Friday, April 9, 2010

Week 5: Awful/Awesome

Awful (left: Mary)

My friend, Myles often made me ponder the words awesome and awful. Shouldn’t awful be about something that is full of awe and awesome be descriptive of something that has less? Yes, it totally should and as much as I wanted to use Myles’ version of the word awful this week, I thought I’d stick to the awful that we're all familiar with. You know, the one that represents the atrocious, the exceptionally bad or unpleasant, the one where the very idea of doing something, like let’s say getting onto a packed bus or minivan, fills you with worry and perhaps even rage. Yep, that’s the one I’m taking about!

Ben and I have had our fair share of awful bus rides thus far on the trip. Let’s take today as a case in point. Twelve people crammed into a minivan, most stinking of very different, very potent and sometimes disgusting body odours. The three old French guys in the back moaned “ewwwwwwahhhh” or “oweeeeeeee” when we hit a pot hole and their fragile heads either smashed off the roof or window and their hips slipped in and out of joint.

Then you’ve got the man beside me (who had ‘burger pits’ as Ben would say) who kept falling asleep and letting his sweaty leg go limp against mine forcing me to contort myself into the most uncomfortable positions, alas, in vain, since I was unable to escape his slimy limb (the van was THAT tiny). There was no escaping. Add to this the dude upfront who was puking. Yeah, really. He sprayed the outside of the car and painted the window with his orangey bile while winding along the mountain road. It also splashed back on his shirt and face. It was awesome, I mean awful.

The temperature outside was approximately 35 degrees, the air con in our van did not work because we were driving along windy mountain roads and it would have sucked up too much power, so it was hot, really f*&^ing hot. And we can't forget the driver, back and forth, up and down, throttle, break, horn, throttle break horn.

All of this makes for a wicked headache, a lump of something in your throat and a stomach that is full of knots and pains (and puke, but it just hasn’t made its way up yet). So yeah, I guess you could say that minivan ride today was awful, not so great, not particularly fun….in any way, shape, or form.

Do you have any awful stories you'd like to share?

Awesome (right: Sarah)

Okay, so, three things come to mind when I hear the word awesome:

1. The fact that I squeezed a child out of my nether region.

2. My favourite high school teacher Dr. Porter, who could easily be sent into a fit of rage with what he deemed, and I quote, "ABUSE OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE!!!!!"


Student one: "Dude, can I borrow your pencil?"

Student two: "Ya, sure!"

Student one: "AWESOME! Thanks!"

How can a word as big as AWESOME be used for something as trivial as borrowing a pencil? I get his point.

3. And, I think the last time I was totally blown away by something I saw was the Planet Earth series. If you haven't seen it, YOU SHOULD! What a wild and wondrous place we live... the way the world keeps spinning, seasons continue to change, gravity gravitizes, birds spit nests into existence. It boggles my mind.

Anyway, here I sit soaking in the tender beginnings of spring, my favourite season. Flowers are blooming and the air all a buzz with awakenings. What could be more awesome than life - the way it begins and the way it evolves - the places we explore, and the things we discover???

When was the last time you thought, "this is awesome!" ?


luna pie April 9, 2010 at 8:18 AM  

Ooooh Mar - your story has me feeling awful, a little bit nauseous, and also full of another kind of awe - and that is, HOW oh HOW did YOU manage not to spill your own bile over the window sills?? I mean, I've seen you green with the twisty, turny, hot bumpy ride sweats... how'd you manage to keep it together???

Awfully awful indeed!

Anonymous April 9, 2010 at 4:05 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous April 9, 2010 at 4:10 PM  

Heh heh... Despite my desire to change the meanings of these two words, I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head Mary; your tale(s) of horrible, cretinous, putralescent (it's a new word) humankind makes you sound as filled with dislike and disgust as I like to be. And do I detect seething anger? Great story, and explains what I'm sure many tourists would think is a relatively ordinary picture.


Sarah, your three-parter is also spot-on. I don't think I'll ever REALLY understand childbirth. I don't mean the biology, I mean the amazingness of having a wailing, slimy goblin tearing his way into the world to become a real person. Much as I agree with point 2 (the nasty word is growing in England and it makes me cry inside), I would have to say, "awesome". As for nature, well, that's probably one of the few places that really can be said to be awe-inspiring (and spring kind of mirrors the birth thing too).

Great stuff, girls!

(p.s. That deleted was this comment, but with far too many typos. I really should check my writing before hammering on that orange button)

Meagan April 9, 2010 at 6:38 PM  

Mary, what an awful experience!!! Like Sarah I'm also wondering how you held yourself together...I'm remembering many bus rides where you, and Ben for that matter, were green and breathing deeply to control the nausea. All I can say is congrats for not puking!

Sarah, the fact that you squeezed anything out of your "nether region", let alone a living, breathing, snotting, little man!!! THAT is awesome!
Planet Earth, both the DVD series and the and the planet itself, are phenomenally full of awe and awesome-ness.

The last time I thought, "this is awesome", was actually just two days ago, with you! On Thursday we made the most of our day off, frolicking in the sun and the magnolia blossoms, walking downtown and exploring the city we call home, finding new hideaways and creative inspiration...THAT was awesome!

Love you girls
Miss you Mary
love love love

Charlene April 9, 2010 at 9:30 PM  

Oh my Mary I'd have puked all over that dude by you or hopped out of the van.......

Sarah awsome pic!! and I agree 10 thousand % Planet Earth is/was awsome. So was Blue Planet & the Suzuki series on Oceans We trully do live in an amazingly awsome world

Mary April 10, 2010 at 3:02 AM  

There have been lots of awesome moments on our trip thus far.

But, I'm going to have to say that when I heard my sister was engaged, I thought, 'this it totally freaking awesome, yippppppppeeeeeeeeee'.

That moment stands out.

Beautiful picture, Sare.

Anvilcloud April 10, 2010 at 5:05 AM  

I'm awestruck.

Megan April 10, 2010 at 5:22 PM  

i just love this pair and the stories that go along with it. as a former english teacher, i love your analysis of the awful/awesome problem. and the "awful" story is truly that: awful. thanks for posting your link -- i can't wait to see your next fabulous dip!

Cuppa April 11, 2010 at 6:35 AM  

Oh dear, I feel like I might heave after just reading your story Mary. Can't imagine how awful that ride was.

Spring awakenings -totally awesome - I agree Sare.

turtlestack April 11, 2010 at 5:20 PM  

It's hard to tackle awful and awesome because there's so much to choose from. The obvious is my awesome kids and their awesome adventures. The awful is that you are all so far away from me.

From our trip there were so many awesome things to choose from. I think I'll go with the terracotta warriors, for awesome. Awful is easy: saying good bye and the 2 hour bus ride from Daejeon to Incheon that ended up taking eight hours in a blizzard, nauseated on the back seat, exhaust fumes pouring in and no coffee or food... Oh and we missed out plane

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As a way to stay connected through our travels and beyond, A Perspective Project was initiated by the desire to master our cameras, and to be creative and more observant of the world around us.


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