.

I learned to take fear and use it. I learned to use disappointed to make me better. I learned to challenge expectations put on me, but not only others, but by myself.

My dad said to me the other day " I never doubted that you would find your own path in life. "

I doubted it. I doubted it most of my life without even realizing I was doubting it. I doubted myself.

I never thought I'd be single at 34. I never thought I'd own my own home, my own business, a motorcycle. I never thought I'd actually get to India. I never thought I'd be in a position to help my friends when they need it. I never thought I'd be as loud and a vocal as I am in the face of injustice. I never thought I'd be directly politically involved, that that I could count politicians and people making a real difference as friends. I never thought I'd be called an inspiration, strong, real, or a role model. ( Descriptions of me I am still far from comfortable with. ) I never thought I would figure out what it truly means to be me.

And I know I am strong enough to handle anything.

It's officially been four years to the day.

Four years since I took that first step and found my own path.

And I'm better for it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Too Opinionated Maybe ( or The Last Man Standing )

I was born and raised in Brandon, Manitoba. I left when I was 19. Bad things always happen to me when I go back there. But, I go back because I adore my cousins and I love seeing them get married. This time it truly dawned on me...

I'M THE LAST MAN STANDING. ( So to speak. )

My single status doesn't cross my mind too often, at least not as something to be worried about, or to even seriously think about. ( It does however cross my mind when I've got my leg propped up on pillows with an ice pack on my ankle, a process which takes a while to set up, and I realize I forgot to bring my bottle of water with me!!! )

But, it always crosses my mind when I attend weddings, And at the wedding last week ( which was incredible, really. It included fire works that put the Canada Day ones in most cities to shame ) I realized that I was was the only unattached person left of my generation. Not all were married, but of the ones who are not, my older cousin  has two kids with his girlfriend and they have lived together for years, my brother and his girlfriend I suspect are going that direction, and my youngest cousin is talking about moving in with her boyfriend ( and my cousins don't tend to move in with people they don't intend to marry. ) All the others, my three other younger cousins, are married, as are my two oldest cousins ( half-cousins if you want to get technical. Although my two oldest (half)cousins are closer in age to my parents than they are to me. I'll explain it to you someday. ). This is not to mention the majority of the other guests and family members were also attached, and if not, were a fair bit younger than me. We're talking six or seven years younger at minimum.

And no one asks me anymore when I'm going to find someone. I think they've all given up.

This of course starts me thinking.... Why? Why am I the last one? What is it about me that has brought me to this point, the point of being the last single one left, with no real potential relationship in my life?

I some times as people about this. Guys I've become close to but which things haven't panned out with. Men I have been close friends with over the years. Female friends, family members. I've asked them all. And the response I get is always the same....

" It's not you, it's them. "
" It wasn't you, it was me, "

Even when I have point blank asked them why they didn't want to take our friendship a step further, I get the I just wasn't ready answer. Which is bullshit because three weeks later they end up in relationships with other people.  Does three weeks make that much of a difference? Really? I don't believe you! ( The not telling the truth here bothers me, but that's a rant for another day. )

The only one who gave me even an inkling of an answer was my father.

" Too opinionated maybe, " 

And this is where I become incredibly confused.

I was raised during a time when  young women and girls were being told to be strong, speak out, be independent. My mom was a single mom who worked three jobs at times to make ends meet. I grew up watching her struggle, but beyond one man whom she nearly married, didn't ever rely on a man to help her. She raised the two of us virtually on her own. She dated here and there, but she was predominantly single. She encouraged me to express myself, be honest with my feelings, and to be true to who I am, and to not rely on anyone. She allowed me to colour my hair, wear weird clothing, and do all the strange things I wanted to do.

I was an odd kid, to say the least.

My father influenced me in ways I don't think he realized. He is the reason I am so interested in politics and I never saw my dad back down from a good debate. My father almost always offered his opinion on a subject or a person, whether it was wanted or not.

* Wait, didn't you say your mother was a single mom? Yes, my parents were divorced. Again, I'll tell you the story some day. *

At no point did I ever feel that I was to be quiet, meek, or hold my opinions back. My father and I may not always agree on things ( almost never, to be honest ) but I have always been encouraged to voice those opinions. And voice them I do.

And now I hear " Too opinionated maybe, "

Too opinionated? Too opinionated for who? For what?

It's not that he said " You're very opinionated and that can be tough for some people to deal with, ". He said " Too opinionated, " And the implication of that statement stunned me.

" Too opinionated maybe, "

The implication is that no one is ever going to want to deal with me the way I am.

The implication is that I'm not deferential enough.

The implication is that I need to just shut up and keep my thoughts to myself. 

Because no man is ever going to want someone with strong opinions like me.

And those three words have been on my mind every since. They keep playing over and over in my mind, along with a few words my mother said about a year ago:

" Men want to be needed."

The context was a discussion about need vs want. I firmly believe that wanting someone to be a part of your life, yet not needing them, means far more than needing them. A need is something you must have, you get no choice in. A want is a choice, through and through.

I NEED to drink water. I WANT to drink cold water.

I NEED to eat. I WANT to eat tasty food.

I don't get a choice in what I need, but I do get to choose what I want. I can't choose to get rid of what I need, but I can choose to get rid of what I want when I don't want it anymore. In my thinking, continuing to want something or someone means so much more because I have the choice.

Those words from my mother have been rolling around in my head since she said them. The implications just as stunning as the implications from the words of my father.

The implication is that I shouldn't be as independent as I am.

The implication is that the only way a man is going to want to be with me is if I need them to look after me in some way.

And the implications of both of these things are worrisome and incredibly confusing for me.

How do I reconcile then things I was taught growing up, with the reality I am experiencing? How do I reconcile what my parents told and showed me as a kid with what they are saying now? How do I scale back my opinions, my personality, my independence and the life I had built so a man can feel comfortable in it?

Is that what I have to do to be able to share life with someone? To have someone hug me when I cry? To have someone to make breakfast for? Is that what the requirement is for a life of loving, traveling, laughing, crying, arguing, making out, eating, hugging, smiling, and all the other things one does in life, with?


Because I don't know if can measure up to that requirement.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Frustration and Excitement..... my stomach is not happy about these butterflies.

I'm frustrated.

I'm frustrated with my inability to figure this whole dating/relationship thing out on my own.

I'm frustrated that I'm so halting and scared to just tell someone something. I'm frustrated that I can't just be honest. I'm frustrated that being honest and upfront about your feelings results in being called to attached or in outright rejection. I'm frustrated that I allow my past experiences to dictate how I proceed in the now. And I'm frustrated that my fear of hurt is keeping me from something I want.

I project a very independent, confident, and strong face to the world. And that face isn't untrue. In so many ways I am all those things and more. And I know it. I am attractive physically and intellectually. I know this because I'm told this so often. I'm a role model ( not that I like the idea of being one. ). I find something I want to do, I grab ahold of it, and fear be damned, I jump in!

But, I'm am so lost when it comes to romantic relationships. I'm so lost. I spent most of my 20s in a series of relationships that I was in out of necessity or desperation, attempting to not be alone. I needed the validation that I was worth something and I found that in men. And those men were easy to find. I jumped right in. A serial dater. I didn't go more than three months without someone to call 'boyfriend'. They weren't always healthy relationships ( almost none were ) but they were relationships and I needed them to feel valid.

I left my ex 4 years ago after 6 1/2 years together and 2 months shy of our wedding day. I was 30 years old. I don't regret it, but I also thought that I would find someone to truly SHARE my life with. And 'share' is the key word. I'd spent my life trying to fit into other people's lives and I lost my own. I didn't expect to be single at 34, my 30s consisting of short term hook ups never getting past the third meeting, or date if you want. The few ( and I mean very few ) that have gotten past that point have turned into long term hook ups or just fizzled out. In four years I have yet to find something truly substantial with someone who truly excites me. I would go so far as to say I haven't found anything truly substantial and exciting with someone in a decade, or in my life. Until I woke up one day and realized that that someone is right in front of me.

I found myself being in a place where I knew he would pass by on purpose, even when I didn't need to be there. I found myself looking at the clock to see the time and figure out whether I'd missed him. I found myself waiting around longer than I needed to just in case he came by. I found myself being late for events because he had stopped by and I didn't want to end the conversation. I found myself searching for sonething to talk about just so I could be around him.  And it took me a long time to realize that I was doing this. And I've never done this in my life. I have never wanted to see someone so much in my life.

I'm excited. I'm giddy. There a butterflies in my tummy just thinking about him. I smile at the thought. This is something substantial, and this is something exciting. I'm sure of it.

And I'm terrified of this. And I'm frustrated that I'm terrified. I'm frustrated that I am over thinking this. And I'm frustrated that I agonize over every word, every message I send. This isn't me. This isn't who I am, is it?

Is this how it's supposed to go? Aren't you supposed to just know?

" If they like you they'll make an effort, " But what about my side? Do I just sit back and wait for that 'effort'? Or does that saying swing both ways? Should I not also make an effort? What does 'an effort' look like? What is too much effort?  What is too little? What if I step over that line? Or what if I don't come close enough to it? I have been accused of being both ' too attached ' and ' too aloof ', most often the latter. When do I know if he's just not interested? When do I know that he is interested? How do I know? And what do I do when I do know?

" Don't worry about it.  It'll just happen. "  Nothing ever ' just happens '.

I'm so lost, and excited, and terrified, and excited. But, I have no idea what to do with any of it.

I have never wanted to get to know some one more than I want to get to know this man. I've never wanted to be close to someone as much as I want to be close to him. And I have never wanted to kiss someone as badly as I want to kiss him.

And I have no idea what to do. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

It's not you, it's me. ( Or why I didn't attend your event. )

I really wanted to attend your house warming.

I really wanted to go out dancing with you on Friday night.

I really wanted to meet you for dinner.

I really wanted to spend the day with you while you helped me organize my apartment.

I really wanted to hang out at Taste of Edmonton with you.

I really wanted to get together with you for that beer.

I really wanted to meet you at that bar and hear some great live tunes.

I really wanted to attend your wedding.

I really wanted to see you because you are important to me.

It's not you, it's me.

I know it's a cliche line used as a cop out to not actually tell a person you don't want to be around them. But, there are times where this line is absolutely the truth.

Since April I have been dealing with unwanted, and yet persistent, visitors. They're names are Depression and Migraine.

 Whether Migraine or Depression showed up first, I can't say. What I can say is that both Depression and Migraine tend to visit together, and they feed off each other. And they feed off my emotioals and physical energy. There have been times when I thought they had left, but it turns out they had simply retreated to the closet for a short time only to come sneaking out when I was least expecting them. I really do despise those two. They are sneaky and rude and just plain horrible to deal with, but they are in my life.

. I love people.

 I love talking,

 I love debating, 

I love learning about new people and new things.

I love dancing.

I love getting a bit tipsy.

I love chatting over a few beers.

I love seeing your new house.

I love BBQs.

I LOVE all these social things. They are a part of what drives me, what gets me up every morning and what I think about before I sleep.

The thing is, Depression drains my emotional energy to do these things. Migraine drains my physical energy to do these things. Together, they drain me of any kind of energy to do these wonderful, social, and fun things that I love with people I truly enjoy.

My career as a hairdresser requires a lot of energy and mostly the emotional kind. I am not complaining. I truly enjoy what I do and where I am at with it. I couldn't be happier! But it can be draining. I build relationships with each and every client who sits in my chair.  

When they are happy, I am happy. 

And when they are sad, I am sad. 

And everything in between.

My emotional out put on any given work day is usually quite high which leaves only a little bit of energy left for all those fun things I love to do.

That is the energy that I use for that house warming party, that dinner, that club night.

It's the same energy I use for organizing my apartment, seeing you get married, and having that beer.

Depression selfishly takes that energy from me until I have nothing left. I can find enough to do my job, most days, but finding that extra energy is proving to be difficult lately. Finding the energy to do more then sit in my apartment with my dog has been very hard lately.

 Depression is a complete asshole. 

I try to hold on to that energy and keep it from Depression, but I'm pretty sure Depression hits the gym every day and is therefore stronger then I am. ( For now. Depression doesn't know it, but I'm going to kick its ass very soon. For I too have been hitting the gym. )

This is why I did not attend your event that I really wanted to, and this is why I very seldom give a firm " Yes " when asked if I am attending something. I don't know how much of an ass Depression will be that day, so I go a day at a time.

The good news is that each time these two monsters visit, I learn how to kick them out sooner ( or at least put them in the dark corner of the closet with the spiders ). I learn how to keep more of my energy.

And I love you. 

You are very important to me.

And I know it may feel like I don't want to be around you. I am sorry for that, I truly am because that is not how I feel.

You are awesome!

And on those days when Depression and Migraine have retreated to the closet or left for a long, long vacation ( or forever ), I will dance my ass off with you.

I will drink all the beer with you.

I will warm your house like you wouldn't believe.

I will attend all the festivals and events with you.
I will eat more dinner then I can handle with you.

And I will spend my energy on you!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The " Older Women "

Trying to score a date with the older women: ( through a dating site. )


- Don't start the conversation with a comment about her weight. Even if its meant as a compliment, as in " Losing weight?"  and then proceed to tell her you think she's pretty.

- When she asks about whether or not she was pretty before losing weight, do not answer with " Is this a touchy subject? "

- If you have multiple questions, try to keep them all in one message. Sending a new message for each question is annoying.

- Don't play the " I'm probably too young for you, " card. Trying to garner sympathy will not get you what you want. You'll only be perceived as a child.

- Do not ask " Do you think we could go on a date sometime? " Just ask if they'd like to go on a date. Don't play in hypotheticals. Also, don't add the word " please, " at the end of that question. No begging.

- If she doesn't reply to your messages right away, especially after she has mentioned that she is BUSY right now, do not send 12 more messages asking " Where'd you go? " or some version of that.


- Read her profile.

- Do have something written in your profile.

- Using the word 'gal' in reference to her is a good idea. ( At least for this gal it is. )

- Do ask about the things she likes. Such as baking or roller derby.

- Do have some good photos of you that don't involve a beer in your hand or another person.

- Be confident and don't mention the age difference unless she does.

- Do have a job.

This is the short list. The long list is long.

I have been inundated by messages from guys who are quite a bit younger then me in the last few months. We're talking 8 - 11 years younger. ( I'm only 32! ). Apparently, I am at the age where I am considered an " older women " for that age category ( 21 - 25 ).

I'm not completely sure how I feel about that.

Part of me is intrigued by the idea but the other part of me is quite sure that I would have nothing in common with any of them. I mean, they don't remember watching the Transformers on television or dancing to the Smashing Pumpkins at a high school dance. What could we possibly even talk about?

I guess we could just not talk.... * wink wink *

Saturday, February 14, 2015


I'm on beach.

Well, maybe not at this moment, but I could go to a beach right now if I wanted. Actually, I should.

That concludes this blog post. See ya!

Me and the brother thing. There's a beach in the back ground.

Just kidding. It's late and I'm a bit tired and you deserve some explanation here. I know you've been checking this blog every day for an update. 

You haven't? Oh...well, ok then.

We hiked ( climbed ) up this...
To get to this. Brahma Temple

Last time, I had just arrived in the wonderful town of Pushkar and I was in love. ( Still am ) I also reconnected with my little bro. After two weeks of him skiing in Gulmarg and that same time frame of me hopping around Rajasthan and hanging out with elephants, we bumped into each other in Pushkar. ( I saw bumped into each other like it was an accident. It wasn't an accident. ) We spent a few days hiking up enormous hills ( I call them mountains ) and riding through the desert, enjoying the sand dunes, and driving through Ajmer, a town of 425,000. Yes, I did say driving. If there was a time where a GoPro camera was needed, this was the time.
Dunes of Sand - that's what the sign said

The traffic here is like nothing else I could have even imagined. The rules are... well, drive on the left ( mostly ) and honk your horn a lot. That's about all I can make out. But I survived!

I've never ridden a scooter before, or a bike really, as I'm a bit afraid of it, but couldn't let that hold me back. I told the guy renting them that I knew exactly what I was doing. ( I'm not sure if he believed me, but he took my money anyway. )

Pushkar is a great little town, definitely one of the highlights of my trip.
See? I made it. That's Pushkar in the background.

From Pushkar, we made the long trek to the city formally known as Bombay. Now called Mumbai. Not sure if it went through a phase of calling itself by a symbol or not. ( Do you get the joke? I think it's hilariously witty of me to have come up with that. )

The trek to Mumbai included a 15 hour train journey and a 5 hour bus trip. That's not so bad. We are told we disembark in Udaipur and then catch the bus.

Sounds good to me. We purchase the tickets.

Wait a minute, that doesn't make sense. Udaipur isn't that far from Pushkar.... .... ....

OH WAIT! We got it wrong. It' a 5 hour train ride to Udiapur then a 15 hour bus ride to Mumbai.


For any who know me well, me and things like bus rides do not do well together. I get severe motion sickness and the driving in India involves no anticipation. There's a whole bunch of speed up and quickly slow down. Speed up, quickly slow down, speed up.... It's making me queasy just thinking about it.

Udaipur, however, is a nice city with a few large lakes. We had time to do one site seeing visit and saw City Palace. I will say that it was a beautiful place, but I think that's sounding redundant in a country of beautiful places. It's a museum now but was once the home of the Marahajas in Udaipur.

Ceiling carving and painting, on the roof! 

I spent the next 15 hours sick, trying to sleep and in tears. The bus did not have a bathroom and the one stop I was able to get out at ( too sick to even move ) they had only squat toilets, no power in the bathrooms and they were filthy beyond anything I have ever seen. That was the last time I was willing to use those road side toilets.

Oh! And I had to puke out the window four times on this trip. FOUR!!!! Couldn't even keep water down. It was the absolute worst travel decision I have ever made in my life. And probably one of the worst nights of my life.

I'd like to tell you a bit about Mumbai....

But I can't....

Because I was sick for the whole 24 hour we were there. Curled into a ball, can't keep water down, running a fever sick. Worst day ever!!!!

But now!! I'm on a beach. I will tell you all about the beach and all the wonderful things here, in Anjuna, Goa, and how I got here, in my next post, entitled:


Stay tuned. Same bat time. Same bat channel.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Well, that was unexpected.....

I just got high with an old Croation, his daughter, and two Indian guys, in India, on a roof top patio.

With this view of Pushkar.
Pushkar at sunset. 

More about that later.

I've been a bit amiss with this blog for two reasons:

1. Crappy, inconsistent internet at the guesthouse I was staying at in Jaipur. Although it was a very nice place and the family that ran the house were wonderful, the internet was just not cutting it. I would write a blog, get it all ready and try to publish it just to have the connection  cut out or for the signal to be too weak. I was able to do it from my phone but....and maybe I'm a little old school just doesn't feel that same as typing on a keyboard. ( and 15 years ago, the same would have been said about typing on a keyboard compared to writing on paper. )

2. I was TIRED! As mentioned, the place I stayed at was lovely but there were a few things, things that are somewhat common to India, that made sleeping a challenge.

  • The mattress was almost as hard as the wooden frame it rested on, and I am not exaggerating much.  
  • The house was cold. If you want to build a house that stays cold during the summer, build it with a lot of marble and lots of openness. The entrance to the house itself was more of a gate then a door. There was no seal. Windows that didn't close. So, if it was cool outside, say 13 degrees, it was at least 13 degrees inside. Even during the day when the temperature was around 22 degrees, it was still about 13 degrees in the house. Made for a coupe very cold nights.
  • Noisey. So, so noisey. Whether it was the family who stayed up late ( went to bend around 11 or 12 at earliest ), or just general noise from the outside ( you know, dogs barking, cars honking, monkeys screeching....the usual stuff. ), the openness of the house made it quite difficult to sleep.

Between those two things and the 430 am wake up. ( Didn't I mention that? Ooops ) it made for a very tired Victoria. I would usually come home from my time with the elephants ( which were so wonderful, by the way! ) and nap for half the day. Then get up and take a bit of a walk. I was also sick for a day or two in there. Tummy sick. Lots of time in the bathroom sick. You get the picture.

However, elephants!!! I met six elephants in total.

Gulab ( I was calling her Glad because I heard wrong. ), Chan Chal, Rupa, Rani, Sawtri, and Champa. Gulab lived out at the Elephant Village and was the first elephant I met. She was also the smallest. She's a 37 year old, 1800 kg beauty. : )

Gulab posing for me.
Rupa's hungry. Rupa's always hungry.
I then met the big girls, Rupa being the biggest and Champa being the oldes. ( 41 years old. She gets to retire in 7 years. Lucky girl. ) By far the friendliest and most entertaining was Rupa. She was the trunk in your face, trying to drink your tea and constantly opening her mouth for you to put more food into.

She also snorted the chapati flour off the ground. I think she's got a problem.

These girls were at least 2300 kg and stood much taller then Gulab. They were all sweet, wonderful beings. Completely different personalities. Chan Chal actually kept hiding behind a post every time I tried to take a photo of her.

She may have also just been itchy, but I choose to believe she was just being shy.
Sawtri is sleeping, still.

And Sawtri was a asleep almost everyday when I came in. The quiet mixed with the soft breathing of the elephants and punctuated by the occasional snore ( yes, elephants snore. ), combined with the 530 in the morning situation, made me just want to curl up, wrap a trunk around me and go to sleep.
Rupa and I!

Napping, being sick and elephants took up most of my time in Jaipur, but I did manage a bit of sight seeing, namely Amer Fort. And if you see one thing in Jaipur, make it Amer Fort. In my mind it rivals The Taj itself.

* GASP * I know!!!!!!!

How could something rival one of the seven wonders of the world? That can't be!

Oh, my friend, yes It can be.

Photos, as usual, cannot do justice to truly remarkable things. Well, some photos and some photographers can do justice, but not me with my Samsung Galaxy S4 for a phone. But, I'll post a few shots anyway, so you can get the idea.
Amer Fort/Palace from the road

Plaster work on the walls.

" Mirror Palace"

I could post a ton of pictures, but I won't.

Then, I left my elephants and Jaipur for the wonder that is Pushkar.

I took the public transit. It was dirty, long and hot.

It was also crowded an the whole time I was thinking " This better be worth it, "

And it is! It so much is!

Pushkar is nestled in the mountains of Rajasthan. And it's the Indian version of Nelson, B,C. If Nelson also had a lot of churches. It is the holy place and I believe that is why this place makes me feel instantly relaxed.

I'm an atheist, plain and simple, but I have always found religious structures ( even churches ) to provide a sense of peace within me and I marvel at the work that goes into creating these structures and monuments. Religions are fascinating.

I strolled the market, bought some pants, met a sweet old lady who loved my tattoos and visited the Brahma temple. Photos are not allowed, but I can tell you, it was beautiful.

All the colours, sights and sounds of a market.

Above mentioned sweet old lady.
And yet again, for the fourth time on this trip, I was swarmed!!!! First, by a group of about 20 teenage girls, all wanting pictures with me ( and so did their chaperones ). If I ever want to feel like a celebrity, I will just come back to India.

At least I think this must be what being a celebrity feels like, except with a lot more money and a private chef. My face actually began to get sore from smiling, that's how many photos these girls wanted to take.

I made my way back to the hotel and that is where the first sentence in this post comes in to play,

The people here are very relaxed, the energy is laid back and I think I will spend a few extra days here beyond the three I had initially planned. It's a wonderful break from the crowds and noise from the much larger cities.

Pineapple juice and a roof top patio!