Archive | April, 2011

How to Celebrate a Birthday in St. Andrews

29 Apr

Yesterday I turned 21..YAY ME! You would think that because it is a bit of a milestone I would of had some sort of celebration planned…. but nope. I worked in the morning, so I started to try and plan what was going to be an epic night on the town. If you ever happen to be in St. Andrews for your birthday, let me tell you, this is no easy task. Here are a few things I would suggest doing:

  1. Book a reservation at the restaurant at the hotel
  2. Find someone who has a car, leave & go to one of the nearest towns (St. Stephen, Calais in Maine just across the border in St. Stephen, or St. John)
  3. Hope you are celebrating on a Thursday  *I will explain below*

The reason you would want your celebration to land on a Thursday is because that is the night everyone hits the town, throws on somethin cute (or not) and makes their way to one of the two pubs in town called The Red Herring for “Boom Boom Night”. Here you will find someone who resembles  a DJ at the back end of the pub with the tables cleared and a make shift dance floor to get your groove on. Creative right? This is the highlight of the week for most of the people who will be here this summer and I have to say I can see potential for some fun times. However, currently I think that I would recommend the Fish ‘n’ Chips over “Boom Boom Night”.

We tried to go for dinner at the hotel, but that fell through and we didn’t feel like pub food so to St. Stephen we went. There was a Chinese restaurant that we were going to go to, but when we arrived it was closed for renos (FAIL) and our next best option was Pizza Delight! (EPIC FAIL) Other than the fact that I got to eat for free because it was my birthday and it was a pretty drive to St. Stephen, I wouldn’t recommend doing this. Back to St. Andrews we went, put on our dancing shoes and headed out for our first “Boom Boom Night”. All I have to say is that I am thankful I have already met some pretty great people who made the night fun because the pub was lacking in its boom boom. Apparently it gets a little bit crazy in the peak of the summer, and I have been told that the traditional ‘beer goggles’ are also hazed over with the fog of ‘gonq goggles’ (apparently if you work here for the summer you are called a Gonqer by the locals).

All in all the moral of the story really is, cross your fingers and hope your birthday falls in the middle of the summer if you are in St. Andrews.

Oh and there is one last thing… celebrating days like your birthday away from friends and family also helps you realize all of the loving amazing people you have in your life. The birthday wishes, phone calls, e-mails, goofy/sentimental songs and plastic Happy Birthday crowns really do make a girl feel special.

Welcome to St. Andrews

22 Apr

View of the Fairmont Algonquin from the Pier in St. Andrews Harbour

As I had said before, in the town of St. Andrews there really only are the basics, after being here for a few days I think I am going to like that. Wandering on down from my dorm to Water Street (the main drag) you will find St. Andrews Harbour, which is in the Passamaquoddy Bay, and in the big scheme of things is all engulfed by the Bay of Fundy. The town is really easy to navigate around and you cannot get lost as it is on a grid system, plus the hotel is on the highest point of the town so you can see it from almost anywhere.

This morning I set out to print off some pictures down town (forgetting everything would be closed as it is Good Friday). I had already made the walk down the hill and it was a beautiful day, so I figured I might as well take this as the opportunity to enjoy a little walk to see some of the town.

There are quite a few restored homes that line the streets, full of character and each with their own personality. In specific the doors bright and colourful, gardens with impeccable manicuring, and historical signs informing those passing by about the history of the home.

Celtic Cross at Indian Point

A 5 km walk about the outskirts of town is beautiful and lined with history. For example, during the Potato famine Irish immigrants who came to New Brunswick were forced to live quarantined on designated islands just of the coast. They would have to stay here until it could be determined whether or not they would be a health risk to communities they hoped to enter. In 1995 a Celtic Cross was erected at Indian Point to commemorate the many men, women and children who died of hunger and disease on those islands. Reading this about the Celtic Cross reminded me of my visit to Ellis Island when I visited NYC last spring.

Close by this Celtic Cross are great beach front camping spots, green spaces for picnics, and walking trails through the Pagan Point Nature Reserve.

House on the Harbour

Passing through the town many locals were out enjoying the lovely spring day. With every time I passed by they gave a smile or a wave, I already love the people here! I have found something similar in all of the new places I have been, as long as you approach the community with a smile on your face, people are bound to smile back. What a concept hey?

So, the next time you are walking down the street, at home or in a new place put a smile on, it just may make someone else’s day!

Here Goes Nothing!

20 Apr

Recently I have realized that for the last few years I have basically been living my life in 4-Month Increments. And the way my life is currently playing out, that is going to carry on for the next couple years. Before I get started on the present I think I need to fill you in on the past…

From September 2008 – December 2008 I was at school in Calgary, where I originally planned to stay put for the next two years (in the back of my mind I did know that an exchange to Australia could be possible, but never in a million years did I even think it would happen).

Brighton Beach Houses, Melbourne Australia

Well January of 2010 I was off on my first 4-Month Adventure with the Global Exchange Network (GEN). “To where?” you ask… AUSTRALIA! Other than a few trips to Mexico and the United States with school the family it was my first worldwide adventure alone. I have to thank Australia for doing a few things for me:

  1. Biting me with the travel bug (It stung me very hard, and if I hadn’t signed a contract to come back to school in Calgary I most likely never would have),
  2. Giving me a great appreciation for WINE (during my time there I participated in a 4 month Wine Studies course & did in as much wine tasting/drinking as possible), and finally
  3. Allowing me to realize that you can be 18 hours away from those who mean the most to you & things may go incredibly wrong, but there will always be a support system surrounding you (the Australian people and exchange partner were wonderful)

Upon returning from my exchange I had one year left at school, but knew that I wasn’t really ready to be done yet. I met amazing people the summer before school started in September 2009, specifically during my volunteering at the World Skills Calgary competition. That experience and those people I met inspired me to become more involved, to the point where I began training for competing with the SAIT Skills Team in 2010, and try for my spot on the 2011 Canadian National team who will be going to London, England this October.

September 2009 to December 2009, I was at school in Calgary, nothing to exciting here so we will just fast-forward…

Table Dressing at Skills Alberta Provincials

January 2010 to May 1010 was when I was now officially training to compete in my very first skills competition for the SAIT Restaurant Services team. Long story short, I won Gold at Provincials in Edmonton and then was off with the Skills Alberta team to Nationals in Waterloo. Here I competed in the two days of intense competition, hoping that I would be on the podium & receiving a spot with the Skills Canada Team. Sad story, I finished 5th. So that adventure was over & I was on to the next one.

However I learned lots about myself during the Skills experience. I learned that I could compete very well as an individual under extremely high amounts of pressure (prior to this, I had only ever competed in teams). A very hard pill to swallow was the fact that I lost; I really thought I was at least going be on the podium. I quickly learned to realize that winning isn’t always everything (even though Charlie Sheen seems to think so). Similar to Australia, I also found out how great it is to have a strong support system surrounding me, and I tip my hat to the SAIT Skills Team, Team Alberta, and my friends & family for being so supportive.

Quick fast-forward to the end of the summer in 2010 where I picked up and moved from Calgary to Victoria where I planned to spend the next two years (also in the back of my head knowing that another exchange was possible, and thinking it was never going to happen).

September 2010 to April 2011 I arrived in Victoria with way too much stuff (Australia definitely didn’t teach me how to pack). Little did I know that this next year was going to be unreal. A few pretty awesome things include:

  • Beyond Pink, YWib Conference in Vancouver
  • Halloween Weekend (dressed up as Jessie from Toy Story with a Buzz & Woody, four nights in a row & we won Canucks tickets the last night)
  • One of my bestest friends from back home came to Victoria for a weekend, so I got to show her around the sights & take her out on the town
  • Had a shopping/sight-seeing adventure to Seattle (the fish were not flying however, so I will have to go back someday)
  • Got to show my Mum & Sister around Victoria

    Hole 12 at the Fairmont Algonquin Golf Course

  • Epic trip to Cancun for Spring Break with an amazing group of girls from Calgary & met an amazing group of guys from Edmonton
  • Found out I was accepted to go on exchange, AGAIN! (Where I’m going is a surprise for now)
  • Found out I was accepted to be apart of the HR JDC West Team for 2012
  • Lasted through my toughest year of school yet
  • Landed a summer co-op job at the Fairmont Algonquin in St. Andrews, New Brunswick
  • Went to Tofino to celebrate the end of the year in the most outrageous way possible with all of the wonderful friends I had met in Victoria

That basically brings us to now. I am sitting in my residence room and have decided that I will have enough time this summer to write a blog. These next 4-months will be spent on the beautiful Canadian east coast, where I will be slowly but surely become an honorary Maritimer. The quaint town of 1800 residents will grow to about 3000 over the summer months with the peak being in July. There is a dollar store, hardware store, drug store, liquor store, a bank, and a few shops/restaurants. I couldn’t even buy a pillow for my room! I am sure this adventure will be filled with fun times, new experiences, and many laughs.

Cheers to the next 4-months & please forgive me as I am still learning this whole blogging business… here goes nothing!