Posts Tagged ‘Poor iPhone photography’

I’ve been baaaad…

Posted: August 11, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,


I fully set out on this trip mid-July convinced that I’d be blogging daily; if not posting with that frequency, then at least writing entries. As you may or may not have noticed, I wrote an entry for the day we traveled and then promptly fell off the face of the Earth. I feel kinda bad for promising shenanigans and not delivering, but then again, I was too busy enjoying the glories this continent has to offer. I took tons of photos, ate obscene amounts of food, and as I sit here in Zagreb, the city I hope to move back to in the future, I realize how great this trip really was. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you spend 80% of your time on the go, but it’s a fair tradeoff for all the ground that you cover!

A Pass in the Dolomites

Sometimes, I feel that going to Europe yearly will somehow lessen its charms and its beauty, but it’s quite the opposite. The more I return, the more there is to explore; the more thoroughly I can experience everything. After a while, you become less of a green tourist and learn your way around and how the locals behave; cities like Venezia and Makarska become familiar and comfortable. Landmarks, road signs, highway stretches and rest stops are no longer new; they’re inside jokes, distance markers, the next available bite to eat.

View from our apartment in Makarska

My brother will ask to stop at a particular bakery because he knows the burek there is baked right about the time we’re out, my mother, a cafe with just the perfect cappuccino. My dad will sit on that bench because the internet signal is strongest there and I will casually herd my family towards the gelateria with the hazelnuttiest nocciola. Grey areas on maps slowly gain colour and tie to associations. This is truly where my heart lies, and where I feel that I’m home.

Sunrise in Germany

Tomorrow, we are driving to München, where we will stay one night, and fly out the following morning. When I return, there will be things aplenty to do, but I will post a rehash of all the excellent adventures, day-by-day, with photos! It will be nice to get back to my normal routine, though, as fun as global adventuring is…I’ve missed my goons, volleyball & the gym and food that doesn’t make me obese (I know, I know).

In any case, I should get off to bed and relax a bit, though I know I’ll end up watching the Germany vs. Brazil game on the telly…ich liebe die Mannschaft!

Bis später!
-V


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


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

Andiamo!

Posted: April 25, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

Here is a list of things that I am currently thankful for:
1. Warm weather

Steady double-digit highs are making everything infinitely more enjoyable these days. This is a photo I took on Friday while laying in Major’s Hill, using a longboard as a pillow. Epic.

2. My first run outside with Mel!
There were 10 minutes after it where I wanted to kill myself, but that’s a normal occurrence when I run, anyway. Next time, I’m using the RunKeeper app to keep track of how far I run.

3. Austria’s Ö3 radio station
This is the best radio station in existence; it combines 80s, 90s and contemporary hits from North America & Europe.

4. Hurts – Stay

This song is making me have feelings, which is both alarming and welcome. I’M A REAL GIRL!

5. Warm spring rain & light breezes
Even I can forgive rain for sucking when the temperature’s agreeable! It’s perfect for curling up with a mug of tea and a horrendous movie.

6. An empty gym in the morning
There’s nothing quite as sweet as exercising in peace.

7. Celebrating Easter by watching ALL of the Fast & Furious movies with my family while eating poppyseed loaf
I don’t think there is anything I can say about this. My fam kills me.

8. Godišnji 2011
Ne mogu uopće opisati koliko se radujem putu ove godine. Od leta, do čevapa, onih mirnih trenutaka na Makarskoj plaži, a i posjeta…ništa ne leži kao povrat u domovinu.

A wordless Sunday…

Posted: April 10, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

20110410-111041.jpg

20110410-111143.jpg

20110410-111309.jpg

20110410-111523.jpg

Back to studying!
-V

I’ve been floating around on a veritable cloud of joy the past two weeks, and I honestly think it’s largely due to the fact that it’s been sunny! Even though the weather hasn’t exactly been cooperating, temperature-wise, I’ve ditched the hobo clothes in favour of legging & dress combos and actually caring about how I look…and for the first time since we moved to Canada, I am fully OVER winter and its accompanying coldness. I’m done with you, winter. Seriously. It’s over.

To perk myself up further, I’ve been listening to Anberlin’s Dark is the Way, Light is a Place. The entire album is extraordinary, but this song, in particular, just puts a smile on my face:

So, I’m the happiest because of school working out, sports and the weather being reasonably nice, but then the plague comes along and shacks up in my body. Ugh. Every time I laugh, I start to make alarming hacking noises and subsequently lose a lung or two. Ugh. When I am sick, all I want to do is consume everything that I can, especially if it’s bad for me. This is the opposite of good news, as I’m working on losing weight to be a VOLLEYBALL MACHINE. So, how do I deal with this? Basically, I just made myself some healthy comfort food (?!), the recipe idea courtesy of Serious Eats: French Lentil & Barley Salad. I switched it up by removing the tapenade, lemon and oil, and by adding roasted cherry tomatoes and a few tablespoons of 5% sour cream to make the whole shebang super-creamy. I think I successfully fooled my body into thinking that I consumed total garbage. That, and the grilled pineapple I had for dessert was so incredibly sweet that it couldn’t have possibly been healthy. Mmm. Well-fed and happy!

Apparently, my plague cure is cooking? I don’t know. In any case, I made some coffee cake for the whole family, too:

Yeasted Chocolate Coffee Cake (recipe adapted from The Pastry Affair):

Dough
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup plus a pinch of granulated sugar
3/4 cup warm milk (I nuked it on high for about 70 seconds)
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick salted butter, room temperature

Fillin’
8 ounces chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used an assortment of chocolate found in my house)
1/4 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream, for egg wash

Instructions:
In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of granulated sugar over the warm milk. Let stand until foamy (i.e. sit over the bowl like a creeper and watch the Saccharomyces get ‘er done).

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar, the whole egg, and the egg yolk. Stir into the yeast mixture. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined. Add the salted butter and mix until the dough is soft and sticky.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, which is approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours (I cleaned my room in the meantime). I actually just threw my dough into our bread maker so that it’d mix the dough & knead the life out of it, so I avoided the mess that was to be Battle Dough, and I combined two steps into one.

In a small bowl, mix together the chocolate, brown sugar, and a cinnamon. Using a pastry blender fork, cut in the butter until the mixture is uniform. Reserve 1/2 cup for later use.

The next part is my favourite: punch down the dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is an 18-inch square. Brush the egg wash around the edge of the dough to make a 1-inch border. Spread the chocolate mixture (minus the 1/2 cup) evenly throughout the dough, leaving the border clean. Starting at one end, roll the dough tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch the edges closed. Fold the dough in half and twist 2-3 times. Place the dough into a greased loaf pan. Brush the top of the dough with egg wash and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of filling over the top of the dough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow the dough to double in size, 20-30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the loaf for 55 minutes, or until the top is deeply golden. Transfer the masterpiece to a cooling rackplate and allow to cool completely. Make yourself a nice espresso, slice a piece off, and enjoy the sunshine on a lovely Saturday afternoon 🙂

NEXT TIME: Job hunt panic & more real life things.

Bis später!
-V

The first day of…Merry Christmas?!

Posted: March 21, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,


This is what the first day of spring looks like in Ottawa:

Ughhhhh.

[FYI, Sunday afternoon, I spent like FOUR HOURS prepping my bike for spring. Then that happened. I mean come ON Canada.]