Halo! Heute bin ich endlich in Deutschland! Mein Flug war sehr bequem und kurz, aber es gefällt mir auf Grund noch einmal sein. This is the first update of many, a story now told from the Vaterland! Here’s how the Eurotrip 2011 kicked off:

First Leg:

Ottawa > Montreal
Distance: 165 km

July 16th

Tree, cow, field, tree, field, field, cow. Repeat for two hours, plus I passed out for most of it, anyway.

Montreal > München
Distance: 6134 km

July 17th

The flight itself was fairly uneventful, save for the unusually high incidence of morbidly obese passengers that wished to get by me while I was trying to sleep. This led to an unsuccessful naptime, which subsequently led to sleep-deprived insanity upon touching down. The level of functionality, pre-nap, was bordering on the negative, but I’m mostly back on Earth now. The in-flight entertainment was legit; I watched The Eagle to crack up at Tanning Chatum, or whatever his name is, but I ended up enjoying it. Beastly, on the other hand, was the offspring of a badly-done Disney teenybopper movie and a child with an etch-a-sketch. Alex Pettyfer should stick to the profession of his that doesn’t involve speaking; go back to modelling, please.

I spent the entire flight practicing my German with the stewards and stewardesses, and much to my delight, they spoke it back to me! Usually, if you’re struggling terribly with a language, they’ll switch to your mother tongue (or whatever is closest to it) to put you out of your misery. I think my accent’s gotten better, in any case. I know it’s far from the Bavarian accent that I’ve been hearing around here, but daaaaang, I’ve got Northern Germany nailed, sucka! Not that I’m proud and/or excited, or anything.

Being in Germany for the first time in my life is absolutely mind-blowing, though. After having been obsessed with the country, its athletes (Deutschland über alles!), and language for years, finally arriving here is nearly surreal. I’m really glad to be able to experience München, even though we’re only here for two nights on this leg, and one night on the final leg of the Eurotrip. We’re heading to the BMW factory tomorrow, and if there is one thing I love more than the German football team, it’s BMWs. Actually, no. I love them almost as much as I do die Mannschaft, but anyway. My excitement level is really high.

This is what awaited us at the baggage claim.

I will write again tomorrow with tales of exactly how difficult it is for a 22-year-old to stop from squeeing at luxury vehicles. Sometimes, I worry about my sanity.

Hope all is well back home…

Bis später!
-V

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Adios for now, Ottawa!

Posted: July 15, 2011 in Uncategorized
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I’ve finalized all my packing, and tomorrow, my family is departing on our trip to Europe. Though I haven’t really been doing anything significant outside of bureaucratic treasure-hunting, this vacation will be a really nice opportunity to properly relax; if you know me at all, you know that I find it nearly impossible to unwind until I’m taken out of Ottawa (or if I’m in a coma). For those interested, our itinerary is as follows:

...film festival & shenanigans with the cousin to follow.


Eurotrip 2011: “Who lets me out of the house?!”

Montreal, Canada
EPICALLY BORING FLIGHT
München, Germany**
Innsbruck, Austria
Cortina d’Ampezzo (Dolomites), Italy**
Venezia, Italy
Zagreb, Croatia

…here is where my family & I separate (I am joining my cousin – and partner in TSD crime – on a crazy 5-day stint)…

Motovun & Istra, Croatia**
Makarska, Croatia

…and I rejoin them here (boo)…

Sarajevo, Bosnia
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Makarska, Croatia
Zagreb, Croatia
München, Germany

TOTAL KILOMETRES TRAVELED BY PLANE (APPROX.): 12,267
TOTAL KM BY CAR (APPROX): 2,600

I intend on trying to get online with updates and pictures as often as I can, but we don’t always have decent internet access, and – let’s be honest – I will probably be out frolicking (read: eating) in awesome and/or new places! The cities I’ve denoted with a ** indicate that this will be my first time visiting, and therefore, a totally new place to lay waste to. Er, explore, rather. Or something. I encourage comments, no matter how inane, because spending nearly every waking moment for nearly a month with my family can make me miss people my age. Just sayin’. I love y’all, I really do.

Before I go and try to get myself to actually sleep, here are some completely unrelated, yet wonderful, words:

“Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.”

Bis später!
-V

Home Base: Acquired!

Posted: July 6, 2011 in Uncategorized
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C & I officially have a place to live! We spent all of Sunday wandering around our target neighbourhood, calling landlords and visiting places, but nothing quite clicked with both of us. So, on Monday, when she called me up to come see a place with her, I was preparing for another expensive letdown. Wrong. I am pretty sure that the moment I walked in, I was sold on the place. It’s the most adorable apartment, featuring exposed brick (!), really nice wall colours, a roomy kitchen, two sweet bedrooms with closets and A WASHER & DRYER. So much yes. Also, laminate flooring in every room save the kitchen and bathroom. Awesome. In any case, the lease is signed and I am so excited that I will have a place of my own come September! The Sexual Tiger Den officially has a base, and conveniently enough, is a half-basement sort of deal, making it a legit den. Yes, yes, and yes! That worry is now crossed off my list, and the only things I have left to think about this summer are working out, enjoying Europe, and hanging out with people. Well, and packing, but Imma ignore that until I get back from the mothercontinent. Life is good!

Bis später!
-V


My favourite holiday of the year has come and gone, and once again, was an incredible day! I started out by playing some early-morning soccer with new TESOL friends, then met up with other friends to go and explore the downtown core. It was packed, as per usual, covered, wall-to-wall, with our proudest red and white. There were also hilarious people wearing bright red morph suits to add to the awesomeness. We saw about 45 minutes of Tiesto’s set (oh, how I wish we could’ve stayed longer), danced around like maniacs, grabbed drinks at the Hard Rock (we’ve got the hookups, yo), watched the yearly Top of the World skate & BMX demo, and witnessed a sweet, sweet rap battle.

Rideau Street is aaaawesome.

Bam, downtown.


There is no shortage of activities in the nation’s capital on a day this important; you’d be hard-pressed to find yourself bored! The best part had to be the fireworks, though. Since the visiting royalty (ehhhh) was in town specifically for our nation’s birthday, the city put a little bit of extra effort, and that led to an amazing fireworks display later in the evening. The only thing that was a bit off-putting was the soundtrack playing at Major’s Hill. I think they wanted to set a sort of mystical, earthy tone, but it really just succeeded at boring us to tears/driving people to ritual suicide. Anyway. The band playing prior to the fireworks was a lot of fun, and introduced the spectacle really well, I found; it was really dancey, upbeat electronic…something-or-other. Haaa. Listen and enjoy!

In any case, I had a great time!

Also: 12 days til takeoff!

Bis später!
-V

Every single year, my family embarks on a Eurotrip that inevitably results in terrible puns, absurd amounts of local cuisine, walking, laughter, a plethora of borders crossed and a lot of hours logged in the car. The radio stations change, but there are always certain songs that end up playing dozens of times, no matter where we are. A few years back, we decided to start predicting what songs would be drilled into our heads by the end of the trip, and for the most part, our family guesses are accurate. These heard-ad-nauseam songs become inside jokes, and regardless of how terrible they are (as is often the case), we all start singing and dancing along. My family’s insane, and I love them.

Last summer, we were serenaded by Stereo Love & Alejandro…this year, who knows? With that said, I bring to you…

PREDICTIONS FOR “WHO LETS ME OUT OF THE HOUSE?!”…EUROTRIP 2011
At least two of these songs are going to be melting our brain matter as we drive from Germany to the Croatian coast and back…

1. Alexandra Stan – Mr. Saxobeat

2. Lady Gaga – The Edge of Glory

3. Enrique Iglesias – Tonight, I’m Loving You OR Dirty Dancer

4. Jennifer Lopez – On the Floor

My ears are going to be bleeding, and I cannot wait. Eighteen days til takeoff…

Bis später!
-V

On learning how to teach…

Posted: June 26, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Today, I finished the 6th and final day of the Oxford Seminars TESOL course, and am officially certified! YES. Now, when I am finished all sorts of silly courses this fall and save up some money, I can haul my bad self overseas and maybe teach some Germans or Italians a new language! Exciting! Before I do that, however, I think I may want to participate in the Englischhausen program in Germany. Basically, this program has native English speakers from all over the world fly in to a particular location for the sole purpose of having conversations with native German speakers who wish to improve their English. Stay and food is completely paid for; all you have to do is just get yourself to Munchen! The program lasts a week, and seems to be an amazing experience. First of all, I’d be in the Schwartzwald; secondly, I’d be having conversations with people from all walks of life for several hours a day, followed by exploration and going out. What part of that doesn’t sound FANTASTIC? That’s all for 2012, though. For now, I am just going to complete those two random courses I’m taking and focus on getting a job that will pay me enough to keep me alive on my own!

Speaking of being on my own…it’s almost time for September listings to come out! I’m excited to get the hardcore apartment-hunting done and to actually sign a lease. I need to have all this done before I leave for Europe on the 14th of July. These next few weeks should be interesting…

In other, totally unrelated news, this picture cracks me up:

That is all.

Bis später!
-V

Anthony Bourdain is Awesome

Posted: June 8, 2011 in Uncategorized
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To my close friends, it’s no secret that I love Anthony Bourdain a borderline insane amount. He’s crass, unapologetic, extremely opinionated, blunt, at times batshit insane, and most of all, absolutely brilliant. After having read Kitchen Confidential a few months ago, I set out on a quest to read everything else he had published. I am proud to announce that the quest came to an end last week, when I completed Medium Raw. I don’t think I have ever torn through either non-fiction or fiction quite like with his work. It’s informative, entertaining, enlightening and everything in between. Now, before I wax poetic about my undying respect for this man, I will just post a quotation and leave you to go and immediately read everything he has written ever.

“I have long believed that it is only right and appropriate that before one sleeps with someone, one should be able – if called upon to do so – to make them a proper omelet in the morning.” – Medium Raw

Bis später!
-V