Me Using This Place As A Diary Again – Encounters With Canada Edition

(If you just want to see pretty Ottawa photos, keep scrolling because there are a few throughout. If you are actually interested in my life, read on.)

 

Nearly a year ago I went to Ottawa for the first time. My teacher had told our class about Encounters With Canada years ago, and I had been wanting to go for a year or two before I could sign up. Me and my friend signed up for the Science and Tech week, partially because of my love of Sherlock. I went and had an amazing time, and knew I had to go again. I had met so many amazing people, and the city was amazing. So a few months later when it was brought up again in class I signed up with two of my friends to go to the Arts and Culture week.

The week before the trip was a big wake up call for me. I had nothing packed, I hadn’t made a packing list, I had no idea what I needed to buy, and I still hadn’t found a new pair of boots. I freaked out at like 2am exactly a week before we left, and spent a few hours trying to make a complete packing list. (It wasn’t complete – I forgot a towel.)

I figured everything out eventually and had nearly everything together the night before we left. I had to participate in a haunted house that night, so I couldn’t double check my bags, but I thought I did okay. (I blame the haunted house on my lack of a towel.)

The day we left I spent some time at the mall with my parents and one of my sisters and grabbed some last minute things. I said my last goodbyes to everyone, made a few jokes about the plane crashing, then we left.

My friends hadn’t traveled alone before, and neither had been in a plane for years, so I was the guide. Airports are my favorite place to be, so that day was a good day. I could honestly live in an airport. I’m hoping that’s a sign that I’ll find a way to spend a lot of time in airports in the future. (Maybe travel blogging full time? That sounds nice.)

We got to the center and settled in. It was really late, so not many people were awake which was really nice. I remembered that Saturday night didn’t have a curfew, so I told my friends to meet me in the lounge downstairs after they unpacked. We got down there and met with four other people throughout the night, three of whom we spent the rest of the week with. We played cards all night, and that was honestly the highlight of my trip. All four of those people were pretty great.

(I think I’m being long winded here, so I’m going to divide the rest of this post be day and try to be a bit less detailed.)

Sunday

Lots of people were still arriving, so there wasn’t anything planned until after supper. I spent the day with my new friends playing cards and ping pong. I met a few new people, but I didn’t get really close to anyone. After supper, we did some ice breakers, then had our first group meeting. At Encounters everyone is divided into six groups, and your group dictates things like what bus you take to different activities. We had assigned seating this time, which took a lot of the stress away. I sat between two people who knew each other already, but they were both super nice. We went over the next day’s activities and worked on memorizing names, then we were sent to bed. NOTE TO ANYONE GOING TO ENCOUNTERS: The showers kind of suck, but the downstairs one is okay. Bring your own pillow and blanket, both of the ones given to you are a bit thin. And don’t toss and turn, the beds are really squeaky.

Monday

We got to attend the media literacy week at the Nature Museum. We did workshops with Instagram, Twitter, Shopify, and one other company that I forget the name of I’m really sorry. It was a really interesting event, and I’m really glad that I had the chance to go.

After that, we visited the Parliament. Usually Encounters participants have a group photo taken on Parliament Hill, but there was a protest going on, so we took it on the steps of a beautiful building that was nearby. We got to go to the question period in the House of Commons, and I can now say that I’ve seen Justin Trudeau debate. It was a crappy debate where neither advanced at all, but it’s still something.

Monday was HALLOWEEN!!! We were expecting to trick or treat at Trudeau’s and at the governor-general’s houses, but for some reason that didn’t happen. We went to a rather disappointing haunted house at the governor-general’s yard, then went home. It was pretty sad, but at least there was a bit of candy involved! After that, I think I watched some people play ping pong then went to bed.

Tuesday

In the morning a man came in and gave us a presentation called Foundations of Canada. He was a First Nations man and told us the First Nations creation story. It wasn’t a bad presentation, but I was too tired to really get into the whole repeat-after-me-and-do-the-hand-motions-thing. The story itself was interesting, though.

Later that day I did a workshop on animation. My group made a short movie using a sand table, which was really fun. We made a really strange story about a worm who falls in love with the spider, but the spider cuts him in half but the worm is still alive because worms can do that and the worms make a heart together because it’s like they were introduced to a long-lost worm brother bu then the worms become a spider and the love interest spider falls in love with the worm spider thing and everything is happy. God, I miss the people that helped me come up with that.

The last activity that day was called Vignettes of Canada. That’s when everyone is divided by province and we have to make a short play about our province. It was a lot like you’d expect – The Saskatchewan and Manitoba people begged tourists to come to them, the Albertans trashed ourselves, the New Brunswick kids talked about potatoes… I think Canada is the only country where all of the stereotypes really fit!

Wednesday

Wednesday started with a guided tour of Ottawa, and a bit of Montreal. I’ve taken this tour before so I didn’t really pay much attention but being able to just sit and take in the sights was really nice.

After lunch, I did a workshop on making felt. I wasn’t really excited about this, I only signed up because it was the least terrible of the options. It could have been worse, I suppose. I doubt I’ll be going into felting for a living, though.

After supper we did a Peace Module, where a veteran came in and showed us a slideshow and talked to us for a bit, then we went to a cemetery where a lot of veterans are buried and did a candlelight ceremony. It was a really good opportunity to give our thanks to those who served. A few people were walking right over where the veterans were buried and I honestly wanted to smack them. If you’re going to be in a cemetery, especially where veterans are buried, please walk right beside the backs of the headstones of the row in front of you. It’s the least you can do to honor them.

Le R came in to do a mini concert for us at the end of the day. He was a french rapper, and honestly? He sucked.

 

Thursday

The first thing scheduled for Thursday was theater workshops. I’m really introverted, so that didn’t sound good for me. We went to some arts school and it turned out that I was in a group with the two friends that I came here with, which was comforting. It really was a shame that the theater people took the comfort and shredded it when we were divided into smaller groups and I wasn’t with either of them. The girls I was put with were really nice, though, and I made it through the day.

We got to spend some time at the National Gallery of Canada. I accidentally got split up from my friends really early on, but it was actually a lot better to go through that gallery alone. It gave me time to reflect on each exhibit without feeling obligated to talk to other people. I really enjoyed a giant exhibit of photography from Josef Sudek. His photography was really beautiful, I would recommend googling him.

We got to pick what activity we wanted to do this night. I was going to go to a Vancouver vs. Ottawa hockey game, but I wanted to get back early so I went to the Canadian Museum of History. We saw an Imax movie about sharks, then got Beaver Tails. I can’t eat Beaver Tails, so that kind of sucked, but all in all it was a good night.

Friday

This was the last day of the trip. Cue the tears. We got to spend the morning and some of the afternoon downtown. It was the only part of the week where we could really do whatever we wanted, so that was nice. Me and my friends were going to spend it trying to find some obscure coffee shop or something, but it was pretty chilly so we just went to the mall with most of the group.

After that we had quite a bit of free time, then our last group meeting and the banquet. The last meeting was pretty bittersweet since I didn’t talk to my group friends enough to really be friends with them, but I really liked them. The banquet was nice, but it was really just a normal meal with a lot of dresses and some tablecloths on the tables.  We had a variety night a bit later, which was actually really good since it was Arts week and everyone was talented. One girl performed a really powerful piece of poetry that she wrote about one of her friends dying of cancer, and I really struggled to not cry. One of my friends rapped, and he was actually really unexpectedly good. You should have seen everyone’s faces when he started. And for a grand finale, someone got on stage and put her whole fist into her mouth. It was a good time.

The last thing we did before our dance was the talking stick circle. Everyone gathered in the cafeteria, sat in a circle, and had a chance to say whatever they wanted without the adults around. It started with people just saying things about how they enjoyed the week and that they were really glad that they met certain people, but it got really personal really fast. One guy talked about how he’s trans, but his parents are super unsupportive, so he has his birth name on his nametag and he has to sleep in the girl’s dorm. One girl came out as pansexual to everyone, including her home friends, at once. One of my group friends talked about how he should have died during a surgery a while ago. One of my friends talked about having a family that doesn’t really like him, and about how his dad, who was his best friend, died when he was little. My best friend talked about having suicidal thoughts and about one of her friends being diagnosed with cancer just hours earlier. It was really emotional and really hard to hear about friends going through those things, but it helped everyone feel a little closer to each other. I only wish that I would have said something that mattered.

Then came the dance. Everyone’s sob stories were forgotten as we danced the night away. I accidently wore a sweater and couldn’t get to my clothes so I got really really sweaty, but it could have been worse. We had a good time until it was time to go. I only really had one close friend to say goodbye to, so I actually didn’t cry. The one thing that I really loved about that week was that it was 90% girls, so even though I only had one close friend that I was leaving behind everyone was hugging me. Honestly, I almost cried just because I’m not really used to everyone being that nice to me.

I took my first flight with the other two new good friends I made, and I went all the way home with one of them, as well as the two friends I came with. The bitter goodbyes were spaced out, so it wasn’t so bad. I’m seeing one of my new friends next weekend, one of them lives half an hour away from me, and the other lives close to a city that I visit once or twice a year, so I’m not that sad. At least we’re all close to each other.

I’m just going to apologize for using this blog as a diary again, and THANK YOU to anyone who read this to the end. It’s nice to have a place to get these feelings out since I’m not very good at journaling. If you’re going to Encounters in the future I really hope that this post helped you know what to expect, both with events and emotions. If you’re a Canadian student in grades 9-12 I really think you should check this program out. It sounds cheesy, but it’s really a life-changing experience.

Thanks again to those who read this all. You people are the real champions. 

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My Best Memories

This blog isn’t overly personal, so I’m going to share a bit of my life with you today! I’m going to be telling the stories of some of my best memories. These times are what I look back on when I’m feeling down or having a bad day. I encourage you guys to write posts on your best memories as well. It makes you realize how lucky you are to have what you have!

 

#1 The X-Fest 2016

I got the chance to go to one day of the X-Fest in Calgary this year. twenty one pilots has been my favourite band for a while now, and I was heartbroken when I found ou that they would be coming to my province and I couldn’t go. I live on a farm, and this festival was during harvest. Calgary is pretty far away from us, so we would have to stay the weekend, and during harvest that isn’t an option. We got a lot of rain a few days before the festival, and it didn’t show any sign of stopping. I brought up the festival to my mom again, after she said no a few months ago, and she said that we could probably do it. So, like three days before the festival we got tickets and a hotel room, and I got my friend on board with it. My dad’s best friend was getting married in Calgary on the same day, and that’s really the only reason I got to go.

The day before the festival we drove for like eight hours to get to Calgary, and I got to see some family that I don’t usually get to see, which was great. My friend got to meet them as well, which was a bit tricky for her, but my overly talkative cousins helped! We spent some time in a mall shopping together and had supper with the family. After that, we went to the hotel and got everything ready for the next day. I forgot the tickets at home, but we were able to reprint them.

We got in line about an hour before the festival started the next day. We would have been there earlier, but we wasted about an hour driving around to get a bunch of stuff we didn’t need. My mom dropped me and my friend off and told us that my two sisters and auntie would be there for the last two performances of the night. We waited around until it was time to go, and we got a pretty good spot in the crowd.

The first performance was a band called The Royal Foundry. They put on a really good show, and I was a big fan of their music. The next was Darcys. I really enjoyed the plants in their piano, but their music wasn’t my favourite. They weren’t the worst of the performances, but they weren’t the best. Then came Wildlife. They weren’t very memorable, but their lead singer seemed like a really nice guy. At the beginning of the set he said that he was happy that he was stopped in traffic because of the pride parade, and that instantly made me like him. Hannah Georgas performed next, but I wasn’t a fan. The performance wasn’t very memorable, and neither was her music.

Atlas Genius was one of my favourites of the day. Their music was really good, and they were all good performers. I would see them again. After them was The Naked and Famous. I think I would have really enjoyed them, but the bass was WAY too loud, and it actually gave me a headache. July Talk was after them, and I had high hopes for this one. Their merch was gorgeous, and one of the announcers said he was really looking forward to them. They sucked. I really try to be nice when I talk about others, but I really didn’t like them.

Halsey was the first performer that I was really looking forward to, even though she wasn’t the reason I came. She was SPECTACULAR! I was half-expecting her to be an artist that uses auto-tune, but she was amazing live. I didn’t love love her music before I saw her live, but the next time she’s in Canada I’m definitely getting tickets.

Now the real reason I was here – twenty one pilots. I fully expected this to be an amazing performance, and it was. Most of the crowd was here for them, and it made singing along much more fun. During Ride, when Josh Dun plays the drums on the crowd, I was touching the platform. I was literally three feet away from my favourite drummer. It was amazing. During Guns for Hands, the lead singer Tyler Joseph runs over the crowd in a hamster ball, and he ran over me twice. And during Trees, when both of them play the drums on the crowd, I was maybe ten feet away from Tyler. It was an amazing experience for my first time seeing them live.

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#2 Encounters With Canada

In Canada, there’s a program called Encounters With Canada where you can go to Ottawa for a week and tour the city. I went to a Science and Technology themed week, and it was amazing. It’s nice to have a bit of independence, especially at a young age. At 14 a plane ride by yourself is enough for independence I think! I met a lot of amazing people, although I haven’t really kept in contact with anyone.

I got to do some amazing things, like tour the Nature Museum, explore Byward Market, and go bowling in Montreal. It was such a positivity filled place; everyone was absolutely amazing! I remember getting ready fro the last day dance in the dorm, and having girls I hadn’t yet talked to stopping to compliment me, and a girl I had only talked to once did my hair for me. It honestly boosted my self-confidence by like 500%. It was really nice to be surrounded by a bunch of people who were a lot like me for a change. I go to a small country school, so everyone is really into the outdoors, and dirtbikes, and country music. I’m a lot less outdoorsy, and more academic than most of them. I also have a good taste in music. It was nice getting to know people who had similar interests to me.

At the time this is published I’ll probably be at Encounters again. (I’m marathon writing posts and scheduling them for the duration of my trip.) People aren’t usually allowed to go to Encounters twice, but my teacher arranged it with the Encounters people for me. I’m going with two different friends for Arts and Culture this time, and I’m super excited! I’ll write a post about it when I get back.

 

#3 – Celebration of Harry Potter 2016

My family has been in the habit of going to Orlando every two years for a while, and this year it lined up with the Celebration of Harry Potter! My family let me go one of the days, even though I’m really the only Harry Potter fan. It was amazing! I got to see a panel with Rupert Grint, Bonnie Wright, Matthew Lewis, Evannah Lynch, and Katie Leung! I didn’t get to meet any of them or ask a question, but being so close to some of my childhood idols was pretty spectacular. I’m still pretty sad that I missed Harry Potter: The Exhibition, but you can’t do it all.

The day before that we went to Universal as well, but it was a slightly drizzly day, so it was almost empty. There wasn’t a lineup for anything at all, so we got to do a lot of things! My geeky little heart nearly exploded when I got to see Diagon Alley for the first time and it was almost empty!

That was a humongous post, and I still have more to say! (Part 2 to this post, maybe? If you want me to continue this, please tell me!) I think you can tell that the X-Fest was a huge deal to me, sine I wrote so, so much about it. Tell me the story of one of your favourite memories in the comments! Don’t be afraid to make it super long and detailed – I love hearing about what makes people happy! So load me up with your happiness, pretty please!

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Be Prepared For A Tea-rrible Post

Be Prepared For A Tea-rrible Post from The Rose-Tinted Chapter on Wordpress

Different teas can trigger different memories and emotions. Here are some teas and what they mean to me.

 

Coffee Pu’erh (From David’s Tea) – This tea reminds me of watching the sunset from my bedroom while watching Connor Franta, danisnotonfire, and AmazingPhil on Youtube. This is the tea that made me think of this blog post.

 

Orange Pekoe – After dinner at my grandparents, listening to my family’s conversations. My grandparents make this tea every night after supper so we have it every time we go there for supper.

 

Read My Lips (From David’s Tea) – The first year I started cross country skiing with my family in our yard we often drank this tea after we were done. This tea makes me think of breathlessness, red cheeks, frosty hair, and the competition to be the first back. (I always won fyi.)

 

Raspberry Cream Pie (From David’s Tea) – This makes me think of two of my friends in particular, that I met on a trip to Ottawa. One of them has an unhealthy David’s Tea obsession so we visited there when we went to the mall. That was the first tea we smelled there and we spent a lot of time talking about how amazing it smells. (Just thinking about it is making my mouth water.)

 

Iced Melon Drop (From David’s Tea) – This reminds me of one of my friends from Ottawa because she made me try it when she got it. It makes me think of spring and friendship.

 

Sweet Tea – In Canada sweet tea isn’t common. If I want it I need to make it at home. It makes me think of happiness, Disney World, Florida, and my experience at the Celebration of Harry Potter 2016. If I need a pick me up I go for sweet tea because it’s filled with so much happiness for me.

 

Iced Tea – Not the way Canadians make it, but the way Americans make it. I’m definitely not a fan of iced tea, and this one reminds me of an awful experience. It was my second trip to Florida and we were having supper at Planet Hollywood. I accidentally ordered an iced tea instead of a sweet tea like I wanted. I figured it was no big deal, that I would just finish my glass quickly and ask for sweet tea instead. I started drinking as fast as I could but the service there was so good that every time the glass was half empty our waiter would appear out of thin air with a new glass. I sure appreciate his efforts to keep us happy, but it was not a good night for me!

 

Iced Peppermint Tea – I remember over the summer I was trying to drink more water since I never drink enough. I made unsweetened iced peppermint tea to go to my cousin’s gymnastics event. This tea makes me think of walking down the road on a hot summer’s day, watching my cousins, and being jealous that five-year-olds can do better cartwheels than me.

 

Hope you enjoyed this post! If any teas bring back certain memories for you, please comment the stories behind them!

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