Where in the World? San Diego, California

This past weekend, my almost-childhood-friend (we knew each other in elementary school, but didn’t really become friends until high school), Sara, and I travelled to San Diego. We had a beautiful time eating fresh seafood, kayaking and walking along the beach. While it was a short trip, (I could only go away for a long weekend with school), we packed in plenty of fun activities and really made the most of it.

This trip was extra-special to me because of my New Year’s goals for 2018 was to see the Pacific Ocean. I love the water so much: I’ve been fortunate enough to swim in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, as well as many bodies of freshwater in Canada… The rush of cold liquid around my body gets me every time… Anyway, enough gushing about how much of a water baby I am. It was also special because Sara flew all the way from Canada to hang out with me, which was just the sweetest thing!

Here are some of the highlights from San Diego:

  1. My favourite part was without a doubt the beach/water/pier. 

     

  2. We ate the freshest seafood. No joke, this shrimp was moving just a minute before we ate it! Yum. IMG_1898
  3. Bonding with lovely Sara. We kayaked, swam in the ocean, reminisced about high school memories and growing up in the same suburb! We also started planning a potential future trip… Hawaii, anyone?? 

Anyway, I loved San Diego: it’s salty air and bright blue skies are already calling me back… Maybe I’ll get back to the coast before the end of my exchange in May. Fingers crossed and see you next week!

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Les choses qui me manquent le plus en échange…

Bonjour tout le monde ! Rebienvenue à mon blogue. Aujourd’hui, je vais partager les choses qui me manquent le plus depuis que je suis en échange à Arizona State. J’adore mes cours et la météo (il fait tout le temps soleil !!! Quel plaisir !!) mais il y a quand même des choses uniques à Glendon et à Toronto qui me manquent beaucoup ! Ma liste n’est pas en ordre d’importance, mais dans l’ordre qui m’est venue en tête cette dernière semaine.

  • Mes ami.e.s et mes relations qui me sont familières. Je pense surtout aux soupers entre ami.e.s dans mon appart’, les sessions d’études à Lunik, et passer mon temps libre dans le couloir du département d’anglais (je trouve toujours un prof ou un étudiant avec qui discuter). C’est difficile parfois de toujours échanger des banalités avec des étrangers (tout le monde, à un moment ou un autre, découvre une ville pour la première fois — une grande réalisation ! ;)) Les conversations intimes, avec des gens que je connais déjà et qui me connaissent bien, ça me manque. Par contre, le FaceTime aide beaucoup avec le mal du pays et je commence à avoir plus d’ami.e.s proches – woohoo!
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Je pense à ce super souper l’été passé …

Continue reading “Les choses qui me manquent le plus en échange…”

The easiest, yummiest meal for any time of day: ZUCCHINI TOAST

Hey folks! This past week was fun (I love my classes, — and I promise that I’ll post about my classes soon), but also challenging. I was feeling pretty down and very homesick, and looking for comfort in any shape or form… Cue food! I love to cook and eat and definitely take comfort in good and healthy food.

This morning, I woke up and, thankfully, was feeling much more positive than earlier in the week, so I decided to make my favourite dish ever: ZUCCHINI AND YOGURT TOAST.

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See this beauty?? It’ll take your like 20 minutes to make (including prep time) and will keep you satiated for hours.

All you need:

  • two slices of bread
  • 1/4-1/2 plain full-fat greek or strained yogurt (depends on size of toast and desired thickness)
  • one small to medium size zucchini (smaller is often tastier)
  • garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon (plus more for drizzling) extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

Recipe:

To make this at home, cut your zucchini into thin round disks, and mince (chop into tiny pieces).

Then, take said zucchini and garlic and sauté them in evoo over medium heat until tender.

While the zucchini cooks, toast your bread (crispier is better so it doesn’t get too mushy), and then top with plain full-fat yogurt (you can also sub out cream cheese but I like yogurt for its awesome probiotics).

Once the zucchini is cooked to your liking (it’s totally subjective — maybe you like yours a bit crispy or totally mushy) spoon on top of the yogurt toast.

Finally, add flaky sea salt (you can also add torn basil, which I didn’t do this time but did do here. You’ll prob want to eat this baby with a knife and fork!

Enjoy!! I hope this dish brings some brightness into even your most “blah” days! Sending you all love. 

A Week in the Life of an Exchange Student (Longer Read)

As many of you know, I am currently on exchange from Glendon College to Arizona State University as a Killam Undergraduate Fellow. Two weeks ago, I shared my day-to-day life with the followers of the Glendon eAmbassador Instagram but for those who missed that, I thought I’d share what I was up to this past week on here! Scroll down to see some of the things I was up to! 🙂

Monday: I got to the gym bright and early to beat the crowds (it gets so busy later in the day!) and then spent most of the afternoon doing readings. Thankfully, it was pretty nice out and I got to be out in the sun. In the evening, I had my poetry workshop! I handed in a poem that I wrote last week that was inspired by this piece (our assignment was to take a line from a one of the poem’s discussed in class and turn it into an original poem):

Pass A Grille
http://thenervousbreakdown.com/daustin/2016/04/pass-a-grille/

Tuesday: Starting in the morning, I had three courses in a row: an English course called “Whiteness” (focused on Black and Chicana studies’ theories), followed by two courses in the department of American Indian studies. In the afternoon, I went to a poetry reading by Sandra Cisneros and Eduardo C. Corral. I really enjoyed hearing them both speak, and wanted to share something Eduardo C. Corral said about poems/writing poetry (which I turned into a graphic — let me know if you’d like it as a background for your gadgets!):

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Wednesday: I don’t have class on Wednesdays, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t keep busy! This week, I went to the gym in the morning, followed by an event with the Deans of the Barrett Honors College in the afternoon. As a Killam student, I was enrolled in the Honors College, which gives me access to additional/interesting university courses. This meeting was fun because I got to meet Dr. Peggy Nelson and Dr. Mark Jacobs, as well as two other honours students: it was a nice reminder of all the people who here to support me at ASU.

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I didn’t get any photos at my meeting, so here’s a pic of my neighbour’s yard from my walk to the gym!

Thursday: I went to the gym at 6am (again, there are way less people at that time), followed by the same classes as on Tuesday! I then spent the afternoon Facetiming friends from home. It’s always nice to connect with loved ones from home: it really helps ward off the homesickness. Oh! I also went grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s (my fave) and ate a CHOCO TACO with Brittany! (See photo and you’ll understand the need for ALL CAPS).

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Friday: No class on Friday! I spent most of the day writing letters and applications. I am currently in the process of nominating my professor Dr. Lee Frew for a President’s University-Wide Teaching Award, as well as looking for summer jobs. P.s. let a girl know if you have leads for fabulous summer jobs in Toronto or abroad!!! 

In the afternoon, myself and two friends Emma and Gabi (both from the UK), went to the gym together and then, in the evening, we went to eat some In-N-Out. It was super fun! Many of you have probably seen this famous fast food joint on Instagram and let me tell you, it lives up to the hype.

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Those “animal fries” have cheese, onions and extra of In-N-Out’s special sauce… Not sponsored but I wish it was 😉

Saturday: No class — obviously! I went for an outdoor run (instead of the gym), followed by an afternoon of leisurely work on my computer! The sun was shining and it felt good to take it easy!

Sunday: Today! This morning, I went to campus to do some readings This afternoon, I will watch a documentary for class called “Trail of Tears” and then head back to campus to go to the gym! I’m kind of obsessed with the gym for the reason that I am kind of obsessed with endorphins — they make me feel good! Anyway, I am thankful for a low-key weekend.

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Here’s a photo from my walk to campus!

That’s it for me! I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the life of an exchange student at ASU. See you next week, folks!

Where in the World? Seattle, Washington State

Hello all! Welcome back to my blog. Last week was a whirlwind: I started school at ASU, I moved out of my apartment — and I visited my good friend, Vickie, in Seattle. While I thoroughly enjoyed my classes (I’ll write more about them later), the highlight of my week was definitely my weekend getaway to the Pacific Northwest! p.s. scroll over the photos for their descriptions. 

I met my friend Vickie in Pittsburgh in June 2017 at the Willa Cather Conference. We bonded over a love of Willa Cather’s writing, good food, family, — and became fast friends. Vickie invited me to come up to Washington State, to which I had never been before, and I just happened to be able to visit for her birthday! So, I got to meet her lovely family and spend some quality time together, all during her birthday weekend. It was truly a treat: it is so lovely to spend time with people who make you feel refreshed, loved, and inspired.

Anyway, I wanted to share some photos from my trip. The two photos below are from downtown Seattle: the first is Pike Place Market, where the first Starbucks is! and the second is a sculpture by John Grade called “Middle Fork,” which is on display at the Seattle Art Museum. That said, as you’ll soon realize, my photos are mostly landscapes, because that part of the world is just so beautiful.

I couldn’t help but picture little fairies living in the mossy hiding places of the forest.

Below are some views of Mount Rainier — it was absolutely spectacular! The beautiful snowy mountain top satisfied my (tiny) craving to see snow this year.

Thank you all for joining me this week. See you again soon! Please feel free to comment below if you’d like to request a specific post about my exchange! XX

Follow me on twitter: @EmLeahyGL

Check out the eAmbassador Instagram: @eAmbassadorsGL

6 Questions with Brittany Hale, Killam Undergrad Fellow at YorkU

Hey all! Welcome back to my blog. Today, I have a special guest! My friend and fellow Killam Undergraduate Fellowship recipient, Brittany Hale, is joining me to talk about her time as an exchange student at York University (at the Keele and Glendon campuses!). Brittany and I are basically doing a direct exchange: she is a student at Barrett Honors College at Arizona State where I am doing my semester abroad – and we happen to be at the same universities during both semesters. We spent time together in Toronto during the fall (we first met in Ottawa at the Fall Orientation) and will now be able to hang out in AZ together; so far, we’ve already explored Sedona and Tucson this December!

Below is our interview with some occasional comments by me in italics.

  1. What is your major?

I actually have two—global health and justice studies (but I just tell all my elderly relatives that I essentially study public health and human rights, although it isn’t totally correct).

  1. Why did you pick York/Toronto for your exchange?

Though I have lived in both of the major metropolitan areas of Arizona (Tucson and Phoenix), there is nothing quite like living in a “big” city like Toronto—it’s bustling and multicultural and exciting, so that was the appeal of the city. As for York, it offered the most interesting classes in global health and international development. I also liked the “big university” feel of York because it reminded me of my home university. I appreciated living close enough to the city to visit often, but not having to live in tight quarters or in a high rise apartment.

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Brittany with the PM. (photo courtesy of Brittany Hale)
  1. What was your favourite course during your exchange?

I took a class called “Land, Food, and Development in Africa and Asia” at Keele that I really enjoyed. I worked on a permaculture farm last summer in Nicaragua and became really interested in the relationship between people and their land—not just the physical relationship (i.e. who owns it), but also the emotional and cultural connections that people have with land. The course offered a chance to learn more about ownership, food production, and land imperialism historically on both continents, so each topic was different, yet equally, interesting.

  1. What was your favourite moment from your exchange?

I was able to hear a talk by Dr. Emma LaRocque, an incredible and established female, indigenous scholar from Manitoba, so that was more of an educational highlight for me, aside from all of the interesting courses. While in Canada, I was also able to explore Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City and I really fell in love with the last. Although Toronto also contains a lot of historic architecture, the urban atmosphere is much more prevalent. In Quebec City, I really felt like I was in a different world, in a different time. It was so stereotypically “French Canadian”, with the gothic architecture that I picture in Europe, and it felt very quaint within the walls of Old Quebec. The people were also very accommodating and kind despite my limited French knowledge, so that was a bonus. I went in early December while there was a little bit of snow and, for a desert rat like me, it really added to the appeal.

EL: LOL @ the desert rat comment. Brittany is actually one of the funniest (and kindest!) people I know. 

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Brittany in Quebec City. (photo courtesy of Brittany Hale)
  1. What was the thing you missed the most from home while you were away?

On a shallow level, I missed the comfort of my car. In Arizona, the bus system is not nearly as established as the TTC, so growing up in the suburbs, there was no option to take the bus or subway to school/work. I had to learn a lot of patience waiting for the bus and walking to/from my end destination in Toronto. On a deeper level, I really missed the comfort of conversation. When you move some place new, you fall into the constant routine of ‘small talk’ until you get to know people. I don’t mind small talk and I love to meet new friends, but I sometimes craved the face-to-face conversations you have with someone who knows (and loves) all your quirks and complexities.

EL: Small talk is indeed a huge challenge when coming to a new place. I’m so thankful to have a friend in Brittany for my time in AZ (and beyond). 

  1. Is there anything you’ll miss about Toronto now that you’re back in Arizona?

WITHOUT A DOUBT, the people. Canadians, in general, were so sweet and helpful—even in a big city like Toronto [which people from Toronto were surprised about…?]. I met some intelligent and spontaneous friends that I’m already missing, but whom I will hopefully see sometime in the future. I will also miss the multicultural cuisine options of the city and BeaverTails, which are so ‘tourist-y’, but SO delicious. I would say I will miss the weather, but Toronto has had the coldest winter in years and I spent Christmas day photosynthesizing like a plant in the warm sun, so I think I’m good. 😉

EL: Toronto will miss you, too! So excited to be spend time together with our friend Lili in Washington D.C. in the spring! 

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Brittany and Lili in Toronto. (photo courtesy of Brittany Hale)

Alright, folks! That’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed reading about Brittany’s time as Killam Fellow at York University!

The featured photo is of me and Brittany in Sedona and was taken by Simon Whitby. 

Follow me on twitter: @EmLeahyGL

Check out the eAmbassador Instagram: @eAmbassadorsGL

#OneWord365: Marrow

Happy 2018. I hope this first week of the year provided you with a nice taste of what’s to come. If it didn’t, no fear, there’s still fifty-one weeks left to make it better!

This past week, I’ve spent a lot of time alone, thinking about what I want my next year to look like. I’ve also had some nice conversations via FaceTime with loved-ones discussing potential resolutions and the things that I/we want to accomplish. All in all, I am feeling optimistic about my year to come. Following the #OneWord365 format much loved by my fellow Glendon eAmbassadors, I decided to pick one word that will guide and inspire me to live my best life throughout 2018. I’ve chosen the word “marrow.”

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In Walden, Henry David Thoreau wrote “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life…” and that’s what I intend to do this year. My English major friends will be shocked to find me quoting Thoreau (I am vocally not a fan), but I figured I could make an exception for my 2018 word: marrow. To me, “sucking the marrow out of life” means enjoying all things as much as possible — however imperfect they may be — and thoroughly immersing myself in every moment.

I also see “sucking the marrow out of life” as trying new things, and experiencing new places. This works well for the year to come for many reasons: I am currently on exchange in Arizona, where I am constantly living and trying new things. I am also graduating this year, which means many new adventures to come after June! (side note: I can’t believe I am almost done — so bittersweet!)

I like the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) definition too, which describes “marrow” as the most nourishing part of something. That’s another thing I want to focus on in 2018: the most nourishing part of everything. Not all things are beautiful or easy, but they may me nourish me in other ways — as long as I am open to that.

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I suppose choosing the word “marrow” and defining it as I have above, bodes well with my desire to have a positive outlook in the new year. I like this positive message because although I try to stay positive, everyone needs a little reminder every once and a while.

Another definition that like, also from the OED is “marrow” as the essence of something. In the coming year, I see myself interpreting this as focusing on the important things (i.e. my loved ones, my health, school) but also focusing in on the small moments of beauty that exist even in the most chaotic of days.

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So — my word contains multitudes, but in the most hopeful of ways: some days, my word will mean jumping on a plane to a new city and, others days, my word will mean seeing a little bit of sparkle in the mundane of things. Here’s to a 2018 full of positivity, happiness, and love in all its forms (I’m talking to you awe-inspiring, mountain-moving platonic love). See you next week. XX.

Follow me on twitter: @EmLeahyGL

Check out the eAmbassador Instagram: @eAmbassadorsGL