27 out of 101

On October 1st, 2011, I started a list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. It’s been an amazing year. Some of the things I imagined I would do right away have yet to be done, while some of the things I thought would be done towards the end of the 1001 days have been accomplished already! It’s been great. If I’m feeling restless or bored, I look to my list and find instant inspiration and motivation!

Here is a recap of what I’ve done so far. For the full list, click here.

12. Try snowboarding.

I did this last year with my friend Julie. We went out a few times and I fell in love with it! I’m actually looking forward to snow this year. Sadly, my friend Julie moved to Abu Dhabi, so I lost my snow buddy, but I’m still going to make it out to the hill, because I enjoy it so much! I fall a lot, but that’s nothing new!

13. Go to Central or South America

When I wrote this, I had Costa Rica or Brazil in mind. However, not everything happens as planned. I went to Cuba this summer and although I’m not sure the Caribbean counts and Central or South America, I have decided that, for the purpose of this list, it does! It doesn’t mean I won’t go someday, but 1001 days is less than three years, so I’m not sure I’ll make it before then.

18. Do 108 sun salutations

I did this twice! Once for the spring equinox and once for the summer solstice. There was supposed to be an event held for the fall equinox, but it was outside and it was cancelled due to rain. I was disappointed, because I thought I might do 108 sun salutations for all of the seasons in 2012. It’s definitely not easy, and your legs feel it the next day, but it’s a great experience.

22. Take a trip with my mom

My mom and I went to Cuba together this summer. I love my mom and I like her too! We have a great time together. I always feel bad for my friends who don’t like to spend time with their mom, or who just don’t get along. My mom rocks.

23. Go running along the canal

The canal is beautiful and I always see people running and think “I want to do that.” So I did. It was a beautiful day and it made me happy.

24. Get a cellphone I can text with

I got one for my birthday, last November. I enjoy my phone, but it is not surgically implanted in my hand. It’s not an iphone, it doesn’t do anything special. It lets me text, which makes me thing I have caught up with technology, although deep down, I know I haven’t.

30. Visit the National Gallery

I went to see the Van Gogh exhibit in September. The gallery is beautiful, which is why I wanted to go again. It’s right across the river, I should go every time there is a new exhibit.

34. Go hiking

I’ve done this several times since last October, and I hope to do it again before the 1001 days are up. There are so many wonderful places to hike and walk in the woods around here, there’s no reason not to go!

37. Make a dress

I wrote this thinking I would make myself a dress. However, last year, for my class play, I made two dresses for two very happy little girls! I think two mini-dresses equals one me-size dress!

38. Eat beets

I don’t like beets, but, at a restaurant for my birthday last year, I discovered fried beets. They were delicious and did not taste like regular beets at all. This means they did not taste like dirt.

39. Climb a tree

Trees are made for climbing. I’ve discovered I can climb a tree when it needs to be climbed, it doesn’t matter if I’m wearing white or a dress. I can do it.

43. Play volleyball

I’ve done this twice. I’ve discovered I’m not very good (ok, I knew this already) but I do enjoy it very much. My goal is to get better (meaning not duck when the ball comes my way) and maybe play on a team next summer.

45. Get an IMAX teacher movie pass

I’ve been to several movies, and it’s definitely worth it! One and a half movies paid for my pass, now all the movies I see are free!

46. Go on a road trip

I don’t know if going to Montreal, which is 2 hours away, counts as a road trip, but it was a car full of girls with one bride-to-be, on a mission to find some dresses, singing ABBA songs and eating chocolate cookies. I say it counts.

58. Play Monopoly

I played with some of the kids in my class, and it wasn’t quite how I remembered. They didn’t want to spend their money on anything, so they just kept going around, passing go, collecting 200$. I felt bad buying properties and making them pay when they landed there. But it was still fun!

61. Try a yoga dance class

I’ve done Madonna flow yoga with Natalie, one of my favourite teachers. It’s ashtanga yoga, but it’s to the music of Madonna. We sing, we dance, we vogue. If this isn’t a yoga dance class, I don’t know what is!

63. Try a new kind of tea

I’ve tried many. I even went to a tea house with the road trip girls, although not during the road trip. I love tea. Must keep trying new kinds.

64. Do yoga on the beach

I went to a moonlight yoga class which was held at the beach. I also did some yoga poses on the beach in Cuba. Not many though, it was too hot!

68. Give someone flowers

I picked some May flowers for my mom for mother’s day. I’ve been doing it every year since I was a kid. They grow in the woods and I used to go walking to pick them. Now, I usually park by the side of the road and wave at people who look at me like I’m crazy, in the woods in my dress and sandals.

72. Do the hula

I had the Hawaiian hula in mind, but I did a couple of hula hoop dancing classes. Lots of fun and a great workout!

74. Donate to a good cause

I thought I would donate a big amount to a charity, but I realized I donate regularly, just smaller amounts to different causes. I always give to the kids packing my groceries for their sports team, the man sitting at the table in the mall for cancer, the run for the cure, the fundraising for my 30-day challenge. I give in small doses, but as much as I can.

77. Make a list of the books I read (up to 101)

I’m at 54. Number 55 is taking me a while.

84. Write a list of 101 things that make me happy

I’ve started. I’ll post the whole list when I’m done.

86. Do yoga every day for one week

Well, this one took on a life of it’s own! I not only did yoga for a week, I did it for 30 days. Twice! Once in the spring with my friend Julie and once in September. I will probably do it again!

90. Not buy any new clothes for one month

This one also became something else. I did a no-spending challenge last May, where I did not buy anything but essentials. It’s crazy how much money I saved. It has made me realize I buy way too much crap I don’t need. I’m not as strict with myself as I was in May, but I have changed my spending habits.

98. Ride in a limousine

Did this last December for my friend’s birthday. I don’t like champagne, but it tasted lovely in a limo!

99. Run on the beach

I went for a run in the spring in an area that was somewhat unfamiliar, and I was surprised when the path brought me to the beach. It’s not a large beach, but I ran next to the water to get to the path on the other side. It made me happy because it was unexpected!

So far, I’ve done 27 things on my list. I can’t wait to do the rest!

La Habana

When I was in Cuba with my mom, we decided to throw in a little culture into our trip and booked a day-trip into Havana. I was curious about the country’s capital. 12.5 million people live in Cuba, and 2.5 million of those people live in Havana. I didn’t know much about the country’s history and I was interested in learning more.

Sadly, I was a little disappointed. Not with Havana, which was as vibrant, colourful and intriguing as I imagined it to be. It was like walking around a movie set, although I’m sure people who live there don’t feel like that! The city seemed to have a beat, a rhythm of it’s own.

No, I was disappointed because the tour had us spending time doing things like buying cigars (I didn’t want any), visiting a museum where you had to pay to take pictures and everything was in Spanish (obviously, but I didn’t understand it all) and having lunch in a restaurant for an hour and a half (it wasn’t even Cuban food). I wanted more.

However, I still saw plenty. On the way there, I saw so many horses, cows and goats tied to ropes by the highway, just chomping away on some roadside grass. There were chickens everywhere too! I wanted to shoo them off the road. I was worried they would turn into squashed chicken.

Also, I have never paid to pee so much in my entire life. By the washrooms, there were women waiting and you had to pay if you wanted toilet paper. The first time, it was a new experience. After that, it was just annoying!

There were many old cars in Havana. So many colours! I don’t know much about cars, so I can’t tell you what kind they were, but I saw a really fabulous pink car and also a bride and groom drive by in an amazing purple convertible.

I didn’t get a picture of the goats or the blissful couple on their wedding day, but I did get some great pictures of the city.

I might have been a little dissapointed by the tour, but it was great to actually see the city. It made a nice change from sitting on the beach trying to find the balance between coming home a little darker than when I left, and not getting a sunburn so bad it would feel like my skin shrunk.

Also, I had a Where in the World is Carmen San Diego computer game when I was a kid, and all I could think on the drive to Havana was “He went to Havana to eat a fried banana.” That was one of the clues in the game and the first thing that popped in my head when someone mentioned Havana. I’m happy to say I am now much more informed about Cuba’s capital!

My week in Paradise

I have just spent the most relaxing week of my life in Paradise, also known as Cuba. If you’ve never been there, please, drop everything and go right now. I’ll wait. ( … ) See what I mean? Amazing, right?

I left with my mom last Thursday for what had to be the longest day of traveling ever for a 4 hour flight. Just to give you an idea, we left home around 9:30 am and got to the hotel around 10:30 pm. But everything went smoothly, so it’s all good.

When we first got there, it was dark and my mom did not want to go to the beach. I think she was afraid of sharks or lizards or axe murderers. We explored the hotel a little and we didn’t really know what to think. There weren’t many people there and it felt like a ghost hotel. Like Hotel California, which, incidentally, played on repeat all week.

The next morning, however, we woke up to this.

The beach was incredible. White sand, clear turquoise water, even a few crabs. It felt like being in a postcard. There were a couple of piers not too far away, so we decided to walk over and check them out. Afterwards, we were so hot we decided to fling ourselves into the ocean, which tastes like pretzels, by the way, and have another drink.

On our second day there (I think) we took a bus into Varadero. My favourite part was all the old cars. They call Cuba a “rolling museum”. We walked around for a while and got our first glipse of Cuban culture. Varadero is mainly a tourist town, but there are flashes of the real deal here and there.

My favourite day of the week was when we went on a catamaran cruise. I had never been on a catamaran before, and it was so much fun! The weather was perfect, there was a bar on the boat and the bartender, Elvis, (seriously) made the trip into something awesome. He asked everyone where they were from and kept bringing us more drinks. He even got everyone dancing and singing.

The boat brought us to a dolphinarium where I got to meet Jessica the dolphin. It was surreal to actually touch a dolphin! Her skin felt like rubber and I was so worried I would scratch her, but apparently she wasn’t worried because she came pretty close! I was standing on the tips of my toes on a platform in the sea, trying to keep my head above water and not get in the dolphin’s way, in case she thought my braids were fish or something. I even got a kiss! Best part of the day, for sure!

We got back onto the boat where I liked to pretend I was a movie star and had my own private catamaran. All the other people were my movie star friends.

After I was done being a movie star (for the moment, not forever) we went snorkeling. In my case it meant putting on the floating belt, the mask and the tube thingy, then going into the water very, very slowly. This was followed by my not letting go of the rope, sticking my face in the water for approximately 48 seconds and seeing some cool fish and ocean floor before I said “ok, I did it. I’m done now.” The whole process lasted under five minutes. but I did it!

The rest of the day was spent eating lunch on the beach, swimming and drinking on the boat. Bliss.

The other days seemed to flow into each other as we did a lot of reading, swimming, talking and eating. The food was not incredible, for some reason everything tasted the same, but I had a wonderful time being there with my mom. We had drinks, but not as many as I thought, because the combination of the strong sun and the strong drinks was quite potent!

I even found a tree to climb! If you look hard enough, you will always find a tree to climb. Even in a lace dress, it’s possible.

I loved being in the water most of all. I’m not a strong swimmer, but I am an excellent floater! Plus, this was saltwater, so floating was even easier. I floated on my back, sitting up, even standing. My feet didn’t touch the bottom, but I could see it, since the water was so clear. I was float-walking around all week.

I tried to do a wheel on the beach, but it didn’t work so well, because my hands were sinking into the sand and the waves were pulling me into the ocean. It was the only yoga I did all week. I had brought my mat with me, but it was just too hot to practice. Also, I was quite busy doing nothing.

Really, the best thing of all was being there with my mom. We both like to talk and we both like to read, so we were perfect traveling companions for the week!

We also went to Havana, but such a colourful, vibrant city deserves it’s own post, so that will have to wait!

The ocean is where I belong

In July, I decided I wanted to take a trip somewhere. Anywhere, really. I went to a travel agency, picked one lucky agent, told her what my budget was and said “Send me somewhere.”

Then, I proceeded to stalk her for days, asking if she had any good deals for me, anywhere exciting to send me. I was hoping for an African safari or a tour of Iceland. My adventurous side was screaming “Egypt!” while my budget was whining “A bus to beach.”

I wanted to leave as soon as possible, but I discovered that the whole “I waited until the last minute to book my trip and I got a great deal!” thing was actually a myth. I decided I needed to be more flexible and added August to my available travel dates. After all, I am off all summer.

I was planning on going by myself, because that’s number 3 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days.

After a few days, I realized I had to adjust my expectations when it came to the destination. What I really wanted was a change of scenery and a plane ride. If you fly somewhere, it’s a real trip. (Not always, but this summer, yes.)

My travel agent suggested Cuba. I said “When do I leave?” I was telling my mom about my awesome deal, and asked her if she wanted to come. I did not expect her to say yes, but she did! This is amazing because number 22 on my list is “Take a trip with my mom”. It’s going to be just the two of us!

Here is where we’ll be for the next week.

I’m going to be completely disconected from technology. No phone, no computer, no Internet. I’m really looking forward to that part. I’m bringing a book (ok, 4 books) and I’m going to relax, drink, read and swim in the ocean. I’m going to do whatever I want to.

See you in a week!