One hundred and eighty-six

Welcome to First Kiss Interviews

I am so excited for this month and my trip across my beautiful country.  I can’t wait to chat with people across Central and Western Canada and find out their stories of their first kisses.  It might be the server at the pub we stop for lunch at.  Or the gas station attendant.  I might meet a fellow traveler at a camp site and ask them their story.

First, though, I will be spending a few days visiting my family in Ohio and then back in Toronto for a bit, sharing the stories I hear along the way.  If there is anyone who has a really great first kiss story that they would like to share, please e-mail me at threehundredsixtysixdays@gmail.com, or post on the comments of this page.  I’d like to include as many great first kiss stories as I can.

To start, I will tell my story…

Keven was walking me home after seeing Spice World (yep – Spice Girls the movie) at the Famous Players.  It was snowing out – that light fluffy snow that flutters onto your eyelids and coats the ground in a beautiful white blanket.  Keven let go of my hand and playfully threw a snowball at me.  I threw one back giggling as it hit him in the shoulder.  He tried to tackle me into a snow bank and we both fell to the ground.  At that moment, with the perfect white snow and “so tell me what you want, what you really really want…” still ringing in our ears, he softly kissed me.  My first kiss.  He walked me home and I remember closing the door and immediately picking up the phone to call my friend and rehash every detail.  I was seventeen years old and that was my first real kiss.  I can remember the way I felt, the feeling of the snow, of his lips on mine, the nervousness, the fear I wasn’t doing it right, the excitement that it was finally happening, and the relief that I got it over with.

There are moments in our lives that represent a change in who we are.  Before my first kiss I ran away from boys (yep, literally ran away because I was scared of them – actually sprinted down the street because I didn’t know how to react).  My first kiss gave me confidence and started my life as a woman.  Soon after my first kiss, I met my high school sweetheart that I dated for five years.

One hundred and fifty-five

The start of Out of My Comfort Zone month

This month I will be putting myself Out of My Comfort Zone every day.  Stretching my boundaries.  Doing things that challenge me and make me (and sometimes other people) feel uncomfortable, but ultimately I will learn from them.  And it will be hilarious to read about!

Day one – Lunch with a stranger

Yesterday, for my first day of the month, I went and had lunch with a stranger.  I went into the Eaton Centre (that mall is generally out of my comfort zone – can people walk any slower?!), got lunch at the cafeteria and looked around for someone sitting alone.  I found a girl in her twenties and asked if I could join her at her two-person table.  She agreed and I started a conversation.  We started with small talk – how busy the mall is, the New York fries she was eating, my Thai food.  I asked her why she was in the mall.  Then the conversation developed from there.  She’s from Winnepeg, is a part-time student deciding whether she wants to stay in Toronto.  She’s studing Latin.  She lived in Montreal and Quebec City.  We spoke about our lives, our goals, where we have lived, what languages we speak. All while we ate lunch.  In the city of Toronto, where rarely will anyone make eye contact with you, let alone share a full conversation over lunch, it was very strange.  But really lovely.  More people should do this.

When we were done our lunches, we went our separate ways.  A random interaction with a complete stranger with nothing before and nothing after.  A beautiful moment that I think made both our days a little brighter – with no strings attached.  Just a moment of connection.  And after the initial fear of rejection and nervousness at speaking to a stranger, it was actually quite easy.

Tonight

Karaoke!  I am FREAKING OUT.  I have been trying to find a good song to sing all day and I can’t find one.  I am so nervous.  Ahhhhh!!!

An update on online shopping

I got my red rubber boots today in the mail from Beyond The Rack.  I was so excited, as I love the colour red and I really needed a pair of rubber boots.  This was also my first buying experience with Beyond The Rack and has been four weeks since I ordered the boots (after an e-mail saying they were “PENDING” because they hadn’t received them yet).  I received them through Canada Post and tried them on right away.  Well, the boots were in two different sizes!  They were both labeled size 9, but the left was clearly way smaller than the right in width and length (it didn’t fit my foot and my feet are the same size as each other).  I’m a little bit annoyed.  I called customer service, sent an e-mail and am sending them back.  Hopefully they have another pair that are both size 9, if not I better get a full refund (including shipping).  I will most likely never shop with Beyond The Rack again.  And I’ve heard other horror stories of things taking 5-6 weeks to arrive.

One hundred and twenty-four

Welcome to Only Online Purchases

I’ve made it to month five and I’m so proud of myself – despite those people who look at me funny when I say what the project is, and then ask why in the world I’d put myself through this (In the name of art? Just for fun? For the book? It’s my calling? How do you answer that question?!).  I’ve made it this far because of the people who read, the people who support and encourage me, and those that help me get through the months by being a part of my experiments.  Thank you – you know who you are.

This month, everything (yes, everything) that I spend money on will be bought online.  Groceries will be delivered to my door.  Clothes will be purchased online without me trying them on (I will probably be sending a lot of things back, as I tend try on ten things before I buy one – although, maybe this will change my habits).  Tampons will be given to me by a delivery man and I will have to sign for them.  I will learn the skills of shopping on ebay and trusting that sellers will send their products after I’ve sent them money (scary!).  I will use my extreme couponing skills to get  free products or buy groupons for restaurants.

I will compare the prices, ease of shopping experience, time and energy of online versus in-person shopping.  I will interview some people who prefer online shopping to understand why they believe it is a better way to shop.  I will also probably have to sacrifice some nights out with friends  – no last minute beers at the local pub.  Potentially most importantly, I will be working on my planning skills again. If I don’t plan ahead I will be without food, deoderant, and coffee – a hungry, stinky, grumpy waif will be writing this blog if that happens!

If anyone has any great websites they use to shop with, please send them my way. I am going to need the help.

Day ninety-four

The aftermath of 31 Days 31 Dates

I had a little cry today.  Partly recovering from my little birthday party shindig, partly the fact that I’m now 31, and partly overwhelmed by both the complete emotional and physical drain that came from going through 31 days of dates.  I never thought it would be so intense.  I’m feeling better having let it all out (by crying and confiding in a friend), but I’m still confused and tired and not knowing at all what I want.  I started 31 Days 31 Dates with the same thing that I will end it with: Ahhhh!

I also wanted to put in one website I forgot to add to yesterday’s post: AshleyMadison.com.  It’s a dating site for married people to find other people to have affairs with.  “The most recognized name in infidelity.  We are the most recognized and reputable extramarital affair company.  Our married dating services work.”  There are over nine million members, so dating while in a committed relationship unfortunately seems to be a large part of the dating community.  I am not too happy about that, but dating month is not complete without it.  Here’s a video of the founder on The View:

Cooking 30 Countries

All sorrows are less with bread.  ~Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

This is the month I’ve been looking forward to!  I love to cook, try new recipes and eat.  A month devoted to those pleasures has to be a great month!  Each day I will either cook or eat (in some instances I will eat at restaurants, or at friends’ houses and they will do the cooking part) something from a different country.  I will try to post as many recipes as I can, give a description and a photo of the food, and a little of its history.

Ethiopian

Yesterday I had Ethiopian food with my mom for lunch.  There are so many great Ethiopian dishes, I thought it best that instead of trying to cook just one, we would go to a restaurant where we could have the vegetarian and meat platters and try them all! We found a seat at Lalibela Restaurant on Bloor Street, east of Ossington, and I convinced my mom to share the platters.

The meat and vegetarian platters combined. Far too much food for the two of us, but so delicious!

Meat combination: alicha wot (split pea stew), kitfo (spiced raw or rare ground beef), doro (chicken), gomen ayib (cottage cheese with collard greens), salad and dullet (spicy mixture of tripe, liver, beef, and peppers).  Vegetarian platter: split peas, lentil, chick peas, cabbage, collard green, vegetables and hilbet (beans, garlic, ginger and fenugreek).  Served with injera (sourdough flatbread).

Ethiopian food tends to be very spicy, served as a platter of shared food, and eaten by hand – taking a piece of the injera and scooping up the food with that.

Here’s a video on how injera is traditionally made:

Yum!

Day sixty-two

31 Days, 31 Dates

Ahhhhh!  My stomach has been in knots all week knowing this was coming.  Why did I think this was a good idea when my friend suggested it while sitting at the bar many months ago?  Could it have been the couple of drinks I had?  Or was it the fact that everyone who I have told about this year-long experiment is most interested in how I’m going to pull off the month of 31 Dates?

I’m not worried about finding thirty-one dates.  They don’t have to be quality (and the bad dates will probably be more interesting to read about).  I’m worried about making it through the thirty-one dates and keeping my sanity.  I work at a pub, so there will be times when I’m working and I will have to have a lunch date, or else find a date late at night when I’m done work.  I’m sure there will be days when the last thing I want to do is talk to someone, let alone impress them on a date.  I’m going to be sick of dressing to impress, drinking and eating out.  Am I going to be able to keep track of all these guys?  I’m horrible at rejection – what if I don’t like them?  Or what if I like too many of them?  Ahhhhhh!  Can you tell I’m freaking out a little?

But I’m also a little excited.  I get to have some interesting conversations with some people I might not otherwise get to spend quality time with.  I get to enjoy dating for once in my life (I’m usually a serial monogamous, so I never really date that often before I fall into a relationship).  And I get to bare my soul to everyone reading – ok, maybe this part doesn’t sound as fun as the others!

What is this month really about?

I have many friends who have a hard time finding someone they would really like to date in the city.  Working in a corporate office job with a bunch of married people is not always the best way to find the love of your life.  And on the opposite side, working at a pub where you’re asked out by drunk men at last call is not the best way either.  What is the best way to find a mate?  Do some ways work better than others?  What will I learn about the dating process that might help others?  What are people doing wrong?  What are they doing right?  Why is it so hard?

I will examine all different ways of meeting people, including set-ups, work-mates, online dating, friends, speed dating, singles nights, picking up at a bar, double dates, etc.  I will speak truthfully of what works for me and how bad or good the dates are going.  I will also talk about these issues on a broader scale, examining social norms, dating statistics, etc.  Hopefully, in the process, I will meet someone amazing that can put up with my crazy antics and I enjoy spending time with.  If not, I’ll have met a lot of interesting people and learned a lot about human nature!

The rules

  1. Each date will be written about on the following day (so I’m not posting late every night)
  2. I will not use real names, so as to protect the identity of the date – I will use nicknames to refer to them.
  3. Second dates are allowed, but not third or more dates.
  4. (I’m sure more rules will come up as I start going on the dates…)

Here we go…

My first date is this evening, which I will write about tomorrow (see rule 1).  I have most of the dates planned for this week already.  I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but I’m really excited about a couple of them.  One in particular I’m hoping is going to go really well.  (Oooo, I bet you want to know which one that is – well I’m not going to tell you just yet!)