Grant's style is unique, as she presents a running mental dialogue of Audrey's journey from the airport to her hometown - and Winnifred's journey from her tank to her babysitter's apartment and freezer, in search of the complicated, controlled environment and perfect temperature in which tortoises must live. If they are too cold or too hot, tortoises just shrivel into their shell and appear dead. Check out this link on taking care of a tortoise! I couldn't figure out a way to embed it, unfortunately, but Click here. It's really, really cute, just click!
Plodding along in other thoughts, I've come to realize that there is a massive trade-off between income and warm weather. Singapore, Edmonton. London UK, Singapore. Edmonton, FortMcmurray. Hawaii, anywhere else. California, Calgary. Proven again and again by moves of friends and family - this frozen hell is worth it's weight in gold (or oil barrels). A ride on Fort Edmonton's sleigh ride will also confirm that the early settlers hated it here too - they stayed only for the price of fur in the Fur Trade!!! Really, family and money are the only reasons I've heard so far to stay- well, there are professional snowboarders and skiers, but they are in Calgary.
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A look at Google Maps UK confirms that while London itself is bustling, its outer communities lack the hardcore Martial arts studios, Bikram Yoga, shopping, parks, shops and all the right downtown wonders that I want from the city. Margate and Ramsgate by the sea look beautiful and have a renowned ESL school - but 40, 000 people? Is that still a tiny town when the next "town" is 2 minutes away?
Of course, every country has its quirks - steering wheels on the wrong side of the car, driving on the opposite side of the road, getting Kiara on the Tube, hours of traffic, an apartment the size of my old place for $320 000 (in GBP, of course), surfing in freezing cold water, decreased purchasing power and an increased number of pigeons. (I'll have you know one of them stole a cucumber right out of my sandwich in the 8th grade at Trafalgar Square! Ick!)
Pros: Cousins and grandma half an hour away, a vibrant, metropolitan city, $60 Ryan Air flights to immerse myself in French and Italian lessons first hand, leather boots without salt stains, Tate Modern (and other) museum memberships, rainy roads with no ice, decorative snow, European Christmas markets, hot wine, 6 weeks of vacation, Shakespeare, gorgeous Europeans, Hugh Grant and the sexy British linguistic flair.
Oh, e-town, what to do? Global warming isn't helping this part of the world...