Thursday, October 31, 2013

Jet-setter: Ottawa, Ontario - October 25 - 28, 2013

I spent this past weekend flying off to Ottawa, ON to be present at the wedding of my friend David and his beautiful wife Flora.  David was my Parish Team Leader during the summer of 2012 while I lived in Halifax from May to August for a mission trip with Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO).  The summer mission was called Impact Halifax 2012.

I stayed at the house of two of my friends who were also in Halifax with me, Angèle and Maria, and so did my friend Adriana, who - you guessed it - was in Halifax too.  Angèle and Maria have three other roommates, so it was a wonderfully full house for the weekend with seven women.  About four doors down from the women's house is a men's house, where two men that were also in Halifax with us - Zachary and Jeremy - happen to live. A large portion of the people who were on Impact Halifax were either from Ottawa (or nearby), going to school in Ottawa, or had moved to Ottawa after the summer mission, so I was super excited that I got to see so many wonderful people whom I hadn't been able to see for over a year.

(Check out this post where Maria and I, along with some other friends, went down to the Halifax Harbour for sun rise)

Our first night in Ottawa happened to also be the night that CCO was hosting men's and women's nights, so Adriana and I joined Maria, Angèle, and many other young Catholic women in Ottawa for the evening that consisted of a potluck, testimony sharing, a talk, and then a girly evening of chatting, painting nails, and just hanging out.  After women's night a bunch of us went to a house party that was spread out over two houses that are connected through the corner of their backyards. One house had a live band and the other was full of people with a dance floor in the basement.  I ran into so many people I knew there, it felt like I had already been to Ottawa before.

Saturday was wedding day! Maria, Adriana, and I quickly walked to a nearby mall to get cards and some makeup before getting ready for the wedding.  The ceremony was so beautiful. I just love witnessing people that are important to me take part in the sacrament of marriage!

As I am living in Saskatchewan and the rest of the people who were on my parish team are all living in Ontario, the last time we were all together was the very last day of mission, August 11, 2012.  It was so awesome to see Jeremy, David, Beverly, and Marie all in the same place. Actually, it was the first time I had seen any of them since Impact ended.

Our parish team got a little bit bigger this weekend!

I'm actually a little disappointed that I didn't get more photos, but I was totally enjoying myself as I caught up with everyone, met new people, and danced the night away.  

P.S. I wore the same dress to this wedding as I did to Brandi & Kyle's wedding, and I am totally okay with it! Do you wear an outfit to multiple events? I certainly try to, it just seems so wasteful not to!

My weekend didn't end there! I decided to make a little vacation out of the weekend and booked Monday off of work. Since Friday was my EDO I had a nice little 4-day weekend to enjoy Ottawa for the first time ever.  On Sunday morning I slept in then Jeremy, Maria, and I dropped Adriana off at the airport to catch her flight back to Halifax. After we left the airport we stopped off at the Farmer's Market across from Carleton University. It was pretty chilly and we decided that we wanted to sit down somewhere warm to eat, so we didn't stay long. I did manage to snag some macarons, however, and they were delicious. Jeremy had one that was mocha-flavoured, Maria chose pistachio, and I got raspberry, vanilla, and two salted caramels (there was a deal for 6 that I just couldn't pass up). YUM.

There were three others, but they didn't quite last until the photo was taken.

We made our way to the ByWard Market and grabbed some lunch at Cafe 55 before heading towards Parliament Hill.  We decided to head inside to see if there was a tour time that would work.  We hung around inside for a little bit before deciding that we didn't want to wait. I'm heading back to Ottawa at the end of December anyways, so I can take a tour then when I have a bit more time. 

I really wanted the typical tourist photo in front of Parliament Hill, so we went outside to do just that. As we walked outside and towards the steps we saw a bunch of people in strange costumes and makeup walking towards us (towards the building really, but it totally felt like they were walking right. to. me.). Oh lovely, Ottawa's Zombie Walk had to happen right when I was first experiencing Ottawa and Parliament Hill.  I'll tell you, I doubt I will ever forget it!  I managed to get my photos and you really cannot tell that the people in the background are all dressed as zombies, it just looks like a bunch of tourists.

After my tourist moment was over we hopped back in the car and headed off to Jeremy's parents' place for a belated Thanksgiving dinner and then went to evening Mass at St. Monica's where Jeremy was playing in the band. We were there early for the band to set up, so Maria and I went on what ended up being a very long walk on the path that winds through the surrounding trees. It was quite beautiful, but we really didn't realize how far we had gone until we figured we should turn back. We still made it back with plenty of time to spare before Mass though :).

That's about it! The next morning I had the cab pick me up shortly after 4:00 am so that I could get checked in and through security before my 6:00 am flight back home.  Even though the trip was quick, I had a wonderful time. I cannot wait until I get to head back at the end of December!

Have you ever been to Ottawa? What was your favourite experience while there?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Road Trip Recap: Lethbridge and Okotoks, Alberta - October 11 - 14, 2013

This past weekend was spent on the highway headed to Lethbridge, AB for the wedding of two of my friends, Brandi and Kyle. I drove up with Amanda and Micah, but since I can barely keep my eyes open in a moving vehicle (other than when I am the driver of course!) I don't really have much to say about the drive.  We did stop in the town of Kyle, however, to take some photos - we were headed to his wedding after all!

The wedding was absolutely beautiful! Truthfully one of the absolute best I have ever been to. The ceremony and Mass showcased their love and faith so wonderfully, I couldn't imagine something more "them."

The dinner and dance were just as great. Kyle and Brandi really know how to throw a party! I really enjoyed being able to see friends that I don't have the opportunity to see very often. Everyone seems to either be living in a different city or town or we're all too busy with our "grown up" (still don't quite fit that one) lives that we just don't get to see each other much.

I have some of the most amazing women with beautiful souls in my life. I really wish every one of you could have the chance to know them all! I am constantly in awe of how blessed I am to be able to call them my friends.

On Sunday Amanda, Micah, Masson, Rebecca, and I headed out to Okotoks, AB to stop in at Amanda's parents' house to spend the evening celebrating Thanksgiving with her family before heading off in our different directions on Monday.  As always, spending time in Okotoks was a blast. I don't have any photos to share but a few things I'll throw out there are: mullets, turkey, wine, South America, living room jam sesh, cards, late night lake walks, girl talk, and sleep talking.  Intrigued, right?

How was your Thanksgiving weekend? Or, if you're living somewhere that celebrates Thanksgiving at a different time, what are your plans for Thanksgiving?

Update December 2014: Check out Brandi's blog, for one day!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I Miss Europe

I get this feeling sometimes, it's more often than not actually, where I just want to go. I want to go to an airport, I want to go on a plane, and I want to go somewhere. Somewhere I've never been before, somewhere that I visit frequently, somewhere other than here.

I love my city and the people that are a part of my life, but there is nothing like the adventure of going.

Today, I miss Europe. I want to be back in Barcelona, or riding a train through Northern England. I want to be on a cruise ship off the coast of Croatia, or attending morning Mass in Rome.

I've been consoling myself by flipping through photos of my last European adventure, and I thought I would share a few.

 Tapas in Barcelona

A bicycle in Pisa 

 The Colosseum in Rome

Blackpool North Pier

 Picture perfect scene in London

Tourist shot capturing both Big Ben and the London Eye

Crossing the London Bridge

Where would you like to go?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Road Trip Recap: Muenster, Saskatchewan - September 20-21, 2013

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to head out to the town that I lived in for my first year of university. Muenster, Saskatchewan is home to St. Peter's Abbey and St. Peter's College, where I was a student right after high school.  The abbey is a wonderful place to visit, especially in the fall. The grounds are expansive with beautiful trees, fields, lanes, and little buildings spotting the property.

The reason for my visit this time was a youth ministry planning retreat, I am part of a team at my parish that plans and runs the youth group for the high school students at our parish. We've had a planning retreat at St. Pete's before and I'm glad we decided to go back.

On my down time I decided to take a walk through the trees. The weather was so beautiful and I realized that I had actually never taken a walk on the paths that wind through the grounds. Never. I lived there for a solid eight months and have been back to visit numerous times in all of the different seasons and I had never walked the trails. Once I made this realization I had to rectify the situation immediately.

I put on my sweater and grabbed some seeds and nuts for the chickadees (there is one lane that the birds will come and eat right out of your hand - they have been doing this ever since the monks from the abbey came to the property). I had actually never fed the birds before a visit this past winter, so I was excited to try again. Unfortunately, the birds never came to me... I think it had something to do with the fact that right around now they still have access to pretty much whatever food they want, whereas the last time I was there was in the dead of winter, with extremely cold temperatures and, therefore, very little food for them. Anyway, once I realized I wasn't going to see the birds I continued on into the trees. The leaves had just started to change, making my path a colourful one.

This actually leads down to the cellar that can also be accessed through the kitchen

 Stunning flowers in the abbey garden

 Breaking in my new oxfords while exploring the trails at St. Pete's

I have been extremely fortunate to be able to head back to visit St. Pete's in the years that have passed since my days as a student at the college. Sometimes I feel as though I really didn't make the most of my surroundings. I rarely stayed the weekend, with the city being only a little over an hour away, but I so wish I had.  I don't have regrets about my time there, but not really experiencing the school and the abbey and the atmosphere that they offer is something that I would say comes pretty close. I guess I've grown a lot in the past few years since my time there, so I'm just able to appreciate what St. Pete's has to offer more than I was able to at the time.

Do you have a "St. Pete's?"

P.S. I was super excited to be able to stop by the town of Bruno, SK on my way home from St. Pete's to pay a visit to Amanda. I always love seeing her!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Jet-setter: Las Vegas, NV - August 31 - September 3, 2013

Ready to take off on our adventure!

Over the Labour Day weekend Jessica (whom you met here and here) and I took off for Vegas! We had talked about going for quite a long time and then some friends of ours had began to arrange a group trip a couple months ago. When I told Jessica I was in we decided that no matter how the planning turned out we would go, even if it was just the two of us. Well, it ended up being just the two of us - and it was such a fantastic time!  

We shopped, we went to shows, and we even bumped into some people we know from Saskatoon that were also there for the weekend (I know this is over-used, but what a small world!).

Instead of sharing tales through writing, I'll stick to the "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" mentality and just share a few photos.  Enjoy!

 We had pit tickets to the Brad Paisley Beat This Summer Tour

I didn't even zoom in

In front of our hotel, Mandalay Bay, after church on Sunday

We went to Love, the Cirque du Soleil show to the Beatles music

 And later in the evening we found ourselves back at the entrance to Love and had to rock the light up "runway"

Have you been to Vegas? What was your favourite part?

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