Saturday, 16 June 2012

I'm no longer in Canada.

Therefore, it seems slightly ridiculous to continue writing in a blog called "hannahjanegoestocanada". And so, this is goodbye. I'm not hanging up my blogging shoes, but it seems that this particular blog must come to an end. I like that this blog will simply exist as a stand-alone journal of year-abroad-ness. As for the rest of my thoughts, I think it's time to utilise the tumblr account that I created a while ago, which has so far only been used for the purposes of stalking other tumblr users. I know, I know, being on tumblr makes me such a hipster. What of it?
So, yeah, it's been fun. I'd like to say a particular thanks to my Russian fanbase, who have continued to stick by me, for some unknown reason.
It's a sad farewell; I know. But, in time, the wounds will heal, and we'll move on with our lives.
Goodbye, Canada. Goodbye, year abroad. Goodbye, blog. Hello, 3 months in Newport. Oh joy.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Back to reality. Again.

So, I know that I still haven't said much about my travels. I suck; I know. For those of you who have me on facebook, you can see my pictures there. I tried to post links to the albums (which are public, so anyone can see them) on this blog, but it kinda failed. I dunno.
But anyways, that's all old news now, because I went home. I know, I was already home, but I went to my other home: Exeter. My goodness, it was good to be back. It was Arts Week, so naturally I was handed a violin and told to play in concerts. I saw my wonderful, wonderful friends. I was welcomed back in a variety of amazing and hilarious ways. For the first time, I got to see campus as not a building site, and it is glorious. I went to all of the places that I've missed dearly. I got drunk. A lot. I had the most spectacularly wonderful 10 days, and I could not have asked for more.
And now, I'm back in Newport, where I have to think about jobs and money and driving and moving house, and I really cannot wait for this summer to be over, so I can get my Welsh/Irish/Canadian/Devonian arse back to one of the many places that I call home, and live there, in a house, with my own room and my own bed and a chance to be part of Exeter life again, rather than a fleeting visitor. Oh, and I'll be finishing my degree, but never mind that.
Exeter, it was simply divine to see you again. I'll be back soon; I promise; and this time, I'll be back for good. <3

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


Yes, lovely readers, I am back in the wonderful land of Bassaleg, and the sun is shining.
After two wonderful (and slightly stressful) days back in Ottawa spent with three amazing Canadians (<3), I hopped on a plane with way too much hand luggage and a seriously overweight suitcase. Apparently looking dishevelled, tired, and on the verge of crying makes airport staff pity you and not make you pay for things.
On the plane they gave us dinner at, like, midnight, which displeased me, but never mind. I watched Lady and the Tramp, so all was well. I then got off the plane, and onto a bus. I then got off the bus, and found out that my train was cancelled (Boooo) but got on the next train. I then arrived in sunny Newport and, as you would expect, went stright home. Oh, no, wait, I actually went to a cello recital. My sister's to be precise. We only just made it. And then we went for dinner. Given that I'd probably had about 8 hours of sleep over the last 3 nights combined, I was amazed that I could actually function as a human being. But Rachel's recital was amazing, and she is the most bootiful cellist in the world, as far as I'm concerned.
But yes, I finally made it home, and collapsed in a heap. And had 15 hours of sleep. Life is good.
I promise to update you soon on my travels and show you pictures and such, but for now I have about 3 weeks of tv to catch up on, so blogging will have to wait.

Thursday, 17 May 2012


I'm in Boston. It's pretty.
I went to New York. It was big and I'm not sure my brain could quite comprehend it so I seemed to just spend a lot of time wandering around aimlessly/reading on the subway/sleeping. But it was nice. I saw Rent. Twice. It blew my mind. AND I went to the Life Cafe. Not the one in alphabet city, as that has closed down :( But one in Brooklyn that's owned by the same people. It made me happy. I also spent a lot of time getting irrationally annoyed at tourists. Figure that one out.
So yeah, last night I got on a bus and came to Boston. The bus broke down. Ordinarily, this would be a pain in the arse, but we got to stay on the bus while we waited for another one, so it just meant that I managed to get something that vaguely resembled sleep, rather than arriving in Boston at 4am with nothing to do.
So, yeah, I'm alive and stuff. And, just in case you needed reminding, I will be back in Britain in a mere five days. I expect national celebrations and lavish gifts. Or, y'know, some sleep and a few hugs'll do. 

Sunday, 6 May 2012


I'm in California.
After a 5-hour bus, a dodgy trip on the subway to Queens at midnight on a Saturday night, a 5-hour wait at an airport, and two flights, I made it to San Francisco.
And now, I know that I should probably do something productive, but I'm tired and my brain hurts.
Also, I'm spectacularly sunburnt. Sunburn has this habit of creeping up on me, so I don't notice that I'm getting sunburnt until about 3 days after I go out in the sun. And the really sad thing is that, unlike most people, this will not eventually become a lovely tan. No. I just go from tomato-red back to too-white-even-for-Hitler, without any apparent transition phase. Clearly I'm at a point in my blog where I think Hitler jokes are appropriate. We can only go uphill from here. Actually, on the subject of Hitler jokes (stay with me), I went to the American History Museum yesterday, and actually saw some teenagers making the "Heil" gesture in front of a picture of Hitler, while their friend took a picture. No, really. They actually were. I almost told them off, but then I remembered that 19-year-olds with crazy humidity-hair and sunburn don't really have that much authority or credibility in the eyes of 15-year-olds.
I suppose I probably should go and do something. At the very least, I should eat. The hostel I'm staying at is close to lots of expensive shops, which will only end badly, but is also a mere three blocks away from The Cheesecake Factory, which basically means that I will be eating cheesecake three times a day for the next 4 days.
But yes, I'm alive, I'm in San Francisco, and my skin is currently resembling the japanese flag. Splendid.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


Guess what. I'm in America. Like, actually in America, not just an airport. It's pretty exciting.
I knew that I was in America as soon as we reached our first post-border bus stop, Buffalo, because a guy got on the bus and, among other hilariously enthusiastic things, said the words "Can I get an AMEN?" and someone actually gave him one. It was a special moment in my life.
I got spectacularly lost in DC when I arrived, and I mean spectacularly. I was supposed to head northwest and I ended up going southeast. Fail. And it was ridiculously humid and I was wearing a hoody. Extra fail.
Since finding the hostel, however, I have engaged in such typical American pastimes as drinking Starbucks and buying Ben & Jerry's. Since I am in a country where Ben & Jerry's is cheaper and comes in far more varieties than in Britain or Canada (although, "Oh Cone-ada" will forever live in my heart), I feel obliged to try at least one new flavour per city. DC's flavour is Cake Batter. This can only end well.
Not much more to say. I had a lovely few days in Kingston with Joanna and her family/friends/dog, although I did have to resist yelling "STELLAAAAAAAAH" in a drunken, lustful, Streetcar-esque manner everytime I called the dog.
I'd also like to take a moment to express my love for the Divertimento orchestra and its members. The final concerts were wonderful and I shall miss them dearly.
Tomorrow I'm going museum-hopping, because free museums are good museums. Will probs go and see my homeboy Barrack at some point. Please casually ignore the fact that I just used the word "homeboy".
The only other news is that I missed seeing the Queen in Exeter today, but, y'know, I'll get over it. I'll buy myself an "I <3 Obama" tshirt and pretend to be a royalty-hating American.

Thursday, 26 April 2012


Hello lovelies.
Today, I come to you from the apartment of my friend Michael, in whose debt I shall forever be because he has saved me from the streets of Ottawa. Ok, perhaps that's slightly melodramatic, but I'm still very very grateful to him and Genevieve for taking me in.
Yesterday, I bid my little room in Prescott House a fond farewell, but not before cleaning and throwing out all of the crap that my roommates left (thanks, guys). At one point I felt like Cinderella, scrubbing the kitchen floors on my hands and knees. And if you've ever seen our kitchen floor, you'll know that it wasn't a pretty task.
This weekend sees my final concerts with the wonderful Divertimento orchestra *sob*. We're playing the Schumann cello concerto and Rachmaninov's 1st symphony. The cello concerto isn't particularly inspiring - the greatest thing in its favour is that it's a cello concerto - but it's pleasant enough. The Rachmaninov is wonderful but devilishly hard, so I will most likely enter panic mode for most of it. It's also, apparently, going to be the Ottawa premiere of the symphony. So there you go.
After that, I head off on my adventures, about which I am very excited, even if my mother seems to be convinced that I'll get abducted or something.
I know that I've been very whiny lately about how much I don't want to leave, and it's true that I'm reluctant to leave this wonderful city and country and see the end of this adventure, but the thing about adventures is that if you spend too long on the same adventure, it stops being an adventure and just becomes life. I used the word "adventure" far too many times in that sentence.
So I'm looking forward to the next few weeks, because they're going to involve a whole host of new adventures, and then I get to go home and embark on the exciting adventures of finding a job and attempting to get a degree. Ok, so those adventures don't sound too exciting, but maybe if I convince myself that they are, then I won't lose all faith in my very existence. Speaking of getting a degree, I'm currently looking at two shiny A-s and two even shinier As (and since they were in my two full-year courses, it's comparitively like 4 As, or at least that's what I'm telling myself) so I'm feeling pretty content at the moment. My joy will undoubtedly be crushed when my Film Music grade appears, but, y'know, we can ignore that for a while.
So yeah, that's my life at the moment. All requests for tacky souvenirs should be put in now, although my backpack is currently VERY full, so I've no idea where it'll all go. Where there's a will, there's a way. Clearly I need to meet more people called Will.
Apparently there's some big hockey game tonight. We saw a sign outside a church yesterday that said: "THRU FAITH COMES VICTORY. GO SENS GO." Aside from the spelling error, I like the notion that God picks favourite sports teams. I also like the idea that if the Sens lose, it's the fault of the fans for not being faithful enough. I imagine young hockey fans being disappointed at the Sens losing, only to have their god-fearing parents tell them, "Well you know why they lost, don't you? It's because you touch yourself at night." My mind works in mysterious ways.
Anyways, I'm rambling. How out of character for me...
And, in standard fashion, here are some lolz to make up for my dull blogging:

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

It's oh so quiet.

Shh. Shh.
It's unnervingly quiet in this room right now.
Obnoxiously loud roommate left a few days ago, kindly leaving behind a camel-shaped toothbrush holder, a few bowls, a fridge-full of food and a mirror in the kitchen.
Nicole and Brittany left today. The only thing that kept me from sobbing uncontrollably before my exam was the promise that Brittany will be here when I get back to Ottawa in 3 and a half weeks.
Speaking of my exam, it was my last, and that's just about the only thing in its favour. Well, no. It wasn't awful. Like, it's not going to completely cancel out all of my A-/As that I've been getting. But it wasn't great. There were plenty of things that I did not know and plenty of films that I had not watched, but not so much as to render it a total disaster.
Ah well, the main point is that my second year of university is OVER. Like, what? I officially have one year left as an undergraduate student. Madness, I tell you. Not Sparta. Madness.
I'm now faced with the ordinate task of packing. I've started, don't worry, but still my room looks like it has more stuff in it than I've ever owned. Ever. My walls, however, are bare, which makes me very sad. I woke up this morning and didn't know where I was. Thie shade of beige really isn't an exciting thing to wake up to.
In other news, I went to a house party on Friday night, at which I played beer pong and flip cup for the first (and probably last) time in my life, and spent a lot of time saying, "What's going on?! I'm foreign and I don't get it!" Never let it be said that I'm a quiet drunk. I also fell asleep cuddling a dog called Guinness, so we can conclude that it was a good night.
Last night we went to The Works, which is always good times. By "we" I mean Brittany (roommate), Mike, Kalina (both live on my floor), Chris (Kalina's boyfriend and animal-wrestler) and me (see, I told you I have friends. And now they're gone. Sigh). We cruised around Ottawa with the windows down blasting Ke$ha, Carly Rae Jepsen and other musical delights, and engaged in such intellectual discussions as "what animal do I look like?" Apparently I'm a koala.
And now, a day of frantic revision and a stupid 7pm exam, I find myself alone in my room for the last time. I decided to watch Glee to avoid packing, only to find that the episode was all about leaving, so it didn't leave me particularly gleeful.
But alas, I have many adventures ahead of me.
But before that, there is packing and cleaning to be done.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

I'm not going.

Dear Canada,
I hereby refuse to leave your wonderful country.

I refuse to leave this country of wonderfully unhealthy food and friendly people.
I refuse to leave friends that I've only had for a few months.
I refuse to stop being the novelty Brit.
I refuse to leave the best roommate and friend that I could've asked for.
I refuse to pack up my things and take the pictures off my wall.
I refuse to go back to the real world.
I refuse to live in Newport.
I refuse to go back to a university knowing that almost everyone that I know will have left.
I refuse to be in my final year of university.
I refuse to start over. Again.
I just refuse.

Happy 100th blog post, everybody.
Now, to lighten the mood:

Monday, 16 April 2012

I hope I shall not offend you if...

I state quite frankly and openly that you seem to me to be in every way the visible personification of absolute perfection.
Currently this is the only part of my Brit Lit revision that seems to have stuck. And the exam is in 8.5 hours. Oh well, I can at least hope that some knowledge of Williams Blake comes flooding back to me. I did spend the whole of year 13 studying him.
Tomorrow is, in my mind, my last exam. It's not, but since I have a whole week of being a tourist with my parents and studying and spending time with people and packing and saying goodbyes and other such things before my next exam, it may as well not exist right now.
Sigh. I really do dislike exams. Although I'm finding One Direction to be a wonderful study aid. Sadly, while they may be British, I don't think that lyrics like "The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed" really count as literature. Shame.
Oh well, it's a good thing that I am the queen of waffly bullshit. If I were a superhero, that would be my superpower. Needless to say, I'll never be a particularly successful superhero.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Food love.

Toaster strudel is possibly one of the best things in life. It's yummy and you can draw hearts on it with the icing. What's not to love? I'll tel you what: it cannot be bought in the UK. Which means that my recently discovered love of toaster strudel (which, until now, was the mythical invention of Gretchen Weiners' father) will be a short-lived romance. Sigh.
Also, Brittany just brought me KD, so I'm currently very much full of food love. <3

Thursday, 12 April 2012


So, I realise that I haven't really written much about what I've actually been doing with my life outside the confines of this room and my crazy little mind. Things have been happening. Honest.
St. Patrick's Day happened. It was a while ago, I know, but I forgot to blog about it. Fail. While most of Ottawa seemed to start drinking at about 10am, Brittany had to study, so I had a rather relaxed day, and went in search of green things to wear. We then spent the evening celebrating at the house of a friend of Ken's which was full of wonderful Irish people and wonderful Irish food, and the stew reminded me of my Granny, which always makes for a happy Hannah. I also made green and orange Skittles vodka, which made me extremely happy.
During the crazy week of random summer weather, I finally got to see Nancy, who was here visiting Jess. We had another mini-Team Team reunion, and it was lovely. We went to a pub and drank cocktails and played pool and darts and I discovered that I'm not very good at darts but I am very good at adding. I also learned that Nancy should not be allowed to handle darts when she's losing. Ever.
It was Kate's birthday last week, so naturally we partied it up Exe-style. We went to Patty B's, which is a realy nice bar with a dancefloor and live cover bands, so we spent the night dancing and singing like fools. It was nice to have a normal and enjoyable night out, without all of the showiness that bugs me about Ottawa clubs.
Classes finished last week. I was somewhat drained by the two weeks of intense essay-writing, but I managed to muster up the energy to drink bad sangria and go to Ollie's with two of my favourite Canadians:

My parents are currently in Canada, which is very exciting. They arrived on Monday, very jetlagged, and armed with this magnificent pile of chocolatey goodness:
Words cannot describe just how happy this made me. I was of course thrilled to see my dear mother and father, too. On Tuesday I showed them around the delights of Carleton University campus and they took me to The Works. Om nom nom nom nom nom nom nom. I had elk burger, which was really really good, and only has 7% of the fat that a beef burger has. Amazing. The parents have gone off on some adventures for a week while I sit my first 4 exams, but they'll be back in Ottawa on Tuesday for some touristy delights, including poutine and BeaverTails. On that note, I should probably add that BeaverTails are not actual tails of beavers. Canadians aren't that weird, but apparently some people in Britain thought that I meant actual beaver tails. No. This is a BeaverTail:
It is a thing of pure pastry wonder. Nom.
Before my parents return to Ottawa, however, there's the small matter of exams to contend with. I've had two so far: American Lit yesterday and Shakespeare this morning. They were alright. American Lit was ok - I actually managed to remember some of what was written in my notes, so that was useful, and I don't think I was entirely nonsensical, which is always good. Shakespeare was less good, but not awful. My revision wasn't entirely productive, so it's unsurprising really. Although, I did listen to this, which definitely counts as useful revision:
It's all funny, but the Shakespeare stuff starts at 2:50. It's also filthy, just to warn you, but hilariously punny.

I just about managed to identify the passages (although I had a really hard time figuring out which play the line "and Measure still for Measure" was from...). One of the passages was from King Lear and was Edmund ranting about his status as a bastard. He uses the word "base" a lot in that passage, and so I had this stuck in my head for the majority of the 3-hour exam:
Easily distracted? Me? Noooooooo...
So yeah, that's about the exten of my life at the moment. I have another exam on Saturday and another on Tuesday, and then I have a week off until my next exam. Next Wednesday my parents and I are having dinner with a relative of a relative who happens to live in Ottawa. It's a small world after all.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go and curl up in a ball and Dairy-Milk (definitely a verb) my way into a diabetic coma. Goodnight.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


I stand by my earlier statement that I hate exams.
I particularly don't like them when I have to get up in the morning.
Especially when my body decided to wake me up with random stomach pains at 4am, and my brain convinced me that it was something to do with district 4 of Panem (Not obsessed with Hunger Games. Honest.) and left me wholly confused.
So, yeah, I hate exams.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Watch this please.

This is a video made by the wonderful Alexandra D'Sa, who is a fellow ESNA (English with Study in North America) student from Exeter, currently exchanging at Vassar, and who is a generally lovely person who has some very important things to say:
Before I went to university, same-sex marriage wasn't something that I really thought much about. I wasn't against it, and thought that people who were against it were essentially morons, but it didn't really cross my mind all that often.
For someone reason, however, it's an issue that now keeps cropping up in my mind. Maybe it's because I'm becoming more aware of the world. Maybe it's because the number of gay people and, more notably, gay couples in my life has risen in the last few years. Maybe it's because of the stream of "inevitable lesbian" jokes that accompanied my first year of university. I don't know and, frankly, it doesn't matter. I shouldn't need any reason to care about this issue other than it's really damn important.
I just don't understand why this is even an issue anymore. Have we not advanced enough as a tolerant and multi-cultural society to realise that gay people have just as much of a right to marriage as any straight couple? What do people think that legalising gay marriage is going to do to offend them? There seems to be some stupid notion that it "promotes" homosexuality, which is stupid for so many reasons. For a start, there's nothing wrong with being gay, so I don't see how "promoting" it is a bad thing.
Secondly, it's not something that can be promoted. It's not as if a straight woman would see a poster that says "Tired of sucking cock? Try vagina; it's delicious" and think "You know what? Maybe I'll try lesbianism." No. It doesn't work like that. It's not a choice; it's who you are, and the sooner people stop thinking that people can just choose their sexual orientation, the sooner we can all stop wasting time over what should be a non-issue.
And thirdly, legalising gay marriage isn't going to suddenly make gay couples appear everywhere. Gay couples will still be together, whether they can marry or not. They will still live together; they will still hold hands in public; they will still exist in our society, so what difference does it make if we afford them this basic right? Even if you are, for whatever reason, against homosexuality, refusing to legalise gay marriage isn't going to make gay people go away. Allowing these people to get married isn't going to change anyone's life, other than improving the lives of the people who just want to be able to get married like everyone else.
The gay people in my life are some of the best people that I know. They are kind, sweet, honest and loving. And do you know why that is? Because they are human, just like every straight person. And the love that I see between these people is just as pure, strong and true as that of any of the straight couples that I know, if not more so.
From a purely utilitarian perspective, you have no reason to not let gay people marry, because it will make a lot of people happy, and will hurt absolutely no-one.
But more importantly, try to think about this from a human perspective. All we want to do, as human beings, is to love and be loved. It's a cliche, but it's true. And traditionally, we express this love by marrying, and having a family, and growing old together. This is a path of life that we, as straight people, take for granted, but imagine being told that you can't? On top of worrying about whether or not you'll be able to find someone to love, you find out that you're not allowed to express that love in the most socially accepted and traditional of ways. That doesn't seem fair to me. Why can't we just let people be in love and show it? Why must we make it political? Because that's all it comes down to: love. And frankly, if we agree on nothing else, we can all agree that love is a wonderful thing. So just shutup and let them get married.
And this blog post, as per usual, has become a long and nonsensical ramble, and all of my points have been raised a million times by people who are far more articulate that I am, but this matters to me, and it should matter to you, too.
And I know that most of my readers are the tolerant and liberal-minded people with which I like to surround myself, but sometimes it's just nice to write things that mean something, rather than my usual vacuous ranting.
So watch Alex's video, read my words, and maybe record/write some of your own. There are probably so many people who, like my 16-year-old self, have no objections to gay marriage but don't really think about it either, but if more of those people thought about it and spoke about it, then maybe this wouldn't still be an issue.
The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

And just to avoid neglecting the other great things that the internet has to offer...

Here's a sad kitty.

The internet is a wonderful place.

It's the sort of place where you're constantly coming across things that are hilarious, or interesting, or intelligent, or thought-provoking, or entertaining, or cute, or that allow you to explore a new interest (or obsession, in the case of this fickle fangirl).
And then sometimes, the internet throws you things that you just don't quite understand. You know that you find it funny, but you're not entirely sure why. And then you begin to question how someone even came up with it in the first place. Things like this:

Most people find their faith in humanity through beautifully written words or acts of amazing kindness. I find mine in things like this, because they remind me that the world is utterly insane, but in a good way.

Happy happy happy face.

Tomorrow, a jet plane will be landing in Ottawa airport that, among other things, will contain copious amounts of beautiful British chocolate for this poor girl who can technically now eat chocolate because Lent's over but can't actually eat it because she can't afford to buy it. I'm so excited.
Oh, and my parents will be on the plane, too. I guess that's pretty exciting.
:D :D :D :D

Saturday, 7 April 2012

May the odds be ever in your favour.

The title of this blog post is appropriate for two reasons:
The first is that I have exams soon. Like, really soon. Like, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday soon. And then two more after that. And I hate exams. Well, that's not strictly true. Send me into a Maths exam, and I'm completely fine (I know, an English student who likes Maths surely can't exist, but here I am, darlings), but exams that involve intelligent, creative thought and large amounts of writing in a small amount of time make me horribly unhappy. Those of you who know me will know that I'm not one to get stressed out by academia. My ability to procrastinate more than most people I know and yet still succeed to a reasonably high degree means that I'm somewhat complacent about, well, everything. As such, I don't like pressure, and I don't like it when feels like things are going wrong, and exams induce both feelings. Revision and exam preparation don't stress me out, and I usually come out of the exam with a decent mark, but the 15 hours that I will be spending in an exam room over the next few weeks are my own personal idea of hell. I hate writing under pressure, and it's become apparent that people here write with far more speed than I do, because I will undoubtedly be one of a mere handful of students who keep writing until the 3 hours are up. And it stresses me out. Gah.
The second reason is far less upsetting: I read The Hunger Games this weekend. And by that I mean that I read the entire trilogy. In two days. It quite literally possessed me. As soon as I finished the first book yesterday afternoon, I had to read the second, but since Brittany had the actual book, I found a pdf online. By the time I finished it, I had to go to bed, but as soon as I woke, I stuck my nose straight into the third book.

Granted, I'm one of those horribly uncool people who hadn't even heard of the books until the film came out, and even had the audacity to watch the film before reading the books. But I don't care. The books are wonderful, and so is the film. I'm beginning to have issue with people who feel a sense of superiority by proclaiming that the book is always better than the film, when they are two entirely different art forms. You wouldn't go to a performance of Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet and expect to hear someone declare, "Well I liked it, but the play was much better." No. And while film is undeniably much closer to written literature than music is, it is an unfair comparison to make. If a book is excellent as a book, and a film is awful as a film, then I will wholeheartedly support anyone who wishes to say that the book is better. However, the implicit argument of so many people always seems to be that the book is superior, simply because it is a book, which is, quite frankly, entirely nonsensical. And while I, as a student of the written word, am a huge supporter of books in general, I'm not about to bite your head off if you tell me that you like the Huger Games film, but haven't read the books. I will simply reply with "I agree. It's an amazing film. The books are really good, too. You should read them sometime. Y'know, if you want to." Enthusiasm for the written word does not mean that you have to look down upon anyone who hasn't had a chance to read something yet, or who simply doesn't want to, or even someone who didn't read a book until the movie came out. It's my fault that I'd never heard of the Hunger Games until now, so people have no right to go around acting all superior because they happened to be in the right bookstore at the right time, or didn't have the issue of having a million other books to read for their degree.
Anyways, rant over. Not sure where that came from. You'd think someone had said something to me, but it's more of a result of constantly seeing fans of just about everything berating others for only liking something now that it's mainstream. So what? Doesn't mean that I like it any less than you do. The point is, I adore the Huger Games. Just total admiration. And while they are clearly written for teenagers, they're still well written. There's enough lovey-dovey stuff to keep the hopeless romantic in me hooked, and enough witty humour to keep a punster like me content, but it's not at all an overly whimsical trilogy. It may not have been the most sophisticated book choice, especially since I should probably have been reading Shakespeare or something instead, but it reminded me why I love reading in the first place, and after a few years of putting off reading, be it necessary or recreational reading, I really needed that.
And, whatever your opinions on whether you prefer the book or the film, you cannot deny that reading the book does not allow to swoon over the beautiful Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth. Just sayin'.
*sigh* He's come such a long way since Neighbours!
So this has gone far longer than expected. Other news includes that fact that my parents will be arriving in Canadia in less than 48 hours. Happy face. Also, I'm developing a worryingly enthusiastic like/love of One Direction. Shameful, I know, but they make me happy, and after years of adoring wonderful British boybands who never found success in North America, the fact that I regularly hear "What Makes You Beautiful" on the radio here makes me kinda proud, in a weird way.
So yeah, Hunger Games and One Direction. I may only have a few months before I turn 20, but dammit I'm clinging on to the teenage years for as long as I can.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Final essays handed in after much procrastination.

Final classes ever at Carleton attended.
Exams imminent.
Parents arrive in 4 days yaaaaaaaaaaay.
Exams still imminent.
So tired it hurts.
Sunlight hurts my face.
Canadians wearing double denim. Stop it. Now.
This is about as much sense as I'm capable of making right now, but you get the idea.
1pm is bedtime.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Today I "eh"d.

It was a low point in my life, to say the least. I'm becoming one of them. (On the plus side, Brittany said "cinema" the other day, so at least I know I'm leaving my mark on Canada.)
Today I also saw glee club perform. And Alyson. She was da bomb. I love her. I screamed like a fangirl while Kate recorded the whole thing like the proud parent that she is.
I went to class today. That was novel (y'know, 'cause I'm an English student. Get it? Yeah? Yeah? YEAH?!). One of my classes involved watching Shrek, so, y'know, university life is turning out to be pretty good. One of my other classes involved my professor reading the end of A Tale of Two Cities to us, which almost made me cry. Less good.
In the past week I have submitted three papers. In the next week, I have to submit three more. This place is slowly destroying my soul, but I currently have very little inclination to leave. Ever. Which is a shame, since I have to move out of this fine establishment in less than a month, and leave this fine country in less than two months.
Where is the time going?!
I wish I could stay, but alas, as my funds begin to dwindle and the school year draws to a close, I'm reminded that at some point I have to return to Britain, where my real life is, and I have to get a job and make money and go back to Exeter for my final year and graduate. Yes, I'm graduating next year. What the f**k is that all about? Last year I was a mere fresher, and yet my return to Exeter will signal the beginning of the end. It all seems rather crazy.
This blog post was initially decidedly trivial, and it's suddenly become slightly melancholic. Although, I suppose that it's still trivial in the grand scheme of, well, everything.
My brain is clearly turning to mush, so I shall put my pseudo-philosophical words to rest and end with this:

Sunday, 25 March 2012

In other news,

I'm currently obsessed with these cookies:
(Don't ask me how many I've eaten in the past week, because it will appall you)
And this guy:
So much wordplay it hurts. Hungry, hungry hypocrites.

To dye for.

For a few months now, Brittany has been on some sort of hell-bent mission to corrupt me. She seems to want to send me home with some sort of physical momento of my time here. Like a piercing... or a tattoo... I politely declined both.
Since it has become apparent that I haven't got a rebellious bone in my body, the closest we could get to permanent body-modification was hair dye. I know, I know, how tame, but you have to remember that this is the girl who has revelled in her naturally blonde hair for her entire life, and who once swore that she would never dye her hair.
But, alas, my hair was getting less and less blonde as years went by, so I decided that I may as well dye it. And what exciting colour did I decide to dye it? Blonde. I know, I know, any ounce of rebel credibility that I may have earned just flew out of the window.
So anyways, it's not really that exciting, but I'm most defnitely blonde now, and it makes me rather happy. :)

Monday, 19 March 2012

Last week it was snowy...

And today it's 24 degrees. There's still snow and ice on the canal, and we're walking around in shorts and tank tops. Ottawa weather never fails to completely baffle me.

It is the most beautiful day. I have spent my Monday off wandering around the canal, basking in the beautiful sunshine and consuming frozen sugary delights. Life is good.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

And on a similar note...

I promise to start taking pictures of people, just to prove to you that I actually have friends here. I find cameras in social situations somewhat awkward, but I will endeavour to create some sort of photographic evidence that I haven't just created a whole group of imaginary friends. Honest.

67 days.

We appear to have reached that time in the year when every year-abroader I know is realising just how little time we have left on our crazy adventures. It's interesting to see. Some people seem wholly uninterested by the fact that they're leaving; they're even anxious to get home. Others are wildly protesting the notion of leaving their new lives behind. Others are somewhere on the fence.
So, how do I feel about this whole leaving business? To tell you the truth, I'm not all that sure. I have 45 days left in Ottawa, and 67 days left on this continent, before I hop on a plane back to London and then drag my luggage-laden self back to sunny Newport, where the chavs and the pigeons will no doubt be welcoming me back with open arms.
Now, don't get me wrong, I've got plenty to do over the next 67 days. Between essays, exams, concerts and city-hopping, I won't be short of things to do, but then it'll all be done. Over. Back to reality, and I'm not sure I want that, especially since reality involves moving house and gaining some sort of summer employment.
I'm going to miss this place. While campus buildings may be uninspiring, and the academic quality of this university isn't exactly intellectually or artistically mind-blowing (this fine establishment has the unfortunate nickname of "last chance U" if urban dictionary is to be believed), but I like this place, and, more importantly, I like this city, this country, and these wonderful people. There are so many things about this place that I'm going to miss. They hardly seem extraordinary, but I don't think I will ever grow tired of them: the beautiful canal, the cats behind parliament, buying endless bracelets at the market, McDonald's signs with maple leaves on them, tottering through snow in heels, spotting a previously unnoticed pun on a mural in the tunnels, the adorable houses with their little wooden porches, black squirrels, Tim Hortons, BeaverTails, spontaneous nights at Ollie's because Brittany decides we need to get drunk, complaining that there's "nothing to eat" at the caf and then eating everything anyway, the carts driving around the tunnels, the fact that people here find my British cynicism witty rather than standard behaviour, the general love and enthusiasm for life that people in this country have. Yes, believe it or not, I am going to miss the pep. I went to see The Vagina Monologues on Sunday, and the one thing that really struck me was the genuine fellowship and love that people here have for each other, and they're not afraid to show it. I'm not sure I want to go back to a country where people frown upon public displays of enthusiasm for the very fact that we are alive.
And on a more personal level, I feel like I've finally found my feet here. I'm not going to pretend that this place has radically changed my life. I'm still the daft, insecure girl who eats too much junk food and spends too much time cooped up in her room watching movies instead of writing papers, reading books and enjoying the beautiful scenery. But I like to think that I've changed, in some small way. I feel more certain of myself. Moments of self-doubt are just that: moments. I don't feel like I need to apologise for who I am as much anymore. I'm not a new person, by any means, but I'm just starting to feel like I'm finding a bit more of myself here, and I don't really want to go back until I've learned more.
And, of course, there are countless people here that I don't want to leave behind. Special mention goes to Brittany, who has done more for my sense of female empowerment in a few months than I managed in 19 years. But, you know, I can't spend too much time talking about her, because we don't acknowledge that I'm leaving. Ever.
Obviously, there are things that I'm looking forward to about being home - family, friends, proper chocolate and cheaper food are the first things that come to mind - but as it stands, I'm very reluctant to leave this wonderful place, and I very much look forward to the day when I can come back, and all of the crap that Brittany eats will have caught up with her and she'll be huge (totally joking... sort of...).
But for now, I would very much like it if all of my essays and exams would bugger off, so that I can actually enjoy the time that I have left. Pretty please? No? Oh well, back to the procrastination it is.
Oh, Canada. <3

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Bloody time zones.

Hannah does not appreciate phone calls from Natwest at 4.45am. No, she does not.
Hannah does, however, appreciate sorting things out with banks and plane companies and having a fully confirmed and paid for flight to San Francisco.
Did I mention that I'm excited? No? Well, I am :D

Friday, 9 March 2012

Goodbye money, hello excitement!

So I'm currently in a state of jump-up-and-down excitement because I just booked my month of May, and it is going to be one hell of a month. Hello, Kingston. Hello, Washington DC. Hello, New York. Hello, Boston. Hello, San Francisco.
Yes, you're jealous. I know. But if it's any consolation, my bank balance is currently weeping in emptiness, because flights to San Fran don't come cheap. On the plus side, my bus from New York to Boston was a dollar, so never mind about the super expensive plane ticket.
Oh, I am just SO excited. I really cannot contain myself.
Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeep :D

Saturday, 3 March 2012

On the plus side...

For my film music class, I have to write a music review of the Lion King. Which means that I can justifiably watch the Lion King multiple times. And blast the soundtrack. Awesome, I know.
I can sense your jealousy. Looks a bit like this...


Those of you who know me will know that I'm rather partial to a glass of wine or a pint of cider or two or ten. Those same people will probably know that I am far more partial to drinking said alcohol in pubs or in houses while enjoying the company of friends than I am to being deafened and forced to dance in claustrophobic clubs full of dubious smells and scantily clad females.
However, as a fresher in Exeter, it became apparent to me that going to clubs is invariably part of the student experience. We embrace our freedom and ability to legally drink by getting monstrously car-parked and dancing like fools on the sticky floors of Exeter's finest drinking establishments, while wearing whatever ridiculous clothing that the fancy-dress theme requires (never will I forget staggering off to Timepiece in Spongebob Squarepants pyjamas). And I enjoyed it. It was all for fun and laughs, and noone took it seriously in the slightest.
But clubbing in Ottawa is different. I was discussing this with a girl in one of my classes who was on exchange in Exeter last year, and she agrees. Going to clubs in Exeter is for fun. You go to enjoy being young and be ridiculous. But here, it all seems to be for show. There is no room for people who want to sing along to the songs and dance badly. You either have to be able to dance, and be admired by all around, or grind terrifyingly on anyone and everyone around you. And while I've learned to accept and embrace this style of dancing to a certain extent, I cannot condone blatant dry-humping in public. If I see one more girl leaning forward and rubbing her arse against some sleazy guy's crotch as he eyes her up like she's his whore, I might just throw up. Everything in clubs here is just so sexualised. The guys are there to ogle girls and try and score. The girls are there to show that they can dress in little clothing and dance like whores and can be valuable to men. I have no problem with a woman's right to dance and wear whatever clothes she chooses, but these girls are clearly crying out for sexual validation, and it's sickening. I want to dance because it can be fun and not too serious. I don't want to be squashed in the middle of some giant orgy.
This has turned into a bit of an incomprehensible ramble, but I'm in something of an exasperated mood, and I've been out for the past two nights, and it's looking likely that I'll be dragged out again tonight, and, quite frankly, I cannot be bothered. I miss Arena, where everyone's there to have a good time, and where the success of a night isn't measured by how many people judged you to be worthy enough of pressing their sticky against, but by how many road signs you managed to steal on the walk home.
So frankly, Canadians, you need to lighten up. Stop caring about how you're presenting yourself to the opposite sex, and start having fun. The chances are that if you meet a member of the opposite sex on the dancefloor of a bar or club, they're going to be nothing more than a one night stand. The likelihood of meeting someone with whom you actually have something in common aside from a fear of actual conversation is slim, so just lighten up. If you're looking for your soulmate in a club, then you seriously need to reassess your life. Save your stripper dancing for music videos, put on a ridiculous costume and learn the beauty of "big fish, little fish, cardboard box". Please.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Reading week is officially over.

And I'm already knackered. Although that may have had something to do with late-night Othello-watching and essay-writing. Maybe.
Bah. One and a half hours is not a long enough break between classes to walk home, have a nap and walk to the next class, so, as you can see, I am instead slumped at my desk staring mindlessly at the internet. I say this like it's any different to any other day. On the plus side, I have pretty nails. My nail-painting has become slightly obsessive, for I know that if I don't paint them, then I will bite them, but my inability to sit still means that any nail varnish that lasts more than a day before it is picked off should consider itself very lucky. The one thing that this picture does not accurately display (aside from the fact that it's a mirror image, so technically isn't displaying anything accurately) is that the purpley-looking nail polish is sparkly, and the blue nail polish glows in the dark. Yeah. I know. I'm so cool it hurts. Oh, wait. No. Sorry. I'm so tired it hurts. That makes much more sense.
In other news, I'm currently obsessed with this song...

... and this tv programme...
 Dylan Moran has been fuelling my procrastination over the past few days, and for that, I thank him.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to drag myself all the way back to Southam (ok, so it's a 10/15min walk, but still...) and listen to my Brit Lit professor ramble about Keats, why students shouldn't have jobs and how none of us has any prospects in life. And his wife. Oh joy.

Friday, 24 February 2012

And while we're on the subject of Bens that I'm in love with...

Not you, Teague, although I do love you very much. <3
No, the Ben in question is the wonderful Ben Kling, whose name the more observant stalkers among you might recognise as the one behind those lol-worthy dictator valentines from my St. Valentine's Day post. Just look at him. Look. At. Him. He's just so pretty. And his blog makes me giggle. And he sings. His cover of Toxic is just wonderful, as is his song "Monkey in a Suit" (both of which can be listened to here).
And yes, I'm aware that I'm shamelessly plugging some random guy on the internet, but he's cute, and I find him entertaining, and I thought you might do too.
And I kinda love him. There is also that.
I'm not a crazy fangirl. Honest.
*shifty eyes* 

If it's not too much trouble,

I'd very much like to have this man and this cat in my life:

As is so often the case, I find myself in the aftermath of watching a terribly sappy and heartbreaking film of love and loss, and so I am currently in a bizarre flux between sobbing like a fool and swooning over the beauty of Ben Whishaw. I suppose one might say that I'm "swobbing", but that's a terribly ugly-sounding word.
But anyways, my point is that I just watch Bright Star, and it was quite lovely, and had a wonderful soundtrack, and had that gorgeous man you see above in it, and a cat, and reduced me to a hopelessly weeping mess. Did I mention that I'm a little bit in love with Ben Whishaw? And the cat? Yeah.

Reading Week is almost over.

How on earth did that happen? How is it already Friday?
I've managed to waste my week away, sleeping and going to the Caf and eating all the food. Wait, I retract my comment about that being a waste of a week. That's the best kind of week to have.
Nevertheless, there is still much work to do, and while I can commend myself for reading half a novel and sewing my holey clothes (check me out, all domesticated and what not), I cannot ignore my essays. Boo.
On an unrelated note, it's started snowing again. Like, really snowing. The White Witch has clearly returned. Where's Aslan when you need him?
In honour of the snow, here are some pictures of snowy Ottawa and cats and squirrels that I took a few weeks ago :)

Now if you'll excuse me, the Caf is serving "English-style fish and chips" today. I'm not missing that for the world.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Toronto take 2.

I went to Toronto. Again. This time for more than a day. I'd tell you about it, but I took pictures, so you can look at them instead.
Not a bad view from the roof, really.
Slushees at 2am, because we're just that cool.

Exeter Impy flashbacks in the middle of Toronto <3
A mini Team Team reunion :)

The sun emerging over Toronto. There are worse things to see at 7am.
Niagara Falls: "It's like Barry Island on speed."
Glow-in-the-dark mini-golf. Your argument is invalid.
Convincing from a distance, but look a little closer.
Family Day = 25% discount at CN Tower = WIN.
Lake Ontario looking beautiful from the top of the CN Tower.
Is it sad that I'm more excited about the fact that in this photo I'm wearing purple jeans and a "Soft Kitty" tshirt than I am about the fact that I'm at the top of the CN Tower?
Casual Myspace mirror pic at the top of the CN Tower.
Yeah, I'm not really sure either...
Om nom nom nom.
Streetcar. Sadly not named Desire.