To the Arctic Official Trailer

Narrated by Meryl Streep, To the Arctic is a documentary about a polar bear mother and her cubs struggle to survive. Unbelievable.

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Saturday night playlist

I was thinking about all the music I lost when my iTouch was stolen last month. Tear. So here is my ultimate playlist for this melancholy Saturday night! In no particular order, by the way!

1. Fiona Apple — Paper Bag

2. Regina Spektor — Samson

3. Joni Mitchell — Both Sides Now (Canadian genius)

4. Bette Midler — For Free

5. Neutral Milk Hotel — Holland, 1945

6. Tori Amos — Pretty Good Year

7. Robyn — Be Mine (Acoustic)

8. Perfume Genius — Lookout, Lookout

9. Nina Simone — Ain’t Got No… I’ve Got Life

10. Feist — 1234 (I thought I should add one more Canadian!)

Bonus Track. Kate Nash — Foundations

Missing home is a bitch

“And my new grandma Bea Arthur…” I wish!

The last two weeks have been very hard for me. Upon moving to Buenos Aires I missed the memo that it’s a ghost town from December to February. That can be nice, but when my students took their three-week holidays at the same time, it wasn’t so nice for my finances. I recently got a job as a medical writer for a company in Palermo that should help repair my plummeting bank balance. I start on Monday but I’m also going home in April; luckily my new employer allows for the possibility to work remotely, so I’m happy about that. I’m just bored, and it’s not from a lack of activity.

I’ve seen every major landmark in Argentina with the exception of Patagonia. I have walked every cobbled street in Buenos Aires and checked out almost every pub/bar recommended on travel blogs and every lackluster vegetarian restaurant. But that nagging feeling of returning home is plaguing me, and I think when you reach that point, there is no turning back. First off, I am a proud Canadian. I love my country, and I love Toronto. I miss my routine, and walking my dog and staring at her. Literally, I miss staring at her cuteness.

So to torture myself further here are the top five things I miss about home.

1. Maude and Beenie. I own a three-year-old English Bulldog named Maude and a 5-year-old orange tabby cat named Beenie. I’m an animal lover so not having them with me to sleep with at the end of the day has been very hard. Maude has had an especially difficult couple of months. She had to have knee replacement surgery and developed epilepsy after her operation. The seizures are not easy to watch. When I was home I witnessed three and my heart literally broke. The fear is that any seizure that lasts more than five minutes could result in cardiac arrest and eventual death. I can’t even think about it. The good news is that the medication has lessened the severity of her condition and her knee has healed perfectly. Thanks to Keith, Scott, Victoria and the entire McCallum family for seeing her through this. Beeine, on the other hand, is still a bitch. I’ve heard and seen photographic evidence that she has claimed Maude’s crate as her own and sleeps in it at night. She weights 5 pounds, and Maude weighs 50. A smart woman she does not make.

2. My friends. I miss Lisa. I miss Alisha. I miss Raquel. I miss Christine. I miss Larissa, and Lori and Allyson and Heather, and Amy and everyone, just everyone. I miss our evening chats in a pub drinking way too much beer and then falling asleep and doing it all over again the next day. I miss all their partners. I miss dancing in my living room and drinking wine, vodka, or whatever concoction Keith comes up with. Most importantly I just miss their pure awesomeness. I have possibly the greatest friends in the world. I think it’s compounded by co-dependency. I’ve known Lisa since I was 6-years-old and I consider her my sister. I’ve known Alisha, Raquel and Christine for fifteen years and consider them my best friends. I miss their wisdom and their presence in my life. I hope I’m the first to die because I can’t fathom living without them.

3. Toronto. Yes, the greatest city in the world. I really miss my hometown. Toronto gets a lot of flack from the rest of Canada but I’ve travelled extensively and can say it is the best place to live. Don’t get me wrong, it can be pretentious, but it’s easy to avoid those parts and embrace the down-to-earth local charm many of its unique neighbourhoods, bars and restaurants offer. My favourite part about living in Toronto is weekend afternoon beers. I haven’t found anyone in Buenos Aires to replicate that experience with, although I’ve adopted alternatives that have proved just as interesting. I like the conversation obtained after a few pints of Canadian lager; there’s something about sitting in a pub while the snow gently falls outside that’s so comforting. Porteños are over obsessed with image and it gets tiring when all you want to do is get smashed and dance on the table.

4. Alcohol. I miss vodka. None of the porteños I know enjoy alcohol and call me an alcoholic if I have two pints of beer. A porteños idea of a good time is far different than mine. I’ve gone to some gay bars with some of the gay friends I met here and it’s a very odd affair. First, none of my friends make it a priority to order drinks at the bar. Second, they just stand and stare at the men, nursing their water the entire evening. And third, no one speaks. Conversation is definitely lacking, but I guess when you’re trying to cruise it’s better to gawk than pay attention to your friends. After all, a gay man has to get laid! They all go home alone.

5. Quiet! Buenos Aires is loud. That can be alluring on days when your blood is pulsing with energy and you just can’t wait to get out and hit the pavement, but when the drivers start honking their horns and screaming at each other for not running a red light, I get tired. I miss the quiet streets of Toronto. Now it’s hard to compare both cities. Buenos Aires is a city of 13 million people while Toronto, excluding the greater area, has a population of 2.5 million. I love nothing more than waking early on Saturday and Sunday morning, taking Maude out and walking to Starbucks or Second Cup for that specially brewed coffee. After we’re cozy and warm we head to buy local produce and/or antiques at the St. Lawrence Market’s north building. And parks — I miss High Park! There are no large green spaces in Buenos Aires, and if they did exist, they would be breeding grounds for crime.

In addition to this list I also miss my iPod which was pick-pocketed from me last month, and running, which I can’t do because I need music to motivate me. I can’t buy a replacement in Buenos Aires because the prices are absurd and if I have one shipped from Canada, Cristina’s import restrictions assure that I won’t ever receive it. It’ll just land in some Argentine’s needy pocket.

So yes, I am homesick and I’ve written this blog post to prove it!

Now I’m going to try and see if I can buy beer with a 100 bank note. This always gets annoying.