Sunday, 31 January 2016

A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood

Oh Mr. Rogers. Although it has been many years since I watched that show and it has been many years since Fred Rogers passed away, I can still hear the theme song playing in my head. When I thought about what to write I figured it would be nice to share a couple of pictures of my "neighbourhood", and beautiful it is.

These are from a trip I took last weekend and the full moon was just ridiculous. It was so bright; like a huge lantern hanging over the water.

The picture below captures a scenario that could potentially be a nightmare for my sister: a huge pile of cinnamon (my sister strongly dislikes cinnamon). I passed it outside the market yesterday and thought it was amazing. Huge cinnamon sticks laying out in the sun, filling the whole area with their sweet smell.

An update on my garbage. This experiment has increased my hoarding tendencies. That is not a good thing. For example, I took a Benedryl while I was at work (too many mosquito bites) and I had to keep the blister package to that I could deposit it in my jar later. Well, I forgot it in my desk, a couple of times. Eventually it got to where it needed to be and it was something very unassuming so it didn't cause too much of an issue. Other than that it is going okay. Even trying to cut down I feel like I still have a lot. Yesterday was a bad day as I was cooking and ended up with two empty cans and no where to recycle them. I want to say I'll keep them until Durban and find somewhere to put them there but I don't remember seeing recycling bins there. I also realized that I already had a heightened awareness of this garbage issue as evidenced by the fact that I collected all my cardboard waste last year and brought it home with me when I went for Easter. Yes, I am that crazy.

As an aside: Today is my mom's birthday! She puts up with a whole lot and care about all of her kids (biological and students) so much. She will do so much for everyone around here. She is an very hard worker and has proven that in two giant ways that I am aware of: 1. When she was very pregnant with my sister when she had a report due at work. Although the elevator was broken she climbed many flights of stairs to make sure it got there on time and 2. She was at work all day the day I was born and in early labour the whole time! Good thing my dad intervened or it could have been a very different beginning for me. In addition to being a wonderful mother she has proved to be an excellent principal and fantastic grandma. Yesterday she reminded me that I will always be her baby, no matter what. I am very lucky to have her. If you see her, give her a hug for me please.

That is all. Have a fabulous week!

Friday, 22 January 2016

Waste Not

I want to try and live waste free. Seriously. What does that even mean? It hit me midweek when someone asked me where you take your trash from your cabin. I explained that there is a big trash container on the dock and you just throw it there. But where does it go from there? Into someone's backyard or an animal's home. Then I started using the internet to research this thought process. Turns out there are other people who hate garbage as well (perhaps even more than I do at this moment). I feel like I saw a link with this young lady on it but I can't remember where. Maybe it came from these ladies. Anyway, trashisfortossers was the first site I explored and thought "I could do that... maybe". Then there is this lady who has made her living being a "zero waste guru". This is really cool. So why I am sharing this with you? I have two reasons. One of them is not that I have run away from the ship and intend to live in the wilderness of Madagascar for the remainder of my life.
1. I am going to start a 30 day challenge to reduce my waste and I want to be accountable to you
2. I thought if you knew you might try it too (yes, I know that rhymes)
So, every plan has to have actionable steps to be successful. Here it goes. In considering the type of trash I usual have, I think that my biggest culprit is food wrappers. That should be pretty easy to reduce; stop buying anything from the ship shop. Check. Thankfully the ship already has a composting program in place so organic matter is done. On to plastic and paper products. Grrr. Unfortunately, Madagascar doesn't have a recycling program in place. However, I can certainly try and reuse plastic bags and bottles where I can and not buy them going forward. I can also choose to use my glass container to save food instead of using a plate with cling wrap over it. Small steps. I can't do much about the products I have already purchased such as spare shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and toothbrushes. Once I get home I intend to leave some of those things behind and embrace more environmentally friendly alternatives. No, I am not becoming a hippie just in time to attempt to reintegrate into Canadian society. There are so many fantastic products available, why not take advantage? Yes, I know, it can be more expensive but in the end you might see that it is worth it.

That is my plan and here is my jar:

I would encourage you to join in and see where you can make some changes to reduce your waste. Sunday we start. Thank you for reading. Really, thank you.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Comfort Food

So I had this can of pumpkin...

No, this is not the beginning of a bad joke. I had this one can of pumpkin that I got on the container months ago but I wanted to make a very specific recipe. Unfortunately, I did not have any maple syrup, so I held off until now. What's most convenient is that I got the cutest little bottle of syrup while I was home, as a wedding favour (thank you Teresa and Dan). It was especially perfect because it was small and plastic (excellent for transportation from Canada to Madagascar).

 With the aforementioned syrup I successfully made the muffins. During the course of my muffin making another crew member came up to the crew galley and was walking around as though they were looking for something. The second time this person walked around I asked what they were looking for. When I heard it was parchment paper that they were after, I knew they wouldn't find any in there but I did have an extra box in my cabin. So we walked downstairs and solved the problem. Easy. Later on the evening I come to my cabin door and saw something sitting outside. I rarely have anything waiting for me but my cabin mates often have notes and other things so I assumed it was for one of them. But wait! It had my name on it. When I unwrapped it I found this perfect little loaf of bread with a note saying I had saved the day! It made me so happy! It also looked so similar to my Nonna's Easter bread that I couldn't help but smile.

What may seem like a small gesture can end up providing so much comfort. Thank you!

After the muffin making, I was left over with quite a bit of pumpkin but I wasn't prepared to stay in the crew galley any longer so I put off making pumpkin pancakes until today. They turned out fantastic! Now my box in the freezer is full of delicious breakfast options! I really love breakfast food but I don't look forward to breakfast on the ship, so having some exciting options might give me some more incentive to get out of bed in the morning. 

My weekend was very quiet, so other than cooking/baking and going to the market I have nothing to report. Oh, that is untrue. When I was walking to the store to buy pasta on Friday (it was bratwurst night) a man with terrible English skills was trying to talk to me, and eventually asked if I was celibate. Of all the English words he could know, why is celibate one of them? Oh dear. That pasta was delicious by the way. I had Nonna's sauce to put on it and some chickpeas to mix in. Yum! 

So now that I have made you read about food for 5 minutes, you now know it's importance in my life, especially on the ship. 

Happy Sunday! My niece is being Christened today. Good thing I will be home soon, so I don't have too many more milestones.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Familiar Winter

I made it back to the ship after my Air Madagascar flight got cancelled again. Thankfully I found out it was cancelled when I was still at home. That airlines kills me. Serves me right for trusting them. Anyway, I was already able to visit the Logos Hope, and spend the day at the beach. The Logos Hope seems so familiar to the Africa Mercy but their ministry is very different. Today I was able to go to the beach with some of my On Boarding group, which was amazing because it got me off the ship and into the sun. It was a wonderful day but the sun has me completely exhausted. So instead of painfully making my way through a full post I thought I would share some photos from my trip home!

Abbey: "Let's Play!" Kiko: "Maybe if I ignore her she will go away."
Baby taken care of and free hands to open present= win!

I never thought any member of my family would be happy to have their dog wear a sweater but she did look really cute!

I burnt my finger Christmas morning making scones for my mother. I mean, if that isn't love I don't know what is. It was not cute at all.

FINALLY! Some snow showed up on December 28th.

Wedding time!

Friendship forged in 2003

Can you see the resemblance?

Raptors game. The Air Canada Centre is now equipped with metal detectors. Good call; you never know when a Texan might show up.
This is more like winter! Lake of Bays; Baysville, Ontario

Yes, it is hot in here and no, I cannot move my arms to get this bonnet out of my eyes.

This picture is free but I'm going to have start charging you. Posing is taxing.