from forests and oceans inside of you

Category — Vancouver at NIGHT

Greek Garlic

It was a few weeks ago that I began a lonely journey into town to get my old phone fixed – since my new one had been stolen (most of the friendly and encouraging Canadians around at the time went out of there way to assure that “of course you’ll get it back. This isn’t South Africa, you know” and even proceeded to help me in finding it). Old habits – and expectations – die hard, and I knew my phone, although not very sleek or sexy, was making some little person very happy, and, with any luck, a little guilty.

Anyway, this is a happy story. I knew my phone was gone the second I was forced to leave myself a voicemail of profane realization. But these types of things seem like water of the back of any good old South African duck. SO I made a merry mission into town to get my old iPhone fixed.

Now Apple doesn’t house the most forthcoming of helpers. Especially if you have an old version of a phone that was never meant to be unblocked and brought into SA on the sneaky sneak. Bastards. So they sent me away under the “official word of Apple”. Rogers were a lot more helpful and happily directed me to a character more willing to do the undocumented dirty work I needed done – a simple removal of a jammed sim card.

“You know where Stepho’s is, right?”
“I’m from out of town?”
“So you don’t know where Stepho’s is?”
“I’m from South Africa.”
“Everybody knows where Stepho’s is. Davie and Thurlow. Everybody likes Stepho’s.”

Feeling nice and warm inside – I was obviously fitting in – I made my way up Davie St, looking for Stepho’s which was supposed to be next to my cell phone’s savior. I walked for a good while before deciding it was best to at least make sure I was in fact walking up the right street, and that it was in fact the direction of “up” and not “down” that I should be headed in.

“Excuse me, am I going in the right direction for Thurlow Street?”
“Don’t you know where Stepho’s is?”
Silence followed on my part, possibly amplified by the widening of my eyes.
“Well,” he followed, “ You can’t miss it, it’s on the left. Everybody likes Stepho’s. There’ll be a line outside.”

There was a line outside. But I was not a part of such a line last night. I had made a booking.

Stepho’s is really is gorgeous. Great Greek restaurant. Perfect for students. No entrée for over $10.95 (I had garlic prawns), but really, it’s all mostly under that.

All my friends still reek of garlic, I’ve become our mascot.

But anyway, the moral of the story is, you should know where Stepho’s is. Everybody likes Stepho’s.

October 8, 2008   No Comments

August 21, 2008

Well, here we are at the beginning!

I wasn’t too sure what would be the best way to launch my blog, but since I’m already at UBC, I figured I’d save an introduction for a little later, as there is just so much going on here already!

I’m lucky enough to have been able to be a part of JumpStart this fall, so my first day on Campus was the 12th August. About 180 of us international students have been housed on Campus, Walter Gage Towers,  with some amazing facilitators doing their utmost best to make this transition a smooth and stimulating one.

I had definitely, without a doubt, underestimated the scope of the diverse ethnicities and cultures I’d be coming into contact with. It’s really difficult to compare anyone here to anyone I’ve ever met before. I have never in my life been surrounded by such an incredible eclectic mix of cultures and ethnicities. We have somehow managed to represent all continents, most states in america, MANY parts of Asia, a much greater chunk of Africa than expected, Europe is up there and let’s not even get into the Scandinavians! I was all prepared to be the lone South African Representative, but no, I am happy to report we’ve sent a few of our best!

My home for the next week or so goes by the name of Gage Towers. It has a sort of sozzled-student-esque type of feel to it. You know, the oddball elevator that only works after an ever changing nonsenseical “sequence” of pokes and huffs and puffs, carpets that have taken on a dark grey “hue” over the years etc. Anyway. I managed to fit exactly half of my bags in the elevator and made my way through the maze of rooms to my very own roomie by the very personal name of, N17C4. Now some may find this an easy code to remember. Some might have made sure they had their little welcome-this-is-your-room packet on them on their second trip up. However, some might also not have had 6 separate pieces of luggage.

I’ll leave you to imagine me stopping on an undisclosed number of floors and knocking on an unimportant number of doors that at the time I truly thought were my very own floors and doors.

But it’s all worked out wonderfully, our suit is clean and stocked with all the basics. The view from my room is unbelievable – if you’re hardcore enough lean out of the window, twist right and stay their long enough to appreciate it… But for those of you staying in Gage, hopefully you’ll be one of the lucky ones, because some of the views are “phenomenally breathtaking”, putting whatever words attempting to describe them to shame.

Seriously though, I really have met a few compelling breeds of human. Like 1/2 Japanese, 1/4 Irish, 1/4 Afro. People that were born in New York, lived in New Zealand but now call Sweden home. You can’t even begin to imagine the strange clicks and licks I here coming from my fellow classmate’s mouths. I can only imagine what my warped South African accent sounds like to most of them!

Of course, by now I’ve been a part of all sorts of mortifying getting-to know-you activities. I’ve helped a group of students across a river made of real life ground and filled with blue rubber pirrahnas. I’ve come up with all sorts of alliterations for my name like Tasty Tamryn, Terrific Tamryn, Tender Tamryn. (Any help on these would be greatly appreciated as I never know when the next happy name circle might be sprung upon me). I find myself breaking an awkward moment with, “Oh, you’re Jumping Jeffery, right?”

But not too worry folks, it’s not all kindergarten inspired. We’ve had some really informative lectures and super helpful tours around campus. Some of our RAs – older student helper people – are pretty cool and we’ve dragged them out with us into downtown Vancouver. I hadn’t really experienced the nightlife of Vancouver except for a few lovely restaurants and Jazz clubs with my dad (I’ve been in and around Vancouver and Vancouver Island for about a month beforehand), so the past few nights have been rather entertaining – we’re all extremely foreign, so we usually end up asking people to help us out with places to go. Once we had a tall man in pink suit with a red scarf and hat show us around. His name was Douglas. But for those of you who are interested, Vancouver in the dark is seriously competent in comparison to my previous experiences traveling, and I’m sure with a little looking around it’ll only get better.

A few of us went to the “clothing optional” beach neighbouring my new rez (Place Vanier) – ya I know – and had one of the most amazing evenings I’ve had in a while. We all packed little bags of fruits and biscuits and cheese and spent a few hours on the beach watching the sunset to the sound of African drums and people cheering the sun in it’s last few moments shining! It was so gorgeous! Then we danced in the sea until the fun-loving cops asked us to “Please clear the beach”.

I must say, so far, it really has been a case of serious information overload. I am desperately hoping everything will just happens to sink in one rainy day. There are just so many new concepts to grasp, new names to remember, different ways of doing things, contrasting things to be expected form different lecturers and/or faculties. In fact, first prize would actually just be remembering who and where to go for help, as it has become very obvious that there is no shortage help and guidance – perhaps, only a fear or reluctance or -more common – unawareness of how to ask for it.

I guess this all for now… I had a really late night last night and really need to catch up on some sleep. We have such a rich and demanding schedule and I really don’t want to miss out anything!

I’ll do my best to fill you all in on some of the important info I’ve managed to soak up from all the of the super-informed around campus next time round.

I look forward to meeting all of you!

August 29, 2008   No Comments