What the Puck ! (pun intended)

Rimouski Oceanic VS Moncton Wildcats.

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Hello One and All !

Right, so going to a hockey game was kind of half on my list of things to do whilst in Canada.. and it kind of wasn’t. A sort of “It would be nice if it happened but I won’t cry about it if it doesn’t” situation.

So the opportunity presented itself that I could go to a Junior hockey game in a nearby town and I could not decline the invitation.

It was pretty good ! It’s funny how somebody who makes zero effort to watch sports on any other occasion found themselves glued to the game, to the point that my eyes were actually tired by the end of it. Keeping an eye on the puck is a sport in itself.

Before the game started, we all stood for the national anthem. As someone that has never found themselves in a situation where they have had to stand for the British national anthem let alone the Canadian one, I could only stand there staring at the Canadian flag whilst being surrounded by Canadians and become greatly aware of being a Brit which then made me feel like a total fraud haha.

Back to the game, it started off slow and by slow I mean I started to question whether the players on both teams had internally made a collective decision to take it easy. The first period was long and uneventful.

Having said that, something had changed when they resurfaced for the second period. In fact, I would go as far as saying that this is when the game truly started.

Before the crowd had a chance to really get into the game again, both teams scored a goal within about 10 seconds of each other.

Fast forward to overtime.. 

The time between the previous score and the final score was .. long !

I can only imagine how draining it must be for players to keep their focus despite the amount of time and energy spent navigating the space. Time just kept ticking and ticking, tensions were rising among the players which dare I say added to the entertainment factor (just saying..) and just as I was starting to think we were going to be there for the night .. Rimouski Oceanic scored. I cheered a little louder than I had anticipated (truly caught myself off guard) and for some reason.. a fist pump was my automatic reaction (once again.. who have I become?).

All in all it was a good game and I would definitely go to another one in the future!

After that it was time to eat.. we went to a pizza place and naturally everyone got pizza but given that I have a Poutine addiction that I need to tend to from time to time, I got Italian Poutine :

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I spent the rest of the evening chitchatting and eating my body weight in Poutine. You just can’t beat good company and good food. Time well spent !

 

Until next time !

 

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Go go .. Chicago Pt 2

Time for more Chicago greatness !

Tuesday 6th March –

Earring Workshop

Anyone that knows me, even slightly.. will have probably noticed that I pretty much always have jewellery on. It’s like clothing at this point. I woke up on Tuesday with no plan for the day and really I don’t know how I ended up back on the library website but somehow I did and I found out they had an Earring workshop in the Makers Lab. I just couldn’t say no !

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The aim was to create earrings that were animal related and.. given there are only two animals that I genuinely get over excited about: Dogs (in particular Pugs) and Giraffes, I figured my earrings had to be related to one of the two. I already have pug earrings and so making a giraffe pair was the logical option. So the first thing I had to do was find an outline of a giraffe on Google. This was then put onto this software called Inkscape that allowed me to copy and paste the giraffe outline, adjust the size of the giraffes and add small circles where the jump ring and fish hook would be inserted. Once that was done, I saved my giraffe outlines onto a USB which was then put into a laptop that was linked to the laser cutter. Less than 5 minutes later, I had these..

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The next step was to use two sets of pliers to attach the ring and hook.

Here is the finish product:

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I think they are adorable and I have already got some wear out of them.

Wednesday 7th March – 

Museum + Cultural Center Take #3 + Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

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Firstly I headed to the Museum of Contemporary Photography, I have to be honest.. I didn’t enjoy it very much. It is super small and I like to be forced to think when I go to the museum and the current exhibitions just didn’t do anything for me.

Despite a disappointing museum visit, a friend came to visit that same afternoon and of course.. anyone that dared to come within a 2 mile radius of me and label themselves as a friend of mine had to endure a Cultural Center visit haha.

After that we headed to dinner and I got to try a Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. I can only say that it in some senses resembles a pie more than a pizza and it wasn’t greasy at all like a “regular” pizza which was great. I greatly appreciated the fact that it had like a pie-like crust as opposed to a soft soggy.. piece of disappointment:

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After dinner, I spent the evening relaxing and chit chatting !

Thursday 8th March –

Sears Tower + Lincoln Park Zoo + Lincoln Park Conservatory + Jazz Club.

A full day of pure greatness.

We started the day with a trip to Sears Tower, I have to be honest this wasn’t originally on my list of places to visit whilst in Chicago but i’m glad I ended up going. The weather was perfect which meant that I could take in all the beauty that is Chicago, Illinois..and the other 3 states that are apparently visible from this tower but let’s be honest.. I had no idea what was where or what was what. A few arrows or notices on windows wouldn’t have gone a miss ! #justsaying

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We also checked out the observation deck which is pretty much a section that extends out one side of the building and you can see the city below you (not one for the faint hearted), it was pretty cool indeed.

Here we go for those classic instagram shots (this was not my idea..no really, it wasn’t):

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When your friend gets carried away with their new found photographer role and you just lose it:

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Once I had finished with my modelling debut, it was time to head to the zoo !

This was probably one of my most amusing zoo trips ever, some animals seemed like they just wanted to be left alone to eat and some looked as though they were deeply contemplating their own existence. A unique experience to say the least haha.

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I went to the zoo to see one animal in particular and after searching for said animal for what seemed like a lifetime. I was a good few moments away from just assuming that they weren’t out due to the weather and then..

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A Giraffe ! Some people go to Chicago to see the sights.. others go to see a Giraffe. Keep your judgement to yourself, thanks.

Here is me channeling my inner giraffe ..

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.. pretty convincing eh?

What you can’t tell from that picture is that I actually had my giraffe earrings in also. Once again, Keep your judgement to yourself.

After, we headed to the conservatory which is attached to the zoo:

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Very pretty and relaxed.

Fast forward to later that evening…

‘The Chicago R&B Kings’

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(picture courtesy of google images..as I failed).

We went to a Jazz/Blues club called Buddy Guy’s Legends and I kid you not, it was absolutely amazing. When we first got there, we had dinner whilst the band set up:

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And then it started and I failed to take a picture because my eyes were quite literally glued to the stage until it ended.

It was soo good, I pretty much sat there smiling the entire time. Kinda like this..

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Being at that Jazz Club made my heart soo happy. It was just incredible. Such talented singers/musicians. Really amusing MC and just in general a very chilled and easy going vibe. Perfect evening. Loved it!

Fast forward to Sunday 11th March – 

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Location: Auditorium Theatre

Shortly before heading to Chicago I was at work..working like a good employee *clears throat* and then I realised that there was an Alvin Ailey show taking place during the time that I was going to be in town and I got soo excited, I cannot even explain to you. It was as if someone had told me that they had a pug to give me (please note that was not the case and I am open to pug offers).

This show was amazing ! I was sold from the minute I saw the performance space ..

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..then the show started and within the first 5 mins, the goosebumps started. Such talented dancers and storytellers. It was lovely to finally witness the work of a group that I had heard about countless times throughout my time in high school/sixth form. A touching performance that also acted as a reminder that I miss the stage.

Just in case you want to know more about it, you can read the breakdown of what I saw here (Program A).

It was great to end my time in Chicago on an absolute high!

Monday 12th March –

Back to Matane –

My time in Chicago had officially come to an end. It was time to return to the snow that is Canada and the silent town that is Matane.

Here’s what a human that has an emotional attachment to their hotel room looks like…

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To close .. one thing that repeatedly happened throughout this trip was me finding myself having conversations with random people, from taxi drivers, shop keepers, other people at the workshops and even the lady next to me at the theatre. These conversations collectively act as one of the main highlights of the trip. True meaningful conversations about life, goals, travel and so on. Everyone has a story and that is something that intrigues me more and more as time goes on.

An amazing trip. I laughed a lot, ate lots of chocolate, ate some good food in general, listened to some good music, got my theatre fix, created and enjoyed some city time ! Chicago, thank you and .. i’ll see you again some day.

Until next time !

 

“Life to me is a journey – you never know what may be your next destination” – David Russell.

 

 

Go go .. Chicago Pt 1

Hello One & All, it has been over two months but I am back !

Spring break decided to make a wonderful appearance which meant that I hopped on the plane to spend some time in Chicago. Why Chicago I hear you ask.. my response: Why not !

I had an absolutely incredible time and before I get carried away with outlining what I did whilst I was there, I just want to say: please add it to your list of places to visit. Thanks.

Right..

Saturday 3rd March –

Woman Activist Tees Workshop + First ever Burrito

I started the day off with a grilled chicken burrito from a place called Spanglish (a place I ended up going to like.. 2 more times during my time in Chicago – creature of habit to say the least). After consuming half of the burrito I had to admit defeat and ask for the rest to take out. I left wondering if my stomach would ever be ready to meet American portion sizes during the trip (the answer was no..):

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After breakfast I headed to the local library for a workshop. An artist based in Chicago (Elaine Luther)  decided to do a workshop to teach people the principles of t-shirt design through hands on practice. We started the workshop with Elaine showing us some pictures of t-shirts other people had made in other sessions, such as this one:

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Then it was our turn to start brainstorming and sketching ideas for our shirts. The idea was that we made a shirt based on something that we felt passionate about. The ideas I noted down were: Speech, Power, Silence and Gender. This led to the thought that in society, certain voices are heard and some aren’t and often gender plays a huge role in that. Then it came to the question of “When will men and women be equal?”. Those that know me are aware that I am no artist so the key was to get my idea across in the simplest way possible (both simple to draw and simple to read/understand). This was the sketching process:

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So I had decided on the recognised symbol of a male and female on either side of an equals sign with a question mark below it. The paper I sketched on was called contact paper, it was sticky on one side like the sticky back plastic used to cover school books. Once I finished sketching, I outlined it with a sharpie then used a craft knife to cut out the shapes.

After that, it was time to put the contact paper onto the shirt.. and then of course, I chose this moment to change my mind on my design. I kept asking the others if the question mark worked and from the feedback I decided it was a stronger statement without the question mark (so I just covered over the question mark with more contact paper so it wouldn’t be included in the inking process).

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Next I had to choose the ink, I chose black to keep it simple but as I write this.. it has dawned on me that someone could read into it and think “it’s not a black and white issue”.. (I didn’t think of that at the time but let’s imagine my subconscious did).

As you will see in the following picture, there is another shirt that I tried to make using the cut outs from the first shirt.. but the equals sign got ruined in the inking process:

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The next half an hour.. to hour was spent using a hair dryer to speed up the drying process.. I think I was getting more hot and flustered than the shirts to be honest !

Anywhoo.. here is what it looked like at the end:

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Not bad for a first attempt !

Sunday 4th March – 

Chicago Greeter + Chicago-style hot dog

Before arriving in Chicago, I found out that they had a service called “Chicago Greeter” which is provided by the Chicago Office of Tourism. In short, it allows residents of Chicago to volunteer as “Greeters” and offer tours to those visiting the city. It allows visitors to get a taste of Chicago through the greeters eyes, you do also have the option of specifying your interests to give the greeter an idea of what you may enjoy seeing/doing.

My greeter was called Mary and the first thing we did was head to the Chicago Cultural Center which became my absolute favourite place throughout the trip.. I proceeded to visit the Preston Bradley Hall (upstairs in the cultural center) two more times, the Tiffany dome and the hall itself were just soo beautiful :

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(I genuinely only managed to take pictures of the dome during the first visit because I was too busy repeating “Wow, I have no words”).

Around the bottom section of the dome, there is the following quote: ” Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind which are delivered down from generation to generation as presents to the posterity of those who are yet born.” -Joseph Addison.

Then we went to Millennium park..

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..The classic Cloud Gate tourist shot.

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There are two of these 50-foot glass towers that project images of a broad social spectrum of Chicagoans. In summer, water spouts from an outlet in the fountains that gives the impression that water is spouting from their mouths (a play on the traditional use of gargoyles).

We also went to the top of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel which offered a great view of the park, the lake and the museums in the distance:

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We then wandered around for a bit and then headed to get a Chicago-style hot dog .. with everything on it. It’s safe to say I have never in my life seen a hot dog with soo many elements to it and my taste buds were also quite confused. Having said that, it was pretty good:

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Monday 5th March – 

Cultural Center take #2 + Chocolate

I decided that I needed to go back to the Cultural Center, I was not over the Tiffany dome yet. Before heading to see the dome again, I thought it best to check out the exhibitions that were on in the center because I knew that once I headed upstairs to the hall, that would be it.

#theselfproject by Cleveland Dean

Due to the proliferation of the selfie culture, Dean pondered a few questions:

How has this changed us as a society?

Are we portraying our true self or is this just a public facade?

What are we exhibiting and what are we hiding?

He was also interested in the role of Narcissism vs Sharing.

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This interactive installation was inspired by the selfie culture and the song “You can’t hide from yourself” by Teddy Pendergrass. The viewer is supposed to take a picture in the one that resonantes with them the most at that given moment then upload it to Instagram as a means of creating a new piece of artwork that also brings together a community of people from different backgrounds that have found themselves identifying with the same ideal in their own way.

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Nina Chanel Abney

Just outside the exhbition space, there was a recording of an interview featuring the artist talking about how her work has changed over time and how she has found new ways of illustrating things such as people. For example, through using shapes, Abney found that she could communicate the idea of a human being without having to draw the entire body. Abney’s pieces varied in subject matter, some touching on the relationship between black people and the authority in America whilst others challenged the idea of gender and relationships:

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On the way to the Preston Bradley Hall, I stumbled upon the Grand Army of the Republic Rotunda and Hall which to my surprise also had a dome !!

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I just can’t get over how much character every corner of the building has.

Then I was off to see the Tiffany dome.. again ! Whilst all the other tourists were doing.. tourist things, I sat in this hall for a good while relaxing, reflecting and just taking in the beauty:

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So.. you may be able to tell that I liked the hall? like.. just a tad.

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.. Okay you get the point.

Once I dragged myself away from the building, I headed to Godiva Chocolatier and bought some chocolate because.. Chocolate is life.

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I proceeded to open these like 2 days later and yes I failed to take a picture to show you. I don’t know how many people think of taking pictures when they are tucking into truffles but I am not one of those people. Just know they were good (as if chocolate is ever bad).

 

To be continued …

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