Monday, 31 October 2011


Our Canada World Youth team is required to volunteer at Fort Edmonton's annual Halloween event which is called Spooktacular. It is so awesome! Some people are volunteering at the kids' section which has an Alice-in-Wonderland theme but I get to volunteer at the 14+ area. It's held at a historical place that is around 1885 so it's great for these kind of Victorian (Greogorian? I don't know) scary Gothic-type themes. This year's theme is a carnival gone demented. So there are clowns, there's a freak show, there are creepy dolls and marionettes. The actors who put on these multiple haunted houses are really good. There are creepy clowns walking down the street.

I'm in charge of Jasper House. Last year it was one of the creepiest houses. This year it housed a freak show. Some parents forced their kids in which I frowned upon but had no way to stop them. I said to the parents, "Umm this might not be suitable for younger children." and that's all I had to say. I got to wear a cloak and hold a lantern (from IKEA, someone in the line recognized it as such). Anyway it was really fun scaring people. At times I got to press a red button that led to a doll some 100 metres off that popped out at you. The doll was sort of hiding behind a fence so curious folks would walk closer to it and then I'd press the button and the doll would jump in their face!! Did I say I like scaring people?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Eastern Body, Western Soul

I was going to try to trick you readers into thinking I'm talking about Orientalism or my "whitewashing" or something, but I'm talking about Eastern versus Western Canada here.

I love the continental weather. I will wake up and step outside the house and for days in a row there will be nary a cloud in the sky. Just pure, pure sunrise. It's a bonus since I'm 53 degrees north because the sun stretches and yawns its way out of the horizon instead of abruptly showing up on time like the Toronto sun does. I only wish I was in the country so that I could see empty sky and flat land meet and maybe then I will feel at peace. It's hard to do this in the city where the endless sky is obstructed by jutting buildings and suburban rowhouses.

The thing I do not like is the dry skin. Already in Toronto I get heat rashes and dry skin but here it is exacerbated.

I always thought I had an east coast soul because of my childhood vacances to Eastern Canada and New England and my being drawn to the Atlantic Ocean. I thought nah, the west isn't for me just because it isn't my home. Well, I'm liking this west-of-Toronto feeling!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Nice and Gory

The main difference I've noticed between Ontario and Alberta since I've gotten here is that the grounds surrounding government buildings are much more upkept and nicer in Alberta. There are beautiful bright flowers everywhere, a lot of which I've never seen in Toronto. They look healthy to the point of almost being fake. In Ontario, some grounds are plain grass, dying bushes, or ugly flowers.

I visited the Royal Alberta Museum yesterday and while it was no Royal Ontario Museum, the thing I liked best about it was that it didn't shy away from reality, nevermind that there are so many kids visiting the museum. While other museums have stale re-creations, if I were a kid there I would've gotten nightmares from this one. Recorded voices and animal sounds emitted from hidden speakers and the display cases and dioramas were quite graphic. There was an enlargement of a decomposing dead rat, bacterium, blood coming out of a buffalo's nose with a spear in its side and giant cockroaches.