Sunday, September 4, 2011

Merci

I'm stealing this idea from a fellow travel blogger but I'd like to give a shout out and thank you to all of the amazing and wonderful people that I've met on my travels and who made this trip worth it.

Thank You:
The amazing couple from the plane ride over, I would have been lost without you, you are saints <3
Leyla
Kasia
Amanda
Mariangela
Luke
Christy
Sante
Juliet
Matt
Eric
The girls at the Wooden Belly
Clayton
James
Lewis
Justin
Owen
Benjamine
Joy (special thanks for the mirror!)
Mathew
 Luke (from audio)
The annoyingly bubbly girl from the London Hostel

Thank you to All!

Tourist 4 Life

I went to London for the last time during this trip with my three Canadian friends. We stayed at a hostel called The Monkeys in the Trees that was very cottage-y and warm.. I recommend! On the first night, Juliet and I went on a search for a good tavern meal and ended up at a beautiful new mall in Westfield. We then crossed theThames to the SWAP/BUNAC Pub Meet. I enjoyed a few glasses of the traditional Pimm's. When the scene got dull, we headed over to a club called Los Locos (next to Shrek!) and danced. On the way home we got desperately lost and when you have three drunk Canadian kids in a city like London, it might as well be an impossible labyrinth. Luckily, we ended up only being about a block from the hostel..

As for site seeing, we checked out the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square (where you are NOT allowed to take pictures), Buckingham palace and Postman's Park(from my favorite movie Closer!), a park dedicated to people who died saving the lives of others. Seeing this last one, made my trip worthwhile.. There's something about the idea of Alice Ayers that gets to me, and I was born on her day of death!
PS: more photos added to 'Photos of England' Page :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

NB Bound

I'm heading home to Canada on Monday.. not to Montreal as I originally planned (the half-way house for the broken-hearted) but straight to Bathurst to pack my bags. I will then travel south to Fredericton to move into an apartment with Carmine and begin classes at Saint Thomas University starting on Thursday! What a Plan!


The acceptance letter came yesterday.. my amazing Mother decided to give me one more option for the year by sending an application without telling me. At first I thought it was funny and laughed it off as not really an option but after I thought about it (and heard about the scholarship) I decided that I'll go and get the english credits I need for OCAD to get my curatorial degree and eventually my dream job!


It's no surprise to me that once again, my plans have changed. My decision in coming to live in England, although  quite prolonged, was never a well thought out plan. I can't say that this is either, since the option only came to me less than 24 hours ago.. but I'm going with my gut. It may be stupid but it feels right. I'm following my heart and I'm accepting that sometimes fate, of God, has different plans and you just have to see what happens.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Italian Education of Fromages

Im trying to catch up a bit since I've been internetless for some time now and lacking on the blog posts:( So I'll be brief!

Last week my awesome housemate, Mariangela and I cooked dinner, Italian style, since she comes from Pisa (where the tower leans). For those who know me, you know, it's extremely rare to see me with a pan, spatula or oven mit in my hand..(and when you do it doesnt usually end well!) We cooked mushrooms, made salad with Italian cheese and an appetizer of Pears, Brie and Goat Cheese. Strange but surprisingly yummy:)

music is my british boyfriend

Two weeks ago I met up with 3 lovely Canadians called Juliet, Matt and Eric. We met at a CSS show at Digital club in Brighton. If you don't know CSS it's okay, neither did I. But I'm glad I do now.. they were insane. The lead singer is like the wild sex-in-boyish-leather Joan Jett of our generation. I recognized one song that made me go ohhhh! I'm sure you'll know it...




Friday, August 19, 2011

600 Kissing Giants

Yesterday was a quite successful day as far as British days go. I spent the morning and afternoon wandering around the North Laines. My main mission was to find the graffiti style work of the mysterious Banksy whom I spoke about last December in my pop culture blog. This particular one is called Kissing Coppers and lives underneath the Brighton Train Station and is encased in glass against "vandalism" to the vandalism.

On the way I was pleased to find an amazing fudge shop that almost rivaled the homemade creations of Bathurst's 'a few splinters', a neat vintage toy and model train museum and a camera store that had Polaroid 600 (www.the-impossible-project) film which has been impossible to get for the past 4 years (I wont mention that it was almost 30 bucks for 8 shots.. heh)

At night, my housemate Mariangela and I journeyed to a bar on London Road to see a band called the Nordic Giants. They were this theatrical compilation of feathers, live video, strobe lights and smoke machines.. very over the top and interesting. It was totally original and weird.




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Rabbit Hole

Tonight, I put aside all of my wallowing, homesickness and heart-brokenness for a minute to be grateful for what I am doing here in my life. During the walk home from a lovely dinner at Wagamamas restaurant with new friends, I contemplated for a moment the vastness of my life and tiny moment of it in which I live. All around me the world is going up in flames.. families are being broken, people are dying just an hour away in violent riots and tragedies continue to go on in our own backyards (or gardens I guess). But here I am, safe in this tiny seaside corner of the world, hidden from violence and divorce and rehab and death and reality. For the first time, I didn't think about being home but being here and never leaving. 


Friday, August 12, 2011

The Spiritual Journey of Bath and Stonehenge

Yesterday I took a day trip into the English countryside. I left my house in the wee hours of the morning to catch a bus from London at 8:00 am and head out for a two hour drive to the marvelous tourist attraction that is Stonehenge! For years I, like many others have pondered the mystery of these impossible rocks that jut up against the flat rolling hills of the country. After walking around them and getting a full 360 degree view of this wonder of the world I came to one conclusion.. They aren't beautiful, or colored, carved or creative. They don't have any definite historical value and frankly, theyre just rocks. But there is something about the ambiatic presence that gets to you, makes you think and question and believe. It was almost a spiritual experience that I'm very glad I did.



After I got back on a bus and drove another 2 hours to the city of Bath. Home to the ancient Roman Bath houses that were once an important part of society. A place to socialize, do business and of course, bathe. A beautifully modern museum built to float atop the ruins. I found it to be very interesting and defiantly something to see and experience. The water is, however, in desperate need of some chlorine and algicide.. being still for 500 years really does a number.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Sous le Ciel de Paris

Last night I came home from what I can honestly call the best weekend of my life. I spent 3 days in Paris. I didn't want to leave.. everything was so amazing and beautiful.. the buildings, the people, the music. I loved it all. 

On the first day I got to glimpse the Eiffel Tower and take a river boat cruise along the Seine. After that I took a bus tour around the city and saw all the major areas. That night I took a walk to find the graveyard of Jim Morrison but unfortunatly the gates were locked:( On my way back to the hotel, my new friend Amanda from LA and I stopped for dinner at a cafe called L'Artiste.


Saturday I woke up early (and after a good breakfast of cakes and chesses) went go visit the city of Montmarte. There I ate even more pastry before getting a bit lost on my way to the Moulin Rouge. After that I took a journey to the Palace of Versaille to not only see lots of history.. but the site of one of my fave flicks, Marie Antoinette! (If youve read my other blog you know how much i loovee kirsten dunsts and sofia coppola). That night I returned to the Eiffel Tower with some friends for more pictures and a climb to the top. The view of Paris and the lights were amazing!


On Sunday I went the louvre museum for a full day. I saw almost the whole thing and even avoided the 3 hour  waiting line to get in.. hehe :) It was an amazing weekend and I can't wait to go back.. hopefully next time with means to do some real Parisienne Shopping ;)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

faith from upstairs

After being here in the UK for almost a month.. this morning my homesickness got the better of me and I let myself go into breakdown mode. Leaving for Swap with emotional ties to home was probably the biggest mistake of my trip. But letting go is even harder. Letting go of the hope is even worse.

But after I pulled myself together (sort of) I knew what I had to do. I went into about 5 or 6 tattoo/piercing places trying to find someone who would squeeze me in (also I forgot my ID at home and apparently I don't look 18). Finally I gave up. I sat down on a street corner in the busy north laines of Brighton and almost started to cry. In a request to God that I keep my composure, I looked up to the sky. Blocking my view was a building. In the upstairs window was a small sign that said ' Tattoos upstairs'.

So I now am one tattoo heavier.. a small cross on my right inner ankle. It is to remind me to always keep faith in life and myself.. even when all hope is gone.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Lori's Swapper Tips

1. I recently picked up a Kodak disposable camera. I've taken a few candid shots.. its kind of a relief from the perfection that digital photography has come to. I recommend to anyone who is traveling to pick one up.. they are a lot of fun: You are way more picky about what you snap and you get to look forward to remembering all your great moments when you get home and develop them!

2. The Wooden Belly is an all day breakfast cafe half a block from my house here in Brighton. I have become a regular since I arrived.. it's great to go somewhere where they know your face and even know that I'll be ordering (orange juice, two fried eggs and white toast!). When you move to your new home, find a restaurant you like and frequent it until you feel at home:)

3. England is a very wet place. I brought a rain coat with me which has already paid for itself but I recently got myself some Hunter Wellies. Yes, they are fashionable, expensive, Kate Moss has a pair and I've wanted them since I first saw them in Nylon Mag... but they are also extremely practical in this climate! So wherever you end up.. dress for the weather!

4. Most countries have their own version of Vogue Magazine.. wherever you are, invest in one! Although they are a great way to check out the country's styles, it will also have lots of stuff you need to know about your new culture, like slang, events and what to do, where to go and what to see!!


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Football at the Amex

Today was a milestone day for this Swapper. It was my first day actually working in the UK. I was lucky enough to land a one day job at the new FOOTBALL stadium in Brighton, the Amex. I served people (thirsty/angry/english/screaming football fans) beer, or, logger. The stadium is brand new (it was the first game!) and amazing.. it holds 22,000 people (two Bathursts) and lets the sky in. I saw a bit of the game and one great goal but Brighton lost. d'aww. Football is such a big part of the culture here and I'm so glad I got to be a part of it, and made some cash at the same time! Cheers :)




Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Keep Calm and Carry On

Being here in the UK is amazing, everything is exciting and there's always things to do. But something I have to keep reminding myself is that I am living on my own for the first time, and day to day life is sometimes a challenge on its own.

Forrr example: Yesterday I did laundry on my complete own (yes, I am a spoiled only child). It took me almost a full day to work up the courage to carry my bags down to the launderette on St. James street and then when I finally got all my clothing into the front load machine, I could not figure out how to turn on the bloody goddamn thing. 

Instructions: "load machine, press on/off button, press start button" ...THERE WAS ONLY ONE BUTTON. 

There was no one around to ask for help so I was forced to use my brain a bit and figure it out. But now Im happy to report that all my clothes are clean and fresh and I feel a tiny bit closer to being a full on independent adult.




In other news, I am still trying to teach myself something called budgeting. 

It's really very hard to do when youre living in a city with shopping all over the place. Today I discovered topshop, so, God help me.



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

London Calling

Yesterday I went to London for the first time and stayed in a youth hostel (that was an experience itself). I was lucky enough to meet up with Christy from New Brunswick who has been living there for a couple of weeks already. She showed me around and we did some fun touristy things! We walked by Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Tate Britain, Trafalgar Square, had a drink in the West End and I saw loads of those huge red buses :)

Day two in London I was on my own to do some exploring. First thing, I had to figure out the insane subway system of the city.. its massive! I made my way over to the Tate Modern to look around. To my surprise, admission is free and its 7 floors of a great contemporary art. After, I went for a rainy walk through Regents Park which was actually really beautiful with all the rows of flowers glistening and wet. I really love London (especially since I mastered public transit) and can't wait to go back and see even more.

Monday, July 18, 2011

In the Lanes

Today is a Monday which I felt would be a great day to start looking for a job. I set out early this morning for the job center but got quite lost and ended up walking through what I now know are the north lanes of Brighton. Its this big mess of pedestrian streets with shopping and restaurants.


My favorite was this cute little store called Alice Dreams which of course had all things Alice in Wonderland! 

Thankfully, before I spent my entire savings on clothes (everything is 'on sale'..) it started to rain like it tends to do every single day here. So I ducked in a gelato shop which I guess is sort of like frozen yogurt but with vodka:P I enjoyed my 'cosmopolitan' while waiting for the rain to cease.

I still don't even have an idea of a job... but I found a really nice dress at urban outfitters for more than half price :D

Tomorrow I'll be going on my first out of town adventure to the big city of London!!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Brighton Firsts



Yesterday I arrived to my temporary home of Brighton, England. After knocking on a few wrong doors (town houses all look alike) I found the house that I'm now living in. It's a really cute room with a (sort of) view of the ocean! The city itself is really lovely with cobblestone roads, brick houses and lots of trees and parks and of course, it's right on the beach!



A little view of my bedroom.. Im not exactly finished setting up.. but my dolphin has already made himself at home:)



Last night I went out with a fellow Canadian Swapper and had my first legal drink (legal age here is 18!). 

Friday, July 15, 2011

goodbye my lover, goodbye my friend

I am now here, in England and will fill in on my journey after I sleep for a year. For now, the tearful goodbye to my family and my best friends.

How I pried my arms away from that man, I still don't know.



Monday, July 11, 2011

Bittersweet Symphony

Two more days until I officially hit the road, Jack. Im almost finished packing.. this suitcase now holds my entire wardrobe (save borrowed items which can be picked up within the next 48 hours!).
Here are also a few essential items for my travels that happen to be laying around waiting to be packed..  a guidebook of Italy, underwater camera, gravol (god help my uneasy stomach), sunglasses and a UK friendly cellphone which a was given to me by a very nice girl who just finished her own SWAP adventures!
Although I am almost physically ready to take off.. I still feel emotionally attached to this town and the people in it. Nothing will ever be the same as it is right now, these final 2 days.  But in times like these I'll look to the two words I always hold close, 'never yawn'.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Bit of Change

Today I went to the bank to pick up my British money! I was pleased to find out it's just as colorful and attractive as Canadian money :) The orange and purple bills on the right are Great British Pounds and on the left are Euros. 

9 Days until Departure! All I'm waiting for now is my final kit from SWAP that will tell me what hostel I'll be staying at in London. Cutting it close.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wanderlust

Over a year ago, a pamphlet fell into my lap describing a program called SWAP. The Student Work Abroad Program www.swap.ca is a Canadian program that lets young people spend up to two years in another country, working and traveling. Now, 14 months later I am packing and getting ready to go on the biggest adventure of my life so far. 

In exactly 2 weeks I will board a plane to London! I will be living and working in the UK for about 7 months (If I don't become completely homesick).

Packing is about the hardest thing in the world.. when you're going on a week long vacation. Try packing everything you could possibly need for over half a year on your own! I know I'll be able to buy things there, but I'd much rather be prepared and save every penny for travelling and sightseeing!

Just a few things I'd love to visit are Postman's park in London, the Kate Moss exhibit in Paris, Rodenharigendag in the Netherlands, Morrison's grave, the Hannah Berry Gallery in London, Las Islas Cies in Galicia, Spain http://www.campingislascies.com/tour.php and... soo many others!

I'll do my best to keep this blog up and running the entire time so that you can all enjoy my adventures with me :)