New Year’s Resolutions

Although many say that people never change, I’m still trying. Another year has passed, and as we saw last week in my Year in Review, most of my resolutions were huge successes! So in light of another new year, here are my new resolutions:


Learn to be independent financially don’t begin to pay off my university debt. That’s right, as a soon-to-be graduate, I have my fair share of debt, so this year marks a new opportunity for a more financially responsible Brittany.

Practice photography and focus on documenting my life. I would like to better capture my favourite moments and learn to take pictures in manual mode. Also these pictures will ~preferably~ not be blurry.

Visit my friends abroad do continue to see the world. With a few friends scattered across Europe and Asia it would be great to visit them.

Be more interesting- even more then last year.

Cut down on baggage. Emotional, material, etc. *snip snip*

Practice my Dutch. Hopefully become conversational.

Try and save money for a rainy day.

Try and work on my bullet journal everyday. (At the very least, not miss a month at a time).

Stop eating like trash. I’m not 18 anymore and adult acne isn’t cute.

These may seem pretty easy, but I like my resolutions doable, if not inevitable. I hope this year brings hope and a light at the end of last years dumpster fire… happy new year!

B.

A Letter to My 17-Year Old Self.

At the age of 17 I moved out, went to university and experienced the largest change in my life yet. Now I am 22. And I feel like I have 5 years worth of experience to reflect on.


 

Dear Brittany,

For starters, Moving out makes you scared and unsure. You are going to university as the next step in your life because you don’t really know what you want to do. And that is okay.

However, you may not like what you thought you did, and you may learn that you did things for the entirely wrong reasons. (Like picking a program because even though you did poorly in it in high school, you really enjoyed it.)

Things aren’t as easy as they are in high school. Your life isn’t mapped out for you and motivation is a process you need to learn.

You will be able to meet lots of people and make many new friends. They won’t all be a good fit, but compared to the small town you are from, it is a lot easier to move around the people you don’t get along with.

OH and money, it may seem like the scholarships are ever flowing, but they are not. So perhaps try and save a bit of money while you are at it. Loans add up, and you don’t want to be the sorry sack of shit (me) that didn’t save a dime for/in school.

Also, parties come and go, you won’t be forgotten because you missed a party and decided to stay in. Nor should you feel left out or regret it. You need to take time to yourself and relax, but also get work done. It won’t do itself and if you are deciding between doing an assignment or going out to the pub, you may be better off at home.

Don’t rush things, your time at school is short and it will fly by, don’t constantly wish yourself to be past this stage of your life because eventually you will find that you wished those years away. University is safe and you should enjoy each step as you are experiencing them. (Live in the moment??)

Overall, despite the unease, you will make your way through school and all you need to do is take a leap of faith and trust that even if your life doesn’t go where you thought it would, you will find your way.

Experiences make you strong, so have no regrets.

-Brittany

Alternate Snow Day.

If it looks like this outside where you are, this post is for you. For those of you without 20 cm of snow, you may be thinking “snow day… in March?”, but yes, the unfortunate truth is that the weather has been an unpredictable rollercoaster at best with record breaking highs and crazy wind/snow storms. Thanks global warming.

We might as well make the best of this, so pull on your thick socks and turn the kettle on, because you are having a snow day. Unfortunately I will be taking today to catch up on school work, but I can tell you all the things I’d rather be doing today…

  1. Build a fort. A classic snow day activity, piling all the crap from around you house in one spot and hiding from your responsibilities.
  2. “Spring clean”. Get ahead and purge, but also clean the house top to bottom with cabin fever induced speed.
  3. Take a bubble bath. Although an activity I indulge in weekly, today would be a great opportunity to warm up in the tub.
  4. Give myself a makeover. It is almost better that I don’t have time. so I don’t spend an entire afternoon doing unnecessary things to my look.
  5. Lay in bed and watch the Office. I have gotten hooked on the Jim/Pam romance and would love an excuse to watch nothing but that.
  6. Bake something. Tale this opportunity to make something yummy for all that studying I am attempting to do.
  7. Eat Something. I stocked up on food before the 20 cm of snow that hit, so I’d love to just eat some comfort food and relax.
  8. Plan a Trip. Sure I would love to spend an afternoon with 8 Pinterest tabs open, my lonely planet book and an empty journal to plan my next trip.
  9. Catch up with friends. (Virtually of course) Like hell I am going out for coffee in this weather, you can plan to see me in 6-8 weeks when the snow melts.
  10. Do nothing at all. Although most of these classify as “nothing” but I would love an afternoon set aside for pondering and doing whatever I feel like.

But I digress… I only set aside 20 minutes for this and now I have to go back to work. Hope all that have a snow day are enjoying it!

B.

The Last One.

Here is my PSA for why twentysomethings shouldn’t travel alone, otherwise known as my last day.


So Demi and I woke up at 5:15am so that I could get ready, which just meant putting on stretchy clothing and pretending to be mentally prepared. At 5:45 Demi took me to the train station after filling my entire backpack with snacks (bless her). She helped me with my bag and sat with me until my train came.

It was an odd feeling since I had already had my dramatic goodbye a few days before and so now I was doing the thing I feared the most, saying goodbye again. Nothing feels worse then saying goodbye to people with undisclosed futures. Neither of us knowing when we will see each other again, but that is the reality.

On the train I was left to my thoughts, which left me mostly stuck thinking about my unhappy feeling I was left with after my last day. In reality all disappointments while traveling allow for different experiences but having expectations can really kill your mind. I thought of all the things that could have happened and felt a bit sad at the reality I was left with.

(I can be strangely philosophical at 6 am in the morning.)

Once at the airport I went into full panic mode trying to find my check in section and getting lost, mad, and finally making it to have a damn bottle of dry shampoo in my suitcase (which I still haven’t replaced). It’s cool that they had to get it, I understand that, but to do that they had to go through my carry-on which I had not organized and basically exploded upon opening.

I mean the rest of my time was spent lonely wandering through the airport because literally no one that I knew was awake yet. But once we boarded everything was cool, until the plane was delayed an hour and NO ONE would say why. ???? wut ????

Eventually we got into the air and I was stuck in limbo between 4 channels that were just “comedy”, “drama”, “action” and “children” and each had an hour an a half of programming. It was a 9 hour flight. Who let Satan choose the programming for my United Airways flight? I can assume I watched both the action and comedy sections at least twice. So. Many. Regrets.

Once we arrived in Chicago I was once again left struggling to figure out where the hell I was supposed to be and stressed that I didn’t have enough time. First going through claiming my stuff, then baggage claim, then check in, then security once again. Here airport security asked everyone transferring flights to leave their suitcases in a pile which was extremely questionable but I accepted the potential loss and continued on my way.

After a second sift through my now extremely unorganized suitcase I was allowed to eat and do the homework that was due while waiting for my transfer back to Toronto. Did more thinking about why I ever thought an unnecessary transfer would be an okay way to save a couple bucks (I am definitely my father’s daughter..)

Finally I boarded my last plane back Toronto, which departed at 8:30 so I had been up for like 20 hours. After dealing with the reality that I had lost my aisle seat to this large ignorant man who thought it okay to steal my seat, I made it into my seat and passed out. Aside from the discomfort of having neither armrests, I slept pretty good for the hour we flew. (Also I need to mention that this 1 hour flight had an immense list of in-flight entertainment that made me extremely angry.)

We landed in Toronto at 9:30 and I did the whole process again. Claims, baggage claim, and finding my ride. It was such a comforting feeling to see my friend Coleman after today that I could have cried.) It was an exhausting test of strength that I will quote as the toughest day of my trip.


This trip ends with Coleman and I driving back to St.Catharines and leaving the adventure behind. I’m not quite sure how to end this because writing these has been my last claim to this trip. No, ending these blogs won’t mean the memories will fade, but I will have to fully return to the reality that I have now been home for two weeks.

To anyone who has read till now, thank you. I hope that this was mildly entertaining or insightful in anyway. To all of the people I seen on my trip, you are all truly amazing people who I was lucky to meet and spend time with, thank you.

She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain.

Unfortunately traveling can’t always be great, and there are bad days. Looking back I can appreciate the good parts and overlook the less-than-desirable parts. But let this be a lesson to the future traveler.


This morning started off at 7 am (ew.) got up feeling anxious, but proceeded to pack and change to head to the train station. This is where I had to say goodbye to Christina which sucked but I know I’ll being seeing her soon (I didn’t shed a single tear). After our non-tearful goodbye the journey back began. First was a 50 minute train back to Mannheim then onto another train to Frankfurt. From Frankfurt I went on to Dussledorf- which had the prettiest views I was lucky enough to experience from the train.

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In Dussledorf my transfer was directly across from I was on, but the old man in front of me was having a time and a half so I had to watch as my train got ready to pull away from the station and run literally 8 ft to catch it (with my damn suitcase). Damn you old man.

From Dussledorf I went to Arnhem, so far on this journey the weather had been beautiful actually the first sunny day since I got there, but upon crossing the border to the Netherlands the clouds moved in and I was just in time for more bad weather. Once in Arnhem I went and got a ticket back to Nijmegen to go back to see Demi and Tom.

I was excitedly on my way to Nijmegen when my plans got changed last minute. Upon my arrival in Nijemgen, my plans were cancelled which left me stranded in a coffee shop that had shitty wifi. I was feeling pretty bummed out until I received a message saying plans were back but they definitely weren’t what I expected them to be. After some debate, Tom came to the station and brought me back to his place and we spent the next couple hours chatting over coffee in his living room. At around 6, Demi returned back to her house and Tom took me back over to her place.

Together with Demi’s family and cousins we had a nice Dutch dinner (literally only Dutch because they were) and talked about my trip to Mannheim and discussed English/Dutch things. Post supper, Demi, her brother Wessel and her two cousins sat around and chatted over tea until choosing a movie to watch, as the only Netflix expert in the room they let me choose the movie, so we went for a throwback and watched Hot Chick. Of course I don’t really think they got it which was hilarious but all together a pretty good evening. After the movie we took her cousins back to the city and returned so I could pack.

At about 12 both Demi and I headed to bed for a baby sleep before my train in the morning. Its over, but today helped me find closure in a trip I was scared to end. It was obviously different then my first trip and was extremely hard to say goodbye even if its just until next time.

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Adventures in Mannheim

I’ll preface this day with the fact that I didn’t take one photo. Not one single stinking photo, so I stole some pictures from Christina to give you an idea of what Mannheim looks like. Oké.


This morning was rough, after the night before I was left exhausted and in no mood to do things. Plus Tom gave me the gift of a cold, so I was lucky to have a fever from that (thanks Tom…)

Christina and I got up and had breakfast, I am in love with Christina’s apartment. It is this beautiful white palace with high ceilings and nice wooden floors. for breakfast we had eggs and toast, then we got ready to go to school (Yay for going to school on vacation). We walked along the area and pretty shopping district in Mannheim down to the university which is practically a palace. She helped me find coffee and sat me down somewhere with wifi so she could go to class. while she was gone I caught up on blogs because as previously mentioned I stay about 3-4 days behind.

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*a tiny christina in front of her giant school (Credit: Christina F.)

When she returned it was just me, writing alone, everyone having left and the building apparently closing. We left school and went for food, once I had my pretzel and fries (healthy right?) we walked along shopping and looking around. Giving up on shopping we went back to Christina’s to shower and get ready (again) to go to Luiz’s house.

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*the water tower on Christina’s walk to school (Credit: Christina F.)

Side note: Luiz is a friend of Christina’s who is also on exchange from Brock. Probably one of the most confident people I have ever met. He’s alright.

On the way over we had to do a bit of grocery shopping (groceries=alcohol). Proceeding to attempt to tram over to his house, screwing up and having to walk back and start again. Once at Luiz’s we met all his roommates, who with Luiz, create this awesome assortment of cool people. There is Lena and Lena, one being the chill, hipster person everyone needs in their life, the other being the funky eccentric girl who has no problem with sarcasm. Then there is Stephan who is this guy who seems very well-traveled and has lots of intriguing things to talk about (because he is extremely smart). Last there is Pascal, who I had heard a ton about and I’m sure I’ll have more to say later, because I met him for like 10 minutes, but he is very thoughtful and doesn’t have a mean thing to say about anyone.

So together with this rag-tag group of German’s and Canadians we sat together and got to know each other while taking shots of Grappa (well they did, I took like 2). It is always really cool to actually interacted with the culture when you go to a different country, it isn’t enough to see the sights, you should really meet the people. Despite their language being a little harsh, these people were so kind and welcoming, I couldn’t have asked for more. Luckily we chilled, hung out and made pizza. Good night.