Behind the scenes: July and August 2017

Posted on September 11, 2017 under Life

Back when I was taking driving lessons, my instructor asked me when my summer break would start. It was early enough in my lessons that the idea of speaking and driving simultaneously was ludicrous to me, so I just laughed and said shortly, “I don’t have a summer break.” So, yes, July and August were spent working 40+ hours a week (as all my months have been for the past year), but they were also spent preparing for my move to Scotland. (Which is a thing that happened, but in September, so you will hear about it next time.) However, I did manage to get a bit of stuff done outside of working and packing!

Officiated a wedding

I mentioned this already, but my amazing friends Paige and MJ got married in July and I officiated the wedding! It was an absolutely perfect day! It had rained all week but the day of the wedding it was sunny but not too hot. The ceremony went smoothly, the vows were beautiful, and the reception was so much fun. What an honour not only to celebrate their love but to officiate their wedding! I get a little nervous with public speaking, but the rehearsal really soothed my nerves. It went well and it was in front of everyone who mattered, and on the day of I was able to pretty much tune out everyone but the beautiful brides. I tend to speak quickly when I’m nervous so I was very careful to pace myself, and it all turned out well. Then when the ceremony was over I got to celebrate by dancing so enthusiastically that I managed to give myself a mysterious and very large bruise on my leg. As a bonus, my friends and I rented a farmhouse in small-town Ontario for the weekend of the wedding, which was awesome. It came with a barn in the backyard!!!

In case anyone was wondering, here’s a picture of my dress (which is also the FIRST picture my friend/old roommate Katie and I got together in daylight in three years):

I literally looked through thousands of dresses online and hated everything I found and ordered this one from ASOS in a moment of desperation. It fit perfectly and the brides loved it because it contrasted nicely with the peachy-pinks the bridesmaids wore. All in all a success!

Went to Montreal

I feel like there is a trip to Montreal in all of my Behind the Scenes posts! I moved back to Toronto in April 2016 and since then I don’t think Katie and I have gone more than about 2 months not seeing each other. The Megabus journey isn’t fun, but it’s worth it to get to hang out. In Montreal we did private room karaoke (a classic activity for my friend group) and went to see the excellent Revolution exhibition at the MMFA. Oh, and we ate a lot of really good, cheap food (Montreal is the best for that) and drank canned sangria by the Lachine canal. All in all, pretty perfect. (Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” literally contains the line “Drink sangria in the park”, although that song is also very melancholy and possibly about heroin so maybe not the best descriptor of my weekend with my friends.)

Passed my driving test

I finished my driving lessons in May, but I definitely wasn’t ready for my test at that point. I was nervous about how to proceed since my dad sold his car in the early 2000s, but luckily his good friend has a car with his name on the insurance. He was so patient and wonderful taking me out driving a few hours a week. He’s a great teacher and really built my confidence. And it all paid off, because I passed my driving test in mid-August!

The test is a bit of a blur – it was only 15 minutes long and felt even shorter. I remember taking a left turn and thinking, “Oh my god, did I check my mirror? Wait, have I checked my mirrors at all this entire time?” Then my examiner told me to parallel park and I said, “No problem,” which I immediately regretted because WHAT IF THERE WAS A PROBLEM AND I JUST LOOKED LIKE A COCKY JERK FOR NOTHING?! Luckily, I did it perfectly, and then completed a perfect 3-point turn, so I was feeling very confident heading back to the testing centre. Then my examiner threw me a huge curveball by asking me to front-in park. Now, I had been told that I would be asked to either parallel park or back-in park, so naturally I spent nine million hours practicing back-in parking since I found it pretty difficult. OF COURSE I had to front-in park. The combination of the surprise and the fact that I hadn’t practiced it nearly as much led me to unfortunately do a terrible job of it, and I was 100% convinced I had failed my test because, really, how are you supposed to pass when you end up parked in two spots? I took my test at 3pm on a Friday and I think my examiner was just done for the week because he shrugged and said, “Eh. I’ll pass you.” My instructor was waiting in the parking lot and witnessed the whole thing and said he was sure I had failed. (Me too, buddy!) I think my excellent parallel park is what saved me. Anyway, I actually DO know how to drive despite the error and now I have a license to prove it.

I know driving isn’t an especially impressive skill, but I’m pretty proud of myself. I had no interest in driving until I was 20, and I felt a little overwhelmed because I was quite a bit older than average when I actually started the process of getting my license. (I was 3 weeks away from 22 when I got my learner’s permit.) I went from having never touched a steering wheel to a licensed driver in about 4 months, and I passed my test on my first try at a testing centre with a 50% fail rate. So… I’m going to toot my own horn a bit here. ;)

Had a going away party

I hosted a going away party in my backyard before I left, and it was so great. It was lowkey and fun, which was exactly what I wanted. I felt super lucky because I had multiple friends come out of town for it. Also because my mom made 3 pitchers of sangria and her sangria is the best ever. ALSO because my friends brought a shrimp ring because I had been complaining about how expensive they are. I like shrimp but I mainly wanted a platter because they are a vehicle for cocktail sauce, which is one of the best things ever invented. So, friends, sangria, and cocktail sauce – who can complain?!

And that is pretty much that for July and August. I think I’ll probably have some more exciting stuff to share in my next behind the scenes post!

May + June 2017 Behind the Scenes

Posted on June 30, 2017 under Life

So… we’re already halfway through 2017, and I have a little over two months left in Canada. (One of the things I did in May was book my flight to Glasgow!) Here’s what I’ve been up to since the last time I checked in.

Saw Laura Marling

Laura Marling

Laura Marling is one of my favourite musicians of all time. She released her sixth album in the spring and it was as glorious as I had hoped. Her folk-inspired music is intimate, haunting, and beautiful. She’s also an incredible performer: understated, mesmerizing, powerful. I’ve loved her music since 2011 and I will take any opportunity to see her live. I truly think she’s one of the most talented living artists. (The first time I saw her, St. Vincent and Cara Delevingne were in attendance, so clearly she’s doing something right.) If you haven’t heard her music, her new album Semper Femina is wonderful, and I Speak Because I Can and A Creature I Don’t Know are tied for first place in my heart.

Got a tattoo

When my grandpa died in September, I knew that my next tattoo would be for him. I spent a long time really thinking it over, for obvious reasons. I remembered a photo my uncle had taken of him kayaking a few years ago and decided that I wanted that image rendered in traditional style. My grandpa was in the merchant marines as a young man and he loved nothing more than being on the water. Even as his health began to decline, he always made it a point to kayak each summer, although it was very difficult for him to get into and out of the boat. He was determined to live his life to the fullest, physical limitations be damned. The picture symbolizes so much about him. I absolutely love how the tattoo turned out and I’m so happy to have my grandpa with me always. (By the way, I’m big on flower symbolism – I have four tattoos that all include flowers – and when I found out that forget-me-nots were his birth flower I squealed at how perfect that was.)

Turned 23

My birthday was on June 19. I managed to wrangle myself a nice little 4-day weekend, which I mostly took pretty easy. My family went out for sushi to celebrate on the Saturday before, and then on my actual birthday I went to the mall to treat myself with birthday money. It was a low-key day, but I also managed to wake up with a summer cold on my birthday, so that’s alright!

Went to my friend’s bachelorette

Two of my good friends are getting married in a few weeks, and one of them had a bachelorette in Toronto which I got to attend. It was super fun and made me so excited for the wedding! I’ve never been to a wedding before, and I can’t wait. It’s in just two weeks now and I’m buzzing with anticipation.

Took the guinea pigs outside

Now that the weather is nice, we’ve been taking Cassius and Wally outside. Since they’re hairless we can only do it when it’s overcast, or they’ll burn. But they just love standing there eating grass like mini cows. Also, Cassius made a new friend…!

And that is what’s up with me!

Books read: 11
Times I woke up at 4am to buy overpriced tickets to see Harry Styles in London: 2
Percent of my soul that loves Lorde’s new album: 100 (Writer In the Dark and Liability, though, am I right?)

March + April 2017 Behind the Scenes

Posted on April 29, 2017 under Life

It’s time for another Behind the Scenes post already! 2017 really is flying by. Last week marked a year since I’ve been back in Toronto, which seems impossible. It’s only a few months now until I’m off to the UK. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been up to.

Went to driving school

I don’t think I ever actually mentioned this on my blog, but I got my G1 license back in June. The G1 consists solely of a written test, and I have to pass a road test to get my G2 license, which allows me to drive with almost no restrictions. I finally went to driving school in mid-March. Because of my work schedule I had to do a four-day intensive course over public school March break, so about 85% of the people in my class were teenagers. I got 103% in my in-class course! I’ve also been doing driving lessons, and so far so good. It’s a bit nerve-wracking, but I’m managing. Although I’m sure you’ll understand the utter panic I felt when my first lesson involved going forward and reversing up and down the same 20 feet of my street and my second lesson was driving on main streets in downtown Toronto. Prior to my first lesson I had never so much as touched a steering wheel, so when my instructor said we’d be doing main streets for day two I was like, “Excusez-moi?” But I pretty much have regular driving conditions down and I’m not half bad at parallel parking. Driving in the city is a bit nerve-wracking, but I figure if I can do that I can do anything. I’m not ready for my road test yet, but I’m hoping to pass it before I leave for the UK in September.

Went to Montreal

I was just in Montreal at the end of February for a girls’ weekend with my ladies, but I went back again at the end of March so I could see Green Day with my old roommate, Katie. I saw Green Day in 2010 when I was 16 and it was awesome, and Katie and I had been saying forever that we had to go together. I paid $311 for our floor tickets, but it was totally worth it. I’ve been a Green Day fan for half my life and getting to experience it with one of my best friends was a joy! I wish they’d played more of their old stuff since I don’t care about anything they’ve released since American Idiot, but you can’t have it all.

Went to Kentucky

I went on a quick trip to Kentucky at the end of March/beginning of April. I’ve been to Kentucky three times since August 2015, all for memorials for family members, so they’re not exactly the happiest trips. Kentucky really is such a physically beautiful state, though. Not so much politically. Check out what I found at Liquor Barn:

Yes, when I opened the card my jaw literally dropped in the middle of an empty aisle and I ran, hyperventilating, to find my parents to show it to them. Although I have to say I’m not sure if the message or the terrible rendering of Joe Biden is more offensive…

However, I did find a bakery in Berea, KY which bears my name, which was cool:

Got a haircut

My hairdresser needed a hair model last minute, so I agreed to go in and get a few inches lopped off. I’d been debating a cut for awhile, and I’m glad I went for it. My hair is a lot healthier now, and I do enjoy it at this length. Sometimes I miss being able to do high ponytails and buns at the top of my head, but at this point my hair is so damaged that it does a lot better when it’s well above my shoulders.

Hosted a friend in Toronto

At the end of March, I visited Katie in Montreal, and at the end of April she came to see me (and our other friends) in Toronto! She just finished her degree, so she took a quick little trip now that she’s free. It’s a running joke in our lives that even though we’ve known each other for over three years there are no pictures of us together in daylight, and we continued that trend this time around. It was a really nice visit, though, filled with good food and lots of time spent with our friends.

The weather’s been really nice this month, and I have to say that overall March and April were very pleasant months. I don’t want to jinx it, but now that we’re a third of the way through 2017 it’s looking a lot better than 2016. Hopefully the momentum continues!