Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Skookumchuck Rapids

So, on my quest to really delve into my west coast self, I went on another hike. It was MUCH more successful this time as there were few hills. It was 8 kilometres (5 miles) in total, but you hike in for 4 and then enjoy the view and then hike back out again. I took my nephew and he struggled in the beginning because I was going pretty fast. I was eager to get to the lookout because I didn't want to miss the changing of the tides. You see, this hike takes you out to the Skookumchuck Narrows, which is a extreme narrowing of the land to make a small passage for the ocean to pass through. Because of the way that it is, when the tides change large rapids and whirlpools are created. At the largest of the tidal changes, the whirlpools are huge and the sound is like a freight train coming from far away. Some kayakers who are EXTREMELY experienced and skilled like to shoot the rapids, but there were none this time... Anyway, the hike is great, the scenery is gorgeous and it is a must see if you are ever out here on the west coast and looking for something fun and active to do!! Check out the pics:

This is my nephew standing on top of a HUGE tree stump just before you start the trail proper. Yup... we grow our trees BIG out here!!

The rapids before they really got going.

My crazy nephew in a tree hollow... he was so excited to take this picture!! I love it... gotta love a kid who likes crazy poses.

A wider shot of the rapids... it was just the perfect place to stop, have lunch and enjoy the creation around us.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ah... The West Coast.

The west coast of British Columbia is just about one of the most beautiful places on earth. It's a northern rain forest so there are a lot of gray days and wet weather, but when it's warm and the sun is shining, it is truly stunning. This is where I am from and I love it. Perhaps one day I'll be lucky enough to land a job in this area (not easy since it's one of the most livable areas in the world).
Also, on the west coast, people are active. There is a ton to do here: sailing, kayaking, boating, fishing, surfing (if you go to the island), hiking, running, lakes, camping, rock climbing, snow shoeing and cross country skiing (downhill too) in the winter months. So it's a pretty active place. I am sure that I forgot to mention a plethora of other things you can do here.
The other day I decided I would be a typical coaster and go on a hike. I planned to do some little hikes before hand but it didn't work out that way and since I've been running since January, I thought this would be hard but possible... I do the Grouse Grind. It's only 2.9 kilometers but it is straight up the side of the mountain... that's right, from the parking lot to the peak. And I did it. Took me about twice as long as your average hiker... but I grumbled, joked and winced my way to the top! Below are some picks of my west coast adventure!

We had to take the tram down (THANK GOD!!).

My partner in crime for this adventure (Lisa, aka Billy Goat)

Me... at the top... after lunch... dirty, tired, sweaty and stinky... and I am faking the look. I actually enjoyed the experience (once it was over of course).

The view from where we sat at the top of the mountain. It was simply stunning!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Just Beautiful

I just couldn't help myself. I had to post a shot of the Sunshine Coast. The other night we went to Davis Bay to have an ice cream, walk along the water and look for the grey whale that is meant to be inhabiting the area. We got the ice cream, we had the walk but the whale eluded us the whole time... but we did walk out onto the wharf where a family friend was fishing for crabs and we got to watch that for a little while, which was pretty cool.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

And it's here!!!

So today my phone (okay, my parent's phone) rang. I was the only one home at the time, so I answered. It went a little some like this:

Me: Hello?

Him: Hello, Angela! (now, how did he know it was me? I mean... shouldn't he have asked to speak to me? Is big brother Turkey already watching me or something? And, yes, I did look around to see if I was being watched) This is the Turkish Consulate calling from Vancouver.

Me: Oh, yes, hello.

Him: Your passport has arrived today and is ready for you to pick up anytime.

Me: Oh! Wow! That was fast! Thank you, do I need to pay anything extra because I already paid for the visa...

Him: Actually, you overpaid! You paid $75 too much!

Me: (in my head... woohoo!!! and fire the call center girl with the bad pricing chart!!) Oh, well that's great! Thank you.

Him: Yes. The money is here in your passport. But you will have to pay me a handling fee of $22.40. (ah ha!! So that's the purpose of the consulate... to give back passports and charge 22.40 do do it!! Mystery solved!)

Me: excellent. I'll be by soon to get it! Thank you!

So I think I will go and pick it up tomorrow or the next day. I am so happy it's here. One step closer to the destination!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Visa Issued!!

Woohoo!!! My visa to work and live in Turkey has been issued!! The website said it would take several weeks to do and now it's done! They received my passport and paperwork on Thursday of last week and called me today to tell me that the visa has been issued and that my passport has been sent to the consulate close to me for pick up! WOW!! I am impressed. Thanks for the prayers for a speedy delivery of my visa, it worked!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Update on the Embassy Affair

Okay, so I got an email from my school today and they agree that a 1 year visa makes sense! Phew! Good to know that everyone is reasonable. So I sent out my paperwork and the $150 for the visa to the embassy today. I sent it courier so it should be there in the next day or so and then hopefully they will see that all my little ducks are in a row and expedite the process for the visa. On their website, they list it as taking 6-8 weeks for completion but several other people have assured me that it might take just a couple of weeks. So I am keeping my fingers crossed and my prayers focused that I get it back in a couple of weeks. Thanks for your encouragement with the last one!!


Hi there folks. I don't know if you have noticed, but I have a new little feature at the bottom of my page. It's called a Feedjit. It tells me where my readers are and what entries they have read. I love this feature and have added it to one of my other blogs ( Today, I noticed that someone had read a post from a VERY long time ago and I wondered why they went that far back into my archive.

I welcome all manner of readers, whatever their motivation... and I LOVE to see people from all over the place reading my blog entries. I write for a two-fold reason: 1) to journal my experiences and give myself a little therapy while doing it and 2)in the hopes that someone reading will learn something or be able to apply solutions from my mistakes/experiences to their own lives. Oh... I do it because it's fun. But I'd love to know who is reading my blog and what they think!! Please feel free to leave comments and to visit my other blogs:

Chronically Single:

Cook It Up!:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


So while there are a TON of benefits in being an international teacher (the travel, the adventure, the new learning experiences, the cultural exposure and so on), there are downsides too (missing lots of family and friend events, never being really settled, and so on). Right now I am dealing with another major downside: the frustration of dealing with foreign embassies for visas and so on. My newest teaching position is with a wonderful school in Ankara, Turkey. Unfortunately, a lot of the leg work and cost for the visa needs to be done on my side of things. I'm a seasoned traveler and have no issues with applying for a visa etc. I did what I always do: I've asked the questions, done the research (or tried to) on the internet and so on. Well, this time it's not gone so well. The Turkish Embassy website has information about applying and how to go about doing that. It even lists who needs what kind of visa to enter the country. To apply you need to have all the forms filled out, a picture attached, your passport and the cost of the visa... OH WAIT, they don't list the cost of the visa ANYWHERE online. No problem, right? Right! I make the call only to be told by the consulate nearest me that they don't process visas there so they have no idea on the cost. They I call the embassy itself to be told that they don't know either and to call back the next day (um.... HOW. DO. YOU. NOT. KNOW how much a visa costs for your country when you WORK at the embassy?!?!?!!?). I keep it together, say thanks and promptly call back early the next morning. I am then transferred to a consular call center (which I assume - I know, I know... Ass, U, Me - is just for Canada) and am left on hold for nearly an hour. When I do get through, it becomes clear that this call center might be for ALL of North America if not points beyond. I can hear loads of voices in the background answering other frustrated callers' questions. So I ask about the cost and it goes a little something like this:

Me: Hi. I was just wondering how much it would cost for a work visa?

Her: Okay, hang on a second. (she flips through the pages in front of her to find the information) Where are you calling us from?

Me: Canada, near Vancouver.

Her: Hm... okay. Ah, yes, it is $150 for one year.

Me: Well, I have a contract for 2 years. What is the cost for... (I don't get to finish because she interrupts me)

Her: for more than 1 year it is 405.


Her: yes.

Me: um... okay... umm... yea, thanks.

Her: Good bye (all sing-songy and sweet)

Me: yea, bye.

Can you believe that?!?! $150 for a year's work visa and $405 for more than a year?!?! That's some highway robbery if you ask me (which I am sure you didn't). *sigh* So now I don't know what to do and I am frustrated that I have to figure this all out. I've emailed the school's magic worker to see what she thinks and I will follow her advice.

So you see, it's not all fun and games folks.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The LONG Drive

So I am finally home in my parent's house. It took 6 days of driving (with one day of sight seeing worked into that). It was a long but beautiful drive. Below are some pictures of the scenery as seen from my cell phone.

This is a picture of my dad's truck full of my stuff. In there is my opium bed, my queen sized bed, my desk and more boxes than should ever fit in a truck. They are all puzzle pieced together in the amazing giant box extension that my dad built in the parking lot of my Virginia apartment. He truly is the coolest. This is us driving through VA or West VA.

This is the view I got if I tried to look in my rearview mirror. So much crap stuffed in the back of my car!! Thankfully my friend Chanda helped to pack it. I was so overwhelmed.

Here we are over the prairies somewhere. They all looked the same after about 1 hour. It was hard for me to stay awake. I kind of get bored easily, so the prairies are not a favourite for me.

From Wall, SD. This is in Wall Drug. A really kitschy place that I enjoyed. The next day we went to see Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse. You can see my post about them for the pictures of that. I will say that Crazy Horse is going to be the most amazing thing when it is done... it is going to be more than a monument, it will be a museum and educational center for ALL native peoples in North America. It is also funded completely on donations... so check it out!!

More prairies... *sigh* There sure are a lot of them....

This is the Snoqualmie Pass in Washington State. It is gorgeous. And you literally do drive through the clouds. The rain you see isn't rain, but mist from driving through the clouds. I felt so at home at this stage.

Ah... VANCOUVER!!! This is going down Granville St.

I had to take a picture of the new mailboxes in the city. They have postal codes all over them. And the other reason is because they are all over the place!! One of my biggest pet peeves about the US is that there aren't enough drop box locations. *sigh* Home sweet home.

It is a very long drive, but completely worth it. Although I recommend having a friend or family member in the car with you during the prairies!! hahahaha. Thank goodness for my iPod and CDs.