Monday, January 30, 2012

That Time I Went Skiing in the Alps

What a weekend!

It was great to get out of Geneva for the weekend and head up into the mountains (only an hour away) for a little downhill skiing, and of course, some après-ski.  And best of all, I got to make another "tick" on my bucket list!

I teamed up with Cy for the weekend who was a complete beginner.  I hadn't gone downhill skiing since middle school, so I figured a refresher would be a good idea.  We made it to the lessons to find that we would be learning where all the little kids learn.  Oh joy!

Didn't really matter to us though.  We were just excited to get out there and learn!  So we put our gear on, with the help of the instructor, and made our way to the Disney sponsored "classroom".

Very excited for my much so that I couldn't make a normal face.  
 After re-learning all the ski techniques, but in French this time, the instructor dared taking us on the bunny slopes.  When we made it to the top, I had her take a picture, just in case we didn't make it down alive and my mum was begging for a picture of me attached to skis.

See Mum?  Proof!
But we did make it down in one piece.  Many times!  It's amazing how fast a skill comes back to you.  Just like riding a bike, but not.

However, the instructor did have a problem with my lack of coordination.  It wasn't that I couldn't turn properly or stop, the problem she had with me was what I was doing with my arms.  I wanted to just keep them beside me.  She wasn't having any of that.  Instead, she spent half the lesson yelling up to me to put my arms out (like a starfish) and to raise one each time I turned.  It was then I decided to not understand French.  There was no way I was doing that.  I know, I'm a terrible student.  But once the lesson was over, I had no trouble going down the slopes.  I guess that's a pretty terrible moral of the story though.  So to all the youth out there reading this: listen to your teacher!  They know what they're doing!

We eventually made it to some bigger hills and got to enjoy a spectacular view.  Unfortunately the weekend was quite foggy, but that didn't get us down.  I mean, look at that view!

And after a few hours of falling off the lifts, crashing for no reason, and accidentally going down the hill backwards, Cy and I just needed to sit down.  So that's just what we did.

But a big thanks to Ecole du Ski Français for making sure we didn't kill ourselves, and all the small children on the hills.   If you're in Chamonix and have no idea how to even put on your skis, check them out.

And now for some shots in and around the ski school.  How lucky am I?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Some Updates on My Life as Une Jeune Fille Au Pair

It's hard to believe that I've been back for almost a month already.  To be honest, most of the time it feels like I never left.  And I don't consider that a bad thing, either.  I don't want my time here to end.  If I'm ever having an off day, I can always count on my host family to bring me out of my slump.  In all honesty, they make it pretty hard to be in a slump in the first place.

First I'd like to wish a (belated) birthday to N, my host mum.  She unfortunately wasn't home with us since she's in Davos for the week, yet that didn't stop us from celebrating.  I baked her a birthday cake for everyone but her to eat.  Then we gave her a call on Skype to sing her happy birthday, blow out her candles and eat the cake in front of her.  Aren't we kind?

Now a side note on the cake.  Since P (host father) can't eat gluten, I figured the cake we all ate in front of N had to be gluten free.  Baking without gluten isn't always the easiest thing to do.  Luckily enough, I found a recipe for an easy flour-free chocolate cake!  I was a bit disappointed there was no picture on the recipe page, but I figured I'd take a picture of my finished product and post it.  Then I realized why there was no picture.  The cake doesn't exactly look very...edible...straight out of the oven.  The "crust" turned out rock hard and looked like it has been shaken with earthquakes from the cake falling so much.  Oh, that's why gluten is so important...

In the end, all I needed was some Pillsbury icing (yes, gluten free!) to cover up the mess, and everyone was happy.  E even requested I make it again.  But not before asking if I screwed it up (he knows about my past baking experiences).  I of course answered, yes, I screwed it up.  He then said, "Ok, just make sure you screw it up again."  Gosh, I love that kid.

E has accomplished quite a lot this past week.  He won a tongue twister challenge at school, competed in a ping pong tournament with his best friend (and wasn't too bummed out when they didn't qualify), and has gone on a run every day (ya, a 9 year old that goes running.  You'd think I'd be inspired...).  To think that he's only 9, is so talented and smart, yet so polite and genuine, restores my faith in the future generation.  Maybe we won't all turn out to be useless couch potatoes.

Now as my week comes to an end, I'm very excited to pack my bags, and a borrowed set of skis, because I am off to Chamonix for the weekend to ski with three of my best friends!  We're loading up the "Soccer Mom Van" and heading out Friday night.  And luckily Groupon had a deal on ski passes, so along with our cheap hostel, it looks like it will be a fairly inexpensive weekend.

I'll be sure to fill you all in on Monday with pictures and stories while I'm lying covered in heat packs and complaining about how sore I am.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Night We Decided to Be Film Makers

Tonight has been quite a funny night.  My friend Lu has been dying to make a video cover of Lana del Rey's Blue Jeans, so we decided to give it a shot.  The "film" is still in production, but we had quite an outtake only a few shots in.  You can find the video below.

And check out Lu's cover of Blue Jeans.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Time in Toronto

Here's a summary of my trip home through pictures!

My two best friends, K (left) and M (right) scared surprised me at the airport with their lovely costumes.  It was such a great treat!  Hence why I am all teary-eyed in this picture.
Despite his claims that he didn't miss me, my brother was quick to pull out some beer cups ("Red cups" as Lu endearingly refers to them) and make a toast.  I know you missed me, A!

I've sadly come to the realization that my Beccamobile needs to go.  The weather provided some pathetic fallacy as I snapped a picture.  If you're interested, and live in the GTA (you probably don't if you don't know what that stands for...), then check out the link: buy me!

But things soon got better at New Years!  We decided to have a pot luck and K made some Moet shaped bread.  So creative!

It was great to be reunited with my girls!  You can't tell in the picture, but we all dressed in sequins.  Yes, on purpose.

Then we pulled out the real Moet.  Just for a sip.

Not on the same night, but a few days later, I finally got to see my cousin's new baby.  So adorable!  Sadly, the next time I see her, she'll be twice the size and running circles around me.

And finally, it was time to go home.  But not without a stop at my favourite restaurant, Lone Star, and an entourage escort to the airport.  Thanks guys!

It was a fantastic trip home, but went by way too fast.  So fast, I didn't have time to see everyone.  I'm sorry if I missed you, but I'll be back in July!  Start booking your time slot now!

A New Year, but the Same Old Goal

Now that I am back safely in Geneva, I have started to think about my resolutions.  I tend not to make any, since I know I won't follow them, but this year, I knew there was one I just had to do...

Travel more!

So on my first night back in Geneva, my friend Lu and I sat down at her laptop and went nuts on Easy Jet's seat sale.  It was quite a sale, and there were many places we wanted to go.  Now we have a trip each month, with plans to add some more as the dates come closer.

Here's what we have so far:

January 27-29th - Chamonix Ski Trip!  Since Chamonix is only a short drive from Geneva, and Geneva's airport is actually the airport you fly into to get to Chamonix, we obviously are not flying.  But after Lu came back this weekend raving about it, we booked our trip last night.  Can't wait!

February 12-19 - ITALY!!!  I am lucky enough to have enough time off to do Italy justice.  I'm starting in Rome alone and working my way up to Venice where my friend Cy will be meeting be to celebrate Carnaval!  If you have any suggestions of things to see and do in Rome, Florence, Pisa, Milan, and Venice, please leave a comment!

February 24-26 - Into the German part of Switzerland to continue my Carnaval celebration.  Why stop in Italy?

March 16-18 - Manchester!  It's Lu's birthday, and so we're traveling to her hometown.  With lots of people to visit and lots to see, it's gonna be a whirlwind weekend.

April 6-8 - Now I've always said I'd love to see a concert in Europe, and Drake happens to be touring.  So a couple of my friends and I have bought tickets and booked a trip to Brussels to go see him.  Very excited!

April 9-15 - I also have all of this time off, which I think I will be using to go visit my friend EM in Malta.  Woe is me, eh?

May 18-21 - Being my birthday weekend, I knew I had to go away and do something.  So where will I be?  Amsterdam!!!  Because who doesn't want to visit the Anne Frank museum on their birthday?

June 1-3 - For yet another friend's birthday, Lu and I are traveling up to Newcastle to experience yet another English celebration.  Can't wait!

So far that's all I have planned.  I still have a list of places to go, but just need to pick a weekend to do it.  If you have any suggestions of places to go, specific times to go, and things to see, please leave a comment.  I'm always looking for suggestions!

Hope everyone's have a great new year!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

That Went Fast...

I know I have been lacking on blog posts, but I literally have spent every second of my time home seeing all the friends and family I won't see again until the summer.  I couldn't believe how many people that included.

But sadly, my time in Canada has come to an end.  I'm currently sitting at Pearson International waiting for my flight.  I won't be back in Geneva for another 12 hours or so, but the anticipation is killing me.  I love Canada and it will always be my home, my motherland; but Geneva has quickly become referred to as "home" in conversation.  The look on my parents' faces when I accidentally let that slip was priceless.  I don't think they've quite gotten used to the fact that I'm not living in Toronto.  I think we're all in a dream world.  And to be honest, I'm quite alright with that.  I think if I really sat down and thought about it, I wouldn't be as comfortable with it as I am.  So I'm gonna play the ignorant card for a bit longer.

But back to my time home in Toronto.  I arrived early afternoon on the 24th and was greeted by my two best friends dressed as Santa and Mrs Claus, and my mum.  The waterworks obviously started.  I honestly have the best friends ever!

After my pickup, I attempted to go to a Canadian landmark, Tim Hortons, for a catch-up with my friends. Unfortunately, it was closed, since it was Christmas Eve and all.  How Swiss of them...

I ended up spending a few hours chilling out and catching up and it felt like I had never left (thus fuelling my dream hypothesis).  Frankly, most of the time I was home felt like I had never left.  Apparently, Toronto doesn't change in four months.  Good to know.

What did change was how I felt being back in my house.  Despite it looking like home, I felt like I was a guest.  I didn't even know where to find a towel when I wanted to have a shower!  All this after only four months?

But now it's time to head back to Europe and relish in another seven months living the life.  I can thankfully say that life has been mostly ups, with only a few downs.  Can it get any better?

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday and are ready to stick to their new year's resolutions.  What are mine?  Continue to make some "ticks" on my bucket list.  I can't wait!