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Three Hundred Sixty Six.

I know what you’re thinking.

Nope. I still don’t have any answers. And I still don’t feel like a grown up. Maybe slightly closer, but I still don’t even want to have to take care of a houseplant.

SIDENOTE: Somehow I manage to keep my dogs alive and happy. I don’t know how that works. Life Math is weird.

…Maybe I’m just not a green thumb.

Anyway.

My BFF Jo texted me yesterday and said, “It’s your last day as a 26 year old.”

At first I kind of panicked. Holy shitballs. 26. It’s over. I feel like it just started. I know it sounds like a super cliche, but in some ways, it really was like the blink of an eye.

I started this blog a year ago as a challenge to myself as a writer. Early in 2012, I kind of lost faith in myself. I hit a major rough patch and thought wow, maybe I’m actually a terrible writer. Maybe I have no idea what I’m doing. Maybe I don’t want to ever write again. Of course, I eventually came around and realized that writing is the thing I love the most. And in the same vein, I knew that if I wanted to be a writer, I’d have to write.

But I was kind of scared.

So I promised myself I would write something every day.

I wasn’t really expecting that forcing myself to write a blog post every day – a story that somehow led to me learning a life lesson, no matter how small – would help me be happy. I saw it as much more of an exercise than anything else. And an opportunity to maybe be funny. But I have to say, writing this blog has given me a completely different outlook on my entire life. It’s helped me understand how my past has made me who I am. It’s helped me work through a lot of difficult times and put a positive spin on things I would have never otherwise laughed at. It’s helped me approach life in a much more open, accepting way.

Like, happen to me, life: I’m ready to learn from you.

That was a disaster. Oh well, next time will be better!

I can’t believe that just happened. I am mortified. Also, that was hilarious. I can’t wait to tell people.

I did it! Someone pat me on the fucking back!

I hate everything right now. Surely someone will understand.

I am hurting. I need to know it’s going to be okay.

This is weird. Does everyone feel this way?

Did that just happen? SRSLY?!

At the same time, I had come to a bit of a crossroads with myself. I had hit a self-love low. I was feeling depressed, defeated, discouraged, you name it. I decided enough was enough: it was time to make the active decision to be happy.

I also discovered that Jayne Mansfield had stretchmarks. And my world was turned upside down. In a good way.

To quote myself (is that totally pretentious? I’m trying to recap, shut up.):

Jayne Mansfield, the American actress, singer, Playboy playmate, and all around drop-dead gorgeous bombshell, was flawed in a way that has been the root of much of my self-consciousness for all of my teenage and adult life.

So…all of that got me here.

SIDENOTE: It’s really hard writing the last post of a 365-day blog.

It’s going to be difficult to let this blog go. I know I’m going to wake up tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that and my first thought is going to be, “What can I write about today?” or, “Oh shit! I still have to blog today!”

But I’m looking forward to channelling my creative energy into a number of other projects that I’ve already either started or am about to. So I guess what I’m saying is I’m not going anywhere. Maybe there will be another blog. Maybe not. But I promise there will be something.

I was trying to think of a fun way to commemorate the end of this blog.

Here’s what I came up with.

Jayne Mansfield had stretchmarks.

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And so do I.

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xA

P.S. It’s hilariously ironic that in the majority of the pin-up photos I took, my stretchmarks aren’t that visible. Because they’re everywhere.

But I guess there’s a life lesson in that, isn’t there?

I’m probably the only one who really notices them.

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P.P.S. Things I meant to write but forgot: Happy Birthday to me! Also, here’s to 27! I’m crazy excited for it!

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Three Hundred Sixty Five.

I know this is a 365-day blog, but this is technically the penultimate post, because it’s a birthday to birthday thing. And tomorrow’s my birthday!

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SIDENOTE: Have you bought me a birthday present yet? We can’t be friends if you didn’t because all I care about is material possessions.

Anyway, I thought what better way to spend the second-last day of my crazy year-long blog than looking back on some of its best moments?

SIDENOTE: Maybe that should say best/”best”…

Think of this, if you will, as a flashback episode of your favourite TV sitcom. With the help of a couple friends, I’ve compiled some categories I think you’ll enjoy.

Without further ado…

Top 5 Stupid Kid Moments

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Oh boy. Where to even start with this one?! Well, okay…

1. Pressing buttons was (OKAY, STILL IS) a thing I loved doing. See examples A and B.

2. Of course, there was the time I electrocuted myself

3. The day I put scissors through my finger

4. Setting fire to things is never a good idea.

5. Neither is writing a hate letter to your childhood friend.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

I have to give honourable mention to the day I learned that “bastard” is a bad word. Oh, and also to the combination of shaving off my eyebrows and getting hair extensions.

And guess what?! It’s your lucky day. I found a photo of teenage Andrea with hair extensions and no eyebrows. And apparently I have no shame because I’m gonna post it on the Internet.

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Boy oh boy oh boy.

Moving on!

Top 5 Most Awkward Moments

If you haven’t deduced by now, I am the QUEEN OF AWKWARD. This is quite the random assortment, but I feel it encompasses who I am pretty well…

1. The day a goat ate my t-shirt. (Enough said.) (Stupid goats.) (Seriously, why would she do that to me?!) (Ugh.) (I fucking loved that t-shirt.) (SOB.)

2. The day I learned about orgasms in sex ed. (Is anyone else craving cake?!)

3. Barrel-chested. That is all.

4. The day the National Poet of Scotland called me stupid. Which I really should add to my resume.

5. My elementary school “boobies” moment.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

There are so, so many, but I feel like my Pilates FAIL and my Zumba BARF moments were pretty grand.

Top 5 “SRSLY?!” Moments

You know those moments. The ones that make you go, “what the fucking?!”

1. People and my tattoos. Why are people so weird about my tattoos?

2. That time a guy threw a book at my face. No big deal.

3. NO I DON’T WANT TO TAN.

4. Nothing says “what the fuck?” like getting pepper sprayed!

5. Also charming: when people tell you how to pronounce your own name

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

I have to give myself a shout out for fucking up my neck by making fun of someone on a Zumba DVD. Because who the fuck does that? This girl, right here.

But the greatest honourable mention in this category goes to Glasgow, Scotland, where I experienced so many WTF things, including…

Finding a tooth in an ATM.

Finding a used tampon on a bus.

And buses in general.

Among so many others. I fucking love you, Glasgow. I really do.

Top 5 Workplace Blunders

It’s a wonder I still have my job. It really is. It’s also a wonder I still have any self-confidence after all of the stupid humbling things that have happened to me at work…

1. My friends still bring up the day I parked on the sidewalk.

2. Also charming: locking yourself in a stairwell on your first day of work.

3. Or, you know, getting caught dancing in the bathroom.

4. Similarly, walking in on your coworkers in the bathroom.

5. Or traumatizing them with your hair colour.

BONUS PHOTO:

Getting caught taking a selfie at work.

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At least I know my office mate loves me and doesn’t judge me.

Top 5 Relationship/Sex Fails

Look. I’d prefer we don’t dwell on how much I suck at relationships, okay? OKAY?!

1. I have been known to throw myself at guys I like.

2. I’ve learned the hard way that spin the bottle will only break your heart.

3. So will going after guys who don’t care that you exist. (But you can keep trying to shout “LOVE ME! LOOOOOVE MEEEE!” at them. Trust me. Guys SUPER love that.)

4. I’m good at ending up in awkward sex situations.

5. And awkward kissing situations, sometimes.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS AND A BONUS PHOTO:

Okay, well, first of all, heartbreak, right?

I think I also screwed it up with this guy, because he was clearly paying me a compliment.

Let’s not forget all of my failed marriages. Sigh.

And the time a MONSTER RASH ruined my potential Scottish boyfriend.

And hey, since I’ve already shown you how great I looked with hair extensions as an eyebrowless wonder, here’s a photo of me in the midst of the MONSTER RASH attack. This was after I managed to get my eyes open, because they were swollen shut.

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Good lord…

Top 5 Accomplishments

I didn’t screw up everything, though. I’ve done some stuff. Yeah. I do things! I TCB every once in a while!

1. I’ve gotten over a lot of fear to become a Zumba instructor.

2. Then I stuck with it for a year and changed my life.

3. I grew back my eyebrows, guys. I fucking did it!

4. I got over some serious “I can’t!” bullshit and also tried wall climbing.

5. Oh, hey, I also learned how to embrace myself sometimes. I think that’s pretty huge.

HONOURABLE MENTION:

I BLOGGED EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR 365 FUCKING DAYS.

A year, guys. A YEAR.

I’m excited to celebrate my birthday with you all tomorrow.

xA

P.S. I know what you’re thinking. There totally should have been some sort of crazy travel category. But I just couldn’t narrow that shit down. So you’ll just have to re-read my entire blog to enjoy.

Three Hundred Forty One.

“But is it going to be like, OVER over? Like, completely over?!”

The number of times I have heard this in the last week has been both shocking and overwhelming (in a good way).

People read my blog.

I mean, I knew that people were reading my blog, because I’ve even blogged about it (whoa meta!), but the fact that people are reading my blog on a regular basis kind of blows me away.

Like, to everyone who reads my blog daily? I am in awe of you. I don’t know that I would read my blog every day if not for the fact that I have to write it every day. I am humbled and honoured to be included in your day. Even if you’re not reading every single day, I sincerely thank you for taking the time.

…But please don’t take me so seriously.

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It’s fascinating how once you put something down into words, some people will take it as the be all, end all, the absolute truth about you. It’s been pretty interesting to be able to actually see and hear people’s reactions to my blog, and how they vary depending on how well they know me. My friends who read my blog laugh off a lot of my dryness and sarcasm (and craziness), while others take it a little more to heart, I think.

Let’s just say that none of my closest friends have called me to say, “Don’t worry about your forehead wrinkles! They’re barely even there!” They’ve either been like, “Yeah, that’s shitty, hey? I have them, too.” or they’ve read the post, laughed at me, and moved on.

A lot happens in a year. A LOT. A lot happens in a week. Your feelings toward something may change daily. I love bananas, but that doesn’t mean I want to eat them all day every day. I had to do that while I was starving in Ireland and then I hated bananas and thought I didn’t want to eat them ever again. If I had been writing this blog at the time, there would be a post about how I hate bananas and never want to eat them again.

SIDENOTE: I wrote that very thing in my travel blog at the time, I am certain. Cashews, too. And just look at me now. I had a banana with my breakfast about 15 minutes ago.

ANOTHER SIDENOTE: Right now, I’m on a break from beets. Because….well…that was just too much for me.

Just a small selection of other “things”:

– I actually don’t have a mega-crush on Adam Levine. Like, sure, he’s attractive, of course, but if you asked me to name five celebrity crushes (I don’t know why you would do that, since you’re not the latest issue of Tiger Beat, but you never know), he would not come up.

– I don’t actually hate cats. I love cats. I needed something to write about that day, and I was shocked by a cat bite story. I have bonded with many a cat, despite my allergies. (Shout outs to Nala, Fred, and Flora (RIP), just to name a few of my fave felines.) Sometimes you just think of a joke/story and run with it.

– I’m not panicking about my breasts. I was perplexed by them shrinking for about a week. Then I got used to it. Then I realized I love it. So to everyone who has been either making fun of me for it (yes, that happened), or trying to reassure me that it’s gonna be okay, my boobs and I are doing just fine.

– I would get into the ocean or a swimming pool. In fact, I’m trying to find a day to go try out Aqua Zumba. Yes, I’m terrified of the water. But what would life be if you never challenged yourself? Also, while I don’t swim, I LOVE being near the ocean. It’s peaceful and beautiful and wonderful.

– I don’t ALWAYS sing in my car. It’s a mood thing. So I apologize if you drove by me and I wasn’t wailing at the top of my lungs. I know I’m a huge disappointment. I apologize.

SIDENOTE: There’s some typical Andrea sarcasm.

Now, all of that being said, if you’ve ever read my blog and expressed concern for me, I think you are wonderful. (If you’ve made fun of me, you are less wonderful.) And I mean that genuinely and seriously. I so appreciate your concern. It feels really warm and fuzzy to know that you’ve read something here and it’s moved you – no matter in what direction – to want to say something. I think that’s super cool. In fact, sometimes your concern makes me feel like an asshole because I think, “Over exaggerated again, Beça.” But also, a lot of what I write is serious and it feels pretty incredible to know that other people feel the same way, share the same fears, love the same things, etc. I have lost count of the number of relationships that have either started or grown closer because of this blog. And that is pretty fucking cool.

Here’s another thing about me: sometimes I think I know where a blog post is going, and then I start to write it and it grows and grows until I feel like I am completely unable to properly encapsulate how I feel about something.

This is one of those moments.

What have I learned from this particular thing?

Um…

(A) I am humbled by everyone who reads this blog.

(B) Being a writer is a hilarious thing because everything you write is a little piece of you, but when you write that crazy-ass twisted disturbing horror story or a play about siblings who are in love, it’s awkward because everyone thinks you need therapy.

(C) I thought I had a “C,” but I got distracted and forgot it.

xA

P.S. Yes, this 365-day blog will be over on October 17. But I’ve got other projects in the works. You won’t get rid of me that easily.

Three Hundred Twenty Five.

When I was in Dublin in 2006, I would say I went on what was a bit of a book shopping binge. You see, a lot of my favourite writers are from Ireland and Scotland, and their books aren’t readily available in Canada, so when I started wandering the streets of Dublin and finding all sorts of amazing books at cute little used bookstores for WAY cheap, I nergasmed. And bought many.

On one particular day, I had just found a very cool first edition of Trainspotting, as well as a copy of an Enda Walsh play I hadn’t read before. I was stoked. So excited. I decided the obvious best thing to do would be start reading Trainspotting immediately. While I was walking back toward my guesthouse.

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Now, it was a summer afternoon in Dublin, and I was staying pretty close to O’Connell Street just north of the Liffey (A.K.A. right in the thick of things), so the side street I was walking down was FULL OF PEOPLE. And it was daylight. Sunny. Beautiful. Not the time you’d expect anything weird and/or scary to just happen.

But shit happens when you least expect it, I suppose.

I was weaving my way in and out of people when all of a sudden, I saw a man getting pushed to the ground just across the street from where I was. In fact, being that it was a pedestrian-only street, I think it’s impossible that anyone didn’t see him getting pushed to the ground. But nobody stopped walking.

I froze where I was, trying to figure out what was going on. The man on the ground, whose hands were both bandaged up as if he had been tossed a hot iron as a cruel prank (so let’s called him Bandages), started screaming and holding onto his head, sheltering himself from the man who had pushed him down, who was now kicking the shit out of him with giant combat boots (so let’s call him The Kicker).

“Hey!” I yelled – or “yelled” (because I was terrified).

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I had no idea what to do. No one around me seemed to care about what was going on. Tourists took note and sped up their pace, turning a blind eye. I was flabbergasted.

When The Kicker started stomping his boot down on Bandages’ face, I pulled out my cell phone and started trying to figure out if I had to dial a country code in order to dial 999 for the police.

STOMP.

“Arrrgh!” Bandages screamed.

STOMP.

I panicked.

Just as my concern shifted from “this guy’s getting hurt” to “this guy might get his skull smashed open on the pavement,” I heard it.

“Hey! Hey! Hey! Knock if off, you fuck!”

Two young women had inserted themselves smack dab into the middle of the confrontation.

Not only were they young women – maybe 25 or so – but they were each pushing a baby in a pram, and the one doing the yelling – a super cute, tiny blonde – was also holding hands with a tiny (maybe four-year-old) boy.

“Stop it! What’s wrong with you?! Get out of here, you!”

And The Kicker listened! He spat on Bandages and then ran away, quickly disappearing into the crowds of people.

The women let go of their prams and helped Bandages into a sitting position on the curb he had just been getting stomped against.

“You all right? Up you come.”

He looked like he had no idea where he was (and I can’t blame him), but he was still alive and in one piece (an accomplishment, given what I had just seen).

And just as quickly as they had intervened in Bandages potentially being killed in the middle of a beautiful summer afternoon in Dublin, the two women gathered their children and went on with their day. I looked up and down the street for The Kicker, but he was nowhere to be seen, so I decided to move on with my day, too. But not before looking at Bandages one last time to make sure he was awake.

He was wavering a bit, sitting on the curb and adjusting the bandages on his hands, but he was alert. I hoped he was figuring out the next step he had to take to never see The Kicker again. In reality, he was probably trying to process what had just happened, and he probably couldn’t even hear never mind think after all of the impact his skull had just suffered.

After a silent well wish for Bandages, I kept walking.

That was the day I learned that Irish mothers are not to be messed with.

And also that the scariest things in life often happen in the blink of an eye.

xA

Three Hundred Twenty One.

I’m reading a book called The Demonologist, which is about the career of Ed and Lorraine Warren. They’re the couple who inspired the film The Conjuring, and they’re also the couple who were called in to help the family who inspired The Amityville Horror.

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All of this reading and talking about the paranormal with friends has me remembering some of the crazy experiences I’ve had. I know I told you all about one of my weird moments down in the Edinburgh Vaults, but now I’m going to tell you about something that happened in Ireland.

When my mom came to visit me in Scotland, we took a trip together to Ireland. I know I’ve mentioned this before. When we were in Killarney, we went on a ghost tour that was probably one of the best I’ve ever been on. It was fun and campy, but it was also rooted in a lot of fact. Yes, we did horror movie trivia on the bus, but we also learned a lot about the city and its (sometimes very dark) history.

The last stop on our tour was Muckross Abbey. Here’s a short Wikipedia blurb:

Muckross Abbey is one of the major ecclesiastical sites found in the Killarney National Park, County Kerry, Ireland. It was founded in 1448 as a Franciscan friary for the Observantine Franciscans by Donal McCarthy Mor.

It has had a violent history and has been damaged and reconstructed many times. The friars were often subjected to raids by marauding groups and were persecuted by Cromwellian forces under Lord Ludlow.Today the abbey is largely roofless although, apart from this, is generally quite well preserved. Its most striking feature is a central courtyard, which contains a large yew tree and is surrounded by a vaulted cloister.

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In order to get to the abbey, we had to park on a street and walk through quite a bit of forest. As we made the trek over, the sun was starting to set. By the time we got into the abbey, it was pitch black – the only light we had was one flashlight, held by one of our guides.

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At first, I was a bit annoyed. The only other people on this tour with us were a group of teenage girls and their mom or aunt or whoever. So they were squealing at everything and being generally SUPER annoying. They were so loud and obnoxious that our guides had to ask them multiple times to calm down.

It was totally ruining the mood. While the building was really beautiful and certainly eerie in the darkness, we were mostly just trying to stay away from the teens to save our ear drums. I tried to focus on ignoring them and snapping photos – the flash from my camera was one of the only ways to see the actual building.

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And it was a super cool building.

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SIDENOTE: If you’re a believer in light orbs, my god, I caught so many on camera, it’s not even funny.

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So, while I was having a fascinating time in Muckross Abbey, I wouldn’t say I was having a creepy ghost tour time. Until we got into this one room.

“All right, everyone. This the the room in which we conduct an experiment.” our guide was getting down to business.

I assessed the surroundings. We were in a long, narrow room, somewhat like a hallway. One wall was solid stone, the other was an outside wall, with numerous slit-windows cut into the stone. It was so dark inside that the darkness of the yard outside seemed brighter, so the windows were very visible.

“In a moment, I’m going to turn off the torch [translation: flashlight]. I want you all to line up against that wall. Spread out so you can’t grab each other or scare each other, because this isn’t that kind of ghost tour. Once you’re ready, we’re going to turn out the lights and just take a moment to feel the room. All right?”

After much squealing from the teenagers, we got lined up. I looked at my mom and rolled my eyes. I wished they would just shut up.

And then our guide turned out the lights.

I stood there, staring out the slitted windows, wondering if this actually was one of those ghost tours and a guy in a gorilla mask was about to run in screaming at us (I went on a tour like that in Edinburgh – what a load of shit).

But then I saw something. And it wasn’t outside.

The light coming in from the slitted windows started to be blocked out, as if someone was walking by them. Then it happened again. And again. A row of shadows walked by me.

And then the row of shadows stopped.

Here’s the part where if you don’t already, you may think I’m totally nuts.

Although I didn’t see any faces turn and look at me – what I saw was shadows – I felt one of the men standing in front of me turn and look at me. And what I felt was a sense of judgement – a sort of shame on you – so strong that without even being to process it, I burst into tears. It was as though my heart was being squished by an iron weight. I couldn’t help myself. The sadness and shame and fear took over my entire body and my body panicked in response.

“Turn the lights on.” I started to say, “I need someone to turn the lights one. Turn the lights on!”

How did I get to be the one freaking out?

The guide complied and I promptly grabbed hold of my mom and told her what I saw and felt. She agreed about the shadows blocking out the windows. She had seen them, too.

After that, I couldn’t wait to get out of Muckross Abbey. It was unfortunate that we had to walk back through forest in total darkness (and in the rain) in order to get back to the bus with only one small flashlight for our whole group, because I spent that entire walk fearing that I was going to be attacked by whatever had been so angry at me in that room.

Oh, and if you were wondering, that room we were in was the room in which the Franciscan monks were imprisoned and led to their death. Often chained together.

Comforting.

That was one day (of a few I’ve had in my life) during which I learned that the history of a place is often 100% palpable, no matter how much time has passed.

It also solidified my belief in ghosts, or the paranormal, or whatever you want to call it.

xA

P.S. Tell me your ghost stories.

Two Hundred Ninety Seven.

Have you ever been somewhere for the first time and gotten an eerie feeling you’ve been there before?

That’s exactly what happened to me when I got to Dublin for the first time in 2006.

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I stole that photo from the Internet.

Prior to arriving in Dublin, the only knowledge I had of the city was that I had gleaned from my straight up obsession with Irish literature and film. So while I felt that I had a grip on the culture, the history, and the dialect, I had no idea about the geography. I mean, I had read Dubliners a few times, but I hadn’t gone crazy and mapped it out or anything.

I arrived in Dublin on a bus from Limerick (which had been a trying experience) and then took a cab straight to my B&B. I got myself cleaned up (also a challenge) and ready to explore as quickly as possible. Then I stepped out onto the front steps of my B&B.

And I shit you not, something happened.

Some people believe in ghosts; some people don’t. Some people believe in God; some people don’t. So I don’t expect everyone to believe me when I say this, but as I scanned my surroundings, standing on that front step, it was as though something deep inside of me – somewhere tucked in under my ribcage, somewhere in my gut and my heart and my Self – turned on. Like a switch. It came to life.

I hopped down the steps, turned right, and started walking through Dublin.

I’ve got to see Trinity College again,” I thought to myself as I made a bee-line across the Liffey.

But wait a second. I had never been to Trinity College before.

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So how was I standing in front of it just a short while later?

I’m not here to write an explanation, because I don’t have one. I’m not even here to elaborate on this, because I’m not sure what there is to elaborate on. All I can say is this: for my week or so stay in Dublin, I never once looked at a map. And I never once felt lost (unlike some other experiences I’ve had…). Every time I saw a new sight, it felt like a reminder, like seeing an old friend. Like when you visit a place you haven’t been in a long time and you drive around just to see all the spots you used to go.

That was the week of my life during which I learned that I believe in past lives, 100%.

Have you ever gotten that feeling?

xA

Two Hundred Ninety Six.

A little known fact about me (only because you haven’t asked): I love wax museums.

LOVE THEM.

If we were in some random, small, creepy town and there were a wax museum, I’d totally go anyway.

I spent like, half a day at Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam.

So when I was in Dublin with my mom, there was no question: we had to hit up the National Wax Museum.

It was totally great!

Until I saw Oscar Wilde.

I don’t know if I have talked enough about Oscar Wilde on this blog. Basically, you just need to know that I love him. I’ve loved his writing since I was young – like 12 or so. I’ve named one of my dogs after him. My entire Master’s thesis was inspired by his work. I know it sounds a little weird, but I am 100% convinced that in a past life, I lived in Dublin and knew him. (I should blog about that…)

To the two of you who are still reading this (okay, maybe there are five of you, because three of you are going, “Oscar WHO?”), thanks for staying with me.

There I was at the National Wax Museum, staring down a wax sculpture of Oscar Wilde. I wouldn’t even call it an amazing likeness. It was fairly good. I felt like the hair semi-concealing his face was a bit of a cop out. But it was good.

But being next to it freaked me right out.

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“Get in there!” my mom waved me in excitedly, “I’m gonna take a photo!”

I took a step toward the sculpture and stopped.

I turned toward it.

Stared it down.

“What’s wrong?”

“I dunno,” I said, “It’s freaking me out.”

“Get in there! I’ll take a picture. GET IN THERE!”

(My mom gets really excited sometimes.)

I took another step toward the sculpture and sort of leaned in. I don’t feel like I can properly convey just how uncomfortable I was, guys. I felt like I was intensely close to the sculpture. I felt like it was basically breathing on me. My blood pressure was up. I was nervous.

Basically I thought it was going to come to life and kill me or something.

(I have no idea why.)

This is how close I was:

With Oscar

So…not close AT ALL.

As you can also tell, I had a hard time staying still because I just wanted to GET THE HELL AWAY from the sculpture.

I thought that I was developing some irrational fear of Oscar Wilde or wax sculptures. But how could that be possible? I had never felt that way about them before. And when I was at Madame Tussauds a few months later, I took photos with all sorts of wax sculptures (I basically made out with the David Bowie one), so what the hell, right?

Fast forward to the Cultural Centre of Belém in Portugal, where I came across this fucking guy:

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I turned the corner and there he was. I stopped dead in my tracks.

Was he real?

I waited a few moments and he didn’t move.

I took another photo:

66656_10150308536065370_2411076_n

I coughed. I cleared my throat.

Nothing.

It was an installation.

And I COULD NOT GET NEAR IT.

That’s when all the pieces came together, flashing before my eyes.

Lesson learned: I still love wax sculptures. I just fear any sculpture that is leaning forward just so, making their face not entirely visible. Because I think they will come to life and kill me. (Obviously.)

Can you blame me?

xA

Two Hundred Ninety Two.

2010, Ireland.

My mom had come to visit me while I was living in Glasgow and we took a nice long trip to Ireland with lots of time for tours and exploring. I had been to Ireland before – as you may remember from the day I cried at Burger King or my recap of bathrooms in the country – but I was happy to be back, because Ireland is one of my favourite places on earth and we were going to visit a couple of towns I hadn’t gotten a chance to go to.

One of those towns was Dingle.

Funny name, adorable town.

Dingle

It was pouring rain while we were there (RAIN?! IN IRELAND?!) so we ran around trying to find something fun to do indoors.

That’s when we found this guy.

Pirate

“Arrrr,” he said to us (in my mind), “Welcome to Ocean World!”

For a girl who is terrified of the water, I love me a good aquarium. I think part of it is the anticipation of sheer terror. Kind of like when I was five and I was TERRIFIED of Harry and the Hendersons, but I watched it on a loop. I’ve seen that movie so many times, I could reenact it for you right now if you asked.

Okay, not right now, I’m busy blogging.

SIDENOTE: But that one scene where you see an extreme close-up of Harry through the viewfinder thing on the gun? GET OUT OF HERE. Scariest scene. I used to have to watch it through my hands. Scratch that – I probably still would.

The aquarium was awesome. Not huge, but it had a large variety of species. They even had sharks, which was cool.

Sharks

I could be scared and marvel at them from behind glass. Great.

But then we got to the end of the exhibit and we hit a huge road block.

A shark tunnel.

You know what I’m talking about, right? When aquariums have huge tanks with tunnels built into them that you have to walk through?

They’re one of my biggest fears. Because I’m terrified of the water AND sharks (and fish, really) and standing under glass makes me panic because I feel like (A) I’m in the water, and/or (B) the glass is going to break and we’re all going to die.

“Where’s the exit?” I asked nervously.

“Through there,” my mom replied, “Let’s go.”

“Are you kidding me?! I can’t!”

I scanned my surroundings. There was no other way to get out of the aquarium, save going all the way back to the entrance, which felt like it was miles away at that point.

“Shit!”

“Just walk through. It’s no big deal.”

(THANKS, MOM.)

I took one look at my mom, took a deep breath, and I ran.

Shark Tunnel

My mom thought it was super funny that I was running, so she walked behind me and took a photo.

I honestly didn’t breathe until I got to the other side. Then I waited for like, 10 minutes while my mom casually perused EVERY FISH IN THE TUNNEL.

Lesson learned: I have my brave moments.

OR

Maybe our fears only exist until we have to face them.

JUST KIDDING. Still 100% scared shitless of sharks and water.

xA

Two Hundred Fifty Eight.

No word of a lie, every single taxi ride I took in Ireland went one of two ways.

ONE

TAXI: Are you Canadian or American?

ME: Canadian.

TAXI: Canadian! Brilliant! I love Canada! I’ve got family in Toronto – are you from Toronto?

ME: Aw, no, I’m from a city called Edmonton. Much further west.

TAXI: It’s a beautiful place.

ME: It’s a great country, for sure.

TAXI: You know who I love?

ME: Who’s that?

TAXI: Celine Dion.

ME: Oh, nice.

TAXI: Do you listen to Celine Dion?

ME: Yeah…totally….

TAXI: Such a talented one.

ME: Absolutely.

 

TWO

TAXI: A Canadian!

ME: Yes! I am!

TAXI: I love Canada! What part? I’ve got family in Vancouver.

ME: I’m from Edmonton? It’s east of Vancouver.

TAXI: Ah, I see. Near Calgary is it?

ME: Yes, very close.

TAXI: Have you been to Vancouver?

ME: I love Vancouver.

TAXI: It’s just gorgeous there. Just gorgeous.

ME: Absolutely. Can’t beat the combination of mountains and the ocean, right?

TAXI: Cannot. Just cannot.

Beat.

TAXI: You know who I love?

ME: Who’s that?

TAXI: That Shania Twain.

ME: Ah, yes.

TAXI: Voice of an angel, that Shania Twain.

ME: She’s very talented.

TAXI: Do they play her on the radio all the time in Canada?

ME: She’s very popular, for sure.

TAXI: Oh, Shania. Voice of an angel.

So that’s when I learned that the Irish (A) all have family in Toronto and Vancouver, and (B) have great love for Canadian songstresses.

Happy Canada Day, everyone.

xA

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