How I Met My Husband, Part 2

Ten years later, in 2004, my marriage was over, and I moved house with the children. I had all but forgotten my friends from St FX, and so much time had passed that it had never occurred to me to contact any of them. Besides, I figured that after such a long absence of contact, none of them would be interested in hearing from me. Living in a French town and not working made it virtually impossible to have a social life. I lived in my little house, substitute taught at a school nearby, and took care of my kids. And then in 2005 I was introduced to Internet dating as a way to meet people. I joined the Christian Café and this became my social life. I was Treacle, from “Une Petite Ville Francaise”, Quebec. I met lots of men and women online, but very few of them lived in Quebec. Actually in addition to Christian Café, I joined Lavalife, Lavalife Prime, Plenty of Fish, Christian Mingle and others. Sometimes I would have three chat rooms and instant messaging going on all at the same time. It was fun, but at the end of the day I was still alone in my little cookie cutter house in Deux Montagnes, and all of my new friends were just virtual friends.

My cookie cutter house in Deux Montagnes

The problem with these sites is that most of the people on them were needy or deficient in some way, just like me. I really wasn’t ready for much, but the attention I got on these sites was a confidence boost. Stories? I could tell you stories about people I met and experiences I had as a result of these sites, but that is material for a book…maybe somewhere down the line.

In around 2007 I heard of Facebook. My son told me that you had to be a university student to get on Facebook. I believed him until one of my friends told me that she was on there. So I put up a profile and started adding friends. Imagine my delight when I started getting friend requests from people that I hadn’t heard from in years. People from my hometown, Corner Brook, NL; people I had worked with; old university buddies: Judy, Rosie, Raylene, Eileen, Bob, Anna and others. And then in 2008 I received a friend request from my old friend Dave. We exchanged a couple of emails just updating each other on our respective lives.  We laughed to hear that we each had had three children and a divorce! But at that time we were both entangled in other relationships, so a few emails was all the contact we had.

In the meantime, another friend who lived not far from Dave, in the Annapolis Valley started talking to me about Dave; I kept trying to tell her that Dave was in a relationship and so was I, but she just kept on. Little did I know that she was also talking to Dave about me!

To be continued….

How I Met My Husband

The cold dark days of February seem to be a time of reflection, and I’ve been thinking lately of how my life has changed since February 2005. Back then I was newly single after a 21year marriage and had just moved into a little house in Deux Montagnes, Quebec with my three children. I had time on my hands as I was not working, and I was so overcome with grief that I couldn’t see straight. I would sit on the couch in my living room and look out the window at the snow falling on my cookie cutter street. It was a cookie cutter street because all the houses were the same, they were very close together and the yard was the size of a postage stamp. Most of the houses on my street housed young French families, and here I was, 51 years old, English and alone. I wondered what would become of me.

Fast forward to February 2011…here I am living in rural Nova Scotia with my wonderful loving husband whom I love so very much.  We live on a crescent in a little town in an area where there are neither sidewalks nor street lamps. When we go for a walk in the evening we have to bring a flashlight. And I am living the life I have always wanted to live. Six years ago I didn’t know that this life was waiting for me. But it was.

How I Met My Husband

Back in 1973 when I was a student at St Francis Xavier University I had a little job a few hours a week at the information booth of the Student Union Building. My job was to answer the phone and give out keys and information, also to man the lost and found drawer. It was there that I met a young man who would become one of my best friends and thirty-six years later, my husband. Since I was the dispenser of information, he asked me, “How many legs are there on a snake?” And so a friendship started. It’s funny, but back then we never dated or were romantic. We were just friends and we stayed that way for the duration of my time at St FX until I graduated in 1975.

In the summer of 1975 he was on his way to Lewisporte, Newfoundland to get married, and on his way there he had to pass through Corner Brook, where I was home for the summer. So he stayed at my parents’ place for a couple of days and I showed him the sights of the West Coast of Newfoundland. He met all my family, and my mom just loved him because of his lighthearted spirit and his ability to make me laugh.

A view of Corner Brook

And then he left Corner Brook and got married. We went on our separate ways; he ended up living in Nova Scotia with three children and I ended up married with three children and living in Quebec. We had no contact for many years until he called me out of the blue in 1994. We chatted a bit, but we each were still entangled in our respective lives.

To be continued…..

Shopping in Seoul

I have been back in Nova Scotia for a week now and the jet lag is just starting to abate. Not much could have prepared me for falling asleep during the day and getting up at 3AM for days on end.  Lucky for  me I have some insomniac friends to talk to at that hour. After a couple of evenings taking an ativan and two melatonin I think I am on the road back to humanity.

I had not told you about the fun shopping experiences I had in Korea, in particular the markets. They say that if you can’t find it in the market in Seoul, then you probably don’t need it. I concur. One thing I wanted to buy  was some colorful, traditional silk materials for my quilting and I was not disappointed. We went to some kind of manufacturers place where there were miles and miles of indoor fabric shops. Unfortunately most of them would only sell a minimum of five yards, so I had to content myself with some sample pieces.

Not a bad haul!

Choices, choices...

With the help of my interpreter Jonas, I was able to swing a deal. And I think that both the lady and I were happy with each other, even if we didn’t speak the same language.

Another market Dan and I went to was Dongdaemun market in Seoul. This place was so huge it would take many trips to see just a fraction of it all. There was everything from underwear, socks, dried fruits, pig heads (I kid you not), dried fish, pottery, teas, and lots of ginseng. This body-shaped root was everywhere, as Korea is one of the few places in the world where it is grown.  It has many health benefit claims but the common folkloric ones are that it is a  stimulant, a good treatment for type 2 diabetes and for sexual dysfunction in men. I didn’t make up that last one, by the way. It tastes not bad, but I think I like ginger better. I did manage to buy a green pottery vase which seems to be the thing to get when in Korea. There were many price ranges for them, depending which kiosk you shopped at. I paid 25$ for mine; when I went to the airport they had the same one, same size at the duty free shop for 75$. So I guess I got a bargain.

There were many jewelry manufacturers in the marketplace. So much dazzle all in one place ! It was difficult to choose, but I did manage to find a few pairs of earrings that, once removed from the glittering wall of them, looked pretty good.

There were coffee shops abounding, but a cuppa joe was costing between 4000 and 6000 won. In the convenience stores they had a ” hot fridge” where there were cans of coffee, and they were hot! You just pop the lid like on a can of pop and ingest your caffeine. What next?

Olympic park was a treat! It was just a five minute walk from Dan’s place, and so we went there for a walk. It was just beautiful in winter; I can only imagine it in summer with all the roses.

The entrance to Olympic Park

People were there taking a walk or a jog and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw an outdoor gym at the top of a little hill, complete with treadmills, elliptical trainers and bench presses with weights. So people would go for a run; then bench press some weights and then continue on. Dan told me that there were outdoor gyms in almost all the parks and they are used winter and summer. No wonder there are no overweight people in Seoul!

Pig heads at the Seoul marketplace

All in all it was a wonderful trip; the first time off the continent for this Maritimer. But the best part was spending time with my son Dan and meeting his girlfriend Sara. Thanks Dan! XO

My Last Korean Food Adventure

I like to consider myself a pretty reasonable person, and I pride  myself on the fact that I’ll try just about anything food-wise. Since my arrival in Korea I have eaten things that I only could have imagined before: octopus, squid, hot things, slimy things, fish things and mushroom things. While on Jeju Island we spent a lot of time sight seeing and I have beautiful pictures to show for it.

We worked up quite an appetite on Friday and so when a cute little by-the-sea restaurant beckoned, we went in. We ended up ordering a fish dish which once again resembled soup, and the side dishes of rice, kim chee, radish and some bean thing. “Don’t complain”, I said to myself several times. What I wouldn’t have given at that point to have had a nice steak and baked potato in front of me…Oh well, the file fish was not bad and the side dishes were delicious. Well, the bowl in the middle of the table had a plethora of things in it to tempt the senses: file fish, pumpkin, stringy looking mushrooms, onions and sliced potatoes, all floating in a spicy red broth. But wait! There were two huge fish heads in there as well! That did NOT look tempting.

My first mistake was in popping a giant green bean into my mouth – it was, in fact, the hottest pepper I have ever chowed down on. Who knew? I almost died from the heat. Daniel insisted that the rice would tone down the heat and it did. Therapeutic rice. Next I took some of the fish soup into my bowl; it tasted not too bad…but then I bit down on something that was white but so foreignly slimy I started to panic. The expression on my face must have said it all becacuse I think Dan was starting to worry. “Fish fat”, he told me. I answered him, “Pass the damn rice. It’s the only safe thing to eat around here”.

That experience was pretty much the end of my Korean food adventure. What can I say?

At the moment it is 3:30AM and I have been traveling for a little over 24 hours. I’m tired and hungry. Therefore I am sitting at a Tim Horton’s restaurant at Halifax airport while waiting for Dave to pick me up. It is cold, stormy and blustery outside but the toasted bagel with cream cheese and large coffee in front of me never tasted so good.

Pass the Rice Please

In Korea, everything is different. I mean, everything that you eat at home is different here. Not always better, just different. They have rice with every, and I mean every meal: rice for breakfast, rice for lunch, rice for supper and everything in between, incluing dessert. Imagine going to Korea and not liking rice? I have been a rice-hater from way back.

We went to Jeju Island for a three day side trip. Our 50 minute flight left early in the morning and so on arrival we were all starved.  (Just give me a coffee and a piece of toast and no one will get hurt.) Well. We stopped for “breakfast” at a little ocean-front restaurant. I put breakfast in quotation marks for a reason. The meal consisted of (you guessed it) rice soup, rice, seaweed soup and side dishes. Well, one of the side dishes was some kind of a mushroom coated in egg and fried. Sort of like a mushroom omelette, but bite sized. I had two bites. Other side dishes included the ever-present kim chee, chopped giant radish with red pepper hot sauce, seaweed, bean paste and cabbage leaves…and all this before 10 AM.

My disappointment in breakfast was overridden by the sheer beauty of Jeju. The beaches and scenery were amazing! There was volcanic rock everywhere: fences were built with it as were pathways, sculptures and just about everything else one could imagine. And while the weather was freezing in Seoul, the orange trees in Jeju were laden with fruit. It was warm!It was easy to forget about my rice adventures amidst all this beauty and adventure. Stay tuned for fish fat