I just got back from a weekend spent in Spain and Andorra! :D (in media res, much?)

I like romancin' but I don't wanna )


***

It was nice, though, (nice isn't ever going to be a strong enough word, but it will have to do) to come back to an inbox full of facebook messages saying happy birthday. ♥ I am so blessed for my family and friends; I can't put it into words.

Happy 560th Birthday, Leonardo da Vinci.
What ho, LJ-land! Things have happened since my last post - many Things, including but not limited to: two countries*, one exam, one epic Megaupload fiasco (? I'm still catching up on this) and Other Stuff which I will inevitably forget to post about, and that's fine. (But my God, I still haven't made my New Year's Resolutions yet - maybe on the bus Friday, with Hanna...)

UNDER THE CUT: Happy Discworld blather and POSSIBLE TMI re: food/body image/Sarah being just plain weird and annoying )
In Finnish: Hyvää Joulua! 

We just got back from Hanna's grandparents' place, where, in true grandparent style, we were plied with all sorts of delicious Finnish Christmas food (I took pictures of every dish - all will be up on DUTCH MY LIFE once I have access to my laptop again). We had rice porridge (delicous!) and fruit stew, pulla (little balls of sweetbread), jouluutorttu (flaky pastries filled with plum jam), taatelikakku (date cake) and rahkapulla (cream-filled sweetbread with lemon and raisins). I also learned how to say "thank you" - kiitos

Hanna's family was there: her siblings came with their children (adroable!). Her whole family is apparetly coming over to her house tonight, so I will get to meet even more Finnish people (and fail to communicate, due to the language barrier - but I have developed he general strategy of thanking everyone copiously and smiling all the time - seems to have worked so far...)

Can't really believe it's actually Christmas, though! I donät know where the time went! But last night, we decorated the Christmas tree, and today, we laid out the presents under it (literally a mountian of them - feels just like home!). I hope Hanna and her family like the gifts I brought- I'm thankful that the Gluhwein survived the trip here. 

Suffice to say, life is quite exciting at the moment, and I feel so lucky and blessed to be able to celebrate Christmas with Hanna and her family - not that I don't miss mine, but seriously, this is something special! :D 

HYVÄÄ JOULUA TO EVERYONE :D 
SURPRISE, I'M IN RUSSIA!

Just at the St. Petersburg airport, waiting to be he led in so I can catch my connecting flight to Helsinki. Hope I don't miss the announcement: the speaker is so crappy, I can't understand anything. I am so weirded out by this place. I am confined to a detainment area in the main hall. There is a thick glass wall separating the area I'm in from the rest of the airport. I don't quite know what I'm supposed to be doing or if there is anyone I need to be talking to; I tried asking at the desk, but the women there didn't speak English, and I don't speak Russian, so you can imagine how that went. Then a guard came over and told mento sit down. I did, fighting back tears because I am confused, stressed and Bella sleep deprived (thanks, Schiphol). TRAVELLER'S PROTIP: if people aren't telling you what you need to know, CRY. seriously, within may e 30seconds of my first self-pitying sniff, another guard came up to me and started reassuring me that I'm just early for my flight, and that I really don't need to worry yet.

Anyway, hopefully everything will work out and I'll catch up to my luggage in finlnd. Gonna post now, as I don't want my iPods battery to die before I get back to Groningen NEXT YEAR.

I hope everyone else's holidays involve merriment, relaxation, and not being trapped in Russian airports!

Nürnberg

Dec. 4th, 2011 08:48 pm
I HAVE BEEN TO GERMANY!

Well, technically it's been a week since I was in Germany (and if you want to get reaaaally nitpicky about it, I've been in Germany once before, to visit Tante Freidl - but I was in grade four then, so that doesn't count for these purposes), but I'm just getting to the post now, because a) there's a lot to process and b) NO TIME OMG.

Let's start the journey!
Nuremberg, part 1 )
PART 2

*He's also famous for writing the Mare Liberum, among other things, which formed the basis for international law. But he's most famous for the escape he orchestrated, involving his wife, a book chest, and a serving girl.
I have travelled! This post is a bit late, since the trip was actually yesterday, but I was so zonked by the time we got back that anything I tried to type would have turned out rather like: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

So we simply had to eat there. Jamie ordered bitterballen, which I've never had before. They were kind of like meatballs, with a crunchy outside and a really mushy inside - not so much my thing, but I can see how they'd be really popular pub food.

And finally, after the meal, we hopped back on a train to Groningen. On the way home, we made the acquaintance of another Dutch student - she was very friendly and we ended up buying cookies together. It still amazes me how people are so friendly here. In Toronto, no one really talks to each other on trains - friends, yes, but it would be really strange to start having a conversation with a perfect stranger. But here, it's really not a big deal to strike up a conversation with whoever is sitting next to you on a train. IDK if I would ever be brave enough to do that, but it's interesting to think about.


TL;DR, Utrecht had absolutely lovely scenery, and I'm so glad I got to go. Next weekend, life premitting, some other housemates and I are planning to go to Leiden for a day. Hooray, ease of travel in Europe! :D

Photos posted hopefully later tonight at DUTCH MY LIFE.


* Or jography, as Jamie pronounces it.
I still can't believe this place. I still don't understand how this - any of this - is real. I'm still grappling with the fact that with one plane trip - literally, from August 28th to August 29th - life can change so drastically. Groningen is amazing. The people I live with are amazing. Everything is amazing and I am constantly in awe (and I know, I know, give it a few weeks and see what I'm saying then, but right now I'm living in this crazy happy bubble and everything is beautiful and nothing hurts.)

In the two weeks since I've been in Groningen, I've met people from all over the world. I'm making plans to visit places I've only ever known as names on a map - if that. One of my friends, Hanna, is from Finland, and has graciously mentioned invites to her home near Christmas time. Apparently they can hunt moose there by the light of the Northern lights! There are jokes going around about Oktoberfest in Munich, which I am so, so down for. It's crazy.

And that's probably the most extravagant experience for me: I am surrounded by people - and it's awesome. Over the last two weeks, I've been talking to people, connecting with them, initiating and carrying on conversations - and it's been fun! I never knew just being with people could be this enjoyable; is this what normal people feel like all the time? Even though school is already in full swing (I read three chapters of my Industrial-Organizational Psychology textbook this weekend and I have an oral presentation due on Thursday), I'm able to sit with people and just chill, relax, without stressing about projects or deadlines. I'm actively seeking social contact, which is so novel for me that I'm having a hard time believing it myself. This is so different from anything I'm used to; I smile at people in the mornings, say hi to them, even just sit quietly as they talk around me, all of us just doing our own thing - it feels like acceptance, community, and it's such a completely addictive feeling. How have I never experienced this before? It's so liberating, and I never imagined it could be like this.

P.S.: DUTCH MY LIFE
Ho-leeeee shit.


One week. One week, OMG you guys, where did the time go? This time next week, instead of answering questions about vacation accrual or filing invoices, I’m going to be in Holland, trying to catch a train from Amsterdam Schiphol airport to Groningen.


I leave on Sunday. I can’t even.

Read more... )


Um, you guys, we interrupt this broadcast to tell you that Jack Layton is dead. WTF. Hello, mindfuck. It somehow doesn’t seem possible, and yet. :/






(My flight doesn’t seem possible either, but man, I gotta start packing.)


PLUS ONE REC: Can't Go Back The Same Way You Came, Thor (movieverse), by Pell on AO3. THIS IS PERFECTION. IN WRITING. It is at once understated and heartwrenchingly brilliant, and you all need to read it yesterday. Like, it'll make you cry, it's so good.
...So I didn't realize how cool it would be to go on exchange until I spent the whole day thinking about it. It would be so cool! (Almost thirty thousand dollars worth of coolness, in fact, which is terrifying, and a Con... but omgomgomg a year abroad a;sldkfja;sldfkj stars in my eyes~)

The decision deadline is Friday at 4:30pm, and I need to get my rear in gear and research possible courses and shizz.  If I accept, there is a mountain of paperwork and a ton of research to do. I know going abroad by myself in a foreign country would be incredibly tough at times, but I can't help believing that it would be a simply amazing experience, too. Do I need to toss the rose-tinted glasses? Or is this actually a once-in-a-lifetime chance to live and study in a different country?

Read more... )
Well, that was an eventful weekend! Not all in good ways, unfortunately, but c'est la vie. To be fair, everything but the ending was fantastic.

#OHDEER )

I'm trying really hard not to freak out about things, but I had my day planned out today, and I'm really fucking pissed at the money, and I feel awful cause all I've done this weekend is eat like a fucking pig and just. Fuck.

But for the most part, the weekend was awesome, and it was really nice to see Fatima and meet her housemates and everything. So. I'm glad I got to go.

***

ETA: I am back from work, and semi-caught up with my study schedule. It'll have to do.

ETA2: OH FUCK ME SIDEWAYS, I JUST REALIZED I STILL HAVE NOWHERE TO LIVE NEXT YEAR A;SDLFKA;SK FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU ok that's it, kicking myself off the internet before I actually go crazy.
High school is officially over. I done gone and got my final TDSB report card this morning.

In Chicago, I attempted to stalk [personal profile] copperbadge went to see the Harry Potter Exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry... and I was extremely entertained thanks to the props and costumes, etc. I also became acquainted with a Brit named Geoffrey, and we bonded over general Harry Potter nerdishness, and Ron Weasley's preferred type of sandwhich. Fun times.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING  COMPLETELY AWESOME:

If you have seen Star Trek: Reboot, and if you liked it, and if you kindofmaybereally want something to read...
[profile] black_eyedgirl 's stuff is foremost on my rec list. Her writing is humourous and appropriately hot, and the way she writes the characters sends me flailing gleefully into my little happy place. Basically, if you like to see things done well, then go ye and check this out.
(PS: Her Bones is a real treat to read.)

[Error: unknown template qotd]I'd go to Italy because I've always wanted to go there. Or Paris to see the Louvre.
If she were willing, I'd bring my friend Steph because I like spending time with her. Because I just... would.

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