Sunday, May 22, 2011

International travel and the can opener of doom

International travel sure can have its moments. Last night's events are a perfect example of a situation that made me want to cry and laugh.... and I'm pretty sure I was doing both at the same time.

I wasn't feeling too great (as the blog below describes) and decided to make a simple dinner: vegetable curry. It was basically sauteed onions and fresh ginger with curry powder, then adding a pot-full of every vegetable available (you can't be terribly picky in a Swiss mountain town), adding a splash of water, putting on a lid and cooking it until the veggies are soft. I know it sounds simple and even I was surprised by how flavourful it was. Ok, back to the story... I was going to add some chickpeas at the end so I got my can all ready to go, but when I went to look for a can opener, all I could find was this device:

I figured it had to be a can opener as it had a twister-type knob and a little bladed wheel, but I had never seen one quite like this before. It looked way too simple, but yet seemed to require an engineering degree to use. After about ten minutes of very unsuccessful attempts at even coming close to piercing the can, I gave up. It would be a low-protein dinner. Adam rings on Skype around this time and I tell him about the can opener. "What? What do you mean you can't open it? It's EASY!!" This is followed by some laughter and more laughter when I show him the actual can opener over skype. I'm really not that big of a princess if I've never seen this before, right?! He gives me a lesson and I have another go at the can. Literally twenty minutes later, with sore hands and chickpea juice everywhere, the can is destroyed.. but opened! YES!

After dinner I head down to our laundry room to do a quick load of laundry. I needed some clean cycling gloves and tights for the morning, so I figured I would pop it in for a quick wash and get it out on the drying rack before bed. It's just after 7pm at this point so PLENTY of time before bedtime. Or so I thought. I toss the clothes in, close the door, put the liquid soap in the drawer, and go to put the money in the coin slot... it only takes 1 franc or 20 cent coins and I only have a 2 franc coin. Oh well, I guess I won't be doing my laundry tonight. I go to open the door and it's locked! And, the pink soap has already rushed down the inside, covering the clothes. Crap. After pressing every button on the machine, I realize it's just not going to open without running the cycle. I then remembered from last year that if the previous person's load didn't use the all the money they paid, the next person can use the remainder. I turn on the control and it starts! I select the short wash and the timer counts down from 45 mins. Perfect, not long at all. After an hour, I cruise downstairs (4 flights I might add, and the elevator is broken). The power is off and the clothes are sitting in water. Crap, I have mixed light and dark so this is a recipe for disaster. Now I really cannot leave it until the morning.... I go back upstairs to check all my pockets for coins. Nothing. Back downstairs I decide to twist the coin return slot on the other machine. Two 20 cent coins come out! YES! I put them in my machine and it's back to life. 35 minutes to go. I'm getting tired by this point so I'm down there right on time but again, the door is locked and the power is off. Having no more change and all shops in town being closed at this point, I'm doomed. I resort to crawling around on the floor, looking under the machines for dropped money. I see the glimmer of a 20 cent coin in the far corner of the room. I go back upstairs for my broom and wedge it out. YES! I pop it in the machine and the timer says 4 minutes to go. I sit there watching nervously, hoping it runs through this time as my next move would likely involve a break-in of someone's apartment or vandalism of the machine. I'm watching the timer count down... 1 minute... still spinning...boom-boom-boom (that's my heart beating)... spinning stops... silence... CLICK, the door pops open! Massive sigh. The clothes are clean.

And I wonder why I slept so well last night!


I'd say it's time for an update! It sure has been a busy past month. Now that I'm in settled in one place and can take a deep breath and look back on things, I'm amazed just how much I was able to pack in there (but, not without consequence... more on that in a bit!).

I flew home after Sydney WCS and spent the first week recovering from the race and travel, rehabbing my ankle and spending the much needed quality-time with Adam and my family. Six months was by-far my longest period of time away from home so it was a bit overwhelming in terms of catching up on "life."

But the weeks at home flew by and I was able to put in really solid training block, even able to celebrate a few milestones along the way:

My sister, Amanda was bit by the running bug a couple years ago after being a self-proclaimed "gym rat" for most of her adult life. I was thrilled when she decided to get off the treadmill/elliptical and join a running club about a year ago. And she didn't start with a learn-to-run clinic, but found herself a competitive club with a great coach that she's able to meet up with at Stanley Park a couple of days after work. She's now running intervals, learning paces and testing the waters of the competitive running scene. One of her first races was the Vancouver Sun Run, back in April and my gosh, she was rolling! She paced it perfectly, ran a huge PB and even had energy for some mid-race dancing.

Adam also has some serious reason to dance.... he seems to be on a roll at the moment! Shortly after I got home he finished his final exam and paper and within a few weeks had his marks. He's officially a law school graduate! I would love to share his grad photos on here but I fear he might seek revenge by posting some dreadful teenage photos of me... so I will just let you picture him smiling (beaming?!) in a cap and gown :) A few days after this celebration he goes off to run the Elk-Beaver Ultra, Canada's 50mile trail championship. To those who know the 10km Elk Lake loop in Victoria, you are probably in agreement with me when I say that running 8 LOOPS of the lake is insane. Adam loves this stuff though and it turns out he's really good at it. He not only won the race, but set the Canadian record, running the 80km in 5hr and 44 minutes!

Last week I packed up to join my squad in Davos, Switzerland for our summer training camp and base for the next four months. Before the trip I had an incredibly busy week with some solid training sessions as well as packing up our apartment, packing up for the summer and saying goodbye to everyone. I had a few "warning signs" in terms of over-doing things but I figured rest was coming in the form of travel and and easy training at the start of camp. Yes, now that I look back on it, travel and adjusting to altitude is NOT recovery, but added stress on the body. I didn't feel too great when I got to Davos but figured things would come around. I came down with a cold within a few days of arriving and for me that is a big sign that I've bitten off more than I can chew. The cold is easing but my body is still feeling run-down so my start to the training camp is slower than I would have liked, but I need to give my body the respect and rest it deserves.

Despite feeling pretty rubbish, I have had the chance to take some photos of this lovely place I will be calling home for the summer.

It was full-on winter when I arrived! I thought it was safe to say I had avoided this snowy stuff by spending the entire winter in Australia...

A few of my goat friends on the climb to Durrboden.

The pool in Davos is closed for the week so we've been commuting to the nearest pool. Distance-wise it's not far, but if we're tracking elevation, it's quite the commute! Up and over Fluelapass every morning.

I suppose there could be a worse view going to/from a swimming pool!

And, you've got to love mountain weather, snowy one day and twenty degrees the next!