Travel


Although I have been done my degree since June, last Friday (November 12) was the official day of convocation. It felt so surreal to be there, and it was a really great ceremony, if I do say so  myself. My lovely mother threw a celebratory party for me afterwards and all my family and closest friends came by to join in the celebration. Times in life like these make me truly thankful for the people in my life and the opportunities I have been exposed to.

My mom has adjusted somewhat to her being an empty nester now, but I take it as a compliment that she still misses me and has talked to me everyday this week. It was the first weekend I didn’t have anything to move or planned so it was finally a blip of relaxation for me — a moment to soak up my new life and the full transition I have made into adulthood. Prior to this moment I had felt accomplished, however the actual physical move and receiving of my degree have strangely enough finally forced me feel the shift in my universe. I love being here in this moment and it feels great to be proud of what I have done, the future has never looked so welcoming, which is a nice change.

I noticed something earlier this week as well, as much as I love traveling and have a desire to visit many international friends and see the rest of the world I have yet to explore, this period of elation I have been living in hasn’t seen me overly concerned with “escaping”. By this time of any of the previous four years I would have already had my big trip of the next year planned out but I currently have things like completion of debt and career movement on the brain oddly it seems to me the true feeling of being content with where I am.

It’s time to relax and welcome the holiday season, got my Christmas lights put up today and a makeshift tree. Happy shopping and Christmas-ing?!

I did it!

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For those of you who follow my day to day life (which probably isn’t many) you will already know that I spent some time in Los Angeles this and last week  for a mini getaway and birthday present to myself. My favorite part about this trip was the fact that I not only got to see a friend I met in Costa Rica last year, whom I haven’t seen in a year, but also just the fact that I wasn’t going to be staying there as a “tourist”.

I had a brief stint in LA when I took a road trip through the states to Las Vegas and Disney in 2008 but all we really saw were the shit places you see on a tour: the Hollywood sign, the stars, Universal Studios and all related bullshit. To be honest, my time there 2 years ago left me with the thought of never wanting to go back to that hole. Luckily for me because I happened to have a friend living there I decided to give the place another shot and lo and behold places can actually turn out being more enjoyable when you don’t spent your time in tourist traps and with a bunch of foreigners snapping pictures of useless shit! (man I  said shit a lot)

When most think of LA they think of celebrities and the glamorous lifestyle, they think of what they see in the movies and on The Hills, but in all honesty all that hype really isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Spending my time there I got to know locals, hang out in local spots and actually really enjoy my time and understand what most people living their day to day lives in the area are about. It is quite tragic that people get caught up in all the hoopla and stupid celebrity craze, the LA you get fed images of through the media is overrated and not worth anyone’s time in my opinion and sadly the LA I got to experience is very underrated.

I did fall victim to some of the craze in the sense  that I was expecting a rocking local music scene, mainly on Sunset in West Hollywood, with a picture painted of great musicians and great venues every night, but that didn’t pan out to be everything I had envisioned. The situation worked itself out when I found a hole in the wall bar with some sweet acts a few nights later however, reinforcing the fact that all the pictures people paint aren’t actually going to be the same when you find them. It really pushes me to ponder why people decide to travel when they don’t want to venture anywhere the heart of where they are visiting.

When I had first heard my friend no longer lived in Venice where all the surfer dudes hang and trendy people dwell, I was again sort of disappointed especially when she continued to tell me she moved to the hood — Inglewood; another incident reinforcing why you must personally experience somewhere, something (etc.) before you become trapped by the ideas others have painted in your head. Staying in Inglewood was actually really interesting and a great experience: the area was cleaner, quieter and really had nothing wrong with it although I stuck out like a sore thumb, it was a good place to be.

My conclusions made from my time in LA are the following:
– the people that live in the “hood” have more respect for their surroundings
– driving on the 405 isn’t my idea of a good time
– celebrities aren’t on every street corner and if they are I didn’t notice
– most of the people I met weren’t into becoming famous they were about enjoying life, smoking pot and being good people
– hippies are still alive and well
– convenience is lacking
– pot is extremely socially acceptable
– Hollywood needs a face lift, and some garbage pickup
– the sun is not always shining
– giant Patron margaritas are delicous
– people commute significant distances

Malibu

I spent my weekend on random travels around the small towns and rural area outside of Calgary and thought I would just post some photos for a change — a little visual stimulation never hurt?

Elbow Falls, Kananaskis Provincial Park, AB

Bottom of Elbow Falls

Cave by the falls

Bow River, Banff National Park, AB

Bow Falls

Banff Springs in the distance

A doe munching along the Bow riverside trail

Nice day for a drive

Love the yellow green fields and bright blue skies

The map told us this was where to find Frank Lake

Down the trail we go

Where are we?

Well that's not normal sized

This is looking less and less like a lake

Duck crossing?!

If it weren't for that beautiful blue sky...

Behold, Frank "Lake", Alberta

I tried, but I could not manage to get through the World Cup without blogging about it.

Being a Canadian soccer is not nearly as followed as hockey is, hockey truly is like a religion here. Despite the fact that we do have  a large immigrant and to a lesser extent, non-immigrant, population who do follow soccer quite closely I still feel the appreciation of the sport is lacking in Canada. For some reason the sport has me enthralled and the international  matches even more so. Strangely enough for me, people always seem to ask for my justifications in liking no only the team I cheer for but the sport as a whole.

This my friends is why I enjoy the sport and why I favor Spain:
1. Soccer (futbol, football, etc.) is highly entertaining to watch.
2. The people who play are brilliant atheltes, running around a field non stop for 45 minutes at a time not including extra time is pretty commendable.
3. The sport brings together so many different people, like hockey people of all sorts gather together to support their favorite teams.
4.  David Villa is amazingly talented, he has great precision when  he handles the ball.
5. The team has great passing techniques which makes it even more enjoyable to watch.
6. Iker Casillas is a brilliant goal keeper, his reflexes are superb.
7. Soccer is, just as hockey is, great with beer.
8. I associate Spain and Spanish football with great memories:
– When I was in a little town in Spain called Irun in 2007 stranded at a divvy train station an old news shop man struck up a conversation with me in Spanish because he saw me wearing my Spain jersey, although I didn’t speak very good Spanish he was so proud that I was wearing the jersey he gave me pointers on how to stay warm while waiting for my train and stayed with me the whole time.
– Coming back from Granada one night arriving at the Atocha train station in Madrid we were just getting of the train around 1am and got outside (after realizing the metro lines had stopped running) to see a huge hoard of people just gathered and moving in the streets. There had been a Barcelona vs. Madrid game that night and Madrid had one so it seemed the entire city had gone to the streets to celebrate, it was a really fun moment to be a part of.
9. I feel proud when I watch them.
10. I love the country. Traveling through Spain was one of the most amazing times in my life.
11. Spain is part of my heritage.
12. The men are hot.
13. I just do.

El equipo Espana

Finding a career for post graduate life is becoming such a burden. I never realized how difficult it could really become. I feel so discouraged when I see a job that seems like a dream and then the qualifications are way above what I could offer within the next 10 years. How is a new graduate suppose to find a job in their field when no one wants them?! Internships, the majority of them at least, even require you to be at least enrolled in a graduate studies program. We are told to go to university so we can get good jobs but once you have a degree you still can’t get the job you went to school for.

I have applied to a few places, but I am not even sure if I went about applying the right way or if I even have a chance. I also find myself confused with the U of C’s graduation process as although I finish in June I don’t get to convocate until November and it seems to make everything that much more difficult. Needless to say I am going to be really glad when I finally get a job somewhere and don’t have to keep worrying about all these technicalities.

Some tell me I have too high of expectations due to my strong desire to relocate but I don’t think it seems that far fetched considering I did spend my entire undergraduate experience learning about the world thus applying that knowledge would be a logical desire?

My bond to this city that is my home town continues to disintegrate and I know in my heart I won’t be happy if I am stuck here. I have wanted to get away for so long and now that I will be free to do so I want it even more. Lately I feel as though I am destined to leave anyhow, there is nothing tying me here. I love my friends and I would miss them dearly but they are all in relationships and lead new lives, my family all have things of their own to do and sadly enough there is only one person in this city I would stay here for and I am already apart from them making my absence from Calgary seem of no consequence.

I have up to present day applied for:
– an internship at TOMS
– a general application to TOMS
– a job in Haiti with CARE
– a general application to Save the Children Canada
– a general application to the Red Cross
– a job teaching English in South Korea

Luckily I heard back from one, and will be having an interview with the company that places teachers in Korea on the 16th. What my future holds, who knows but I am excited for it to play out and take me somewhere exciting.

Anyone with information on jobs for a new Political Science graduate feel free to send me a message!

Soothing sounds for my runny nose and I today:
The Panics – Lazyitis
Metric –  Rock me Now
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Shame and Fortune
Silversun Pickups – Catch and Release
The Fray – Ungodly Hour

I have proposed a trip with my friend Michelle to hang out in Cali for a bit. Pretty excited about that, because as terrible as the United States is at many things it does have some pretty rad cities. In addition I was suppose to go to the OC next weekend and I am no longer able to which makes me sad.

On my trip to San Fran and Costa Rica this summer I made some good friends from the California area and I figure why not actually visit. The idea is  fly to LA and chill in Venice Beach where Danah lives and then road trip to Frisco to catch up with the guys of the Cuban Cigar Crisis in North Beach. Cuban Cigar Crisis is a local Frisco band that I stumbled upon illegally downloading music one night and my accidental discovery of the band has been more fulfilling than I ever imagined especially because they are super nice dudes.

I pretty much feel as though my plan is fool proof for good times and planning is underway as I type, because I am a multi-tasker of course.

http://www.myspace.com/cubancigarcrisis

What a rocking place. I do believe everyone should experience it once in their lives. From the bustling streets of Times Square and Broadway to the trendy shops and cafes in Soho there is so much to see and do.

New York is ALIVE.

This is what I noticed:
– Locals are EXTREMELY nice.
– There are minimal homeless people wandering — I actually saw maybe 2.
– There is lots of garbage.
– Subways suck on weekends.
– Someone is always awake.
– Pretzels are too salty.
– Times Square is a big corporate American waste of precious energy.
– Shopping is unreal.
– There are custom shops for everything.
– There is never nothing to do.
– There is never nothing to see.
– The statue of Liberty is far away — and overrated.
– Architecture is way nice.
– Cabbies are fiends.
– Steaming sewers are gross.
– Madison Square Gardens is the best venue to see a concert.
– The Saddledome would be way better if they had escalators like MSG.
– Kings of Leon rock it.
– I must go back.

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Jasper Johns piece in the MOMA