I’m back after a major hiatus!

Hi everyone! (Francais en rose italics)

So I know I took a somewhat longer break than what I had originally said, but my mind just wasn’t focused enough to write for you when I came back from the Camino. I want to start by thanking everyone for the kind words and encouragement that you sent during the entire time that I was gone. It really helped me through the hard times and made me appreciate how lucky I am to have such a wonderful network of family and friends. See me above on the day I came back, fresh off the bus seeing my friends in Paris.

I want to tell you all about the experience so for the next couple of days, while I am doing boring things like job hunting and getting my life sorted out in my new city, London, I am going to tell you stories about the Camino. I hope they will inspire you all to do something grand with your life, big or small, just something fresh and new.

Donc, je sais que j’ai fait une pause un peu plus long que ce que j’avais d’abord dit, mais mon esprit n’était tout simplement pas assez concentré pour écrire pour vous quand je suis revenue du Camino. Je veux d’abord remercier vous tous pour vos gentis mots et les encouragements que vous avez envoyés pendant tout le temps que je n’étais pas là. Ca m’a vraiment aidé dans les moments difficiles et m’a fait apprécier la chance que j’ai d’avoir un formidable réseau de  famille et amis. Ci-dessus c’est une photo du  jour que je suis revenue, fraîchement débarqué de l’autobus pour voir mes amis à Paris. 

Je tiens à vous dire tout sur l’expérience alors pour les prochaines jours, tandis que je fais des choses ennuyeuses comme la recherche d’emploi  dans ma nouvelle ville, Londres, je vais vous raconter des histoires sur le Camino. J’espère qu’ils vont vous inspirer tout à faire quelque chose de magnifique avec votre vie, petits ou grands, juste quelque chose de frais et nouveaux. 

Where to begin….

I think I can start by telling you that the camino restored my faith in the goodness of people. It reminded me and reinforced that stereotypes and assumptions that we have about people from certain places are not always true and that pre-judging people is a dangerous game. The simple fact that everyone on the camino is doing the same thing yet at the same time creating their own experience  brings everyone together and makes for a melting pot of amazing stories and shared moments.

Par où commencer …. 

Je pense que je peux commencer par vous dire que le camino a remis ma confiance dans les gens. Ca m’a rappelé et renforcé que les stéréotypes que nous avons sur les gens de certains lieux ne sont pas toujours vrai et que de pré-juger les gens est un jeu dangereux. Le simple fait que tout le monde sur le Camino fait la même chose mais en même temps crée leur propre expérience rassemble tout le monde et  aident a creer des histoires étonnantes et des moments partagés. 

I made friends with people that I share no common languages with, just hand gestures and smiles, and I made friends who are 1,2 and 3 generations apart from me in age. It just goes to show that everyone no matter who they are, age, race etc. has something to offer.

Throughout the Camino, I felt like I was being tested by the Camino Gods, as I was calling them, as I had several days where my feet hurt so much that the prospect of walking was hard to face. I walked with one foot out at a 90 degree angle to try and move the pain elsewhere. This was during what most people say is the longest part of the Camino, called the Mesetta, where you walk 50 or so km over 2 or 3 days along a gravel path with fields around you, often atop a mountain. It is hot, dry and very sunny. One one day when I was feeling a bit alone these two German sisters came up behind me and despite not knowing German, I could understand enough to know they were commenting on my crazy limp. They came up to me and in broken English asked if I needed help or anything and I politely said no thanks because carrying me would have been the only solution. As they continued on forward moving fast, one of the sisters stopped, put down her bag and rooted through the top pocket for something. She found it and ran back to me and handed me a little rock she had gathered from earlier on during the Camino. It was in the shape of a heart and she said that it was for luck and she hopped my feet would stop hurting.

J’ai fait des amis avec des gens que je parle pas la meme langue que moi, juste des gestes de la main et des sourires, et j’ai fait des amis qui sont 1,2 et 3 générations plus ages que moi.  

Tout au long du Camino, je me sentais comme étant testés par les Dieux du Camino, comme je les appelle.  J’ai eu  plusieurs jours où j’avais mal aux pieds tellement que meme penser de marcher faisait mal. J’ai marché avec un pied à un angle de 90 degrés pour essayer de déplacer la douleur ailleurs. Ce fut durant ce que la plupart des gens disent est la plus longue partie du Camino, appelé le Mesetta, où on marchent environ 50 km sur 2 ou 3 jours le long d’un chemin de gravier avec des champs autour, souvent au sommet d’une montagne. Il fait chaud, sec et très ensoleillé. Un jour où je me sentais un peu seul, deux sœurs allemandes sont venu derrière moi et ne sachant pas bien l’allemand, je pouvais comprendre assez pour savoir qu’elles étaient entrain de parler de mes pieds. Elles sont venus vers moi et m’on demandé si j’avais besoin d’aide ou de quelque chose et je leurs est dis poliment non merci, car transportant moi aurait été la seule solution. Elles ont continuaient à avancer rapidment quand une des sœurs s’est arrêté, a poser son sac et chercher dans la poche en haut pour quelque chose. Elle l’a trouvé et a couru vers moi et m’a remis une petite caillou en main qu’elle avait recueillies plus tôt sur le Camino. Il avait la forme d’un cœur et elle m’a dit que c’était pour la bonne chance et elle souhaiter que  mes pieds cesserait d”avoir mal.

A few days later my feet did stop hurting, although I’m sure that was my body just taking it’s course, but when I caught up to the sisters with my new found energy and pain-free feet and I ran up behind them and surprised them. I know it wasn’t the stone that got rid of the pain, but I’m sure their kindness and generosity encouraged me to get to where I was going and to help me see further than my sore feet.

So there you have it, a little piece of my camino. More to come, stay tuned.

Quelques jours plus tard mes pieds ont cesser de faire mal, mais je suis sûr que c’était mon corpsqui devenait plus forte, mais quand j’ai rattrapé les soeurs avec mon énergie retrouver et sans douleur des pieds,  j’ai couru derrière eux pour leurs faire surprise.  Je sais que ce n’était pas la pierre qui s’est débarrassé de la douleur, mais je suis sûr que leur gentillesse et leur générosité m’a encouragé à aller jusque au bout et pour m’aider à voir plus loin que mes pauvre pieds voulait. 

Donc là vous l’avez, un petit morceau de mon camino. Plus à venir, a bientot. 

xo

Spec.

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Day 3 in London – My childhood dreams come true!

Heya!

Sorry for the enomous delay in between day 2 and 3 of my London trip, I can’t quite figure out where the first 2 weeks of September have gone. Anyways, let me tell all about my favourite day spent in London.

On Saturday morning I woke up early so I could go to the Portobello road market. I have always wanted to go to the Portobello road market, and no it’s not because Hugh Grant lived there in the film Notting Hill.

I have always wanted to visit because I used to love the movie Bed Knobs and Broomsticks (with Angela Lansbury!) which is a Disney flick from 1971, and it has an entire scene and song about Portobello road.  If you don’t believe me check out the clip below.

Even better, it also has an entire scene with dancing clothes, which no one that I met in London had seen, so I must have sounded like a complete nut, but in the end I saw street performers doing the scene! I can now live my life knowing that I have finally experienced all these things!

Next time I go, I will get a picture with them.

Anyways, all that aside, the market was lovely. I walked in off of the main road which looks like every other little street in London with small shops and houses squeezed together like cannelloni’s in a casserole dish.

A few blocks in, the street turns into a market with shops full of people, tents and tables set up in every free open space. There were antiques, newtiques, junk and plenty of bits and bobs that I couldn’t identify. I walked for several blocks before stopping to have breaky. I found a charming little bakery called The Hummingbird Bakery, which, if you happen to be in London, you should definitely try. I ordered up a delicious hot chocolate and a whoopie pie. Now, I had no idea what a whoopie pie was when I ordered it but I sure was glad I did. It was like two perfect spungy pumpkin muffin tops with carrot cake cream cheese icing in the middle. Granted, I couldn’t eat the entire thing, because it was so rich, it was also very good!

On my way back up Portobello road, I got a strange pair of Native inspired boots and a Nottinghill shopping bag!

I had to rush from the market up to Hyde Park, because I had decided that with all this visiting in London, that I should probably do a tour of some of the more obvious must see monuments. I had taken a brochure for a free walking tour and met up with the group at Hyde Park at 1pm. It was just my luck as Jessica, the girl who was sleeping on the bunk above me at the hostel, was also on the tour. We became fast friends and spent the afternoon on the tour walking and taking in London. We saw Buckingham Palace, Trafalger Square, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and several other houses of royalty. I really enjoyed the tour and the guide was amazing. I was expecting a tour that would be interesting but potentially a little over the top on the history side, but our guide had stories and little facts that made the tour entertaining and really engaging and I couldn’t believe the 3 hours was over when it was. (If you want more info see the bottom of this post)

After the tour, Jessica and I and a few others from the tour went out for dinner with our guide and then signed up for the pub crawl that evening, that the tour company also offered.

After a quick wardrobe change, we were off into downtown London for a night out of pub crawling. The group of “pub crawlers” was enormous and we seemed to fill and empty out bars as we moved along to each new place. We also added a new member to our team, Colin, a guy staying across from us in the hostel, (and another Canadian… woot!), joined us for the pub crawl. We also picked up a new French friend, Pierre, so became a quad!

We had a wonderful night of dancing, drinking and then all losing each other, with the exception of Colin and I who seemed to stick together enough to get back to the hostel. Thankfully, Jessica made it back a little later and we were all reunited! We had hoped to get together and have a real English breakfast the following morning but being so tired and having to check out at 10 made that impossible for us to coordinate.

Instead, I reluctantly packed up my many new things into my new little bag and headed out to have a solo English breakfast. I found a little restaurant up by Oxford Street and sat down with my book at a little table for two. I ordered a proper English breakfast, complete with beans and a fried tomato. It was exactly what I needed after the late night from before. I sat and read my book for an hour or so before getting up and taking a quick last walk around the area.

At last, my stay had come to an end. I was sad to leave London but as they say, all good things must come to an end. I dragged myself onto the train and sat next to a nosey guy who I was pretty sure was trying to read what I was typing the entire time I was typing it. Don’t worry, I gave him the evil eye. 😉

Cheerio!

PS If you are heading to London and want info about the Free tour, because it was well worth it – click here!

The cat (or should I say chat?) is out of the bag!!!

So now that I have officially quit my job to pursue my life as a vagabond, I can announce to you my big news. Spec is moving on. I am moving to France! I will step into Paris on the morning of May 5th, and I can hardly contain myself. I have decided that for this big trip, for which there is no end date as of yet, I need to become more fashion-savvy and up to date, so I will be ditching a lot of my saturday/sunday sweats for skirts and nice black pants, and accessories accessories accessories! There is just so much to do in so little time.

I must say, the most exciting thing about leaving is that I get to see my dear friend Thibaut who lives in Paris, who I have not seen in over 9 months! Can you imagine!?

I have big plans for Paris, and I must also add that I have never set foot in Europe so suggestions and ideas of things to do would be greatly appreciated.  I have no plan as of yet but am going to work on that over the next couple of weeks. I have a multitude of links for traveling blogs and websites that I will be sharing in upcoming posts for those of you who are interested in traveling.

For the next few weeks that I have left, I have a big list of things to do, including finishing my French courses, packing my things, selling some jewelry/accessories, oh and take a trip to Boston…

Yes I am also going to Boston for 4 days with my wonderful friend Adam. I can’t believe all of the amazing opportunities I have been given in the last little while, I feel so lucky. We are hitting up Boston to see David Sedaris live in concert! Followed by a quick trip to the prestigious educational institute they like to call Brown.

Why Brown you ask?! Well, one of my best friends, Frederique, goes to Brown and is a star, or at least I am convinced she is. I can’t wait to see her as it has been months since we have seen each other.  Could life get any more exciting than this!? I think not!

Ok people, start thinking up things for me to do in Europe, I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve which I will be telling you about. We are back in business, life is busy in the exciting way again, so I can start writing about things you may actually want to read about. Let us rejoice together! Hooray!

TAH!

Spec