Archive for 2012

2012 in Review


  • Started the chronicling on this blog   
  • Saw Brodinski & Gesaffelstein perform at Wrongbar on their Bromance tour


  • Partook in Winterlicious at The Host - my first food festival
  • Went to Megan Crewe's signing at Bakka Pheonix Books
  • Attended the Razorbill Launch Party (Penguin's YA imprint) - first publishing industry event
  • Passed by Maggie Q on the street, but was too starstruck to say anything 
  • NAMUN XXVII ~ Reading Week




  • Flew to Detroit, then Amsterdam, then Cologne (first solo international flight)
  • Moved to Germany for summer Eurotrip adventure/internship 
  • Started the internship
  • Turned 20 
  • Explored Cologne with N & her boyfriend 
  • Adjusted to German living, explored locally
  • Backpacking in Belgium (BrusselsBrugge, Ghent) - first time backpacking, staying in a hostel, CouchSurfing, etc.


  • First round of farewells to other interns
  • First boat trip down the Rhine (to Unkel)   
  • Visited Maastricht (the Netherlands) & Aachen (Germany)
  • Chill period of staying in town, just hanging out with E & M, C & J, other UN interns
  • Deustche Welle Global Media Forum (#DWGMF)
  • Flew to London, England; explored the city with S & A


  • Spent Canada Day in Trafalgar Square, London, UK with S 
  • Met up with J, who was the fourth-year-next-door in res when I was in first year in London
  • Traveled to Paris by train, explored with S & L, took a over-night bus back in time for work
  • Toe injury, missed out on Berlin & Basel+Munich
  • Finished the internship, packed & bid tschüss to Deutschland 



  • Moved into the apartment with M & J
  • Started third year 
  • Attended Word on the Street with J for the third year in a row


  • Saw Flight Facilities live at the Hoxton
  • #schoolstress



  • #seriousschoolstress - to the point of wondering whether it'd be physically possible to finish everything in time
  • finished the semester, chillaxed
All in all, 2012 has been an absolutely amazing year of new experiences and first times, great food and even greater people, hard work and easy fun, chill music and exciting travels... Here's to continuing the trajectory and 2013 being even better! Cheers :)

only mortal

"Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity. And so we ask ourselves, will our actions echo across the centuries? Will strangers hear our names long after we are gone, and wonder who we were, how bravely we fought, how fiercely we loved?"
- Odysseus, Troy (2004)
"I'll tell you a secret, something they don't teach you in your temple. The Gods envy us. They envy us because we're mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we are doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again."
- Achilles, Troy (2004)

Photo taken December 2011 at the Harvard Museum of Natural History

London: Day the Second

So, about those summer adventures that I'm really behind on recapping...
S had to work on Friday, so I started my second day in London alone with a quick breakfast at Pret A Manger. (Those places are everywhere!) Then I headed over to King's Cross station in search of Platform 9¾ (there's a trolley half-smashed into the wall apparently), but alas, wasn't able to find it.

I didn't really have a set plan for the day, and figured I would just wander around and see what I saw. Unfortunately the weather wasn't nearly as nice as the previous day, raining off and on for the majority of the morning. I passed through Regent Square Gardens, and then Tavistock Square.
The park is filled with a number of memorials, including the likes of Virginia Woolf, Louisa Aldrich-Blake and Gandhi. (Reading Hind Swaraj and Other Writings for a class this year.) Apparently Tavistock House was Charles Dickens' last residence in London.

It's kind of amazing, the sheer amount of history at every turn in London. I went and checked out the Wellcome Collection. The displays were remarkable, ranging from a thought-provoking syringe + blood tube wall display to a library of the human genome to droppings and fleece samples from Dolly the sheep to tools from antiquity.
Some historical highlights included Charles Darwin's walking stick, Napoleon Bonaparte's toothbrush, literal chastity belts, and a fragment Jeremy Bentham's skin. ^ a little gory, but at the same time, kind of cool. Learned about Bentham's Panopticon in a critical theory class last year, and it plays a role in my current WIP.

Next up was the Grant Museum of Zoology, at UCL. The diversity of organisms is truly striking, when you really think about it. They also had a bunch of skeletons just casually chilling on the second floor banister (below).  
Did I mention it was a day filled with museums? The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology was up next (also part of UCL). L was headed to Egypt later on in the summer, but since I couldn't go, getting to see some artifacts on display was the next best thing.

Pretty hungry by this point, as it was late afternoon by now. Since I was already on campus, I went to the UCLU's (University College London Union) Print Room Café. The prices were quite decent, so I didn't think the portions would be too big, and ended up ordering the nachos and grilled halloumi. Definitely got a weird look when I went to pick up my food. It was delicious though. 
What can I say, halloumi's got me hooked. Although I haven't been able to find any back in Canada yet, unfortunately. Salad rocket/arugula is pretty big over in Europe. Went to some really big bookstore after this, but the name escapes me at the moment. Then I headed over to the National Gallery, which is home to loads of priceless paintings. Only managed to pass through a small portion of the rooms before having to leave to meet up with S. Seeing Van Gogh's Sunflowers in person was pretty cool - it's a lot smaller than expected.
We took a bunch of photos in Trafalgar Square and then headed for Indian food for dinner. (The British really love their Indian food!) It was a good thing that the food was delicious and filling, because S gave me a fairly crazy walking tour afterwards. I'm not entirely sure where all we went, but we crossed the Thames and wandered along the river bank for hours. There were street pianos and a giant purple cow stage (udderbelly... idek). The Tate Modern looks fairly cool at night, the trees all lit up and everything. Fireworks went off at one point.
Millennium Bridge looks awesome at night (below). It's awesome how from basically any point in the city you can see numerous landmarks. That really cool dome in the centre of the photo is St. Paul's Cathedral, which is a piece of really remarkable architecture.
After some timing mishaps with the bus, we finally got back to Bloomsbury. Getting to the hostel, I'd panicked a little when it seemed like I hadn't brought my plug adapter, and ended up charging my phone through a computer in the lobby for about half an hour. There was a bookshelf that functioned on the principle of take-a-book-leave-a-book, so I read for awhile. There was a copy of Catching Fire with the UK cover, but the inside inscription indicated that it had belonged to someone from Endeavour Hills in Melbourne, Australia.

It's more than a little amazing how travel brings the world together.

a week already?!

"My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to, your dreams stay big, your worries stay small."

- Rascal Flatts, My Wish
photocred N
It's crazy to think that technically, I finished the fall semester a week ago. While I am glad to be done and "free", the end of November/beginning of December was absolutely insane to the point where there were moments where I was actually unsure whether it would be physically possible to get everything done. While the idea of not having everything during exam season makes sense, when all your professors decide to finish everything by the end of term, you don't even get the benefit of an actual study period. Basically, it was a packed medley of Starbucks, library and sleep deprivation.  

In response to assumptions that I now have much free time, I informed father that I was, in fact, still swamped with lots of things to do. And while some headway has been made on said things, it's not nearly as much as I would've liked. However, I've managed to squeeze in a fair bit of time just chilling with people, so it's all worth it. In all fairness, I think the two years we spent in residence, we were spoiled a little in that more hours of the day were spent in the presence of other people than not. With everyone moving off res this year, while we've still managed to congregate a decent amount, it's just not the same/it's rarely everyone at once. And let's face it, cramming/napping together at the library doesn't exactly fill the quota.

After a crazy day Wednesday (no doubt chugging an energy drink first thing in the morning didn't help), S, M, A & I went to a ramen place and then a dessert shop for S's birthday. It was actually my first time at a ramen restaurant (I know, don't judge). All the yolo froyo tho!

Friday night, after volunteering at a soup kitchen, a bunch of us (M, A, C, J, M, E, N, A, M, L & I) surprised S for [another] birthday celebratory dinner at Don Don Izakaya. It was wonderful to have so many of us together for great food and even greater company. (first photo)

Saturday night, J & I attempted to go out. It was kind of a flop, but let's not talk about that.
Sunday morning we went out for an early birthday brunch celebration for J, with A, M, M and S at Dessert Trends, which is a super cute bistro/patisserie. We meandered our way through the main course and then dessert (pictured above is the 'chocolate symphony') in a brunch that spanned multiple hours and sparked great lifechats.

In the evening/night MJ & I headed over to J.L.'s apartment for board games and cookies (unfortunately her boyfriend's bus got into town late and they weren't able to make it to brunch). We hadn't seen her since the last time we were over at her place in the beginning of the semester, so it was nice to catch up. And the cookies were delicious! D made it out later in the evening too, which was nice - hadn't seen him in awhile either.

I may or may not have gone shopping on Monday. Heh. Buuut it was necessary, ok? Running errands/picking up holiday gifts had to be done. I also got a multi-colored poster of Einstein's face with the words "Imagination will take you everywhere" watermarked over it. It's hanging on the wall behind me. Five seconds after putting it up, it struck me how... creepy that is. Like he's watching or something. But putting it up was such a struggle that it'll just have to stay up for awhile.
On Tuesday, C made me butter chicken and cucumber salad for lunch after work, such a sweetie pie. It was delicious. I'm going to have to work on my cooking skills over the holidays and return the favor in the new year!  

Today (well, Wednesday/yesterday, since it's technically Thursday now) was a packed day of misc executive duties. Then I booked it downtown and met up with B for dinner. She's been in town all semester doing a co-op placement, but between our schedules, we haven't been able to meet up (since like April, when we had brunch), so it was really good to catch up. Got humongous burgers at a burger/fries diner (the line-ups were ridiculous - business is booming for that place) and then went for bubble tea at Chatime (which is beside Don Don) afterwards until they shooed us out at closing time. 

It's funny - the first (& only) time I went to Chatime was the very first day of the semester, with M. In a way, it seems fitting to then finish off the semester with a second trip there. Can't really deny that this semester is done any longer, but I think it's safe to say that, all things considered, it's been an insanely good one.   

Faber Drive @ the 100th Grey Cup Festival

Saw Faber Drive perform live on November 23rd, 2012 at the 100th Grey Cup Festival with J. We'd gone to Cavalcade of Lights the previous weekend in an attempt to catch Dragonette, but we'd estimated the timing incorrectly (set times weren't posted online, unfortunately) and showed up literally just after she finished. So we made sure to show up plenty early this time, and wandered around the street festival for a bit.
^ We got to sit in a Snowbirds cockpit, which was pretty cool. Lots of complicated switches, gauges, dials, etc.
It was a pretty great set - lots of energy, on key, engaging. Unfortunately it was super windy and chilly that night, so the crowd wasn't huge. (Although on the plus side, that meant we were able to get pretty close to the front).
Both J & I got to touch Dave Faber's hand, which was pretty cool. We also managed to snag some guitar/bass picks (Krikit's & JP's). At one point, about mid-way through the set, Faber switched his toque for a blond wig from some guy in the audience.
JP shredding
All in all, Faber Drive played a great show!

We've resolved to go to more concerts/shows in 2013. Afterwards on the way home, J & I lamented again how we'd also missed Zedd the previous month - we were both totally down to go, but then dallied in purchasing our tickets and show sold out. Double bummer because his latest album, Clarity, is maybe my favourite of 2012. And, y'know, the kid's German and all...


"I planned it out perfect, practiced and rehearsed it. I could see it every time I closed my eyes. I'm on the right track, but took a wrong turn. I made a sure bet, and I still got burned.

I'm at the right place, but at the wrong time. I had my one shot but forgot the line, I'm always stuck in second place. But I know one day I'm going to win this race."
- Faber Drive, Too Little Too Late
On the one hand, I finish everything school work-wise the first week of December. On the other hand, literally everything is crammed within the next week and it's just too much/not physically possible to get it all done in time/+ all those extra-curricular commitments/just cannot deal.

Too little sleep is also resulting in rapid fluctuations in terms of energy levels, mood, hunger, and just about everything else. Deprived to the point of falling asleep in class, yet I can't seem to sleep at night. Alternately super excited [about lots of things] and questioning everything. Pretty much live at the library these days. At the end of the day, just have to remember that it's all #firstworldproblems.

These choco max brownie bars are basically keeping me going. One more week.

Also - this. (Thought Catalog - Girls Have the Right to Own Themselves)

Also, also - saw Faber Drive perform live last weekend with J - got to touch Faber's hand and snagged Krikit's bass pick. Photos/video to come!

summer days are gone

"You get a strange feeling when you're about to leave a place, like you'll not only miss the people you love but you'll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you'll never be this way ever again."
- Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran
the travel bug has caught me 
and it won't let me go.

stuck here, running in place,
dreaming away
sleepless days and autopiloted nights.

this desire to wander,
this lust to live,
this craving for more...

just another walking cliché,
ensnared by the allure of
a beautiful demise.

Photo taken summer 2012, at the Apple Store in the Louvre, Paris, France. L, S & I were trolling and changed the desktop background on one of the MacBooks ;) 

Flight Facilities @ The Hoxton

Caught Flight Facilities at The Hoxton last Friday (October 19th) with M, A & F. They're a pair of Australian DJs/producers. In contrast to the Brodinski & Gesaffelstein concert earlier this year, I bought my ticket for this a month in advance - and it certainly surpassed expectations!
I was first introduced to Flight Facilities' music back in March of this year by somebody that I used to know. There's a great vibe to their tracks, very original, chill and engulfing. Going into this, I was already expecting a great set, based off of their singles.
But it actually turned out to be pretty phenomenal. The transitions between songs were flawless. The entire night it felt like we were just dancing to one continuous song, it was that smooth. The lead-ins and fade-outs were very well done.
Synchronized sleeve-rolling - you know it's about to get real when!
Crave You (ft. Giselle), Foreign Language (ft. Jess) & With You (ft. Grovesnor) are all super catchy singles in their own rights, but the remixes that night were on a whole other level. Just wow.
All in all, it was a pretty epic night; great company, great music and great fun. (& I've put my Flight Facilities sticker on my iPad case - the first, but hopefully many other stickers will be joining it soon!)
Attractive Australians.


"Here I stand, I can do no other."

- Max Weber, The Vocation Lectures

little girl lost -
confused and alone,
sentient & sapient, consumed in a crowd of:
humans, people, strangers - others.

but what if this little girl is
most other of all? 

what if
this little girl wants, pines, desires to 
contribute, be a part of, mean something to
those others, who are not really other -
so say it were possible to collapse the ideology of their respective others, 
would that thereby eradicate her own otherness? 

maybe this little girl isn't so little any more. 

maybe the world isn't so big; 
maybe the possibilities aren't so endless;
maybe the potential is severely limited;
maybe it's time to forgo the hedonism;
maybe, it's time. 

thinking too much, thinking too little - seeing patterns where coincidences exist, seeing no connections where linkages are present - what is hedonism? what is society? what is it to be selfless? what is it to be selfish? what is the meaning?

what is living?

WotS: Round 3

It's been a crazy blur of people, food, hanging out, catching up, meetings, readings and of course class since getting back. To be honest, it's been a little odd trying to settle back into the routine of school. This past summer seems almost like a surreal dream. Every so often, when someone asks, "hey, you went to Germany this summer, right?" it takes a second before recalling, "yeah, I did, didn't I?" If it weren't for all the amazing memories, the awesome photos and the amusing fact that Chrome and my Facebook ads seem perpetually stuck in German, the reality of the past few months would feel even more elusive. 
But anyway - this past Sunday (Sept. 23rd) was the annual Word on the Street national book & magazine festival. Went with J, of course - this was our third year going together, so it's become a bit of a tradition now. We started out the packed afternoon at the Giller Prize Stage. The physical layout of the festival was different this year, and we both agreed that it was a little harder to navigate (i.e. booths were more spread out, the main stage was off to the side/end and kind of obscured, instead of central, etc.)
We got to listen to John Ralston Saul speak, which was super cool. He's a very engaging speaker, really witty and slightly sardonic at times, considering the subject matter. Dr. Saul has awesome stage presence - just really exudes intelligence and charisma. An excellent start to the afternoon!
Then we wandered around, picked up some swag, and headed over to hear Adrienne Clarkson, the 26th Governor General of Canada, speak. (How awesome are those metallic silver Oxfords, by the way?) I definitely have a lot of respect for Adrienne Clarkson and her accomplishments, so it was great to have the opportunity to catch her speech. Her wit definitely complements that of her husband. It was also a really engaging and moving speech - almost got teary-eyed at one point!
And immediately afterwards, we ran back over to the Giller tent to catch David Suzuki and Jeff Rubin. The two addresses really played off of each other very well. The place was completely packed, it was pretty insane.
The top image is a linocut printing I did in the tenth grade for art class. David Suzuki! I think the concept we were given was to do the profile of someone we found inspiring. If you haven't tried carving linoleum before, let me tell you - it's not easy material to cut through with precision.
^ He's a very animated speaker. J and I finished the day off with grabbing food and checking out the rest of the booths (couldn't resist buying a couple of books as well. No idea when I'm going to read them though!) All in all, a successful third round of Word on the Street!

art on brick & mortar

Street art, done well, can be highly fascinating. Saw some pretty epic pieces of art (and yeah, some graffiti too) this summer, so I figured I'd share some of those discoveries here:  
Spotted this one on my first night in Paris, not long after arriving. It was pouring rain, nearing eleven o'clock and a little sketchy in the dark as I got my first exposure to Paris (& France, for that matter), but I had to snap a photo (huddled under an umbrella, trying to keep my iPhone dry) when I saw this. 
Found this one in London, England with S & A. The Beatles! The Queen! A red double decker bus! Very British. Banksy
This, too, was spotted in London. This is located beside a tunnel/walkway; saw it on my last day in London on my way to the Tate Modern.
Also London. Found this one while I was just wandering around; can't remember the exact location, but I think it's near Tavistock Square.
Karate tofu! No ideas about the context for this, but hey, tofu is delicious! Bonn, Germany.
What is the plan? Encountered this one with C, J, K & M after a picnic.
Bonn really plays up the whole Beethoven thing (seeing as how it's his birthplace and all - although rumor has it the guy wasn't exactly fond of the place...)
This one's from last year, actually, spotted in Toronto while on an art store/bubble tea expedition with A, E, N & S.

It's actually kind of insane the amount of art there is near train tracks and the U-bahn. Some of the stuff on the barricades looks like it might've been fairly dangerous to put up, really. And there are a lot of really cool pieces near train stations that I wasn't able to snap photos of from the moving train. I've heard that there are some pretty awesome works in Berlin, but alas, wasn't able to make it out to east Germany this time around. Hopefully next time!

Have you spotted any really awesome street art recently? Where?

touch down: London town

The day after the #DWGMF wrapped, Thursday, I jetted off to London. The last day of the conference had also been P's last day at work before moving to Kenya, but he was already gone by the time I got back to the office. But as luck would have it, P ended up being on the same bus heading to the airport the next morning! 
So getting to London involved: street car - bus - plane - train - and then I was at Victoria Station, where S came and picked me up. (Originally he'd considered coming to get me from Gatwick - and holding up a sign with my name and then pretend not to recognize me on purpose - but decided that he only values our friendship at £18, so it wasn't worth the train ticket haha.)
So all summer, S has been pulling 'I told you so's all over the place. Before leaving for London, I asked if I should bring shorts to London, and he was all like, "no, it's London, we don't wear shorts here." I arrive, and of course this is the one day when it's boiling hot in London. -_-

We ended up doing a quick walk by some of the major points (Buckingham Palace, a park, the London Eye, Big Ben, etc.) and then booking it over to Piccadilly Circus so I could go buy shorts. Sticky jeans are no fun!
London is just so alive. So many people (and so well-dressed and polite too!), so much activity, so much cool stuff to see. It was actually pretty impressive how far we managed to walk in one day.
There are Union Jack flags all over the place in London, but in preparation for the Olympics, there were other flags adorning the streets as well ^.
British telephone booths! (Although I've seen identical ones in Canada as well.) I don't imagine these see as much use nowadays, what with the prevalence of cell phones and what not. (Or handy, if you're German ;) I went inside one for a photo and it smelled like urine, unfortunately.
Food is always important, so we hit up The Icecreamists in Covent Garden. You have to order a minimum of two scoops, and these things are massive! They have really interesting flavours though - including one made with real breast milk. Wasn't feeling YOLO enough to try it that day though - I opted for a scoop of Ferrero Rocher (bottom) and a scoop of caramel popcorn (top) instead. Delicious, but melted really quickly in the summer heat and got kind of messy. 
We ended up just grabbing dinner at Covent Garden as well. Alas, can't remember the name of the place we ate at. It was pretty good though! (Although I'm not a huge fan of rocket/arugula.)
Trafalgar Square! This would be a place where we would end up many times over the course of the next couple of days.
All in all, the London trip started off with a fully packed, insanely awesome first day!

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