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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
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Reports

Monday, 12 May 2003
Halifax --> Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, Canada

Today I had to wake up pretty early, at 7am! Not because of my hosts having to go to work and I had to get out… No, I was invited to visit the radio studio of Q104, the local and hip Rock 'n Roll station!


I got dressed immediately and without a shower or breakfast Leslie Sampson took me along to the studio down town. Leslie was very excited about it, she kept telling me how much I would love it. I myself however, kept the excitement low, because it wasn't really my first radio show I would visit.

On the air I talked with BJ from the BJ Breakfast Show. It was the usual morning jokes stuff and some people might find that rude, but I was asked if I steal things when I stay with people ("How can I ever?") and of course the question was what my favourite country so far is. I answered with "South Africa", this time.

Then I was suddenly asked to do the sports news. I was given this peace of paper with the latest sports results in hockey and baseball and I did not even know these teams or players I had to mention. But hey, it's breakfast radio and who would care. So I scuffled through the text and added the latest weather report with all the highs and lows for today and music followed.

Suddenly I was getting compliments from other people in the building about how professionally I just did that! At least I now know I always become a sports caster when I can't find a real job in life after letmestayforaday.com.

It was Leslie's first time at the radio station – ever – and she was really moved by it all. She saw the faces of the people on the radio and was amazed.

Back home at her house again, I already received emails from people who just enjoyed the sports news and now want to travel to South Africa whenever they have the possibility.

Haha, radio is fun!

Together with Leslie I had some cereal for breakfast. I then had a shower and got my stuff together again. A new hosting place was waiting for me.

Today was my last day in Halifax, but I will be back.

I am going to try very hard to get myself to Newfoundland the coming week. I have only three invitations on the entire island at this moment of writing, but one of these people offered to sponsor the ferry crossing to the west side of the island, Port Aux Basques. From there it still will be a 14 hours drive to my nearest hosting spot near St. John's. I'll just have to see if the Newfy-people are indeed the most friendliest Canadians ever, as everybody keeps saying so.

Update: Next to a ferry ticket I can now also board a bus as the DRL Bus Company on Newfoundland has thrown in a free ticket for me! I will be taking the ferry on Thursday 15 May in the evening, arriving near St. John, on the east side of the island, on Friday evening!!!

My next hosts live in Lower Sackville, which is a small community half an hour north of Halifax. And as Leslie had an almost clear day today, she decided to bring me all the way to this remote spot.

We ended up in a suburban area, but totally surrounded by dense forest. I remember hearing birds. I had missed these sounds!

I thanked Leslie for all her help and for driving me all the way here and met up with my next host on the front porch of her two-storey villa. It was Jean Short, mother of Rana, Jennifer and Megan (19). It was the 27-year-old Rana who had initially invited me over.

I was warm-heartedly welcomed in the house and mother Jean showed me my room for the coming night. It was truly Megan's room, but she would sleep on the living room couch tonight. How kind, huh?

Jean immediately started of by saying that she was going to give me something I had not experienced on all my travels yet. "I am going to give you a private yoga lesson." Wow!

Jean is a certified yoga teacher and just spent three months at the Kripalu Centre for Yoga & Health in Massachusetts, USA. Kripalu is the largest center for yoga and holistic health in the U.S..

She told me about a phase in her life when she weighted 250 pounds and had enough of it all. She then got in contact with yoga and became very experienced in it and now – in front of me was a lady that I suspect of running twice a day through their fascinating back yard forest!

Jean's husband Wade is in the selling of big water pumps, those big ones the Netherlands might need when too many icecaps start to melt at the same time. This week Wade had to be in Newfoundland for his work and could not be with us.

Jean took me downstairs into the basement where her yoga studio is under construction. I had to position myself on a rubber mat. Relaxing music played from a CD-player.

Jean sat in front of me and told me what I had to do. I have no knowledge of yoga at all and just blindly followed her verbal instructions. In the meantime I had my eyes closed.

But it was immediately amazing for me! She told me to relax and told me specifically what body part I had to let go, give rest, while totally concentrating on my breathing. With my back straight and the crown of my head towards the ceiling, I suddenly felt this warm rush in my throat. It was really a strange sensation, but it felt like my head was being flushed!

In the 90 minutes that followed this private yoga lessons, I practices different moves and positions. They did not only totally lightened me up, but also massaged me as I would roll over on the floor!

What an astounding experience this was! At the end of the lesson Jean let me lay down for ten minutes for the final relaxation.

"You were snoring," she said afterwards. "No, I did not!" I tried…
Well, it might be a good sign then…

After the yoga lessons I felt so comfortable, so light, so relaxed. I can't remember the last time I felt like I was walking on clouds that easily.

I realised how anxious I was when I entered the house. Ready to settle for a day, ready to answer loads of questions and get to know my hosts. Now that all looked so ridiculous. I could have been way more peaceful. Like Jean had been all the way.

Jean made me a protein rich lunch with asparagus on toast with hollandaise sauce, which indeed energized me again.

Later this afternoon I met up with Jean's daughters Megan and Rana and Rana's 22-month-old son Caleb. The little kid immediately sat behind my laptop and probably wants to travel with me now.

Megan is a student in Halifax and Rana is a pilot. A pilot! I honestly never heard about female pilots before, which exposes clearly my naivety on that subject.

Rana can fly any type of airplane and wanted to be a commercial flight pilot, but when she became pregnant she decided to get a flying job where she would comes home every night. "I want to do bush flights in the north and go to the Arctic regions. That would be nice. And enough for me."

"Hey, anybody up for cookies?" she asked and within minutes I was helping out with a nice cookie dough in the kitchen. I had quite a few laughs with the ladies. They are cool!

In the meantime Caleb was running around the house all excited with a book everybody had to read out to him, or he would try to help me with connecting my laptop to the high speed internet connection. Or he would just unplug the cable again. You gotta love a kid that can do that!

Jean made a (if I am not mistaken) delicious mushroom soup with salads and bread for dinner and after dinner I really had to take a power nap. That yoga lesson really took a load of uneasiness of my shoulders, but because I had to wake up early today, this day felt like a very long day.

In the evening I joined the family at the table for a game of crib. As I am the world's best looser when it comes to card games, I at least had to give it a try. Megan tried to explain this unknown game to me, but I got so confused with all kinds of new rules. We then played crib in teams and I had Rana as my partner. I didn't always understand what was going on, but I think I got it a bit.

Rana and I of course ended up loosing the game. How predictable! Next time, I might have to start with lesson 1 again.

Jean said good night for today and Rana gave Caleb a bath. Together with Megan I watched some television in the small television room. Earlier Jean had explained me her TV-policy in the house. "We have a very old television and we decided to tuck it away in a small room. This way it won't occupy our family life. You actually have to go in that room and watch it. But it stays peaceful in the living room." I found that a very interesting thought.

When everybody eventually headed to bed I had a sit down behind my laptop and tried to teach my hard drive some yoga. It doesn't seem to work with computers I guess. They cost a lot of energy, believe me!

Good night Lower Sackville!

Ramon