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Monday, August 26, 2013

My Introduction to British Columbia

As of today, I've officially started the first class of my Masters. I'm currently on a four day field course that is taking me throughout British Columbia to learn about current issues in natural resource management.

I also met my new peers and classmates for the first time today. I think it's gone well so far and I look forward to the coming year.

I'll be back in a few days, but for now here are pictures from Golden Ears Provincial Park and the Chilliwack River Fish Hatchery.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

All Moved In

I can finally say that I'm all settled into my new place. It took a lot of time and energy to furnish the apartment, but I'm really proud of it now. The furniture is pretty inexpensive and from Ikea, but it's by far the best setup I've had so far (I'll just have to keep any drunk guests from standing on the furniture).

I usually don't put so much effort into my surroundings, but I thought it would be a good idea seeing I'm entering a stressful program in a new city that is over 4000 kilometers away from any place I'd call home. I'm staying optimistic, but I've heard the rain season is hard for many people and the city can be a little pretentious. What better than to have a comfy space to surrender to at the end of the day?

The living areas of my apartment look great from these pictures, but it's also an older building with some quirky features from the 1980s. I suppose some people wouldn't be able to live somewhere outdated, but I find it endearing and more homey. The kitchen has a very old fridge that has a habit of freezing food, and my oven has an analogue timer. Even my bathroom has some old quirks including a red heat lamp.

And let's not forget the strangest quirk I found when I first moved in: a terrifying Ronald McDonald light switch in my bedroom.

Don't worry. I scrubbed him off almost immediately. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

To Chaos and Back Again

Ah yes, a photo of my apartment a few days ago. It was so empty and untouched. Going into this move, I didn't realize just how messy and disorganized things were bound to get. I knew that furnishing my apartment would be a pain (I couldn't rationalize the price of moving my old, second-hand furniture across Canada) but I just didn't comprehend just how much energy it would require to gather the whole package.

As the furniture was being assembled, the apartment went from neat and empty to a messy clutter of cardboard, turnkeys, and suitcases. The past two days were the worst, since the bulk of the objects were being built. Finally, I can say that it's all settled down and started coming together. In a day or two I should be finished turning the space into a home, but for now here are some pictures of my WIP apartment from the past few days.

A little bit messy, isn't it?

Oh, and great news! For those who read my last blog post about Sears and my missing bed, look at what was delivered today:

I'm so excited! I'll be sleeping on cloud nine tonight!

Unfortunately, Sears never ended up doing anything regarding my out-of-stock bed, but this mattress was delivered to me for the earliest possible date by Sleep Country. To be honest, I've never had a bed this nice before and I look forward to sleeping in my new, cozy sanctuary. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sears Failed Me

Today was not a good day. I was expecting a shipment of a futon and a full bed, both of which had been purchased and ordered two months ago. I received a call from Sear's shipping department an hour before the delivery made it to my apartment. Apparently, there had been a complication and the order for my bed was cancelled.

What the hell Sears? You had two full months to get my order figured out. Two months! Quite frankly, I find there's no excuse that: 1) you ran out of stock of my mattress model, and 2) you didn't notify me of this earlier. In fact, even just a day or two earlier would have been tolerable, but I can't help but think that this warning could have been made even a week beforehand.

Things are just messy right now in my new apartment; I have so many suitcases lying around full of things that have nowhere to go. I was really looking forward to finally filling up spaces and getting things organized. Not to mention, I've been travelling these past few weeks and spent the majority of my time sleeping on couches or camping on the ground. Last night I slept on a pool blowup in my new bedroom.

As foolish and selfish as it sounds, I'm just really ticked off right now that I don't have a bed to sleep on tonight. In fact, I won't have a bed for at least several more nights until I figure out this situation and get a new bed delivered to my apartment. I'll have to go to a different company too, since Sears did nothing to redeem themselves and keep me as a customer.

Clearly, I'm just livid right now and need to vent this anger.

Fuck you, Sears.

(On the bright side, I received my futon without any problems. I'm letting my mother sleep on it while she stays with me for the week. Sears, this doesn't change things between us. I'm still pissed.)

Monday, August 12, 2013


Cowboy Boots by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis on Grooveshark

And acquaintances turn to friends
I hope those friends they remember me
Hold the night for ransom as we kidnap the memories
Not sure there's a way to express what you meant to me
Sit around the table and use those years as the centerpiece

This is by far my favorite Macklemore song. I don't know anyone that share the same opinion, but to me this song represents these past few years and my amazing friendships. There's just nothing like exchanging stories and feelings into the early morning after exhaustion has allowed you to let your walls down.

This goes out to my friends: thanks for all the amazing memories over the past year. I'll miss you and I already look forward to seeing you again. Thanks for breaking me out of my shell.

A few of these pictures were from Dave's blog. Thanks Dave!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Waking Up in Muskoka

These pictures are from before my move to BC when I was travelling Southern Ontario. It's a little belated, but I figured I wanted to share these on my blog.

Before camping in Buckhorn, Kevin needed to take a trip to his family's cottage in Muskoka to fix a water pump. I had been on the road for almost a week at that point, so I had no camping gear besides a pillow and a sleeping bag. Kevin's cottage was well equipped with several tents and air mattresses, so I came along with the hopes of finding some items for the weekend camping trip.

We got into the cottage at one in the morning, and all I could see from the porch was the milky way in the sky. I was ecstatic to see the stars so brilliantly and Kevin told me, "just wait until you look outside in the morning." After several days of sleeping on couches, I was happy to chose from one of the many beds in the cottage. I picked a dainty room with typical cottage wood paneling. These types of cottages always remind me of the summers of my childhood spent in a cottage home in Point-Calumet, Quebec.

Kevin was right though, the view in the morning was amazing. 

The lake looked glorious during the crisp and cool morning. There were several cottages built all along the lake, and there was already a boat in the water pulling a water skier. My childhood cottage experiences were no where near this luxurious, so I took full advantage. Kevin got started on the water pump while I relaxed on the dock in my pjs with some tea.


Kevin, of course, was hard at work fixing the pump all day. I helped him when I could, but mostly took the time to collect camping gear and take pictures. Before we left in the late afternoon, Kevin made sure we took a trip into Gravenhurst to The Bakery, where they had some of the best homemade donuts I've ever seen.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Back, But Leaving Too Soon

Hey everyone!

I took a bit of an absence from my blog for the past two weeks while I traveled around the Greater Toronto Area to say goodbye to many of my friends. It was a long trip because I spent it constantly moving about and sleeping on couches, but I do still wish I had more time because I didn't get to see absolutely everyone and do everything I had wanted.

What matters though is that I got to spend the last of my time in Ontario with the friends that I didn't get to see much over this last year.

My trip took me to many places, both old and new: Kingston, Ajax, Toronto, Guelph, Gravenhurst, Buckhorn, and Peterborough. I'll likely be posting up pictures of some of these places over the next few days while I pack my things for the move. My flight for British Columbia leaves on Tuesday mornings, so it's just starting to sink in how little time I have.

- Amanda

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Kingston in Summer: Frontenac Provincial Park

After spending a day with Stef exploring Wolfe Island, we decided to spend the next day hiking in Frontenac Provincial Park. The humidity from the previous day had dissipated overnight, so the weather was comfortable and sunny. Frontenac Provincial Park has an extensive network of lakes and waterways, making it a very picturesque area. The park is perfect for canoe camping or portaging, so many of the trail Stef and I hiked were a lot less frequented than what we are used to.

We hiked from Arab Lake to Doe Lake and back again, and then walked the easygoing Arab Lake Gorge Trail. In the time spent along the trails we encountered three people at most. It was one of those hard to come by moments where I felt like I had escaped civilization. The park has a pack of wolves, bears, coyotes, and foxes, although the only large mammals we saw were deer. I've always wanted to portage, and I think Frontenac Park is a great location to consider in the future.

Looking out onto Arab Lake from the trail.

Stef consulting the map to plan our hike. We had been observing the beaver dam built where the lake becomes a stream.

Doe Lake

Before we went on the Arab Lake Gorge Trail, we took a trip to the park office. There we relaxed for a bit by South Otter Lake and enjoyed the view. Without the deer flies this place could be heaven on earth; it was so serene. 

We finished our day of hiking with the relaxing Arab Lake Gorge Trail. This trail was a short loop featuring a boardwalk that showcased parts of the Canadian Shield. It was duckweed season, so some parts of the gorge looked almost overwhelmingly green.

It was a really liberating feeling to be out in a park with so much space and so little people. I can only imagine how much more exciting and adventurous it would be to have a kayak or canoe to navigate the many lakes with. 

This was the last of my weekend with Stef. I was really grateful that I got to see her and spend our time together doing such venturesome things. I'll surely miss her after I move to BC, but our friendship has always been the kind to survive lengthy absences. Isn't that the mark of a true friend? I look forward to sharing all the stories to come as we both spend the next few years completing our post-graduate education.