Kat’s Adventure: Vancouver – Life’s a Beach

I’ve missed this week’s log, because I wasn’t really sure what to post. I have FINALLY made it to Vancouver and that’s where I drew the line on doing all the tourist-y stuff. I’ve been on the go for more than a month now and it’s just become really tiring. People are lovely and keep suggesting all the things I could do, but I need a break and I have several months here, so there really is no rush on seeing it all.

So, instead I explored the area, tried to find restaurants I could see myself going to on a regular basis and I even found a room with two UBC college students I could rent for July and August! You simply cannot imagine how happy I am about being able to unpack my suitcase and just leave my stuff lying around for a while. It has been so much fun seeing all these different cities but I am more than ready to settle down.

One of the things I love the most about Vancouver is how it has everything you could possibly need. The mountains are glorious, the trees are lush and deeply green and the ocean creates lovely beaches all around the city. And that’s it, Vancouver is a really big city. There is loads to do in the bustling downtown area, but at the same time you can go adventuring in the nature as well.

I have no idea if any of you know my grand master plan for my stay here, but it basically includes me wanting to find all the filming locations and getting to know some of the crew members (see how I didn’t say cast? I am trying to be professional over here). If you constantly show up in the same area and meet the same people, you inevitably end up talking at some point. My hope is that I can somehow find a way into the film and TV industry here in Vancouver and possibly return with a work visa in the next year. So far I have found two filming sets (which is really rather easy), but getting a word out is a different story.

Anyway, here are some impressions of Vancouver so far!

How have you all been? Let’s talk!

Kat’s Adventure: Week 4 – Montréal

Do you know the feeling when you really like a place but somehow it just isn’t a right fit for you? That’s basically my time in Montréal in a nutshell. Let’s take a closer look!

Tuesday – Much Needed Friend-Time

I slept in pretty long that day and was actually a little glad when I realised that my host family wasn’t here. It was my first time using airbnb and while my stay as a whole was lovely, I wasn’t prepared to live with a 3 year old whirlwind, because that was simply not mentioned in the profile … but whatever.

I picked up my friend from work. We went to a coffee shop, bought artsy post cards and talked. There’s just no way to express how happy I was to have my best friend back, to talk about random and important stuff. That’s basically how I spent most of the day and I regret nothing.

Wednesday – Mont Royal

That day I met up with a girl I met from Germany, whom I had met on the bus when we both drove from Ottawa to Montreal. She was super easy to talk to and often felt like I had known her forever, but since she was alone in town, I was only too happy to “climb” Mont Royal together with her.

Everyone told me that it was easy to go up … well not the way we did it! We got astray several times, but in the end we always found a the things we wanted to see somehow. There is just this one time where we might as well could have stumbled onto the set of a zombie apocalypse movie. We found this seemingly abandoned clinic. Everywhere were health hazard signs and posters saying “We do not tolerate violence”. It was a fertility clinic but also a mental health hospital with bars on some of the windows. Not saying it was actually a bad place, but if felt creepy AF.

Thursday – Mural Festival

Thursday was the first day of the Mural Festival on St. Laurent. I love street art and there were a lot of people and vendors on the street, so I definitely checked that out.

Friday – Biosphere (and an unexpected evacuation)

It was my friend’s day off, so we got pancakes for brunch and then met up with one of her local friends to go to the Biosphere, an eco museum that offered free entry on that day. It was the same weekend as the Formula 1 Grand Prix though and you could hear the sound of the engines all around. Right when we wanted to go on a guided nature walk, the animator suddenly let us know that the museum was being evacuated. We still took the tour, because it was outside, but everything was still shut off when we got back … including the metro. Let’s just say I am not too fond of being stuck in a metal tube with crazy amounts of people.

Saturday – BBQ with a bunch of French people

I got to hang out with my friend and/or her roommates all week long, but this was an event where she wanted me to meet some of her other friends. Of course I want to get to know the people in her life, but she did a banging job at befriending a ton of French-speaking people. It’s not that they couldn’t speak English, just not as great and I understood their French, but I couldn’t say anything in return. At some point the conversations were just really stifling. I did end up having a lot of fun, but it’s just frustrating when people want to convince you that Montreal is the best and that you could easily immerse yourself into the French if you stayed. Well, guess what? I just don’t want to. I am fine with everyone loving that language, but I just don’t. English is my one true love and I am enjoying myself much more in solely English speaking areas. It’s a sad fact.

Sunday – Time’s Almost Up

It felt like time was passing way quicker in Montreal than any of the other cities before. I liked the layout and especially the area I was staying at. It was bright and lively but not in any way that felt rushed. I understood why my friend fell in love with the city, but I also knew it wasn’t for me. Still, saying goodbye would be harder than with the others before.

Monday – Old Montréal

I parked my suitcase at my friend’s place, because I only booked my airbnb room until that day, even though my plane wouldn’t leave until Tuesday morning. We went and explored old Montreal as well as the downtown area. We did some shopping and later we went to the mural festival again as well as to eat out. It had been a long day, since the anticipation of travelling always gets to me, but we made sure we really made the best of our time. Around 11 PM, I left for the airport and it was such a long night. I was lucky in so far that I met a really nice guy on the bus, who made the wait until 7 AM (around the time my flight would leave) infinitely more easy. My brain felt like utter mush by the time I finally left. I am sure I slept on the airplane, even though it didn’t feel like it at all. When we finally touched ground in Vancouver … it weirdly felt like coming home.

How was your week? How have you been?

Kat’s Adventure: Week 3 – Ottawa

I had the nicest welcome in Ottawa, with someone giving me their day pass for the bus upon my arrival. However, that sentiment didn’t really reflect what was happening for the rest of the week. Let’s break it down.

Tuesday – Getting Organised

The weather wasn’t exactly nice, but I had the room at my hostel all to myself the night before so I was at least well rested. I thought I should do some recon and got a bit of a feeling for the area. There was a lot of sitting around at Starbucks involved (which you can find like three times on any given street) and then I just wrote some post cards and bought some food for the hostel. It’s so much cheaper to prepare food yourself, instead of eating out all the time. Come evening, the hostel was almost full and there were so many new people to meet. I seriously just don’t have anything exciting to say about this day.

Wednesday – Parliament Hill/ByWard Market

Everything essential was in walking distance from my hostel, which was amazing. I teamed up with my roomie and we explored Parliament Hill in the morning. You can get free tickets for a tour of the parliament itself, in both French and English language, so we did that as well, but only in the evening. To kill some time until then, we went to go see ByWard market. It’s a very touristy area, but it’s great if you have no idea what you want to eat, because there’s a restaurant for almost everything. We also got some maple-leaf shaped cookies with Trudeau’s face on it. There’s just no way you can pass on that if you are willing to take hilarious photos in front of the Ottawa sign.
The tour later on was interesting, but I am not much of a stickler for politics. However, we did get to see the House of Commons still in session and the building itself is really beautiful too. It’s a free and I got to meet some nice solo-travelers there as well, so it’s definitely worth a recommendation.

Thursday – Ottawa Museum of Nature

This day was kind of the one where everything started to go South. I scheduled a Skype call with my mum to discuss my further travels after Montreal. I knew I wanted to get to Vancouver, but I didn’t really know how. So, my obvious options were bus, train or plane. I finally settled on plane and my mum sent me link for a place I might be able to stay at for the first weeks. Innocent me goes on the websites to book the plane ticket and accommodation and what happens? My credit card does not work. Naturally, I freaked out. It’s the most annoying and maddening feeling when something that should be fine just isn’t and there is very little you can do for the moment. I wasn’t sure if it was just an online thing, so I needed to somehow test if the card worked in a shop.
Every Thursday a majority of the museums in Ottawa offers free entry to their general exhibitions. My roomie and I went to the Museum of Nature. I have to admit, I was terrible company. I was in such a foul mood because of the credit card situation, but the museum was still very nice. They did their best to make the exhibitions interactive and fun, having quite the variety of subjects spread out on three floors. I was so tired on the way back from there, I just wrote a quick email to my credit card company, asking them about the easiest way to fix this mess. Let’s just say I didn’t sleep easy that night.

Friday – Still Freaking Out

I wake up to the glorious email that my card is active again. There was some kind of problem with a data transfer from a previous purchase, so they temporarily deactivated it for security reasons. I get my laptop, try to book on the same site I did the day before (only accommodation and not the plane, because my mum was kind enough to purchase that for me and I’ll pay her back when I get home again) and IT. DIDN’T. WORK. I was so pissed and worried. However, then I tried it in a shop and on other websites and it was just fine. Conclusion of this ordeal, do not book anything on 9flats! Now I have to monitor my credit card balance closely for the next weeks and I am NOT happy about that.

Saturday – National Gallery of Canada

There’s a vast variety of museums in Ottawa, but I like art. I studied it and they had a lot of artists I recognised as well as a bunch of stuff I have never seen before. You get a discount if you are a student or below 24 years of age, which was awesome, because 7 Dollars for an entire day pass is not a lot at all. I was pretty beat from the previous days, had a massive headache and was quite glad to get back to the hostel at that point. I was just innocently making a toast, which neither smoked, nor got charred or burned, and suddenly the smoke detector went off. It was so loud, it even affected my vision. I hated that week so much at this point.

Sunday – Feeling a Little Dead

I wouldn’t say that any of the bad stuff that happened to me had something to do with Ottawa, because it so obviously didn’t, but at that point I was just over it. I was tired of always having to lock up my stuff, I was tired of walking around all day, I was tired of not really having a place that was really my own. It didn’t feel like homesickness, because I didn’t want to be home in that moment, but I was kind of over the whole traveling aspect of my experience. I just wanted to get to a place and stay there.

Monday – Montreal, Here I Come

Traveling days always make me anxious, because I am afraid of forgetting something. I met a nice girl on the bus to chat with and Montreal is the current home of my best friend, so I was just so ready to get there. I was greeted by tons of rain that drenched me, but nothing could overshadow my happiness upon seeing my bestie after almost a year. I have high hopes for my time here, although I can already tell you that the French language and I will never become friends.

How was your week? Tell me all about it!

Kat’s Adventure: Week 2 – Toronto

I think the format went quite well last time I did this. As I am writing now, I am already in my new residence for the week in Ottawa, but there is still so much that happened in Toronto that’s left to tell you. Again, here are the highlights!

Tuesday  – Blogger Meet Up!

Patty, Jesse, Joey and Maria all met up with me for dinner at Louis Cifer (how would you pronounce it? Maybe … Lucifer!?!?). It was a fun evening with talk about books and TV shows and the weirdest chicken pot pie I have ever ordered. Beforehand we even went to Dollarama to make sure I got my fill of Canadian snacks. Still not sure how I feel about Dill & Pickle chips to be honest … Anyway, I hope we can somehow manage to all get together again when I return in October/November!

Wednesday – Pastry Crawl/Art Gallery of Ontario

While I didn’t book my room for Toronto with Airbnb, I still checked their page for so called “experiences”. It’s a fairly new feature and not yet available in all cities, but I was lucky and found the pastry crawl! Mackenzie, our host, was a super knowledgeable guy, showing us most awesome spots in the Queen West area. Since there was only one other person with me on the tour, it felt like such an intimate experience and like I just met up with old friends to talk and eat sweets. I don’t want to give away Mackenzie’s entire tour, but here are some impressions: (the pastry crawl is Wednesdays from 3.30 until around 6-ish)

Afterwards I was pretty beat, but from 6-9 (also only on Wednesdays) the Art Gallery of Ontario can be visited for free and I couldn’t pass up that chance. It was fun to just walk around everywhere, but I think my favourite part was the contemporary exhibit (even though some of that stuff is what nightmares are made of).

Thursday/Friday – Relaxing and Laundry

It was rainy, it was cold, I was tired – I didn’t do much. I think I walked to the Lakeview Restaurant, because it was one of the places I wanted to check out and the staff was absolutely lovely. Also, I did my laundry, because despite having basically my entire wardrobe with me, it’s not enough clothes to last me more than 2 weeks.

Saturday – Casa Loma

Everyone told me Casa Loma was one of the main tourist attractions in Toronto and I can attest to that, because it was packed! I have troubles keeping the days straight in my head, so I didn’t intentionally mean to visit it on the weekend, which could have been part of the problem, but there was also a wedding there and just so many people. I seemed to have gotten in at a decent time though, because I only had to wait like 5 minutes to get a ticket, while there was a line halfway around the parking lot when I left the building.

The history of the place was very interesting and it gave me the strangest sensation of being back home. While the interior and the furniture weren’t exactly the same style, the general look of things reminded me of some of the royal residences I had seen back home, just on a much smaller scale.

There was this one part where you could go up an extremely narrow staircase to get to the top of the towers. There was only one way up and down, which created a massive delay once a little child tried to go down and took forever to do so. When my group finally got to go up, I took like three steps, freaked out and then had to excuse myself and go back down again. I am really not the best with dealing with heights and I saw myself freaking out on the way down from the top and I didn’t want to be stuck in the middle of a group of people, terrified to move. So, I was angry with myself, but I left that tower, just to get to the other one (which I didn’t realise even existed) and there was absolutely NO ONE. I got to take my time, fight my demons and go up there. The view was nice, but I am not sure it was worth the thunder in my heart.

Sunday – Downtown Toronto (one last time)

I knew I had to pack and since my suitcase was pure chaos, I also knew it would take some time, but I still wanted to just go and walk around one last time. I went to the Metropolitan United Church, which serves as the backdrop for the Shadowhunter Institute on the TV show. I simply could not leave without going to at least one filming location I would actually recognise as such.

Monday – Off to Ottawa I Go

I opted to go to Ottawa by bus, but since I wasn’t quite sure how to get to the Greyhound Station, I left excessively early. I met some great people on the way, who were super helpful with public transport and just generally nice to talk to. I am always a little flabbergasted when people call me wise and/or brave for what I am doing, but it also kind of validates me in what I am doing. Now I am here and I am taking it slow.

How was your week? What all were you up to?

Kat’s Adventure: Week 1 -Toronto

So, the first week has come and gone and I have a feeling that the entire 6 months will feel like a breeze as well in the end. I don’t really know where to start here. After a 9-hour-flight you are definitely not ready to conquer the city, instead I just grabbed a bite and tried to (unsuccessfully) catch some sleep. This means I really only consider Wednesday my first day here and then I just tried to pack in a lot of touristy stuff while the weather was nice. Here are some highlights of last week:

Wednesday – Jenny Han

I started off my adventure the best way a bookworm can and that’s by going to a book signing! To clarify, no, I haven’t read Jenny Han’s books yet, but I fully intend to. I found out about this event from Maria @Big City Bookworm and was a little nervous about finding my way to the bookstore. I am a person who generally likes to walk places, but I definitely had to take some form of transportation to get there and I am always worried of getting out at the wrong stop or getting lost, but it all worked out fine (even though I was HOURS too early). And I got to meet Maria! She’s so nice and beautiful and great to talk to. I was extremely glad to have her by my side, especially when the outcome of signing turned out to be way bigger than we expected. Anyway, now I have a personalized signed copy of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” and I can’t wait to dive into it while I am here.

Thursday – Ripley’s Aquarium

Aquariums are one of my favorite places to visit wherever I go. I know that Ripley’s is one of the bigger tourist attractions in Toronto, but I think I randomly found out about the place from some Degrassi actor who loves to visit. It was definitely a lot of fun! They put great effort into making Ripley’s interactive and interesting to watch. You could even touch some of the fish! But my favorite part were the jellyfish. They always are, I just have this fascination with them.

Friday – High Park

Friday was sort of the day where the weather started to shift and it got a lot chillier. Not letting myself get defeated by that, I went to High Park. I read that they had a zoo there and that entry was for free. I guess calling it a zoo is really a bit of an overstatement, because it is simply one of the streets in the park lined with animals on both sides. Nonetheless, I would never dare complain about that, because I had to pay absolutely no money. I decided to donate a bit to them though, because I don’t even want to imagine how much the upkeep and care for those animals costs.

Saturday – Royal Ontario Museum

Those of you who follow me on instagram (which I highly suggest you do – @kat_impossible) probably saw my story there and the wealth of different things they had. The Royal Ontario Museum, or ROM for short, kept me occupied for 3 hours with their incredibly varied exhibitions and I didn’t even get a ticket for the special Blue Whale exhibit. Their collections varied from natural history, dinosaurs, Canada’s history and first people, modern art to Asian, African and European sections. While I didn’t catch any of the tours, they do offer them hourly for free on different subjects. That’s definitely something that’s worth checking out.

Sunday/Monday – relax

After all the walking I did on the days before, I just really felt like I needed to rest up a bit. I am going to spend so much time in this country and even though it won’t all be in Toronto, I don’t need to see everything there is right away. Also, the weather wasn’t that great – mostly rain. I turned to my laptop and binged some stuff on Netflix instead. Those were definitely the days I saved the most money and I found a new show I adore! Dramaworld!

It’s super short but super funny! There’s this girl who is obsessed with K-drama, but when a story doesn’t play out as it is supposed to, she gets transported into the world of that show to help. In truth, she really only makes things worse and is even in danger of becoming part of the storyline herself. I NEED another season of this!

Now, that wasn’t all I did last week. I had food at great places. I walked the length of the city and saw some amazing architecture. I got to meet really nice people, but I don’t want this post to be like a mile long. I hope you liked this little insight into my first week and let me know what you all have been up to lately!