Monday, June 09, 2014

Here Comes Summer

So, summer is finally here, and I've finally got a minute to think about things other than just WORK all the time. People have always told me that I'm a crazy workaholic - I've never believed them, thinking that I might just be one of the laziest beings on the face of this Earth.

If the past 5 years of my life are any testament to my character, though, I think I might finally have to admit that "they" are right, and I am wrong. My name is Audrey, and I am a workaholic. The good news is, I totally ADORE my job, teaching math to 17 and 18 (and 19 and 20 and even a 22) year olds. I'm going to mega miss my students. :-P I have to say, though, it's kind of nice to have over 2 months of summer break from work in my immediate future. With the arrival of summer, I find that I have this song constantly stuck in my head:

I do love the Yum Yums! For the record, Goldmine magazine ranked their album, " good music" as number 1 of 2013. Norwegian power pop beat out even Paul McCartney - how cool is that?!? I would totally die of happiness to see them live - come to Montreal????

Anyhow, so yeah, it's summer, and I've got big summer plans. For those of you that don't know yet, this is what my summer is going to look like: -right now, I'm in Louisiana. I've been here since last Tuesday, and I'm leaving Wednesday.
-Malaysia from June 13 to June 30 (I leave the morning of June 11th to arrive on the 13th - I will be traveling FOREVER!!!!)

-Paris July 1, 2, 3
-Denmark July 3-8
-Luxembourg July 8-10
-Belgium July 10-14
-Jackson Hole, Wyoming (with the fam!!!!) July 14-21

After that, things are still up in the air. I am HOPING to head to Japan from July 21st to August 4th or 5th - I'll spend about a week in the Nagoya area before heading up to Akita and Aomori then spend my last two days or so in Tokyo. I guess I'll know tomorrow if that's really happening. If it doesn't happen, I'll either head straight back to Montreal or to Louisiana. I realllllly want to go to Japan, though, so hopefully that works out! :-)

If you're going to be in any of the places where I am going to be, let me know - I'm sure I'd love to see you! :-)

I am PLANNING on blogging my way through summer (I know, we all know how my plans for blogging always turn out), so check back sometimes to see if that actually happens. :-)

ALSO, I've decided to attempt to do the 100 Happy Days thing. I think the tag line should actually be called "Do you have the discipline to post a picture every day for 100 days straight?" as opposed to "Can you be happy for 100 days straight?" I'm doing my best - if you want to see what makes me happy every days, follow me on instagram (or tumblr or facebook)!

And that's all for now, folks! And, if anyone's interested, this is what I listened to/watched while composing this entry:

For serious, Kepi Ghoulie has to be one of the coolest dudes ever.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Jobs and TV and DECORA!!!!

I think most of you know already, but on my last day at Vanier, I interviewed at John Abbott College. They were doing their interviews on Thursday, but I had to go in on Monday because I was going to be in Louisiana on Thursday. They were sooooooo nice to work everything out so that they could do the interview on Monday, especially since I was giving a final that night, and my Monday wasn't exactly flexible.

So then I went to Louisiana, and on Friday morning, I got an e-mail saying that they had picked me for the job and that I was their unanimous first choice!! I thought the interview went well, but still, I was surprised that they picked me (for a daytime position!!!!), when I have so little experience. Anyway, the atmosphere at the interview was super nice, and everyone seemed incredibly friendly. They all seem to really like each other (unlike at Vanier), so, even though it's a suuuuper long commute (an hour and a half - though I guess Vanier was 50 minutes, so it's really not THAT big of a difference), I'm incredibly excited about the new job!

It will be my first time with an actual salary since I was living in France (and doing the worst job ever with the worst boss ever). I am SUPER EXCITED!!!! It doesn't start until the 20th, but I have meetings all week next week. And I am SUPER NERVOUS about it! What if I end up being an awful, awful teacher, and it was just a fluke that I felt like I did okay this past term and that my students seemed to like me.

G and I are celebrating Christmas tomorrow (!!!!), so this past week, I have been pretending it's still Christmas. (pretending, pshaw, it IS still Christmas!!!!). As such, I have been watching lots and lots of Christmas movies! :-) And I think I have a new favorite, that I will definitely be adding to the roster of movies that I must watch every year - A Very Merry Mix-Up. It was a Hallmark movie, and it was literally too adorable for words!

I loved it so much that I've been thinking I might want to start some Hallmark TV. I was thinking of maybe trying When Calls the Heart, even though it looks tooooootally cheesy! But I love cheesy! :-) I've also been thinking of maybe trying to watch Ravenswood, to try to rekindle my romance with abc Family, which has sort of gone sour since the end of Make it or Break It (BEST SHOW EVER). I've got soooo much TV to watch, though (Japanese TV shows, Sherlock, House of Cards, Downton Abbey), I really don't need to be adding any new shows to the mix. I just FEEL like I do since I have had the past week off. I am sure that once I start work again, I won't have time to watch anything.

In other news, I have been OBSESSED lately with Mimi Petit Deco. Yaaaaayyyyy for Decoden! And yyyaaaaayyyyy for Decora Style!!!! (though, I admit, I could do without all the hairpieces) Anyhow, the Mimi Petit Deco cell phone cases are sooooo cute, and I want to get one soooooo badly! I want one all pink and turquoise with an adorable unicorn on it. Maybe it will be my "I got a new job" present to myself once I have started, if I feel like it goes well.

Anyhow, that's all I have to say today, folks! Tomorrow is (fake) Christmas, and I'm psyched!

After Christmas is over tomorrow, perhaps I will post about Christmas in Louisiana then Christmas here. YayyyyyyY! I can't wait to wake up super early and open presents. ::happiness::


Sunday, January 05, 2014

A Photo Voyage Through 2013

Somehow, it really felt like 2013 was a year in which NOTHING happened. And it's true that things were pretty mellow compared to some of the previous years of my life. But yesterday, I was FINALLY taking all of the photos off of my camera (for the first time in nearly a year, since March), and I realized that some pretty cool things actually did happen.

And, since I posted exactly twice during the year, I thought I would take us on a photo journey through the year!

In April, boy's brother and his girlfriend took a little trip to New York, so boy and I headed down with Rieko, and we spent a lovely weekend in New York, hanging out with Josh and Rachel and Alex (and his new boyfriend Taylor).

Since I was sad about missing the cherry blossoms in Japan, Alex brought us to a cherry blossom festival in New Jersey, which was suuuuuuuper fun! It wasn't quite as beautifully amazingly wonderful as cherry blossom season in Japan, but it was still great! :-)

Oh, and I got to hang out with Justin for the first time in AGES, which was amazing!!!!

A few weeks later, boy's parents, along with his mom's friend, came to visit us, and we had a great time, buying tons of new things (that we desparately needed) for the apartment, hiking up the mountain, and hanging out doing fun Montreal things!
They also bought us lots and lots of delicious chocolate, which is the thing that makes me most happy in life!

And now I totally don't remember the order, but this stuff also happened:
We went to the Francofolies and saw Dumas (who played the SAME SONGS that I remember liking 10 years ago) with Les Trois Accords. Soooooo many people were smoking, though, that it was making me sick, and I had to leave, nauseated with a near migraine, after only seeing them.

We went to see amazing art at the Botanical Gardens - there were sooooo many amazing sculptures that it's impossible to pick just one as my favorite.
We also saw beautiful Chinese lights at the Botanical Gardens - I'll definitely be going back this year!

We went to comicon and saw LOTS of amazing costumes! And I was inspired to try to do cosplay, though I haven't yet had the opportunity to follow through with that.

Guy got married in a totally beautiful, totally adorable, totally Guy wedding ceremony! (Annie, the bride, and I somehow managed to get our dresses caught together as I was leaving, and I was totally afraid that they were going to have to cut my dress off to separate us. Annie was not amused. I was dying laughing)

And Pattycakes and I danced like crazy fools! :-)

Rieko and I dressed up and went to Rocky Horror to celebrate Halloween! I tried to dress up as a rainbow, but I feel like I look a bit more like a 70's disco star gone wrong.
It was freezing outside, but we had a great time nonetheless, and I think Rieko enjoyed her first Rocky Horror experience.

We went to le festival Juste Pour Rires and had a great time making our way through this super fun maze!

I volunteered in the yukata booth at the Nihon Matsuri, and I ended up in a yukata that was WAY TOO SHORT for me! Still, I met some really nice people and was luckily in a position in which I didn't have to actually put yukata on people, as I was terrible at it.

I went to see the New Kids on the Block (who were, of course, amazing) on their package tour with Boyz II Men (who are now men, and who were terrible) and 98 Degrees (who, with the exception of Nick Lachey, seem to be losing to age)!!!!

We went back to New York for Rachel and Josh's wedding, which was beautiful and wonderful and perfect and amazing. It took place in a book store, and all of the food was vegan, including the cake!! They were gorgeous, and I can't believe they're married now!

While in New York this time, it was also Alex's birthday, so we had festivities with him. And my Aunt Boogie was in town, so we stayed with her, and she and I went to see Kinky Boots, which was suuuuuuper rad! I brought Aunt Boogie on the subway, and, apparently, it is to this day an experience she talks about - her great subway experience!
We also ate lots of delicious vegan doughnuts!!

We spent the day in Ottawa in the rain.

On the way back from Ottawa (in the rain), we saw a beautiful double rainbow!

We played with a giant Nintendo (and saw really cool art) at La Nuit Blanche (for the record, it was not a white night for me - it was far too cold, so I was at home in bed by 1 at the latest).

We saw lots of people dressed up crazy awesome for the Zombie Walk! Unfortunately, we couldn't participate. But the reason we didn't participate was awesome - we got to go fake crash planes in a flight simulator, which was totally cool. And made me totally sick.

I did karaoke with Rieko!

I got a job teaching math at Vanier (though now it looks like I'm probably moving to John Abbott)

Rieko's sister, Aina, and her mother came into town, and we did lots of hanging out - good times!

I saw my friends Ukrainian dance troupe, which was super cool. Even if I was unable to imagine how they were DANCING dressed as they were when I was dripping sweat just standing there.

I dealt with a LOT more snow than I would have liked.

I got SOAKED in the rain on numerous occasions and was mostly happy about it!

I played lots and lots of games with friends, including Jenga (for the record, I lost miserably. Almost every time).

I did lots of hanging out with Rieko!

I met Andi's turtle and her adopted kitty cats! The turtle was sooooo cute (and also, sadly, traumatized by the kitties).

I also went to San Francisco to hang out with my friend Mikey G! We had an AMAZING time, and he even brought me to do trapeze, which was soooooooo much fun!!!! There's a video somewhere.

I went to visit Krist in Colorado, and we went to see Taylor Swift (as my birthday present!!!!), which was soooooo much fun! We also had a "cleaning out your closet" party and went to a Grease sing-a-long! Yay!!!!

I went to Turks and Caicos with the family, where we stayed in an AMAZING house with an amazing beach and did AMAZING things, including scuba diving! It was my first time ever, and I was pretty scared about it, but it was amazing in the end!

I also spent several weeks over the summer in Louisiana! Satoshi and Chieko came to visit from Japan, and we did LOTS of stuff - we went to the Tabasco factory, we went on a swamp tour, we saw lots of alligators, we played tennis, we went to Natchitoches, and we just had an amazing time!

We also celebrated my birthday while there, and I got lots of super fun presents and had lots of fun pink things!

Satoshi and Chieko also got to go wakeboarding for the first time! So fun!

I also was in Louisiana another time for my grandmother's birthday - sooooo much fun! Unfortunately, I don't seem to have any pictures of that. I'm sure lots of other things also happened, but this is long, so this is where I will end now. I'm tired of writing! Bye bye 2013!!!!


Wednesday, January 01, 2014

New Year's Resolutions for 2014

明けまして、おめでとうございます!Happy New Year 2014~!

So, I have NO IDEA if I'm going to start blogging again this year or not. . .and I've decided not to force it. I always pretend that I'm going to restart and then fail miserably. And really. . .why give myself something else to fail at? So I'm not going to pretend, and then, if it happens, which I would like, it happens. :-) That said, I did decide that I will make some New Year's Resolutions. And what better way to make myself feel accountable than by writing about them in my blog? So, here we go:

New Year's Resolutions 2014

1: Respond to people when they talk to me. Even if I find it uninteresting. Even if I have nothing to say. I will at least make some kind of sign that I heard what was said. (I think that this one is going to be very hard for me)

2: TRAVEL! 2013 was a bad year for travel - I went to Turks and Caicos and San Francisco. And New York. And of course I spent quite a bit of time in Louisiana. But those were like, little trips. And none of it really felt like "traveling." So, for 2014, I'd like to make it a point to go to at least one place AMAZING - Cambodia and Vietnam, perhaps?

3: Practice Japanese! 2013 was an awful year for that as well. I started the year with comfortable fluency and ended the year with stuttering inability to find the words that I'm looking for or express the thoughts that I'm thinking. I guess this means I probably need to spend at least 2 weeks in Japan. And make sure that I do something every day to further the learning process, be it watch amazing teen J-Drama (Yamamoto Yuusuke, Miura Shouhei, Mukai Osamu, PLEASE do more teen romance!!), reading something, talking to Japanese friends, or studying kanji. . .just something.

4: Respond to e-mails in a timely manner. As in, if I receive a time sensitive e-mail, I will make an effort to respond right away, as opposed to waiting 6 months until the e-mail is no longer relevant. E-mails that aren't time sensitive - yeah, I'm going to make an effort to actually respond to those. Wish me luck!

Okay, I think 4 is probably already a lot, but there are lots of other things that I am going to TRY to do in the New Year as well. Like, stay happy! Think less about Japan! Be in touch with old friends! Continue to love teaching math! Try to love teaching English! Be an amazing person to myself and others! Find time to keep learning Python! Smile a lot - all the time, even! Spend more time with people and less time avoiding people! Yeah, that kind of thing.

Oh, and of course - I must make an effort to surround myself with kawaii things. All the time! Which will help me with the always smiling thing. :-) Which means I must also make an effort to pay more attention to my clothes and dress super kawaii like the girl to the left (I'm sure this won't happen and I will continue to wear jeans and hoodies every day, but I can always DREAM about wearing lolita dresses and tutus with unicorn tights, right?)

And that's all for now. Perhaps you'll hear from me again soon! I had a great Christmas (even if it was RIGHT AFTER I had surgery and I was therefore in pain and somewhat grumpy from the awful medication that I will NEVER take again), and I'd love to write about it. So maybe I will!


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Return to the Winters of Montreal

So, I've been in Montreal for nearly 5 months now, and I've only written ONCE. Uncool, Audrey, uncool. And it's not really like I've even been all that busy. Anyhow, I finally decided it was time to remedy that.

I figure the easiest way to go about this is to first talk about all of the things I have been up to in Montreal lately. :-) And then, if I have time, energy, desire, etc. . . I'll go back and talk about Japan (though I lost my camera, and so all of the last pictures I took in Japan are gone. Sadness) and Louisiana time. In the meantime, Montreal. Let's start in the beginning!

When I first got here, it was fall, and the leaves were beautiful! (though, admittedly, nothing like the momiji in Kourankei)

I stayed with my friends Marika and Dave for a while while boy and I looked for an apartment.

Me hanging out with Marika-cakes in Park Jeanne Mance!

Apartment hunting took way longer than it should have taken, and I ended up staying with boy's friend, Cyril, for a while until we finally found a lovely little apartment in the area of Montreal known as the Plateau.

It's central to nearly everything, which is good for extraordinarily lazy people like me (it means there's a chance of me actually going out occasionally) but which is also sad because there's just not nearly enough green.

After several dramas (our pipes froze and we were without water for a week; a huge shelf fell out of the wall on top of me, flooding our kitchen with whiskey, water, sugar, and glass; etc...), we finally got settled into the apartment! :-)

Alright, here's what's been up. When I first got to Montreal, it was a really cool, because it just so happened to be a time when several old friends that no longer live here (or have never lived here) were visiting. As such,

I got to hang out with my friend Ashlee from Nova Scotia. I hadn't seen her in over 7 or 8 years, so that was awesome!


I got to hang out with my friend Lauren, from McGill. She lived in France when I was living in France, so we got to hang out a bit there, but still, I hadn't seen her in at least 3 years. Good times!

I've also been having a great time catching up with friends that still live here. It's been especially cool to get to hang out with Pat, Marika, Ariane, and Dave!

Me with Patty-Cakes and Marika

Me with Ariane

Unfortunately, Marika has returned to Vancouver for an indefinite period of time, so that's sad, but I'm looking forward to her return!

I've also been making some new friends and attempting to survive the winter with them. I don't know if you guys know this, but winter in Montreal is LONG. And COLD. And nothing like Louisiana. And nothing like Japan. And somehow I had deluded myself into believing that it wouldn't be this difficult for me.

This is March.

In the beginning of winter, I pseudo-consoled myself by baking like a crazy crazy person.

Seriously, I made Christmas cookies and more Christmas cookies and apple butter and banana/apple sauce and a ton of different soups and. . . the list goes on and on and on

I also decided that I need to become a crafty person, so I took up knitting (I'm awful at it, but I love it - what can I say),

and I went crazy making tote bags for everyone I know. I had a little bit of company with this, and Marika decided that she wanted to be crafty with me. :-)

I also manage to force myself to take time AWAY from the kitchen in order to celebrate Ariane's birthday! I think the last time we celebrated together, she was turning 22. Now she's 27 (I THINK - my memory for these things is awful)

Sophie and Ariane at Ariane's birthday!

Then I went home to Louisiana for Christmas, and when I got back, I immediately sliced my hand open chopping rutabaga and had to get stitches - on the same night that the power went out because of a fire in a building down the street. I put the rutabaga in the powerless oven, forgot to turn the oven back off, and ended up with charred rutabaga in the morning. Fun times! :-)

This put a minor damper on my feelings of craftiness and perhaps made me realize that I should try to enjoy winter while being outside - Montreal has a plethora of outdoor activities to offer in winter, and I decided it was time to participate.
Sooo, my friend Rieko and I went La Fete des Neiges, where we got to go tube sliding, which was SUPER fun (though also super freezing)! I also got to eat my very first (and so far only) tire sur la neige of the winter. Yummy!

Us on the tube that you unfortunately can't see in the photo

Then we went shopping in Chinatown. Rieko wanted to buy some colored contacts, and it was buy 2 get 1 free, so she got me some purple ones.

These are my purple eyes, though you can't really tell. Since then, I have tried to put the contacts in again, to see if they would look miraculously more purple, but I have failed every time.

We also went to La Nuit Blanche with Guillaume and Nazim, though the lines to get in everywhere seemed to be miles and miles long, so we didn't really do much.

Rieko and Audrey, cold at La Nuit Blanche
playing with the giant Nintendo controller with Guillaume
Art at La Nuit Blance - my head is the wrong way!

To escape the snow and the cold, we've been playing Uno and watching cheesy Japanese variety shows! Yay for friends that want to watch J-variety with me! :-)

And then a couple weekends ago Guillaume and I went to Toronto for a basketball game.

Toronto Raptors versus Miami Heat - of course, Miami won, but it was a much closer game than I would have thought. It was actually really fun!

While in Toronto, we also got to eat at lots of delicious vegan restaurants - we even got brunch! Banana nut pancakes with tofu scramble and tempeh all doused in maple syrup- pure delicousness!

Oh, and the other day, it snowed again, even though I had thought that the snow was over. So, I decided that Rieko and I would make a snowman!

We both forgot our gloves, so our little dude was SUPER small, but he was definitely the CUTEST snowman in the park!

And of course, I keep knitting - every Thursday in a cafe.

Ariane knitting!
> Unfortunately, though, the cafe where we always knit is closing down, so tomorrow will be our last Thursday there. Mega sadness!

Things I didn't do this winter but probably should have: ice skate (and I really wanted to), hike up Mont Royal (and I really wanted to), and ski (I'll admit that I'm glad I avoided this)

Aaaaaand, this was super super super super long, but I hope at least the pictures kept you interested! And now you're totally caught up on my life in Montreal! :-) And hopefully I'll post more often so that, next time, it won't be neeearly this long.