Friday, April 22, 2016

I've Been Replaced!

It's totally normal to repurpose your children's bedrooms once they leave the nest. When my sister moved out, we transformed her room into a sort of storage/crafts room. When I moved out, not only did I leave home, I left the country to go on this big adventure in Germany. So of course, my parents decided to repalce me.... with plants!

My room has a huge window and my mom had the brilliant idea of using my room as a greenhouse. She placed her "crops" on my shelf in front of the window, and from there, my dad joined in and now my room is overrun by plants of all sorts! The best part? It works. The plants are growing at record speed!

What did your parents do with your room when you moved out?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

How My Grandparents Met Part 1

Is it just me or do our grandparents always have the sweetest stories of how they met? I definitely think my grandparents have an adorable story, the kind that inspires us, and makes us sigh, wondering "when will I meet my own prince charming and live happily ever after?"

(please note: this is what I've been told and what I remember, so some of the details may be a bit blurry.)

Lucien was a teacher, and a good one at that. He was respected and his students loved him... unless a student stepped out of line. Which is exactly what Gérald did. Though the details aren't important, he landed himself in detention. They lived in a very small town, which meant everyone knew each other, or almost. When Gérald got home that night, he told his parents about the detention his teacher had given him. His sister Lucille was very angry over this; her brother had received detention unjustly!
She did what any big sister would do and marched over to the school to give this Lucien a piece of her mind. When she finally saw him, she forgot everything she was supposed to tell him, all her anger vanished. She could barely speak! Her brother's detention forgotten, she let this charming teacher sweep her off her feet and they talked and talked.
Eventually, she introduced him to her family, and as you can imagine, her brother Gérald was not very happy....
The rest, as they say, is history.
My sister and I with our grandparents, 1996
They married in 1953, Lucien eventually become principal of a school in a neighbouring town and had 4 children and 9 grandchildren, before moving to Winnipeg and started hosting an annual New Year's brunch. They were married for 58 years, before Lucille passed away in 2011. On top of Lucien's sense of humour and Lucille's feistiness, they are both incredibly kind people, and I can only hope to have as great a life as theirs.

My grandma Lucille's soup, by the way, is still to this day, the best soup I have ever tasted.

Monday, April 18, 2016

If You Walk a Mile in My Shoes....

If you walk a mile in my shoes, you might always be craving new adventures.

If you walk a mile in my shoes, you might be working two jobs.

If you walk a mile in my shoes, you might feel guilty for spending so much time inside when it's sunny out.

If you walk a mile in my shoes, you might have sleep issues.

If you walk a mile in my shoes, you would have wonderful and supportive parents.

If you walk a mile in my shoes, you would have a beautiful, hilarious, and energetic sister.

If you walk a mile in my shoes, you might be a little jealous of your sister.

If you walk a mile in my shoes, you might always be looking forward to something, and forget to enjoy the moment.

If you walk a mile in my shoes, you might find comfort in libraries, forests and airports.

If you walk a mile in my shoes, you might spend more money on race entries than drinks at the bar.

If you walk a mile in my shoes, you would be addicted to Netflix.

If you walk a mile in my shoes, you might hate the taste of coffee.

If you walk a mile in my shoes, you would struggle not to say "that's what she said" outloud very often.

If you walk a mile in my shoes, you might think "I need a pedicure" but be too embarrassed to go because of the battlefield-condition of your feet.

If you walk a mile in my shoes, you would be addicted to Slurpees and candy.

If you walk a mile in my shoes, you would never go to the gym.

If you walk a mile in my shoes, you would end up running a lot.


Where would I end up if I walked a mile in your shoes?

Click the image below to read the original post on Lisa's blog

Friday, April 15, 2016

Airport Night Run

On Saturday, I ran the Airport Night Run here in Berlin. There's a new airport in Berlin that's under construction, which is set to replace the two current airports, Tegel (TXL), built during the Cold War era and Schönefeld (SXF), built during the Second World War. This new airport, Berlin-Brandenburg (BER) was originally set to open in 2010, though now the estimate is late 2019, so as you can imagine, it has been causing a lot of controversies and concern from its citizens.
Anyway, in 2006, the Berlin Airports company decided to organize a race at the construction site to showcase the progress of the airport. Eventually, the company Berlin Läuft, or "Berlin Runs," who organizes quite a few runs throughout the year, took over the project and this year marks the 10th annual Airport Night Run. And what an event it was!
When I heard of this event, I decided it would be of hell of a good time. I love airports (I know, I'm super weird), and well, we all know I love running, so the two combined? Irresistible. At first, I was a little hesitant to register, seeing as it was only 6 days after the Berlin Half Marathon, but you only live once right? So I registered and let me tell you, it is by far, the best race I've ever done! It is much smaller than the Berlin Half, with just over 6,000 runners (compared to 30,000 for the Berlin Half), but definitely just as fun!

I made my way to the Schönefeld Airport, which is basically next door to BER and squeezed in a shuttle with a million other runners (Seriously, it was like a clown car. We could barely breathe, it was so packed!) and ten minutes later, we arrived at the airport, where the party started. We were in a courtyard at the airport's front doors, with a stage, beer tents, and a ton of runners dressed in their best neon colours.

I have been suffering from shin splints lately, and decided to try some KT Tape to see if it would make a difference, as it really hindered my performance the week before. I got myself all taped up (according to the official instructions, of course), put on my timing chip, warmed up and made my way to the start line. The gun went off, and so did we! We watched the sun set in front of us as we ran directly on the runway, where soon enough, planes will be taking off and landing. As the darkness settled in, the runway lights came on to give us a pretty spectacular run. One I'm sure to never forget.

The KT Tape, by the way, worked incredibly well. No pain at all!

As I ran, I noticed a man who was dressed in a suit that looked like those muscle leggings. Except it was an entire suit! We were running side by side, at the exact same pace, which by my standard was extremely fast (if I had kept it up, I could have run a sub-2 hour half marathon), and by the time we got to the first water station, around the 6km mark, we ran right past and he asked if I wanted water, and I said that I was fine, so we kept on running, and we got to talking. We kept on running together and we promised we would meet up at the finish line for a beer if we lost track of each other. I told him I would try to keep up and he said he would try to stay with me, so we kept on running together.
I owe him the entire race. Without him, I would not have been able to run as well as I did. He encouraged me the entire time, kept me going, made sure I was still behind him, and even when I took a walking break near the end, he waved me on, told me to keep going. He could have easily kept running and done a sub-2 hour, but he stayed with me and pushed me hard enough that I managed to run my new personal best!!! I sprinted the last 500 meters, faster than I've ever sprinted, even though I couldn't feel my legs anymore.


I ran my new personal best of 2:07:23! It's nine seconds faster than the WPS half from last year! Nine seconds! Considering I ran 2:20 merely six days beforehand, you can imagine how proud and excited I am of this new record.

At the end, we celebrated with a nice cold beer while I enjoyed the runner's high and watched the winners' ceremony, something I've never gotten to experience before. All in all, it was a really great run; perfect weather, beautiful sunset, awesome course and a friendly, relaxed and yet still competitive atmosphere.

**Roland- Vielen vielen Dank! Ich hätte es nicht ohne dich machen können.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Currently I'm...

Time for a bit of catch up! I wrote one of these posts a month ago and I thought I'd write another one!

READING: Sadly, I'm still reading Harry Potter... I don't know what's wrong. I used to be able to read a book in two days and now it's taken me over two months! I mean, I know I'm busy and all, but that had never been a problem before...

WATCHING: I've been watching a ton of Netflix! Lately I've been re-watching Gossip Girl, and all kinds of movies I should have seen as a film student but never got around to it. Like The Pianist, for example. What an amazing and heartbreakingly beatiful story...!

LISTENING: I don't know why, but I can't stop listening to country music. Maybe it's the sunshine and obvious signs that summer is coming, but country is making me look forward to bonfires and late nights.

WORKING ON: Right now, I'm working on... well work. I've got a job interview today, and working hard to improving my running and being able to afford my travels!

EATING: Instead of eating tons of döner kebabs, I've been trying to eat a little healthier. That's one thing I love about Germany. The food here is so cheap! I can eat healthy without breaking the bank!

DRINKING: All sorts of strange things! Germans love to try all sorts of weird combinations... Coke and Fanta (Spezi), Beer and Coke (Diesel), Beer and Fanta (Radler), Cherry and Banana juice (Ki-Ba)... Most of them are actually really good!

WANTING: A vacation! I've been working non-stop, seven days a week, since I got to Berlin and could really use a bit of sunshine and palm trees. I also want sugar. ALL. THE TIME!

THINKING: I watch too much Netflix and should really find myself some friends and hobbies...

CELEBRATING: Beating my half marathon personal best! On Saturday, I ran a half marathon and ran my fastest time ever! I'm just itching to get back on the road and train! I've got more motivation than ever before.

TRYING: I've been trying to find another half marathon to run this year, either in July or August. If I do, it will be my 10th half marathon! It's just a matter of finding something... It seems like most are in September or October...

ENJOYING: The imminent summer! It's sunny almost every day, the weather is getting warmer and things are really starting to work out for me. I finally got my visa extended, I found a decent apartment that won't be temporary, and it's summer in Berlin! Festivals, sunshine, music, happiness.

Monday, April 11, 2016

German Words We Should Be Using in English

When you learn a new language, you're bound to find some great words with no English equivalents. That, or some really great translations. German is especially great when it comes to inventing words or expressions. I thought I would share with you 10 German words we should be using in English!

Fremdschämen (exterior shame)
The shame you feel on someone else's behalf. Like secondhand embarrassement.

Muskelkater (muscle hangover)
The soreness you feel after exercise.

Warteschlange (wait snake)
A waiting line.

Feierabend (party or free evening)
This means being done with work.

Ohrwurm (ear worm)
You know when you have a song stuck in your head? This is the word.

Fernweh (far pain)
The opposite of "Heimweh" or homesickness. A longing for a place far away.

Kummerspeck (grief bacon)
When you're emotional and "eat your emotions".

Schnappsidee (schnapps idea)
A really dumb idea, just like the ones you have when you're drunk.

Backpfeifengesicht (slap face)
A face that deserves to be slapped or punched.

Treppenwitz (stairecase joke)
That clever joke or witty response you only think of after you leave.

Another great thing about learning German is that many of the words are simple! Add a "zeug" at the end, and you can get away with just about anyting. "Zeug" means thing and has eben used to describe many, many things. Flugzeug (airplane, or fly-thing), Spielzeug (toy, or play-thing), Feuerzeug (lighter, or fire-thing) and the list goes on.

Friday, April 8, 2016


I confess that...

**I got a sunburn on Sunday when I ran the halfmarathon, and I'm slightly proud of that. While everone at home is complaining about the -10 weather and the snow, I'm complaining about the heat and sunlight.

**I have been watching Gossip Girl for the third time and loving every moment of it.

**As much as I hate him, I kind of want to see what would happen if Trump got elected....

**I have obsessively scouring this website. It's full of lists! And we all know how happy lists make me.

**Honestly, there are time when I regret moving to Berlin...
**I haven't worked out since April 9th (other than running twice a week) and have been eating an embarassing amount of chocolate, ice cream, and doener kebabs... and I mean every single day.

**I spend more time on Facebook and Pinterest at work than I do at home.... 

**I live about 5km from work and am too lazy to bike to work.

**I'm so used to always being on the hunt for a job, that whenever I see an add or hear abotu an opening, I just on it, even though I don't need another job.

**I have been trying really hard not to buy every little elephant knick knack that I find. And trust me, there is a lot.

**I am dying go to the Berlin Zoo! It's honestly such a fun place wich so many different animals! Except that I'm always working during opening hours....

**While walking through Berlin the other night, I saw a real live fox just running by! In the middle of the city! It was majestic.

**Sometimes, I still can't believe I'm living in Berlin. It's such an amazing city and I'm so grateful to be here. Life is good.

Do you have any confessions?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

World Pillow Fight Day

Apparently, there's such a thing as the World Pillow Fight Day. This year, it was on Saturday, April 2nd. Cities across the world organize a pillow fight in a public square and anyone can join in! So of course I had to go check it out! I got myself some €1.99 pillows at Woolworth, and off we went!

People gathered at the Brandenburg Gate, while police officers watched and reminded us to clean up after ourselves and to not abandon our pillows after the fight. At exactly 3pm, a dozen people starting counting down... 3! 2! 1! PILLOW FIGHT!
Photo Credit: Martin Waltz

And it begun. It went from what seemed like a few people standing around, to hundreds of people having a pillow fight. Pillows, feathers and photographers were everywhere! The tourists were completely confused by the sudden chaos while we were having the time of our lives, fighting strangers with pillows.

I only lasted about 15 or 20 minutes in the chaos before I had to stand to the side. I got a few elbows and fists in the face and head, so I was getting a little dizzys, and with the half marathon the next day, I didn't want to over do it.

The whole fight probably lasted less than an hour before people starting slowly leaving the crowd. I didn't see how messy it was, but from the amount of feathers in the air and on the ground during the first 10 minutes, I can't imagine what the cleanup must've been like! Clearly, it was efficient as I didn't see a single feather as I ran past the Brandenburg Gate during the half marathon!

If you ever get to experience the World Pillow Fight Day, GO! It's a hell of a good time!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Berliner Halbmarathon 2016

Last year, I ran the half marathon in Berlin and it was a really great run. Beautiful course, amazing crowd support, tons of runners and an incredible energy. I didn't think the opportunity to run it again would come so soon!
Once the idea of moving to Berlin had become slightly more real, I registered for the race. I registered even before having a plane ticket or having any concrete idea of my plans. I just knew I needed to get myself to Berlin and experience this run once again.

So I did! It was such a gorgeous day! It was about 20 degrees, bright and sunny, with a breeze here and there.
A few weeks ago, I met Gaurav in a running group. Both of us we're training for this race, so we decided to train together and maybe even run together. Though by the 7km mark, I couldn't keep up and we separated. I was dealing with some nasty shin splints in my right leg and they started feeling better around 9km.

I was running at a pretty good pace all the way to 10km, then slowed down considerably. I was exhausted, having barely slept the night before and dealing with the pain of shin splints also takes a toll on your body. I do also have to admit that I really wasn't ready for the hot weather...! There were time during the run where I barely even knew if my legs were still moving or not. All I knew is that I was going forward somehow. I quickly adopted the 10-1 run/walk method, which really helped keep me going, though I definitely walk most of the last 2km. Once I turned the corner and saw the 21km flag, I gathered my last bit of energy and sprinted as fast as I could, zig-zagging between people and crossed the finish line.

I finished with a time of 2:20:01. This is my worst time since my first ever disaster-half.... I'm honestly really disappointed that I couldn't at least do my average of 2:15. My goal was to try and beat my PR of 2:07, but it just wasn't possible.
Gaurav, by the way, made an excellent time of 2:02:38!

Not every race will be a good one. I have to keep reminding myself that I crossed the finish line. I finished. I have to be proud that I sprinted to the finish line instead of walking. I have to be proud that I'm barely sore today. I have to be proud that this is my seventh half marathon in less than 3 years.

I've got a few more races coming up, and you can be sure that I'm going to train even harder for those ones. I don't expect to beat my PR, but I now have even more motivation to beat my average.

Here are a couple facts about this year's half marathon:
-32,753 people registered for the half marathon, only 11,964 of them were from Berlin.
-103 different countries were represented
-25,000 liters of water was poured for the runners on the course and at the finish line
-Over 250,000 people came to watch and support the runners
-540 police officers watched over the course, keeping it safe for runners
-About 38 bands played music along the course
-The winner of the race had a time of 59:58

Friday, April 1, 2016

Sarcastic Guide to Taking the Subway

For April Fools', I thought I share some helpful tips on how to ride the subway. It's a new thing for me as in Winnipeg, we only have busses, while in Berlin, you've got the U-bahn, the S-bahn, the Tram, the Metro-Tram, and the Bus, the Metro-Bus and the Night Bus. The possibilities are endless!

Here are a few tips to taking the subway:

1. Ignore the blaring siren signalling the doors closing. Don't worry, they won't close on you.

2. People love when you talk to them. Start up a conversation with the person sitting next to you! Germans love nothing more than a bit of chit chat about the weather on their morning commute.

3. If you don't feel like talking, make sure to play your music really loud without headphones for everyone to enjoy!

4. Don't worry about the people standing. Put your bag on the seat next to you so you don't have to hold it in your lap.

5. Please, for crying out loud, don't pay the fare! It's a whole €2,70! What a waste.

6. If you get caught without a ticket, just pretend you're a tourist. Or run as fast as possible.

7. Don't worry if you're late. The busses and trains will always wait for you.

8. You will encounter beggars and musicians asking for money. Always, always, always give them a little something.

9. If you're on the escalator don't worry about blocking the flow of traffic. It's an escalator; everyone will get there at the same time.

10. If you're on a bus, you should use the front door to get off. It's where you came in, might as well go out that way too!
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