Behind the Pizza Pizza

When I was in grade 10, I got into a serious fight with a classmate. It was the first fight I had had. And it didn’t last any more than around fifteen seconds.

It started because his girlfriend liked me. At least, I think that was the reason. She would talk with me all of the time, flirt with me, and I don’t think he liked it. Why he didn’t talk to her about it instead of wanting to fight me, I don’t know. I suppose that there’s not a lot of logic going around amongst fifteen year olds (I’m including myself in that, by the way). Continue reading

Out the Back of the Car

The very best physics lesson I had was given to me by my father when I was ten years old. It was a lesson he had no idea he was teaching.

We were camping in Algonquin Park. We weren’t at our usual family campsite at Pog Lake. Instead, we were at a different site that I can’t remember the name of. I can’t remember who was with us, either. All I know is that my father and I were there. And his car.

It was an old, blue station wagon. A Malibu Classic. No air conditioning. Windows that needed to be rolled down by hand. There was a radio, but it didn’t work.

We were on our way back from picking up wood for the fire. We had to buy it instead of cutting down our own tree.

As we pulled into our campground, I had an idea. I had spent most of the morning climbing up and sliding down a massive hundred-foot rock face. I had had to dodge trees on the descent. I had had to cover my face so branches wouldn’t poke out my eyes. I had ripped my pants. And I was ready to take my adventure to the next level. Continue reading

On a Jet Plane

I moved to Korea in 2003. I was living in Toronto and had just finished writing a book about travelling around Europe after university. I had a beautiful apartment on the top floor of an old house near High Park. And I had a girlfriend (or somewhat of a girlfriend – she had moved up north to go to college and we knew that things between us weren’t permanent).

I was working at my old high school friend’s restaurant on King Street (right downtown). I served soul food while listening to Funk and R&B bands play live. It was fun.

But, one afternoon, while out on the patio, my old high school friend’s friend came to visit. I had met him before, so I fell into easy conversation with him. He had told me that he had just come back from Korea. He had been teaching there. I had no idea what he was talking about. I didn’t know that such a thing as teaching abroad was even possible.

He assured me it was. That he had been teaching English at a school for a year. That they had flown him there and back and had given him a place to stay, on top of a pretty good monthly salary.

I asked him how he found the job. He gave me a website. Three weeks later, I was in Korea. Continue reading

Lunch with Dana

When I was in grade three, I fell in love. It wasn’t the type of love that made me evaluate my life or conjure up dreams of a future. I’m not even certain I looked much past the next week. But I did know that I felt something strong for her. I may have even wanted to kiss her. Continue reading

The Day I Turned Bad

When I was younger I was a good student. A great student even. I used to study hard. I used to apply myself. And I used to like it. But one day all of that changed. And, believe it or not, I can remember the exact moment it happened. Continue reading

And on into Vanishing Pond

A while ago, I wrote a blog entry called “Paddling with Dad”. In it I talked about the canoe trips my father and I used to take, and I explained his philosophy of always wanting to travel in a loop instead of going back the way we came so that we could always see new things. I had also mentioned that on one of those trips we had nearly died, and I had said that I’d save that story for another time. Well, that time is now. Continue reading

Paddling with Dad

Paddle 1

Everyone has their own reasons for travelling or living abroad. Some people like to exprience different types of food and meet new people. Others like to see famous landmarks or scenery unlike anything that they are used to. There are even those who simply hate where they are and would do anything to get away from it.

More often than not, it’s a combination of these and several more. At least, for myself, I know that that’s definitely the case.

However, the other day when my friend asked me why I liked to travel, I didn’t answer with any of these. Instead, I said, “It all comes down to paddling with my dad.”

Obviously, my friend had no idea what I was talking about. I’m not even sure if I knew what it meant at the time. But this was how I explained it:

Continue reading