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.