I work at the Jewish General Hospital, which means there's a general religious tendancy. Doors are decorated with little metal things to keep out demons. Hasidic jews walk the halls, with kippas and beards, looking reverent. In the cafeteria, there's a prayer for fall posted on the wall. I've never read the whole thing- normally I'm a bit intent on getting some food and getting out of there. It starts "Oh God of Fallen Leaves."

It's been a rough couple of weeks.

Oh God of fallen leaves, and kittens with fatal diseases, and sleepless nights and alzheimers. Oh God of midterms, libraries and antibiotics, of broken internet keys and wounded relationships, of drugs and alcohol and electronica, of late business dinners, of medical applications and caffeine, frustration and stasis, angry reference letter writers, lack of stability and overwork. Oh God of biting cold, of too-short visits, regurgitation of useless information, late night television, incompetent journal production staff, interviews and deadlines, betrayal and phone calls that never come.

Maybe it's horrible that I only turn to God when things are bad. When things are good, I don't even believe in God. When things are bad, I don't believe in God- I just want someone to blame. And I don't care. In general, I tend not to worship existance alone, and even if God exists, right now he doesn't deserve my worship. 

After fall comes winter. Long, cold, Quebec winter. 

Personally, I'm waiting quietly for spring.

Oxygen is my Oxygen.
 I'd say I'm generally pretty good at being sick. I spent most of last semester with Mono, for heaven's sake- and that sucked, but I worked through it. If I'm puking, I will curl up in my comforter on my bath mat and puke until there's no more food left in my stomach and my abs are screaming in pain- and then get on with life. If I wake up with a raging headache, I'll pop a bottle or so of advil liquigels, shower and go to school. If I have a 104 degree fever, I will drink some water, take some tylenol and sleep it off. And I won't complain- at least, not that much. 

There is, however, one exception. If I get a cold, I will pop an entire bottle of advil cold and sinus, wash it down with a bottle of multivitamins, then take enough benedryl to knock out an elephant. Then I will cry for my mommy/ boyfriend/ benevolent God until the benedryl finally does its thing and I fall asleep. When I wake up the next day, if I still can't breathe through my nose, I will do the ENTIRE THING AGAIN. I will continue to go through pills and whine incessantly until the cold is over. I can honestly say that I would rather be lying in bed with a 104 degree fever in a pool of my own sweat than have a cold. I panic when I can't breathe properly. 

Right now, I have a bad cold. As can be expected from above, I'm not taking it very well. 

I have an audition tonight for an orchestra, and I haven't practiced. And my bow is broken. I have to study. I'm coughing and sneezing like crazy. I have class in two hours. My nose is an irritating shade of fushcia. OMSAS is due in less than a week and I still need three verifiers and a first aid course. My experiment this weekend failed. And I don't have any cold meds. 

Life is so much tougher when you can't breathe properly. 

Okay. I'm off to shower and make something of the day. 

PS. Brian is home, and has been expressing his happiness to see me by not staying the required 50 feet away from me that I normally enforce when I have a cold. This means that he's going to get the cold. Since my immune system is awful, that means that I'm going to get the cold AGAIN.  Joy. 

Talking about TO
I had fun in Toronto. It was a good weekend.

I walked around so much that I pulled some kind of tendon in my foot. Since I was staying with two medical opinions (Brian and Phil) I got them both to check it out. They got all excited, and then told me it wasn't broken. Now, one week later, it's still twingy when I walk. Rapidly getting better, though- I didn't bother getting an xray. 

Somehow ended up in first class for the train ride back. Conclusions on first class: Free wine, okay food, people giving you free fleecy blankets. Chocolate covered strawberries. Open bar in the next car down. Lovely, but not worth it unless you want to get wasted on your train ride. Otherwise, get some good food and your own fleecy blanket and- here's a thought- bring it on the train. 

I don't really feel like describing it in detail- the people made the weekend, not the activities or the free alcohol. Although I was a little surprised when Evan made us dinner and even more surprised when it was delicious. (Fine, Evan, I doubted you- but only because in high school, you were the only one whose cooking skills were worse than mine.)

We have plans to mock Jen and Katie for Certain Things upon our reunion. Fait accompli. 

I'm back at school. Kinda hating it, actually- more because of the "year in stasis" thing that the "MEMORIZE NFkB. GO." thing. Let me into med school already, okay? 

Hmmm. Got a new blackberry for free from Telus. Free facebook/websurfing/whatnot. Crappest battery in history. 

Dropped the course I was most excited about because of a low class average. I've sold out. I'm not sure if I can ever forgive myself for that one. The actual reason I dropped it was because there are only 10 classes and I had conflicts for the first two (toronto and honors meeting, neither of which I could really miss), so I missed 1/5 of the course- not a good thing. So now I'm in pharmacology, and have to go and buy the textbook at some point today. 

First orchestra rehearsal Monday. I'm excited. 

Couldn't make it into this weekends first aid course. This has been bugging me for ages- have to get it done for med applications, but this one was already full. Stupid SUS should have told me sooner. 

Got picked for an undergrad research conference, which is awesome. Have to produce an abstract by Monday. Shit. 

Kinda missing Brian. We have this unhealthy thing going on where he doesn't miss people (so he claims) so I feel like an idiot telling him I miss him, so I don't- even if I do miss him, because instead of doing the decent thing and lying about it, he'll say "I don't miss you!!" all gleefully. In the words of Benji "This is going to be the BEST FAKE MARRIAGE EVER."

Rosh Hashanna next weekend. Fringe benefits to the Jewish boyfriend thing- must go wikipedia that, given that I haven't a clue what it is or what one wears to a family dinner involving it, or whether I get to go shopping. 

Must do laundry/study/research/clean freaking apartment. Adios. 

No brie is too good for my Stoned Wheat Thins.
 As I lie on my bed, eating my Brie Wheat Thins, one week after the beginning of the Marnie Calendar Year, I'm struck by how much things have changed. But then, I always am. 

Not the small things. The small things are much the same. I'm lying on my bed eating a salad with roughly double the expected amount of avocado and half the expected amount of lettuce, vaguely considering that I should organize those articles and cursing the most recent guest editor for being an incompetent ass, wondering if I should get my foot x-rayed. Avocados, bureaucratic crap and medical issues pretty much define my life. The more things change and whatnot. 

I had a good weekend in Toronto. Saw Evan. Marnie and Evan have both changed a lot. Marnie-and-Evan haven't. Introduced Evan to Brian. Seeing those two together- my current boyfriend and my high school best friend- was weird. They're beyond different. I can't really imagine life without either of them- I mean, I'd obviously adjust, but things would be very different. 

Sunday afternoon, Evan and I walked around downtown Toronto for a few hours. He told me about his plans for internships and jobs, I told him how scared I am about med school. About how I hate not knowing where I'll be, and about how I hate spending the year in stasis. One more year. 10 more classes, one paper, 30 credits. How do you measure a year? Last time I felt this static was in high school, and then I could run. Here I have to wait. Do my best with the applications, and sit quietly while the schools decide whether or not they want me. I'm powerless. 

"You're Marnie. You'll decide what you want to do, and then you'll do it. That's just you."

Talking to Evan sometimes reminds me who I am. I haven't changed much since high school after all. 

Top 10 for 2010
This is my list of the top ten things I wish to accomplish in the upcoming school year. As I've mentioned numerous times before, in my old blog which is now dead and gone, its posts purged, I consider my new year to be either the anniversary of my arrival in Montreal (August 25th, two years ago now) or labour day.  

At this poing, it's worthy to note that because I've been bumming around, hanging out with people, watching Third Rock from the Sun (a somewhat brilliant 90s sitcom) and writing my Med Admissions letter, and because I consider watching the airshow in Toronto on Labour day with Brian a better way to kick off the year than that, we're saying labour day for this year. These are, then, as it were, my new years resolutions. Starting from the most important, going to the trivial and pointless. 

1) Obtain my very own CMA backpack. 

I suppose I should explain. Every year, medical student in Canada is given a backpack. Given that most of the students use the backpacks (they're built like rocks and can apparently hold a sufficient amount of crap) and that the color changes every year, a) you can immediately identify a person with a backpack as a medical student and b) if you're proficient (or obsessive and stalker-like, like me) what year the person with the backpack is in and when they will graduate. Brian has a blue and silver backpack (class of 2010). The class of 2011 has green backpacks, and the class of 2012 have ugly neon blue backpacks. I don't know what the class of 2013 has yet. 

If I obtain my own backpack, it means I got into med school. If I get a QMA backpack, it means I got into McGill and that there will be parades in the streets. 

Oh shut up. Of course my first resolution has to do with getting into medical school, my current obsession, goal, and the thing I've been working towards for the last three years. Suck it up. 

2) Allow my Nature Paper to sort de la tete. 

Again, some explanation required. It's become a running joke in my lab that "nous avons tous une Nature Paper dans la tete" which means "we each have a nature paper in our head". The problem is getting that Nature Paper out. I don't plan on publishing in Nature- heavens, no- but I will publish my work somewhere by the end of the year. I am not allowing these last two years of sitting-in-front-of-a-flow-cytometer-and-begging-it-to-acquire-faster to mean nothing. 

3) Go somewhere for the famed post-graduation trip.

I've never been overseas. I am not working for the two months between the end of honors/graduation and the start of med school. So- I'm going somewhere. Somewhere fantastic. While I am there, I will do fantastic things. Then I will BRAG ABOUT THEM.

4) Be healthy.

Oh whatever. This one's either going to kill me or make me stronger. Or get broken. 

5) Do more weekend trips.

Vermont was awesome, what can I say? You know you have a problem when you have access to a car and enthusiastic friends, and you STILL can't find time to go camping/skiing/whatever.

6) Relates to 5) but can't be disclosed for fear of ruining a surprise.

7) Become one of those people.

You know, the kind who knows what to do with themselves on a Friday night and doesn't have to resort to calling up friends and asking them to amuse me. (As far as I can tell, they're usually happy to oblige, but I seriously wish I knew this city better most of the time).

8) Actually use my agenda.

Again with killing /stronger/ failure

9) Exercise.


10) Meet up with as many people as possible while on the great trans canada med school interview tour. 

I have friends all over Canada... because, well, I grew up in Nelson. The few of us that actually manage to get spewed out run far and wide to actually go and make something of their lives. I plan to find them and crash on their floors. 

Must go finish my bottle of sangria and watch another episode of the infamous alien-innondated sit come. Later gators. 

Requiem for a generation
My mom was reading me some articles from the Nelson Daily News about Shambhala today. The entire story made me a little ill, to be honest, and not for the reasons you might think. First of all, I'd just like to say that I take the view of the older generation on Shambhala. I haven't ever gone. I don't really like that kind of music. Getting very very high, having psychadelic experiences, rape and rubbing shoulders with a bunch of naked hippies are not high on my to-do list, despite the fact that it apparently comes with "a deep sense of freedom from authority and oneness with the universe." Take from that what you will.

The story, which was decently well written considering it was published in the Nelson Daily News, featured an interview with the person who owns the adjacent farm in Nelson. For those that may not have any background information, this is the official website for the event, this is the Wikipedia article describing the story the organizers try to tell to the general public, and this, this and this are better descriptions of what actually goes on.  

In the true spirit of Nelson, this "festival" usually gets rave reviews from local journalists. This one happened to feature an interview with a person who provided a more conventional viewpoint- that is "What the hell. This is dangerous. This is completely unlawful, in fact, this is a hotbed of illegal activity. This should have been stopped years ago". 

I plan to go to Shambhala next year. I will do extensive research beforehand. I will bring my camera. I will ask questions. And then I will write a scathing scathing piece article and publish it. Then I will thrive on the contreversy it incites and bash any hippies who attempt to bash me.

I want to know why this goes on when it's illegal and dangerous. I want to know why the organizers obviously false claims of a safe environment are so commonly accepted. I want to know the attraction, the draw, the reason people pay hundreds of dollars to go and wallow in the mud with the naked, naked hippies.

I want to hear the requiem for my generation. Then I want to shoot down the conductor. 

There are so many people I know who are so vehemently against this- and they're afraid to speak up, because the drugged up masses will jump down their throats. I welcome the drugged up masses. Come on, jump in. It's dark and gooey down there, and being coughed up is not a pleasant experience. I want to give a voice to the people who are afraid to point out the darker side of this so-called "festival".  

My name is Marnie, and I'm smarter than you. After the style of debates past, I now stand for cross-examination. 

Beauty: nonwhite walls and non-parquet hardwood floors.
So, a few fights over how to pack (I maintain that "throw everything from the kitchen in a garbage bag and then walk down the street with it" is not a valid way to move), many boxes, more garbage than I thought possible, a lot of dust and several herniated discs later, Brian and I are all moved into our beautiful new apartment. 

It's gorgeous. Gorgeous. 

For one thing, the walls aren't white. The living room is taupe, the bedroom is blue,  and the kitchen is old-school slightly crumbly red brick with wood cupboards. It's lovely. The ceilings are ridiculously high. The floors are smooth and hardwood- the actual plank hardwood, not the crumbling parquet that graces apparently EVERY single other Montreal apartment. It has that old-fashioned trim on the walls that goes about a foot up. Thus far, it has free basic cable (most of which is in french... but I picked up ABC, FOX and TLC last night, so I'm happy. (Shut up. What Not To Wear is one of my guilty pleasures in life. I mean, they're so... MEAN. It's FANTASTIC. Then people spend a lot of money on pretty pretty clothes. And it's on tonight at 9.) 

For another thing- it HAS a living room. This way, when Brian comes in at 1 am from work and decides to TYPE for an hour, he can do it in a separate area from where I'm attempting to sleep. 

Fine, it's a bit dusty, and we still need to figure out a way to bring over the bed (been sleeping on a mattress on the floor, shades of my first year of university) and Brian's desk (easy to move, but we got sick of moving things) and Brian's single bed from his ex-ex-apartment (which will be converted into a couch if all goes according to plan)- and we still have to put some stuff up on the walls. Also, I maintain that under the sink isn't an adequate place to store food, so I'm going to have to wait till Brian's out and then rearrange the kitchen. 

It's gorgeous. It's not quite "home" yet, the way the old apartment was to me, but it's well on its way. Still feeling a bit homeless, but it's getting better every day, and will get a lot better once things are all completely set up. 

Post-moving, we went for dinner with Laurence (who kindly brought us beer from her own new and now-furnished apartment) at the greatest vegetarian restaurant ever. I have no clue how I managed to miss this place, I've walked by it at least once a day for the last two years and have always intended to go in, but I finally went and it was delicious. I will be going back. Multiple times. It will become one of those places like the off-campus Tim Hortons with the caramel donuts, where I walk in and they're like "Hey, Marnie, how's it going?" and then they give me a donut. Except for donut, substitute "delicious vegetarian dish".

My other piece of news is that I've managed to obtain a Quebec Resident status (sans getting married, arrested, endebted or doing anything too stupid) and will therefore most probably be staying in Montreal for medical school next year- amidst cheers from Jas and Laurence and boos from the family back home. Brian is on the fence and will be until he is placed for residency in March. I haven't ruled out U of T and UBC or anything of course, and I definitely am not counting on acceptance to any or all of my top three choices, but the residency in Quebec is definitely a step in the right direction. 

Not to mention the drastically reduced tuition fees for this year, the thousands of dollars granted to me by the Quebec government should I choose to go to McGill, and the lovely lovely health insurance. For someone as accident-prone as me, and assuming last year is anything like this year, this should be good. 

In other news:
  • After a lot of hard work (read: bumming around coffee shops and talking about boys) by Marnie and Jas, MIROR is up and running- the Microbiology and Immunology Research Orientation Program. You should join and force us to find you a research job. There's more info at the Facebook Group!!
  • I had a very successful experiment this morning and as a result am stuck at the lab until at least 7:30 pm. Oh research, thou art a heartless bitch. (And thus, you reconsider joining the research orientation initiative). 
  • Kaplan, once again, has yet to email me back. I wouldn't care- they said end of the week and they're open Saturday, so technically they have another day, plus they've been late before- it's just that I don't know if they're going to inform me whether I get the job or not, or just if I get the job. 
  • In other MCAT related news, I talked to a friend today about MCATs. She hadn't written hers yet, had a month to study (which in my experience is plenty) and had obviously talked to some other OCD premed asshole who had her terrified about the entire thing. I told her that I got a 35R after two weeks of studying, to do a lot of practice questions and not to worry about the essay- just do something well-written and memorable. I hate when premeds purposefully terrify other premeds. 
  • Peyman owes me a chocolate bar. It's three days late so far. He's also planning to get me drunk on Saturday night and laugh at me (there's a birthday party for one of the other guys at the lab and I'm apparently invited). Not cool, Peyman. Not cool. 
  • I have discovered America's Got Talent (courtesy of my free cable) and have not become wiser for it. And I maintain that the pianist had more potential than the jumping dog. 
In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, "That's all, folks"

My Nobel Prize
When I was woken up to the usual cacophony of "Mix-96- Montreal's number one music station" this morning, I did the usual groan, hit snooze and go back to sleep thing. Then I realized that I had a 12 hour FACS timepoint and had to go to the lab early. I hate my life sometimes. Mostly on days where I have 12 and 24 hour timepoints. Stupid lab. 

Brian, who is now working night shifts and as such GETS to sleep in, gave me a tired "What's up with you today?"
I responded with my usual sarcastic "Gonna win the Nobel Prize."

Four hours later and post-12 hour timepoint, here I am- at the lab- wondering what the F*** is up with the SAHA lately and why the PC3 cells won't bloody grow. No, today is not my day to win a Nobel prize. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe I'll find a new SAHA stock and maybe my PC3s will grow exponentially in the next few hours, so that my 24 hour timepoint won't be useless. Maybe something's up with the TSA that could actually be USEFUL to the experiments. Maybe they're just not methylated. Maybe there's a test I can do. 

Maybe I don't really care anymore. 

It's not that I don't like research- fine, it's that I don't really like research. I don't like research in that I don't want to be a career researcher. I'm not driven by mad curiosity about how stuff works. I don't find satisfaction in dissecting signaling pathways for the sake of dissecting signaling pathways. The reward for me in research comes with the applicable side- the new treatments for diseases, and the watching them work in- get this- actual human beings. Oh clinician-ism, how do I love thee. 

That's not really the point, though. I know full well that the reason I'm not finding research rewarding right now isn't because things aren't really working. It isn't because the SAHA is acting weird, the PC3s aren't growing well, and my Procaine, the drug I had such high hopes for, appears to have some sort of antagonist effect with the VSV. The reason I'm not finding research rewarding right now is because I'm not going above and beyond. I'm acting like and undergraduate student- I'm doing my experiments, reading my papers, etc, but I'm not really pushing myself to be all hardcore and whatnot. I'm a premed student in limbo, overcommitted as usual and not really able to throw myself at anything, and I hate that. 

I'm not, by nature, the undergraduate student. I'm the 18 year old kid who walked in here last year, practically forced the boss to hire me, and decided I was going to cure cancer. I'm the person who works 20 hour days until their shit works, and then after that I'm the person who starts a clinical trial. So it's never been done before- so undergraduate students don't DO that- so what? I've never in my life let that stop me before. 

Blah blah emo. I know what you're thinking. It's "So, go, work the 20 hour days, start the clinical trial, really the only thing stopping you is yourself. And that's just STUPID of you. 

But I'm LAAAAAAAAZY. No, it's not that. It's that I'm doing soooo many other things. And it's that if I don't get some time to chill at some point, I tend to go a little nuts, despite my obvious preference for an insane lifestyle. 

Bah. Dilemma. 

Dilemmii rule my life.
I need to buy new jeans. 

Okay, so here's the deal. I had a TON of jeans. Most of them no longer fit and were subsequently donated, as previously mentioned. Now I don't have enough jeans- which, to me, means "less than 20 pairs." (I'm kidding. Sort of. Fine, I live in jeans and hate doing laundry.)

The best place to buy nice, decent quality, ~50 dollar jeans in Montreal is this semi-independent place in the basement of Les Cours Mont-Royal. The problem is that their sizing is effed up. I'm usually a 2 in jeans, 0 if I happen to have lost weight that month, 4 if I happen to have... yeah, you get the idea. The jeans at this place are TINY. I'm probably, like, a 10. 

So, thus comes the obvious question. Do I swallow my pride and buy the nice, decently cheap size 10 jeans? Do I go on a crash diet and finally get back to my usual 5'8-115 pounds (which isn't really "usual" anymore, since I haven't been that thin since high school), succumb to the media, gain the self esteem, get back into reasonable shape, then buy a smaller size of jeans? Do I go to American Eagle and buy my usual size two "Favourite Boyfriend Jeans" that will wear out sooner and cost more? Or do I go to the $200 jeans store and console myself with another pair of ridiculously expensive Hudson jeans? (Yes. Another. My $220 jeans were not the product of my proudest moment ever, but boy are they pretty). 

I've been meaning to get back into shape for awhile. My problem is that I don't really exercise for the endorphin rush, it doesn't do much for me. The reality is that I'm fine without exercising and that I have a great metabolism- I could probably live on beer, fries and chocolate truffles and not go past 135. I'm a skinny person. But then there's the health factor. Oh, health factor, how do I love you. Let me count the ways. 

A friend told me a couple of days ago that I should come to yoga with her. I should, I like yoga, and "hot yoga" is a decent workout. But it's extremely expensive- a year membership is $1200 a year. So, if you go every day, it's like three bucks a class. Dorothy, you're not in Nelson anymore. The alternative is to go through the McGill gym, but they only offer low impact stuff, and I'm like REALLY not a low impact person. 

Do I start running again? No, I don't. I hate running. I hated running when I was running every day. I hate sweating, the sticky feeling and the trying to extract some oxygen from the humid humid air. And it's that much worse in the winter. I suppose the alternative is to go to the gym, but am I the only one who completely fails to see the point in running on a treadmill? And don't get me started on the Stairmaster. And all the chicks in spandex "power walking" on the treadmills swinging their arms back and forth like pendulums and claiming they are exercising make me sick. Come On. 

Do I start swimming again? No, it's too much work. Every time you want to go swimming, you have to find when the pool is open, pack up a bag, go to the pool, realize you've forgotten your goggles, jack some goggles from a lifeguard, get into the freezing freezing water- and THEN you can start to swim. Then you shower all the chlorine off and are all wet for the next two hours, then your dermatologist gets mad at you because whatever is up with your skin is happening again because you're "too clean" and have already been expressly forbidden to shower more than once a day- and the chlorine has just made the entire thing worse, and why aren't you using the greasy steroid ointment I perscribed you? The amount of preparation and then cleanup afterwards is simply not worth it. 

Do I do the fun thing and join an intramural sports team, or the leadership-y thing loved and revered by med schools and start my own? No, I don't. I suck at team sports (with a true vigor) and I'm already overcommitted. 

Do I give up the dilemma, suck it up, buy the bigger jeans and stagnate? Such is my conclusion. 

I'll get back in shape. Maybe I'll start doing the gym or swimming in the early mornings... things aren't so bad if you're only half awake and can't really remember them. Maybe McGill will start up a halfway decent class. Maybe I'll pony up for a membership to someplace. In any case, something needs to happen. 

Next up on the clothes-related dillemma list: I need professional looking clothing, assuming I get this job. Whatever shall I do. 

The epic "Badass Weekend"
 Phew. I'm exhausted. And hurting all over. Signs of a good time, to be sure. 

Friday night was Josh's birthday, so a bunch of people went to Foufounes Electriques. I don't have a Quebec health card or drivers license and I've had trouble using my BC license as ID, so I brought my McGill ID- I haven't been carded since I first got to Quebec, so I wasn't too worried, I'm pretty obviously over 18. Turns out, I got carded, they wouldn't accept student ID and I didn't have a second piece on me. So, one very long and expensive cab ride home later (it was really busy, would have been faster to walk), I came back with my BC license and got in. 

The usual stuff followed- greetings, some drinks, some dancing, etc- I think things turned sour (literally) when Matthew bought me the vodka shots and lemons (Why? I don't know. I'm an extremely irritating drunk at best.), and I had already had just enough to have forgotten that I was drinking on an empty stomach. Anyway, more drinks, more dancing, etc.  We lost Josh for some reason, went for pizza, then went back in, tried to find Josh, failed and were standing by the stairs when some random gangsta told Brian to move. Brian, who was already kind of mad about the ID thing, said he wasn't going to move. 

The gangsta pushed Brian into me and somehow I ended up with an eye injury of some sort. Brian got mad and pushed the gangsta back, started yelling at them and pulled out his phone and said he was going to call the cops. Then a bunch of bouncers came, confiscated the phone, grabbed Brian by the neck, and threw us out. I got back in, retrieved the phone, and was thrown out again. 

That's pretty much when the alcohol poisoning kicked in. I wound up puking in a garbage can on ste catherines (damn empty stomach vodka and Matthew for some reason deciding to buy them for me, the obviously inaccessible girl. Bastard.). Brian told me to puke in the recycling bin, I told him it "wasn't ecologically friendly". After getting no responses to a few "lets go to a different club where they don't strangle people" texts from the rest of the party (I found out later that the rest of them had located Josh and gone home pretty quick after we got kicked out, things were apparently getting ugly), we went home. 

I woke up early and miraculously hangover-free the next day (I seem to be hangover immune- I've never really had a bad one in my life) and decided that we were going to Vermont- Brian and I had kind of planned this trip for a while (it wasn't well-planned, it was more that we both had those days off and had both thought we'd like to go hiking) but we weren't really sure if it was ever going to happen. So we packed up, forgot a lot of stuff, and sprinted to catch the train to West Island to pick up Brian's car. We missed the train (of course) but Brian's mom picked us up and took us to West Island. We hung out there for awhile and eventually made it out of Montreal.

We stopped at one of many many many corn stands along the road and decided to have corn for dinner. This involved smuggling the corn across the Canada-US border. (Yeah, fruit and vegetables, genetic engineering, patents, blah blah blah. We hid the corn under my seat and lied our hearts out to the nice border guard. In the end, we only ate three of the four corns (good corn, though) and smuggled the fourth one back into Canada. If it makes any produce-patent-nazis out there feel any better, we burned all the corn remnants. No Canadian corn shall remain overseas. Sort of. 

It was too late to hike anywhere once we found camping (ghetto private campground) and set up everything and went on the Ben and Jerry's factory tour and took like 6 ice cream aliquots between us (It was good ice cream, and in my defense, I only took two. Brian had the double ice cream sample thing going on) so we made a fire (after like an hour of blowing on somewhat wet wood. Brian said it was kind of embarrasing, but I know for a fact that I couldn't have EVER started the damn thing and would have given up after 15 minutes), cooked dinner and crashed. Actually, I crashed curled up in a sleeping bag on the picnic bench in front of the fire around midnight initially, and was then dragged into the tent. Yes, I was that exhausted.  

The next day it was POURING rain, but we decided to hike up Mansfield anyway (I was skeptical, but Brian was all gung ho about it, and I figured worst case scenario, we'd get wet and tired and turn back). Before leaving, we stopped at this little outdoor market, where the general consensus about our plans was "Are you nuts? That's incredibly dangerous!" We went up anyway. 

The first little while wasn't bad- very wet, very muddy, and we were both soaked (although climbing straight uphill, so we weren't cold or anything- just completely, completely soaked)- but the hike itself was gorgeous, and- honestly- I was having an amazing time. Neither of us wanted to turn back. Later on (0.6 miles from the top) the trail turned into slippery large boulders, but we kept going- although I was kind of worried about how we were going to get back down, it was still a great hike. 0.3 miles from the top, the trail literally turned into rock climbing- like looking for footholds and handholds in the pouring rain, slippery rocks, extreme winds, soaking wet, etc. We made it to the top, immediately turned around and somehow managed to get to the 0.3 mile mark again- and things were okay after that. I was decently pissed at Brian for continuing (I think my response when I saw the first climbing section was "HELL NO."- I would have been totally up for it in good weather, but combined with the warnings from the locals I was decently freaked) but we got to the cabin at the 0.6 mile mark and made some wet Kraft Dinner, and all was well. The hike down was fun as well- still very wet, but the rain had mostly stopped and the trail was really pretty. I'd missed hiking a lot. 

We finally made it back to the road (pretty good time- about 5 miles round trip straight up and then down in around 3.5 hours), changed into dry clothes and bundled up in sleeping bags in the car for a bit before driving to stave off hypothermia. Awesome day overall :-)

We accidentally smuggled some fruit back across the border, along with our one uneaten ear of corn. 

So yep. Badass weekend. Escape from the suffocation of Science/Medicine. We rule. 


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