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The Meaning of Meaning

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

7:30PM - New Address

Some people have asked me for my address, so here it is: (I will also post it on FB)

Siji-dong 245-5
Daegu, South Korea

I love mail!!!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

7:08PM - Leaving!

Just got my flight date. Looks like I'm taking off Monday, Oct. 12!

Sooo excited :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

5:07PM - Coming home

So, people are posting lots abotu lurkers etc these days.

Is LJ dead? Are any of you still out there? If you are, even if we have not spoken in a long time, comment. I am coming home (yes to BC!) for teh summer and I want to see as many people as possible.

If you are out there, and you read this, comment and tell me you love me (or hate me, just comment!)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

1:24PM - Homecoming

May 16 I land at Seatac airport.

Monday, January 12, 2009

9:16AM - I spent yesterday in a garbage dump, what did you do?

Yup, you read that correctly, and there is no hidden meaning here. Yesterday I went to the Phnom Penh City dump and hung out with the families who live and work there.

I had read briefly somewhere that there were people who live there and that some tourists go out to take pictures of them, but I thought that was sick, these are human beings and the live at the garbage dump (though I also wanted to see it). Anyways, while walking around the other day a man approached us and asked what we were doing the next day and would we be interested in going with his team to the dump to feed the people. We met up with them and some other tourists and volunteers the net morning and I spent 3 hours doing one of the most meaningful things of my life.

This group of mostly older men who live in Phnom Penh raise money for this. The founder, Dave, has been living here for 5 years. shortly after his arrival he heard about the community and against government wishes decided to check it out. He hired a car, loaded it with as much food as he could, and drove out there. He left hours later in tears and ever since has been going back as often as he can. He owns a bar here called Bogie and Bacall's, which sustains his lifestyle.

There are now several regulars who go out there. They are all foreigners who live here and all the money they raise goes to the charity. They collect money and when possible, people to join them going to hand out food.

We met at 11 and the first thing you do is go to the local market and purchase some food. 400 loaves of bread, 40lbs each of apples, oranges and bananas, and some pineapples, guavas and milk. We were told on the way out there that this was a work trip, feed them first, then play with and interact with them. Pictures are allowed, so long as the kids can see them, and so long as they don't interfere with work.

As we drove in we were swarmed with flies and met with the sight of massive piles of garbage, burning, rotting, decomposing. I was surprised that it didn't smell that bad. The entire place is on fire due to various gasses, heat, and the need to keep the garbage down. As we drove further in the kids started yelling and following the truck. The guys who do this regularly started yelling at the kids to stay back. These kids know the truck means food, hugs, medical treatment, playtime, and new people. For most of them, this event, every Sunday and Thursday when donations allow, is the only access they have to the world outside the garbage dump where they were born, where they live and work, where they will marry and have their own families one day. They stay close to it so as to be the first in line for food, but it can be dangerous, and if a child was hurt in the process these guys would never forgive themselves.

For the first hour, maybe less, the women stayed in the truck (on orders) and handed food over the back gate to one of the regulars to hand out. The men were to patrol lines, making sure boys and men stayed in one, while women and girls stayed in the other, and to make sure that no one fought or pushed. Unfortunately, the food started to run out before the lines did. First it was one banana, one baguette, one orange and one apple per person, but as the supplies dwindled each person walked away with less and less food in their bundle, until finally we had to tell them there was nothing left. The lines were still long

Next Dave walked us up to the front wall where the locals work. They collect recyclable materials out of the waste and earn roughly $1 a day. Unfortunately, they work illegally, and though there is little the government can do about them being there, they have no protection. The official garbage employees drive huge trucks from the city, speeding through to dump their load and get back out there as they get paid by the load. There are tractors pushing the garbage, and other heavy equipment. They are just doing their jobs, and if a child gets in the way it's not considered a big deal. The people who live and work there are doing so without the governments approval, and the government wants them gone, on foreign donations only.

While we were up at the front 2 of the regulars, one a paramedic from NYC who came to Cambodia looking for just such a project, set up a tent and treat whatever comes in. 70% of cases are minor cuts and injuries, the occasional cold or case of infant diarrhea. But sometimes there are more serious cases, broken bones, gangrene, crushed limbs. There was only one serious injury yesterday. A boy was brought forth who has a crushed leg and some weeping boils on his legs and feet. He can't walk or stand without assistance. They are trying to make arrangements with a US Embassy doctor who helps them when needed.

These guys go up there about twice a week, but during the rainy season it's impossible to get the truck in, dangerous both for them and for the children. These trip are the only time these people eat food that they do not sort out from the garbage. The volunteers use all donation money to purchase food, if you go with the crew you go to the market and buy the food that you go and give to the people. $120 can feed between 300 and 400 people. There is a truck, rented by the volunteers at $10/hour, to transport everything. Each trip is about 3 hours. that means that for $150 on average, a community of people eats for the day. Sometimes there are extra trips, well meaning tourists, journalists, and others will donate the cost of a whole trip sometimes, but this is rare. At this time the regular volunteers are able to make 1-3 trips per week.

All proceeds go to the children and if you are interested in donating, or if you are in the area and you want to volunteer, the website is below:


Thursday, March 6, 2008

12:25PM - Back at work....

That is all

Thursday, December 20, 2007

11:10AM - Someone asked me what Vancouver was like...

So I told them this:

when I was home last year, I was walking to work onemorning, down burrard, I had just grabbed my coffee and bagel frm an independent organic shop, it was january, and there was a light dusting of snow, I had to be careful not to slip. I looked up and between the buildings I could see all the way down to the water. the sun was shining and glinting off the ocean, and the mountains were bright green with a white frost sprinkled over.
it was beautiful.

Monday, January 22, 2007

12:25PM - this weekend!

Drift in Nanaimo on Sat night followed by finding somewhere for the masses of people I hope come out with me to party.

I will be in Nam all weekend with Neely, Amalia, Maryah, Sean, Davin, Andy, Greg, and I'm hoping far far more.

This is the night that Nanaimo gets its groove back.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006


I sick....*groan*

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

6:40AM - update on life

Random boring stuff about my life, really...

After a week of health and fitness, followed by 2 nights of boozing on the Island, I arrived back in Van late last evening. The ferry was late due to extremely bad waves, I have only felt "turbulence" like that on the ferry one other time. They slowed the boat 5 knots and issued a warning not to go outside.

Anyways, my week with M was fabulous as spending time with her always is :)

I walked in the door at 10pm and the phone instantly rang, Neely calling to tell me she was picking me up and we were going to Lotus for a 3 room event. She picked me up an hour later and we were off, with only minor mishaps on the drive. It was a fabulous night; we danced, we drank, we got hammered. I had a wikkid time and thanks to my girl I got to spend hang out with someone I wanted to see. After the bar we went to an after party (heh heh heh, do I ever get too old for this?). Well, it was more like a few people at a friends place, but we did play "twister" and I got to shoot bottle caps with a sling shot, something I discovered I am not so good at. There was a hog tying event, but somehow I was not involved...

There are some interesting pics of twister, mostly involving asses and faces connecting in a way only the truly hammered can understand. All in all it was quite a fun evening. We left the party around 5 ish and I finally got to bed at 7 this morning. Unfortunately, I couldn't just lie in bed relaxing this morning, I had to get up and head back home to go to a personal training session I booked for myself last week, not realizing that Monday was a holiday and that I might go out and party 3 very late nights in a row.

Suffice it to say I am one tired girl today, so now I will go check on my mountain of laundry and go to bed. I have to wake up early and get to the gym. I want to start going 5 days a week. I have gained 1.5kgs since my return to Canada, about 4lbs, and I am determined to get back down to 60 and stay there.

Current mood: elated, but tired

Friday, October 27, 2006

1:16AM - New Pic!

So yeah, this is with a donut. I held the donut for Jessica's photo series on dunuts, then I ate the donut cause I was hungry...it wasn't very good.

In looking abcdk over comments I came across one that said, "I love food," and thought that the donut avatar was appropriate.

I have a nice collection of pics now so I will try to use them, and maybe to post more often :)

For any of you who are now living in the Vancouver area (I'm staying in PoCo) we should do coffee!

For those of you on teh island, either next weekend or the one after I am going to the island for a weekend of debauchery. I would like to start with dinner and drinks and take it from there. If interested, lemme know!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

2:31PM - So there it is...

Tuesday, 11am

Thursday, September 7, 2006

11:49AM - Going home!

Well, Korea home, not home home...

I head back to Incheon on a ferry leaving at 4pm today and should arrive around 8sm tomorrow. If all goes well at customs I should be at Myra's by 10ish!!!!

I'm so excited to be going back to Korea!!!!!!

China is interesting but it is dfficult to travel in, especially alone. I'm at the end of my trip, I was horribly ill in the south when I arrived, and I'm running outta money. I want to come back here and really explore the country, but for now I'm happy to be going back to the familiar.

I *should* be booking my flght home soon and be back in Van around the end of Sept. See you all soon!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

7:25AM - What would you do?

So I landed in Hanoi and went to meet my friend Kari. By the time she joined me at the guest house she was hot, sweaty, and frustrated. This was her story...

She went to the airport with her friend and while there met a young Nigerian man here in VN to do a Tae Kwon Do competition that would, in part, win him a scholarship for university next year. He flew originally from Lagos to Cairo to Bangkok to HCMC on Egyptian Airways, attended the competition, did really well, and set out to travel VN up to Hanoi beofre flying home via the same route.

The only problem arouse when he arrived at the airport in Hanoi to discover that he needed a transit visa for Cairo, something he 1) had never heard of, and 2) hadn't needed on the way here. The airline refused to let him board the plane, but offered no advice. The thing is, he is extremely poor and had only $10 left after paying for the airport tax, which he had made sure to set aside.

He was crying on the airport floor when Kari and Christina found him and learned his story. To make matters worse, when he left he knew his mom was sick, but while at the competition he recieved word from his family that she had passed away.

My friend took him in and set him up with a place to stay. The next day she took him to the Egyptian Embassy to find out about the transit visa. It turns out that they will grant it if he can give them a proof of confirmed flight. Egyptian Air will re-book the flight with proof of his transit visa. In trying to at least see if we could re-book the flight we found that Egyptian Air is overbooked for the next month on this route and can only put him on standby.

A trip to an airline told us that a new flight would be $1400, way more than I could afford, even if I could access it. And 7 times what he thinks his family may be able to send him.

This is the short version, skipping the many visits to various embassies, travel agents and the post office for some expensive phone calls.

At this point he has until Sept 14 before his visa is up, but he has no money, and once Kari and I leave tomorrow he is on his own with only what money we can leave him. Absolutely no one is responsible for him right now....except us.

God, if this were me in this situation, I could email my parents or phone them, and have them send me the money for a flight home. I could go to my embassy (Nigeria doesn't have one here) and at least seek refuge. He is completely alone.

I just don't know what to do....but I can't do nothing.

Monday, August 14, 2006

4:01PM - Laos

Well, once again I've landed in an awesome place and have stuck around for a bit. I'm in Vang Vienne, about 4 hours north of Vientienne, Laos. I had intended to just do a day tour then head south. But when I arrived for my tour they had canncelled so off I went to find something else to do. I ran into some people I met on the boat into Laos and they were staying at this organic farm. Everything on the menu at this place is grown on the farm, all organic and the farm provides jobs for the locals. Tourists can sign up for volunteer farm work (not the season now) or teaching, so I am staying here for a few days to hang out with kids in the evenings and teach them English.

The older class is amazing. There are no organizers or permanent teachers, just people passing through who are willing to share there time. This makes it really difficult both to teach and learn. But somehow they manage to speak rather well with us. The older kids are 14-25, most of them in high school. They all want to go to university but as the cost is $600/year plus the cost of food and a guest house. it is not feasible for most families to pay for it.

This morning we met up with some of the highschoolers and set up email accounts for them and one of the other volunteers has arranged for one of the internet cafes to have a cash account so they can use it. They were really excited about it and emailed each other as soon as their accounts were set up.

I am going to head south to Vientienne in a few days via kyak, then see if I have time to head south to 4000 Islands before I have to get back into VN and on to China for Wanancii's wedding. At this point I am still thinking that I should be back in Korea around the first week of Sept. and in Canada...shortly thereafter...maybe :P

Saturday, August 12, 2006

8:57AM - I've been busy!

So busy that I have worn a hole through my favourite flip flops! This sucks as no other flip flops will ever be as comfortable. I may just buy another of the same pair when I get back to Korea.

I'm in Vang Vienne, Laos. It is beautiful, quiet, stunning.

I'm going treking today and then tubing. Hoping to join a 2 day kyaking trip down to Vientienne for tomorrow.

uh oh, I think I may be late. If you love me, post a comment...if you have nothing to say then just post "(L)" and I'll know you love me :)

Friday, August 4, 2006

9:00AM - general update on life

So...I head to Laos in a few hours.

I spent 9 days on an island in Southern Thailand with some awesome people, got a tan, lay on the beach, drank and danced every night on a deck with a bamboo hut bar.

I went shoping in Bangkok...spent too much money...but so cheap compared to home!

I went treking in Chang Mai. It was awesome.

There is a scale at the guest house I'm staying at that says I weigh 60kg (132lbs).

Life rocks!

Sunday, June 4, 2006

3:48PM - Wow...

I'm in Vietnam

I love it

I might move here

Anyone wanna come?

Friday, May 19, 2006

2:41PM - Hahaha, I love Korea!

I'm sitting at the computer in teh reception area of my work. The room is silent when suddenly the Korean secretary sitting next to me says, slightly under her breath, "Mr. Han is stupid, Mr. Han is psycho!" (Mr. Han is my boss!) Then I hear a guy outside take the biggest hork I've heard here (those of you in Korea land KNOW how fukken disgusting this might have been). It just seemed to punctuate her words perfectly.

Then silence again...

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

6:18PM - I'm so lonely!

Jess is in Thailand for a week or so and I have no one to text with all day!

On the up and eciting side of life, I am going to meet Myra for sushi, followed by tea and cake this evening. Yes, this is the most exciting thing happening to me this week.

But it is a long weekend (thank you Buddha, happy birthday) so Sarahlynn and I are heading to Pusan to see Wanancii for her birthday (which is actually 2 days before Buddha's).

Should be a fun weekend of girlie things; the sauna, shopping, eating, chocolate, etc. Looking forward to taking it easy cause after this I have a feeling I will be a drunkard til I leave.

17 days left of work! 30 in the country!

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